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MacNN reader Ryan Mulligan notes problems with some iBook burning mechanisms, which do not burn at the rated speed of 16x. The issue has been confirmed by various tech support representatives (and is widely reported in our forums as well as Apple's), but Apple has yet to formally acknowledge the problem or address the issue in either of the recent system updates (Mac OS X 10.2.3/Mac OS X 10.2.4 or via firmware patch). The problem was first noted almost four months ago (in November 2002).
State-specific versions of H&R Block's Tax Cut for Mac are now available for the following U.S. States: CA, IL, MA, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA and WI. Apago has released AppleScript-based patches for its PDFshrink and PDF Enhancer PDF workflow products to allow the applications to take advantage of Mac OS X 10.2.4's new PDF Services. [Download - 90KB IPNetSentryX 1.0b2 fixes"idleTimeOfParent" and URL notification, and improves the 'Address Scan' workflow of the security application for Mac OS X: " IPNetSentryX ($40) silently and intelligently watches for suspicious behavior, and when triggered, invokes a solid filter which completely bans the potential intruder from your Macintosh." Upgrades from the Classic version are $20.[Download - 984KB EZ Shop updates the £100 e-commerce store solution to make it easier for the user to process online payments via its prebuilt shopping cart system for Adobe GoLive users. EZ Shop now includes Paypal and Intellipay merchant scripts. Pyramid Designs has released version 1.2 of FTP Suite, its set of classes and code modules that allows FTP operations to be implemented in REALbasic applications. This release corrects a number of bugs, adds additional documentation, and brings a number of minor feature additions. Pricing begins at $30. [Download - 4.1MB Cocktail 1.0.4 is an update to Dicom Datautveckling's application that simplifies the use of of advanced UNIX functions and gives access to hidden Mac OS X settings. Version 1.0b4 adds a new methods for: authorizing users, verifying user's privileges, reading current journaling settings; adds a button for the "Journaling" feature; adds a "Restart Dock" feature and "Report" feature in Auto Pilot. [Download - 833KB Darkroom 1.0 is a "generative graphics synthesis tool" for Mac OS X, which can be used to create textures, alter photos or existing graphics and generate unique art works. [Download - 2.2MB] LAJ Design today released Quickie Web Albums 3.0, a cross-platform application that creates custom Web Photo (and movie) albums. It adds support for user comments, the ability to watermark full-size and thumbnail images, preliminary FTP functions, optimized image rotation, and other new functions. [Classic, OSX]
Dantz today announced that it will begin charging its customers for technical support (over the phone). New customers will receive 1 or 2 free incidents (depending on the product purchased) for installation and setup support. These incidents will be valid for only 30 days after the date of a full product or upgrade purchase (requiring proof of purchase). Dantz will charge customers a flat-fee ($40) for single-incident support for Express Users (and $70 for registered customers of other products). The company will continue to offer its online resources for free, saying that these changes were needed to to" keep our costs in line and our support quality at its customary high levels, Dantz must charge for technical support." Correction: Dantz began charging for domestic U.S. technical support calls last year; this model was expanded worldwide today. [updated]
A Web site managed by Public Information Research examines Google's "monopoly," content delivery methods, strategies, data collection, and its use of "spyware." The site accuses the search engine titan of recording all potential information about its users, and using questionable tactics for site ranking. Web log software maker SixApart points to Google's recent acquisition of Pyra (maker of the Blogger journaling software) as unusual.
Apple has released documentation that explains how to: reset an AirPort Extreme Base Station; control the range of an AirPort Extreme network; determine if a USB printer is connected; use a printer that is connected to the USB port on an AirPort Extreme Base Station; find the meaning of the indicator lights on the Base Station. Apple also notes that WAN privacy access is not required to enable USB printing. Apple's Knowledge Base was also updated with information on: changing an account password in Mac OS X; using the Advanced Calculator; erroneous disk error reports; CD recognition problems under Classic; Xserve RAID power consumption and thermal output readings (also see slot-load); and 12-inch PowerBook battery charging. Also described is a no sound after restart bug on a PowerMac G4 (FW 800) computer. Noteworthy manual additions include those for: Xserve, AirPort Extreme, and PowerBook G4 12-inch.
@stake, Inc., notes that Mac OS X 10.2.4 fixes a security bug in the Classic Environment, which could allow users to gain root privileges: "TruBlueEnvironment is part of the MacOS Classic Emulator. It is setuid root and installed by default. By setting certain environment variables, it is possible to overwrite any file on the system, or create arbitrary files owned as root with the attacker's umask. This vulnerability can be leveraged to create files that will get executed by root through the cron facility." Meanwhile, Nick Sayer has written a Perl script for getting Apple's AirPort Extreme driver, now available in Mac OS X 10.2.4, to recognize the Linksys WPC54G PC Card (and perhaps the Linksys WMP54G PCI card)--both of which feature 802.11g compatibility. (Previously, the AirPort driver was only available with AirPort 3.01 software, which was bundle with AirPort Extreme BaseStation.)
Ugly Dockling 1.2 can customize change the dock images for Classic Running and Classic stopped, adds a new bug reporting mechanism, and incorporates other bug fixes in the $10 dock utility that can create custom hierarchical menus accessible via the dock. [Classic, OSX] A Sharp has updated Addressix 1.3, its envelope printing utility for Mac OS X. It now integrates with the Address Book, remembers printer settings, auto-completes addresses, and prints bar codes for automated sorting. A trial of the $13 utility is available online. [416KB] PHP 4.3.1 is a security fix for the PHP scripting language models: "The PHP Group today announced the details of a serious CGI vulnerability in PHP 4.3.0. A security update, PHP 4.3.1, fixes the issue. Everyone running affected version of PHP (as CGI) are encouraged to upgrade immediately. The new 4.3.1 release does not include any other changes, so upgrading from 4.3.0 is safe and painless." DVDxDV 0.1 is a new program designed to restore the audio and video from DVDs created with iDVD back to min-DV or any other QuickTime supported format: "If you've ever created a DVD with iDVD and wanted to re-edit the video or send a clip of it over the internet." The beta version of DVDxDV is free; it requires Apple's commercial QuickTime MPEG2 plugin ($30). [493KB]
VLC 0.51 (VideoLAN Client) is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Version 0.51 adds a new mouse gesture interface, the ability to set the audio volume at any time, support for MPEG-2 intra slice refresh (aka. Slice-I) streams, playlist enhancements, new FTP/http/UDP URL handling, and new step forward/step backward commands. The freeware player is available for Mac OS X only. [3.5MB]
Planet PDF writes about enhanced PDF workflow options in Mac OS X 10.2.4: "there's information about several new PDF-related features and capabilities in the new version of OS X that provide a variety of new PDF Workflow options, including enhanced use of Applescript. In addition to the previous ability to create PDFs directly in OS X through the 'Save-As' menu, v. 10.2.4 adds "the option to process the saved PDF file with AppleScript scripts that can perform a variety of tasks such as adding the saved file to a compressed archive, or including the PDF in an outgoing email message."
Lightbox is a $25 image management tool for Mac OS X that can download images, convert raw files, organize into multiple albums/libraries, backup or transfer to CD with offline viewing, create and display slideshows, design a Website as well as provides Adobe Photoshop integration. The $25 utility requires Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar. Realmac Software's Voice Box 1.3 will save text files as AIFF sound files, offering the ability to view/display news using XML/RSS technology. Voice Box will read out each word as you type it in 1 of 22 voices, and allows users to change the pitch and rate of the Mac's in-built voices and then save it out to an AIFF sound file. Version 1.1 adds new AppleScript support, more examples, and and updated manual. [300KB] Malia Software's MP3 Sushi 1.1 includes a server application for sharing and streaming music) as well as MP3 Buddies, which locates Jukebox and Radio servers on a local network using Rendezvous. Version 1.1 adds a startup script, file searching, and other fixes. It is "donation-ware" and runs on Mac OS X. [1.0MB] Mail Siphon 2.8.2 adds compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2.4 to the e e-mail agent that will receive and send messages. It supports supports multipe email accounts. helps manage email, and has other advanced features. The $20 shareware runs on Mac OS 8/9/X. [780KB] Laurent Muller's $20 shareware system utility, Xupport 1.2.6, now displays both the IP address and the hardware address, displays more hardware and system info, includes a revised "Sharing" drawer, and fixes problems with its "Network Optimizer". A 20-use demo of the Mac OS X utility is available. [3.8MB] Netinfo Database Loader 1.1 is free FileMaker Pro-based solution to easily import informations in NetInfo databases: "It is a particularly useful tool if you want to create a shared LDAP-based directory for your contacts, using Joel Rennich's excellent method to use LDAP with NetInfo in Mac OS X Server 10.2." Version 1.1. adds a new Aqua-based interface and the ability to automatically create the toload.txt file to import in NetInfo. [220KB] Sync-Hole attempts to sync your QuickTime movies by changing the framerate of sections of the video track(s), or changing the offset of the audio track. The source-code to the freeware utility for Mac OS X is available as well. [42KB] Kualo Software's web design application KuebSite 1.5 ($20 shareware) uses a template-driven GUI and a simple database to automatically create websites. It now supports styled text, QuickTime and Flash videos and a label generator with the ability to create navigation bars. It is available in English, Spanish and French for Mac OS 9/X. [2.4MB] CourseForum today introduced ProjectForum 1.3, its web-based software for flexible workgroup collaboration and coordination of projects and team: "[It] lets you build an intranet or project site where everyone can actively and directly contribute, without complex software or a full-time administrator getting in the way. It can be used for project planning, task assignments, meeting notes, team discussions, research, brainstorming and more." Pricing starts at $200. [1.0MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ¬≠Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ