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Software Updates & New Release Highlights For Week Ending 2007-07-19

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  • JumpBox for Ruby on Rails Deployment – 0.9.1 – While the Mac is an awesome platform for web development, it is sometimes useful to use it for the creative & editing side and deploy in a more production-like environment or just deploy in a “sandbox”. By pre-configuring (in a virtual machine) Apache, MySQL and Ruby on Rails on a solid Linux foundation (Ubuntu), the JumpBox folks make installation and management a snap. They support Parallels and VMware so you have your pick of your favorite environment. Alas, this means you must have an Intel Mac running OS X 10.4 or 10.5. Definitely drop a note in the comments with your take on this package.
  • Audio Hijack Pro – 2.8.2 – If you’ve ever wanted the ability to record audio playing on your Mac (without having to rig up cables) then this is the utility for you. As the Rogue Amoeba developers themselves say: “If your machine can play it, Audio Hijack Pro can record it”. Version 2.8.2 updates the LAME (mp3 encoder) library, now includes Instan Hijack 2.1 (64-bit) and fixes some bugs. It will cost you $32.00 USD but works on 10.4 & 10.5 (Intel/PPC). Be sure to check out their Nicecast and Airfoil updates as well!
  • XTension – 6.0 – I have a bit of X10 devices around and I grabbed this software to see if it was worth dedicating a Mac to home control (I use a hacked NSLU-2 now). With support for OS X 10.2+ one could easily dedicate an older machine to this task. While the web site can be a bit painful to navigate, the software does look interesting. I’m still evaluating whether it’s worth the $149.95 purchase price and would appreciate any feedback in the comments.
  • ReceiptWallet – 2.0.6 – Despite the introduction of that other receipt management program to the Mac world, I’m still very partial to ReceiptWallet and version 2.0.6 squashes some bugs (including TWAIN issues) and adds some new features including the capability to encrypt receipt libraries. OS X 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC & $39.95.
  • HP Printer Driver – 1.1 – Until SoftwareUpdate cranked out a notice for me I used to think that Apple only updated printer drivers with major releases. You can grab the 405MB download on your own to see if you need the update in areas where Internet connectivity is lacking. You’ll need 10.5.3 or better to utilize it.
  • Headline – 1.0.2 – I’m giving the full release of Headline a go (despite there being a ton of decent free RSS feed readers that do not cost $19.95) and it definitely has a unique and pretty interface. You’ll need 10.5 (Intel/PPC) to get your feed readin’ on with Headline as well.
  • D2X-XL – 1.13.44 (OpenGL version of Descent 2)Descent 2 was a great game and – being the pack rat that I am – the disks are always somewhere to be found (even after our cross country move to WA). You can play Descent 2 on your Mac (10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC) with D2X-XL and this new version enabled Descent 1 mission play, a new capture-the-flag mode as well as three additional game modes, better multi-player support and an integrated help menu (plus tons more). You will need those original disks, tho.
  • VLC media player – 0.8.6i – The world’s best media player (where’s the iPhone port?!) gets better with security & bug fixes. Definitely recommend, especially if you play WAV files from untrusted sources. OS X 10.3.9+.

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