Apple releases 11th OS X 10.8.3 build to developer community, pins down file bug

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Date: Thursday, February 7th, 2013, 08:58
Category: News, security, Software

The betas, they just keep rolling in…

Per The Mac Observer, Apple continued to extensively test the next maintenance update to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion with the release of the tenth prerelease build of 10.8.3 to developers Wednesday. The build, 12D65, arrives one week after the previous build, 12D61.

The latest build of 10.8.3 lists no known issues and asks developers to focus on AirPlay, Airport, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

Notably, the build fixes a file bug revealed over the weekend that caused nearly every Mountain Lion app to crash by entering a specific set of characters. It was eventually determined that the bug was due to a Cocoa programming error in Mountain Lion’s data detectors. That Apple has now fixed the bug in the latest prerelease of 10.8.3 is a good sign, as it was potentially a serious security vulnerability.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was first released on July 25, 2012. The 10.8.1 update arrived on August 23, 2012 and 10.8.2 on September 19, 2012. Prerelease builds of 10.8.3 have been seeded by Apple since November.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the latest beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple quietly disables Oracle’s Java 7 Update 11 fix via XProtect anti-malware feature in OS X

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Date: Thursday, January 31st, 2013, 08:19
Category: News, security, Software

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When it comes to Java, there’s always an argument to be had between Apple and Oracle.

Per MacGeneration, the recently released Java 7 Update 11 has been blocked by Apple through its XProtect anti-malware feature in OS X.

Oracle issued the latest update to Java earlier this month to fix a serious zero-day security flaw. The threat was so serious that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had recommended that all Java 7 users disable or uninstall the software until a patch was issued.

Apple took action on its own and quietly disabled the plugin through its OS X anti-malware system. As noted by the article, Apple has again updated its OS X XProtect list, this time to block Java 7 Update 11.

Because Oracle has yet to issue a newer version of Java that addresses any outstanding issues, Mac users are prevented from running Java on their system.

Over the last few years, Apple has moved to gradually remove Java from OS X. The company dropped the Java runtime from the default installation for OS X 10.7 Lion when the operating system update launched in 2010. Java vulnerabilities have been a common exploit used by malicious hackers looking to exploit the OS X platform.

Most notably, the “Flashback” trojan that spread last year was said to have infected as many as 600,000 Macs worldwide at its peak. Apple addressed the issue by releasing a removal tool specifically tailored for the malware, and also disabled the Java runtime in its Safari web browser starting with version 5.1.7.

Microsoft announces Office 365 Home Premium for Macs, PCs and Windows tablets, points to February 27th release date

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Date: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, 08:05
Category: News, Software

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If you were wondering when Office 2013 would find its way to the Mac, it’s on its way come February 27th.

And in a subscription model.

Per CNET, after existing in preview form since last summer, Office 2013, the next version of Microsoft’s productivity software, is now available for download.

The company has begun offering users Office Home and Student 2013 with all the familiar apps like Word and Excel for a one-time fee of US$139. Since this stand-alone package won’t entitle you to any subsequent upgrades, Microsoft is also offering a more complete subscription model for US$99 per year that delivers the various updates over the coming months and years.

The package offers the following:
- The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.

- One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and Office on Demand available from any Internet-connected PC.

- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account.

- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world.

- Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology.

Microsoft also announced today the cloud-connected Microsoft Office Home and Business, though you won’t be able to snatch it up until February 27. You can get it for a one-time fee of US$219 or as a subscription for US$150 per year.

And along with the new software, Microsoft’s Office.com Web site has received a refresh in both look and functionality. The Web site lets you manage your account, set up and check the status of your subscription, and download the Office software to your computer.

Office 365 Home Premium for the Mac requires the following specs to install and run:
-1 GHz or faster x86 or 64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set (PC); Intel processor (Mac).

-1 GB RAM (32-bit or Mac) /2 GB RAM (64-bit).

-3.0 GB of available disk space (PC); 2.5 GB HFS+ hard disk format (Mac).

-1024×576 or higher resolution monitor.

- Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2008 R2 with .NET 3.5 or later (PC); Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later (Mac).

- Graphics hardware acceleration requires DirectX10 graphics card with 1024 x 576 resolution.

- Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10; Mozilla Firefox 10.x or later; Apple Safari 5; or Google Chrome 17.x.

A full 30 day trial can be found and downloaded from here.

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

Apple releases eighth OS X 10.8.3 beta to developer community

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Date: Friday, January 25th, 2013, 07:46
Category: News, Software

At this stage, the release has to be somewhat close…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday issued the eighth beta of OS X 10.8.3, the forthcoming maintenance update for Mountain Lion, with minor changes made to Wi-Fi assets

The latest pre-release build, designated as “12D58,” was seeded to developers just over a week after Apple sent out the previous beta of OS X Mountain Lion. Any changes that may have been made to the software from its previous release are unknown.

As with earlier releases, the latest 12D58 build asks developers to focus their energies toward testing AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

Since December, developers have been able to receive update notifications through Software Update and download beta builds directly from the Mac App Store by using the new “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Opera demos “Ice” web browser for iOS, Android devices

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Date: Monday, January 21st, 2013, 08:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, Software

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It never hurts to have a wider array of web browser choices for your iOS device.

Per Pocket Lint and AppleInsider, Opera Software on Friday unveiled its latest project, a WebKit-based mobile browser called “Opera Ice” that is specifically designed for screen formats seen on popular smartphones and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad.

In an internal video released on Friday, Opera gave a brief look at a beta of the new app, which features an icon-based interface much like the optional homescreens seen on desktop versions of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome browsers.



According to the developers, the app was designed to hide the usual clutter seen with modern web browsers, including the ubiquitous URL bar, that takes up limited screen real estate on mobile devices. The so-called “full touch browser” does away with buttons and menus to create a spartan user interface driven by screen taps and gestures.

Instead of the Presto rendering engine that Opera has used for years, Ice is based on WebKit, the same engine used by both Apple and Google. The move is meant to keep Opera in the fast-changing mobile market.

“We need to focus on getting strong products out on iOS and Android,” said Opera CEO Lars Boilesen.

As for the company’s current mobile solution, Opera mini, Boilesen said that it won’t be replaced by Ice. Instead, the platform will be leveraged to generate users that will eventually be migrated over to new mobile apps. Opera Ice is expected to debut sometime in February, while a new unannounced desktop browser is slated for a March release.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases seventh OS X 10.8.3 beta to developer community

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Date: Thursday, January 17th, 2013, 08:32
Category: News, Software

The betas, they just keep on comin’

Per AppleInsider, a seventh beta of OS X 10.8.3, Apple’s forthcoming maintenance and security update for the Mountain Lion operating system, was supplied to developers on Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the latest pre-release software said it is identified as build “12D54.” Any changes that may have been made to the software from its previous release are unknown.

Its release comes just over a week after Apple provided the last beta of Mountain Lion. That test software contained only minor changes from the previous build.

In earlier builds, developers have been asked to focus their testing on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

Apple’s latest betas have touted a new “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility” that retrieves new seeds through Software Update. When new builds are provided, Apple sends out notifications to install the update via the Mac App Store.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Skype updated to 6.1.59.2295

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Date: Friday, January 11th, 2013, 08:19
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, version 6.1.59.2295 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 38.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Click to Call: Allows Skype users to dial numbers from Safari on Mac.

- Improved user profile view.

Skype 6.1.59.2295 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running 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 in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 build 12D50, adds minor changes for developers to look into

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Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 08:12
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.3 is coming, just give it a little while longer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday seeded build 12D50 of OS X 10.8.3 pre-release to developers with no known issues.

The new build comes a little over two weeks after Apple seeded the previous 12D44 build, which itself arrived with no known issues and minor under the hood changes to the upcoming version of Apple’s operating system.

Sources familiar with the release stated that Tuesday’s build notes are identical to the previous two seeds that came out in December, with developer focus areas including AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

Build 12D50 continues to tout the new “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility” tool that allows developers to retrieve new seeds through Software Update. When new builds are made available, Apple sends out notifications to install the update via the Mac App Store. The usual e-mail notices will continue to be sent out if developers choose not to use the Software Update tool.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 6 security bug in wild, reenables JavaScript under Safari without input from user

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, security, Software

This is the reason bug fixes were invented.

Per AppleInsider the Safari web browser in Apple’s iOS 6 platform has a potentially serious JavaScript bug that could have major security and privacy implications.

The new “Smart App Banner” feature in iOS 6 is designed to allow developers the ability to promote App Store software within Safari. The Smart App Banner detects whether a user has a specific application installed, and invites them to view the software on the App Store or open it on their iOS device.

But for users who choose to turn off JavaScript in the Safari Web browser, the appearance of a Smart App Banner on a website will automatically and permanently turn JavaScript back on without notifying the user.

iOS device owners can test this issue by opening the Settings application and choosing Safari, then turning off JavaScript. Then simply launch the Safari browser and visit a website with a Smart App Banner.

Users can then go back into the Settings application to verify that the JavaScript setting switch has been flipped back to the “on” position without warning. Accordingly, JavaScript features on websites will begin working again.

The issue has reportedly existed since the release of iOS 6 months ago, though it has not been widely reported. In addition, people familiar with the latest beta of iOS 6.1 said the problem also remains in Apple’s pre-release test software on the iPhone.

Peter Eckersley, technology products director with digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he would characterize such an issue as a “serious privacy and security vulnerability.”

Neither Eckersley nor the EFF had heard of the bug in iOS 6, nor had they independently tested to confirm that they were able to replicate the issue. But Eckersley said that if the problem is in fact real, it’s something that Apple should work to address as quickly as possible.

“It is a security issue, it is a privacy issue, and it is a trust issue,” Eckersley said. “Can you trust the UI to do what you told it to do? It’s certainly a bug that needs to be fixed urgently.”

But Lysa Myers, a virus hunter at security firm Intego, said she doesn’t see the bug as a major concern for the vast majority of iOS device owners.

“While this issue is certainly not an ideal situation, by itself it actually isn’t that large a problem,” said Myers. “At the moment it doesn’t pose a threat, but we’ll continue to monitor it to make sure it doesn’t become more exploitable. There’s also the fact that few people actually disable JavaScript completely as it can partially, or totally, disable the majority of websites.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developer community

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Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 07:50
Category: News, Software

The OS X 10.8.3 seeds are coming a bit more quickly these days.

Which is never a bad sign.

Late Thursday, Apple seeded OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developers, with the new version coming just two days after the previous 12D43 build was released according to AppleInsider.

It is not clear what changes have been made with the new OS X 10.8.3 beta as sources familiar with the previous build say developers are being asked to focus on the same areas. In fact, the release notes are identical to those released alongside build 12D43 on Tuesday.

Thursday’s notes also come with the same step-by-step instructions for installing and activating the “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility,” which allows developers to download new seeds directly through Software Update in the Mac App Store. The new feature was first introduced in build 12D38 released at the start of December.

As with the previous beta seed, build 12D44 comes with no known issues and requests developers focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the build and can offer any feedback, please let us know in the comments.