Mac News Review

Snow Leopard 10.6.1 Update, Security Update for Tiger and Leopard, iTunes 9, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.09.11

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Apple Updates

Snow Leopard News

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

Apple Updates

Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update

This update is recommended for Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" users and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.

Products Affected: Mail, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS Printing/Fax (any version)

Updating your system

You should back up your system before installation; you can use Time Machine.

Do not interrupt the installation process once you have started to update your system. You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you've modified the operating system through other means.

Choose Software Update from the Apple menu to check for the latest Apple software via the Internet, including this update.

If your computer is not up-to-date, other software updates available for your computer may appear, which you should install. When Software Updates states "Your software is up to date," you can be sure that all available updates have been installed.

Note that an update size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others, so you should run Software Update more than once to make sure you have all available updates.

You can manually download the update installer. This is a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. These versions of the standalone installers are available from Apple Support Downloads. [Editor's note: this is my preferred method regardless of how many computers there are to update. See download link below. cm]

What's included?

  • Improves compatibility with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems
  • Addresses an issue in which some printer compatibility drivers might not appear properly in the Add Printer browser
  • Addresses an issue that might cause DVD playback to stop unexpectedly
  • Addresses an issue that might make it difficult to remove an item from the Dock
  • Resolves an issue in which the Command-Option-T keyboard shortcut would sometimes bring up the special characters menu in applications such as Mail and TextEdit
  • Addresses instances in which auto account setup in Mail might not work
  • Resolves issues when sending mail with certain SMTP servers
  • Addresses an issue in which Motion 4 could become unresponsive
  • Includes an update to Adobe Flash Player plugin version 10.0.32.18

Mac OS X Server 10.6.1 Update

The 10.6.1 update is recommended for all servers currently running Snow Leopard Server version 10.6 and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your server, as well as specific fixes for:

  • reliability of services using Grand Central Dispatch
  • duplicate serial number alerts on servers with multiple network interfaces

Security Update 2009-004 for Tiger and Leopard

Security Update 2009-004 can be downloaded and installed via Software Update preferences or from Apple Downloads.

A logic issue in the handling of dynamic DNS update messages may cause an assertion to be triggered. By sending a maliciously crafted update message to the BIND DNS server, a remote attacker may be able to interrupt the BIND service. The issue affects servers which are masters for one or more zones, regardless of whether they accept updates. BIND is included with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server but it is not enabled by default. This update addresses the issue by properly rejecting messages with a record of type 'ANY' where an assertion would previously have been raised

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available. To learn more about Apple Product Security, see the Apple Product Security website.

Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.11, Mac OS X Server v10.4.11, Mac OS X v10.5.8, Mac OS X Server v10.5.8

Impact: A remote attacker may be able to cause the DNS server to unexpectedly terminate

Fixed in this update:

  • Alias Manager: Opening a maliciously crafted alias file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • CarbonCore: Opening a file with a maliciously crafted resource fork may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • ClamAV: Multiple vulnerabilities in ClamAV 0.94.2
  • ColorSync: Viewing a maliciously crafted image with an embedded ColorSync profile may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • CoreGraphics: Opening a maliciously crafted PDF file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • CoreGraphics: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • CUPS: A remote attacker may be able to deny access to the Printer Sharing service : An uprivileged local user may be able to obtain system privileges
  • Flash Player plugin: Multiple vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player plugin
  • ImageIO: Viewing a maliciously crafted PixarFilm encoded TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution
  • Launch Services: Attempting to open unsafe downloaded content may not lead to a warning : Visiting a malicious website may lead to arbitrary code execution
  • MySQL: MySQL is updated to version 5.0.82
  • PHP: Multiple vulnerabilities in PHP 5.2.8
  • SMB: Enabling Windows File Sharing may share folders unexpectedly
  • Wiki Server: A remote attacker may gain access to Wiki Server user accounts

Alternate download links posted on MacUpdate.

iTunes 9

Apple on Wednesday introduced iTunes 9, the latest version of the world's most popular software application to purchase, manage and play media, packed with innovative features such as iTunes LP, Home Sharing and Genius Mixes, as well as a redesigned store and improved synching. iTunes 9 makes it easier than ever to discover, purchase and enjoy your music, movies, TV shows, and apps for iPhone™ and iPod touch from Apple's revolutionary App Store. Plus, Home Sharing now lets you easily transfer songs, movies and TV shows to other computers in your home.

"iTunes 9 is a great iTunes release, with innovative features that make using iTunes better than ever and iTunes content richer than ever," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iTunes LP, for example, lets artists share more of their creativity with fans and gives music lovers the feeling of being immersed in an entire album with art, lyrics, liner notes, photos and videos."

iTunes LP is the next evolution of the music album delivering a rich, immersive experience for select albums on the iTunes Store by combining beautiful design with expanded visual features like live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more. iTunes LP debuts today with albums including Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me," The Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" and Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King: iTunes Pass." The new iTunes Extras provides a similar experience for movies on iTunes with features including documentaries, deleted scenes, interviews and interactive galleries. iTunes Extras is now available for select movies including "Twilight," "Batman Begins," "WALL-E," "Iron Man" and "The Da Vinci Code." Customers can enjoy iTunes LP and iTunes Extras on a Mac or PC.

iTunes 9 also introduces Home Sharing, which lets you easily transfer music, movies and TV shows among up to five authorized computers in your home. Family members can now view up to five iTunes libraries on their home network, see only the portion of these libraries they don't already have, import their favorite content directly to their own libraries, and automatically add new purchases from other computers into their library.

The incredibly popular Genius feature gets even better with Genius Mixes which are created using the results of over 27 million music libraries with over 54 billion songs that have been submitted and analyzed by Genius. The new Genius Mixes feature is like having a "Genius" DJ that automatically generates up to 12 endless mixes of songs from your iTunes library that go great together.

With improved synching in iTunes 9 and iPhone OS 3.1, you can now organize your iPhone apps right in iTunes and they will automatically appear on your iPhone with the same layout. Plus, synching music, photos, movies and TV shows is easier than ever with the added ability to sync music by artist and genre and sync photos by Events and Faces. The iTunes Store on iPhone now features precut ringtone downloads with over 20,000 ringtones priced at just $1.29.

iTunes 9 is available immediately as a free download at www.itunes.com.

The iTunes Store is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 11 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 7,500 films including over 2,000 in stunning high definition video. With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0.2

This update is for iMac computers with an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro or ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT graphics card installed, running Mac OS X 10.5.2 or later.

It updates the graphics card firmware on the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro or ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT graphics card in the iMac to improve system stability.

Editor's note: This update is only for the 2007 and 2008 iMacs.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.2 or later

Apple RAID Card Firmware Update

This update provides several fixes, including:

  • Reliability improvements during boot and power fail recovery
  • Addresses a potential issue when rebuilding a degraded RAID 5
  • Resolves an issue that can fill the onboard flash file system
  • Improves battery handling and reporting

The update is recommend for all Mac Pro (Late 2006, Early 2008) and Xserve (Late 2006, Early 2008) systems with the Apple RAID card.

The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder and will launch automatically. Please follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the update process.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later

File Size: 26.12 MB

Apple's Mail Setup AssistantApple Launches Mail Setup Assistant

Need help setting up email accounts in Mac OS X? Simply provide Apple with your email address and they'll let you know exactly what you need to do.

Note: Only US-based email accounts are currently supported by this tool. Your email address will only be used to provide your Mail settings. Your email will not be stored and will not be used by Apple or shared with any other entities.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6

Snow Leopard News

Things Removed in Snow Leopard

Waffle has posted a list of things removed from Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", which is being updated continuously and reader contribution is welcomed.

Notable examples:

  • PowerPC support
  • The blood on the signature snow leopard's mouth, except for in the wallpaper
  • Cocoa Java runtime support
  • AppleTalk printing
  • Creator code adherence when opening files
  • AppleScript Utility (settings moved to AppleScript Editor Preferences)
  • The nuh-uh shaking login window behavior when you re bound to a domain/directory and enter the wrong password (it s still there when you re not bound to a domain/directory)
  • iSync Palm OS conduit

Snow Leopard to Save 50 Gigawatt Hours of Electricity in One Year?

Computerworld's Seth Weintraub says that Snow Leopard doesn't just speed up your Mac; it also makes it a better environmental citizen by conserving electricity. Weintraub says that after installing OS X 10.6, he's getting about 10 to 20 additional minutes of battery runtime from his MacBook Pro and notes that CNET tested a 17" MacBook Pro with Leopard and with Snow Leopard, and found that using Snow Leopard would save 10 kWh of energy per year, which works out to only around a dollar of savings - but a significant amount when spread over a world of Macs.

Per CNET: operating cost for an 17" MacBook Pro would drop to $8.71 from $9.66. If Apple sells at least five million copies of Snow Leopard this quarter, as expected, and every machine saves 10 kWh of energy, that calculates to $5 million and 50 gigawatts of electricity saved.

Some Web Content Will Look Darker on Snow Leopard

John Nack on Adobe says:

"If you're a Web designer, expect your CSS colors & your untagged/unmanaged images to look darker on Snow Leopard than on previous versions of the Mac OS. You'll also see less of a visible color shift when going from Photoshop to Flash or other unmanaged environments (e.g. Internet Explorer)."

Why? Because after 25 years of using gamma 1.8, Apple has switched to a Windows-esque default gamma of 2.2 so colors that aren't color-managed are going to look darker on the whole.

How to Build a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard

Lifehacker's Adam Pash says:

"Two years ago, I detailed how to build a Hackintosh for under $800 - then covered how to do the same with less hacking. Now that Snow Leopard's out, we're revisiting the Hackintosh, building a Hack Pro from scratch for roughly $900."

Psystar Supports Mac OS X 'Snow Leopard' on All New Computers

PR: Psystar Corporation announced this week that it is offering OS X Snow Leopard on its Open Computers. Apple's newest version of OS X is now offered as an option on all new Psystar machines. Psystar continues to pioneer the open OS X market, and in conjunction with the release of Snow Leopard unveils its virtualization technology to enable native-speed performance of the operating system and expand the range of hardware platforms available to OS X users.

Since the official release of OS X Snow Leopard, Psystar's systems have undergone rigorous testing with the newest version of OS X to ensure compatibility with Open Computers. Customers can pre-order a Psystar Snow Leopard compatible machine now. Psystar will begin shipping the new Snow Leopard compatible systems next week.

Psystar will soon release benchmarking results for its popular Rebel series of OS X compatible systems with the new Snow Leopard benchmarks. The OS X Leopard benchmarks (available at Psystar.com) highlight the significant price-performance advantage of Psystar Rebel systems over comparable Macintosh systems. Psystar expects the price-performance advantage of its Rebel systems to increase further with Snow Leopard running on top of Psystar's new virtualization technology.

Psystar is committed to the development of open and innovative computing solutions. Recently Psystar filed suit against Apple to enforce the legal rights of software consumers to maintain choice and control over the hardware platform used to run software. As virtualization technologies revolutionize the computing industry, Psystar believes its legal efforts contribute to competition and innovation in the marketplace to the benefit of all consumers.

OS X, OS X Leopard, Leopard, OS X Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Macintosh are products and trademarks of Apple, Inc. Psystar purchases copies of these operating systems to resell as part of its Open Computer systems. Psystar has no other affiliations with Apple, Inc.

Products & Services

Mercury On-The-Go Pro 750 GB FireWire/USB Bus Powered Portable Storage Solution

PR: Other World Computing (OWC), has announced its new OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 750 GB model is the first FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 bus powered portable storage solution on the market. The Mercury On-The-Go Pro is a high-performance, pocket-sized portable storage solution for Mac or PC users featuring FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces for data transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s. With 750 GB of storage capacity, the Mercury On-The-Go Pro now offers 50% more data storage capacity than existing models in the line and can hold up to 750,000 JPEG photos, 375 DVD movies, 57 hours of digital video, or 262,500 MP3 songs.

Mercury On-The-Go Pro 750 GBPocket-Sized & Bus Powered - Ideal for the Mobile Office

Small enough to fit into a shirt pocket with its diminutive 3.5" x 5.5" x 1" footprint, the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro offers 750 GB of high performance data storage/backup capacity in a stylish, impact resistant acrylic case. Because it's bus-powered, the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro can be used without an AC adapter, which makes it ideal for presentations, multimedia, law enforcement, surveyors, and other "mobile office" uses.

Works with Macs, PCs, and Digital Devices

Featuring a variety of FireWire and USB 2.0 interface models, the Plug-and-Play ready Mercury On-The-Go Pro can be used with Macs and PCs for additional storage capacity, transporting large files between multiple computers and real-time A/V editing. The drive can also be used with storage capable digital cameras and camcorders with FireWire and/or USB data ports for quick, convenient backups of images and video while on the road.

"Over the past eight years, the innovations and performance of this portable drive have continually raised the bar by which all other portable drives are measured," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "Not just high capacity, these high-performance solutions are ideal and widely used for Audio/Video, Music, and even live recordings in addition to being a great solution for backup, data transport, and just additional storage in general. Several leading industry media outlets regularly use the Mercury On-The-Go Pro as the standard to beat in performance reviews and the new 750 GB model just provides more to love."

The new Mercury On-The-Go Pro 750 GB 5200 RPM line is available in three interface models:

  • "Triple Interface" with FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 connectivity, $269.99 MSRP
  • "Combo Interface" with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connectivity, $249.99 MSRP
  • USB 2.0 only connectivity, $229.99 MSRP

The new OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 750 GB 5200 RPM models are immediately available from Other World Computing. They are compatible with Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2.2, Apple OS X (all versions) including the latest 10.6 "Snow Leopard"; and Windows 98SE or later operating systems and come ready for Plug and Play ease of use with all supported interface connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility software bundle, and an industry leading three year complete solution warranty.

In addition to the newest 750 GB 5200 RPM models, OWC also offers a full line of 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM Mercury On-The-Go Pro models with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces in capacities of 80 GB to 500 GB priced starting at $62.99.

Complete Mercury On-The-Go Pro Specs:

  • Fully suitable for Audio/Video applications
  • Oxford (all FireWire equipped models) or JMicron bridge chipset
  • 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) drive up to 750 GB capacity
  • Up to 16 MB hard drive data cache
  • Data transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s
  • Cool blue activity LED
  • Super quiet fanless operation
  • Compact size: 3.5"(W) x 5.5"(D) x 1"(H)
  • Lightweight: 11 ounces empty case, 2.5 lb. with drive
  • Clear, shock resistant polycarbonate acrylic case
  • Three years complete solution warranty
  • Carrying case
  • All interface connection cables included
  • Mac and PC compatible
  • Includes $200 retail value disk utility software bundle: Carbon Copy Cloner, ProSoft Engineering Data Backup 3, NovaStor NovaBACKUP, and Intech SpeedTools Utilities.

Software

Eudora 8.0b7 Released

PR: The first new beta update of Eudora 8.0 since April has been released.

Major changes in version 8.0b7 include:

  • Search Messages now uses the fast index if turned on in the preferences, Advanced->General->Enable Global Search and Indexer. The checkbox "Use indexed search" in the Search Messages can be used to turn this on/off.
  • Eudora now automatically checks if new versions are available. A manual check can be done by going to the Help menu and selecting Check for Updates.

Editor's note: I downloaded and checked out Eudora 8.0b7 and discovered a serious bug - keyboard shortcuts for cut/copy/paste don't work, at least on my rig (2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook running OS 10.5.8) although those functions respond from the Edit Menu. Downgrading to Eudora 8.0b6 restored normal keyboard shortcut behavior. cm

Project Canvas: 'PowerPoint for the Rest of Us' with a HyperCard-like Motif

PR: Project Canvas is a multimedia presentation tool, much like industry giant PowerPoint, but comes at the fraction of the cost. Incorporating many features and functions similar to Apple's old HyperCard application, Project Canvas lets you create click-by-click adventure games, interactive tutorials, storybooks, school presentations, and more.

Project Canvas

Sporting a cross-platform compatible file format, Project Canvas files can also recalls the old HyperCard application much beloved of veterans from the early days of the Mac, using a card and stack metaphor and containing an unlimited number of cards and buttons. Buttons can perform a variety of actions from getting and setting variables, playing movies, and transitioning between cards with visual effects to playing sounds, playing music, speaking text, prompting the user for feedback and more!

Again reminiscent of the erstwhile HyperCard, one of the most versatile features of Project Canvas is the ability to export a Stand Alone copy of a stack. The stack will be exported as an executable file that can be run without having to have Project Canvas installed! In addition, specify special kiosk-style features like hiding the menubar or making the stack run full screen.

Like HyperCard again, Project Canvas includes an integrated paint program.

Features

  • Prompt the user for a reply with 3 button options
  • Obtain a text response from a user
  • Go to a card by number, ID, or relative identifier
  • Play, stop, and queue movies, music, and sounds
  • Quit or reset the current stack
  • Speak some text
  • Set and clear variables
  • Create and destroy text fields on the fly
  • Use visual effects between cards
  • Save and load the stack state
  • Show multiple cards (animate) one after another
  • Create unlimited cards
  • Cross platform compatible stack files
  • Compile as a Stand Alone application
  • Built-in paint program to draw card images
  • Import card images from all industry standard formats
  • Create an unlimited number of buttons
  • Specify actions not just for buttons, but also for card arrival and departures
  • Utilize any stack dimensions desired
  • Familiar actions to HyperCard users

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6
  • Windows XP+

System Support: Universal Binary

15 Day Trialware

Price: $29.95 (Single User)

VueScan Enhances OCR Support as It Reaches over 200,00 Customers

PR: Hamrick Software, the developer of VueScan, claimed to be the world's most widely used scanning software, has released it's latest version 8.5.26 using Google's Tesseract OCR code, and announced that it's customer base now stands at more than 200,000.

"Over the past 10 years we have been working constantly on VueScan. We have released over 120 versions, all the time making over a thousand improvements. The majority of these changes came directly as requests from users. " says Ed Hamrick, President of Hamrick Software. "In VueScan 8.5.26 we've significantly improved the accuracy of OCR by integrating Google's Tesseract OCR engine in VueScan, which was in the top three OCR software packages in a test by University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, we now support OCR in 33 languages and have built-in support for English, French and German languages. Support for 30 additional languages can be downloaded."

VueScan 0.1 was first released in 1998 with support for a single scanner on Windows only. Within 5 years VueScan supported more than 400 scanners, and had acquired a good reputation through word of mouth. After a further 10 years of development, VueScan now supports over 1200 scanners on 3 operating systems, has been downloaded more than 5 million times, and is the scanning program of choice for more than 200,000 customers in over 150 different countries.

"Since the first release we've made more than 1000 improvements and it's really changed a lot in this time. Adding multiple language support has made a big difference to our business, and our customers are spread globally." says Ed Hamrick. "We have many small but clearly defined features that make a world of difference for many of our customers. Some features are for photographers, some for people working with thousands of scans, some are for beginners who have never used a scanner. We've also worked hard to support scanners that manufacturers don't support any more, especially on Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)."

"Our goal is to make VueScan known to everyone and to become the universal scanning application. We now support over 1200 scanners on Windows, 750 on Mac OS X and 580 scanners on Linux. A single 8 Mbyte download supports all these scanners, in 35 different languages." says Ed Hamrick.

Future plans include adding more advanced scanning features, such as scanning multiple photos placed randomly on a scanner (auto image segmentation). All of these advanced scanning features will work with all of the 1200 supported scanners, in all 33 languages, on all three operating systems - a truly universal scanning application."

VueScan is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. VueScan offers a full range of advanced features; including options for scanning faded slides and prints and automatically adjusting images to optimum color balance that reduces the need to manually do it in Photoshop. It includes built-in IT8 color calibration of scanners, producing colors that look true to life, batch scanning and other advanced and powerful scanning and productivity features, including PDF output.

VueScan is available in two editions, Standard Edition ($39.95) and Professional Edition ($79.95). The Professional Edition adds unlimited free upgrades, advanced IT8 color calibration and support for raw scan files. Multi-user licenses are available. A fully functional, trial copy of VueScan can be downloaded from hamrick.com.

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