Safari 3.1.1 Released

Apple has released Safari 3.1.1 for both OS X and Windows. I installed it on my two Leopard Macs without a problem through Apple’s Software Update and a reboot was required. It’s also available as a standalone download.

The update includes four security fixes (two are Windows only). One of the patches plugs the vulnerability that won the PWN to OWN contest at CanSecWest.

There’s also the standard

…improvements to stability, compatibility…

The reboot displayed a blank blue screen for a nerve-racking length of time but was otherwise uneventful.

[Updated April 17th:] Well, I may have spoken too soon. My iMac was stable until the first reboot after the patch. At that point it wouldn’t finish loading and would lock up shortly after logon. Starting in Safe Boot mode would allow the logon but instability would ensue after running an app or two. The update itself doesn’t seem to be the problem as a new user profile runs Safari and other apps just fine. Also, my MacBook is running fine.

Safari 3.1 Released

Apple has released Safari 3.1 for Mac and Windows (does anyone use it on Windows?). Included in the update are fixes for 13 security vulnerabilities. On the Windows side it appears the beta status has been dropped.

Apple provides a pdf file that describes the features in pretty good detail. They emphasize improved speed and standards compatibility.

I’ve been running Safari 3.1 on OX 10.5.2 for about a day. From a typical user point of view there’s not a noticeable change as most of the enhancements are under the covers. Safari has been my primary now for a couple of months because it’s been faster and less resource intensive than Firefox on my Macs. Benchmarks may say it’s faster but there’s no noticeable difference for me during typical web surfing.

Safari 3.1 is available through software update or as a direct download.

The OS Quest Trail Log #15:

When I upgraded to Leopard I kept Safari as my default browser so it would open whenever I clicked a link. But I kept using Firefox for almost everything. I liked how fast Safari was when I did fire it up. So this morning I decided to switch over and start using Safari as my primary browser, only going to Firefox when there’s no choice. Safari definitely feels faster and uses less memory.

The Greasemonkey and Browser Sync extensions to Firefox give it an edge in features over Safari, especially when running multiple computers. But, having to stop and start Firefox after using it for extended periods has become a bit annoying, especially when I had to do a force quit for Firefox. Let’s see how far I can go with Safari.

Software Upgrades

There were a lot of software upgrades for me this week. I already wrote about the upgrades to WordPress 2.3.1 and VMWare Fusion 1.1. Then there was the OS X 10.5.1 update for Leopard. I haven’t noticed much of a change since the upgrade. Wireless on my Mac Mini now works when it wakes from sleep mode but that’s about if for noticeable changes.

Adobe released Lightroom 1.3 which includes fixes for Leopard and additional enhancements. I updated my evaluation copy of Lightroom and found that the evaluation counter was reset back to 30 days.

Fetch, from Fetch Softworks, has been updated to version 5.3. It includes improved compatibility with Leopard. I upgraded but rarely use Fetch these days so haven’t used it since the upgrade.

Remote Buddy 1.8 was released. Four fixes, 5 new features, 7 enhancements to an already great remote control program. I didn’t have any problems after the upgrade but I barely scratch the surface of what this app can do.

News & Links

maintain.se: Cocktail 4 for mac no supports Leopard – Cocktail 4 has been released and now supports leopard. Cocktail is a maintenance and UI tweaking tool for the Mac.

News.com: Firefox 3.0 may ship with a slew of serious bugs intact – CNet tech news blog is reporting that Mozilla may ship Firefox 3 with only about 20% of the “blocker” bugs fixed. Blockers are supposed to be serious enough to justify postponing a release.

OmniGroup.com: OmniFocus for the Mac – Described as peronal task management software. Pre-release Beta no available. You can download the beta for free. If you buy before the Jan 8th release you pay half price ($40 – charged immediately)

Techdirt.com: Congress Moves Forward With Required University Subsidies To Napster, Ruckus – TechDirt has an article that’s a rather glaring indictment of our government and how they subsidize failing businesses by attacking education.

TidBITS.com: FileMaker’s Bento: Undercooked and Slightly Fishy – Good overview of Bento and its shortcomings.

arstechnica.com: New bill would punish colleges, students who don’t become copyright cops – The article sums up the incredibly bad idea rather well.

bentotrial.com: Meet Bento — Learn More – Bento is from Filemaker and is described as a personal database that’s Leopard only. A beta preview is available for download.

engadget.com: Vista SP1 release candidate goes out to testers – The headline says it all.

kessels.com: JkDefrag v3.29 – Free open source disk defragmenter for Windows 2000 through Vista was update to version 3.29.

techcrunch.com: gOS PC Sells Out: People Like A Google Focused PC – Seems like the $200 Walmart PC, the one in the oversized case so people think it’s powerfull, appears to be a hit.

tuaw.com: Improve your Stacks with some drawers – Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds like the slickest solution out there.

wsj.com: Google Has Even Bigger Plans for Mobile Phones – The Wall Street Journal is among those reporting Google will bid on some wireless spectrum in January. They report Google is already running a test version of an advanced wireless network.

10 Most Used Mac Apps

Wakoopa has shut down. All links to it have been removed.

During the ramp-up to Leopard I’ve been reviewing the apps I use and why. So I headed out to my Wakoopa profile to see what it says I use the most.

These are the top 10 apps based on how much I use them according to Wakoopa.

1. Firefox 2.0.0.x – Used almost 10 times more than the second place app and about 15% of the time my PC is turned on. What Wakoopa doesn’t catch is that I run apps in the browser – Google Reader and the WordPress Admin panel are big hits. Until recently, so was email. If I’m sitting at my PC Firefox is almost always open. Even though I’m on a Mac I use Firefox over Safari. What keeps me in Firefox are Greasemonkey scripts, Google Browser Sync and a few other add-ons.

2. iTunes – iTunes is playing music now. If I’m at my PC then iTunes is probably playing music or a podcast along with an occasional video. The smart playlist feature of iTunes lets me keep my playlists constantly fresh. Many of my playlist are set to cycle through the least recently played songs that meet the criteria. I’m really looking for iTunes to be a entertainment hub for me, although it’s not there yet.

3. iPhoto – I was surprised to see this so high on the list. I like iPhoto but I didn’t realize I was in it so much. I do use it as an image organizer. I don’t use it very much as a photo editor. Just some cropping and simple color adjustments.

4. Path Finder – This is my finder replacement and falls into the category of “must have”. I’d have expected this to be above iPhoto although while I’m in it a lot it’s usually just for quick hits. Path Finder is always running on my Mac and that’s reflected in the background tasks time shown by Wakoopa.

5. Adobe Lightroom – I’m still on the evaluation version of this software so I was surprised to see it here with so much use. I’ve been playing around with it and the time adds up. I really like it. It’s easy to use and integrates well with the way I work and think. No built in iPhoto or Flikr export function but both were easily accomplished by creating an export action. Still, when comparing it to Aperture it’s more a matter of personal taste as to which is “better”. In my case I already own Aperture so I may be hard pressed to justify the Lightroom purchase. One benefit of Adobe in general is their RAW image support. Adobe supports my Panasonic camera’s RAW format while Aperture (and OS X) do not. If Leopard or OS X 10.4.11 don’t support my camera I may have my purchase justification.

6. Apple Aperture – Digital Photo management software comparable to Adobe LightRoom. The difference is I own this software. Personally I found Aperture a bit harder to wrap my head around but until I used Adobe LightRoom I thought Aperture was just fine. The real downside is that Aperture gets its RAW file support from OS X and Apple is sometimes slow to update support. The still don’t support my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8.

7. Safari – (No link as Apple is promoting the Safari 3 beta on the Safari page and it’s not what I use) Not completely surprised to see this on the list. I pretty much live in Firefox but use Safari occasionally. I have this need to always use Safari when I go to microsoft.com.
Preview – Preview comes with OS X and when I first started using it I thought it was the word’s greatest app. It reads any image format I care about. It reads PDFs. It loads fast. It can do minor image editing (cropping and some color adjustment). I recently came across Xee which is like Preview on steroids but Preview will always have a place in my heart since it was an unexpected pleasure.

8. CSS Edit – I’ve been using this about a week and it’s already climbed into the top 10. As the name implies, it’s a CSS Style Sheet editor. Since I’m trying to teach myself CSS it will see a lot of use for the next month or two.

9. Jungle Disk – This one made the top 10 because I was testing it for the past month. I like i, but it wasn’t for me. I’ll keep checking on them as they add features. Even though I don’t use it I’d recommend checking it out if you want to do some online backups or file storage.

10. Yojimbo – (Ok, I said top 10 and this is 11, but Jungle Disk is dropping and this is rising and will soon overtake Jungle Disk and I can’t count.) Yojimbo is an information organizer for OS X. There’s a lot of competition in this space but Yojimbo seemed to be just want I wanted. I installed the demo and was using it productively within minutes, which I couldn’t saw for the other demos There’s a Quicksilver plug-in for Yojimbo. Plus, it integrates well with OS X so I can just send a PDF of anything to Yojimbo by printing directly to Yojimbo.

The list was based strictly on the time used according to Wakoopa (which seems accurate). But there are some apps missing that would be worth mentioning. So tomorrow I’ll post about my 10 Favorite Macs Apps (that I don’t use enough).

What apps do you use the most?

Apple Patches – and Patches – and Patches

Apple released a boatload of patches at the end of July and another one today. I finally finished all my patching. I better finish this post quickly, before another patch arrives. So to get into it…

I started on Thursday with Pro Application Support 4.0.1. Unaware of what was to follow I gave the patch its own post. Then the floodgates opened so we’ll combine the next four patches into one post.

OS X Security Update 2007-007

Apple released OS X Security Update 2007-007 on the last day of July and kept their one-a-month trend for OS security patches. The update patched 45 vulnerabilities across 13 OS X components. The update is for all supported versions of OS X – Intel, PPC, 10.3.9, 10.4.10 and includes OS X server versions. The patch is available through software update or as a standalone download. A restart is required.

I applied the update through Software Update to my iMac and Mac Mini, both Intel based. The update was uneventful and I haven’t encountered any problem.

Airport Extreme Update 2007-004

Apple released an Airport Extreme update at the same time as security update 2007-004 and both can be applied at the same time requiring only one reboot when done through software update. Apple’s only comment about this update was:

This update is recommended for all Intel-based MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers and improves the reliability of AirPort connections.

The patch doesn’t apply to my iMac but it was needed on my Mac Mini. I was reluctant to apply it to my Mac Mini due to my previous wireless problems. I wasn’t having problems so why tempt fate? In the end I decided I’d have to do it eventually so might as well get it out of the way.

The good news is I applied the patch through software update without a problem. A restart was required and was combined with the 2007-007 security update. Wireless starts just fine with multiple reboots and power-ups. Everything seems the same as before the update.

Safari 3.0.3 Beta

Among it’s other patches Apple also updated the Safari 3 beta to plug four security vulnerabilities. The update is for Safari 3 on both OS X and Windows.

I only run Safari 3 on Windows. According to Apple the update is available through Software Update but it wasn’t available through Software Update for me (even with a manual check) so I updated using the standalone download. There weren’t any problems applying the update. I don’t use the Safari 3 beta enough to really be able to tell what was fixed.

iTunes 7.3.2

Finally, today Apple released an iTunes update, bringing the version to 7.3.2. Apple provides a nice succinct description:

iTunes 7.3.2 provides bug fixes to improve stability and performance.

The update is for iTunes on both OS X and Windows. I applied the update to iTunes on OS X without incident. The iPod synced after the update and everything seems to work so far.

There’s More – Just Not For Me

Apple didn’t stop there. They also released an updates for the iPhone and Bonjour for Windows in the past week. Lucky for me neither of those applies to me.

Safari 3 Beta Updated to 3.0.2

Apple has released their second update since releasing the Safari 3 beta software. This update is for both OS X and Windows.

According to the Apple bulletin about the security updates included in Safari 3.0.2 it contains all the updates that were in OS X Security Update 2007-006. If Safari 3.0.2 is already installed on Mac OS X Security Update 2007-006 will not appear in Software Update. This does include security updates that were not in Safari 3.0.1.

Safari 3 beta on Windows includes numerous stability fixes in the areas of non-English OS’s, authentication, text, RSS, Yahoo Widgets and more.

Safari 3 beta on Mac OS X also includes numerous stability fixes. They’re in the areas of parental controls, Google news reader, email integration, iChat integration and more.

I installed the update on Windows without incident but due to its beta nature I don’t use Safari 3 very much. The page display in general does seem easier to read.

Apple Updates Safari 3 Beta

Apple has updated Safari 3 beta to address three security flaws. I didn’t find anything posted on the Apple website about the update but it’s available on the original Safari 3 beta download page and is for Windows only. It did not show in my Apple Software Update, at least not yet. The version is Safari 3.0.1.

Apple has also posted two support articles related to the Safari 3 beta.

One mentions that when printing web pages you should start printing from page 1. If you try to start on page 2 it may not print.

A second support document says that some print links on websites may not work. The work around is to pick print from the menu or press Ctrl-P.

Back to my pet peeve – Apple saw fit to add two paragraphs to the support articles about the risks of beta software and that they don’t provide tech support. The warnings are longer than the actual information imparted by the support article. Yet their download page just includes the word “beta” once. No mention of risks, known issues or that it’s unsupported.

While I’m bashing Apple I’ll add on more. When I used Apple software update to see if the Safari update was there I saw that it wasn’t. But what was there was an update for Quicktime and an update for “iTunes + Quicktime“. I had installed Quicktime through the standalone installer so I wasn’t surprised to see it. But I’d never installed iTunes on this PC and was shocked to see it. Even after installing the Quicktime update the selection for iTunes was still there. (Click the picture to see it full size.)

This is a work PC. I have no real need for iTunes and installing it could cause some uncomfortable questions so it’s not like I installed it and forgot. Is this Apple trying to spread iTunes? Do they assume every PC would have iTunes? Or is it just a poorly coded software update application?

Safari 3 beta – Now on Windows

The only “new” product to actually be released at WWDC by Apple was a beta version of Safari 3 for both Mac and Windows. Apple is promoting Safari as the method developers can enable software for the iPhone. Applications developed for Safari on the iPhone can hook into the other applications on the iPhone.

Safari on Windows seems to be targeted to future iPhone users even though Steve Jobs talked about Safari’s browser share and how it could grow. Steve also used iTunes as an example showing that they know how to write software for Windows. But it’s not like people flocked to iTunes to use it with something other than the iPod.

I suspect Safari on Windows has more to do with the iPhone and iPhone related apps than Apple’s attempt to bring their Safari to Windows as a standalone browser. It will be interesting to see if Apple tries to extend Safari as a cross-platform application environment for both OS X and Windows.

I installed Safari 3 beta on a couple of Windows XP SP2 PCs. On the first PC I skipped the option to install Bonjour (Apples file and device sharing). I ran some comparisons on this PC since it has Firefox 2 without any add-ins. Both browsers gave the appearance as having a similar response until I hit CNN.COM. Firefox slowed down and the CPU usage stayed around 16% while Safari’s CPU usage was 0% after the page load finished. From that point on Safari did seem faster. Maybe there is something to Apple’s claim that it’s faster than IE and Safari. I didn’t encounter any problems in my limited use on Windows except when it came time to write this post. I wrote it using Safari and the built-in WordPress visual editor. It seemed to work OK up until the point of saving the post, where it lost some formatting.

The installation automatically imported all Firefox and IE bookmarks. Each gets their own bookmarks folder so they aren’t mixed together. Apple has kept the metal color scheme and OS X look in Safari. Which means it’s looks out of place and rather ugly on Windows. I also had to tweak the font smoothing and it still has the look of being “just not right” but this could just be a beta issue. While I like the Apple look on a Mac I’d prefer it be more Windows like when running on Windows.

I’ve always liked Safari on the Mac but used Firefox because of it’s cross-platform abilities and available add-ins, although Firefox seems to be developing some bloat and problems of it’s own (like high cpu usage at time). It still remains to be seen if I’ll switch to Safari, but at least now it’s a viable option. What about you, will you be going to Safari on Windows?