Mozilla releases Firefox 18.0 update

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Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 07:31
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a solid update.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 18.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 38.4 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

New:
- Faster JavaScript performance via IonMonkey compiler.

- Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 and up.

- Preliminary support for WebRTC.

Changed:
- Experience better image quality with our new HTML scaling algorithm.

- Performance improvements around tab switching.

Developer:
- Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.

- Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.

HTML 5:
- Support for W3C touch events implemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.

Fixed:
- Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).

- Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

Firefox 18.0 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 to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.6.602.137 beta

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Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 07:45
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.6.602.137 for Mac OS X, a 16.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate as a pre-release beta. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

- This pre-release includes new features as well as enhancements and bug fixes related to security, stability, performance, and device compatibility for Flash Player 11.6 and AIR 3.6.

Adobe Flash Player 11.6.602.137 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Intel shows off fourth-gen Core processor lineup at CES

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Date: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013, 08:48
Category: Hardware, Intel, News, Processors

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The cool stuff’s en route for this year.

Per AppleInsider, Intel on Monday demoed a number of upcoming processors set to hit market later this year, including low power versions of the company’s “Haswell” fourth-generation Core series CPUs slated to roll out in Apple’s inevitable 2013 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air refreshes.

While Apple wasn’t specifically mentioned in Intel’s keynote, which focused mainly on the chip maker’s push into smartphones and Ultrabooks, the processors outlined on Monday will likely be powering the MacBook lineup later this year.

According to the head of Intel’s PC client group, Kirk Skaugen, the fourth-gen Core family of processors are the first to be designed specifically for the Ultrabook initiative. The new silicon is said to bring the most significant battery life improvement in Intel history, with laptops using the CPUs boasting 9 to 13 hours of continuous on-the-go use.

“The 4th generation Core processors are the first Intel chips built from the ground up with the Ultrabook in mind,” Skaugen said. “We expect the tremendous advancements in lower-power Core processors, and the significant ramp of touch-based systems will lead to a significant new wave of convertible Ultrabooks and tablets that are thinner, lighter and, at the same time, have the performance required for more human-like interaction such as touch, voice and gesture controls.”

Intel is making a strong push for touch capabilities in this year’s thin-and-light lineup, requiring OEMs to include the functionality in return for “Ultrabook” branding. The company is also mandating that Ultrabook manufacturers incorporate Intel Wireless Display technology into 2013 machines, allowing users to view digital content on an HDTV.

As Apple does not participate in the Ultrabook initiative, a category believed to be a response to the MacBook Air, the Cupertino, Calif., company is not required to incorporate touchscreen tech into its laptop products. There have been no reports pointing toward multitouch capable MacBooks and industry sources claim Apple will merely debut refreshed units in June with existing designs.

Stay tuned for additional details

USB 3.0 Promoter Group announces updated spec, anticipated 10Gb/s speeds for 2014

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Date: Monday, January 7th, 2013, 07:32
Category: Hardware, News

This could lead to something nifty.

Per CNET and the mighty Jim Tanous of The Mac Observer, an updated USB 3.0 specification that promises to double theoretical maximum bandwidth is scheduled to arrive in mid–2013, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced Sunday. The improvements, thanks to revised hardware and more efficient data transfer methods, will double USB 3.0’s speed from 5 gigabits per second to 10 gigabits per second, rivaling the single-channel performance of Thunderbolt.

The news of faster USB speeds will be welcomed by those relying on external solid state or multi-disk hard drives, as some current high-end drives already saturate USB 3.0’s 5 Gb/s limit (equivalent to about 640 MB/s). For those not yet interested in faster speeds, the new technology will still be backwards-compatible with older USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices and ports.

The new specification is expected to be finalized by mid-year, but devices taking advantage of it won’t hit the market until early 2014 at the earliest, with “much broader availability of products in 2015.”

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which announced the new specification, is comprised of member companies in the technology field, including HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments, among others. Apple, which belatedly introduced USB 3.0 on its 2012 line of Macs, is not a member, although it pioneered Thunderbolt, an alternative high-speed interface.

Thunderbolt also offers maximum bandwidth of 10 Gb/s (about 1,280 MB/s) but is dual channel, allowing two transfers up to that speed to occur simultaneously between attached devices. However, the limited number of Thunderbolt-enabled computers and the complicated nature of Thunderbolt chipsets and cables have made the technology significantly more expensive than most other interface options. As a result, it is far less ubiquitous than the backwards-compatible and cheaper USB 3.0 standard.

Users interested in the new USB 3.0 specification will need both updated computers and external devices to support it. New USB 3.0 devices will still work in the absence of both of these conditions, but they will operate at much slower USB 3.0 or 2.0 speeds depending on the exact configuration.

Cables, on the other hand, are another matter. Due to changes in the efficiency of the new specification, existing USB 3.0 cables may not work. “Existing SuperSpeed USB cables are not certified to operate at 10 Gbps; it is possible that some existing SuperSpeed USB cables may be capable of operating at 10 Gbps,” the group said.

Now that Apple has introduced USB 3.0 support, it is likely that the company will move to incorporate the faster USB specification once it is available, especially if Thunderbolt adoption continues to progress at a glacial pace.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google releases Picasa 3.9.13.29 update

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Date: Monday, January 7th, 2013, 06:26
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.13.29, 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 34 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Share to your Google+ circles: If you’ve joined Google+, you can use Picasa 3.9 to share directly to the circles you’ve created in Google+. They’ll see your photos and videos in their Google+ stream. People that don’t use Google+ aren’t left out. They’ll get an email to view your album in Google+, and they don’t have to join to do so.

Picasa name tags on Google+: If you’ve joined Google+, you may have noticed that name tags have become more social. With the release of Picasa 3.9, you can now upload and share your name tags on Google+. Note that if you choose not to join Google+, name tags won’t change at all.

New photo editing effects: We’ve added a plethora of new editing effects like Vignette, Duo-tone, Borders and more.

Side by side editing: Compare two different photos side by side. Or compare the original and edited versions versions of the same photo simultaneously as you apply edits in Picasa. Learn how to edit side by side.

Picasa 3.9.13.29 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.

GraphicConverter updated to 8.5, adds Retina support, other features

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 28th, 2012, 09:41
Category: News, Software

A nifty chunk of shareware just got better.

On Friday, Thorsten Lemke’s seminal graphics conversion and editing app GraphicConverter reached version 8.5. The new version, a 153.8 megabyte download, added the following fixes and changes:

New features:
- Retina support added.
- Added support for 16 bit per channel grayscale raw import.
- Split red/green/blue batch added.
- Added batch function to extract all used keywords to convert&modify.
- Added option to disable indicator for unapplied xmp changes.
- Added zoom support to slideshow with gesture.
- Added dialog upon click of rotation indicator.
- Added rating tool to image window toolbar.
- Added option to open a browser with a default path upon launch.
- Added option to use EXIF preview as browser thumbnail.
- Added import of old picture clippings at 64 bit.
- Added import support for some old StartupScreen variants.
- Added editable number fields for display of slider values.
- Added slideshow with find.

Updated features:
- Exif creation does verify gps tags before export.
- Keyword palette supports import of plain keywords list.
- Next/previous icons do now use the last display scale for the new image.
- Improved undo options.
- Improved PhotoRaw options.
- Find and replace colors are stored in the prefs.
- Enhanced edit exif data dialog.

Bug fixes:
- Fixed performance issue after resolution change without resample.
- Added a workaround for a possible issue during keyword change of JPGs on server volumes with 10.7.x.
- Fixed a bug during applying batch settings during html catalog creation.
- Fixed a bug in multipage pdf to tiff conversion.
- Fixed a bug in replace dialog of non image files.
- Fixed a possible memory leak in the slideshow.
- Fixed a bug with the index display in the find and replace dialog.
- Fixed a bug in setting the catalog/picture format.
- Fixed a display issue on 10.6.8.
- Fixed possible crash during import of corrupt WPG file.
- Fixed a bug in JPS to MPO conversion.
- Fixed a bug in flat view.
- Fixed a bug with change of extension if the filename uses dots.

GraphicConverter 8.5 retails for US$39.95 and 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.

Rumor: Apple to update notebooks in June, retain same design with new models

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 28th, 2012, 06:08
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

Rumor: Apple to update notebooks in June, retain same design with new models

Sometimes you just don’t muck with a good design.

Per DigiTimes, Apple will reportedly update the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air product lines in June 2013 with upgraded innards, but no major design changes are expected for either laptop range.

According to the article, Taiwanese supply chain sources said Apple recently issued requests for quotations (RFQs) for a number of notebooks, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with the new models slated to reach consumers in June 2013.

Little information was offered regarding the revised MacBook Pro as the publication focused its report on the effect Apple’s MacBook Air will have on so-called Ultrabook makers next year. For 2013, Apple’s thin-and-light is said to be switching to a new processor platform, most likely Intel’s next-generation Haswell architecture.

As for design, sources say no major changes are planned for either product line. While the MacBook Pro line was the recipient of a design overhaul with the Retina display model, non-Retina versions still sport a unibody chassis largely unaltered since its debut in 2008. The MacBook Air’s enclosure was revamped in 2010, taking on a more angular look as Apple applied design cues learned from its development of the iPad.

DigiTimes also suggests Apple may cut MacBook Air prices ahead of the June launch, but such a move is unlikely considering the company has no recent history of discounting products prior to a newer version’s release. The publication made similar claims in May when it incorrectly predicted that Apple would introduce a US$799 version of the notebook in the third quarter of 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Photoshop CS 6 13.0.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 09:46
Category: News, Software

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It took a little while, but this could be nifty.

On Thursday, Adobe released version 13.0.3 of its Photoshop CS6 image editing program. The new version, a 269.9 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), offers the following fix:

- Enables support for new HiDPI displays on the Macintosh platform for a dramatic improvement in image fidelity and resolution.

Photoshop CS6 13.0.3 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.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.6

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 08:51
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a useful chunk of shareware.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.6. The new version, a 10.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Worked around a bug in Mac OS X 10.8.2 that could cause spam operations in Postbox to be very slow. If you’re using Postbox, you can update your SpamSieve plug-in by following steps 1 through 6 in the Setting Up Postbox section of the manual.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- SpamSieve now understands that @icloud.com, @me.com, and @mac.com are equivalent, so it’s better that finding the proper inbox in Apple Mail when you train a message as good. (For non-Apple IMAP and POP mail accounts, you can define aliases manually, as before. Go to the Accounts tab of Mail’s preferences and enter all the addresses – separated by commas – in the Email Address field.)

- Customers have reported that Sync Services does not work reliably on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Thus, rather than having Outlook use Sync Services to sync its contacts with the system address book, SpamSieve now offers a feature to load the Outlook address book directly. (This ensures that SpamSieve doesn’t mark messages from people in your address book as spam.) Outlook users are encouraged to make sure that Use Entourage/Outlook address book is checked in SpamSieve’s preferences and to click the Load button. For more information, see the Use Entourage/Outlook address book section of the manual.

- SpamSieve is now better able to handle invalid data received from a mail program.

- When Using a Spam Mailbox on the Server, SpamSieve is better at handling errors from Mail that could cause a trained spam message to go to the local spam mailbox instead.

- Training a message as good in Apple Mail now removes any flags, in case you were using Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail.

- Added How should I configure the junk filter on my mail server? to the FAQ.

- The Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages section of the manual now includes instructions for Outlook.

- Worked around various file permissions problems that could prevent training in Apple Mail from working.

- Worked around a bug in Migration Assistant that could prevent SpamSieve from working properly with Apple Mail.

- The plug-in and scripts installers are better able to handle non-standard folder structures.

- Fixed a bug where SpamSieve was unable to see the contents of certain malformed messages, leading to poor filtering accuracy.

- Fixed a bug where sometimes setting the date in the Statistics window didn’t work when SpamSieve was running in 64-bit mode.

- Fixed a regression where where messages trained as good in Apple Mail didn’t move back to the inbox if you were using a local spam mailbox and no inbox matched the message’s recipients.

- Made various improvements to the manual.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.5.2

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 08:32
Category: News, Software

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On Saturday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.5.2. The new version, an 8.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Added support for sending notifications to Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. Growl support will continue to be supported for Snow Leopard and Lion, but in Mountain Lion, CCC will only send notifications to the built-in Notification Center. We understand that Growl offers functionality beyond Apple’s Notification center, but the time required to maintain support for Growl and protecting CCC from problems specific to Growl has become too much of a burden to continue its support when there is a capable alternative offered by the operating system.

- Scheduled tasks configured to run when the source or destination is reattached now have an optional reminder interval. If your source or destination volume hasn’t been attached in a given length of time (7 days by default), CCC will run the task and prompt you to attach the volume.

- When selecting a folder as the source or destination, CCC now displays a “bread crumb”-style indicator of the path to the folder to make it more clear where exactly the source and destination folders are located.

- CCC will now warn you if your USB-attached source or destination volume is “slow”, e.g. attached in a manner that results in the interface speed being negotiated to 1.5MB/s or less.

- Task names are now sorted in a case insensitive manner in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- Improved CCC’s handling of MacFUSE filesystems that do not explicitly allow access to the root user.

- Made some improvements to how CCC prevents sleep during a backup task.

- Improved handling of mounting network volumes with guest privileges.

- CCC now offers a simple mechanism for updating the password for the credentials used to mount a network volume in a scheduled task (e.g. if the password was specified incorrectly when the task was created or has subsequently been changed).

- There is now only one menu item for creating a Mac OS X Installer in CCC’s Source menu. Selecting this item will automatically select the Mountain Lion installer, if present, the Lion installer if present (if the ML installer is not present), or give the user the opportunity to manually select a Mac OS X installer application. The user can also hold down the Option key while choosing this menu item to manually select a Mac OS X Installer application.

- When CCC’s Cloning Coach reports that the destination’s Recovery HD needs to be updated, updating that Recovery HD is now much more automated.

- CCC now works around problems cloning a Recovery HD volume that are caused by PGP and Paragon “flavors” of the GUID Partition scheme.

- Fixed some issues handling file ownership when the source or destination filesystem is nfs, ppfs, osxfusefs, or fuse4x.

- Made a few adjustments that should cause CCC to behave better while logged in as the root user. We don’t recommend logging in as the root user, nor do we spend a lot of time testing this configuration, but it should work better now.

- Made some improvements to how a logout event is handled. During logout, the WindowServer is torn down. Depending on the timing of that and when a CCC scheduled task manages to exit, it’s possible for the scheduled task to make requests to the now-absent WindowServer which can lead to an exception. That exception can place CCC into an indeterminate state for a prolonged period of time. Now if a backup task is running and you log out, CCC will abort the backup task and exit more quickly. If an exception occurs, a secondary termination mechanism will reliably terminate the scheduled task, allowing it to properly reload and reconnect to the new WindowServer process.

- Some email servers require SSL but do not support STARTTLS, which is the IANA-approved standard for negotiating SSL-protected connections to SMTP servers (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3207). This update accommodates these servers by pre-negotiating an SSL connection when using port 465.

- Made some minor user interface adjustments to accommodate the behavior of encrypting Fusion volumes.

- Fixed the errant presentation of a configuration concern when the destination volume’s Recovery HD OS version is not a perfect match to the OS version on the source. It is appropriate, for example, for the source volume’s OS to be 10.8.2, but the Recovery HD volume’s OS to be 10.8 (because Apple does not update the Recovery HD during ordinary OS updates).

- Fixed a schedule calculation issue for monthly tasks in which some months could be skipped.

- Fixed an issue in which some folders in the list of items to be copied could not be opened.

- Addressed a couple issues where CCC would hang while trying to retrieve information from an unresponsive volume.

- Filenames that use more than 255 bytes (e.g. less than 255 characters, but with non-ASCII, multibyte characters) are now preserved properly.

- Fixed an issue in which applying the Mac OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental update would cause CCC scheduled tasks to report that “Mac OS X is not responding to CCC’s request to perform a privileged task”.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC was unable to copy files to the destination if the root folder of the source was locked.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.2 retails for a US$39.95 shareware registration fee. The application requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later.

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