Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:31
CrossOver retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Intel-based hardware to run.
CrossOver retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Intel-based hardware to run.
Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.4.
The new version, a 21.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
Researchers have apparently developed a technology that could allow notebooks to wake up instantly from shut-down states without draining battery life, as is commonly seen today.
According to Macworld UK, researchers have built ferroelectric material (which is usually found on smartcards) onto silicon, which could allow certain transistors to retain information after power is shut off. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and Northwestern University are involved in the project.
The new findings could save users time by instantly booting laptops to an active and ready state when shut down.
“It would be instant-on, meaning as soon as the power comes back on, your computer would be in exactly the same state it was when you turned it off and ready for action,” said Darrell Schlom, principal investigator and professor at the department of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Quick-boot capabilities are enabled in Notebooks and most mobile devices, though many are unable to recreate shutdown states. As a result, notebooks usually never reboot back to their shutdown state, unless they are in sleep mode, which drains battery power. In essence, ferroelectric materials could wake up laptops from sleep mode, but without drawing any battery power.
The research could pave the way for a new generation of lower-power, higher-speed memory devices, Schlom said. For notebook users, it could reduce the time to load an OS from storage devices like hard drives. The ferroelectric material could also retain data in case power is lost.
The research itself revolves around building ferroelectric transistors, which are capable of retaining data in any electric state, onto hybrid transistors.
The researchers took strontium titanate, a variant of the ferroelectric material used in smartcards, and deposited it on silicon, putting it in a state where it could retain information even when power is off. The new findings cut the intervening layers that made it difficult to put the material on silicon.
Typically when power is turned off, voltages disappear from transistors, which have to be recreated when power is turned on. To recreate them, the relevant information is loaded from nonvolatile storage mediums like hard drives, which takes time. The ferroelectric transistors retain magnetization when the electric field is turned off, allowing it to retain data.
The technology will load operating systems differently from existing memory technologies like DRAM and storage technologies like hard drives and solid-state drives, Schlom said. Ferroelectric transistors conceptually differ in the way data is loaded and retained, Schlom said.
Benefits of ferroelectric transistors were first realized in 1955 by scientists at Bell Labs, Schlom said. Though the recent findings are a major step ahead, additional research is needed to build an actual ferroelectric transistor to make instant-on computing a reality, Schlom said.
He couldn’t provide a timeline for when such transistors would be built.
The researchers also include scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Motorola and Intel. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US government.
For users hankering for a Mac netbook at long last, Dell might have something right up your alley. According to the Apple Core, Dell’s Vostro A90 netbook, which retails for US$199 (less than the price of an iPod touch) can be turned into a computer running desktop-class Mac OS applications as well as a Flash-equipped web browser.
The unit is Dell’s business equivalent of the Mini 9 and uses the same components as the Mini 9 with the only difference being its all-black enclosure, as opposed to the Mini 9′s black and silver styling, and, according to forum posts, a little more metal inside making it more rigid than the Mini 9.
Users will still have to purchase Mac OS X and there are compromises that come with any netbook (1.6 GHz Atom processor, small keyboard, screen and HDD) but the machine can still offer the most bang for the buck of any Apple machine bar none, even if it won’t blow away the MacBook Pro on performance.
Over the weekend, Micromat released version 5.0.4 of TechTool Pro, its best-selling utility software for the Mac. The new version offers features and changes such as the eDrive, which allows users to create an emergency startup partition that includes TechTool Pro on one of your hard drives without the need to reinitialize your hard drive.
Note: Users can download the version 5.0.3 updater here (courtesy of MacUpdate) but will need to use the software’s built-in update feature to access version 5.0.4.
TechTool Pro 5.0.4 retails for US$98 and requires a Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to install and run.
Prosoft Engineering has released Drive Genius 2.1.1, an updated version of its drive repair and recovery program for Mac OS X.
The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:
Drive Genius retails for US$99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later installed to work. The application is a Universal Binary and functions natively under both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
Recently, Apple placed a massive order for flash memory chips, the quantity of which seeming lower in density than one would expect from the company.
Citing supplier-based sources, DigiTimes has stated that Apple has ordered 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips for delivery later this year with the bulk of this order to come from Samsung. Other suppliers such as Toshiba, Hynix, Intel and Micron may also provide some of the order.
The order is suspicious in that it’s for very low density chips. Contrary to some inaccuracies being reported around the Web, the parts in question are 8 gigabit chips, representing 1 gigabyte of storage each, not 8 gigabytes of storage each.
Though these parts could theoretically be used to facilitate the production of 6.25 million 16GB iPhones or 12.5 million 8GB iPhones, Apple has historically purchased higher density chips for its handheld offerings due to space constraints.
Apple is also thought to be using a single high-density 32Gb NAND chip in its most recent 4GB iPod shuffle, though this has yet to be confirmed . A tear-down analysis of the player performed last month found only a single chip inside — a multi-layered stack containing the CPU, RAM, and flash memory — making a face value determination inconclusive.
It’s also unclear from the report whether the 8Gb NAND parts are finalized chip packages, or bare memory chips that will later be stacked to form a higher density package.
Their inclusion in future Macs is yet another remote possibility, though rumors of Apple adopting small flash chips for an implementation of Intel’s Robson technology (which promised faster startup, application launching, and battery life by caching key pieces of code in the solid-state memory parts) fizzled some years ago. Apple now offers customers the option of configuring a handful of Macs with much larger flash drives, doing away with the need for a traditional hard disk drive entirely.
A recent Mac OS X 10.5.7 beta has made its way among Apple developer with Apple apparently also beta testingits second security update of the year for certain Mac OS X distributions.
According to AppleInsider, build 9J44 of Mac OS X 10.5.7 was released to developers. The new beta arrives a little more than a week after the company issued build 9J39 and, per sources close to the story, offers a fix for a PDF font render along with four other fixes, thus bringing the number of documented code corrections to 104.
Similarly, the lone issue affecting the last several builds has been the inability to install Apple’s Safari 4 beta, which hasn’t been tweaked to run on the new system update.
Mac OS X 10.5.7, code-named Juno, is expected for a release sometime this month and reportedly weighs in at approximately 442MB. A combo updater capable of updating versions of Leopard prior to 10.5.6 and bundling earlier security improvements is currently about 730MB.
Where the second security update is concerned, Apple has reportedly tasked security experts with evaluating its second security update to Mac OS X of the 2009 calendar year. The release is said to be in testing for versions of Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4 operating system and a version for Mac OS X 10.5 has yet to be reported.
People familiar with the situation say Apple doesn’t brief its security testers on the improvements it bundles into beta security updates and instead asks them probe for holes blindly. As such, it’s not entirely clear what components of Tiger it targets, though the rumor is that it addresses a networking vulnerability.
Apple is expected to recommend the update “for all users” saying it “improves the security of Mac OS X.” Four different distributions are currently being evaluated: Tiger client (PPC), Tiger server (PPC), Tiger client (Intel), and Tiger server (Intel).
The latest known builds are reportedly 8S410 (PPC) and 8S2410 (Intel).
Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), has recently been updated to version 0.9.9. The new version, a 19.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
VLC 0.9.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and is available as a free download.
Processor giant Intel reaffirmed on Friday that the company is readying a new series of new ultra-low-voltage chips, due in the second quarter, for inexpensive ultraportable notebooks.
According to Macworld UK, the company will ship the ULV chips as part of its Montevina Plus mobile laptop platform, an updated version of the existing Montevina platform, a fact confirmed by company spokeswoman Connie Brown.
The processors could be used in small, thin notebooks and provide the same level of functionality as notebooks priced above US$1,500.
Notebooks currently based on Intel’s ULV chips could be as thin as Apple’s MacBook Air or Dell’s recently launched Adamo, with prices ranging between US$599 and US$1,299.
Intel’s new series could fit into smaller spaces and use less power than the existing Core 2 Duo ULV line, which uses about 10 watts of power and is generally found in ultraportable notebooks such as Apple’s MacBook Air.
Intel’s Montevina Plus platform also will offer new chips running as fast as 3.06GHz, for mainstream notebooks priced between $399 and $1,499.
The company’s Montevina Plus is likely to be Intel’s most important update to its laptop platforms before the company starts shipping its new Arrandale chips for laptops later this year. The Arrandale chips will be manufactured using a 32-nanometer process and integrate a graphics processor and CPU in one chip, which could boost graphics performance while drawing less power than existing Core 2 processors. The Arrandale chips are also expected to be more energy-efficient, which could improve notebook battery life.
Expected clock speeds on Arrandale processors should be similar to processors used in existing laptops while offering better performance by running applications through more threads while drawing less power.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what’s on your mind in the comments or forums.