Apple job postings, logs hint towards Siri integration in upcoming OS X 10.9 operating system, iLife, iWork suites

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Date: Thursday, February 7th, 2013, 08:06
Category: News, Siri, Software

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Sometimes it’s the job postings that give the future away.

Per MacRumors, builds of Apple’s upcoming OS X 10.9 have been appearing in site logs since November, the logs hinting at possible Siri integration into the operating system.

A recent Apple job posting reinforces the rumor that Siri might be bundled with the next version of OS X. In its listing for a Siri UI Engineer, Apple specifies that candidates should possess “Familiarity with Unix, especially Mac OS X” and a “Passion for the Macintosh platform and writing simple, elegant software that is easy and fun to use.”

The listing, which does not include a specification for experience with iOS aside from knowledge of Apple’s development APIs, states that the engineer will be in charge of implementing the content that appears within Siri’s conversational view. The position will also require collaboration with other Siri teams.

To quote the posting:
“This is a broad-ranging task – we take every application that Siri interacts with, distill it down to fundamentals, and implement that application’s UI in a theme fitting with Siri. Consider it an entire miniature OS within the OS, and you get a good idea of the scope!

Of course, each of these little “snippets” corresponds to an individual application, so you will have extensive cross-functional work with many other teams. You’ll need to work with them to enable access to their data and behaviors, and wire them up to your implementations. As a result, strong API design is needed to keep communications ideal.”

As of mid-January, OS X 10.9 activity has increased considerably, suggesting the new operating system, with Siri included, may be imminent.

Job postings for Apple’s iLife/iWork team also surfaced this week. iWork’s last major update was in 2009, while iLife was last updated in 2010. An overhaul of the apps could potentially include Siri integration, allowing for voice commands for simple tasks such as photo and music editing.

Apple has been upgrading OS X on a yearly basis. 10.8 Mountain Lion was released in July of 2012, a year after 10.7 Lion was released in July of 2011. The first developer preview of OS X 10.8 appeared in February, and OS X 10.9 could follow a similar timeline.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 18.0.1 update

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Date: Monday, January 21st, 2013, 07:25
Category: News, Software

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Never knock a decent update on a web browser you’re fond of.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 18.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 36.6 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Bugs Fixed:
– Problems involving HTTP Proxy Transactions.

– Unity player crashes on Mac OS X (bug 828954).

– Disabled HIDPI support on external monitors to avoid rendering glitches (bug 814434).

New:
– Faster JavaScript performance via IonMonkey compiler.

– Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 Lion and up.

– Preliminary support for WebRTC.

Changed:
– Experience better image quality with our new HTML scaling algorithm.

– Performance improvements around tab switching.

Developer:
– Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.

– Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.

HTML5:
– Support for W3C touch events implemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.

Fixed:
– Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).

– Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

Firefox 18.0.1 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.

Oracle releases updated Java 7 Update 11 security fix, now available for download

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Date: Monday, January 14th, 2013, 08:28
Category: News, security, Software

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Following up on the discovery of a Java 7 flaw that prompted Apple to disable the software in OS X, Oracle issued a statement saying it is currently working on a fix and released a patch over the weekend.

Oracle released the statement late Friday following a U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommendation that all Java 7 users disable or uninstall the software until a patch was issued, reports Reuters. Taking action on its own, Apple quietly disabled the plugin through its OS X anti-malware system shortly after hearing of the exploit.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that Java’s most-recent vulnerability is being “attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits.”

For its part, Oracle noted in its statement that the flaw only affects the most up-to-date version of Java 7 and Java software designed to run in Internet browsers.

Java and Apple have had a rocky relationship over the past few years, including a move to drop the Java runtime from OS X 10.7 Lion’s default installation when the OS debuted in 2010. Another flaw in Oracle’s internet plugin was responsible for the most widespread Mac malware ever when the “Flashback” trojan reportedly affected some 600,000 OS X machines in April 2012.

Apple continued efforts to deprecate Java from OS X over the past year, culminating in the company’s final official in-house Java update issued in May 2012. From that point, all responsibility for future updates was handed over to Oracle.

Oracle on Sunday released a fix to a Java 7 flaw discovered on Friday. Users can download the release here.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

From the release notes:
“The fixes in this Alert include a change to the default Java Security Level setting from “Medium” to “High”. With the “High” setting, the user is always prompted before any unsigned Java applet or Java Web Start application is run.”

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 18.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 07:31
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a solid update.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 18.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 38.4 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

New:
– Faster JavaScript performance via IonMonkey compiler.

– Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 and up.

– Preliminary support for WebRTC.

Changed:
– Experience better image quality with our new HTML scaling algorithm.

– Performance improvements around tab switching.

Developer:
– Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.

– Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.

HTML 5:
– Support for W3C touch events implemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.

Fixed:
– Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).

– Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

Firefox 18.0 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 2.28 drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:01
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 2.28 of its Epson printer drivers.

The updated driver provides updated support for Epson’s entire line of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function machinery when connecting to a Mac running OS X 10.6. The update is available as a 1.04 gigabyte download size from Apple’s Support website.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve installed the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard install DVDs surface in Apple online store, available for $19.99

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Date: Friday, November 23rd, 2012, 08:45
Category: News, retail, Software

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In as much as it’s useful to keep operating systems on thumb drives and recovery partitions, there are times where you miss having an emergency DVD on hand.

That being said, this should be useful.

Discovered by French web site MacGeneration and the mighty Mac Observer, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard has returned to Apple’s Online Store as a physical disc purchase after being removed upon the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in July.

Snow Leopard, released in August of 2009, was the first Apple operating system to run exclusively on Intel processors. It was also the last version of OS X to include Rosetta, Apple’s translation software that allowed applications written for PowerPC-based Macs to run seamlessly on Intel-powered machines.

Most importantly for owners of older Macs, Snow Leopard represented a crucial transition point for Apple. The Mac App Store, which launched in early January 2011 exclusively on Snow Leopard 10.6.6, inaugurated a new era of digital software distribution. Starting with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion in July 2011 and continuing with Mountain Lion in July 2012, the primary method for Mac owners to receive new versions of OS X became the Mac App Store (there were indeed other methods of acquiring a new version of OS X, such as the short-lived official USB installer or by making your own, but these were limited options for relatively advanced users).

For users who had already upgraded their eligible Macs to Snow Leopard, the upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion was simple: purchase and download it from the Mac App Store. But if users were still on OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.4 Tiger, they would first have to install Snow Leopard to gain access to the Mac App Store, and then purchase and download Lion or Mountain Lion.

As a result, Apple kept OS X Snow Leopard for sale in its online store until the launch of Mountain Lion when, for reasons unknown, the company removed it. Now, thankfully, the Snow Leopard installation DVD is back for US$19.99, and is currently in stock with free shipping.

While it is true that most Mac owners who are eligible to upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion have already done so (or have at least upgraded to Snow Leopard), for the remaining holdouts who want to try a newer version of OS X, or for current users who want a copy of Snow Leopard in case they ever need to run a PowerPC app via Rosetta, now is the time to snag it while it’s still available.

Flip4Mac updated to 3.0.0.143

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 21st, 2012, 08:18
Category: News, Software

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Early Wednesday, software developer Telestream has released version 3.0.0.143 of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, a 15.4 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and changes:

New Features:
– This standalone version of Flip Player is available without the Flip4Mac Windows Media components.

– This standalone version of Flip Player does not require an installer. Instead, you can install it by mounting the disk image, and dragging the Flip Player application to your Applications folder. However, you must agree to the EULA before the disk image will mount.

– This standalone version of Flip Player contains an embedded framework, rather than relying on that framework being installed into /Library/Frameworks or ~/Library/Frameworks.Added support for the application/x-ms-wmp mime type.

Flip4Mac 3.0.0.143 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 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 Java 2012-006 update for Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 17th, 2012, 07:20
Category: News, Software

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Ya can’t knock a useful Java update.

On Tuesday, Apple released its Java 2012-006 update for its Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) operating systems. The update, a 67 megabyte download, 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.

As always, the update can also be located and installed via the built-in “Software Update” feature in Mac OS X.

The Java 2012-006 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install.

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

Apple releases HP Printer Drivers 2.12 update for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Friday, October 12th, 2012, 08:34
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a fairly large printer driver update.

On Thursday, Apple released its HP Printers Drivers 2.12 package. The update, a 473.3 megabyte download, adds updated drivers for assorted HP printers, scanners and multifunction devices.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple releases Canon, Epson printer driver updates for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Friday, October 5th, 2012, 07:05
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a decent print driver update.

Late Thursday, Apple released assorted print driver updates for Canon and Epson’s printers under the Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 operating systems.

The Apple Epson Printer Drivers 2.12 update, a 1.11 gigabyte download, offers assorted fixes for the printer models listed here.

The Apple Canon Printer Drivers 2.10 update, a 337 megabyte download, offers assorted fixes for the printer models listed here.

The updates can be found, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new drivers and have any feedback to offer, please let us know how they worked for you in the comments.