Apple release Security Update 2010-007 update for Mac OS X 10.5 operating systems

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Date: Friday, November 12th, 2010, 05:27
Category: News, security, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-007, bringing the same security patches included in the recent Mac OS X 10.6.5 release to Macs running 10.5 Leopard client or server versions.

Per Macworld, the more prominent fixes included in the update is a fix for a bug in Apple Type Services which could allow the downloading of a maliciously crafted font file to lead to arbitrary code execution. That bug, originally caught by security firm Core Security, was similar to a vulnerability in Apple’s iOS that allowed hackers to jailbreak devices running that software. Apple patched the flaw in an iOS update

In addition to fixing the font bug, 2010-007 brings an updated version of Adobe’s Flash Player plug-in (numbered 10.1.102.64) which patches a number of security vulnerabilities, some of which could lead to arbitrary code execution. Patches are also included for a number of holes in QuickTime, Time Machine, Safari RSS, Quick Look, and several of OS X’s other underlying systems.

The Leopard client version of Security Update 2010-007 is a 240.74 megabyte download while the server version is a 448.10 megabyte download. If you’re running an eligible system, the relevant update should appear via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

New tests yield additional battery life in absence of Adobe Flash

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Date: Friday, November 5th, 2010, 04:40
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s had a good run.

Hell, it’s had a great run.

Still, Apple has ceased bundling Adobe Flash on its new Macs, ostensibly so users could obtain the latest, secure version themselves with vastly increased battery life seems to be another leading reason for this change.

According to the mighty Ars Technica, the new MacBook Air can last for a full six hours after loading a series of webpages in Safari, but its battery performance drops down to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed and the same sites are loaded.

“Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary,” stated the article. Without the Flash plugin installed, websites typically display static ads in place of Flash content, erasing the need for constant processing power demanded by the Flash plugin’s rendering engine.

With Flash ads consuming as much as 33% of the MacBook Air’s battery potential, it’s no wonder why Apple has demonstrated no interest in getting a version of Flash installed on its iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, all of which have much smaller batteries.

This summer, Adobe launched a public relations attack on Apple for failing to support Flash on its iOS devices, nor allowing Adobe to deliver a version of Flash for the iOS platform, nor approving apps for the iOS that were created in Adobe’s Flash Professional application. Apple has backed away from refusing to approve apps created with third party tools, but has shown no interest in getting Flash content to run on its iOS.

When asked for “any updates” on the company’s stance on Flash during its quarterly earnings report, chief executive Steve Jobs quipped, “flash memory? We love flash memory,” before taking the next question.

Apple’s removal of Adobe’s Flash plugin from a default install on the new MacBook Air coincided with the company’s debut of a more conservative new “wireless productivity test” it said was more in line with actual use, and better standardized for accurate comparisons between models. Being able to test the new machine without its battery being taxed by Flash ads certainly helps the company achieve better results.

Microsoft stopped bundling Adobe Flash with the release of Windows Vista in 2007, although its motivation was likely due to the company’s efforts to push its rival Silverlight plugin. However, Windows implements Flash as an ActiveX control, which means users can click on Flash placeholders within a webpage and the Flash plugin will install itself. New Mac users will have to manually download and install Flash from Adobe in order to make it available.

Apple sells far more iOS-based devices (such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) than Macs, and no iOS devices support runtimes for Flash content. That has had a major effect upon advertisers, publishers, website design, and online video broadcasters, who have collectively made monumental shifts away from Flash. This in turn has made Flash playback far less important on the desktop than it was just a year or two ago, although there is still important content tied to Flash.

Apple has removed Flash content from its own website, although it also has supported Adobe’s efforts to add hardware acceleration to the Mac OS X version of Flash, and has approved the Skyfire plugin for iOS’ Mobile Safari, which uses a gateway service to translate Flash videos into HTML5 videos that can play on Apple’s devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.4 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 04:06
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released version 9.4 of its Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro applications. The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, address security vulnerabilities while providing additional stability.

Acrobat Reader 9.4 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Adobe releases Photoshop Elements 9 for Mac, Windows

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Date: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010, 04:19
Category: News, Software

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Software giant Adobe on Tuesday announced the launch of Photoshop Elements 9, the company’s consumer-level photo editing application, for both Mac and Windows. The new version boasts a number of features that are new to Mac users, most notably the bundled Elements Organizer, which acts as a hub for importing, managing, and viewing photo and video files.

Per Macworld, Photoshop Elements 9 includes one of Photoshop CS5’s most popular features, Content Aware Fill, and puts it into the Spot Healing Brush. This tool can be used to remove specific objects from an image by analyzing the surrounding information. Also new to this version are Layer Masks, which can be used to block out specific parts of images with varying transparency levels.

Users new to photo editing can use the program’s guided edits to learn how to make edits to their images via tutorial-based instructions. Edited images can then be posted directly to sites like Facebook and Flickr from the organizer, or by using any of the templates included in Elements 9 to create scrapbooks, photobooks, online albums, or slideshows.

The Elements Organizer lets users sort images in a number of ways, including with automatic face recognition and keyword tags. A new auto-analyzing tag feature analyzes the content of images, such as lighting and contrast, to smartly suggest appropriate keyword tags.

Photoshop Elements 9 runs on Intel-based Macs and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. The program will cost US$100 and come packaged with the Elements Organizer. For an additional US$50, users can upgrade to Photoshop Elements 9 Plus, which adds 20GB of online storage and access to various libraries of templates, guides, and artwork.

Apple opens iOS development to third-party tools, introduces Review Board

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 06:30
Category: News

Apple on Thursday announced that the company would no longer ban intermediary development tools for iOS as long as App Store software does not download any code, potentially paving the way for third-party software to convert applications from other formats like Adobe Flash.

Per Macworld, the company revealed that it had made “important changes” to sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 of its iOS Developer Program license, relaxing some of the restrictions that were put in place earlier this year. The company has also published the approval guidelines for its tightly controlled App Store, in which all software must be reviewed before it is released.

The changes come just weeks after evidence surfaced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was looking into a complaint from Adobe over Apple’s banning of Flash from iOS devices. The FTC denied a public records request related to the case, stating that the release of such documents could interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this year, Apple updated its iOS 4 SDK to ban intermediary tools that would allow the porting of applications from Adobe’s Flash, Sun’s Java, or Microsoft’s Silverlight/Mono.

The change was made after Adobe announced that its Creative Suite 5 would include an application that would allow developers to port their applications to the iPhone from Flash. Adobe eventually abandoned further development of the application following Apple’s announcement. That was also when the company filed a complaint with the FTC.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs publicly commented on the matter in an open letter published in late April, in which he slammed Adobe Flash as a Web tool that is unfit for the modern, mobile era of computing. He also said that an intermediary tool for converting Flash applications to the iPhone would produce “sub-standard apps,” and would hinder the progress of the platform.

At the time, Jobs said he knew from “painful experience” that allowing developers to become dependent on a third-party tool, such as Adobe Flash, rather than writing natively for the iPhone is restrictive. “We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers,” Jobs wrote.

As for the publication of App Store approval guidelines, Apple has repeatedly come under fire for not being open enough with developers. Some who write for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have complained that it is unclear what software is acceptable.

The most high-profile App Store review incident came in 2009, when Apple refused to approve the Google Voice application, a telephony service from the search giant. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and Apple at the time denied that it had rejected the Google Voice app, but said it was continuing to “study it.”

The full statement from Thursday is included in its entirety:

“The App Store has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world’s largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.

We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”

Finally, Apple also revealed the formation of an App Review Board, with the goal of giving developers “the opportunity to appeal the rejection of an application if [they] believe that the functionality or technical implementation was misunderstood.”

This new board should help address the accusations often made about the arbitrariness of the app approval process by providing developers with a way to formally ask Apple to review a rejection, based on criteria that may not have been anticipated by the approval guidelines; that’s often been the source of embarrassment for the company.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.2, Camera Raw 6.2 updates

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Date: Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, 03:56
Category: News, Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 3.2 of its Lightroom (available on the company’s update page) photo editing utility and version 6.2 of its Camera Raw plugin. Lightroom 3.2 added the ability to publish photos to both Facebook and photo-sharing site SmugMug. The update also brings a number of improvements to Lightroom’s Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules, as well as over 120 new lens profiles to help photographers correct distortion and other undesirables.

Camera Raw 6.2, a 69.8 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), support for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS 60D

– Casio EXILIM EX-FH100

– Fuji FinePix HS10

– Leica S2 (DNG*)

– Panasonic DMC-FZ100

– Panasonic DMC-FZ40 (FZ45)

– Panasonic DMC-LX5

– Pentax 645D

– Samsung NX10

– Samsung TL500 (EX1)

– Sony A290

– Sony A390

– Sony Alpha NEX-3

– Sony Alpha NEX-5

– Sony SLT-A33

– Sony SLT-A55V

Camera Raw 6.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.3.4 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Friday, August 20th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Adobe released a long-awaited patch that addresses a number of vulnerabilities in versions of its Acrobat Pro and Reader offerings.

The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, address security vulnerabilities while providing additional stability.

Acrobat Reader 9.3.4 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1.82.76 for Mac, adds hardware acceleration for H.264 content

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Date: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 05:25
Category: News, Software

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In spite of the constant back and forth between Apple and Adobe, a new version of Flash Player for Mac has shipped that officially supports hardware acceleration for H.264 video content.

Per AppleInsider, the update 10.1.82.76 was announced Tuesday by Adobe product manager Thibault Imbert on his blog. The feature, code-named “Gala,” had been announced several months prior, but was unavailable with the official release of Flash Player 10.1 for Mac in June. In a break from usual protocol, Adobe enabled the new feature in a security release.

Hardware acceleration in Flash Player 10.1 for Mac is available only for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the following graphics cards: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M.

According to Adobe, a CPU utilization reduction of up to two-thirds is possible when GPU hardware acceleration is active.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 can be downloaded here and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.3.3 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released a long-awaited patch that addresses a number of vulnerabilities in versions of its Acrobat Pro and Reader offerings.

Per Macworld, the fix addresses 18 different vulnerabilities, some of which are critical, are corrected by the update.

Adobe has released new versions of both Acrobat Professional and Acrobat Reader for Mac. The former comes in a Universal package, while the latter comes in separate packages for Intel and PowerPC architectures.

Both Acrobat 9.3.3 Pro and Adobe Reader 9.3.3 address what Adobe calls �critical vulnerabilities� in earlier versions of the software. According to an Adobe security bulletin, the vulnerability could cause either Acrobat or Reader to crash, potentially allowing an attacker to take control of your computer. Earlier this month, Adobe patched a similar vulnerability in its Flash software.

Acrobat Reader 9.3.3 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple changes iOS SDK rules to accept Lua but restrict Flash

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Date: Monday, June 14th, 2010, 05:01
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Something about this reminds me of when the cool kids wanted to keep the nerds out of the clubhouse, if only on principle.

According to AppleOutsider, Apple has changed its iOS SDK rules for iPhone developers have relaxed the restriction of section 3.3.2 pertaining to interpreted code, enabling Apple to forbid Flash and other middleware platforms while still enabling popular game engines and libraries.

When the 3.3.2 rules were first published, the restriction stated that iOS apps must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++ or JavaScript, and that “no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).”

Apple’s goal seemed to be limited to stopping third parties from shifting iPhone developers from using Apple’s own Xcode development tools and instead making them dependent upon their own middleware meta-platforms.

The most obvious example of this was Adobe’s efforts to turn its Flash Professional CS5 application into a product that could export iPhone apps, facilitating cross platform development centered on Flash as a platform rather than Apple’s own Cocoa Touch.

Apple’s 3.3.2 restriction made it clear the company would refuse to sell such apps in its iTunes Store.

Strangely enough, the wording of the restriction appeared to also target any iOS apps that might include any interpreted code, including a large number of games that make use of general purpose, reusable code engines or libraries to expedite development.

Adobe has argued that any iOS restrictions on development with its Flash tools would also halt the use of popular game engines or libraries such as Unity 3D and Lua. Such a situation would imperil many popular iPhone games that Apple has already approved (and often singled out for targeted promotion), including Tap Tap Revenge and Rolando.

The latest modifications to the 3.3.2 section indicate Apple won’t be forced to dump popular, existing titles just to block middleware meta-platforms as a threat to iOS development. The most recent wording of the iOS SDK, published by Matt Drance of Apple Outsider, articulates an additional option Apple can invoke when choosing to approve apps:

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apple’s prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.”

Drance notes, “these new terms seem to acknowledge that there’s a difference between an app that happens to have non-compiled code, and a meta-platform.”