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First Third-Party SSD With Native OS X TRIM Support Launched by Angelbird

angelbird_ssd_trimWith the growing popularity and declining cost of solid-state drives (SSDs) for Macs and other personal computers, users have becoming increasingly interested in putting third-party SSDs into their machines. But one issue Mac users have been running into involves support for TRIM, a system-level command that allows the operating system and the drive to communicate about which areas of the drive are considered unused and thus ready to be erased and rewritten to.

Without TRIM, writes to the drive can see significant slowdowns as the system must read and erase each block on the fly before writing new data. But unfortunately for users looking to install third-party SSDs into their machines, Apple only officially supports TRIM on Apple-branded SSDs. Workarounds such as Trim Enabler have naturally been developed to enable TRIM on non-Apple SSDs, but a new lineup of SSDs released earlier this month by Austrian firm Angelbird claims to be the first third-party SSD to support SSD right out of the box with no need for additional software tweaking.

Exactly how Angelbird has achieved native TRIM support on Mac is unclear, as the company has not responded to requests for comment. French site MacBidouille reports [Google Translate], however, that Angelbird's SSDs appear to simply be masquerading as genuine Apple SSDs, thereby qualifying for native TRIM support. While the method appears rather questionable and likely to draw Apple's attention, the drive could still be an appealing option for users looking for the easiest possible solution for upgrading to an SSD

OS X Yosemite has added yet another wrinkle for third-party SSD users, as the new kext signing security measure included in the new operating system means that Yosemite systems will refuse to load modified drivers such as those used by TRIM-enabling software. Cindori, the company behind Trim Enabler, is for now recommending that users interested in enabling TRIM on third-party SSDs with Yosemite disable the kext-signing check entirely. The company acknowledges that turning off this global setting is far from ideal and "for most users it will not be worth it", but for now it is the only solution.

Angelbird has not specified whether its SSDs bypass the Yosemite TRIM issues, but if the drives do indeed simply qualify as Apple SSDs due to the way the model number is presented, it is possible that native TRIM support may still function under Yosemite. Angelbird's SSD wrk lineup is available in three capacities: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB starting at an MSRP of $99.99.


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Court Rules Police Can Force Users to Unlock iPhones With Fingerprints, But Not Passcodes

iphone_5s_touch_idA Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.
Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.
The ruling stemmed from a case involving David Baust, who was accused of strangling his girlfriend. Prosecutors believed Baust may have stored video of the attack on his phone, and requested that the judge force him to unlock it. If protected by a passcode, Baust will not be required to unlock his phone under the Fifth Amendment, but if protected with a fingerprint, he could potentially be forced to unlock the device.

If Baust's phone is an iPhone that's equipped with Touch ID, it's very likely that it will be passcode locked at this point and thus protected by law. Touch ID requires a passcode after 48 hours of disuse, a restart, or three failed fingerprint entry attempts, and the device has probably been in police custody for quite some time. It is unclear if the judge's ruling will have an impact on future cases involving cellular devices protected with fingerprint sensors, as it could be overturned by an appeal or a higher court.


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Trent Reznor Working on ‘Challenging’ Music Delivery Project at Apple

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who serves as Chief Creative Officer of Beats Music, became an Apple employee alongside Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre when Apple acquired Beats back in May.

In a new interview with Billboard, Reznor revealed that he joined the company because Apple was "interested in tapping his creative energy" and that he's currently working on designing a product related to music delivery for Apple. According to Reznor, no one has hit "the right formula" when it comes to streaming music.

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Beats Music co-founder Jimmy Iovine with Trent Reznor, image courtesy of USA Today
"I am on the side of streaming music, and I think the right streaming service could solve everybody's problems," says Reznor, who along with Ross will participate in a keynote Q&A at the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference being held at Universal City's Globe Theater on Nov. 5. "Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud -- your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I've got my records on the shelf doesn't feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven't quite hit the right formula yet."
Reznor says his role at Apple is an evolution of his Beats role and that Apple has him designing products for the company. While he declined to go into detail, he did say that he's doing "very creative work that's not directly making music," but is instead related to music delivery. His work, he says, is "challenging" and "could have a big enough impact that it's worth the effort."
Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music.
Rumors have suggested that Apple plans to completely revamp Beats Music, possibly rolling it into iTunes. A rebranding is planned, and new features and a lower price could be part of the Beats Music redesign. It's possible that Reznor, who says he's working on the streaming music side of things, is helping decide on the direction Apple's streaming music service will take. Apple may be planning to unveil its revamped music subscription service and new branding as early as February, ahead of the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Reznor's full interview, which also includes tidbits on his early life, his interest in movies, his work on Gone Girl, comments on U2's "Songs of Innocence" iTunes release, and more, can be read at Billboard.


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Microsoft Launches New Outlook for Mac, Next Office for Mac Suite Coming in Second Half of 2015

Microsoft today announced the immediate launch of a new Outlook for Mac for Office 365 users, bringing a new look and a number of improvements as leaked earlier this week.
The new Outlook for Mac includes:

- Better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database improvements.
- A new modern user interface with improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs.
- Online archive support for searching Exchange (online or on-premises) archived mail.
- Master Category List support and enhancements delivering access to category lists (name and color) and sync between Mac, Windows and OWA clients.
- Office 365 push email support for real-time email delivery.
- Faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.

outlook_mac_2014
New Outlook for Mac

Office 365 subscribers can access the new Outlook for Mac through their account pages, while subscribers who already have Outlook for Mac 2011 suite installed on their machines should follow these instructions for moving to the new Outlook for Mac.

Microsoft also provided an update on the next full version of Office for Mac, noting that development on the suite had been pushed back from its usual schedule due to Microsoft's work on prioritizing mobile and cloud development. The latest roadmap for Office for Mac, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote includes a public beta launching in the first half of 2015 and a final release coming in the second half of the year. Both Office 365 and perpetual license versions will launch in the same timeframe. Some details on the next Office for Mac were also leaked earlier this week.


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Apple’s Jony Ive Talks Apple Watch at SFMOMA Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony

Apple design chief Jony Ive on Thursday was honored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in an event that celebrated Ive's 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award. The award, bestowed by the Modern Art Council (MAC), recognizes creative individuals who have influenced visual culture.

ive_moma_award
"Ive is our generation’s most innovative and influential figure in the field of industrial design—no other design mind has done more to transform the way we visualize and share information," said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. "SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast to establish a department of architecture and design, and we’re thrilled to celebrate Ive’s revolutionary achievements."
Speaking during the award ceremony, Ive commented on the Apple Watch and the challenge of designing Apple's first smartwatch product in a series of comments reported by The Wall Street Journal.
"Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations," Ive said. "That’s why it’s been such a difficult and humbling program."
Ive also emphasized the dilemma of developing a product that would mean different things to different people. Adding to the complexity of the design is the device itself, which is used only casually by its owners.
"As soon as something is worn, we have expectations of choice," said Ive. Only "in prison," he joked, do people all wear the same thing."
Ive's strict focus on his design work was also revealed in the interview when he admitted he didn't know the details of Apple's most recent financial results.
“I honestly don’t know the numbers,” said Ive. “But I know they are high.”
The Bay Area Treasure Award is one of several awards given to Ive in recent years. The Apple designer was the recipient of a National Design Award for the iPhone in 2007 and a team-issued 2012 Design and Art Direction award. He also was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony held in 2012.


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Seth Rogen to Star as Steve Wozniak in Sony’s Steve Jobs Biopic [Updated]

Seth Rogen will play Steve Wozniak alongside Christian Bale, who has been cast in the role of Steve Jobs in Sony's upcoming Jobs biopic, reports Variety. Rogen will have the opportunity to get advice directly from Wozniak, who is working as a consultant on the film.

Rogen is a popular actor who has starred in movies like Neighbors, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and This Is the End. While Rogen often stars in comedic films, he has demonstrated his ability to do more serious work in movies like Take This Waltz and 50/50.

seth-rogen-ben-schwartz
Image courtesy of Variety

After several months of limbo after writer Aaron Sorkin finished the screenplay, production on Sony's Steve Jobs movie is picking up. Danny Boyle, who directed Slumdog Millionaire has been announced as the director of the film, and just last week, Sony signed on Christian Bale to play Jobs.

While the previous JOBS movie with Ashton Kutcher focused on Jobs' early life, Sony's film will use material from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography and will focus on three 30-minute scenes showing three of Apple's product launches.

Update: According to TheWrap, Rogen is not yet officially signed on, while Jessica Chastain is also being considered for an unspecified role in the film.


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Some OS X Yosemite Users Plagued With Wi-Fi Connection Issues

os_x_yosemite_round_iconSince OS X Yosemite's October 16 launch, MacRumors has been receiving a number of complaints from users who have been experiencing Wi-Fi issues. Extensive threads about Wi-Fi problems have surfaced on both the MacRumors forums and on Apple's own Support Communities as well, suggesting there are quite a few users who are seeing Wi-Fi connection issues after installing Yosemite.

According to the complaints, Wi-Fi connections are sometimes extremely slow, resulting in long loading times, and in some cases, users are seeing their Wi-Fi connections disconnect continually after just a few minutes of being connected.
Since upgrading to Yosemite, my previously-stable (with Mavericks) wifi connection keeps dropping. I have to click the wifi icon and re-select my network every minute or two. I have turned off bluetooth and uninstalled/reinstalled wifi and my networks. I have rebooted multiple times. No luck so far. It appears that others are having similar problems.
The problems appear to be affecting a wide range of different MacBooks, different routers, and users in different locations. A number of different fixes have been suggested on various forums, but it does not appear that any one solution works for everyone, suggesting there may be an issue with Yosemite that needs to be addressed in a future update.

Some users have had luck disabling Bluetooth, turning off Handoff, creating new Network Locations, doing a clean Yosemite install, setting a router to "G-mode only," turning off Dropbox syncing, disabling WPA router encryption, or turning off all proxies in Network preferences, but other users have not been able to solve their Wi-Fi problems at all even attempting all of the above listed solutions. Swapping to a 2.4GHz band has, however, worked for a large number of users.

Apple support representatives have supplied users with different solutions that have included removing excess preferred networks in the Network section of System Preferences and resetting the System Management Controller.

OS X Daily has written an in-depth tutorial on how to fix the Wi-Fi problems in OS X Yosemite, which involves several steps like deleting preference files, creating custom DNS settings, and refreshing the discoveryd service, but for users who can't find a fix, the site recommends downgrading to OS X Mavericks until Yosemite is updated.

Users attempting any of the highly technical fixes above should make a Time Machine backup ahead of time and use caution when deleting any system files. Thus far, there is no word on when a Yosemite update might come as Apple has not yet released any betas to developers.


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