O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Apple announces iTunes 10 at media event

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Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 16:28
Category: News, Software

Kicking off today’s Apple media event, Apple announced that iTunes 10 will be available today. The new version includes a feature called Ping, a social music discovery tool that allows users to follow friends and artists, helping customers to discover and share new music.

“It’s sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said of the entirely new Ping service. He described it as a social network all about music, built in to the new iTunes, now available for download.

Per AppleInsider, the product is based on discovery, allowing users to see what their friends are listening to and what concerts they’re going to.

Users can choose to “follow” artists, as well as their friends, and iTunes will populate a customized top 10 list that represents what their friends are downloading. Users can also see concerts that are coming near them, and inform their friends that they will be attending.

Ping users can sign up immediately and the service will also be available to iPhone and iPod touch users through the existing iTunes Store.

Jobs also demonstrated a new “hybrid” view within iTunes 10, which automatically displays album art when there are five or more tracks from the same record.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Delicious Library Updated to 2.5

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 04:49
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.5 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 20.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Publishing:
- Fixed a crasher after configuring MobileMe and publishing. Me am stupid.

- Fixed crasher in configuring FTP sites. Yes, another one.

- Fixed a memory leak creating images when publishing collections to the web, which made largish collections slow down the machine, run out of memory, and then crash during publishing. There’s a theme, huh?

- Recycle memory more efficiently when publishing collections, so very large collections (14,000+ items) now can publish without slowing down, running out of memory, and crashing. Because programming is hard.

- We now filter errant control characters out of the data we publish, because sometimes our data providers have extra garbage in their descriptions, and that would end up blocking publishing because it generated invalid HTML, which threw an internal error.

- Fixed a crasher in publishing if there was a warning the HTML generated that wasn’t fatal. I don’t know if this ever happened in real life, but, hey, less ways to crash is good.

- We now update our publishing progress HUD every 10 items instead of every page, so you can see what’s going on if you have, say, 14,000 items. (Also, seriously, 14,000 items are going to take a LONG time to upload to your website.)

- We now check to see if the user wants to cancel MUCH more often, so publishing doesn’t appear to have hung the app. You can see we’ve really learned a lot from people with these huge collections.

- Removed publishing to iWeb, because iWeb is a private format, and we thought we understood it, but were wrong. We apologize. If you’d like to continue using the old buggy iWeb support, from Terminal you can re-enable support with “defaults write com.delicious-monster.library2 enableBuggyiWeb -bool true”.

Full release notes can be found here and Delicious Library 2.5 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

SpamSieve update to 2.8.3

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, 11:24
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.3. The new version, a 7.1 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

- Adjusted SpamSieve’s tokenizer to improve the filtering accuracy.

- Improved compatibility with pre-release versions of Apple Mail.

- MailForge now works with SpamSieve, as described in the Setting up MailForge section of the manual.

- Made some changes to better support the upcoming Microsoft Outlook 2011. (Full support will come when Office ships.)

- Added various updates and clarifications to the manual.

- Fixed a regression where SpamSieve wouldn’t be able to install its Apple Mail plug-in if Mail’s folder had been redirected using an alias.

- Fixed a bug where SpamSieve would sometimes quit when coming out of trial mode.

- Fixed a bug where sometimes the Hits column in a rules window couldn’t be resized.

- Worked around an OS bug that could cause an internal error when reporting a corpus error.

- Made various modernizations to SpamSieve’s code and interface files.

- The Apple Mail plug-in now shows up with the proper name in Mail Plugin Manager.

- Updated the disk image layout.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.2, Camera Raw 6.2 updates

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, 03:56
Category: News, Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 3.2 of its Lightroom (available on the company’s update page) photo editing utility and version 6.2 of its Camera Raw plugin. Lightroom 3.2 added the ability to publish photos to both Facebook and photo-sharing site SmugMug. The update also brings a number of improvements to Lightroom’s Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules, as well as over 120 new lens profiles to help photographers correct distortion and other undesirables.

Camera Raw 6.2, a 69.8 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), support for the following cameras:

- Canon EOS 60D

- Casio EXILIM EX-FH100

- Fuji FinePix HS10

- Leica S2 (DNG*)

- Panasonic DMC-FZ100

- Panasonic DMC-FZ40 (FZ45)

- Panasonic DMC-LX5

- Pentax 645D

- Samsung NX10

- Samsung TL500 (EX1)

- Sony A290

- Sony A390

- Sony Alpha NEX-3

- Sony Alpha NEX-5

- Sony SLT-A33

- Sony SLT-A55V

Camera Raw 6.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple patent reveals consolidated headphone jacks for upcoming devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 30th, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Patents

Per Patently Apple, Apple is looking to develop a new audio input port configuration for the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. The effort seems to indicate that Apple is working to limit the amount of holes in its devices, because each ”breaches the barrier that protects components inside the housing.”

Apple’s answer is to reduce the hole count by making them multifunctional. It proposes removing the need for a separate microphone aperture by making it part of the socket the headphone jack plugs into. This adds only a couple of milllimetres to the socket length – the mic fits behind the tip of the jack plug. The result: “A microphone can be added to a mobile telephone without the need for an external aperture.”

According to the Apple Core, Apple appears to be considering combining multiple jacks into one smarter jack. It makes sense too. For starters, less holes mean less physical parts to manufacture (and potentially fail) and Apple is already heading down this road with the iPhone 4 which features two microphones and noise cancellation.

The first mic is for phone calls, voice commands and memos. The second mic is for FaceTime calls and for making your calls better.

The other potential direction could take is to use the new port for beamforming — where the audio input of the two microphones is used as an amiable directional input. Patently Apple thinks this could be advantageous for the iPhone in speakerphone mode or video camera mode when projecting or recording a sound source at some distance from the device.

Apple could even do away with invasive “breach” type ports altogether and convert its audio/microphone ports into surface contact ports that attach via a magnet — like the popular MagSafe power adapter found on its MacBook Pro notebooks. I just hope that Apple retains backward compatibility with the millions of 3.5mm stereo headsets that are out there, changing to a new jack entirely would alienate too many customers in one fell swoop.

The patent is credited to Apple employees Shaohai Chen, Phillip Tamchina, Richard Dinh, Jae Lee, Michelle Yu and Adam Mittleman as the inventors of patent application 20100216526.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta 3, focuses on lone remaining issue

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 07:06
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Thursday seeded the third beta of Mac OS X 10.6.5 to developers, its latest security and maintenance update for Snow Leopard, with just one known issue.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest build, reportedly known as 10H531, said the lone issue is associated with VMware and that having the software installed can cause USB devices to not work when the Mac is awoken from sleep mode.

The sources said said Apple has asked developers to focus on a few key areas for the latest beta, including iCal, Mail, USB Devices, QuickTime, Time Machine and 3D graphics. The delta update is said to be a 557MB download.

The latest beta comes just a week after the last build was supplied to developers. And the previous, first build arrived only six days before that.

Netflix app reaches version 1.1, adds iPhone, iPod touch support

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 06:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Ok, this smacks of the nifty.

Netflix on Thursday updated its iOS App Store software, bringing compatibility for iPhone and iPod touch users to stream movies and manage their Instant Watch queue.

Netflix 1.1 is now available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and allows Netflix customers with unlimited memberships to stream content from their Instant Watch queue.



Per AppleInsider, users can pick up watching where they left off with a movie or TV show on another device, such as their iPad, TV, or computer. The application also allows users to manage their Netflix queue, but only for Instant Watch. There is not currently a way to manage the queue for mailed discs.

As with on the iPad, the streaming service even works over 3G on the iPhone. The software uses adaptive technology that allows instant switching between Wi-Fi and 3G connections.

The app requires iOS 3.1.3 or later to install and run.

If anyone out there’s tried the new version, please let us know what you make of it.

Apple releases MacBook EFI Firmware 1.9 Update for mid-2010 models

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 06:32
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its MacBook EFI Firmware 1.9 update for its 15″ and 17″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 2.2 megabyte download, resolves a rare issue that may cause the system to freeze during startup or intermittently stall during operation, and it improves compatibility with external displays.

As always, the update can also be located and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

The MacBook EFI Firmware 1.9 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple confirms September 1st press event

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 04:52
Category: iPad, iPod, News, Software

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Apple has confirmed that the company will be holding a press event on September 1st for what’s likely to be a debut of new products and services. Per Macworld UK, the invite did not provide details of the event, simply giving the date and time accompanying a photo of a guitar with an apple shaped sound hole.

Apple has traditionally made new iPod product announcements in September. Rumors have been kicking around for a while about the possibility of an iPod Touch with a forward and rear facing camera. A forward-facing camera would allow the iPods to use FaceTime over Wi-Fi and new cameras could also offer support for Apple’s iMovie software, allowing video editing directly on the fly. Apple’s new high-contrast retina display, is also a possibility for new iPods.

At least a few iTunes announcements seem likely for the September 1st event. Last month rumors circulated that the newest version of iTunes would offer support for wireless iTunes streaming and syncing, and Apple quietly added the ability to stream music from MobileMe folders in its latest update. The MobileMe audio streaming feature could have been a test run of a larger iTunes plan.

Rumors have been swirling for the past few weeks about the possibility of US$.99 TV show rentals from iTunes. Currently iTunes only allows shows to be purchased for US$1.99 a pop, the rumored US$.99 rental would instead be good for just a few days. The cheaper price tag may however encourage more people to purchase the commercial free shows than currently, providing them an alternative to Hulu and other streaming sites that won’t break the bank.

While the picture of a guitar is a bit of a stretch for an event to unveil a new version of Apple TV, that doesn’t mean that Apple TV won’t be a part of the announcement, although it is likely it won’t be a focus for the event. A new version of Apple TV called iTV is rumored to have 16GB of flash storage, the ability to run iOS-based applications, and the ability to stream iTunes to iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches over WiFi. The iTV was at one point also expected to offer a TV subscription service, although those plans are thought to have been changed.

Finally, the announcement of a smaller iPad is not entirely out of the question. The announcement of a new version of the device in September would make it available before the holiday season, helping to potentially boost sales come gift giving time.

Either way, it’s all speculation. Stay tuned for September 1st when we provide every bit of information on the new products that we can prior to giving all of our readers a free pony.

China Unicom expected to offer free cases with iPhone 4 launch

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, 03:49
Category: iPhone, News

When in doubt, provide a useful free gift.

Per Caixin, when the iPhone 4 launches in China on September 16th, carrier China Unicom is expected to give every customer a free case as a preemptive strike against the antenna concerns that caused a stir in the U.S.

In July, after reports of antenna issues with the iPhone 4 reached a deafening buzz in the tech community, Apple announced it would give away free cases to all iPhone 4 purchases made through Sept. 30. Customers can order their free case through the iPhone 4 Case Program App Store software.

The report did not indicate whether China Unicom’s complimentary case will be mailed after the purchase, or made available to the customer when they buy their iPhone 4.

Earlier this month, a Wi-Fi-enabled 8GB iPhone 3GS was released by China Unicom. Apple’s previous phones sold legitimately in the nation of over one billion did not have Wi-Fi, because the Chinese government had temporarily banned the technology.

Following the launch of the iPhone 4, China Unicom is expected to soon offer Apple’s iPad for sale.