Late Monday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.0.5, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac.
Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments.
The new version, a 17.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
Added support for several new RAW file formats.
Now you can upload videos larger than 100MB.
Better previews when using Sharpen, Glow, or Film Grain.
Improvements for syncing to Picasa Web Albums.
Various minor bug fixes and stability improvements.
Picasa 3.0.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
Over the weekend, Apple released its iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.4 patch for iMac desktops equipped with ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 graphics card. The update, a 1.7 megabyte download (also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature) fixes intermittent system freeze issues and fixes wake-from-sleep issues in Boot Camp.
To run the firmware update process, please follow the instructions in the updater application (/Applications/Utilities/iMac EFI Firmware Update.app). The updater will launch automatically when the Installer closes.
After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be:
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
Some things defy description.
This is one of them.
And yes, Apple has admitted as to the hinge problem with the MacBook Air, but considering the meaty pile of bills awaiting payment somewhere around the house, this is about as “spoiled brat” a solution to a problem as it gets…
Recently, software developer Intuit released Quicken Online Mobile, the company’s iPhone and iPod touch companion to the Quicken personal finance web service.
According to Macworld, the application focuses on a forward-looking view of your money, showing you how much you have left until your next paycheck. It lets you set budgets and keep track of them while you’re out and about, and you can enter cash purchases on the go to track spending, among other features.
Upon setting up a free account with Quicken’s online service (which reportedly works with more than 5,000 financial institutions for checking, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards), Quicken Online and the Quicken Online Mobile app lets you see and tracks all of those accounts, downloading your financial data once a day (Wells Fargo accounts, however, don’t currently support auto updating.)
Intuit has stated that the application doesn’t store any of your financial passwords and the Quicken Online Mobile app uses a four-digit passcode for added protection on your iPhone.
The app also includes an integrated ATM finder that uses the iPhone 3G’s GPS capabilities to help you find nearby places to get cash at ATMs that won’t add a surcharge. You can also enter a zip code to search for ATMs, which lets users of the iPod touch and older iPhones use the feature as well.
Quicken Online Mobile requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to install and run.
Apple may be in the process of restructuring its Mac offerings to include a variety of lower-priced models. According to AppleInsider, an anonymous source told the publication that this change could be in effect and that more affordable variations of the MacBook notebook and the best-selling iMac could be en route.
Though specific details weren’t to be found and Apple recently reported its best non-holiday quarter yet, Mac sales have taken a hit as the economic recession continues. Shipments for computers were down 3%, while iPhone and iPod sales contributed to an 8.6% gain in revenue.
According to the article, many analysts believe Apple’s lackluster performance in the PC segment can be explained by its higher ASPs. Although the structural collapse of selling prices has slashed revenues for many companies, the Mac-maker could be experiencing a drop in market share as customers flock to less-expensive systems. While Apple was shipping less Macs for the recent quarter, HP systems showed an 11% gain.
Acer has doubled its market share in the U.S. in recent quarters, this gain being attributed to the popularity of its netbook devices. User spending is also said to have contracted significantly in the first quarter of the year, and it remains unknown if the global PC market has reached its lowest point.
Although revised pricing information has yet to be fully disclosed, it is believed that the first products could arrive as early as this spring with a revamped MacBook line.
Accessory provider Other World Computing announced the release of its new Mercury SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for Apple’s 13″ MacBook and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The new OWC Mercury SuperDrives offer faster burn speeds than factory – up to 8X DVD, 6X DVD-DL (Dual-Layer 8.5GB), 5X DVD-RAM, and 24X CD burn speeds with support for DVD+/-R/RW, DVD+/-R DL (Dual-Layer), DVD-RAM, and CD-R/RW media.
The new SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks available immediately:
OWC Mercury SuperDrive Dual-Layer Internal Drive Kit for the 13″ MacBook and 15″ MacBook Pro(Non-”Unibody”) features up to 8X DVD+/-R burn, 6X DVD-R DL burn, 5X DVD-RAM, 24X CD-R burn, and 1 year OWC warranty and is priced at US$147.99.
The “Value Bundle” of this same SuperDrive Kit, priced at US$159.99, also includes 10 pieces of 8X DVD-R media in jewel cases, Prosoft Data Backup 3 software, and NTI DragonBurn CD/DVD authoring software.
Apple’s long had a strange relationship with Blu-Ray support on its machines, often cited as the company’s hesitancy when it couldn’t get all the concessions it wanted on licensing. Even with this, an interesting article on MacRumors has discovered references to Blu-Ray data from the Gracenote music service in the latest version of the iTunes 8.2 beta.
In short, official Blu-Ray support may not be far off for the Mac.
Software Cellular Network Ltd., makers of Truphone software and call services, released version 3.0 of its popular iPhone app. The new version, available in the App Store (iTunes link), adds the following new features:
View your call history in real time.
Instant messenger tool is now integrated into the app.
Super-clear sound and improved reliability.
The new version requires an iPhone running firmware 2.1 or higher.
Versions of Truphone are also available for the iPod Touch and G1 (Android) Smartphone.
Apparently the Kindle app for iPhone wasn’t enough for Amazon. Monday it was announced on Lexcycle, Inc.’s blog that the online retailer purchased the company which includes the popular iPhone eBook reader Stanza.
According to the Lexcycle blog, there will be no changes to the Stanza application or it’s function as the result of the acquisition. They imply that they hope they will be able to offer more books and services through the Amazon connection. No mention of the company’s purchase on Amazon’s web site or PR releases.
Lexcycle is encouraging discussion of the move on their forums or by contacting them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can discuss it on OUR forums and tell us whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is this the first step in an Amazon eBook monopoly? Personally, I think Stanza is a great program so I hope Amazon leaves it alone and just makes good deals on books available to it.
It came from the very depths of Rumorville, but it’s interesting stuff.
Per BusinessWeek, two anonymous sources have stated that Apple and Verizon may release two new Verizon-exclusive iPhone-like products as early as this summer.
The rumors go hand-in-hand with recent talk that the iPhone is coming to Verizon, and that Apple has new devices up its sleeve for the summer.
The first device has been described as an iPhone nano of sorts and may function as a smaller, less expensive iPhone handset. The “iPhone Lite”, as it’s been coined, is smaller and thinner than the existing iPhone and will come cheaper because it “relies on a so-called system on a chip, which incorporates many types of chips and drives down the cost of silicon in such devices.”
The other device is a “media pad” which features the same functionality as an iPod Touch – music, games, photos – but with HD video and calling ability via a Wi-Fi connection.
The sources told Business Week that the device will be smaller than Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook reader, but feature a larger touchscreen, paving the way for more speculation about Apple entering the eBook market.
“The media pad category might go to Verizon,” a witness told Business Week. “We are talking about a device where people will say, ‘Damn, why didn’t we do this?’ Apple is probably going to define the damn category.”