Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.14 update

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Date: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, 04:50
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.14 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 18.7 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

- Several fixes to improve performance, stability and security.

Firefox 3.6.14 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

Parallels Desktop 6.0.11994.637263 released

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Date: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011, 05:13
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 6.0.11994.637263 on Thursday. The new version, available here, sports the following major change:

- Resolves compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.6.5 and 10.6.6.

Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 later to install and run.

VirtualBox updated to 4.0.4

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Date: Friday, February 18th, 2011, 04:44
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.0.4. The new version, a 80.6 megabyte download, sports a list of fixes and changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.0.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Intel to ship dual-core Sandy Bridge processor for notebooks on February 20th, MacBook Pro version may not be far behind

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Date: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 06:47
Category: Processors, Rumor

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The bad news: Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor was delayed, the announcement coming in last week.

The good news: Intel’s dual-core Sandy Bridge processor, which is widely expected to power the next MacBook Pro line is finally shipping this month.

MacRumors is reporting that Intel will begin shipping its dual-core Sandy Bridge CPU chips for notebooks on February 20th. The processor is specced as using between 17 watts and 35 watts of power while running at speeds between 1.4GHz and 2.7GHz. The Dual-Core chips follow on the heels of a quad-core version launched last month.

“The first Sandy Bridge processors to ship were quad-core chips, mainly for high-end laptops,” PC World writes. “The dual-core chips will likely go into end-user and ultraportable laptops, many of which were shown at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Fujitsu said it plans to use dual-core Core i7 chips in its high-end ultraportable laptops.”

The dual-core chips are also likely candidates for upgrades to the existing MacBook Pro lineup, with rumors swirling about updates in the near future, the chips offering a better integrated graphics performance as well as better power usage.

One question that remains is how Intel has addressed complaints of a design flaw in early versions of the Sandy Bridge controller. MacRumors notes “the issue didn’t directly affect the CPUs, but affected SATA-II connectors found on the chipsets,” which manufacturers (including Apple) use to connect the CPU to the rest of the system. Intel previously announced they would begin shipping corrected controllers in mid-February.

Adobe releases Flash Player 10.2.152.21 update

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Date: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, 06:36
Category: News, Software

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You may love or hate Flash Player, but updated versions are never a bad thing.

Late Tuesday, Adobe released Flash Player 10.2.1521 for Mac OS X, a 7.6 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version functions essentially as a pre-release to version 10.2 and includes the following fixes and changes:

- General stability fixes.

- Additional audio and video fixes.

- Stage Video hardware acceleration – A new method for video playback in Flash Player allows developers to leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline, enabling best-in-class playback performance. Stage Video can decrease processor usage by up to 85% and enables higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity and quality.

- Internet Explorer 9 hardware accelerated rendering support – Flash Player takes advantage of hardware accelerated graphics in Internet Explorer 9, utilizing hardware rendering surfaces to improve graphics performance and enable seamless composition.

- Native custom mouse cursors – Developers can define custom native mouse cursors, enabling user experience enhancements and improving performance.

- Support for full screen mode with multiple monitors – Full screen content will remain in full-screen on secondary monitors, allowing users to watch full-screen content while working on another display.

- On Mac computers, hardware decoding of H.264 video in Flash Player is available with Mac OS X 10.6.4 and later on hardware supported by the Mac OS Video Decode Acceleration Framework (such as the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, and GeForce GT 330M). Whether hardware decoding will engage for a specific video is determined by the Mac OS Video Decode Acceleration Framework.

The full notes of the new version can be found here and Flash Player 10.2.152.21 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Intel confirms SATA controller chip flaw, may delay MacBook Pro refresh

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Date: Tuesday, February 1st, 2011, 05:30
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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If Apple’s notebook refresh is taking a bit longer than you’d like, it might just be Intel’s fault.

Earlier Monday, Intel acknowledged that a supporting chipset for the next-generation Core processors contained a flaw in the Serial-ATA (SATA) controller. The bug can cause poor hard drive performance or even make the drive invisible to the system.

Per Computerworld, Intel said it has stopped shipments of the flawed chipsets and retooled the chipset. It will begin shipping the fixed version late next month, and said that it “expects full volume recovery in April.”

The design gaffe could effect Apple’s next MacBook Pro refresh if the notebook line is to get new processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, as many speculated last month.

According to Kevin Krewell, a senior analyst with the Linley Group (the publishers of Microprocessor Report) the mobile version of the supporting chipset may have been flawed.

In an e-mail reply to Macworld UK’s questions, Krewell pointed out a pair of Intel documents that note the mobile versions of the chipset use the same 6Gbps and 3Gbps ports as those used in the desktop versions.

According to Anandtech.com, the flaw affects only the 3Gbps ports — the chipsets’ SATA controller also offers faster-speed 6Gbps ports — making the likelihood of an impact on notebook makers even higher.

While the signs point to a problem for Apple, analysts split today on whether a MacBook Pro refresh would be delayed.

“It could mean a delay of two to three weeks,” said Martin Reynolds, a vice president with Gartner, assuming Apple intended to launch new MacBook Pros in March or even April.

Dan Olds, a senior analyst with Portland, Ore.-based Gabriel Consulting Group, disagreed.

“I don’t think Intel has shipped any [Sandy Bridge] chipsets for mobile yet,” Olds said. “I haven’t heard any chatter from the major players [about upcoming notebooks that use the chipsets], like Dell, for example.”

The unknown, of course, is when Apple was planning to launch revamped MacBook Pro models that rely on the Sandy Bridge architecture, and thus, the flawed chipsets.

Most close Apple watchers have been expecting an imminent refresh. Although Apple doesn’t hew to a set schedule for upgrades, the last time it boosted the MacBook Pro was in April 2010, nearly 300 days ago.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.6 update released

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2011, 05:36
Category: News, 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.), was updated to version 1.1.6. The new version, a 40.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Security updates in codecs and demuxers.

- Support for RTP/PCM 24bits, audio/L24.

- Support for MPC SV7/SV8 on Windows and MacOS builds.

- Faster Webm/VP8 decoding.

- Support for Midi on MacOS.

- Major updates in most language translations.

- Support for projectM visualisation on Windows.

- KDE and PulseAudio integration improvements.

- Subtitles fixes and improvements.

- Improvements in visualisations and interfaces.

- Codecs updates.

- Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.6 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, January 20th, 2011, 14:36
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.2, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 28.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- This update improves overall stability and fixes an issue that could cause audio playback to be out of sync.

iMovie 9.0.2 requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

VirtualBox 4.0.2 released

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Date: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, 04:21
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.2.2. The new version, a 70.9 megabyte download, sports a list of fixes and changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.0.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases MacBook Air Software Update 2.0, iDVD 7.1.1 updates

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Date: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, 04:14
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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As a way of capping off news that the company had turned over a US$6 billion quarterly profit (i.e., mucho dinero), Apple released a pair of software updates for owners of the latest-generation MacBook Air and iLife ’11.

Per Macworld UK, the company released MacBook Air Software Update 2.0, a small update (less than a 1MB download) that tackles a reported bug in which the unit is unable to go to sleep.

The company also released iDVD 7.1.1, a 34MB update that improves stability and brings compatibility for sending slideshows from iPhoto ’11 to iDVD.

Though this update targets an issue relating to iPhoto ’11, Apple recommends it for all users of iDVD 7, which was bundled with iLife ’09 and iLife ’08.

Both updates are available via the support pages, but they should also be waiting in Software Update.

If you’ve tried either update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.