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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 16 November 2009

Safari 4.0.4 — Apple has released Safari 4.0.4, a maintenance and security update for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, and Windows. Changes include improved JavaScript performance; improved full history searching in particularly large history folders; and enhanced stability for third-party plug-ins, Yahoo Mail, and the search field.

The update also addresses a number of security issues, including one related to a vulnerability in libxml2 which could lead to crashing when parsing maliciously crafted XML content, and another related to a vulnerability in the way Safari initiates navigation via the “Open Image in New Tab” option that could disclose local information. Also fixed are three other vulnerabilities related to how WebKit implements Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, handles FTP directory listings, and behaves when encountering an HTML 5 Media Element that points to an external resource. The update is available via Software Update or from the Apple Support Downloads page. (Free, 28 MB)

Yojimbo 2.1 — Bare Bones Software has released the latest version of the information organizer Yojimbo. In Yojimbo 2.1, the Drop Dock feature is now available in Exposé’s Show Desktop mode; Speech and Transform commands are now available from the Edit menu; and Snow Leopard support for spell checking, text substitution, and data detectors has been added. A number of bugs have been fixed as well, including a crashing bug that could kick in when clearing or closing the Downloads window. Full release notes are available on the Bare Bones Web site. ($39, free update, 6 MB)

Wireless Keyboard Update 2.0 — Apple has released a firmware update, Wireless Keyboard Update 2.0, to enable users to take advantage of its 2009 wireless keyboard’s special features. While the release notes do not specify what those features are, they likely include function keys that provide single-touch access to system features such as Exposé and Dashboard. Users must be running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install this update, which is available via Software Update or the Apple Support Downloads page. Users who have already installed Mac OS X 10.6.2 needn’t worry about installing this update separately as it is included in the operating system update.
(Free, 10.95 MB)

Freedom 0.5.1 — Seeking asylum from your own procrastinating Internet habits? I certainly have in the past (see “Minimize Desktop Distractions,” 4 December 2008), and always keep my eyes peeled for new applications designed to keep me on top of my work. If you’re in the same boat, consider trying the latest version of Fred Stutzman’s Internet-blocking application Freedom. Changes in the most recent update include increased support for applications that require some share of network access, better support for remote filesystems, and enhanced stability. Also, an unspecified bug related to Microsoft Word has been fixed.
(Free, 771 KB)

Default Folder X 4.3.3 — St. Clair Software has released a maintenance and stability update to the Open/Save dialog enhancement utility Default Folder X. Version 4.3.3 fixes a number of compatibility issues with earlier versions of Mac OS X, including a bug that caused Default Folder X to use excessive amounts of CPU in Leopard, and a bug that prevented Default Folder X from working in Carbon applications under Tiger. Also, the installer now automatically starts the program after installation, and the Shift key now properly reverses the order of menu items in Finder Windows, Disks, and Favorites. ($34.95 new, $14.95 upgrade, free update for owners of
version 4.x or 3.x owners who purchased their copy after 1 June 2007, 10.7 MB)

Microsoft Office 2008 12.2.3 UpdateThe Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.3 update contains a critical security fix, as well as significant improvements in stability, according to Microsoft’s release notes. Office 2008 apparently contained a flaw that could be exploited to gain control of a computer remotely. An attacker would have to create a specially crafted Word or Excel file that a user opened. No reports of this attack, labeled by Microsoft as privately reported, have been heard of in the wild.

The hefty update also improves stability of all the Office 2008 applications. For those of us who work on Take Control ebooks, seeing the note that in Word 2008, stability is improved when “you accept tracked changes in a document” is music to our ears – we use change tracking constantly while editing documents and have seen regular crashes during revisions. (Free update, 349.5 MB)

Firefox 3.5.5 — Mozilla has released a minor stability update to its popular Internet browser Firefox. The release notes are terse, saying only that the update fixes “several stability issues.” A closer look at the bug list indicates several crashing bugs have been fixed, including one related to a GIF decoder and another related to startup. (Free, 17.6 MB)

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