OS X 10.8.4 code confirms new Macs incoming with super-fast 802.11ac Gigabit wireless support

Apple is preparing to soon release new Mac computers that support super-fast 802.11ac Gigabit wireless, according to code-findings inside of Apple’s latest OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 beta seed to developers. The code was located by a tipster inside of the operating system’s WiFi-frameworks folder. As you can see in the image directly below, the 802.11ac code is not found in OS X 10.8.3, which is the latest public release of Apple’s Mac operating system.

fasterwifi

Previous reports have claimed that Apple is working with wireless chipmaker Broadcom to produce 802.11ac chips for future Macs. Now, it appears, Apple’s software is ready to support the new wireless technology as well. More details below…

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Air Display update makes iPad a Retina monitor for Mac, enables HiDPI mode

Developer Avatron announced its “Air Display” app, which allows iPhones, iPads and Macs to act as a second or third monitor, would be implementing support for the 2048-by-1536 resolution of the new iPad’s 264-DPI Retina display. That means you will soon be able to use your third-generation iPad as a 2048-by-1536 computer monitor.

The update will also benefit the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S with “dramatically better frame rates.” In addition, the upcoming update will allow you to enable HiDPI mode in Lion or Mountain Lion, a “feature in Mac OS X that renders with double-resolution on a double-resolution screen.” The results of turning on HiDPI mode in OS X is viewable in the image to the right. Avatron explained on its blog:

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Passware: Filevault can be brute force cracked during the span of a lunchbreak

FileVault has been included in Macs by Apple since the release of Panther many years ago. In Apple’s most recent release, OS X Lion, the company included FileVault that brought new ways of encryption. FileVault lets you encrypt your entire drive with a master password to protect key-chain passwords, files, and more. FileVault 2 uses a separate partition to store the FileVault login information.

Cnet pointed us to a new report from password recovery company PassWare, who claimed it can decrypt Apple’s FileVault 2 in under 40 minutes. Obviously, this is a big concern because FileVault contains so much of users’ information.

PassWare decrypts FileVault by going in through the system’s firewire connection and using live-memory analysis to extract the encryption key from the FileVault partition (so the machine must assumedly be running?). From there, a user can uncover keychain files and login passwords that can be used to unlock the whole HDD/SSD.

PassWare conveniently makes PassWare 11.3 available to do this, but you will have to throw down a lofty $995 to get the software. PassWare makes this software primarily available for law enforcement.

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New in OS X Lion: “Network Link Conditioner” utility lets you simulate internet and bandwidth conditions

What is it? Network Link Conditioner is a new utility in OS X Lion (via the free Xcode 4.1 app) that will allow you to simulate less than desirable network conditions, such as a bad 3G connection or Edge with “Good Connectivity”. This is an especially useful utility for those developing apps and sites that highly rely on network connectivity, whether it’s a multiplayer game or just an animation heavy web app.
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Turn off irritating changes in Lion with Lion Tweaks

Annoyed by the small changes in Lion? A new app called Lion Tweaks allows you to quickly turn on or off certain features in Lion that may be bugging you. The free app does nothing revolutionary, because all of these tweaks could be accessed in Terminal, but it’s nice to have a centralized place. I’m already eyeing, “Change iCal Leather to Aluminum”. (via Betanews)

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Skype launches HD video calls for Mac OS X Lion with 5.3 update

Today Skype announced the 5.3 update for Mac OS X which brings HD video calls to Lion among a handful of other UI enhancements and bug fixes. The official Skype blog explains:

With Skype 5.3 for Mac OS X, you’ll also be able to send and receive HD quality video when talking to your friends and family. You’ll need to use the Mac’s built-in webcam or choose from a variety of webcams from our Skype Shop, such as the Logitech C910, to make video calls in crystal clear HD quality. To receive clear HD video calls on your Mac, we recommend an upload/download speed of 1.5Mbps.

While previous versions of Skype, even 2.8, seem to run rather well on Lion, official support should iron out any bugs you’ve been noticing since upgrading. The new update is not only available for Lion users, however, Skype’s blog post notes it is also compatible back to Leopard.

You can grab Skype 5.3 for Mac OS X here. We’ll let you know if we find anything else interesting in this latest update.
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Launchpad Control allows you to select which apps appear in Launchpad

A little tip for you weekend Lion users:

Launchpad feeling a little cluttered? Launchpad Control is a free application on OS X that will assist you in cleaning out the unnecessary apps in your Launchpad. The app is pretty simple in that you just check off which apps you don’t want to see . via LifeHacker

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OS X Lion loses compatibility with some network-attached storage drives

CNet has discovered that OS X Lion users lose support for Time Machine backups with third-party NAS hard drives. Time Machine in OS X Lion is now only compatible with Netatalk 2.0. This means that third-party NAS (network attached storage) drives will need a software upgrade from their respective manufactures in order to work with Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system. Users of cable-connected external hard drives will not be affected. Drobo, the company behind popular network attached storage devices has noted the issues on their website:

DroboFS, B800fs and DroboPro FS users running Mac OS X Lion (OS X 10.7) will experience problems with Time Machine.

The next official firmware release for all “FS” products will ensure full compatibility with the released version of Mac OS X Lion,  including use of Time Machine.

Another popular NAS drive maker, Synology, has already released a fix in beta form. Other NAS drive makers will likely follow up with their own OS X Lion compatibility updates.

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Use your MacBook Air USB key as a Lion installer

Apple packages an elegant little USB key with its MacBook Airs that allows you to restore Snow Leopard if your machine goes south.  But with many people upgrading to Lion, few will want to go through the process of downgrading to Snow Leopard and again to Lion if the machine goes bad.

Here is a way to upgrade your USB Key to Lion as well as your MacBook Air.

MacBenTosh has posted (thanks, Danny!) a video guide showing how to format the restore key into a drive that works like a normal 8GB rewritable Flash drive. To follow along with the instructions in the video you’ll need an instance of Windows running in a virtual machine, Boot Camp or a separate PC.  After restoring, the key will be shown as a 8GB drive.

From that point, Egg Freckles has posted a guide on how to create a Lion disc. Of course Lion will only be available from the App Store (or Dev site), but it’s nice to have a local, external installer.

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RoaringApps tells you what apps are compatible with OS X Lion

When upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion, there is a chance of compatibility issues between app and the new OS. A new site called RoaringApps comes to the rescue by displaying what apps are compatible with the new OS. RoaringApps provides a long table of apps showing what apps are supported and if it is available in the App Store.

Other parts of the site include a forum and IRC chat to talk apps. This makes a great way to assure that all of your Mac applications are going to work, before you upgrade.

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