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Google Chrome updated to 21.0.1180.75

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 8th, 2012, 13:31
Category: News, Software

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Hey, updates are useful.

On Wednesday, Google released version 21.0.1180.75 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 40.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Flash videos not longer remaining in fullscreen when clicking a secondary monitor while the video is playing (Issue: 140366).

- Flash video full screen displays on wrong monitor (Issue: 137523).

- REGRESSION: Rendering difference in Chrome 21 and 22 that affected on Persian Wikipedia (Issue: 139502).

- Some known crashes (Issues: 137498, 138552, 128652, 140140).

- Audio objects are not “switched” immediately (Issue: 140247).

- Print and Print Preview ignore paper size default in printer config (Issue: 135374).

- Candidate windows is shown in wrong place in Retina display (Issue: 139108)
more of the choppy and distorted audio issues (Issue: 136624).

- Japanese characters showing in Chinese font (Issue: 140432).

- Video playback issues with flash-based sites (Issue: 139953).

- Sync invalidation notification broken after restart (Issue: 139424).

Google Chrome 21.0.1180.75 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.5 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 iOS 6 beta 4, removes YouTube app in newest developer version

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Date: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012, 06:30
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software

Apple on Monday afternoon released the 4th beta of iOS 6 to developers and in the process appears to have nixed the inclusion of the once-standard YouTube app in what appears to be an escalation of tensions between the company and rival Google.

Per AppleInsider, upon installing the release, sources familiar with the software confirm that the Apple-developed YouTube app is no longer part of the distribution — potentially a sign of increased tensions between the two companies which are facing off against each other in both the mobile and connected television segments.

Google owns YouTube.

Update: in a statement issued yesterday, Apple offered the following:

“Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.”

At the release of the original iPhone in 2007, Apple partnered with Google to develop a native, bundled YouTube app for the iPhone that would allow users to access Google’s vast library of user-created videos.

Without work on Google’s side to make those videos available using the open H.264 codec, its YouTube videos would not have worked with the iPhone because Google’s player and distribution formats were tied to Adobe Flash, a software platform that wasn’t functional on smartphones and wouldn’t be made available by Adobe in a partially-usable form until 2010, and then only on brand new hardware powerful enough to run it.

Because of the proprietary nature of Flash, Apple would have been severely constrained in any of its efforts to create an in-house compatibility layer to support it. It would also have required significant resources and introduced new limitations on Apple’s iOS.

Rather than taking on the nearly impossible task of supporting Flash on 2007-era mobile devices, Apple decided to instead provide alternative workarounds that minimized the feature loss of not having Flash available.

Because the primary valuable uses of Flash revolved around simple web site animations and video playback, Apple focused on providing rich support for advanced HTML techniques and began promoting Flash-free, direct H.264 video playback, two features that became prominent capabilities of HTML 5.

After initially supporting YouTube playback on the iPhone, Apple TV and later the iPad by converting its huge library to enable raw H.264 video downloads, Google began an attack on the H.264 standard because it incorporated licensed technologies that put it at odds with free software advocates in the open source community, particularly Mozilla.

Google acquired its own proprietary codec (renaming it WebM) and made the specification “open” in the sense of requiring no licensing fees to use it. However, the MPEG Licensing Authority, the standards body behind H.264, insisted that Google’s new specification infringed upon the technical patent portfolio already developed by the global community for H.264.

Concerns around the legal legitimacy and infringement risks of Google’s own WebM codec, as well as the codec’s serious technical shortcomings (including a lack of mobile hardware acceleration support) has caused it to fail to gain any serious traction in the market since, even despite Google’s removal of H.264 playback support from its Chrome web browser.

Over the last five years, Apple’s support for HTML 5 and H.264 video has made both open standards (one freely licensed, the other requiring licensing from the MPEG LA) the new foundations of web development. This is particularly the case in the global market for mobile devices, about half of which are now produced by Apple.

Adobe has canceled Flash development on mobile devices, and its middleware platform is now becoming increasingly irrelevant on the web as HTML 5 takes over more and more features formerly served by Flash. After YouTube’s switch to serving H.264, other prominent video distributors followed suit, to the point where most of the world’s web videos do not require Flash to work, an unbelievable scenario back in 2007.

At this point, iOS doesn’t need a special app to access YouTube videos, and as Apple indicated in its comment to the media, Google has terminated its license to access YouTube videos natively, rather than via Google’s website.

While Apple no longer needs to direct attention to YouTube videos in a special iOS app, the removal of its YouTube app sends a strong message when combined with other, related efforts Apple has made to exclude Google from its once intimate position on Apple’s iOS platform.

New “Share Sheets” Apple introduced for iOS 6 and this summer’s OS X Mountain Lion specifically support Google’s YouTube competitor site Vimeo, but not YouTube.

Apple has also added support for Yahoo’s Flickr photo site but not Google’s Picassa, and has added or announced new social link features for Twitter and Facebook, but conspicuously not Google’s own competing services Buzz and Google+.

One of the most significant features of iOS 6 is Apple’s new Maps, which erases its former support for Google’s mapping services and establishes Apple’s own in-house services in their place.

Apple’s new Maps app for iOS 6 (below) similarly avoids any support for Google’s Places, instead partnering with Yelp, and makes no effort to incorporate Google’s Latitude location sharing, having introduced Apple’s own device location and Find My Friends services tied to iCloud.

Apple’s removal or lack of support for Google’s services (particularly given the support of its competitor’s) is apparently an intentional distancing effort Apple has initiated as a response to Google’s increasingly intense competitive efforts, which include Google’s Android software platform, legal efforts to challenge Apple’s infringement complaints with offensive use of standards essential patents through Google’s new Motorola subsidiary, and most recently, efforts to take on the iPad and Apple TV with Google-branded hardware devices.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new iOS 6 beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Crucial unveils solid-state drives for older Mac notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012, 14:34
Category: hard drive, Hardware, News

You should add more solid-state drives to more things, as they are awesome.

Per Macworld, accessory provider Crucial today announced a new solid-state drive (SSD) targeted at users who want to upgrade older computer systems with a flash drive that boasts a price well under US$1 per gigabyte of capacity.

Crucial’s new v4 SSD, which is being manufactured by partner Micron, may not sport top flash-drive speeds. But it outpaces any consumer hard drive by more than twice the performance. The new 128GB SSD sells for US$100; a 256GB model can be had for US$190.

The price of consumer-class SSDs had been expected to drop to US$1 per gigabyte this year. SSD prices further slipped precipitously because of market oversupply. For example, NAND flash memory maker Toshiba recently slashed its production by 30 percent in order to deal with oversupply issues.

Crucial’s new v4 SSD uses the more widely used but older SATA-2, which has the 3 Gbps interface that most pre-2011 computer systems sport for internal drive connectivity. SATA-3 offers 6 Gbps, but only the latest systems (such as the new MacBook Pro) come with it.

Crucial said its v4 SSD has sequential read/write speeds of 230 MBps and 190 MBps, respectively. To put that in perspective, a top-of-the-line hard disk drive, such as Western Digital’s 7200-rpm Scorpio Black, has maximum read/write speeds of around 104 MBps and 101 MBps.

By comparison, an Intel top-of-the-line 520 Series SSD boasts peak read/write speeds of 550 MBps and 520 MBps, respectively. So the new Crucial SSD rests nicely in the middle.

The v4 SSDs are available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities with suggested retail prices of US$50, US$70, US$100, and US$190, respectively. The SSDs can be purchased now through global channel partners, or direct through Crucial’s website.

The Crucial v4 SSD comes with a three-year limited warranty, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X systems.

Photos of purported next-gen iPhone surface, show fully assembled state

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 30th, 2012, 06:40
Category: iPhone, Pictures, Rumor

It had to happen sometime.

Per the web blog of Japanese repair company iLab Factory, pictures of an alleged fully-assembled next-generation iPhone hit the web on Sunday, offering what could be the most detailed look at Apple’s upcoming device yet.

The photos depict what is supposedly a complete next-generation iPhone built from leaked parts sourced from China.

The purported unit pieces together previously-seen components including the smaller 19-pin dock connector first rumored in June and 4-inch display and a relocated headphone jack. The site notes that the home button’s finish has been modified and feels to be improved. A report in April found a supposedly leaked home button had been slightly redesigned internally to accomodate changes made to the screen and case.



While all of the external parts are in place, most of the handset’s innards are missing with only power and sensor flex cables and accompanying home button circuitry installed. This lack of integral electronics, such as cameras, logic board and battery, hint the supposedly-leaked parts may have come from an upstream supplier rather than an assembly plant.

Pictures of the unit’s casing show the two-tone aluminum design first seen in early June, though noticeably absent is the nano-SIM card tray purportedly leaked in May.

The unit’s front seems to sit tightly with the uni-body casing which, unlike the current generation iPhone 4S, features a slightly beveled edge. Side shots show the expected volume rocker button assembly and hold switch as well as a sleeker profile compared to existing iPhones.

Making a reappearance is the small hole located beween the camera assembly and the unit’s LED flash, a feature which was rumored to be removed in final production models.

As mentioned above, much of the internals are absent, however what is in place yields some insight into how Apple plans to utilize the cramped space. The site notes three screw anchors on the back plate will likely hold the display in place while four screw anchors located on the unit’s right wall and six on the left will most likely secure integral components as the device can no longer be opened by removing case-back. Also new are four screw holes at the top of the case near the power button though their use remains a mystery.

Overall, the site points out the alleged device boasts a high-quality milled aluminum feel consistent with all Apple products and makes special note of the unit’s thinness.

Apple is rumored to announce a follow-up to the iPhone 4S sometime this fall with one analyst estimating an early-September launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.3.300.268 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 07:30
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.3.300.268 for Mac OS X, a 10.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new beta version includes the following fixes and changes:

- Various general stability issues.

Flash Player 11.3.300.268 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, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 13.0.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 15th, 2012, 19:37
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Mozilla.org released version 13.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 30.7 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

- FIXED – Windows Messenger did not load in Hotmail, and the Hotmail inbox did not auto-update (764546, fixed in 13.0.1).

- FIXED – Hebrew text sometimes rendered incorrectly (756850, fixed in 13.0.1).

- FIXED – Flash 11.3 sometimes caused a crash on quit (747683, fixed in 13.0.1).

- NEW – When opening a new tab, users are now presented with their most visited pages.

- NEW – The default home page now has quicker access to bookmarks, history, settings, and more.

- CHANGED – SPDY protocol now enabled by default for faster browsing on supported sites.

- CHANGED – Restored background tabs are not loaded by default for faster startup.

- CHANGED – Smooth scrolling is now enabled by default.

- DEVELOPER – 72 total improvements to Page Inspector, HTML panel, Style Inspector, Scratchpad and Style Editor.

- DEVELOPER – The column-fill CSS property has been implemented.

- DEVELOPER – Experimental support for ECMAScript 6 Map and Set objects has been implemented.

- DEVELOPER – Support for the CSS3 background-position property extended syntax has been added.

- DEVELOPER – The :invalid pseudo-class can now be applied to the element.

- DEVELOPER – The CSS turn unit is now supported.

- FIXED – Various security fixes.

Known Issues:
- UNRESOLVED – If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash (see 573369).

- UNRESOLVED – For some users, scrolling in the main GMail window will be slower than usual (see 579260).

- UNRESOLVED – Windows: The use of Microsoft’s System Restore functionality shortly after updating Firefox may prevent future updates (see 730285).

- UNRESOLVED – OS X: nsCocoaWindow::ConstrainPosition uses wrong screen in multi-display setup (see 752149).

- UNRESOLVED – CSS :hover regression when an element’s class name is set by Javascript (see 758885).

Firefox 13.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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 MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Software Update 1.0 firmware upgrade

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 06:54
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

It never hurts to pin down the bugs within the early days.

Early Thursday, Apple released its MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Software Update 1.0 firmware upgrade. The update, a 167 megabyte download, can also be found, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and offers the following fixes and changes for the newly-released notebooks:

- The update includes fixes that improve graphics stability, flash performance, and external display support.

The update requires a mid-2012 MacBook Air and Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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

iFixit posts full teardown of mid-2012 Retina Display MacBook Pro, finds significant changes in architecture

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 09:48
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

Well…that was speedy.

Late Tuesday night, the cool cats at iFixit posted a full teardown of the new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

The company apparently had little trouble maneuvering past Apple’s proprietary pentalobe screws and by Step 6 in the process, the inside of the unit was unveiled for all to see online.



Among the discoveries made:
- The battery is no longer screwed into the machine, but rather glued.

- The 512GB flash storage chips were marked as Samsung, but the chips themselves appear to be proprietary, something new for the MacBook Pro line.

- The RAM itself seems to be soldered to the logic board.

- The proprietary SSD also is not yet replaceable.

- The “display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it,” iFixit writes. “If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.”

So, yeah, if you’re tinkering with your brand new Retina Display MacBook Pro, please be careful.

Additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut next-gen, thinner, Retina Display-equipped MacBook Pro units at WWDC 2012

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, 05:11
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that make things interesting.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will reportedly debut multiple new MacBook Pro models at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, each said to sport Retina Display-like screens and high-performance Intel Ivy Bridge processors.

The refreshed lineup is rumored to feature a slim design that will bring the laptop more inline with Apple’s popular MacBook Air series.

The sources also mention that flash memory will be used to decrease boot times and extend battery life, though it was not made clear if the new MacBook Pros will rely on pricey solid state drives exclusively as does the MacBook Air.

While the exact dimensions of the supposed next-generation laptop went unreported, rumors have suggested that the design will take cues from the MacBook Air and may do away with the existing optical drive in an effort to give the machine a slim, tapered appearance.

Also “confirmed” was the implementation of Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors which were recently unveiled in April. Built on “the world’s first 22nm process” and boasting new 3D transistor technology, the chips are said to be highly-efficient and powerful enough to support 4K resolutions. Intel is initially rolling out the silicon as part of the Core i5 and Core i7 families.

The inclusion of Intel’s powerful new processors could allow for screens with resolutions rivaling those seen on the current iPhone 4 and 4S as well as the new iPad, and rumors have persisted since last year claiming that Apple was working on a Retina Display laptop. Offering further evidence to a possible Retina Display MacBook are the latest OS X Lion updates which brought Hi-DPI UI assets in 10.7.3 and doubled icon resolution in 10.7.4.

Reports from upstream supply chain sources said that mass production of new MacBook Pro models would ramp up starting with the 15-inch model in April followed by a June manufacture for the smaller 13.3-inch unit. No mention of the 17-inch MacBook Pro was made and some predict that Apple will discontinue the large-screened model due to declining shipments.

Apple is also said to be showing off the “future of iOS and OS X” at WWDC 2012, alluding to a possible unveiling of iOS 6 and more Mountain Lion details. The conference will take place from June 11 through the 15 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Safari 5.1.7 nixes outdated Flash versions, focuses on security-based issues

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 10th, 2012, 06:32
Category: News, security, Software

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When in doubt, go with the update.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday released an update to its Safari web browser that automatically disables old versions of Adobe’s Flash Player as they don’t have the most up-do-date security features.

After pushing out OS X Lion 10.7.4 which included Safari version 5.1.6, Apple rolled out a separate update for the browser that can be downloaded by Mac OS X 10.7.3, Mac OS X 10.7.4 and Windows users.

According to the Safari 5.1.7 support page, the update is meant to disable older versions of Flash that pose a security risk as they lack the latest vulnerability patches.

Safari 5.1.7 will scan a Mac’s Flash assets for out-of-date software, disable it if found and inform the user via a dialog box. A link to Adobe’s website is integrated into the dialog so that users can easily locate and install the most current Flash Player.

If users need to roll back to a previous version of Flash, they must navigate to the “/Library/Internet Plug-Ins (Disabled)” folder on their Mac, drag “Flash Player.plugin” into the active “/Library/Internet Plug-Ins” folder and restart the browser.

Apple has become increasingly leery about third-party applications, perhaps due to the recent Flashback malware debacle that affected more than 600,000 Macs worldwide. One of the trojan’s first iterations was discovered in 2011 when it disguised itself as a Flash Installer, though the exploit had nothing to do with Adobe’s software.

Most recently, Apple released a Java update to cope with Flashback and even created a dedicated removal tool for those Mac owners who didn’t already have Java installed on their computers.

The Safari update comes in at 44.98MB download and can be acquired via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.