Skype updated to 6.0.60.2946

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Date: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, version 6.0.60.2946 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 34.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Microsoft and Facebook Account Integration: Sign up and sign-in is easier than ever. You can now sign into Skype using your Microsoft or Facebook account – there’s no need to create a new Skype account. This makes it even easier to connect with friends on Skype without having to set up another account.

- IM friends on Messenger: Now you can instant message your Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts via Skype all in one place. If you use a Microsoft account today, merging your accounts is easy – just sign in to Skype with your Microsoft account.

- Calling with Messenger friends is coming soon: We’re working on polishing a feature which will enable audio and video calls to Windows Live Messenger customers using Skype desktop clients. The feature will be available in coming weeks.

- Open Chats in Multiple Windows: We hear your feedback! With this release we’ve added support to open chats in multiple windows.

- Retina Display Support: We also added another feature you’ve asked for – support Retina display. Now you can take full advantage of improved usability and of higher resolutions.

Skype 6.0.60.2946 is available for free and 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, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft flatly denies Office for iOS rumor

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Date: Thursday, October 11th, 2012, 08:05
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Well, this was a bit far-fetched to begin with.

Following up on yesterday’s story regarding Microsoft Office arriving for iOS and Mac OS X in 2013, the rumor was crushed via a single tweet from Microsoft corporate communications lead, who stated that the comments made by the Czech team are “inaccurate.”

Still, it was a bit odd that a manager for the company’s Czech marketplace had this sort of information to leak or announce to the public at large.

The wait continues and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft Office to arrive for iOS, Android in March of 2013

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Date: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, 08:33
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

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The plus side: This is cool and interesting and, if true, could be outstanding.

The negative side: Someone’s probably getting fired over this leak.

Per Czech web site IHNED (translated by The Verge), Petr Bobek, a Microsoft product manager in the Czech Republish, reportedly indicated that native versions of Office for iOS and Android will arrive next year [updated]

Bobek stated that his company’s market leading productivity suite will make its way to Apple’s devices, as well as those running Google Android, sometime after March of 2013. The details came from a press release issued by Microsoft’s Czech Republic Team.

“In addition to Windows, Office will also be available on other operating systems: Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian,” the company’s statement said.

The press release separately noted that a new version of Office Web Apps will also be available. In a statement, Microsoft’s U.S. arm noted that the company previously indicated Office Mobile will be available on iOS and Android, in addition to Windows Phone.

Rumors of a version of Microsoft Office for iPad have swirled for the past year, and tablet publication The Daily even showed a screenshot of the rumored application. One report from late May pegged a specific release date for Office for iPad: Nov. 10, 2012.

However, Wednesday’s statements from Microsoft’s Czech team would suggest that date will not be met, with a launch instead coming in early 2013.

It was also reported earlier this year that Microsoft was working on a new native iOS application for Outlook Web App, called “OWA Mobile Client for iOS,” that will offer compatibility with Exchange 2012 mailboxes. It, along with a new version of the Lync application for iOS, will reportedly feature Microsoft’s Metro interface, just like Office for iPad is expected to do.

Rumors have said that Office for iPad will allow users to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Dedicated Outlook functionality is not expected to be included in Office for iPad.

While earlier reports focused on Office support for the iPad, the mention of iOS in the overseas Microsoft press release suggests that the productivity suite could also be coming to Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s own iWork suite, including Pages, Numbers and Keynote, offers universal support across portable iOS devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rapper’s set at Microsoft retail store cut short, several display laptops damaged during performance

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Date: Thursday, October 4th, 2012, 06:41
Category: News, retail

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Well, this could have gone better.

Still, if you provide an actual stage for a performer, then it tends to yield better results.

Per Kotaku and allhiphop.com, a promotional performance by Cleveland-based rapper Machine Gun Kelly, a.k.a. MGK, at a Microsoft retail store in Atlanta ended abruptly after the artist jumped on showroom tables, smashing a number of expensive laptops.

Only a minute and a half into his act, MGK’s mic was cut after multiple requests from store staff to get off the floor displays went unheeded. The pleas only exacerbated the situation, as the rapper flashed the middle finger to employees, improvising the following lyrics into his rap:

“Suck my [redacted], I’m up in this mother[redacted]. MGK in this [redacted]. [Redacted] these computers.”

Following the incident, Microsoft was quick to note the rapper wasn’t hired by the store, but by hip-hop magazine The Source for the publication’s Power 30 Issue. While true, the computing giant did allow the MC to perform in-store, a promotional tool sometimes used by Microsoft to drum up interest for retail outlet grand openings.

Most recently, recording artist Flo Rida was hired to perform at an Orlando Microsoft Store in August, while The Black Keys opened a Seattle location and Lenny Kravitz played for a store in Westchester.

Jeep in mind that some language in may not be family friendly or safe for work, but it shows an interesting disaster unfold in front of your eyes…



Google begins adding CardDAV support for iOS calendar users

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Date: Friday, September 28th, 2012, 07:07
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Google has added support for the open CardDAV contact syncing protocol used by Apple in OS X and iOS, enabling Google Contacts users to directly sync just like Yahoo and iCloud.

Google’s Gmail product manager Jeff Ellingson noted the new support for CardDAV on the company’s blog today.

The new support requires iOS 5 or higher, and currently requires users to manually set up an “other” CardDAV account, as Apple’s automated setup for Google accounts on both OS X and iOS only configure Gmail & Notes (via IMAP), Calendar & Reminders (via CalDAV), and Messages (via XMPP).

In the future, Apple will likely add support for simply checking a box for Contacts sync to simplify CardDAV account configuration, just as it does for Yahoo and Facebook accounts that already support CardDAV.

Apple pioneered support for the CalDAV and CardDAV open specifications in its efforts to build open Calendar and Contact sharing services in OS X Server as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server, which uses proprietary protocols to sync such data between clients and servers.

The company first added CalDAV and CardDAV support to its mobile devices in iOS 4 two years ago.

Apple has aggressively pushed both open standards for calendar and contact sync, enabling users to seamlessly use Macs and iOS devices with not just its own OS X Server and iCloud offerings, but also third party services from AOL, Google, Yahoo and any other systems that support them.

CalDAV and CardDAV are based upon the WebDAV specification for building web servers capable of both reading and writing information, so implementing the protocols is relatively simple for third parties.

If you’ve tried the new Google CalDAV and CardDAV support features in iOS, please let us know how your experience went in the comments.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.2.4, Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.4 updates for Mac

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Date: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 07:24
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.4 update. The update, a 116 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Office 2011 for Mac now supports retina rendering on Mac computers that are equipped with a Retina display.

Improvements for Outlook for Mac 2011:
- This update adds the ability for reminders of calendar events to be displayed for all calendars in Outlook. Previously, reminders were only displayed for calendar events in the default account’s calendar. Reminders are now displayed for other calendars, and this includes local On My Computer calendars. This update adds the ability to select a default text encoding for composing new messages.

- The encoding that is selected in composing preferences will be applied to all new messages that are sent from Mac Outlook. To access composing preferences, select Outlook, select Preferences, and then select Composing. The new preference is Preferred encoding for new messages.

- This update changes the HTML syntax of new signatures to be compatible with Mountain Lion and the latest version of WebKit. Email signatures in HTML-formatted email messages may not be displayed in the intended color when the messages are viewed in Mountain Lion or in previous OS versions that were upgraded to the latest version of WebKit. Existing signatures that exhibit this problem must be deleted and recreated to resolve the problem.

- This update improves Mac Outlook’s handling of partially downloaded messages. It is now possible to delete or move partially downloaded Exchange messages within the same account.

- This update fixes an issue in which Mac Outlook would crash when it moved certain messages to On My Computer folders by using client-side rules.

- This update fixes an issue in which the last entry from search results in the Select User dialog box was chosen even when another entry was selected. Distribution lists that are selected from search results in the Select User dialog box are chosen correctly. This issue was related to searching and selecting distribution lists only.

- This update resolves an issue that prevented Mac Outlook from downloading mail, calendar, or contact items that contained certain nonprintable characters.

- This update fixes an issue in Mac Outlook with delegated access to email. In certain cases, the email address of the primary user would be added incorrectly to the “Me” contact of the delegate.
This update resolves the issue in which, in some cases, searching in Mac Outlook by using a date filter returned the wrong results.

- This update fixes an issue in Mac Outlook that affected certain messages that were originally imported from PST files. If such messages were copied into an Exchange account, certain messages would not be readable on Outlook Web Access or other Exchange mail clients.

Microsoft Office 14.2.4 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and for the Service Pack 1 updater to have been previously installed.

The company also released version 12.3.4 of its Microsoft Office 2008 suite for Mac. The update, a 229 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:

- Contains changes that improve stability, reliability, and performance.

- Fixes an issue that may cause Excel 2008 for Mac to crash when you click Insert Object and then click to select the Display as icon check box in the Insert Object dialog box.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, let us know.

Skype 5.11.0.33 public beta released

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Date: Friday, September 14th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Skype released a public beta (version 5.11.0.33) of its VoIP application. The new version, a 31.7 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Sharing Instant Messages with friends on Messenger. You can now sign in with your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID), and see presence as well as send and receive IM messages from your friends who are using Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com.

- Improved Facebook integration. You can now sign in directly with your Facebook account, without needing to first create a Skype account.

- Different conversations can now be opened in separate windows by selecting this option in Preferences (General -> Open conversation in new window when I double-click in the sidebar).

- Link Microsoft and Facebook accounts to a Skype account. If you sign in with a Microsoft or Facebook account you will be offered the option to link your Skype account. If you choose the link option then Skype will display a combined list of friends. This is an area we are still working through so please let us know about your experience.

Skype 5.11.0.33 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, please let us know in the comments.

Apple making changes with iCloud Notes and Reminders, adding more comprehensive Lost My iPhone feature in forthcoming updates

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:27
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Some upcoming iCloud features could prove incredibly useful and interesting.

Per AppleInsider, the upcoming iCloud Notes and Reminders apps are virtually identical to their iOS and OS X Mountain Lion siblings. The new Reminders web app offers a cloud-based version of events synced with iOS mobile devices and desktop Macs, although it does not support location based reminders (simply ignoring any “geofence” reminder settings triggered to go out when entering or leaving a particular location).

Notes gets a similar web treatment, although unlike its iOS and OS X counterparts, there’s no way to change the default font from Noteworthy. Notes on the web also reflects the stitched leather binding of its iOS counterpart rather than the plainer version in OS X.

In addition to the two new apps, iCloud Mail and Calendar are both getting minor updates. The new Mail adds support for VIP inboxes introduced in Mountain Lion’s Mail this summer.

Mail also uses iOS style scroll bars that are skinnier and translucent, in strange contrast to iCloud’s Calendar app, which continues to use a standard scroll bars with a full gutter and arrow buttons.

The only apparent change in Calendars is the removal of the Reminders list, which is now its own app. Similarly, the iCloud Contacts app hasn’t changed at all, so it retains the odd “bookmark” control for accessing contact groups that Apple has removed from both the OS X and iOS 6 versions of the app.

Also left apparently unchanged is Apple’s support for saving and accessing iWork documents from the web. Overall, the company’s web strategy for iCloud seems very conservative, given that both Google and now Microsoft have made web versions of their office apps a prominent part of their software strategy.

One final feature Apple has added to iCloud’s web portfolio is a new “Lost Mode” within Find My iPhone. The new feature is an enhancement over the previous version, which only offers to lock the device and optionally send it a message.

If your iOS 6 device goes missing, you can click on Lost Mode and the app prompts you to enter a phone number and message, locks the device remotely and will track the device every time it moves, reporting changes in location via email updates. It will also draw each location change on the map, showing a trail of where the device has shown up.

Devices that haven’t yet upgraded to iOS 6, along with Macs registered to use iCloud’s Find My Mac, continue to support the old Lock feature, without updates or live tracking.

Notably, Apple is still using Google Maps within iCloud rather than its own Maps that will launch with the new iOS 6 update later this week. The company may transition over to its own map services at some point.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.1 update

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Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012, 07:29
Category: News, Software

The bug fixes had to come sometime.

On Thursday, Apple released version 10.8.1 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 24.2 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Resolve an issue that may cause Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit.

- Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail.

- Address an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display.

- Resolve an issue that could prevent iMessages from being sent.

- Address an issue that could cause the system to become unresponsive when using Pinyin input.

- Resolve an issue when connecting to SMB servers with long names.

- Address a issue that may prevent Safari from launching when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file.

- Improve 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials.

OS X 10.8.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Motion Picture Experts Group releases H.265 draft standard, offers Web-based video at twice the quality, half the data size

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Date: Thursday, August 16th, 2012, 08:10
Category: News, Software

If you think Web-based video is impressive now, wait a bit.

Per AppleInsider, the Motion Pictures Expert Group has issued a new video standards draft that promises to deliver twice the video quality at the same size, or alternatively, identical video quality at half the data rate as today’s MPEG-4 H.264 standard.

The new H.265 draft specifically addresses mobile devices and networks overloaded with video. Products using the new H.265 video compression standard could begin to launch as early as 2013.

Apple is likely to quickly adopt support for the new H.265 specification, just as it has rapidly rolled out support for new features of H.264, including support for expanded H.264 profiles in the new third generation Apple TV and the new iPad.

MPEG, formed by the International Standards Organization in 1988, first developed a joint video compression format in 1993 intended for Video CD. Its video codec, H.261, was used to deliver multimedia video clips. The audio portion of that standard, MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (also known as MP3) revolutionized the portability of music by allowing users to rip CDs to files that could be compressed enough to be used in mobile devices with limited storage.

Apple backed MP3 with the iPod in 2001 at a time when Microsoft and Sony were working to entrench their own proprietary standards with strong DRM (Windows Media and ATRAC, respectively).

MPEG released the MPEG-2 standard in 1994, which enabled high quality DVD and efficient digital TV transmissions. MPEG-2 incorporated the initial H.261 video compression standard as well as a more efficient H.262 and, later, the H.263 ASP codec implemented by DivX and Xvid, popular formats used for video file sharing. Work on an MPEG-3 standard aimed at HDTV was abandoned and folded into the MPEG-2 portfolio.

MPEG-4, initiated in 1998 and released in 2003, merged the television and video industry’s expertise with work pioneered by Apple’s QuickTime on desktop computers, resulting in a video format that incorporated Apple’s QuickTime container format. This helped to simplify video editing tasks, even as Apple began adopting advanced bidirectional compression technologies in QuickTime that had been contributed to the MPEG-4 pool by the rest of the industry.

MPEG-4 carried forward H.263, which Apple hadn’t ever widely used, while also introducing H.264, which enabled a doubling of video quality at the same size as the earlier H.263 codec.

Before MPEG-4, Apple had previously used proprietary video codecs from Sorenson in QuickTime, but rapidly began adopting MPEG standards as the pooled efforts of every major company with video expertise began to quickly outpace the development of alternatives.

Apple helped to popularize MPEG-4′s AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) format as a more efficient replacement for MP3 in iTunes, then brought MPEG-4′s H.264 video compression into the desktop computing mainstream as the default video codec in QuickTime. It is now essentially the only video standard supported by the iPhone and other iOS devices, and H.264 is deeply integrated into the architecture of QuickTime.

While MPEG itself usually refers to its MPEG-4 audio and video standards as AAC and AVC, Steve Jobs introduced the new video standard to the world as H.264, and Apple continued to refer to it by its ITU numerical designation. MPEG is now referring to its newest H.265 standard as “HEVC” (High Efficiency Video Coding).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.