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Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal takes a detailed look at three popular DVD creation suites: Apple's iDVD, DVD PictureShow, and PictureToTV. PictureShow 2.0, a photography-oriented product for Windows, can create slideshows with a number of stylish transitions, but can only create VCDs. PictureToTV is a photo-only authoring suite, which is also limited to VCD creation. Mossberg criticizes the output quality of both applications, and praises Apple's use of DVD technology: "The Mac produced by far the best slideshow discs, not only because they were burned onto DVDs instead of VCDs, but because the iDVD program has the handsomest and most professional-looking options for menus and backgrounds." Mr. Mossberg notes, however, that iDVD lacks the "fancy" transitions found in the PC applications.
Adaptec has updated its PowerDomain 1.2 driver for Mac OS X designed for use with its Ultra160 products (29160 and 29160N): "This driver has been tested only with Mac OS X 10.1.x and 10.2.x. Do not try to use it with earlier releases of Mac OS X." [82KB] Canon continues to update its digital camera and scanner drivers with the release of ImageBrowser 2.7 for its PowerShot digital cameras. The release adds support for Mac OS X and Exif Print support. (We previously noted the release of updated scanner drivers for OS X as well.) [Classic, OSX] Bold Games has updated Age Of Empires 2 v1.05, a free update to its historical strategy game. The update brings several bug fixes as well as a list of new features, including a new confirmation dialog for the Command-Q keystroke, a new Pause mode (Cmd-P) which pauses the game and allows you to switch to other running applications, and a new 256-color mode option under Mac OS X. [1.8MB] MOTU has posted the final version of its FireWire audio interface software, MOTU 828 Driver 1.0 for Mac OS X. It also installs the MOTU Firewire Audio Console for MOTU 828 only. The download requires Mac OS X 10.2 and also requires that the beta driver be removed before installing the final version. [2.3MB]
Apple has posted an article detailing WETA Digital's use of the Apple Shake software in the creation of visual effects for New Line Cinema’s epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. WETA is simultaneously producing all three films in the trilogy: “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King.” To date, Shake has been "instrumental" in helping WETA tackle this "enormous" undertaking, according to Apple.
Intelligent Assistance announced today that it is shipping the Mac OS X version of its Great visualFX for Final Cut Pro. A Classic (Mac OS 9) version of the suite will ship shortly. With Great visualFX, users can recreate 17 commercial TV effects, including a "Transporter" effect. "Follow the tutorial movies, and recreate the effect exactly like it is on TV," says the developer. Included are tutorials for 17 Effects (with a bonus 18th if you register online), and 61 tutorial movies for a total of 80 minutes. by Joshua Wachs
Aladdin has introduced a new set of development tools to accompany its new HASP 4 anti-piracy system. HASP CD 12 includes a new "envelope utility," for encrypting applications, a Remote Update System, for upgrading HASP keys on Mac computers in the field, and Full support for Mac OS X 10.2. The HASP family of products includes several hardware-based software protection systems that prevent unauthorized use of software applications.
Macintosh game developer Aspyr intends to bring "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets" to the Mac platform, according to company representatives. "Be Harry Potter in a new adventure with more magic, friendship and danger," explains Aspyr, "Learn new spells, undertake new quests, make new friends and challenge new adversaries to confront the powers at the heart of the Chamber of Secrets." The developer's Web site has yet to be updated with release date information or pricing.
Blue World Communications today released Lasso Professional 6.0.1, an updated version of its Web development environment that provides fixes for numerous issues and introduces new features. A threading glitch that could cause Lasso to lose its connection to Lasso MySQL and remote MySQL data sources has been corrected. Additionally, the ampersand character is now properly parsed in XML documents, the GMT indicator is now properly parsed in MySQL dates, and [Redirect_URL] will no longer truncate the last cookie which was "set on the current page from the redirect." A complete list of bug fixes is available on the Blue World Web site.
KB roundup: Apple says that Printing to a Shared HP printer can cause application crashes when the shared computer has a different HP driver version installed and that replacement of custom icons may not always work. Other articles describe how to prevent open SMTP relay on Mac OS X Server 10.2, how to author a still menu with audio in DVD Studio Pro, and how outdated software may cause an iBook display image to shrink: "Not all system software of the same version is exactly the same. For example, while you may have an earlier software disc that is labeled Mac OS 9.2.2 and your iBook came with Mac OS 9.2.2, the iBook may very well have additional software specific to that computer that is not present on the earlier disc. This can be true for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Because of this, you should always be sure to use the original software discs that came with your computer when reinstalling software."
Agfa Monotype has added its Cool Fonts and T.26 Font Collections to Fonts.com, adding nearly 1,800 font products to the site. The Cool Fonts collection contains 27 fonts, six typeface families and one font package called Grunge Pack. T.26 is the largest collection available for download with over 1,700 fonts, including family volumes, with styles ranging from progressive and alternative display designs to more subtle and traditional text faces. Cool Fonts ($24 each) are available in PostScript and TrueType formats, while T.26 (starting $22) is available in Postscript format.
IOGEAR will demonstrate a new ADC switching device at Macworld San Francisco next month, in addition to the devices to debuted at CES this week. "Macworld attendees will find out how to control two ADC Macs with one keyboard, one mouse and one ADC display using the two-port MiniView ADC KVM switch." Details of the new device have yet to be published.
Gefen will debut its ADC Splitter and the DVI Splitter devices at Macworld Expo SF. Gefen's ex-tend-it ADC Splitter is a stackable distribution hub (with support for both DVI and ADC displays) that sends the same computer graphics signals (on Macs with ADC ports) to two digital screens (flat panels or projectors). The $300 device includes a six-foot ADC cable to connect to the computer. Gefen's DVI Splitter ($250) allows up to eight digital flat-panel displays and/or projectors to be connected to a single computer and features a unique expansion bus designed to enable users to add additional screens without sacrificing a DVI port. Both products are expected to ship in January.
RE:Vision Effects has released RE:Flex, a morphing and warping plug-in set, for Apple's compositing and effects solution, Shake. It uses Shake's own drawing and roto tools to direct the warping and morphing, allowing users to create controlling shapes that are free form in nature and intuitive to manipulate. It also combines hand feature-matching with automatic image registration. The $800 software, which consists of RE:Flex Warp and RE:Flex Morph plugins, will be available for $600 through January 15, 2003. Pricing for render-only nodes starts at $300 for a single-node.
Apple's Final Cut Pro is making inroads in the film industry, according to the Hollywood Reporter: "In the past year or two, however, Avid has been fending off parries from the low-cost challenger Final Cut Pro, which actually has gained some ground in the areas of television, commercials and trailers. Now it has cleared another major hurdle -- its first big-league feature. Esteemed editor Walter Murch sent ripples of surprise through the editing community when he decided to use the system to cut Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain," due out Christmas 2003, for Miramax. That decision has prompted some in the feature community to take a closer look at Apple's desktop-based system."
Ultimate Normalizer is an automated PostScript and PDF creator that removes extraneous data in PostScript and PDF files for faster printing, better RIP compatibility, and improved archiving (smaller files). It provides pre-configured prepress settings for predictable PostScript and PDF and support unlimited shared PDF/PS folders for workgroup automation. It claims to be up to 10 times faster that Acrobat-based solutions. A 5-day demo of the $800 application is available online.
The IntelliScanner 4000 is an advanced version of Intelli Innovations' original IntelliScanner 3000i handheld reader. The USB device, which will begin shipping later this month for $400 for Mac OS 8/9/X, is compatible with any Mac application, provides options for manual and triggered scans, and includes two new Intelli Innovations software applications.
Connectix today announced Virtual PC 6.0, an upgrade to its Windows emulation application, offering the ability to run Windows applications, access PC networks, use Windows-only Internet applications and share files with Windows users. It offers speed improvements (up to 25% on Mac OS X), dock integration, enhanced backup support under Mac OS X, improved USB printing, video support for Apple monitors (e.g., Apple's 23" HD Cinema Display), a Mac OS X Dock Start menu, desktop mounting of drive images, increased video RAM, and self-contained configurations for easier installation on several machines. Upgrades are $100 for Virtual PC 5 owners. The DOS version ($100) is available now, while Windows XP Home ($220) and Windows XP Pro ($250) are due later this week and Windows 98/2000 ($220/$250) versions are due later this month.
Kanex Group has released MP3 Dock 1.0, a dock-based application for playback and browsing of MP3 files with functions for automatic hierarchical album listing, easy access to recent albums, sorting functions, keyboard shortcuts, drag & drop support for disk/folder selection, ID3 tag support, and other functions. The $10 utility is available for Mac OS X only. [205KB] @-time 3.1 is a dock-based application that displays the time in several world cities. It also displays GMT (UTC) time and Internet (@) time. Version 3.1 adds a built-in list of cities. The freeware requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. [1.1MB] Steven Frank has released a system hack that puts a "web browser right on your desktop." WebDesktop requires Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar and is available as freeware. [20KB] iTerm 0.5.6a is a full featured terminal emulation program written for OS X using Cocoa. It supports language encodings, VT100/ANSI/XTERM emulation and many convenient GUI features as well as support for Xterm, Address Book, "anti-idle" functions to prevent disconnections, and multiple tabs within a single window. Logorrhea 1.0 is a freeware utilty that offers browsing of iChat logs by buddy and date as well as keyword search functions. [103KB] Stick Software has released its $10 shareware OS X-only system monitor application: Measles provides "the user with Aqua-style spheres on their desktop that bounce off of windows and each other, adding life and energy to the user's environment. They are highly configurable in their appearance and behavior, and if desired, can change colors to indicate the load on the user's processor, free memory or disk space." [516KB]
PixelShox Studio 0.9 is described as a "revolutionary live-video creation tool built exclusively for Mac OS X. [It] uses the latest technologies like OpenGL, Cocoa and CoreAudio [and] is essentially a Cocoa-based editor built upon the PixelShox 3D Engine. It allows you to program in an easy and graphical way the PixelShoxEngine to render real-time animations on screen." The public beta is available online as well as a PixelShox SDK 1.0 for developing custom plug-ins for the application. [1.9MB]
Extensis has released Suitcase 10.2, a free update to its $100 font management utility that brings full support and compatibility with Mac OS X v10.2 (Jaguar), an Auto-Activation plug-in for Adobe InDesign 2.0 and for selected applications (Mac OS X-only), AppleScript support (Mac OS X), Suitcase Server administration capabilities, and support for connecting to latest version of Suitcase Server. Suitcase Server 10.2, also a free update to the $1000 workgroup server solution, adds support for users & groups, font license tracking/control, new administration tools, remote administration via TCP/IP, secure and centralized font database, Suitcase Server network broadcast. the bility for Suitcase clients to "discover" Suitcase Servers, improved performance, and compatibility with Mac OS X Server.
Microsoft today announced that it has named Roz Ho as general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU). Ho is an 11-year Microsoft veteran and has spent the past three years as the product unit manager leading the MacBU’s Silicon Valley team: "She now will champion the strategic vision and direction for all Microsoft software and online products developed by the MacBU, manage Microsoft’s business relationship with Apple Computer Inc., and lead the largest team of Mac-focused developers outside of Apple."
Interarchy 6.0.1 updates the $45 shareware Internet file transfer software that supports FTP, SFTP and HTTP protocols. Version 6.01 now handles creating ftp disks and sftp disks on non startup disks, supports the loopback interface (lo0), optimizes memory usage, has improved support for files larger than 2GB, and other enhancements. A fully-functional unlicensed version will be available until February 2003. [3.0MB] Ellipis Productions has updated its $5 system utility, Memory Usage Getter 2.1.1, which restores progress bars to visually show memory usage of individual processes, adds CPU usage stats and CPU progress bars, column sorting (Jaguar only), and Mac OS X 10.1.x support. [231KB] Alarm Clock Pro 6.1 adds new features and bug fixes as well as the ability to wake your Mac from sleep after a specified duration to Koingo Software's "modern replacement for your old alarm clock." It is a free upgrade to users who purchased the software within the last 6 months and $5 for other registered users. [1.2MB]
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Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.