TidBITS#1067/14-Mar-2011

Coming on the heels of last week’s release of the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3, most of this week’s news follows suit. Jeff Carlson anchors the issue with a detailed look at whether an iPhone 4 with Personal Hotspot could let him buy a cheaper Wi-Fi-only iPad, Michael Cohen discovers that GarageBand for Mac can’t yet read documents created in the iPad version, and Adam notes that iOS 4.3 requires another password prompt for in-app purchases to avoid inadvertent usage by children. Michael also looks at how the latest version of GoodReader can be used for a centralized document distribution system. Finally, we’re pleased to officially welcome a few new staff members and note that our Japanese translators are all OK after last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Notable software releases this week include TechTool Pro 6, Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 4 / Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 9, iTunes 10.2.1, Safari 5.0.4, Cyberduck 4.0.1, and Toast Titanium 11.
 
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TidBITS Japanese Translators Unharmed in Earthquake and Tsunami

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

One of the highly pleasant side effects of publishing TidBITS for nearly 21 years is that it’s given us the opportunity to meet and work with many people around the world. The downside of that is that you worry about your friends in situations like the earthquake and associated tsunami that crashed against the eastern coast of northeastern Japan last week.

While many thousands of people remain unaccounted for, and the Japanese struggle to maintain their damaged nuclear reactors, we did receive one small bit of good news here. All the volunteers who translate TidBITS into Japanese each week survived the earthquake and tsunami unharmed, with most of them happening to live in parts of Japan that were largely unaffected. That said, it’s impossible not to worry about the thousands of TidBITS readers in Japan who we don’t know personally.

The toll on human lives, property, and the Japanese economy is incalculable, and the effort to recover and rebuild will be immense. You can get a sense of the damage and destruction from Boston.com’s Big Picture page of photos of the initial event and the aftermath, plus interactive before-and-after satellite photos published by the New York Times and video footage at BBC News.

Donations to relief efforts are extremely welcome; Google has a page linking to a number of the primary relief organizations working in Japan now.

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GarageBand for iPad and Mac Not Yet Ready to Play Together

  by Michael E. Cohen <lymond@mac.com>
  4 comments

Last Thursday, while I was still dreaming about getting a new iPad 2, I discovered that Apple had already released the GarageBand app for iPad, which is also compatible with the original iPad. With $4.99 burning a hole in my credit card, I scurried to the App Store and bought myself some music-making magic for my soon-to-be-obsolete iPad.

Briefly, the app really is magic, and I can’t imagine how Apple managed to make it work on a portable device and sell it for such a low price. Naturally, it doesn’t have all the features and capabilities of its desktop sibling, but it truly is a remarkable achievement, and one of the best procrastination-enabling technologies I’ve encountered. With it, I was able to make a credible-sounding song within minutes. The only drawback was that I could find no way to do a slow fade on a song, which I needed so my amateur ditty wouldn’t end abruptly.

No problem, I thought. GarageBand on the iPad and the Mac are compatible. It says so, right in the app. So I exported the GarageBand file to my Mac and tried to open it up to apply the song-ending slow fade I wanted. And saw a disturbing dialog box.


Apparently, GarageBand on the Mac is not yet compatible with GarageBand on the iPad. What’s more, choosing GarageBand > Check for Updates in the Mac version responds that I have the latest version. A little online research revealed A Very Terse Apple Tech Note, which read, “Songs created in GarageBand for iPad can not be opened in GarageBand for Mac. Projects created in GarageBand for Mac cannot be opened in GarageBand for iPad. A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.” Well.

In the scheme of things, this incompatibility isn’t all that important, and I fully expect to see a GarageBand update for the Mac within days. But be warned, you early adopters out there: If you want to create a song on your iPad and edit it on your Mac, today is not that day.

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iOS 4.3 Now Prevents Inadvertent In-App Purchases

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

The controversy started last year, when parents discovered that password-caching in the iTunes app opened the door to small children inadvertently making in-app purchases that could add up to significant money. I wrote about how designer Mike Rohde’s 7-year-old son managed to rack up an almost-$200 bill that way in “Be Aware of iTunes Password Caching” (14 July 2010), and, more recently, the Washington Post found the story of an 8-year-old who worked up a $1,400 bill.

After some months of this sort of coverage, Apple received a letter from the Washington State Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission chairman promised to look into the situation, and members of Congress criticized Apple’s approach.

Glenn Fleishman wrote about some techniques for avoiding the problem in “Avoid Unwanted App Store and In-App Purchases” (5 October 2010), but the real solution was for Apple to require passwords for in-app purchases.

With iOS 4.3, Apple has now done exactly what I recommended, adding another password prompt for in-app purchases made within the 15-minute window after entering the main iTunes account password for downloading an app.

I tested this by first downloading the free Geared app, which generated a password prompt. I confirmed that my password was still cached by immediately downloading the free Fishies app (the app with which Mike Rohde’s son had problems). I then went into Fishies and attempted to purchase a chest of pearls. That action generated first an iOS dialog confirming that I wanted to make an in-app purchase, and then it asked yet again for my password, even though I was still within the 15-minute window. (To give credit where credit is due, the Fishies app had already implemented its own internal parental controls to prevent access to purchasing aspects of the program.)


So it appears that Apple has finally closed this hole. It’s a little too bad it took so long, given that the first reports of the problem started appearing 8 months and one significant release of iOS ago. But it’s here now, and for that we can be grateful.

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Welcome Additions to the TidBITS Staff

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

It’s hard for us to know how much about TidBITS inner workings is obvious from the outside, but I’ve been remiss in not welcoming two people who have moved from being occasional contributors to being key members of the staff.

As you may remember, Doug McLean joined us in 2008 and worked with us until the middle of 2010, when he left to get his MFA at Rutgers University (see “Please Welcome Doug McLean,” 29 November 2008).

We were sorry to see Doug go, but at about the same time he was leaving, Lex Friedman contacted us about doing freelance writing. Although he has a day job at an Internet company and co-founded the diet-tracking Web site The Daily Plate (now part of Livestrong.com), writing about Apple is his dream job. To that end, he has taken over writing the TidBITS Watchlist for us, along with the occasional article, and he contributes frequently to Macworld as well. Outside the computer world, he also created the parody site (and associated book, along with an app rejected by Apple), The Snuggie Sutra.

Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife Lauren and his two daughters, and we were pleased to welcome their third child, Liam Brandeis Friedman, a few short weeks ago. Well, those weeks were short for us, but undoubtedly longer for Lex.

Other organic changes to the TidBITS staff came last year, when we were joined by all seven pounds and two ounces of Erin Lynn Mogull. Rich Mogull, Erin’s “recruiter” and our Security Editor, informs us that she appeared fully equipped with blue eyes, bright red hair, and an inquisitive nature sure to serve her well once she’s capable of contributing more than the occasional cooing.

While Lex has focused on the TidBITS Watchlist and on developing a mobile version of the TidBITS Web site, our other new staff member, Michael E. Cohen, has contributed a number of news and feature articles since he started helping with both TidBITS and Take Control.

We got to know Michael while working with him on his “Take Control of Syncing in Tiger” ebook and the followups, “Take Control of Syncing Data in Leopard” and “Take Control of Syncing Data in Snow Leopard.” When his editing job with Symantec was outsourced to a software application designed to maintain consistent vocabulary in translations, we jumped at the chance to bring him in. Since then, he has written TidBITS articles, helped with editing a number of Take Control books, and written another of his own, “Take Control of PDFpen 5.”

Michael, who lives in Santa Monica with far too much old technology, has done many things over the years, including working as a teacher, a programmer, a Web designer, a multimedia producer, and a usability analyst. He even worked at The Voyager Company on the Expanded Books, which were HyperCard-based multimedia ebooks on floppy disk and CD-ROM from the early 1990s. It’s not often we find people with as much electronic publishing experience as we have, and it’s been a treat to work with Michael.

So welcome to Lex and Michael, and to little Liam and Erin as well. I’m sure Lex and Rich will have them testing infant iPad apps soon enough.

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GoodReader 3.5 Offers Automatic Document Distribution

  by Michael E. Cohen <lymond@mac.com>
  1 comment

Anyone who wants to do more with PDFs on an iPad than just view them in iBooks has almost certainly heard of Good.iWare’s GoodReader app for the iPad, and many have already probably ponied up the $4.99 to buy it. For those who haven’t, the latest release, version 3.5.0, offers yet another reason to do so. GoodReader 3.5.1 for the iPhone, which is a separate $4.99 app, is also now available.

A brief recap: GoodReader was one of the first iOS apps to offer users a way to read a variety of file types on iOS devices. In addition to PDF and text files, GoodReader can display common Microsoft Office files, iWork files, HTML and Safari Web Archive files, and various image and media files. Over time it has gained more power and flexibility, adding the capability to download files wirelessly from a variety of sources: MobileMe iDisk, Google Docs, WebDAV servers, Dropbox, FTP servers, SugarSync, and box.net. It has also extended its early lead in PDF handling (it was one of the first apps to support PDF links) with the capability of annotating PDF files and syncing those annotated files back to their server sources. And not only individual files: users can sync all of the files in a remote folder with the app instead of having to choose them one at a time. It’s easy for a GoodReader user to see which files or folders are synced: they each have a special sync badge attached to them.

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Now, with GoodReader’s latest revision, SFTP servers have been added to the mix of GoodReader download sources – but that’s not the big news. The big news is this: GoodReader now provides a “Download Only” sync option that organizations can use for document distribution.

Think of it as a “syncing diode” if you will: files from the remote server sync to GoodReader, but any changes made to the synced files within GoodReader stay within GoodReader. The files flow one-way, like electrical current through a diode.

How might this be of use? Consider a college class full of iPad-carrying students who sync their syllabuses and course readings with a central server. Those students can mark up their individual files as much as they like, but none of those annotations travels back to the server. Meanwhile, as new course reading materials are added to the server, the students can sync them to their iPads for annotation and study.

Similarly, a company’s far-flung sales force can sync with the mother-ship’s server to get the latest sales sheets, price lists, and related documents on their iPads, and thereby always have the latest information at their fingertips. They can then mark up these materials as they like without those changes traveling back upstream and ending up on their colleagues’ iPads.

The new sync capabilities are accessed on a sync-source-by-sync-source basis. The already robust set of syncing controls offered by GoodReader have a new one added: Type of Sync. In this category, there is only one option: “Download only” Sync. Turn that on, and the syncing policies that control what happens when files are deleted locally or an server vanish — because they are not needed.


With this addition to GoodReader’s already commodious bag of tricks, the app has become an even more powerful tool for workers, students, and readers in general. With the new download-only sync capability, any group can create a private publishing system using almost any kind of server technology or service they happen to have at hand.

GoodReader’s syncing diode feature is one of those cases where less truly is more.

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Can an iPhone Personal Hotspot Plan Take Over for a 3G iPad?

  by Jeff Carlson <jeffc@tidbits.com>
  30 comments

Until last week, I assumed I’d be purchasing an iPad 2 with built-in 3G data connectivity. With the arrival of iOS 4.3 and the Personal Hotspot feature on the iPhone, I’m wondering if a cheaper Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 is the way to go. If you’re also facing this choice before purchasing an iPad 2, follow along as I break down the options.

For the last year, my constant companion has been an original iPad Wi-Fi + 3G model. Although I usually have Wi-Fi access at home and my office, I often ride the bus to work, and use that time to catch up on email, Twitter, and Facebook updates. So, I’m accustomed to having Internet access whenever I need it on my iPad.

But I also always have my iPhone 4, which now sports the capability to run the Personal Hotspot feature. The Verizon iPhone 4 has had this capability since its release; it’s new to AT&T customers who own the iPhone 4. (iPhone 3GS users can install the iOS 4.3 update, and the Personal Hotspot option appears, but it’s limited to USB and Bluetooth, just as with the previous tethering option.)

With a few taps, the iPhone becomes a walking Wi-Fi connection. If my iPhone is always at hand, perhaps I can save some money by not buying the 3G iPad and expend just a little more effort to get connected.

Because AT&T and Verizon Wireless have different data plans for both the iPhone and iPad 2, I’ll look at two separate scenarios. But my first and most important question is: How easy will it be to make this work? If I get annoyed every time I need to activate the Internet connection, it’s worth it to me to pay more money for the 3G iPad and extra data plan.

For Readers outside the United States -- TidBITS readers who don’t have service plans in America may find much of this article mystifying. In the United States, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the only two carriers offering the iPhone, and both charge a substantial monthly fee to turn on Personal Hotspot (formerly tethering).

Some other carriers in the world charge nothing whatsoever for either tethering (in iOS 3 or 4) or Personal Hotspot (in iOS 4.3 for GSM phones). In most cases, any additional data usage is counted against your existing data service plan, with any overage fees or throttling limits applied as if you’d used the data from the phone itself.

Some carriers do require a minimum tier of data service, like Canadian carrier Rogers, which requires at least a 1 GB per month data plan, or may offer tethering and Personal Hotspot as part of a basket of inexpensive upgrades to basic data service. Don’t laugh at us; we’re suffering enough already.

Will It Be a Hassle? -- We’ve known the Personal Hotspot feature was coming, but I initially discounted it as an option based on reports from people who use a MiFi router for on-and-off use when roaming. The MiFi takes a few minutes to power up and acquire a mobile broadband network connection. The iPhone, of course, removes most of that pain by being always connected to a cellular network.

The setup for Personal Hotspot involves an online change (AT&T only) or a call to your carrier (AT&T or Verizon) to activate it on your service plan. Then you open Settings > General > Network, and tap Personal Hotspot. Apple conveniently sets a strong password for the Wi-Fi access. Tap the switch to On.


After this, the Personal Hotspot switch appears in the main level of Settings to tap on or off. I’d love to see an app that let me activate the hotspot without even delving into Settings, but in testing with my original iPad (with the 3G service turned off), three taps is acceptable.

The hotspot password is generated randomly, but it’s persistent once you’ve set it up. You only need to enter a password once on the iPad 2 or other devices that store a Wi-Fi password; after that, the device automatically reconnects to the iPhone if the Personal Hotspot is active.

If I’m on the bus or sitting in a park, I pull out my iPhone, tap the hotspot switch to On, and then put it in a pocket in favor of the iPad 2. (The iPhone displays a blue bar to indicate it’s in hotspot mode and reports how many active connections there are.) Of course, the hotspot can also accept up to three simultaneous connections, letting you connect a Mac or two as well, when no Wi-Fi is available. (You can connect one device via Bluetooth and one via USB as well, for a total of five.)


The Personal Hotspot feature definitely consumes more battery power on your iPhone than when the phone is just connected to a 3G network. The 3G iPad 2 would last hours longer on a single charge over 3G than the iPhone relaying 3G data over Wi-Fi. At the same time, the iPhone’s battery recharges faster than the iPad’s, making it more efficient to top off the iPhone’s power if an electrical outlet is convenient.

Comparing Costs on the AT&T Network -- On the AT&T network, standard data packages include the $15-per-month DataPlus plan for 200 MB of data each billing period (overages cost $15 for 200 MB), or the $25-per-month DataPro plan, which includes 2 GB of data and charges $10 for each additional 1 GB. However, to use the Personal Hotspot feature, you must switch to the DataPro plan. (You can switch for part of a month via the AT&T myWireless app or your account at the AT&T Web site, or retroactive to the start of the month through the Web site.)

AT&T then charges another $20 per month for the Personal Hotspot, bringing the total to $45 per month. This adds 2 GB to your data pool for a total of 4 GB each month. It’s not allotted to use by apps on the phone versus tethering or wirelessly connected devices: it’s a shared pool. Personal Hotspot can also be turned on and off as an account feature each month, allowing you to pay for it just when you need it.

For the iPad, AT&T has two service plans. For $14.99 per month, you get 250 MB of usage, and $14.99 for another 250 MB is automatically billed if you go over during the month. For $25 per month, you can use up to 2 GB with automatic $10 charges for each additional 1 GB during the month.

The cheapest scenario is the DataPlus plan at $15, and 250 MB iPad 2 plan at $14.99. That will run you $30 (minus a penny) each month, compared with $45 for the DataPro plus Personal Hotspot offering. That points toward separate plans, since you’d make up the difference in iPad costs in less than a year.

However, if you regularly use more than 200 MB on an iPhone and 250 MB on an iPad 2, or if you want to take advantage of the Personal Hotspot feature for other devices, the numbers make sense for saving the $130 hardware differential between the Wi-Fi-only and 3G iPads. The iPhone $45-per-month cost is cheaper than two $25 plans, and has the advantage of the pooled 4 GB in bandwidth instead of two 2 GB plans. (It’s also worth pointing out that if you still have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, switching to a tethered plan kicks you out of the unlimited club.)

You can’t turn the iPad 2 data plans on and off during a month, either: the service is not pro rata. That makes the Personal Hotspot feature even more cost effective if you need it only while traveling during a month. However, you can cancel an iPad 2 data plan’s automatic renewal at any time for the following month.

One slight difference between the iPhone and iPad 2 plans: the 3G iPad 2 plan from AT&T includes free access to all paid hotspots in the AT&T Wi-Fi network, which includes a number of hotels and airports. The Personal Hotspot feature can only share a 3G connection; it can’t relay access from a Wi-Fi network over Wi-Fi. Thus you might have to force your iPhone to use 3G data when it could use Wi-Fi for free in order to provide access to your iPad while traveling or in a hotel.

Comparing Costs on the Verizon Wireless Network -- Verizon Wireless’s costs are somewhat different, starting with the data plan. Verizon offers only a $30-per-month unmetered service plan for the iPhone 4. It plans to change this to tiered, metered service in mid-2011, but new prices and tiers haven’t yet been announced.

Verizon charges an additional $20 per month for the Personal Hotspot feature and doesn’t allow partial-month pro rata payments. It also includes 2 GB of service, allotted just for the hotspot and tethering usage, but has a $20-per-GB fee beyond those 2 GB.

Verizon’s iPad 2 plans are tiered differently than AT&T’s. It charges $20 for 1 GB, $35 for 3 GB, $50 for 5 GB, and $80 for 10 GB. Service plans are continuous. Verizon hasn’t confirmed this on its site or to reporters, but it’s true of its MiFi and other devices. Additional gigabytes cost $20 each with the 1 GB plan and $10 each with the 3 GB and larger plans.

In this scenario, the cheapest separate plans you could have without a mobile hotspot for an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 are $50: $30 for the iPhone data plan and $20 for the one for the iPad 2. You’d have unmetered usage on the iPhone and 1 GB of usage on your iPad 2.

If you instead opted for the Personal Hotspot option, you’d wind up with the same price but different bandwidth limits: $50 per month would get you 2 GB of usage among all tethered and Wi-Fi–connected devices. That’s probably the better deal.

The numbers flip-flop if you’re a heavy user of iPad 2 data, though. 3 GB of use on the iPhone hotspot scenario would cost $70 ($50 plus $20 for the extra GB), but only $65 ($30 for iPhone, $35 for iPad 2) with separate plans. 5 GB would cost $90 with the Personal Hotspot option ($50 plus $40 for 2 GB extra) but only $80 ($30 plus $50) with separate plans for the two devices.

Of course, as with AT&T, if you plan to connect other devices to your iPhone, then the mobile hotspot option provides the most flexibility of data use without adding additional costs.

Making a Choice -- So, in the end, the Personal Hotspot approach will be cheaper for AT&T users who use lots of data, and more expensive for those who can stay within the lowest limits. And it’s exactly the reverse for Verizon Wireless users, for whom the Personal Hotspot approach is slightly better for lower bandwidth users, but more expensive once you go beyond 2 GB of data.

As for ease of use, the fact that the iPad remembers the iPhone’s network password, and that the iPhone switches into Personal Hotspot mode easily, leads me to think that adding the extra step of enabling the hotspot wouldn’t be onerous.

Of course, the other question is if you need the Personal Hotspot feature for your Mac as well. If that’s true, as it is only occasionally for me, that may outweigh higher costs for low-bandwidth AT&T users and high-bandwidth Verizon users. For instance, for me, having the option of using Personal Hotspot would cost me $50 more than having the two separate data plans over an entire year, making it worthwhile if I needed it in two separate months (since it can be turned on and off by month).

When I started writing this article, I thought I’d save money by buying the Wi-Fi iPad 2. However, for my specific data usage, it turns out that the numbers favor sticking with my plan of buying a 3G iPad 2 and keeping the lowest-tier iPhone data plan, even considering the initial $130 outlay. I’m surprised, to be honest, but now I can concentrate on the more important decision: Which color of Smart Case will I pair with the iPad 2?

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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 14 March 2011

  by TidBITS Staff <editors@tidbits.com>

TechTool Pro 6 -- Micromat has released TechTool Pro 6. The new version of the long-standing utility adds support for creating a bootable volume on the Mac’s active drive, eliminating the need for a bootable DVD. That means your emergency startup volume no longer requires Apple’s boot disk updates to remain current. TechTool Pro 6 also makes it easier to diagnose and repair hardware issues. Other new features include Volume Cloning, for quickly creating exact volume duplicates, and the Local Network Tool, which lists active services and ports on each Mac and Bonjour device on the local network. ($99.99 new, $39.99 upgrade)

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Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 4 / Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 9 -- Apple has released Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 4 and Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 9, which the company says provide improved compatibility, security, and reliability by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0-24. (On Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 that aren’t 64-bit capable, Java is updated to 1.5.0-28.) Apple suggests that you quit any Web browsers and Java applications before installing the update. (Free, 75.81 MB / 119.83 MB)

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iTunes 10.2.1 -- Hot on the heels of iTunes 10.2, Apple has released iTunes 10.2.1. The update helps with syncing iOS devices running iOS 4.3. It also improves Home Sharing for iOS 4.3, which allows you to stream music from your iTunes collection on your Mac to your iOS devices. In addition, an issue where syncing photos to your iOS devices could take longer than expected is corrected. (Free, 75.61 MB)

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Safari 5.0.4 -- Attention surfer girls (and boys): Apple has released Safari 5.0.4. The new version of the company’s Web browser contains numerous stability, compatibility, accessibility, and security improvements. Web pages with multiple instances of plug-in content, image reflections, and transition effects should all work better. An issue that caused some Web sites to print incorrectly is fixed, too. Also fixed are VoiceOver bugs and an issue where the screen saver could appear while watching video in the browser. Additionally, the update patches more than 50 security vulnerabilities. (Free, 37.65 MB for Snow Leopard, 46.83 MB for Leopard)

Read/post comments about Safari 5.0.4.

Cyberduck 4.0.1 -- File-transfer utility Cyberduck has reached version 4.0.1. The software — which is now also available for Windows — features a new implementation of FTP and adds support for connecting to Azure and Dropbox. Cyberduck now also supports multipart uploads with parallelism and the new 5 TB Object Size Limit when working with Amazon S3 servers. Other improvements include an option to purge CDN files with Cloud Files and Akamai, new localizations, and an Upload command in the Finder’s contextual menu. The new version also includes numerous bug fixes; detailed release notes are available at Cyberduck’s Web site. (Free, 22 MB)

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Toast Titanium 11 -- If you’re feeling a yearning for burning, take note: Roxio has released Toast Titanium 11, a substantial upgrade to its software for burning optical discs. Toast 11 sports a wholly redesigned interface with refined workflows, and includes built-in video tutorials to explain various features. New features include support for recording to multiple drives simultaneously, easier auto-updating, an option to save custom video profiles, Internet audio and video capture, disc spanning, dual-platform compatible disc creation, TiVo-to-Go support, and built-in support for uploading directly to YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Also new is VideoBoost, which Roxio says will dramatically speed up H.264 video encoding. ($99.99 new, $79.99 with $20 mail-in rebate, variable upgrade pricing)

Read/post comments about Toast Titanium 11.

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ExtraBITS for 14 March 2011

  by TidBITS Staff <editors@tidbits.com>

We all do lots of things that aren’t directly related to TidBITS, and a number of them are coming to fruition, ranging from Adam’s upcoming MUG presentation and new books from Matt Neuburg and Jeff Carlson to an excellent article about dealing with an old iPad from Lex Friedman.

Adam Speaking at Syracuse MUG on 17 March 2011 -- If you’re in central New York, Adam Engst will be speaking at the Syracuse Macintosh User Group on 17 March 2011 at the Arrowhead Lodge at Oneida Shores Park. The discussion will focus on what we can expect in Mac OS X Lion, along with what we’d like to see.

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“Meet the iPad 2” Book by Jeff Carlson Available -- Our own Jeff Carlson scored the impossible: his 48-page introduction to the latest Apple iOS device, “Meet the iPad 2” ($1.99), is available instantly on the iBookstore. It’s an introduction to the device, and a long excerpt from his upcoming Pocket Guide to iPad 2. (The link to the book takes you to the iBookstore if you’re viewing on an iOS device; on a computer, you’ll get an error when the Web browser passes the link along to iTunes. But you can search within the iBookstore for “Meet the iPad 2” to locate the title, and then purchase the book or download a sample.)

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What to Do with Your Old iPad -- We were considering an article on this topic, but our own Lex Friedman had already worked through the possible options for an old iPad in an article for Macworld. So if you’re pondering what to do after upgrading to an iPad 2, check out his advice.

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Who Needs WYSIWYG? I Love Text! -- Matt Neuburg has been writing a book about iOS programming, entirely in good old-fashioned unformatted plain text — and loving it. He describes his workflow in this short essay.

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