All previous versions vulnerable, attacks on un-updated machines seen in wild
Adobe has again had to issue an update to the browser plug-in version of Flash due a critical flaw in the program that allows remote attackers to take over un-updated Macs or PCs, the latter running either Windows or Linux. The company urges users to update to the latest version, first issued on Friday, that patches the problem -- however, all previous versions should be considered at risk, and there are not yet any Chrome browser or standalone updaters available.
Mail Drop, Air Drop supported in latest update; many features improved
On Wednesday, Apple released a major update to its flagship digital audio workstation program, Logic Pro X. Not unlike the fictional band Spinal Tap, the main focus in the new version 10.1 is a significant change in Drummers, bringing 10 new options covering more styles, particularly for dance and electronic music. In addition to the extra styles, the sound quality has been upgraded, controls have been re-worked, and the Drum Machine Designer plug-in has been revamped.
Larger-capacity drives do well, 4TB Seagates a good value; 7200rpm drives problematic
In late 2013, cloud service provider Backblaze released information about hard drive failure rates used in their facilities collected over a three-year period. The study was one of the first real-world, comprehensive examinations on server-level claims of hard drive reliability, and drew a great deal of attention. An update with new information from between the end of the last study and December 31, 2014 was posted today.
Returns to weekly update cycle, increments build
Apparently now returning to a weekly update cycle following the holidays, Apple late on Wednesday issued a fifth developer beta of the next update for OS X, 10.10.2. The new build, 14C99d, comes exactly one week after the previous version, 14C94b. Focus areas in the new beta remain the same, asking developers to test Wi-Fi connectivity in particular and Mail, VoiceOver, and Bluetooth as well. Wi-Fi and Mail have been continued to be problem areas for some Yosemite users.
Skype updates its iPhone app, features improved dialer, new chat picker
Communication platform Skype has released an update for its iPhone app today, bringing the latest version to 5.9. Featuring user interface improvements, the app's revised dial pad now suggests contacts with matching numbers as a number is entered. The newly-added "chat picker" aims to make starting conversations easier; once a contact is chosen, users can tap the phone or video icon at the top to start a call.
Likely includes better compatibility with recent iOS 8, OS X 10.10 changes
On Thursday, Apple updated its productivity apps for OS X and iOS -- previous sold together under the banner "iWorks" -- with no specified improvements or features other than the usual "bug fixes and stability improvements tag." Keynote for OS X has been update to version 6.5.2, with Pages at v5.5.2, and Numbers at version 3.5.2. The three corresponding iOS apps are all updated to v2.5.2. The update may also reflect some changes made in recent updates of Yosemite and iOS 8, or hint at some security fixes.
Wi-Fi, VoiceOver, Mail, general system compatibility are focus areas
On Wednesday, Apple released a new build of the forthcoming 10.10.2 maintenance update to developers and testers. The new version, 14C94b, indicates few new binaries since the previous developer build (14C81f) issued nearly a month ago, and could hint that the patch update is nearing release. Testers are again asked to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, the latter two areas of which were added in the last developer build. Apple has also released the build for previously-signed up public beta testers.
Fully updated for latest OS X and iOS 8 point releases, update adds features
Apple has updated OS X server for Yosemite to version 4.0.3, adding a number of new features and minor improvements to the $20 add-on that provides enterprise-level tools to administer OS X and iOS devices running the latest respective OS releases. The update requires OS X 10.10.1 to run, and iOS 8 on remote iOS devices. The new version promotes SMB3 as the default protocol for sharing files, and updates Profile Manager to support the new features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, such as Handoff.
Overall carbon footprint down 27 percent over last eight years
On Monday, Apple updated its previously-released 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and its Environmental Initiatives website with new figures covering both fiscal 2013 and some revised figures from fiscal 2012. Due to a recalculation of energy use in 2012, the company now says it reduced carbon emissions for that year by three percent -- and that while energy use overall has increased 44 percent since fiscal 2011, the carbon footprint has been offset dramatically by the use of renewable resources.
Version 5.1 expected to be available by February, sources say
The latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, has been experiencing a bit of a rocky road since its release, with version 5.0.1 already having been pushed out to address some of the issues. Rumors are surfacing that Lollipop 5.1 will be released in early 2015 -- however, some users may not be able to update until July, if ever.
Thirty percent of tech preview testers are 'highly active,' says company
Back in October, Microsoft launched the "Windows 10 Insider program, "where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops." As of December 17, 1.5 million users have joined the program, Microsoft has announced. In the December update for the forthcoming OS version, Microsoft's Gabe Aul said roughly 30 percent of Insiders, or 450,000 users, are "highly active" in the program.
Foursquare launches revamped iPad app
Foursquare, a search and discovery app, has released an update to include iPad support. Its new iPad version aligns itself with the latest overall redesign, so that users can plan a trip by selecting a city, and then can receive a personalized list of places to visit. Top picks in in the user's area are now included, generated by using all of Foursquare's data to suggest locations that are newly popular, or local favorites. Free to download, Foursquare requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Can be run from Recovery Partition, offers partition table repair, more
A once-essential utility for Mac owners has returned after several years of only minor updates with a major new version that offers significant changes and improvements. DiskWarrior 5.0 by Alsoft is something of a one-trick pony, in that it primarily repairs and optimizes OS X directories -- but this can often be used to save data from failing hard drives, prevent failures in the first place, or rescue data from flash drives where directory corruption is a common problem, among other instances. The new 5.0 version supports Apple Fusion and CoreStorage homebrew "Fusion" drives, repairs partition table damage (especially vital for multi-system boot users) and much more.
Developers asked to focus on Wi-Fi speeds and related issues
On Thursday - exactly two weeks after the first OS X 10.10.2 beta - Apple updated developers with a second beta, build 14C78c. The primary focus from the previous beta, Wi-Fi stability and connectivity, continues to be the requested center of testing. Specifically, Apple is asking developers to test recent changes made to Wi-Fi interaction. While the first update, 10.10.1, fixed a number of issues users were having with Wi-Fi and Mail issues, some users continue to report problems with Wi-Fi stability.
Update adds new security provisions, larger Bluetooth Smart packets for transfers
This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that it adopted a new version of the Bluetooth core specification. The newest Bluetooth 4.2 update comes a year after 4.1 was adopted, which laid the groundwork for better Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, less LTE interference, improved data transfers and device reconnection. However, Bluetooth 4.2 adds more user-friendly features, such as increased speed, privacy and Internet connectivity.
Bugfix updates add Firefox import, improves WebGL on Retina displays
On Wednesday, Apple released minor updates to Safari for the current and two most recent OS X versions. Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.5) users will see an update to Safari v6.2.1, Mavericks (10.9.x) users will see Safari 7.1.1 available for update, and Yosemite users (10.10) will get Safari 8.0.1. The releases share a variety of bug and security fixes, and add the ability to import usernames and passwords from Firefox.
Photo shows continuing progress, structures taking shape; schedule unchanged
A new photo of the construction site of Apple Campus 2 has been posted to the City of Cupertino's official website for the project. Multiple structures can now be seen taking shape -- mostly support buildings, while infrastructure and progress on the "moat"-like tunnel system around or under the main building continues. There has been no update to the overall schedule for the project of late, suggesting that things are moving along on the revised schedule that will see the main building ready for use sometime late in 2016.
New tactic addresses complaints of silent disabling of outdated versions
Apple is trying a different tack in the struggle to keep Macs secure by encouraging users to either disable the Flash browser plug-in outright, or to keep up-to-date with the latest version, which routinely fixes serious security issues found in the multi-platform media player. The latest maneuver by the iPhone maker, which debuted today, is a direct pop-up prompt to update to the latest version when users visit a page that requires Flash Player. The dialogue box takes users directly to Adobe's own page for updating Flash.
First beta comes with known problem, but no focus areas for testing
Just days after issuing the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update that has reportedly fixed a raft of Wi-Fi and Mail issues (but not all of them), the company has seeded the first beta of 10.10.2 for developer. The new build, 14C68k, is now available through the Yosemite Software Update mechanism or Apple's developer portal. The release notes for the beta curiously do not mention any focus areas, but do warn testers of a known flaw in opening documents from iCloud Drive.
Briefly: AnyAngle iPad case, Red Giant Universe 1.3
Logitech has announced the introduction of a new protective case in its suite of tablet products, the Logitech AnyAngle for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini. Featuring an integrated, hidden hinge, the case holds an iPad at any angle within a 50-degree range, keeping that angle in place without tipping or sliding. The stand folds behind the iPad as to create a minimalist appearance, and magnets also secure the stand and assist in holding an angled position. The has a rubberized frame that protects the tablet from accidental bumps and drops, and its hidden magnets keep the case securely closed as to prevent scratches and cracks. Available in a variety of colors, the AnyAngle case will be available this month for $60.
Camera RAW, Thunderbolt Display firmware, Safari, Epson printers
On Thursday, Apple issued a number of new builds of Safari for the last three versions of OS X, a new firmware update for the current Thunderbolt Display, an update to Camera RAW, and updates for printer drivers for Epson printers. The Thunderbolt Display firmware update covers a "rare" issue that can cause some displays to go dark, according to the company. The update, to version 1.2, also brings "improved reliability when connecting external displays to the display."
Milestone comes far slower than it did for iOS 7 due to early-release glitches
As of October 27, iOS 8 was installed on 52 percent of eligible devices, Apple has announced in a posting on its developer website. While far slower than the take-up rate of iOS 7 last year, the milestone was achieved in a little less than six weeks' time -- still far faster than comparative figures for other mobile and desktop platforms. Early delivery and quality glitches in iOS 8 -- most notoriously the short-lived 8.0.1 bugfix release -- may have made the public more gun-shy about trusting later updates.
Programs gain new look, tap into Yosemite features such as iCloud Drive, Mail Drop
In addition to updating its iWork apps for OS X to better support the formal release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (and give the programs the signature design language of the new OS update), Apple has also updated iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand with similar changes in the user interface and back-end improvements to take advantage of Yosemite features such as Mail Drop and iCloud Drive storage. In addition, the company issued what is likely to be the last update to Aperture, making it Yosemite-compatible, and also updated iBooks Author to version 2.2.
Second GM candidate doesn't list changes, final version likely coming soon
On the heels of its update of the latest iOS 8.1 beta for developers, Apple has also seeded second GM candidates for OS X 10.10 Yosemite and Xcode 6.1 to registered developers for testing, also issued as "Beta 5" for public testers of Yosemite. The build on the new Yosemite candidate is updated, from 14A378a to 14a386a, but otherwise changes and fixes aren't noted. As the new version was released exactly a week after the last GM candidate, this appears to have been a scheduled second GM build rather than a fix for issues discovered in the first candidate.
Further tweaks on design in preparation for likely October release
On Thursday, Apple released an updated version of the beta for iTunes 12, intended for developers and OS X 10.10 Yosemite Public Beta testers. The update follows on the heels of Monday's Golden Master candidate for Yosemite. The iTunes update makes very minor changes to version 12, including some refinement on vertical alignment in the top bar, a handful of revised icons and other minor tweaks. The forthcoming final release will include support for Family Sharing, and an overall new look.
Extensis announces availability of its new modular digital asset management system software
Extensis is launching a new digital asset management (DAM) system tomorrow, Extensis Portfolio. Aiming to provide a more affordable system for companies of all sizes, Extensis Portfolio allows users to holds millions of assets in one catalog or several, and can be used by multiple departments. Companies can choose what they will use with Portfolio's modular platform, with options for mobile DAM, single sign-on, web portals and more. The system's new "Restful" API provides simple integration with other third-party applications, such as eCommerce Systems, collection managements systems, and web content management systems.
Updates bash for OS X Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks
Although nearly all Mac users are unaffected by the issue Apple has made good on its word to quickly fix a serious security flaw in bash, a Unix shell that comes as part of OS X. Apple acknowledged the problem on Friday, and today released OS X bash update 1.0 for OS X Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9). The flaw, known as "Shellshock," could potentially allow users who have set up advanced Unix services that interact with the web to be vulnerable to remote intrusion.
Plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom now offers revamped UI, 2x speed increase
Image correction software specialists Athentech have updated their flagship product to a new major version. Perfectly Clear, a pair of plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom, has been updated to version 2.0. The new version offers major speed improvements and is now twice as fast as previously, and now includes an extensive "Beautify" module. The upgrade also features better noise removal, full resolution zoom, a new split view, and a lower price.
Update brings FireOS version 3.5.1, improves battery and ability to create folders
Amazon announced that it is pushing out the first major update for the company's new smartphone, the Fire Phone. The update will be delivered over-the-air for early adopters on AT&T, bringing with it a number of improvements and changes that are said to give the phone better battery life, video sharing and make navigation easier. The update pushes FireOS to version 3.5.1.
Microsoft-provided fix involves registry modification, manual deletion
Plagued by crashes, Microsoft has retracted its Windows patches from August 12. Users that have installed patches 2982791, 2970228, 2975719 and 2975331 are at risk of system instability, or a "0x50 Stop" error on startup, which prevents the system from booting. A fix requires either a clean OS install, or registry modification to purge the afflicted updates.
Activity feed changes, outside purchases biggest updates, notification options added
On top of a handful of new features and changes that were previously announced as coming this month, Microsoft is bringing some additional user-requested tweaks to the Xbox One in the August update. While the activity feed is seeing the biggest number of changes, Xbox One owners will now be able to purchase, download and install games and apps from outside of the console.
Adds support for newer cameras to Aperture 3, iPhoto '11
On Thursday, Apple updated its Digital Camera RAW Compatibility plug-in for its two leading Mac photo programs, Aperture 3.x and iPhoto '11, to add support for a number of recently-introduced digital cameras. The update includes support for two Nikon models, two Olympus models, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, several Sony Alpha releases and a single Sony Cyber-shot camera, the DSC-RX100 III. The update allows RAW files from these cameras to be directly imported by Aperture and iPhoto.
Macphun updates UI, image processing engine, adds effects
Image software maker Macphun has updated its FX Photo Studio for iPhone to version 6.0, revising its effects categories, improving the image-processing engine and updating the look of the app to a more modern UI design. The app, which has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times since the beginning of 2014, allows users to stack effects as well as adjust portions of the image using a Mask tool. It carries a complete selection of over 200 effects and filters -- combinations of which can be saved as presets -- alongside standard camera app editing tools. To celebrate, the app will be on sale until Monday for just $1, one-third of its normal $3 price.
Forthcoming iOS 8 upgrade with Touch ID support will be free for current owners
According to a new announcement from AgileBits, makers of the iOS and Mac password management app 1Password, the forthcoming version for iOS 8 will be a free update to existing users. In conjunction with that, and a new report that Russian hackers may -- or may not -- have collected over a billion unique email account credentials, the company has opted to put its iOS version on sale for $10, a cut of $15 from its normal $25 price. The iOS 8 update for 1Password, expected this fall, will add extensions and Touch ID support to the password manager.
Essentially requires all apps be recompiled for Mavericks to avoid Gatekeeper trap
A upcoming change in the way the OS X security feature Gatekeeper works is essentially going to force developers to re-build and re-"sign" their applications and submit updates to Apple for programs that need to run in Mavericks or Yosemite. The upcoming change for security purposes only affects those running the forthcoming 10.9.5 or later, but cause cause apps that aren't updated to "break" (not launch) except through bypassing Gatekeeper, which most users will be loathe to do. The change will not force users to update their OS versions.
First incremental update for OS X 10.10 includes Public Beta users
On Thursday, Apple updated its supported drivers for Epson printers and scanners for all OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9) users, and also added an update intended only for those testing the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta (either developers or members of the Beta Seed Program). The latter is just a small incremental update to the Feedback Assistant used to send Apple data on issues with the beta, and is available to all Yosemite testers.
Previous update caused system crashes, unstable or unbootable machines
Apple released a new update for MacBook Air EFI firmware today, updating to version 2.9.1 for "Mid-2011" models of the notebook. The company states that the update fixes a few issues for owners facing problems with waking from sleep and fans running at full speed in a specific instance. The update replaces a previous version that caused a number of additional problems for owners.
Now offers Tune Your Taste, verified accounts, song history, more
As the process of Beats Music's acquisition by Apple continues, the iOS app for the subscription-based Beats Music service has received an update to both make playback better and more reliable as well as to improve the overall user experience. The new version 2.2.0 gives users the ability to customize the services's "Just For You" recommendations by changing artists and genres with a new feature called Tune Your Taste. In addition to some other changes, Beats reports that it has "fixed a ton of bugs."
Can sometimes fail to install, leaving computer unusable
A firmware update, issued on Monday for "Mid-2011" MacBook Air models running OS X 10.9.2 and later, apparently has a bug in either the code or the downloaded file, which is causing reports of system crashes and occasionally a failure to install properly, leaving MBA owners unable to boot the machine. The purpose of the firmware update was to correct two "wake from sleep" issues that affected only "mid-2011" MBAs running 10.9.2 or later. Some users have found that an SMC reset can restore the units to functional status.
Fixes an issue that caused fans to ramp up, also cures wake-from-sleep issues
On Monday, Apple posted an EFI update specifically aimed at the mid-2011 model MacBook Airs that are running OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks) or later. The update addresses two wake-from-sleep issues: one in which the computer would take longer than expected to wake from sleep, and the other (more rare) issue of cooling fans ramping up to full speed on waking from sleep. Owners must meet both conditions (mid-2011 MBA, and running Mavericks 10.9.2 or later) for the update to apply.
Updates allow entire direct message history to be seen across apps, consistently deleted
Last week, Twitter announced that it is going to issue an update on how direct messages are handled on the micro-blogging service. The update makes deleting direct messages consistent across all platforms, allowing users a single action for removal, rather than deleting across every interface version. Another update is coming that changes how direct messages are handled across the numerous platforms, to give users access to their complete messaging history.
New versions for Photoshop CS 6 and CC add new camera support, bug fixes
Adobe has made available release candidate versions of its upcoming Camera Raw 8.6 plug-in and DNG Converter, also at version 8.6, for final testing by users before an official release. As is now official policy with Adobe, users running Photoshop CS6 are limited to only receiving any new camera support and bug fixes; only Photoshop CC subscribers will receive any new feature updates. The release candidates a number of all three additions in the latest version.
AirBnB revamps look of app for iOS 7, adds 'Discover' feature
Short-term housing and accommodations app Airbnb (free) has been redecorating its entire public-facing image, from redesigning its website and sporting a new logo to bringing the flatter and larger design language of iOS 7 to its latest update. The new version of the app offers larger images and fonts, but retains the main features that both hosts and would-be renters use to connect. A new "Discover" feature lets users find places to stay through less conventional means, such as by theme, as well as the traditional methods of where and when.
Apple on Thursday seeded new betas of Safari for OS X Mavericks (10.9.x) and OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x), number as versions 7.1 and 6.2 respectively, that feature a new build of WebKit with a number of improved and new features. The betas, once released to the public, will help bring the Safari used with those versions closer to the expected updated Safari that will ship with OS X 10.10 Yosemite in the fall. Among the improvements are Web-GL powered 3D rendering, support for IndexedDB for web applications and more.
Flaw allows attackers to steal authenticating cookies, hasn't been seen in wild yet
Adobe has issued an emergency patch of its Flash Player technology to correct a security flaw that could allow hackers false access to thousands of popular websites -- notably Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and eBay among many others. The patch, which will update Flash to version 18.104.22.168, is considered "critical" for users of OS X, Windows and Linux operating systems. Even if users have Flash Player disabled in their browser, they may still need to update if they are using any products that require Adobe AIR.
Mavericks Applescript Problem
This week, MacNN Forum members assist others with troubleshooting Applescript problems, updating Flash issues with Safari, and more. One Fresh-Faced Recruit has been having problems with an Applescript after upgrading to Mavericks from Mountain Lion, and he hopes that others might be able to assist in figuring out why. Today, "jeff k" was asking fellow forum-goers if they could figure out why Safari would keep asking him to do a Flash update after he has already updated Flash.
New version 3.8 adds ability to connect friends during road trips, more
Navigation and traffic app Waze (free) has updated to version 3.8 for both Android and iOS today, including a redesigned main menu and more integration between the app and a users' contacts. With permission, the app can sync "Waze friends" with one's contact list, which can be useful if a group of people in separate vehicles are heading to the same destination.
Skype re-released on iTunes for iPhone, features new design
Microsoft has re-released Skype for iOS, featuring a clean redesign, new gestures and more. As previously reported, v5.0 of Skype includes a new modern hub-centric design that prioritizes recent conversations; users can swipe to see their favorite people or contacts. Messaging is more reliable, and users can create groups, share photos to offline contacts, and exchange video messages. In-app notifications for quick conversation switching is also available, and controls can manage the frequency of what one is notified about. Skype can be downloaded through iTunes for devices running iOS 7.0 or later.
Photo service adds sharing to social networks, admin invites, editing tags, more
Cloud photo-sharing and storage service Flickr has updated its iOS app (free) to version 3.1, which brings the ability to share whole albums of photos to social networks, email, or chat systems like SMS or iMessage. The update also brings the ability to add or edit a photo's tags and descriptions, and offers some additional enhancements to group support, alongside the usual performance enhancements and bug fixes.
Currently the only Mac model other than the Mac Pro not to ship within 24 hours
On Apple's retail website, all configurations of the iMac have now slipped from shipping within 24 hours to nearly a week or more -- hinting that a refresh may be imminent. Rumors have begun to circulate that new iMacs may appear at lower price points than the current generation, just ahead of next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. While a refreshed iMac is unlikely to be formally announced on stage, the event often heralds new and updated releases.