Apple Freezes Snow Leopard APIs, Mac OS X 10.6 Upgrade Steps Closer to Release

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple distributed a new beta of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system that altered the programming methods used to optimize code for multi-core Macs, telling developers they were the last programming-oriented changes planned ahead of the software’s release.
The company is said to have informed recipients of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard build 10A354 that it has simplified the application programming interfaces (APIs) for working with Grand Central, a new architecture that makes it easier for developers to take advantage of Macs with multiple processing cores.
According to AppleInsider, Grand Central works by breaking complex tasks down into smaller blocks, which are then routed efficiently to a Mac’s available cores for faster processing. This allows third-party developers to leverage more of a Mac’s hardware resources without having to be well-versed in multithreaded programming.
Sources close to the story say the Grand Central “dispatch” methods were tweaked/simplified within build 10A354. Apple has also apparently told developers that “no further API changes are planned for Snow Leopard.”
This means developers can now press forward with Snow Leopard versions of their applications with confidence that further Apple-instated changes won’t force them to make significant alterations to their code between now and the time the software hits the market. It can also be seen as a sign that the the operating system upgrade is one step closer to reaching a final developmental stretch that will focus on stability and optimization.
Other reputed changes include the addition of Chinese handwriting recognition support for Macs that include a multi-touch trackpad.
In support of the handwriting recognition software in Snow Leopard, Apple also reportedly tweaked the system’s Language & Text Preference Pane to include support for bidirectional text.
Apple has apparently also included a new codec due to debut with Snow Leopard called MPEG-4 High Efficiency AAC (or HE-AAC). The company has stated that the codec is an extension of the Low Complexity AAC (or AAC-LC) codec that’s optimized for low-bitrate steaming of audio and podcasts.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is expected to hit the market sometime this summer with a near-finalized version likely to make a public appearance at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Apple this weekend also equipped developers with Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J61, which corrected one more minor issue with the impending Leopard update.

Apple, Dell, HP Notebook Owners Consolidating Class-Action Suit Against Nvidia

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 07:11
Category: Legal

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Respective owners of Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard notebooks have combined their lawsuits against graphics chip maker Nvidia in an attempt to create a stronger class action suit to force the company to replace flawed processors.
If successful, the case could involve millions of notebooks in question.
According to Macworld UK, the five plaintiffs, including a Louisiana resident who purchased an Apple MacBook Pro a year ago, filed an amended complaint last week in a San Francisco federal court which accused Nvidia of violating consumer-protection laws.
Nvidia had admitted to the problem in July of 2008 when the company stated that some older chipsets that had shipped in “significant quantities” of notebooks were flawed. In a subsequent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company argued that its chip suppliers, the laptop makers and even consumers were to blame.
Nvidia later told the SEC that it would take a US$196 million charge to pay for replacing the graphics processors.
Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in turn told their users that some of the notebooks contained faulty Nvidia chipsets. Apple later stated that the company had been misled, citing that “Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected,” Apple said in a support document posted last October.
“However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers … may be affected.”
Click the jump for the full story…

TomTom Looking for Developers to Help Create iPhone Application

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Date: Monday, May 11th, 2009, 08:46
Category: iPhone, security

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Navigation and not-getting-as-lost outfit TomTom is apparently stepping up its efforts to create a turn-by-turn application for the iPhone.
Per Electronista, a jobserve.us job listing doesn’t mention the company but asks for someone to develop navigation software in Amsterdam, the location of TomTom’s headquarters. The ideal candidate would start in May or June and work on developing the application for at least six months.
TomTom was one of the earliest GPS device makers to express an interest in iPhone applications, confirming its attempts a month ahead of the App Store’s launch last July.

Rumor: Boot Camp Under Mac OS X to Include Windows HFS+ Drivers

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Date: Monday, May 11th, 2009, 08:04
Category: Rumor

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Mac OS X 10.6 is en route and according to MacRumors, evidence has been discovered showing a new version of Apple’s Boot Camp Utility under a Mac OS X 10.6 build offering support for Windows HFS+ drivers.
Such a change would allow Windows installations to read Mac OS X HFS+ formatted partitions and make it easier for Snow Leopard users to exchange files between Mac and Windows partitions without the assistance of third-party utilities.

Elgato Releases Elgato Video Capture for Mac, iPhone and iPod

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 14:26
Category: Accessory, Software

Accessory provider Elgato Systems announced the release of Elgato Video Capture, a hardware/software combination device for transferring analog video, including footage on VHS video tape, to a Mac, iPhone and iPod.
According to Macworld UK, the device connects VCRs, set top boxes, camcorders, DVD players, and other analog video sources, anything that uses composite RCA or S-Video outputs, to the Mac via a USB 2.0 interface.
The unit also ships with a SCART video adapter to allow RCA or S-Video devices to be connected.


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Elgato’s included software offers a simple tool to trim the beginning and end of the captured video as well as export tools to send the video to iTunes, QuickTime, YouTube or iMovie for final editing.
Generated files can then be synced with video capable iPods, iPhones and Apple TV and can be edited in iMovie ’09 without re-encoding.
The Video Capture unit automatically detects NTSC, SECAM, PAL, and PAL/60 video formats for universal compatibility.
Elgato Video Capture requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later, QuickTime 7.6 or later and iTunes 8.1 or later. The unit retails for £89.95 (US$136.45) and will be available from Apple retail stores and other Mac resellers.

Apple Revises “Wet iPhone” Policy Terms

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 08:07
Category: iPhone

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Over the past couple of years, some of my clients have inadvertently soaked their iPhones (the rocket scientist who routinely works for NASA managed to marinate his in a gym bag filled with Gatorade and the other stories are even more obscure).
Given this situation, the result from Apple was fairly punitive: time to shell out for a new iPhone as well as a new AT&T contract.
According to PC World, Apple has revised its “wet iPhone” policy. Now, if you’ve soaked the handset, just walk into an Apple Store location, belly on up to the Genius Bar and they’ll replace it out for you for US$199 without needing to renew the standard two-year contract.
Otherwise, do what you can to keep it not-moist and you should be in business.

BBEdit Updated to 9.2

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 08:51
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Bare Bones Software released version 9.2 of BBEdit, its popular text and HTML editor. The software retails for US$125 for new users. The new version, a 15.4 megabyte download, features the following fixes and improvements:

  • Introduces an array of noteworthy features and refinements, including an innovative new Sleep command, which captures the state of the application and restores it at next launch. By sleeping BBEdit instead of quitting, customers can continue working after a system restart or software update with minimal disruption. The version 9.2 update also adds built-in support for editing LassoScript source code, including syntax coloring, function navigation and text folding.
  • The BBEdit 9.2 update also includes major enhancements to Projects with added commands for convenience, shortcuts for searching, and a new file format which better fits with source code management systems such as Subversion and Perforce. Version 9.2 includes an overhaul to BBEdit’s management of recently used items.
  • BBEdit 9.2 also signals enhancements to the Scratchpad feature, syntax coloring for all languages, with specific improvements to the Java and Python language support, and new support for the ability to browse Unix “tar” files in disk browsers.
  • BBEdit 9.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

    Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 5

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:27
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Late Thursday and only a little over one week since its last revision, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5. While details regarding the new version are thin on the ground, The iPhone Blog is reporting that the new version appears to require iTunes 8.2 to install and run.
    Other noted changes include MMS support no longer being able to be turned on in the Settings menu and Apple appears to have patched a loophole that allowed tethering to be enabled.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new build and have something to offer, please let us know.

    Opinion: iPhone Applications Not Worth Your US$0.99

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:33
    Category: Opinion

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    By Rachel Hoyer
    Who can explain the popularity of goofy iPhone applications? Here’s some of my favorite iPhone applications not worth your US$0.99:
    The Moron Test – This quiz features increasingly difficult puzzles which eventually become tricky for even Mensa members to solve. I’m guessing that the point is that it waits for you to get a wrong answer so it can tell you that you’re a moron. Why not save yourself a dollar and go talk to your boss? Furthermore, do you really need validation from your phone that you’re not a moron?
    Larry the Scary Cockroach – Now you can make an animated cockroach run across a friend’s iPhone. How scary. Instead, you could get a free real cockroach off the sidewalk and place it on your friend’s phone, now that would be icky!
    iHunt 3D – Target virtual deer and shoot them by clicking. You can hunt without actually being outdoors or actually killing animals. Anyone remember Duck Hunt? It’s like that, but less fun and without the cool plastic gun.
    iBeer Special – An application that turns the screen of your iPhone into a glass of beer. You can select from a variety of types of beer and then “pour” them by rotating your phone. This is an a highly popular application. Kinda reminds me of those trick plastic mugs with attached plastic beer pouring out.
    Zip Codes – Reference guide to U.S. zip codes. Type in the name of a city and find out its zip code and county name. The U.S. Post Office offers this service for free on their website, or you could just type the city name into any web browser. This application can not be used for its only logical purpose: Determining the zip code of a letter or parcel you’d like to mail. The application’s database doesn’t include street names, you can only search by city or county name. This application would be an ideal gift for people who enjoy memorizing phone books and train schedules.
    Animalizer – You know those pieces of plywood with clowns or silly characters painted on them, but face holes cut out so you can place your own face in them and take a picture? Now you can take pictures of friends and then paste their face onto an image of an animal.
    Smacktalk – If you like Animalizer, you’ll love Smacktalk. Speak a phrase into your iPhone microphone and the audio clip is modified to a squeaky voice and repeated back to you by a dog, cat, or other cute animal. The best part of this game is the glowing testimonials on its App Store page.
    iFart – Ever wished you could embarass yourself in public more often? This is the application for you. Choose from a variety of fart noises to play on your phone, from wet ones to staccato ones to really, really loud ones. As a gag, it would make more sense for the application to send audio clips of farts to other people’s phones. Then your unsuspecting friend would receive an iPhone whoopie cushion. Oddly enough, it’s not only extremely popular, but has also received excellent reviews.
    Name Analyzer – Type your name into your iPhone and it randomly assigns words to describe you based on the acronym. For example: If you type in “Jen” it could respond with “Joyous, Esoteric, Nerdy.” Its database includes both positive and negative words … I suppose if people want to fart in public more often, perhaps they also like to be insulted by their phone.

    Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3844 Released

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    Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 07:49
    Category: Software

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    Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3810 on Wednesday. The new version, a 174.6 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the following fixes and changes:

  • 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.
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 retails for US$79.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.