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.
shuffle.jpg
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.
snowdesktop.jpg
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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Firefox and Mozilla Updated, Receive Fixes, New Features

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 11:41
Category: Software

Firefox and Thunderbird, the free web browser and e-mail client by Mozilla, have been updated to versions 2.0.0.1 and 1.5.0.9, respectively according to VersionTracker.com
firefox.jpg
The new version of Firefox, a 17.6 megabyte download, sports the following fixes:
-XSS using outer window’s Function object
-RSS Feed-preview referrer leak
-Mozilla SVG Processing Remote Code Execution
-XSS by setting img.src to javascript: URI
-LiveConnect crash finalizing JS objects
-Privilege escallation using watch point
-CSS cursor image buffer overflow (Windows only)
-Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.8.0.9/1.8.1.1)
Firefox 2.0.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or higher to run.
The new version of Thunderbird, a 17.8 megabyte download, features the following fixes and enhancements:
-The ability to customize your toolbars the way you want them. Choose View / Toolbars / Customize inside any window.
-UI extensions can be added to Mozilla Thunderbird to customize your experiene with specific features and enchancements that you need. Support for extensions. Extensions allow you to add features particular to your needs such as offline mail support. A full list of available extensions can be found here.
-A new look and feel. Thunderbird also supports a large number of downloadable themes which alter the appearance of the client.
-An addressing sidebar for mail compose which makes it easy and convient to add address book contacts to emails.
-Online help includes a FAQ, tips and tricks and other useful information.
-Simplified preferences UI and menus.
-Footprint and performance improvements.
Thunderbird requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run.
Update: I’ve been having nothing but trouble with FireFox 2 and Flock 0.7.8 lately, mostly in the form of a complete lockup of the browser. The only way to get out of it is with a force quit. I’m not sure if it’s a memory leak or what, but it usually manifests itself after at least thirty minutes of browsing with several tabs open. FF and Flock have always been rock solid for me, so I’m not sure what happened. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone else experiencing bad behaviour from these browsers. I haven’t tested FF 2.0.0.1 yet and am waiting to hear about an update from Flock. – Jason

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SplashID: Safe Storage for Your Passwords

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

splashid-treo.jpgEveryone has a zillion passwords and logins for the various Web sites that they frequent, but what about that rare site you didn’t use since last year? Remember your login? Password hint not helping?
There’s an application that I couldn’t function without called SplashID (US$30) and it kicks ass. It does all the things you’d expect like protecting your passwords with 256-bit Blowfish encryption and organizing them into tidy categories (with a ton of icons to boot). But it also has a feature that’s near and dear to my heart: a Palm application and conduit, so your Treo (for example) is always up to date.
No more arriving at the bank without the correct account number or not having the correct credit card number available when you need it. SplashID is an indispensable tool that I use every day on my Mac and at least once a week on my Treo 700p. If you always forget your passwords or (God help you) store your passwords in an open text file, then you need a tool like SplashID.
Features include:
* Unlimited number of customizable record types and categories
* Synchronize data between your handheld or phone and your desktop PC using the included desktop software
* Password protection, using 256-bit Blowfish encryption
* Automatic password generator
* Customizable list view supports color and icons
* Share records with other SplashID users
* Custom icon support
* Field masking
* Customizable field labels
* Enhanced security options
* Category support
* Backup and restore feature
Splash also makes some other great Palm/Treo apps including SplashPhoto (for syncing photos) and SplashShopper which manages Santa’s shopping list.

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Keep Tabs on Your Holiday Eating With CalorieKing

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

calorie_king_screens.jpgIf you’re like me you tend to overeat on the holidays. After all, who can’t resist an extra helping of mashed potatoes and stuffing at Mom’s. Don’t even get me started on the various pies, cakes and other delicious desserts.
If you want to keep track of what you eat, there’s a great little application for the Palm that you should check out called CalorieKing (US$30, free trial). CalorieKing is extremely convenient because it runs on Palm-based Treos. So if you have your phone with you, you can’t feign ignorance of the fact that cheesecake has 680 calories and 46 grams of fat (give or take) per slice.
Whether your a health nut or just trying to maintain your “summer weight” through the winter doldrums, CalorieKing is worth checking out. Features include:
* 50,000+ food database (the largest available)
* Easy-to-use interface
* Food and Exercise Diet Diary – Tracks what you’ve eaten, and how much more you can eat, each day.
* Intelligent personal profile works out exactly how many calories you need to eat.
* Set goals and targets for calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber.
* Make regular check-ins and graph your progress on your Palm.
* Store food database on an SD card or memory stick. Only 500K of main memory required.
* Free downloadable databases available every week.
* Five-way navigator support for new Palm OS devices.
* New database layout makes it easier to browse.
* New search function
Save yourself the guilt of overeating and extra two days at the gym with CalorieKing.

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Russell Warneboldt Releases Snowfall Screensaver

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 07:59
Category: Software

In an article over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Scott McNulty points out a cool application for the holiday season .
Snowfall by Russell Warneboldt takes the standard falling-snow screensaver that typically accompanies this time of year and cranks it up several notches by using amazingly detailed public domain snowflake images taken by Wilson Bentley. These images have been applied to the screensaver to make each snow flake as unique as possible.
The end result is extremely cool and worthy of being your screensaver of choice until the snow melts and the hot cocoa runs dry.
Snowfall is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

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Apple Releases AirPort 2006-002 Update for Core 2 Duo-Based Laptops

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Date: Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 07:10
Category: Software

On December 13th, Apple released its AirPort 2006-002 for its Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops according to an article on MacFixIt.com.
The update purportedly “improves compatibility” for the 13″ MacBook as well as the 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro units. The update requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to be present prior to installation.
No additional documentation or Knowledge Base documents have been provided or cited in this software release.
The update is a 1.3 megabyte standalone download that can also be accessed through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
If you have any experiences with this update, positive or negative, let us know.

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VLC 0.8.6 Released, Becomes Universal Binary

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Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 10:32
Category: Software

Video Lan Client (VLC), the popular free “catch-all” media player for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux (where QuickTime falls short or isn’t licensed to play a format, this has become the easy substitute), has been updated to version 0.8.6 according to an article on arstechnica.
VLC 0.8.6, which is about an 11 to 22.7 megabyte download, is now a Universal Binary program capable of running natively on both Apple’s PowerPC and Intel hardware architectures and includes support for the Apple Remote, Windows Media Video 9 files, VC-1, VP5/VP6, Flash video, TTA, WavPack lossless audio and Shoutcast TV files. H.264 support has also been rewritten for this version.
VLC is an open-source project. For information as to how to beta test or contribute code to the effort, click here.

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