Microsoft Releases Office 2008 12.2.0, Open XML Converter 1.1 Updates

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

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On Monday, Microsoft released updates for its Microsoft Office 2008 suite as well as its Open XML Converter applications.

The Office 2008 update (which functions as a second service pack), is a 297 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes with a full description of the changes available here:

  • Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2008 applications to exit unexpectedly when you open or use the applications.
  • Setup Assistant displays a message when an invalid product key is used: This update fixes an issue that causes Setup Assistant to loop when the user enters an invalid product key. The Setup Assistant now displays a message and asks the user to enter a valid product key.
  • Spell checking is improved when International System Preferences is set to Austrian or German input methods: This update fixes an issue in which the spell checking feature is disabled intermittently for Austrian and German languages.
  • Text box and the custom tab stops on a ruler align on a PowerPoint slide: This update fixes an issue that causes the text box and the tab stops on the ruler not to line up appropriately.
  • New controls for changing the alignment of text on chart elements: This update includes new controls for setting the vertical position, orientation, and custom angle of text in chart elements. It also includes controls for data label positions.
  • Improvements for Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac: Stability is improved when you use Mail Merge with pictures.
    This update fixes an issue that causes Word to crash when you use the Mail Merge Manager to insert a record with pictures from an external data source into your main document.
  • Notebook Layout View recovers audio notes after Word closes unexpectedly: This update fixes an issue that causes users to lose their audio notes when Word closes unexpectedly. When you restart Word, the AutoRecover file does not include the audio notes. This issue is fixed now.
  • Performance is improved: This update fixes performance issues that occur in the following scenarios:
    When you use the Outline View.
    When you use Japanese characters and the Formatting Palette Styles functionality.
  • Section indicator is included in the Word status bar: This update reintroduces the Section indicator to the status bar. The Section indicator provides the section number that you are currently viewing in your document.
  • Reliability is improved with display redraw issues: This update fixes various display redraw issues that might occur when you scroll through a document that contain bullets and numbering.
  • Compatibility with Word 2007 is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes a Word 2007 document that has table borders not to be displayed correctly when the document is viewed in Word 2008 for Mac.
  • Reliability is improved when you copy a numbered list: This update fixes an issue that causes a numbered list to lose its formatting when it is copied into another document.
  • Improved editing when you use Korean characters: This update fixes an issue that causes Korean characters in a document to display incorrectly when you press the arrow keys.
  • Compatibility is improved with SpellCatcher X: This update fixes an issue that improves compatibility with SpellCatcher X.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later to install and run.

Per the Open XML Converter 1.1 update, Microsoft released the 44.7 megabyte updater file for download. The new version of the utility (which lets you convert Open XML files that were created in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac or 2007 Microsoft Office for Windows so that you can open, edit, and save them in earlier versions of Office for Mac) boasts currently unspecified fixes and changes.

The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to and Microsoft Office X 10.1.9 or Microsoft Office 2004 11.4.0 or later to install and run.

Both updates can be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdater application.

Early Predictions Arrive for Apple Q3 Earnings

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 04:30
Category: News

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Apple’s Q3 numbers come out tomorrow and per CNET, while results have been both eventful and mixed, analysts are expecting more positive than negative numbers when it’s said and done.

During the quarter, which ended June 30, the company released the third-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3GS, which can be regarded as a success, though its Mac and iPod divisions may not see identical results.

Throughout the quarter, Apple did pay a nod to consumers’ tight budgets, lowering prices on its Mac notebook lineup although keeping other prices about the same.

Analysts are expecting revenues for the quarter between US$7.88 billion and US$8.44 billion, and earnings per share between US$1.02 and US$1.31. Apple itself, which always gives guidance on the low side, is anticipating revenue between US7.7 billion and US$7.9 billion and earnings per share between 95 cents and a dollar.

Over the quarter, Apple’s stock jumped 21.4%, rising to US$147.52, since its last earnings report in late April. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who stood in for CEO Steve Jobs, has received high marks for keeping the company running smoothly in its leader’s absence. Jobs has been back at work, at least part-time, since the end of June.

Apple announced that the company had sold 1 million iPhones worldwide in the first weekend the 3GS was on the market, and AT&T said the first day the phone was available marked the best sales day in the carrier’s history. Analytical firm Piper Jaffray jumped in on this, specifically stating that it anticipates total iPhones sold for the quarter will be 5 million.

Mac revenue will show if price cuts are helping. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple sold 2.2 million Macs during the quarter, and says it is getting a boost from the price cuts it applied when it upgraded its entire aluminum MacBook line to MacBook Pros. Per recent counts from IDC, which only tracks Apple’s sales in the U.S., showed that Mac shipments dipped more than 12% during this quarter while the entire PC industry was down 3.1% worldwide.

For those wanting a cool new item, the iPods’ annual tuneup is expected in September, when it has taken place the past few years. Where the iPod business has also been slowing down a bit, Piper Jaffray predicts sales to be down 7% from a year ago, though Apple has been increasingly focused on its iPod Touch, which has access to the popular App Store and is expected to get a reboot in September similar to the iPhone 3GS.

Apple also continues to put away cash during the quarter. As Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech pointed out, Apple added US$800 million in cash during the last quarter, bringing its total to US$28.9 billion. Only Cisco’s US$29 billion in cash is better among technology companies.

Stay tuned for full Q3 coverage tomorrow and let us know what’s on your mind via the comments!

Winclone 2.1.2 Utility Out the Door

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 03:11
Category: News, Software

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You know, I haven’t heard of this, but it looks useful. Over the weekend, developer twocanoes.com released version 2.1.2 of Winclone, the company’s backup utility that allows users to make a quick clone of their Boot Camp partition as well as restore from that image. The new version, a two megabyte download, fixes a minor issue with quoting of gptfresh that caused issues at the end of restores.

Winclone 2.1.2 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried Winclone and have an opinion about it, let us know in the comments.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.1 Update

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Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009, 01:53
Category: Software

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Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.1 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.5 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Version 3.5.1 introduces a fix for a critical security hole, improving stability, and speeding launch time on some Windows systems.

Firefox 3.5.1 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

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

Apple Releases iMovie 8.0.4 Update

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Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009, 01:48
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released iMovie 8.0.4, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 35.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed a problem with incorrect rotation when working with video created by iPhone 3GS.
  • Resolved instability when adding multiple beat markers in some languages.
  • Corrected an issue where iMovie could become unresponsive after using fine-tuning controls beyond the stabilized portions of a clip.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Apparently Reconsidering Matte Displays on iMacs, Notebooks

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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When Apple began to slowly convert its notebook and iMacs displays to highly-reflective glass surfaces shortly after the release of the original iPhone in 2007, opinions were mixed as to the change. In short, Jason pretty much Hulked Out given the annoyance. And there may have been smashing.

The screen, which has been considered almost as reflective as a mirror, has drawn complaints from users using the notebooks in outdoor environments.

According to AppleInsider and the Apple Core, in January 2009, Apple appeared to concede the point that glossy screens aren’t for everyone when they announced the new 17″ MacBook Pro with a matte screen option. The company included a US$50 upcharge for anti-glare but offered users a choice. Apple then went on to release the rest of the unibody MacBook Pro line with glossy-only displays.

Per the AppleInsider article, Apple may have realized the error of its glossy ways, as the company is “mulling the possibility of extending anti-glare display options to more of its Macs” and that “the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros would be the most likely candidates.”

Apple Legal Department Asks Microsoft to Stop Airing “Laptop Hunter” Ads

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:24
Category: retail

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In what may be considered a triumph depending on which side you’re on, Apple has apparently responded to Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunter” series of television commercials. Per Ars Technica, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner was quoted as stating at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday that “two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying [...] ‘Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.’” Turner further went on to note that “they took like $100 off or something,” before stating to applause that it “was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business.”

Turner also confirmed that Microsoft is indeed “just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”

I’m not sure if this is effective marketing or not, as no one has actually mentioned enjoying these commercials to any extent of the imagination…

Let us know what you think over in the comments.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2.1, Cripples Palm Pre iTunes Syncing with Update

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:14
Category: iTunes, Mac, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update offers a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned “verification of Apple devices” toes the line as to which handhelds can sync to iTunes and which can’t. According to Macworld, the fact that the update “addresses an issue with verifying Apple devices,” essentially means that Apple’s drawn up a list of which devices are allowed to sync and which aren’t—and the Palm Pre is public enemy number one on the latter.

Back in May, prior to the Pre’s official release, Palm executives announced that the device would be able to sync with iTunes, pulling down your music, podcasts, and videos. The trick? As far as iTunes was concerned, the Palm Pre was an iPod.

While the media sync worked pretty well in previous tests, it was unclear as to whether Apple would allow it to sync to iTunes should future versions be released. Apple may have toed the line via a Knowledge Base article describing third party media players being supported by iTunes.

With iTunes 8.2.1, Apple seems to have stopped the Palm Pre from syncing to iTunes altogether, a move confirmed by the company in a statement to the Dow Jones Newswire. Also speaking to Dow Jones, a Palm spokesperson seemed to suggest that not upgrading iTunes is a good solution—but it seems unlikely most users will be willing to do that, especially over the long term as Apple adds more iTunes features.

While the Pre also works as a USB drive, it’s possible to just copy songs over manually, though it can be a laborious process. There’s also the option of third-party syncing software, such as Mark/Space’s The Missing Sync for Palm Pre, doubleTwist, and the forthcoming Salling Media Sync 1.1, which is currently in beta.

Apple Posts iPhone OS 3.1 Beta 2, New Mac OS X 10.6 Seed

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:30
Category: News

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Last night, Apple distributed iPhone developers with a second beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware as well as offered Mac developers a new incremental build of its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system.

According to ArsTechnica, iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 is only accessible to those with an existing developer account and provides a number of fixes and features, including the ability to connect to and work with a system wirelessly, without the tether of a USB cable.

No official information is available regarding the upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 as developers are currently under a non-disclosure agreement. The second beta is available at the iPhone Dev Center Web site.

Though the new feature does free up a USB port and allows more flexibility for developers, Apple has reportedly warned that physically tethering is still the preferred method, as it is faster and consumes less power.

As revealed with the first release, iPhone OS 3.1 is expected to add Bluetooth and video features. Users can now invoke Voice Control using a Bluetooth headset rather than a wired headset or the built-in microphone. When editing video clips, users can save a copy of the trimmed video instead of permanently losing the discarded ends.

The article reports that developers cannot install applications from Xcode or debug them via WiFi.

Further additions appear to improve battery life, greater access to video recording features for developers, and possible preparation for adding MMS support for AT&T subscribers.

The first iPhone OS 3.1 beta and SDK reportedly included roughly a dozen new extensions for the OpenGL ES graphics library, allowing developers to improve graphics on the iPhone 3GS. Beta 2 reportedly includes fixes for the OS Xcode, as well as other facets of the software.

Where the conventional Mac OS X operating system is concerned, developers testing Snow Leopard received build 10A411 of the operating system over the next-gen system’s Software Update mechanism.

“This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A402 or later,” Apple reportedly told developers. “This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security.”

The latest update weighs in at roughly 730 MB, about half the size of build 10A402a distributed last week.

Other World Computing Releases Free Online Library of DIY Videos for Apple Notebook Owners Looking to Upgrade Components

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:51
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, PowerBook G4, PowerBook G4 Aluminum, PowerBook G4 Titanium

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Accessory manufacturer Other World Computing announced the completion of its series of Do It Yourself videos for Apple’s entire MacBook and MacBook Pro product line on Tuesday. The videos cover all of the DIY options for these laptops, including memory, hard drive and/or optical drive components for all of Apple’s laptop line from the Titanium PowerBook G4 to the latest Unibody line as well as include warnings for the issues customers should be considering and other instructions needed to do the upgrade.

The installation videos are being offered for free, and OWC has made them available in low, medium, and high resolutions.