Google begins adding CardDAV support for iOS calendar users

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 28th, 2012, 07:07
Category: iOS, News, Software

googlelogo.jpg

Google has added support for the open CardDAV contact syncing protocol used by Apple in OS X and iOS, enabling Google Contacts users to directly sync just like Yahoo and iCloud.

Google’s Gmail product manager Jeff Ellingson noted the new support for CardDAV on the company’s blog today.

The new support requires iOS 5 or higher, and currently requires users to manually set up an “other” CardDAV account, as Apple’s automated setup for Google accounts on both OS X and iOS only configure Gmail & Notes (via IMAP), Calendar & Reminders (via CalDAV), and Messages (via XMPP).

In the future, Apple will likely add support for simply checking a box for Contacts sync to simplify CardDAV account configuration, just as it does for Yahoo and Facebook accounts that already support CardDAV.

Apple pioneered support for the CalDAV and CardDAV open specifications in its efforts to build open Calendar and Contact sharing services in OS X Server as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server, which uses proprietary protocols to sync such data between clients and servers.

The company first added CalDAV and CardDAV support to its mobile devices in iOS 4 two years ago.

Apple has aggressively pushed both open standards for calendar and contact sync, enabling users to seamlessly use Macs and iOS devices with not just its own OS X Server and iCloud offerings, but also third party services from AOL, Google, Yahoo and any other systems that support them.

CalDAV and CardDAV are based upon the WebDAV specification for building web servers capable of both reading and writing information, so implementing the protocols is relatively simple for third parties.

If you’ve tried the new Google CalDAV and CardDAV support features in iOS, please let us know how your experience went in the comments.

Apple releases second public apology regarding iOS 6 Maps app issues

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 28th, 2012, 07:45
Category: iOS, News, Software

Once again…this is awkward.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday published an open letter to customers on behalf of CEO Tim Cook, who formally apologized for Apple’s new Maps in iOS 6 and “the frustration this has caused our customers.”

Cook vowed that his company is “doing everything we can to make Maps better.” In the meantime, he said, users can download third-party mapping tools from the App Store such as Bing, MapQuest or Waze, or use Web-based options like Google Maps or Nokia’s product.

The comments from Cook also corroborate a recent report that indicated Apple’s switch to its own mapping solution in iOS 6 was driven primarily by the company’s interest in providing turn-by-turn directions. Under its previous agreement with Google Maps, voice-guided navigation was not available in the iOS Maps application.

“We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS,” Cook wrote. “As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.”

Upon its debut with iOS 6, Apple’s new Maps application was met with a flood of criticism from users who complained of incorrect positioning data, poor routing and Flyover rendering issues. Apple’s new mapping solution is generally seen as inferior to the product it replaced, which was powered by Google Maps.

Friday’s letter by Cook is the second time Apple has commented publicly on the Maps controversy. The company first issued a statement soon after the release of iOS 6 to say it was “working hard” to fix the Maps application, and that the company appreciates customer feedback.

Apple’s mapping team was said to be “under lockdown,” attempting to quickly fix some of the larger issues with iOS 6 Maps. And the company was also reported to have been luring ex-Google Maps engineers to work on its new application. Apple also began advertising for new positions available for mapping developers on its website.

One of the most-cited features missed by users with iOS 6 Maps is Google’s Street View functionality. That feature is reportedly coming to the Web-based version of Google Maps within two weeks.

Cook’s full letter is included below:

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google contract waived for one year while iOS 6 Maps app introduced

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

googlelogo.jpg

Well, this is a bit awkward.

Per the New York Times and The Verge, a report on Tuesday claims Apple had over one year left on its contract with Google Maps when it made the decision to replace the app with a proprietary solution, leaving the internet search giant with little time to develop a standalone version capable of running on iOS 6.

The newspaper has confirmed with its own sources that Google is indeed building a maps app, however the software will likely not be available for months as the company was “caught off guard” when Apple announced iOS Maps. Google Maps for iOS will possibly be released by the end of the year.

According to two separate sources familiar with the matter, the decision to replace Google Maps came shortly before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, meaning Google had a short window with which to build a new iOS app. The sources go on to say the standalone Google Maps is largely incomplete and will not ship for “several months,” according to the story on The Verge.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said as much in a short interview on Tuesday, revealing that the company has “not done anything yet” in terms of submitting an standalone app to Apple.

As for Apple’s decision to ditch Google’s mapping service, Schmidt said, “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”

Apple’s proprietary mapping solution was introduced at WWDC, with iOS chief Scott Forstall touting the app’s turn-by-turn directions, crowd-sourced traffic data, Siri integration and 3D Flyover capabilities. The company was also said to be handling the cartography in house in its bid to replace Google Maps, a bold undertaking given Google’s service has been continuously fine-tuned over the past decade.

The move to introduce a totally new mapping system with iOS 6 and the new iPhone 5 was reportedly a result of the disparity of features between the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps. One key feature was free turn-by-turn directions, something that Google has been including in its Android OS for years.

In a bid to upstage Apple’s announcement, Google announced the “next dimension” of Google Maps a few days prior to WWDC. The new feature turned out to be similar to Apple’s Flyover and offers 3D renderings of certain large metropolitan areas.

When it was released last week alongside iOS 6, Apple’s new iOS Maps met a flood of criticism from users who complained of incorrect positioning data, poor routing and Flyover rendering issues. Perhaps most troubling was the lack of features users had become accustomed to with Google Maps, such as Street View, highly-detailed map data and public transit routes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 22.0.1229.79

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012, 08:32
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock a decent update.

Late Tuesday, Google released a beta of version 22.0.1229.79 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 44 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Mouse Lock API availability for Javascript.

- Additional Windows 8 enhancements.

- Continued polish for users of HiDPI/Retina screens.

Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79 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 OS X 10.8.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 10:21
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for this for a while now.

On Wednesday, Apple released version 10.8.2 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 665 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Facebook:
- Single sign on for Facebook.
- Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos.
- See Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts.
- Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center.

Game Center:
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages.
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations.
- Added Facebook “Like” button for games.
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement.

Other new features:
- Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010).
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac.
- You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from – Safari and Mail on your Mac.
- FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number.
- New shared Reminders lists.
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them.
- Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian.
- Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary.
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts.

General fixes:
- Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As.
- Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail.
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone.
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center.
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used.
- Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari.
- Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages.
- Resolves an issue that may cause the “Enable Autodiscover” checkbox to always remain checked.
- Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled.
- Support for @icloud.com email addresses.
- Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks.
- Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out.
- Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to re-appear prior to logging in.
- Improvements to SMB.
- Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled.
- Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible.
- Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system.
- Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

OS X 10.8.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Google releases Picasa 3.9.11.6 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 10:47
Category: News, Software

picasaicon.jpg

On Wednesday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.11.6, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed Sync/upload to re-upload on image size or metadata changes.

- Fixed reading jpg files saved by Gimp.

- Fixed Reading some png files with metadata errors.

- Fixed some errors storing faces in XMP data.

- “Save as” and “Save a Copy” are now re-enabled when switching away from two-up AA mode.

- The size option for uploads is now saved in the album data.

Picasa 3.9.11.6 requires 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 making changes with iCloud Notes and Reminders, adding more comprehensive Lost My iPhone feature in forthcoming updates

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:27
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Some upcoming iCloud features could prove incredibly useful and interesting.

Per AppleInsider, the upcoming iCloud Notes and Reminders apps are virtually identical to their iOS and OS X Mountain Lion siblings. The new Reminders web app offers a cloud-based version of events synced with iOS mobile devices and desktop Macs, although it does not support location based reminders (simply ignoring any “geofence” reminder settings triggered to go out when entering or leaving a particular location).

Notes gets a similar web treatment, although unlike its iOS and OS X counterparts, there’s no way to change the default font from Noteworthy. Notes on the web also reflects the stitched leather binding of its iOS counterpart rather than the plainer version in OS X.

In addition to the two new apps, iCloud Mail and Calendar are both getting minor updates. The new Mail adds support for VIP inboxes introduced in Mountain Lion’s Mail this summer.

Mail also uses iOS style scroll bars that are skinnier and translucent, in strange contrast to iCloud’s Calendar app, which continues to use a standard scroll bars with a full gutter and arrow buttons.

The only apparent change in Calendars is the removal of the Reminders list, which is now its own app. Similarly, the iCloud Contacts app hasn’t changed at all, so it retains the odd “bookmark” control for accessing contact groups that Apple has removed from both the OS X and iOS 6 versions of the app.

Also left apparently unchanged is Apple’s support for saving and accessing iWork documents from the web. Overall, the company’s web strategy for iCloud seems very conservative, given that both Google and now Microsoft have made web versions of their office apps a prominent part of their software strategy.

One final feature Apple has added to iCloud’s web portfolio is a new “Lost Mode” within Find My iPhone. The new feature is an enhancement over the previous version, which only offers to lock the device and optionally send it a message.

If your iOS 6 device goes missing, you can click on Lost Mode and the app prompts you to enter a phone number and message, locks the device remotely and will track the device every time it moves, reporting changes in location via email updates. It will also draw each location change on the map, showing a trail of where the device has shown up.

Devices that haven’t yet upgraded to iOS 6, along with Macs registered to use iCloud’s Find My Mac, continue to support the old Lock feature, without updates or live tracking.

Notably, Apple is still using Google Maps within iCloud rather than its own Maps that will launch with the new iOS 6 update later this week. The company may transition over to its own map services at some point.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 21.0.1180.89

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012, 16:35
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Hey, a web browser update is still a web browser update.

On Thursday, Google released a beta of version 21.0.1180.89 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 43.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Several Pepper Flash fixes (Issue 140577, 144107, 140498, 142479)..

- Microphone issues with tinychat.com (Issue: 143192).

- Devtools regression with “save as” of edited source (issue: 141180).

- Mini ninjas shaders fails (Issue: 142705).

- Page randomly turns red/green gradient boxes (Issue: 110343).

Google Chrome 21.0.1180.89 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.

Mozilla to discontinue support for Firefox under Leopard this October

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012, 09:22
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Ya gotta upgrade sometime.

Per Macworld, Mozilla will drop support for Apple’s OS X 10.5, or Leopard, after it ships Firefox 16 in October, according to company developers.

“We are not planning to support Mac OS X 10.5 with Firefox 17,” said Josh Aas, who works on the Firefox platform group, in a message last month on Bugzilla. “The builds will fail to run on anything less than Mac OS X 10.6.”

OS X 10.6 is Snow Leopard, the 2009 follow-up to Leopard, which shipped in October 2007.

By Mozilla’s release calendar, Firefox 16 is to debut Oct. 9. Firefox 17, the first that will not to pushed to Leopard users, is slated for a Nov. 20 launch.

Mozilla is following Google’s lead in dropping Leopard; Google released its last browser for OS X 10.5, Chrome 21, on July 31.

Although Mozilla talked about ditching OS X 10.5 support in December 2011, it decided then to keep Apple’s OS on the list. Discussions among engineers, managers and contributors restarted in late June.

According to Mozilla, Leopard’s importance is diminishing. “Mac OS X 10.5 users have been declining by 1% per month, as a share of our total Mac OS X users,” said Aas. “This, combined with the impact of the release of Mac OS X 10.8 [Mountain Lion], means that Mac OS X 10.5 users will likely make up around 10% of Mac OS X users when Firefox 17 ships.”

As of June 21, 17% of Firefox 13’s Mac users were running Leopard, with larger shares on Snow Leopard (35%) and Lion (48%), Aas said. Only 4.6% of all Firefox 13 users were running it on a Mac.

Like Google, another reason Mozilla cited for dumping Leopard was that Apple has also ended support.

The last time Apple patched bugs in Leopard was November 2011, and its most recent security update, in May 2012, disabled older copies of Flash Player to stymie Flashback rather than fix specific security flaws. Nor has Apple maintained Safari on OS X 10.5. The final update was issued over a year ago.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 21.0.1180.81

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 17th, 2012, 16:42
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock frequent updates.

On Friday, Google released a beta of version 21.0.1180.81 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 43.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Duplex Printing defaults to Yes, which prints extra pages even for a 1 page print out (Issue 138312).

- Print preview takes forever on Win XP (issue: 140044).

- Anti-DDoS inversion of logic (Issues: 141643, 141081).

- Pepper Flash: in file uploads, treats HTTP status != 200 as failure, breaking (e.g.) uploads to Amazon S3 (Issue: 140468).

- Projectmanager.com application causes Flash to hang (Issue: 141018)
Turn off TLS 1.1 in Chrome 21 Stable (Issue: 142172).

- An additional scroll bar appears at the right on many sites (issue: 140239).

- Setting and unsetting display:none obliterates current scroll position (issue: 140101).

Google Chrome 21.0.1180.81 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.