Touch-screen manufacturer Troll Touch today announced the availability of a $900 touch-screen for the 17" LCD iMac. The company performs integrations at its factory in Valencia, California. Troll Touch is an Apple Scientific/Technical VAR, and offers complete computer/touchscreen monitor solutions. Troll Touch has been supplying touchscreens for Apple Computers since the Mac Classic.
Two weeks ago, a copy of the first issue of Macworld magazine -- autographed by Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs -- was made available for auction on eBay. Bidding closed at $2,300, following an online "frenzy," but the seller's reserve was not met. Today, the seller re-posted the magazine, which has since been updated with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's signature. "So now it's complete," says the seller. The highest bid was $1,300 as of 5:30 p.m. EST.
Unsanity today said that effective February 1, the price of its four products (FruitMenu, Labels X, WindowShade X, and Xounds) will increase from $7 to $10 per title. Unsanity is making this announcement in advance, to "give customers the opportunity to purchase the products at the old price before making the change official." The company feels its products will remain a good value, following the increase.
SoftCare has released Text-O-Meter 2.0 for Adobe InDesign 2.0 and Adobe InCopy 2.0. Text-O-Meter offers users complete control over text length and text overset, enabling the user to count, display, edit and print overset text. The application works with Mac OS 9/X and is 60 Euro (upgrades are 25 Euro). Pulp PR1.2 is a profiling tool for use with REALbasic that can add timing code to methods and events in a REALbasic project. It preserves complete stack information, allowing developers to view performance of functions that are called from a particular parent and also monitor the number of times a function was called and other performanc parameters. A $10 discount off the $20 price is being offered for purchases during the public preview. [1.0MB] Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has released OpenEXR, a software distribution that offers read/write support for the high dynamic-range image file format developed by ILM for use in computer imaging applications. It also offers a C++ class for manipulating half values; a math library with support for matrices, 2d- and 3d-transformations, solvers for linear/quadratic/cubic equations; and a sample application for viewing OpenEXR images on a display at various exposure settings. The free software runs on GNU/Linux, OS X 10.2, and IRIX. Spiny Software's freeware comic-strip viewer Comictastic 1.1.3 helps search for and view your favorite comic-stripsk, offering support for over 50 strips. It runs on Mac OS X and offers functions for disk caching, JPEG/TIFF/PNG export, zoom, and other features. [336KB]
Tech news: JVC has announced that it will sell a consumer version of its hi-definition camcorder GY-DV1000u (with both a FireWire and SDI connector), which records to a DV tape using MPEG2 compression; Sony will quietly phase out all of its 17-inch and 19-inch CRT monitors by March 31, part of the industry's shift away from CRTs to LCD panels, but said it continue to produce 21-inch and 24-inch CRT displays; Houston has begun to phase out Microsoft Office for its 13,000 city workers in favor of Web-based software from a local start-up; and A coalition of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, HP and Intel said that they had joined together to oppose legislation backed by the movie studios that would allow the U.S. government to set antipiracy standards for PCs and consumer-electronics devices. [updated]
Quebec's Eastern Townships School Board announced a new three-year program, which will provide every student in its schools with a Apple iBook. The Board said that the program will be the first board-wide laptop initiative implemented in Canada and that the first stage of the Board's three-year program will begin when school starts this Fall (September 2003) with the first deployment of 1,630 wireless iBook computers to students in grades 5 and 6, as well as to level 5 students in its secondary schools.
Sony earlier this month unveiled its Puppy suite, a finger print indentification/authentication device designed for Mac OS X. The USB-based device eliminates the use of login passwords, and developers can use a SDK to add support to applications. It will recognize and store fingerprints within the device, but can also optionally securely export fingerprint templates and high-quality 8-bit fingerprint images, which can be used in third-party matching algorithms: "[It] offers robust fingerprint imaging technology based on a technique known as capacitance, which digitally reads the fingerprint without leaving ink residue on your finger. Capacitance sensors cannot be fooled by paper copies and do not require cleaning." It is expected to ship in March; pre-orders are available from Sony's North American distributor Pacific Software Publishing for a special price of $180.
Alien Skin Software has announced Xenofex 2, a Carbonized version of its effects pacakge for Photoshop, Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro, and other image editors. With 14 new effects and five new filters, Alien Skin says Xenofex 2 "simulates spectacular natural phenomena, produces striking distortions, and instantly transforms photos. The collection of special effects will be available late in the first quarter of 2003 for $130. Registered users of other Alien Skin Software products will receive discount pricing.
DivXRay 2.0 is a movie converter for converting MPEG-2-Program Streams into AVI files by using ffmpeg. The program offers an easy step-by-step interface for configuring several movie options such as movie width, format and quality. DivXRay supports .vob-files including multiple Audio-Streams. DivXRay attempts to optimize the movie quality by automatically adjusting the parameters for the divx encoders. The $15 shareware runs on Mac OS X. [891KB] DocDrop is a free utility to convert Microsoft Word Documents (.doc) files into Rich Text Format (.rtf) files. DocDrop is open source and based on the GPL wv libraries. It provides users a free and easy way of converting their folders of Word Documents to Rich Text Format in Mac OS X or Classic Mac OS. [221KB] PTH Consulting has released PTHiTunesNotifier 2.0, which adds full control of iTunes via keyboard hot keys and a small menu bar controller to the freeware application that pops up information about the currently playing track in iTunes. [281KB] The Omni Group has released a beta of OmniOutliner 2.2b1, which adds XML export to its outlining tool for Mac OS X. The update also allows users to present outlines in many new formats through XSLT (a language for transforming XML documents into other types of documents), offering the ability to use a stylesheet to transform a document into HTML. The also provides import and export compatibility with Keynote files. [1.3MB] St. Clair Software has released an update to Default Folder X 1.6.5, its utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs in Mac OS X. Version 1.6.5 corrects a startup conflict with Suitcase 10, adds convenient Get Info commands to the Dock and Default Folder X application, improves the "rebound" feature, and boosts compatibility and startup performance. It is a free update to the $35 utility (and is available in a bundle with MaxMenus and LightSwitch X for $50). [2.7MB]
SunnComm's CD copy protection and enhancement technology is now completely functional and secure on Macs, according to a press release by the company. The technology known in the music industry as MediaMax CD-3 prevents "the unauthorized uploading and copying of digital original music to illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing services while, at the same time, allowing those purchasing SunnComm protected compact discs to legally PLAY*MOVE*SHARE the music using SunnComm's PromoPlay functionality."
MOTU last week demonstrated Digital Performer (DP) for Mac OS X, its state-of-the-art audio production environment that features universal MIDI and audio compatibility via Mac OS X's CoreMIDI and CoreAudio services. MOTU also announced support for Apple's Audio Units plug-in standard and demonstrated new features and program enhancements, including Rewire 2.0 support for full MIDI and audio I/O compatibility with Propellerhead Reason and other Rewire-compatible virtual instruments. DP for Mac OS X also featured umerous enhancements to its QuickScribe notation window, including score arrangement features such as repeat barlines, endings, codas, and others. The Mac OS X version of Digital Performer is expected to ship early in 2003.
Proline Distribution is shutting down on February 14, discontinuing its Mac product line of bezels and brackets for older Power Macs: "We have been Apple developers since 1990, first making our mark with thatgreat formatter, Drive7, then working closely with the good folks at Apple Computer on our extended line of bezels and brackets. We will stop selling all Macintosh products on February 14, 2003. No Apple products will be available after that day. All items are on closeout."
The $20 system utility Xupport 1.2.4 adds the ability to enable "System file journaling" on any volume , supports an unlimited volumes in SWAP file location and BACKUP section, and runs independently of all Apple utilities (except Terminal). Xupport provides a clean GUI to configure many "hidden" Mac OS X options and includes several unix command to optimize and secure your Mac. A limited demo is available. [699KB] Freeverse today released Xpression!, a personalization utility for Mac OS X. Xpression! enables users to change the look of Mac OS X with one click: "[it] works its magic by replacing common media, folder, toolbar, trash, and application icons" using a variety of themes. The $25 utility for Mac OS X also allows artists and users to quickly develop their own themes. [8.4MB] AudioBookMaker 1.5 converts text files to audio files using Jaguar's built-in text-to-speech abilities. Version 1.5 offers a preview function, a large-file warning message, and other stability improvements. The $2 utility offers support for any of the 22 voices in Mac OS X, allowing users to initialize the conversion by either dragging and dropping text files or by cutting and pasting the text itself. Users may also type text directly into the program. [652KB] Sveinbjorn Thordarson's xMerge 1.0 is a Mac OS X utility for splicing together the data forks of assorted files. It can be used to join together raw text, MP3, MPEG video files and any linear non-resource based data format. [58KB] Apple's iSync Palm Conduit allows you to use iSync to synchronize contact and calendar information on your Palm OS Device and Mac OS Computer. It requires Palm Desktop 4.0: "The iSync 1.0 Palm Conduit will deactivate your contact, calendar and to-do conduits so be sure to do a final HotSync before installation." [608KB]
Matterform Media has released Spamfire 1.3, an update to its anti-spam utility that automatically removes unwanted email from any email account. Verison 1.3 adds a new "Revenge Menu," which allows users to bounce or report junk email as well as search for and destroy "virus-like email codes known as WebBugs, which many spammers include in their spam as a way to track spam delivery. Unwittingly opening or even previewing a WebBugged spam can silently send a confirmation message back to the spammer that verifies the email address of the recipient." The Lite version is $20 can remove spam from a single email account, while the Pro version is $30 and can remove spam from any number of accounts. Spamfire Pro also includes automatic filter updates via internet for 12 months. A 15-day demo is available.
Apple has confirmed that a bug in its ATI driver software for some graphics cards is causing problems with its Keynote presentation software, according to c|net: "Apple has identified a bug in the driver software for certain ATI graphics chips which can affect a small number of systems when used with Keynote. Apple is working on an updated driver which should be available to customers shortly."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, 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