Apple has released Mac OS X 10.4.3, the latest update to its Tiger operating system. Two versions are available: one, the "Delta" update, updates Mac OS X 10.4.2 to 10.4.3, while the other "Combo" update brings either Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.4.1 to version 10.4.3. The 10.4.3. update is available for free from Apple either via Software Update or as separate standalone installers: sizes vary depending on computer models and software installed, but range from around 55 MB for the Delta update to 109 MB for the standalone Combo updater.
The Mac OS X 10.4.3 update is a collection of bug fixes and tweaks, rather than new features or capabilities, and the update includes previous security updates Apple has released for all versions of Mac OS X 10.4. According to Apple, the following changes and improvements highlight Mac OS X 10.4.3; the complete release notes are available at the first URL above, Apple's Web page describing the "Delta" update.
Spotlight searches in the Finder should be more responsive (which is welcome; it's difficult to imagine them being less responsive!); Spotlight comments should also be preserved during iDisk synchronization.
Safari should be more compatible with webcams, handle Macromedia Shockwave projects accelerated using OpenGL, and pass the tortuous "Acid 2" CSS rendering test. (Viewing the Acid 2 test's source is recommended for amusement purposes only.)
Disk Utility can (finally!) verify the Mac OS X startup volume. To perform repairs, though, you still need to start up from another Mac OS X disk (such as a spare hard drive or an installation DVD.)
In Mail, Smart Folders which use "entire message contains" and other criteria with the "any" qualifier now work correctly, and Apple has fixed a bug in which some Mail rules could sometimes be lost or duplicated following a .Mac sync. Mail also accepts Smart Groups dragged from the Address Book to a message's recipient fields, and better handles meeting requests sent from Microsoft Outlook to an Exchange account.
iChat supports encrypted chat sessions between .Mac members, and tries to address persistent alerts about insufficient bandwidth and missing data during video chats. Also, users can elect to have emoticons shown as plain text rather than graphics (handy for those of us who occasionally get tripped up when face-like graphics appear in code snippets pasted into iChat sessions).
Hebrew and Arabic text is better handled in both Safari and Mail.
Fixes an issue where Microsoft Word and Excel 2004 stop responding to user input for several seconds at a time.
Items copied to a Drop Box have their permissions set correctly and file permissions inside packages are correctly set when changing permissions to enclosed items via a Finder's Info window.
Improves connecting to and mounting SMB volumes, along with compatibility with Squid proxy servers. The Finder is also better at mounting and accessing MS-DOS volumes, which amusingly includes Apple's iPod shuffle.
The Address Book's URL field now syncs with .Mac, Address Book subgroups can be synced with an iPod via iTunes, and .Mac synchronization errors are better reported in the dotmacsync.log file.
The Apple Wireless keyboard can now be used in single-user mode; also, upper ASCII characters in account passwords no longer potentially prevent login or crash the Mac OS X startup sequence.
Quartz 2D Extreme is completely disabled: it was never a supported feature in Tiger, and re-enabling it may cause redraw issues or system crashes.