Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.7 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, 03:17
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.7 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.7 megabyte download, sports the following major change:

- Version 3.6.7 is a security and bug-fixing release.

Firefox 3.6.7 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. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iTunes 9.2.1 update

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Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2010, 04:14
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Disables older versions of some incompatible third-party plug-ins.

- Addresses minor issues with dragging and dropping items.

- Addresses a performance issue when first syncing to some devices with iTunes 9.2.

- Addresses an issue upgrading to iOS 4 on an iPhone or iPod touch with encrypted back-ups.

- Addresses other issues that improve stability and performance.

iTunes 9.2.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Analyst: Full iPhone 4 recall could cost Apple $1.5 billion, affect operating income by 1%

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Date: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010, 04:08
Category: iPhone, News

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Following up on the iPhone 4 antenna issue, one research investment firm has studied the numbers and determined that a recall of the iPhone 4 could cost Apple as much as US$1.5 billion.

Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst for Bernstein Research, said in a note to clients on Tuesday that while a full product recall is “highly unlikely,” it could theoretically cost the company up to US$250 per phone. Sacconaghi estimates 6 million units sold or in transit, resulting in a recall price tag as high as US$1.5 billion according to CNET.

Another option is for Apple to offer an in-store hardware fix, which could cost US$75 per phone. Giving away a free bumper case, which currently retails for US$29, would be a much cheaper alternative for the Cupertino, Calif., company. Sacconaghi estimates this approach would cost just US$1 per unit.

The report arrives just a day after Consumer Reports warned that it could no longer recommend the iPhone 4. After conducting its own tests inside a radio frequency isolation chamber, the organization issued a statement on its blog reversing its previous recommendation of the phone.

For its part, Apple earlier this month released an open letter stating that the iPhone 4′s reception issues were largely due to an inaccurate formula for calculating signal strength. The company assured that a free software fix would be available in the coming weeks. Consumer Reports’ findings are in opposition to Apple’s statement.

Another Wall Street analyst, Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, estimated Tuesday that a fix from Apple could impact its operating income by 1%. Like Sacconaghi, Munster also suggested the possibility of issuing free bumper cases. Additionally, the analyst said that since only 25 of users are affected by the issue, the company could “weather the storm” by doing nothing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 4, beta 1 for public testing

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Date: Thursday, July 8th, 2010, 04:05
Category: News, Software

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For the brave and the bold, Mozilla has released the first public beta of its upcoming Firefox 4 web browser. The new browser, a 20.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), incorporates the following fixes and changes:

- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows only – Mac OS X and Linux will be changing when the theme has been modified to support the change.

- On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar has been replaced with the Firefox button.

- You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar

- New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)
Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions.

- The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac and Linux.

- The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like).

- Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins.

- CSS Transitions are partially supported.

- Full WebGL support is included but disabled by default at this time.

- Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently.

- Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format.

- An experimental Direct2D rendering backend is available on Windows, turned off by default.

- Web developers can use Websockets for a low complexity, low latency, bidirectional communications API.

- Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs.

- More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction.

- Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload.

- CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history.

- New HTML5 parser.

- Support for more HTML5 form controls.

The Firefox 4 beta is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent release joint statement regarding slow iPhone 4 upload speeds

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Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 10:48
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on the recent frenzy of news since iPhone 4 users began reporting crippled upload speeds on AT&T’s 3G network at the start of the holiday weekend, AT&T and component supplied Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect that’s apparently triggered under certain conditions.

Per MacRumors, the following joint statement has been released:

“AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect – triggered under certain conditions – that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment. This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices.”

There is no word on a timeframe for deployment of the software fix for Alcatel-Lucent’s equipment.

AT&T upload speed limits may be bug, not intentional data throttling

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Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 04:44
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Following up on yesterday’s story in which some iPhone 4 users are experiencing slow upload speeds on AT&T’s network, the incident may be a genuine bug and not intentional data capping.

Per AppleInsider, users across the U.S. have reported upload speeds of around 100Kbps, well below the capabilities of the HSPA-capable iPhone 4. The issue has affected users in a number of major metropolitan areas across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

While some speculated the problems were a result of bandwidth throttling by AT&T, that is not said to be the case. Instead, sources close to the story have stated that the issues are a result of an unintentional software glitch related to High-Speed Uplink Packet Access in some sections of the country. When working properly, HSUPA can allow uplink speeds of 5.76Mbit/s.

It is believed that a fix for the issue is forthcoming, though AT&T did not provide a comment on the matter as of Tuesday evening.

Apple cites iPhone 4 reception problems as software bug, promises fix within a few weeks

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Date: Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, News

First, as you may have noticed, there are issues with the iPhone 4′s reception. Still, Apple says this might not be what you think according to a recent press release from the company:

“Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

The full press release can be found here and it seems a bit strange that Apple is once again blaming the formula.

Still, this is what it is and stay tuned for the software fix as well as additional details as they become available.

Apple releases mobile configuration profile update for iOS 4 Exchange ActiveSync bug

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Date: Thursday, July 1st, 2010, 03:10
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple has issued a configuration profile that addresses an issue in iOS 4 that may cause sync problems with Microsoft Exchange or Google Mail and Calendar.

Per AppleInsider, the company notes that “immediately after updating to iOS 4, some users may notice that Exchange ActiveSync Mail, Contacts, or Calendars do not sync, or sync very slowly. In addition, some Exchange Server administrators may notice their servers running slowly.”

The issue, according to a report by the site , is that iOS 4 sets a low 30 second default timeout for server requests that can overwhelm the server.

Apple has published a mobile configuration update file that administrators can distribute to iPhones and iPod touch users running iOS 4. The configuration update can also be downloaded directly to the device from Mobile Safari, using a link Apple provides.

Once installed and the device is restarted, the configuration update sets the timeout to 240 seconds, a change that has proven to fix sync issues for most users.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.3.3

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:51
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.3.3. The new version, a 3.7 megabyte download, adds the following changes:

- Fixed a “divide by zero” error that would cause backup tasks involving very few files to fail at the end.

- Fixed a bug that would cause CCC and the scheduled task helper application to crash when certain filesystems were mounted.

- CCC now enables ownership on the target volume regardless of the ownership setting on the source volume. Previously, clones made of Macs in Target Disk Mode would have incorrect ownership information on system files if the target volume did not have ownership enabled.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would fail to run properly if the user logged out and then logged back in.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would log many errors if the user logged out while the scheduled task was in the middle of a backup.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would not run a “Backup everything” scheduled task that used the “Delete items from the target that do not exist on the source” option.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task that was configured to back up to a disk image would not run if it was set to run “When the target volume is reconnected”. These tasks now run properly when the underlying volume is reconnected to your Macintosh, whether it is a local volume or a mounted sharepoint.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report minor errors if a directory disappeared from the source volume in the middle of a backup task.

- Fixed an issue in which preferences from a very old version of CCC would cause errors while trying to select a source volume.

- Fixed a memory leak related to files with Access Control Entries.

- CCC no longer creates the target folder on a remote Macintosh. This enforces the behavior of aborting the backup task if the backup volume is not available, or is not mounted at the expected mountpoint on the remote Macintosh.

- The CCC.log file is now properly created when CCC is run under a non-admin user account.
Minor interface enhancements, specifically around the presentation and content of the “bootability” checks.

- Minor bug fixes around the creation of encrypted disk images.

- If you checked the box to display the scheduled task “task finished” panel only when errors occur, this panel will no longer re-present itself after the scheduled task is reloaded on startup. The setting will only be reset when changes are made to the scheduled task’s configuration in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- CCC now saves only modified scheduled tasks when clicking the Save button in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- Updated the list of items that CCC automatically ignores from a backup set. See the documentation for complete details about this list.

- Fixed an issue in which Intel systems would be permitted to run portions of CCC using Rosetta, leading to reduced performance and potentially crashing behavior.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3.3 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

iPhone 4 “Death Grip” analyzed, iOS 4.0.1 update expected this week to resolve issue

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

Following reports of reception issues observed by new iPhone 4 owners (tagged the “Death Grip” across the Internet), additional insight reveals that this may actually be a software issue that could be cleared up in the near future.

In terms of identifying the problem, clear observations of mobile signal strength and how they are affected by the placement of users’ hands are difficult to perform in part because there are multiple factors involved in receiving a mobile radio link, including outside interference and the conductivity or mass of different people’s hands.

Additionally, cellphones in general (and in particular the iPhone) have always only presented a very rough approximation of signal strength in the signal bar display, averaged over time. It appears that iOS 4, more so than previous iPhone software, presents a less accurate signal meter, showing less signal at times than an iPhone 3GS while still being able to achieve the same or better call quality.

Per AppleInsider, this has led some to jump to the conclusion that the reception problems noted by some iPhone 4 users are the sign of a hardware design flaw related to its stainless steel band antenna design. Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs stoked a whiplash of blogger frenzy when he reportedly responded that users “were holding it the wrong way,” blocking the signal with their hands.

A variety of people have demonstrated identical problems with other phones, from the Android based Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS. However, the fact that problems observed in the iPhone 3GS are much more pronounced when the device is upgraded to iOS 4 indicate that there is also a software issue involved in the matter. iPhone 4 users can’t downgrade to earlier versions of the core software, making it impossible to compare its relative performance.

According to the article, several messages have arrived from Apple’s tech support forums confirmed that a iOS 4.0.1 software fix addressing the issue would ship early next week (as early as Monday).

The fix is expected to address a issue in iOS 4 related to radio frequency calibration of the baseband. Readers who saw the original forum discussions say that the issue is believed to occur when switching frequencies; because the lag is allegedly not calibrated correctly, it results in the device reporting “no service” rather than switching to the frequency with the best signal to noise ratio.

iOS 4 introduced some enhancements to how the baseband selects which frequencies to use, so it makes sense that the error may have crept into those changes. Additionally, this explains why iOS 4 has also caused similar problems for iPhone 3GS users.

The core software problem is likely augmented by hand placement, as Jobs noted in pointing out that holding the new phone (or any mobile device) in such a way that attenuates the signal should simply be avoided.

If you’ve seen the “Death Grip” issue on your end or have anything to add, let us know.