Apple Freezes Snow Leopard APIs, Mac OS X 10.6 Upgrade Steps Closer to Release

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple distributed a new beta of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system that altered the programming methods used to optimize code for multi-core Macs, telling developers they were the last programming-oriented changes planned ahead of the software’s release.
The company is said to have informed recipients of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard build 10A354 that it has simplified the application programming interfaces (APIs) for working with Grand Central, a new architecture that makes it easier for developers to take advantage of Macs with multiple processing cores.
According to AppleInsider, Grand Central works by breaking complex tasks down into smaller blocks, which are then routed efficiently to a Mac’s available cores for faster processing. This allows third-party developers to leverage more of a Mac’s hardware resources without having to be well-versed in multithreaded programming.
Sources close to the story say the Grand Central “dispatch” methods were tweaked/simplified within build 10A354. Apple has also apparently told developers that “no further API changes are planned for Snow Leopard.”
This means developers can now press forward with Snow Leopard versions of their applications with confidence that further Apple-instated changes won’t force them to make significant alterations to their code between now and the time the software hits the market. It can also be seen as a sign that the the operating system upgrade is one step closer to reaching a final developmental stretch that will focus on stability and optimization.
Other reputed changes include the addition of Chinese handwriting recognition support for Macs that include a multi-touch trackpad.
In support of the handwriting recognition software in Snow Leopard, Apple also reportedly tweaked the system’s Language & Text Preference Pane to include support for bidirectional text.
Apple has apparently also included a new codec due to debut with Snow Leopard called MPEG-4 High Efficiency AAC (or HE-AAC). The company has stated that the codec is an extension of the Low Complexity AAC (or AAC-LC) codec that’s optimized for low-bitrate steaming of audio and podcasts.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is expected to hit the market sometime this summer with a near-finalized version likely to make a public appearance at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Apple this weekend also equipped developers with Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J61, which corrected one more minor issue with the impending Leopard update.

TomTom Looking for Developers to Help Create iPhone Application

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Date: Monday, May 11th, 2009, 08:46
Category: iPhone, security

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Navigation and not-getting-as-lost outfit TomTom is apparently stepping up its efforts to create a turn-by-turn application for the iPhone.
Per Electronista, a jobserve.us job listing doesn’t mention the company but asks for someone to develop navigation software in Amsterdam, the location of TomTom’s headquarters. The ideal candidate would start in May or June and work on developing the application for at least six months.
TomTom was one of the earliest GPS device makers to express an interest in iPhone applications, confirming its attempts a month ahead of the App Store’s launch last July.

The Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0 for Mac Released

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Date: Monday, May 11th, 2009, 02:03
Category: iPhone, Mac Desktop, Software

Mark/Space, Inc. has updated it’s popular iPhone syncing software to version 2.0. The Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0 for Mac adds synchronization of:
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  • Notes
  • Files
  • Tasks

…between your Mac and iPhone or iPod touch with 2.1 Software Update. Something even lacking in iPhone software 3.0 coming this summer, Missing Sync is able to transfer To-dos back and forth from iCal, and it can sync all your items via wi-fi!
Other functions Missing Sync allows you to do:

  • Transfer contacts and more from a previous smartphone to the iPhone.
  • Backup text messages to Mac and extract data like contacts into AddressBook.
  • Copy your call history to your Mac where you can store, search and sort them.

The Mark/Space website states that version 2.0 for Windows is coming soon!

Elgato Releases Elgato Video Capture for Mac, iPhone and iPod

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 14:26
Category: Accessory, Software

Accessory provider Elgato Systems announced the release of Elgato Video Capture, a hardware/software combination device for transferring analog video, including footage on VHS video tape, to a Mac, iPhone and iPod.
According to Macworld UK, the device connects VCRs, set top boxes, camcorders, DVD players, and other analog video sources, anything that uses composite RCA or S-Video outputs, to the Mac via a USB 2.0 interface.
The unit also ships with a SCART video adapter to allow RCA or S-Video devices to be connected.


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Elgato’s included software offers a simple tool to trim the beginning and end of the captured video as well as export tools to send the video to iTunes, QuickTime, YouTube or iMovie for final editing.
Generated files can then be synced with video capable iPods, iPhones and Apple TV and can be edited in iMovie ’09 without re-encoding.
The Video Capture unit automatically detects NTSC, SECAM, PAL, and PAL/60 video formats for universal compatibility.
Elgato Video Capture requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later, QuickTime 7.6 or later and iTunes 8.1 or later. The unit retails for £89.95 (US$136.45) and will be available from Apple retail stores and other Mac resellers.

Apple Revises “Wet iPhone” Policy Terms

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 08:07
Category: iPhone

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Over the past couple of years, some of my clients have inadvertently soaked their iPhones (the rocket scientist who routinely works for NASA managed to marinate his in a gym bag filled with Gatorade and the other stories are even more obscure).
Given this situation, the result from Apple was fairly punitive: time to shell out for a new iPhone as well as a new AT&T contract.
According to PC World, Apple has revised its “wet iPhone” policy. Now, if you’ve soaked the handset, just walk into an Apple Store location, belly on up to the Genius Bar and they’ll replace it out for you for US$199 without needing to renew the standard two-year contract.
Otherwise, do what you can to keep it not-moist and you should be in business.

BBEdit Updated to 9.2

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 08:51
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Bare Bones Software released version 9.2 of BBEdit, its popular text and HTML editor. The software retails for US$125 for new users. The new version, a 15.4 megabyte download, features the following fixes and improvements:

  • Introduces an array of noteworthy features and refinements, including an innovative new Sleep command, which captures the state of the application and restores it at next launch. By sleeping BBEdit instead of quitting, customers can continue working after a system restart or software update with minimal disruption. The version 9.2 update also adds built-in support for editing LassoScript source code, including syntax coloring, function navigation and text folding.
  • The BBEdit 9.2 update also includes major enhancements to Projects with added commands for convenience, shortcuts for searching, and a new file format which better fits with source code management systems such as Subversion and Perforce. Version 9.2 includes an overhaul to BBEdit’s management of recently used items.
  • BBEdit 9.2 also signals enhancements to the Scratchpad feature, syntax coloring for all languages, with specific improvements to the Java and Python language support, and new support for the ability to browse Unix “tar” files in disk browsers.
  • BBEdit 9.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

    Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 5

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    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:27
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Late Thursday and only a little over one week since its last revision, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5. While details regarding the new version are thin on the ground, The iPhone Blog is reporting that the new version appears to require iTunes 8.2 to install and run.
    Other noted changes include MMS support no longer being able to be turned on in the Settings menu and Apple appears to have patched a loophole that allowed tethering to be enabled.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new build and have something to offer, please let us know.

    SlingPlayer 1.0.8 Released

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    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:01
    Category: Software

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    Late Wednesday, Sling Media announced the release of SlingPlayer 1.0.8, the newest version of its software packages that allows Mac users to access their television content on their computer. The new version, a 131 megabyte download (thanks to VersionTracker), sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Improved video quality.
  • Hybrid tuning support for the Slingbox PRO-HD.
  • Online Slingbox registration added; plus users can store their Slingbox ID online for easy access.
  • Improved Slingbox Setup Assistant: New setup and configuration screens are streamlined and easier to use.
  • Users can rapidly cycle between Fullscreen (4:3), Widescreen (16:9), Letterbox, Windowbox, Pillarbox modes.
  • Show / Hide player controls with one-click toggle.
  • SlingPlayer is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to install and run.

    Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3844 Released

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    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 07:49
    Category: Software

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    Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3810 on Wednesday. The new version, a 174.6 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the following fixes and changes:

  • Improved 3D graphics in Windows virtual machines.
  • Problems with Palm synchronization in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
  • Random disconnection of USB 1.1 devices in Linux virtual machines — fixed.
  • Invisibility of the text mouse pointer on black background in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
  • Problems with SMB shares in native Windows Boot Camp installations that have Parallels Tools installed — fixed.
  • Problems with Shared Networking on Snow Leopard host computers — fixed.
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 retails for US$79.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

    Myst Comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 23:35
    Category: Game, iPhone, Software

    Ah, the beautifully rendered scenes, the clever puzzles, and the creepy ambient sounds and music. If you’ve been a Mac user since the days of the beige cases, you probably remember all of these characteristics from playing the game Myst and its sequels, developed by Cyan which was founded by Rand and Robyn Miller.

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    The original Myst, released in 1993, sold over 12 million copies and held the title of best-selling computer game until The Sims was released in 2000. The game was partly responsible for the CD’s increase in popularity as it was the first game to be released exclusively on CD. The game made extensive use of Apple’s QuickTime technology for its gameplay, and all the environments were complete 3D modeled creations, which was rare for games at the time.

    Now, the entire game has been reproduced in iPhone/iPod Touch format and is available in the App Store [app link]. The game has been updated to use multi-touch controls rather than the original point and click navigation. Otherwise your trip through the four Ages of Myst to solve its puzzles and unravel the mystery of Atrus and his “linking books” remains intact from the original.

    Myst requires 1.5GB of free space to install, though it will reduce in size to 727MB or so once it’s finished installing. The game requires iPhone 2.2.1 software and is $5.99 in the App Store.