MyService Now Offering 750GB MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade

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Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:38
Category: News

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Apple service provider MyService has launched a program in which the company will install a 750 gigabyte hard drive in your MacBook Pro notebook. According to MacNN, the US$375 price tag includes round-trip shipping, installation of the drive, and full data transfer. In particular the new drive is a 5400rpm Scorpio Blue model from Western Digital. Its height slightly exceeds the standard 9.5mm for 2.5-inch drives, but still fits in the computers accepted by MyService.

A compatibility list includes all of the unibody MacBook Pros as well as the 13″ basic unibody MacBook, and the 17″ MacBook Pro with a silver keyboard. The company is also promising a 24-hour in-shop turnaround, and the option of installing Snow Leopard for US$30.

The service includes shipping, data migration and the return of the old drive. Other drive capacities are available at varying prices. As MyService is an authorized service provider, upgrades should not void Apple’s warranty.

DivX Player 7.0.1 Now Available

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Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:39
Category: Software

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DivX for Mac, the shareware player that allows users to view high definition H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and video, hit version 7.0.1 yesterday. The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the followings changes and features:

- DivX Player 7.0.1 now supports playback of DivX Plus files (.mkv/H.264/AAC) and has an updated UI.
- Use of the DivX Codec 6.8.3.
- Up to 50% faster decoding on multi-core computers for better HD Playback.
- New custom matrices that allow for better fine tuning of encoder for specific content type.
- DivX Converter 1.3.1 has been updated to work on Leopard (and to work in general).

DivX Player 7.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

How-To: Work Around Snow Leopard Installation Issues

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: How-To, Mac, Software

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As nifty as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) may be, according to MacFixIt, a number of users are reporting a problem where the installer will not recognize the current boot drive as a valid destination for Snow Leopard. Instead, it will display the drive with a yellow triangle on it, indicating something is wrong with that drive. When the drive is selected, the installer claims the system cannot boot from the drive.

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, poster “redpola” writes:

“I closed all my apps. I ran the installer. I agreed to the terms. I am asked where to install Snow Leopard. Only one disk is available – my boot disk. It has a yellow triangle on it.

Selecting the disk tells me ‘Mac OS X cannot be installed on Macintosh HD, because this disk cannot be used to start up your computer.’ Rebooting and attempting an install direct from CD yields the same results.”

The issue occurs when the Snow Leopard installer detects a small discrepancy in the partition table of the drive, and assumes booting off the drive may not be successful. The fixes involve rewriting the table without formatting the drive, but if that does not work then formatting should definitely work (provided you have a backup).

Fixes:
1. Run drive checks.

The first thing to do is run Disk Utility or, even better, run a third-party utility program to check out the drive to ensure it is functioning correctly. Fixing any errors may require booting off a volume other than the boot volume (i.e., the Snow Leopard DVD or a Drive Genius DVD), and performing the fixes from there.

2. Repartition the drive.

This problem might happen even if the drive checks out with various disk utility software. The way around this is to have Disk Utility repartition the drive, which, luckily, can be done without having to format the drive. To do this, boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select your language. Then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Resize the partition by selecting the volume name in the rectangular volume representation and drag the bottom-right corner of it to change its size.

Click “Apply” to change the partition’s size.

Revert the change by dragging the same resizing corner back to the bottom, and click “apply.”

After this is done, quit out of Disk Utility and try installing Snow Leopard again. Since you are booted from the Snow Leopard DVD you should be able to continue immediately without having to reboot your system.

Workarounds:
1. Format and install.

If you have a full system backup via Time Machine or a drive clone, you can format your boot drive and do a clean install of OS X. To do this, first be sure your backups are complete and accessible, and then boot off the Snow Leopard DVD (click the “Utilities” button instead of “Continue” in the Leopard installer, or reboot and hold the “C” key to boot off the CD/DVD drive). When the installer loads, select your language and then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Select “1 partition” from the drop-down menu, and then give the partition a name and format it as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Click the “options” button and select “GUID” for the partition table.

Close this window and click “Apply” to repartition the table.

Close “Disk Utility” and continue with the Snow Leopard installation.

When the installation completes, migrate your data from your backup to the new system.
In this procedure, you can migrate from either your Time Machine backup, or from a cloned drive. Keep in mind that when you do this you may need to reinstall some programs since a clean install may break some application dependency links to system files.

Rumor: Apple TV Could Receive Changes at September 9th Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: Apple TV, Rumor

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Altering an earlier opinion that surprise announcements weren’t to be expected at Apple’s anticipated September 9th media event, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster released a second note Tuesday suggesting an Apple TV upgrade could debut at next week’s event.

Per AppleInsider, Munster stated that he believed an appearance by Steve Jobs would be the biggest news out of the iPod-centric event. Munster has now said stated that he has reason to believe there will be an Apple TV-related announcement next Wednesday. In a note, he pointed out that Apple’s online store has a wait time of one to two weeks for the 40GB model at US$229. Munster said he has never seen a delay for the Apple TV since it debuted in March of 2007. The analyst suggests that Apple is either phasing out the 40GB model, as the 160GB offering is still available, or is selling its remaining inventory before a new product launches.

“We believe the company is most likely phasing out the 40GB model and possibly reducing the price of the 160GB model,” he said, “but a new model is possible given the hardware has been the same for 2+ years.”

Munster does not believe that a major upgrade to the Apple TV will happen next week because he expects such an announcement to coincide with a subscription service that would need to be negotiated with content providers. Weeks ago, Munster reiterated his belief that Apple is working towards a new Apple TV with iTunes show subscriptions and possibly DVR capabilities.

“It is unlikely that negotiations for new content are finished,” he said.

Given the age of the Apple TV hardware, Munster said he wouldn’t rule out a new lineup as a “wildcard” announcement at the media-centric event.

Munster went on to re-state his belief that Apple will launch a full-fledged television set in two to five years. Such a device, he said, would have DVR and home media functionality built in, and would sync content with Macs, iPhones and iPods wirelessly. He said an Apple television could also play games, with an iPhone or iPod touch acting as the wireless controller.

“Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs,” he said. “We believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers.”

Apple, China Mobile Still in Talks Over iPhone Distribution

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Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:43
Category: iPhone

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Following up on the story that Apple settled on wireless carrier China Unicom to distribute the iPhone in China last week, Apple is apparently still in talks with China Mobile to sort out a distribution deal with the company.

According to Macworld UK, the talks between Apple and China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier by subscribers, have reached no conclusion yet, a China Mobile spokeswoman said Tuesday. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company’s three-year distribution deal with China Unicom is not exclusive, but did not say if the company is in talks with other potential partners.

China Unicom will offer the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, with the first handsets going on sale in the fourth quarter. The company began its talks with Apple two years ago, but China Unicom, which operates a 3G network compatible with the iPhone, became seen as the favorite for an iPhone deal in recent months.

One snag in China Mobile’s talks with Apple was the carrier’s plan for its own mobile application store, which was seen as a potential competitor with the iPhone App Store. Another was China Mobile’s use of a mobile standard for its 3G network that was domestically developed and is not compatible with current iPhone models.

The app store and 3G standard snags could remain in any talks. The China Mobile download store went online last month and supports handsets including “Ophones,” or devices that run a China Mobile operating system but have a layout very similar to an iPhone.

Some details of the iPhone launch could still pose problems for China Unicom as well, including how and whether revenue from the App Store should be shared, one analyst said.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for Mac Mini, Assorted iMac Models

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Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:40
Category: iMac, Mac mini, News, Software

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Late Monday, Apple released two firmware updates, one for certain models of its popular iMac desktop and the other for Mac Mini computers that address problems with noises from optical disk drives during startup and compatibility with memory upgrades.

Per MacFixIt, the Apple Mac Mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 patch “improves compatibility with the latest Apple memory kits on Mac mini computers.” Oddly though, there is no specific memory upgrade for the Mac Mini on Apple’s memory selector over at http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/mac_accessories/memory.

The Apple SuperDrive 3.0 firmware update will eliminate noise made by optical drives during system startup and when systems wake from sleep. This update will only work with the following firmware updates and Mac system models:

- iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.4
- Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2
- iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009), iMac (24-inch, Early 2009), Mac mini (Early 2009)

As with any firmware update, you should only install it if you are experiencing the problems they address. If you do install it, be sure to not interrupt the installer. If the system lags do not press the power button to shut down, since an interrupted firmware update can irreparably damage your system.

The updates are available through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Opera 10.0 Web Browser Released

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Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:13
Category: Software

operalogo

Early Tuesday, Opera Software released Opera 10.0, the latest version of its free web browser.

The new version, a 16.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Improved:
* Opera Turbo dialog box margins and whitespace
* Tab states and positioning of the Standard Skin
* Visual tabs appearance
* Minor alterations to the opera:x, Error and Fraud pages appearance
* Increased Auto update check interval

Fixed:
* Opening the Address bar dropdown
* Navigating back and forth to a form with an open input suggester
* Disabling links on the Navigation bar
* Toolbar updates
* Gmail Contact manager issue
* Collapsed Address Bar not showing domain name until page finishes loading
* Problem while navigating History
* BitTorrent problem
* Not being able to remove the Menu button
* Issue when saving a picture that has not been fully downloaded
* Problem with “Sychronize Opera” button in Opera Speed Dial
* Deletion of speed dials not being synchronized

Display and Scripting Fixed:
* ECMAScript allocator/garbage collector issue
* Web font with a local src not working
* Spotify link conversion issue
* History entry incorrectly created when IFRAME added using JavaScript (Yandex)
* XMLHttpRequest buffer overflow

Mail, News, Chat Fixed:
* Message body missing when marking a message as read before the body is downloaded
* Unchecking “import messages” in the import dialog still processes messages
* E-mail addresses are not fetched from a header using iso-8859-15 encoding
* The customized HTML font dropdown in the Appearance dialog
* Resetting HTML compose toolbar making the font list unusable
* Words in Opera Mail and Feeds being cut off by the vertical scrollbar
* Problem when opening image attachments

Security Fixed:
* Sometimes unable to complete a secure transaction

Mac Improved:
* Tab states and positions on the Mac native skin

Fixed:
* Issues with with some plugins
* Problem with Web fonts display

Opera 10.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

iPod Inventories Running Low as September 9th Event Approaches

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 04:15
Category: News

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With Apple’s anticipated media event approaching in nine days, it’s not surprising that Apple’s supply of current model iPods happens to be dwindling with likely product upgrades on the horizon.

According to Ars Technica, a number of Apple Authorized Resellers have stated that the current stock of iPod models is no longer being shipped, and all of the current SKUs are being discontinued. The news is expected, as Apple refreshes its iPod lineup every September.

“According to insiders speaking to Ars, stock of current iPod models is running dry and new ones aren’t coming in anytime soon,” the report states. “This all but confirms that an iPod refresh is on the way, but we already knew that.”

Per the September 9th event, Apple is expected to announce new versions of the iPod nano and iPod touch, both equipped with cameras. Though those models have likely been confirmed with numerous photos of third party cases, less clear is a more recent rumor on the iPod classic also receiving a possible camera upgrade.

Weeks of rumors have also suggested Apple could announce iTunes 9, which could have support for Blu-ray and social media.

Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4 Provides Snow Leopard’s Replacement for Palm Desktop

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:41
Category: Software

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Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) hit last Friday and, unfortunately, the upgrade breaks communication and compatibility with Palm’s aged Palm Desktop software once and for all. Per Macworld UK, third-party developer Mark/Space has stepped forward to offer its Missing Sync for Palm OS, which now supports Snow Leopard, according to a statement released by the company.

The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4, a 40.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), syncs contact information, calendars and tasks with Address Book and iCal, and can also transfer photos, syncs contact photos, syncs music playlists and video, synchronizes notes with Microsoft Entourage, Bare Bones Yojimbo or Mark/Space Notebook, copy folders, documents and files to the Palm OS device, lets you save text messages and extract information, and copies your Treo and Centro call history to your Mac.

Missing Sync for Palm OS retails for US$40, is also available as a US$30 “crossgrade” for users of other Mark/Space products. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3846 Released

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:17
Category: News

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Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3846 on Monday. The new version, which can be downloaded from here (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the following fixes and changes:

Improvements:
* Improved 3D graphics in Windows virtual machines.
* Problems with Palm synchronization in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Random disconnection of USB 1.1 devices in Linux virtual machines — fixed.
* Invisibility of the text mouse pointer on black background in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Problems with SMB shares in native Windows Boot Camp installations that have Parallels Tools installed — fixed.
* Problems with Shared Networking on Snow Leopard host computers — fixed.

Improvements:
* General performance improvements.
* Improved USB support (performance, USB1.1 compatibility fixes).
* Better performance of Suspend/Resume operations.
* Improved hard disk performance for virtual machines converted from Parallels Desktop 2.5 and 3.0.
* Memory leak in Parallels Desktop GUI that might happen after 1-2 days of work — fixed.
* Accidental crash in Redhat Linux 5.2 Server x86_64 during installation — fixed.
* Problems with connecting Palm handheld devices via USB — fixed.
* Improved sound playback via USB devices.
* Empty keyboard remapping in the clean PD4 installation — fixed.
* Networking issues when the Mac network location changes — fixed.
* Timezone and daylight saving time were not synchronized in the virtual machine with time synchronization enabled — fixed.

Click the jump for the rest of the story…