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Evening tech news: Microsoft today warned about a serious flaw in all versions of its popular Windows software that could allow hackers to seize control of a person's computer when victims read e-mails or visit Web sites; among Business 2.0's list of the "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" is Microsoft's attempt at rebutting Apple's Switch campaign; several government Web sites in the United States and United Kingdom have been caught off-guard by traffic spikes spurred by the attack on Iraq and worries about a rise in terrorist attacks.
Apple has released iPod Software 1.2.6, a new version of its iPod system software that provides improved battery management which solves a problem that may appear to shorten your iPodís battery life. "Some customers have reported that over time their iPodís battery life has declined," Apple says. This update enables the iPod to more accurately monitor its battery charge, thus using the entire battery capacity and regaining long battery life. The result is longer playback time and extended standby time. After updating the iPod, customers can expect at least 10 days of standby battery life on a full charge.
Ricoh today unveiled the Aficio CL3000, a compact color laser printer that "brings workgroup performance onto the desktop." With print speeds of 17 pages per minute (ppm) in color and 21 ppm in black & white, the CL3000 is the ideal solution for customers looking a for a productive alternative to the color inkjet, says Ricoh. The CL3000 has a maximum resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi for optimum image quality. It comes standard with Ethernet, USB and a Parallel port. There is also the option for FireWire, AirPort (802.11b) and Bluetooth connectivity.
Peripheral maker Gefen today detailed its new ex-tend-it DVI Splitter, which is engineered to deliver accurate and reliable reproduction of any digital video signal including television signals. Designers, audio/visual professionals, presentation professionals, artists and engineers who work on multiple displays and combination systems can benefit most from the DVI Splitter, according to the manufacturer. Each split signal is capable of powering a digital display or projector simultaneously and up to four DVI Splitters can be combined to power eight digital video displays using just one port. [Site not updated]
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore today joined Apple's Board of Directors, according to the company. "Al brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom to Apple from having helped run the largest organization in the world -- the United States government," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a statement. "Al is also an avid Mac user and does his own video editing in Final Cut Pro." Mr. Gore said that he had been particularly impressed with Apple's Mac OS X operating system and the company's commitment to the open-source software movement.
Alsoft is taking pre-orders for its DiskWarrior 3.0 upgrade; the latest version provides Mac OS X native directory repair: "This version is not a simple port to Mac OS X; extensive changes have been made to the application, allowing DiskWarrior to take advantage of advanced technologies in Mac OS X. The new version offers dramatic speed improvements, supports file journaling and Mac OS X RAIDs, offers full Unicode support, conforms to Apple's security standards, uses Mac OS X's native memory model, and rebuilds directories on disks as large as 2,000 gigabytes (2 terabytes)." The $40 upgrade is available only on a Mac OS X bootable CD. (No information is available for full version pricing or the ship date.)
XtremeMac today launched a new and improved version of its Deluxe iPod case with new "incredibly supple, glove-soft leather." The new cases have been tweaked to fit the varying thickness of 5GB, 10GB or 20GB iPods. XtremeMac also debuted its latest designer fashion colors (Caribbean Blue, Chestnut Brown, Butterscotch Checker, Apple White, Embossed Black, Embossed Moss Green, and Gray) as well as a number of fabric cases (e.g., London Plaid, Dark Denim, and Camouflage). It is available in three bundled configurations, starting at $40.
Terra Soft Solutions today announced Yellow Dog Linux 3.0, a new generation of Linux for the PowerPC architecture. It offers an "ultra-modern" gcc 3.2.1 compiler and the first port of Red Hat's 'Anaconda' to PowerPC, a smart and friendly installer. The install includes XFree86 4.3, GNOME 2.2, and KDE 3.1 as well as the Mac-On-Linux emulator. It also boasts improved hardware support (eMac, all GeForce 4-based Power Macs, and the 12" PowerBook), 3D support for ATI Radeon GPUs, and sleep support for all Apple ATI Radeon Mobility-based portables. Yellow Dog Linux 3.0 ISOs images are available today exclusively to YDL.Net Enhanced members and pre-installed on all Macs sold by the company. Retail Yellow Dog Linux packages will be available for pre-order March 31 with anticipated shipment the week of April 16. Terra Soft also announced its new YDL.Net Enhanced membership, which adds personal webspace, FTP access to 10MB storage, immediate, direct access to Yellow Dog Linux ISOs, and ongoing, direct access to Yellow Dog Linux errata for $5 month. The standard version of YDL.net offers a lifetime email account with web-based and client-side access, on-screen support for 27 languages, custom folder and address management, and spell-checking.
Other World Computing today announced the launch of FasterMac.net, a Macintosh-only Internet service that provides nationwide 56K dialup access throughout the US specifically for Macintosh computer users. OWC has already provided more than five years of Internet access in the Chicago-area through OWC's OWC.NET division. FasterMac.net provides online, step-by-step technical directions for configuring Mac-specific operating systems and e-mail clients with the FasterMac.net service. It is offered in Annual ($10 per month), Quarterly ($12/month), and Month-to-Month ($13/month) plans. Each plan provides users with up to 150 hours of connection time per month, five free e-mail addresses (@FasterMac.net), and 5MBs of free Web space.
Larian Studios and e.p.i.c. interactive announced today that they have signed a contract to bring Larian Studios' role playing title Divine Divinity to the Mac OS X: "Warrior, Wizard or Survivor? Which fate is yours? It's your decision, one that will influence the gameplay of Divine Divinity playable as an action based RPG or a classical RPG! According to prophecy, you are the chosen one. Only you have the strength, the courage and the magic to save the legendary lands of Rivellon from submission under the Lord of Chaos." The game will ship in the third quarter of this year.
MacResQ has launched its new nationwide repair service for Macintosh PowerMac and iMac computers. The service, known as PowerMacResQ, will provide Mac users throughout the US with a source for 24-hour repairs on their computers. The cost of the PowerMacResQ program is $130, which includes the 3-way overnight shipping, the initial diagnostic service, and the PowerBox (used to ship the computer). The company offers same day pick up and promises 24-hour repair turnaround for most repairs. The cost of repairing the computer is not included.
MacNN reader Will Dean reports on a security hole in Mac OS X 10.2.4, which exposes a user's .Mac password as plain text. (Earlier this week, Apple notified customers of Samba Security Bug in OS X and promised an update.) "This bug has been confirmed in Mac OS X 10.2.4 and also occurs in a recently leaked build of 10.2.5 (6L11) and may affect older versions as well. There is a major security hole in the Keychain Access application. "When you open up the Keychain application, you will see a list of stored passwords for the various services, such as your e-mail, Airport and iChat. When a user opens the Keychain application and selects the iTools password keychain and then clicks on the "show passphrase" option (on bottom of page), the user's .Mac password will be exposed [in plain text] without authentication. "The only way to protect the password is to lock all keychains; by default Apple sets all keychains to unlock. Whenever you unlock a keychain all of them unlock. Note: This bug only affects a user's .Mac password, not other passwords in the Keychain. [Other Keychain password entries require authentication before the display of the password. Users can also change the 'Access Control' of the password to protect the display of this password.]" [updated]
SoftIntegration today released Ch Control System Toolkit 1.5, a superset of C interpreter for scripting, 2D/3D plotting and numerical computing. It is designed for modeling, design, and analysis of continuous-time or discrete-time linear time invariant (LTI) control systems. The update enhances the Web-based control and analysis capabilities. It costs $500 for commercial and $200 for academic. Publicspace.net today announced version 5.4 of its "A Better Finder Rename" Macintosh Finder enhancement. The new version of the $15 shareware provides a number of enhancements including improved numbered file lists and character replacement, and other minor interface tweaks. [Classic, OSX] AutoTagX 2.6.5 automatically tags and organizes MP3 files using drag-and-drop and internet music databases. Version 2.6.5 adds alternate formats for naming, an editable list of characters to omit from album names, drag & drop installation, and an new uninstaller for previous versions. A demo of the $13 can tag up to 25 files or albums. [692KB] Rage Software's Macintosh Explorer 3.5 is an upgrade to the integrated file browser and file management tool. Macintosh Explorer ($15 shareware) provides an alternative method of browsing files; it can also remove unneeded files, back up documents, and display/change extended file info. It adds spring loading folders, more UI customization options, export of lists to text, and improved file move/copy. [1.2MB]
Apple has confirmed that it is discontinuing the original iMac, coinciding with the disappearance of the CRT iMac yesterday morning from the Apple Store. The Washington Post confirms that Apple still continues to the sell the G3 iMac through its Apple Store Education (and some international stores such as the Apple Store UK).
MacNN readers report that MOTU's Digital Performer 4 for Mac OS X has gone 'GM' (Golden Master) and will ship on April 2, as noted on the company's website. The company demonstrated an OS X version at NAMM 2003, which brings support for universal MIDI and audio compatibility via Mac OS X's CoreMIDI and CoreAudio services as well as support for Apple's Audio Units plug-in standard to its state-of-the-art audio production environment. Other new features include Rewire 2.0 support, enhancements to DP's QuickScribe notation window, including score arrangement features such as repeat barlines, endings, codas, and others. Upgrades are $150.
WiebeTech today announced price reductions on its DesktopGB FireWire enclosures, offering the 120GB DesktopGB for $190--the same price as its 80GB unit. The DesktopGB features dual FireWire and a USB 2.0 port, a 7200 rpm mechanism, and is bundled with Media Four's MacDrive 5 software. The case-only configuration is $80 ($30 reduction), while both the 80GB and 120GB versions are $190. Each includes the enclosure; vertical stand, cables and AC adapter.
The Long Island Mac Users Group notes that an retail Apple Store will open at the Walt Whitman Mall in New York: "Construction has been started on a new Apple Store in the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station. It's where the FYE record shop used to be. It's in section 'G' not far from Bloomingdales. Expect the store to open around the middle of May... I wonder how this new store will affect the nearby Apple dealer B.C. Computers on Depot Road. Curious how The Apple Retail Stores seem to pop up next to The Sharper Image stores. The new store has not yet been announced at [Apple's retail Website]."
Now AAPL Stock: 93.7 ( 0 )
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5