Apple Releases ProKit 5.0 Update for Professional Applications

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:55
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its ProKit 5.0 update, an 18.1 megabyte download that improves general user interface reliability for Apple’s professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can also be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

TechTool Pro 5.0.5 Released

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Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:03
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, Micromat released version 5.0.5 of TechTool Pro, its best-selling utility software for the Mac. The new version, a 56.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

  • Improved RAID volume support.
  • Fixed TechTool Protection system preference loading issue.
  • Added Trash History subcategory to the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Added low-level file defragmentation to the Volume Optimization tool.
  • Fixed RAM display issue in Memory Test.
  • Enhancements to Volume Usage in the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Fixed shared VRAM size display issue in Video Memory.
  • Fixed incorrect eDrive size for Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed VRAM card display issue under Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed selection issue in the Reports category.
  • Fixed Cache size reading for Mac Pro 2009.
  • Enhancements to the File Structures test.
  • Added Backup dialog warning upon launch of the application.
  • Updated Surface Scan to only show physical devices.
  • Updated SMART Check to show volumes names associated with the tested physical hard drive.
  • Updated main application interface to show Processors (PPC) or Cores (Intel).
  • Updated French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese (Simplified) localization.
  • Added more machine identification strings for Check Computer.

TechTool Pro 5.0.4 retails for US$98 and requires a Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to install and run.

Microsoft Releases Office 2008 12.2.0, Open XML Converter 1.1 Updates

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

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On Monday, Microsoft released updates for its Microsoft Office 2008 suite as well as its Open XML Converter applications.

The Office 2008 update (which functions as a second service pack), is a 297 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes with a full description of the changes available here:

  • Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2008 applications to exit unexpectedly when you open or use the applications.
  • Setup Assistant displays a message when an invalid product key is used: This update fixes an issue that causes Setup Assistant to loop when the user enters an invalid product key. The Setup Assistant now displays a message and asks the user to enter a valid product key.
  • Spell checking is improved when International System Preferences is set to Austrian or German input methods: This update fixes an issue in which the spell checking feature is disabled intermittently for Austrian and German languages.
  • Text box and the custom tab stops on a ruler align on a PowerPoint slide: This update fixes an issue that causes the text box and the tab stops on the ruler not to line up appropriately.
  • New controls for changing the alignment of text on chart elements: This update includes new controls for setting the vertical position, orientation, and custom angle of text in chart elements. It also includes controls for data label positions.
  • Improvements for Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac: Stability is improved when you use Mail Merge with pictures.
    This update fixes an issue that causes Word to crash when you use the Mail Merge Manager to insert a record with pictures from an external data source into your main document.
  • Notebook Layout View recovers audio notes after Word closes unexpectedly: This update fixes an issue that causes users to lose their audio notes when Word closes unexpectedly. When you restart Word, the AutoRecover file does not include the audio notes. This issue is fixed now.
  • Performance is improved: This update fixes performance issues that occur in the following scenarios:
    When you use the Outline View.
    When you use Japanese characters and the Formatting Palette Styles functionality.
  • Section indicator is included in the Word status bar: This update reintroduces the Section indicator to the status bar. The Section indicator provides the section number that you are currently viewing in your document.
  • Reliability is improved with display redraw issues: This update fixes various display redraw issues that might occur when you scroll through a document that contain bullets and numbering.
  • Compatibility with Word 2007 is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes a Word 2007 document that has table borders not to be displayed correctly when the document is viewed in Word 2008 for Mac.
  • Reliability is improved when you copy a numbered list: This update fixes an issue that causes a numbered list to lose its formatting when it is copied into another document.
  • Improved editing when you use Korean characters: This update fixes an issue that causes Korean characters in a document to display incorrectly when you press the arrow keys.
  • Compatibility is improved with SpellCatcher X: This update fixes an issue that improves compatibility with SpellCatcher X.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later to install and run.

Per the Open XML Converter 1.1 update, Microsoft released the 44.7 megabyte updater file for download. The new version of the utility (which lets you convert Open XML files that were created in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac or 2007 Microsoft Office for Windows so that you can open, edit, and save them in earlier versions of Office for Mac) boasts currently unspecified fixes and changes.

The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to and Microsoft Office X 10.1.9 or Microsoft Office 2004 11.4.0 or later to install and run.

Both updates can be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdater application.

Winclone 2.1.2 Utility Out the Door

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 03:11
Category: News, Software

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You know, I haven’t heard of this, but it looks useful. Over the weekend, developer twocanoes.com released version 2.1.2 of Winclone, the company’s backup utility that allows users to make a quick clone of their Boot Camp partition as well as restore from that image. The new version, a two megabyte download, fixes a minor issue with quoting of gptfresh that caused issues at the end of restores.

Winclone 2.1.2 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried Winclone and have an opinion about it, let us know in the comments.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.1 Update

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Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009, 01:53
Category: Software

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Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.1 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.5 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Version 3.5.1 introduces a fix for a critical security hole, improving stability, and speeding launch time on some Windows systems.

Firefox 3.5.1 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.

If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases iMovie 8.0.4 Update

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Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009, 01:48
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released iMovie 8.0.4, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 35.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed a problem with incorrect rotation when working with video created by iPhone 3GS.
  • Resolved instability when adding multiple beat markers in some languages.
  • Corrected an issue where iMovie could become unresponsive after using fine-tuning controls beyond the stabilized portions of a clip.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2.1, Cripples Palm Pre iTunes Syncing with Update

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:14
Category: iTunes, Mac, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update offers a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned “verification of Apple devices” toes the line as to which handhelds can sync to iTunes and which can’t. According to Macworld, the fact that the update “addresses an issue with verifying Apple devices,” essentially means that Apple’s drawn up a list of which devices are allowed to sync and which aren’t—and the Palm Pre is public enemy number one on the latter.

Back in May, prior to the Pre’s official release, Palm executives announced that the device would be able to sync with iTunes, pulling down your music, podcasts, and videos. The trick? As far as iTunes was concerned, the Palm Pre was an iPod.

While the media sync worked pretty well in previous tests, it was unclear as to whether Apple would allow it to sync to iTunes should future versions be released. Apple may have toed the line via a Knowledge Base article describing third party media players being supported by iTunes.

With iTunes 8.2.1, Apple seems to have stopped the Palm Pre from syncing to iTunes altogether, a move confirmed by the company in a statement to the Dow Jones Newswire. Also speaking to Dow Jones, a Palm spokesperson seemed to suggest that not upgrading iTunes is a good solution—but it seems unlikely most users will be willing to do that, especially over the long term as Apple adds more iTunes features.

While the Pre also works as a USB drive, it’s possible to just copy songs over manually, though it can be a laborious process. There’s also the option of third-party syncing software, such as Mark/Space’s The Missing Sync for Palm Pre, doubleTwist, and the forthcoming Salling Media Sync 1.1, which is currently in beta.

Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Builds Over Weekend

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple released new builds of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Server operating systems.

According to AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.5.8 build 9L25 may show signs of capping development of Mac OS X 10.5. Users have stated that each new build has arrived with a focus area noticeably distinct from the last, with lower-level technologies and frameworks seeing greater attention than usual. As such, it’s been speculated that the Mac maker may be giving its Leopard OS a final once-over.

This trend appears to have culminated with this past weekend’s release of build 9L25, which no longer asks that developers focus their attention on a small subset of Leopard’s components. Instead, it groups together the more than three dozen components that had been isolated into smaller focus groups in earlier betas.

The latest build also lists no known issues and addresses just two new bugs, one related to saving mail messages as individual message documents and another to URL localization.

Developers were also granted access to a new build of Mac OS X 10.6 Server, labeled build 10A403. With it, Apple asked that they test upgrade installs of the server software itself, in addition to upgrade installs of Calendar server. Where testing was concerned, users were also reportedly asked to spend some time with the system’s new Podcast Producer, evaluating as many third-party video and web cams as they possibly can. Included with the software is a new Web Podcast Capture which leverages a new Dual Source Video Capture feature for allowing users to create picture-in-picture format podcasts.

Finally, Mac OS X 10.6 Server build 10A403 arrived on the heels of Mac OS X 10.6 Client build 10A402a earlier in the week. That build introduced some widely-reported interface tweaks to the Dock’s pop-up menus and Expose.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new builds, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Apple Applies for Wireless License in China

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple may have finally cleared a major hurdle in bringing its iPhone handset to China, as the company has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country. The moves could put a release just a few months away, albeit without Wi-Fi.

According to AppleInsider, Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison claims that the application was filed on Friday, July 10th, but doesn’t make any mention of onboard Wi-Fi. Rumors have repeatedly hinted that Apple may be forced to remove Wi-Fi to appease the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which would prefer that iPhone owners use local networks.

Apple has supposedly been “hellbent” on shipping the iPhone to China with Wi-Fi but appears to have relented in order to get the phone into the populous nation.

If the process moves along as usual, this revised iPhone would take between four to six months to receive the green light and go on sale. This would put a launch no later than January, and Mathison seemed confident that the device would arrive before the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 will start in mid-February. Mathison stated that he views the licensing as partly a negotiation tactic that would help bring Apple closer to a deal with China Unicom, the carrier recently pegged as the most likely candidate for an iPhone due to its inherent compatibility with the iPhone’s existing 3G standards.

While it’s rare to have an estimate that narrows the release window for an iPhone in China, whether or not this latest prediction is accurate remains debatable. Local carriers have been in talks with Apple since at least late 2007, and one-time favorite China Mobile has often tried making multiple special requests that have likely stalled hopes for a quick agreement, such as demanding that the American company either use the government-backed TD-SCDMA standard for 3G or cede control of the App Store.

Apple has so far only stated that it wants to have the iPhone in China within the next year and has been silent on the progress of negotiations.

iPhone OS 3.0 Users Reporting Difficulties with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Connections

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone, Software

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, there may be some issues to sort out. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS handsets are reported to have wireless connectivity issues that, in over fourteen Apple Discussion threads and over six hundred messages, have placed the blame for this issue on iPhone OS 3.0.

The problem, verified by many, states that when updating to the new software, Wi-Fi connectivity on the iPhone 3G either decreased or vanished entirely. Those who were used to getting full bars of Wi-Fi connectivity now experience markedly less bars. Worse, even if some signal strength bars are displayed, often there is no Internet connectivity.

Many solutions have been proposed including resetting the router, changing settings (seemingly at random), and even putting the 3G in the freezer:

“Also i might note, I turned off wifi, turned off the phone, put it in the freezer (in a bag) for 10 mins, turned the phone back on, put the phone right next to my wifi antenna and then turned on wifi and it joined, it JUST joined and I couldnt believe it,” says one forum poster. Several others report similar results, but this fix did not last long. In fact, blog posts have been written about possible solutions, but none of them seemed to pan out after using Wi-Fi for a short period of time.

Replacement iPhones have been circulated through Apple Stores, though this didn’t seem to fix the problem either.

A lesser yet still present problem reported in the Discussions is a lack of Bluetooth connectivity in conjunction with the lack of Wi-Fi. It seems that losing Bluetooth for those affected is a package deal with Wi-Fi.

Apple is reported to be well aware of this problem and as time goes on and the number affected increases, Apple Stores are acknowledging the problem and replacing phones, albeit without a solid set of solutions at the moment.

If you’ve seen these issues on your end, please let us know in the comments.