EarthBrowser 1.7 is an update to the $20 Earth simulation software that combines an easy to navigate 3 dimensional globe with real-time weather conditions and 5 day forecasts. The update adds an OS X screensaver module, a number of bug fixes, new video feeds, and new volcanoes. It is compatible with Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. [Download - Classic, OS X] NewTek today released LightWave 3D 7.5b, which adds major enhancements to the built-in script language, powerful new surface blending tools, support for DV devices as a preview display, and a network renderer for Linux to the 3D rendering suite. LightWave 3D is available at authorized NewTek resellers worldwide for a suggested retail price of $1600. [Download - 22.7MB] Northern Softworks today released version 1.2 of Renicer, its automatic operation prioritization utility for Mac OS X. Renicer is a GUI tool that automatically sets priority values for applications. Designed to run in the background, it automatically prioritizes whatever application is in front. This release adds numerous user requested features. For example, dock and Window Server priorities can now be individually set. Renicer is $8 shareware. [Download - 1.2MB] EOS Image Manager 0.8 is a Mac OS X application that enables users to quickly view, rename (add/remove chars, change case, re-series), and manage (move, copy, and delete) all of their image files from a single interface. Changes in this version include: a contextual menu in the Source Table; support for file operations (Move/Copy/Delete) on Source folders; support for renaming of folders in the Source Table; a Preferences Panel with true multi-user OS X system prefs; bug fixes. [Download - 240KB] Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh v9.0 beta2 fixes an incompatibility with Retrospect backups, addresses a problem with handling large files, and corrects other small problems found in the new anti-virus software for Mac OS X. [Download - Download form]
The Associated Press has more details on Apple's upcoming online music service, which is expected to launch within several weeks, according to the report: "More than a dozen recording industry executives have seen a demonstration of the service by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, the newspaper said. The service will use a high-fidelity format called Advanced Audio Codec, which delivers higher quality sound than the MP3 format and prevents copying between computers. "None of the three major subscription providers - pressplay, Listen.com and MusicNet - work on Macintosh computers. That leaves iPod users going to free or advertising-supported music services. It's unclear how much Apple would charge for its subscription, or whether all five of the major record labels would participate in the service. Pressplay charges a flat fee of $9.95 (U.S.) a month to listen to an unlimited number of songs from all major labels. Consumers who want to purchase the songs to store them on their hard drive or burn them onto a CD pay an additional fee of 98 cents per song."
Tech news: Sony chairman and CEO Nobuyuki Idei said he would be more than happy to acquire Palm's software division and would consider buying Apple (among other companies); A Seattle District Court has allowed Lindows.com to introduce Microsoft documents covering the famous Apple-Microsoft copyright case, delaying the trial from April to December; Scientists have set a new internet speed record by transferring 6.7GB of data over 6,800 miles in less than one minute; and Nvidia debuted its GeForce FX chips, while ATI officially released its Radeon 9800, 9600, and 9200 graphics cards.
Number44 has reduced the price of its Leather and Steel iPod Case to $10. It fits any size iPod, and is available in black leather, brown leather and suede.
D-Link today announced it is shipping its multimode wireless networking products, including its a router, PC card and cardbus adapters. D-Link also announced it will ship its multimode A/B/G access point before month?s end. D-Link's new A/B/G product line supports each IEEE wireless networking standard including 802.11a, 802.11b and the draft compliant 802.11g specification.
Apple's iMovie 3.02 update provides improved performance and stability with iMovie 3. The update is available via the software update control panel under Mac OS X and is a 4.4MB download. Alepin 2.4 is an update to the notepad and scrapbook replacement for Mac OS X. It features Classic Notepad import, Stickies X import, file imports and exports, auto-save, and auto-open. Version 2.4 adds better management of auto-saved file on locked volumes, usability enhancements, and the ability to change display fonts. Alepin is Shareware and costs $10. [Download - 460KB] Dog Park Software has released version 2.5 of MacLoggerDX, its radio tuning software. The update adds an Alinco DX-77 driver, fixes bugs, and adds corrections to the DXCC database. [Download - Classic [v2.4], OS X[v2.5]] Freeverse today released CrossCards Deluxe 2.2, an update to its $15 crossword game for Mac OS 9/X. The new release adds new features and fixes a number of bugs. "CrossCards is like a crossword game played entirely with playing cards. Instead of placing letters to form words, players place cards to form poker hands." [Download - 2.7MB] Update: Karelia Software on Tuesday released Watson 1.6.2, a free upgrade to its $30 desktop interface for Mac OS X to popular Web content and services. This minor update adds support for weather locations in Kansas/Missouri and New York/Pennsylvania areas, integrated support for QuickTime player, DHL carrier support, and an updated developer kit (folding some formerly tool-specific functionality into the frameworks available to third-party developers). [Site now available--1.6MB] MulleNewz 1.7 adds a number of user feature requests to the Mac OS X "dockling," which allows you to "stay in touch with the world" via the Dock. All remaining issues with the "new Preferences panel & dockling interaction" have been resolved, according to the developer. MulleNewz is an RSS reader, meaning it can collect content from countless providers. [Download - 148KB] LaunchBar 3.2.8 provides fast access to files, Web bookmarks, email addresses and applications in Mac OS X by entering short abbreviations. "Type OW to launch OmniWeb, AHN to open the "Apple Hot News" web page," explains software maker Objective Development. LaunchBar now supports localized filenames. Applications, Preference Panes and folders can be searched by their localized names. Version 3.2.8 also includes numerous bug fixes. [Download - 247KB]
A MacNN reader followed up on the wireless driver notes yesterday, pointing out that Cisco recently released Mac OS 9/X drivers for its 802.11a PC card. Yesterday we noted the release of Linksys dual-band wireless A+G accessories and various wireless driver hacks.
Mitsumi Electronics today announced it has begun shipments of its BlueTooth adapters, including Class 1 and Class 2 USB adaptors for easy integration into USB capable PCs. The Mitsumi Bluetooth Class 1 USB Adaptor ($64) operates between client and access point within a 100 meter range (328 ft.) and is expected to ship in 6-8 weeks. The The Mitsumi Bluetooth Class 2 USB Adaptor ($40), now shipping, offers a 10 meter range (33 ft.). Both devices can share information and Internet access among Bluetooth-enabled devices such as PDAs, laptops, cellular phones, and printers; they are compatible with Mac OS X 10.2 and can transfer data at speeds of up to 723kbps.
Virtix today announced its new Virtix Themes for iDVD, which contains "soothing gentle backgrounds such as Crystalline, Old Film, Smoke and Water. This package also contains bold science-fiction themed backgrounds such as Space Warp, Star Field and Techno [as well as] Geometric themes such as Lava Lamp, Rainbow and Ripples." Each theme comes with music or sound effects. The Virtix Themes ship on 2 CDs and currently work with NTSC video only. It is available for $25 and supports either iDVD 2 or iDVD 3.
LapWorks today announced two additional mobile accessories: the Nite-Key-Lite and 4-port USB Hub. The LapWorks' keyboard light is an 18" serpentine light with "the most rigid cable on the market. Unlike other keyboard lights, it stays put once positioned. Its connector is designed to fit tightly into any USB port, further eliminating 'wiggle'. The Night-Key-Lite illuminates the keyboard with two soft white LED bulbless lights which last up to 8,000 hours, and draws no more power from a notebook battery than 90 seconds per hour of laptop life." The 4-port bus-powered USB Hub features built-in over-current protection. Each is $20.
AirPort Base Station Firmware 4.0.8 is an upgrade for the Snow (dual-Ethernet) base station. It fixes an incompatibility with some customers unable to maintain an Internet connection using BellSouth via a DSL and/or Dial-up connection, provides base station support for DSL users with the Telia ISP in Sweden, expands the number of Access Control List entries to approximately 300 entries, and expands the number of port mapping entries to from 10 to 20. [720KB] Apple has posted a set of example AppleScripts for Salling Software's Sony Ericsson Clicker, which allows users to remotely control a wide range of applications with a Sony Ericsson phone. The examples allow users to control iTunes, Keynote, iPhoto, DVD Player, QuickTime Broadcaster, System functions, and Sound Studio. Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection Client 1.0.1 for Mac OS X allows you to connect to a Windows-based computer and work with programs and files on that computer from your Macintosh computer. [611KB] WebCalX 4.1 allows you to publish your calendar as an HTML-site on the internet. The $5 shareware supports layout customization, export and linking of several calendars, and database export options. Version 4.1 adds automatic FTP upload and has other bug fixes. It runs on Mac OS X only. [1.7MB] Nick Zitzmann's HenWen 1.3.2 is a network security package for Mac OS X that makes it easy to configure and run Snort, a free Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS): "..it fixes a critical security problem that was discovered recently. The security problem affects the RPC normalization preprocessor option, which had a buffer overrun problem that could allow a remote attacker to gain full access to your computer." HenWen is free for personal, non-profit, educational, and government use, and is $25 shareware for commercial use. [1.5MB]
SimpleTech this week announced FlashLink PhotoZen, a TV photo image viewer, USB Flash memory card reader and PowerPoint presentation projector in a single lightweight, compact device. It supports most popular digital Flash media formats, including CompactFlash (Type I/Type II), MicroDrive, Sony Memory Stick, Secure Digital (SD), MultiMediaCard (MMC), and SmartMedia and offers a convenient remote control with a variety of on-screen menu options, including the ability to create a customized slide show, preview photos in "thumbnail" mode, zoom in, rotate, pan or delete photos. PhotoZen displays digital photos of up to six megapixels, at up to 2400x1800 resolution, and offers PAL/NTSC television support. It is expected to ship in May for $80.
Committed Software today announced the immediate availability of 4DVersion 1.0, a version control system for 4D project methods: "Designed to give 4D developers greater control over code revisions, 4DVersion tracks modifications made to project methods over the lifetime of projects, with version history and viewable differences. Developers can revert to older versions, code share amongst projects and code share between programmers on the same project." Pricing starts at $400. 4DVersion client software is available for Mac OS, Mac OS X and Windows, while the 4DVersion server software is available for Mac OS X, OpenBSD and Linux. Stupendous Software has upgraded its SplitScreen & PiP iMovie plugin pack ($25) with four new picture-in-picture effects for a total of 26 effects. The new effects feature colored borders and dropped shadows. A free demo download allows all effects to be previewed, and 4 of the effects are fully functional and can be applied. The upgrade is free to Stupendous Software's existing customers; the iMovie plugins work under Mac OS 9 with iMovie 2.1.1, as well as Mac OSX with iMovie 2.1.2 or iMovie 3.0. [83KB] BigFoot 2.2, a new version of the $10 shareware by Stick Software, has been released. BigFoot is a Mac OS X "desktop critter" that provides users with "endless entertainment, in the form of a pair of feet. But not just any feet! These peripatetic companions walk around your desktop, mostly minding their own business, but occasionally interacting with you in various ways. They dance, chase the mouse, play hopscotch, and lots of other things. Their appearance and behavior is extremely configurable." [328KB] FmPro Migrator 1.01 quickly and accurately migrates FileMaker Pro database structure and data to Oracle, including large text and container field data. It is available in two versions: the Lite Edition utilizes CSV or tab-delimited export files to migrate relatively small datasets from FileMaker Pro, while the STD Edition adds migration of large text fields and image data, support for specifying stand-alone FileMaker Pro solutions files, and processing of up to 50 open FileMaker Pro databases. A free demo version of Mac OS X-only utility is available. [1.1MB]
KeynoteHQ has released Premium Theme Pack 2 for Apple's Keynote presentation software. Premium Theme Pack 2 includes four high resolution themes in both 800x600 and 1024x768 sizes. The themes (Cork Board, Soft Metal, and Waterfall) include photograph "cut-out" masters slides, custom bullets, and other "objects" that can be used in presentations. Premium Theme Pack 2 costs $8. Free themes are also available.
Avid earlier this week announced it is shipping Symphony for Mac OS X. Symphony v4.7 is described as "Avid's most powerful Mac platform-based postproduction solution to date, offering real-time finishing capabilities such as color correction, 10-bit DVE and Ultimatte keying. Avid also announced the immediate availability of the Media Composer XL, Film Composer XL and Avid Xpress systems for Mac OS X. These new versions include real-time Symphony-style color correction, as well as near 24 fps project support for all Media Composer systems. The updates also include Avid's new MetaSync technology, which allows editors to synchronize virtually any kind of metadata with traditional video and audio content. Avid Symphony v4.7 systems are priced up to 22% off the regular $90,000 through March 28, 2003. Media Composer v11.7 offline starts at $12,000; Film Composer XL v11.7 starts at $53,000; and Avid Xpress v5.7 starts at $6,000.
Now AAPL Stock: 92.04 ( -1.36 )
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l