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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 13 May 2013

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Thunderbolt Firmware Update v1.2 -- Apple has released Thunderbolt Firmware Update v1.2 to address stability issues with using Target Disk Mode (which makes one Mac appear as a hard drive to another Thunderbolt-connected Mac). The update is for only those Macs with a Thunderbolt port, and it requires OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion or later. As always with firmware updates, although you can download it manually, we recommend relying on Software Update or the App Store app to ensure you get the right firmware update for your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac, and be sure not to interrupt the update process. (Free, 1.22 MB)

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Alfred 2.0.3 -- Back in mid-March, Running with Crayons released Alfred 2.0, a major update to their keyboard-driven launcher that was overhauled to be faster and more efficient. While the app is free and offers the same basic functionality as version 1.x, purchasing the feature-enhanced Alfred Powerpack provides access to the most exciting new feature of Alfred 2.0 — the capability to create (and import) workflows that can connect keywords, hotkeys, and actions. Other additions to Alfred 2.0 available in the Powerpack include improved access to contacts and more flexible theme creation (a limited starter set of themes is included in the free version).

Last month, Running with Crayons released the Alfred 2.0.3 maintenance update with a lengthy list of changes (40 in total). Highlights include: user-set hotkeys and keywords are migrated when a workflow is updated; saved workflow sort positioning is more predictable upon initial no-knowledge ordering; positioning of Web searches and workflows are ranked higher in default results; and names instead of contact IDs are copied when using Command-C with contacts. (Free, £15 for Powerpack, 2.8 MB, release notes)

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Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.4 -- Microsoft has updated Office 2011 to version 14.3.4, a maintenance release with a variety of targeted fixes. For Outlook, the update fixes a problem with the discontinued XLIST command for Gmail, a bug that consigned messages from a blocked sender’s account to the Junk Mail folder instead of Sent Items, an issue that prevented messages addressed to local contact groups from being sent, and an issue that neglected to prompt for credentials after a Kerberos token expires. On the PowerPoint front, version 14.3.4 fixes an issue that caused keyboards and remotes to lose control during a slide show and patches a bug that caused PowerPoint 2013 content to be lost when saved in PowerPoint 2011 format.

The release notes also offer the reminder that your Office 2011 license can now be used with the Office 365 cloud subscription service (available since the release of version 14.3.0), which costs $10 a month or $99 annually and enables you to install Office 2011 on up to five Macs. To that end, Office 14.3.4 stamps out a bug where updates from coauthored sessions using the PowerPoint Web App and PowerPoint for Mac came through as conflicts, and fixes an issue that caused an incorrect name to be suggested when saving a Word for Mac document to SkyDrive or SharePoint (one wonders if it was the same “incorrect name” for everyone, and whether it was NSFW). (Free updates via the Office for Mac Web site or through Microsoft AutoUpdate, 113 MB)

Read/post comments about Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.4.

Fission 2.1.3 -- Rogue Amoeba has released Fission 2.1.3, with an update to the audio editor’s Batch Converter that ensures proper handling of all Windows Media files and ALAC-encoded CAF files. Among the list of over 20 bug fixes and improvements, the update corrects an issue where some FLAC files wouldn’t open, ensures Time Wells are updated after using Undo, brings up the Channels selector for mono files, illuminates the Artwork Wells when mousing over an image, and eradicates a problem with Fission overusing the CPU when all windows are closed. Additionally, a problem with a crash caused by inserting silence in the Mac App Store version is corrected. ($32 new with a 20-percent discount for TidBITS members, free update, 11.5 MB, release notes)

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