More and more people are being infected by Adware lately, especially since its creators have now expanded into the Apple universe. Adware is basically software that gets installed on your computer’s browser. In the best case scenario it causes endless popup menus to show up on every page that you open; in the worst case you are unable to browse the internet. This type of malware is often packaged together with other software installers. So if you notice that you are suddenly being bombarded with unwanted advertising and pop windows you were likely infected by software that you recently installed sometimes inadvertently.
Since Adware is not officially malware, most virus removal tools can’t detect and remove it. Luckily people have devised ways to remove it. I recently became infected with Downlite adware on a Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air and this is my story.
Apple today announced some enhancements and price reductions to its MacBook line of computers. This is coming just a day after Tim Cook’s speech at the Goldman Sachs conference where he said that Apple would accept lower profit margins to build up products for strategic reasons. Well I guess the MacBook computer and in particular the MacBook Pro, which has been seeing declining sales lately, seems to fit the bill.
Starting on February 13, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display with 128 GB of flash memory will be $1,499 (previously $1,699.99). As well a 13-inch model with a new 2.6 GHz processor and 256 GB of flash memory will be $1,699, the previous model with a 2.5 GHz processor sold for $1,999.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display now has a faster 2.4 GHz processor, bumped up from 2.3 GHz. The higher end 15-inch model now comes with a 2.7 GHz processor and 16 GB of RAM, previously it had a 2.6 GHz processor and 8 GB RAM. Prices for these models stay the same at $2,199 and $2,799 respectively, despite the improvements.
A welcome announcement for prospective MacBook Air purchasers was a $100 drop in the price of a 13-inch Air with 256 GB of flash memory, now at $1,399.
The new models and prices are available from the Apple store immediately. Electronic retailers such as The Future Shop and Best Buy are expected to follow shortly although you could probably get them to price match with Apple.
Starting today (August 10) you can get a iTunes $60 Multipack Gift Card for only $48 at the Future Shop, saving you money on apps, music, TV shows and Movies at the iTunes store. Following suit with the discounts offered by Sprint and Apple in the US, the 16 GB iPhone 4S is now only $99.99 (on a 3 year contract), $60 off the regular price. The Future Shop also has all MacBooks and iMacs on sale, some examples of the savings are:
13.3″ 3rd generation Intel Core i5 MacBook Pro now $1,179.99 (save $50);
13.3″ 2nd generation Intel Core i5 MacBook Air now $1,179.99 (save $50); and
21.5″ Intel Core i5 iMac now $1,149.99 (save $50).
Remember you can get the same deals at Best Buy and Staples since all these retailers have price matching policies.
Even though it was announced at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in June, the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter was not available for purchase until now. The adapter allows older Firewire devices to be connected to the newer MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (retina display) through their Thunderbolt connections. Although not an elegant solution it does the job, it retails for $29.
Ever since AirPlay/Mirroring came to the iPad and iPhone, Mac users have been looking forward to the having the same capabilities for their computers. In fact, when AirPlay was announced for Mountain Lion, it became one of the most anticipated features in the upgrade. Now that the new OS has actually been launched there are reports of many frustrated users as they realize that AirPlay requires a mid 2011 or newer computer. Although this requirement was listed in the footnotes (that pesky fine print) on the OS’s “What’s New” page and in the specifications notes of “Feature Specific Requirements”, it is clear that most people did not see these caveats. Apparently the older models don’t have the hardware to transmit video fast enough to an external screen without excessive heat buildup in the device. If you have a pre-2011 Mac and you want to stream your computer’s display to a Apple TV you can use AirParrot, an app that mimics AirPlay/Mirroring.
Update: For those who qualify you will have to be a bit patient as Apple is now promising to get validation codes to users within 72 hours. I just received mine after a 48 hour wait. You will receive 2 emails from Apple, one has a PDF file that contains the content code which is password protected, the other email contains the password required to open the PDF file. The download itself took 1 hour on a 15 Mbps connection, the installation process took another hour.
Just a reminder to those of you who purchased a new Mac on or after June 11, 2012, that you qualify for a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion. According to Apple’s website, customers will have 30 days from the day the new OS becomes available which is expected to be July 25 (see earlier post). To obtain your promo code users need to enter their date of purchase, address and serial number into Apple’s Up-to-Date website. Once Mountain Lion becomes available, you would submit this promo code to the Mac App Store allowing you to download the upgrade for free. For those who don’t qualify for a free version, can purchase the new OS for $19.99.
It was reported soon after the release of the new MacBook Air and Pro’s in June that the battery was not lasting as long as it should. Well Apple has acknowledged this problem and today they released a software update to resolve the power consumption issue as well as a compatibility issue with some USB devices. It should be noted that this update is not supported by beta or developers previews of Mountain Lion, you will have to wait for that upgrade, likely coming next week.