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

vmwarelogo.jpg

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.

Intel discusses Haswell achitecture, cites 24 hour notebook battery charge, 10 day standby, expected 2013 release date

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Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 09:43
Category: battery, Hardware, News

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Wait two years and your notebook’s battery life problems could get quite a bit easier to deal with.

Per Macworld, Intel’s next processor platform, code named Haswell, will offer more than 10 days of connected standby battery life and the ability to run your laptop for a full 24 hours on one charge.

Standby connected power will be decreased about 20 times over current Sandy Bridge processors. In real-life terms, this means you could put your laptop to sleep, unplugged, and it could still be working in the background, getting your emails and IMs, for ten days straight.

With 24 hours of battery life, those long-distance flights and day trips will no longer be a worry.

Intel also stated that this technology was slated for 2013, which means you have plenty of time to hanker for it.

For those looking to the more near-term, Intel is expected to released the Ivy Bridge chipset in 2012, which will use a new 22-nanometer architecture to replace the current Sandy Bridge architecture and help make laptops more power efficient in the process.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe Reader updated to 10.1.1

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Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 05:42
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Adobe released version 10.1.1 of its Adobe Reader application. The update, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Acrobat fails to display Rupee symbol.

- Unable to see the last item in drop down list when navigating through list with down arrow.

- Custom scan does not work with Acrobat X.

- Comments and Annotations do not work properly in Workspace launched via Safari on a Mac OS.

- A signed PDF can cause the viewer in a browser to crash.

- Submission of signed data in Acrobat X is slow.

- Unable to input using Japanese IME after using drop box with protected mode.

- Opening a PDF with “CR” in its name gives an error to accept license after disabling Protected Mode.

- Closing a form in a browser may cause the browser to hang.

- Protected mode on XP: IME mode remained Half-alphanumeric mode automatically and cannot change back to Hiragana mode again after move mouse focus from dropdown field to Japanese text filed.

- Form data cannot be exported to CSV in some cases.

- Portfolio behavior different from 9.x with respect to coversheets.

- formBridge events not firing in Portfolio loaded within Reader plug-in inside LiveCycle workspace.

- Touching up text causes ligatures to be dropped.

- IE 6 crashes with magnifier when filling out a text field of a table in a form.

- Reader X call to LiveCycle server fails when submitting an authentication call via SOAP.

- PDFMaker hangs while converting an attached Word file with hidden text to pdf.

- PDFMaker for Office 2007 duplicates headings when both normal and custom headings exist in the same document.

- PDFMaker for MS Office 2003: ES2 (LC 9.0) rendition removes spaces between the Kanji character and the English character while converting an MS word file to PDF.

- PDF was displayed in browser window directly instead of embedded in a ZCI html container when ‘Enable Javascript for this document one time.

- Acrobat Updater Resets “Adobe PDF” PostScript Printer Driver Instance Settings.

- The Share Pane has been renamed to “Tools Pane”. The Tools Pane has been renamed to the “Extended Pane” for Adobe Reader (this is only not for Acrobat). This change is designed to facilitate future additions and enhancements to the Tools area.

- The Welcome screen (with the recent file list) can be disabled via three methods:

- Improved stability and integration with MS Outlook on 64 bit systems. 8.x products redirect users to Reader 10.x downloads if new updates are available. Note that 8.x will be end-of-lifed in November, 2011.

- Major changes in the user JavaScript and global variables features as described in the Application Security Guide. If you use these features, you must make changes to your distributed products.

Acrobat Reader 10.1.1 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel-based processor and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 05:19
Category: News, Software

vmwarelogo.jpg

On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.1 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 new features and fixes:

- Designed for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

- Brand-new user interface to offer an even more mac-like experience when running Windows and Mac applications side-by-side without rebooting.

- Turbocharged performance with up to 2.5x faster 3D graphics.

- Highly optimized 64-bit engine and multi-core processing faster than ever.

- Full Windows 7 support including Windows Aero and Flip 3D animations.

- Migration Assistant for Windows to transfer your entire PC to your Mac.

- Run OS X Lion in a virtual machine.

- More than 90 new features.

Fusion 4.0.1 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.