Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Seeds to Developer Community

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Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, 04:50
Category: Mac, Software

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Apple has reportedly issued new seeds of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.5.8 to developers that, at least in the former case, add functionality that was previously only shown at WWDC.

Per AppleInsider and sources close to the story, the new Snow Leopard seed, 10A394, officially provides just compatibility, reliability and security fixes but appears to give developers access to Expose’s integration with the Dock.

As demonstrated by Apple executive Phil Schiller earlier this month, the feature lets users click and hold on an app’s Dock icon to show the windows relating to that app in equal-sized, organized tiles. The simple change makes it much easier to find a particular window for a project, for example, without having to invoke a specific Expose shortcut. They can also choose to view a selected window at full size to determine if the content inside is what they want.

A new Xcode 3.2 build has been released in tandem with the Snow Leopard build.

The new Mac OS X 10.5.8 seed has apparently advanced four builds from its previous state, to 9L20. Apple appears to be quickly winding up development, as it supposedly hasn’t mentioned any remaining known bugs and has fixed just a few prior issues, such as problems with using auto-complete on CalDAV servers in iCal, Image Capture’s support for large files, and syncing Address Book with MobileMe.

Apple has also asked developers to focus their testing on low-level components like graphics drivers, power management and storage.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5

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Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 10:01
Category: Mac, Software

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Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.2 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
- Support for HTML5 video and audio content embedded directly on a page.
- A private browsing mode.
- Location-aware browsing, which allows you to share your location with Web sites if you so choose.
- Faster JavaScript performance via the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine (2x as fast as Firefox 3 and 10x faster than Firefox 2)
- Support for the latest version of the Gecko rendering platform, which brings faster rendering of onscreen content.

The 3.5 update was supposed to be version 3.1, though according to Macworld, Mozilla decided to change the version numbering, believing that it better reflected the breadth of new features and functionality that the update brought.

Firefox 3.5 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.

Elgato Releases EyeTV 3.1.2 Update

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Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Mac, Software

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Late Thursday, Elgato Systems released version 3.1.2 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, which can be found here (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

  • For EyeTV Hybrid (US 2009 and EU 2008 models), as well as some older devices, when capturing analog video, the timeshift setting in Preferences > Devices is now applied while recording. When timeshifting is off, recordings will use less CPU, and will display with a lower latency.
  • Quit and Sleep commands were added to EyeTV’s overlay menu.
  • Pressing the “Stop” button on the infrared remote control while playing back a recording in the EyeTV overlay menu now features an option to delete the recording.
  • Added support for widescreen (16:9) analog capture for all recent Elgato branded hardware. To enable widescreen capture, select “Stretch” from the View > Aspect Ratio menu. This feature is for capture of sources set to output 16:9 pictures squeezed into a standard definition output, usually set top boxes and DVD players. The output device should be set to 16:9 or “wide” output (as if it were feeding a widescreen TV).
  • To cycle through EyeTV’s different aspect ratio options, select View > Aspect Ratio > Rotate or press Command-Option-5.
    For NTSC set top boxes connected via RF modulation, EyeTV now supports channels 2 through 69 instead of 3 and 4.
  • To aid in solving problems downloading TV Guide data, EyeTV now features a Gemstar Program Guide Diagnostics window, accessible from the Help menu. In order to obtain the most current TV Guide data, EyeTV now additionally downloads data for the second and seventh day out.

New Hardware:

  • Support was added for the Devolo dLAN TV Sat, a DVB-S2 network tuner.

Bug Fixes:

  • A problem where EyeTV for DTT was not recognized by the EyeTV Setup Assistant has been resolved.
  • Problems detecting channels on DVB-S and DVB-S2 transponders with very high data rates have been resolved.
  • Teletext highlighting now work when viewing in transparent mode.
  • A crash at launch with corrupt preferences has been fixed.
  • Crashes while using the auto-update feature have been eliminated.
  • Invalid TitanTV Remote Scheduling account settings were not being reported correctly.
  • For improved compatibility with Remote Buddy, direct AppleScript access to some overlay menus was added.
  • The Apple Remote can no longer put the Mac to sleep while EyeTV is recording.
  • A problem where EyeTV would not wake up for recordings if the Energy Saver System Preference contained scheduled sleep/shutdown times has been fixed.
  • Problems exporting recordings with multiple Dolby Digital audio tracks have been resolved.
  • Several crashes while exporting have been fixed.
  • Added support for Eastern European ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-5 encodings for channel names and programming guide data.
  • EyeTV no longer cancels downloading the programming guide when encountering minor errors.
  • EyeTV now displays the file size number formatting in the international display format selected by the user.
  • Teletext in subtitle (“transparent”) mode no longer inhibits the timeshift overlay.
  • EyeTV now correctly sorts SmartGuide results by the “Where” column.
  • France 2 HD and Arte HD are now automatically assigned to tvtv.
  • A hang while quitting EyeTV in the middle of a program guide download has been eliminated.
  • The EyeTV MPEG Support Component has been updated to fix an incompatibility with Perian and other MPEG-4 decoders that resulted in the first frame always being green.
  • Exports to H.264 now include the QuickTime color info extension and the field info extension when the source is interlaced. This resolves dark playback in QuickTime Player.
  • EyeTV now supports DivX 7.
  • EyeTV is now compatible with the latest release of Flip4Mac Windows Media QuickTime components.
  • The overlay menu now responds to infrared commands after changing inputs.
  • A problem with white stripes at the edges of Apple TV exports with close captioning has been resolved.
  • EyeTV no longer crashes at launch when there is a corrupted text-to-speed voice installed.
  • After automatically updating to the latest version, the old version of EyeTV is always moved to the Trash.

EyeTV 3.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$79.95.

VMWare Releases Fusion 2.0.5

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Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2009, 04:27
Category: Mac, Software

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Late Tuesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 2.0.5 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 289 megabyte download, offers the following new features and fixes:

  • Supports Mac OS X Server guest operating systems on Macs with Intel Xeon 5500 and 3500 Series processors (based on Nehalem micro-architecture).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server as a guest operating system (32-bit only).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard as a host operating system (32-bit only).
  • Supports Ubuntu 9.04 as a guest operating system, including features such as VMware Tools pre-built modules and Easy Install.
  • Reduces CPU usage when a virtual machine is idle under VMware Fusion.
  • Contains fixes for more than 80 bugs.

The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Apple Releases MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7

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Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:23
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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Apple released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 patch on Tuesday, a 3.4 megabyte download which addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro. While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.

The update is also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Adium X Updated to 1.3.5

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Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:11
Category: Software

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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 1.3.5.

The new version, a 21.2 megabyte download, fixes a connection issue with Facebook, Yahoo and MSN.

Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to Offer Warning for Near-Dead Notebook Batteries

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Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 18:06
Category: Software

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While the immediate charge on a Mac notebook’s battery has been available for years, Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) users will be able to see when their batteries are nearing the end of their useful lifespans.

According to AppleInsider, the Mac OS X 10.6 build offered to Worldwide Developers Conference sports a feature in which clicking the battery icon in the menu bar now shows a new, one-word “battery condition” summary in addition to the energy for the current charge and the power source.

When the battery has been used often enough that it ‘s losing capacity, the icon is overlaid with an exclamation mark warning and the battery condition changes to “poor” — both signs that the pack is due to be replaced. While not every condition is known, Snow Leopard presumably reports varying degrees of battery status when the pack has only been moderately used or is like new.

Though Apple has yet to document the reasons behind the change, the most logical explanation is simply that the company’s decision to seal in most notebook batteries makes it more important to have an early notice that a battery is near failing.

Apple has lately been paying closer attention to battery life on all its devices and with iPhone OS 3.0 will add a numerical percentage to the iPhone’s previously icon-only battery indicator.

CrossOver 8.0 Out the Door

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Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 07:09
Category: Software

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CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 8.0. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

New application support:

  • Quicken 2009
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Photoshop CS2

MS Office 2003:

  • Non-English language service packs should now apply.
  • Word 2003: ‘Insert Field’ should now work properly.
  • Word 2003: Table calculations fixed.
  • Word 2003: Insert… Picture… From File improved.
  • Outlook 2003: NTLM proxy authentication fixed.
  • Excel 2003: Insert Picture improved.
  • Outlook 2003: Problem with dropping into ‘disconnected’ mode is resolved.

MS Office 2007:

  • Service Packs 1 and 2 now apply.
  • Enterprise, Pro, and Corporate editions should now install.
  • Word 2007: Fixed misbehavior when using the ‘insert image’ function.
  • Several other Office service packs and add-ons should work better.

QuickTime 7:

  • Intermittent hanging bugs should be fixed.

Several other general fixes.

  • Outlook 2000: e-mail attachments should now work.
  • Acrobat 5 and 7: “Save As” dialog no longer causes crashes.
  • FrameMaker: Handling of PPD files improved on systems without CUPS.
  • Word XP: “Combine Documents” fixed.
  • Equation Editor should install and run.

Other crossover improvements:

  • A ‘symbol’ font as been added. This should improve Equation Editor behavior.
  • A couple of improvements were made to dual-monitor support on the Mac.
  • Fixed problem with resizing windows on dual-head linux systems.
  • KDE systray on SUSE 10.1 fixed.
  • KDE Printer improved.
  • Fixed a problem with demo registration and gksu version 2.0.2.
  • Improved copy and paste.
  • Added better 64-bit support in the RPM package.
  • Updated many components to fix behavior on the upcoming Snow Leopard release of OS X.

CrossOver 8.0 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases Java Security Update for Mac OS X 10.4, Mac OS X 10.5 Operating Systems

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Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 18:12
Category: Software

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On Monday, Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 4 (a 158.3 megabyte download) and Java for Mac OS X 10.4 Release 9 (an 80.1 megabyte download). The two updates work to “deliver improved reliability, security and compatibility” and are available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The updates address previously reported exploits to Java that Sun Microsystems patched more than six months ago.

How-To: Add Multi-Touch Functionality to Your Pre-2008 Apple Notebook Trackpad

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Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 18:13
Category: How-To, MacBook

Amidst heated controversy as to whether Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system will add multi-touch gestures to older MacBook and MacBook pro notebooks, the guys at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have taken it upon themselves to ask what makes a multi-touch trackpad unique and how to simulate this on an Apple notebook sans such an interface. The answer lies in an embedded controller chip, identical to the one in the iPhone and iPod Touch, which allows advanced input from more than two fingers at once.

Later, Apple’s unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros debuted with multi-touch trackpads, but also introduced new four-finger gestures, which will not be officially supported in the older MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros until Snow Leopard’s release.

The original MacBook Air and early 2008 MacBook Pro are the only machines which will gain additional gestures via Snow Leopard. The only reason these notebook models are able to gain these gestures via software updates, while earlier MacBook Pros and all plastic MacBooks are not, is because they possess the multi-touch controller chip in their trackpads.

The following is the list of Apple notebooks that will support multi-touch gestures, either now or after Snow Leopard:

  • MacBook Air (all models)
  • Early 2008 MacBook Pro
  • Late 2008 17″ MacBook Pro
  • Unibody MacBook (all models)
  • Unibody MacBook Pro (all models)

Still, for pre-2008 and plastic MacBook owners, the following steps (courtesy of the MacRumors forums) can help bring multi-touch functionality to your notebook:

First, download a modified AppleUSBMultitouch.kext file. Navigate to System/Library/Extensions, and remove the old AppleUSBMultitouch.kext (you will need to type in your admin password).

Move the modified AppleUSBMultitouch.kext into System/Library/Extensions. You’ll most likely have to type in your password again.

This next step is critical: repair disk permissions using Disk Utility. If you don’t, after you restart your trackpad will not function.

Once permissions are repaired, restart. Success!

This procedure isn’t for the faint of heart and will probably have to be repeated with every major Mac OS X 10.5.x update, but it should provide multi-touch goodness if you want it.