Archive for October, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Oct. 24 – Oct. 30


BOO! That’s right, that’s right, it’s that time of the year, when all the spooks and haunts in the world go out looking for candy and treats and the ever elusive, ghostly white iPhone, the ne’er to be seen specter. Here’s the tastiest bits of Mac|Life from the week, giving you a little something to read while waiting for the knocking on your door tonight. Just don’t bob for any Apple products; they don’t care much for water.




12 Cool Tips and Tricks for iMovie ’11 – The new iLife brought a ton of slick new features to iMovie, our own personal favorite being make your own Movie Trailers. But there’s more than that and we’ve got twelve tricks that’ll make you the next Spielberg in no time.

Forget Antennagate–“Brightnessgate” is the New Happening Drama of Smartphones – What’s up with your phone’s brightness? Why is it sometimes like staring right into the sun at noon on a sunny summer’s day? And how long til Mute Button/Orientation Lock-gate arrives? 


plants v. zombies




How To Get MobileMe to Play Nice with Read It Later – If you’re a MobileMe user and you use Instapaper or Read It Later, you’ve probably run into this. Bookmark syncing destroys your bookmarklets wirelessly. Well, don’t let it get you down. Here’s how to make it work forever.

How To Get Started With iPhoto ’11 With These Essential Tips and Tricks – We’ll admit, we were slow to coming around to some of iPhoto’s best features and with the update to ’11, there’s even more greatness. We just hope we feel the love sooner this time around.




MediaRover Review – It takes a bit of syncing in the beginning, but after that, it’s all about the sharing love as MediaRover makes all your iTunes libraries play nicely nicely. 

Review: Crumpler Moderate Embarrassment Messenger Bag – It’s rare that a company recognizes that their product — while necessary — can be kind of embarrassing to look at. Crumpler makes a great bag that also knows its limitations.




Ch-ch-ch-changes are coming to your iPad. It’s practically November, which means iOS 4.2 will be rolling itself out sooner or later. Biggest change? The orientation lock switch goes back to being a mute button. Nooooooo!….this will be a short-lived experience with orientation lock if you’re just now getting down to the AT&T or Verizon store for your iPad…and should you want to wrap that beauty up in something to keep it safe, this month was a plethora of case and bag reviews, whether you roll Booq style denier fabric…or you inexplicably want a handle on the side to turn your iPad into a virtual briefcase or something…if you’re not a fan of the Embarrassment above, you can hit up Targus for the EcoMart Mini…or if super-duper security is more your style, PacSafe has just the ticket…lastly, while you may love your big iPad screen, this table will make you cry when you see how rinky-dinky an iPhone can make your iPad look.


It just wouldn’t be Halloween without some treats for our readers, so here’s a selection of free apps for the ghouls and goblins among our readers…speaking of great apps, Early Edition is one of our daily must-haves and this weekend only (ends today) it’s on sale for only 99 cents. What are you still reading this for? Get hopping…and if that isn’t news enough, how about the very first time Plants vs. Zombies goes on sale in its history?…since it’s Halloween, you can also grab the lower priced, lower featured Angry Birds: Halloween while you’re there…and while you’re at the app store, be sure to pick up Everyday Looper, which reliable sources tell us is what Reggie Watts uses for this killer song.


You know what treat is not going to be in your Halloween basket no matter how much you beg? White iPhone 4. It briefly  made an appearance in the Apple Store App…then disappeared until the spring, according to Apple…and even dropped off the face of…the reason, apparently, has to do with the white colored glass back lets too much light leak into the camera…so you’ll just have to imagine how much higher Apple would have leaped over RIM as mobile phone vendor if they’d had had that special handset…because the black ones sold out in China in just 10 small hours




SecureMac Releases New Information About Boonana Trojan Virus

We told you about the Boonana Trojan Mac virus that was discovered by SecureMac just yesterday. SecureMac has now completed its initial analysis of the virus and has new information about it, as well as a removal tool if you believe your Mac is infected.

According to the company’s security bulletin, “The initial infection vector of the Boonana trojan is through a message on social networking sites similar to “Is this you in this video?” which includes a link to an external site. Upon clicking the link, a java applet will attempt to load in the user’s web browser. During our testing, the malicious Java applet communicated with a Command & Control server, and presented an installer window at a random time after accessing the malicious site. This installer did not indicate that it had been downloaded from the web which indicates it is avoiding the quarantine flag typically set by programs such as Safari.”

This virus is still listed as a critical security threat due to the fact that the control servers are still operational. SecureMac notes that this means that servers could be gathering information from infected computers like IP Addresses, and potentially the modification of sudoers file that would allow passwordless access to any potentially infected machines. It is thought that this trojan virus could be used for control purposes.

“In many cases, especially with botnets, the malware might not initially exhibit malicious behavior, but can become active at any time as the command and control servers are updated,” notes SecureMac in the updated bulletin.

You can read the provided by SecureMac by clicking here, and you can also keep an eye out on the SecureMac bulletin page where future updates on this virus will be posted. If you believe your Mac is infected with this virus, you can try running the removal tool found on the bulletin page or by clicking here to directly download the tool.

For more information about the virus stay tuned to Mac|Life.


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Apple Leapfrogs RIM as Fourth Largest Mobile Phone Vendor Worldwide

IDC Q3 2010 market share
(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)

The news just keeps getting worse for Apple’s competitors in the mobile phone market: A new report shows that Cupertino pushed past Blackberry maker Research in Motion in the third quarter to become the fourth largest mobile phone company in the world.

AppleInsider is reporting that IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report is out for the third quarter of 2010, and it’s got some grim news for Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) — Apple has now stolen the number four spot in worldwide mobile phone sales from the Canadian firm. This is the first time that Apple has cracked the top five on IDC’s list of global cell phone companies, which is topped by Nokia, Samsung and LG in the first three spots.

“The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market.” said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo. “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms.”

With RIM being pushed to number five with 12.4 million units shipped compared to Apple’s 14.1 million, it was Sony Ericsson who was toppled from the top five — a first since the inception of the IDC Mobile Phone Tracker report in 2004.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report is the year-over-year change for most of the companies. Number one Nokia grew a mere 1.8 percent, while number two Samsung fared better at 18.6 percent. LG actually lost ground with -10.1 percent, while Apple was up a whopping 90.5 percent from the previous year, largely due to launching the iPhone 4 in 17 new countries in the third quarter.

The new IDC data would appear to back up Steve Jobs’ claims this month that Apple has passed competitor RIM during the company’s quarterly conference call. “I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future,” Jobs boasted. “It will be a challenge for them to create a mobile software platform and convince developers to support a third platform,” a reference to iOS and Android being the dominant players in the smartphone market now.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Apple Updates Mac Pro EFI Firmware, Logic Software

Mac Pro with display

On Thursday, Apple released a pair of updates aimed at its pro users — an EFI firmware update for the 2010 Mac Pros, and a pair of software updates for Logic and its baby brother, Logic Express.

MacRumors is reporting that Apple released Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5 on Thursday for the company’s 2010 model Mac Pro desktops. The firmware requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 and is a mere 1.96MB download.

According to Apple, the update is recommended for all models of Mac Pro released in mid-2010, and specifically targets two areas. The first resolves an issue that prevented the firmware password prompt from being displayed, while the second squashes an issue that prevented the Boot Picker from being presented if Ethernet is connected to a network without DHCP.

Also related to the newer Mac Pro models, Apple released Firmware Restoration CD 1.9, a 22.5MB download which incorporates the same updated firmware but allows a user to clear up any potential problems that may have occurred from an interrupted or unsuccessful firmware update.

Apple was also busy on the software update front, releasing Logic Pro 9.1.3 and Logic Express 9.1.3, which specifically addresses an issue with Hyper-Threading as well as the always-helpful “improved general stability and compatibility.”

“Under Logic 9.1.3’s audio preferences, users can specify the number of audio rendering threads the software will open at any one time,” MacRumors explains. “While the option is set to ‘automatic’ by default and the maximum number of available threads is determined by the number of processor cores and support for Hyper-Threading on the user’s computer, the setting allows users to manually adjust the number of threads to best fit their workflow.”

The Logic Pro update weighs in at 193.01MB, while its smaller sibling is only 139.68MB; both require Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


That Was Fast: iPhone 4 Sells Out on Chinese Apple Online Store

iPhone 4 sold out at China online store
(Image courtesy of 9to5Mac)

Apple successfully launched its online store in China this week, which as usual includes the company’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS handsets — the latter of which promptly sold out a record-breaking 10 hours later.

9to5Mac is reporting that Apple’s launch of its Chinese online store was apparently more successful than anticipated, with the popular iPhone 4 selling out only 10 hours after the store’s virtual doors opened.

It’s an ironic situation, because with stocks depleted at both Apple brick and mortar locations in China (where the company has stopped selling the handset) and now the online store’s virtual shelves cleared out, the scalpers are the only place to get them — and they were the ones so quick to grab all of the stock in the first place.

“All mobile phones are now sold through the online store and customers must pay the money after the order is made, then the company will distribute it to the designated place for free,” Apple retail store staff in Beijing told People’s Daily.

Exclusive carrier China Unicom claims that availability of the iPhone 4 will improve “after November,” with the same report also claiming that the mythical CDMA iPhone may also debut on competing carrier China Telecom’s network next year.

So what’s behind the rabid popularity of the device in China? According to a first-hand report from MIC Gadget posted on MacRumors, “The people here do not mind about the price, they just wish to buy one and tell their friends that they have got an iPhone 4.”

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

News Gets Huge Upgrade

If you’re like us, you make pretty good use of your Dropbox account and try to entice friends and acquaintances to sign up on your referral. Each referral tacks 250MB more on to your 2GB free account. Well, just made all of those schemes and plans irrelevant.

It’s an epic box-related throwdown as the rival cloud storage services aim to snag your business. While both offer a free cloud-based place to store your stuff, has lagged behind Dropbox in some ways. Most notably was its size.’s free 1GB of storage was decent but could quickly fill up and any growth you had to pay for. Dropbox gave you double that amount and let you expand for free.

box crushes


Well is no longer in the sizable shadow of Dropbox. Announced yesterday on their blog, has boosted all of its offerings. Free personal storage jumped a huge 4GB from its initial offering to give users a full 5GB of online server space. For free. For doing nothing but signing up or having an already existing account. While Dropbox tops out their free accounts at 8GB, you have to work to get there, signing up at least 24 friends and acquaintances on your say so.

Business too has seen a jump as their accounts were upgraded from picking up 15GB per paying user to getting 500 gigs right out of the gate for a three person account. While Dropbox gives everyone the ease of a drag and drop sync folder, has left that for business accounts only, and to be honest it’s not that important a feature.

Now if can only expand its range of integration into apps and other software, this fight could get a lot more interesting.


iPhone for Pancakes

Someone, we forget who, once said, “There’s an app for that.” Boy, he wasn’t kidding. After the jump see what happens when musician/comedian Reggie Watts showed up on Sirius radio without his gear.


Luckily for Reggie when he showed up on Ron Bennington’s Unmasked, he happened to be packing his iPhone 4 and had a nice sample looper app of some kind pre-installed and ready to go. This is what a master improviser can pull out of his hat when challenged by circumstance, but given an adequate tool. And more and more it seems that iOS devices are becoming musical instruments in their own rights. The result is the brilliant (and dare we say beautiful) little bit of comedy music styling entitled “Pancakes.”

Mmmmmm, pancakes.


Via Crunchgear


Early Edition for iPad on Sale This Weekend

If you’re in the market for a full featured RSS reader to deck your iPad out with, you could do a lot worse than Glasshouse App’s Daily Edition–a cleverly designed application that takes your favourite RSS feeds and presents them to you in the form of a browsable, searchable newspaper interface that makes reading a pleasure. If you haven’t had a chance to take the application for a test drive, here’s your chance: For this weekend only, Daily Edition is being offered for the very reasonable prive of 99 cents–80% off of the application’s regular price!

Glasshouse Apps has put the Early Edition on sale in celebration of the impending release of version 1.3. This time around, the already impressive iOS 4.2-ready RSS reader includes even more value-added features, such as new ways to share interesting stories and feeds with your friends and colleagues, isolated fetching, a refeshed gesture interface, and the ability to read the original feed for an article via Instapaper integration.

For less than the price of coffee, that’s one heck of a lot of app.


Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter







Win: December 2010

Gamers can be so uncivilized sometimes. But we know you MacLife folk are different. You’re one of a kind. And as the Mac gets more and more games, you gamer folk are multiplying. That’s why this month we’re going to make sure at least one of you is civilized, by giving away a signed copy of Civilization V: Special Edition for Mac.

The unsigned version runs for .99, but add on to that the fact that at press time the Mac version is still not available to the public, and the Sid Meier’s autograph, and you’re talking about a completely priceless collector’s item. To enter, just leave a comment on the page and tell us your favorite Mac OSX game and why it’s your favorite. We’ll select the winner at random and print the winner in a coming issue. Happy gaming!

The fine print:

Mac|Life “Civilized Gamers!” Contest rules: One entry per person. The winner will be chosen at random from qualified entries. All entries must be received no later than December 31, 2010, with the winner announced in the March/11 issue. By entering this contest, you agree that Future US, Inc. may use your name, likeness, and website for promotional purposes without further payment. Employees of Sponsor, its respective parent, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, and agents, and foregoing employees¹ household or immediate family members (defined as parent, spouse, child, sibling, or grandparent) are NOT eligible to enter Contest. All prizes will be awarded, and no minimum number of entries is required. If two or more people enter identical designs and that entry is selected as the winner, the entry received first will be awarded the contest prize. Prizes won by minors will be awarded to their parents or legal guardians. Future US, Inc. is not responsible for damages or expenses the winners might incur as a result of this contest or the receipt of a prize, and winners are responsible for income taxes based on the value of the prize received. A list of winners may also be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Future US, Inc. c/o Mac|Life Contest, 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080. This contest is limited to residents of the United States. No purchase necessary; void in Arizona, Maryland, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and where prohibited by law.


This week on TechRadar

This week on TechRadar we saw the first pictures of the PSP Phone emerge, while Virgin announced its 100Mb broadband service.

HTC leaked a new Android handset, codenamed the HTC Mecha, and Sky formally announced Anytime+ arrival.

Android proved popular, too, this week, with roundups of Android apps in our most-read in-depth articles.

Read on for this week’s most popular stories on TechRadar…

Top five news stories

First pictures of Sony PlayStation Phone emerge

Possible first pictures of the much-rumoured Sony PlayStation Phone prototype have been leaked onto the internet.

Sony is rumoured to be planning to launch the PlayStation Phone in 2011, with an apparent PlayStation Phone prototype having been obtained by Engadget this week, which is the device you can see pictured here.

Vodafone offer us Nokia N8 and HTC Desire HD

Vodafone has confirmed that it is now offering the Nokia N8 and HTC Desire HD – two of the most desirable handsets around, with the former available in an exclusive green hue from the network.

In a short statement Vodafone stated that it would be carrying both the N8 – Nokia’s new flagship phone and HTC’s Desire HD – a follow up to the immensely popular Desire.

“Vodafone customers can now buy two of the hottest new smartphones on the market, the HTC Desire HD and the Nokia N8, both of which are available now on the UK’s best network,” said Vodafone,

Virgin Media uses supercar taxis to promote 100Mbps

Virgin Media is celebrating the announcement of its 100Mbps broadband by offering a fleet of ultrafast taxis – giving Londoners the chance to hitch a ride in a Ferrari, Porsche or Aston Martin.

Gimmick it may be, but Virgin Media’s decision to pimp out three supercars as Hackney Carriages will give the public the chance to ride in style on Thursday – free of charge.

Jon James, executive director of Broadband at Virgin Media said, “With today’s announcement of our new 100Mb service, we wanted to do something fun and iconic to celebrate.”

HTC Mecha set to be next Android superstar?

HTC looks like it’s readying a new Android handset, codenamed the HTC Mecha.

The phone is showing up in the ‘Choose your phone’ section of the account creation screen for, the company’s new phone portal to keep track of your phone’s content and location.

Listed under the Desire HD and Desire Z is the Mecha – with a picture showing an HTC Hero next to it.

Sky formally announces Anytime+ arrival for next week

As revealed on TechRadar yesterday, Sky’s Anytime+ VOD is coming next week, with the broadcast giant confirming that the service will begin to roll out on Tuesday.

Although a lack of HD streams and the exclusion of all other ISPs apart from Sky have picked up criticism, Early Sky Anytime+ reviews have been largely positive.

Anytime+ adds to the already established Anytime push VOD (which does bring HD programmes) to add SD streaming and download video, and the movie section alone bring a wealth of goodies.

Top five in-depth articles

Top 10 best tablet PC iPad alternatives

Apple hasn’t just rekindled interest in tablet devices, it has created the kind of hysteria that only Apple can.

There’s no denying that the iPad is a beautifully crafted device that’s a joy to use, but not everyone wants to buy into Apple’s design and marketing hype.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up ten alternatives to the iPad and put them in descending order to prove that Apples are not the only fruit.

Best Android phone – which should you buy?

There’s one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the number of phones out there running Google’s hot mobile OS.

Samsung makes loads of them. Sony Ericsson makes a few. Then you’ve got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei and many others, while HTC releases more in a month than all the rest added together manage in a year.

The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.

Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? Do you actually like Orange widgets?

30 best free Android games

As Android phones have increased in popularity the number of apps available for the platform has rocketed.

And that means more free Android games. There’s a lot of junk out there, but fortunately, there are gems within the junk.

We’ve worked our way through a whole load of Android games to reveal the ones you should download to your phone.

25 Windows Phone 7 tips and tricks

If you’ve just bought yourself a snazzy new Windows Phone 7 handset, no doubt you’re keen to get to grips with it and explore all the new features.

To help you get the best from your new handset, we’ve compiled 25 handy Windows Phone 7 tips and tricks.

Top 90 best Android apps

While Android doesn’t feature the same volume of apps in its Marketplace as iPhone users are used to, there are still loads of great apps to download.

Whether you’re after the best free Android apps or the best paid ones, we’ve compiled our favourites.

Top five reviews

Samsung Galaxy Tab review

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first major tablet release since the Apple iPad launched about five months ago. Running Android 2.2 and some decent hardware specs, can it compete?

HTC Desire HD review

After the success of the HTC Desire, HTC is looking to take smartphones to the next level with the super-sized HTC Desire HD. But is it a super-sized effort too far?

Samsung PS50C6900 review

With its £1,300 price tag and an extensive secondary feature count this Samsung 50-inch plasma TV has the potential to become the first bona fide 3D bargain

Acer Aspire 5745PG 5464G32Mn review

Nvidia’ s Optimus technology, which allows the laptop to automatically switch between basic integrated graphics and powerful dedicated graphics, makes this lappy a bit of a steal

Office for Mac 2011 review

Make no mistake, Office for Mac 2011 is a big improvement over the previous iterations. Across the board, it’s noticably faster and feels more at home on the Mac than before.

Also reviewed this week

Audio systems

Leema Stream III and Pulse III review

NaimUnitiQute review


CanonLegria HF M31 review

Samsung HMX-H200 review

Toshiba Camileo SX900 review

CD players

Meridian 808.3 Signature Reference review

Graphics cards

AMD Radeon HD 6850 review

AMD Radeon HD 6870 review


Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13″ review

Medion Akoya P6512 review

MSI CR630 review

Packard Bell EasyNote TM98 review

Sony VAIO VPCEB2L9E/BQ review

Acer Aspire 5745PG 5464G32Mn review

Toshiba Satellite L630-13M review


MicrosoftOffice for Mac 2011 review


Samsung Galaxy Tab review


Samsung PS50C6900 review

Sharp LC-22DV200E review


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