Apple Releases Major Update and Free Trial for Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X

Apple released Final Cut Pro X exclusively on the Mac App Store  in June, but many users  criticized  the application for missing features and incompatibility with Final Cut Pro 7. Earlier this month, MacRumors reported that  Apple had put  the previous version of its Final Cut Studio video editing suite back on sale, possibly due to the mixed feedback on the new and completely redesigned Final Cut Pro X. Today, Apple has released version 10.0.1 (don’t let the version number fool you) of Final Cut Pro X. Version 10.0.1 is a major update and brings back requested features.

The update is available for free to all Final Cut Pro X owners. New features in the latest update include media stems export, Rich XML support, and projects and events on Xsan.

Jim Darlympe of The Loop has received word from Richard Townhill, senior director of applications marketing at Apple, that the  features were added after the company received feedback from its users (remember, Apple doesn’t care about its customers).  “We listened to the pros and have taken their top feature requests and put them in this update,” Townhill said.

In addition, Apple has promised another update  to bring multi cam editing and broadcast video output support, which is expected to launch early next year. Also, a new free trial of the software is now available on the Final Cut Pro X site, giving users the opportunity to test out the software before making a purchase.

This is what I love about Apple, when they screw up they usually fix it to most people’s satisfaction.

How To Get Ready To Upgrade To OS X Lion

As June comes to a close, we begin to look into July. If you are a Mac user like me, then you know that July will bring something very exciting. It was rumored, and then revealed at WWDC. I am talking about OS X Lion.

Many Mac users are looking at the impending release of Lion and asking the same question. “Is my Mac ready to upgrade?” While that question may seem simple at first, there are a few crucial steps that need to be accounted for. The breakdown is simple, but lets look at each one individually.

Get Up-To-Date

OS X Software Update Logo

If you are running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), then you will have to get a copy of Snow Leopard and install it. This is due to there being things in Snow Leopard that you need to upgrade to Lion. The main thing is the Mac App Store.

Also, Apple just recently released an update for OS X Snow Leopard which updated it to version 10.6.8. Within that update, it was noted that there were changes made to the Mac App Store that would be needed to get Lion. If you haven’t gotten that update yet, I would start by doing that. It also contains some security updates that are pretty important.

Get Gesture Ready

At the Lion reveal, Apple showed off a large number of multitouch gestures that are part of Lion. If you want to take full advantage of the new version of OS X, then you will need a multitouch touch pad. If you run a MacBook of any kind, then you are probably good to go. If you are on a desktop, then you may want to consider a Magic TrackPad from Apple. You can pick one up from Apple for $69.h

Get Compatible Apps

This is probably the biggest unknown at this point. App Compatibility is a two fold problem. The first people to blame are the developers at Apple. They work very hard to make sure that you can use your apps most of the time, but Lion is special. They are removing some much loved compatibility features (read: Rosetta) from the system.

RoaringApps

The second problem is the app developers. In the end, it is their responsibility to make sure their apps run on Lion. If you want to know if your app is compatible, at least with the developer previews that have been released, then I recommend you check out RoaringApps. This database has a large number of Mac Apps and current DP compatibility ratings.

Be Patient

The last things you need to upgrade to Lion is $30, an internet connection, and patience. The new version of OS X won’t be out until sometime in July, so you will just have to wait. When it comes out, I assure you that i will be upgrading.

BlueGriffon: A Cross-Platform Open Source WYSIWYG HTML Editor [Review]

The issue that most people have with creating their own website is that they don’t know how to do it. They can figure out how to get a host, a domain, and even a .com if they want it. Where they run into trouble is the part of the process where you take a design and make it into HTML (the backbone of a lot of websites.) If that is what is holding you back, then fret no more. BlueGriffon, a free Open Source WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor based on the Firefox rendering engine, is here to help.

I don’t think that its important for me to take you through the steps of implementing a design using BlueGriffon. What I am going to do for this review is let you know what I think are the biggest strengths and short comings of the software. All screenshots will be from the Mac OS X version of the software, but there are clients available for Windows and Linux as well.

What BlueGriffon Does Right

I think its best to start with what BlueGriffon gets right. In my time playing with it and testing it out, I found myself loving the ability to manipulate my images and text and have code written for me. While I have some experience writing in HTML, I sometimes find parts of it cumbersome, like arranging images. This is one of the best things about BlueGriffon, and any WYSIWYG editor. You can move things around, and the code automatically updates to reflect the changes.

One of the biggest plusses for BlueGriffon is the range of HTML that it can support. Not only does it support the more basic HTML 4 version of the standard language, but it also supports HTML 5. HTML 5 has become very popular among developers, and is considered the gold standard at the moment. One major reason for this being such a big deal is Apple’s iOS, which supports HTML 5, but not Flash, which HTML 5 is sort of designed to replace.

BlueGriffon HTML EditorBlueGriffon has also found a great price point (FREE!) for an editor of this caliber. While the stock set of features is a little bare for my professional needs, which we will talk about later, it would be perfect for an amateur just looking to set up a simple webpage. On top of being great for amateurs, its one of the first free cross-platform editors of its kind. That has a special place in my heart because, while I write and work on a Mac, a large part of my development and web design is done on a Windows machine.

What BlueGriffon Gets Wrong

BlueGriffon Add-on only

As I said above, BlueGriffon doesn’t come with all the features I look for in a web development toolkit out of the box. These features are available, but they cost money. One of the things I really need is an advanced CSS editor, which BlueGriffon offers as an ‘add-on’ for around $15 USD, or 9.99 Euros. Another add-on that I wish came with the suite is the FTP uploader. While i understand the reasoning behind selling these more advanced features as add-ons, it is sad to see them not be made free like the main program.

Another issue that I have with BlueGriffon is its lack of support for other coding languages. While I championed its offering of HTML 5, I have to shame it by saying that all it really offers is HTML and CSS. Some of the things I need to write or implement are done in JavaScript or even PHP. Neither of these are natively supported by BlueGriffon.

Final Verdict On BlueGriffon

BlueGriffon presents its self as the “next-generation Web Editor.” While I agree that it has some fo the best potential and features of any free web editor I have come across, it doesn’t exactly live up to its name. If you need to do simple HTML work, or if you are looking to write in HTML 5, then I would check out BlueGriffon. However, if you are an advanced user, then you will probably need to buy some add-ons.

It is important to note that, even with all the add-ons, BlueGriffon is one of the most affordable web editing suites around. If you are int he market for a web editor, I recommend you check out BlueGriffon. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and the download itself is Free.

Final Rating: 4/5, for a freemium model for HTML  editors.

Apple Mac App Store Alternatives

Apple launched their Mac Store yesterday (which was apparently cracked), and it has already seen over million downloads in a single day. However, not everything is hunky dory with the app store and it comes with several problems too.

App Bodega Mac App Store

The biggest problem of all is that if you have already purchased an app, you won’t be able to get updates for it through the Mac store and will have to re-purchase the app again. There are several more problems which have been listed out by Life Hacker.

Over at a Reddit thread, several users have been bringing similar complaints to the table. So is the Mac Store your only source for apps? Well, no. There are several alternatives available for the Mac Store out there, which have been doing it for quite some time now.

One of them is App Bodega. App Bodega is a complete alternative to Mac App Store where you can download and install apps and use it as a complete package manager for all your software. App Bodega provides you with an easy way to browse and install apps, along with providing you software updates so that all your software is up-to-date. Bodega also downloads and installs all the available updates automatically if you set it up  to do so.

Another alternative to the app store is App Fresh. Though it is not a market place to buy new apps, it keeps all the installed software on your Mac up-to-date. This is what you won’t get with the current Apple App Store for previously purchased apps.

So if you have been pissed with the new App Store, you can try out these alternatives and see which works for you. After all it shouldn’t be a monopoly.

Skype Explains the Big December Failure

skypeOn December 22nd, millions of Skype users were left without service for roughly 24 hours. At the time, Skype was scrambling to get the system back up and didn’t offer a full explanation of what was happening. (what is Skype?)

Earlier today, Skype’s CIO, Lars Rabbe, gave a fairly detailed explanation about the system wide failure. Skype depends heavily on a world wide network of peer-to-peer nodesand supernodesthat are hosted by users running Skype’s software. This network distributes the service’s work load to each Skype user as needed.

According to Lars, a cluster of Skype servers overloaded and threw more of the load onto the peer-to-peer network. Normally, this should have only slowed the network down. Instead, a bug in some of the Windows clients running a newer Skype version, cause many to completely fail. About 50% of the peer-to-peer network stopped responding, and the entire network collapsed like a house of cards.

Skype technicians responded by creating new peers on the network called mega-supernodesto try to recover normal traffic, but the recovery still took a long time.

So what has Skype learned? Can they prevent downtime in the future? Here’s what Lars said about the future:

… we are learning the lessons we can from this incident and reviewing our processes and procedures, looking in particular for ways in which we can detect problems more quickly to potentially avoid such outages altogether, and ways to recover the system more rapidly after a failure.

Skype has become a critical communication tool for many individuals and companies. If Skype can avoid major disasters in the future, they’ll remain the king of VOIP. If not, they have plenty of competition waiting to jump in as a replacement.

Here are some of our previous posts about Skype:


MacX DVD to iPod Ripper – Free for Limited Time

[Windows & Mac]

If you have a portable media player, one of your favorite past-times may watching movies on it. The biggest issue that you might have is getting a movie from a DVD into your device. There is  no shortage of video converters out there, however, not all of them are easy to use for inexperienced users.

macx-dvd-ipod-ripperAfter reading a post at instant fundas, I decided to try out MacX DVD to iPod Ripper. This program is free only until January 10th of 2011. You can only get a copy of it by visiting the Digiarty Facebook page and clicking the Likebutton there.

digiarty-facebook-like-button

Once you’ve Likedthe page, you will be given links to download a free copy of the program. It’s available for both Mac and Windows. Included in the download will be a text file called SN.txt, which will give you the free license serial number. The first time you run the ripper, it will prompt you for the license serial number.

To use MacX DVD to Ipod, you’ll see a set of simple instructions under Getting Started, as shown here.

winx-dvd-to-ipod

1. Click the Discbutton to chose the DVD you wish to convert.

2. Chose the file format from the to xxxtabs.

3. Click the Startbutton to begin the process.

As you can see, it has settings for iPod, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. However, all the same formats can also be watched on a PC or Mac.

Using the normal settings for a 640×480 MP4, I was able to convert a 2 hour DVD in about 15 to 20 minutes. I found that using the H264 format made the conversion time increase to nearly an hour.

At Digiarty’s home site, they offer a totally free version of this software called WinX Free DVD to iPod Ripper. I tried it out and found that it doesn’t decrypt DVD movies. That means that it’s pretty much useless for most movies.

I could only wish that the MacX DVD to iPod Ripper was free all the time. It’s a great little program that’s pretty easy to use. It’s an ideal piece of software for doing what it was designed to do rip DVDs for iPods and the like.

WinDroplr for Easy Sharing of Images, Text, Links and Files

windroplr-iconI’ve got plenty of ways to share files online, but so far, I haven’t found an instant screen capture tool to share images online. While visiting WebDomination, I ran across a tool that may solve that problem.

Have you ever heard of Droplr, the Mac application for sharing Links, Images, Notes and Files? Now there’s a system tray app for Windows, called WinDroplr, that gives you some of the same features.

You can download the installation file at arrow-down-double-3WinDroplr.com, it’s about 700k in size, but requires .NET 4.0 Framework, if you are running WinXP.

windroplr-download

Once installed, you’ll have a windroplr icon in your system tray. To use the program, click the systray icon once to show the floating drop zone in the bottom right corner of the display. Once it’s up, you can drag URLs, text and images from your web browser into the drop zone. Once the item is uploaded to droplr.com, you’ll get a brief notification above the systray. Click on the notification before it disappears to copy a short URL to the upload.

You can also use WinDroplr to share files and collections of files. Drag them from an explorer window onto the drop zone. If you’ve selected more than one file, it will create a zip archive before it uploads.

Another feature lets you take and upload screenshots by right clicking into the systray icon’s menu.

windroplr-menu

The short URLs generated by WinDroplr are some of the shortest around. Somehow it offers integration with your Twitter account, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

Below is a video showing WinDroplr being used.

WinDroplr Preview

Download

arrow-down-double-3WinDroplr.com

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I love the ability to quickly share links, files, notes and images. The drop zone is a pleasure to use, and the built in screenshot tool is my favorite feature. I’ll be keeping this one around and I recommend it.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Skype 5.0 Now Available For Mac OS X

Skype has released Skype 5.0 beta for Mac OS X which includes the new group video calling feature and a revamped user interface. The new version also integrates with your Mac address book allowing you to call, IM or SMS your contacts from within Skype.

Skype 5 Mac OS X

Earlier last month, Skype had also rolled out Skype 5.0 beta for Windows with integration and group calling features. Skype 5.0 users can group video call any other Skype 5.0 beta users on Windows or Mac OS X. Skype 5.0 for Mac also includes a new new call control bar which allows users to hang up a call or mute it from a mini Skype bar that sits on top of any web page or documents.

Other features include the ability to search chat history, send messages to users even when they are offline. You can download Skype 5.0 beta for Mac OS from here or learn more about it at the official Skype blog

Watch a video of Skype 5.0 for Mac OS X in action below:

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 is Now Available

avg-logo On September 28th, AVG announced the release of their 2011 suite of anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Included with this release is the ever popular free edition of AVG Anti-virus and the free LinkScanner application.

Even though AVG’s offerings have slipped some in the AV testing results, it’s still a great option for protecting home PCs. The addition of the LinkScanner, which warns you about your current web pages, bad links in web pages and risky links in email, seriously improves your chances of staying trouble-free.

As an added bonus to the entire web community, AVG has also unveiled AVG Threat Labs, a search engine which gives short reports on the safety of any web site or link.

A quick look at AVG Anti-Virus Free edition:

While installing, watch out for AVG’s offer to install a toolbar and change your home page to Yahoo. I said no to that. Be sure to uncheck those check-boxes if you feel the same way.

avg-install-3rd-party-options

Next, be prepared to wait. After the initial agreements, AVG will download about 130mb of data, to finish the install. With lots of others downloading the same data, you may not get a good download speed. I was definitely bored at this point.

After the download and install, the last screen will ask for your name and email address. If you are shy, you could type anything you want in there. You’ll also want to be aware of the very last check-box, which is set to allow AVG to collect anonymous information to help them improve the product. Uncheck it if you are paranoid.

Finally, here’s your first peek at the new AVG interface.

avg-main-interface

As you can see, the main two functions, Scan and Update, are on the left. Naturally, a free product is an opportunity to advertise, and you’ll see an Upgrade button and a large ad at the bottom. I don’t mind, but some people might.

I’m not going to go into any details on how to use AVG, it’s like most other anti-virus apps. Install it, do a few scans now and then, but mostly forget about it until a problem pops up.

AVG LinkScanner

During the installation of the anti-virus, I choose the Quick Install method. If you choose to customize your installation, you can select not to install some of the services such as LinkScanner. In previous versions of LinkScanner, there were some problems in certain web browsers, but those issues have been largely fixed. I recommend allowing it to install with the anti-virus. You can always disable it later if needed.

If you are using some other anti-virus product, you can install LinkScanner all by itself. There’s also a version for the Mac now.

Here’s what AVG says about the LinkScanner:

LinkScanner ® keeps you safe wherever you go online by actively checking links and web pages in real time the only time it matters – before you click that link. LinkScanner ® also places safety ratings next to your search results, allowing you to assess the safety of a site before visiting it.

The service it offers is similar to that offered by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor and WOT (Web of Trust), which I also recommend. I don’t believe it’s necessary to run more than one of these at a time, so pick one and try it out.

Once you start seeing link ratings in a web search, you’ll understand how it can keep you out of trouble.

linkscanner-ratings

download AVG Free Download AVG Anti-Virus 2011 Free Edition

download LinkScanner Download AVG LinkScanner

arrow-right-double Visit AVG Threat Lab to find out if sites or links are risky


Techie Buzz Verdict:

AVG’s free anti-virus products have always been good. However, due to recent results in AV testing, I’ve lost some of my faith in it. It’s still good, but not as good as some of the other free AV applications. However, the LinkScanner tool and the new AVG Threat Lab site have my hearty recommendations.

On a final note, my wife is a loyal AVG user and it’s always kept her safe. If you’ve been using AVG, and it’s been working well for you, there’s no reason not to upgrade to the 2011 version right now.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)


Buy/Pre-Order Office 2011 For Mac

Office 2011 for Mac will be released on October 26, 2010. It is the latest office suite from Microsoft for Mac OS X and will be available in two editions, Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 and Office for Mac Home and Business 2011.

Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac

Office 2011 for Mac is currently available for pre-orders on Amazon. You can place an order for the Office suite and have it delivered to you on launch date. You can pre-order or buy Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 or Office for Mac Home and Student 2011.

A single license of Mac Office 2011 Home and Student is priced at $119.99, whereas a 3 User license Family pack of Office Mac Home and Student is priced at $149.99. For Business users a Single pack of Office for Home & Business will cost $199.99, whereas a 2 license pack of Mac Office for Business will cost $279.99.

People who purchase Office 2008 for Mac today will also get a free upgrade to Office 2011 to Mac. If you haven’t seen Office 2011 for Mac in action, check out a preview video of it embedded below or check out the features of Office 2011 at the official Microsoft site.