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Canada approves local iBookstore, Rogers Wireless to unlock certain iPhone handsets

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Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 06:22
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Canada: Colder but niftier with some of its assorted technologies.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages announced Tuesday that it was granting formal approval of Apple’s iBookstore according to MacNN.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” said Minister James Moore. “Apple has demonstrated how iBookstore Canada represents new opportunities for Canadian authors and publishers, and I have determined that this investment will be of net benefit to Canada.”

According to the press release, Apple has committed to the promotion of Canadian-authored French- and English-language titles in the iBookstore in Canada and internationally; increased opportunities for Canadian publishers and authors; increased access to titles from Aboriginal authors and publishers; assistance to Canadian publishers in streamlining processes of e-book creation and enhancement.

Though a limited version of the iBookstore has been available in Canada until now, offering some US-based paid titles and public domain works, government approval of a Canadian iBookstore should help draw Canadian publishers to Apple’s eBook platform.

In other news, Canadian carrier Rogers has reportedly begun unlocking iPhones for customers who have finished their contracts or bought an unsubsidized handset. The new policy for Rogers sub-brand Fido allows qualifying customers to unlock their iPhones for a US$50 fee plus applicable taxes according to iPhone in Canada.

To qualify, customers must have an account in good standing; have finished their contract or paid the unsubsidized cost for the device 30 days prior and unlock a device that is listed in their equipment history.

Canada, along with the UK and France, was one of the first countries to sell the iPhone 4 unlocked and SIM-free.

Apple releases Apple TV software update 4.1.1, looks to resolve resolution, download issues

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Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 06:49
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

Late Tuesday Apple released Apple TV software update 4.1.1 for the second-generation Apple TV, fixing some issues with TVs displaying the incorrect resolution and a downloading problem where movies or TV shows are re-downloaded.

Per AppleInsider, the updated comes just weeks after software update 4.1, which added AirPlay support and fixed some performance and connectivity issues.

According to Apple’s support documents, the 4.1.1 update addresses “an issue that causes some high-definition TVs to incorrectly display at 480p” and “an issue that may cause a movie or TV show to be re-downloaded.”

One user commented that installing the update resolved a flickering issue on his TV. “My TV (Fujitsu) 42″ (2004 model) only has a DVI port (no HDMI),” the reader wrote. “I use a HDMI to DVI cable to watch the Apple TV content. Previously, the TV flickered on the top and on the right. After the update, the flickering was gone. The system works perfectly fine now.”

Other users, found that the update doesn’t resolve their issues. Earlier this month, users stated they were experiencing HDMI “handshaking” issues and abnormally long download times.

On the Apple support forum thread detailing the HDMI connection issue, several users assert that installing the 4.1.1 software update failed to resolve their HDMI handshake issues, which cause inverted colors or solid color images.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via the Software Update feature on the set top device. If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, please let us know.

Microsoft releases 14.0.2 update for Office 2011

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 12:28
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.0.2 of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 111 megabyte download which can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Reliability is improved when you open Office for Mac documents by using third-party applications: This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac documents not to open by using certain third-party applications.

– Office for Mac Updater request users to close Microsoft AutoUpdate during the update process:This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac updater to request users to close AutoUpdate when the Office updater is running. When the users close AutoUpdate, the updater also stops the Office update process.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011:
– Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Outlook to crash or close unexpectedly sometimes when you import a .pst file that contains categories. Specifically, categories that have no category names assigned to them.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Google Latitude released for iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 06:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

On Monday Google’s Latitude app finally became available for the iPhone, the app fully supporting iOS 4 and optionally providing constant position updates in the background on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Privacy is still a focus as users can selectively turn off both background updates, hand-pick a location or turn off positioning altogether.

Per Electronista, the official release comes roughly a year and a half after Google was forced to release an HTML5 version for the iPhone after Apple rejected the original version for reportedly being too similar to Apple’s own Maps tool. Critics have argued that the initial block was motivated by attempts to punish Google for Android, where Latitude has been a native part of Google Maps itself for most of the platform’s history.

It’s widely suspected that a loosening of App Store rules, prompted by Adobe-backed FTC and EU investigations into approval processes, may have changed Apple’s approach. Apple recently allowed Google Voice after a similar delay and what’s believed to be for identical reasons.

If you’ve played with Latitude and have any feedback, let us know.

Apple quietly removes jailbreak API detection code in iOS 4.2

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This is a bit weird but maybe it makes sense in the long run.

Per Network World, less than six months after introducing it, Apple has quietly disabled its jailbreak detection API (Application Programming Interface) through the iOS 4.2 software update, according to a new report.

The publication reported that the API, which was released in June as part of a mobile device management (MDM) bundle for iOS 4.0, has been disabled in iOS 4.2, leaving perplexed vendors to question why. The API had previously allowed third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria, to check for unauthorized modifications to the system files, author John Cox wrote.

Third-party MDM vendors had created their own utilities to check for jailbreaks, but Apple’s jailbreak detection API granted MDM applications direct access to iOS system information.

“We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”

Though jailbreaking an Apple device voids its warranty, the U.S. government recently legalized the process through a handful of exemptions to preexisting laws forbidding it.

Since the release of iOS, Apple has gone back and forth with the jailbreaking community, both sides working to one up each other with each new update. As vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited by the hacking community, Apple rushes to patch the issues, while hackers secretly move on to the next flaw.

In August, hackers released a high publicity browser-based jailbreak for the iPhone 4 that drew attention to a glaring security flaw that could have exposed users to malicious software just by visiting website.

As hackers became aware of the jailbreak detection API, they may have begun circumventing it, adding another layer to the tug-of-war between jailbreakers and Apple.

“Whatever [Apple] adds [in the OS] to detect the jailbreak, if it is to be queried from the iOS kernel, it must be accessible and have the ability to be changed,” security consultant Jeremy Allen told Cox. “Meaning, if it is going to be a useful detection method it can also be circumvented. It is a fairly intractable problem to solve 100%.”

The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers. Also at stake is Apple’s relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks. In the U.S., for instance, the iPhone is only available through AT&T, though Verizon is expected to begin selling the iPhone early next year. Users looking to use their locked iPhones on other carriers often jailbreak and unlock their handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

HP adds AirPrint functionality to six printers via firmware updates

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 10th, 2010, 13:59
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The AirPrint feature has been released with iOS 4.2.

Now it’s time to find a printer that actually supports this.

Per AppleInsider, HP this week updated the firmware of six of its printers, enabling compatibility with Apple’s AirPrint, which allows printing directly from iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

The company added the functionality to six of its Officejet line of printers with firmware updates released on Thursday, the new models consisting of the following:
– Officejet 6500A e-AiO

– Officejet 6500A Plus e-AiO

– Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-AiO

– Officejet Pro 8500A e-AiO

– Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-AiO

– Officejet Pro 8500A Premium e-AiO

The addition of six new printers makes a total of 18 printers from HP that are now compatible with AirPrint. Five existing printers offer AirPrint functionality out of the box, while another seven had previously released firmware updates that added the ability to print from iOS 4.2.

AirPrint was originally intended to work from any printer shared through a Mac or PC. In early builds of iOS 4.2, iTunes 10.1 and Mac OS X 10.6.5 issued to developers, printers could be shared over a local network to iOS 4.2 devices.

That functionality was eventually removed, and now only HP printers with support for direct wireless printing without sharing through a Mac or PC work with AirPrint. However, a number of fixes and workarounds have been released that allow users to share a printer once again.

There were rumors that a legal dispute led Apple to remove the printer sharing feature from Mac OS X 10.6.5, iTunes 10.1 and iOS 4.2 at the last minute. Apple’s own website now only promises that AirPrint allows users to “print mail, photos, web pages, and more directly to a printer on a wireless network.”

If you have one of these printers, try the firmware update and let us know how this process goes.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.13 update

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Date: Friday, December 10th, 2010, 03:08
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Late Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.13 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 18.7 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

– Patched 13 security bugs, 11 of these being rated “critical”.

– Aaddressed browser engine memory bugs, buffer and integer overflows, and a location bar SSL spoofing flaw.

– The update also fixed nearly 70 non-security flaws, including several stability bugs that Mozilla tracked through user-submitted crash reports.

Firefox 3.6.13 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

Microsoft posts Office 12.2.8 update for Office 2008 for Mac

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Date: Thursday, December 9th, 2010, 06:49
Category: News, Software

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Microsoft has posted an update to version 12.2.8 for Office 2008 for Mac. As usual, the company states that the update improves stability and includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can potentially use to overwrite the contents of your Mac’s memory with malicious code.

According to Macworld, the update also fixes an issue in Entourage that causes the program to quit unexpectedly under certain circumstances.

The 332.8 MB update applies to Office 2008, Office 2008 Home and Student Edition, Office 2008 Special Media Edition, Word 2008, Excel 2008, PowerPoint 2008, Entourage 2008, Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition and can be located, downloaded and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, let us know.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 for 2010 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Thursday, December 9th, 2010, 05:38
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

mba2

Late Wednesday, Apple issued a MacBook Air EMI firmware resolving an issue where the ultra-thin laptop boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive.

Per AppleInsider, the MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 is recommended for all 11″ and 13″ MacBook Air (late 2010) models and requires Mac OS X 10.6.5 to install and run. The update addresses a “rare issue” where the MacBook Air is unresponsive or displays just a black screen after booting or waking.

Apple launched the redesigned MacBook Air in October at its “Back to the Mac event.” As predicted by AppleInsider the Mac maker released an 11.6″ version of the ultra-portable notebook and abandoned mechanical hard disk drives in favor of custom solid state storage.

On the day of the revamped MacBook Air’s unveiling, Apple released a software update for the product, resolving a problem where the MacBook Air became unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display was connected.

Shortly after the release of the MacBook Air, reports emerged that users were experiencing problems ranging from faulty logic boards to display issues. One issue, detailed on an Apple support thread, involved a flickering or frozen screen. It is not clear whether Apple’s EFI firmware update specifically addresses this issue.

Despite scattered reports of issues with the MacBook Air, the laptop has continued to sell well, especially the 11-inch model. The US$999 11.6″ MacBook Air’s ship times slipped from within 24 hours to 1-3 business days in the first week after its release.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Apple addresses security concerns with QuickTime 7.6.9 update for Mac OS X 10.5.x operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, December 8th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, security, Software

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Per the cool cats over at CNET, Apple has updated its Quicktime software, now at version 7.6.9, to fix vulnerabilities where a maliciously designed file could execute arbitrary code or lead to the application terminating.

As Apple describes in its knowledge base article:
“Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime’s handling of JP2 images. Viewing a maliciously crafted JP2 image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved bounds checking. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.5. Credit to Nils of MWR InfoSecurity, and Will Dormann of the CERT/CC, for reporting this issue.”

Also included in this security update are fixes to maliciously crafted avi file types, other movie file types, FlashPix image files, GIF image files, or PICT image files, as well as a possibility that local users may have access to sensitive information on certain Windows machines.
The update is for Mac users running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or Server 10.5.8. For more information, visit the entire security update article.

As usual, the update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, let us know in the comments.