We\'ve published several new reviews on the recently-reopened MacNN Reviews section. Among the latest entries are a review of OmniGraffle 2.0 for Mac OS X and a look at the Lapvantage Ergo form the Plasticsmith. Stay tuned to reviews.macnn.com as we ramp-up publication over the next several weeks.
Macsoft has released Stronghold for Mac OS 9 and X. The \"unique castle simulation game combines the best aspects from a builder and a real-time strategy game.\" Players establish, design, build and manage a castle while pleasing the people and protecting the territory by engaging in warfare with other players; the price is $40.
Karelia Software has posted a minor update to the award-winning Mac OS X software utility, Watson. Watson v1.5.3 addresses issues relating to the installation of third-party tools. Watson helps Mac users search the Internet for news, media and knowledge via an innovative interface. Also released from Terrence Talbot is the first third-party Watson tool, Newsblaster. The tool connects to the Columbia University Newsblaster service and collects news from different Web news services, such as CNN, Reuters, LA Times, and the BBC.
Pulldown Folders v1.1 is a Mac OS X only contextual menu plugin and Preference Pane that allows faster access to files on users hard drives and other volumes. It gives quick access to any and all directories inside the drive without having to open more windows in the finder. The new version adds more options in the pulldown menu, improved directory caching and other optimizations; the price is $7.
USA Today notes that the copyright protection scheme of Sony (named Key2Audio) has been foiled by hackers - by scribbling along the outside edge of the disc with a felt-tip marker. The technology, which can cause Macs to crash, is the latest in a bid by the recording industry to curb illegal copying and sharing of songs.
Koingo Software has released Alarm Clock Pro v5.5, an update to its alarm-clock replacement application which allows users to choose the music, sounds or internet radio stations that they wake up to. It is now more compliant with \"Apple guidelines\", such as control-click for options and improved pop-up menus; the price is $12. [Classic, Carbon]
A Business Week article on Apple\'s new XServe compliments the new rack-mounted servers for their price, equipment, and reliability, \"a similarly equipped Windows server would cost some $5,000.\" The article also states \"Apple also should benefit as established enterprise computing companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, develop software for its servers.\"
MuchoThumbs Pro v2.7.0 is an application for both Mac OS 9 and X that helps create thumbnail websites quickly and easily. The update brings full Mac OS X integration (long file names, packages creator codes, etc), browser enhancements, and new keyboard shortcuts. The upgrade is free to all registered users of version 2.0; the full version is $30. [Classic, Carbon]
PSoft today released a maintenance update to its \'iMsafe\' data backup solution for Mac OS X. Version 1.8 offers better multitasking, a new \"Last Run\" column and a faster, more reliable backup engine. iMsafe works by copying specified data from one Mac OS X volume to another.
Bad Cookie! v1.1 is an update to the $10 universal cookie manager that adds full support for the Mozilla Web browser. Aditonally, Bad Cookie! works with Internet Explorer, Netscape and OmniWeb; this update refines compatibility with all browsers. [Classic, OSX]
Aladdin Systems today announced the availability of Spring Cleaning v5.0 for Mac OS 9/X, an update to the well-known software uninstaller. This version is optimized for Mac OS X and provides new Internet-specific features that help protect privacy. Spring Cleaning 5.0 can edit cookie files, perform custom searches, compare files and folders to identify duplicates and take advantage of Mac OS X UNIX root capabilities.
Tech news: Handspring today cut prices on several of its Visor handhelds, as it prepares to introduce new models; Nintendo will cut the U.S. price of its GameCube game console by about 25 percent, in a bid to maintain its price advantage over its main competitors; and a new internet filing-sharing system offers a free peer-to-peer network for downloading audio files, giving rewards to users whose servers are utilized more often (although there is no Mac client in development).
The $35 shareware utility for Eudora users, Email Magician 1.8, brings a new custom preferences panel, the ability to create new filters, better SPAM protection tools, and other bug fixes. The software automatically creates filters, mailboxes, and nicknames (address book entries) with one click and includes powerful spam filtering, FileMaker Pro export, and account validation.
Brian Dunning\'s Weblet Shopping for Lasso and CDML is a collection of format files and databases for building your own shopping cart system. It provides a full-featured, customizable cart for connecting a product database to the web. The $90 collection is compatible with FileMaker 4/5, Lasso 3.6, and CDML 4/5. Other Weblets are available for charting, chat, and managing contacts.
WiebeTech has reduced pricing by more than $150 on MicroGB, its high-performance, FireWire/USB2.0 pocket drive, featuring a distinctive, rugged, solid aluminum case. The 20GB, 30GB, 40GB, and 48GB are available for $220, $300, $330, and $440, respectively.
FontZone has an article on a high-profile font piracy case in which 11 foundries have brought charges against an internet user for uploading commercial font bundles to public websites and newsgroups. (The case was settled out of court earlier this year.)
Drew McCormack today released Trade Strategist 0.1a, a trading simulation program, which allows users to combine the technical indicators found on online investing sites into \"trading strategies\". It then takes the strategies and performs \"virtual\" trading on historical data downloaded from the web, allowing users to visualize \"how much she would have made or lost adopting the strategy. She can then either discard the strategy, or improve upon it. The best strategies can be swapped with other Trade Strategist users.\"
UBS Warburg analyst Don Young raised has raised his estimates third quarter and full year estimates on Apple, citing lower costs for building its popular iMac personal computer, according to Reuters.
Adobe is now shipping FrameMaker 7.0, its XML authoring and publishing solution. It includes the structured authoring tools for both XML and SGML (previously available as a separate purchase) as well as a new, simple WYSIWYG word processing interface. The software\'s template-driven environment can publish single source documents to multiple channels, including print, PDF, Web, eBooks and PDAs. It also now supports World Wide Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) and Adobe\'s XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform). The desktop version is $800, while a special upgrade offer of $210 is available through August 22nd (after which upgrades are $350). FrameMaker Server 7.0 is $8,000. (An OS X version is not yet available.)
Angelo Scicolone has released XChar 2.0, a new version of the OS X utility that allows you to use find/insert characters. This new version adds compatibility for applications which do not support Drag and Drop and also allows to copy the font and style along with the character. (Last week we noted PopChar Pro 1.0, another similar utility. PickChar 1.0 is also a freeware alternative.)
Apple today released an updated iBook with processor speeds up to 700MHz. The new iBook includes double the on-chip level 2 cache (now 512k), a more powerful 16MB ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor and larger hard drives. Apple claims the new iBook runs up to 35 percent faster than previous models (in CPU performance tests such as encoding a song from an audio CD into an MP3 file using iTunes). The new iBooks also feature a new video-out port that supports VGA output, as well as S-video and composite video with optional adapter.
PrintMagic 1.1 brings enhancements and bug fixes to Stephen Becker\'s useful printing utility for OS X that offers the ability to print all or parts of any document, drag & drop printing, annotation of existing documents, and other features. A 30-day demo of the $25 utility is available online. It is a free upgrade for v1.0 owners.
The Alpha-Cabal has posted the second public beta release of Alpha8 v8.0v2, the next generation of the Alpha text editor: \"We are a small group of Alpha users who have taken over its development from the original author P.Keleher...Alpha8 contains many changes & fixes to the core Alpha application; e.g. Tcl 8.3.4 is now used internally, which results in large speedups for many complex operations.\" AlphaX, OS X native version of Alpha8,is currently in private alpha testing with a public release is planned for later this year.
MPlayerOSX Package 0.1 is an installation package OSX that contains and OS X port of MPlayer, The Movie Player for Linux, which offers playback of 3ivx, DivX 3,4,5 and other codecs files in the fullscreen mode with sound. The package also contains MPlayerOSXgui, a Cocoa-based graphical frontend for mplayer.
OpenOSX today began shipping its Office 1.0 v2 CD, which fixes a potential localization bug with AbiWord, that would prevent the application from launching under certain conditions. (AbiWord is an open-source alternative to Microsoft Word. Gnumeric is a world-class spreadsheet with 95 percent of the functions of Microsoft Excel built-in.) A free update is also available online.
Ozone v2.0 is a major retail update to E-on Software\'s popular 3D plug-in for LightWave. Ozone generates realistic and convincing atmospheric effects that can be added to 3D scenes in LightWave, a popular 3D rendering suite. Version 2.0 adds new algorithms with \"breakthrough\" results, according to the developer; fast-rendering technology, animated clouds and sunsets, and over one hundred predefined atmospheric designs. Ozone 2.0 will be released at Siggraph 2002 in San Antonio, TX and will ship at an expected retail price of $249.
To The Point Software has released snapHappy v1.0, the initial release of the developer\'s $14 image management utility. Users of snapHappy can resize, rotate, crop and rename pictures as well as save images in a variety of standard formats. Photos can be printed, collected into slideshows and even converted to screen savers.
Sugar Cube Software\'s open-source CocoaSpriteKit has reached the second stage of beta testing with the release of CocoaSpriteKit b2 for Mac OS X. CocoaSpriteKit is built from the ground up with Objective-C, and utilizes Apple\'s Quartz compositing engine. Although mainly designed for 2D games, developers are encouraged to find more creative uses for the CSK technology. Beta 2 offers improved screen saver support, introduces a formal plug-in architecture for games, and adds a runtime debugging tool.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE