Google Chrome Beta Nearing, Some Features on Hold

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Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 08:04
Category: News, Software

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If you’re waiting for Google’s Chrome browser for the Mac, a stable beta may not be that far away.

Yesterday, TechCrunch pointed to to a Twitter posting from Mike Pinkerton of the Chrome for Mac team noting that there were only eight bugs remaining to be addressed before the Mac beta of Chrome is ready for its launch expected for some time in the next month.

“8 remaining M4 Mac beta blockers! Go team! #chrome”

This means that there are only 8 things standing in the way of Chrome for Mac going beta. “M4″ stands for “milestone 4,” which is how they phrase “version 4,” which the Mac beta build of Chrome will be (the current dev channel version is 4.0.249.12, for example).

So far, the following features have been pushed out to the next beta version in order to allow Google to meet its goal of releasing the initial beta before the end of the year:

- Bookmark Manager

- App Mode (allows Chrome to run Web apps in their own simplified windows)

- Task Manager

- Gears (offline support for Web apps; apparently being scrapped entirely in favor of HTML5)

- Bookmark syncing

- Multi-touch gestures

- 64-bit support

- Full support for extensions

- Full screen mode (possibly)

Developer builds of Chrome for Mac have been available for several months, but the move to a beta version suggests that users can expect to see a fairly stable browser with a number of significant features included. Work will continue on Chrome with additional Developer Preview releases occurring on a regular basis. Refined versions will then periodically be released as new additions to Chrome’s Beta channel. Releases will eventually make their way to Chrome’s “Stable” channel, which will offer “rock solid” performance without the inclusion of features still under development and testing.

BBC Quashes iPlayer App Rumor

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 08:50
Category: iPhone, News

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The BBC network has moved to quash reports that a native iPhone BBC iPlayer application is in the works. Per Macworld UK, weekend reports suggested the BBC’s popular iPlayer might be coming to the iPhone after a mock-up was used on a BBC iPlayer Data Pack report, showcasing October’s facts and figures for the catch-up TV service.

However, BBC blogger Nick Reynolds in response to questions about the iPhone images used in the report wrote: “Antshez and AllAboutiPhone – the images are old images and should not be taken to mean that anything is likely to happen soon. Since the images seem to have provoked unnecessary speculation we’ll probably update the pack later today and remove them.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

iSync Plugins 7.1.2.5 Released

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:30
Category: Software

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iSync plugins, nova media’s shareware iSync extension package for Mac OS X and all-around useful utility that provides access to dozens of cell phones and handsets, received a small update over the weekend. Version 7.1.2.5, a 5.4 megabyte download, adds support for the following cell phone models:

- Nokia N97
- Nokia N97 mini

iSync 7.1.2.5 retails for US$9.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 (under Mac OS X 10.4), Mac OS X 10.5.8 (under Mac OS X 10.5) and Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) to install and run.

VirtualBox 3.1 Released

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 09:05
Category: Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.1. The new version, a 65 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Teleportation (aka live migration); migrate a live VM session from one host to another (see the manual for more information).
- VM states can now be restored from arbitrary snapshots instead of only the last one, and new snapshots can be taken from other snapshots as well (“branched snapshots”; see the manual for more information).
- 2D video acceleration for Windows guests; use the host video hardware for overlay stretching and color conversion (see the manual for more information).
- More flexible storage attachments: CD/DVD drives can be attached to arbitrary storage controllers, and there can be more than one such drive (the manual for more information).
- The network attachment type can be changed while a VM is running.
- Complete rewrite of experimental USB support for OpenSolaris hosts making use of the latest USB enhancements in Solaris Nevada 124 and higher.
- Significant performance improvements for PAE and AMD64 guests (VT-x and AMD-V only; normal (non-nested) paging).
- Experimental support for EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface; see the manual for more information).
- Support for paravirtualized network adapters (virtio-net; see the manual for more information).
- VMM: guest SMP fixes for certain rare cases.
- GUI: snapshots include a screenshot.
- GUI: locked storage media can be unmounted by force.
- GUI: the a log window grabbed all key events from other GUI windows (bug #5291).
- GUI: allow to disable USB filters (bug #5426).
- GUI: improved memory slider in the VM settings.
- GUI: the VirtualBox website couldn’t be opened from the help menu (bug #4559).
- 3D support: major performance improvement in VBO processing.
- 3D support: added GL_EXT_framebuffer_object, GL_EXT_compiled_vertex_array support.
- 3D support: fixed crashes in FarCry, SecondLife, Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, Eve Online (bugs #2801, #2791).
- 3D support: fixed graphics corruption in World of Warcraft (#2816).
- 3D support: fixed Final frame of Compiz animation not updated to the screen (#4653).
- 3D support: fixed incorrect rendering of non ARGB textures under compiz.
- iSCSI: support iSCSI targets with more than 2TiB capacity.
- VRDP: fixed occasional VRDP server crash (bug #5424).
- Network: fixed the E1000 emulation for QNX (and probably other) guests (bug #3206).
- NAT: added host resolver DNS proxy (see the manual for more information).
- VMDK: fixed incorrectly rejected big images split into 2G pieces (bug #5523, #2787).
- VMDK: fixed compatibility issue with fixed or raw disk VMDK files (bug #2723).
- VHD: fixed incompatibility with Hyper-V.
- Support for Parallels version 2 disk image (HDD) files; see the manual for more information.
- OVF: create manifest files on export and verify the content of an optional manifest file on import.
- OVF: fixed memory setting during import (bug #4188).
- Mouse device: now five buttons are passed to the guest (bug #3773).
- VBoxHeadless: fixed loss of saved state when VM fails to start.
- VBoxSDL: fixed crash during shutdown (Windows hosts only).
- X11 based hosts: allow the user to specify their own scan code layout (bug #2302).
- Mac OS X hosts: don’t auto show the menu and dock in fullscreen (bug #4866).
- Mac OS X hosts (64 bit): don’t interpret mouse wheel events as left click (bug #5049).
- Mac OS X hosts: fixed a VM abort during shutdown under certain conditions.
- Solaris hosts: combined the kernel interface package into the VirtualBox main package.
- Solaris hosts: support for OpenSolaris Boomer architecture (with OSS audio backend).
- Shared folders: VBOXSVR is visible in Network folder (Windows guests, bug #4842).
- Shared folders: performance improvements (Windows guests, bug #1728).
- Windows, Linux and Solaris Additions: added balloon tip notifier if VirtualBox host version was updated and Additions are out of date.
- Solaris guests: fixed keyboard emulation (bug #1589).
- Solaris Additions: fixed as_pagelock() failed errors affecting guest properties (bug #5337).
- Windows Additions: added automatic logon support for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Windows Additions: improved file version lookup for guest OS information.
- Windows Additions: fixed runtime OS detection on Windows 7 for session information.
- Windows Additions: fixed crash in seamless mode (contributed by Huihong Luo).
- Linux Additions: added support for uninstalling the Linux Guest Additions (bug #4039).
- Linux guest shared folders: allow mounting a shared folder if a file of the same name as the folder exists in the current directory (bug #928).
- SDK: added object-oriented web service bindings for PHP5.

VirtualBox 3.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Adobe, Intuit, Others Offering Premium Deals for Online Customers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 10:20
Category: News, Software

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Software gets pricey, but today it might not have to be. Per MacNN, major programs from Adobe, Intuit and Parallels have also become a part of special Black Friday software deals. Amazon is currently selling Adobe’s CS4 Design Standard Student Edition for US$296, the CS4 Web Premium Student Edition for US$350, and the CS4 Design Premium Student Edition for US$404 with discounts between 78 and 79% lower than list price.

Adobe itself is now selling Photoshop Elements 8 for just US$60, US$40 lower than normal. The price does require taking advantage of a US$20 mail-in rebate, but at least includes free shipping. Parallels has dropped US$10 off its Desktop 5.0 virtualization software, whereas VMware is selling Fusion 3.0 for $16 less with the code “dsktp20sale”.

Finally, Intuit has dropped the price of QuickBooks 2010 to US$160, though MacMall is offering it for as little as US$150.

HandBrake Updated to 0.9.4

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:10
Category: Software

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Handbrake, Eric Petit’s incredibly useful open-source DVD ripping/conversion utility, has been updated to version 0.9.4.

The new version, which can be found here, boasts the following fixes and changes:

- Improves speed, size and quality with official notes available here.

HandBrake 0.9.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases iPhoto 8.1.1 Update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:51
Category: iPod, Software

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Apple on Tuesday released iPhoto 8.1.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 12.3 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:

- This update addresses issues affecting face recognition performance and accuracy.

- It also fixes minor issues in the areas of book ordering, and iPod touch support.

The update can be installed via the direct link or located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

iPhoto 8.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Second iPhone Worm in the Wild

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 06:24
Category: iPhone, security

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We told you not to jailbreak your iPhone, but you had to be super cool and rebellious. Per BBC News, jailbroken iPhones could be vulnerable to a new, malicious worm that can allow remote access and control without the owner’s knowledge or permission. It’s been estimated that hundreds of users are currently affected by a worm that targets users of “jailbroken” iPhones who live in the Netherlands and use the bank ING Direct. But security company F-Secure told stated that the currently isolated issue could easily jump to thousands of handsets. The worm is reportedly spread between phones when they share the same Wi-Fi spot.

In order for an iPhone to be vulnerable to the new worm, they must have willingly modified their handset’s software to allow them to run unauthorized code. Phones can be jailbroken to run applications or modify the system in ways not approved by Apple.

The worm only affects jailbroken phones that have SSH (secure shell) installed, without the default password — “alpine” — changed. It employs the same method as a previous worm, Ikee, that was not malicious. Instead, the wallpaper-changing prank simply changed the user’s background to a picture of 1980s pop star Rick Astley, who sang the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The new worm reportedly has botnet functionality and connects to a Web-based command and control center based in Lithuania.

For now, the worm is only aimed at customers who live in the Netherlands and bank with ING Direct. The company has stated that it intends to put a warning on its Web site.

Cocktail 4.5 (Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

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Late Friday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.5 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 1.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Added ability to clear data detectors caches.
- Added ability to clear QuickLook caches.
- Improvements on the clear dynamic link editor’s shared caches procedure.
- Improvements on the clear potentially harmful files procedure.
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may unexpectedly quit while clearing system caches.
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may report problems with diskutil.
- Addresses an issue in which check of the S.M.A.R.T. status may fail.
- Fixed a bug in which some items in /private/tmp folder were not deleted during clearing of the temporary files.
- Other minor bug fixes and improvements.
- Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 4.5 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.