How-To: Work around Mail program errors in Mac OS X 10.6.4

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 03:50
Category: How-To, News, Software

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Following the update to Mac OS X 10.6.4, a number of users are experiencing an error where Apple’s Mail email client will not open. Per CNET, when the application is launched, a message stating “Mail version 4.3 (1081/1078) cannot be used on Mac OS X Version 10.6.4″ is displayed and the program shuts down.

The version of Mail that is included with OS X 10.6.4 is 4.3 or build 1081, which can be found by right-clicking the Mail application, choosing “Show Package Contents”, opening the /Contents/version.plist file, and checking the version string. Apple purposefully prevents some builds of Applications from running on different versions of OS X, and this type of error will be presented if you try to do so.

One reason this may happen if the OS X update did not complete properly and the system detects the version of Mail as being the older one. The following are a few approaches you can try to fix the problem:

“Reapply the combo updater:
If this problem happens to you, the first thing to try is to reinstall the OS X 10.6.4 update using the “Combo” updater. Download the updater, boot into Safe Mode by restarting and holding the Shift key at bootup, and then run the installer. As an extra safeguard, you can run general maintenance routines beforehand to ensure permissions and caches are in order.

The OS X 10.6.4 Combo updater can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1048

Downgrade Mail and then reapply the combo updater:
Since the Combo updater may not have a full version of Mail included, and instead may only have updated components for Mail, you can try putting a previous version of Mail on the system and then running the combo updater to update it to the latest version. Older versions of Mail can be found in the following locations:

A Time Machine backup:
On the Snow Leopard installation DVD (use Pacifist to extract it)
From another computer running OS X 10.6.3 or earlier

Copy from another system:
Lastly, if you have access to another system that has a properly functioning version of Mail, you can copy the program from that computer to your OS X 10.6.4 installation. You can use a USB flash drive or copy the program over the network and replace the one on your system, but after doing so be sure to run a permissions fix on the boot drive.

Archive and Install:
As a last resort, if the update did not work you can either restore your whole system to a previous version by using Time Machine and then upgrading again with the “Combo” updater, or you can use the OS X 10.6 installation DVD to reinstall OS X. By default the installer will run an “Archive and Install” method, which will replace your system components and Apple-supplied applications with those that are on the DVD. From here, immediately update the system again using the “Combo” updater.”

If you’ve seen this issue on your end and have any fixes or workarounds of your own, let us know.

Nvidia releases Mac OS X 10.6.4-compatible driver for GTX-285 graphics card

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 04:04
Category: News, Software

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This is sort of interesting.

With the recent release of the Mac OS X 10.6.4 update, assorted users have complained of conflicts with some of Nvidia’s graphics cards. Responding to this, Nvidia has released a new suite of graphics drivers for the GTX-285 graphics card. The driver, a 20.87 megabyte download, is listed for OS X 10.6.4 only, and is specifically for the GTX-285 card that is available as a third-party purchase for Mac Pro systems.

Per CNET, the update specifically addresses OpenGL performance issues and improved compatibility with the latest OS X software updates. In addition, the update has support for applications that implement Nvidia’s CUDA technology, but you will need to download and install an additional driver for this functionality.

Keep in mind that this driver will replace the one provided by Apple, and while it should bring new and updated functionality to the GPU, there is a chance that you may experience some errors. If so, try booting into Safe Mode and using a maintenance application to clear the system’s boot caches, along with running other general maintenance routines.

If you’ve tried the updated driver and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.4 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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Late last week, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.4 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.6 megabyte download, sports the following major changes:

- Version 3.6.4 makes four critical security fixes. Unlike the Windows version, it does not introduce the Out-of-Process Plug-in sandboxing feature. That is expected for Mac users in Firefox 4.

Firefox 3.6.4 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. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

VLC 1.1.0 update released

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 03:36
Category: News, 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.), was updated to version 1.1.0. The new version, a 40.4 megabyte download, adds a massive list of fixes and changes detailed here.

VLC 1.1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 4 update for iPhone 3G, 3GS and third-generation iPod touch units

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Date: Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010, 05:33
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, News

After months of waiting, Apple finally released its iOS 4 operating system for the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, the third-generation iPod touch and the iPhone 4. The new version of the operating system, which weighs in at a hefty 579 megabyte download, is available through iTunes boasts the following changes and fixes:

Multitasking: Now you can run your favorite third-party apps —- and switch between them instantly —- without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

Folders: Organize apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity. Get faster access to your favorites and browse and manage up to 2160 apps.

Even better Mail: See messages from all your accounts in a unified inbox, organize messages by threads, open attachments in third-party apps, and more.

iBooks: More than a great ebook reader, iBooks is also an amazing place to browse and shop for books, day or night.

Create playlists: Create custom playlists right on your iPhone.

5x digital zoom: Get closer to your subjects by zooming in up to 5x.

Tap to focus video: While shooting video, tap the display to choose where to focus.

Faces and Places in Photos: View photos based on who’s in them and where they were taken.

Home screen wallpaper: Change the background wallpaper on your Home screen.

Gift apps: Send apps as gifts to your friends or family.

Spell checking: A built-in spell checker works in Mail, Notes, and other apps.

Wireless keyboard support: Pair a keyboard based on Bluetooth wireless technology with your iPhone.

Like similar iPhone OS (now iOS) updates, simply connect your iPhone or iPod touch to your Mac or PC, select the device and tell it to check for an update. This will find the new version of the iOS and should begin the several-minute update process.

If you’ve tried the new iOS and have any feedback, positive or negative, to offer, please let us know what you think.

Apple quietly installs specific anti-malware code into Mac OS X 10.6.4 update

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Date: Monday, June 21st, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

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There’s something to be said for an operating system succeeding and gaining market share: people will make more of an effort to write viruses and malware for it.

Per CNET, Apple’s recent Mac OS X 10.6.4 update includes software to protect Macs from a Trojan horse that has been distributed by attackers disguised as iPhoto, but which opens a back door on the machine, security firm Sophos said on Friday.

When Apple released OS X 10.6.4 on Tuesday, the company said it addressed certain compatibility issues with VPN connections and other things, but failed to mention anything about adding an anti-malware update.
Buried in the code is an update to the XProtect.plist file, which contains signatures of malware written to target the Mac. The signatures now detect malware dubbed “HellRTS,” Graham Clulely of Sophos wrote in a blog post.

HellRTS, which Sophos detects as “OSX/Pinheard-B,” is a Trojan that has been around several months. It lets attackers use infected computers to send spam, take screenshots, access files, and pretty much take control of the computer, Sophos said.

“Unfortunately, many Mac users seem oblivious to security threats which can run on their computers. And that isn’t helped when Apple issues an anti-malware security update like this by stealth, rather than informing the public what it has done,” Clulely writes. “You have to wonder whether their keeping quiet about an anti-malware security update like this was for marketing reasons. “Shh! Don’t tell folks that we have to protect against malware on Mac OS X!”

Representatives from Apple have yet to return any requests for comment on the issue.

E3 2010: OnLive launch titles, June 17th release date revealed (updated 2x)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 03:18
Category: News

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You’re going to like this.

Even though it sounded like a bit of a pipe dream when it was described last year, the OnLive gaming service will launch on June 17th and allow Macs to play bestselling console titles such as Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed II. Per Macworld, OnLive uses a cloud computing technology to process games and allow any Intel-based Mac to function as a high-end gaming machine.

Where the bottom line is concerned, the service gets a cut of every game downloaded, but also has secured funding through partnerships. The most pivotal of those is AT&T, which has teamed up to become an official partner of OnLive’s Founding Member Program. The program (available to qualified users for a limited time), includes a one-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service. Registration has begun at www.onlive.com/att today at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends on July 15. Members of the program can also sign up for an additional year for US$5 per month.

OnLive is currently offering a free trial in which users can download a 1MB client and can try out all the demos for free. You can “rent” a game for a small fee to try it out, or purchase the game directly from the service. The games range from casual to hardcore, and prices range from US$5 to US$59 for full purchases.

Launch titles will include Ubisoft titles Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, and Price of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. From Square-Enix, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2. From Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Origins. Finally, from Take Two Interactive Entertainment, Borderlands. That’s quite a lineup of games that are not only hugely popular, but fairly recent.

While the potential to play high-end games on any Intel Mac is enticing, there are also lots of less-graphically intensive, casual games as well. Perlman cited Mad Balls, Defense Grid, Brain Challenge, and World of Goo as casual games that will appear on the service for download.

Additional games coming down the pipeline with unannounced release dates include: Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator and Alpha Protocol; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver San Francisco, and Shaun White Skateboarding; THQ’s Darksiders, Homefront, and Red Faction: Armageddon; Square-Enix’s Deus Ex 3, Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s F.E.A.R. 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4; and finally, 2K Sports MLB 2k10. The vast majority of these games have either come out in the last year or will be coming out in the next— and nearly all of them have never before appeared on the Mac.

Perlman is emphatic that his service will work on the Mac. “Every Intel Mac runs OnLive. We’ve tried them all,” he admits. That includes Mac minis, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Unfortunately, PowerPC Macs will not be supported by the service.


What You've Been Waiting For...


The only problem his team has encountered, Perlman concedes, is that the original release MacBook Air has a tendency to overheat but “you’ll encounter those same problems running a Flash video.”

The OnLive service will be launching for the Mac and Windows PC platforms on June 17 and after that you can “expect all games going forward to be Mac and PC.” Simultaneously launches on the service should be music to all Mac gamers’ ears.

For those who can’t wait that long, there’s a chance to sign up for the beta on the OnLive website. Oh, and for those who enjoy using game controllers, like the XBox 360 controller, you can with OnLive’s service. “They’re normally not compatible,” Perlman explains, “But we bridge the gap.”

Perlman claims that OnLive has had successful demos with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One demo included the high-end sci-fi first person shooter Borderlands running on the iPad. “It works beautifully,” said Perlman.

Update:
Dropping by the OnLive booth, I was able to learn the following tidbits as well:

- The booth itself featured OnLive running well on current generation MacBook notebooks that had been closed but attached to power, Ethernet cables and USB controller peripherals. Titles like Red Faction: Guerilla ran without any latency.

- The company is doing a staggered launch and bringing more and more players online. Representatives said that the service had been in beta for months with thousands of users online and no significant delays were expected.

- OnLive is currently recommending a five megabit per second Internet connection. A utility available on the company’s web site allows this to be tested. In cases where the connection is too slow, users might want to look into a better connection through their Internet service provider.

- The company is currently running three data centers throughout the country via the Bay area (west coast), Dallas (midwest region) and Washington, D.C. Representatives said they’d like their data centers to be within 1,000 miles of their users.

- The client requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

- Players can purchase a Full Playpass to buy a game and then have unlimited use for the game, the game itself staying on OnLive’s cloud service and not downloading directly to the hard drive.

- Users can look in on other players’ games to observe gameplay, tactics, etc.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x users

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Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:05
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x (“Snow Leopard”). The update, a 218.6 megabyte download, adds a slew of security fixes and changes, as summarized here.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.4 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, 15:42
Category: News, Software

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After months of anticipation, Apple released its Mac OS X 10.6.4 update for its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system on Tuesday.

The update, which ranges in size from a few to several hundred megabytes, includes the following fixes and changes:

General fixes and improvements:
- Improves compatibility with some Braille displays
- Resolves an issue that causes the keyboard or trackpad to become unresponsive
- Resolves an issue that may prevent some Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications from opening
addresses issues copying, renaming, or deleting files on SMB file servers
- Improves reliability of VPN connections
- Resolves a playback issue in DVD Player when using Good Quality deinterlacing
- Resolves an issue editing photos with iPhoto or Aperture in full screen view
- Resolves an issue with Parental Controls Time Limits for Open Directory or Active Directory users
- Resolves a display sleep issue with MacBook Pro (Early 2010) computers
- Resolves an issue with MacBook Pro (Early 2010) computers in which the right speaker may sound louder than the left speaker
- Includes Safari 5.0; for more information about Safari 5.0, see this webpage

Fixes and improvements for Aperture 3:
- Adds tethered shooting support for additional digital camera models
- Addresses IPTC metadata compatibility issues

Fixes and improvements for external devices:
- RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras
- Resolves an issue with using third-party USB web cameras
- Resolves an issue with noise when using some third-party FireWire audio devices
- Resolves pairing issues with Apple remotes

Mac OS X 10.6.4 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run and can be downloaded via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

E3 2010: Here We Go

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 14th, 2010, 05:34
Category: Announcement

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Ladies and gents, I’ll be flying to Los Angeles tonight to cover E3 2010 for the next several days following up on games coming to the Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, where developers think OnLive might be going, what’s in the works with iOS 4.0, etc.

But mainly I’ll be in Los Angeles. Which is part of California. Which, according to my D.C.-accustomed brain, is due to fall into the ocean, catch fire, explode or be attacked by giant monsters.

All of these things may in fact occur simultaneously while I’m there.

Before my flight leaves, I’m taking requests as to what you want me to look into, what questions you want me to ask and who you’d like me to hit up with your questions.

So, just shoot me a line here and I’ll do everything I can while I’m out there to make sure I cover your topic to the fullest extent possible.

In the meantime, I proudly present what can only be described as the most ill-conceived computer/privacy protection accessory ever created:


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