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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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

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

snowleopard

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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Google Chrome 5.0.375.70 out the door

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 10th, 2010, 04:50
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 5.0.375.70 for the Mac. The new version, an 25.2 megabyte download, offers the following the following changes:

- Medium: Cross-origin keystroke redirection. Credit to Michal Zalewski of Google Security Team.

- High Cross-origin bypass in DOM methods. Credit to Sergey Glazunov.

- High: Memory error in table layout. Credit to wushi of team509.

- High: Linux sandbox escape. Credit to Mark Dowd under contract to Google Chrome Security Team.

- High: Bitmap stale pointer. Credit to Mark Dowd under contract to Google Chrome Security Team.

- High: Memory corruption in DOM node normalization. Credit to Mark Dowd under contract to Google Chrome Security Team.

- High: Memory corruption in text transforms. Credit to wushi of team509.

- Medium: XSS in inner HTML property of text area. Credit to sirdarckcat of Google Security Team.

- High: Memory corruption in font handling. Credit: Apple.

- High: Geolocation events fire after document deletion. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Justin Schuh).

- High: Memory corruption in rendering of list markers. Credit: Apple.

Google Chrome requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve played with it and have an opinion, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple poised to release updated Mac mini models in coming weeks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 4th, 2010, 04:29
Category: Mac mini, News

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With available inventories of the Mac mini computer becoming increasingly constrained over the past two weeks, Apple seems poised to introduce refreshed models that may serve as a harbinger for some new I/O ports on the device.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story have confirmed that the constraints are indicative of new models on the horizon, rather than intermittent delays resulting from the onset of the back-to-school buying season, which sometimes sees Apple curb the flow of Macs to its distribution channels in favor of filling large orders to universities.

The reports bear telltale signs that Apple is ramping down production of existing Mac minis and preparing its distribution for refreshed models which are said to include Nvidia’s MCP89 chipset, which is the successor to the existing MCP79 (or GeForce 9400M) chipset found alongside Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors across the majority of Apple’s 2009 Mac product line. An unannounced version of the Mac mini has been spotted with an HDMI connector instead of a DVI.

Apple last updated the Mac mini line in late October, introducing models with faster Core 2 Duo processors and adding a third server-oriented configuration that forgoes an optical drive in favor of two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB of storage. All three models were billed by the company as “world’s most energy efficient desktops.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.