Consumer Reports study recommends duct tape fix for iPhone 4 antenna issue

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Date: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010, 04:29
Category: iPhone, News

It ain’t pretty but it’s recommended by Consumer Reports and it might just be effective.

Per CNN, a sliver of duct tape may be all that’s needed to fix the iPhone 4′s dropped calls issue which has stemmed from the handset’s new antenna design. The report follows a Consumer Reports study which highlights the issue and offers test data to back its claim.

Other sources have stated that purchasing Apple’s bumper protector also helps alleviate the problem, the bumper itself retailing for about US$30.

Take a gander at the video and if you’ve seen this issue on your end or discovered your own fix, let us know.



Mozilla releases Firefox 4, beta 1 for public testing

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

elfirefox

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

Posted by:
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 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.

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.3.3 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released a long-awaited patch that addresses a number of vulnerabilities in versions of its Acrobat Pro and Reader offerings.

Per Macworld, the fix addresses 18 different vulnerabilities, some of which are critical, are corrected by the update.

Adobe has released new versions of both Acrobat Professional and Acrobat Reader for Mac. The former comes in a Universal package, while the latter comes in separate packages for Intel and PowerPC architectures.

Both Acrobat 9.3.3 Pro and Adobe Reader 9.3.3 address what Adobe calls �critical vulnerabilities� in earlier versions of the software. According to an Adobe security bulletin, the vulnerability could cause either Acrobat or Reader to crash, potentially allowing an attacker to take control of your computer. Earlier this month, Adobe patched a similar vulnerability in its Flash software.

Acrobat Reader 9.3.3 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.3.3

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

carbon.jpg

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.

Google Chrome 5.0.375.86 released

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Date: Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 03:33
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 5.0.375.86 for the Mac. The new version, an 25.4 megabyte download, offers the following the following changes:

- Medium XSS via application/json response (regression). Credit to Ben Davis for original discovery and Emanuele Gentili for regression discovery.

- Medium Memory error in video handling. Credit to Mark Dowd under contract to Google Chrome Security Team.

- High Subresource displayed in omnibox loading. Credit to Michal Zalewski of Google Security Team.

- High Memory error in video handling. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Cris Neckar).

- High Stale pointer in x509-user-cert response. Credit to Rodrigo Marcos of SECFORCE.

Google Chrome requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve played with it and have an opinion, let us know what you think in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.4 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Late last week, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.4 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.6 megabyte download, sports the following major changes:

- Version 3.6.4 makes four critical security fixes. Unlike the Windows version, it does not introduce the Out-of-Process Plug-in sandboxing feature. That is expected for Mac users in Firefox 4.

Firefox 3.6.4 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.