Cocktail updated to 6.6.1

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Date: Monday, August 12th, 2013, 06:04
Category: News, Software

cocktaillogo.jpg

On Monday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.6.1 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Improvements on the “Clear user caches” procedure.

- Added ability to change Launchpad background effect (Interface – Misc).

- Added ability to change Launchpad background blur radius (Interface – Misc).

- Added ability to refresh Launchpad contents (Interface – Misc).

- Added ability to remove all apps from Launchpad (Interface – Misc).

- Added OS X 10.8.5 compatibility.

Cocktail 6.6.1 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Google Play Books for iOS updated to 1.6.0, adds textbook rental support

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 9th, 2013, 06:16
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

googleplaybooks

This is kind of nifty.

Per AppleInsider,

Google on Thursday updated its iBooks-like Google Play Books port, bringing in-app rentals, highlighting and note taking for scanned books, as well as other features to the iOS title.

Now at version 1.6.0, Google Play Books for iOS now supports in-app rentals, which allows users to access select books from the service’s “millions of titles” on their iPhone, iPad or iPod.

In addition to existing rental titles, users can choose from Google Play’s newly introduced digital textbook library. According to Google’s website, students can save up to 80 percent off the cost of physical textbooks by renting through its service.

With the new service, users can highlight, make notes and, in some cases, copy text from textbooks during the rental period. A quick look at the Google Play store shows a number of titles are already available.

Aside from textbooks the latest version of Google Play Books allows users to mark up books compiled from scanned pages. A new sepia reading mode and stability improvements round out the update’s changes.

Google Play Books comes in at 16.6MB, can be downloaded for free via the App Store and requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

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

Google Earth updated to 7.1.1.1888

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 9th, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, software giant Google released version 7.1.1.1888 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 45 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- The “Enable Controller” option is now default on. If you have an uncalibrated external controller (such as a gaming joystick) connected to your computer, this could result in the Earth spinning with arrows displaying to signify movement. As a workaround, we suggest the following:

- Turning off “Enable Controller” in the “Navigation” tab of Options/Preferences

- Unplugging your external controller, or

- Recalibrating your external controller.

Google Earth 7.1.1.1888 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Skype updated to 6.7.59.373

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Date: Friday, August 9th, 2013, 06:04
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, version 6.7.59.373 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 40 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Improved:
- Search in Skype for Mac has been completely overhauled. Finding the right conversation is now faster than ever. From the toolbar, just enter a term in the search field and it will return a menu of the most relevant conversations. From the same menu, you can also use the Search Messages action item to explore your complete conversation history. Just double-click on a message to jump directly to it. Finally, adding a contact and calling phone numbers straight from search is more discoverable and easier than ever.

Resolved Issues:
- [Calling] Skype hangs when closing application during an active call.

- [Calling] Cannot hang up call with Shift+Command+H after Skype restarts.

- [Conversations] Messages sent to a Facebook contact show up multiple times.

Known Issues:
- [Generic] On OS X 10.7, Skype sometimes crashes when clicking on profile pictures or file transfer icons. Workaround: update to OS X 10.7.5 or later.

Skype 6.7.59.373 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe releases Lightroom 5.2 release candidate beta

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Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, 06:42
Category: News, Software

lightroomlogo

You can’t argue with a good release candidate.

Adobe on Monday announced the availability of the latest version of its prosumer photo editing software, Lightroom 5.2. The new version, a 467.2 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:

New features:
- A Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel under Color Noise.

- Reduction. This helps to reduce low-frequency color mottling artifacts.

Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
- New Feather control.

- Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage.

- Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle.

- Smart Preview size has been updated to 2560 pixels on the long edge.

Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
- Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete.

- Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment.

Bug fixes:
- Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.

- Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.

- Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.

- Incorrect photo was selected when trying to select a photo in segmented grid in Publish Services.

- The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.

- Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.

- Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo. Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.

Lightroom 5.2 is available for both Mac and PC platforms. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, running OS X 10.7 or later along with at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) 2GB of available HDD space, and a 1024×768 resolution to install and run.

The software is available from Adobe’s website for US$79 when upgrading from an earlier version, or US$149 for new users. Those already subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will find that the new software is included in their memberships.

If you’ve tried Lightroom 5 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Firefox updated to 23.0

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 6th, 2013, 11:29
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

The updates just keep comin’.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 23.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 44.3 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Mixed content blocking enabled to protects users from man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdroppers on HTTPS pages (learn more).

- Options panel created for Web Developer Toolbox.

- “Enable JavaScript” preference checkbox has been removed and user-set values will be reset to the default.

- Updated Firefox Logo.

- Improved about:memory’s functional UI.

- Simplified interface for notifications of plugin installation.

- Enabled DXVA2 on Windows Vista+ to accelerate H.264 video decoding.

- Users can now switch to a new search provider across the entire browser.

- CSP policies using the standard syntax and semantics will now be enforced rendering improvements (see bug 838675).

- Replace fixed-ratio audio resampler in webrtc.org capture code with Speex resampler and eliminate pseudo-44000Hz rate.

- “Load images automatically” and Always show the tab bar” checkboxes removed from preferences and reset to defaults.

- HTML5 form control implemented.

- Write more accessible pages on touch interfaces with new ARIA role for key buttons.

- Social share functionality.

- Added unprefixed requestAnimationFrame.

- Implemented a global browser console.

- Dropped blink effect from text-decoration: blink; and completely removed element.

- New feature in toolbox: Network Monitor.

- Various security fixes.

Firefox 23.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple hiring additional engineers for Maps team, will include “Frequent Locations” feature in iOS 7

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 5th, 2013, 08:33
Category: News, Software

mapslogo

It’s Apple’s jobs page that tends to point to where things are going.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is actively recruiting for scores of new full time jobs related to Maps. The company also plans to enlist the support of its installed base of 400 million iOS users with an opt-in invitation to “Help Improve Maps” in iOS 7.

Part of the initial setup of iOS 7 includes an option to “Help Improve Maps,” which as Apple explains, ties into Frequent Locations, a new feature of iOS 7.

Frequent Locations remembers places you’ve been, similar to the the bookmarks history of your web browser, is are presented next to Maps Bookmarks and locations attached to Contacts (below left).

Users who choose to activate both features will have their Frequent Locations linked to their iCloud / Apple ID account so the system can automatically calculate driving (or walking) directions to locations as users select them in Maps (below right, directions to Mavericks).

Apple also benefits from anonymously storing coordinate information because it helps the company verify how accurate its driving time estimates are, by comparing them to the actual time it takes users to arrive.

Apple’s Jobs website currently returns dozens of open positions related to Maps. Among these are a series of Maps Ground Truth Local Experts, in listings that state that “the Maps team is looking for people with a passion for mapping, great testing skills, and deep regional knowledge to help us build better and better maps.

“In this position, you will be responsible for the quality assessment of Apple Maps for your region, including both data and map services. You will monitor changes to our maps, provide feedback on unique local map requirements, collect ground truth information, and evaluate competing products.”

Apple currently lists openings for ground truth local experts in Washington D.C., Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles in the U.S., as well as European positions in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, the U.K. and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia and Southeast Asia, China, and specific Asian cities that include Beijing, Hong Kong, Sapporo, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Osaka.

The company also lists a series of open positions based in or around Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, ranging from scientists to pour through its reams of geodata to QA staff to find bugs and a variety of specialized engineers to develop new features. These include:

Maps Bug Triage Engineer: “Maps problems are challenging to triage and debug. When a business is in the wrong location on the map, the issue could be anything from the address being wrong in our data to the conversion of the address to a latitude and longitude not working properly. We’re looking for engineers to help triage internal problem reports, reproduce problems, and help us learn how to diagnose and triage problems better”

Maps Services QA Manager: “To test Maps well, we need to understand how the world is reflected in code and data, and also how to build great QA systems. Some tests can only be done manually, while other areas can only be covered adequately through large-scale automation.”

Maps Process QA Engineer: “Maps is an interconnected series of services that each have their own teams working to create the best user experience possible. It can be challenging to understand all the working pieces let alone understand their QA needs. We’re looking for individuals who can help bridge the gap and document the unique QA requirements needed for each service.”

Maps Process QA Analyst: “In this role you’ll work directly with Process QA Engineers and you’ll learn something about how every part of Maps works. You’ll be testing and documenting the QA processes involved in qualifying every component. ” “Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Large Scale Data Mining, Network Analysis, Information Retrieval, Probabilistic Modeling. These skills are required for developing models for identifying patterns and anomalies and for mining structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.”

Maps Senior Data Scientist: “The Maps Data Insights team has an opening for a craftsman skilled in Large Scale Data Mining and Machine Learning for making significant contributions in improving Apple Maps, involving the following techniques: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Large Scale Data Mining, Network Analysis, Information Retrieval, Probabilistic Modeling. These skills are required for developing models for identifying patterns and anomalies and for mining structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.”

Software Engineer – Maps Navigation: “The Maps team is looking for a proactive and motivated software engineer to focus on Apple’s turn-by-turn navigation experience.”

Maps Web Applications Engineer: “If you are motivated by building applications that will be used by millions of people and have a penchant for visual details, this is an opportunity to build web applications that will help engage the community and internal teams to visualize maps data and to solicit input to improve the maps quality.”

iOS Software Engineers – Maps (multiple positions): As an engineer on the Maps team, your responsibilities will be working with advanced dynamic label layout of road labels, points of interest and other labels on the map; rendering of 3D flyover models, mesh generation of terrain, road rendering; implementing real-time rendering techniques, creating new and innovative features, solving challenging algorithmic problems and fixing problems. You will be working both on the client and the server to create a state of the art map.”

“The MapKit team is looking for a proactive and hardworking software engineer to join our team. We are looking for an engineer that’s skilled with algorithms related to mapping. Familiarity with different spatial algorithms and data structures, such as R Trees, Quad Trees, BSP Trees are a big plus.”

Maps Software Engineer – Hadoop: “The Maps Data Insights team is chartered to look at various data signals, derive insights regarding map quality, and use those insights to drive improvements in Maps. Combining disparate signals such as community feedback and probe data to validate our maps is an opportunity that combines large scale data processing, analytics and visualization.”

Maps POI- Big Data Engineer: “Use Big Data technologies to extract data from existing NoSQL systems into system that can generate reports needed by business. Create unique ways to visualize and move our data.”

Maps Raster Data Domain Expert: “You’ll be guiding maps and LBS quality measurement, visualization, and analysis to derive actionable insights through raster analysis, classification, and feature extraction. You will approach map data and location-based service (LBS) quality metrics with the creativity and inquisitiveness of a scientist — identifying and incorporating various geospatial, big data, and other resources. You will collaborate with excellent developers, system architects, regional experts, project managers, and other domain experts.”

Maps Traffic Accuracy Domain Expert: “The Maps Community and Data Insights team is chartered to analyze various data signals, generate insights, and leverage them to improve Apple Maps. In this role, you’ll be guiding maps and LBS quality measurement, visualization, and analysis to derive actionable insights on traffic data quality.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 2.2.12

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 5th, 2013, 08:30
Category: News, Software

Even small updates can prove useful.

On Monday, Dropbox released version 2.2.13 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 31 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed an issue that caused unnecessary indexing when upgrading from 2.0.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.2.13 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Cocktail updated to 6.6

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 08:04
Category: News, Software

cocktaillogo.jpg

On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.6 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Improvements on the “Search for corrupted preference files” procedure (it now searches for corrupted Launch Daemons and Launch Agents).

- Added “Disable rubber band scrolling” setting (Interface – General).

- Added “Enable Single Application mode” setting (Interface – Dock).

- Added “Disable Dock icon bouncing for alerts” setting (Interface – Dock).

- Added “Show only running applications” setting (Interface – Dock).

- Added “Lock icon size” setting (Interface – Dock).

- Added “Lock the screen of automatically logged in user” setting (Interface – Login).

- Added “Always show titlebar and controller” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- Added “Do not display titlebar and controller when mouse cursor re-enters window” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- Added “Hide titlebar” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- Added “Disable rounded window corners” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- Added “Show both video and audio tracks when trimming movies” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- Added “Show Inspector at launch” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

- User interface improvements.

Cocktail 6.6 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:58
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a good update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 10.0.9 of its Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

The update, a 1.64 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses issues resulting in green artifacts when using Sony XAVC media.

- Fixes several issues related to interlaced media and retimed segments which could cause exports to fail.

- Includes stability improvements.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run along with an OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later, 256MB of VRAM, display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher and retails for US$299.99

If you’ve tried version 10.0.9 of Final Cut Pro X and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.