Mac News Review

Apple Most Valuable Brand, OS X 10.8.2 Update, Launchpad Manager, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.09.21

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. Older Macs are covered in Vintage Mac News. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Purchases made through links to Amazon.com and Apple's iTunes/iBook/App/Mac App Store support Low End Mac.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Now World's Most Valuable Brand

PR: The global brand value ranking eurobrand global 100 by eurobrand, the European independent experts for brand, patent & IP valuation & strategy, examining more than 3,000 brand corporations and their brands in 16 industries, with comparisons of Europe, America, and Asia.

Apple is now the world's most valuable brandThe most valuable global brand is Apple with a brand value of €100,239 bn, followed by the brand portfolio of the Coca Cola Company representing a value of €59,978 bn, and Microsoft with a brand value of €53,973 bn. The Global Top 10 are all US-based.

The further Global TOP 10 are represented by IBM (€52,637 bn), Google (€50603 bn), Philip Morris International incl. Marlboro (€48,309 bn), Procter & Gamble incl. Olay, Gillette, Pampers etc. (€47,144 bn), McDonald's (€45,847 bn), Johnson & Johnson (€44,662 bn) and AT&T with a brand value of €44,494 bn

The global brand value ranking eurobrand global 100 by eurobrand the European independent experts for brand, patent and IP valuation and strategy - examining more than 3,000 brand corporations and their brands in 16 industries, with comparisons of Europe, America and Asia.

Europe's most valuable brand corporation remains LVMH, whose brands include Luis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy, etc., and represent a value of €34,306 bn (global rank 14), followed by, Vodafone with a value of €28,578 bn (global rank 17) and the brands of ABInBev representing a value of €28,021 bn (global rank 19).

Gerhard Hrebicek, CEO of eurobrand and President of the European Brand Institute summarizes the major findings:

1. Top 100 brand corporations grow on average +5% in brand value - strong brands grow much faster than the average.

Apple shows the highest increase by +43.9% whereas HP depreciates -28,3%. Highest growth in Europe show Germany's most valuable brand corporation Volkswagen Group gaining +26.7% and the Swiss No. 2 brand corporation Novartis growing by +20.2%. Samsung (+39%) shows the highest growth in Asia.

2. Europe leading in old brands, North America is strong in new brands. Europe is the continent of consumer goods representing the old brand business, North America is strong in IT&technology representing the new brand business, Asia takes the best of both other continents and grows the fastest.

Europe shows double the quantity of brands, whereas North America shows double the value performance compared to Europe.

3. Small European countries worldwide leading in brand contribution to the economy. Contributing to the actual discussion in Europe: brand corporations of small countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland create the highest contribution to their economy and are therefore global leaders concerning the brand value to GDP ratio.

4. Europe is built on SMEs with strong brands. Brand and IP valuation, analysis and reporting, IP value oriented management and company structures evolve as key tasks also for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are important for the development of Europe and globally.

eurobrandforum 2012

Upcoming eurobrandforum on October 17, 2012 in Vienna gathers international brand decision makers, discussing the future of brands, their development, management and organization for value generation.

Google Drive Is the New Home for Google Docs

Google DrivePR: Google has announced that Google Docs has been merged into its Google Drive Cloud service, and you can access your Google Docs files anytime at drive.google.com. You can still do everything you could before, like create, share, and collaborate with Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Now you can access your stuff anywhere, making it much easier to upload and sync your files across all your devices, to find files faster, and to work with more web apps.

YouTube video: http://bit.ly/PkzTuL

Drive is available for Mac, PC, Android, iPhone & iPad devices.

Features

  • Find files faster. Look for files by keyword and Drive searches everything even text within scanned documents or images without any text at all. Drive also comes with a simplified navigation to help you better organize your files, and there's a new grid view to help you see thumbnails at a glance. Learn more about the new look and how to find your files.
  • Beyond Google Docs, Drive now works with other web apps. Google Docs are now stored in Google Drive, so you can continue to work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Plus, Drive is integrated with a growing number of third-party apps, so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups all in one place. With Google Drive, you can quickly view many file types online, including PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and many image file types.

Any file that you upload or sync to Google Drive and don't convert to a Google Docs format can be accessed through the Google Drive viewer. To do so, click on the file's title in Google Drive on the web or by following a link shared with you.

Here are some things you can do from the Google Drive viewer:

  • Show revision history of the file (if you have owner or edit rights)
  • Change the sharing settings (if you have owner or edit rights)
  • Download and print by going to the File menu and selecting Download as...
  • Search text on the page using the search box in the upper right.
  • Add your comments in all types of files.
  • Only files under 25 MB can be previewed with the Google Drive viewer.

Supported File Types

Google Drive viewer helps you preview over 16 different file types:

  • Image files (.JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .TIFF, .BMP)
  • Video files (WebM, .MPEG4, .3GPP, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV)
  • Text files (.TXT)
  • Markup/Code (.CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS)
  • Microsoft Word (.DOC and .DOCX)
  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
  • Archive file types (.ZIP and .RAR)
  • Google Drive is also connected directly to Gmail. If you receive an attachment in Gmail, you can click the View link, which will display that file attachment through the Google Drive viewer.

Search Your Uploaded Files

You can search for text in PDF and image files by:

  • Typing a query in the search box in Google Drive on the web.
  • Opening the Google Drive viewer and using the search box in the upper right.
  • You'll be able to search the first 100 pages of any text documents or text-based PDFs that you've uploaded. You'll also be able to search for text found on the first ten pages of any image PDFs on your Drive.

Offline Access

  • Access Google Drive even when you're not connected to the Internet. - Internet outages and long plane rides shouldn't prevent you from working in Google Drive. Set up offline access so that the next time you're offline you'll still be able to view Google documents and spreadsheets, shuffle folders around, and edit non-Google Docs files stored in your Google Drive folder.
  • You can view Google documents and spreadsheets without an Internet connection. You can also edit Google documents while offline. View access isn't available for Google presentations, forms, or drawings. Learn more about using Google Docs offline.

Non-Google Docs Files That You've Stored in Google Drive

  • You can both view and edit files such as PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and images, from your Google Drive folder even when you're disconnected from the Internet. Any changes you've made to synced files while offline will sync to all devices with a time stamp when you reconnect to the Internet.

Google Drive offers 5 GB of free cloud storage - and 25 GB for less than $2.50 per month.

Google Drive clients support Windows XP and later, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and later, Android 5.1 and later, and iOS 5 and later. It can also be accessed with most modern web browsers, although Google specifically recommends Chrome.

Apple Updates

Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 Update

The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 update is Ready to install via Software Update, is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users and includes new features and fixes.

You can also download the manual update installer, your editor's preferred method and also 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.

Link to OS X 10.8.2 download page for the 665.39 MB standalone Combo installer: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1581

OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 includes the following new features and fixes:

Facebook

  • Single sign on for Facebook
  • Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos
  • See Facebook friends' contact information and profile pictures in Contacts
  • Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center

Game Center

  • Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages
  • Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations
  • Added Facebook "Like" button for games
  • Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement

Other New Features

  • Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010)
  • iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac*
  • You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from Safari and Mail on your Mac*
  • FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number*
  • New shared Reminders lists
  • New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them
  • Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian
  • Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary
  • Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts

* Requires iOS 6

General Fixes

The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 update also includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, including the following fixes:

  • Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As
  • Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail
  • Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone
  • URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center
  • Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used
  • Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari
  • Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages
  • Resolves an issue that may cause the "Enable Autodiscover" checkbox to always remain checked
  • Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled
  • Support for @icloud.com email addresses
  • Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out
  • Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to reappear prior to logging in
  • Improvements to SMB
  • Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled
  • Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible
  • Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system
  • Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard

For information about the security content of this update, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

Apple Releases OS X Update 10.7.5, Adds Gatekeeper

The OS X Lion 10.7.5 update is recommended for all OS X Lion users and includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac. It also includes the Gatekeeper security feature that was introduced with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion that helps you keep your Mac safe from malicious software by giving you more user control over what apps are installed on your Mac.

The OS X 10.7.5 Lion update also includes fixes that:

  • Resolve an issue where icons in Launchpad may get rearranged after a restart
  • Improve WiFi reliability for iMac (Late 2009 and newer)
  • Resolve an issue using Spotlight to search an SMB server
  • Improve compatibility connecting to Active Directory servers

For information about the security content of this update, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

System Requirements: OS X Lion 10.7

OS X Lion Update 10.7.5 (Client Combo) updater download: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1582

Apple Releases OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Security Update 2012-004

Security Update 2012-004 is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X.

For information about the security content of this update, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.8

Products & Services

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mountain Lion Edition

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mountain Lion EditionPR: Ready to move to the Mac? This guide helps you make a smooth transition. New York Times columnist and Missing Manuals creator David Pogue gets you past three challenges: transferring your stuff, assembling Mac programs so you can do what you did with Windows, and learning your way around OS X.

Learning to use a Mac is not a piece of cake, but once you do, the rewards are oh-so-much better. You won't find questionable firewalls or inefficient permissions. Just a beautiful machine with a thoroughly reliable system. Whether you're using Windows XP or Windows 7, Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mountain Lion Edition (O'Reilly Media, $29.99) has you covered.

  • Transfer your stuff. Moving files from a PC to a Mac is the easy part. This guide gets you through the tricky things: extracting your email, address book, calendar, Web bookmarks, buddy list, desktop pictures, and MP3 files.
  • Re-create your software suite. Big-name programs from Microsoft, Adobe, and others are available in both Mac and Windows versions, but hundreds of other programs are Windows-only. Learn the Macintosh equivalents and how to move data to them.
  • Learn OS X Mountain Lion. Once you've moved into the Macintosh mansion, it's time to learn your way around. You're in good hands with the author of Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, the #1 best-selling guide to OS X.

The author, David Pogue, Yale '85, is the weekly personal-technology columnist for the New York Times and an Emmy award-winning tech correspondent for CBS News. His amusing tech videos appear weekly on CNBC. And with 3 million books in print, he is also one of the world's best-selling how-to authors. In 1999, Mr. Pogue launched his own series of amusing, practical, and user-friendly computer books called Missing Manuals, which now includes 100 titles.

Free Ebook: Hard Drive Troubleshooting

PR: Software and Computer Systems Company, LLC (SCSC) has just released a new, free ebook in PDF format title "Hard Drive Troubleshooting." The book, which is 141 pages in length is available for free download to any interested users from SCSC's web site

"This book is provided to complement our hard drive scanning and analysis tool, Scannerz for Mac OS X," says an SCSC spokesman. "If someone thinks they have a hard drive problem, we thought it would be a good idea to release a book explaining how they can test and evaluate their problems without possibly buying an unneeded hard drive, or for that matter, software. Although the book references our product, Scannerz for Mac OS X, the fact is Scannerz, or for that matter any other analysis tool on the market cannot and will not be able to identify a problem that appears to be a drive problem, when in fact it may be traced to something else, like a failing power supply. This book traces the data flow all the way from the I/O controller on the logic board to the read and write heads actually exchanging data with the drive platters. We hope this book will become the de facto standard reference manual for hard drive and system problems on Mac OS X based systems."

"Through years of analysis and experience, we've determined that hard drive related problems can range from the obvious to the obscure. Examples of obvious failures would include a logic board with a bad I/O controller or CPU, a failed controller on a hard drive, or a severe head crash rendering a drive useless. Obscure problems, which are every bit as, if not more common as obvious problems, can include such things as cracks in traces on the logic board, a weak solder joint, or connectors that are marginally functional. Obscure problems typically yield extremely erratic system performance, often with intermittent errors, leading users to believe they have a severe, unrepairable problem, when in fact it it might be easily fixed. The purpose of this document is to provide owners with a set of procedures that will allow them to at least understand what's going wrong, and in many cases, fix it."

Topics covered by the book include the following:

  • Definitions of failure and problem types
  • Descriptions of how particular failures and problems effect systems
  • Identification of problems and failures on internal and external drive systems
  • Software problems that can appear as drive or system problems
  • Remapping bad sectors to good sectors on a drive with platter damage
  • Dealing with drives that aren't visible to a system
  • Dealing with drives or systems behaving erratically
  • Dealing with drives or systems suffering from intermittent lockup or shutdown
  • Dealing with drives or systems suffering periodic crashes

The book is intended for users using systems that typically fall into the following categories:

  • They're using systems running Mac OS X Version 10.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • Either a PowerPC G4 or Intel based system

Although the book is clearly targeted at users using Apple Macintosh based systems, the general theory is applicable to almost any Mac or PC based system. SCSC invites anyone interested to download the book from their website.

HGST Announces Radically New, Helium-filled 3.5" Hard Disk Drive Platform

PR: Western Digital's HGST subsidiary (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies) has announced a new helium-filled hard disk drive platform, which the company says is in the vanguard of advanced hard drive technology for increasing capacity and significantly reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise and cloud customers especially.

With products expected to ship in 2013, the new platform enables HGST to go beyond its award-winning five-platter design, providing a path for higher capacity storage and lower customer TCO for years to come. With industrywide challenges in scaling current areal density technologies, this new platform allows HGST to design seven-platter drives in a standard 3.5" form factor that it claims will cost-effectively extend the capacity and cost-per-gigabyte curve for many product generations to come. In addition, the inherent benefits of the platform, including the helium fill, allow HGST to significantly improve datacenter TCO on virtually every level: capacity, power, cooling and storage density.

New Platform for Reducing TCO

With the explosion of data resulting from mobile devices, Internet services, social media and business applications, corporate, cloud and big data customers are constantly looking for ways and means to improve their storage infrastructure costs and their bottom line. Also, HGST says that new storage models, such as cold storage, are evolving in ways that require enormous amounts of data to be stored and available within a moment's notice. These hyperscale datacenters must deploy massive amounts of storage with the best TCO to help them manage their costs and growing storage needs. And when it comes to TCO, numbers matter most cost-per-terabyte, watt-per-TB, TB-per-system weight and TB-per-square foot.

The density of helium is one-seventh that of air, delivering significant advantages to HGSTs sealed-drive platform. The lower density means dramatically less drag force acting on the spinning disk stack so that mechanical power into the motor is substantially reduced. The lower helium density also means that the fluid flow forces buffeting the disks and the arms, which position the heads over the data tracks, are substantially reduced allowing for disks to be placed closer together (i.e., seven disks in the same enclosure) and to place data tracks closer together (i.e., allowing continued scaling in data density). The lower shear forces and more efficient thermal conduction of helium also mean the drive will run cooler and will emit less acoustic noise.

"The benefits of operating a hard drive with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the hard drive enclosure cost effectively in high-volume manufacturing," says Steve Campbell, chief technology officer at HGST. "We are excited about the introduction of this platform, which demonstrates HGST technology leadership and is the result of more than six years of development in materials science, mechanical engineering and process technology. Thanks to the hard work of our research and engineering teams, our initial pilot lines are up and operational, putting HGST in position to introduce this technology first into the market."

"As a technology innovator, HGST continues to invest in multiple R&D efforts that will help us win new customers, gain deeper market penetration and deliver a significant return on investment for our customers," comments Mike Cordano, president of HGST. "Our new breakthrough platform delivers unprecedented innovation with new features optimized to meet the performance, scalability, efficiency and TCO demands of both corporate and cloud datacenters, which could not be achieved using conventional techniques. With these improvements, customer interest has been positive and we look forward to qualifying our new drives in 2013."

The new, helium-filled sealed-drive platform was demonstrated this week at the Western Digital Investor event in Irvine, California. At the event, HGST compared the power consumption between a helium-filled drive and an equivalent air-filled drive side-by-side, demonstrating a reduction in power consumption for the helium-filled drive of 23 percent. Taking into account the extra capacity coming from two additional disks, the improvement in watts-per-TB is 45 percent. In addition to consuming less power, the drive operates four degrees Celsius cooler, requiring less cooling in the system rack and data center. This reduction in power and associated cooling cost significantly contributes to the lower TCO of the helium-filled platform. The critical watt-per-TB metric will further improve over time as the helium-filled drive platform enables significantly higher drive capacities in future product generations.

HGST will release specific capacities points and product specifications when the platform launches in 2013.

Software

Launchpad Manager for Lion and Mountain Lion

PR: Launchpad Manager lets you delete any icons from Launchpad.

Launchpad Manager for Lion and Mountain Lion
Launchpad Manager for Lion and Mountain Lion

Note: This will not uninstall your app, it only remove the icon! Available in free and pro versions.

Features

  • Available in Free (partially crippled demo) and Pro Versions
  • Delete any Icons or Groups in Launchpad
  • Rename any of your Icons or Groups
  • With the Quick Select buttons can tidy up your Launchpad with a couple of clicks!
  • Cut and Paste for moving things around quickly
  • Organise Groups - Select icons and move them into a new group with a single click
  • Add missing applications to Launchpad
  • Simple Drag'n'Drop Reordering
  • Save Layout
  • Load Layout - restore a previously saved layout
  • Alphabetical Ordering of icons
  • Move Icons to another page
  • Move icons to a new page

System requirements: Mac OS X Lion 10.7 or Mountain Lion 10.8

In order to unlock all the Pro features you must purchase a license for $7.99. A single license can be used on up to five computers.

GIMP Robust Freeware Image Editor Reviewed

AppStorm's Drew DuPont notes that when it comes to image editors, Adobe Photoshop remains the gold standard for professionals. But for students, amateurs, or anyone starting their career, the $700 price tag (or even ~$200 with a student discount) is likely prohibitive. There are cheaper apps available, such as Acorn and Pixelmator, but they offer far fewer features.

Luckily, says DuPont, there's the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a completely free and open source image editor that nearly matches Photoshop's versatility. It's long been available on the Mac if you had X11 installed, but it never looked the part of a high quality Mac app.

However, DuPont says that's all changed with the latest 2.8.2 release of GIMP, which shipped as a fully native Mac app, which prompted him to take a closer look at the most popular Photoshop alternate.

A graphic designer, DuPont knows his way in and out of Photoshop, but says that the moment he loaded up the GIMP, he was astonished at the similarities between this free program and Adobe's expensive giant, noting that the interface in GIMP Version 28.2 bears a striking resemblance to Photoshop CS6 - down to the coal-gray color scheme and the palette dock on the right.

GIMP for Mac requires OS X 10.6 or later.

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