Apple announces Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, developers granted access to preview

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Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

Remember how you sort-of-recently upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)?

You’re about to upgrade again this summer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday announced Mac OS X 10.8, dubbed “Mountain Lion,” the next major release of its Mac operating system, set to launch on the Mac App Store this summer, with a preview now available for Mac developers.

A developer preview of the forthcoming operating system update was released to developers on Thursday, and Apple has boasted that Mountain Lion packs over 100 new features, including many brought from the iPad and iOS mobile operating system.

New features introduced with Mountain Lion include Messages, which replaces iChat, as well as Notes, Reminders and Game Center for the Mac. In addition, Mountain Lion will also feature Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration, and AirPlay Mirroring.

Mountain Lion will also be the first OS X release with iCloud for easy setup and integration with applications. The developer preview also includes Gatekeeper, which helps keep users safe from malicious software by giving control over what applications are installed on a Mac.

The preview of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting Thursday. Mac users will be able to buy the upgrade from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

An in-depth preview of Mountain Lion was provided by the mighty Jim Dalrymple at The Loop who has had his hands on a copy of Mountain Lion for the past week. He said that the latest operating system is “packed with new features that existing Mac users and iOS users will enjoy.”

“If there was a theme in Mountain Lion, I’d have to say it’s familiarity,” he wrote. “Apple brought many new features into the new operating system from IOS, so millions of users will recognize the names of the apps and features.”

Mountain Lion also features tighter integration with iCloud, connecting it with Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Messages, FaceTime, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, the Mac App Store, Documents & Data, and Bookmarks. By simply entering an iCloud user ID and password, users will have many features automatically set up for them on their new Mac.

Mountain Lion also brings Notification Center from iOS to the Mac. It can be accessed by choosing a circle button on the top right of the screen. With a gesture of two fingers sliding from the right edge, the Notification Center can be pulled from the right side of the screen.

Reminders and Notes will help users create and track to-do lists across all of their devices. And Game Center lets users personalize their Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

AirPlay Mirroring is also coming to the Mac, allowing users to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what’s on their Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.

New Twitter integration also allows users to sign in once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview, and third-party applications. The new system-wide Share Sheets also makes it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third-party applications.

Mountain Lion also features enhanced support for Chinese users, including the option to select Baidu search in Safari. It also sports “significant enhancements” to the Chinese input method, Apple said, along with connectivity for Contacts, Mail and Calendar through top e-mail service providers QQ, 126 and 163, and Share Sheets connectivity with Youku and Toudou.

For developers, there are hundreds of new APIs that allow access to core technologies and enhanced features in OS X. The new Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, allowing developers to create cross-platform multiplayer games for iOS and Mac. There’s also a new graphics infrastructure underpinning OpenGL and OpenCL and implementing GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, making it easier to create OpenGL apps.

Also found in Mountain Lion are enhanced multi-touch APIs that give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Additionally, kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced migration against buffer overflow attacks.

Pricing on Mountain Lion has not yet been announced, but the new operating system will only be available via the Mac App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the developer preview, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases public beta of Messages for the Mac, looks to replace iChat and integrate functionality with iOS version

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Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 06:03
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple announced the public beta of its new Mac Messages application with cross-platform support for iOS will be a major feature of the forthcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, users can get their hands on an early beta immediately.

According to AppleInsider, the Messages beta is now available for download direct from Apple for free. Apple’s official site advertises that it will give users “a taste of what’s coming in OS X Mountain Lion,” set to be released in late summer 2012.

“When you install Messages, it replaces iChat,” Apple said. “But iChat services will continue to work. And Messages brings iMessage to the Mac — just like on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 5.”

The Messages beta requires users Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and offers the following features:

- Send unlimited iMessages to any Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

- Start an iMessage conversation on your Mac and continue it on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

- Send photos, videos, attachments, contacts, locations, and more.

- Launch a FaceTime video call and bring the conversation face-to-face.

- Messages supports iMessage, AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’re tried the beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

VLC 2.0.0 release candidate 1 goes live, available for download

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Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2012, 06:07
Category: News, Software

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If you’re feeling experimental, this might be for you.

Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to a release candidate version of 2.0.0. The new version, a 24.1 megabyte download, adds a wide array of fixes and changes listed on MacUpdate.

VLC 2.0.0 release candidate 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, let us know in the comments.

Onyx updated to 2.4.4

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Date: Monday, February 13th, 2012, 07:49
Category: News, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.4.4. The new version, a 16.5 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

- Show the “Extras” menus in the menu bar.

- Japanese and Chinese translations added.

- Translations improved.

- Deleting the Logs improved.

- Deleting the Fonts Cache improved.

- Help improved, updated, and reindexed.

- Minor corrections.

- New replacement icon.

Onyx 2.4.4 requires Mac OS X 10.7 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.

Mozilla releases Firefox 10.0.1 update

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Date: Sunday, February 12th, 2012, 21:55
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 10.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as a 31.8 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

- FIXED: Java applets sometimes caused text input to become unresponsive (bug 718939).

- NEW: Most add-ons are now compatible with new versions of Firefox by default.

- NEW: The forward button is now hidden until you navigate back.

- NEW: Anti-Aliasing for WebGL is now implemented (see bug 615976).

- NEW: CSS3 3D-Transforms are now supported (see bug 505115).

HTML5: New element for bi-directional text isolation, along with supporting CSS properties (see bugs 613149 and 662288).

- HTML5: Full Screen APIs allow you to build a web application that runs full screen (see the feature page).

- DEVELOPER: We’ve added IndexedDB APIs to more closely match the specification.

- DEVELOPER: Inspect tool with content highlighting, includes new CSS Style Inspector.

- FIXED: Mac OS X only – after installing the latest Java release from Apple, Firefox may crash when closing a tab with a Java applet installed (700835).

- FIXED: Some users may experience a crash when moving bookmarks (681795)

- FIXED: Silverlight video may not play on some Macintosh hardware (715396).

Known Issues:
- UNRESOLVED: Two-digit browser version numbers may cause a small number of website incompatibilities (see 690287).

- UNRESOLVED: If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash (see 573369).

- UNRESOLVED: For some users, scrolling in the main GMail window will be slower than usual (see 579260).

- UNRESOLVED: Some synaptic touch pads are unable to vertical scroll (see 622410).

- UNRESOLVED: Firefox notifications may not work properly with Growl 1.3 or later (see 691662) (Unresolved on v10 Resolved in v11).

- UNRESOLVED: Under certain conditions, scrolling and text input may be jerky (see 711900).

Firefox 10.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Google Chrome updated to 17.0.963.46

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 9th, 2012, 07:23
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 17.0.963.46 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- New Extensions APIs.

- Updated Omnibox Prerendering.

- Download Scanning Protection.

- Many other small changes.

Google Chrome 17.0.963.46 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases firmware updates for early 2010 MacBook Air, Pro notebooks, adds Lion Recovery and sleep fix

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Date: Wednesday, February 8th, 2012, 06:20
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Firmware updates…they get useful.

Late Tuesday, Apple released MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.6 for its early 2010 MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 3 megabyte download, enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection on MacBook Pro (Early 2010) models.

The company also released MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.3 for its early 2010 MacBook Air notebooks. The update, a 3 megabyte download, enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection and also addresses an issue where the system would sometimes restart when the power button was pressed immediately after waking from deep sleep.

The updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

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

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.4.4

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Date: Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, 06:30
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.4.4. The new version, a 6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Made several changes to the preset configurations. Both the wording and some of the settings have been changed in response to user feedback and typical usage scenarios.

- New feature: CCC now provides support for archiving and cloning the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Recovery HD partition. Choose “Disk Center” from CCC’s Window menu to find this functionality.
New feature: Scheduled tasks can now be configured to wake or boot the system when the task is scheduled to run.

- New feature: For users with a Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Installer application in /Applications, CCC’s Source menu now includes a handy “Create a Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Installer…” choice that will clone the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Installation disk image onto a physical volume.

- Window positioning of the scheduled task helper application is now retained on a per-task basis, so you can move these windows around on your screen and multiple tasks won’t be stacked on top of each other.

- CCC will now mention the lack of a Recovery HD partition in the Cloning Coach prior to running the initial backup task.

- The table of scheduled tasks in the Scheduler window are now sorted alphabetically by default.

- Fixed a scheduler issue in which tasks scheduled to run on the first (any weekday) of the current month would be scheduled to run in the following month.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC was not “remembering” the last preset that had been selected upon relaunching CCC.

- Fixed an issue with the German localization related to the application of a particular setting in custom presets.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task had trouble mounting a disk image when uncommon permissions conditions were present (such as when a system is bound to an Active Directory directory service).

- The “This volume will be bootable” message is back, though with a caveat that I have to insist upon from a support perspective. Many external hard drive enclosures still manage to screw up the boot process, and it’s impossible for me to determine if that is going to happen for any particular user from within CCC.

- When backing up to a subfolder, CCC now overlays an icon of the underlying volume on the folder icon in the task status panel.

- Scheduled tasks that specify a network volume as the destination are now aborted when CCC receives a sleep notification.

- Growl notifications should now work properly on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion with Growl 1.3.

- Email notifications now include the sender’s full name.

- Fixed a couple minor bugs associated with email notifications.

- Fixed an issue in which the scheduled task window would be unresponsive while CCC waited for a response from an email server.

- Added support for sending email to servers that use a self-signed certificate. This support is disabled by default, see the documentation for details on enabling this functionality.

- Resolved a problem in which an errant filter would protect items in folders that were to be deleted, resulting in CCC reporting that it couldn’t replace a particular folder or application.

- Fixed a minor 5-second shutdown hang associated with CCC scheduled tasks.

- Numerous tweaks to the advice that CCC offers for various error conditions.

- Fixed some Mac OS X 10.7 Lion-specific problems with the mounting of sparsebundle disk image files that are hosted on a network volume.

- If you’re running an ad hoc task in CCC (e.g. click “Clone” in the main window), CCC will ask before deleting anything from the _CCC Archives folder. To avoid problems that would affect automation, this warning is not provided for scheduled tasks.

- CCC is more proactive about dealing with the 4GB file size limitation of FAT32 volumes. Files larger than 4GB will now be excluded by default, and you’ll get a warning of this exclusion before running the task.

- Fixed a hang that would occur at the end of a scheduled task while CCC tried to unmount the destination volume (network volumes only, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion only).

- Made some cosmetic changes concerning ZFS support.

- Mail account settings on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion are now properly imported and populated into the email notifications tab of the scheduled tasks window.

- The path to a disk image file is now properly provided as the fourth argument to postflight scripts.

- Fixed a 30 second hang that would occur while saving changes to scheduled tasks on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. For every OS, though, saving scheduled tasks should be considerably faster.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.4 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to run.

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

Skype updated to version 5.5.0.2340

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Date: Friday, February 3rd, 2012, 05:56
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, version 5.5.0.2340 of the Skype VoIP application was released as a public beta). The new version, a 23.2 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Improved video call stability and improvements to the calling interface.

Skype 5.5.0.2340 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.

Apple releases Security Update 2012-001 for Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard Server operating systems

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Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012, 05:53
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

With Mac OS X 10.7.3 going live yesterday, one has to wonder what changed for Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard) users?

Not that much.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s legacy Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server operating systems saw only minor security patches, though it is recommended that users install the latest software.

The Snow Leopard downloads, which can be found through Software Update or at Apple’s support page, offer Security Update 2012-001 (Snow Leopard) and Security Update 2012-001 (Snow Leopard Server), these updates weighing in at 192.73 MB for the Client version and 212.09 MB for Snow Leopard Server, with both requiring Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

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