Best Buy to Offer iPhone 3G S Accident Insurance Plan

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Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 17:34
Category: iPhone

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For those of you planning to snag a new iPhone 3G S unit from Best Buy, you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase the chain’s rare (and somewhat pricey) accident insurance plan. According to AppleInsider, Best Buy stores nationwide on Friday will begin selling the next-generation Apple handset on launch day, albeit at the big-box retailer’s usual 10 a.m. opening time instead of the early hours both Apple and AT&T promise.

In contrast to these more direct channels, however, Best Buy plans to continue offering Geek Squad’s Black Tie Protection service with the new iPhone, people familiar with the plans say.

While Apple has never offered more than a standard two-year extended AppleCare warranty and AT&T has specifically exempted the iPhone from its insurance offerings, the Black Tie plan covers regular technical problems as well as drops, spills and other failures that would normally require a costly repair service or the purchase of an entirely new device.

Under Best Buy’s offering, any instance in which the phone can’t be fixed or replaced on the spot will see those customers offered a temporary phone until the repair or replacement is ready within three days or less. Battery replacements aren’t as likely due to Apple’s sealed-up design, but the company vows anti-lemon protection for devices that have to be brought in four times due defects.

Opting for Black Tie will reportedly still be expensive. For other cellphones, the program costs between US$7 and US$10 per month depending on the model, but the iPhone’s rate rises to US$15 per month, leaving iPhone owners paying about US$180 per year.

Sources close to the story say the added cost of iPhone protection comes from the heavy subsidies attached to Apple’s products. Since the actual, retail price of a phone without a contract is between US$599 and US$699, it becomes prohibitively expensive to offer Black Tie when customers may use it more than once.

Delicious Library Updated to 2.1.1

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Date: Friday, June 12th, 2009, 17:33
Category: Software

Late Thursday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.1.1 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 new version, a 15.8 megabyte download, incorporates the following major fixes and changes:

  • There is a free Delicious Library iPhone app for viewing your collection on-the-go (without needing a network connection).
  • When you first run Delicious Library 2.1 you’ll be prompted to download the iPhone app, if you have an iPhone.
  • Our long national nightmare is finally over, and details are vertical again (like in version one), instead of horizontal.
  • Lots of layout changes because of this. Rather than merely going back to version one’s look, I’ve tried to improve on it.
  • We now allow copying / pasting the raw cover image from the details pane using standard copy menu item. (Just click on image first.)
  • Some fields have been added to make syncing and publishing your collection faster in the future, but this requires a one-time upgrade when you first launch version 2.1.
  • This upgrade may take a long time. Sorry.
  • Your new file will NOT work with 2.0, but a backup of your 2.0 data is made in the folder Library / Application Support / Delicious Library 2 – you can use that if you want to go back for some reason.
  • If you launch Delicious Library after upgrading, and get a message to the effect of “the model file can’t be used with the data file,” that means you’re accidentally running an your old 2.0 version, not 2.1. You probably don’t want to leave Delicious Library 2.0.7 on your system after going to 2.1.
  • Scanning with your web cam, our Bluetooth scanner, or a USB scanner has been enhanced so you can select different kinds of shelves and scan new or existing items and the functionality you might expect now actually works:
  • If you select a custom shelf in your collection and scan a new or existing item, the item will be created if needed, then added to the selected shelf.
  • If you select a friend’s shelf and scan a new or existing item, the item will be created if needed and then loaned to the friend. (If you have multiple copies of the same item already in your library, only the first one that hasn’t already been loaned out will be lent.)
  • If you select one of your shelves (or your main library) and scan an existing item that has been loaned out, the item will be checked-in. (If you have multiple copies of the same item in your library, only the last one on your shelf that has been loaned out will be checked-in.)
  • ‘Number in Series’ property is now present for all media types.
  • Worked around a Logitech mouse driver bug – people who installed the Logitech mouse driver found that many items would draw as their generic types instead of specific types (eg, Nintendo video games would draw as DVDs instead of in Nintendo boxes). Logitech illegally injects their code into ALL running programs in their current software, and actually messes up other people’s code.
  • Fixed a very rare bug we’d fail to scan items that had two different keywords in their subtitles that we recognized, like “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition)”
  • Fixed a bug where Backups were sometimes truncated when they were written out, so they couldn’t be read in again. (Sorry!)
  • iPods (non-touch) are now listed under the new “DEVICES” header shelf.
  • iPods present themselves like iPods do in iTunes, for syncing libraries.
  • iPods now delete the library out of their “Notes” directory if you set them to no longer sync.
  • iPods won’t needlessly sync as often if you leave them plugged in.
  • iPods won’t ever be duplicated (rare bug).
  • Only write out the first 1,000 items to the iPod, since iPods are hard-wired by Apple to never display more than 1,000 notes, and it just slows us down to write, like, 7,000 items every time a single one changes.
  • Pop up a HUD when updating the iPod’s contents.
  • Searches are now encoded correctly when searching for items by keywords in non-English alphabets, including Japanese (finally), German, and French. It turns out there’s no real standard for these searches, but I finally figured out what Amazon does.
  • ‘Search for Cover Art’ now works for items with special characters in their names (eg, “Harold & Kumar”).
  • Added a first Korean localization.
  • Fixed some translations from user suggestions.

Delicious Library 2.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.0.11 Update

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Date: Friday, June 12th, 2009, 17:19
Category: Software

Late Thursday, Mozilla.org released version 3.0.11 of its Firefox web browser.

The new version, a 17.3 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Several issues were reported with the internal database, SQLite, which have now been fixed by upgrading to a newer version.
  • Fixed an issue where, in some specific cases, the bookmarks database would become corrupt. (bug 464486)

The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Nearing Completion of Chinese iPhone Deal

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Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 17:52
Category: iPhone

Apple may be making progress towards a Chinese iPhone deal, as noted by signs on the company’s web site as well as that of a Chinese government organization.

According to Macworld, an Apple handset that uses one of the next-generation mobile standards offered in China has appeared on the approved product list of the State Wireless Inspection Center, a government-managed industry arbiter. The handset, apparently an iPhone, was cleared last month to use its assigned frequency range for five years, according to the center’s Web site.

Unicom, a Chinese carrier currently negotiating with Apple about offering the iPhone to the Chinese market, operates a network based on the standard used by the approved Apple handset, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

Separately, Apple has also posted an ad on its Web site for a <a href=”http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=1&method=mExternal.showJob&RID=35658&CurrentPage=1″>Beijing-based job</a> overseeing “iPhone training” across Asia. The job’s tasks include designing training for carrier partners that sell the iPhone.

Apple has stated that it hopes to begin selling the iPhone in China in 2010. Still, talks with China Unicom have hit disputes over whether the phone will use Wi-Fi and whether China Unicom will be allowed to pre-install non-Apple programs, such as a media player other than iTunes, analysts say.

The Chinese government appears to have lifted a long-standing ban on Wi-Fi in handsets in recent weeks. Still, it has gone on to require phones with Wi-Fi also to use a China-developed security protocol for wireless LANs, said Liu Ning, an analyst at BDA, a telecommunications research company.

The protocol, called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), can also be used without dual support for the equivalent Wi-Fi protocol, Liu said.

The iPhone might require an additional chipset to support WAPI, though a software upgrade might also make it compatible, he said.

The frequency approval is just one of three government tests the iPhone must pass to receive a network access license. But the “major difficulty” for Apple is still the terms of cooperation with China Unicom, Liu said.

The argument as to how to split revenue from sales in the iPhone’s App Store is another snag in discussions about what applications the carrier can put on the phone, said Liu.

Microsoft Releases Office 2004 11.5.5, Office 2008 12.1.9 and Open XML Converter 1.0.3 Updates

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 10th, 2009, 09:47
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, Microsoft released updates for both its Office 2004 and Office 2008 suites for the Mac.
Microsoft Office 2004 version 11.5.5, a 59.2 megabyte download through the AutoUpdate program, offers stability and performance fixes and repairs a vulnerability in which an outside party could insert malicious code.
The program requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later to install and run.
The company also released Microsoft Office 2008 12.1.9, a 267.7 megabyte download through the AutoUpdate program that offers improvements to enhance security, stability, and performance, including fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.
Microsoft Office 2008 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
Finally, the company released Open XML Converter 1.0.3, the latest version of its XML file translation application. The new version, a 44.8 megabyte download, also improves security and prevents malicious code from being activated on your computer. The update can also be installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate application.
Open XML Converter 1.0.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Adobe Reader Updated to 9.1.2

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Date: Wednesday, June 10th, 2009, 09:59
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, Adobe released version 9.1.2 of its free Reader program. The program, which has long been a staple for viewing and printing Portable Document Format (PDF) files, addresses a number of customer workflow issues and critical security vulnerabilities.
Adobe Reader 9.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and its download file size varies depending on version chosen. The update can also be snagged and installed via the “Check for Updates Online” option, which can be pulled down from Adobe Reader’s Help menu.

Flip4Mac 2.2.3.7 Released

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Date: Wednesday, June 10th, 2009, 08:31
Category: Software

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Software developer Telestream has announced a new beta version of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, an 10.7 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), includes the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed hang when exporting files with a high Quality setting.
  • Added warning when attempting to open a DRM protected file.
  • Improvements to wording and tool tips in Preference Pane.
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes.
  • Flip4Mac 2.2.3.7 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and QuickTime 6.5.1 or later to run.

    Apple Releases Safari 4.0 Web Browser

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, June 9th, 2009, 09:27
    Category: Software

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    Amidst yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference announcements, Apple finally released Safari 4.0, the newest version of its web browser. The new version, available here, is reported to run JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Safari 3.
    Other new features include Top Sites, Full History Search and Cover Flow, and support for modern web standards like HTML 5 and advanced CSS Effects.
    Safari 4.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

    AT&T Cripples iPhone 3GS By Not Offering Features At Launch

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 21:09
    Category: iPhone, News

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    Today’s WWDC Keynote brought some surprises, and some disappointments. Perhaps the announcement generating the most vocal jeers was that AT&T would not be offering MMS and tethering services even though the iPhone’s 3.0 software was ready to support it.

    The iPod Observer reported in a report that AT&T spokesperson, Mark Siegel, indicated that tethering would be coming to the iPhone, but that no timeframe was determined for its availability. Also reported was that MMS was unavailable because, “AT&T hasn’t decided yet how to handle MMS on the iPhone.”
    These blatant omissions from AT&T coupled with other questions including AT&T allowing video streaming on other platforms besides the iPhone, brought to light by their insistence that SlingMedia cripple their iPhone app to only work over wifi, has many people scratching their heads and asking AT&T…WTF??!! Rumors of Apple striking a deal with Verizon has many iPhone owners already vocalizing their desire to hold off purchasing the new iPhone 3GS until they can also defect to another provider.

    Is AT&T committing suicide with these moves, or is this how they give the finger to Apple for courting other vendors? Discuss it in the forums!

    Apple Announces iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware, June 17th Ship Date

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 17:56
    Category: iPhone, News


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    At the core of the iPhone is its firmware and after months of waiting, Apple senior vice president of iPhone software Scott Forstall user the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to announce details of iPhone OS 3.0, which will be released on June 17, 2009.
    Per the Apple Core, iPhone OS 3.0 will be a free release for all iPhone customers and support first all iPhone and iPod touch models, though iPod touch users will need to purchase the update for US$10.
    Current iPhone software developers will be able to download the new release on Monday, as the software has gone “golden master” today.
    Forstall then went on to mention the 100+ new features to be found in the iPhone OS 3.0 update, incuding Cut, Copy, and Paste as well as Landscape mode in all key applications, including Mail, Notes and Messages. Apple has also included Spotlight support across the entire device as well as ubiquitous searching.
    Other new features include peer-to-peer Bluetooth-based multiplayer gaming, push notification and in-app store support.
    Multimedia Messaging Support (MMS) has long since been demanded on the iPhone and, unfortunately, it appears that iPhone users in the United States will be waiting longer. Forstall noted that while iPhone OS 3.0 is capable of MMS, it requires carrier support to implement, which AT&T seems to be hesitant on.
    Twenty-nine carriers in 76 countries will support MMS at the time of iPhone 3.0′s launch, according to Forstall. AT&T, Apple’s U.S. carrier partner, isn’t among them, at least not initially. AT&T will be ready to support MMS “later this summer,” according to Forstall. That news that elicited boos from the crowd.
    Fortall then moved into tethering (the ability for a Mac or PC to share the iPhone’s Internet connection), another feature AT&T seems to have dropped the ball on. The upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 tethering feature will work over USB or Bluetooth, and works on Mac OS X and Windows.
    “Find My Phone” is a new feature in iPhone 3.0 that helps you locate your iPhone if you’ve misplaced it wherein users can log in to MobileMe and it will show you where you left your phone. Users can also send a message to the phone, and will play an alert, even if you left the phone in silent mode. A remote wipe feature will also allow “Find My Phone” to erase all your data if your iPhone falls into the wrong hands.
    The new iPhone OS supports HTTP-based streaming audio and video that will pick the right bit-rate depending on your phone’s data connection quality. Autofill has been added for the Mobile Safari software, to save you from having to fill out forms manually.
    Another hotly-anticipated capability for the iPhone is turn-by-turn GPS-based directions. To that end, TomTom demonstrated an iPhone 3.0 application that delivers real TomTom navigation on the iPhone. The software also works with a cradle device that suction-cups to your vehicle’s window. The device is apparently more than just a holder and securely docks the iPhone, and can enhance the iPhone’s GPS capabilities, and give you hands-free calling capabilities, power and a loudspeaker. TomTom plans to release both this summer, with a range of maps.