Black Cat Systems today released a Mac OS X driver for the USB versions of its GM-10 ($180) and GM-45 ($350) nuclear radiation detectors, which plug into any Macintosh computer. The devices can detect alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiation. The GM-10 is small (about 4 by 2 1/2 by 1 1/4 inches), lightweight, and simple to use, according to the developer. The GM-45 is slightly larger, and is approximately 25-times more sensitive to alpha and beta radiation.
Crystalball 3.1 adds a redesigned and updated Combat Manager, an improved Campaign Tracker, Wealth Calculation by experience or level, and 'PrintDesigner' to the 'Utility Toolkit' designed for use with the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition game. Crystalball is no longer free, and is instead being offered as $20 shareware.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, resigned from Gap Inc.'s Board of Directors earlier this week to "focus on other priorities," according to a press release. "On behalf of the Board, I'd like to thank Steve for his contributions," Donald Fisher, Chairman of Gap Inc. said. Last week, we noted that BusinessWeek said Gap and Apple were among eight companies having the worst Boards of Directors.
Broadband provider Speakeasy today announced it will offer free 5GB iPod to customers if they sign up for Speakeasy.net business DSL or T-1 services in October: "Customers come to Speakeasy for innovation and quality -- the same attributes that make the iPod such a great device. This promotion will bring 'like minds' together and allow us to introduce new customers to our premier broadband services and to a device and passion that is such a natural extension of broadband usage," said Mike Apgar, CEO of Speakeasy." BMW is also offering a free iPod with the purchase of its new F 650 CS motorcyle for a limited time: , "we're kicking in a free Apple iPod and the F 650 CS speaker system. Think of it, listening to up to 1000 of your favorite tunes on the hottest music player out there..." Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun says the new iPod 'sounds great with Windows" in a recent reivew, although sync problems (under Windows), system requirements (does not support Windows 98), and the inability to generate playlists on the device itself were noted as drawbacks.
IBM is running a survey aimed at Mac OS X users, ISVs, VARs, Enterprise and SMB customers to see the interest on their DB2 database management software for Mac OS X. DB2 is IBM's relational database system used on AIX, Linux, HP-UX, Sun and Windows platforms. The software sports a wide variety of tools, components, extenders and related applications used over a variety of platforms.
Security Manager 1.0 is a secure user-login system that integrates with existing databases without any scripting. It features 128-bit TrippleDES encryption and works with FileMaker Pro's built in access priveleges. A 10-user license is $250.
Freeverse today launched 3D Spades Deluxe 3, its rendition of the popular card game. It features solo or Internet play against gamers from around the world via the GameSmith opponent matching service and also supports the most popular rule variations in play around the world's card tables, including optional Sandbag penalties, Blind and Double Nil bidding, and Ten for Two scoring. The $20 game runs on both Mac OS 8/9 and Mac OS X.
Interactive Media today released its upgradeable USB flash drive, which accepts both Secure Digital or MultiMedia Cards. The palm-sized KanguruMicro Drive + is available in capacities of 32MB ($50), 64MB ($70), 128MB ($100), and 256MB ($180). It measures 3 inches in length, weighs only 20g, offers driverless storage (under OS X), requires no external power, and includes an LED indicator, a write protect switch and a power-saving mode. Drivers are required for Mac OS 9. A non-upgradeable version ranges in price from $30 (16MB) to $900 (1GB) and includes an optional $15 docking station.
Morning tech news: PreClick earlier this week announced that ex-Apple employee John Santoro, formerly iPhoto product manager, has joined the company: "I joined this team for two reasons: it built the fastest and easiest photo organizer [Windows only] and the most innovative business model. We generate new revenue for photo finishers, retailers and manufacturers;" Microsoft said it will add features to its stripped-down, Web version of its Outlook e-mail program to "make it as comprehensive as the regular PC version;" Toshiba today added a 60GB version of its 9.5 mm slim notebook drive to its product line (as well as a DVD-R/W for notebooks earlier this week).
WiebeTech today annouced price reductions as well as the addition of 60GB 4200RPM drives to its line of aluminum-cased MicroGB FireWire/USB2 pocket drives. Prices for the 4,200 rpm versions are now $180 (20GB), $240 (30GB), $280 (40GB), and $420 (60GB) while the high-performance 5,400 rpm drives are now $200 (20GB), $310 (40GB), and $540 (60GB). The product includes the aluminum enclosure; USB2 cable and FireWire cable; and an AC adapter is optional and required only for USB usage.
Matterform's Spamfire 1.2.1 is an application that works with your email client to help fileter spam and delete unwanted messages using custom filters and "fuzzy logic." Version 1.2.1 has better support for Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, imports from Jaguar's system-wide address book, can now be set to trigger a mail check in Apple's Mail application, and has interface and other improvements. The $20 works with a single email account, while the $40 "Pro" version works with any number of email accounts and automatically downloads filter updates.
Several utilities have been updated including textSOAP, Fire, Mactracker, and FTP Thingy (more minor updates added as submitted): textSOAP 3.2.2 from unmarked software brings bug fixes to the BBEdit plugin and the installer under Mac OS 8.6. [2.6MB] Ian Page's MacTracker 1.7.3 is a maintenance update to his informational database that provides detailed information on every Apple, Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options. [Classic, OSX] epicware's Fire 0.31.d.2 restores compatibility with AIM services; allows editing of the port number for Yahoo!, MSN!, and ICQ services; can disable the away messge; and has other changes in the multi-protocol instant messaging application. [2.9MB] FTP Thingy 1.0 is "a ftp client application, that delivers only basic ftp abilities with none of the complexity." [2.0MB]
JAW MPEG2Splitter 1.5 splits MPEG-2 files in smaller user-defined segments either manually or automatically. It supports files from any size source, including files larger than 2GB. Version 1.5 adds MacOS X 10.2 Jaguar compatibility, has revised routines to offer more speed in movie processing, and fixes bugs with multiprocessor Macs, online help, and registration. A 15-day trial of the $15 application is available online. It runs on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.
Thomas Kiffe's MacGhostView 2.6 is a general purpose Postscript and PDF previewer. It includes macps2pdf, a Postscript to PDF converter based on the freeware ghostscript 7.05 and can embed Type 1 fonts in a PDF document, making "it a viable alternative to Adobe's Distiller." It supports arbitrary rotations of Postscript files, has expanded AppleScript support in both MacGhostView and macps2pdf, and includes several sample scripts. It is $20 shareware. MacGhostViewX is 1.6 is a special version that contains a preview application only: "If you have installed ghostscript 6.01 or later on OS X you already have all of the ghostscript utilities except for a Postscript viewer which does not depend on the X Window System. [It] will use the postscript fonts distributed with ghostscript and will call ghostscript binaries like ps2pdf to do file conversions." [Classic, OSX]
Later this month, Helios will ship its 4th-generation server products designed around its new server foundation called HELIOS Base, which includes improved printing (including a TCP printer drive that is 3x faster than AppleTalk-PAP), Unicode support, networking and imaging libraries, and Server Fail Safety, which monitors all HELIOS services to provide mission critical reliability and process security. ELIOS ImageServer (formerly EtherShare OPI) supports server-based image transformation, ICC-Color Management, and OPI replacement, as well as Internet optimized PNG previews. The suite of 4th-generation products include EtherShare 3.1 (file/print/time/mail server for Mac clients), ImageServer 2.5 (server-based OPI image replacement and conversion with color separation and proof printing); and PDF HandShake 2.1 (PDF OPI and Imposition); and Print Preview 2.0 (last minute proofing). All applications are compatible with Mac OS X 10.2.
Fnord Software today released Ubercolor 1.0, a plug-in for using ICC Color Management in Adobe After Effects via Apple's ColorSync system for producing consistent color across all devices. It is being sold at an introductory price of $50 ($50 off until October 18th); a fully-functional demo is available. It is optimized for After Effects version 5.0 and later, but is also compatible with earlier versions and has been Carbonized for After Effects 5.5 on Mac OS X; it supports 16-bit color in the After Effects Production Bundle.
Zonic's SwapTop 1.8.2 is a maintenance update to its Desktop Picture management utility. It allows Mac users to set up a schedule to automatically select a random desktop picture, to download new pictures from the Webshots network each day, and to search online for new images. It restores the Daily Picture feature, and fixes a problem where archived images could be corrupted. It is $15 shareware.
Apple Knowledge Base roundup: Apple describes how to resolve a kernel panic that may appear after updating to Mac OS X 10.2.1, or optimizing a Mac OS Standard volume; Windows File Sharing (or "SMB") browsing is limited to your subnet under Mac OS X 10.2; and Apple describes the memory allocation for Classic applications under Mac OS X: "Because Mac OS X uses memory differently, you actually set the relative amount of memory available to the application in Classic. If you start up your computer using Mac OS 9, then the application will use the amount of memory you have set... Mac OS X 10.2 limits the amount of memory shared among all running Classic applications to less than 128 megabytes." [italics added]
Now AAPL Stock: 92.04 ( -1.36 )
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l