E3 2010: OnLive launch titles, June 17th release date revealed (updated 2x)

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 03:18
Category: News

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You’re going to like this.

Even though it sounded like a bit of a pipe dream when it was described last year, the OnLive gaming service will launch on June 17th and allow Macs to play bestselling console titles such as Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed II. Per Macworld, OnLive uses a cloud computing technology to process games and allow any Intel-based Mac to function as a high-end gaming machine.

Where the bottom line is concerned, the service gets a cut of every game downloaded, but also has secured funding through partnerships. The most pivotal of those is AT&T, which has teamed up to become an official partner of OnLive’s Founding Member Program. The program (available to qualified users for a limited time), includes a one-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service. Registration has begun at www.onlive.com/att today at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends on July 15. Members of the program can also sign up for an additional year for US$5 per month.

OnLive is currently offering a free trial in which users can download a 1MB client and can try out all the demos for free. You can “rent” a game for a small fee to try it out, or purchase the game directly from the service. The games range from casual to hardcore, and prices range from US$5 to US$59 for full purchases.

Launch titles will include Ubisoft titles Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, and Price of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. From Square-Enix, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2. From Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Origins. Finally, from Take Two Interactive Entertainment, Borderlands. That’s quite a lineup of games that are not only hugely popular, but fairly recent.

While the potential to play high-end games on any Intel Mac is enticing, there are also lots of less-graphically intensive, casual games as well. Perlman cited Mad Balls, Defense Grid, Brain Challenge, and World of Goo as casual games that will appear on the service for download.

Additional games coming down the pipeline with unannounced release dates include: Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator and Alpha Protocol; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver San Francisco, and Shaun White Skateboarding; THQ’s Darksiders, Homefront, and Red Faction: Armageddon; Square-Enix’s Deus Ex 3, Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s F.E.A.R. 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4; and finally, 2K Sports MLB 2k10. The vast majority of these games have either come out in the last year or will be coming out in the next— and nearly all of them have never before appeared on the Mac.

Perlman is emphatic that his service will work on the Mac. “Every Intel Mac runs OnLive. We’ve tried them all,” he admits. That includes Mac minis, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Unfortunately, PowerPC Macs will not be supported by the service.


What You've Been Waiting For...


The only problem his team has encountered, Perlman concedes, is that the original release MacBook Air has a tendency to overheat but “you’ll encounter those same problems running a Flash video.”

The OnLive service will be launching for the Mac and Windows PC platforms on June 17 and after that you can “expect all games going forward to be Mac and PC.” Simultaneously launches on the service should be music to all Mac gamers’ ears.

For those who can’t wait that long, there’s a chance to sign up for the beta on the OnLive website. Oh, and for those who enjoy using game controllers, like the XBox 360 controller, you can with OnLive’s service. “They’re normally not compatible,” Perlman explains, “But we bridge the gap.”

Perlman claims that OnLive has had successful demos with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One demo included the high-end sci-fi first person shooter Borderlands running on the iPad. “It works beautifully,” said Perlman.

Update:
Dropping by the OnLive booth, I was able to learn the following tidbits as well:

- The booth itself featured OnLive running well on current generation MacBook notebooks that had been closed but attached to power, Ethernet cables and USB controller peripherals. Titles like Red Faction: Guerilla ran without any latency.

- The company is doing a staggered launch and bringing more and more players online. Representatives said that the service had been in beta for months with thousands of users online and no significant delays were expected.

- OnLive is currently recommending a five megabit per second Internet connection. A utility available on the company’s web site allows this to be tested. In cases where the connection is too slow, users might want to look into a better connection through their Internet service provider.

- The company is currently running three data centers throughout the country via the Bay area (west coast), Dallas (midwest region) and Washington, D.C. Representatives said they’d like their data centers to be within 1,000 miles of their users.

- The client requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

- Players can purchase a Full Playpass to buy a game and then have unlimited use for the game, the game itself staying on OnLive’s cloud service and not downloading directly to the hard drive.

- Users can look in on other players’ games to observe gameplay, tactics, etc.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.4 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, 15:42
Category: News, Software

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After months of anticipation, Apple released its Mac OS X 10.6.4 update for its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system on Tuesday.

The update, which ranges in size from a few to several hundred megabytes, includes the following fixes and changes:

General fixes and improvements:
- Improves compatibility with some Braille displays
- Resolves an issue that causes the keyboard or trackpad to become unresponsive
- Resolves an issue that may prevent some Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications from opening
addresses issues copying, renaming, or deleting files on SMB file servers
- Improves reliability of VPN connections
- Resolves a playback issue in DVD Player when using Good Quality deinterlacing
- Resolves an issue editing photos with iPhoto or Aperture in full screen view
- Resolves an issue with Parental Controls Time Limits for Open Directory or Active Directory users
- Resolves a display sleep issue with MacBook Pro (Early 2010) computers
- Resolves an issue with MacBook Pro (Early 2010) computers in which the right speaker may sound louder than the left speaker
- Includes Safari 5.0; for more information about Safari 5.0, see this webpage

Fixes and improvements for Aperture 3:
- Adds tethered shooting support for additional digital camera models
- Addresses IPTC metadata compatibility issues

Fixes and improvements for external devices:
- RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras
- Resolves an issue with using third-party USB web cameras
- Resolves an issue with noise when using some third-party FireWire audio devices
- Resolves pairing issues with Apple remotes

Mac OS X 10.6.4 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run and can be downloaded via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple releases updated, slimmer Mac mini with HDMI, SD card ports

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Date: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, 15:57
Category: Announcement, Mac mini

Apple on Tuesday updated its Mac mini desktop computer, adding an HDMI port for easy connectivity to an HDTV, as well as a built-in SD card slot for grabbing photos and videos from a digital camera.

The newly redesigned hardware is just 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches thin. It also has a built-in power supply, which means it lacks a bulky external power brick, which Apple said means the tiny desktop Mac takes up even less space than before, with 20 percent less system volume than the previous model.

“The sleek, aluminum Mac mini packs great features, versatility and value into an elegant, amazingly compact design,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With twice the graphics performance, HDMI support and industry-leading energy efficiency, customers are going to love the new Mac mini.”

The new Mac mini includes the Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor, which delivers up to twice the performance of its predecessor. It also comes standard with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 320GB hard drive, and 2GB of RAM at the $699 starting price.

In March, AppleInsider first reported that Apple was building its first Macs with an HDMI port for high definition video and audio output. HDMI, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is a cabling standard intended for home theater, built on top of the computer-oriented DVI, or Digital Video Interface, specification.

Weeks ago, AppleInsider revealed that supply of the Mac mini was dwindling ahead of the release of new models.

Availability

Shipping today, the Mac mini is available through the Apple store, retail stores, and authorized retailers. The $699 model includes:

2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB of shared L2 cache;
2GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable up to 8GB;
a slot-load 8X SuperDrive® (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
320GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm;
NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
AirPort Extreme® 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
Gigabit Ethernet;
four USB 2.0 ports;
SD card slot;
one FireWire® 800 port;
one HDMI port and one Mini DisplayPort;
HDMI to DVI video adapter;
combined optical digital audio input/audio line in (minijack); and
combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack).

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 500GB hard drive running at 5400 rpm, Apple Remote, Aperture 3, Final Cut Express 4, Logic Express, iWork (pre-installed), Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse, Apple 24 inch LED Cinema Display and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

The Mac mini with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, for a suggested retail price of $999 (US), includes:

2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB of shared L2 cache;
4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable up to 8GB;
two 500GB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
Gigabit Ethernet;
four USB 2.0 ports;
SD card slot;
one FireWire 800 port;
one HDMI port and one Mini DisplayPort;
HDMI to DVI video adapter;
combined optical digital audio input/audio line in (minijack); and
combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack).

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, External SuperDrive, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse, Apple 24 inch LED Cinema Display and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Environmental impact

Even with its doubled graphics performance, Apple said the new Mac mini is still the world’s most energy efficient desktop, based on products listed within the EPA Energy Star Small Scale Server database as of June 2010.

The new hardware uses 25 percent less power to less than 10W at idle, which is less than half the power used by competing systems. It also meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, achieves EPEAT Gold status, has a highly recyclable aluminum enclosure, and uses PVC-free components and cables with no brominated flame retardants.

Included software

The new Mac mini comes with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system, and iLife, Apple’s suite of applications for managing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music. The $999 high-end model includes Snow Leopard Server, and allows a workgroup or small business to fulfill needs such as e-mail, calendar, file serving, Time Machine backup, Wiki Server, podcast production and more.

VirtualBox 3.2.2 released

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Date: Thursday, June 3rd, 2010, 05:44
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.2.2. The new version, a 70.9 megabyte download, sports a list of fixes and changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 3.2.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.1

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Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.1 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, which can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

Improved Overall Performance – 35% Faster than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- Reduced time for suspending virtual machines.
- Faster Windows application launch times.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

2D/3D Graphics Improvements – Up to 5X Better 3D Graphics than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows Vista.
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows 7.
- Greatly improved graphics performance.
- Aero is much faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Some games up to 10x faster than VMware Fusion 3.0 with VMware Fusion 3.1 and latest Mac OS X release.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Unity Improvements:
- Minimizing Unity apps to the dock now shows app contents.
- Works with Exposé and Dock Exposé.

USB “EasyConnect”:
- Easily assign USB devices to virtual machine or Mac when connected.
- Remember USB device assignment between Mac and virtual machine restarts.

Bigger, More Complex Virtual Machines:
- 8-way SMP.
- 2 TB virtual disks.

PC Migration Improvements:
- Improvements to Migrate Your PC assistant, including better validation of names and better location prompt.
- Prompt user if Mac OS X guest account prevents guest access to shared folders instead of failing.
- Open new virtual machine upon successful migration.
- Enhanced user interface on PC being migrated including:
- New progress dialog on the PC being migrated as well as in VMware Fusion.
- Option to show converter logs and troubleshooting steps on PC if PC migration fails.
- Avoids port conflicts with Web server software installed on PC being migrated such as IIS, Tomcat, and Apache.

Boot Camp Improvements:
- Up to 5x disk performance in Boot Camp virtual machines.
- New option to minimize prompting for password (authentication dialogs) when using Boot Camp virtual machines.
- Handle Mac OS X disk changes better to avoid multiple references to Boot Camp partition in the Virtual Machine Library.
- Support for Office 2010 activation in Boot Camp virtual machines.

OVF Tool 2 Comes with VMware Fusion 3.1:
- Directly convert between any vSphere, VMX, or OVF source format to any vSphere, VMX, or OVF target format.
- Deploy virtual machines to vSphere using OVF Tool.
- Import and export of OVF packages into a vApprun 1.0 workspace.

User Interface Enhancements:
- Drag a disk image or virtual disk to the installation media pane of the assistant.
- Add shortcut for opening a virtual machines configuration file in default text editor for VMware Fusion (Hold down option and right-click in Virtual Machine Library).

User Interface Enhancements:
- User Experience Improvement Program.

New Guest Operating Systems Supported:
- Ubuntu 8.0.4.4: 32- and 64-bit.
- Ubuntu 10.04: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- RHEL 5.4: 32- and 64-bit.

Fusion 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Google Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta released for Mac

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Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 03:34
Category: Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 5.0.375.38 beta for the Mac. The new version, an 25.2 megabyte download, offers the following the following changes:

- In addition to crash and stability fixes, this release also includes a localization refresh of our strings.

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

If you’ve played with it and have an opinion, let us know what you think in the comments.

gfxCardStatus utility allows dynamic switching between MacBook Pro graphics cards

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Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 06:33
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Although Apple’s current MacBook Pro notebooks allow you to switch between graphics processing units in order to optimize performance and battery life, Apple doesn’t really provide an easy way to manage the different GPUs on the system, and if you like to tinker you may find the utility gfxCardStatus useful, both for newer and older machines.

Per CNET, Cody Krieger’s gfxCardStatus is a small shareware application that displays which graphics card is the active one. When the system’s computing demands change and the GPU is switched, the utility shows the switches in real-time, either by displaying an “n” (GeForce 330M) or a “i” (Intel HD) in the menu. If you have the Growl notification system installed, gfxCardStatus will inform you in real-time whenever the graphics processor is changed.

In addition to notifications and alerts, gfxCardStatus will list any processes that are using the current graphics processor, and allow you to manually switch the active GPUs on the system.

Despite this, the program does offer a unique advantage to users of the older MacBook Pro models, in that the GPU switching feature does allow for you to switch GPUs without logging out and closing down your applications. The screen will go blue and then black, but will then reappear and the secondary GPU will be used. This may be convenient for some users; however, it is still an experimental feature so try or use it with caution.

gfxCardStatus 1.6.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Intel demonstrates Light Peak port technology for HD video streams

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Date: Thursday, May 6th, 2010, 04:48
Category: News

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PC Pro is reporting that Intel has been demoing a laptop running the company’s “Light Peak” connectivity standard initially offering transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps in both directions. The company previously demonstrated the technology using a prototype Mac Pro motherboard last year, but has now reduced the required hardware to fit inside a laptop enclosure.

The demonstration laptop was sending two separate HD video streams to a nearby television screen, without any visible lag. The laptop includes a 12mm square chip that converts the optical light into electrical data that the computer understands.

Intel’s chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, claimed that the bandwidth afforded by the optical technology is practically unlimited. “Light Peak begins at 10Gbits/sec, simultaneously in both directions,” he said. “We expect to increase that speed dramatically. You’ll see multiple displays being served by a single Light Peak connection. There’s almost no limit to the bandwidth – fibers can carry trillions of bits per second”.

Intel has touted Light Peak as a possible replacement to USB, Firewire, and display connectors in the future, and notes that the hardware should become available to computer manufacturers by the end of this year.

Core i7-based MacBook Pro boasts speedy SATA benchmarks

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 09:01
Category: MacBook Pro, News

In as much as the new Core i7-based MacBook Pro has been described as being toasty, an article over on DIGILLOYD offers benchmarks citing strong SATA write performance on the new model.

Per the article, the April 2010 MacBook Pro has top-flight performance on both internal SATA ports via the following benchmarks:

DIGLLOYD tracked these benchmarks courtesy of its diglloydTools 2.0 package, which is currently available for US$40.

If you’ve snagged the new Core i7 MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer on it, let us know.

Benchmark test finds Core i7-based MacBook Pro reaches over 100 degrees celcius

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 05:57
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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As nifty as the new Intel Core i7-based MacBook Pro notebook is, the days of the toasty lap may have returned. According to a series of tests run by PC Authority, Apple’s new notebook was found to climb over 100 degrees Celsius when running the Cinebench application.

In the tests, the notebook’s metal shell proved ineffective at dissipating the heat as well as the similarly-equipped Fujitsu Lifebook SH760, which finished the same test at 81 degrees, and actually required PC Authority to run the MacBook Pro on its side to complete certain tests. The site thinks that Apple’s cooling solution may be inadequate for a Core i7.

If you’ve snagged the new MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer on its operating temperatures (or heat dissipation tips), please let us know.