MicroNet today announced the addition of 160GB, 180GB, 200GB, and 250GB models to the MicroNet Advantage USB 2.0+Firewire Hard Disk drives. The drives feature a 7,200 rpm mechanism (except for the 250GB model), the Oxford 911 chipset, up to 34MB/sec transfer rates, and 8.5 ms access times. They ship with a one-year warranty.
TechnoWarehouse has released "Windjammer," a $4000 PCI card that contains dual-PowerPC G4 processors. The "self-contained super computer " card can run Linux, and can be installed in a "standard desktop computer" or can be "scaled-up" for industrial applications. It uses 25 to 50 Watts, contains one serial connector, two Ethernet ports, an IDE controller, two RAM sockets, and other connectivity and upgrade options.
Electric Image has released Universe 5.02, an update to its 3D application for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It Includes bug fixes and new features for Animator and Radiosity. Users must have version 5.0 installed. Please read the "readme" file or the Version History for more information. [11.5MB] Distributed.net KickStarter is an application to help you get started with participating in the Distributed.net challenges. It provides a graphical front end for setting up the Distributed.net client; it can also launch the client at startup and offers an offers easy access to the online statistics of your contribution to the different Distributed.net projects. [804KB] Abracode's freeware contextual menu plugin QuickAccessCM 1.4 provides easy access to frequently used folders, documents and applications. It offers "Quick Access", "Move To", and Copy To" functions. Version 1.4 has better documentation and other enhancements. [128KB] Data Recycler 1.01 is an maintenance update to Prosoft Engineering's $50 utility that protects Mac files from accidental file deletion: "By protecting the drive space being occupied by your deleted files, Data Recycler allows you to recycle your deleted trash and return your files back to you in perfect condition." PC-Mac PasswordVault v1.1 securely stores website access information, Internet banking data and software registration details. The update includes a selection of 6 attractive 'skins' to customize the main window, additional service types, a more readable font size on Mac OS X, a complete user manual, and a range of enhancements and fixes. A demoof the $15 application is available online. [Classic, OSX] Lava Software is now shipping PC-Mac-Net FileShare v2.2, which allows users to transfer files between Macs and/or Windows computers. It provides secure 896-bit encrypted Mac-to-Mac and Windows-to-Windows workgroup file sharing. New features include a more readable display font, enlarged local and remote file lists, improved connection reliability and network performance, and more robust multi-user operation. Pricing starts at $25 per license with 2-for-1 promo offered for a limited-time. [Classic, OSX] Juri Munkki's Cameraid 1.3b1 is a beta version of the $15 shareware digital photography and JPEG management utility, offering lossless rotation and transforms, a fast viewer with a photo grading system for quickly marking good & bad photos, batch processing, rename functions using EXIF and file information, and other functions. It adds new sort functions, a new preferences window, and an improved 'Find Duplicates' function. [Classic, OSX]
Peachpit Press today released "Mac OS X for Windows Users: A Switchers' Guide," for all those who have "recently made the switch over to Mac or are still on the fence about committing to a new platform," Written by David Coursey the book draws on the experiences of "real-world switchers" to frame his own instructions for transitioning to Mac OS X. "There's a lot involved in moving to a new operating system-files to be ported, software to learn, Internet and connectivity issues to iron out, and a new interface to unravel," explains the publisher, "but you'll find everything you need here to get up to speed quickly as well as understand the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the Windows and Mac operating systems."
Apple today posted more details on its WWDC 2003 developer conference as well as quietly announced pricing for its annual Mac OS X Development Conference. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) runs from May 19-23 in San Jose, CA. The conference tracks include Apple Developer Tools, Hardware, Graphics and Imaging, and Core OS as well as two new tracks on Enterprise IT and QuickTime -- Develop, Produce, Deliver. Pricing is $1,600 for a WWDC E-ticket and $2,000 for a Getting Started Bundle, which includes a WWDC e-ticket and an ADC Select Membership--each of which is discounted an additional $300 for registrations before April 18th.
Motorola today unveiled two new versions of its PowerPC G4 line. The MPC7457 and MPC7447, can perform at 1 GHz while consuming less than 10 Watts, making them ideal for high-performance, power dissipation-sensitive applications. Motorola simultaneously is offering new software tools for its AltiVec vector instruction set, hoping to make them more useful in networking applications, according to an EETimes article. The MPC7457 processor, the more full-featured of the introductions, is a 483-lead device with 512-kbytes of Level 2 cache, able to support up to 2 Mbytes of Level 3 cache. Its top frequency is 1.3 GHz.
Apple today released a second public beta of X11 v0.2, its implementation of the X Window System. This second beta, available as a free download for anyone using Mac OS X 10.2.x. contains a wide range of bug fixes and feature enhancements. Apple has also updated the Technical Q&A. Version 0.2, based on XFree86 4.2, offers support for Gnome, KDE hints, new symlinks for better compatibility, improved dock functionality, better key mapping support, new preference options to control xauth usage, and support for move window events from CodeTek's VirtualDesktop, Mac OS X's International keyboard mapping, and other enhancements.
MacNN reader "Dave" describes what he feels is a "serious compatibility problem" between Office X for Mac OS X and the Office 97 to XP for Windows.
Owners of Apple's PowerMac G4 (Mirrored Drive Door) computers have established a Web site to track developments relating to the machines' "unacceptable" noise output level. "[It] is a well organized and creative group of individuals researching solutions and actively trying to engage Apple so that they will correct these design-flawed machines," says one member.
HELIOS today released HELIOS LanTest for Mac OS X, its standard testing, diagnostic and benchmarking tool for networks. LanTest helps users determine network server volume and local hard disk performance, including the ability to create, open, and delete files, write/read throughputs, file locking performance, printing/spooling performance testing, and single-user and multi-user server testing. Version 3.1 is completely Mac OS X native and is also fully compatible with Mac OS 9 clients. It can test any AFP-compatible file server or a local hard disk and can be controlled via AppleScript. [Classic, OSX]
Neon Software today announced that Apple will bundle special Xserve-specific editions of its network management software with the new Xserve. Three Neon Software products are bundled with the new Xserve: NetMinder Ethernet (captures/decodes packet data), LANsurveyor (map/troubleshoot/manage a network), and CyberGauge (monitors network and device utilization). Upgrades from the limited Xserve versions are 40% off regular prices.
Tech news: A California woman is suing Microsoft, Symantec and some retailers, claiming the companies "concocted a scheme" to mislead consumers by requiring them to consent to software licensing agreements they haven't read; Benjamin Curtis, the 22-year old actor who portrays the Dell Guy in those bothersome computer commercials, was arrested late last night (2/9) on a marijuana possession charge; AMD today revamped its desktop processor line with a new Athlon XP 3000+ processor based on its new "Barton" processor core with a larger 512KB cache and support for AMD's 333MHz bus; and c|net talks about the Justice Deparment's spy plans, which will give the government unsurpassed authority to snoop on the Internet, spy on private conversations and install secret microphones, spyware and keystroke loggers.
Sonnet Technologies today releaed Crescendo/7200 v1.1, an update to its driver software Power Mac 7200/8200 upgrades. Version 1.1 expands compatibility to virtually all PCI cards ("PCI cards can be used in almost any combination, and utilize any and all available slots") and broadens RAM support as well as reduces the motherboard RAM Requirement to 8MB. The update will be included in all Crescendo/7200 products manufactured after February 7, 2003. [1.2MB] Reliabit today released MDDS 1.1 which includes a new integrated relay subsystem for transmitting multicast data over non-multicast-enabled networks, distributed file user and permission preservation, UI improvements, revised documentation and bug fixes. The IP-multicast-based file transfer system is designed to transmit files from one computer to a large number of target computers simultaneously and efficiently. The enterprise system offers security features for the encryption of data in transit, packet correction of multicast data, and distribution management. Pricing starts at $7,500. Card Validator 2.1 for FileMaker Pro allows users to check the authenticity of credit card numbers with a single calculation--without any scripts or plug-ins needed. Version 2.1 includes some minor enhancements and error checking. It is completely free, open source and is available for FileMaker Pro 5/6. [28KB] DivXRay 2.1 is a $15 Mac OS X 10.2 utility for converting MPEG-2-Program streams into AVI files by using ffmpeg, offering options to configure several movie options such as movie width, format and quality. It supports .vob-files including multiple Audio-Streams. Version 2.1 has improved drag & drop support, displays the encoder progress in the dock icon, has more reliable QuickTime conversion, improves the toolbar GUI, and replaces the Spanish-localized version with a French-localized version. [921KB]
Alessandro Levi Montalcini has released USB Overdrive X 10.2, a final version of his $20 shareware universal USB driver that handles all USB mice, trackballs, joysticks and gamepads from any manufacturer and can configure them either globally or on a per-application basis. It supports wheels, buttons, switches and controls and supports scrolling, keyboard emulation, launching and complex actions as well as clicking, control-click, and other options. [477KB] The Fe77 Server Suite bundles several open-source server components, including Apache 2.0.43, Jakarta Tomcat 4.1.18, the mod_webapp connector and Server Manager.app, a desktop client application that can be used to configure server settings. Other modules available at the Website include Apache SSL for secure commerce, an integrated shopping cart system, PHP scripting support, MySQL database software, Jakarta Cocoon XML publishing framework, and a personal web journal software. Pricing starts at $60; Manager.app is free, but is only available on CD. Cache Out X 3.1, a free AppleScript Studio application for Mac OS X, clears out the cache entries on your machine, any swapfiles, including the caches in System, Users, and Library directories along with the caches and histories of all the major browsers, including Safari. Maintain Your Cache also a freeware application for OS X that helps cleans up unwanted system caches of programs or just local home caches. [CO, MYC] Buena Software today released Dissolve Factory 1.0.1 for After Effects and Final Cut Pro. Dissolve Factory is a plugin which allows users to create new cross dissolves based on various properties of their video clips, such as the luminance, saturation, or colors. A demo of the $40 package is available as a single plugin for Mac OS 9/X and AE/FCP. [758KB] cosmicsoft has released starQuiz 2, a utility for giving computerized quizzes to students. Version 2 has the ability to print quizzes, convert quizzes to web pages, and give quizzes in computer labs. Quizzes can include pictures, movies, sounds, web links, and text documents along with several question types. A demo of the $30 utility is available for Mac OS 8/9/X. [Classic, OSX]
The Guardian Unlimited's glowing review of iLife, says that it will create a revolution in home film making and record production: "iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto and iDVD, now known collectively as iLife, represent the most compelling reasons to use a Mac these days."
Minolta today introduced its DiMAGE S414 featuring a 4.1 megapixel CCD, a 4x optical/2.2 digital zoom lens, Minolta's CxProcess enhancement technology, a built-in flash, video recording capability, USB interface Compact Flash card support, and a stylish aluminum body. The DiMAGE S414 offers flexible and accurate autofocus, auto exposure and an optical zoom viewfinder, fully automatic white balance and video recording with audio as well as Digital Subject Program Selection and histogram display of recorded images, exposure compensation and bracketing, custom white balance and digital effects control. [pricing and availability not noted]
Alias/Wavefront today announced a Maya Productivity Pack, which combines its 3D software solution Maya with six Maya Learning Tools and Maya Single Incident Support. The $2,200 bundle ships with Maya Complete 4.5 (for either the Mac OS X or Windows) and a beginner's guide as well as learning materials on Foundation, Character Rigging, Rendering, Modeling in Animation, and The Art of Maya. It also features 24-hour phone access for resolution of one incident along with a coupon booklet for additional Alias product offerings. This special offer includes over $350 in bonus technical support and Maya Learning Tools.
Apple today upgraded its Xserve 1U rack servers with dual 1.33GHz G4 processors, up to 2GB of 333MHz DDR memory and up to 720GB of hot-plug storage, with configurations starting at $2,800. Apple today also introduced Xserve RAID, its 3U rack storage system with up to 2.5TB storage capacity, up to 400 MB/s and the industryís "most aggressive" price point of just over $4 per GB.
Once again, our readers note that online Apple Stores are "down for maintenance," hinting at the release of the new hardware by Apple. (Apple has traditionally taken the store offline to update its online store with new offerings.) The site currently says "We'll be back soon. We are busy updating the store for you and will be back within the hour." Last week when the stores came back online, the new line of iMacs were introduced.
Apple Australia Managing Director Ben Bowley will leave the company at the end of March, according to The Sydney Morning Herald: "Mr Bowley's successor has yet to be selected. Both internal and external candidates are being considered although the strongest speculation is that an executive from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, may be sent to Sydney, if only for a two- or three-year assignment...Apple's Australian operation reports directly to the US rather than as previously to the Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore."
The Fink project reports that the "Virex 7.2 package, currently being distributed free to all .Mac members, has a serious conflict with Fink. Fink users should not install Virex 7.2 under any circumstances. Installing it after Fink is installed will damage your Fink installation; installing it prior to Fink will make it impossible to install Fink without damaging Virex."
Super KoolSink provides PowerBook cooling by drawing off unwanted heat by both conduction and convection. The laptop stand, made of silver-anodized aluminum alloy, reduces "thebuild up of heat which plagues the new generation of 1 GHz lap-top computers. (The coefficient of thermal conductivity of aluminum is 13 times that of stainless steel). [It also] improves the user's comfort by tilting the keyboard to a more 'ergonomically' correct position." It is available for the 17-inch, 15-inch, and 12-inch PowerBooks.
Readers note that HR&Block has provided an Federal Update for Tax Cut, enabling the ability to load data from your 2001 TurboTax return into your 2002 TaxCut return and incorporating final versions of forms that were not finalized by the IRS at the time we originally shipped TaxCut. (See our Tax Cut Special Report.) CommandSets.com released a Command Set for Microsoft Entourage ($15), which has over 120 voice commands that allow users to use many of Entourage's features with simple voice commands. Each set is designed to work with either Apple's PlainTalk, IBM's ViaVoice for Mac OS X, or MacSpeech's iListen 1.5. It also released a $60 bundle of Command Sets for Microsoft Office X, which has over 500 commands for the suite of programs, including MS Entourage. Version 4.1 of FUNDimensions fundraising Software adds the ability to locate pledges by their next due date: "This can help you produce reminder letters by conveniently locating pledges with specific, upcoming due dates for payment." The upgrade is free to registered users of the $1830 (sing-user) database application designed for smaller non-profits and schools. FinKit 1.2.1 is a multi-function financial calculator that lets you solve problems involving the time value of money. The latest version provides seventeen different calculations, including Effective Rates, Equivalent Rates - Periodic to Annual Rates, Inflation and Taxes, Find Rate, Single Payment, and others. It is available for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. [Classic, OSX] IGG Software has released iWork 1.2, an update its time-billing and invoicing application. New features include: a workday drawer for easy management of job event start and stop times, system-wide Hot Keys (for managing timers, emailing of invoices), the ability to create iCal events from job events, improved printing, and other enhancements. The $20 application is available for Mac OS X. [2.3] Danicsoft has released Copernicus 1.2.2, a $10 screenshot utility can capture a portion of the screen, an entire screen, or create a QuickTime movie from a selection. Version 1.2.2 can send pictures to a variety of applications and fixes other bugs. It only runs on Mac OS X. [920KB] Thoth 1.6 is a $25 shareware usenet newsreader for Mac OS 8/9/X. It features a built-in decoder that handles all the usual encoding methods including yEnc and can view binary posts inline, or in an image window where the picture can be easily magnified or sized to fit the window, or they can be cataloged and then viewed in image windows. [1.6MB]
Macromedia today introduced Macromedia Freehand MX, an update to its professional design application for print, Web graphics, and Macromedia Flash projects.
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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,¬†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