Apple posts job listing focused on improving cloud services

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 03:07
Category: Mobile, Rumor, Software


When the job listings go up, things become interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is building a small team to write software which will lay the groundwork for the company’s future Web services, which it has advertised as “the future” of its cloud-based offerings.

This week the company posted a new job listing for the position of “Cloud Systems Software Engineer.” The full-time role at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., campus will join a “small team” that is said to be building “the future of cloud services at Apple.”

That small team writes “software which forms the foundation” for some of Apple’s “most exciting new products and services,” the job listing reads. In keeping with Apple’s legendary secrecy, the listing does not reveal what services the company’s cloud-driven future will include.

The company is apparently looking to hire an engineer with experiencing in scalable and extensible systems. The ideal candidate will collaborate with other engineering teams at Apple to build the platform frameworks and systems that will power Apple’s next-generation Web services.

Apple has offered cloud-based services for some time with its US$99-per-year MobileMe service. According to unconfirmed rumors, Apple is expected to unveil an enhanced version of MobileMe this year, featuring a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos. That content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones, eliminating the need for a large amount of local memory on devices.

In particular, Apple is believed to be working on a cloud-based music service that would allow users to stream their music from anywhere. Such a product could be powered by Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina, expected to go online this spring.

This week’s latest job listing from Apple comes only months after the company sought to add software engineers to its iOS development team with an emphasis on remote storage for data access. Cloud support is rumored to be a major component of iOS 5, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad. One report from March said Apple plans to release iOS 5 this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases 14.1 update for Office 2011, 12.2.9 update for Office 2008

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Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:00
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.1.0 (or Service Pack 1) of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 246 megabyte download, can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Security is improved. This update fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2011 that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information, see the security bulletin that was listed earlier in this document.

– Stability is improved. This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2011 applications to close unexpectedly when you open or use Office 2011 applications.

– Alt Text authoring is included. This update enables the authoring of Alt Text for objects, such as shapes, pictures, tables, charts, SmartArt, and movies in Office 2011 applications.

Improvements for Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011:
– The Solver add-in is included. This update includes functionality that lets you install the Solver analysis tools in Excel 2011.

Improvements for Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011:
– Password protect functionality is included. This update includes functionality that lets you protect presentations in PowerPoint 2011 by using a password.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011:
– Synchronization functionality is updated. This update increases support for Sync Services, and adds calendar, notes, and tasks syncing.

– Rules functionality is improved. This update introduces support for Microsoft Exchange-based Server-Side rules.

– Resend functionality is included. This update reintroduces functionality to resend an email message to the same or new recipients.

– Redirect functionality is included. This update reintroduces functionality to redirect an incoming email message to other recipients.

– Meeting invitation functionality is improved. This update improves creating meeting invitations by including a list of recently used locations.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

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

In other news, Microsoft also released version 12.2.9 of its Office 2008 suite for Mac. The update, a 333 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Improves stability. In addition, it includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.2.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and
Microsoft Office 2008 with Service Pack 1. The update can, of course, be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdate tool.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any comments, let us know in the comments or feedback section.

VLC 1.1.9 update released

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Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 03:29
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 1.1.9. The new version, a 42.1 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Security update regarding a heap-based buffer overflow in mp4 demuxer.

– Update of libmodplug for security reasons in Windows and Mac versions.

– Major updates in most language translations.

– Numerous updates and fixes on the interface and look of VLC for Mac OS X.

– Growl on Mac OS X is now bundled.

– Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.9 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: iOS 4.3.2 to feature FaceTime, Verizon iPad, WebKit fixes and changes

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Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:31
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

If iOS 4.3.1 is driving you mildly nuts, there’s hope down the line.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple is rumored to issue its next mobile operating system update, iOS 4.3.2, for the iPhone and iPad in the next week, addressing problems with FaceTime and connectivity issues related to the Verizon iPad 2.

The web site allegedly obtained an early copy of the iOS 4.3.2 software and loaded it on an iPhone, but apparently didn’t notice any standout changes with the incremental software update. Even so, a tipster reportedly said that the new software will pack a fix for FaceTime, as well as security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities, among other minor changes.

The update is also said to resolve connectivity issues with the Verizon CDMA iPad 2. Last Friday, Apple said in a statement that it is looking into connection problems users have reported with the 3G-capable Verizon iPad 2. The issues have not been reported by users of the AT&T-compatible 3G iPad 2.

Rumors of an iOS 4.3.2 update first surfaced earlier this month. It was said that the security and maintenance update would include bug fixes, but no additional details were given at the time.

iOS 5.0 is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has said that this year’s conference will be used to “unveil the future of iOS,” and rumors have indicated that Apple will preview iOS 5, but will not announce a new iPhone as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Roxio Toast Titanium 11.0.2 update released

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Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Roxio released version 11.0.2 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Resolves issue causing slow write speeds on some recorders.

– Audio effects applied to video projects can now be correctly previewed in the Edit window.

– Various localization issues addressed.

Toast Titanium 11 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

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

2011 MacBook Pro-Specific Boot Camp 3.2 update appears to lead to brightness issues

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Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Here’s the thing with updates: they’re great and generally resolve problems and turn a disaster around.

Then there’s the other 10% for whom they make the sky fill with brimstone, the seas boil over and cause your cat to start waltzing across the living room floor with your terrier.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s small Boot Camp update for the new 2011 Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro models appears to be causing problems with adjusting screen brightness for some users.

While Apple said the update addresses issues that existed with system shutdowns and resolves problems with Japanese and korean keyboard, users on the official Apple Discussions page have reported that new issues were created with the update. Specifically, numerous Boot Camp users have reported since Thursday that the 3.2 update mistakenly disables the ability to control screen brightness in Windows.

“Clicking the brightness buttons (fn + F1) causes the little brightness icon to come up and move up or down, but the actual screen brightness won’t change and stays at 100%,” user pwhe23 wrote. “I don’t remember this happening before I upgraded.”

A number of other users chimed in on the thread, reporting similar results, even with a fresh install of Windows 7. User ckahn said they managed to address the problem by installing the 32-bit version of Windows 7, rather than the 64-bit operating system.

And user Polytonic found a “temporary workaround” by setting the brightness in Mac OS X, then rebooting to Windows. The Mac will apparently remember the brightness setting applied in Mac OS X and it will carry over to Windows upon the system reboot.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple releases Boot Camp update for 2011 MacBook, MacBook Pro users

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:36
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Per the cool cats at MacFixIt, Apple has released an update to the Boot Camp drivers for the latest MacBook Pro systems. This update addresses a couple of problems with Japanese and Korean keyboards in the system, and also fixes shutdown problems, according to the update’s download page. The update is specific for Windows 7, so if you are using an alternative version of Windows, this will not apply to you.

The update should be available for Boot Camp users via Apple’s Software Update utility, but it can also be downloaded and applied manually from the Boot Camp 3.2 Update web page. The update is 21.55MB in size.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments or feedback.

FCC vote could compel Verizon, AT&T to share data networks

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

The US Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted to require big mobile carriers to contract with smaller competitors to share access to their mobile data networks, as they are already compelled to do for voice service.

According to Businessweek, the FCC’s 3-2 vote, the vote mandates that leading carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless must reach “commercially reasonable” agreements with smaller carriers.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the new requirement would promote competition and investment, noting that “roaming deals are simply not being widely offered.”

Wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon opposed the measure, complaining that they have scores of roaming agreements and that there’s no need for regulation. AT&T executive Robert Quinn said in a statement that “a data-roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment,” and complained that proponents of the new regulation were not just seeking to foster roaming agreements but to “regulate rates downward.”

AT&T’s vocal opposition to the measure is ironic given its interests in seeking approval of its mega-merger acquisition of T-Mobile, which competitors are complaining will reduce competition and reduce choices for consumers.

If AT&T is legally compelled to resell access to its data network, the merger becomes far more attractive to all parties involved, as it puts T-Mobile’s underutilized public spectrum licenses to better use while supporting more avenues for competition, not fewer.

AT&T has indicated that it wants to eventually turn off T-Mobile’s non-standard 3G service and repurpose the smaller firm’s AWS bands for 4G LTE service, ostensibly supporting high speed data service roaming with carriers such as MetroPCS, which already use AWS for LTE data.

In addition to MetroPCS, the report also noted Sprint Nextel, Leap Communications, and other independent carriers as being potential beneficiaries of the new ruling.

Steven Berry, president of the Rural Cellular Association that represents nearly 100 small American mobile carriers, said in a statement that “consumers will benefit from a more competitive marketplace, and carriers will be encouraged to invest in advanced networks.”

For hardware makers such as Apple, the ruling encourages the development of compatible, standardized networks that facilitate roaming, and enables consumers greater choice in mobile providers rather than being locked to a specific carrier as Apple’s iPhone has been for the last four years due to technical incompatibilities that prevented roaming agreements between carriers.

The buildout of new, next generation LTE networks by both AT&T and Verizon and smaller regional carriers promises to finally return the US back to the potential for inter-carrier roaming once common under the old AMPS mobile networks in place before the last decade of incompatible barriers arose between the digital networks of GSM, CDMA, and iDEN mobile carriers.

Stay tuned for additional news as it becomes available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3.2 in next couple of weeks

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:06
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Apple is rumored to be prepping another incremental update to its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 4.3.2 within the next few weeks, the update having been said to include bug fixes and enhancements.

Per Boy Genius Report, the company is currently working on iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Tipsters allegedly indicated that the software will arrive in about two weeks.

“It’s said to include a few enhancements, address security issues, and it will also fix several bugs that have affected users,” the report said. It provided no specifics on what bugs or improvements the update might include.

The same site reported on iOS 4.3.1 in March, and said it would also arrive within two weeks. The actual software arrived just four days later, and was a minor release with fixes for cellular networks and a resolution for an occasional graphics glitch on the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Apple has already revealed that it will “unveil the future of iOS” at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled to start on June 6. It is widely believed that Apple will officially unveil the next major update for its mobile operating system, iOS 5, at that event, though rumors have suggested the company has no intention of showing off new iPhone hardware, as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1 expected next week

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Date: Thursday, April 7th, 2011, 04:20
Category: News, Software

You’ve had your mitts on Office for Mac 2011 and gotten to know the suite inside and out.

As of next week, it might be going through some changes.

Per Microsoft’s Office for Mac blog, the company is set to release Service Pack 1 for Office for Mac 2011 next week, bringing the usual fixes, as well as new features and enhancements, including the ability to sync calendar, tasks and notes via Apple’s Sync Services.

“This will let you sync your Outlook calendar as well as contacts, notes and tasks with any service or device that supports Sync Services, including your iPhone and iPad,” wrote Pat Fox, senior director of product management for Office for Mac. “This has been one of our top feature requests — hopefully this is good news to many of you.”

However, Apple also plans to discontinue the use of Mac OS X Sync Services with its subscription MobileMe service starting on May 5 for all users. The change is already in place for users who have already moved their account to the new version of MobileMe calendar, which came out of beta last October.

For Outlook for Mac 2011 users who sync their iOS device with Sync Services via iTunes, calendars will remain up to date. But users who sync their iPhone or iPad calendars with MobileMe will not have them synced to Outlook 2011 with SP1.

Fox also revealed that SP1 will bring Outlook support for Exchange based on server-side rules. A new Outlook Redirect button will also allow users to redirect a message to the intended recipient while replies will go to the original sender.

Other new additions include an Outlook Resend button, Outlook edit of existing messages, and Solver integration support in Excel. SP1 will also provide increased stability and security.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on Office 2011, let us know in the comments.