Google Chrome updated to 13.0.782.107

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Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, 04:21
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 13.0.782.107 for the Mac. The new version, a 42.1 megabyte download, offers the following the following changes:

- Instant Pages.

- Security fixes and improvements.

Google Chrome 13.0.782.107 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

CrossOver updated to 10.1.1

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Date: Tuesday, July 26th, 2011, 03:38
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 10.1.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Added a workaround for a bug in OSX 10.7 Lion. Many games running in a virtual desktop cause a crash. This can be resolved by setting the CX_LEAK_XPLUGIN_SURFACES environment variable.

- Work around a bug in OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. 10.6.8 generated corrupt iconfiles which caused occasional Finder crashes. Now we use a different APIto generate icon files which bypasses the issue.

- Changed behavior of group permissions on certain files. Resolves an issuewith .docx files on certain file systems.

CrossOver 10.1.1 retails for US$69.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple discontinues $999 white MacBook

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 07:22
Category: MacBook, News

It’s kind of turning into a day of days, news-wise.

In the midst of news, updates and product releases, Apple has officially axed the US$999 white plastic MacBook, which has held down the low-cost end of Apple’s laptop line for years.

Per Macworld, the notebook was bumped off by the brand new US$999 MacBook Air, which boasts a Thunderbolt port and Intel Core i5 processors over the MacBook. As of now, if you want to buy the lowest-price Mac laptop available, it will still cost US$999—but now it’ll have an 11.6-inch display and a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Users who demand a 13-inch laptop will now pay US$200 more—the base-level 13-inch MacBook Pro retails for US$1199.

Still, it had a good run… and if you need any consolation, I’ve made a stack of G4 Cube units into a pretty nifty local bar in your area.

Apple releases Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge, backlit keyboard-equipped MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 05:21
Category: MacBook Air, News

You might have been waiting for this.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday the long-anticipated new version of its MacBook Air notebook, equipping the ultraportables with Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards and Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors offering up to twice the performance of their predecessors.

Like the previous generation models, the new MacBook Airs start at US$999 for the entry-level model. They are available for order today and will be in stores on Thursday.

The MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models that Apple boasts easily slip into a briefcase, purse or bag. The MacBook Air’s durable aluminum unibody enclosure measures 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest.

The notebooks all feature flash for instant-on and fast data access, improved reliability and incredible energy efficiency. The 11-inch model weighs 2.38 pounds and provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch weighs 2.96 pounds and provides up to 7 hours of battery life.

With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is said to be up to twice as fast as the previous generation. The new notebooks also also feature Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offer up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

Thunderbolt I/O technology provides expansion possibilities never before available to MacBook Air users. Through a single cable, users can connect to high performance peripherals and the new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Thunderbolt can easily be adapted to support legacy connections such as FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet.

The MacBook Air comes with a full size backlit keyboard and a glass Multi-Touch trackpad. The backlit keyboard uses a sensor to automatically detect a change in ambient lighting and adjusts the keyboard brightness for any environment.

The Multi-Touch trackpad supports Lion’s new Multi-Touch gestures such as momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps.

MacBook Air also features a high resolution LED backlit display. MacBook Air also includes Bluetooth for wireless peripherals and two USB ports for wired and wireless devices.

The new MacBook Air also meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Every new MacBook Air comes with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, along with the iLife suite. Lion features more than 250 new features to the Mac, including Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control for a view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store,; Launchpad, iPad-like home screen for apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.0

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 05:07
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.0. The new version, a 82.8 megabyte download, sports the following list of fixes and changes:

- Support for cloning of VMs (bug #5853, see the manual for more information): full clones can be created through the GUI and VBoxManage, linked clones only through VBoxManage.

- GUI: enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks.

- GUI: new wizard for copying virtual disks.

- GUI: keep the aspect ratio in scale mode (Windows and OSX hosts only; bug #7822).

- VMM: raised the memory limit for 64-bit hosts to 1TB.

- Experimental support for PCI passthrough for Linux hosts, see the manual for more information.

- Windows guests: Experimental WDDM graphics driver, supporting Windows Aero (bug #4607) and providing
- Direct3D support using a cleaner approach (no need to install the guest drivers in Safe Mode anymore).

- Guest Additions: status of modules and features can now be queried separately by the frontends.

- Networking: new network attachment mode “Generic Driver”, which offers an open plugin architecture for arbitrary and separately distributable virtual network implementations.

- Host-only Networking: fixed host crash in kernels prior to 2.6.29.

- New Networking Mode UDP Tunnel: allows to interconnect VMs running on different hosts easily and transparently, see the manual for more information.

- Experimental support for SATA hard disk hotplugging available with VBoxManage.

- Solaris hosts: New Crossbow based bridged networking driver for Solaris 11 build 159 and above.

VirtualBox 4.1.0 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Intel looking into bug in SSD 320 drive, offering replacement units

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 18th, 2011, 06:48
Category: hard drive, News

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Nothing’s perfect all the time.

Per Macworld, Intel is investigating a potential bug that may be causing SSD 320 solid-state drives to fail. The company is offering replacement drives to affected customers until the issue is resolved, a customer service representative said.

Over in Intel’s forums, users are complaining about SSD 320 drives crashing due to power issues, causing data loss. In some instances the storage capacity on the drive is being reported as only 8MB after the crash.

“We are investigating the issue,” Intel spokesman Daniel Snyder said via email. “Any customer with concerns should call Intel customer support.”

An Intel technical support representative said that until the issue is resolved, affected customers will be sent a replacement drive. Intel’s customer support contacts are listed on its website. The company also offers live chat support.

The SSD 320 was released in March and is being used in both Macs and PCs computers. The drive, which has received positive reviews, is offered with capacities ranging from 40GB to 600GB.

Intel has had issues with SSDs crashing in the past. In 2009 it pulled a firmware upgrade for its X25-M consumer SSDs the day after users complained about the software crashing drives.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Rumor: Additional sources point towards next-gen MacBook Air launch next week

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 15th, 2011, 04:46
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

Ya know, if the next-gen MacBook Air came out today and killed all this anticipation, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Per All Things D, a new report Thursday corroborates that Apple is expected to launch new MacBook Airs next week, featuring backlit keyboards and minimum 128GB solid-state hard drives.

Updated: The report from All Things D corroborates numerous details that have been published elsewhere online over the last several days. It cites “several” anonymous sources as having indicated the notebooks will go on sale late next week.

“So look for an announcement Thursday or Friday, with the new hardware spec’ing out pretty much the way rumors in AppleInsider have described: New Sandy Bridge processors from Intel, support for Apple’s new high-speed Thunderbolt port, backlit keyboards and a winnowing down of configuration options to 128GB and 256GB of flash,” the revised report said.

In addition, it was first reported here on Thursday that the new notebooks could do away with the entry-level 64GB solid-state flash hard drive and offer 128GB as the lowest capacity. Those details were provided in a communication with Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also indicated the devices are expected come with 4GB of RAM as the standard.

In addition to the more recent rumors in the past week, reports have indicated for months that the new MacBook Air models will feature Intel’s latest generation Sandy Bridge processors, which first hit the market earlier this year. The new notebooks will also sport the high-speed Thunderbolt port that already appeared in Apple’s MacBook Pro and iMac lineups earlier this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 5.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011, 02:59
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 5.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 27.8 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

- Worked around an issue in Mac OS X 10.7 that could cause Firefox to crash.

- Worked around an issue caused by Apple’s “Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 5″ where the Java plugin would not be loaded.

Firefox 5.0.1 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.

Rumor: Next-gen MacBook Air notebook to once again include backlit keyboards

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Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011, 06:29
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

The new MacBook Air: It might just feature the shiny coolness that is a backlit keyboard.

With the release of new models later this month, Apple is set to reinstate a feature to its MacBook Airs that went missing when the company overhauled the ultra-thin notebooks into more cost-affordable products late last year.

Per AppleInsider, according to sources close to the story, backlit keyboards will join the string of hardware enhancements planned for the new 11.6- and 13.3-inch notebooks, which are also expected to adopt high-speed Thunderbolt ports, an upgrade to Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture, and possibly high-speed 400MBps flash memory.

The omission late last year of keyboard backlights — which help illuminate the keys on a keyboard in dim lighting scenarios — from Apple’s current lineup of MacBook Airs was particularly glaring given that all three iterations of the first-generation of MacBook Airs (Early 2008 to Mid-2009) included them as standard features.

Given Apple’s energy saving controls, software expertise, and the nominal cost associated with including keyboard backlights, it was never particularly clear why Apple opted to leave out the feature when it redesigned the MacBook Air line last October. One industry watcher even went as far as to call it “planned obsolescence” on Apple’s part.

Nevertheless, people familiar with the matter say Apple’s white 13.3-inch MacBook will once again be the only notebook from the company to lack keyboard backlights once the new Airs make their debut sometime during the week of July 21st.

According to sources, Apple has been holding off shipments of roughly 400,000 of these new MacBook Airs until it can image them with the finalized Golden Master build of Mac OS X Lion, which privately began making its way to developers last week.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixIt performs teardown of Apple’s Thunderbolt cable, discovers receiver/transceiver system inside

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Date: Thursday, June 30th, 2011, 04:25
Category: Hardware, News

When in doubt about a new piece of hardware, take it apart and study it.

Once again, the guys at iFixIt performed a full teardown of a new Apple item, this time dissecting Apple’s just-released $49 Thunderbolt cable to reveal an “active cable” with transceiver chips on each end.

iFixit took apart the new cable on Wednesday and discovered two Gennum GN2033 Thunderbolt Cable Transceiver chips, other much smaller chips and “tons of little resistors” tucked into the metal connector.

The teardown experts were prompted by a tip from ArsTechnica, who had been told by a support technician for storage maker Promise that Apple’s Thunderbolt cable is a “smart cable” with internal firmware.

Apple released the Thunderbolt cable on Tuesday, alongside the first compatible peripherals–external RAID systems from Promise, which range in price from US$999 to US$1,999. Early tests of the Promise systems have revealed blazing fast write speeds of up to 700MB/s, as much as 21 times faster than FireWire and USB 2.0.

The Gennum web site describes the cable’s transceiver chips as a requirement for the cables due to “the unprecedented speed of the new Thunderbolt technology places unique demands on the physical transmission media. The GN2033 provides the sophisticated signal boosting and detection functions required to transfer high-speed data without errors across inexpensive Thunderbolt copper cables.”

Sources within the telecom industry told ArsTechnica that active cables are usually used at data rates in excess of 5Gbps. Chips at either end are calibrated to the attenuation and dispersion properties of the wire in order to “greatly [improve] the signal-to-noise ratio.”

Intel has also reportedly chosen to use active cabling for “future optical-based iterations of Thunderbolt,” the report’s source added. Though passive optical cabling is more common, active optical cables could allow fiber optics to be coupled with electrical cabling for power transmission. Additionally, “current electrical ports can be forward compatible with future optical cables” if active cabling is used, said the source.

On the more consumer end, LaCie has promised a Thunderbolt solid-state drive is coming this summer. A recent demo of the drive reached read speeds of 827.2MB/s.

Intel and Apple worked together to develop the specification, with Intel providing its “Light Peak” technology and Apple offering its Mini DisplayPort standard. Thunderbolt drives two separate 10Gbps links, one for displays and one for PCI-Express devices, and could reach speeds of up to 100Gbps when the cables transition from copper to optical.



Similar to Apple’s experience with its in-house developed FireWire standard, the company has a fine line to walk in making Thunderbolt a unique value-add for Macs while still driving widespread adoption of the standard to ensure a large enough market for a range of third-party peripherals. Currently, the Mac maker is the only supplier of Thunderbolt cables.

Earlier this week, Sony announced a new VAIO Z laptop that implements a proprietary version of Thunderbolt. The electronics giant pulled a similar maneuver with its custom version of FireWire, called i.Link.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.