Improves language detection, complex object handling, Outlook accounts
On Wednesday, Microsoft updated its standalone version of Office for Mac, Office 2011, to version 14.4.4. The update provides the latest fixes for Office, and includes general functionality improvements in Microsoft Word, particularly with keyboard language detection. For PowerPoint, it improves handling of certain complex objects, and in Outlook the update includes new descriptions for supported account types.
Testing continues slow advance
A little over a week after the last one, Apple has issued a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is identified as build 13F24. Areas of testing focus remain unchanged, and include Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt support, and USB/USB smart cards.
Also gains new Text and Shape Cutter tools, Smart Edges
Corel has released PaintShop Pro X7, a major upgrade of its photo-editing suite. The biggest addition is said to be Magic Fill, a Photoshop-like "content-aware" tool that can erase an object and replace it with content that matches the background, even if that background is varied. Several other tools have also been added, including Text and Shape Cutters -- used to create objects based on underlying images -- and Smart Edge, which prevents brush strokes from crossing lines.
BruteProtect to be rolled into Jetpack, paid service ends to make all features free
Automattic, the company responsible for the WordPress blog platform, announced today that it acquired BruteProtect. The pick up will allow the company to strengthen security of the WordPress platform through its Jetpack service, without additional cost to users. BruteProtect started its life as a plug-in for the popular blogging software, only to expand into other areas of security, server management and premium services.
Test taking place in Santa Monica, offers daily lunch item in three-hour window
Ride share service Uber is apparently looking to expand into some other functions, as the company is testing a service dubbed UberFresh starting today. The program is attempting to deliver lunch to people in a short time frame, utilizing a menu specific to the area being tested. The service is only being offered for a limited time, but a successful test could mean the program would be expanded further.
stubborn files, encryption keys and more
Yesterday, Mac Elite "jeff k" took to the MacNN forums looking for assistance with trying to figure out why a stubborn file won't clear out of the trash can. Mac Elite "rotuts" sparked a conversation about apps that can be used to catalog hard drive file usage by date.
Windows users get better fonts via DirectWrite
Google has released Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest change affects only Windows users, in the form of DirectWrite support for better font rendering. Previously, Chrome for Windows depended on the Graphics Device Interface, and Google explains that the change "required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome's font rendering engine."
Developers, testers must use beta 5 or later to continue testing new features
In something of an unusual move, Apple has sent emails to developers informing them that they must keep up to date with iOS 8 and Yosemite betas if they want to continue testing new features, particularly the CloudKit functionality that is part of the forthcoming iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library and MailDrop technologies. The change, which could be due to a change in iCloud sandboxing, will also impact Safari histories and call histories. Developers must be on Beta 5 of either platform in order to continue working with CloudKit.
User behavior away from site, sharing now determine if feed articles are click-bait
In a blog post from Facebook today, the social media company said that it's trying to improve the News Feed by reducing "click-baiting headlines." The company stated that it wants to help users find posts and links that are interesting, while removing stories that are generally considered spam by people that don't want them to turn up in their feeds.
Huawei has no choice but to use Android with smartphones, states CEO Yu
Tizen has "no chance to be successful" in the face of Android and iOS, the CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group has claimed. Richard Yu advised in an interview that the company has no plans to work with Tizen in the future, despite Huawei having already spent money on research and development for the operating system, one that Samsung is still hoping to have success with.
Build upgrade option could lose need to reinstall Windows in preview version
Microsoft may make the next version of Windows easier to update, starting with the preview version. A report claims current internal builds of the operating system, also known as Windows Threshold, can be upgraded to a newer build with a single click, which could mean that those using the public preview may be able to use a newer build without uninstalling and reinstalling the software.
encryption, crashes and hot Macs
This week, MacNN forum-goers discuss a wide range of topics including encryption software, consistent crashes, and how to cool down a hot Mac. One Fresh-Faced Recruit was wondering if there was some kind of one-click encryption solution that could encrypt a file before it is uploaded to cloud storage, and decrypt it when it is needed again. Moderator "Rumor" reported their third crash in one day, and was hoping fellow forum goers could help troubleshoot and get to the root cause of this problem.
Poorly messaged article omits features of iMessage to bolster BB10
BlackBerry has attacked iMessage in a blog post, as it attempts to try and convert more users to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The post, written by head of product and brand marketing for BBM Jeff Gadway, latches on to recent reports about spam messages on iMessage, and lists off ways the service allegedly beats Apple's messaging platform.
Electronista and MacNN weekly deals for August 22, 2014
Once again, its time for Friday Deals! Every Friday, we're going to take a look at current sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy! We have a tendency to add deals over the weekend as we find them, so check back often!
ESPN creates Scores app for sporting update on Pebble smartwatch
ESPN has released an app for the Pebble smartwatch, providing results for various sporting events. The Scores app includes results from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, and college basketball, and will vibrate to notify the wearer about game updates. The app is now available to download from the Pebble App Store for iOS and Android.
Company complies with only half of judge's controversial order
Following a ruling by a Brazilian judge that anonymous social apps such as Secret violate the Brazilian constitution, Apple has removed the program from the App Store in that country, citing that its own guidelines require that apps comply with local laws in the country they're sold in. In addition to Apple, the judge ordered Google and Microsoft to also remove the app or similar apps. There has not, however, been any reports of Apple or the other companies remotely deleting the app from users' devices.
Release notes offer little information, but iMovie Theater bug fixed
On Thursday, Apple issued minor updates to its OS X versions of iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers. The most significant of the updates appears to be for iMovie, updated to version 10.0.5 that offers iCloud compatibility improvements for iMovie Theater, though there is still no fix for the program under the Yosemite Public Beta. Also updated were Keynote (to v6.2.2), Pages (to 5.2.2), and Numbers (to version 3.2.2).
Bot system results in 40-percent spam reduction, rule changes issued in seconds
Social microblogging service Twitter offered details on how it battles with spam on the service, showing off a specialized tool that the company made in the process. BotMaker was built by the team, which has so far been responsible for a reduction of 40 percent "in key spam metrics" since its launch. The company went into spill some of the specifics of its creation, something it needed to make since it offers real-time interactions and an exposed developer API.
Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording
British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.
Participants in the OS X Beta Program can now download a second public beta of OS X Yosemite via the Mac App Store. Changes are unlisted, but since it's following just a few days after the release of Developer Preview 6, it presumably incorporates that code's fixes and feature additions. Apple is believed to be building towards a final launch of Yosemite in October, which could mean one or two more public betas in the interim.
New OS will ultimately feature removal of charms, inclusion of Cortana
Microsoft has reportedly scheduled a September 30 preview date for the latest incarnation of its Windows operating system -- Windows 9. Rumored to be unveiled at the event is an early version of the system for developers, but it is not known if CEO Satya Nadella's espoused vision of "one OS" will come to fruition so early in his tenure.
First major Mac update of Quicken in seven years
Intuit has officially released Quicken 2015 for Mac, a long-awaited update of its personal finance software. Some improvements include a new UI design, matched to OS X Yosemite, and support for syncing data with a companion iOS app, which can also be used to snap photos of receipts to record purchases. New investment tools update quotes continuously, and track factors like cost basis and capital gains.
AutoFill, subpixel rendering, extension compatibility and more being tested
On Wednesday, Apple released two betas for its Safari web browser, as well as a new beta for OS X Server. The Safari betas, 7.1 for Mavericks and 6.2 for Lion and later, add new features to WebKit, the rendering engine at the heart of the browser. In addition, Apple has asked testers to focus on general website compatibility in light of changes in some defaults, and tie-ins to forthcoming features in OS X and iOS. The new OS X Server beta requires the latest Mavericks (10.9.4).
Company alters help page to reflect change in timeline content from popular, relevant accounts
Twitter users may have seen a number of items showing up in their feeds from users they don't follow for the last few weeks. In what was thought to be one of the company's experiments, tweets from users that aren't followed and random favorites from others were showing up in timelines. It appears that the feature is no longer in testing, as Twitter has added the new feature to its help page about timelines.
Includes blocking, audio controls
The sixth OS X Yosemite beta enables promised screensharing via Messages, a report notes. The feature requires simply that a person have an iMessage or Apple ID account. Some options include turning audio conversation on and off, pausing sharing, and blocking requests from a particular user.
Software line drops nine different programs, new software launches September 23
Symantec announced earlier this week that it would be issuing a sweeping change to its line of antivirus software to offer consumers a single solution. Starting September 23, the company will begin offering Norton Security for around $80 per year. The change effectively ends releases of Norton Antivirus, the company's main product line that has seen annual releases since the early 90s.
Chat notifications hidden on unused devices if Skype in use elsewhere
Microsoft has updated the way Skype handles some of its notifications for multiple devices. As part of wider ongoing effort to improve the way Skype synchronizes messages between clients on different devices and systems, the Active Endpoint feature will only deliver chat notifications to the device currently being used, rather than to all logged-in devices.
Blu-ray support a focus
Apple has issued minor updates to Final Cut Pro and two of its companion apps, Compressor and Motion. Final Cut has been updated to v10.1.3, primarily solving problems burning Blu-ray discs or creating a Blu-ray disk image. It also ensures that color corrections are kept when pasted between clips during Share, and that effects applied to clips in the Browser in previous versions are retained when clips are added to the timeline. Other fixes target XML round-trip imports, automatic library backups, and skimming growing files in the Browser.
Virtualization solution uses less RAM, speeds application launch
Parallels today launched Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac and Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac Enterprise Edition, its virtualization solution for Windows applications on Macs. New built-in intelligence and support for Apple's latest operating systems, including OS X Yosemite, is said by the company to improve ease-of-use for both business users and consumers. It also brings many of the announced features of Mac OS X Yosemite to Windows and Windows applications, supporting iCloud Drive, iMessages and SMS text sharing from Windows, and control of virtual machines from Spotlight preview and Finder QuickLook.
Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines
A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.
Apple adds Wellington, NZ and Yosemite National Park in advance of next OS X release
On Tuesday, Apple further improved its Maps application by adding Flyover and other map data for Wellington, New Zealand and -- ahead of its debut as the namesake for the next OS X upgrade -- Yosemite National Park in California. The company also added new photos of Yosemite's Half Dome mountain as wallpapers in the current developer beta, DP6, which was released on Monday. The addition of Wellington marks the third New Zealand city added to Flyover, joining Auckland and the city of Christchurch.
New features include drafts, 'snooze to desktop'
Dropbox has released the first Mac version of Mailbox, its gesture-enabled email client, previously limited to iOS and Android. The Mac software is currently only in public beta, and people must sign up to a waiting list in order to gain access. It does, however, keep all of the iOS app's features while adding two more.
Gatekeeper added to testing list
Apple has posted a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 for developers and AppleSeed participants, identified as build 13F18. Testing areas remain largely the same -- including Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt, and USB/USB smart cards -- but with the addition of a significant change to Gatekeeper, Apple's app-signing security feature. "Signatures created with OS X version 10.8.5 or earlier ('v1 signatures') are obsoleted and will no longer be recognized by Gatekeeper," Apple reminds the developer audience. "To ensure your apps will run on updated versions of OS X, they must be signed using the codesign tool on OS X version 10.9 or later ('v2 signatures')."
Workaround involves manually launching dispatcher service
Yesterday's Developer Preview 6 release of OS X Yosemite is breaking Parallels Desktop 9, users report. After DP6 is installed, Desktop 9 is simply refusing to run, exactly the type of issue beta testers routinely encounter. The problem appears to involve the dispatcher service failing to load, as a temporary solution involves forcing the service to start via a Terminal command. This again has been seen in various other apps not yet updated for the forthcoming Yosemite.
Enterprise Signing Key, Activation Lock keys could have been compromised
An unidentified Twitter user is claiming that recent changes to Gatekeeper in OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite which has forced developers to re-sign their app credentials is actually the result of a security breach that successfully pilfered the Gatekeeper keys and possibly "many other keys for many other things," according to the user. A corraborating source was located by TUAW that has allegedly confirmed the breach and tied it to the recent alleged Activation Lock hack.
Gazelle offers locked price for selling iPhone before new release
Gazelle, a company which focuses on buying used phones, has announced a limited offer on locking-in the current selling value of an iPhone. Until September 9, Gazelle will give customers who wish to sell their current iPhone a locked price value, allowing the sellers until October 10 to send the device in. The purpose of this promotion is to maintain the same price value for a phone to be traded in, even after the anticipated release of the iPhone 6, which will inevitably decrease the value of iPhones currently owned. Once Gazelle receives a traded-in device, it is inspected to verify the claimed condition, and a payment is then sent within one week. Gazelle accepts smartphones from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other major cell phone carriers, in addition to Apple products.
Final release date still nebulous
[Updated with notable changes] Apple is distributing its sixth betas of OS X Yosemite and Xcode 6 to developers. Changes have been largely minor and cosmetic thus far, centering around new appearances rather than fucntionality, and like previous seeds, the updates concentrate on performance and stability fixes. The last betas were released on August 4.
housekeeping, rain damage and a new hope for an old Mac
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Topaz" sparked a conversation about the best way to clear redundant files and free up hard drive space without accidentally removing essential files. Earlier this week, Administrator "ghporter" was looking for software that could detect duplicate files as he has found an excessive amount of duplicate images on his computer that he would like to remove.
New IE 'not the one you remember' claim developers on Reddit.
Microsoft has had several discussions at high levels, according to reports, considering renaming the nearly two-decade old Internet Explorer browser. The move would be to distance the new versions from previous, flawed iterations, and would hopefully help to improve the image of the tarnished software. Also noted was that while there are tools for developers to test sites in Internet Explorer environments, there are no plans to make an OS X version of the browser.
Public pre-release version of next Windows version includes mandatory monthly updates
The next major version of Windows may be offered as a preview next month, according to a report. Microsoft's latest iteration of Windows, believed to be Windows 9 and codenamed "Threshold", will apparently be available to download and test out as a "technology preview" by the general public, rather than just to developers and hardware producers.
Online flight arrangements between private pilots, passengers blocked by FAA
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has stopped the flying equivalent of Uber from taking place, in a ruling over plane sharing costs. After a request for clarification from AirPooler, a flight-sharing start-up, the FAA ruled that private pilots could not use online services or mobile apps to offer seats on their aircraft in exchange for fuel costs.
New guide panel makes TV YouTube interface closer to desktop view
Google has overhauled the design of its YouTube for TV interface, and has started to roll out the changes to its set-top box apps. The new user interface, taking on many of the characteristics of Android L's Material Design scheme, aims to simplify searching for channels and specific videos for those preferring to watch YouTube clips on a bigger screen.
WebKit vulnerability, memory corruption, other issues addressed
Seven potential security and stability flaws in the WebKit engine that drives Safari have been identified and fixed in a new update for the default Mac web browser, which was released on Wednesday. The patch updates the version numbers to 6.1.6 for older OS versions going back to Lion (OS X 10.7.5), and to 7.0.6 for Mavericks (10.9.4). Problems with a WebKit vulnerability that could cause crashes, alongside some memory corruption issues, prompted the update.
Hashtags, new profile options, links and a subscription service added to messaging app
Early this week, the ubiquitous messaging app Yo received an update that moves it beyond the single-word phrase that made it popular. In the 1.1.0 version of the free application, new profile options, links, a subscription service and hashtags were all added to give Yo some more communication options and perhaps more appeal.
Focus areas remain same as second release
Apple is now seeding a third beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The software has a 13F14 build number, and focus areas identical to the previous beta. Developers are asked to test Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt support, and USB/USB smart cards.
HTC allegedly moving into app business with Zoe, more apps on the way
HTC is preparing to release some of its apps on Google Play, for use on other non-HTC devices, according to a report. Starting with the Zoe video app later this week, the 260-employee strong HTC Creative Labs unit will apparently bring more of the HTC-specific apps to the online store, as the company attempts to use its software knowledge to try and improve its financial outlook.
Recommendation system gathers data to suggest venues based on location 'stations'
Yahoo continues its trend of buying up startups with the news that the search company has acquired Zofari. Zofari, which is positioned to be the Netflix or Pandora for local recommendations, announced on its website that the startup was acquired by Yahoo to work an undisclosed project. The purchase went relatively unnoticed until TechCrunch reported on it earlier today.
Squarespace releases Blog and Note apps for Android
Website design platform Squarespace has released two new apps in beta format for Android users today, entitled Blog and Note. Originally launched for iOS, Blog facilitates Squarespace site management from a smartphone or tablet, and Note is a minimalist note-taking app.
Bugs in Yosemite
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss bugs they have found in the developer preview and beta versions of Yosemite. Today "angelmb" started a thread looking for help trying to figure out what keeps causing "Circus Ponies NoteBook" to crash, and they included a complete crash report.
Enables development of Oculus-compatible Mac apps
Facebook-owned Oculus VR has released v0.41 of its beta SDK. Mostly a maintenance release, it is however the first to support OS X, which should allow developers to add Oculus Rift support to games and other Mac software. Since Macs are lacking an appropriate display driver, support currently relies on the Extend Desktop mode.