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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 13 December 2010

Switcher Maestro 1.0 — Peter Lewis of Stairways Software has released a new utility called Switcher Maestro, a focused tool that provides three functions: an application switcher to replace Mac OS X’s Command-Tab application switcher, a window switcher that lets you jump instantly among windows of running applications, and an application launcher. Switcher Maestro doesn’t bring any shockingly new innovations to the switcher/launcher field, but it’s quick, elegant, and highly functional. You can configure the activation hotkey for each of Switcher
Maestro’s three features, launch apps by typing a few characters from the start of their names, control the look and feel of the switcher interface, have the switcher pop up near your cursor, and more. If you’re looking to go beyond Mac OS X’s built-in application switcher, and don’t already have a utility that does what you want, Switcher Maestro is absolutely worth a look. ($9.99 new, 10.5 MB)

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Simon 3.0.1 — Dejal’s server monitoring tool Simon has become a more-accomplished tweeter with version 3.0.1. Previously, Simon’s interface made it difficult or even impossible to find and select direct message recipients for tweets about server changes; that’s now improved. In addition, Simon 3.0.1 fixes a bug that prevented the MySQL plug-in from loading. (Prices vary, free update, 15.6 MB)

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Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.8 Update — Though the recently released Microsoft Office 2011 suite is getting the lion’s share of the attention these days, the Microsofties aren’t neglecting the previous incarnation, as proven by the release of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.8 update. Beyond the traditional stability improvements, the update also includes fixes for several serious security vulnerabilities. The other focus of the update is Entourage; crashing bugs
related to opening messages with inline attachments, sending messages, and clicking meeting invitations are all corrected. (Free update, 332.8 MB)

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Postbox 2.1 — The elegant, Thunderbird-based email software Postbox has been updated to version 2.1. The hallmark feature of this release is the new Summarize Mode, which provides an alternative to traditional quoting when replying to (or forwarding) messages. Instead, your recipients see a well-designed presentation indicating who said what. Also new in version 2.1 is the capability to toggle between Reply and Reply All via the toolbar, Quick Look for attachments when composing messages, a keyboard shortcut for Paste Without Formatting, and more Quick Reply configuration options. ($39.95 new, free update, 12 MB)

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MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.0 — MacBook Air owners take note: Apple has released MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.0, which the company recommends for all users of the late-2010 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. The update corrects what Apple terms “a rare issue” where the MacBook Air either powers on or wakes up to a black screen, or becomes completely unresponsive, which is bad. As is often the case with these firmware updates, your Mac must be plugged in to install it, and a gray screen with a progress bar will appear after you restart. Apple strongly recommends that you neither disturb nor power off
your MacBook Air during the installation of the firmware update. (Free, 2.41 MB)

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Aperture 3.1.1 — Apple has released Aperture 3.1.1, an update to its photo organizing and manipulation tool that addresses overall stability and performance, and packs in a few fixes, too. The new version addresses compatibility issues with the iLife Media Browser, corrects problems where iMovie ’11 would stop responding when scanning your Aperture library, and ensures that your Aperture library appears when attempting to browse it from other iLife applications. The update also improves reliability when upgrading existing Aperture libraries and addresses issues with publishing photos to Web services like MobileMe,
Flickr, and Facebook. Full release notes are available directly from Apple. ($199 new, free update, 357.79 MB)

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Mactracker 5.3 — Whether you want to check the memory configuration possibilities on a new Mac Pro, look up the difference between a Quadra and a Centris, or just take a stroll down Mac memory lane, the free Mactracker software can help—laden as it is with information on pretty much every piece of Apple hardware since 1984. The 5.3 update adds information on the latest Mac Pro Server and MacBook Air models, updates the 2010 MacBook Pro listing, and adds information on the Original and Maximum OS for iOS devices. Also included in this release is support for adding reminders (about expiring warranties and the like) to iCal
calendars on CalDAV servers. (Free, 26.2 MB)

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Photoshop CS5 12.0.2 — Adobe has airbrushed a few fixes onto its flagship image manipulation software with the release of Photoshop CS5 12.0.2. In addition to patching several potential security vulnerabilities, the new update addresses painting performance issues and fixes crashes linked with type and font settings. Other crashes—related to 3D layers, Color Engine, the Sharpen tool, and TWAIN—are also corrected. Rounding out the release are fixes covering problems with file formats, Shift-scrolling, marching ants not appearing at certain zoom levels, the Brush cursor, Droplet issues,
and the Histogram progress bar. You can download the updater directly from Adobe. ($699 new, free update, 14.7 MB)

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Skitch 1.0.1 — After a beta period longer than some Hollywood marriages, screenshot sharing software Skitch has finally hit its 1.0 milestone (and a quick 1.0.1 bug fix release). Skitch lets you capture screenshots or images from your iSight camera, mark up those images (or others you drag in) with text, arrows, and more, and instantly share them via the Web. The software is free, but the optional Skitch Plus service costs $14.95 per year, removes ads, and adds the capability to capture full-length Web pages, choose custom font settings, watermark images, and export images in more formats. (Free, 8.2 MB)

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Photoshop Lightroom 3.3 — Adobe has updated its photo management software Photoshop Lightroom to version 3.3. In addition to correcting a few issues introduced in Lightroom 3.0, the update adds support for 15 camera models, including the Canon PowerShot G12 and S95, the Nikon D7000, and the Olympus E-5. Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto still lag in their support for raw image formats, which are implemented at the operating system level. ($299 new, free update for owners of Lightroom 3, $99 upgrade from earlier versions, 84.5 MB)

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KeyCue 5.2 — If your brain has a hard time with all the Options to Control ever-Shifting key Commands, you’ll appreciate the news that Ergonis Software has released KeyCue 5.2, the latest update to its keyboard shortcut cheat sheet. The new version of KeyCue now integrates with macro utility iKey, revealing the key-combinations for any active iKey shortcuts. Also new in this release is a diagnostic function to help identify problems on certain system configurations. Among the latest version’s refinements are better compatibility with Filemaker Pro 11 and Keyboard
Maestro (for which KeyCue also reveals hotkey assignments), faster responses in Safari when 1Password is installed, and improved memory management. (€19.99 new, free update, 1.3 MB)

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RapidWeaver 5.0.1 — If you’re disappointed that Apple’s latest iLife update neglected iWeb, here’s some news that may cheer you up: Realmac Software has released version 5 of its award-winning Web design software RapidWeaver. New in version 5 are a Projects Window, a Bookmarks Manager, six new themes, stat-tracking support, HTML and XML sitemap generators, integrated Safari Web Developer Tools, and what Realmac calls a “bucketload of UI refinements.” Also new in this version is an Addons area to make managing RapidWeaver plug-ins much simpler—see the Realmac Software site for a full list of additions.
($79 new, $39 upgrade, 34.0 MB)

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