VLC Reaches Version 1.0.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 04:18
Category: Software

vlclogo.jpg

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 1.0.1 on Tuesday. The new version, a 28.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

* Flv and mpeg2 seeking.
* Wmv, wav, rtsp and ssa support.
* Fixes for Qt and MacOS interface.
* Fix of an integer underflow in Real pseudo-RTSP module.
* Translations updates.
* Port of the ZVBI module to Windows for full teletext support.
* Codecs updates for Windows and Mac OS.

VLC 1.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and is available as a free download.

Apple, China Mobile Apparently Reach Terms Regarding Chinese iPhone Marketplace

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 06:06
Category: iPhone, News

3gs.jpg

After about two years of negotiation, wireless carrier has allegedly landed a three-year contract for the exclusive rights to local iPhone distribution, according to MacNN and a Shanghai Securities News report. The deal, described by unnamed sources, is said to extend for three years and guarantees annual sales of 1 million to 2 million units.
Apple recently acknowledged that bringing the iPhone into the Chinese market held a top priority. The recent report suggests the potential carriers could not come to agree on revenue sharing terms. Soon after the first iPhone was released, sources claimed AT&T was paying between US$150 to US$200 per purchased phone and an additional US$9 for each month of the standard two-year duration of a customer subscription.

Beijing reportedly objected to the idea of revenue sharing, although the carrier has agreed to purchase the devices for 3,000 yuan (~US$439 USD) each. The terms also mandate a minimum overall revenue of at least 5 billion yuan (~US$732 million USD) every year.

China Mobile, with a much larger subscriber base than China Unicom, was also involved in negotiations for the iPhone.

The Chinese iPhone is expected to be customized for the local market, although specific details remain unconfirmed. An anonymous source recently claimed that component provider Foxconn has already begun mass production. The device is said to keep 3G and Bluetooth, while omitting Wi-Fi to comply with local regulations.

Finally, Agence France-Presse has quoted a Unicom spokesman as saying that while the carrier is close to a deal, there are still problems to be negotiated. “Both sides have their own timeframe for an agreement but essentially it depends on the practical progress of the negotiations,” according to the spokesman. He adds that proper negotiations with Apple began in January, when the Chinese government began issuing 3G licenses.

Perian 1.1.4 Released

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

perianicon

Late Monday, the Perian team released version 1.1.4 of Perian, the open-source QuickTime components effort that allows QuickTime to support and play a variety of additional formats beyond what it would normally be able to handle.

The new version makes the following fixes and changes:
Features:
* Forced VobSub subtitles are imported into a separate track.
* Added initial DTS passthrough via similar mechanisms as AC3.
* Support old ffmpeg-generated MKV files with no enabled tracks.
* 10.6-compatible preference pane.

Fixes:
* Fixed “Load External Subtitles” checkbox.
* Fixed crash/freeze when loading broken VobSub subtitles.
* Fixed import of uncompressed audio in FLV.
* Fixed import of some audio tracks; should improve iApps.
* Fixed CRAM codec AVI in browsers.
* Worked around bug in iChat codec loading.
* Never allows Apple’s code to handle AC3 data anymore so passthrough works more often.
* Doesn’t try to decode some RGB colorspaces (such as in Camtasia) that aren’t supported.
* Fixed some 16-bit RGB codecs on Intel.
* Fixed importing movie files with no video tracks (regression from r706).
* Fixed H264 crash in put_h264_qpel8_h_lowpass_l2_ssse3 (in FFmpeg).
* Fixed crash with corrupt first frame.
* Fixed BMP/RLE in AVI.
* Fixed several memory leaks.
* Fixed a problem with wrong channel order in DTS 5.1.
* Fixed possible conflict with UniversalDetector.framework.

Subtitles:
* Fixed garbage characters appearing at the end of a line with some fonts.
* Better handling of invalid SSA files.
* Fixed rendering of multi-layer subtitles.
* Fixed SRT files using ‘,’ for decimals.
* Ignored SSA shapes and blur instead of misparsing them.
* Disabled vertical font support again to fix files wrongly using it for Latin text.
* Fixed subtitles in MKV wrongly displaying at the end of a video.
* Better handling of move and org.

Perian is a 3.6 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

iPhone OS 3.1 to Support Augmented Reality Applications, New Snow Leopard Seed Distributed

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 04:16
Category: Software

3gs.jpg

Recently, Apple released word that its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware will be the first to officially support augmented reality apps that support the iPhone 3GS’ camera. Such programs would allow for more extended use of the iPhone 3GS’ improved camera and overlay information and controls on top of real-world objects seen through a camera.

Per AppleInsider, iPhone OS 3.1 has so far only been known to expose some video camera controls for developers, third-party producer Acrossair was told by Apple that the future release would be needed for its Nearest Tube and future Nearest Subway apps to work properly.

These applications are already highly dependent on the built-in compass and autofocusing camera of the iPhone 3GS, both of which are needed to alternately recognize the direction the iPhone is facing as well as to get a detailed enough look at a subject to tag it with information. As a demonstration of the technology, Acrossair’s software can show the subway stops visible in a particular direction and their distance relative to the user.

iPhone OS 3.1 is anticipated to be ready by early September, just in time for Apple’s by now yearly iPod updates. The release could also dovetail with the seemingly probable release of an iPod touch with a camera that could take advantage of augmented reality when using Wi-Fi.

On Friday, Apple distributed Mac OS X Snow Leopard build 10A421. The update comes just ten days after 10A411 and is said by people familiar with the changes to be very modest on the surface, including general compatibility, security and stability fixes.

Apple’s increased frequency in providing updated Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) builds is expected with just weeks left before the revision is due to reach stores, as the company will now be looking to isolate and fix the remaining obvious bugs instead of changing functionality.

comiXology Releases Comics for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:00
Category: iPhone, Software

3gs.jpg

Over at San Diego Comic-Con, Iconology Inc. announced the launch of its Comics by comiXology App on the App Store. The Comics by comiXology App is a digital comic library and reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch handsets that is launching with over 100 titles available from twenty popular comic publishers and many independent comic writers.

Comic book enthusiasts can now read their comics in a format designed to preserve the comic book experience on an iPhone or iPod touch, but also locate and connect with local retailers to purchase the printed version of the titles.

The application offers a “guided view” that keeps the entire page of a comic intact, unlike other solutions where the page is cut into individual pictures the user browses like a photo application.

Among the twenty publishers that have already signed up to deliver their titles through Comics by comiXology are many well-known industry icons including:

  • AdHouse Books
  • Arcana Comics
  • Asylum Press
  • Bluewater Comics
  • Com.X
  • Creative Impulse Entertainment
  • Digital Webbing
  • eigoMANGA
  • Evil Twin Comics
  • First Salvo
  • Image Comics (Active Images, Allred, Kirkman, Wagner, Brunswick, Revel and more)
  • Markosia
  • Moonstone
  • Red 5
  • Slave Labor Graphics
  • Th3rd World Studios
  • Zenescope

Additionally, popular comics writer Robert Kirkman has agreed to deliver his titles exclusively through Comics by comiXology making it the only place to get “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” for iPhone and iPod touch.

The Comics by comiXology App is now available, including over 30 free comics, for US$0.99 from the App Store.

Palm Releases webOS 1.1, Restores Pre’s Ability to Sync with iTunes

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:12
Category: News, Software

blueituneslogo.jpg

One week after Apple disabled the Palm Pre’s capacity to sync with iTunes, Palm has responded by releasing webOS 1.1, an update that again enables Palm’s phone to access media from the current version of iTunes.

Per the company’s blog, Pre users can expect the new software to arrive via an over-the-air update.

“Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync,” the post reads. “That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).”

Last week, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1. In accompanying release notes, the company was vague about what the upgrade actually did, stating only that the update provided “a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

Soon after the new version of iTunes was released, Pre users realized that the update had broken their ability to sync music with the software.

The webOS 1.1 update brings a number of changes focused on business users, including remote wipe, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling and more for Exchange ActiveSync. The update also provides emoticons in the messaging app.

When Palm initially unveiled the handset, the company boasted about the the handset’s ability to transfer media from iTunes. According to AppleInsider, the feature worked by identifying the Pre in its hardware ID as an iPod — a trick Apple warned might not work for long.

Last month, Apple warned Pre users that future software updates may kill sync capability with the device.

“Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store,” Apple warned a document released in June. “Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players.”

In its blog post, Palm declined to elaborate on how they circumvented the changes presented in iTunes 8.2.1.

Apple Releases ProKit 5.0 Update for Professional Applications

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

applelogo_silver

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

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

techtoolicon.jpg

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

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

microsoftlogo.jpg

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

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

winclone

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.