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: 117.06 ( -0.06 )
Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
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