Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.1 Update

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:37
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 83 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
- Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
- Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
- Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
- Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
- Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
- Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
- Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.

iTunes 9.0.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

ESPN Radio App Now Available for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, 03:27
Category: iPhone, Software

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ESPN Radio has released an iPhone application that provides access to live radio streams from more than 15 different ESPN stations. Per MacNN, the app features play-by-play broadcasts of college football games in real-time, as well as live scores and news feeds for NFL, MLB, NHL, and other professional sports games. ESPN Radio allows users to listen to a variety of shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Michael Kay Show, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

Users can use the application access live feeds from regional stations including ESPN 1050 New York, ESPN 1250 Pittsburgh, and ESPN 1000 Chicago. The app also provides over 35 different podcasts, along with SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes. Users can even send text messages directly from the interface to ESPN Radio studios.

ESPN Radio retails for US$3 and requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

And for the record: go, Patriots!!!

Apple Hunting Down Feedback from iPhone 3GS Users Citing Poor Battery Life

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit Apple is not openly acknowledging the issue, it’s taking the “shy kid” approach to reaching a solution. Per iPhone Blog, Apple is apparently seeking feedback from iPhone users over claims that the recent iPhone 3.1 Software Update is draining batteries.

Short battery life has been a concern since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS amongst many users, despite Apple promising improved performance at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple said the iPhone 3GS would deliver 9 hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge, about a 30% upgrade to the iPhone 3G.

However, a recent teardown by iFixit noted that the iPhone 3GS’s battery was just 6% more powerful than the battery in its predecessor.

Recently, the company has contacted a number of users on Appleā€™s discussion boards who have posted negative comments asking for feedback. A list of 11 questions – covering e-mail, push notifications, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and application use – is being sent out reports The iPhone Blog.

The note also contains an attachment which, when double-clicked, installs what looks like an unsigned profile, which apparently enables Battery Life Logging on the iPhone.

Once enabled, the iPhone will sync power logs back via iTunes, and they ask that those logs be sent back to Apple reports the The iPhone Blog.

The blog notes this isn’t the first time Apple, via AppleCare, has contacted iPhone users after posts on the company’s discussion boards.

It is not known what percentage of iPhone owners might be experiencing the problem.

Rumor: AT&T MicroCell Device En Route, Will Offer Unlimited Coverage for Extra $20/Month

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Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:39
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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AT&T customers based in one of the company’s weaker pockets of coverage will be able to pay US$20 to pay $20 extra to obtain unlimited calling over 3G using their own Internet access. Per Engadget Mobile, an anonymous tip has stated that the company plans to offer an unlimited calling plan for users for US$20 per month.

The service would be bundled with AT&T-supplied Internet (if available in your area), the monthly fee would drop to US$10, and with AT&T Internet and landline service, the monthly fee goes away entirely.

It’s not clear if the monthly fee for unlimited wireless calling through the device will be mandatory in order to obtain the 3G MicroCell device. According to the photo of official looking marketing collateral included in the report, “3G phones connected to the MicroCell without AT&T Unlimited MicroCell Calling continue to use existing plan minutes.”

If unlimited calling is entirely optional, iPhone 3G and 3GS users may be able to purchase and install the 3G MicroCell and simply use it to burn their existing plan minutes without paying any additional monthly fees, solving dropped call or delayed SMS issues for users within poor coverage areas.

Even if obtaining the device requires the additional unlimited calling plan, users may end up saving money by cutting their existing plan minutes and placing most of their calls from their home or work location. Current iPhone service plans with AT&T cost US$60 for 450 daytime rollover minutes, US$80 for 900 minutes, US$100 for 1,350 minutes, or US$120 for unlimited time.

In either case, other AT&T users who access the MicroCell to place 3G calls, texts or access mobile data will not be charged any differently than if they were to use a regular 3G tower; they will simply eat up their existing plan minutes.

The 3G MicroCell does not create a VoIP alternative to AT&T’s network. In fact, the unit simply tunnels 3G voice and data over the user’s existing broadband Internet service to AT&T’s servers, which process it like any other call handled by its existing 3G cell towers.

AT&T’s 3G appliance isn’t usable by 3G mobile users on other carriers, nor does it provide GSM/EDGE service usable by the original iPhone model. It will work with any 3G-capable sold by AT&T, however. It’s not yet known if the MicroCell supplies the standard 3.6Mbit/sec HDPA service typical of AT&T’s current towers, or if it supplies the faster 7.2 service supported by the iPhone 3GS.

Due to broadcasting regulations, users will also be prevented from using the 3G MicroCell in areas where AT&T doesn’t officially do business. For example, it can’t be installed by users in Vermont or North Dakota or in other countries outside the US; this is enforced by GPS tracking in the device.

Other mobile providers already sell similar “mini cell tower” devices, commonly referred to in the industry as a “femtocell”. These units are used both to provide service where coverage is missing or to allow customers to provide their own pipe for unlimited mobile calling. For example, Sprint sells its Airave for US$5 per month, or with an unlimited calling plan that costs US$10. Verizon sells a femtocell for its 3G users with no monthly fees, but does not provide any unlimited calling option.

T-Mobile, for their part provides unlimited calling through its HotSpot@Home service, which costs US$10 per month.

AT&T is expected to begin rolling out 3G MicroCell devices to users in a limited number of markets over the next couple of weeks, following an extensive beta testing period. Hammered by the iPhone’s voracious data demands, AT&T’s 3G mobile network has been criticized as severely inadequate by many high profile critics and plenty of frustrated users.

Microsoft Offers Windows 7 Upgrade for $30 to Students for Limited Time

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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As much as you may want to burn Microsoft’s headquarters to the ground, they do remain competitive on some levels. According to AppleInsider, Microsoft will allow students to purchase the upcoming Windows 7 operating system for US$29.99, roughly the same price as Apple’s competing Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Per the article, Microsoft this week launched win741.com, a Web site devoted to promoting Windows 7 to students.

“For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 – for only $29.99 USD,” the site reads. “That’s less than most of your textbooks! Hurry — offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST.”

The offer applies to the Home Premium and Professional versions of Windows 7. Students will be allowed to purchase one copy of either from Microsoft’s online store. Similar offers are available in the U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico.

Rather than mailing a disc, the software will be made available for students to download in either 32- or 64-bit versions. The Web site’s FAQ recommends that those looking to do a clean install of the operating system buy a Windows 7 backup DVD.

For all non-students, Windows 7 is less expensive than Vista, but still much higher than Snow Leopard. A retail copy of the Home Premium upgrade will retail for US$120 and the standalone version is US$200. The Professional edition will cost US$200 for an upgrade, or US$300 for the full price. The Windows 7 Ultimate version is US$220 for the upgrade and US$320 for the full copy. Upgrades require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on the machine.

The Windows 7 launch date is set for October 22nd.

Look at it this way: It’s not Vista, it’s gotten good feedback and it’ll happily run under Boot Camp, so there may be a bargain to be had here.

Skype 2.8.0.722 Released

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 12:31
Category: Software

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On Monday, Skype released version 2.8.0.722 of its popular Voice over Internet Protocol communications program.
The new version, a 43.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – Call Phones and Send SMS window “Type number” text field is too dark.
- Chat window does not refresh properly when chatting with a user whose avatar file is corrupted.
- When creating a new contact request, the option to request to see the contact’s status but not let them see yours is disabled.
- In a contact request, the option to add a new contact to your Contact list is disabled when the user chooses not to let the contact see when they are online.
- In a contact request, new contacts are added to a user’s Contact list even when they uncheck the option to add them.
- When screen sharing in fullscreen mode, the user can’t click on Skype menu items at the top of the screen.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – Layout issues in the video window when a video call is put on hold.
- The Hold button appears over the Call on Hold message.
- Skype sometimes crashes when plugging in or removing a webcam.
- Skype sometimes crashes soon after launching when an auto-config (PAC) file was used to connect to the internet.
- Skype sometimes crashes when shutting down.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
- Main window does not display properly when signing in as another user from the Account menu.

Skype 2.8.0.722 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to install and run.

iPhone 3GS Radiation Measurements Released

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 05:10
Category: iPhone, News

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You spend a fair amount of time with it next to your head, so you might as well have the facts.

Per a report released by the Environmental Working Group, Apple’s iPhone 3GS handset ranks almost squarely in the middle of smartphones in terms of radiation output. The report notes that according to compiled data, the 3GS produces approximately 1.19W/kg of radiation. The figure is substantially lower than the worst-case examples, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Kyocera Jax S1300, which each produce 1.55W/kg.

The 3GS still produces considerably more output than phones towards the bottom of the scale, such as the Samsung Impression and BlackBerry Storm, which are rated at 0.35 and 0.57W/kg respectively. It also emits more than the 0.97W/kg of the original iPhone, but less than the iPhone 3G, rated at 1.39W/kg. The three best-performing phones on the list, such as the Nokia 9300i, are no longer being sold.

In a new report, the EWG claims that people using cellphones for 10 years or more could develop “serious health problems.” Because of radiation, the report suggests, cellphone users have an “increased risk of developing brain and salivary gland tumors, neurological symptoms such as migraine and vertigo, and neurodevelopmental effects observed as behavioral problems in young children.”

The EWG is pushing for the US government to require displaying radiation levels at points of sale.

QuarkXPress 8.1.2 Update Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 04:10
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, software developer Quark released version 8.1.2 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 659 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improves PDF output capabilities and introduces features.

- Introduces a ‘Native Transparency’ mode for creating PDFs which can offer designers faster and more flexible PDF output support and provide greater control over their PDF workflow process.

- Renovates spell checking, adds the ability to paste text without formatting, and improves productivity with Scale functionality.

- Fine-tunes Usability and Item Styles.

- Can help prevent errors by reporting faux font styles such as bold or italic.

- Readies QuarkXPress for Snow Leopard and Windows 7 compatibility.

QuarkXPress 8.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

Wall Street Journal Web Site to Go to Subscriber Model for iPhone, Blackberry Users

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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If you loved free Wall Street Journal content on your iPhone, you can thank Rupert Murdoch for this one.

Per Paid Content, News Corporation has announced that readers of the WSJ on the Blackberry and iPhone will be charged US$2 per week for the privilege of reading news through the respective apps. Online and print subscribers of the WSJ will only pay US$1 a week. No time limit has been set yet, but Murdoch says it will be within the next few months.

This could be bad news for Hulu users as well, as Murdoch has stated that News Corp is considering either a pay-per-view or subscription model for Hulu. “No final decision has been made,” Murdoch said via Webcast at an investor conference today. The Wall Street Journal itself reports that subscription offerings will roll out for media content before the end of the year, though it was made in a different context from the Hulu statement.

(On a personal note, if this helps what’s been a great paper make its bottom line, then sure. Otherwise, who wouldn’t love to see Rupert Murdoch chased down the gray Manhattan streets with frothing wolves at his heels?)

Cocktail 4.5.1 (Snow Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 03:07
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.4.1 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 2.0 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may not launch on 32-bit only Macs.
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail was unable to search for corrupted preference files.
- Added Mac OS X 10.6.1 compatibility.
- Other minor improvements and bug fixes discovered in the previous version.

Cocktail 4.5.1 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.