With strong PowerBook sales, and the debut of the much-anticipated iTunes Music Store, Apple's shareholders "should be beaming," says Joshua Jaffe of The Deal. But most shareholders "aren't applauding Jobs' sudden infatuation with the music industry," and they are not "particularly pleased with the company's otherwise moribund business strategy." In response, some analysts are calling for the split of Apple into software and hardware companies, while others are suggesting that the company go private.
Apple describes the following in its troubleshooting knowledge base today: audio captured through a USB input device to a PowerBook G4 (12-inch) may sound distorted if the display sleeps or dims as the computer saves the audio; iTunes 4 songs with 'odd characters' in the titles; using iTunes 4 to connect to an Internet broadcast; how to use song information in other programs.
Micromata has released Schroedinger 1.0.1, an update to its free JSP/Servlet development tool. "Focus of the version 1.0.1 [...] was on the integration in the specific operating systems, bug fixes and the support of rendezvous." [Download - 8.3MB] Manyetas today released Ritmo 1.0.2, a drumsampler AudioUnit plug-in for Mac OS X. Starting with this release, Ritmo now includes free drum kits, including one created by electronic artist Eight Frozen Modules. Version 1.0.2 also corrects a number of issues found in the previous version. Ritmo is available immediately for $25. [Download - 3.2MB] Whistle Blower 3.1 is an update to the enterprise server monitor, functional testing and restart utility for the Mac. Version 3.1 has over 26 specific server types that it can connect to directly, including Web servers and SSL Web servers, File Maker, Radius authentication, DNS, 4D and FTP. Version 3.1 adds a new "Email Cycle" check that sends a test email via SMTP and then waits to receive it via POP, validating all aspects of an email delivery system, Improved reliability on OS X, and many OS X-only features such as validating the return from a shell script and running a shell command in response to a server failure. [Download - Classic, OS X] The $20 shareware Apimac Address Book 5.2 adds support for Mac OS X Address Book's instant messenger fields (AIM, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo), the Back-up Database and Revert to Database back-up commands, the Sync functionality (with data safety guards), and other functions. [Classic, OSX] SpamRoboCop 1.1 is an AppleScript for Apple Mail and MS Entourage designed to help users complete spam reports to SpamCop. Version 1.1 adds support for Entourage, can be used from within a rule in Mail, and now recognizes all types of SpamCop accounts (both paid and free). [28KB]
Thursby Software Systems today announced the release of ADmitMac, a new Mac OS X software solution that enables Macintosh computers to participate in Microsoft networks. aAdministrators of Microsoft networks using Active Directory, and even NT domain services, have an easy way to integrate Macintosh computers into their networks: "With ADmitMac, users' home directories can be kept on Microsoft servers and are all managed from one place (the directory). Users may log into Macs or PCs using the same account and password and have full access to their files and desktop settings." It supports Windows login security restrictions, allows users to easily change passwords, caches user credentials for mobile user access when not connected to the network, supports browsing for published shares, offers support support for shared printers, supports NTFS file format, and has support for DFS as well as other features. Pricing starts at $150 for a single user.
Aspyr today announced that is now shipping Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead, a new expansion pack for the its WWII action title. The Mac conversion was done by Westlake Interactive: "Players will assume the role of Sgt. Jack Barnes as he endures the final months of World War II, from Operation Overlord to the Battle of the Bulge and culminating with the fall of Berlin. The Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead combines nine expansive single-player levels with over 12 new multiplayer maps and includes new locations, new weapons, and new soldiers." The $40 title is available for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, but is available for pre-order from the website for $30.
Google Alert 2.0 enables people to stay up to date with their interests by automatically performing daily Google searches and sending email notifications of new results that appear. Version 2.0 contains many new capabilities, including an integrated online browser for exploring search results, and live HTML and RSS feeds for integrating those results into web pages and desktops. Jargonary is a dictionary for computer Jargon that lets users look up definitions for commonly used computer terms. The database contains explanations for more than 13,000 computer Jargons. It features detailed explanations, a history feature to retrace your search results, auxiliary definitions to define words within definitions, a closest match feature, and internet integration. It is $20 shareware. [3.4MB] Boolean Calculator 1.0 is a simple utility for technical informatics on university: "You can enter a formular like 'a and b and (not c)' and it shows you a table where you can see on which boolean combination of a, b and c the term is true. This application may be interesting for Realbasic developers to see how to pick up an user entered term and write a few lines of RBScript sourcecode in memory to compile and run it just in time." [Classic, OSX] XMMS Remote 1.0 is a freeware software solution that uses web-services to remotely control and display the status of the xmms media player. It adds a volume slider, a dock menu, a song title background, dock status display, better error handling and a new help system. [client, server] iTunes Tracker is a client which connects to a server maintaining a list of iTunes shared library addresses. This list is displayed on your computer allowing you to access any of the shared iTunes library on the list. [594KB] CodaTek's VirtualDesktop 2.3 is an update to the company's $30 shareware utilty that provides up to 100 different virtual workspaces, allowing users to customize the screen for different applications or different desktop environments. Version 2.3 brings per-application toggle options for global display of palettes and other windows and improved options via the contextual menu. [4.7MB] Frequency 1.1 is a desktop Blogger client that can be used to add new posts instead of logging into Blogger's web site every time. New features in Frequency 1.1 include the ability to edit posts, a new HTML engine for previewing posts, and support for more international characters. The $6 shareware runs on Mac OS X. [1.4MB]
Logitech tomorrow will release Mac OS X drivers for its credit card-sized Pocket Digital camera, according to The Register: "Sources close to the company say the drivers, which work with Mac OS X's Image Capture application and iPhoto, will be offered free of charge as a download from the company's web site. It's not clear at this stage whether Logitech will bundle the new drivers with the camera and brand it as a Mac-compatible product." The 0.5in-thick Pocket Digital offers 1.3 megapixel resolution (up to 640x480) and uses software to automatically adjust the image in overly dark or bright conditions. The USB-based camera can store up to 52 photos.
IK Multimedia has released SampleTank 1.1, a new OS X-compatible version of its RTAS and VST plug-in for both ProTools 6 and Cubase SX. It offers a Sampler/Synth engine with 32-bit floating point processing and includes 450 multi-sampled sound banks. The plugin imports AKAI S1000/S3000 sound formats, allows 4 effects per voice (from among 20 DSP effects), sound organization features, four dynamic sound parameters per voice, multi-timbral with 16 voices per module and four stereo outputs (or eight mono outputs). The plugins are available as a $80 upgrade for all previous registered owners. The company has also announced AmpliTube Live as "the first" stand-alone virtual guitar amp and fx modeling software for Mac OS X. Users can combine 3 different Pre-Amp models and related EQs with 3 accurately emulated cabinets to create a wide palette of guitar sounds. It also includes a selected set of 4 classic effects; It is expected to ship later this month for $100.
Elemental Audio Systems today announced updated versions of its audio plugins: Firium, Eqium, and Inspector, which now include Windows VST support, improved performance, improved AudioUnit support, and improved preset handling. Inspector 1.1, a free audio analysis tool, includes several presets for its alarm feature, which allows users to be notified when undesirable events occur in their audio. Inspector also features peak and RMS meters, a spectrum analyzer, a balance meter, and numerical readouts for clipped samples, clip runs or incidents, headroom, and balance. Eqium 1.1, a $100 "EQ toolbox", is a configurable EQ featuring an unlimited number of bands and 11 filter types. Users can adjust filters using sliders, arrows, or by dragging directly on the large filter graph. Firium 1.1 is a linear phase equalizer with a built-in spectrum analyzer that allows users to draw their entire EQ curve. The audio utility provides a multitude of features for EQ construction, including the ability to compare the effect of many different EQs on audio using Firium's intuitive history slider. It is $100.
e-on software has released Ozone 2.0 for Cinema 4D, its plugin for adding ultra-natural animated atmospheric effects to Maxon Computer's flagship product. The volumetric atmosphere system features a highly optimized, fast-rendering engine, rapid creation of animated clouds and sunsets, over 100 atmospheric presets, and a multi-document, non-modal interface. It is comprised of 2 different plug-ins, a 3D Shader plug-in and a Post-Process plug-in with an interface that allows users to fine tune the included pre-sets or generate entirely new atmospheres. It is available for $200 (introductory price), while Owners of Vue d'Esprit 4 can purchase Ozone 2.0 for Cinema 4D for $150. [pricing updated]
Ovolab today released AAChoo, a new utility for converting MP3 songs to AAC, the new high-quality compact audio format at the core of MPEG-4: "With a simple drag-and-drop interface and complete control over every encoding parameter, Ovolab AAChoo can rip any audio file or movie soundtrack into MPEG-4 format....Ovolab AAChoo will allow every music maniac to quickly convert his entire library, keeping song tags and folder hierarchies unaltered, as well as automatically updating the iTunes Music Library." It is $15.
Logitech today announced new joysticks for PC and Mac at the E3 tradeshow in Los Angeles. The Logitech Extreme 3D Pro is a mid-range joystick that "blends the most useful features with a new, eye-catching industrial design. For quick and easy access to the multiple commands of today's games, the joystick has twelve conveniently placed action buttons as well as a twist handle and an rubberized 8-way hat switch and a high-precision throttle to adjust power settings in a game. The Logitech Attack 3 offers an ambidextrous handle, 11 programmable buttons, and throttle control. Both are expected to be available this summer. (Pricing is not yet determined.)
LANDesk Software today announced LANDesk Management Suite 7, an update to its management suite that adds new components including software license monitoring, profile migration, and expanded Macintosh support. LANDesk Management Suite is a comprehensive, integrated management solution that manages desktops, servers, and handheld devices. Version 7 also offers a new software distribution solution for Mac OS X, as well as expanded inventory and remote control support for Mac OS 8/9/X. Pricing starts at $80 per computer.
The MathWorks today announced the launch of Image Processing Toolbox 4. Based on MATLAB, the toolbox offers engineers and scientists a dedicated solution for imaging applications that combines a direct interface to industry standard frame grabbers and video devices with advanced image processing algorithms. The update delivers significant new features and enhancements in speed and performance by a factor of more than 20 as well as reduced memory requirements. It includes a new image viewer capabilities, including display of image metadata along with pan, scroll, zoom, and overview tools for large images, enhanced color space functions for better support of ICC color profiles, more image enhancement methods, and enhanced DICOM export support. New licenses start at $900.
West-Forest-Systems today released MP3-Info CMM 1.2, a freeware Contextual Menu Module designed for Mac OS X that displays information about MP3/AAC/WAV/AIFF files, such as their duration, the bit rate, and also some important MP3/AAC-Tags, such as the artist, the title of the song, and other info. It supports AAC files and selection of multiple files. [148KB] Mitz Pettel today released Vidi 0.4.1, a maintenance update to the 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 StudioTVR software for Mac OS X lacks). [343KB] The YostWorks Dock Dispatcher 1.0.2 creates and maintains a Dispatcher folder in the Dock, which provides hierarchical menu with your apps, utilities categorized for easy access. The Mac OS X application is now available as $5 shareware. [3.0MB] Version 1.12 of Impression, a backup utility for Mac OS X, brings several bug fixes in the Cocoa-based backup utility can create full and incremental backups to multiple optical discs (CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD-R). The $20 shareware features a streamlined interface, session-based backup management, MD5 checksum generation to verify files and a handy utility for erasing CD-RW. [470KB] Pariahware has released ClipSaver 1.0, a Mac OS X utility that gives users the ability to copy text onto the clipboard and automatically save the data to a file or files for later retrieval. A 30-day trial of the $10 shareware is available online. [865KB]
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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, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, 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