Apple turns off legacy AIM access and inadvertently kills it for everyone

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Date: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014, 08:54
Category: Apple, Mac, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, OS X, Social, Software, Yosemite

AOL_TrashIcon-macosxWell, I say “inadvertently”, but no word on whether it was in fact so, or if it was intentional…or maybe Apple just doesn’t care enough to make sure it was functional for Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite users (granted, Yosemite is still in beta). As it was foretold many months ago by messages from Apple itself, as of July 1, 2014, Apple was discontinuing support of iChat for AIM users with legacy IDs created with mac.com, me.com, or icloud.com addresses for versions of OS X (and iChat) earlier than 10.7.5. The support article regarding the change can be found on Apple’s web site.

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Apple updates Java to SE 6 version 1.6.0_65 for OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:27
Category: News, security, Software

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You can’t knock a Java update.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple updated Java for OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion on Tuesday. The releases adds compatibility for Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_65.

The patch notes are unspecific, saying:

“This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_65 and is for OS X versions 10.7 or later.”

The update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

The updates come in two flavors:
Java for OS X 2013-005 – (for Lion and Mountain Lion)

- Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 17 (that link, direct from Apple’s Downloads site, currently resolves to Update 16)

The update is available through OS X’s Software Update feature.

As always, let us know what you make of the update in the comments section and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Photoshop Elements 12.0

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Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:37
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a new version of Photoshop Elements.

On Tuesday, graphics giant Adobe announced the released of its Photoshop Elements 12 consumer image editing suite, the new version, a 1.55 gigabyte download with a 30 day demo available, adds the following features and changes:
New:
- Take your photos and videos with you wherever you go: Easily view, relive, and share your Elements photos on your smartphone and tablet. And finally–unlock the photos from your mobile device, and see them in your Elements albums back at home.

- Easily move objects: Move objects in a photo and have the background automatically filled in with Content-Aware Move.

- Pet-Eye Correction: Remove green, yellow, and other “pet eye” discolorations as easily as you remove red eye in photos of people.

- Share from Editor: Sharing options previously only available in the Organizer are now available in the Editor.

- Add your personal touch, instantly: Use a variety of one-touch Frames, Effects, and Textures to add depth to your snapshots.

Enhanced:
- Discover a friendly and intuitive environment: Organize, edit, create, and share more quickly and easily thanks to big, bold icons; a helpful Action bar; and the ability to choose from Quick, Guided, and Expert editing modes to fit your needs.

- Go from flawed to phenomenal in seconds: Get the photo fixes you’re looking for with one-step shortcuts that whiten teeth or make skies a vibrant blue. Make unwanted photo elements vanish with one stroke of the Spot Healing Brush, and use Auto Smart Tone for intelligent photo corrections.

- Fix photos the easy way: Easily straighten a photo and fill in any missing background with Content-Aware Fill for the Straighten tool. Available in Expert mode.

- Share photos: Quickly post your photos on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and more. Now, easily share your Elements photos in shared albums, and view them on your smartphone or tablet.

- Print using integrated online offerings: Order prints, cards, and photo books online to bring your creations to life. Print folded cards to your local printer. (Services vary worldwide.)

- Learn as you use: It’s fun to produce professional effects using one of more than 25 Guided Edits. New effects include Zoom Burst, which brings dramatic action to your photos; Photo Puzzle, which gives a fun puzzle effect; and Old Photo Restore, which helps you fix an old or worn photo.

- Count on step-by-step assistance: Get the results you want with Guided Edits. New options include Zoom Burst, Photo Puzzle, and Old Photo Restore.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 retails for US$99.99 for the full version and US$79.99 for the upgrade version and requires Mac OS X 10.7 and an Intel multi-core processor to install and run.

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

Adobe releases Lightroom 5.2 update

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Date: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

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A helpful update’s a helpful update.

Adobe on Tuesday announced the availability of the latest version of its prosumer photo editing software, Lightroom 5.2. The new version, a 475.7 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:
- A color noise reduction slider in the Detail panel and a feather adjustment slider for the Spot Heal tool.

- Bug fixes, new lens profiles, and support for 16 new cameras, including the Canon EOS 70D, Fujifilm X-M1, and Sony A3000.

Lightroom 5.2 is available for both Mac and PC platforms. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, running OS X 10.7 or later along with at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) 2GB of available HDD space, and a 1024×768 resolution to install and run.

The software is available from Adobe’s website for US$79 when upgrading from an earlier version, or US$149 for new users. Those already subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will find that the new software is included in their memberships.

If you’ve tried Lightroom 5 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Firefox updated to 24.0

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Date: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, 07:03
Category: News, Software

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The versions, they grow up so fast…

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 24.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 46.0 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Support for new scrollbar style in OS X 10.7 and newer.

- Implemented Close tabs to the right.

- Social: Ability to tear-off chat windows to view separately by simply dragging them out.

- Accessibility related improvements on using pinned tabs.

- Major SVG rendering improvements around Image tiling and scaling.

- Improved and unified Browser console for enhanced debugging experience, replacing existing Error console.

- Removed support for Sherlock files that are loaded from application or profile directory.

- Support for W3C touch events disabled.

Firefox 24.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Epson printer drivers 2.15.1 for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Friday, September 13th, 2013, 08:57
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting update in the world, but it might be helpful.

In addition to assorted other updates on Thursday, Apple released version 2.15.1 of its Epson printer driver update. The update, a 1.2 gigabyte download, modifies drivers for the ES and Expression, F-3200, Perfection and GT line of standalone scanners, and the Epson FAX and FAX-A3 fax machines. No new models of Epson products were added in the update, but the file replaces all existing Epson drivers with fresh copies, even if they are unmodified from the previous version.

The update covers OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Researcher draws attention to long-standing security vulnerability in OS X operating systems

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Date: Thursday, August 29th, 2013, 10:19
Category: News, security, Software

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After five months, it might be time to fix this sucker…

Per mitre.org and Ars Technica, a unaddressed bug in Apple’s Mac OS X discovered five months ago allows hackers to bypass the usual authentication measures by tweaking specific clock and user timestamp settings, granting near unlimited access to a computer’s files.

While the security flaw has been around for nearly half a year, a new module created by developers of testing software Metasploit makes it easier to exploit the vulnerability in Macs.

The bug revolves around a Unix program called sudo, which allows or disallows users operational access based on privilege levels. Top tier privileges grant access to files belonging to other users’ files, though that level of control is password protected.

Instead of inputting a password, the flaw works around authentication by setting a computer’s clock to Jan. 1, 1970, or what is referred to as the Unix epoch. Unix time starts at zero hours on this date and is the basis for calculations. By resetting a Mac’s clock, as well as the sudo user timestamp, to epoch, time restrictions and privilege limitations can be bypassed.

“The bug is significant because it allows any user-level compromise to become root, which in turn exposes things like clear-text passwords from Keychain and makes it possible for the intruder to install a permanent rootkit,” said H.D. Moore, founder of the open-source Metasploit and chief research officer at security firm Rapid7.

Macs are especially vulnerable to the bug as OS X does not require a password to change these clock settings. As a result, all versions of the operating system from OS X 10.7 to the current 10.8.4 are affected. The same problem exists in Linux builds, but many of those iterations password protect clock changes.

While powerful, the bypass method has limitations. In order to implement changes, an attacker must already be logged in to a Mac with administrator privileges and have run sudo at least once before. As noted by the National Vulnerability Database, the person attempting to gain unauthorized privileges must also have physical or remote access to the target computer.

Apple has yet to respond or issue a patch for the bug.

“I believe Apple should take this more seriously but am not surprised with the slow response given their history of responding to vulnerabilities in the open source tools they package,” Moore said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Skype updated to 6.7.59.373

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Date: Friday, August 9th, 2013, 06:04
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, version 6.7.59.373 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 40 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Improved:
- Search in Skype for Mac has been completely overhauled. Finding the right conversation is now faster than ever. From the toolbar, just enter a term in the search field and it will return a menu of the most relevant conversations. From the same menu, you can also use the Search Messages action item to explore your complete conversation history. Just double-click on a message to jump directly to it. Finally, adding a contact and calling phone numbers straight from search is more discoverable and easier than ever.

Resolved Issues:
- [Calling] Skype hangs when closing application during an active call.

- [Calling] Cannot hang up call with Shift+Command+H after Skype restarts.

- [Conversations] Messages sent to a Facebook contact show up multiple times.

Known Issues:
- [Generic] On OS X 10.7, Skype sometimes crashes when clicking on profile pictures or file transfer icons. Workaround: update to OS X 10.7.5 or later.

Skype 6.7.59.373 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe releases Lightroom 5.2 release candidate beta

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Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, 06:42
Category: News, Software

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You can’t argue with a good release candidate.

Adobe on Monday announced the availability of the latest version of its prosumer photo editing software, Lightroom 5.2. The new version, a 467.2 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:

New features:
- A Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel under Color Noise.

- Reduction. This helps to reduce low-frequency color mottling artifacts.

Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
- New Feather control.

- Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage.

- Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle.

- Smart Preview size has been updated to 2560 pixels on the long edge.

Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
- Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete.

- Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment.

Bug fixes:
- Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.

- Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.

- Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.

- Incorrect photo was selected when trying to select a photo in segmented grid in Publish Services.

- The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.

- Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.

- Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo. Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.

Lightroom 5.2 is available for both Mac and PC platforms. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, running OS X 10.7 or later along with at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) 2GB of available HDD space, and a 1024×768 resolution to install and run.

The software is available from Adobe’s website for US$79 when upgrading from an earlier version, or US$149 for new users. Those already subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will find that the new software is included in their memberships.

If you’ve tried Lightroom 5 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Java 2013-004 update for Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, 05:00
Category: News, security, Software

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A well-timed security update never hurts.

On Wednesday, Apple released its Java 2013-004 update for its Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 operating systems. The update, a 64 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Java for OS X 2013-004 supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X.

- This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_51 and is for OS X versions 10.7 or later.

- This update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

- This update also removes the Java Preferences application, which is no longer required to configure applet settings.

The Java 2013-004 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 to install and run. If you’ve installed this new update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.