Drive Genius 2.1.1 Released

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Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009, 13:35
Category: Software

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Prosoft Engineering has released Drive Genius 2.1.1, an updated version of its drive repair and recovery program for Mac OS X.
The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:

  • Enhanced Duplicate tool has an option to verify the destination of whole-drive copies. In addition, source bad blocks can be skipped if found during a whole-drive copy.
  • Increased performance and reliability of Defrag.
  • Bug Fix: spurious “test aborted by disk” S.M.A.R.T. warnings in 10.5.x
  • Bug Fix: after shredding a volume, a new volume would always be created as “Untitled” instead of using the previous volume name.
  • Bug Fix: the tooltip displayed for duplicate files in DriveSlim contained an invalid path to the original file when displaying results from the boot volume.
  • Bug Fix: crash during launch if information about installed languages could not be obtained (10.4.x/PPC only).
  • Bug Fix: Adobe and Microsoft application updates would fail if language bundles were removed or their binaries trimmed; these are now excluded from the DriveSlimsearch results.
  • Other bug fixes.
  • Drive Genius retails for US$99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later installed to work. The application is a Universal Binary and functions natively under both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

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    Apple Releases iMovie 8.0.2 Update

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    Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 07:35
    Category: Software

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    Tuesday afternoon, Apple released iMovie 8.0.2, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download, fixes an issue with projects having a size of 0 KB. Attempting to open these projects would cause iMovie to quit unexpectedly at launch. The update also addresses a problem where full-screen mode could not be accessed on some systems.
    The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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    How-To: Work Around Delays, Hangs in Time Machine

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    Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 09:23
    Category: How-To

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    Let’s face it, Time Machine is a spiffy and useful thing as well as one of the main bells and whistles of Mac OS X 10.5. This isn’t to say it’s without its bugs and despite Apple’s best efforts, there are times where backups appear to hang or stall out sans warning.
    You may be familiar with the situation, as described by poster “PaulArthurUK” in the Apple Discussion forums:

    “When time machine starts to back up my machine, it hangs (the clock icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen spins, but the backup disk is not being accessed and currently Time Machine shows no backup in the last five days). Once it has hung, various applications start to behave oddly and generally I am unable to shut them down, even via force quit.”

    Per MacFixIt, there are a variety of reasons why this could happen. The most common is when the backup daemon is doing a “Deep Traversal” of the source drive to ensure its catalog of changed files correctly reflects the status of the source disk. When this happens, Time Machine will stick at “Preparing…,”. This can take a long time, depending on the size of the node being traversed, but usually speeds up once the deep traversal is completed.
    To easily check out Time Machine logs and track down problems and exactly what Time Machine is doing, download the “Time Machine Buddy” widget, which will display the TM logs in the dashboard.
    Time Machine’s hanging may affect other chunks of the operating system, causing widespread slowdown. This type of behavior usually indicates the system resources are not accessible to the system when the system is expecting them to be.
    Other scenarios that may cause a slowdown include the following:

    Drive malfunction: If the drive is making clicking sounds, or doesn’t appear properly either on the Desktop or in Disk Utility, then there may be a problem with the drive. For external drives, low power to the drive can cause the system to hang.
    Volume corruption: While the disk may be fine, if the formatting or partitioning of the drive has problems, then the drive will not be properly accessible by the system.
    Drives being put to sleep: The energy-saver setting to put drives to sleep whenever possible can cause them to go into a state where they won’t wake up properly. This depends on the drive itself, but while the system waits for the drive, you can experience a hang.

    User can try running Disk Utility to check for and repair errors on the drive or perform these tasks more thoroughly with a third-party disk utility software such as “Disk Warrior,” “Drive Genius,” “Disk Tools Pro,” or “Tech Tool Pro.” Checking both the boot drive and the Time Machine drive for errors is recommended.
    Beyond drive-specific issues, there can be incompatibilities both with other system resources and third-party applications, which can cause Time Machine slowdowns. Antiviral software can interfere with Time Machine’s functions, especially if you have live scanning or “on-access” scanning enabled. Turning off these settings in the antivirus software may help this situation. Additionally, if you have Spotlight enabled for the Time Machine drive (it is enabled by default), this can sometimes endlessly try to index the drive. As such, you can try adding the Time Machine drive to Spotlight’s privacy list, and then remove it to restart indexing.
    A similar trick can also be performed via Mac OS X’s Terminal application, which will ensure the spotlight stores are deleted and started anew via the following steps:

    Open Terminal
    Type the following command and include a space after the command:
    mdutil -E -i off
    Drag the Time Machine disk to the Terminal window to enter the full path to the disk, such as the following:
    mdutil -E -i off /Volumes/TMDisk/
    Ensuring a space is between the “off” and the drive path, press enter
    Repeat this command, changing the “off” to “on” in order to enable spotlight on the drive again.

    Finally, if you are backing up over a network (especially a wireless network), backups can be slow by nature. At 54Mb, speeds of most wireless connections, you will run at a maximum of 6MB per second, which translates to 14 hours for a 300GB backup when running at optimal conditions. Given network overhead and other interferences, this can easily double and result in the backup taking a day or two. For the initial backup to a networked device, you might try plugging in the Ethernet connection, which should be at least double the speed, but up to 20 times faster than wireless.
    A final fix for slow backups can be to restart Time Machine on the drive by removing it and re-adding it in the Time Machine preferences. Doing this seems to clear various bottlenecks in Time Machine and start backups running at faster speeds again.

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    Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

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    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
    Category: How-To

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    Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
    Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
    Per Mac OS X 10.4:

    1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
    2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
    3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

    Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
    The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

    Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
    Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
    Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

    For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
    For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

    There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
    Watching a DVD movie
    Listening to your iTunes music library
    Running an automated backup
    Away from your computer while downloading large files

    The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

    You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

    Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

    If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
    Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

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    Apple Releases Updates for iPhoto 8, iWork 9, iMovie 8 and iWeb 3

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    Date: Friday, March 27th, 2009, 09:54
    Category: Software

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    Yesterday, Apple released updates to…well…pretty much everything, so if you’ve got a few free minutes to spare and wanted to use Software Update, you’ll have a field day.
    First among the updates is the company’s iPhoto 8.0.2 update. The new update, an 87.9 megabyte download, improves overall stability and addresses minor issues in a number of areas, including Faces, Places, photo sharing, and slideshows.
    Next, Apple released its iWork 9.0.1update1 patch, a 42.7 megabyte download, that, oddly enough, lacks specific fixes in its description but is offered as a recommended update for all iWork 9.0 users.
    Then, the company released its iMovie 8.0.1 update, a 24.5 megabyte download designed as a bug fix for the recently-released iMovie 8.0 video editing application. The new version improves overall application stability as well as addressing minor issues related to usability.
    Finally, Apple released iWeb 3.0.1, the company’s update to its WYSIWYG HTML editing application. The new version, a 14.2 megabyte download, addresses issues when publishing to an FTP server and other minor issues.
    The updates requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the updates and can offer any feedback, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases iLife Support 9.0.2 Update

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    Date: Friday, March 27th, 2009, 09:40
    Category: Software

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    Late Thursday, Apple released its iLife Support 9.0.2 update, a four megabyte download designed to improve overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues. The update is recommended for all users of Aperture, iLife 09, and iWork 09.
    Like most patches, the file can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
    The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know how it went in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases Mini DisplayPort to VGA 1.0 Firmware Update

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    Date: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, 09:21
    Category: Software

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    Late Tuesday, Apple released its Mini DisplayPort to VGA 1.0 firmware update, an 11.4 megabyte download which addresses intermittent flickering and compatibility issues such as no video on some external displays when using the Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter on your Mini DisplayPort-enabled Mac.
    Once downloaded, the firmware update will be installed into the “Utilities” folder and will automatically launch to update the firmware on the Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter.
    The Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter must be plugged into your Mac and a compatible VGA display. The Mac power adapter must be plugged into a power outlet.
    The updater is also available through Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature, provided you have qualifying hardware that uses a Mini DisplayPort.
    The updater requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    OnyX 2.0.4 Released

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    Date: Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 08:02
    Category: Software

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    Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.0.4. The new version, a 16.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Bug of display the Journaling status corrected.
  • Bug while displaying message in the Login Window corrected.
  • Deleting logs improved.
  • Parameters > Misc panel reorganized.
  • Help corrected, improved and reindexed.
  • Uninstaller application updated.
  • Option: Display only running applications in the Dock.
  • Option: Show the Help Viewer icon in the Dock and the applications Switcher.
  • Option: Enable the Debug mode of Help Viewer.
  • OnyX requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the new version and have any opinions about it, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases Front Row 2.1.7 Update

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    Date: Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 08:14
    Category: Software

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    Late Wednesday, Apple released Front Row 2.1.7, an update to its media control system for Mac OS X. The 12.6 megabyte download provides iTunes 8.1 compatibility and is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
    Front Row 2.1.7 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the update and have either positive or negative feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    iPhoto 8.0.1 Update Released

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    Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, 10:59
    Category: Software

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    Capping off the update-o-rama, Apple also released version 8.0.1 of its iPhoto image editing and categorization application yesterday. The update, an 11.6 megabyte download, improves overall stability and addresses minor issues in a number of areas, including internet connectivity, keyword import, and slideshow export.
    The update is available via direct download as well as through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the update and have anything to offer about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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