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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 25 January 2010

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Phone Amego 1.1.9 -- Sustainable Softworks has issued some minor feature improvements and bug fixes in the latest release of Phone Amego, the utility that enables you to control a Bluetooth mobile phone (including the iPhone) from a Mac (for more details, see "Phone Amego: the Macintosh/iPhone Mind Meld," 3 September 2009). Version 1.1.9 now supports Caller ID with Linksys/Sipura VoIP phone adapters, improves phone number formatting by following Address Book conventions, displays any Google Voice "number to ring" in both the main window and tooltip, and enables users to send SMS messages without leaving the keyboard (you can now tab over to the Send button). Also, bugs related to Call Waiting Caller ID, dialing international number formats, and calls that lack Caller ID information have been addressed. ($20, free update, 2 MB)

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Firmware Restoration CD 1.8 -- In keeping with past efforts, Apple has released a Firmware Restoration CD for early 2009 Mac Pro and Xserve models. The CD can be used to restore your computer's firmware in the event of an unsuccessful or interrupted update, though if that's already happened, you'll need to download the disc image and create a CD on another computer or bring your machine to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. The CD can be made on any Mac, but can be used only on the supported models. (Free, 22.5 MB)

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Things 1.2.9 -- Victims of buggy behavior will be thankful for the latest release of Cultured Code's popular task manager Things, which fixes a number of irritating issues. Version 1.2.9 addresses a regression related to a sync conflict issue with the Today list, fixes lingering issues with a bug that occasionally caused Things to open with a blank window and remain unresponsive, and resolves a problem wherein searching for tags with subtags returned blank search results. The update also enables users to empty the Trash immediately by holding down the Option key while choosing the Empty Trash menu command, fixes unspecified issues with the French and Japanese localizations, and prevents to-do titles from having multiple lines. ($49.95, free upgrade, 8.4 MB)

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Spell Catcher 10.3.3 -- It's been some time since we last checked in with Rainmaker Research's system-wide spell-checking utility Spell Catcher X, but the longstanding program is alive and well, having recently been updated to version 10.3.3. Changes include compatibility with Snow Leopard, support for 64-bit applications, expanded import capabilities, additional preference settings, a new German localization, and auto-save capabilities for reference documents. Version 10.3.3 also includes the latest Proximity Linguistic System (which ensures the program is drawing from up-to-date spelling databases), enhances DirectCorrect and program launch performance speeds, and tweaks the program code to improve handling of documents and error reports. A full list of changes is available on Rainmaker's Web site. ($39.95 new, free update, 22 MB)

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TextWrangler 3.1 -- While it can't compete with its older and more powerful sibling BBEdit, TextWrangler from Bare Bones Software continues to provide cash-strapped users with a solid text editor. The latest version, 3.1, has hit the Internet's shelves with a long list of improvements and fixes. At the top are a new Unix command for searching across multiple files from the command line, the capability to create new files and folders on remote servers from within the embedded FTP/SFTP browser, and a new Unlearn Spelling command for when misspellings have accidentally been added to the dictionary. Also, many minor bugs have been fixed, including a handful of crashing bugs related to reading certain gzip files, opening the Multi-File Search window, and closing the Multi-File Search window after selecting certain search sources. The full and lengthy list of changes is available on the Bare Bones Web site. (Free, 12.1 MB)

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Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.4 -- Apple has released a firmware update that addresses a handful of issues on early 2009 Mac Pros. The update improves "compatibility with virtualization products utilizing VT-d, storage performance under Windows XP for Boot Camp users, and system reliability during the boot process." To install the update, follow the instructions in the updater application that launches automatically after the installer has closed (/Application/Utilities/MacPro EFI Firmware Update.app). More information regarding installing a firmware update on an Intel-based Mac is available on Apple's Web site. The update is available via Software Update and the Apple Support Downloads page. (Free, 1.96 MB)

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Xserve EFI Firmware Update 1.2 -- Apple has also released a firmware update for early 2009 Xserve models that improves "compatibility with virtualization products utilizing VT-d and system reliability during the boot process." More information regarding installing firmware updates on Intel-based Macs is available on Apple's Web site. Instructions for updating a headless (i.e. without monitor) Xserve are also available. (Free, 1.81 MB)

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Security Update 2010-001 -- Apple has reset the counters on security updates for 2010, releasing Security Update 2010-001, with fixes for a small number of specific vulnerabilities. Most notably, the Flash Player plug-in is updated to version 10.0.42 to address multiple vulnerabilities, the most serious of which could lead to arbitrary code execution when viewing a maliciously crafted Web site. Several other fixes block vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by malicious TIFF images, DNG images, and MP4 audio files. Also resolved is a potential denial-of-service attack directed against CUPS (the Common Unix Printing System that underlies Mac OS X's print architecture). Finally, OpenSSL is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack that could enable an attacker to capture data or change the operations performed in an SSL-protected session; although the problem hasn't been resolved within OpenSSL, Security Update 2010-001 disables renegotiation within OpenSSL as a preventative measure.

Security Update 2010-001 is available via Software Update and in standalone form for Mac OS X 10.6.2 Snow Leopard (21.9 MB download), for Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard (159.58 MB download), and for Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard Server (248.11 MB download).

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