Epic Records, in partnership with Apple and RollingStone.com, today announced the launch of "Tori's Taxivision," a new online contest in which fans get the opportunity to create a music video for Tori Amos' next single, "Taxi Ride," off her gold-plus selling Epic Records debut, "Scarlet's Walk." Beginning on April 4th, participants will be invited to submit their ideas via "any moving medium" -- animation, video, etc. All submissions must be received by May 16.
all4DVD has unveiled its ArtDrive, a drive enclosure developed in conjunction with the famous Swiss artist, Johann Ulrich: "every ArtDrive features a unique piece of custom art, transforming the ordinary product case into a showpiece of artistic inspiration." The ArtDrive Idol is available as a bus-powered, 2.5-inch portable 40GB or 80GB 5,400rpm/2MB cache mechanism for $300 and $600, respectively. (It includes an external AC adapter as well). The ArtDrive Medusa features a FireWire 800 interface (with the Oxford 922 chipset) in capacities of 120GB ($370), 180GB ($500), and 250GB ($460). Finally, the ArtDrive Sphynx features a "SuperDrive" with an integrated 4x DVD-R, 2x DVD-RW, 16x CD-R, and 8x CD-RW write support. The $600 drive has 2 standard FireWire ports and a USB 2.0 port. Toast 5.2 recording software is extra.
Blue World Communications today announced Lasso Reporter 6, a new tool for quickly creating robust reports from data contained within MySQL databases. Lasso Reporter is a 'LassoApp' that can be freely used on servers running Lasso Professional 6, Blue World's Web application server for creative professionals. "Lasso Reporter empowers business professionals to make sense of data by building custom reports without having to hire a programmer or utilize their organization's limited information technology resources," the company says. Lasso Reporter 6 is scheduled to ship later this month.
Easy Barcode Technologies today announced that its Easy Barcode Reader is now available. The Easy Barcode Reader is a $260 desktop USB barcode scanner designed for home and office use. Also available is Easy Barcode Creator, a $130 software package for Mac OS 9 and OS X that enables users to make professional, ready-to-print barcode graphics, without having prior knowledge about barcodes.
FireStarter FX is a new application for creating backups of CDs or DVDs. According to the developer, FireStarter FX is currently not a tool to back up DVD-Videos, nor a transcoding tool to encode videos in other formats. In addition to copying standard and Macintosh discs, it offers a "very easy way" of burning disc images from the PC world -- it handles cue and bin files, which are common on Windows, and which are "very hard" to burn with other tools. Moreover, it includes an easy way to erase RW media, without the use of Apple's Disk Utility. [Download - 1.4MB] Chaotic Software today announced an update to MP3 Rage, its popular MP3 tag editor software. Version 5.6 adds several improvements and features, including: support for rearranging articles in artist tags (i.e. "The Artist" -> "Artist, The"), and support for "moving to and from the composer." MP3 Rage is available for $25; the update is free for users of version 5.0 or later; owners of older versions can upgrade for a nominal fee of $10. [Download - 2.0MB] QPict 5.2.5 is an update to the fully featured media asset manager for Mac OS 9/X. The update adds a "magic thumbnail slider," further customization options, reduced launch time, new sorting features, improvements to printing, usability enhancements, and long file name support. QPict is compatible with "all kinds of multimedia files," including formats for images, videos, fonts and sounds. Registration is $35. [Download - 4.4MB] AFComix today released Globe Browser Public Beta, an application that accesses globe.gov atmospheric data animations. Globe Browser is for aimed at environmental scientists, teachers, and science students, but may be useful to anyone. [Download - location not available] PdfCompress 4.1 is an update to the popular PDF compression tool for Mac OS X from metaobject. Version 4.1 features integration with the PDF Services feature. It installs PDF Services via a simple menu command, and makes generating optimized PDF files "easier than ever," PdfCompress is a fully-native Cocoa application, "not just a Cocoa wrapper around legacy libraries." [Download - 826KB]
Western Digital today expanded its external hard drive product line with the addition of a Special Edition model, its Combo FireWire/USB 2.0 external hard drives. It is enclosed in a contemporary clear, light-up case; features an 8MB cache; and a 250GB drive with a 7,200 RPM mechanism. Western Digital's innovative clear case design with LED illumination allows users to see the components inside. The are available now for $450 from the Company's online store and initially will be available through CompUSA retail stores. Broad availability will shortly follow through Western Digital's retail partners, Internet resellers and selected distributors.
Dell has stopped selling the iPod after only six months, bringing to an end an unusual marriage of marketing convenience, according to c|net: " The representative would not comment on the change, but added that the two companies continue to discuss the issue. Sources, however, said that the change came about because of alterations to Apple's reseller contract. Meanwhile, the 5GB iPod is fading further into the sunset...Now the 'add to order' button has been removed from the Web sites that describe the 5GB model. More costly 10GB and 20GB models are available."
Aladdin today released StuffIt Deluxe 7.0.3 and StuffIt Standard Edition 7.0.3, updates to its industry-standard access and compression utilities. Version 7.0.3 improves support for Mac OS X's UNIX environment by adding the ability to browse Tape Archives (.Tar), Bzip2, and Gzip. The update provides support for RAR 3.0, adds an improved "Expert Mode" dialog for compression settings, improved StuffIt X compression, and fixes a number of bugs. StuffIt Deluxe 7.0.3 is also optimized to provide tighter compression of a wide range of file types. StuffIt Deluxe is $80, while StuffIt Standard Edition 7.0.3 is $50. [STDeluxe update]
MacNN reader Michael Fryd provided some more details on the release of the HP 3300 multifunction printer drivers for Mac OS X (noted earlier today), which are apparently only available for users with previous versions of the software.
Funatics Software and e.p.i.c. today announced today they will bring the Cultures 2 sequel "Northland" to the Mac: "The story of 'Northland' begins where the plot of 'Cultures 2 - The Gates of Asgard' ended. After perilous adventures our four heroes defeated the Midgard serpent and thus saved the world. But one day they were disturbed by a call for help from their friend Hatschi. Hatschi's homeland was plagued by mysterious monstrous serpent creatures, which spread chaos and destruction through the country. Without hesitation Byjami and Crya hurried to help him and stumbled right into a new adventure, in which the sly god Loki will play an important role..." The stand-alone adventure strategy game will feature a single player campaign with 8 missions including several sub missions as well as 8 additional free single player missions (non-campaign) and three difficulty levels.
Apple's MRJ 2.2.6 provides "fixes that allow Oracle 11i client applications to communicate with Oracle's application servers over HTTPS. It is recommended that you only update to MRJ 2.2.6 if you need to use Oracle 11i client applications over HTTPS and your Oracle software is properly configured to support HTTPS communication with Mac OS 9 clients. " [5.2MB] MacNN reader James Mullins notes that HP has finally released OS X drivers for its HP 3300 series of multifunction printers: "These printers now support 10.2. It comes after waiting nearly 7 months for OS 10.2 support. Last week I sent my printer back to HP for a refund so I am unable to test!" David Ahmed's ExhibitionX 1.2 is described as a "cool tool to view your picture folders and iPhoto 2 albums." It includes five easy-to-navigate 3D environments, including the walk-around gallery, octagonal carousel, book view, multi-cube and flat view. It offers support for most popular image formats, OpenGL support, 4:3 or 16:9 screen ration options, and choice of background textures and colors. The $15 shareware adds pause/ rotation rate controls, enhanced navigational controls, extra 'flat' view, ability to open up to 500 images, extra gallery textures, 'cube' view refinements and overall enhancements. [1.8MB] ICS has released BX for Java, a new Java development tool that allows developers to quickly, easily, and accurately prototype, build, test, debug, and deploy any pure AWT or Swing application. Its completely visual interface allows developers to simply drag-and-drop any Java component (including any JavaBean) into a layout of their application, customize its operation and appearance, and to dynamically observe the operation of the application - without compiling. [8.0MB] Automated Workflows has released a Dial Phone From FileMaker AppleScript, an external AppleScript application for OS X only that is designed to provide the ability to extract a phone number from a field in a FileMaker Pro database, and then dial that number using Internet Connect: "In Mac OS 9, FileMaker Pro databases could be configured to dial a phone number through the use of an internal script. However, this feature is not yet available in the OS X version of FileMaker." It is $15. TextForge 1.5 is a $5 text editor that was "built from scratch to provide a reliable, powerful, fast, efficient, and Mac OS X native solution for editing text documents." It offers full regular expression support, an integrated perl checker, terminal integration, document statistics, auto-indent, a spell checker, and a customizable look. [392KB]
The Brain Eaters Font Company has released two new free fonts: "Keep on Truckin' is a groovy, happy new typeface chock full o' 1960s love with a wide stride to take on all design projects that require some extra love! And Corrupter which touts endless corruption for your data is a warped monospace" It also has a new "loopy handwriting" commercial font called Prosy Script. SnapFonts is also offering four free fonts on its Website: "Find them by looking through the Snapfonts Library and download them. We also have just introduced four new low low priced fontsets. Each has ten great fonts for $100. That's $10 a font. They have the best themes too: Supersaver, Britsaver, Autosaver, and Big Easy. They are all limited editions.."
A MacNN reader notes the mention of an upcoming (but unannounced) Apple Store in San Francisco: "There was a quip in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning (4/9). Mayor Willie Brown was quoted as saying "Wait until you see the plans for Apple's new store" on the site of the soon-to-move Sephora, he said 'It's sheathed in stainless steel and it's fabulous'."
LANDesk Software today announced a new software distribution solution for Mac OS X as well as expanded inventory and remote control support for Mac OS 8/9/X. The LANDesk Management Suite enables corporations to centrally manage the Mac OS-based machines along with the other platforms in their enterprise networks. Mac OS X machines can be inventoried and targeted for software distribution, while a new inventory scanner collects new and expanded data, including USB, FireWire and PCI device information. The application, due in the second quarter of this year, also provides increasesd remote control performance via the Web. Pricing will be announced on the product's release.
appMac's sVideo 2.1 for Mac OS 9/X is a global video monitoring application with functions to share a webam to remoter users. Version 2.1 allows webcams to be shared to a web folder, compatibility with more network configurations, better performance, and other changes. sVideo Server 2.1 is $60, while sVideo Monitor is free. [sVS, sVM] FolderControl 1.0 is a utility to automatically size and arrange the Finder's folder/directory windows with custom attributes. Users can apply the changes to specific folders, specify window location, custom configure subfolders, customize Finder view settings, and lock the settings. The software is available as a demo or in a limited time $14 introductory offer. [949KB] CourseForum 2.1 and ProjectForum 2.1 are web-based applications that are designed to bring increased interaction, coordination and communication to online or face-to-face courses, student groups, workgroup projects, business teams, and corporate intranets. Version 2.1 includes a host of improvements, in areas such as branding, project support, markup, and performance, along with several bug fixes. For a limited time, users can save 25% off the cost of licenses. CourseForum licenses start at $60, while ProjectForum licenses start at $150. Free versions of each product are also available. [CF, PF]
Insider Software today announced the public beta of its new Adobe Photoshop plug-in that permits automatic activation of fonts used in Photoshop documents as well as version 1.2.1 of Font Agent Pro, which allows saving changes that have been made to open files, even if the fonts themselves have not been modified. The application repairs or eliminates corrupt fonts, partial and unmatched fonts, duplicate fonts and unnecessary point sizes, and builds optimized, organized font libraries. It also offers font auto-activation in other Mac OS X applications, such as Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator. It is $90 for the electronic version. [site not updated]
Now AAPL Stock: 92.04 ( -1.36 )
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