Software Updates & New Releases For Week Ending 2008-09-27


Despite my MacBook Pro going into service yet again (getting a new one, btw), I managed to take a look at some of what the Internets had to offer before handing my venerable system to the Apple Store Geniuses. As always, only what I use makes it to the list so, drop a line to @hrbrmstr on Twitter if interested in having me scope out something. Also, any iPhone developers looking for an ad hoc tester should definitely drop me a note, as I’m a dev as well as a user and can run your app through its paces.

  • Bible-Discovery – 2.2 – I’m always on the lookout for better Bible study tools and came across Bible-Discovery a little while ago. Intially, I was skeptical of a Java-based application (having written plenty of Swing-based apps in my time) but seeing that Miklos Zsido was up to a 2.x release series, I decided to give it a try. Despite the lack of more modern translations, I found the software to be pretty easy to navigate. Searching works well, window layout is pretty sane (if you’ve ever used complex Bible software, you know that this is a big problem in most programs) and it was easy to use without digesting a large user manual. For ~US$80.00, it’s a bit steep given that you could do most of the work online for free. Users of commercial software such as Accordance (my offline tool of choice) will also find little reason to switch. Requires Java but runs on almost any platform.
  • OmniPlan – 1.6.1 beta 1 – I manage a decent number of large-scale projects and could not do my job without OmniPlan. Microsoft Project is overkill for my needs and OmniPlan has a great Mac look-and-feel on top of being very functional. This beta release makes HTML exports and fixes two bugs. If you try it, please remember it is beta, so keep backups and provide feedback! Available for 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC. US$150.00
  • Trek Trivia – 1.1 – Yes, I admit it. I’m a Star Trek geek. We own the series’, collect the action figures and have all of the movies as well as the animated series (shudder). How, then, could I not have Trek Trivia? Esoteric facts that will mystify your friends are at your fingertips, and you can challenge you own personal databank as you learn new details. This version adds the now-expected auto-update functionality plus facts control by series. The best feature is the ability to copy the facts to the clipboard so you can spam all your IRC-mates with your l33t knowledge. Available for 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC and free.
  • MacSword – 1.4.3 – Taking a page from Apple, MacSword releases “bug fixes” to their staple Bible study tool. Available for 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC & free.
  • Camino – 1.6.4 – I keep a copy of most web browsers around most for testing of how they render pages. Camino has a great OS X look-and-feel while using the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine. Unfortunately, this means it must (or should) be ugraded each time security patches make it into the Mozilla codebase. This version updates Gecko (including security fixes), changes (restores, actually) behavior in certificate handling, modifies how it reads Keychain data and adds enhancements to how it blocks unwanted content. Available for 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC and free.
  • Java for Mac OS X 10.4, Release 7, Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 2 – Apple releases security, compatibility & bug fixes for Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 5.0 and Java 1.4 on Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later. This release updates J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_16 and Java 1.4 to version 1.4.2_18 and Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0 and J2SE 1.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.5. Definitely need to upgrade once you finish your app-compatibility testing.
  • OmniGraffle Pro – 5.1 beta 3 – One of my all-time favorite programs gets a beta update release which fixes a ton of bugs as well as improves the functionality of the sidebar. If you are still on Tiger, this app is worth the upgrade to Leopard alone. Again, it is beta, so all bets are off where your data is concerned and the Omni folks would appreciate your feedback. Pro version will set you back USD$200.00 and worth every penny.
  • VLC media player – 0.9.3 – The Swiss Army tool of cross-platform audio/video receives an update which fixes many bugs, some specific to OS X. The full screen controller now has a new time label and remembers the position across media opens. Available for 10.4/10.5, Intel/PPC and free.

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