Twitterific 4.0 for Mac is Now Here

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

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.

What’s the difference between the AT&T iPhone and the Verizon iPhone?

January 27th, 2011

A lot of people were excited when Verizon announced two weeks ago that it would be getting the iPhone. With AT&T’s less than stellar service (dropped calls, spotty 3G connectivity), we can completely understand why people would want to switch to Verizon.

Before anyone rushes to change their plan to Verizon OR wants to get their first iPhone with Verizon, here are a few things you should all be aware of…

The AT&T iPhone is a UMTS/GSM device, whereas the Verizon iPhone is a CDMA device.

One of the best features of the iPhone is that you can browse the web, send email, etc. while you’re on a phone call — only if you are on the AT&T UMTS/GSM version of the iPhone.  Verizon’s CDMA iPhone is unable to carry voice and data simultaneously.

Although GSM and UMTS is used worldwide and make them ideal for international use, UMTS devices are more susceptible to dropped calls. CDMA devices, like Verizon’s, will in general drop less calls but it can’t use a SIM card which makes it difficult to switch devices.

It seems that most people agree that AT&T has the faster 3G network, so this is a big advantage when you’re trying to upload / download data.

Snow Leopard Update 10.6.6 and the new Mac App Store

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!

DIY iPhone Gloves

December 29th, 2010

We’re still digging out from the blizzard here in NYC. Nevertheless, our hardworking citizens have braved the cold and the mountains of snow to go to work (or to play for those of you lucky to be off this week). I’ve noticed quite a few folks who didn’t receive fancy touchscreen gloves like the Freehands Power Stretch or Tavo Gloves for Christmas, and are desperately ripping off their mittens to answer a call, text or email on their iPhones as they are out and about.

If you can’t find a pair of these specially designed iPhone gloves, fear not! Our tech James gave me a tip on a post from Instructables that shows you how you can make a pair yourself! So if you’re feeling crafty and want to create your own unique pair of touchscreen gloves, you can visit the post here for the how-to video and instructions.

Our Favorite iPhone and iPad Apps of 2010

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

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

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.

Apple will discontinue the Xserve after January 31, 2011

November 9th, 2010

Last week Apple announced that it will discontinue the Xserve, its Intel-based rackmounted server, after January 31, 2011. Although Apple will continue to provide service for Xserves during and after the transition, it will not be developing a future version of the Xserve.

Apple has published a document on its Xserve site entitled the “Xserve Transition Guide,” which outlines the alternative server options that Apple is offering:

  • Mac Pro with Snow Leopard Server
  • Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server

New MacBook Air Benchmark Reports

October 28th, 2010

We know that many people are wondering about the new MacBook Air models. Are they fast enough? How will they handle applications like Photoshop or FileMaker?

Well, according to the benchmark results obtained by Macworld’s tests, the new MacBook Airs are faster than the previous versions — flash storage is fast, the flash storage capacity did not affect overall performance and the processor performance is much improved.

Macworld also tested the build-to-order options — the “ultimate” configurations of the MacBook Airs.  The team at Macworld found that the 13-inch built-to-order MacBook Air 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo (256 GB FS, 4GB RAM) was 20% faster than the 13-inch MacBook 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo.

Looking forward to seeing more tests on the flash storage of the new Airs…

N.B.  Here’s how the Macworld team tested:

Speedmark 6.5 scores are relative to those of a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini (Mid 2010) with 2GB of RAM, which is assigned a score of 100. All Macs were tested with OS X 10.6.4. All laptops were tested with the standard configuration of RAM except where noted. We duplicated a 1GB file, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 1GB files and then unzipped it. We converted 135 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. In iMovie ’09, we imported a camera archive and exported it to iTunes using the Mobile Devices setting. We ran a Timedemo at 1024-by-768 with 4X anti-aliasing on in Call of Duty 4. We imported 200 JPEGs into iPhoto ’09. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 23 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. For our multitasking test, we timed the Photoshop test again, but with the iTunes MP3 encoding and file compression tests running in the background. We used Handbrake to encode four chapters from a DVD previously ripped to the hard drive to H.264. We recorded how long it took to render a scene with multiprocessors in Cinebench and ran that application’s OpenGL, frames per second test. We ran the Evaluate Notebook test in MathematicaMark 7. We ran the WorldBench 6 multitasking test on a Parallels 6 VM running Windows 7 Professional. We timed the import and processing time for 200 photos in Aperture.


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