AudioXplorer 1.0b11 is a powerful sound analyzer software suite designed specifically for Mac OS X. The latest version adds FFT windowing functions, a view menu to perform view-related action, and several bug fixes. All beta versions are free; the final release will be $15. [Download - 1.8MB] Objective Development today made available LaunchBar 3.2.9 for Mac OS X, an update to the company's productivity utility that provides fast access to thousands of files, Web-bookmarks, email-addresses and applications just by entering short abbreviations. LaunchBar now supports localized filenames, meaning applications, preference panes and folders can be searched by their localized names. LaunchBar provides a free, built in evaluation license, sufficient for occasional use. LaunchBar home use licenses are available for $20. [Download - 246KB] Five12 has released Numerology Level 1, the initial release of its modular MIDI sequencer for Mac OS X. Numerology uses metaphors first established by analog sequencers in the 1970s -- "extended and augmented with a structured software environment designed for improvisation and experimentation." A free demo is available for download. The full version can be purchased online for $50. [Download - 4.3MB] MacChampion's Alepin 2.42 eliminates a number of bugs from the $5 notepad and scrapbook replacement for Mac OS X. The latest version offers better text formatting when modifying text with URLs; highlight now properly shuts off; it is now possible to Option-click on URL to simply place the insertion point within an URL without opening. [Download - 464KB]
Evening tech news: A redesign of software maker Macromedia's main Web site is receiving criticism from customers because it doesn't work with some browsers, including Apple's Safari; Microsoft today released a test version of its Office 2003 suite for Windows; AOL Time Warner is working on its own offering for cable customers that would compete against personal digital video recorders such as TiVo and Replay TV.
Apple today announced the Eighth Annual Apple Design Awards, focused exclusively on Mac OS X. The awards recognize innovation, advanced Mac OS X look and feel, and use of Apple technologies in Mac OS X-based products. Seven Apple Design Award winners and seven runners-up will be announced in the following categories: Best Mac OS X Product; Experience; Technology Adoption; Use of Open Source; Server Solution (new for 2003); and Most Innovative Mac OS X Product. The submission deadline is April 15.
Optigold ISP 3.2 fixes a time-stamping problem and removes unnecessary preferences from the free cross-platform business software package designed to run all aspects of an Internet service provider. The update also adds new server event variables, new letter variables, new VISP settings and other miscellaneous feature requests. [Download - form] Troi Automatisering has released Troi File Plug-in 2.6.1, an update to is $54 plug-in for FileMaker Pro 6 that enables you to manipulate files and folders and use file and folder information directly from your FileMaker Pro databases. Version 2.6.1 offers the following improvements: support under Mac OS X for mounting disks on WebDav servers; support for long file names, up to 255 characters; bug fixes. [Download - 1.5MB] The Omni Group today released OmniWeb 4.2 beta 2, a new version of its free Mac OS X Web browser. It now includes support for the Macromedia Shockwave Player and the PDF Browser plug-in from Schubert It; when a download completes the browser places the URL used to retrieve the file in the file's comment field which is viewable in Finder Get Info windows; AppleScript support has been improved and now allows access to your bookmarks. [Download - 3.5MB] REBOL Technologies has released REBOL/Core 2.5.5, an update to its kernel of the REBOL distributed computing and advanced programming language software. The update provides dozens of new features and fixes, including useful new functions, refinements, relaxed word evaluation, a new literal format for storing data, faster output conversion, better CGI and HTML support, and many important bug fixes. [Download - 3.5MB] Apple has released Java 1.4.1 for Mac OS X via the Software Update utility. Version 1.4.1 includes improved Java applet support for Safari, is up-to-date with the latest Java release from Sun, and now takes better advantage of Aqua and Quartz Extreme. Aditionally, Java applications can now be controlled through AppleScript, via the new UI Scripting technology.
Several readers point to recently posted notes on Mac browsers, including notes by Mitchell Baker of Mozilla.org on browser innovation and Safari developer Dave Hyatt's thoughts on tabbed browsing: [Mitchell Baker] "We would have preferred to have Apple use Gecko or collaborate with us on the development of the Camino browser, but providing an alternative to an OS-sponsored browser is nothing new to us. The key goal of the Mozilla project is to help keep content on the web open and help keep access to that content from being controlled by a single source. Apple's decision to ship a browser based on an open source rendering engine, with a focus on standards compliance, is a good thing for the big picture goal." [Dave Hyatt] "I've seen a lot of comments in various Mac forums where people have claimed that 'Dave Hyatt said he doesn't like tabbed browsing!' or 'Dave Hyatt hates tabbed browsing!' I find these posts perplexing, because I never said any such thing, and of course the opposite is true. I love tabbed browsing. I implemented tabbrowser in the Mozilla trunk. I implemented tabbed browsing in Chimera. I implemented the version used in Phoenix. Given how many times I've implemented it, I'm amazed that people would think that I am not a tabbed browsing devotee."
Netopia has released netOctopus 4.2, an update to its enterprise system administration utility with features for asset management, remote configurations, and software distribution. The update adds a new FileScripter Pro and Mindvision Installer VISE for creating installers for Mac OS Classic, Mac OS X, and Windows using comparative snapshots of drives or folders. It also adds SMART monitoring to identify failed drives, and in some cases predict failure, and an improved local installer as well as remote installation procedures. Intaglio is a new drawing and illustration application for Mac OS X: "It takes advantage of the technologies Apple has built into Mac OS X to provide professional graphics capabilities while retaining a traditional Macintosh experience in a consumer-priced application." The company is currently soliciting beta testers for the new application. Clutter 1.0d6 is a Mac OS X application that lets "you put music CDs on your desktop... Think of Clutter as an alternate user interface to your music collection...There's a main window that shows the CD you're now playing -- the cover picture is looked up automatically from Amazon.com..." [180KB] Acquisition 0.8 is a gnutella client supporting "modern gnutella features such as Ultrapeers, swarm (multi-source) downloads, download resumption, and distributed network discovery. Acquisition is built using code from the LimeWire gnutella client, and consequently supports the same rich set of protocol features. [It] features an elegant single-window user interface with a convenient drawer summarizing current searches, network activity, and active transfers." The $15 shareware runs on Mac OS X only. [1.6MB]
Lucid Dawn has released its first free Keynote theme, Dart a test project: "we did to see what was involved in making a theme. We make no guarentees to its usefulness :-) But it is free for the taking. We didn't restrict the theme by including our logo, so the only thing we ask is for the proper credit if you redistribute any of our themes." [592KB] Mediafour today released XPlay 1.1, the newest version of its iPod software for Windows. Xplay 1.1 incorporates many enhancements, including "dramatically" faster performance and the ability to copy songs off of an iPod as well as improved handling of non-standard MP3 files. It is a free update to registered users of the $30 software. [11MB] Island Spirits has released Triangle Man 1.0, a program for plotting ternary graphs: "By leveraging the Quartz drawing engine in Mac OS X, Triangle Man's graphs are top-notch, including transparency, anti-aliasing, and export to resolution-independent PDFs." Triangle Man is $40 shareware and requires Mac OS X 10.2 ("Jaguar"). [168KB] Rampell Software's TypeRecorder X 1.0 is the the first version of the backup/recovery application for Mac OS X. It records all keystrokes typed and applications used on a computer. TypeRecorder X automatically saves all work to a daily log file, which can be retrieved in the event of an application or computer crash---or if any sort of work is accidentally deleted or modified. It also provides a comprehensive record of computer use. Users can specify a password, recording interval time, recording data directory, and so on. A free 25-day trial of the $30 application is available. [Classic, OSX] CourseForum Technologies has introduced ProjectForum 2.0, its web-based software for easy workgroup collaboration and coordination. It can be used for project planning, task assignments, brainstorming, discussions, and as a repository for notes and documents of all kinds. Version 2.0 brings full internationalization support, a new and improved user interface, and many smaller enhancements. Licenses are available starting at $200. A free version is also available. [1.0MB] Drew Hamlin's QueueSocket 1.1 is a complete open-source Socket solution for REALbasic developers, which offers developers the ability to improved Internet and network communication using the Socket control. QueueSocket provides a simple introduction program as well as a complex, fully developed Network Tic-Tac-Toe game with accompanying source code and internet tracker application. [90KB] Virtual Programming has released demo of Virtual Grand Prix 2 for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X 10.2.3. The racing title allows the user to race on a single track, and features full force feedback support. The company says the full version will be released in the coming weeks and will feature an OpenGL-based rendering engine, 16-/24-bit output, real-time LOD reduction with distance for constant framerate, real-time lighting f/x (lights, shadows, specularity, etc.), advanced Sound f/x engine especially designed for VGP2, numerous setup options (wings, gearbox, tyres, suspensions, differential, ballast, etc.) and single-race or Championship race modes as well as Multiplayer Network race mode. [site only available in IE]
In Part 3 of his interview, Nobuyuki Idei, Chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation, talks about cooperation wtih Apple and CEO Steve Jobs: "We actually met several times with Steve last year, in January, March, and June to try to work out a mutual strategy. But you know Steve, he has his own agenda. [Laughs.] Although he is a genius, he doesn't share everything with you. This is a difficult person to work with if you are a big company. We started working with them, but it is a nightmare. We have the exact type of guy like Steve within Sony. His name is Ken Kutaragi. They respect each other. So maybe if we can get them both together then they could figure out how the PlayStation and the Mac can work together."
Imaging Resource writes about creating an iDVD slideshow, in which the editors were able to create and burn a photo slideshow in less than 90 minutes: "And we'd spent the whole time -- not just a large part of it -- arranging the show contents rather than fighting the program interface. To burn, you just click the Burn button. You're prompted for a blank DVD. And that was really the only aggravating part of the whole process. Getting the blessed cellophane wrapping off the blank DVD."
MacMice.com has announced its IceMate base stand for Griffin Technology's PowerMate USB controller: "The precision machined acrylic base dramatically increases the level of blue light that the PowerMate emits onto a desk surface, as well as improves ergonomics, and adds needed physical stability. The IceMate is machined from a solid billet of Acrylite, the most transparent acrylic on the market, and is then thermally poished to a glossy sheen." It is $20.
StageTools has released MovingPicture 4.4, an update to the company's image pan and zoom software. Version 4.4 of MovingPicture supports images of up to 8,000 by 8,000 pixels, a 100% increase in rendering speed, support for multiple processors, support for Pinnacle Edition and Liquid Series editors, and other productivity enhancements. It also includes 16:9 aspect support. It is available for After Effects, Avid, dpsVelocity, edit, Final Cut Pro, Media 100, Pinnacle, Premiere, RexEdit, and SpeedRazor. A stand-alone application is available as well. The $200 software supports Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.
Jumsoft has released Keynote Themes Package 1.2, which now includes seven high-quality themes for Apple's presentation software Keynote (Developer, Photo Artist, Wood, Simple, Valentine, Network and Old Paper)/ Tje themes are available in both (800x600 and 1024x768) sizes for $10 with free updates for registered users. DEVONthink 1.5.1 features a new "Open externally" command to open selected contents in external viewers or editors, a Finder toolbar script to import the contents of the frontmost window into DEVONthink and introduces the ability to name knowledge bases. The update to the information manager and freeform database also features an improved dock menu, better PDF display, a thumbnail cache, better verify/repair routines, and improved security. The Mac OS X-only application is $45. [1.6MB] AppMac has released bManager 3.5, which allows users to share contacts on any network. The client/server application can manage users and privileges for business contacts via a central SQL database. The server supports up to 100 users. The company also announced bManager CRM, a new version with Customer Relationship Management functions (CRM) due at the end of the month. Client licenses are free, while the server is $100. It is available for Mac OS 8/9/X as well as Windows machines. [4.0MB] Darkroom 1.02 is a $30 generative graphics synthesis tool that can be used to create textures, alter photos or existing graphics and generate unique art works. Version 1.02 combines fixes that allow it to run on versions of OS X prior to Mac OS X 10.2. [2.4MB]
The recent issue of Gilder Technology report features an analysis of Apple: "The stores could be the missing link in Apple's long-time strategy of product differentiation. The need for cool new stuff, as well as the need to amortize development of operating system upgrades over a tiny customer base, has traditionally kept Apple's R&D costs relatively high as a percentage of sales. Apple, with a fifth of Dell's revenues spends about as much on R&D every year as Dell does, translating to 5 to 8 percent of sales as opposed to Dell's relentless 1.5 percent a year. Not that Apple's R&D has been inefficient. Apple's new operating system, OS X, costs two orders of magnitude less to create than the latest Redmond release."
4D, Inc. is shipping 4D Mail v5.2.4, a free update to the company's mail system for small businesses. It significantly updates 4D WebMail Pro, has new administrative options, and other bug fixes: "The new 4D WebMail Pro included in 4D Mail is robust for handling mail on the road or from a home office. Easy to administer with anti-virus and anti-spam capabilities." A 10-mailbox license is $150; a 100-mailbox license is $250; and an unlimited license is $1,500.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.44 ( + 0.85 )
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
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