VirtualBox updated to 4.2.16

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Date: Friday, July 5th, 2013, 07:36
Category: News, Software

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An update’s an update.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.16. The new version, a 110 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- OVF/OVA: don’t crash on import if no manifest is used (4.2.14 regression; bug #11895).

- GUI: do not restore the current snapshot if we power-off after a Guru Mediation.

- Storage: fixed a crash when hotplugging an empty DVD drive to the VM.

- Storage: fixed a crash when a guest read from a DVD drive attached to the SATA controller under certain circumstances.

- EFI: don’t fail with 64-bit guests on 32-bit hosts (bug #11456).

- Autostart: fixed VM startup on OS X.

- Windows hosts: native Windows 8 controls.

- Windows hosts: restore native style on Vista 32.

- Windows hosts / guests: Windows 8.1 adaptions (bug #11899).

- Mac OS X hosts: after removing VirtualBox with VirtualBox_Uninstall.tool, remove it from the pkgutil –pkgs list as well.

VirtualBox 4.2.16 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.

Microsoft demonstrates upcoming Windows 8.1 update at Build conference

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

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If you’re running Windows 8 on your Mac, this might be helpful.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Wednesday launched its latest effort to reverse the fortunes of its Windows platform, showing off a line of new devices and unveiling Windows 8.1, a new build designed to boost interest in the company’s underperforming Windows 8.

At its Build developer conference at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, Microsoft looked to woo developers and win over customers who have been reluctant to upgrade to its newest operating system. As the company confirmed in the past, Windows 8.1 will feature the return of the Start Menu, as well as the option to bypass the touch-centric Modern UI and boot directly to the desktop.

Aside from the return of the Start Menu and the boot-to-desktop option, Microsoft showed off a number of tweaks and additions to its operating system.

Microsoft also showed off increased Bing integration, saying that the search engine has consistently grown market share in the United States since its introduction. Bing powers the full search experience throughout Windows 8.1, with features built in to show not only links to content, but also different ways to interact with that content.

If you’ve tried the Windows 8.1 update is due out for general release later this year.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.14

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

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Never knock a steadily updated app.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.14. The new version, a 150 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: another TLB invalidation fix for non-present pages.

- VMM: fixed a performance regression (4.2.8 regression; bug #11674).

- GUI: fixed a crash on shutdown.

- GUI: prevent stuck keys under certain conditions on Windows hosts (bugs #2613, #6171).

- VRDP: fixed a rare crash on the guest screen resize.

- VRDP: allow to change VRDP parameters (including enabling/disabling the server) if the VM is paused.

- USB: fixed passing through devices on Mac OS X host to a VM with 2 or more virtual CPUs (bug #7462).

- USB: fixed hang during isochronous transfer with certain devices (4.1 regression; Windows hosts only; bug #11839).

- USB: properly handle orphaned URBs (bug #11207).

- BIOS: fixed function for returning the PCI interrupt routing table (fixes NetWare 6.x guests).

- BIOS: don’t use the ENTER / LEAVE instructions in the BIOS as these don’t work in the real mode as set up by certain guests (e.g. Plan 9 and QNX 4).

- DMI: allow to configure DmiChassisType (bug #11832).

- Storage: fixed lost writes if iSCSI is used with snapshots and asynchronous I/O (bug #11479).

- Storage: fixed accessing certain VHDX images created by Windows 8 (bug #11502).

- Storage: fixed hang when creating a snapshot using Parallels disk images (bug #9617).

- 3D: seamless + 3D fixes (bug #11723).

- 3D: version 4.2.12 was not able to read saved states of older versions under certain conditions (bug #11718).

- Main/Properties: don’t create a guest property for non-running VMs if the property does not exist and is about to be removed (bug #11765).

- Main/Properties: don’t forget to make new guest properties persistent after the VM was terminated (bug #11719).

- Main/Display: don’t lose seamless regions during screen resize.

- Main/OVF: don’t crash during import if the client forgot to call Appliance::interpret() (bug #10845).

- Main/OVF: don’t create invalid appliances by stripping the file name if the VM name is very long (bug #11814).

- Main/OVF: don’t fail if the appliance contains multiple file references (bug #10689).

- Main/Metrics: fixed Solaris file descriptor leak.

- Settings: limit depth of snapshot tree to 250 levels, as more will lead to decreased performance and may trigger crashes.

- VBoxManage: fixed setting the parent UUID on diff images using sethdparentuuid.

- Linux hosts: work around for not crashing as a result of automatic NUMA balancing which was introduced in Linux 3.8 (bug #11610).

- Windows installer: force the installation of the public certificate in background (i.e. completely prevent user interaction) if the –silent command line option is specified.

- Windows Additions: fixed problems with partial install in the unattended case
Windows Additions: fixed display glitch with the Start button in seamless mode for some themes.

- Windows Additions: Seamless mode and auto-resize fixes.

- Windows Additions: fixed trying to to retrieve new auto-logon credentials if current ones were not processed yet.

- Windows Additions installer: added the /with_wddm switch to select the experimental WDDM driver by default.

- Linux Additions: fixed setting own timed out and aborted texts in information label of the lightdm greeter.

- Linux Additions: fixed compilation against Linux 3.2.0 Ubuntu kernels (4.2.12 regression as a side effect of the Debian kernel build fix; bug #11709).

- X11 Additions: reduced the CPU load of VBoxClient in drag’and’drop mode.

- OS/2 Additions: made the mouse wheel work (bug #6793).

- Guest Additions: fixed problems copying and pasting between two guests on an X11 host (bug #11792).

VirtualBox 4.2.14 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.

Microsoft releases long-awaited Office Mobile 365 for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ve been hankering for a native version of Microsoft Office for iOS for some time now.

And it’s arrived.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

With Microsoft’s Office Mobile, users can view documents stored in Microsoft’s SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as read and edit Office docs sent as email attachments. Additionally, owners of Windows machines can remotely access documents that were recently viewed on a desktop client.

Another PC-only feature is “Resume Reading,” which allows Word documents opened from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro to automatically jump to where users left off on their Windows computer or tablet.

Microsoft says documents are optimized before being viewed on the iPhone, while support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes comes built-in. Also available is an in-app Slide Navigator in PowerPoint and a function to help with presentation practice.

The application offers the following features:
- Edit – You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

- Documents Remain Intact – Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.

- Edit While Offline – Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.

- Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.

- Comments – You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.

- Share – When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Office Mobile comes in at 58MB and is available from the App Store as a free companion app for existing Office 365 subscribers. The app requires an iOS device running iOS 6.1 or later to install and run. Microsoft Office 2013 for PC is required for recent document and resume reading.

If you’ve tried Office Mobile 365 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft demonstrates updated Start button for Windows 8.1, feature to arrive on June 26th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 7th, 2013, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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If you’re using Windows 8 on your Mac, there’s some changes coming down the pipe.

Per The Verge, Microsoft demonstrated a number of new features in Windows 8.1 earlier this week, but the company briefly showed the return of the Start button as well.

During Computex this week the company took the time to fully demo the Start button. In the following video you can see how Microsoft is adding options to show the All Apps view when the Start button is activated. The animation of the Start button switching between the desktop and Start Screen is clearly shown too with the new support for desktop wallpapers on the Start Screen. Microsoft will deliver a preview version of Windows 8.1 on June 26th:



Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.4 12E55 build to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013, 07:02
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.4 is coming…eventually.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple seeded OS X 10.8.4 build 12E55 to its developer community. Once again, the build contains no known issues and Apple asks developers to focus on Safari, Graphics, Wi-Fi, and Windows File Sharing.

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

Opera Next preview becomes available, company shows off leaner, Chromium-based browser

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013, 06:11
Category: News, Software

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Here’s your chance to snag the next-gen Opera browser a bit ahead of schedule.

Per iMore, Opera, is offering people a chance to download its latest desktop browser (version 15) for Windows and Mac, which typically happens ahead of a general release.

Dubbed “Opera Next” as per usual, this time the browser was “made from scratch” and given a revamp to offer users a sleeker and easier browsing experience, the company says in a statement.

Opera’s Speed Dial start page has been redesigned, as shortcuts to Web pages can be organized in folders and filtered, while the address bar now also serves as a starting point for search queries.

Perhaps more importantly, the desktop browser has been equipped with a new feature recently seen in Opera’s all-new Android browser: a curated content recommendation system called, simply, ‘Discover’.

This feature digs up content that’s supposed to be relevant for users based on their location and a number of pre-set categories such as food, technology and news.

Also new is the ‘Stash’ feature, which essentially lets people ‘pin’ items or entire websites for easy reference when shopping, doing homework or any other kind of research.

More than a fresh lick of paint and a handful of new (some overdue) features, Opera says the latest generation of its desktop browser has been “completely re-engineered under the hood”, with the most notable change being that it now runs on Chromium – as expected.

This gives users a standards-compliant and high-performance browser, Opera argues. The browser’s ‘Off-Road’ mode, previously called Opera Turbo, also now supports the open SPDY protocol and thus enables loading Web pages faster than ever.

The company has notably decoupled its internal e-mail client from the new desktop browser (“on popular demand”), and has pushed the ‘first release candidate’ of Opera Mail for Windows and Mac – snapshots can be found here at the bottom.

Opera’s browser has the smallest market share of the top five desktop browser, but the company has well over 300 million people using its range of mobile and desktop Web browser applications overall.

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

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…