Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Twitterific 4.0 for Mac is Now Here

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Yesterday, the Iconfactory released a significant upgrade to its super popular Twitter client, Twitterific.

According to the press release from the Iconfactory, some of the new features of Twitterific 4.0 include:

  • True multi-account/multi-window support
  • View mentions, messages and favorites quickly and easily
  • View Twitter trends, searches and lists
  • Browse conversation threads between users
  • Fully customizable toolbar
  • Translate tweets to your native language

The ad-free version is $9.99 at the Mac App Store. If you already own Twitterific 3, you can upgrade at a discounted rate. There’s also the free (but not ad-free) trial version available.

Adobe Flash Player 10.2 is Now Available

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Adobe launched Flash Player 10.2 yesterday for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Included in the release is Stage Video, which Adobe describes as “a full hardware accelerated video pipeline for best-in-class, beautiful video across platforms and browsers.”

According to the release notes, YouTube, Vimeo, Brightcove and Epix have been working on enabling support for Stage Video, but apparently are not quite there yet.

Additional new capabilities as reported from Adobe’s site:

  • Video at its best is immersive, so Flash Player allows you jump to true full screen playback with one click. With multiple display full screen support in Flash Player 10.2, you can now easily watch your favorite videos  in true full screen on one display while you multitask on another and get some work done (or not).
  • Added support for custom native mouse cursors lets designers and developers create their own static or animated cursors with silky smooth responsiveness, enabling richer game and application interfaces.
  • New sub-pixel text rendering enhancements leverage Adobe typography research to further enhance text readability, especially for complex character-based languages.
  • Support is included for the GPU rendering technology in Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser.

Adobe Flash Player 10.2 is available for download here.

Snow Leopard Update 10.6.6 and the new Mac App Store

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Mac OS X 10.6.6 was released today. Although the support notes mention “general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac,” 10.6.6 really appears to be centered around the new Mac App Store, which is included in the upgrade.

The Mac App Store is not only convenient, but it also makes updating incredibly easy. Instead of going into each individual app and checking for updates, you can click on the Updates tab of the App Store to see which apps have updates available for download. Just like on iOS or in Apple’s Mac Software Update, you can pick and choose updates to install, or just hit the “Update All” button. However, The Mac App Store does not seem to recognize older versions of Apple apps for upgrading, nor does it recognize third-party software that has been installed on your machine.  Again, The Mac App Store only works with Snow Leopard.

The two notable improvements in 10.6.6 are:

  • Addresses a cropping issue with some postscript printing in landscape page orientation.
  • Resolves an issue with some Macs (that have in ATI graphics card) in which the mouse pointer movement could become erratic if an external DVI display is connected.

As always, be sure to back up your machine before updating!

Our Favorite iPhone and iPad Apps of 2010

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

People often ask me what apps they should have on their iPhone and/or iPad. Well, every user has different likes and dislikes, priorities and work flows, so the most useful apps for some are not going to be at all useful for others. I polled all the techs here at NeedMacHelp and came up with a list of our favorite iPhone and iPad apps from 2010:

iPhone

  • Hipstamatic – The best photo app ever. When my Holga finally bit the dust (I have no time for d&c or printing these days anyway) I went searching for an iPhoto app that would simulate the look of the images I used to get with my Holga. Hipstamatic has great effects and creates instantly beautiful images all for a mere $1.99
  • Evernote – A good app that allows you to create notes, take photos, and record voice memos that you can then access any time from your iPhone, iPad, machine, or the web. And it’s free! Our tech James has one complaint – that there is no rich text functionality (he wants his formatted bullet points!).
  • Dropbox – Great.  Simple.  Useful.  Free.  Access your files anywhere and everywhere and more… We all use Dropbox. It rocks.
  • iTrans NYC – Because we all use public transportation! Apps for MTA, NJ Transit and PATH schedules and route planning. Includes service advisories and walking directions. Even works when you’re underground.
  • Charadium – Old fashioned charade game that has been updated for the iPhone. Great for all ages. There’s a free version that you can download to try it out.

iPad

  • iTeleport – Absolutely cannot do without this awesome remote desktop app. You can run all your Mac and Windows applications from your iPad, access your files, and browse the full web (including Flash sites). Pricey but worth it.
  • Beejive IM – Makes mobile instant messaging so much easier!
  • Angry Birds – Most of our users have this game on their iPhones and iPads already. Truly addictive game that is fun to play on the iPhone but plays even better on the iPad.
  • iBooks – Probably one of the best free apps that’s out there. iBooks is both an e-book reader as well as access to Apple’s iBookstore where you can sample and purchase books and download them directly to the iPad.
  • NPR Music – Another great free app that gives you music programming from NPR. You can read music news and reviews while listening to interviews, live concerts or exclusive streams of albums before they’re released.

iOS 4.2 released for iPad and iPhone

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Apple released iOS 4.2 yesterday, which is available through iTunes for compatible devices.  Make sure you back up your device before you run the update!

iOS 4.2 includes AirPlay, an updated version of AirTunes that allows iTunes 10 and iOS devices running iOS 4.2 to stream video to an HDMI TV via Apple TV.  Also included in the update is AirPrint, which allows iOS devices to print wirelessly to a limited selection of HP ePrint printers.

Another new feature of iOS 4.2 is the free Find My Phone feature. Now users who do not have MobileMe can use Find My iPhone. Set up instructions on Apple’s site here.

For iPad users, iOS 4.2 brings multitasking from the iPhone to the iPad. Also, the addition of folders to the iPad’s home screen means more room for apps and better organization.

OS X 10.6.5 and Security Update 2010-007 released

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Yesterday Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.5, the fifth update for Snow Leopard.  The update is available via Software Update or from Apple’s site.  10.6.5 has quite a few fixes, which are listed below:

  • Improves reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers.
  • Addresses performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture.
  • Addresses stability and performance of graphics applications and games.
  • Resolves a delay between print jobs.
  • Addresses a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme.
  • Resolves an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.
  • Addresses an issue in which dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.
  • Resolves an issue in which Wikipedia information may not display correctly in Dictionary.
  • Improves performance of MainStage on certain Macs.
  • Resolves spacing issues with OpenType fonts.
  • Improves reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.
  • Resolves a VoiceOver issue when browsing some websites with Safari 5.
  • Improves Bluetooth pairing with Magic Trackpad.
  • Resolves performance issues with third-party displays that use InstaPort technology.
  • Add SSL support for transferring files with iDisk.
  • Resolves an issue when opening 4-up Photo Booth pictures in Preview.
  • Addresses keyboard responsiveness issues in the Dock when Spaces is turned on.
  • Resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google.
  • Fixes an issue when replying to a Mail message sent by a person whose name contains certain characters such as é or ü.
  • Improves performance for users bound to an Active Directory domain.
  • Improves reliability of Ethernet connections.
  • Systems with a Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009) installed can now be put to sleep.
  • Improves reliability of fibre channel connections, resolving a potential Xsan volume availability issue.
  • Adds RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras.
  • Security improvements; for information about the security content of this update, please visit this article.

Apple has also released Security Update 2010-007 for users on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.  For more info visit Apple’s site.

Microsoft Office 2011 is here.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

There are two versions: Home & Student and Home & Business.  The Home & Business includes Outlook 2011, which replaces Entourage.

Outlook 2011 will support Exchange Server 2007 or later. It will not support Exchange Server 2003 or earlier.

Really that’s all the important info on the new version.

There’s an overview of the applications contained in Microsoft Office 2011 on Apple’s site.

New MacBook Air with Flash Drive!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Apple made a few announcements at the “Back to the Mac” event yesterday that were pretty interesting. First and foremost is the new MacBook Air with flash storage, which is available in 11- and 13-inch models. It’s 0.68 inches thick at its thickest, and 0.11 inches at its thinnest and weighs only 2.9 pounds. All unibody construction with glass trackpad. The space-saving flash storage leaves room for a bigger battery, which the new MacBook Air has in both models — 5 hours of battery life in the 11-inch and 7 hours in the 13-inch.

The new MacBook Air is available in stores now.

Apple also announced the new Mac OS X 10.7, “Lion,” which will roll out sometime during the Summer of 2011. The preview showed the Launchpad application launcher, which allows a grid of icons (similar to iPad), and Mission Control, which allows a unified view of a user’s open windows, apps and dock. Apple also announced an App Store for OS X, which will also be coming to Snow Leopard.

And then there’s iLife 11, which is free with all new Macs or a $49 upgrade. Available in stores now. iPhoto 11 has new slideshow themes, improved Facebook and email sharing. iMovie 11 has enhanced audio editing options, a People Finder that id’s people in movie clips and an easy movie trailer editor. Facebook and Vimeo sharing have been added as well. There are also new additions to GarageBand 11 like FlexTime, Groove Matching and more effects and lesson options.

FaceTime for Mac was also announced. It’s not meant to replace iChat as it is dedicated to FaceTime calls only. It pulls contacts from Address Book and you click on the person’s name to make a call (although you have to know which phone number they have associated with their FaceTime account).

Microsoft Office Updates

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This week Microsoft added three updates that fix security vulnerabilities in Office 2004 and Office 2008, as well as in Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.

Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.7 Update includes the following improvements:

Improvements for Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac

  • Stability is improvedThis update fixes issues that cause Excel to crash or close unexpectedly sometimes when you try to start an Excel application.

Improvements for Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac

  • Reliability is improved when Entourage connects to Microsoft Exchange serversThis update fixes the following issues:
    • When Entourage authenticates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 by using the Kerberos protocol, it does not detect expired credentials and does not renew tickets for these credentials.
    • Entourage sometimes creates duplicate items in the Exchange 2007 mailbox.

The Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.7 Update can be found here.

Additional information on the Office 2004 for Mac 11.6.1 Update is on Microsoft’s site.  Open XML File Format Converter for Mac Update can also be found on Microsoft’s site.

There’s also an update for Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition.  According to the details on Microsoft’s site, in addition to several calendaring improvements, this new version of Entourage synchronizes notes, tasks, and categories with Exchange Server. This update also enables logging that can be used for diagnostic purposes.

At the end of this month, Microsoft will ship Office for Mac 2011, which will feature new versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Messenger.  Also in Mac 2011, Outlook for Mac 2011 will replace Entourage.

iTunes 10 has some nice new features

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Yes, the new iTunes 10 Dock icon is fugly. I hear you. Don’t let that dissuade you from updating to iTunes 10 or really delving into some of its fabulous new features.

Ping is one of the biggest new features. A social network for music, Ping is built into iTunes 10 but is completely optional. Users can follow their favorite artists and friends, stay informed about upcoming concerts, while Artists can create their own store pages, and post announcements, photos and videos for fans.

AirPlay is another great new feature that will enable users to stream music and video to new AirPlay-enabled speakers, receivers, and iPod accessories. It’s basically like AirTunes, which allowed iTunes to stream music to speakers that were attached to an AirPort Express or Apple TV, but now it can be used with third-party AirPlay-enabled speaker docks, AV receivers and stereo systems from companies like Marantz, Denon and Bowers & Wilkins.

Other new goodies include 99 cent TV show rentals, a revamped Apple TV (80 percent smaller than the previous generation) with a huge selection of HD movies and HD TV shows on demand, and easier iTunes syncing for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

OK. Still hating the new iTunes Dock icon after trying out all the swank new features of iTunes 10? Visit Mac OS X Hints for a way to prettify your new icon if it’s really bothering you that much.


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