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.

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10, Java for OS X Lion 2012-005

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 06:18
Category: News, security, Software

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If there’s a Java update out there, it might be worth snagging.

Per the cool cats at The Mac Observer, Apple updated Java for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Wednesday with the release of Java for OS X 2012-005 along with the release of Apple Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10. The updates, which vary in terms of download size given the version used, tweak Java controls by automatically turning the Java plugin off when no Java applets have been run for an extended period of time.

Apple’s patch notes also specify that if users hadn’t installed the previous version of Java (Java for for OS X Lion 2012-004), that the Java plugin will be disabled immediately.

The releases add the following fixes and changes:

– Delivers improved security, reliability, and compatibility by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_35.

The updates can be located, snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run while the Java for OS X Lion 2012-005 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.8 update

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 06:02
Category: News, Software

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It may be an absolutely gigantic greater-than-one-gigabyte download, but it’s still an update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.8, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 1.08 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses an issue related to third-party QuickTime components that could prevent iMovie from opening.

iMovie 9.0.8 requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

VMWare releases Fusion 5.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012, 07:44
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 5.0.1 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 215.1 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

Resolved Issues:

Install and Upgrade:
– Previously, you could not include the space character in the security server password or a trailing space at the end of the password. If the security server password contained a space, security server installation failed with the message Unable to pair the Security Server with the specified Connection Server.

View Administrator:
– Previously, on rare occasions, when you used the Add Pool wizard, the following error message appeared: “There was an error while trying to determine domains. [errorcode=3,000].” This message indicated that one of the domain objects in Active Directory was corrupted. This issue has been resolved.

View Client:
– A memory leak issue associated with copying and pasting text was addressed and resolved.
Occasionally, if you used a View desktop on multiple monitors and had some application windows open on each monitor, if the View desktop session got disconnected and then reconnected, some of the application windows would change size, position, monitor, or some combination of these. This issue has been resolved.

– Previously, on rare occasions, View Client could not connect to View Connection Server, and the client logs indicated a failure of the AcquireCredentialsHandle API, with a 0x80090305 error. This situation occurred because the message framework component of View Client failed to load the secur32.dll system DLL dynamically. This issue is now resolved by linking secur32.dll statically in Messageframework.dll. With regards to the virtual printing feature, occasionally, one or more printers available from your client system would not become availab le from within your View desktop. Or you would see printers listed in the View desktop that were not available to your client computer but were available from a client computer that you previously used to connect to your View desktop. This issue has been resolved.

– Previously, on Japanese systems, if you used location-based printing, in the View desktop, if you went to the Printers and Fax dialog box, clicked Preferences, and then went to the “Page Setup” and “Advanced” tabs, you would find that the text at the bottoms of these tabs was truncated. This issue has been resolved.

– Previously, when you first logged in to a checked out local desktop, the desktop would sometimes display the following error: There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request. This issue was most likely to occur for a Windows Vista or Windows 7 guest operating system on a full virtual machine from a manual or automatic pool.

Miscellaneous:
– Previously, if you opened a command prompt in a View desktop and ran the set command, the list of environment variables displayed would sometimes not include the volatile environment variables for View Client. This issue has been resolved.

– Previously, you could configure dedicated View desktops to be suspended if users had logged out but not if they had disconnected without logging out. This issue has been resolved so that you can now configure dedicated View desktops to be suspended when users disconnect. This functionality helps to conserve resources. To enable “Suspend on disconnect”:
Open ADSI Edit.
In the console tree, click ADSI Edit.
From the Action menu, select “Connect to.”
In the “Select or type a domain or server ” field, specify the server name as localhost:389.
Under “Connection point,” click “Select or type a distinguished name or naming context “, and then specify the distinguished name as DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int and click OK. The ADAM ADSI Edit main window appears.
Expand the ADAM ADSI tree, and expand OU=Properties.
Select OU=Global and select CN=Common in the right pane.
Select Action > Properties, and under the pae-NameValuePair attribute, add new entry suspendOnDisconnect=1.
Restart View Connection Server.

New Features:
– New bundled Mac OS X client – The new PCoIP-enabled View Client for Mac OS X is now bundled with this release. For more information, see the VMware View Client for Mac OS X Release Notes.
Client SSL requirement – View Client for Windows 5.0.1, View Client 1.4 for Mac OS X, and the other View 1.4 clients require SSL for connections to View Connection Server. Therefore, you must enter a fully qualified domain name for View Connection Server, rather than an IP address, in the View Server field of View Client. By default, View Client then checks the server certificate that View Connection Server presents. For more information, see the topics about configuring certificate checking in the VMware View Installation document and in the Using VMware View Client documents for the various platforms of View Client.

Fusion 5.0.1 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

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

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.4

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012, 06:06
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock improvements to a pretty-much-indispensable shareware application.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.4. The new version, a 10 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and improvements:

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

– Revised and expanded the Frequently Asked Questions to make it easier for people to find, fix, and report problems.

– Fixed a problem where SpamSieve could crash when processing messages from Apple Mail on OS X 10.8, particularly after the Mac had awakened from sleep.

– Workedaround on an issue on OS X 10.8 that could cause training SpamSieve from Apple Mail to be very slow.

– The Train as Good command in Outlook will now move messages from the trash back to the inbox.

– Made various updates to the manual for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, for example clarifying that SpamSieve works (via Apple Mail) during a Power Nap.

– Worked around a problem where Apple Mail couldn’t communicate with SpamSieve if the /etc/hosts file was damaged.

– Improved the error reporting when SpamSieve detects that one of its files is damaged.

– Added defensive coding to try to track down a notification icon problem when running in French.

– You can now set the MJTSoundLoadFromApps default to false if you want to prevent SpamSieve from looking for notification sounds installed by other applications, e.g. to prevent mounting an encrypted Microsoft User Data folder.

– Fixed a bug handling errors if a software update failed; if it succeeded, the .dmg file is now deleted to reduce clutter.

– After purchasing, SpamSieve used to show your user image to indicate that it had been successfully personalized. It now shows a generic checkmark to avoid prompting you for Contacts access on OS X 10.8.

– Added an icon for the crash reporter, since it’s now displayed under OS X 10.8.

– Fixed a bug where Apple Mail on Mac OS X 10.5 would log (harmless) errors about _NSAutoreleaseNoPool.

– Fixed a bug where the Apple Mail plug-in sometimes logged confusing error messages about not being able to launch SpamSieve even though it was already launched.

– Fixed a bug where the Apple Mail plug-in reported the wrong installation path in an error message when running on OS X 10.8.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Oracle releases patch for Java 1.7, works to close hole on discovered security flaw

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Date: Friday, August 31st, 2012, 06:33
Category: News, security, Software

With any luck, the patch fixed the issue.

Per AppleInsider, Oracle on Thursday released a patch for the Java 1.7 runtime, plugging a recently discovered security hole that allowed malware to take over any operating system when a user visits a malicious website.

In an update to its “CVE-2012-4681” security alert, Oracle addressed three separate vulnerabilities and one “security-in-depth” issue affecting Java 7.

It was reported on Monday that a new zero-day exploit had been discovered and proven to be effective within the Java 1.7 runtime, which includes the latest Java 7 update, in browsers on any operating system.

According to researchers, the flaw allows malware to breach the security of a Mac or PC by having a user visit a compromised website hosting the attack code. Because Java came bundled with older versions of OS X like Leopard or Snow Leopard, Macs running the legacy software are potentially more vulnerable to the attack than those with the latest 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Apple removed Java from OS X last year with the release of 10.7 Lion after a security flaw in Oracle’s software allowed the infamous Flashback trojan to affect a reported 600,000 Macs. As a safety precaution, users must now authenticate browser requests to download and install Java, proactively blocking potential exploits.

From Oracle’s alert:
“If successfully exploited, these vulnerabilities can provide a malicious attacker the ability to plant discretionary binaries onto the compromised system, e.g. the vulnerabilities can be exploited to install malware, including Trojans, onto the targeted system. Note that this malware may in some instances be detected by current antivirus signatures upon its installation.”

The patch for Java 1.7 can be downloaded directly from Oracle’s java.com web site, while more information about the security issues can be found at the company’s security page

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.