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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 20-Oct-08

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  • The Migration and DVD/CD Sharing Update from Apple addresses data migration to the new MacBook and MacBook Pro. As stated on Apple's Web site, the update provides "enhanced customization capabilities and improved performance for migration over FireWire, Ethernet and wireless networks." Since the new MacBook comes without FireWire capabilities, the Migration Assistant can now use Ethernet or AirPort. For Mac OS X 10.4.11, this update installs Migration Assistant 1.0.6, and for Mac OS X 10.5.5, Migration Assistant 1.2.3 (Free, 40.29 MB)
  • Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1.2 from Bombich Software updates the long-standing backup and disk cloning utility with a variety of bug fixes and interface improvements. An issue with failed incremental backups caused by the synchronization engine has been resolved, as has a bug affecting PowerPC-based Macs wherein creation dates for modified files were not preserved. The "Backup everything" method is now 25 percent faster, and can properly handle inherited ACLs. Finally, users can no longer abort backup operations by pressing the spacebar to wake up their monitors - the cloning process Stop button no longer has focus. (Free, 2.3 MB)
  • Typinator 3.2 from Ergonis Software is the latest version of the popular auto-typing and auto-correcting utility. The update includes a set of shortcuts for all FileMaker 9 functions, an Application Settings command in the Action and Status menus, an improved technique for defining application-specific exceptions, a refined English language dictionary, and workarounds for several issues with OpenOffice, NeoOffice, Apple Mail, and BlueJ. (19.99 euros, free update, 1.9 MB)
  • Mac HelpMate 2.6 from MOST updates the subscription-based remote control software designed largely for consultants and help desks to support remote machines regardless of intervening firewalls. New features in Mac HelpMate include zero-interaction screen sharing setup via URL, a Mac HelpMate widget to initiate screen sharing via Dashboard, improved Growl notifications, and a number of bug fixes and interface refinements. A separate subscription-based service, Auto HelpMate, now comes in two versions: a standard version that provides presence tracking and screen sharing to unattended machines, and a pro version that adds server monitoring capabilities. ($600/$79 annual/monthly subscription for Mac HelpMate, $175/$29 subscription for Auto HelpMate)
  • Undercover 2.5 from Orbicule optimizes the laptop-recovery software, which runs in the background after being installed, and checks in regularly to see if the computer it's installed on has been marked as lost or stolen. The 2.5 release removes a feature that would automatically sound alarms after 2 months of a system being off the Internet when it wasn't identified as stolen. Orbicule says they reduced the memory footprint and processor use, and fixed many other issues. (Starts at $49 for single user or $59 for household, free upgrade, 5 MB)
  • OpenOffice.org 3.0 is a major update to the open-source productivity suite. Major changes include native support for Mac OS X (no more X11!), support for OpenDocument Format 1.2, import filters for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2008 documents, a new Solver feature for spreadsheet calculations, collaborative spreadsheet capabilities, and a multiple page view feature within Writer. Concurrent with the update is the release of a variety of optional extensions and complementary tools. These include an OpenOffice.org Extension Repository, Mozilla-based calendar and email clients, and a Presenter Console extension that enables a speaker to view notes and upcoming slides on her laptop screen while simultaneously projecting a presentation. This update also includes core features introduced by minor releases since OpenOffice.org 2.0. (Free, 163 MB)
  • Flash Player 10.0 from Adobe is the latest version of the heavily used browser plug-in, released to coincide with the recent debut of the Adobe Creative Suite 4. Changes include added support for custom filters and effects, new 3D animation tools, advanced audio processing, improved drawing API capabilities, and an enhanced text engine. Senior Product Manager Justin Everett-Church goes into further detail on Adobe's site regarding the changes. Flash Player 10 also works closely with the new Adobe Creative Suite 4 product line, enabling better collaboration between designers and developers. (Free, 5.4 MB)
  • Live Interior 3D 2.0 is the newest version of the 3D interior modeling utility from BeLight Software. A major change in version 2.0 is that BeLight now offers separate Standard and Pro editions. Both editions boast a redesigned interface, new Wall Designer tools, over 200 new objects, and over 300 new materials. Additionally, users can now edit any 3D object directly within Live Interior 3D using the Google Sketchup feature. Also new is the real-time rendering of reflections and lighting effects. Advantages to the Pro edition include multiple-story support (Standard supports only two stories), a more advanced materials editor, and higher quality export capabilities in QuickTime, QTVR, JPEG, TIFF, PNHG, and BMP. ($49.95 Standard/$129.95 Pro new, $39.95 upgrade to Pro, both editions are 122 MB with 197 MB of additional content)
  • Bento 2.0 from FileMaker, Inc. is a major update to the personal database software, focusing on performance and integration enhancements. New to this version is the capability to link Apple Mail messages and RSS feeds directly to information stored in Bento. Users can view these Mail messages instantly in Bento using the Quick Look feature. Google Maps and iChat are also directly accessible from within Bento 2, enabling users to start chats and check directions with the click of a button. Importing, exporting, and working with Excel, Numbers, and AppleWorks data is now supported. A new fill down feature is designed to make data entry faster and easier, and users can now edit records and modify forms without having to enter Customize Mode. Interface changes include a new split-view mode that simultaneously displays summaries and details, ten new themes, and improved template sharing capabilities. ($49 new or upgrade, 76 MB)

 

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