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Free iPhone and desktop astronomy apps: one day only [u2]

Man on the moon

To help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar missionCarina Software is offering two of their applications as free downloads for a very limited time.

SkyVoyager and SkyGazer are astronomy apps for the iPhone and Mac, respectively. These are excellent tools for people like me who enjoy watching the night sky.

These two apps can be downloaded for free only on July 20th. I’ve already downloaded the SkyVoyager app (retails for $14.99, I think). I’m just waiting for a website update for the SkyGazer software.

Thanks to TUAW.

Update:

It turns out I was wrong.

The bad news is SkyGazer is not a free download as I’ve mentioned earlier.

The good news is SkyGazer 4.5 and Voyager 4.5 are on sale for only $0.01 each.

Not exactly free but you can’t beat the $0.01 price tag.

I was also mistaken when I implied that SkyGazer was a Mac only software. Both SkyGazer and Voyager applications are available for Mac and Windows.

By the way, regular price for the downloadable version of SkyGazer is $29.95 and for Voyager, it’s $99.95.

Update 2:

Carina Software has suspended the $0.01 sale of both SkyGazer and Voyager desktop astronomy software for Mac and Windows due to server overload, according to The Mac Observer.

However, their iPhone apps, SkyVoyager and SkyGazer, are still free until the end of the day.

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Filed under: App Store, iPhone OS, OS X, , ,

iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 released

iPhone OS 3.0Apple has seeded beta 2 of iPhone OS 3.1 to developers. One of the new features include being able to connect to a system through Wi-Fi, according to AppleInsider. This potentially could allow syncing without the use of a USB cable though Apple has warned that physical tethering is still the preferred method for its speed and lesser power consumption.

Voice Control via Bluetooth headset is now possible, eliminating the need to rely on a wired headset or the iPhone’s built-in mic for voice commands. Users have the option of saving original copies of videos that were trimmed using the built-in video editing feature.

Snow Leopard

A new build of the Mac OS X 10.6 (build 10A411) has also been released to developers. This comes less than a week after the release of build 10A402a. This new build is considerably smaller in size (730MB) than the previous one (1.3GB).

Filed under: Apple, Inc., iPhone OS, OS X

What’s new pussycat? Faster, darker Snow Leopard

Apple’s latest build of Mac OS X 10.6 (10A402a) is more faster and integrates some interface tweaks.

Snow Leopard

AppleInsider reported that the current build is more responsive and includes interface tweaks such as the Dock’s contextual menu change to a charcoal motif with white text.

Filed under: OS X,

How to eject a disk image

The scenario is this: I have four to six applications running with at least five windows open on my screen. I get an update or find a nice interesting app to install. I download the app and then click on the .dmg file to mount it. In most cases a small window opens after .dmg file has mounted.

Click-drag to the Applications folder to install. And when done, time to unmount the disk image. There are three methods that a commonly use when ejecting a mounted .dmg file. These are (in order of preference):

  1. Open a Finder window, then click on the eject icon next to the mounted disk image.
  2. Eject 3

  3. Right-click on the mounted .dmg file on the desktop and select ‘Eject “[name of disk image]”‘.
  4. Eject 1

  5. Click-drag the mounted disk image to Trash icon on the Dock (the Trash icon changes into the Eject icon this is done).
  6. Eject 2

All of the above methods work fine but I often find it a bit of a hassle to have to open a Finder window or use Exposé to reveal my desktop. I feel there’s an extra step or two that’s unnecessary.

But a few days ago, I discovered another way to ejecting a mounted disk image. (“Doh!” moment for me.)

I mentioned that most (if not all) disk image or .dmg files, when mounted, would open a small window where you can see the app and an alias of your Application folder. So all you need to do to install is click the app and drag it to the Application folder alias.

What I’ve just figured out is that the small icon at the bottom-left corner of the just opened window can be used to eject the disk image.  Just right-click on the icon and select ‘Eject “[name of disk image]”‘. Boom!

Eject 4

I know, I know. It’s trivial but at least now I can eject disk images in just two steps. Yay.

Filed under: OS X,

Updates: Final Cut Pro; Time Capsule, AirPort Firmware; Java; Bluetooth

According to AppleInsider, Apple has released updates for Final Cut Pro and a firmware update for Time Capsules and Airport Base Stations.

The Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 update fixes problems with real-time playback in Final Cut Pro with Mac Pro (Early 2009) models and Xserve (Early 2009) models.

Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.4.2 provides several fixes, including:

  • Fixes some problems with extending and maintaining connectivity with extended networks
  • Fixes an issue with clients that enable 802.11 “Power Save”
  • Fixes connectivity issues with some third-party devices
  • Fixes an issue when the base station is configured for PPPoE
  • Fixes some Back To My Mac issues with connectivity and support for third-party routers

It is recommended, however, that the user first download Airport Utility Update 5.4.2 before upgrading to the 7.4.2 firmware. The utility is available for both Mac and Windows and is needed in order to install the new firmware.

Previous updates not mentioned

Apple also released a few more updates last week including Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0 and a patch for a a security hole in Java.

Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0 provides bug fixes and better compatibility with the Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard. It installs on all Macintosh systems with Bluetooth based on the Broadcom chipset.

The Java plugs a critical security hole that has been around for months again according to AppleInsider. Apple came under heavy criticism in the previous months for failing to patch a hole in a version of Java that shipped with Mac OS X that could leave a user vulnerable to attacks when using the web.

Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) and Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) versions of the update are available.

You can fire up Software Utility or check out the links below to manually download the files (except for the Time Capsule/Airport Base Station firmware):

Filed under: Airport, OS X, Time Capsule, , , ,

iPhone OS 3.0 release is NOT delayed

I’ve read from several Twitters that the release of Apple’s latest iPhone OS will be delayed to June 18.

This, unfortunately, is an example of how people want to be the FIRST in everything, especially when it comes to spreading rumors.

What these Twitters and their sources failed to notice was the URL (http://www.apple.com/sg/iphone/softwareupdate/) they were reading from was the Apple Singapore Online Store.

June 18

I guess people need to be reminded that there is such a thing as time zones. You know, where one part of the world is one day ahead of another.

While I’m not the kind who would like to repeat rumors and hearsay, there are tweets that say the release of iPhone OS 3.0 will be 10AM PST. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Filed under: iPhone, OS X, , ,

iPhone OS 3.0: Just a few hours away

screenshots3.0
I’m eagerly waiting for the release of the new iPhone OS 3.0 though it’s going to cost me $9.99.

I’m definitely going to be one of the early adopters. That means I’ll be taking one for the team.

There are two new things that I can’t wait to try out: Cut, Copy and Paste, and the new Spotlight feature. But I’m sure the novelty will wear off pretty quick.

Alas, I can’t try out the MMS. That will have to wait until I can get my hands on the iPhone 3G S. (Lucky bastards are going to get theirs Friday).

MacRumors has of what the iPhone 3.0 software update page will look like once the update is officially released. The page later reverted to iPhone OS 2.2 update.

Filed under: iPhone, iPod touch, OS X, ,

AnandTech: “The best battery life I’ve ever seen”

One of the sites that I trust* when it comes to hardware reviews gave its wholehearted approval for the new 15″ MacBook Pro when it came to battery life.

There’s no other way to say this. If you care about battery life and portability at all, buy the new MacBook Pro.

AnandTech’s review of the new 15″ MacBook Pro only covered the hardware and battery changes as most of the internal and external components remained the same when compared to the one it replaces.

Noted hardware changes were the processor speed bump, the new built-in lithium polymer battery, the replacement of the ExpressCard slot with an SD card slot, and the exclusion of the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M in the low end 15″ MacBook Pro. The hard drive and RAM are still user replaceable but requires more use of the screw driver.

What got Anand Lal Shimpi’s attention was the battery life of the new MacBook. His initial test involved browsing a series of 20 webpages, spending 20 seconds on each page, while iTunes is playing in the background. He describes this as an extremely light test. He was amazed to find he got 8.13 hours on that test.

Eight, freakin, hours. I couldn’t believe it. In my lightest test, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro lasted eight hours and eight minutes. That’s with the screen at half brightness (completely usable) and no funny optimizations. The notebook is just playing music and surfing through a lot of my old reviews. There’s no way this could be right.

A little dubious, he performed to two more tests that added more workload. Even though battery life took a hit, it still surpassed his expectations. With these results in hand, he says:

Either way, Apple’s 7 hour claim is well within reason. For light workloads, even on WiFi, you can easily expect 6.5 – 8 hours out of the new 15-inch MBP… If you do a lot of writing on your notebook, the new MBP is exactly what you’ll want; it will easily last you on a cross-country flight if you need to get work done.

My heaviest workload delivered just under 5 hours of battery life, a figure that the old MBP could only attain while running my lightest workload. This thing rocks.

However, the same can’t be said for Windows running on the MacBook Pro.

On a follow-up review, Anand Lal Shimpi reported that running Windows Vista or Windows 7 on the same 15″ MacBook Pro resulted in awful battery life.

When the new 15″ MacBook Pro was running under Mac OS X 10.5.7 it managed to last 8 hours. Under the same testing conditions, running the MacBook Pro under Vista resulted in a drop of 26% in battery life (6.o2 hours). Worse was the battery life under Windows 7 RC 1 which only lasted 5.48 hours.

Five and a half hours of battery life may not sound so bad but you have to consider the fact that this was tested using a notebook that lasted 8.13 hours running a different OS.

The review also tackled the issue of Apple ‘crippling’ SATA by cutting the speed from 3.0Gbps to 1.5Gbps.  As AnandTech pointed out, the reduction in speed may not matter for those who are using 5400 rpm hard disk drives but it might affect those who are going to use SSDs. He also noted that in the real world, the speed reduction might not even be noticeable but he does take Apple to task for limiting performance.

* I don’t trust AnandTech just because of this glowing review of the 15″ MacBook Pro. I’ve used the site before when I was looking for reviews on different PC components. I don’t visit the site often anymore because I’ve stopped building my own PCs. But if anyone would ask me where he can find good hardware reviews or if I wanted information about a hard drive or RAM, AnandTech would be my first choice.

Filed under: MacBook Pro, OS X, , , ,

Snow Leopard wallpaper faster than predecessor

Macenstein has tested a copy of the upcoming Mac OS 10.6 desktop wallpaper and reported that it’s much faster than the Leopard wallpaper.

Some commenters who have used the wallpaper claim that their Macs have become faster and got back some hard drive space. One even claimed ZFS support after tweaking the wallpaper.

You can download the wallpaper from Macenstein.

Filed under: OS X, ,

Mac OS X 10.6 upgrade to cost only $29

In a move that drew gasps and applause from the audience Apple announced that the next iteration of the Mac operating system, Mac OS X 10.6, will cost only $29 to upgrade.

Apple’s SVP of OS X Software, Bertrand Serlet, presented the mostly under the hood improvements and refinements of Mac OS X 10.6 on June 17, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote presentation.

The two most important, in my opinion, are 64-bit native applications and Grand Central Dispatch, which is built in support for multicore processing. Serlet said that Snow Leopard installation will be 45% faster and give back 6GB of hard drive space.

45%

6GB

Here are some of the features presented:

  • Exposé in the Dock, and Stacks are able to handle large contents better and can open folders without leaving Stacks.
  • Finder’s Icon view now has a magnification slider on the bottom right corner which allows resizing of the icons. Live preview lets users browse PDF files or play videos while in Icon view.
  • Chinese characters (presumably as well as Japanese and Korean) can be inputed using the glass trackpad.
  • Trackpad
    Chinese Trackpad

  • Quicktime has been renamed to Quicktime X with the interface totally redone. The window title and on-screen controls fade away as soon as the video starts playing leaving a clean view of the video. The controls fade back in when the mouse pointer is moved over the video. Quicktime X also supports editing and trimming, and sharing of video via MobileMe or YouTube, or uploading to iTunes.

QTX2

For more screenshots of the refinements and new features in Snow Leopard, check out AppleInsider.

Pricing and availability

As previously mentioned, a single-user upgrade to Snow Leopard will just cost $29. A Family Pack is also available for a household with five Macs and will retail for $49.

Mac OS 10.6 will be released September 2009.

Filed under: OS X, Quicktime, Safari, , ,

PLEASE READ

On July 21, I moved my blog to its own server.

So www.davaomacuser.com no longer points to davaomacuser.wordpress.com.

I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

See you there. Thanks!

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