Mac News Review

Future of iOS and OS X at June WWDC, Spotlight Searches on Steroids, VLC 1.1.8 Released, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.04.01

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple to Unveil the Future of iOS and Mac OS at WWDC in June

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to Kick Off June 6 at Moscone West in San Francisco

PR: CUPERTINO, California - March 28, 2011 - Apple today announced that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 6 through June 10 at San Francisco's Moscone West. At this year's five-day conference Apple will unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS, including exciting demonstrations of the new kinds of apps that developers can build using Apple's advanced frameworks and more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers.

"At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

Mobile developers will be able to explore the latest innovations and capabilities of iOS and learn how to greatly enhance the functionality, performance and design of their apps. Mac developers will see and learn how to develop world-class Mac OS X Lion applications using its latest technologies and capabilities. Developers can even bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers, applying development techniques and best-practices to enhance their apps.

Activities at Apple's WWDC 2011 include:

  • More than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers on a wide range of technology-specific topics for developing, deploying and integrating the latest iOS and Mac OS technologies
  • Over 1,000 Apple engineers providing developers with code-level assistance, insight into optimal development techniques, and guidance on how they can make the most of iOS and Mac OS technologies in their apps; the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow iPad, iPhone and Mac developers from around the world
  • AppleDesign Awards which recognize iPad, iPhone and Mac apps that demonstrate technical excellence, innovation and outstanding design.

Go to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 website to purchase tickets, as well as for updates and more information.

The conference is already sold out.

The Evolution of AppleDesign

Exhibitmag.com says:

AppleDesign, 1977 to 2007
AppleDesign, 1977 to 2007

"Mac . . . the mere spell of the name causes sensation among the tech-lovers. Apple's unique way to say hi to the personal computer world is known as Mac and no one would ever have a second thought on rating the products masterminded by Steve Jobs.

"Mac undoubtedly gets an inclined liking, thanks to its exclusive features, elegant and mesmerising looks and that special oomph factor. And today, Apple Mac is undeniably way ahead of many contemporary desktops, laptops and netbooks.

"But was it always like that?

"What are the x-factors that put Mac higher than any other Windows computer?

"Let's try to find out the whys, what's and whereabouts of the masterpiece white eye-catchers!"

Adobe Hammers Another Nail in PowerPC Coffin

Cnet's Stephen Shankland reports that an Adobe Systems tool that lets older software handle RAW images from newer digital cameras is about to leave behind Apple's PowerPC-based Macs, noting that the upcoming version 6.4 of Adobe's DNG Converter will be the last to run on the older Macs, according to Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty in a blog post over the weekend that notes:

"The PowerPC (PPC) Mac systems, commonly referred to as G4 or G5 systems, represent a significantly different platform than the Intel-based solutions Apple started offering in January of 2006. Due to the differences in software development environments, Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 both dropped support for PowerPC systems in 2010. However, there is increasing overhead required to support the PowerPC code base in the DNG Converter, so the final DNG Converter 6.4 update will be the last update to support PowerPC systems."

Tackling System Fans That Run Loudly after Updating OS X

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler notes that in some instances after installing a system update, users may experience problems with the computer's cooling fans running loudly - either immediately and continuously or intermittently but frequently - possibly accompanied by system slowdowns, but at times happening with no other apparent effects.

Potential causes are cited as corrupt hardware settings, corruption in software configurations and temporary files, and a fault in the OS upgrade or update itself.

Editor's note: Another option to reducing loud fans is to use smcFanControl, which lets you specify a maximum rotation speed for your Mac's cooling fans. It won't make them run any less often - and perhaps for longer periods due to the slower speed - but cutting the RPM rate does reduce noise. dk

Selling Your Mac: Getting the Most from Your Old Machine

AppStorm's Sean Williams says:

"One of the great things about Macs is the high resale value they maintain over time. In the last 4 years alone, I've never had to pay more than $300 out-of-pocket for a brand-new Macintosh, and that's because I've been able to get the most value from the Macs I've sold!

"I've put together a simple list of everything to consider when you go to sell your Mac. Read on past the break and well look at some steps for getting the most out of selling your Mac."

Spotlight Searches on Steroids

Practically Efficient says:

"Your Mac comes with an extraordinary search system called Spotlight. It's so great, so fast, so near perfection, and oh so coveted by certain unnamed Apple competitors . . . I'm okay just calling it magic and using it to find stuff really fast.

"I have to confess that until very recently, I didn't know you could include file attributes in Spotlight searches. When I found out, it blew my mind, and I began to scour the web for tips and tricks.

"This post is more or less what I found....

"I find that just using the name attribute [name:searchword] is a powerful way to narrow searches. It cuts out any hits that come from matching content. I usually remember some piece of file names, and I almost always know what kind they are...."

Products & Services

NewerTech StoraDrive Media Storage Tray for Organizing Your Digital Media

PR: Newer Technology, Inc. (NewerTech) it has expanded its hard drive accessory line with the introduction of the new $7.99 MSRP Media Storage Tray for use with the NewerTech StoraDrive. The Media Storage Tray transforms one of the stackable antistatic StoraDrive cases into a compartmentalized, padded, all-in-one storage solution for protecting and organizing multiple digital media formats.

Holds Up to 13 Pieces of Digital Media in Multiple Formats

NewerTech StoraDrive Media Storage TrayEach NewerTech Media Storage Tray can hold:

  • One 2.5" PATA/SATA Hard Drive or Solid State Drive
  • Up to two Compact Flash cards
  • Up to two Sony Memory Sticks
  • Up to four SmartMedia cards
  • Up to four SD (Secure Digital), SDHC (Secure Digital High-Capacity), or SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended-Capacity) cards

Protect and Organize Vital Stored Data in Custom-fitted, Easy Access Compartments

The NewerTech Media Storage Tray expands the functionality of the NewerTech StoraDrive by adding secure, organized storage compartments to hold the most commonly used digital media devices. Made of ESD foam rubber and weighing a mere 0.8 oz., the Media Storage Tray provides fingertip access to five different media formats in a single, space saving desktop location.

"The Media Storage Tray is an effective solution to expand the usefulness of a StoraDrive," says Grant Dahlke, Brand Manager, NewerTech. "Now, one StoraDrive case can be utilized to hold a full sized 3.5" drive and the other case can be fitted with this tray to store and organize the five most popular types of flash memory storage formats."

Enhances Functionality of NewerTech StoraDrive

Interlocking Two-Pack Case Solution

The Media Storage Tray insert is the perfect enhancement for the $9.95 MSRP NewerTech StoraDrive stackable antistatic cases. Economical yet highly functional, StoraDrive is a superior value to basic, single unit competing options on the market. A smooth sliding drawer action provides easy access without disrupting other interlocked cases, and each drive drawer includes a convenient label area for easy content identification. The stackable, interlocking design enables more StoraDrive cases to be added as storage needs grow. Made of antistatic injection molded ABS plastic, the StoraDrive features nonskid rubber feet to keep both case and contents securely positioned.

StoraDrive and Media Storage Tray System Ideal for Users Who Hot Swap & Archive Drives

With today's low cost of hard drive storage and Plug and Play hot swap drive access products like NewerTech's $34.99 MSRP USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter or the Voyager Drive Dock.

Priced starting from $39.99 MSRP, a greater number of computer users are incorporating the ease and convenience of accessing multiple drives into their workflow. Now, with the StoraDrive and Media Storage Tray system, photographers, videographers, and other multiple drive users and storage archivers have a safe, convenient, and organized way to store and access multiple media storage formats.

The NewerTech StoraDrive stackable case solution and the NewerTech Media Storage Tray are available immediately from NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing (OWC), as well as through the retail channel.

Software

SideFolders, a Desktop Drawer for Your Stuff

PR: Dennis Van Roeyen's SideFolders keeps your files on the left or right of your desktop so you can access them with a flick of the wrist. With the contextual menu you can fire up the file you just downloaded in your favorite application.

SideFoldersDrag & Drop files from and to any application without losing sight of the application you are working in.

Need to upload a file to a website? Just Drag & Drop on the file chooser dialog and be done with it.

Create a hierarchy of SideFolders to organize your files the way you want. Unrestricted by the physical location of your files.

When started SideFolders will automatically hide itself on the left or right side of your desktop. You can make SideFolders popup by moving your mouse to the edge of your desktop where SideFolders is hidden.

Once SideFolders is open you will see a resemblance with your Finder's sidebar. But apart from Devices, Shared and Places there is more. You will see recent files you worked with and files you downloaded recently.

  • Double click a file to open it with the default application.
  • Right click it to open a popup menu with a list of all applications for this file and an option to show it in your finder.
  • Drag a file from SideFolders to copy or use it in an application.
  • Drop a file or folder in SideFolders to copy it to a Device, Shared volume or one of your Places.

SideFolders also allows you to create your own SideFolders where you can drop the files and folders you frequently work with in a logical order. SideFolders will keep a link to the original location of the file so it will always reflect the latest version.

New in Version 1.0.1

  • Fixed an issue where unmounted volumes would be remounted.
  • Double clicking a folder now opens the contents of the folder instead of showing the location of the folder.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or later

$2.99 on the Mac App Store

VLC 1.1.8 Free Open Source Media Viewer

PR: VideoLAN and the VLC development team have announced VLC 1.1.8, a minor update of the 1.1 branch of this multiplatform app that many users prefer to Apple's QuickTime.

VLC (Video Lan Client) is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player supporting multiple audio and video formats (e.g.: MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, Ogg, many more). Both Windows and MacOS X builds are available. VLC 1.1.8 plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

New in version 1.1.8: A few small new features, many bugfixes, updated translations and security patches are included with this release. Notable improvements include an updated look on the Mac, new Dirac encoder, new VP8/Webm encoder, and numerous fixes in codecs, demuxers, interface, subtitles auto-detection, protocols and platform integration, and many miscellaneous fixes.

System requirements: VLC 1.1.8 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later

Bean 2.9.5 Beta

PR: James Hoover's Bean is a small, easy-to-use word processor (or more precisely, a rich text editor), designed to make writing convenient, efficient and comfortable. Bean is available free of charge.

MS Word, OpenOffice, etc. try to be all things to all people. But sometimes you just want the right tool for the job. That is Bean's niche. Bean is lean, fast, and uncluttered. If you get depressed at the thought of firing up MS Word or OpenOffice, try Bean.

New in version 2.9.5:

  • tabbed documents
  • freeform headers and footers
  • the .rtf and .doc formats save images
  • document templates with boilerplate text and auto-updating dates
  • split screen editing
  • 2-up layout view
  • full screen improvements
  • advanced selection by styles
  • auto-capitalization
  • improved interface
  • other added features


Bean Page Layout & Inspector

Page Layout & Inspector - Here you see Bean in page layout mode, using two text columns, with the Inspector panel open. Changes in the Inspector panel apply instantly to text. Also visible are the zoom slider and the live word count in the status bar at the bottom of the window. (Text of Emily Bronté article is from Wikipedia.)

Bean is not a replacement for MS Word. It doesn't do footnotes or use stylesheets and is only partially compatible with Word's file formats.

If you use Text Edit but have to jump through hoops just to get a word count or change the margins, try Bean.

If you're pining away for Write Now-esque simplicity or just want a low-pressure writing environment, try Bean.

Features

  • A live word count
  • A Get Info panel for in-depth statistics
  • A zoom-slider to easily change the view scale
  • An Inspector panel with lots of sliders
  • Date-stamped backups
  • Autosaving
  • A page layout mode
  • An alternate colors option (e.g., white text on blue)
  • An option to show invisible characters (tabs, returns, spaces)
  • Selection of text by text style, paragraph style, color, etc.
  • A floating windows option (like Stickies has)
  • Easy to use menus
  • Remembers cursor position (excluding .txt, .html, .webarchive formats)
  • All of Cocoa's good stuff (dictionary, word completion, etc.)

Bean doesn't do footnotes, predefined text styles, floating graphics (but it does do inline graphics).


Bean Full Screen & Statistics

Full Screen & Statistics - Here you see Bean in full screen mode with the Get Info... sheet open. Alternate editing colors are turned on (white on blue here, but they are customizable), and the margins are set at 16% of the screen size. (Text from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté, courtesy Project Gutenberg.)

File Formats

Bean natively reads and writes these file formats:

  • .rtf format (rich text)
  • .rtfd format (rich text with graphics)
  • .bean format (identical to .rtfd)
  • .txt format (Unicode and legacy)
  • .html format (as source code)
  • .webarchive format (Apple's web archive format)


Bean HTML Editing

Rich text editing, Plain text/HTML editing, Export to HTML - The left window shows Bean editing a rich text document with images (a version of Beans webpage). This document was then exported to HTML using Bean (the HTML file is open in Bean in the middle window). In the frontmost window, this same HTML file is shown rendered as a webpage in Safari (after copying the image files to the HTML files directory).

Bean transparently imports and exports these formats:

  • .doc format (MS Word '97, minus images, margins, and page size)
  • .docx format (Word 2007, minus images and some formatting)
  • .odt format (OpenDocument, minus images, margins, and page size)
  • .xml format (MS Word 2003 XML, minus images)

Bean can export all of the above formats to these formats:

  • .html (web page format, minus images)
  • .pdf
  • .doc compatible (with images intact)
  • .rtf (with images intact)

System requirements: A Mac with a PPC or Intel processor running OS X 10.4 Tiger, OS X 10.5 Leopard, or OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The beta requires 10.5 or later.

Bean is open source, provided at no monetary cost and is released under the Gnu General Public Licence.

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