FireStarter FX 1.0b2 is a Mac OS X CD burning application that enables you to duplicate and write many kind of CDs, and burn VCDs and SVCDs. It also offers overburning and CDDB access. Beta 2 adds automatic burner detection, support for data-burning, ISO support, user interface improvements, and a new license agreement (it is now 'donation-ware'). [Download - 2.5MB] Aspyr today released Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets demo. "Be Harry Potter and unlock the mystery at the heart of the Chamber of Secrets [...] Harry's second adventure will be every bit as magical and dangerous as his first." [Download - 18.4MB] Aspyr also made available a trailer for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, the latest edition of the popular skateboarding game. [Download - link not functional; size unknown] Vicomsoft today announced the upcoming release of SpamBolt, a "new and inventive" server-based anti-SPAM solution that will be available at the end of May. "Once installed on a network, SpamBolt will instantly begin to protect mail servers from Spam attacks," the developer says, "while providing the system administrator with a powerful set of mail rules that ensure SPAM is blocked forever, while important andgenuine emails are led safely to their final destination."
NewTek today announced it will preview LightWave 3D  at SIGGRAPH 2003, which takes place from July 29-31. NewTek's LightWave 3D  is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year and development for this release of LightWave will focus on workflow and user interface improvements. In addition, LightWave  will include enhancements to character animation tools and game development tools, as well as improved integration with other production tools and with 3rd party add-ons. New purchases of LightWave 3D [7.5], full copy or upgrade, after April 1, 2003 (until version 8 ships) will receive the LightWave 3D  update for free via the Web.
Billboard reports that "high-quality design and simplicity of use are expected to be the hallmarks of the new digital music service from Apple Computer," as it offers details of Apple's new music service expected to be unveiled on Monday. The article notes that the service will feature songs from high-profile artists not previously available via online services: "Label sources tell Bulletin that the service is an a la carte download store -- not unlike that of rival Liquid Audio -- that is built into Apple's iTunes player. No subscription is required for the service, and tracks are expected to retail for an average of 99 cents. Once purchased, tracks are transferred to the consumer's iTunes music library and are automatically synched to the user's iPod portable player. " "Content can also be burned to CD. Credit-card information is stored on file in the store's shopping-cart system so the consumer does not have to re-enter the information for each purchase. The offering is expected to be made available initially only to users of Apple computers."
Apple shareholders have voted to advise management to expense employee stock options, rejecting the company's wishes to keep the costs off the books, according to the AP: "Based on a preliminary count, Apple announced at its annual meeting Thursday that a majority of shareholders approved a nonbinding measure advocating the accounting switch. Apple hasn't said whether it will follow its shareholders' advice.
Apple's Xserve and PowerBooks are used by the Minnesota Wild NHL team to offer fans watching from the 74 luxury suites at the Xcel Energy Center the ability to watch high-definition game images on PowerBook G4s while browsing live stats, scores and news over the Internet: "The data is created, stored and delivered on Apple's Xserve systems. While the team has a PC-based network, it has used the Xserve to handle media-rich images. The team claims it saves money too because it doesn't pay client-access fees for Mac OS X Server or for QuickTime Streaming Server."
Stone Design today shipped a new plugin named FontSight that adds a visual font typeface menu to all Cocoa-based applications with a Font or Format menu. It adds visual font menu to native OS X applications, the ability to set font size of the menu, and the ability to view "as one list" or "as families" as well as set if it appears at top level or in Format menu. It is $20 sharewware. [840KB] Mitz Pettel's Vidi 0.4 is a freeware application for watching and recording TV on the Mac using the Formac Sutdio DV/TV video converter. Vidi can also be used to listen to FM radio stations (a feature that Formac's own StudioTVR software for Mac OS X lacks). [340KB] Solutions Etcetera has released SuperCard 4.1.1, a free upgrade to SuperCard's authoring environment. It includes over 100 changes and additions in direct response to user feedback to the initial 4.0 release. SuperCard ($180) can be used to create many types of applications, including games, teaching aides, utilities, automation tools, kiosks, and other multimedia projects. [7.5MB] Player Manager 2003 is now in final test and moving towards Gold master. The game had been greatly enhanced over the past weeks, adding many new features such as multiple leagues, enhanced player AI, Fantastic 'Live TV' coverage on selected games with superb new 3D views, Players also display in-game fatigue, enhancements to in-game feedback and messages, according to the developer. DockFun! 4.0 beta allows users to run and configure multiple docks under Mac OS X. It has been rewritten in order to support multi-threading for dual processor Macs and users can now create docks using an iTunes playlist-like interface. Docks also now support auto-launch of single or multiple applications and hotkeys for specific applications. [800KB] Trailerpark QT 1.1.3 is a QuickTime multimedia list player, allowing easy access and organization of multiple video and other media files. It features global floating windows, one-click contextual menu access, one-key control, and other display and playlist options. Registration ($13) allows larger-than 160x120 views, including fullscreen support. [Classic, OSX]
KB roundup: Apple says that the AppleCare Protection Plan CD does not start up on all Macs and explains ways of working with the CD. Another KB article notes that a FireWire hard drive that is not bus-powered may not appear on the desktop, if it is connected to the computer before it is connected to an AC power source. Finally, Apple describes how to bind the QuickTime Streaming Server to serve from only one of the server's IP addresses.
Griffin today announced it is now shipping its iTrip FM Transmitter for iPod has begun shipping. Officially announced at MacWorld Expo SF this past January, the iTrip rests atop the iPod and attaches securely to the headphone jack, allowing users to broadcast the iPod playback to any radio station: "Unlike other FM transmitters, the iTrip can broadcast to any available frequency on the FM dial. The station choice is selected in the iPod itself. The iTrip also requires no batteries. It draws its minimum power directly from the iPod and automatically shuts off after 60 seconds without music. For on the road charging, iTrip cleverly rotates 90 degrees out of the way, exposing the FireWire port." It is $35.
Nisus Software today announced the public beta release of its new OS X word processor, Nisus Writer Express. It has been written from the ground up in Cocoa and incorporates a new, user-friendly interface, industry standard RTF, plain text and unicode support, a customizable interface, fully scriptable (AppleScript, menu based and Perl macros), an exclusive tooldrawer and the ability to open and save as Microsoft Word documents (.doc). Other features includ multiple, editable clipboards, non-contiguous selection, an advanced find/replace function, user-definable keyboard shortcuts and Classic Nisus file format support. It requires a G3 or better and Mac OS X 10.2 and is $60; upgrades are $35. The beta will expire on May 24, 2003.
E.piphany today announced that Fred Anderson, Apple's executive vice president and chief financial officer, has agreed to join E.piphany's board of directors, pending his election at the company's annual meeting on May 30, 2003. E.piphany is a leading provider of marketing, sales, and service solutions for the largest global enterprises. Anderson joined Apple as executive vice president and CFO in March 1996. In his capacity as CFO, Anderson oversees the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit, facilities and human resources functions. He reports to the CEO and serves on the company's executive committee. Anderson came to Apple from Automatic Data Processing (ADP), where he also served as CFO.
Karelia Software's Watson 1.7 is a free upgrade to its desktop interface to over twenty of the most popular Web services and content. This update adds new tools and enhances the program's configurability. Watson's new "SiteSearch" tool is used to search on individual Web sites and display the results in a convenient list. For some sources, the user can specify the section of the site as well as the searching text. Version 1.7 also brings a revamped 'Epicurious' cooking tool. A single-user license is $30, while a "household" license is $40. [1.8MB]
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Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ
Spotify deploys new $15 family plan
Spotify has today launched a new family program. Up to six family members can have individual accounts for $15 per month for the group. All current "Premium for Family" members will be migrated to the new program. The new plan is available today globally, minus Canada. http://spoti.fi/1OSJrCK
Speck CandyShell Clear with Glitter case
Speck today announced CandyShell Clear with Glitter. Thousands of tiny pieces of glitter are embedded within the case, with what the company calls "military-grade drop protection in a slim profile." CandyShell Clear with Glitter is available now on Speck's website for $40 and up. http://bit.ly/1OSHIgM
Three UK nudges MMS users toward apps
British carrier Three has suggested its users take advantage of messaging apps, as part of an announcement regarding multimedia messaging (MMS) price rises. While the price of a message will increase on June 13 from 17.4p ($0.25) to 40p ($0.58) per MMS, Three notes that customers can avoid the hefty fees by using Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other services. http://bit.ly/1Rk0TKM
Belight Soft launches Art Text 3
Belight Soft has launched the latest version of its graphic design software, Art Text 3. The new version sticks with the goals of the previous iterations in developing a creative art text tool that is easy to use for beginners, but produces powerful results that will also appeal to pros. Among its key features are over 70 customizable templates to assist with logo design, word art, web elements and picture captions. Users can customize 3D materials using over 200 textures, over 140 bump map surfaces and over 80 environment map textures. Users of either of the two previous versions can upgrade to the new version for $30, a $20 savings. New users can also enjoy the $30 price as an introductory offer through the Mac App Store until May 31. http://bit.ly/1U6jFqu