DivX for Mac 7.0 Out the Door

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:19
Category: Software

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DivX for Mac, the shareware player that allows users to view high definition H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and video, hit version 7.0 yesterday. The new version, a 23.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), allows for expanded playback of the .divx and the .avi formats on the Mac.
The player requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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TechTool Pro 5.0.4 Released

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 07:59
Category: Software

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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.

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Tweetie for Mac Coming Soon!

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Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 18:15
Category: Software

Who would have thought such a simple thing would become such a huge phenomenon? In a matter of months, it seems like Twitter has become a household name and “the next big thing”? You know it must be big, even Oprah is on Twitter now. News even broke that Ashton Kutcher beat out CNN to be the first to reach 1 million followers, as reported by PCWorld. Twitter is even being used to report the news, gaining popular exposure earlier this year for being used to document a Denver plane crash.
As an avid Twitter user myself (I have four accounts), it took me a while to find the perfect Twitter client on the iPhone for my needs. After trying out several, the winner, hands-down, turned out to be Tweetie.
Lately, I have been faced with the same dilemma for managing Twitter on the Desktop. There are variations for every workflow, from the simplicity of Twangle and Twitterific, to more full-featured clients that manage several different types of social networks such as Seesmic Desktop and TweetDeck. I’ve been trying them all. A recent favorite is Nambu.
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About a week ago from behind a curtain came the announcement from Loren Brichter, developer of Tweetie for the iPhone, that a Desktop client for the Mac was in development. Yesterday, a preview of the new software was showcased in a screencast.
WOW! I expected something good since I am a cheerleader for the iPhone version, but Tweetie for Mac pulls out all the stops. From the features, to the cool, GUI animations, this looks like a real Mac application that is as much fun to watch as to use. I really hope it has multiple account support and hooks into some other social networks, but I already can’t wait for it’s release on Monday to try it out. I may have found my default desktop Twitter app.

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Drive Genius 2.1.1 Released

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Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009, 13:35
Category: Software

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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:

  • Enhanced Duplicate tool has an option to verify the destination of whole-drive copies. In addition, source bad blocks can be skipped if found during a whole-drive copy.
  • Increased performance and reliability of Defrag.
  • Bug Fix: spurious “test aborted by disk” S.M.A.R.T. warnings in 10.5.x
  • Bug Fix: after shredding a volume, a new volume would always be created as “Untitled” instead of using the previous volume name.
  • Bug Fix: the tooltip displayed for duplicate files in DriveSlim contained an invalid path to the original file when displaying results from the boot volume.
  • Bug Fix: crash during launch if information about installed languages could not be obtained (10.4.x/PPC only).
  • Bug Fix: Adobe and Microsoft application updates would fail if language bundles were removed or their binaries trimmed; these are now excluded from the DriveSlimsearch results.
  • Other bug fixes.
  • 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.

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    Apple Releases iMovie 8.0.2 Update

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    Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 07:35
    Category: Software

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    Tuesday afternoon, Apple released iMovie 8.0.2, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download, fixes an issue with projects having a size of 0 KB. Attempting to open these projects would cause iMovie to quit unexpectedly at launch. The update also addresses a problem where full-screen mode could not be accessed on some systems.
    The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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    Microsoft Releases Office 2004 11.5.4, Office 2008 12.1.7 Updates

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    Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 07:17
    Category: Software

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    On Tuesday, Microsoft released updates for both its Office 2004 and Office 2008 suites for the Mac.
    Microsoft Office 2004 version 11.5.4, a 9.7 megabyte download through the AutoUpdate program, offers stability and performance fixes and repairs a vulnerability in which an outside party could insert malicious code.
    The program requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later to install and run.
    The company also released Microsoft Office 2008 12.1.7, a 267.7 megabyte download through the AutoUpdate program that offers improvements to enhance security, stability, and performance, including fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.
    Additional details regarding the update can be found here.
    Microsoft Office 2008 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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    How-To: Work Around Delays, Hangs in Time Machine

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    Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 09:23
    Category: How-To

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    Let’s face it, Time Machine is a spiffy and useful thing as well as one of the main bells and whistles of Mac OS X 10.5. This isn’t to say it’s without its bugs and despite Apple’s best efforts, there are times where backups appear to hang or stall out sans warning.
    You may be familiar with the situation, as described by poster “PaulArthurUK” in the Apple Discussion forums:

    “When time machine starts to back up my machine, it hangs (the clock icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen spins, but the backup disk is not being accessed and currently Time Machine shows no backup in the last five days). Once it has hung, various applications start to behave oddly and generally I am unable to shut them down, even via force quit.”

    Per MacFixIt, there are a variety of reasons why this could happen. The most common is when the backup daemon is doing a “Deep Traversal” of the source drive to ensure its catalog of changed files correctly reflects the status of the source disk. When this happens, Time Machine will stick at “Preparing…,”. This can take a long time, depending on the size of the node being traversed, but usually speeds up once the deep traversal is completed.
    To easily check out Time Machine logs and track down problems and exactly what Time Machine is doing, download the “Time Machine Buddy” widget, which will display the TM logs in the dashboard.
    Time Machine’s hanging may affect other chunks of the operating system, causing widespread slowdown. This type of behavior usually indicates the system resources are not accessible to the system when the system is expecting them to be.
    Other scenarios that may cause a slowdown include the following:

    Drive malfunction: If the drive is making clicking sounds, or doesn’t appear properly either on the Desktop or in Disk Utility, then there may be a problem with the drive. For external drives, low power to the drive can cause the system to hang.
    Volume corruption: While the disk may be fine, if the formatting or partitioning of the drive has problems, then the drive will not be properly accessible by the system.
    Drives being put to sleep: The energy-saver setting to put drives to sleep whenever possible can cause them to go into a state where they won’t wake up properly. This depends on the drive itself, but while the system waits for the drive, you can experience a hang.

    User can try running Disk Utility to check for and repair errors on the drive or perform these tasks more thoroughly with a third-party disk utility software such as “Disk Warrior,” “Drive Genius,” “Disk Tools Pro,” or “Tech Tool Pro.” Checking both the boot drive and the Time Machine drive for errors is recommended.
    Beyond drive-specific issues, there can be incompatibilities both with other system resources and third-party applications, which can cause Time Machine slowdowns. Antiviral software can interfere with Time Machine’s functions, especially if you have live scanning or “on-access” scanning enabled. Turning off these settings in the antivirus software may help this situation. Additionally, if you have Spotlight enabled for the Time Machine drive (it is enabled by default), this can sometimes endlessly try to index the drive. As such, you can try adding the Time Machine drive to Spotlight’s privacy list, and then remove it to restart indexing.
    A similar trick can also be performed via Mac OS X’s Terminal application, which will ensure the spotlight stores are deleted and started anew via the following steps:

    Open Terminal
    Type the following command and include a space after the command:
    mdutil -E -i off
    Drag the Time Machine disk to the Terminal window to enter the full path to the disk, such as the following:
    mdutil -E -i off /Volumes/TMDisk/
    Ensuring a space is between the “off” and the drive path, press enter
    Repeat this command, changing the “off” to “on” in order to enable spotlight on the drive again.

    Finally, if you are backing up over a network (especially a wireless network), backups can be slow by nature. At 54Mb, speeds of most wireless connections, you will run at a maximum of 6MB per second, which translates to 14 hours for a 300GB backup when running at optimal conditions. Given network overhead and other interferences, this can easily double and result in the backup taking a day or two. For the initial backup to a networked device, you might try plugging in the Ethernet connection, which should be at least double the speed, but up to 20 times faster than wireless.
    A final fix for slow backups can be to restart Time Machine on the drive by removing it and re-adding it in the Time Machine preferences. Doing this seems to clear various bottlenecks in Time Machine and start backups running at faster speeds again.

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    SpamSieve Updated to 2.7.4

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    Date: Monday, April 13th, 2009, 17:05
    Category: Software

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    Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.7.4. The new version, a 5.8 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

  • Improved compatibility with pre-release versions of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
  • SpamSieve is better able to recover from corpus files that were damaged due to disk errors.
  • Improved the Entourage installer’s error handling.
  • Improved the error reporting when saving the corpus.
  • Improved the troubleshooting instructions.
  • Fixed a problem where messages trained as good in Apple Mail could be moved into the inbox of a disabled account.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause harmless error messages to be logged to the Console when playing System 7 sound files.
  • The crash reporter now warns before sending a report without an e-mail address.
  • You can now press Enter to click the Send Report button in the crash reporter.
  • SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

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    Jobs Apparently Still “Closely Involved” in “Key Aspects” of Apple

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    Date: Monday, April 13th, 2009, 06:04
    Category: News

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    According to “people familiar with the matter,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs remains “closely involved” with “key aspects” of running Apple according to a Wall Street Journal article.
    Though currently on medical leave since January, the paper is reporting that Jobs is working hard from home and is still involved in both strategy and key products, including details surrounding the new interface elements in iPhone 3.0.
    Apple’s comment on the situation is a blanket statement that “Steve continues to look forward to returning to Apple at the end of June.”
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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    Apple Releases VoiceOver Kit 1.0.1 Update for iPod Shuffle

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    Date: Monday, April 13th, 2009, 06:50
    Category: iPod shuffle, Software

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    Late Friday, Apple released its VoiceOver Kit 1.0.1, an update containing several fixes for the newest generation of its iPod Shuffle media player. According to Macworld UK, the update, a 17 megabyte download contains corrected pronunciations for several artist names as well as a series of unspecified minor bug fixes.
    The update is currently not listed on Apple’s Web site, but it is available via the Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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