The Tech News Blog

April 9, 2014

Glitch Halts Windows 8.1 Update Rollout for Some Biz Users

8 Things You Need to Know About Windows 8.1 Update

Oops: Microsoft was forced to halt the rollout of Windows 8.1 Update to some business users after it discovered that the new version of the OS stopped stop scanning against Windows Server Update Service.

Redmond intends to issue an update "as soon as possible," it said in a post on the WSUS Product Team Blog.

"You may still obtain the Windows 8.1 Update (KB 2919355) from the Windows Update Catalog or MSDN," Microsoft said. "However, we recommend that you suspend deployment of this update in your organization until we release the update that resolves this issue."

September 24, 2013

Report: Apple TV 6.0 Re-Issued After Buggy Update

Apple TV Rumors

Apple has reportedly re-issued its Apple TV 6.0 upgrade after its first release bricked some users' set-top boxes.

Apple first rolled out Apple TV version 6.0 on Friday, but users soon reported that the upgrade made their devices unusable or unable to connect to the Internet, forcing Apple to pull the update.

But according to TechCrunch, the 6.0 firmware is again available for download, adding new features like access to iTunes Radio. Users should find the over-the-air update in their Apple TV device settings screen.

Reports of upgrade issues flooded the tech giant's forums last week; people complained of slow downloads, lost libraries, and complete device bricking. "I believe my Apple TV is totally bricked," one user wrote. "I am a [bit] upset that Apple would not fully test the firmware prior to release."

The system, in fact, has been in beta testing since June, 9to5Mac reported, though it appears not every kink was worked out before its public release.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

September 23, 2013

Apple TV 6.0 Upgrade Pulled After Devices Bricked

Apple TV

In addition to its new iPhone lineup, Apple on Friday also released an update for its Apple TV set-top box. But users soon ran into problems, forcing Cupertino to pull the upgrade.

As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple TV 6.0 made its debut on Friday, but some of those who updated found their devices bricked or unable to connect to the Internet. As a result, Apple removed the update, so those on Apple TV 5.3 will no longer see the option to upgrade to version 6.0.

Those affected by the upgrade glitch took to Apple's forums. One user said he tried "restore mode" via iTunes 11, but it failed. "I believe my Apple TV is totally bricked," the user wrote. "I am a [bit] upset that Apple would not fully test the firmware prior to release. My Apple TV does not have any extraordinary functions, no jailbreaks etc.. So, issues should not have taken place. I do hope Apple will not give me a hard time to replace the device."

June 6, 2013

Galaxy S 4 Update Reportedly Addresses Storage Issue

Verizon Galaxy S 4

Samsung is reportedly rolling out a software update to the Galaxy S 4 in an effort to patch early issues that have cropped up since the phone's April launch.

SamMobile published the list of improvements, enhancements, and fixes, the most notable of which should ease some discontent for those with the 16GB version of the smartphone.

The 16GB version of Samsung's flagship device allows for only 9.15GB of actual accessible memory, so the new firmware update provides the ability to push app installs onto the SD card, and boosts available storage to 9.23GB.

Other enhancements include new camera software, a smart pause toggle, HDR video recording, a semi-transparent status bar, new Settings icons, a secure boot status, increased display legibility, and a fix to the purple smearing effect while scrolling.

So far, the 365.67MB update has reached only German customers, SamMobile said, with other countries to follow soon; it is currently available only for the Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S 4.

May 19, 2013

Microsoft Readying for New Xbox With August Xbox 360 Dashboard Update

Xbox Live

Not news: Microsoft is prepping a successor to its Xbox 360 console, and eager gamers have but two days to wait until the company pulls the big curtain off its new system – whatever it's ultimately going to be called.

News: Microsoft hasn't yet abandoned the trusty ol' Xbox 360, not by a longshot. According to a new report from The Verge's Tom Warren, the company is allegedly prepping another dashboard update for its soon-to-be-legacy system. The laundry list of changes include major updates to the console's traditional user interface, which should bring smaller-sized Live Tiles – borrowed from Microsoft's upcoming Windows Blue update for Windows 8 – into the mix.

And in a welcome bit of relief for gamers who have had to endure Microsoft's pointless points system for Xbox purchases over the past eight years or so, the company will officially kill off Xbox Points once the new dashboard update hits consoles. While Microsoft hasn't mentioned what, exactly, will happen to any points that gamers currently have accumulated, it's likely that they'll simply convert the value of each individual "point" over to cold, hard cash, which gamers will be able to use to make transactions going forward.

Gift cards for Microsoft Store items – covering all of Microsoft's properties, not just the Xbox – will start popping up in retail stores once Microsoft makes the big transition. Additionally, gamers will be able to make standard purchases using their credit or debit cards. Wave goodbye to the arduous process of having to exchange cash for points, and then purchase items with said points.

April 27, 2013

Nintendo Launches Wii U ‘3.0.0’ Firmware Update

Wii U

For the three of you who own one of the company's latest consoles, Nintendo has officially released a new "major system update" for the Wii U. The 3.0.0 update brings a slew of tweaks to the system, including Nintendo's promise of "faster load times" when gamers switch between different apps on the Wii U as well as some general performance and stability updates.

Depending on the prowess of your Wii U wireless connection, it should take around an hour for the full update to transfer over to your system. The installation will kick up your unit to version 3.0.0 U, assuming that you get the automatic prompt to update your console. If not, you'll want to manually kickstart the update by hitting up your System Settings menu, selecting "System Update," and starting the process that way.

So, what else has changed?

Nintendo officially added a new "standby" feature to the Wii U that will allow the console to perform background downloads and installations while the system is powered off. Similarly, anything you purchase from Nintendo's eShop will now automatically start downloading in the background while you do various other things on your console. You'll also be able to prioritize any downloads you have queued up, just in case you really, really want to get your hands on a particular game before any others.

April 21, 2013

Big SimCity Patch Arrives Monday: Is Version 2.0 Enough?

SimCity 5

Raise your hand if you're still playing SimCity. That is, Electronic Arts' modern retrofit of its decades-old city-building simulation PC title that earned as much vitriol from reviewers as your game's SimCitizens (theoretically) earned from their daily-changing jobs.

We digress.

Electronics Arts is finally set to roll out the game's first major content update – patch 2.0 – this coming Monday. There's a laundry list of issues that the update will be addressing, including the oddities of the game's tourism feature, the lackluster cash-generating capabilities of its Casino specialization, and some of the jacked-up traffic issues that plague a typical city's service vehicle-stuffed roads.

But is it enough to pacify hacked-off SimCity mayors?

"It seems like we're collectively just picking on the game now, but SimCity is so incredibly messed up that it's no wonder that the programmers and designers are losing sleep trying to get their game right as their PR wing continues to say all the wrong things," writes Flesh Eating Zipper's Nick.

"To their credit, Maxis is fixing the infamous Recycling Center bug. On the flipside, all of the game's broken major systems are still really broken. Your traffic will remain jammed, your water table will still eventually exhaust and your Sims will still seek jobs in other towns before putting the Industrial zones in your own city to work. The wait to 3.0 begins," he adds.

March 25, 2013

Microsoft Updates Default Windows 8 Apps

15 Windows 8 Tips to Get You Started

If you've dipped your toes in the Windows 8 waters at all, you know that Microsoft's new operating system includes a new class of lightweight, Web-connected, full-screen apps, to rival the tablet style apps we've come to know and love on the iPad. Like iOS, Windows 8 throws in a few essential apps to take care of basic computing needs—email, calendar, social networking, photos, music, and more. Today, Microsoft announced updates to three of those apps - Mail, Calendar, and People - which, prior to this overhaul, were not particularly robust.

The Windows 8 Mail app gets the most updates, and that's as it should be, considering its weaknesses. Maybe the biggest add for me is the ability to search for mail on the server, rather than just in the already-downloaded mail, which by default only includes the past two weeks' worth of messages. Before this update, the other option was to download the last month's worth (usually not enough) or all past mail, which was overkill when you're just trying to find one older email. Other super useful additions in this update include the ability to create new mail folders, mark mail as junk, see contact suggestions when composing an email, and add senders to your contact list.

March 20, 2013

iOS 6.1.3 Update Fixes Lock-Screen Glitch

iOS 6.1.3

Apple today rolled out iOS 6.1.3, which fixes a glitch that allowed scammers to circumvent the lock screen on iOS gadgets.

The general notes on the 18.2MB update say that iOS 6.1.3 "contains improvements and bug fixes," but drill down and Apple admits that the update "fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the passcode and access the iPhone app."

The glitch cropped up in January when YouTube user videosdebarraquito posted a video that demonstrated how anyone with iOS 6.1 could bypass the password lock and access the Phone app, view or modify contacts, check voicemail, and browse photos.

The hack directed users to open the emergency call functionality available on locked iPhones, push down the power button, and tap cancel. Users were then directed to dial 112, tap green and then immediately red before returning to the passcode screen.

March 1, 2013

First BlackBerry 10 Update Targets Battery Life, More

BlackBerry 10 OS Update

BlackBerry is already doling out updates to its new BB10 operating system.

Based on user feedback, the phone maker issued a software update for BlackBerry 10 smartphones to some service providers, while the company continues to work with other carriers to provide the fixes.

"It's almost been a month since we officially unveiled the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones and many of you already have a BlackBerry Z10 in hand," Michael Clewley, senior product manager in the handheld software product department, wrote in a blog post. "You've been using it for weeks, and we've been listening to your feedback."

Most notably, the company took heed of fans' complaints over battery life by extending more than 60 battery-saving improvements, designed especially for heavy phone users who should see longer average usage per charge cycle, Clewley said.

The updated software also includes improved performance for third-party apps (with new launches this month), fixes for Gmail calendars, and enhancements to the BlackBerry Hub's call log. The company also optimized its camera for better-quality photos in low-light situations. "You'll love the different this makes for photos where you don't use a flash," Clewley said, citing the Time Shift Camera feature.