Alias|Wavefront has been awarded an Oscar for its development of Maya, the professional 3D animation and effects package: "Maya is the world's leading 3D animation, modeling and rendering tool for the film, broadcast, video, game development, 3D web and location-based entertainment markets." It was employed extensively in such films as "LOTR: The Two Towers," "Spider-Man," "Ice Age," "Hollow Man" and "Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones." The Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be presented at a gala black tie dinner on Saturday evening, March 1, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
Last week at CES, Samsung has introduced its SCD5000, which combines the benefits of a MiniDV digital camcorder with a 4 mega-pixel digital camera using a unique swivel lens mechanism for switching between the two functions; It includes an embedded strobe for still picture taking in low-light conditions, a 3x optical/6x digital zoom and support for Memory Stick media (and USB connectivity). The digital camcorder also features a 680K pixel CCD, MiniDV and MPEG-4 recording as well as the option of a 10X optical or 800x digital zoom, a 2-inch view finder, and FireWire connectivity. Samsung also unveiled the ITCAM-7 dubbed as the worlds first Hard Disk Drive (HDD) digital camcorder. It uses a 1.5 GB HDD to store still and motion pictures, as well as music, audio and data files, offering storage of more than one hour of footage. The ITCAM-7 saves each new shot as a separate media file, making it possible to locate a specific clip instantly and simple to organize media clips for editing. It also doubles as a portable MP3 and movie player (30 fps playback at 640x480 on its 2-inch LCD or on a TV screen). It features a USB 2.0 port for connectivity.
CourseForum Technologies has released version 1.2 of both its CourseForum and ProjectForum products, offering easy to use web-based support for educational and workgroup collaboration. The updates include support for larger numbers of courses or workgroups, along with various improvements in content creation and administration. Licenses have also been "dramatically" reduced and start at $80 for education customers. [CF, PF] Mireth Technology has released NetShred X 3.1, an update to its $20 privacy utility that automatically shreds web browser cache, browser history files, download cache, email trash and Apple junk mail. Version 3.1 adds support for Safari in addition to IE, Safari, Omniweb, Opera, iCab, Eudora, Apple Mail. It runs automatically and offers a "confirm before delete" feature. [1.5MB] Page Sender 2.3.1 updates Smile Software's fax send/receive and print-to-Email (PDF) utility with several bug fixes, including not watermarking documents sent by registered users with AppleScript or FileMaker Pro. A 30-day free demo of the $30 application requires Mac OS X 10.1.3. [2.5MB] Digital Point Solutions updated its cross-platform business software package to run all aspects of an ISP (from billing to server management). Optigold ISP 3.1.6 adds FSNet gateway support, SMTP Auth support in CD signup, and few bug fixes and other miscellaneous feature requests. Xbench 1.0b5 is a freeware benchmarking utility for Mac OS X. It includes CPU, memory, thread, Quartz Graphics, OpenGL, and Disk tests. [205KB] RAILhead Design's Wednesday's List v1.1.0 is designed to help comic book collectors view, manage, print, and save customized new and upcoming comic book release pull lists. It can also export your custom lists to Apple's iCal program, which enables you to sync your data to iSync-compatible PDAs. The $7 utility is for Mac OS X only. [1.4MB] ScifienceStudios has released Safari Aquafier, which allows you to easily change the Safari interface without using complicated developer tools and OpenOffice.org launcher for Apple X11, which makes OpenOffice.org's launcher compatible with Apple's X11 software (instead of XDarwin). [SA, OLFX11]
A MacNN reader notes that Apple has posted job openings for various positions at a yet-unannounced Apple Store in Burlingame, CA. (Apple's retail site also confirms a MacNN report that the Early Bird Special at Apple retail stores offered for Aluminum PowerBook purchases only applies to software and accessories and "does not apply to purchase of another Apple computer, an AppleCare agreement or a product that is part of another promotional offer.") Update: Another reader notes an upcoming store in Walnut Creek, CA as well.
QIF Master 1.5 is a utility to help users enter banking, credit card, and investment transactions into Quicken. The $16 shareware for Mac OS X can extract QIF from your investment firm's transaction history web page and import that QIF into Quicken as well as convert CSV files into QIF. It is for Mac OS X-only. [2.1MB] Jan Sürmeli's FileBrowser X 1.0 is a free system utility for Mac OS X that allows you to change file attributes under Mac OS X. It can also create new folders, launch files, and show/hide hidden files in the Finder. [716KB] Horse Menu 1.1 is an $8 shareware tool that g"athers a plethora of information about your computer, and makes it available in your menu bar. View detailed information about your OS, CPU, uptime, USB devices, FireWire devices, mounted volumes, and running applications. You can also send signals to, hide/show, bring to front, quit, or reveal applications in the Finder." [95KB] iPhoto Diet 1.03 implements version checking, fixes scanning of empty of folders, and correctly handles stray files. The freeware AppleScript droplet application scans through the iPhoto library folder and moves any undesired originals to the Trash. (The author warns that it may not work with iPhoto 2, due out in a few weeks.) [52KB] Richard Bannister has released a final version of SMS+/MacOS, hiis Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear emulator for the Macintosh. Version 1.0 is in sync with latest PC code, has added support for joysticks under Mac OS X, removes ROM Info support code, fixes Turbo key functionality, ad now moves saved games and Freeze states into their own folders. [800KB]
Pentax last week introduced its OptioS digital camera, a 3.2 megapixel camera die at end of March 2003. The company says that the full-featured camera "is so small that it fits into an empty Altoids tin." It offers a 3X optical zoom lens, a movie mode with sound playback, a voice recording mode for attaching 30-second memos to selected images, a 1.6-inch LCD monitor, approximately 11MB of built-in memory and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. [pricing not available]
At NAMM 2003, TC Works debuted Spark XL 2.7 with integrated CD-burning functions under Mac OS X, showcased its Assimilator processing tool, and announced a Mac OS X driver for its PowerCore DSP card.
Minolta-QMS today released the magicolor 2350 EN, a network color laser printer. Using Photo ART technology, the printer offers 9600x600 dpi-class print resolution for true-to-life photo quality and uses a new polymerized toner formula that's composed of smaller, more uniform particles for creating finer lines and text and smoother halftones. It supports a variety of office papers (up to 8.5" x 14") including transparencies, labels, heavy stocks, and envelopes. Other features include 18 ppm monochrome and 4 ppm color printing, PostScript 3/PCL 6 support, a 200-sheet feeder, Web-based management, and several connectivity options, including 10/100BaseTX Ethernet, USB, and parallel ports. It is $1,100.
IDG World Expo today announced that last week's Macworld Expo attracted 90,473 attendees to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, slightly up from the nearly 88,000 attendance at Macworld Expo SF 2002. The 19th annual technology event had more than 330 exhibitors making it "San Francisco's largest annual technology event and the world's most comprehensive Macintosh OS event." The next Macworld Expo will take place at New York City's Javits Center, July 14 - 18, 2003; however, it is unclear whether Apple will attend, although IDG has offered a money-back guarantee to exhibitors if Apple does not atttend.
Apple has objected to a tentative antitrust settlement worth $1.1 billion between California and Microsoft, saying the agreement will actually benefit the software giant, according c|net. (Statements were reportedly given to "select" media outlets and Apple did not return phone calls for further clarification.) "Under the settlement terms, one-third of any unclaimed rebates will revert to Microsoft. The remaining amount will go to California public schools in a mix of cash and donated Microsoft software... History shows that fewer than 25 percent of qualifying recipients fail to claim refunds, thereby reducing the actual cost to Microsoft. At the same time, Apple said school donations would help Microsoft expand its market share in education... Apple proposed that Microsoft give all unclaimed funds to schools to purchase any technology products."
Virtual WineCellar 4.1 is an update to the $20 cellaring software for wine collectors. It offers standard data entry fields, custom data fields, a suppliers database with order-to-inventory processing, integration with Vinote barcoded neck tags, support for digitized bottle labels, and much more. [Classic, OSX] Simple Video Splicer (SVS) is a basic video editing tool for cropping/joining movies, images, and audio: "Since iMovie 3 will finally be able to do everything that SVS can do, I've decided to make the project source code openly available." [1.2MB] Report Magic 2.16 offers usable statistics from your website log file analysis . It adds graph settings for particular reports, new report branding options, customized size display, and other enhancements. [2.4MB] Bains Software has updated its MacDICT 2.6 to fix reported bugs with the recent v2.5 release. The freeware client offers asy access to many databases including Webster's Dictionary. [Classic, OSX] The company also updated Mail Beacon 2.0 ($15 shareware), which it says has been "completely redesigned and rethought with this 2.0 release. Mail Beacon alerts you of new mail in an unlimited number of accounts, and allows you to delete spam and other problematic messages before they reach your email client." [Classic, OSX]http://www.bainsware.com/downloads/mailbeacon.sit Dog Park Software's MacLoggerDX 2.2 brings log editing, UI enhancements, a new Kenwood TS-870 Driver, DXCC Columns to the log display, and driver fixes for Mac OS 9 and Japan Radio's JST-245. The $70 DX Internet radio station tuner is available or both Mac OS 9/X. [9.2MB] Mark Malson has released File Escort 1.0 for Mac OS X. File Escort lets you open any file with any application with a single click by adding an item to the pop-up menu with a list of available applications. The $5 shareware can also launch applications. [754KB] My Favorites Martian will sync your Internet Explorer (and Chimera, and Safari) bookmarks between multiple computers using an FTP server of your choice. Version 1.8 adds support for Safari preferences & bookmarks syncing, removes the backup routine, and adds a "Sync to all interfaces" command. [350KB]
Chronos has released F10 Launch Studio, a system utility that uses a "Launch Pad" (invoked by pressing the F10 key): "The semi-transparent Launch Pad instantly appears filling the entire computer screen. The Launch Pad contains large icons representing applications and documents on the users computer. An application can be launched simply by clicking the appropriate icon, upon which the Launch Pad immediately disappears leaving the users desktop completely unencumbered. The software also has an Auto-Discovery feature that searches the computer hard disk for applications and intelligently assigns them to different categories." The $30 utility is available for Mac OS X 10.2.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN