Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Builds Over Weekend

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple released new builds of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Server operating systems.

According to AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.5.8 build 9L25 may show signs of capping development of Mac OS X 10.5. Users have stated that each new build has arrived with a focus area noticeably distinct from the last, with lower-level technologies and frameworks seeing greater attention than usual. As such, it’s been speculated that the Mac maker may be giving its Leopard OS a final once-over.

This trend appears to have culminated with this past weekend’s release of build 9L25, which no longer asks that developers focus their attention on a small subset of Leopard’s components. Instead, it groups together the more than three dozen components that had been isolated into smaller focus groups in earlier betas.

The latest build also lists no known issues and addresses just two new bugs, one related to saving mail messages as individual message documents and another to URL localization.

Developers were also granted access to a new build of Mac OS X 10.6 Server, labeled build 10A403. With it, Apple asked that they test upgrade installs of the server software itself, in addition to upgrade installs of Calendar server. Where testing was concerned, users were also reportedly asked to spend some time with the system’s new Podcast Producer, evaluating as many third-party video and web cams as they possibly can. Included with the software is a new Web Podcast Capture which leverages a new Dual Source Video Capture feature for allowing users to create picture-in-picture format podcasts.

Finally, Mac OS X 10.6 Server build 10A403 arrived on the heels of Mac OS X 10.6 Client build 10A402a earlier in the week. That build introduced some widely-reported interface tweaks to the Dock’s pop-up menus and Expose.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new builds, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Hulu Desktop 0.9.6 Released for Mac OS X

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Date: Monday, July 6th, 2009, 03:41
Category: Mac, Software

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Over the weekend, Hulu released Hulu Desktop 0.9.6, a lean application for Mac OS X allowing users to navigate Hulu’s library via the Apple remote control. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled.

The application, a 2.2 megabyte download, is currently available as a public beta and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 or later with a 2.0 GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, 2 Mbps Internet connection and Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124 or later to install and run.

OnyX Reaches Version 2.0.5 beta 2, Adds Fixes

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Date: Friday, July 3rd, 2009, 02:20
Category: Mac, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.0.5 beta 2. The new version, a 16.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Compiled with Xcode 3.1.3.
  • English translation improved.
  • Deleting logs and Crash reports improved.
  • Deleting User Cache improved.
  • Deleting Internet Cache improved.
  • Errors management improved.
  • Show/hide the alert message at first launch of downloaded applications.
  • New iTunes tab in the Parameters panel with new options:
  • - Add or not the track number.
  • - Auto play the songs while importing.
  • - Enable/disable the notation by half star.
  • Help updated and reindexed.
  • Bug in Uninstaller options corrected.
  • Uninstaller updated.

OnyX requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple, NVIDIA Could Part Ways After Contract Spat

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Date: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, 05:24
Category: News, Rumor

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Despite portraying a friendly image for the past several months, Apple and NVIDIA are now rumored to be involved in a spat that could see some GeForce chipsets excluded from future Mac models.

According to semiaccurate.com, a report from this past weekend asserts that negotiations between Apple and NVIDIA are now extremely bitter after the latter’s proposed terms were viewed as “arrogance and bluster” and all but rejected as-is.

Sources close to the discussions have stated that Apple may not agree to another such deal for 3-4 years as a result of the heated words. It wouldn’t result in an immediate exit, as the recentness of implementing NVIDIA chipsets into nearly all Macs means some models will keep their existing designs for a long time, but could already result in some comparatively near-term updates shedding the NVIDIA platform.

These would start with iMacs and MacBooks based on Intel’s Nehalem processor architecture, the tipsters say, but would get progressively wider as time goes on.

While the exact terms of the argument haven’t been publicized, it’s believed that conflicting opinions over MacBook Pro graphics failures are what would have actually triggered the resistance. As all GeForce 8600M video chipsets are known to have a heat-related defect that gradually renders them inoperable over time, Apple has not only had to replace those June 2007 and newer portables that use the part but to extend its warranty for the issue to three years regardless of whether or not the owner has AppleCare — an expensive proposition given the ubiquity of the machines on the market until they were replaced in October 2008 with the unibody models.

Apple may have an issue not just with the cost, at least some of which may be footed by NVIDIA through money set aside to cover all PC makers, but with answers it’s received on the subject. The company openly challenged NVIDIA and revealed that the graphics chip designer was falsely representing the scope of the problem, insisting that MacBook Pros wouldn’t be affected at all when two entire generations of the 15″ and 17″ models were guaranteed to eventually suffer video corruption or shutdowns. Apple may also not believe NVIDIA when it claims that unibody MacBook Pros won’t see the same problem due to partial similarities in the contact material used to join the GeForce 9600M GT chip die to its package.

Electronista has noted that Intel and NVIDIA have been embroiled in a license battle over NVIDIA’s right to make logic board chipsets for any processor that has its own internal memory controller, including any desktop or notebook processor built on Nehalem. A win for Intel in its lawsuit would bar NVIDIA from ever making another chipset in the vein of the GeForce 9400M that could support Core i7 or related processors; it would immediately sabotage any roadmap for NVIDIA-based Macs once the ban took effect, no matter how amicable Apple and its partner would be at the time.

Mac Pros would never be affected as they still use an Intel chipset and dedicated graphics for the brunt of their graphics performance.

Unsurprisingly, neither Apple nor NVIDIA has openly discussed the rumor so far, though at least Apple’s sudden change of mind wouldn’t be out of place: the company famously dropped ATI (now AMD) graphics from a generation of Power Mac G4s at the last minute after the company posted a press release spoiling Apple plans just a day ahead of a Macworld keynote.

Cocktail 4.4 (Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, 04:18
Category: Mac

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On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.3.4 of Cocktail (Tiger Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.
The new version, a 1.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Added ability to reset home directory permissions and ACLs. (Disks – Permissions)
  • Added “Enable unsupported network volumes” setting. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added “Disable backup of system files” setting. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added “Do not backup when disks are mounted” setting. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added “Do not ask to use newly connected disks” setting. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added “Animate background” setting. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added ability to set Time Machine’s backup interval. (System – Time Machine)
  • Added support for more network interfaces. (Network – Optimization)
  • Added support for Safari 4.
  • Added “Disable webpage previews” setting. (Interface – Safari)
  • Other minor bug fixes and improvements.
  • Updated Automator actions.
  • Updated help files.

Cocktail 4.3.4 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.

Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Seeds to Developer Community

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Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, 04:50
Category: Mac, Software

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Apple has reportedly issued new seeds of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.5.8 to developers that, at least in the former case, add functionality that was previously only shown at WWDC.

Per AppleInsider and sources close to the story, the new Snow Leopard seed, 10A394, officially provides just compatibility, reliability and security fixes but appears to give developers access to Expose’s integration with the Dock.

As demonstrated by Apple executive Phil Schiller earlier this month, the feature lets users click and hold on an app’s Dock icon to show the windows relating to that app in equal-sized, organized tiles. The simple change makes it much easier to find a particular window for a project, for example, without having to invoke a specific Expose shortcut. They can also choose to view a selected window at full size to determine if the content inside is what they want.

A new Xcode 3.2 build has been released in tandem with the Snow Leopard build.

The new Mac OS X 10.5.8 seed has apparently advanced four builds from its previous state, to 9L20. Apple appears to be quickly winding up development, as it supposedly hasn’t mentioned any remaining known bugs and has fixed just a few prior issues, such as problems with using auto-complete on CalDAV servers in iCal, Image Capture’s support for large files, and syncing Address Book with MobileMe.

Apple has also asked developers to focus their testing on low-level components like graphics drivers, power management and storage.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5

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Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 10:01
Category: Mac, Software

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Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.2 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
- Support for HTML5 video and audio content embedded directly on a page.
- A private browsing mode.
- Location-aware browsing, which allows you to share your location with Web sites if you so choose.
- Faster JavaScript performance via the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine (2x as fast as Firefox 3 and 10x faster than Firefox 2)
- Support for the latest version of the Gecko rendering platform, which brings faster rendering of onscreen content.

The 3.5 update was supposed to be version 3.1, though according to Macworld, Mozilla decided to change the version numbering, believing that it better reflected the breadth of new features and functionality that the update brought.

Firefox 3.5 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

Elgato Releases EyeTV 3.1.2 Update

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Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Mac, Software

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Late Thursday, Elgato Systems released version 3.1.2 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, which can be found here (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

  • For EyeTV Hybrid (US 2009 and EU 2008 models), as well as some older devices, when capturing analog video, the timeshift setting in Preferences > Devices is now applied while recording. When timeshifting is off, recordings will use less CPU, and will display with a lower latency.
  • Quit and Sleep commands were added to EyeTV’s overlay menu.
  • Pressing the “Stop” button on the infrared remote control while playing back a recording in the EyeTV overlay menu now features an option to delete the recording.
  • Added support for widescreen (16:9) analog capture for all recent Elgato branded hardware. To enable widescreen capture, select “Stretch” from the View > Aspect Ratio menu. This feature is for capture of sources set to output 16:9 pictures squeezed into a standard definition output, usually set top boxes and DVD players. The output device should be set to 16:9 or “wide” output (as if it were feeding a widescreen TV).
  • To cycle through EyeTV’s different aspect ratio options, select View > Aspect Ratio > Rotate or press Command-Option-5.
    For NTSC set top boxes connected via RF modulation, EyeTV now supports channels 2 through 69 instead of 3 and 4.
  • To aid in solving problems downloading TV Guide data, EyeTV now features a Gemstar Program Guide Diagnostics window, accessible from the Help menu. In order to obtain the most current TV Guide data, EyeTV now additionally downloads data for the second and seventh day out.

New Hardware:

  • Support was added for the Devolo dLAN TV Sat, a DVB-S2 network tuner.

Bug Fixes:

  • A problem where EyeTV for DTT was not recognized by the EyeTV Setup Assistant has been resolved.
  • Problems detecting channels on DVB-S and DVB-S2 transponders with very high data rates have been resolved.
  • Teletext highlighting now work when viewing in transparent mode.
  • A crash at launch with corrupt preferences has been fixed.
  • Crashes while using the auto-update feature have been eliminated.
  • Invalid TitanTV Remote Scheduling account settings were not being reported correctly.
  • For improved compatibility with Remote Buddy, direct AppleScript access to some overlay menus was added.
  • The Apple Remote can no longer put the Mac to sleep while EyeTV is recording.
  • A problem where EyeTV would not wake up for recordings if the Energy Saver System Preference contained scheduled sleep/shutdown times has been fixed.
  • Problems exporting recordings with multiple Dolby Digital audio tracks have been resolved.
  • Several crashes while exporting have been fixed.
  • Added support for Eastern European ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-5 encodings for channel names and programming guide data.
  • EyeTV no longer cancels downloading the programming guide when encountering minor errors.
  • EyeTV now displays the file size number formatting in the international display format selected by the user.
  • Teletext in subtitle (“transparent”) mode no longer inhibits the timeshift overlay.
  • EyeTV now correctly sorts SmartGuide results by the “Where” column.
  • France 2 HD and Arte HD are now automatically assigned to tvtv.
  • A hang while quitting EyeTV in the middle of a program guide download has been eliminated.
  • The EyeTV MPEG Support Component has been updated to fix an incompatibility with Perian and other MPEG-4 decoders that resulted in the first frame always being green.
  • Exports to H.264 now include the QuickTime color info extension and the field info extension when the source is interlaced. This resolves dark playback in QuickTime Player.
  • EyeTV now supports DivX 7.
  • EyeTV is now compatible with the latest release of Flip4Mac Windows Media QuickTime components.
  • The overlay menu now responds to infrared commands after changing inputs.
  • A problem with white stripes at the edges of Apple TV exports with close captioning has been resolved.
  • EyeTV no longer crashes at launch when there is a corrupted text-to-speed voice installed.
  • After automatically updating to the latest version, the old version of EyeTV is always moved to the Trash.

EyeTV 3.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$79.95.

VMWare Releases Fusion 2.0.5

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Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2009, 04:27
Category: Mac, Software

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Late Tuesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 2.0.5 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 289 megabyte download, offers the following new features and fixes:

  • Supports Mac OS X Server guest operating systems on Macs with Intel Xeon 5500 and 3500 Series processors (based on Nehalem micro-architecture).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server as a guest operating system (32-bit only).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard as a host operating system (32-bit only).
  • Supports Ubuntu 9.04 as a guest operating system, including features such as VMware Tools pre-built modules and Easy Install.
  • Reduces CPU usage when a virtual machine is idle under VMware Fusion.
  • Contains fixes for more than 80 bugs.

The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Apple Releases MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7

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Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:23
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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Apple released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 patch on Tuesday, a 3.4 megabyte download which addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro. While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.

The update is also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.