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Microsoft announces October release date, pricing for Office 2011 suite

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 11:48
Category: News, Software

Microsoft Office 2011, which is expected to hit retail shelves in 2010, will sell for 20 to 50 percent less than Office 2008 per an announcement released by Microsoft on Monday.

According to Macworld, Microsoft Office 2011 will ship in two editions (a Mac Home and Student version and a Mac Home and Business offering) upon its release at the end of October.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 includes the Word word-processing, PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, and Messenger IM applications. It will retail for US$119 for a single license and US$149 for a family pack that allows for installs on three Macs.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger, along with Outlook for the Mac. Outlook replaces Entourage as Office’s mail client and is one of the centerpiece changes of the 2011 edition of the productivity suite. The Home and Office edition will cost US$199 for a single license and US$279 for a multi-pack that allows two installs on two machines.

The prices for the 2011 editions of Office compare to the current US$149 for the Home and Student Edition of Office 2008 and US$399 for Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition. Microsoft says the new prices for the Mac version of Office create more consistent pricing across platforms.

In addition to the two versions of Office for the Mac, Microsoft will offer an academic edition for US$99. The academic edition will feature Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Messenger, Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011 will be available only to higher-education students, staff, and faculty.

Users who buy Office 2008 starting on Monday will be able to upgrade to the 2011 version for free. The offer runs through November 30th, 2010, and users can register for the free upgrade at Microsoft’s Website. Microsoft didn’t provide any other upgrade pricing details for existing Office users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone Dev Team releases web-based hack for iPhone 4 handset

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 04:22
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

The iPhone Dev Team raised their hand on Sunday, releasing the first “jailbreak” for the iPhone 4, a browser-based exploit that allows users to run unauthorized code. However, some reported that the modification results in broken MMS and FaceTime functionality.

According to AppleInsider, “comex,” a member of the iPhone Dev Team, released the hack through a website, jailbreakme.com. Users can visit the site in their iPhone browser to begin the jailbreaking process.

The software modification is the first release for Apple’s latest handset hardware, the iPhone 4. Some users reported that the jailbreak managed to break FaceTime and MMS functionality on the device.

Comex announced via a Twitter post that he was able to reproduce the issues, and is working on a fix. The latest jailbreak does not work with iPads running iOS 3.2.1.

Unlike previous jailbreaks, which required users to run software on their Mac or PC and tether their iPhone to their computer, the latest hack is done entirely within the Safari browser. Users simply visit the URL to begin the process, which modifies the iOS mobile operating system found on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The iPhone 4 jailbreak comes less than a week after the U.S. Library of Congress officially made it legal for users to jailbreak their iPhone to run unauthorized software. The government approved the measure as an exemption to a federal law which prevents the circumvention of technical measures that keep users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works.

The jailbreak process, which also voids Apple’s warranty of the handset allows users to run software not approved by Apple, which has no plans to allow users to install third-party applications downloaded from outside its sanctioned App Store. Hackers have created their own custom applications (many free, and some for purchase) from an alternative storefront known as Cydia.

Jailbreaking can also be used to unlock a phone, allowing it to be used on carriers that do not have access to the iPhone.

In addition to allowing access to legitimate third-party software, both free and paid, through services like Cydia, jailbreaking can also be used to pirate App Store software, one major reason why Apple has fought the practice.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you decide to jailbreak your iPhone 4, please let us know how it goes.

VLC 1.1.2 update released

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Date: Friday, July 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software


Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.2. The new version, a 39.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– TS and DVB demuxing fixes.

– Audio filters fixes to solve the “mono” bug.

– Fix of the direct3d output module that display nothing on older nVidia and ATI cards, when overlay was activated.

– Extensions and scrips updates.

– Miscellaneous fixes in interfaces.

– Updated translations.

– Various crashes and errors fixed.

VLC 1.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback about it, please let us know.

Apple looking into cause of iOS 4 slowness on iPhone 3G

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:23
Category: iPhone, News


Apple is reportedly investigating complaints from users that iOS 4 runs very slow on its iPhone 3G handset.

Per the Wall Street Journal, complaints from iPhone 3G users began to surface soon after iOS 4 was released, but those complaints were quickly overshadowed by the iPhone 4′s antenna woes. With the antenna crisis behind them, Apple is now investigating how iOS 4 runs on the iPhone 3G.

User complaints have ranged from slowdowns to having the iPhone 3G almost unusable after upgrading to iOS 4. A number of users have commented that they’re also tried a complete restore of the iPhone 3G, with varying results.

The problems with iOS 4 do not appear to affect the faster iPhone 3GS or the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 beta 2, focuses on proximity sensor fixes

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:46
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of the pending iOS 4.1 firmware, although the company has not said when the firmware will be generally available for its iPhone and iPod touch products.

Per Cult of Mac, this beta release of the iOS 4.1 software development kit, available at Apple’s iPhone Dev Center, comes about two weeks after the first one and arrives with speculation that the 4.1 software will fix some glitches for the iPhone 4 proximity sensors and introduce Apple’s promised Game Center social service.

The initial report states that the proximity sensor issue seems to have been fixed. “Previously, the iPhone was plagued with proximity sensor issues,” writes Jose Gutierrez. “It would constantly hang up calls when I held the phone next to my cheek. But after installing the iOS 4.1 beta 2 update this afternoon, I couldn’t force the iPhone to hang up calls when lifting it up to my face, no matter how hard I tried.”

He also says the new beta release includes a baseband update, “which seems to fix HSUPA upload speed issues, which slowed video and photo uploads to a crawl.”

According to several online accounts, the newest beta still does not support the iPad touch tablet. The iPad is running an earlier version of iOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 9.1

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 04:41
Category: News, Software


CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 9.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

Application Fixes:
– Improved installation of Office 2007 service packs.
– Fixed product registration of Office 2007 and Office 2003.
– Fixed some unimportant errors during installation of some versions of Office 2003.
– Improved several connection and importation issues with Quicken 2010.
– Fixed product registration of Project and Visio 2003.
– Fixed Excel 2007 hyperlinks.
– Fixed document saving in Publisher 2003.
– Fixed playing of mp3 files in Media Player 9.
– Fixed custom installs of Office 2007.
– Improved print to PDF in Office 2007.
– Some minor improvements to IE6 and IE7.

CrossOver Fixes:
– Improved proxy handling on the Gnome desktop.
– Fixed a Mac upgrade problem related to the CD-helper being in use.
– Fixed full-screen mode for Macs with auto-switching GPUs.
– Fixed Menus and Associations for Pardus Linux.
– Updated Dutch and French localizations.
– Made several application profile tune-ups.
– Merged with Wine version 1.2. Many improvements and bug fixes.

CrossOver 9.1 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0, adds gesture support to some additional notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 06:48
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software


Apple on Tuesday issued an update to a number of recent notebooks, including the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, bringing inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture support to some trackpads.

Per AppleInsider, the Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 was released Tuesday afternoon by Apple. The file is a 75.09MB update that requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 to install and run. In addition to adding inertial scrolling and three-finger drag in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, it also adds support for Apple’s newly released US$69 Magic Trackpad.

Per Apple, the following MacBook and MacBook Pro models now have both inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture:

MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)

Inertial scrolling, but not the three-finger gesture, is offered in four additional models:

MacBook Air
MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

The new three-finger gesture was first discovered earlier Tuesday with hands-on tests of the Magic Trackpad. The capability allows users to quickly drag windows around. At the time, the feature was exclusive to the new hardware.

If you’ve tried the file and can offer any feedback, please let us know

Apple releases Safari 5.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 06:16
Category: News, Software


Amidst yesterday’s updates and product releases, Apple released Safari 5.0.1, the newest version of its web browser. The new version, available here (or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature), sports the following fixes and changes:

– More accurate Top Hit results in the Address Field.

– More accurate timing for CSS animations.

– Better stability when using the Safari Reader keyboard shortcut.

– Better stability when scrolling through MobileMe Mail.

– Fixes display of multipage articles from www.rollingstone.com in Safari Reader.

– Fixes an issue that prevented Google Wave and other websites using JavaScript encryption .libraries from working correctly on 32-bit systems.

– Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from launching on Leopard systems with network home directories.

– Fixes an issue that could cause borders on YouTube thumbnails to disappear when hovering over the thumbnail image.

– Fixes an issue that could cause Flash content to overlap with other content on .www.facebook.com, www.crateandbarrel.com, and other sites when using Flash 10.1.

– Fixes an issue that prevented boarding passes from www.aa.com from printing correctly.

– Fixes an issue that could cause DNS prefetching requests to overburden certain routers.

– Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver to misidentify elements of webpages.

Safari 5.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 (under Mac OS X 10.5) or Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) or later to install and run and is available for free.

Game Review: Pro Zombie Soccer

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 09:03
Category: App Store, Game, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

Pro Zombie Soccer is a game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (still a Pixel-doubled version, not native) distributed by Chillingo and developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team. I’ve never been caught up in the Zombie craze, although I did enjoy Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead, so I was not really excited about this game at first, but a friend assured me that it was a lot of fun and he was right.

Some of the things that made this such a fun game was the artwork and the storyline. While not complicated, the story added enough depth to propel you from scene to scene. The artwork has a punk attitude, similar to what is associated with Gorillaz, and is pretty lively and colorful.

In the game, you are playing the role of Jax, a young, talented soccer player who freezes up while trying out for the big team. While moping about town, the zombie outbreak occurs and Jax is bitten by a zombie who happens to be the star player of the soccer team. Jax soon finds out that his zombie infection has given him super-soccer powers which he decides to use to take down the zombie apocalypse….while he still can.

The controls are simple. You thumb aims the direction that Jax kicks the soccer ball and lifting your thumb fires it off. You have a regular kick, and a super-charged kick at your disposal, but eventually you acquire other “zombie powers” which you can choose from during certain parts of the game. Doing a “head-shot” to a zombie (beheading them) is worth extra points as is several head-shots in a row. Some zombies can only be killed with the super-charged kick, which takes more time to “charge up”. Eventually you run into zombies that can only be killed in a certain way, like ricocheting off a wall, as well as avoiding obstacles like fleeing scientists which, when hit, will end the game. If you finish the game too quickly in Normal mode, you can play through again in Hardcore mode which won’t be so easy. The game’s music is pretty good and in the Extras you’ll find the Music Player which allows you to play back the game’s soundtrack, a total of 16 tracks.

The sound effects and gameplay are great, and everything looks awesome on the iPhone 4’s screen. As of this writing, the game was iOS 4 compatible, but did not take advantage of background app switching. Leaving the game means starting again from the main menu, although it should remember your progress. I didn’t try it on the iPad, but it is compatible with iOS 3.0 and up. I look forward to an HD version, but I hope it’s an Universal app.

The game uses the Crystal gaming network, which I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of, but not because it is a bad system.

I highly recommend this game. It’s fun and relatively easy to play, and the stages make it easy to play a few minutes at a time, or kill 20 minutes or so. Pro Zombie Soccer is a pretty good deal at $2.99.

Apple accepts Library of Congress decision on jailbreaking, still warns of possible warranty violations

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 05:17
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, Software

After years of debate and posturing from both sides, the verdict is in. Per Electronista, the library of Congress has legally sanctioned jailbreaking iOS-based applications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, thereby allowing non-Apple-approved applications to be run on devices such as the iPhone. While Apple didn’t contest the legality itself, the company stated that jailbreaking would still break the warranty by going beyond what Apple can support. It also stressed that it saw the experience as hurting the experience for some by taking away the speed and reliability they may have expected.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone,” commented an Apple spokeswoman. “And we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.”

The representative wouldn’t directly confront the question of whether Apple would try to sue anyone who would sell jailbreaking tools, but she emphasized Apple’s history and that it hadn’t done so before.

Monday’s Library ruling doesn’t require that Apple or other companies must allow third-party apps in their code but also prevents these firms from legally challenging any jailbreak developed for the purposes of running an app or for unlocking access to other customers. It’s unclear whether the new exemptions would allow commercial development of jailbreaking apps; such software would be designed for a profit, but it it would still be used for individual purposes in most cases.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.