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: 116.6 ( -0.46 )
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