VirtualBox updated to 4.1.10

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Date: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012, 14:15
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.10. The new version, a 89.5 megabyte download, sports an extensive list of changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.1.10 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 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 preps Mac OS X 10.7.4 betas for external developer testing

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Date: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012, 06:59
Category: News, Software

Operating system updates, they’re a good thing.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is apparently wrapping up work on its next performance and maintenance update for the Lion operating system, as OS X 10.7.4 will soon make its way to developers for testing.

Sources familiar with the software update say that a pre-release build of Mac OS X 10.7.4 will be released to a limited number of developers within days. A wider release to all members of the Apple Developer Connection is likely to take place by week’s end.

Exactly what enhancements or fixes will be contained in the OS X 10.7.4 update remain unknown. Apple typically releases a number of beta builds to developers for testing before an update to OS X is released to the public.

The previously unannounced update to Lion was mistakenly referenced last week on Apple’s official website, following the launch of iPhoto for iOS. The official site noted that the software was compatible with the latest version of iPhoto for Mac, which it said required a system running OS X 10.7.4 or later.

The last update to Lion, OS X 10.7.3, was released to the public in early February. It mainly addressed bugs, but brought a handful of new features like support for new languages, Wi-Fi connectivity fixes and Windows file sharing compatibility.

The forthcoming OS X 10.7.4 is likely to be one of the last updates to Lion before its follow-up, Mountain Lion, becomes publicly available. OS X 10.8 is scheduled to launch this summer on the Mac App Store packing over 100 new features, including Messages, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, Twitter integration, Notification Center, and AirPlay Mirroring.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Safari 5.1.4 update

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 09:36
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released Safari 5.1.4, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 46.4 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

- Improved JavaScript performance.

- Improved responsiveness when typing into the search field after changing network configurations or with an intermittent network connection.

- Addressed an issue that could cause webpages to flash white when switching between Safari windows.

- Addressed issues that prevented printing U.S. Postal Service shipping labels and embedded PDFs.

- Preserved links in PDFs saved from webpages.

- Fixed an issue that could make Flash content appear incomplete after using gesture zooming.

- Fixed an issue that could cause the screen to dim while watching HTML5 video.

- Improved stability, compatibility and startup time when using extensions

- Allows cookies set during regular browsing to be available after using Private Browsing.

- Fixed an issue that could cause some data to be left behind after pressing the “Remove All Website Data” button.

Safari 5.1.4 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Also, thanks to Al Gatto for the tip and if you have any quick leads, please let us know via the contact page.

Google Chrome updated to 17.0.963.78

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 11:58
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 17.0.963.78 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- This release fixes issues with Flash games and videos, along with a security fix.

Google Chrome 17.0.963.78 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases iTunes 10.6 update, adds support for 1080p video, other fixes

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:52
Category: News, Software

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It’s an update day.

And that’s kind of nifty.

Following its iPad 3 press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple released version 10.6 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, an 81.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- iTunes 10.6 adds the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store.

- Improved song matching via iTunes Match.

- Improved album artwork handling, downloading, and display.

- Addresses an issue where songs may skip when playing from iCloud.

iTunes 10.6 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.

Skype updated to 5.6.0.143

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 09:07
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, version 5.6.0.143 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 22.7 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Automatic Updates.

- Improved UI for group video calling.

- New full screen mode in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

- Ability to delete conversations.

- Ability to disable Audio Gain Control.

- Fixed: Chat messages aren’t shown after clearing recent conversations or closing the last one.

- Fixed: Choppy audio issue with USB headset while in group call.

- Fixed: Call toolbar does not appear after call is ended.

- Fixed: Selection of contacts in the contact list.

Skype 5.6.0.143 is available for free and requires 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.

Adobe Lightroom 4.0 released

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Date: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, 09:27
Category: News, Software

If you loved Adobe’s Lightroom image editing program, you might think highly of version 4.0 which became available on Tuesday.

The new version, which is priced at US$79 for the upgrade version for Lightroom 3.x user (US$149 for the full version) and adds the following features and changes:

- Highlight and shadow recovery.

- Photo book creation with templates.

- Location-based organization including GPS data support.

- A white balance brush.

- Noise reduction and moiré removal tools.

- Enhanced video support including adjustments.

- Emailing from Lightroom.

- Video publishing to Facebook and Flickr.

- Soft proofing for color-managed printers.

Adobe Lightroom 4.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 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.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update

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Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 15:49
Category: News, Software

They may come from out of nowhere, but supplemental updates are a good thing.

On that note, Apple has released its Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update. The update, a 38k download (provided you have Mac OS X 10.7.3 already installed), resolves an issue when restoring a Mac from a Time Machine backup.

As usual, the update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. The software requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

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

Updated JavaScript interpreter to help boost WebKit’s performance by 2, 2.5x

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Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 08:22
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t argue that WebKit’s been good for Apple and iOS in general.

Apple’s WebKit JavaScriptCore is now a “triple tier virtual machine,” offering the potential for 2-2.5 times faster JavaScript performance in Safari.

Per webkit.org, recent changes in Apple’s WebKit open source project (used by Safari on OS X and iOS, and to power a wide variety of other browsers) include the incorporation of the efficient new LLInt (Low Level Interpreter), which is now used by JavaScriptCore (JSC) to attempt executing code before passing it to the standard interpreters, either the bytecode virtual machine or the JIT (Just In Time complier) which builds native machine code on the fly.

“JSC will now will start by executing code in LLInt and will only tier up to the old JIT after the code is proven hot,” a change report on the new interpreter describes.

“LLInt is written in a modified form of our macro assembly. This new macro assembly is compiled by an offline assembler (see offlineasm), which implements many modern conveniences such as a Turing-complete CPS-based macro language and direct access to relevant C++ type information (basically offsets of fields and sizes of structs/classes).”

The new interpreter “is 2-2.5x faster than our old interpreter on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken [benchmarks],” the report states. “With triple-tiering turned on [to allow the LLInt to interpret code], we’re neutral on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken, but appear to get a double-digit improvement on real-world websites due to a huge reduction in the amount of JIT’ing.”

JavaScript performance in web browsers is a primary focus for optimization, as the faster and more efficiently code can be executed, the more fluid animations can run and the more sophisticated and responsive cross platform web applications can be.

The LLInt enhancements to JavaScriptCore appear to have been contributed by Filip Pizlo, who joined WebKit as a reviewer in December after acting as a “major contributor” to improvements to the JavaScriptCore JIT and Garbage Collector. Pizlo filed a bug report in January noting that “JSC should be a triple-tier VM,” and subsequently solved the issue by the end of February.

The new changes to JavaScriptCore will take some time to make it into the mainstream version of Safari, following similar WebKit enhancements of previous years. Enhancements in Apple’s next release of Safari 5.2 have been profiled in reports describing its new user interface and sharing enhancements and new privacy settings and website alert features.

In 2008, WebKit announced a rewriting of JavaScriptCore as a direct-dispatch register based, high-level bytecode virtual machine originally named SquirrelFish. It compiled JavaScript into native machine code. The project was later enhanced to gain the codename SquirrelFish Extreme.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may include Intel Sandy Bridge processors in near-term Mac Pro update

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Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 07:27
Category: Mac Pro, Processors, Rumor

Even if you’re hankering for a new iPad 3 or an updated MacBook Air, there’s always your Mac Pro tower to keep in mind.

Per The Inquirer, Intel’s new Sandy Bridge update for its Xeon line of high end CPUs is due next week, suggesting the potential for Apple to refresh the Mac Pro, which hasn’t changed since the middle of 2010.

The new Xeon E5 chips incorporate the Sandy Bridge micro architecture that first appeared in MacBook Pros and iMacs early last year, followed by a mobile variant used by Apple in the MacBook Air last summer.

Apple’s latest Mac Pro models currently use Intel Xeon Bloomfield or Gulftown processors based on the Nehalem and closely related Westmere microarchitectures.

The latest release of OS X 10.7.3 Lion included support for AMD’s high end Tahiti graphic cards, which are expected to arrive in the market around the same time as Intel’s new Xeon chips.

However, sources famliar with the matter have said that Apple’s management, as far back as last May, were in limbo over whether to put any additional resources toward the Mac Pro product line.

Internal discussions at Apple were said to focus on the fact that sales of the high-end Mac Pro workstations have dropped off so considerably that the desktop machines are no longer particularly profitable for the company.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.