@Last Software is readying a sneak preview of SketchUp 3.0 for presentation at the company's booth at the AIA National Convention and Expo, May 8 - 10th at the San Diego Convention Center. Designers already hooked on SketchUp’s amazing power, ease of use, and resource efficacy will truly appreciate 3.0 enhancements, which allow them to take their designs beyond the napkin," the developer says. ”SketchUp 3.0 really closes the gap between idea and presentation,” explained David Rich of DTR Architects. SketchUp 3.0 will be released in June 2003.
Matrix Plug-In for REALbasic 5 allows developers to construct programs which, because of operator and function overloading, can handle "real matrices much like doubles and integers are handled." Matrix elements are doubles. Included with the product are two REALbasic projects, one used for testing while the other illustrates the ease of constructing a program which solves a set of linear equations. [Download - 116KB] metaobject has released BookLightning, a 'lightweight' imposition program for booklets and simple magazines. With BookLightning, users can create booklets for stapling or folding from any PDF file, or even directly from the Mac OS X print panel. It arranges the pages of a PDF file on sheets of paper in such a way that they will appear in the correct order when the resulting sheets are folded in the middle. [Download - 919KB] Final Scratch 1.1 with TRAKTOR FS is now available. The latest version addresses bugs, and improves usability. Final Scratch is the first product to result from the cooperation of Stanton Magnetics and Native Instruments. "The merging of these two innovative DJ technologies offers turntable jockeys an ideal hardware/software combination for mixing digital music files: CD, MP3 and WAV/AIFF files can be played back and controlled perfectly from a classic DJ set up." [Download - 2.6MB (updater)] Calillona 1.0 is a powerful channel for Sherlock that enables you to search the catalog provided by Amazon.com. Users can search Amazon's catalog in different categories, such as Books, DVD, Software, and so on. In addition, you can save your favorite products in a shopping cart. "Calillona's shopping cart is persistent; products in your cart will be saved [to your hard disk,] even after quitting Sherlock." [Download - free subscription] DivX 5.0.5 is an update to the Mac OS X version of the popular audio/video codec. With the recent addition of Mac support, the software represents the "first publicly distributed MPEG-4 compatible technology available on Mac OS that is capable of playing back MPEG-4 Simple Profile and MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile video." A free version is available; the 'Pro' version is $15. [Download - Free, Pro demo]
Electronic Arts today announced that The Sims 2, the next generation of the No. 1 PC game of all time, is in development at the company's Walnut Creek-based Maxis studio: "For the first time, players control their Sims over an entire lifetime. Every choice that is made has a relevant and dramatic effect on the life of a Sim. More life-like Sims, all-new gameplay, and the ground-breaking addition of genetics, with the DNA of Sims passed down through generations gives players a more vivid, realistic, and in-depth Sims experience. All of this takes place in a new amazingly life-like 3-D world." The Sims 2 will also introduce an all-new "Create-A-Sim" feature, which allows users to customize the facial features of their Sim to a level of detail never realized before. In The Sims 2, players are now able to build dwellings over two stories and have the ability to coordinate and customize the homes of their Sims to a new degree of design with all-new furniture, lighting and objects. It will debut on May 13th at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles and is scheduled to ship in early 2004; however, no Mac-specific information was provided.
DataViz today announced Passwords Plus for Mac OS X, which offers Mac users a flexible, secure desktop application where they can store private information such as credit card numbers, website log-ins and medical information. Passwords Plus also synchronizes between the Mac and a Palm OS handheld or smartphone, ensuring that information stays up to date. In addition to protecting data with a password, Passwords Plus features 128-bit Blowfish encryption on both the Mac and the handheld. The application is $30 and is available immediately from DataViz.
MacNN reader John Mortensen has posted web page to show Mac users how to use a Sprint PCS Vision phone as a wireless modem, noting that Mac OS X has the drivers built in, while Windows requires users to download and install separate drivers. The site also includes information on preparing and uploading graphics and pictures to the phone.
Googlifications 1.0b1 is a native OS X Cocoa app which keeps "track of new results for Google searches. If you wish to be notified every time a ew webpage links to your homepage, or every time someone mentions your name, or a friend's name, on the Internet." [155KB] Fullscreen Movie Player 1.1 is a free full screen movie player. Version 1.1 now shows the title of the current movie in the dock menu, adds an option to loop the currently playing video, and other options. [Classic, OSX] Maki Enterprises has updated Kids GoGoGo 7.1, its $30 parental control and web-filtering software for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It also offers functions for restricting application use as well as recording the browser history. It offers better support for Safari, support for the iTunes 4 Music Store, better filtering, better performance, and other changes. [Classic, OSX] Oblique Strategies 1.0 is a "freeware application is a handy little utility meant for creative types. It spits out a random oblique strategy from one of the hundred included in the Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt third edition (the 1979 edition). These little anecdotes are meant to assist you when you're having a tough time with the creative process." [64KB] Hitek Software's Automize 5.4 is a $50 shareware scheduler and task automation application for Mac OS X that can automate multiple file ftp transfers, ftp daemon and monitor, web downloads through proxy or secured websites, check or send email as well as offers success-based chaining of tasks. Each task can beregularly schedule and it provides email notification as well remote editing of schedules. [2.1MB] Sig Software has released Drop Drawers X 1.6.2, its "revolutionary user-interface enhancement which provides floating drawers on the sides of monitors to store text, URLs, aliases, scripts, pictures, sounds, movies and anything else." Version 1.6.2 for Mac OS X adds compatibility with Path Finder and other minor fixes and improvements. [Classic, OSX] Spherico has released CopyRestore SD2 for OS X, which "provides the user with an easy and secure procedure to transfer SD2 files from FAT16, FAT32, UFS, UDF volumes to an OS X HFS+ volume. The copy process glues the resource forks back into the raw data, the result is a standard SD2 file." Pricing is $25. Brian Bergstrand has released Ext2 Filesystem 1.0a1, a freeware system utilty for Mac OS X that enables the use of Linux Ext2 formatted hard disks, floppies, CD-ROM's, etc from within Mac OS X. It includes support for reading, writing, formatting, etc. [620KB]
Script Software has released public beta 2 of Bluetooth Print Bridge, which allows you to print from a Bluetooth-enabled device (currently confirmed working with the Sony Ericsson T68i) to a non-bluetooth printer using a Bluetooth-enabled Macintosh. It allows users to print pictures direct from a cell phone as well as sms messages, notes, single contacts and the whole phone book. Public Beta 2 also adds scaling to images, a 'Delete files once printed' option, Help system and a improved notification window. It requires a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.2 and a bluetooth adaptor. [1.3MB]
Apple today announced that its iTune Music Store sold over one million songs during its first week: "Over half of the songs were purchased as albums, dispelling concerns that selling music on a per-track basis will destroy album sales. In addition, over half of the 200,000 songs offered on the iTunes Music Store were purchased at least once, demonstrating the breadth of musical tastes served by Apple's groundbreaking online store. Apple also said that over one million copies of iTunes 4 have been downloaded, and that it has received orders for over 110,000 new third-generation iPods since their introduction a week ago, with more than 20,000 sold in its stores in the U.S. this past weekend.
Wired News reports that Apple fixed a security flaw at its online store late last week that could have enabled attackers to hijack customers' accounts and place fraudulent orders: "The flaw, discovered by an anonymous Canadian security researcher who uses the nickname "Null," potentially allowed malicious users to change Apple Store customers' passwords and gain control of the victims' account data."
Paperweight Software has released Beeper Pro, a freeware application that plays a customizable list of sound fx in OS X and can manage sound effects in a simple, viewable list format. Beeper Studio ($20) includes full screen mode and 4 and 8 console mode. The company is also selling Sound FX Packs, which are $15 packs of sound effects. [658KB] Richard Bannister has released Cacophony 1.3, a multi-track audio editor for Mac OS X supporting more than 20 file formats. It offers speed improvements, synchronization with the latest SoX, a workaround for an Adobe Premiere bug offering better compatibility with WAV fils, support for Macromedia-compatible Cue Points, and other changes. [1.0MB] Xupport 1.3 provides a clean GUI to configure many Mac OS X options and includes several unix command to optimize and secure your Mac, and activates features that are disabled by default. Version 1.3 can now clear .DS_Store files and also adds user's directories to bootable backups. It is $20. [424KB] Myster PR6 is a file sharing utility (e.g., Kazaa, Hotline and Gnutella), allowing users to share your files with others and download files being shared by others on the Myster network. The Java-based, cross-platform utility offers Mac OS X functionality, instant messaging, chat, bandwidth throttling, and other bug fixes. [Classic, OSX] Collaborate 2.01 is an update to the $10 combination chat and whiteboard program through which individuals in disparate locations can interact to work out ideas. It addresses a bug where some participants connected in the distributed network may fail to receive notification of chat/whiteboard updates. [566KB] dmg software has released Sidekick 1.0.2, a Mac OS X menu bar item that interacts with AppleWorks 6, making it easier to use and increasing your productivity. It provides access to common AppleWorks functions, Google and other web resource links, and other functions. It is $10. [125KB] Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes has posted several new AppleScripts for iTunes 4, including Find Album Artwork With Google, Search iTunes Store for Current, Selected Artwork to All In Playlist, Number Prefix to Track Number, Mirror iPod Playlists in iTunes, and Artwork Scripts. Kairos 2.01 is a $20 weather graphing and monitoring application for Mac OS X that records the weather conditions for up to three locations and graphs the data. It can be programmed with an unlimited number of custom alerts. Version 2.0.1 is a maintenance update that fixes a problem with fetching data, improves the rain alert and fixes an erroneous error report to the system log. [2.6MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX