Send audio messages straight to anyone on your local network - with a catch
We've all had days in the office when there is great pressure and you can't afford time to leave your desk. Some of us have also had the rather less-satisfying situation where bosses frowned on you stopping to chat, and while those do tend to be the same sorts of bosses who won't let you install non-corporate-approved apps, if you can get it by them, Echoes (for Macs and iOS devices) is a way to bring a little humanity into your day. Possibly also a lot of irritation, as well -- but that'll depend on your colleagues, not on Echoes.
Software to run your life, or at least your working life
This is going to be like reviewing a car by focusing on how great the radio is. DevonThink is a massive application that might as well aim to be your personal Wikipedia. Every thought you have, every note you make, everything you spot on the web, you can throw it all into your personal DevonThink database. So far that sounds very much like Evernote -- and it is indeed similar -- but DevonThink is equally focused on arranging and sorting that material.
Vulnerability found in Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite
Apple has released what it calls a "critical" patch for OS X, dubbed the NTP Security Update. The code is currently being pushed to users via the Mac App Store, and solves vulnerabilities within the Network Time Protocol. The update is available for Mountain Lion (10.8.x), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). While no known attack exploits the now-patched vulnerabilities, the discovery appears to be serious enough to merit immediate attention.
Follows third developer beta
Over the weekend, Apple published a new public beta version of OS X 10.10.2 to pre-registered Yosemite testers. The code is identified as build 14C81h, and follows the third developer beta of the update, which was build 14C81f. For that, Apple asked developers to concentrate testing on areas such as Mail, VoiceOver, and Wi-Fi connections.
Illustration software that's easy to use
You take your life in your hands when you ask us to draw something. Look at the screenshots here, and tell us you can't tell that we're really writers with clipart. While it's obvious we don't spend all day coloring in fantastic illustrations, we do very often need to sketch out rough images -- and that's where Artboard shines. It is a fully-fledged illustration application of sufficient calibre that a full-time artist could work in it full-time -- but it is particularly suited to those of us who occasionally need a powerful tool, and don't want to dole out the cash for a monthly subscription to a software giant.
Quickly and simply convert videos between formats
Before we get into this, Video Converter Pro is currently free for a limited time, so go get it on the Mac App Store now. If you read this one minute too late and the price has gone back up, get it anyway because it is more than worth the usual asking price of $15. Or rather, it is if you need to convert videos, because that's what this just does, without fuss.
Clear out duplicates and manage your huge photo library better
Apple's professional photo manager, Aperture, had its advantages over its biggest rival, Adobe Lightroom -- and it is a shame the former been dropped (to be replaced with a new app, Photos for Mac, early next year). One thing Aperture was really good at was adding photos - so much so that we tended to do it over and over. Just not intentionally. One thing it was bad at, by contrast, was helping you find duplicates -- so a big photo library quickly became an unmanageably enormous one. Snapselect intends to fix this for users of Aperture, Lightroom, iPhoto -- and anyone who has tried to handle photos without using any of those programs.
Real-time simulation/strategy game allows micro-management of resources
War games may have originated from the need to boost military logistics and planning, but they have since become popular with civilian gamers. Risk and Chess are two popular war games most people are familiar with, as are Civilization and Hearts of Iron. How does newcomer Supreme Ruler Ultimate, by Battlegoat Studios, stack up to the classics?
Open and save documents faster with a utility that remembers where you go
If Apple has its way, then one day we will never save another document -- and we will never think about where it went. It will just be there when we want to open it again. That's nice. Until then, we open and save documents nearly as often as we check Facebook. Which makes it a shame that OS X rather fights us. You can open a document from this folder on that network drive and you can then save it on that folder on this USB stick, but it is a pain. Not much of a pain, let's not get carried away here, but try doing it twice and see how you feel. That's where Default Folder X comes in.
Library syncing software for iTunes packed with features at a great value
Apple's iTunes media player has been around since 2001 -- meaning that for many users, it's likely that their library has traversed multiple system upgrades, duplicating and splintering across a variety of drives and mobile devices along the way. For this, there is SuperSync, an app designed to provide access to all your music in one location, allow libraries to be accessed via the Internet, and organize multiple music libraries as to stay organized. Aimed at DJs, avid music collectors, and anyone with multiple libraries, SuperSync aims to get all your tracks in a row. Pricing is organized by license packs, starting at $23 for 2 computers. We took a look at SuperSync for ourselves, and took some of its features for a test run.
Timeline for final update up in the air
Apple has issued a third beta of OS X 10.10.2 to developers. The code is listed as build 14C81f, and follows 14C78c, released on the 4th. One significant change is that Mail and VoiceOver have been added as new areas for testing focus, suggesting an expanded scope for Apple's bugfixes.
8.0.2 update replaces botched 8.0.1
Apple has released Safari 8.0.2 for users of OS X Yosemite. Unlike most updates to the browser, v8.0.2 is virtually identical to its predecessor. It instead patches over the broken v8.0.1 release, which was found to cause some copies of Safari to become completely non-functional, and later pulled.
Get the Hot Pockets, there's a new Sid Meier's Civilization title out
Civilization isn't the first strategy series in video gaming, but it is probably the most enduring. Since the series' introduction in 1991, countless players have been stormed by barbarians, built the pyramids, and been nuked into oblivion (because of a coding bug) by the Indians. This year, the Firaxis-developed series launched a sequel to both Civilization V and the well-regarded Alpha Centauri in the form of Civilization: Beyond Earth available on OS X, Windows, and Linux. How many hours of your life will this one take?
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.
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.
iBank offers thoroughness and clarity for taking a cold hard look at your finances
Even when things are looking pretty good in your bank account, attempting to keep finances on the straight and narrow tends to lean toward the harrowing side. Among the money management tools out there, IGG Software's iBank allows users to aggregate and track their finances from one location. Featuring the ability to directly connect to bank accounts, as well as the option to download and import account data manually, iBank can create reports, help visualize and maintain a budget, and more. Available for iOS as well as OS X, we gave iBank v5.2 for OS X a trial run to see if the $60 app is a good buy.
Charming roguelike dungeon-clearing game brings a touch of Finnish legend to the genre
Because of the accessibility of game design tools, independently-produced games are springing up on every platform. There's certainly no shortage of dungeon crawlers, roguelikes, or turn-based strategy games today. That doesn't mean, though, that Sproggiwood, by Freehold Games, should be overlooked. This turn-based roguelike has the player explore dungeons inspired by Finnish mythology, bringing peace to the land of Sprog.
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.
New entities handling submissions of bulk location data
Apple has added 10 new companies to the list of those providing it with data for iOS and OS X Maps, reports say. The parties are mentioned in a new email to businesses, asking about submitting bulk location information. The added firms include DAC Group, Location3 Media, Marquette Group, Placeable, PositionTech, SIM Partners, SinglePlatform, UBL, Yext, and Yodle. Apple asks for bulk content to be submitted to one of the entities on its partner list, rather than directly.
Time management desktop app successfully improves concentration
We all feel it, especially those of us working from home -- there is never enough time to get stuff done. Or, perhaps more accurately, there is not enough time in a day to get everything done that you should ... while also procrastinating with endless sources of distraction an Internet-connected computer has to offer. Enter Vitamin-R 2, an app for OS X (and also available for iPhone) that asserts that it can promote the optimal conditions for your brain by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly-focused activity alternating with opportunities for renewal, reflection and intuition.
Bite-sized strategy title makes users breach and clear bad guys' lairs
Frequently, players' allegiances to strategy games fall in one of two categories: either real-time strategies or tactical turn-based play. But what if there was a game that aims to please both sides? Potentially, now there is. Door Kickers, by KillHouse Games, is a real-time strategy game that gives players the ability to undergo tactical interventions while leading their own SWAT team. While the game itself is in fact a real-time strategy, the tactical elements and the ability to pause are likely to please gamers who enjoy more tactical play.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
New build doesn't list any new areas of focus; still testing Wi-Fi, Exchange mail, Notification Cent
A week after offering developers and public beta testers a first release of OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite, the company has issued a smaller second beta with the same focus areas as the previous version. The new build, 14B23, again asks testers to focus on Wi-Fi, Exchange email accounts and tracking down bugs in Notification Center, just as with the first beta. Those who signed up for pre-release builds for the Yosemite public beta will also receive the 10.10.1 betas.
Can affect non-jailbroken iOS devices; currently distributed through unofficial Chinese store
A new malware threat to iOS has been discovered that can invade the normally well-protected mobile system through a flaw in OS X and USB that allows packages to be installed through enterprise provisioning. Called "WireLurker," the malicious OS X application (once installed) will monitor for new iOS package installs, and then exploits a weakness in USB to install malware into the target iOS device. Once it is installed, the iOS malware tries to harvest personal data like contacts.
Apple already working on fix, researcher says
A Swedish security researcher at TrueSec, Emil Kvarnhammar, says he has discovered a critical security hole in OS X Yosemite that could let hackers gain root access on a Mac. Few details are available about the exploit, nicknamed Rootpipe, which is said to create a temporary backdoor that bypasses Yosemite's usual safeguards. The problem has allegedly existed in OS X since at least 2012, but may date back even further.
Testers are to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail and Notification Center fixes
On Monday, Apple released the first beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.1, the forthcoming first update to Yosemite. This first beta is the first to arrive after the release of OS X Yosemite on October 16. The new build, 14B17, can be obtained by registered developers through Apple's Software Update. Apple is asking developers to focus on Wi-Fi, Exchange accounts in Mail, and Notification Center. No release notes have yet been published detailing any changes or fixes present in 10.10.1.
Release mandatory in open source licensing
Apple has published the open-source code contained in OS X Yosemite. This includes the xnu-2782.1.97 kernel, as well as numerous other system components. The parts combine into Darwin 10.10.0, an open-source OS derived from Apple, NeXTSTEP, and BSD code, among other sources.
Versatile pixel color grabber offers 24 color formats
Visually creative professionals have long been in favor of using OS X to get their job done, in part because of simple, included utilities, like DigitalColor Meter. This utility allows users to magnify screen contents and copy the RGB pixel components, suited for those who seek a specific hue for their own design project - web, graphic or otherwise. This included tool is great, but for those who seek a more integrative alternative, we decided to check out ColorSnapper, priced at $5, to see if more features made a better pixel color picker.
Both most recent OS releases caught on at double the pace of previous paid upgrades
Users are getting used to the idea of upgrading to the latest OS X versions very quickly after release, a new study from ad agency and trend analyst Chitika shows. The latest major OS X upgrade, 10.10 Yosemite, has already achieved a 12.8 percent share of all Internet-connected Macs -- slightly ahead of where last year's release, Mavericks, was at the same point, six days after release. However, both Mavericks and Yosemite have enjoyed adoption rates more than twice as high as the last paid upgrade, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in 2012.
Yosemite is a big win (or fail depending on who you ask)
With just a little over one week on the Mac App Store under its belt, OS X 10.10 Yosemite has been one of the hottest topics in the MacNN forums, with discussion topics ranging from claimed "unfixed bugs" and battery life issues to beefs with Dark Mode and tips for those who are just upgrading for the first time. Today, one Dedicated MacNNer was looking for help determining the cause of what appears to be USB power failure.
Mac mini from $494, 256 SSD for $135 and more
MacMall.com has already begun dropping prices on brand-new Mac mini configurations. The entry-level Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Mac OS X Yosemite has seen a $5 price cut from $499 down to $494, making this the best price we have seen by the same price margin. As always, this Mac mini is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor, with an optional AppleCare extended warranty available.
Supports Macs going back to 2008
A new user-created tool enables OS X Yosemite's Continuity function on Macs that are officially unsupported. Dubbed the Continuity Activation Tool, it checks for strict hardware compatibility -- namely the presence of Bluetooth 4.0 -- and disables an Apple blacklist that shuts off Continuity on some Mac models. It also whitelists Mac board-ids inside Yosemite's Wi-Fi code. Before making any changes, the tool creates system driver backups.
Marketing built into new OS
People using Chrome or Firefox within OS X Yosemite are seeing push notifications asking them to try Safari, accounts say. The messages tout Safari as "fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design," and even include "Later" and "Try Now" buttons. They appear to be triggered by launching Chrome or Firefox for the first time after the Yosemite upgrade.
Functions raise privacy concerns
The Yosemite version of Spotlight is automatically uploading both location and search data to Apple whenever the tools is used, reports say. The information is mentioned in an official "About Spotlight & Privacy" document, but may be missed by the average person. "If you have Location Services on your device turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your device at that time will be sent to Apple," one part of the document reads.
Time for a new iMac?
Since yesterday marked the release of the new 27-inch iMac, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with chatter about this latest addition to the Mac family, and finally there is an answer to the age-old question "is it time for a new iMac?" and it looks like that answer is a resounding "yes." The official OS X 10.10 Yosemite thread was started yesterday by "Eden Aurora," where users can share their experiences and first impressions.
Features also available to iPad, iPod owners
Although OS X Yosemite is out and most Continuity and Handoff features should already work, two important ones -- Instant Hotspot and SMS Relay -- won't function until iOS 8.1 is released on Monday, notes AppleInsider. The former automatically tethers a Mac, iPad, or iPod touch to an iPhone, while the latter lets people receive SMS/MMS messages from an iPhone on the above devices. Instant Hotspot requires the paired devices to be on the same Apple ID and the iPhone to have tethering enabled by a carrier.
Support for Microsoft Office another focus
As promised, Apple has revealed its updates to the OS X iWork suite. The apps have been redesigned for OS X Yosemite, and now support related features such as iCloud Drive, and Handoff to iPads and iPhones. Pages has gained a variety of specific features, such as a sidebar for comments and changes, the ability to insert images in tables, headers, and footers, and better compatibility with Word documents, including password-protected .docx export.
Lengthy public beta test may help reduce teething issues in new update
On Thursday, Apple followed expectations and took the wraps off the public release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, its latest update to the Mac operating system. Released in conjunction with iOS 8.1, features such as Continuity and Handoff will allow further integration of the two complementary operating systems, with recent-vintage Mac users able to make and receive phone calls and SMS text messages, or be automatically prompted to pick up the last-used app on the other platform right where they left off.
Likely last before Yosemite goes gold
Apple is now seeding a sixth public beta of OS X Yosemite to people participating in its AppleSeed program. The build is identified as 14A388b, the same as the third GM candidate for developers, which was released last week. Given that, no new features or bugfixes are present.
Denied for Mac offers rule creation option for avoiding the music you hate
Since it's now commonplace to regularly listen to randomly generated or pre-curated music playlists, there will inevitably be songs you're not a fan of thrown into those mixes. Denied for Mac does one thing, and does it really well - it spares you from songs you don't care to hear, while streaming content from subscription-based platforms or iTunes. Though a convenient addition to an average listening experience, is it worth paying for?
Updates coming more quickly, signaling that testing phase is winding down
Apple has again updated its "Golden Master" candidate of OS X 10.10 Yosemite in a developer-only release, the third such build. Apple had already seeded a second GM candidate just two days ago, with the first one coming exactly a week before that. The new version, build 14A388a, is exactly two nightly builds up from the previous version. There were no new release notes to indicate what was changed, suggesting that the new GM candidate contains a fix for a recently-discovered issue.
Should halt further infections
Apple has issued a silent update to Xprotect, the anti-malware system in OS X, to detect and block the inaccurately-named "iWorm" trojan uncovered last week. The new definitions actually mention three variants, identified as "OSX.iWorm.A," "OSX.iWorm.B," and "OSX.iWorm.C." It's not clear what the differences between them might be.
Formerly used Reddit as go between to steal user data
[Updated with corrected information and further details] A new Trojan threat, possibly disguised as a fake unauthorized build of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, is making the rounds by taking in users who attempt to pirate software. The new malware, dubbed "iWorm" by Russian research firm "Dr. Web," has supposedly been installed by duped users on over 17,000 unique IP addresses worldwide thus far. Users would have had to have downloaded and installed the software in order to be victimized by the Trojan, which is mostly aimed at gathering user data.
Yosemite, new iMacs also anticipated
Apple may be planning to hold its expected iPad event on Thursday, October 16, sources indicate. The emphasis will reportedly be on a second-generation iPad Air and a third-generation iPad mini. The sources add, however, that the event could also feature refreshed, possibly Retina-equipped iMacs, as well as OS X Yosemite. Apple has yet to confirm a release date for Yosemite, and the event could give the company an excuse to demonstrate previously-unseen (or little-seen) features. New iMacs would presumably ship with the OS pre-installed.
Twitter app for OS X updated, adds new photo features
Twitter for Mac has received an update today, adding new photo features for OS X users. The app allows users to access the social media platform outside of a web browser. Twitter for Mac v3.1 includes the new ability to view and post Tweets with up to four photos at a time, with an image preview for each available for viewing the full photo. Photos can now be shared privately in the Messages section. Various performance improvements and bug fixes are also available in the latest version. Free to download, Twitter for Mac is available through the App Store.
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.
Final version imminent as golden master in hands of developers
On Tuesday, Apple signaled the end of active development of the first official version of OS X 10.10 Yosemite with the seeding of the "Golden Master," a one-last-lookover build that will be used as the final first release if no show-stopping bugs are found. An email was sent to registered developers calling for app submissions ahead of the upcoming launch of Yosemite, though no date or deadline was given. The existence of a GM candidate suggests that Yosemite is not far from being released to the public.
Public releases coming soon
Apple has begun seeding gold master candidates of OS X Yosemite and Xcode 6.1 to developers. While "candidate" status means the software is still pre-release, it implies that the code is nearly complete, as it could be released to the public should no serious bugs be discovered. Apple has, in some years, released multiple GM candidates.
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.
Only those running advanced UNIX services should be concerned, fix is on the way
An Apple spokesperson has reassured Mac users that the "vast majority" of users are not at risk from a serious bug discovered in the UNIX shell Bash that some researchers have called "potentially bigger than the Heartbleed vulnerability." Apple says that only those who have configured "advanced UNIX services" using the Terminal in OS X could be a risk of the flaw -- which would mean that nearly all OS X users would be unaffected. Nevertheless, the company is said to be working on a fix.