Mac News Review

Mac Share Slips Worldwide, Boost Mac Pro Bluetooth, Logitech's Wireless Solar Keyboard, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.11.05

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Mac Market Share Slips Worldwide, Grows in US

The Register's Rik Myslewski says:

"Although Apple may seem to be riding an unending wave of success after success, a new study shows that its worldwide market share is slipping.

"'Mac usage share globally has been in a slow decline over the past several months,' say the analysts at NetMarketShare, 'dropping below 5 per cent in October.'" [Editor's note: The graph accompanying this article shows Mac market share at exactly 5.00%, not below 5% - and it's been in the 5.00 to 5.06 range for four months now, so this is not exactly news. Over the past year, Windows has dropped 1.1% while Apple's iOS platform has grown to 1.26%. dk]

Myslewski adds that contrary to the global trend, US Mac market share is increasing according to the same report, "reaching 11.41 per cent in October from 11.32 per cent in September and 11.20 per cent in August."

Other interesting factoids gleaned from the report are that Linux adoption in the US is less than two-thirds that of the global stat, iOS use is more than twice as high in the US than globally, and US Android use four times as great.

Mac mini £50 Cheaper in UK

The Register reports that Apple UK has knocked £50 off the price of the Mac mini, bringing the price down from a previous £649 to £599.

Mac mini €100 Cheaper in Europe

Hardmac's Lionel reports that the Mac mini is finally cheaper in Europe as well, Apple dropping the price by €100 on average in most European Apple Stores, from €799 for the basic model to €699, but says that's still much too high to really compete with similar small box PCs.

Improve Mac Pro's Bluetooth Range

Hardmac's Lionel says Pattali, one of Hardmac's forum members, has found a solution to improve Bluetooth range on his Mac Pro by adding an external antenna, thus bypassing the signal-reducing Faraday cage effect faced by Mac Pro owners when it comes to Bluetooth and WiFi.

Right Wing Website Releases Video Homage to Apple's Legendary 1984 Commercial

PR: The conservative advocacy organization RightChange, Inc. has released a new "Politizoid" video riffing on Apple's 1984 Big Brother television commercial that was broadcast during that year's Super Bowl.

Right Change says the spot is their closing argument on the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress for the 2010 Midterm Cycle, and also the Kick-off for the 2012 Presidential election Cycle. The animated video's artistic style is reminiscent of Pixar's (a company founded by Steve Jobs and now owned by Disney) animations.

Big Brother ObamaRightChange's 1984 Big Brother features a long list of cast members in their actual words, including Oprah Winfrey, Louis Farrakhan, Maxine Waters, President Barack Obama, and George Soros. President Obama is the Big Brother figure and speaks to the marching minions through television screens as they are brainwashed with rhetoric from the list of cast members.

1984 Big Brother includes Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters in her own words saying she wants a government takeover of business, interrupted by an unnamed American heroine resembling the one in the Apple commercial who runs into the building to save America from a government takeover carrying a torch with We The People engraved on it.

Founded in August 2008, RightChange.com, Inc., affirms commitment to supporting policies and candidates dedicated to fiscal responsibility and a strong national security for the United States, while upholding the principles of freedom, competitiveness, and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people.

RightChange.com's core team of content producers self-described as "a new generation of conservative film, Hollywood, TV and technology professionals," has, using animation and nontraditional production techniques to provide independent and conservative voters with something more than the traditional political sound bite that is sometimes ignored, has grown its audience to a claimed more than 813,000 active Facebook followers in just a few weeks.

Apple Updates

Apple Releases EFI Firmware Update 1.5 for 2010 Mac Pro

The Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5 is recommended for all Mac Pro (Mid 2010) models and addresses the following issues:

  • Resolves an issue that prevented the firmware password prompt from being displayed
  • Resolves an issue that prevented the boot picker from being presented if Ethernet is connected to a network without DHCP

Products & Services

Logitech Intros Solar-Powered Keyboard

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750PR: Logitech has introduced the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 - the company's first light-powered keyboard. The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard powers itself whenever there's light, even indoors, making battery hassles a thing of the past.

"The keyboard is still the best input device for typing emails and IMs, updating your Facebook page or posting responses to your favorite blogs, and the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 is the next big innovation in keyboard technology", says Denis Pavillard, vice president of product marketing for Logitech keyboards and desktops. "The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard is powered by light but can work in total darkness for up to three months. Plus, with its PVC-free construction and fully recyclable packaging, it's designed to minimize its footprint."

To give you hassle-free convenience, the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard powers itself through its integrated solar panel - no power bricks or charging cables needed.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750The included solar power app (available for download beginning Nov. 15, 2010) features a lux meter to help you get the necessary light, makes it easy to get at-a-glance information about battery levels, and even alerts you when you need more power.

Logitech's first solar keyboard can be powered by indoor light and stays charged for at least three months in total darkness. Plus an integrated power-indicator light eliminates surprises.

Only 1/3" Thick

But Logitech has done much more than bring solar power to the keyboard. At only 1/3-inch thick, the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard looks good, and with its rounded edges and thin profile, this keyboard is a joy to hold as well as behold.

Feel-Good Typing

The low-profile keyboard features Logitech Incurve keys. Using a concave design, Incurve keys support the shape of your fingertips, while helping guide your fingers to the right keys. In addition, the soft, rounded edges make it easy for your fingers to glide from key to key.

Powerful, Reliable Wireless Connection with Logitech Unifying Technology

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 offers Logitech Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity, keeping you connected with virtually no delays or dropouts, so you get all the benefits of a cord, with the convenience of wireless. Logitech Advanced 2.4 wireless also includes 128-bit AES encryption with the keyboard, one of the highest levels of security available.

Plus, the tiny Logitech Unifying receiver is small enough to stay in your laptop, so there's no need to unplug it when you move around. And you can easily add up to six Logitech Unifying and Unifying-ready mice and keyboards without the hassle of multiple USB receivers.

The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 is expected to be available in the US and Europe in November 2010 for a suggested retail price of $79.99.

New blekko Search Engine: 'Slash the Web'

PR: blekko, now launched in beta, is claimed to be a better way to search the Web by using slashtags. Slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. Use friends, experts, community, or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't.

blekko search engineblekko's developers have also posted a web search bill of rights

  1. Search shall be open
  2. Search results shall involve people
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
  4. Web data shall be readily available
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
  8. Search & community go hand-in-hand
  9. Spam does not belong in search results
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

How to Slash the Web

make 'em: Make a slashtag that includes just your favorite sites. make it as narrow (/scuba) or as broad (/favorites) as you like. Add that slashtag to any search, and you're only searching those sites.

use 'em: Find a friend's slashtag and get in their head for your searches. For example, try searching Rich's home brewing slashtag for quality info on brewing your own beer (ex. wheat beer /homebrew).

make 'em better: The blekko folks have already created hundreds of topic slashtags that you can search now. everything from /conservative to /humor to /vc is there.

Five use cases where slashtags shine

  1. Verticals with just your favorite sites: u2 /music, iphone reviews /tech, wine /buy, 2010 season /steelers, American Idol /tv
  2. Search you can't do with keywords: global warming /conservative, ufos /paranormal, congress /humor, Kim Kardashian /gossip
  3. Slash through heavily spammed categories: avoiding swine flu /health, iphone 4 reviews /techblogs, Aruba /travel, low calorie /diet
  4. Access to recent material and web data: Obama /date, Mel Gibson /rank, cnn.com /seo, techcrunch.com /links
  5. Direct access to 3rd party API's: US Open /youtube, Twilight /twitter, Moby Dick /amazon, sports car /shop

Get out there & slash the Web! You know the sites you want search results from, and you know the spammers, SEO gamers, and content farms that just get in the way. So get out there and slash the Web: slash in the sites you like and slash out the ones you don't.

Patriot Signature Memory Compatible with Macs

PR: Patriot Memory, a manufacturer of high quality memory module and flash memory solutions, supports the Macintosh with the latest addition to its Patriot Signature Lines, the Patriot Signature Memory.

The Patriot Signature Memory products are tested and qualified to run on Apple computer systems including recently released new memory kits of 4 or 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR3 clocked at 1333 MHz to support iMac Core i3, i5, and i7 and all recent MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Patriot guarantees compatibility, performance and quality memory products. Patriot Signature Memory lines come with a lifetime warranty.

Software

Ommwriter Dana Alternate Environment for Writers

PR: A wise man once said "We are all at the mercy of our wild monkey minds. Incessantly swinging from branch to branch." With multiple windows and applications all vying for our attention, we have sadly adapted our working habits to that of the computer and not the other way around.

OmmWriter Dana is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.

OmmWriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

If you are a scriptwriter, blogger, journalist, copywriter, poet, or just someone who enjoys writing, welcome back to concentrating.

New in the latest version of OmmWriter Dana:

  • Monospace font support.
  • Larger text size option to improve accessibility and for visually-challenged users.
  • Access to Menu bar from within OmmWriter by scrolling to top of screen.
  • Ability to create a new file using the file menu or with command + N.
  • Compatible with spaces.
  • Dual screen support that blanks out the second screen when in use.
  • Ability to return to the original text box size (in view menu).
  • New file formats to save to: .pdf or .rtf.
  • Improved user experience with horizontal cursor.

OmmWriter Dana has two versions. Dana I is available for free and Dana II is a paid version. However, all the new features mentioned above are available in both versions - and hence available to everybody regardless of price. The difference is in the audiovisual experiences provided. OmmWriter Dana I comes with a basic set of 3 audio and 3 visual experiences.

OmmWriter Dana II contains the full set of 7 audio and 8 visual experiences, which may be of interest to some of you. We are very proud of the new selection of sounds and images and hope you like them too.

The careful selection of the audio and visual backgrounds is critical to the overall OmmWriter experience. The new visual backgrounds include a carefully selected set of images and photographs. In addition, we have worked closely together with a Color therapy expert to help us include two new visual chromatherapy backgrounds (visual #7 and # 8). These backgrounds employ dynamically changing color techniques to subconsciously promote tranquility (#7) as well as to stimulate creativity (#8). Visual experience #5 is intended to stimulate writer creativity through the use of subliminal inspirational text that changes with every session.

New audio experiences with OmmWriter Dana have been designed to reproduce background sounds that promote concentration. Track #6 reproduces the sounds typically heard in a library. Track #7 tries to simulate the sounds that an unborn child would hear inside the mother's womb.

OmmWriter Dana II has no set price. You decide, based on what you get out of OmmWriter beyond a low minimum price of $4.11 which you can keep or you can change.

The developers hope to have a basic version for the iPad available soon.

Officially, OmmWriter Dana supports Mac OS X 10.5.0 and higher. Mac OS 10.6 + recommended.

NeoOffice Adds New Security and Stability Improvements

PR: NeoOffice is a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database programs) for Mac OS X. Based on the Openoffice.Org Office Suite, NeoOffice, released as free, Open-Source software, has integrated dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft Office, and adding improvements such as:

  • extremely stable Mac OS X code that has been in daily use by hundreds of thousands of NeoOffice users since 2003
  • Significant speed improvements to the OpenOffice.Org code
  • Special Services for our donors

NeoOffice draws highlighted text the same as Apple's Safari and TextEdit applications. Recent versions of Openoffice.Org attempt to emulate native Mac OS X text highlighting by drawing a very light shade of the system highlight color on top of the highlighted text. However, Many of our users have requested support for full native Mac OS X text highlighting behavior in NeoOffice, so the text highlighting code in NeoOffice's underlying Openoffice.Org Code has been rewritten to draw highlighted text the same as Apple's various Mac OS X applications.

In this version, the developers have fixed several critical crashing and hanging bugs found by our users. we have also added the following security and stability improvements:

  • Temporary files are encrypted when Filevault is enabled
  • Fix for bugs that cause embedded images to be lost after saving Writer or Impress documents

New In NeoOffice 3.1.1:

  • NeoOffice Mobile now saves last 10 versions of each file
  • NeoOffice Mobile users can now view significantly more previous versions of each file. before this change, NeoOffice donors could only view the 2 most recent versions of each file but this is now expanded to 10 versions.

New In NeoOffice 3.0.2: native Mac OS X text highlighting and Open Calc or Impress instead of Writer at launch

New in version 3.1.2:

  • Temporary Files Are Encrypted When Filevault Is Enabled.
  • Fix For Bugs That Cause Embedded Images To Be Lost After Saving Writer Or Impress Documents.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.

Also available:

  • NeoOffice 3.1.2 For PowerPC
  • NeoOffice 3.1.2 Patch 1 (Bug Fixes)

NeoOffice Mobile application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch now available. You can find the NeoOffice Mobile Application by searching for "NeoOffice Mobile" in the Apple App Store. Note that the NeoOffice Mobile application requires that you have a NeoOffice Mobile account, and the application only supports viewing, not editing, of your published documents.

Cornerstone Bible 8.0 Collection of Bibles and Bible Study Tools

Cornerstone BiblePR: Cornerstone Bible has 15 versions and 3 commentaries

  • One Year Bible, TNIV
  • Matthew Henry's Commentary - Wesley's Notes - Scofield Reference Notes -
  • Strong's with Greek and Hebrew Lexicons
  • Encyclopedia - Easton's and Fausset's Dictionary - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge - Names of God - Bible Names
  • Devotionals - Bible Toons - Bible Maps and Time Lines

New with Version 8.0:

  • 2 Audio Bibles - KJV and WEB (World English Bible)

Download Price: $25

For a CD by Mail: $35

Cornerstone Bible 8.0 for Mac X

Cornerstone Bible 7.6 for XP - Vista - Windows 7

Cornerstone Bible 8.0 Outline

  • Bibles
    • King James Version - w/Audio
    • The Amplified Bible
    • American Standard Version
    • Darby Bible Translation
    • The Living Bible
    • New King James Version
    • The Message
    • New Century Version
    • Revised Standard Version
    • Today's New International Version
    • World English Bible - w/Audio
    • Contemporary English Version
    • Young's Literal Translation
    • Spanish - La Biblia Reina-Valera
    • French - Louis Segond
  • Commentaries
    • Matthew Henry's Commentaries
    • Wesley's Notes
    • Scofield Reference Notes
    • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  • Strong's Concordance
    • Concordance
    • KJV with Strong's Numbers and all versions
    • Greek Lexicon
    • Hebrew Lexicon
  • Dictionaries
    • Easton's Bible Dictionary
    • Fausset's Bible Dictionary
    • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    • Naves Topical Bible
    • Names of God
    • Hitchcock's Bible Names
  • Bible History and Maps
    • Bible Maps
    • Time Lines
    • Diagrams
    • Bible History
    • On This Day in Church History
    • Cities - Mountains - Rivers
  • Bible Toons
    • Four Different Bible Toons Every Day
  • Devotionals
    • Today's Word
    • Spurgeon's Devotional
    • Every Day Light
    • Living Water for Your Soul
    • Daily Disciples
    • One Year Bible - TNIV

$25 Shareware

System Support: PPC/Intel

Sophos Releases Free Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac

PR: As Apple computers grow more popular than ever, they're an increasingly-enticing target for hackers. And these hackers aren't just mischief-makers - by targeting your computer or applications you use, criminals are bent on identity theft; out to steal and profit from your valuable personal information. Now you can help foil them with free Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac.

Sophos Anti-Virus for MacEasy to install, Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition is quiet to run and simple to use as it keeps you safe from viruses, Trojans, and worms without getting in your way.

Sophos says it's high-grade protection that won't slow you down.

Best of all, it's free full-featured anti-virus. You get business-grade protection for your Mac backed by SophosLabs experts who are on the job every day of the year, 24 hours a day. They'll stop, quarantine, and clean up Mac or Windows threats that try to infect your computer and can even stop new, unknown threats.

Nobody likes system popups or system slowdowns, so Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition pledges to not annoy you with messages or take up your computer's resources. Once you install Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition, you're the boss. Want it to just scan quietly in the background as you work? No problem. Need to create a custom scan to check what you want and leave out what you don't? It can do that, too.

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition Features:

Full protection from viruses, Trojans and worms

Stops all threats, even those designed for Windows. Not only is your computer safe, files you send to other computers are safe from threats as well. Stops all threats, familiar and unfamiliar, even if it's something new.

Quarantines and removes the threats it finds

You might not want to immediately delete any bad files our scans find. No problem. You have the flexibility to quarantine questionable files and check them again later, or you can have them immediately removed from your computer. The choice is yours.

Sophos say they have put the entire force of their business-strength threat expertise behind Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac, but still kept it light and easy. Once installed, it'll work quietly in the background, alerting you when it finds something nasty.

Any found threat is listed in the Quarantine Manager component of Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac. Just click the black shield on your menu bar and choose "Open Quarantine Manager" from the menu that appears. Once you have the Quarantine Manager open, you can see all the threats the scans found and choose how to remove them.

Checksum Checking

Each version of an application has a unique checksum. If you have downloaded Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition from a location other than Sophos, and you want to confirm that it is genuine, you should confirm the checksum to make sure it is an authentic Sophos file.

To confirm a checksum, run the md5 checksum application as follows to obtain the checksum for the latest version of the installer:

Open a Terminal and type md5

Drag and drop the downloaded file from its saved location to the Terminal so that its name and path appears after md5, e.g. md5 < path/*.dmg >

Click Return

The following is displayed:

md5 < path/*.dmg > = < checksum >

where < checksum > is a hex number, something like: 60866ac0d36a938bc816115bc0e747b1

Make a note of this checksum and compare it with the checksum provided on the Sophos Anti-Virus tech specs page.

System requirements:

  • Mac with Intel or PowerPC processor
  • 256 MB of memory
  • 150 MB of available disk space
  • Mac with OS X 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • Supports all Apple Mac hardware including iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air

MD5 checksum: 21c3c6f2d93d0843238b9575792e06ef

And Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition is 100%, totally, absolutely, completely free.

ClamXav 2.0.8 Free Virus Checker Released

PR: ClamXav is a free virus checker for Mac OS X. It uses the tried, tested, and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end.

Back in the days before OS X, the number of viruses that attacked Macintosh users totaled somewhere between 60 and 80. Today, the number of viruses actively attacking OS X users is . . . none! However, this doesn't mean we should get complacent about checking incoming email attachments or web downloads, for two reasons.

Firstly, there's no guarantee that we Mac users will continue to enjoy the status quo, but more importantly, the majority of the computing world use machines running Windows, for which an enormous quantity of viruses exist, so we must be vigilant in checking the files we pass on to our friends and colleagues, etc. For example, if you're a wise person and you've turned MS Office's macro support off, then you're not going to notice that virus hiding inside this month's edition of Extreme Ironing.doc which your friend sent you. If you then forward that document to a less wise person who has not turned off macro support, then you have most likely just sent him a shiny new Pandora's Box with a sign saying "Open this end"!

Don't forget, if you run VirtualPC you can still become infected and lose valuable data on your Mac even though technically you're running Windows inside a sandbox. VPC will run any application you tell it to, virus or no virus, it doesn't know the difference. You can protect yourself slightly by not using VPC's "shared folders", but that's a useful feature which you shouldn't have to be without.

New in version 2.0.8:

  • Scanning engine updated to ClamAV 0.96.4 *
  • Improved stability during scan.
  • Fixed the issue giving "Error creating tmp directory" on scan after installation.
  • Fixed issue where ClamXav Sentry was incorrectly scanning files with similar names to folders being watched.

* If you have edited freshclam.conf and clamd.conf by hand, you can find your old files inside /tmp.

If you don't know what that last line means, you can probably ignore it!

If you're on OS X 10.4 or are having trouble installing this update, download the new version from the ClamXav website.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

ClamXav is freeware/donationware

Contents: What's Inside Your Library?

ContentsPR: Take a peek into the wild. See what's hiding inside, remove items, disable items and much more.

  • Search - If you can't find something in the Library browser, you can quickly search for it.
  • Cleanup - Contents can scan your preferences folder and show you files that haven't been used in a long time.
  • Uninstall - Uninstall any application with just one drop. Drop the application on Contents and it'll find all the files associated with it.
  • Install - Sometimes plugins require you to manually install them. With contents, it's simply a drop away
  • Backup - Easily backup your files to any folder of your choice.

$9.99

Desktop Mac Deals

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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