Intel announces Thunderbolt 2 protocol, looks toward 2013 launch

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Date: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013, 06:33
Category: Hardware, News

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This could be really, really sexy.

Per AppleInsider, Intel on Tuesday finally put a name to its next-generation Thunderbolt protocol as “Thunderbolt 2,” with the newly dubbed standard doubling the throughput of its predecessor while remaining backward compatible.

Previously referred to by its codename “Falcon Ridge,” Thunderbolt 2 will boast a bandwidth of 20Gbps, which Intel said is good enough for the simultaneous transfer and display of 4K “Ultra HD” video.

To double the speed, Intel is using a new controller chip that combines the first generation Thunderbolt’s 10Gpbs uni-directional channels into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel. In addition, Thunderbolt 2 will carry support for DisplayPort 1.2, enabling video streaming to one 4K monitor, or dual QHD displays.

Because the next-generation protocol is, in essence, a modified controller chip, Thunderbolt 2 requires no new cables or accessory hardware, meaning it will be completely backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt products.

While Thunderbolt has yet to see wide adoption outside of Apple’s Mac lineup, Intel claims 30 PCs and motherboards now use the I/O tech. That’s in addition to the 80 peripherals and accessories that made their way to market since Thunderbolt first debuted with Apple’s late-2011 Mac lineup.

Despite being marketed as a cutting-edge interconnect technology targeting professionals in the video field, Apple still does not offer Thunderbolt in its Mac Pro tower.

In a report last week, Intel stated that it plans to extend the standard’s reach beyond the few product that currently use the tech, and has up to now focused on quality over quantity.

The chip maker has yet to nail down a specific date on Thunderbolt 2′s release, but said it should be in production by the end of 2013, with a ramp into 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Safari 6.0.5 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013, 06:26
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Safari 6.0.5, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 342.33 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), includes the following fixes and new features:

- Improves stability for some websites with chat features and games.

Safari 6.0.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8.3 or later to install and run and can also be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.4 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, 14:40
Category: News, Software

You’ve been waiting for it and it’s here.

On Wednesday, Apple released version 10.8.4 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 342 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Compatibility improvements when connecting to certain enterprise Wi-Fi networks.

- Microsoft Exchange compatibility improvements in Calendar.

- A fix for an issue that prevented FaceTime calls to non-U.S. phone numbers.

- A fix for an issue that may prevent scheduled sleep after using Boot Camp.

- Improved VoiceOver compatibility with text in PDF documents.

- Includes Safari 6.0.5.

OS X 10.8.4 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 whatsoever, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe releases Photoshop CS 6 13.0.5 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, 06:32
Category: News, Software

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A decent update goes a long way.

On Wednesday, Adobe released version 13.0.5 of its Photoshop CS6 image editing program. The new version, a 135.5 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), offers the following fixes and changes:
- When a transformed type layer’s point size is changed, the end result should be as if there was no transform (like CS5).

- When moving a type layer with a free transform active, the size of the font changes to non-integer values.

- Clicking a Pop-up window in a Flash extension panel does not work and/or cause Photoshop to crash.

- Info panel displays incorrect value for adjustment layers inside groups.

- Restore View>Print Size menu command and Zoom tool right-click context menu.

- Legacy actions fail due to layer merge naming change.

- Black-and-White adjustment layer scrubby slider does not work if in a layer group.

- Arrow keys stop working during text edit using the Type tool.

- Custom icons for Flash extension panels are not displayed after changing the Interface color theme.

Photoshop CS6 13.0.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 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 closes OS X 10.8.4 seeds, release seems imminent

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Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 08:35
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.4 should be out any day now.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday sent notice to developers that it will be closing the OS X Software Update 10.8.4 seed project, suggesting a final version of the maintenance update is close to release.

Sources who have seen the emailed notice believe OS X 10.8.4 could see public release in the near future, possibly at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference coming up on June 10.

Along with thanking participants who contributed to the testing, Apple noted the discussion board and Project Area dedicated to the seeding initiative will be shut down following scheduled infrastructure maintenance this weekend. No information was given regarding a public release date.

Though Apple has yet to dole out a Gold Master of 10.8.4, signaling an imminent release of the software update, the company most recently seeded the eighth beta version of the software last week.

While the maintenance update is not expected to have many new features, a beta issued in April revealed code pointing to support for the 802.11ac wireless protocol, hinting that future Macs could soon employ the speedy Wi-Fi tech. Last week, pictures of a reported Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini custom combo WLAN+Bluetooth card made the rounds, with some speculating that the part could be used in an as-yet-unannounced Mac.

Apple has announced that it will show off next-generation versions of OS X and iOS at WWDC 2013, but many are anticipating new hardware like a refreshed MacBook lineup featuring Intel’s latest Haswell processors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Amazon runs out of 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, rumors hint at new model to be announced at WWDC

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Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 06:29
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

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When the inventories run low, there’s generally some cool stuff around the corner.

Or the retailer REALLY needs to order some more stock.

Per AppleInsider, just hours after new details surfaced suggesting that Apple could introduce a slimmed-down version of its popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display next week, one of the company’s largest resellers — Amazon.com — is sold out of the current entry-level model.

The high-profile stockout comes just a week before Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote presentation — a stage frequently used to unveil new products and innovations. This year, the company is expected to showcase its new next-generation operating system software for the Mac and iOS devices — OS X 10.9 and iOS 7 — in addition to highlighting some new Mac notebooks powered by Intel’s new Haswell processors

Well-connected industry watch Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed on Sunday that Apple plans to launch a slimmed-down 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display at WWDC. He said the tweaked design will feature a thinner chassis, giving the professional-grade notebook a more portable form factor.

In addition, it’s said that the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will sport an improved FaceTime HD camera, which could move from a current resolution of 720p to 1080p, or “full HD.” For his part in attempting to predict Apple’s future product plans through insight into the company’s operations out East, Ming-Chi Kuo sports one of the industry’s most respectable track records in recent years.

Amazon’s stockout applies to Apple’s entry-level 13-inch model, sporting a 2.5-gigahertz Intel Core i5 processor and 128 gigabytes of flash storage. Low inventory levels at authorized resellers are often one of the first signs of new hardware on the horizon, as Apple draws down its available inventory ahead of a new product launch.

While the entry-level model is sold out, Amazon still has remaining inventory of the higher end models with 256 gigabytes of flash storage, at processor speeds of 2.5 gigahertz and 2.6-gigahertz.

In addition, other resellers still have inventory of the two default configurations of Apple’s larger 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, which are the 2.4-gigahertz model with 256 gigabytes of storage and 8 gigabytes of RAM, and the 2.7-gigahertz variety with 512 gigabytes of storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM. The latest rumors have not offered any indication that Apple plans to update the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro next week, suggesting that a refresh to add Intel’s Haswell processors may come at a later date.

However, Apple is expected to bring Haswell to its MacBook Air lineup at WWDC next week, with new models sporting dual microphones for better voice recognition. AppleInsider was first to report on widespread stockouts of MacBook Air models at resellers in recent weeks leading up to WWDC.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop corroborated rumors of new Macs at WWDC last week when he signaled that updated hardware will likely be unveiled. The company is also planning to show off new versions of iOS and OS X, but is not expected to launch any new iPhone or iPad models.

Stay tuned for up to the minute coverage come WWDC next week.

Rumor: Updated Retina Display MacBook Pro with 1080p camera, MacBook Air with improved microphone expected at WWDC

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Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 06:12
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make life interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities listed his forecast for MacBook Pro and Air updates expected at WWDC. Apple’s annual developer-centric conference begins on June 10th with a keynote. The biggest change is Apple will move to Intel’s Haswell processors. These chips dramatically reduce power consumption, which in turn could allow Apple to need fewer batteries in the Retina MacBook Pros:

“We expect the new MacBook, featuring an upgrade to Intel’s (US) Haswell processor, will be in the spotlight for Apple at the upcoming WWDC from June 10. Along with the new processor, we expect the following modifications to each product line:

Retina MacBook Pro to be slimmer slightly, along with a camera upgrade. We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.”

The 1080P camera would match the capabilities of the rear-cameras in recent iOS hardware, but this would represent the first time in which Apple shipped a 1080p-capable front-facing sensor.

If Apple does choose to keep the same batteries and size of the Retina MacBook Pro, the new Haswell chips could push battery life up over 10 hours.

As for the MacBook Air, at least one improvement is expected by Kuo:

“MacBook Air to share dual built-in microphone design of Retina MacBook Pro. We forecast that this year’s new MacBook Air model will also have dual built-in microphones as a result of positive feedback on this feature in Retina MacBook Pro, which delivers clear voice quality on Facetime and VoIP service.”

Apple previously noted that the dual-microphone setup is ideal for voice apps like the included Dictation function.

Kuo expects the older, non-Retina MacBook Pros to freeze and be taken out of the spotlight, much like the iPod Classic. The computer would continue to be sold but with the current Ivy Bridge processors, optical drive slots, and high-capacity hard drives.

The report also notes that MacBooks in general are not immune from the overall global slowdown in PC purchasing caused by the iPad and other tablet cannibalization. The expectation is that 2013 will see 12M units sold, off 1.6M from 2012′s 13.6M total.

Finally, Kuo notes that Apple’s move away from optical and hard drive based storage continues to shift orders to SSD producers:

SSD to be mainstream storage solution for MacBook. We estimate the market share of MacBook with SSD to rise from 45% in 2012 to 64% in 2013, far ahead of the industry’s 15-20%. We also expect SSD penetration to continue to trend up, with SSD eventually replacing conventional hard disk drive and optical disc drive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Review: Game Dev Tycoon

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 07:14
Category: Review, Software, Software

By Mr. S

Tycoon… What is a Tycoon? Websters defines a Tycoon as “A top leader (as in politics) or a businessman of exceptional wealth and power”. So basically a capitalist that can make something out of nothing. A leader of men and a maker of things.

At some point we have all said to ourselves “I would do a much better job if I was in charge, gob smack it!” and that’s the basis of attraction for “Tycoon” games. They put you in charge and say “Here ya go, sonny! Make it happen or lose it all! It’s up to you!”. This is where Game Dev Tycoon falters big time and it’s heartbreaking considering the amount of love that went into its creation.

But more on why I don’t like it later. Lets talk about the things it does right.

Starting off in the garage of your mystery house you start the journey of a fledgling game designer from the golden era of video games, the 70’s. Like the legendary game designers from that period, you start on your Commodore 64 or PC, pumping out games for a few thousand enthusiasts. The first hour of gameplay in Game Dev Tycoon genuinely captures the magic of those times. When men wore pleats, and code was assembly. In those days, a man could spend a couple grand and start cranking out software to a very earnest and attentive audience.


Because every game studio needs a Delorean in the garage...

Because every game studio needs a Delorean in the garage…


The art direction, while simplistic, has a wonderful charm and watching your company grow from backwoods garage operation to full-on ten person studio is very rewarding at first, but that’s exactly when things start to fall apart.

The game turns into a choir of frustrating guesswork that inevitably leads to total studio failure unless you’re good friends with the app’s “save” and “load” buttons or a Web-based wiki to help guide you.

Instead of giving you a well-presented and balanced system, you’re presented with a single mystery path that forces you to try randomly at success. The game never gives you specific details as to why one of your games failed or succeeded, thereby making a core element of the experience feel hollow and luck-based. Why does having the ability to have steering wheel functionality make my football game engine better? Found a great combo? Don’t use that one again or your game will get panned into oblivion even if the game’s setting is completely different and the last game you put out with that combo was ten years ago.


The critics will love you or hate you...

The critics will love you or hate you, but good luck getting details as to why.


You’re given little room for failure, because every game has to be somewhat of a success to pay a staff necessary to sustain the studio. It feels Sisyphean when your workers have to take a week off every four weeks just to keep them happy, and then you have to waste precious time training these layabouts too. You simply fail or succeed with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Try to experiment and your studio goes bankrupt.


Expand staff where you can and you might just crank out a hit.

Expand staff where you can, and hopefully you’re lucky enough to pay them.


Proper feedback and getting just enough understanding of what’s going on under the hood is imperative to a good tycoon experience, and it’s this essential feedback that is totally missing from Game Dev Tycoon. Sure, you get the reviews from the press, but “meh” or “feels derivative” does not tell you why your Zombie Dinosaur Football Racer tanked. You know when you make a good combo, but you can’t use it again without getting horrible reviews for copying something you already did. It’s why you see little pop-up emoticons in “Roller Coaster Tycoon”: instant feedback. You know the people are digging your new toilet because they go in looking miserable and come out looking great. Vis a vie toilets are good whereas a “meh” reaction tells me next to nothing.

Game Dev Tycoon puts a blindfold on your head and chides you for not knowing the way.
It has all the elements of a great tycoon game, but ultimately fails in providing a rewarding tycoon experience. Its scope needs to be widened with a much larger emphasis on player feedback and much better info on what a certain element will add or subtract from the product you’re making in the game. Greenheart Games is an independent company with a clear love of the craft of game making and is probably painfully aware of its shortcomings. As an early supporter of the game, I hope to see it grow from this interesting idea to a more compelling experience with time, but as it stands right now it’s just not fun being a Game Dev Tycoon. :(

Game Dev Tycoon retails for US$7.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

A full demo is available here for your consideration.

Apple reduces non-Retina MacBook Pro prices by $100 for education market buyers

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Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 06:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

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Yet another reason to be in the education market if you can help it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday dropped the education buyer price for its default configuration non-Retina MacBook Pros by an additional US$100, and customers can now pick up the notebooks starting at under US$1,000.

The Apple Store for Education changed its pricing on Thursday, dropping an additional US$100 off the regular cost of a 2.5-gigahertz 13-inch MacBook Pro. That model now sells for US$999, or US$200 below the retail cost for non-educational customers.

The 2.9-gigahertz MacBook Pro is also available for US$200 off retail, starting at US$1,299. The discount, so far, applies only to Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro models.

The 2.5-gigahertz model has an Intel Core i5 processor that can Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz. It also comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM, a 500-gigabyte 5400rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip, and a 7-hour battery life.

The 2.9-gigahertz model has a Core i7 chip that can Turbo Boost up to 3.6-gigahertz, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and a 750-gigabyte hard drive.

Apple’s latest discounts are meant only for educational customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.06

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Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.06, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 6.1 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:
- Canon EOS-1D C

- Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D / Kiss X7

- Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D / Kiss X7i

- Hasselblad Lunar

- Nikon COOLPIX A

- Nikon D7100

- Nikon 1 J3

- Nikon 1 S1

- Sony Alpha NEX-3N

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.