Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 update

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 12:06
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2, the update to its recently-released Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” operating system. The update, a several hundred megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

- Allows reordering of desktop spaces and full screen apps in Mission Control.

- Enables dragging files between desktop spaces and full screen apps.

- Addresses an issue that causes the menu bar to not appear in full screen apps.

- Improves the compatibility of Google contact syncing in Address Book.

- Addresses an issue that causes Keynote to become temporarily unresponsive.

- Improves VoiceOver compatibility with Launchpad.

- Addresses an issue that causes a delay in accessing the network after waking from sleep.

- Enables booting in to Lion Recovery from a locally attached Time Machine backup drive.

- Resolves an issue that causes screen zoom to stop working.

- Improves Active Directory integration.

The update can be located, downloaded and installed via the Software Update feature in Mac OS X.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.1 to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14924.699487

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:00
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.14924.699487 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Add support for Windows 8 Developer Preview (new Windows 8 installation is recommended after installing the update).

- Improve compatibility with Quicken 2011.

- Improve support for Autodesk 3ds Max 2012.

- Optimize CPU usage when Parallels Desktop is idle.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

Google Chrome updated to 14.0.835.202, resolves security, stability issues

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 12:26
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 14.0.835.202 for the Mac. The new version, a 40.5 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Contains Adobe Flash Player 11 plus stability and security fixes.

Google Chrome 14.0.835.202 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Mozilla releases Firefox 7.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 05:43
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Mozilla.org released version 7.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 28.2 megabyte download offered the following change:

- Fixed a rare issue where some users could find one or more of their add-ons hidden after a Firefox update.

Firefox 7.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 04:46
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download via MacUpdate, can be found here, offers the following fix:

- Addresses an issue starting virtual machines running a forthcoming version of Mac OS X Lion.

Fusion 4.0.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

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

iFixit finishes teardown of Thunderbolt display, locates 2009 LG panel

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Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 08:37
Category: Hardware, News

When in doubt, count on someone geekier than you to dissect Apple’s newest hardware.

The cool cats at iFixit have completed a full teardown of the screen has found.

The new display, powered by Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, was disassembled this week by iFixit. They found that the LG display is model number “LM270WQ1,” matching the previous iMac as well as the screen found in Dell’s competing UltraSharp U2711 27-inch monitor.

However, Apple’s display uses LED backlights for better picture quality and lower power consumption, as opposed to the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) found on Dell’s screen. In addition, the Dell display is matte, while Apple’s is glossy.

The solutions provider also noted that Apple’s screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell’s competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.

iFixit found that the glass front of the new Thunderbolt Display can be removed with “heavy duty suction cups,” just like with Apple’s iMac lineup. The LCD screen sports a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.

“The fan is easily removed by simply detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws,” they said. “Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet.”

Inside the display, iFixit found a plethora of chips, causing them to remark that “it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside.” The screen includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, 2.1 speaker system, integrated MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

Some of the chips inside powering all of those features include:

- Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller

- L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller

- Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor

- NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller

- Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter

- SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller

- Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier

- LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface

- Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller

- Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC

The teardown also discovered that the speakers inside the Thunderbolt Display are 49 watts with a miniature subwoofer. In addition, the Flextronics power supply is said to provide 250 watts of maximum continuous power.

If you’ve snagged a new Thunderbolt display and have any feedback about it, please let us know in the comments.

Google Earth 6.1.0.4738 released

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Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 08:45
Category: Software

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On Thursday, software giant Google released version 6.1.0.4738 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 23.8 megabyte download, adds the following new fixes and changes:

- Improved the robustness of network access by providing better support for Proxy and SSL certs. This will fix issues users have experienced of not being able to see balloon content or embedded browser content.

- Improved the resolution seen in elevation profiles for lines and tracks.

- Added the ability to sort “My Places,” and improved the user interface to be able find points across my places.

- There were several improvements to Street View in Google Earth. We added the ability to zoom into a Street View photo by using a zoom slider. Streetview in Earth feels more immersive now due to wider field of view. It is now faster and smoother to use. We made several small tweaks to the user interface including adding a way to navigate floors when you are indoors and there are multiple floors available in Street View.

- Fixed bugs related to missing road labels in cases where roads were curvy or zoomed into.

In Google Earth API for browser plugins:
- Added API for working with tours.

Fixed bugs or minor changes:
- Several performance improvements that would allow smoother experience in specific computer configurations.

- Fixed ‘Restrict to View’ functionality during a shapefile import in Google Earth Pro.

- Fixed an issue where Google Earth would sometimes save incorrect ordering of elements in KML.

- Added field of view recording to tours and ability to play back those changes.

- Fixed an issue where the icon heading did not work in Google Earth API.

- Changes to reduce occurrences of missing desktop icon and shortcut menu items on an update.

- Sped up overlay polygon rendering in OpenGL mode.

- Fixed loading of kmz files when the first file at the root level was image file.

- Upgraded GDAL support to 1.7.0 and fixed issues with importing .tab files in Google Earth Pro.

- Fixed the discrepancy caused in measurements due to multiple radii of Earth used inside Google Earth.

- Fixed an issue where placemarks created with UTM coordinates did not move when edited.

- Fixed an issue when screen overlays disappeared in a print-out.

Google Earth 6.1.0.4738 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, let us know in the comments.

Intel quietly mentions 4K support, could introduce higher screen resolutions under upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture

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Date: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011, 06:48
Category: Hardware, News, Software

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The Retina Display: it’s never been a bad thing.

Per VR-Zone, Intel quietly revealed last week that its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors will support the 4K display resolution, with up to 4096 x 4096 pixels per monitor, potentially paving the way for Apple to introduce high-resolution “Retina Display” Macs.

The company announced the news during a technical session at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last week, as noted by VR-Zone. Ivy Bridge chips will rival competing discrete GPUs by including support for the 4K resolution when they arrive next year.

The company also highlighted a Multi Format Codec (MFX) engine that is capable of playing multiple 4K videos at once. The codec is also capable of handling video processing for 4K QuadHD video, a standard that YouTube began supporting last year.

A set of performance enhancements, with special attention to graphics, should give Ivy Bridge as much as a 60 percent performance boost over the current generation of Sandy Bridge chips, according to Intel.

Intel also revealed last week that Ivy Bridge chips will include support for Apple’s OpenCL standard, which should give a performance boost to next-generation MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models when they arrive in 2012.

If Apple were to introduce a 4K resolution display with the 16:9 ratio currently used in its Thunderbolt Display, iMac and MacBook Air products, the resulting resolution would be 4096 x 2304. A 27-inch display with 4K resolution would sport a pixel density of 174 pixels per inch. Assuming a working distance of 24 inches and 20/20 vision for the calculations, a 4K 27-inch iMac or Thunderbolt display would count as a “Retina Display.”

Apple first began using the “Retina Display” marketing term with the iPhone 4 last year. Then CEO Steve Jobs touted the 326ppi display as being beyond the capabilities of the human retina when used at a distance of 12 or more inches from the eyes.

In September 2010, the company released a Retina Display iPod touch. Rumors have also swirled that Apple will follow suit with a high-resolution version of the third-generation iPad, doubling the resolution of the tablet to 2048 x 1536.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intel announces 710 series enterprise-class SSD units, talks up endurance factor

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 09:09
Category: News

Solid-state drives: They’re getting prolific.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per Macworld, Intel on Wednesday announced the new 710 series solid-state drives, the company currently pitching the units as a replacement to hard drives in enterprise servers.

The SSDs will come with capacities ranging from 100GB to 300GB and include features to protect data and enhance the life of the drives. The drives replace the previous X25-E SSDs, which were also targeted at enterprises, and have 30 times more endurance than conventional hard drives featuring moving parts.

The drives are priced starting at US$649 for the 100GB version to US$1929 for the 300GB drive, when purchased in quantities of 1,000.

The drives feature multilevel cell technologies, which store bits of data at multiple levels in each cell, but provide the endurance of typical single-level cell (SLC) SSDs, where a bit of data is stored per cell. SLCs are considered faster and more reliable than MLCs in terms of endurance cycles.

The SSD achieves a random write performance, measured in 4K blocks, of up to 2700 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and read performance of up to 38,500 IOPS. It has a write endurance of up to 1.1 petabytes.

The Intel SSD 710 includes a technology called HET (high endurance technology), which combines firmware enhancements, management features and algorithms to reduce data errors, Intel said.

The SSDs will be offered with Cisco’s UCS B230 M2 two-socket server starting in September, Intel and Cisco said in a joint statement.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Intel working on Ivy Bridge chipset for next-gen MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 06:52
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

The next generation of something: it’ll always be a bit niftier than the thing you have now.

Per CNET, Apple next-gen MacBook Air may see an additional performance boost next year with Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, which, according to a new report, will add support for the OpenCL technology.

Apple is currently billing its Open Computing Language standard as a technology that “dramatically accelerates” applications by unlocking the “amazing parallel computing power of the GPU.” OpenCL especially offers improvements to financial applications, games and media applications by offloading non-graphics related tasks to the GPU.

Intel is expected to add support for the technology in its line of Ivy Bridge processors due out next year. Intel boasts as much as a 60 percent performance boost over current Sandy Bridge chips, with special attention being paid to graphics performance enhancements.

The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro would stand the most to gain from Intel support for OpenCL. GPUs from AMD and Nvidia already support the technology, but Apple’s ultra-thin notebook and entry-level MacBook Pro currently sport a graphics processor from Intel.

Apple’s MacBook Air update in July made the notebook up to twice as fast as the previous generation, which made use of Intel’s aging Core 2 Duo chips. The company has had some trouble keeping the the diminutive notebooks in stock due to the resulting popularity of the models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.