Dropbox updated to 2.0.21

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 24th, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

Never doubt a steadily-updated program.

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.0.21 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 29.3 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed:
- Fix Windows installer sometimes failing to install properly.

New:
- A new tray popup that combines the old tray menu features with a timeline of the most important sharing events in your Dropbox.

- Notifications menu is only enabled on OSX 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) and above, and on Windows XP and above.

Dropbox 2.0.21 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

HandBrake updated to 0.9.9

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 20th, 2013, 07:48
Category: News, Software

Handbrake, Eric Petit’s incredibly useful open-source DVD ripping/conversion utility, has been updated to version 0.9.9.

The new version, a 9.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

General:
- Improved HandBrake pineapple icon by Matt Johnson.

- Improved Retina-resolution icons within the application, by Nik Pawlak (http://nikpawlak.com).

Core:
- Blu-ray (PGS) subtitle support.

- Works with Foreign Audio Search.

- Can be Burned-In.

- Can be passed through to MKV (but not MP4).

- Additional video framerates (30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps).

- Double framerate (“bob”) mode for the deinterlace and decomb filters.

- Better audio remix support.

- Additional mixdowns: 6.1, 7.1, 7.1 (5F/2R/LFE).

- CLI users should note 6ch becomes 5point1.

- Better-than-Stereo sources can be upmixed to 5.1.

- Discard one channel from Stereo sources.

- Mono (Left Only), Mono (Right Only).

- Allow the selection of higher audio bitrates where appropriate.

- Allow the selection of lower audio samplerates where appropriate.

- 8, 11.025, 12, 16 kHz.

- Audio dithering (TPDF) when converting to 16-bit FLAC.

- Use libavcodec for DTS audio decoding (instead of libdca).

- DTS-ES 6.1 Discrete support.

- All graphical interfaces: support for x264′s preset, tune and profile options alternative to the Advanced panel (which is still available).

- HandBrake-specific option to ensure compliance with a specific H.264 level.

Updated built-in presets:
- Take advantage of x264 preset/tune/profile support.

- Removed increasingly suboptimal and irrelevant Legacy presets.

- Assorted bug fixes and improvements to the core library (libhb).

Updated libraries:
- x264 r2273-b3065e6.

- Libav v9.6.

- libbluray 0.2.3.

Windows:
- User Interface has been re-written in WPF.

- Includes many small UI enhancements.

- Switched to .NET 4 Client Profile (smaller download for those who don’t have .NET 4 fully installed).

Mac:
- Assorted bug fixes including better support for Retina displays.

- Prevent sleep during encoding and scanning for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

- Drag & Drop files onto the Main window or application icon to scan.

- Nicer progress indication on the dock icon.

- Preview window improvements and bugfixes.

- Updated Growl to 2.0.1.

- Notification Center support (when Growl is not installed).

Linux:
- Assorted bug fixes and improvements.

- Use some system libraries rather than bundling (fontconfig, freetype, libxml2, libass, libogg, libvorbis, libtheora and libsamplerate).

Command Line Interface:
- Audio option (-a) will ignore invalid input tracks and encode with only the valid ones.

- Allow use of hh:mm:ss format when specifying p-to-p start/stop time.

Advanced audio options:
- Enable level normalization when downmixing (disabled by default).

- Disable audio dithering or select a specific algorithm.

HandBrake 0.9.9 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple apparently unwilling to release Windows 8 version of iTunes

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Well, this is kind of a new one.

Per Mac|Life and CNN Money, Microsoft has apparently been pushing Apple for a Windows 8-native edition of iTunes, which currently only runs in traditional Desktop mode on the company’s Metro-style software — and not at all on the tablet-centric Windows RT.

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” laments Windows Division CFO Tami Reller. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

While Apple has grudgingly carried over iTunes, Safari, QuickTime and even iCloud to the Windows platform, the company has largely ignored Windows 8, which debuted six months ago and claims to have sold 10 million licenses during that time.

Thus far, the sole exception is a recent OS X Mountain Lion update which added Windows 8 compatibility to Boot Camp — but that’s for running Microsoft’s OS on Apple’s hardware, not for Apple software on Windows computers.

Windows RT owners are the ones suffering most from Apple’s neglect — they can’t install iTunes at all since it requires Intel hardware, which means a traditional desktop or laptop computer or more expensive Windows Pro tablet.

However, even that is a less than ideal experience, since iTunes doesn’t currently take advantage of the native Windows 8 experience, instead running as a window inside the classic Desktop view.

While the words “bargaining chip” come to mind, we’ll have to wait and see if an accord can be reached between Apple and Microsoft as to what to do with iTunes when it comes to the Windows 8 universe…

Dropbox updated to 2.0.10

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 05:10
Category: News, Software

An update’s an update.

On Thursday, Dropbox released version 2.0.10 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 29.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fix installation error on Windows.

- Fixed some issues in High DPI mode on Windows.

- Fixed icon overlays not updating on OS X 10.4 Tiger.

- Fixed inability to open Tray menu in Linux when disconnected.

- Fixed the tray popup positioning on Windows when an RTL language is used.

Dropbox 2.0.10 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

13-inch MacBook Pro determined as “best performing Windows laptop” according to PC services company Soluto

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 07:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News

13inchmbp

You’re gonna either love or hate this.

Per CNET, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro is the “best performing” Windows laptop.

The MacBook Pro won out over established PC makers like Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, according to Soluto, which was quick to explain its finding.

A main factor in this machine’s metrics is the fact that every Windows installation on it is clean. With PC manufacturers loading so much crapware on new laptops, this is a bit of an unfair competition. But, on the other hand, PC makers should look at this data and aspire to ship PCs that perform just as well as a cleanly installed MacBook Pro.

The report went on to admit that it might be more fair to compare a cleanly installed MacBook Pro with a cleanly-installed PC from Acer or Dell.

The company’s metrics included crashes per week, hangs per week, Blue Screens (of Death) per week, and average boot time.

Soluto did list the disadvantages of running Windows on a Mac, including that it’s more work to set up Windows on a Mac and there may be driver issues.

Acer’s Aspire E1-571 came in second and Dell’s XPS 13 received the third-highest ranking.

Apple begins incorporating “Download Later” for larger purchases in iTunes 11

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 07:37
Category: iTunes, News, Software

This could be useful.

Per Macworld, Apple added a welcome tweak to large media purchases initiated either via the mobile iTunes Store or iTunes 11. Users attempting to download large media files such as movies or music box sets are presented a prompt enabling them to commence the download immediately or save it for a time when they presumably have better bandwidth.

When purchasing any of the above items using iTunes 11 on a Mac or Windows PC, or an iOS device running iOS 6 or later, you’re now presented with “Later” and “Download” (or “Download All”) buttons. Tap “Later” and the purchased items will be added to your iTunes account and accessible to stream or download in the future via Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud feature.

The option to “download later” is exclusively applicable to TV seasons, Season Passes, movie bundles, music box sets, individual movies and TV episodes.

Apple outlines the specifics of the new software tweak in the following updated support document. Lastly, note that the prompt will only appear for users in countries where Apple provides iTunes in the Cloud support.

If you’ve seen this change on your end and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Microsoft planning boot-to-desktop mode for Windows 8.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, 07:33
Category: Rumor, Software

windows-8-logo-large2

If you’re using a Windows 8 partition, then there’s a fairly decent chance you want to strangle whoever created the Metro interface, as great as Microsoft seems to think it is.

Per The Verge, in an apparent attempt to have its latest operating system better appeal to business customers, Microsoft reportedly plans to add a “boot to desktop” mode to its Windows 8.1 update, allowing users to bypass the Metro Start Screen.

In current test builds of Windows 8.1, codenamed “Windows Blue”, the operating system includes an option to boot directly to the traditional Windows desktop, sources familiar with the company’s plans indicated to reporters. That’s a major change from the current version of Windows 8, which automatically boots to the new Start Screen which features the tiled “Metro” user interface.

Windows 8 currently boots to the new Start Screen, requiring an extra step to reach the desktop.

The new Start Screen has been criticized by PC users who feel the interface is not ideal with a traditional keyboard and mouse setup. Some believe the Metro user interface is better suited for touchscreen devices, like tablets and phones.

While Microsoft reportedly plans to make the desktop view a default option when booting a system, the company is said to be keeping the invisible “hot corners” it introduced with Windows 8. That function allows users to bring up the operating system’s “Charms” or the Metro Start Screen by touching or dragging their PC mouse to the corner of the screen.

Windows 8 launched last fall with a great deal of hype from the Redmond, Wash., company, which claimed the new operating system was a revolutionary upgrade from its predecessor, Windows 7. But Windows 8 got off to a soft start, and failed to turn around sales in the sagging PC hardware market.

Continuing woes in the PC market have been generally blamed on the popularity of Apple’s iPad, which reached a new, lower entry price of US$329 last fall with the debut of the iPad mini. In comparison, many new touchscreen Ultrabooks running Windows 8 cost over a thousand dollars.

The struggles seen by PC makers have led market watchers to predict that the industry could see a major shakeup in the coming years. Some believe that remaining companies could merge, leading to fewer options, while others see gross margins shrinking in an effort to cut prices and boost sales.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop updated to 8.0.18483

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 4th, 2013, 07:38
Category: iMac, News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

Late Thursday, Parallels released version 8.0.18483 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 320 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Better compatibility with new iMacs.

- Create Boot Camp virtual machines on new iMacs with 3 TB hard drives.

- Create virtual machines from the Boot Camp partition with Windows 8 installed.

- Support for Fedora 18.

- Fixed visual artifacts when changing screen resolution in a Windows 8 Pro virtual machine with more than 256 MB of video memory and nested virtualization enabled.

- Resolves an issue with the Command + click combination not opening links in new tabs in Windows browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.).

Parallels Desktop 8 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

Amazon releases Cloud Drive app for Mac

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, 06:18
Category: News, Software

desktopappiconv2.v373831710

Never doubt the power of competition in the cloud-based market space.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Amazon has introduced file syncing to its Cloud Drive app for OS X, which essentially makes Cloud Drive Amazon’s version of Dropbox.

Like Dropbox, the app allows files put into the Cloud Drive folder to be available on any Mac or Windows machine running Cloud Drive with your login details. The files are also available through any web browser.

Cloud Drive users receive 5 GB of storage space for free, which is equal to Google Drive’s initial offering but more than double Dropbox’s 2 GB of storage for new users.

The app is available as a free download and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Microsoft to begin automatically pushing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update starting today

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

windows7logo

If your Windows 7 partition seems to be updating itself after you’ve booted into it, there’s a reason why.

Per ZDNet, as Microsoft marches toward its early April 2013 end of free support deadline for Windows 7, the company is planning to update automatically some of those who still have yet to install the first (and seemingly only) Service Pack for the operating system.

As announced on March 18 via its “Blogging Windows” blog, Microsoft plans to begin rolling out Windows 7 SP1 automatically, via Windows Update to Windows 7 users who still are running the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version without SP1 installed. This process will begin on March 19.

From the blog post:

“Starting tomorrow, the installation will be fully automatic with no user action required for those who already have Automatic Update enabled. SP1 will be released gradually over the coming weeks to all customers on the RTM version of Windows 7. The service pack will take slightly longer to install compared to other updates. To ensure Service Pack 1 is installed without issue, customers should check for sufficient free disk space and that AC power is present on a laptop. If additional space needs to be created, we recommend using the Disk Cleanup tool to delete some files so that the service pack will install. If the service pack installation is interrupted, it will reattempt to install automatically after the next restart.”

This automatic update will be applied only to Windows 7 consumer PCs that are not managed via other Microsoft management tools like System Center Configuration Manager or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the post noted. Some admins have chosen to temporarily block their users from getting SP1 until they’ve tested it to their satisfaction. Those in that category won’t be getting SP1 pushed to them starting tomorrow.

Windows 7 RTM, with no service pack installed, will no longer be supported as of April 9, 2013, according to a February 14 post on the Microsoft Springboard Series blog. Support for specific Windows releases ends 24 months after the release of a new Service Pack, and Windows 7 SP1 was released in February 2011.

Windows 7 SP1 mainstream (free) support continues until January 13, 2015. Extended (paid) support for Windows 7 SP1 is available until January 14, 2020. (Microsoft continues to provide security updates for free during the Extended support phase of a product.)

Microsoft made available last week a Windows 7 hotfix rollup that includes 90 previously released hotfixes.

So, if you’ve been lax with the “Windows Update” feature on your Windows 7 partition, it might just do it for you.