Apple Looks to Improve Synching, Bluetooth, Fix Bugs in 10.4.9

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Date: Thursday, December 28th, 2006, 08:51
Category: Software

An article over at AppleInsider fleshes out details as to how Apple has begun contacting its developer communities and asked for feedback as to current builds to a Mac OS X 10.4.9 operating system update.
Sources familiar with Apple stated that as of last Thursday, the company began distributing the first external software compile of the update to members of the Apple Developer Connection. The current build is apparently available as a bare-bones “Delta” updater and a larger “Combo” version with wider hardware support.
Apple has reportedly asked the developer community to focus its testing on components such as .Mac, Bluetooth, Bonjour, FireWire, Graphics and USB. The company also drew attention to Flash, Automator, Dashboard, Fonts, iChat video conferencing, Sync Services and iSync when it released the builds.
According to the release, users can expect fixes for issues related to Rosetta emulation, USB Modem, caller ID, the Universal Access preference pane, Bluetooth and device pairing, QC Engine, CoreGraphics and the HID Manager.
Apple last released a major update for Mac OS X back in September when it distributed Mac OS X 10.4.8 and an additional release is expected before the company releases its Mac OS X 10.5 operating system in 2007.
If you have any comments, ideas or feedback, let us know.

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First Photoshop CS3 Public Beta Speed Tests Emerge

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:41
Category: Software

The guys over at creativetechs.com have put the recently-released Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta through its paces via a battery of tests and discovered that the new version is on average 40 to 55 percent faster (some test results being as much as 60% faster) than the present Photoshop CS2 version.
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For the full rundown as well as individual test results, click here. The tests were performed on a newly shipped 3 GHz Mac Pro with 4 gigabytes of RAM and the History States set to 1.
Adobe Photoshop CS3 is expected in 2007 and is the first version of Photoshop to be a full Universal Binary, functioning natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
The Photoshop CS3 beta requires a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, a 1 GHz G4 or G5 PowerPC processor of an Intel-based Macintosh. 512 megabytes of RAM and a minimum screen resolution of 1024×769 are also required.
If you have any comments, feedback or Photoshop tests of your own, let us know.

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Micromat Releases Security Patch, Repairs Serial Number Visibility

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:49
Category: Software

Micromat, makers of the TechTool Pro utility program, released a small patch for installed versions of TechTool Pro 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 as of December 18th.
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The patch, a 1.3 megabyte download, removes the visibility of the computer’s serial number, user name and other machine information from TechTool Pro’s local area network scans (full details of this can be found in PowerPage’s December 13th article regarding the issue).
The update functions with installed versions of TechTool Pro 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 and no CD or DVD update is necessary.
TechTool Pro is available for $98 and requires a G3 processor or better, 512 megabytes of RAM, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a DVD-ROM drive to run. The program has been rewritten as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both the PowerPC and Intel-based hardware architectures.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this, let us know.

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Crossover for Mac 6.0 Final Candidate Beta Released

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Date: Tuesday, December 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

A recent post on VersionTracker.com points out that CodeWeavers has released the latest beta of CrossOver for Mac, its Windows-emulation software for Mac OS X.
Like Parallels, CrossOver for Mac allows users to run a Windows environment within their Mac OS X operating system without needing to create and boot into a new partition a la Apple’s Boot Camp. The new beta, a 28.6 megabyte download, the new version of the software includes the following fixes and changes:
-Modified handling of Mac Suitcase fonts so that they are avalable to more Windows applications. In particular, fonts should now work properly in Visio 2003.
-Altered menu generation so that Managed bottles produce usable menus.
-Extensively revised the documentation and online help.
-Cut/Copy/Paste keyboard shortcuts (Command-X,C,V) work better.
-Added several general printing fixes.
-Fixed several Half-Life 2 crashes.
-Improved support for non-American keyboards.
-Improved support for non-English versions of some applications.
-Adjusted the GUI in numerous small ways.
-After this version, it will no longer be necessary to quit the CrossOver CD Helper in order to overwrite CrossOver.
-Macs with integrated Intel graphics chips (MacBook, Mini) can run DirectX 8.x graphics.
-Fixed crashes and install failures due to libraries in /usr/local.
-Fixed crashes due to certain font files.
-Tool palette windows are now movable.
-Improved scroll-wheel responsiveness.
-Fixed Create Icon to preserve working directory and command arguments more reliably.
-Fixed handling of Caps Lock.
-Fixed the IE screen-flicker that appeared for pages with Flash content
-Many other improvements to Internet Explorer’s behavior.
-Improved handling of CD detection and ejection. Installers that require multiple CDs should now install more graciously.
-Some fixes to Outlook 2003 behavior, including printing fixes.
Improved support for Equation Editor
-Corrected display of fonts in DirectX 8.x games, like Half-Life 2.
-Changes resolution in full-screen games should work better.
-Numerous other Direct3D improvements.
CrossOver for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4 and an Intel-based Mac to run. The software retails for $39.95.
If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback, let us know.

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WebcamTweaker Allows Easy Filters for Captured Video

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Date: Tuesday, December 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

A quick entry on The Unofficial Apple Weblog points out WebcamTweaker, a nifty piece of shareware available for a $15.95 registration fee that essentially works like Apple’s PhotoBooth for video files.
Users can import and create movies using different filters as well as create time lapse movies. WebcamTweaker also supports the Apple Remote control and is a Universal Binary program capable of running natively under both Apple’s PowerPC and Intel-based hardware. The shareware registration fee includes free upgrades for life that aren’t simply limited to a current version.
WebcamTweaker requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a G4, G5 or Intel processor, 256 megabyte of RAM and costs $15.95 (though that includes free upgrades for life). A free demo, a 2.8 megabyte file, can also be downloaded to try out the software.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this, let us know.

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MiniBatteryLogger Receives Update, Bug Fixes

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 14:16
Category: Software

Claudio Procida, author of MiniBatteryLogger, has released version 1.5.4 of the shareware program. The new version, a 3.2 megabyte download by way of MacUpdate.com, brings new Panther-specific fixes as well as German language localization.
The program, which is available as shareware for $15, monitors power charge and amperage through any Macintosh laptop over time and can keep logs as to significant events such as brownouts, power surgest and battery failures. The saved data can be shared through the MiniBatteryLogger program and compared with that of the program’s other users.
The new version offers the following changes:
-Bugfix: preferences window won’t show on Panther.
-Fixed ugly looking HUD inspector title in Panther.
-Added German localization.
MiniBatteryLogger requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 and a laptop computer to run.

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Apple Updates First Generation iPod Shuffle Reset Utility

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 14:10
Category: Software

Apple Computer has recently released version 1.0.1 of its Reset Utility for the first generation of its iPod Shuffle music player. The utility, when activated, erases all music and data from the iPod Shuffle and installs version 1.1.4 of the software.
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The software, a 2.1 megabyte download through VersionTracker.com, applies only to the first generation of the iPod Shuffle, which shipped in 512 megabyte and one gigabyte capacities. Later generations of the Shuffle, including current, smaller versions, are not supported by the Reset Utility.
The Reset Utility repairs the following issues:
-With the iPod shuffle switched on, pressing the Play button will cause amber and green LEDs to flash for a few seconds, and the unit will not play any music, nor can you sync music to it from iTunes.
-On a Windows PC, the iPod shuffle will appear in My Computer as a “Removable Disk,” however the iPod shuffle volume will not mount correctly. The unit is listed in Device Manager under “Disk Drives” as “Apple iPod USB Device.”
-On a Mac, the unit will only be recognized in Apple System Profiler under Hardware -> USB and will not appear or mount in the Finder.
-When attempting to restore, the unit may not be recognized at all. However, if it is recognized, the restore may fail with an error dialog “Firmware update failure. Disk write error” or another error. It may take three restore attempts before the error appears. Note: iPod shuffle may take several minutes to be recognized.
The iPod Shuffle Reset Utility requires a first generation iPod Shuffle and Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later to run.
If you’ve had experience with this utility, either positive or negative, please let us know.

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CoolBook Tester Beta Released

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 13:04
Category: Software

Magnus Lundhold, creator of CoolBook, a battery testing and configuration utility for Intel-based MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, has released a beta version of a dynamic frequency stepping utility called CoolBook Tester.
Once installed, CoolBook Tester can experiment with different parameters such as voltage and temperature settigns. Users can easily install and uninstall the new feature and CoolBook Tester can help improve the detection of AC/DC power modes.
The CoolBook Tester beta is a 159 kilobyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Macintosh to run.
A license for CoolBook, Lundholm’s main program, retails for $10.
If you’ve had any experiences with CoolBook or CoolBook Tester, both positive or negative, please let us know.

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Updated Parallels Build Adds USB 2.0 Support, More

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 07:13
Category: Software

A new beta build of Parallels Desktop for Mac has been released featuring full USB 2.0 device support as well as other improvements according to an article over on Macworld News.
The new beta, a 33.6 megabyte download (thanks to Versiontracker.com), is available for registered users of the $79 program who’d like to give the new build a try. Parallels Desktop For Mac is similar in functionality to Apple’s Boot Camp and allows users of Intel-based Macintosh systems to run Windows and other X86-compatible operating systems on their Macs. The primary difference is that Parallels Desktop allows these operating systems to be run simultaneously alongside Mac OS X without having to boot into a different partition to begin the process.
Parallels Desktop for Mac has managed to gain a steady following in spite of the fact that the software is being steadily developed. A recently release build provided better support for USB 2.0 devices such as disk drives, printers and scanners, which will run at full native speeds. Parallels has mentioned that they’re currently working on better support for “isynchronous devices” such as Bluetooth peripherals and webcams and users will see this in a future build.
The new build of Parallels Desktop offers an improved “Coherence” mode, a technology which lets Parallels run Windows applications from the Mac OS X’s Dock and kicking in when needed. Users can press the command-tab key combination to cycle through both Mac OS X and Windows applications that may be running at any given time.
Other changes to the build include the following according to the program’s listing on Versiontracker.com:
-Full-feature virtual CD/DVD drive: Burn CDs and DVDs directly in virtual machines, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD.
-Better Boot Camp support – Using your Boot Camp partition in Parallels Desktop is now easier than ever. Beta2’s Boot Camp support includes:
-Full support for FAT32 and NTFS partitions.
-Easy offline configuration. Simply tell Parallels Desktop that you want to create a virtual machine from a Boot Camp Partition and click start.
-Parallels Transporter Beta2 bundled – migrate your real Windows PC, or existing VMware or Virtual PC VMs to Parallels virtual machines.
Please let us know how your experience has been or if you have any ideas or comments on the new build

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Snow Screen Savers Abound For Holidays

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Date: Thursday, December 21st, 2006, 07:46
Category: Software

Although a white Christmas is never guaranteed, a bevy of cool holiday-themed screensavers for your Mac can always be expected around this time of year.
In addition to Russell Warneboldt’s Snowfall screensaver that we mentioned yesterday, LotsaSnow by Dag Ågren and Sno Screensaver by David Remahl add to the holiday festivities.
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Unlike Snowfall, which goes into the standard screensaver/sleep mode, LotsaSnow and Sno Screensaver work simultaneously within the operating system, dropping snow flakes while you go about the rest of your work.
The cool extras make the program that much more fun. LotsaSnow can display the snow against a blue background as well as your standard Mac OS X desktop and also offers a display clock to tell you how long the program’s been running. The program is free and available as a universal binary which runs smoothly on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
Sno Screensaver also allows snow to fall against your normal Mac OS X backdrop while you work and includes source code and a program called Snow Desktop which drops flakes without resorting to screensaver mode. The program is free to download and use by anyone who wants it.
Please let us know if you’ve seen anything else in the vein of the holiday spirit for your Mac.

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