Apple posts changes to MobileMe back end, apps

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Date: Friday, July 9th, 2010, 05:25
Category: News, Software

There’s always something happening on the server end and Apple’s MobileMe service is no exception. Per CNET, Apple released a new bout of changes to the MobileMe services on Thursday. The changes cover everything from iApp improvements to using the MobileMe website and working from within OS X 10.6.4:

Improvements with iOS 4.0 (for iPhone and iPod touch):
The Mail app supports MobileMe Mail aliases when composing or replying to messages.

Find My iPhone app:
The new Find My iPhone app allows you to find your device from another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

iDisk app version 1.2:
Designed for both iPhone and iPad.
Option to open iDisk documents in compatible apps (such as open a PDF file in iBooks).

Gallery app version 1.1.1:
When viewing individual photos over a Wi-Fi network, higher resolution images are automatically downloaded on iPhone 4.

Improvements with Mac OS X v10.6.4:
Fixes an issue that may cause Address Book contacts to disappear when sharing is enabled.

MobileMe Control Panel 1.6:
Improves syncing of MobileMe Contacts with Microsoft Outlook. See this article for details.

Mail at me.com:
The new MobileMe Mail web application is available for all users.

Find My iPhone at me.com:
The Find My iPhone web application has a full-screen map view. Multiple devices are listed in a sidebar.

Calendar Beta at me.com:
The beta includes a new web application with support for calendar sharing and event invitations.

Me.com website:
Clicking the cloud icon brings up an application switcher.
Clicking your name allows you to access Help, Account, and sign out.

Opera web browser updated to 10.60

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Date: Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 04:11
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Opera Software released version 10.60 of its web browser. The new version, a 22.7 megabyte download, boasts the following fixes and changes:

- Our further-optimized JavaScript engine is over 50% faster than in Opera 10.50.

- Enhanced support for advanced Web standards such as HTML5 and WebM video is now included.

- Opera can prompt you to share your location, making geolocation-supporting websites more useful.

- Search suggestions for selected providers help you find results more easily.

Opera 10.60 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple releases Epson printer drivers 2.4, HP printer drivers 2.4.1 for Snow Leopard users

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Date: Thursday, July 1st, 2010, 03:00
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released updated sets of Snow Leopard drivers for Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers and scanners.

Per Macworld, the first is version 2.4 of the Epson drivers, which comes in a package listed on Appleā€™s download page at a whopping 737MB; Epson Printer Drivers 2.4 provides updated compatibility between Mac OS X 10.6 or later and dozens of scanners and printers made by Epson.

On the HP side, the update, dubbed version number 2.4.1, is listed at a significantly smaller 388MB for the full download.) HP Printer Drivers 2.4.1 requires OS X 10.6.1 or higher in order to function and provides support for both printers and scanners made by Hewlett-Packard.

Both updates can be installed through the Software Update built into Mac OS X, or obtained directly from Apple’s Website for Support Downloads.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.3.3

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:51
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.3.3. The new version, a 3.7 megabyte download, adds the following changes:

- Fixed a “divide by zero” error that would cause backup tasks involving very few files to fail at the end.

- Fixed a bug that would cause CCC and the scheduled task helper application to crash when certain filesystems were mounted.

- CCC now enables ownership on the target volume regardless of the ownership setting on the source volume. Previously, clones made of Macs in Target Disk Mode would have incorrect ownership information on system files if the target volume did not have ownership enabled.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would fail to run properly if the user logged out and then logged back in.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would log many errors if the user logged out while the scheduled task was in the middle of a backup.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would not run a “Backup everything” scheduled task that used the “Delete items from the target that do not exist on the source” option.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task that was configured to back up to a disk image would not run if it was set to run “When the target volume is reconnected”. These tasks now run properly when the underlying volume is reconnected to your Macintosh, whether it is a local volume or a mounted sharepoint.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report minor errors if a directory disappeared from the source volume in the middle of a backup task.

- Fixed an issue in which preferences from a very old version of CCC would cause errors while trying to select a source volume.

- Fixed a memory leak related to files with Access Control Entries.

- CCC no longer creates the target folder on a remote Macintosh. This enforces the behavior of aborting the backup task if the backup volume is not available, or is not mounted at the expected mountpoint on the remote Macintosh.

- The CCC.log file is now properly created when CCC is run under a non-admin user account.
Minor interface enhancements, specifically around the presentation and content of the “bootability” checks.

- Minor bug fixes around the creation of encrypted disk images.

- If you checked the box to display the scheduled task “task finished” panel only when errors occur, this panel will no longer re-present itself after the scheduled task is reloaded on startup. The setting will only be reset when changes are made to the scheduled task’s configuration in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- CCC now saves only modified scheduled tasks when clicking the Save button in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- Updated the list of items that CCC automatically ignores from a backup set. See the documentation for complete details about this list.

- Fixed an issue in which Intel systems would be permitted to run portions of CCC using Rosetta, leading to reduced performance and potentially crashing behavior.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3.3 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.6 update

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:54
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Over the weekend, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.6 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.7 megabyte download, sports the following major change:

- Firefox 3.6.6 modifies the crash protection feature to increase the amount of time that plugins are allowed to be non-responsive before being terminated.

Firefox 3.6.6 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. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

How-To: Work around Mail program errors in Mac OS X 10.6.4

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 03:50
Category: How-To, News, Software

snowleopard

Following the update to Mac OS X 10.6.4, a number of users are experiencing an error where Apple’s Mail email client will not open. Per CNET, when the application is launched, a message stating “Mail version 4.3 (1081/1078) cannot be used on Mac OS X Version 10.6.4″ is displayed and the program shuts down.

The version of Mail that is included with OS X 10.6.4 is 4.3 or build 1081, which can be found by right-clicking the Mail application, choosing “Show Package Contents”, opening the /Contents/version.plist file, and checking the version string. Apple purposefully prevents some builds of Applications from running on different versions of OS X, and this type of error will be presented if you try to do so.

One reason this may happen if the OS X update did not complete properly and the system detects the version of Mail as being the older one. The following are a few approaches you can try to fix the problem:

“Reapply the combo updater:
If this problem happens to you, the first thing to try is to reinstall the OS X 10.6.4 update using the “Combo” updater. Download the updater, boot into Safe Mode by restarting and holding the Shift key at bootup, and then run the installer. As an extra safeguard, you can run general maintenance routines beforehand to ensure permissions and caches are in order.

The OS X 10.6.4 Combo updater can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1048

Downgrade Mail and then reapply the combo updater:
Since the Combo updater may not have a full version of Mail included, and instead may only have updated components for Mail, you can try putting a previous version of Mail on the system and then running the combo updater to update it to the latest version. Older versions of Mail can be found in the following locations:

A Time Machine backup:
On the Snow Leopard installation DVD (use Pacifist to extract it)
From another computer running OS X 10.6.3 or earlier

Copy from another system:
Lastly, if you have access to another system that has a properly functioning version of Mail, you can copy the program from that computer to your OS X 10.6.4 installation. You can use a USB flash drive or copy the program over the network and replace the one on your system, but after doing so be sure to run a permissions fix on the boot drive.

Archive and Install:
As a last resort, if the update did not work you can either restore your whole system to a previous version by using Time Machine and then upgrading again with the “Combo” updater, or you can use the OS X 10.6 installation DVD to reinstall OS X. By default the installer will run an “Archive and Install” method, which will replace your system components and Apple-supplied applications with those that are on the DVD. From here, immediately update the system again using the “Combo” updater.”

If you’ve seen this issue on your end and have any fixes or workarounds of your own, let us know.

Nvidia releases Mac OS X 10.6.4-compatible driver for GTX-285 graphics card

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 04:04
Category: News, Software

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This is sort of interesting.

With the recent release of the Mac OS X 10.6.4 update, assorted users have complained of conflicts with some of Nvidia’s graphics cards. Responding to this, Nvidia has released a new suite of graphics drivers for the GTX-285 graphics card. The driver, a 20.87 megabyte download, is listed for OS X 10.6.4 only, and is specifically for the GTX-285 card that is available as a third-party purchase for Mac Pro systems.

Per CNET, the update specifically addresses OpenGL performance issues and improved compatibility with the latest OS X software updates. In addition, the update has support for applications that implement Nvidia’s CUDA technology, but you will need to download and install an additional driver for this functionality.

Keep in mind that this driver will replace the one provided by Apple, and while it should bring new and updated functionality to the GPU, there is a chance that you may experience some errors. If so, try booting into Safe Mode and using a maintenance application to clear the system’s boot caches, along with running other general maintenance routines.

If you’ve tried the updated driver and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

VLC 1.1.0 update released

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Date: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010, 03:36
Category: News, Software

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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 version 1.1.0. The new version, a 40.4 megabyte download, adds a massive list of fixes and changes detailed here.

VLC 1.1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple quietly installs specific anti-malware code into Mac OS X 10.6.4 update

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Date: Monday, June 21st, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

There’s something to be said for an operating system succeeding and gaining market share: people will make more of an effort to write viruses and malware for it.

Per CNET, Apple’s recent Mac OS X 10.6.4 update includes software to protect Macs from a Trojan horse that has been distributed by attackers disguised as iPhoto, but which opens a back door on the machine, security firm Sophos said on Friday.

When Apple released OS X 10.6.4 on Tuesday, the company said it addressed certain compatibility issues with VPN connections and other things, but failed to mention anything about adding an anti-malware update.
Buried in the code is an update to the XProtect.plist file, which contains signatures of malware written to target the Mac. The signatures now detect malware dubbed “HellRTS,” Graham Clulely of Sophos wrote in a blog post.

HellRTS, which Sophos detects as “OSX/Pinheard-B,” is a Trojan that has been around several months. It lets attackers use infected computers to send spam, take screenshots, access files, and pretty much take control of the computer, Sophos said.

“Unfortunately, many Mac users seem oblivious to security threats which can run on their computers. And that isn’t helped when Apple issues an anti-malware security update like this by stealth, rather than informing the public what it has done,” Clulely writes. “You have to wonder whether their keeping quiet about an anti-malware security update like this was for marketing reasons. “Shh! Don’t tell folks that we have to protect against malware on Mac OS X!”

Representatives from Apple have yet to return any requests for comment on the issue.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x users

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Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:05
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x (“Snow Leopard”). The update, a 218.6 megabyte download, adds a slew of security fixes and changes, as summarized here.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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