Here are the updates and drivers you should know about this month.
iTunes is Apple’s popular media management software. The program, which is available for Macs and PCs, helps users buy, store, organize, and play audio and video files. It also lets them distribute those files to their Apple devices, such as the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. The latest version of iTunes, iTunes 10.6.1, offers some important improvements.
Whether those improvements affect you depends on how you use iTunes, but we recommend updating to the most recent version, even if you feel that the improvements won’t change much for you. While many people prefer to update device drivers only when something is wrong with a particular device, it’s generally a good practice to keep your software up-to-date, both for functionality and security.
This update includes a fix for a problem that you might have encountered while browsing TV episodes on the iTunes library via your Apple TV, which is the set-top device that Apple sells separately. The problem affected ordering TV episodes.
Another fix solves an issue that caused the iPod nano or shuffle to crash while iTunes synced with the device. Another fix solves incorrect descriptions by WindowEyes and VoiceOver. Other fixes solve problems with syncing photos to devices and changing artwork sizes in Grid view. Also, the update fixes a problem that causes iTunes to quit while playing videos. The update is available for 32- and 64-bit Windows and for Mac OS X. As always, you can download it free from www.apple.com or from within iTunes (click Help and Check For Updates).
If you are a freeware enthusiast, you likely already know about IrfanView (www.irfanview.com). The free photo viewing application supports a wide variety of image formats and has several photo-editing features, too. For example, you can crop photos, change color depth, and even add certain effects, such as blur. The latest version, 4.33, provides support for the JPEG-XR format. It also includes (thanks to version 4.32) support for adding watermarks.
For a complete list of the new version’s tweaks, visit the main page and click History Of Changes. To download the software, click the Download link and then choose a file hosting service from which you feel comfortable downloading the software.
Evernote (www.evernote.com) is a versatile note-taking tool that helps you store and organize your notes and other media online. Evernote has many great features, but one that gets a lot of attention is its excellent search capability. The service can search the text within your documents and provide results quickly, even when you are storing a large amount of data. The free version has some limits on the types of files you can upload (as well as the amount of data it will store), but it provides more than enough flexibility for users to give the software a realistic trial run. In fact, many users rely only on the free version.
Update 4.5.4 brings many new features and fixes to Evernote. Problems with bullet points have been solved, some quirks that affected PDFs have been eliminated, and notes no longer print in large fonts. A notable new feature is support for dragging attachments or images to Microsoft Office programs. The service now syncs Notebooks with all of your devices as soon as you share them (if they haven’t been synced before). To update Evernote, simply click Help and Check For Updates.
These days, many programs have built-in tools that can check for updates. Some programs can even download and install updates automatically. An easy way to determine whether your software has these tools (and to find out whether your software is up-to-date) is to click the About button. Not all applications have such a button, of course, but generally speaking, you can expect to find an About button near the top of the main menu in a program. If your program has updating capabilities, it will likely have some info about them here. If not, it will probably still give you the program’s version number, which you can then compare to the latest version listed on the publisher’s website.