Firefox updated to 22.0

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013, 08:57
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Sit back, grab a refreshing drink and watch the Firefox version numbers soar…

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 22.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 42.6 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:

New:
- Mac OS X: Download progress in Dock application icon.

- HTML5 audio/video playback rate can now be changed.

- Social services management implemented in Add-ons Manager.

- asm.js optimizations (OdinMonkey) enabled for major performance improvements.

Changed:
- Improved WebGL rendering performance through asynchronous canvas updates.

- Plain text files displayed within Firefox will now word-wrap.

- For user security, the |Components| object is no longer accessible from web content.

- Improved memory usage and display time when rendering images.

- Pointer Lock API can now be used outside of fullscreen.

Developer:
- CSS3 Flexbox implemented and enabled by default.

- New Web Notifications API implemented.

- Added clipboardData API for JavaScript access to a user’s clipboard.

- New built-in font inspector.

HTML5:
- New HTML5 data and time elements.

Fixed:
- Scrolling using some high-resolution-scroll aware touchpads feels slow (829952).

Firefox 22.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Skype updated to 6.5.0.443

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013, 06:25
Category: News, Software

skypelogo.jpg

On Tuesday, version 6.5.0.443 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 40 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- [Contact] Scroll bar is displayed when sending multiple contacts.

- [Contact] User cannot drag & drop contacts who are already existing participants in the conversation.

- [Calling] Call toolbar + button contextual menu items will is not disabled after sending contact.

- [Calling] Call duration info in history is correctly displayed.

- [Conversation] Chat input field switches to SMS mode when adding PSTN numbers to new conversation.

- [Conversation] ‘Check Spelling While Typing’ setting is saved.

- [Generic] Detached conversation window is opened automatically after restarting Skype.

- [File Transfer] Received file is saved in download folder when custom download folder no longer exists.

- [File Transfer] File transfer control buttons are presented after reconnection.

- [Preferences] Skype does not freeze when switching the ringing output to all devices from USB headset.

Skype 6.5.0.443 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Dropbox updated to 2.2.8

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:47
Category: News, Software

Don’t look a pretty decent bug fix in the mouth.

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.2.8 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 23.6 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- New notifications badge.

- Refactoring of core sync engine.

- Improved memory usage.

- Startup performance improvements.

- Finder icon overlay improvements.

- Fixed an issue that could cause duplicate folders to be created when non-ascii characters are in the folder name.

- Fixed an issue that caused endless syncing when encountering permissions issues.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.2.8 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.14

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

virtualbox.png

Never knock a steadily updated app.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.14. The new version, a 150 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: another TLB invalidation fix for non-present pages.

- VMM: fixed a performance regression (4.2.8 regression; bug #11674).

- GUI: fixed a crash on shutdown.

- GUI: prevent stuck keys under certain conditions on Windows hosts (bugs #2613, #6171).

- VRDP: fixed a rare crash on the guest screen resize.

- VRDP: allow to change VRDP parameters (including enabling/disabling the server) if the VM is paused.

- USB: fixed passing through devices on Mac OS X host to a VM with 2 or more virtual CPUs (bug #7462).

- USB: fixed hang during isochronous transfer with certain devices (4.1 regression; Windows hosts only; bug #11839).

- USB: properly handle orphaned URBs (bug #11207).

- BIOS: fixed function for returning the PCI interrupt routing table (fixes NetWare 6.x guests).

- BIOS: don’t use the ENTER / LEAVE instructions in the BIOS as these don’t work in the real mode as set up by certain guests (e.g. Plan 9 and QNX 4).

- DMI: allow to configure DmiChassisType (bug #11832).

- Storage: fixed lost writes if iSCSI is used with snapshots and asynchronous I/O (bug #11479).

- Storage: fixed accessing certain VHDX images created by Windows 8 (bug #11502).

- Storage: fixed hang when creating a snapshot using Parallels disk images (bug #9617).

- 3D: seamless + 3D fixes (bug #11723).

- 3D: version 4.2.12 was not able to read saved states of older versions under certain conditions (bug #11718).

- Main/Properties: don’t create a guest property for non-running VMs if the property does not exist and is about to be removed (bug #11765).

- Main/Properties: don’t forget to make new guest properties persistent after the VM was terminated (bug #11719).

- Main/Display: don’t lose seamless regions during screen resize.

- Main/OVF: don’t crash during import if the client forgot to call Appliance::interpret() (bug #10845).

- Main/OVF: don’t create invalid appliances by stripping the file name if the VM name is very long (bug #11814).

- Main/OVF: don’t fail if the appliance contains multiple file references (bug #10689).

- Main/Metrics: fixed Solaris file descriptor leak.

- Settings: limit depth of snapshot tree to 250 levels, as more will lead to decreased performance and may trigger crashes.

- VBoxManage: fixed setting the parent UUID on diff images using sethdparentuuid.

- Linux hosts: work around for not crashing as a result of automatic NUMA balancing which was introduced in Linux 3.8 (bug #11610).

- Windows installer: force the installation of the public certificate in background (i.e. completely prevent user interaction) if the –silent command line option is specified.

- Windows Additions: fixed problems with partial install in the unattended case
Windows Additions: fixed display glitch with the Start button in seamless mode for some themes.

- Windows Additions: Seamless mode and auto-resize fixes.

- Windows Additions: fixed trying to to retrieve new auto-logon credentials if current ones were not processed yet.

- Windows Additions installer: added the /with_wddm switch to select the experimental WDDM driver by default.

- Linux Additions: fixed setting own timed out and aborted texts in information label of the lightdm greeter.

- Linux Additions: fixed compilation against Linux 3.2.0 Ubuntu kernels (4.2.12 regression as a side effect of the Debian kernel build fix; bug #11709).

- X11 Additions: reduced the CPU load of VBoxClient in drag’and’drop mode.

- OS/2 Additions: made the mouse wheel work (bug #6793).

- Guest Additions: fixed problems copying and pasting between two guests on an X11 host (bug #11792).

VirtualBox 4.2.14 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know.

Apple releases Java 2013-004 update for Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, 05:00
Category: News, security, Software

applelogo_silver

A well-timed security update never hurts.

On Wednesday, Apple released its Java 2013-004 update for its Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 operating systems. The update, a 64 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Java for OS X 2013-004 supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X.

- This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_51 and is for OS X versions 10.7 or later.

- This update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

- This update also removes the Java Preferences application, which is no longer required to configure applet settings.

The Java 2013-004 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 to install and run. If you’ve installed this new update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 27.0.1453.116

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, 05:21
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Never doubt a good update.

On Tuesday, Google released version 27.0.1453.116 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 50.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- [249335] Medium CVE-2013-2866: Clickjacking in the Flash plug-in.

This build also has fixes to the following issues:
- Multiple flash movies on one page not playing [Issue: 243290].

- Arc rendering bug in canvas [Issue: 243996].

- Select box with Multiple option fires Onchange event on scroll [Issue: 244406].

Google Chrome 27.0.1453.116 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 16

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 14:07
Category: News, security, Software

applelogo_silver

This might come in handy.

On Tuesday, Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 16, a security update that stands as a 69.48 megabyte download and offers the following fixes and changes:

- This update enables website-by-website control of the Java plug-in within Safari 5.1.9 or later, and supersedes all previous versions of Java for Mac OS X v10.6.

- This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_51 for Mac OS X v10.6.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

The updates can be located, snagged and installed via the Software Update feature built into the Mac OS X operating system.

If you’ve tried the updates and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 8.0.18494

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 05:52
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

Late Thursday, Parallels released version 8.0.18494 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 336.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Use Parallels Desktop with OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview (experimental support).

- Work with Parallels Desktop on new MacBooks Air (Mid-2013).

Parallels Desktop 8 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Review: Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 08:23
Category: Review, Software, Software

The space opera that is StarCraft continues in fine style.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the latest installment in Blizzard’s epic StarCraft real-time strategy series, has been out for a while now, reflects a fairly major overhaul in its unit progression, achievement and multiplayer systems. Picking up where StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty left off, the story hones in on Sarah Kerrigan, who, under the protection of Jim Raynor, is attempting to resolve being human again after her transformation into the Queen of Blades and the overall conflict against Emperor Mengsk’s Dominion forces.

Like any space opera, the plot grounds itself in tragic elements, Kerrigan witnessing Raynor’s death at the hands of Mengsk’s forces, allying herself once again with the now-scattered Zerg and working to reunite the Swarm as a tool for vengeance. Not a bad start within the first few missions of the game and Blizzard’s classic strong voice acting and marquee-level cut scenes continue to tell a great, relatable story to its audience.


Send in enough flying units to take down powerful defenders like the Terran Thor unit.

Send in enough flying units to take down powerful defenders like the Terran Thor unit.


If there’s one thing that makes Heart of the Swarm work, it’s an easier approachability than Wings of Liberty offered – and flustered some players with. Unlike Wings of Liberty, unit upgrades aren’t hooked into a currency system and are therefore easier to earn and work with. Unit upgrades can also be switched prior to the beginning of each mission, meaning you aren’t completely locked into a given upgrade once your choice has been made. This comes as a welcome change and it’s fun to experiment with alternate upgrades to see what works best in different situations.

Still, it’s the sheer joy of a Zerg-focused StarCraft game that sells Heart of the Swarm. Here, you’re greeted with the fully awesome disgustingness of the insect/reptilian armies you’ll happily grow, spawn and mutate to defend your nest and annihilate your enemies with. From gruesome-yet-fun “Splortch!!!” sounds as your units emerge from their cocoons to the sounds of your multi-legged units skittering and/or oozing their way towards battle, there’s the unassailable enjoyment of creating and fighting with the most disgusting army in any real-time strategy game.


When in doubt, send everything you've got.

When in doubt, send everything you’ve got.


Heart of the Swarm doesn’t provide a massive graphical update over Heart of the Swarm, but it’s still noticeable. Where Wings of Liberty sometimes chugged along slowly on my late-2011 MacBook Pro, Heart of the Swarm ran briskly, complete with detailed characters and fluid animation. Whatever Blizzard did under the hood of the game, it worked and the title still features all the terrific slime, gore, fangs and ooze you’d expect from the Zerg, even with the resolution turned down to more minimal levels.

It was the new multiplayer features that caught my eye when Heart of the Swarm was in development, Blizzard offering new and altered units and abilities. Even though there’s something of a learning curve with the new stuff, Blizzard came through and delivered, new units such as the Viper allowing you to literally pull your opponent’s high-value units out of a cluster and drag it towards your forces to be quickly attacked and torn apart. Upgraded mine units allow you to create a defensive line where needed and Blizzard has incorporated something of an “arcade” feel to its revised multiplayer gameplay, the program visibly awarding experience points for actions such as gathering resources, building units and defeating enemy units. It’s a small thing, but it brings back a sort of action-based/arcade feel to even standard multiplayer gameplay and makes achievements that much more fun to work towards.


The new Zerg Abomination unit can slug it out with even the toughest ground defenders.

The new Zerg Abomination unit can slug it out with even the toughest ground defenders.


Top this off with new game modes, new customer maps and a better means of sorting players by appropriate player and skill level and the Heart of the Swarm can stand on its own as a multiplayer-only title should you choose to ignore the core campaign. Battle.net, Blizzard’s multiplayer gaming service, has improved dramatically over the years and the only limitations are occasional downtimes for server upgrades and perhaps how your Internet connection happens to be behaving at that point in time.

If there are points of contention to deal with with Heart of the Swarm, they come in the form of some familiar points of conflict gamers have had with Blizzard in recent years. Blizzard has disabled Local Area Network multiplayer gameplay, which is meant as a piracy-prevention technique, but also removes what would literally be the fastest form of multiplayer gameplay available to a group of players. This, combined with the fact that, once activated and hooked into an activation code, players are unable to resell their used copies of Heart of the Swarm down the line. Perhaps Blizzard will figure out a way around this or a more moderate fix, but it still feels like a heavy-handed approach to copy protection. Finally, Blizzard has instituted a requirement that single player achievements can only be earned (and recorded) if the account has logged into Battle.net. Granted, this isn’t as draconian as Blizzard’s requirement that players always be logged into Battle.net even during single player gameplay in Diablo 3 and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, but there’s still a sense that you’d like to just open the game and polish off a few single player missions in your free time without having to log into the server.


Send Reaper units after space-based enemies to help keep the Hyperion safe in side missions.

Send Reaper units after space-based enemies to help keep the Hyperion safe in side missions.


Game companies have always had a hard time incorporating replay value into single player campaigns and Heart of the Swarm suffers from some of this, but not to a deal-breaking extent. There’s a fair amount of challenge involved with the Normal difficulty – which makes the game fun – and the game’s challenge scales well with each level of difficulty you attempt, but absolute die-hards have cited that the game could be more challenging in its most difficult modes. This comes down to personal taste and Wings of Liberty had some more definitive storyline and plot-based choices that added to the title’s replay value, but there’s still enough challenge and variety to be found in Heart of the Swarm’s multiplayer game modes to keep you coming back for more.


There's nothing like sweet, sweet StarCraft victory. And explosions to go along with it.

There’s nothing like sweet, sweet StarCraft victory. And explosions to go along with it.


In conclusion, Heart of the Swarm adds a solid contribution to the space opera story that the “StarCraft” franchise is known for, some nice core engine and gameplay improvements and is just as fun as an RTS fan would expect the latest installment of StarCraft to be. The assortment of new units make the single and multiplayer modes that much more fun and it’s cool to go back, look over the new units and develop new offensive and defensive techniques to use based on the new tools available to you. Yes, Blizzard creates its own foibles thanks to its current (and somewhat ever-changing) privacy-prevention techniques, but there’s also the sense that they might be able to eventually arrive at a set of methods that both players and the company can live with. Heart of the Swarm isn’t perfect, but the good more than outweighs the bad, it’s what the next chapter of StarCraft needed to be and the joy of playing – and conquering – with the Zerg is everything you could have hoped for.

Minimum System Requirements:
- Mac OS X 10.7 or later
- Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M or ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro or better graphics card
- 2 GB RAM
- 20 GB available hard disk space
- Broadband Internet connection
- DVD-ROM drive
- 1024 x 768 minimum display resolution

Recommended System Requirements:
- Mac OS X 10.8 or later
- Intel Core i3 or faster processor
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or better graphics card
- 4 GB RAM
- 20 GB available hard disk space
- Broadband Internet connection
- DVD-ROM drive
- 1024 x 768 minimum display resolution

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.5 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 11:53
Category: News, Software

It’s not a huge update, but it might be helpful.

Microsoft on Wednesday released version 14.3.5 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following change:

- Fixes an issue that affects IMAP-based email accounts in which the flagged or starred state of a message was not set correctly.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.