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VMware Fusion 3.0.1 — VMware has released a significant maintenance update to the company’s virtualization software for the Mac, VMware Fusion. Version 3.0.1 improves video and 3D performance, adds support for Ubuntu 9.10, upgrades the networking subsystem to 64-bit native, and decreases load times when resuming a suspended virtual machine. Also, over 50 bugs have been fixed, including several that reduced performance, such as a bug that made it difficult to upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools, and another that triggered excessive Spotlight searches when the Virtual Machine Library was left running in the background. Also, the update addresses
incompatibilities with Zone Alarms AV and Outlook 2007 Preview mode. Full release notes are available on VMware’s Web site. Note that you can still download our “Take Control of VMware Fusion 3” ebook for free. ($79.99 new, free update from 3.0, 186 MB)

Things 1.2.6 — Cultured Code has released a minor maintenance update to the Getting Things Done-inspired task manager Things. Changes include improved performance when working with multiple to-dos in the Today list, added support for Quick Entry autofill for Microsoft Entourage, and an added background application that collects changes to systemwide to-dos and effectively fixes a compatibility issue with Apple Mail iCal syncing. Also, several bugs have been fixed, including one that caused the File dialog to freeze occasionally, one that caused the program to crash when invoking Quick Entry, and one that sometimes caused the program to crash when emptying its
trash. A full list of changes is available on Cultured Code’s Web site. ($49.95 new, free update, 8.3 MB)

Keyboard Maestro 4.0 — Stairways Software has released a significant update to the popular macro utility Keyboard Maestro. Version 4.0 overhauls the user interface, adds 64-bit support, and adds support for Growl notifications. Macros can now be executed when hot keys are pressed, held down, or released. Also, Command-Tab can now be used as a hot key, the program switcher can optionally hide all other programs when switching, and the clipboard switcher now offers both a search feature and display of images and rich text. Version 4.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. ($36 new, $18 upgrade, 7.6 MB)

BusyCal 1.1 — BusyMac has released a maintenance update to BusyCal, its iCal-inspired desktop calendar with built-in sharing capabilities. The latest version adds 64-bit support in Snow Leopard, three-finger scrolling, and a mini-month calendar to the source list. Also, a Duration column has been added to List View, “at start” has been added as an optional alarm interval, and both Shift-Return and Option-Return are now supported for line feeds. Various bugs have also been addressed, including some related to Google Calendar syncing, along with two crashing bugs, one triggered by corrupt system fonts and another by Unicode non-breaking space characters. A full list of changes is available on BusyMac’s Web site. ($40 new, free update, 6 MB)

MacBook/MacBook Pro Optical Drive Firmware Updates — Apple has released three firmware updates, all of which claim to “eliminate the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on your Mac.” EFI firmware updates are available for recent releases of the MacBook (MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.4) and MacBook Pro (MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.8). Once the Mac’s firmware has been updated, you must install the SuperDrive Firmware Update 3.0.

More information on EFI firmware updates, including installation instructions, is available on Apple’s Web site. Updates are available via Software Update or the Apple Support Downloads page. (Free, 18.35/3.14/3.36 MB)

BBEdit 9.3.1 — Bare Bones Software has released a maintenance update to the powerful text editor BBEdit. Changes are mostly aimed at addressing minor bugs, including one that caused the first group of results from a search to be collapsed inappropriately, one that prevented new HTML documents from being created in the front project window when New HTML Document was chosen, a bug that prevented access to a project item through the scripting interface, and several bugs related to insta-projects. The update also adds #!-based language-guessing to the Lua programming language module. Full
release notes
are available on the Bare Bones Web site. ($125 new, free update, 16.1 MB)

Camino 2.0.1 — The Camino Project has released a minor update to the Mac-focused, Gecko-based Web browser Camino that addresses several security and stability issues by upgrading the program to version of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine. Also, ad-blocking has been improved, the search field has been restored to the Help menu in non-English versions running on Snow Leopard, the crash reporter now enables you to add your email address to a report (for followup questions), and error or warning text no longer changes color when clicked. (Free, 15.8 MB)

AirPort Client Update 2009-002 — Some Snow Leopard users have suffered from AirPort problems since 10.6 was released. In this client update, which requires 10.6.2 to install, Apple says it’s fixed three major bugs. First, it repairs some systems that, when upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard, could not turn AirPort on or off. Second, the update eliminates what Apple calls an “occasional” problem when using Wake on Demand, where network access would be unavailable. (Wake on Demand, new in Snow Leopard, lets a computer connected to an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule base station be woken over either Ethernet or Wi-Fi for network access to advertised Bonjour
services.) Finally, this update restores the ability to create software base station (Sharing preferene pane) or computer-to-computer networks to some MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini systems that had trouble.

HandBrake 0.9.4 — A year after its last significant update, version 0.9.4 of the open-source video conversion program HandBrake has been released. The update incorporates the latest version of the x264 video encoder, offers 64-bit builds with 10 percent greater performance for most Intel-based Macs, adds soft subtitles which users can turn on or off, and includes a new live preview window. Also, input support has been improved for DVD and non-DVD sources, encoding now shifts to maintain a set quality rather than maintaining a constant bit rate, and unnecessary encoding presets have been eliminated. (Free, 4.9 MB)

Labels and Addresses 1.5 — Just in time for the holidays, BeLight Software has released the latest version of Labels and Addresses, their tool for printing labels and envelopes. In addition to adding 22 new holiday design sets and 30 new templates, version 1.5 brings support for Aperture, the capability to design and print double-sided envelopes and postcards, and Spanish and French localizations. Also new is integration with Google Maps, enabling users to indicate their location on a card or envelope (perfect for hosts of holiday parties). Finally, several minor bugs have been fixed, including one that would lead to an application
freeze when working with certain printers in the Print dialog. Full release notes are available on BeLight Software’s Web site. ($49.95 new, free update, 34.5/14.8 MB application/update)

Dialectic 1.5 — JNSoftware has released a significant maintenance update to the phone dialing utility Dialectic. The latest version adds incoming call detection for the iPhone, a Services workflow item to enable contextual menu dialing for Snow Leopard users, a Google Quick Search plugin, preferences for the Call Timer, and a separate Call Timer status window. The update also improves formatting of Address Book phone numbers, detection of different call types, accuracy of the caller ID feature, and reliability of Internet-based calling methods such as Google Voice and Vonage. For more info, see “Dialectic Simplifies
Dialing Any Type of Phone
,” 10 April 2008. ($25 new, free update, 7 MB)

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