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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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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k