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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Review: Beach Buoy

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Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Review

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By Robert Kaneko
It’s spring! At least, it’s spring in the northern hemisphere. If, like me, you live in the Pacific Northwest, you may have despaired of spring ever arriving. However, as I type this, it’s sunny and 65°, so there is hope. With spring in mind, it’s time to start thinking about outdoor activities. However, many of our beloved gadgets don’t really like our outdoor activities. Sand, dirt and water seem to be particular problems. That’s where the Beach Buoy comes in.
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The Beach Buoy is a product available from Proporta. It is essentially a very rugged, very nice looking ziplock bag with a cord so you can wear it around your neck. It is rated to keep your iPhone, iPod Touch, or other expensive electronic gadget safe from water at depths of up to 5 meters/16 feet. The top of the Beach Buoy contains two double ziplocks.
The idea is, you place your device inside the Beach Buoy, seal both ziplocks, and then fold the ziplocks over, securing the folds with a Velcro flap.
The result is a very watertight (and sand-proof) container.
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Click the jump for the full review…

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Roxio Toast Titanium 10.0.2 Update Released

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Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:19
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday night, Roxio released version 10.0.2 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Resolves crash issue that may occur with some FLAC audio files.
  • Resolves issue when converting QuickTime movies with text tracks.
  • Improved handling of corrupt PCM audio packets.
  • Toast 10 Titanium requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

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    Skype 2.8.0.438 Released

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    Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:20
    Category: Software

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    On Thursday, Skype released version 2.8.0.438 of its popular Voice over Internet Protocol communications program.
    The new version, a 41.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

  • change: spectator window for screen sharing.
  • change: My Account page embedded in the client.
  • bugfix: Skype didn’t hide on OS X login< ./li>
  • bugfix: copy/paste from chats was not working correctly.
  • bugfix: sometimes Skype froze for a couple of seconds when starting or stopping screen sharing.
  • bugfix: screen sharing windows could be left on screen when a call was joined to a conference.
  • bugfix: PiP didn’t appear in full screen when receiving screen sharing.
  • bugfix: the overlay didn’t appear for fullscreen screen sharing and then the exit fullscreen button didn’t work.
  • bugfix: fullscreen mode would exit after a held call was resumed.
  • bugfix: call could not be ended after being redirected to voicemail.
  • bugfix: the call window layout was broken if the dialpad was shown during a video call
  • bugfix: URLs inside brackets were not clickable.
  • bugfix: sometimes Skype crashed after deleting missed events without reading them.
  • Click the jump for the full story…

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    Recent Mac OS X 10.5.7 Beta Focuses on 100+ Fixes, Second Security Update for 2009

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    Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009, 07:44
    Category: Software

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    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).

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    How-To: Reset Mac OS X’s Software Updater Function

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    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:20
    Category: How-To

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    As nigh-indispensable as Mac OS’s Software Update feature can be to locate and install patches for the operating system and supported applications from Apple, there remains the fact that some items might not install or the updater may not seem to work at all.
    Per MacFixIt, a user identified as “The Dragon” posted this comment over in the Apple Discussion Boards:

    “After a longish while, the “Checking for new software…” progress bar [in Software Update] had reached about halfway, and the update list indicated it had found five updates. At that point however, the progress bar chose to freeze entirely. After a good while and no further progress, I Cancel the update, and attempt to relaunch. Software Update opens, but the aforementioned progress bar freezes immediately.”

    Like any other application, problems can occur if any required resources have become corrupt. From here, the application will start properly and not run correctly. These resources can include the program’s preferences files and caches. In addition, when updates are applied, a receipt is generated that Software Update reads to know what updates have already been installed. If an installation fails, but the receipt is left, software update may not try to install a needed update. Additionally, if a receipt is corrupt, then software update may try to repeatedly install the same update.
    Assorted fixes for the issue include the following steps:

    Fixes:
    1. Remove Software Update preference and cache files.
    If Software Update seems to be unable to complete an update, and either freezes or quits half-way through checking for updates, then try removing the application’s preferences and cache files from the following locations:
    /username/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.NUMBER.plist”
    /username/Library/Preferences/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
    /username/Library/Caches/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate” (folder)
    /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ –> remove”com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
    After removing these items, restart the system for the changes to take effect and try launching Software Update again.
    2. Remove faulty receipts.
    If an update continuously appears and is being applied, try removing the receipt for that specific update. The receipt should be located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Receipts/ folder and will be named something similar to the update files (i.e., FrontRowUpdate2.1.7.pkg). Do not delete the receipt, but instead move it to the desktop or some other location and retry the update. If it still does not work, replace the receipt in its original location, since it may be required and isn’t the root of the problem.

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    Apple Releases iTunes 8.1.1 Update

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    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 06:17
    Category: Software

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    Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.1.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 68 megabyte download, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

  • Adds support for renting HD movies.
  • Provides a number of bug fixes, including addressing issues with VoiceOver and syncing with iPhone or iPod touch.
  • iTunes 8.1.1 is available for free, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be snagged using Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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    Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

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    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
    Category: How-To

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    Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
    Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
    Per Mac OS X 10.4:

    1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
    2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
    3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

    Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
    The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

    Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
    Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
    Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

    For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
    For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

    There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
    Watching a DVD movie
    Listening to your iTunes music library
    Running an automated backup
    Away from your computer while downloading large files

    The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

    You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

    Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

    If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
    Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

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    VLC Updated to 0.9.9a

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 06:36
    Category: Software

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    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 0.9.9a. The new version, a 31.6 megabyte download, fixes the application’s behavior on PowerPC-based Macs and includes updated libraries for the Mac OS X platforms.
    VLC 0.9.9a requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and is available as a free download.

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