Some owners of early-2011 MacBook Pro units complaining of discrete GPU failures

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:54
Category: MacBook Pro, News

This is the kind of thing that makes you slam your head against the desk a few times.elretina

Per AppleInsider and Apple’s Support Communities forum, owners of early-2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros are reporting issues with the discrete AMD graphics processors in their notebooks, which in some cases results in the failure of the component, leaving an expensive logic board replacement as the only remedy.

The problem, as highlighted by conversation threads on the forum, first presents itself as a graphical glitch — or, in more serious cases, complete system lockup — when an affected MacBook Pro switches from the integrated Intel graphics chip to the discrete AMD graphics processing unit, or GPU. Reports of the issue first cropped up in February, but have become more frequent over the past month.

In 2010, Apple introduced the automatic graphics switching system, which dynamically shifts the processing load between the integrated chip and the discrete GPU based on what the user is doing. Owners of MacBook Pros built prior to 2010 have to manually select the more powerful GPU from OS X Settings, which forces the operating system to restart.

Users of affected machines report that display discoloration, banding, and image distortion are the most common visible symptoms, but many say that their computers suddenly freeze without any of the graphical warning signs. Rebooting — even several times in succession — rarely fixes the problem, and some have even tried to remedy the situation by forcing their laptop to use the integrated chip exclusively with only moderate degrees of success.

Data compiled from several Apple Support Communities threads by forum user “saramwrap” suggests that the majority of affected users are using early-2011 MacBook Pros with the AMD Radeon 6750M GPU, though failures are not limited to that chip. Those whose notebooks contain Radeon 6490M, 6750M, and 6970M GPUs are also experiencing the problem.

Apple has yet to address the fairly widespread issue, with many users reporting that the only repair option given to those without AppleCare coverage is a complete logic board replacement at a cost of US$500 or more.

Apple’s popular notebook line ran into similar troubles soon after its early 2011 hardware refresh, coming to light in another Apple support forum thread that now stretches more than 140 pages with over 2,000 replies. The issue was eventually resolved when Apple specifically targeted the problem with a special build of the OS X 10.6.7 update.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have any thoughts on it, please let us know what you think in the comments section.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.9

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:02
Category: News, Software

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SpamSieve’s about ready for Mavericks.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.9. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- SpamSieve is now compatible with the GM build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It is recommended that you update to SpamSieve 2.9.9 before installing Mavericks. If you’ve updated to Mavericks first, and you don’t see the SpamSieve commands in Apple Mail’s Message menu, be sure to choose Install Apple Mail Plug-In from the SpamSieve menu.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- Microsoft Outlook 2011’s notification sounds are now available in SpamSieve’s Notification preferences.

- Added the Apple Mail – Server Junk Mailbox script. When it’s not possible to turn off a server-side junk filter (e.g., iCloud’s), this lets SpamSieve save you from mistakes that the server junk filter made by moving any messages that SpamSieve thinks are good back to the inbox. It will also consolidate the spam messages from all the accounts into a single spam mailbox (the same one where SpamSieve is already putting your spam).

- Can now repair the ownership and permissions of the SpamSieve and Apple Mail preferences files if needed. This fixes problems where SpamSieve would lose its registration information or Apple Mail wouldn’t show the SpamSieve menu commands.

- Fixed some problems where the Open Window command in Apple Mail was not available or did not always open the specified window.

SpamSieve 2.9.9 retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Leaked promotional art points to iPhone 5s, 5c en route to Boost Mobile network

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, 06:16
Category: iPhone, retail, Rumor

Boost-Mobile-Logo

It’s a rumor but it’s interesting.

And it’s got some leaked art behind it.

Per Electronista and a Twitter leak, Boost Mobile is preparing to launch the iPhone 5s and 5c on its network, leaked promotional art indicates. The art doesn’t suggest when Boost will start selling the phones, but that could happen in the near future, given a series of rollouts at US carriers beginning October 1st. Prices are also missing from the advertising.


boost-mobile-iphone

If the leak is accurate, the 5s and 5c will be the very first iPhones on Boost, even though the carrier is owned by Sprint. Sprint-branded iPhones have been available since 2011, including through the US branch of Virgin Mobile, which Sprint controls. A number of rival prepaid carriers have also been selling the iPhone for some time, such as Cricket and Straight Talk.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.7 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, 07:28
Category: News, Software

An update’s always appreciated.

Microsoft on Tuesday released version 14.3.7 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information about this update, please visit the Microsoft Web site.

- Applies to: Office 2011, Office 2011 Home and Business Edition, Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011, Office for Mac Standard 2011 Edition, Microsoft Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, and Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.7 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple begins graphics card program for designated iMacs, looks to replace faulty AMD Radeon HD 6970M units

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Date: Monday, August 19th, 2013, 07:10
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

Check the manufacturing date on your iMac, it may be eligible for a replacement graphics card.

Per AppleInsider, addressing complaints from owners, Apple has decided to institute a replacement program for graphics cards used in specific 27-inch iMac models sold between May 2011 and October 2012.

According to a document on Apple’s Support webpage, the AMD Radeon HD 6970M video cards shipped with certain 27-inch iMac desktop configurations would fail, causing the display to “appear distorted, white or blue with vertical lines.” In some cases, the screen would simply go black.

Models covered in the replacement program include high-end “mid-2011″ 27-inch iMacs with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processors. The all-in-ones first hit store shelves in May 2011 and remained on sale until the current ultra thin iMacs debuted in October 2012.

Apple will replace failed video cards free of charge for up to three years after the initial purchase date. In addition, people who may have paid for repair or replacement associated with the issue can seek a refund.

Those affected by the issue can take their iMac in for evaluation at the Genius Bar of a local Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. If those services are unavailable, owners are instructed to call Apple Technical Support for other further options.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Sprint announces NYC rollout, will activate LTE network on July 30th

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Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 12:40
Category: iPhone, News, wireless

The good, speedy Sprint stuff is coming to New York City.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Sprint has begun rolling out LTE service for parts of New York City, including the Bronx and Brooklyn. Sprint says it will flip the switch for those areas on July 30.

Sprint has been way behind AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in rolling out high speed LTE services. There is currently some coverage in Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island, although there has been no official start date announced.

New York City is the most populated city in America, and implementing new cell service is difficult due to interference from tall buildings and finding locations for hardware. Not to mention the number of users fighting for bandwidth on those towers. In the last 6 months, Sprint has added 12 new towers in the New York City area, and 906 data speed upgrades.

Sprint says it has 110 4G markets, and New York City will make 111. Sprint is also working on cell service in all 277 subway stations, beginning with 36 stations it hopes to have up and running in early 2014. AT&T and T-Mobile already offer cellular connections in select underground locations. Verizon and Sprint are signed up with Transit Wireless for the underground connectivity.

Sprint was the 3rd U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone, signing on with Apple in October of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.6 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, 12:30
Category: News, security, Software

An update’s an update.

Microsoft on Wednesday released version 14.3.6 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes an issue in which Outlook repeatedly tried to send messages that exceeded certain server-side size limits from the Outbox. Now, messages that exceed these size limits are put in the local Drafts folder after three unsuccessful attempts to send the messages.

- This update fixes an issue in which syncing a folder from which many messages were deleted on another client frequently caused Microsoft Outlook for Mac to freeze.

- This update fixes an issue that causes Word to be unable to save files to an SMB share.

- Full release notes can be found here.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.6 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple considering purchase of Israeli-based PrimeSense, creators of the Xbox Kinect

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Date: Tuesday, July 16th, 2013, 07:19
Category: Hardware, Rumor

kinect

It’s speculation, but it could lead to something interesting.

A series of reports from Israeli publication Calcalist.co.il and 9to5Mac claims PrimeSense, the company behind the original Microsoft Kinect’s technology, is in acquisition talks with Apple, somewhere near a valuation in the US$280-US$300M range. According to the report, a delegation of PrimeSense senior executives visited Apple’s engineering offices in recent days. The purchase would bolster Apple’s living room TV interface offerings and allow Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its products.

Apple purchased Israeli Flash chip optimization company Anobit in late 2011 for US$400M+, also originally reported by Calcalist. The company now functions as one of Apple’s R&D centers in that country.

It’s been rumored that Apple is working on such 3D gesture interface and may have already been licensing IP from the Israeli firm and/or its competitors. At US$280M, Apple may believe it’s better to own this IP and technology rather than let others have access to it in the future.

Microsoft used the sensor technology that PrimeSense developed for its original Kinect, previously known as Project Natal, but has since replaced the technology with its own in-house technology for 3D body mapping and movement.

PrimeSense was founded in 2005 and is a founding member of OpenNI, an industry-led non-profit organization formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Beta code hints at 120 frames-per-second camera feature for iOS 7

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 06:42
Category: iOS, News, Software

This could lead to something really interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, a new camera feature referred to as “Mogul” was allegedly discovered in the third beta of iOS 7. Tests suggested that the new software feature will allow video recording of 120 frames-per-second (fps) at an unknown resolution.

The addition of 120fps video would allow a future iPhone to offer crisp detail when playing videos back in slow motion. Such functionality is popular with sports cameras such as the wearable GoPro Hero3.

While the 120fps feature remains a secret, Apple has already revealed to developers that iOS 7 will give them the ability to record 60fps video with their iPhone applications.

There are currently applications on the iOS App Store, such as SloPro, which simulate high framerates in recording. However, in iOS 6, developers are not able to capture raw video at anything greater than 30 frames per second.

The addition of 120fps video in this year’s anticipated iPhone upgrade would allow Apple to stay on par with Samsung’s latest flagship handset, the Galaxy S4. That handset also offers super-slow-motion video capture capabilities with 120fps recordings.

This year, Apple has run an ad touting the fact that the iPhone is the most used camera in the world. And last year, the company promoted the new panorama capture feature that debuted in iOS 6.

However, hints of 120fps support in iOS 7 are not necessarily proof that the feature will appear in the next iPhone. For example, elements of an unfinished panorama feature were discovered in iOS 5 in 2011, more than a year before Apple would actually add it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple offers popular apps at deep discounts, for free as App Store nears fifth anniversary on July 10th

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Date: Monday, July 8th, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

appstorelogo

With the fifth anniversary of the iOS App Store approaching, a number of high-ranking apps will become free for a period of time.

According to The Verge, an unknown number of iOS apps are now free to download for both the iPhone and iPad, with titles spanning across genres and price ranges.

Games like Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings, and Where’s My Water? are all complimentary, while other apps include Barefoot World Atlas, Day One, Over, and Traktor DJ for iPad. With the price slashing, users can save anywhere from US$0.99 to US$19.99.

While Apple has yet to make an official announcement regarding the free app selection, or collect them into a dedicated App Store section, it is thought that the move is in celebration of the digital storefront’s upcoming fifth anniversary on July 10.

The company sent out a poster last week detailing a timeline of major App Store milestones, including explosive growth that saw 1 billion downloads in 2009, 10 billion in 2011, and 50 billion this past May. Apple also noted that the store has generated more than US$10 billion for app developers to date.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve noticed a cool iOS app that’s free or discounted on the iOS App Store, please let us know in the comments.