VirtualBox updated to 4.2.0

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Date: Thursday, September 13th, 2012, 07:42
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.0. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

New Features:
– Improved Windows 8 support, in particular many 3D-related fixes.

– GUI: VM groups (bug #288).

– GUI: expert mode for wizards.

– GUI: allow to alter some settings during runtime.

– Support for up to 36 network cards, in combination with an ICH9 chipset configuration (bug #8805).

– Resource control: added support for limiting network IO bandwidth; see the manual for more information (bug #3653).

– Added possibility to start VMs during system boot on Linux, OS X and Solaris; see the manual for more information (bug #950).

– Added experimental support for Drag’n’drop from the host to Linux guests. Support for more guests and for guest-to-host is planned. (bug #81).

– Added support for parallel port passthrough on Windows hosts.

– Enhanced API for controlling the guest; please see the SDK reference and API documentation for more information.

In addition, the following items were fixed and/or added:
– Mac OS X hosts: sign application and installer to avoid warnings on Mountain Lion.

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897).

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

– VMM: improved VM context switch performance for Intel CPUs using nested paging.

– VMM: added support for FlushByASID features of AMD CPUs (Bulldozer and newer).

– VMM: fixed unreal mode handling on older CPUs with VT-x (gPXE, Solaris 7/8/9; bug #9941).

– VMM: fixed MP tables fixes for I/O APIC interrupt routing relevant for ancient SMP guests (e.g. old OS/2 releases).

– VMM: support recent VIA CPUs (bug #10005).

– VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

– VMM: page fusion fixes.

– GUI: network operations manager.

– GUI: allow taking screenshots of the current VM window content (bug #5561).

– GUI: allow automatically sorting of the VM list.

– GUI: allow starting of headless VMs from the GUI.

– GUI: allow reset, shutdown and power off from the Manager window.

– GUI: allow to globally limit the maximum screen resolution for guests.

– GUI: show the full medium part on hovering the list of recently used ISO images.

– GUI: do not create additional folders when a new machine has a separator character in its name (bug #6541).

– GUI: don’t crash on terminate if the settings dialog is still open (bug #9973).

– GUI: consider scaled DPI values when display fonts on Windows hosts (bug #9864).

– GUI: if a bridged network interface cannot be found, don’t refuse to start the VM but allow the user to change the setting immediately.

– Snapshots: fixed a crash when restoring an old snapshot when powering off a VM (bugs #9364, #9604, #10491).

– Clipboard: disable the clipboard by default for new VMs (see the manual for more information). It can be enabled at any time using the VM menu.

– Settings: sanitize the name of VM folders and settings file (bug #10549).

– Settings: allow to store the iSCSI initiator secret encrypted.

– NAT: improvements for the built-in TFTP server (bugs #7385, #10286).

– NAT: fixed memory leak when disabling the NAT engine (bug #10801).

– E1000: 802.1q VLAN support (bug #10429).

– Storage: implemented burning of audio CDs in passthrough mode.

– Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

– Storage: implemented support for discarding unused image blocks through TRIM for SATA and IDE and UNMAP for SCSI when using VDI images.

– Storage: added support for QED images.

– Storage: added support for QCOW (full support for v1 and readonly support for v2 images).

– Storage: added readonly support for VHDX images.

– USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

– Solaris additions: added support for X.org Server 1.11 and 1.12.

– Solaris additions: switched to using an in-kernel mouse driver.

– Windows hosts: no need to recreate host-only adapters after a VirtualBox update.

– Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.2.0 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.

Apple releases iTunes 10.7 update

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Date: Thursday, September 13th, 2012, 06:42
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Nano, iPod shuffle, iPod Touch, News, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released version 10.7 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 165 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Adds support for iOS 6 running on compatible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.

– Also adds support for the latest iPod nano and iPod shuffle models.

iTunes 10.7 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.

Google releases Picasa 3.9.11.6 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 10:47
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.11.6, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed Sync/upload to re-upload on image size or metadata changes.

– Fixed reading jpg files saved by Gimp.

– Fixed Reading some png files with metadata errors.

– Fixed some errors storing faces in XMP data.

– “Save as” and “Save a Copy” are now re-enabled when switching away from two-up AA mode.

– The size option for uploads is now saved in the album data.

Picasa 3.9.11.6 requires Mac OS X 10.5 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.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.22

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 07:40
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.22. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897)

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

– VMM: respect RAM preallocation while restoring saved state.

– VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

– Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

– USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

– RTC: fixed a potential corruption of CMOS bank 1.

– Mac OS X hosts: installer fixes for Leopard (4.1.20 regression).

– Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.1.22 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

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.

Initial tests show forthcoming OS X 10.8.2 update may help resolve battery life issues

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:30
Category: News, Software

They may not be scientific tests, but they prove a point.

Per the intensely cool cats at The Mac Observer, a set of tests published on Monday claim to show significant a boost in MacBook battery life using a new developer build of OS X Mountain Lion, with the latest beta showing an 85-minute increase from the current 10.8.1.

The unscientific test from The Mac Observer pitted numerous revisions of OS X, from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.8.2 Mountain Lion developer build 12C35, against each other to determine how the operating system effects battery life.

The test used a 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro running a 2.0 GHz i7 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 6490M GPU and two internal hard drives, an OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SSD and a Seagate Momentus 750 GB HDD.

Each operating system was tested at full charge, with all applications and services disabled save for Wi-Fi, screen adjusted to 50 percent brightness with display set for continuous use and screen saver disabled. A moderate workflow was simulated using a custom Automator application, which repeated until the battery was fully drained.

Using OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard as a baseline, the compiled test data showed a significant hit to battery performance with the introductions of 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Upon release, Lion lost over 40 minutes of battery life and took three revisions to regain Snow Leopard power efficiency. In contrast, Mountain Lion saw a huge 105 minute loss in battery performance when it was released in July, with the latest 10.8.1 version moving the OS only 30 minutes closer to baseline.

With OS X 10.8.2, however, battery life is not just brought back in line with Snow Leopard levels, but the OS actually outperforms its predecessor by eight minutes. This marks an 88.5 minute savings in power consumption from the most recent 10.8.1 version of Mountain Lion.

It was previously reported that Apple’s Mountain Lion was causing battery life issues for many users, with some MacBook Air owners seeing their batteries lasting half as long as when OS X 10.7 Lion was installed. Subsequent tests of the latest public version of OS X, Mountain Lion 10.8.1, showed Apple engineers were working on a fix as battery life was substantially improved. If Monday’s tests are accurate, OS X 10.8.2 will bring further battery life improvements, perhaps besting even the legacy OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

While the final public version of OS X 10.8.2 may not boast power savings identical to the home-brew test, the developer builds are promising and show Apple is taking an aggressive stance in solving the battery degradation issues seen at Mountain Lion’s launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the current OS X 10.8.2 beta and have any feedback about battery life under the forthcoming operating system revision, please let us know in the comments.

OnyX updated to 2.6.1, adds Mountain Lion support

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Date: Monday, September 10th, 2012, 07:07
Category: News, Software

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OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.6.1. The new version, a 20.5 megabyte download adds full support for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

As of now, specific changes to the version have yet to be released.

OnyX 2.6.1 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Roxio releases revised Toast Titanium 11.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 10:09
Category: News, Software

This is a little awkward, but people make mistakes and that’s why pencils have erasers.

On Friday, Roxio released a revised version of the Toast Titanium 11.1 update.

Per the release notes, the new build (1067) fixed bugs that the previous build (1063) had introduced.

The new build, a 92.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Resolved digital signing issue which occured on some OS versions.

– Resolved issue where updating would generate invalid signature message.

– Customers still encountering this error will need to download a full version of Toast 11.1 from our software update page or install a previous version and then update.

– Toast has been fully Cocoa-ized – Hundreds of changes and fixes .

– Added OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility.

– Added support for recording to 100GB and 128GB BDXL media.

– Implemented Gatekeeper Support.

– Web-Video feature improvements.

– Requires using Safari to capture web-video.

– YouTube users may need to OPT OUT of HTML5 Trial.

– Mountain Lion users will need to update to 10.8.1 or later to publish video to YouTube.

Toast Titanium 11.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

If you’ve tried the new update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 15.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 06:03
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, Mozilla.org released version 15.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 34.1 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Sites visited while in Private Browsing mode could be found through manual browser cache inspection (787743)
– Silent, background updates.

– Support for SPDY networking protocol v3.

– WebGL enhancements, including compressed textures for better performance.

– Localization in Maithili (see all available locales).

– Optimized memory usage for add-ons.

– JavaScript debugger integrated into developer tools.

– New layout view added to Inspector.

– High precision event timer implemented.

– The CSS word-break property has been implemented.

– New responsive design tool allows web developers to switch between desktop and mobile views of sites.

– Native support for the Opus audio codec added.

– The element now supports the media attribute.

– Focus rings keep growing when repeatedly tabbing through elements (720987).

Firefox 15.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

OS X 10.8.2 beta focuses on improving Power Nap, other features

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 07:45
Category: News, Software

Come OS X 10.8.2, your Mac will take more efficient naps.

Per AppleInsider, Apple seeded a new OS X 10.8.2 beta on Wednesday, asking developers to focus on a number of areas including the Power Nap feature introduced with Mountain Lion.

Build 12C43 of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 beta was seeded with no known issues, however it appears Apple is looking to improve operability of the Power Nap feature introduced with the operating system in July.

Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the computer is in sleep mode. Time Machine and iCloud syncing are supported, though compatibility is limited to mid-2011 or later MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The newest 12C43 build comes one week after Apple seeded the second 10.8.2 beta, asking developers to focus on system-wide Facebook sharing integration.

As always, if you’ve gotten your mitts on an early copy of the beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.