How-To: Reset Mac OS X’s Software Updater Function

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Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:20
Category: How-To

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As nigh-indispensable as Mac OS’s Software Update feature can be to locate and install patches for the operating system and supported applications from Apple, there remains the fact that some items might not install or the updater may not seem to work at all.
Per MacFixIt, a user identified as “The Dragon” posted this comment over in the Apple Discussion Boards:

“After a longish while, the “Checking for new software…” progress bar [in Software Update] had reached about halfway, and the update list indicated it had found five updates. At that point however, the progress bar chose to freeze entirely. After a good while and no further progress, I Cancel the update, and attempt to relaunch. Software Update opens, but the aforementioned progress bar freezes immediately.”

Like any other application, problems can occur if any required resources have become corrupt. From here, the application will start properly and not run correctly. These resources can include the program’s preferences files and caches. In addition, when updates are applied, a receipt is generated that Software Update reads to know what updates have already been installed. If an installation fails, but the receipt is left, software update may not try to install a needed update. Additionally, if a receipt is corrupt, then software update may try to repeatedly install the same update.
Assorted fixes for the issue include the following steps:

Fixes:
1. Remove Software Update preference and cache files.
If Software Update seems to be unable to complete an update, and either freezes or quits half-way through checking for updates, then try removing the application’s preferences and cache files from the following locations:
/username/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.NUMBER.plist”
/username/Library/Preferences/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
/username/Library/Caches/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate” (folder)
/Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ –> remove”com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
After removing these items, restart the system for the changes to take effect and try launching Software Update again.
2. Remove faulty receipts.
If an update continuously appears and is being applied, try removing the receipt for that specific update. The receipt should be located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Receipts/ folder and will be named something similar to the update files (i.e., FrontRowUpdate2.1.7.pkg). Do not delete the receipt, but instead move it to the desktop or some other location and retry the update. If it still does not work, replace the receipt in its original location, since it may be required and isn’t the root of the problem.

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Apple Job Listing Points Out Possibility of iPod Touch Gaining Built-In Camera

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Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:11
Category: iPod Touch

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A recent Apple job listing points out that Apple may be looking to extend camera functions over to its popular iPod touch handset.
According to AppleiPhoneApps.com, a job listing originally posted on March 16th stated that Apple is “looking for a Camera Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to drive the design, development and integration of camera modules across iPhone and iPod.”
“The EPM is the interface between our internal engineering teams and the suppliers of sensors, lenses and camera modules,” the listing says. “In this highly cross functional role the EPM will work closely together with the HW, SW and mechanical engineering team to coordinate all aspects of the camera module design, production and integration.”
Recent reports have indicated that Apple may be looking to expand its handset camera capabilities and that the next iPhone will see its camera upgraded from 2.0 megapixels to 3.2 megapixels as well as possibly add video functionality.
Per an AppleInsider story, Apple changed the text of its job posting to omit the mention of iPods in the listing.

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Apple Releases iTunes 8.1.1 Update

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Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 06:17
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.1.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 68 megabyte download, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

  • Adds support for renting HD movies.
  • Provides a number of bug fixes, including addressing issues with VoiceOver and syncing with iPhone or iPod touch.
  • iTunes 8.1.1 is available for free, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be snagged using Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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    App Store Number Finally Reaches 77

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 13:37
    Category: App Store, Apple

    On March 17, Apple announced that the App Store would be available for iPhone/iPod Touch customers in 77 countries. Through the end of March, the count stayed at 62, but finally over the April 4th weekend the additional 15 countries appeared on iTunes.

    The 15 additional countries are as follows:

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    • Dominican Republic
    • Ecuador
    • Egypt
    • Estonia
    • Honduras
    • Jamaica
    • Kazakstan
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Macau
    • Malta
    • Moldova
    • Nicaragua
    • Paraguay
    • Uruguay

    The Italian site setteB.IT reports that this works out to potentially 161.8 million new customers for Apple, the App Store, and software developers. Of the 15 countries, Kazakstan is the only one where the iPhone 3G is not available yet. The countries where the iPhone 3G is available but without an App Store are: Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Montenegro, Niger, Reunion (France) and Senegal.

    The original article can be read (translated from Italian) here.

    Next-Gen iPhone, iPod Touch Models to Support Faster, Low-Power 802.11n Protocol

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 10:02
    Category: iPhone

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    A list of wireless radio component specifications found within beta distributions of the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware offers details for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n bound for the third-generation iPod touch handset. According to AppleInsider, the chip is also likely to be en route for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models.
    The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329 in the description. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
    Current iPhone and iPod touch generations provide support for 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, pushing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That resulting push forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often-crowded 2.4GHz band.
    Apple’s latest firmware update for its AirPort base stations added support for dual-band networks, allowing both slow and fast devices to hook into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals at the same time.
    New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification as well as channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.
    The new device also focuses on efficient power management, with a special integrated PMU (power management unit) and a shared Bluetooth and WiFi receive signal path, which “eliminates the need for an external power splitter while maintaining excellent sensitivity for both Bluetooth and WLAN.”
    The new component could dramatically speed up WiFi throughput and flexibility as AT&T and other providers also upgrade their 3G networks to take advantage of parallel improvements in mobile 3G speed capacity expected in the new iPhone.

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    Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

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    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
    Category: How-To

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    Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
    Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
    Per Mac OS X 10.4:

    1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
    2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
    3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

    Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
    The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

    Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
    Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
    Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

    For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
    For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

    There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
    Watching a DVD movie
    Listening to your iTunes music library
    Running an automated backup
    Away from your computer while downloading large files

    The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

    You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

    Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

    If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
    Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

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    VLC Updated to 0.9.9a

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 06:36
    Category: Software

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    Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), has recently been updated to version 0.9.9a. The new version, a 31.6 megabyte download, fixes the application’s behavior on PowerPC-based Macs and includes updated libraries for the Mac OS X platforms.
    VLC 0.9.9a requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and is available as a free download.

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    Woz and “Footloose”…

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 08:06
    Category: Fun

    Sometimes, you just can’t find the words.
    This is one of those times:




    If you have any reactions, just shoot your e-mail replies here, we promise we’ll publish them, though we won’t cover the therapy.
    Still…go Woz!

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    Microsoft Drops Hints Regarding Office for the iPhone

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    Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 08:37
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Microsoft apparently still holds aspirations of delivering a version of Office to Apple’s iPhone handset, though some more development time may still be necessary.
    According to TechCrunch, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Wednesday, dropped hints to suggest that Office was bound to turn up on the Apple handheld device sometime soon.
    Elop later hedged his remarks when interviewer Tim O’Reilly probed him over the comments, admitting that the software isn’t ready quite yet and stating that hopefuls should “keep watching.”
    Over a year ago, Microsoft expressed “confidence” in its ability to deliver applications for the iPhone. At the time, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of the company’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, indicated to Fortune that Office applications were a natural choice.
    “It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,” he said. “To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.”
    Although the iPhone ships with built-in support for viewing Office documents, users wishing to make changes to those documents have had few options prior to this week’s announcement of Quickoffice, which will support editing (as well as creation of) Word and Excel documents when it’s released later this month.
    To date, Microsoft has become the largest software developer for the Mac outside of Apple, its Mac Business Unit estimated to generate revenues in excess of $350 million and profits of over US$200 million each year.

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    VMWare Releases Fusion 2.0.3

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    Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 08:23
    Category: Software

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    Late Thursday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 2.0.3 of its Fusion software for the Mac.
    Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.
    The new version, a 286 megabyte download, offers the following new features and fixes:

  • Resolves an issue where driverless printing stops working for users that run Mac OS X 10.5.6, and installed Apple Mac OS X Security Update 2009-001. The shared printers would disappear from Windows. If you configured your printer differently as a workaround, turn on driverless printing feature again by clicking Virtual Machine > Settings, selecting Printers, and selecting the Enabled check box.
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server as a guest operating system. You can now run the current Snow Leopard Server builds (32-bit kernel) in a virtual machine.
  • Resolves an issue with driverless printing, where the Enabled check box on Virtual Machine > Settings > Printers might get deselected automatically.
  • The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

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