VirtualBox updated to 4.3.0

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:22
Category: News, Software

virtualbox

You can’t knock a tidy update.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.3.0. The new version, a 113 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes with the full release notes posted here:
- VMM: major rewrite of the VT-x code and the AMD-V code including many bug fixes and performance improvements (for example bug #9659).

- VMM: introduced a lightweight instruction interpreter for situations not handled by hardware virtualization.

- GUI: extended messaging mechanism (new non-modal popup overlays used to show non-critical warnings and provide user with additional information).

- GUI: keyboard shortcuts management (input page of global preferences extended with possibility to edit general keyboard shortcuts for VirtualBox Manager and Virtual Machine).

- GUI: video capturing support (bug #4766).

- Added USB touch device emulation.

- Added experimental support for webcam passthrough complementing USB passthrough (see the manual for more information).

- Added SCSI CD-ROM emulation, including boot support.

- VRDP: support for IPv6.

- Guest Control: guest sessions now are running in dedicated, impersonated session processes (needs at least Guest Additions 4.3 installed).

- Guest Control: implemented IGuestFile support.

- NAT: experimental virtual router mode: several VMs are attached to the same internal network and share one NAT service (see the manual for more information).

VirtualBox 4.3.0 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.

Some owners of early-2011 MacBook Pro units complaining of discrete GPU failures

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:54
Category: MacBook Pro, News

This is the kind of thing that makes you slam your head against the desk a few times.elretina

Per AppleInsider and Apple’s Support Communities forum, owners of early-2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros are reporting issues with the discrete AMD graphics processors in their notebooks, which in some cases results in the failure of the component, leaving an expensive logic board replacement as the only remedy.

The problem, as highlighted by conversation threads on the forum, first presents itself as a graphical glitch — or, in more serious cases, complete system lockup — when an affected MacBook Pro switches from the integrated Intel graphics chip to the discrete AMD graphics processing unit, or GPU. Reports of the issue first cropped up in February, but have become more frequent over the past month.

In 2010, Apple introduced the automatic graphics switching system, which dynamically shifts the processing load between the integrated chip and the discrete GPU based on what the user is doing. Owners of MacBook Pros built prior to 2010 have to manually select the more powerful GPU from OS X Settings, which forces the operating system to restart.

Users of affected machines report that display discoloration, banding, and image distortion are the most common visible symptoms, but many say that their computers suddenly freeze without any of the graphical warning signs. Rebooting — even several times in succession — rarely fixes the problem, and some have even tried to remedy the situation by forcing their laptop to use the integrated chip exclusively with only moderate degrees of success.

Data compiled from several Apple Support Communities threads by forum user “saramwrap” suggests that the majority of affected users are using early-2011 MacBook Pros with the AMD Radeon 6750M GPU, though failures are not limited to that chip. Those whose notebooks contain Radeon 6490M, 6750M, and 6970M GPUs are also experiencing the problem.

Apple has yet to address the fairly widespread issue, with many users reporting that the only repair option given to those without AppleCare coverage is a complete logic board replacement at a cost of US$500 or more.

Apple’s popular notebook line ran into similar troubles soon after its early 2011 hardware refresh, coming to light in another Apple support forum thread that now stretches more than 140 pages with over 2,000 replies. The issue was eventually resolved when Apple specifically targeted the problem with a special build of the OS X 10.6.7 update.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have any thoughts on it, please let us know what you think in the comments section.

Adium updated to 1.5.8

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 14th, 2013, 05:51
Category: News, Software

adiumducky.gif

Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.5.8.

The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:
- Changed the default tab switching shortcuts for new users to Control-Tab/Control-Shift-Tab, to match Safari. This was meant to be done for 1.5.4 but it did not work that time.

- XMPP: refer to XMPP as “XMPP (Jabber)”. Unfortunately, just “XMPP” still has some potential for confusion.

- Fixed SIP account names to be case-sensitive.

- Enabled a large number of TLS cipher suites, including ECC suites and suites new in TLS 1.2.

- Fixed a problem causing Sametime login to fail.

- Try to avoid Twitter’s rate limiting causing Adium to go in a reconnection loop.

- Don’t try to download images included in HTML when pasting in the text field.

Adium 1.5.8 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later and an Intel-based Mac to run.

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

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7 update for mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 20:49
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

This might come in handy.

On Friday, Apple released MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7, a 4.6 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes for the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebook:
- MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a mid-2013 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Dropbox updated to 2.4.2

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 06:46
Category: News, Software

The Dropbox update-o-rama continues…

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.4.2 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 32.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed Import to iPhoto and Screenshots not working for some international users.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.4.2 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.

Rumor: iPad media event to take place October 22nd, exact location unknown

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 9th, 2013, 07:35
Category: iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

It’s the leaks that make things interesting.

Per AppleInsider and AllThingsD, the date for Apple’s anticipated iPad media event was leaked on Tuesday, which cited unnamed sources. The same publication has accurately shared word of Apple event dates in the past.

In addition to new iPads, the event in two weeks is also expected to focus on the company’s revamped Mac Pro high-end desktop, and the forthcoming OS X Mavericks operating system update.

While the date for the event is known, its exact location has yet to be determined. Possible spots include Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus, or the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Last year’s iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad event was held in San Jose, but the company reportedly does not plan to return there this year.

The next 9.7-inch iPad is widely expected to sport a redesigned chassis that will make it look like a big iPad mini. Apple is expected to reduce the weight and thickness of its full-size iPad, and also give the device thinner side bezels.

As for the iPad mini, it’s anticipated to feature a high-resolution Retina display with its second-generation model. Both devices are rumored to sport high-quality 8-megapixel rear facing cameras, equivalent with the iPhone.

Still unknown is whether either of Apple’s new iPads will sport the Touch ID fingerprint sensor the company unveiled in the new iPhone 5s, but did not bring to its mid-level iPhone 5c.

The new iPads will hit the market ahead of the holiday shopping season, and at a time when traditional notebook PCs continue to struggle. Competition in the tablet space has been heating up, with Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX, Microsoft’s Surface 2, and Google’s Nexus 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.9.900.117

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 9th, 2013, 06:06
Category: News, Software

This one’s fairly substantial.

On Tuesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.9.900.117 for Mac OS X, an 18 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:
- Mobile Workers (concurrency) – Android: Workers APIs are now supported for Android. This will work only with swf-version 22 (namespace 3.9) or later. The feature is in development and there are a few known issues.

- Support for background execution in Direct render mode – iOS and Android: Presently AIR on iOS and Android does not support background execution when render mode direct is set. Due to this restriction, Stage3D based apps are not able to execute background tasks like audio playback, location updates, network upload/download etc. iOS does not allow OpenGLES/rendering calls in the background. Applications which attempt to make OpenGL calls in the background are terminated by the iOS. Android does not restrict applications from either making OpenGLES in the background or other background task (like audio playback). With this feature, we would be allowing AIR mobile apps to execute in background when renderMode direct is set. AIR iOS runtime will throw an error if OpenGLES calls are made in background. However no error will be thrown on Android, as Android native apps are allowed to make OpenGLES calls in background. It’s recommended to not make rendering calls while app is executing in background as its important to utilize the mobile resources judicially. List of Stage APIs which may throw the error 3768 – The Stage3D API may not be used during background execution”.

- XXHDPI (144×144) Icon Support – Android: With this feature we have added support for beautiful, high resolution icons on devices such as the Nexus 10.

- Mac OS X 10.9 Support: We have tested against the latest developer releases of OS X 10.9 and are ensuring that Flash Player continues to perform as expected.

- Mac .pkg Installation Support: Deploying Flash Player and keeping it up to date is a critical task for system administrators worldwide. We’re introducing a new .pkg installer format for our distribution partners so we can reduce their workload by allowing them to deploy Flash Player for Mac using their current tools and environments.

Adobe Flash Player 11.9.900.117 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.8 update

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 15:32
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a steadily updated app.

Microsoft on Tuesday released version 14.3.8 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information about this update, please visit the Microsoft Web site.

- Applies to: Office 2011, Office 2011 Home and Business Edition, Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011, Office for Mac Standard 2011 Edition, Microsoft Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, and Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011

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

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.8 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.

Apple working on upcoming OS X 10.9.1 bug fix, attaches “Syrah” code name to OS X 10.10 project

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

maverickslogo

This is just how quickly software development moves.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has apparently dubbed its future OS X 10.10 operating system “Syrah” (a type of wine), which they’ve begun seeding to Apple employees for internal testing as of early September.

While it’s been reported that Apple is targeting a redesign of the OS X interface to mimic iOS 7′s new look for OS X 10.10, the current nightly builds are said to be nearly identical to the Golden Master version of OS X Mavericks. It’s unlikely that 10.10 seeds will gain new user-facing features or interface elements until well into development. Apple software engineering teams typically work on several projects independently, then pull them in all-together into the new operating system ahead of seed milestones.

Emphasizing the fact that OS X 10.10 is still very early in development is its current build number. It’s been said that OS X 10.10 has seen approximately 30 seeds so far in development. For comparison, the first OS X Mavericks Developer Preview was build 476, while the first OS X Mountain Lion and Lion Previews were build numbers in the 100s range and 400s range, respectively. Nonetheless, it is likely that Apple is targeting a release of OS X 10.10 for sometime in 2014.

As OS X Mavericks moved to Golden Master status (the state in which the OS is ready to ship and/or be installed on new Macs), Apple moved a fair portion of its Mac software engineering resources onto its OS X 10.10 project. Other people on the team, however, are said to be working on updates to the OS X 10.9 Mavericks track. Apple is said to already be closing in on a point-release update (OS X 10.9.1) to Mavericks with bug fixes and perhaps the ability to block iMessages and FaceTime calls from certain users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.9

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:02
Category: News, Software

spamsieve-icon

SpamSieve’s about ready for Mavericks.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.9. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- SpamSieve is now compatible with the GM build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It is recommended that you update to SpamSieve 2.9.9 before installing Mavericks. If you’ve updated to Mavericks first, and you don’t see the SpamSieve commands in Apple Mail’s Message menu, be sure to choose Install Apple Mail Plug-In from the SpamSieve menu.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- Microsoft Outlook 2011’s notification sounds are now available in SpamSieve’s Notification preferences.

- Added the Apple Mail – Server Junk Mailbox script. When it’s not possible to turn off a server-side junk filter (e.g., iCloud’s), this lets SpamSieve save you from mistakes that the server junk filter made by moving any messages that SpamSieve thinks are good back to the inbox. It will also consolidate the spam messages from all the accounts into a single spam mailbox (the same one where SpamSieve is already putting your spam).

- Can now repair the ownership and permissions of the SpamSieve and Apple Mail preferences files if needed. This fixes problems where SpamSieve would lose its registration information or Apple Mail wouldn’t show the SpamSieve menu commands.

- Fixed some problems where the Open Window command in Apple Mail was not available or did not always open the specified window.

SpamSieve 2.9.9 retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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