Pachysoft's OfficePool 2003 is now available. It "completely automates your 2003 NCAA March Madness Basketball Pool." It enables you to print and view detailed standings and brackets or build an entire Web site. Pricing begins at $15. [Download - Classic, OS X] Unsanity has released Labels X 1.1.2, a minor update to its "haxie" for Mac OS X that enables users of the operating system to color-code folder icons. The update adds an option to change file modification date on label change; the contextual menu is no longer shown for the Desktop folder; fixes an incompatibility with Folder Icon X contextual menu module; addresses a bug causing Labels X contextual menu to crash the Finder under some circumstances. Labels X is priced at $10. [Download - 1.1MB] Spherico has released TimeSync Script, an AppleScript for Mac OS X 10.2.4 that corrects a common bug whereby the date will be reset to January 1970 after restart. The script requires Apple's UI Scripting beta to be installed. [Download - 81KB] Eudora 5.2.1 b6 fixes a number of bugs found in the previous release of the popular email client, including a fix to the "UTF-8 message cut-off problem," and new sort buttons in file display for ESP mailboxes. A number of other technical issues have been addressed. [Download - 3.5MB]
Apple today began shipping its 17" Aluminum PowerBooks to resellers, almost 2 weeks after its announced "February" ship date. Resellers report receiving shipment confirmation from Apple: "So far they only have shipped one unit, probably getting one unit out to each Apple Specialist for display purposes." Pre-production units arrived at Apple retail stores around the US last month, but many stores simply used it as a non-interactive display model (though users at some locations were able to explore the laptops). New 17" PowerBooks from the Apple store currently show 3-5 week estimated ship date, the same time-frame quoted to some customers in late February.
Aspyr Media today announced it will publish BloodRayne for the Macintosh. Developer Terminal Reality will perform the Mac conversion of Majesco's original title, BloodRayne, which was initially published for console and PC: "Set in the mid-1930s, BloodRayne introduces the sexy, supernatural Agent BloodRayne. An unholy union of human and vampire, Agent BloodRayne was raised and trained by a secret governmental agency to hunt down and eliminate global evil forces. Now she must take on an occult faction of pre-Nazis and their army of vile, unearthly ghouls to prevent them from unleashing creatures of unfathomable terror onto the world." It is expected to ship later this month for Mac OS X. The $50 title is available for pre-order now.
Other World Computing today introduced a 250GB model of its Mercury Elite Pro external FireWire drive. Mercury Elite Pro hard drives measure 1.5-inches x 9.0-inches x 5.5-inches and weigh less than three pounds. The new 250GB model operates at 7200RPM and is available immediately for $480. It ships with Intech HD SpeedTools, a FireWire cable, external power adaptor and a two-year OWC warranty that covers all parts and labor. Mercury Elite Pro drives with 8MB of cache and 7,200 rpm mechanisms are also available in 200GB ($380), 180GB ($340), and 120GB ($260) capacities, while two models with 2MB of cache, 120GB ($240) and 80GB ($190), are also available.
The Mercury News says that IBM has become the leader in the laptop revolution, originally started by Apple's Titanium PowerBook: "Witness the IBM ThinkPad T40, a sophisticated black laptop built for business. Like the TiBook, it's an inch thick. But it not only weighs a pound less, in battery tests it smokes the TiBook and the 12-inch PowerBook." NPD Techworld reports that Apple was not among the top 5 in unit sales in Janauary 2003 laptop sales (as measured by retail, coporate sales, and mail order channels). The Top 5 included Toshiba (26.6%), Compaq (24.3%), IBM (19.9%), and Sony (8.4%).
piDog Software's Telnet Launcher 2.5 is a suite of tools for managing telnet and SSH logins via Mac OS X's Terminall.app. It can now automatically enter passwords for fast logins, can store passwords in Keychain, and can set sessions to minimize to the dock on launch. Other features include dock menu access to session groups, easy SSH port forwarding configuration, custom terminal commands, custom session settings, etc. It is a $5 upgrade to the $20 application. [1.0MB] Objectpark Development has released LetterWorks 1.2, an application for writing letters with ease and style: "[it] lets the author focus on content while layout, formatting and default text are determined by a predefined stationery. In addition, LetterWorks automates the process of filling in the receiver's address." It adds support for printing envelopes as well as adds an French user interface to the English, German and Italian variants. The $30 application runs on Mac OS X only. [1.6MB] Myth II v1.3.2 is an update for Myth II: SB v1.3, offering Carbonization (allowing Myth II to run natively under OS X). Other improvements include "improved keyboard and mouse responsiveness and reduced chat lag. Myth II v1.3.2 is entirely backwards compatible with Myth II v1.3 and will work flawlessly on both PlayMyth.Net, and Marius.Net." [3.5MB] CodaTek's DockExtender 3.03 allows you to organize and access your applications, documents and web sites through custom menus from the Dock. Users can create up to 10 separate (custom) menus that can also be activated by pressing a HotKey. It is $20 shareware for Mac OS X only. (The company also recently updated SafeClean 2.3.1, its $25 shareware which removes Internet history files, caches, e-mails and conversation logs.) [DE, SC]
Apple's short Java 1.4.1 FAQ explains that "the Java 1.4.1 Update adds Java 1.4.1 to Mac OS X. It does not replace Java 1.3.1. Both versions exist simultaneously to preserve backward compatibility for applications and services that rely on prior versions." Safari will apparently use Java 1.4.1, if installed, while other applications must specify the new implementation. The document also includes instructions making Version 1.4.1 the default for opening JAR files. Apple also covers installing Mac OS X Server 10.2.3 on a Power Mac G4 (FW 800), installing an older version of Mac OS X, and DVD Player Compatibility listing (as well as notes on factors that affect writing to or reading from optical media), and the sound specifications on the 12" Aluminum PowerBook.
FirewireDirect.com Inc. has announced larger capacity versions of its Vanguard FireWire RAID product line. The hardware controlled FireWire RAID product now includes support for RAID Level 0 (Striping) and Level 1 (Mirroring) as well as support for newer large capacity hard drives. It now supports up to 500GB of storage. The Vanguard Series II RAID system is built with a rigid, metal casing and rugged design and offers an auto-rebuilding feature will rebuild the lost data while allowing access to the other drive (in cases of RAID 1 failure).
Students at The University of Western Australia studying Communication Studies will receive a 20GB iPod as part of their semester enrollment: "The Communication Studies students will primarily make use of the iPod as a 20GB storage drive on which they will keep their digital media projects throughout the semester. The iPod also provides teachers with the means of delivering course materials electronically to each student, including contact details, sound files, video clips, audiobooks and e-books - all with the click of a mouse. The convenience of such a process has allowed the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to introduce digital media elements to a wide variety of teaching disciplines with ease."
Trinity Software has released three open-source, freeware AppleScripts for iTunes: Capitalize Words In Tags, Extract Artist From Song Name, and Remove Track Number from Song Name. [CWIT, EAFSN, RTNFSN] Ext2 Filesystem 1.0d4 adds write support to the utility that allows Mac users to access Linux Ext2 formatted hard disks, floppies, CD-ROM's, etc., from within Mac OS X. The freeware also supports file advisory locks and includes the complete set of e2fsprogs commands. [619KB] phelios has released SNAP!, a freeware logic for the Mac: "The objective is simple, break the bricks with the ball and make the highest score!" [2.4MB] Northern Softworks today releaed Lights Out 2.1, its new Energy Saver utility for Jaguar: "It offers a secondary idle timer to put your Mac to sleep even when Energy Saver fails to do so [and] offers easy control of all aspects of Energy Saver. It can even shutdown your Macintosh after a specified idle period." The $8 shareware adds limited support for PowerBooks and the ability to perform a user logout after a user-specified period of activity. [1.2MB] MuchoSoft, Inc.'s MuchoViewer 1.0 is an image and movie browser that offers options to view files in list or slideshow modes. The QuickTime-based application supports most image formats and includes a preferences dialog that enables users to select the file formats needed and customize the slideshow. The "donation-ware" runs on Mac OS 9/X. [1.0MB] equinux has released a new version of its VPN program for Mac OS X. VPN Tracker 1.6 includes optimized support for VPN appliances from SonicWALL, NetScreen and WatchGuard. Version 1.6 also sports a "completely revamped user authorization concept. As a result system administrators are now able to allow normal users to start and stop the VPN connection on their own, without administrative authentication." Licensing for the Mac OS X application is $80 for the personal edition and $200 for the Professional Edition. [2.7MB] DEVONtechnologies has updated its $45 information manager and freeform database. DEVONthink Personal Edition 1.5.2 now permits 30 hours of usage time before showing a registration reminder. The update also includes up to 30 percent faster retrieval of similar words based on the context, minor interface changes and bug fixes. DEVONthink, fully or semi-automatically, classifies elements, lists similar contents and words immediately using fuzzy algorithms; finds and compares text and images; summarizes texts intelligently; and offers high performance concordance tools. [1.7MB] CG Invoicer 1.5, a $70 application for Mac OS X and Classic, is designed for independent business owners. CG Invoicer generates invoices and has custom reporting features. Version 1.5 adds payment history printing, includes new custom sales reports, offers improved quotes/estimates, and adds the ability to filter the open-invoice listing by date. [Classic, OSX]
Willow Design has added an Apple 20" Cinema Display carry case and dust cover to line of 28 other cases designed for Apple computers. The Cinema Display case offers excellent protection through multiple foam layers with corrugated plastic reinforcement, a hardboard bottom and a double plastic reinforcement layer for the display side outer wall. The case also features a heavy duty molded handle, contoured shoulder carry strap and bottom luggage feet which keep the case securely upright. The $185 case is covered by Willow's 100% satisfaction guarantee and lifetime guarantee against defects in materials and craftsmanship.
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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
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