A Yahoo! article raises concerns about the actions of some users of Apple's iTunes Music Store. "The industry's enthusiasm may be tempered by the emergence of Web sites and software applications that enable Mac users to search other Web-connected Mac computers' hard drives to listen to songs online, without the necessary licenses and permission." Privately, however, music executives say the service's success outweighs the problem.
FireStarter 1.0b3 is Mac OS X-only burning application designed to duplicate and burn all kind of CDs--including those that other Mac OS X applications won't), burn VCDs and SVCDs, and have access to unique features such as overburning and CDDB access. It includes a new "Force" option to offer support for some unsupported CD-RW devices, German/French localization, better CD-Text support, and other bug fixes. [2.7MB] Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes has updated Make Mine MPEG-4 4.2, which adds the ability to export AAC files as iTunes-preferred ".m4a" type to the $7 sharewarwe. Make Mine MPEG-4 automates the process of importing iTunes CD Tracks and encoding them as MPEG-4/AAC files (.m4a, .mp4, or .mov) while allowing you to take full advantage of QuickTime Pro's export settings. [308KB] CSSEdit ($15) from MacRabbit makes editing stylesheets "easy and intuitive," according to the developer. It includes live inline previewing of styles and a unique grouping system. Other features include CSS grabbing from other sites, and favorites for often-used styles and font sets. [Download - link not functional] LDAP4D allows 4D developers to implement LDAP client operations -- including searching, adding, deleting, and modifying directory tree entries. "There is no other utitilty that allows 4D programmers to make direct LDAP calls," says Tom Swenson, the LDAP4D developer. Pricing begins at $75. [Download - 161KB] Neon Software announced today NetMinder Ethernet 5.0.2, a free update to the application that captures and decodes packet data as it moves through a network. It can quickly pinpoint security issues and network problems. The update includes Rendezvous support, packet traffic report optimization, and other minor enhancements and bug fixes. [Download - form] The Omni Group has released OmniWeb 4.2.1, an update to its Web browser for Mac OS X. The update addresses a corruption error when downloading empty files; no longer explicitly trusts text/plain or application/octet-stream content-types sent by web servers; and offers enhanced Software Update functionality to inform you when a license upgrade, and/or operating system upgrade is required to run any new version. [Download - 3.2MB]
A Popular Mechanics article praises Apple's Cinema Display HD as "the king of all LCD monitors." Most noteworthy is the monitor's 23-inch viewable area, and relatively small footprint and depth. "Apple's HD Cinema Display is one of a kind," says author Christopher Allbritton, "there are more expensive monitors out there, but none give you the design, stunning picture and HD resolution that Apple does."
O'Reilly has published "Mac OS X for Java Geeks," a book by Will Iverson that explores Java development on Mac OS X. "Mac OS X is finally a developer's platform," the author says, "with the melding of BSD, a killer user interface, and unprecedented stability, code can finally be written on the Mac OS X platform and deployed to Windows, Linux, Unix, or other Mac OS X Servers." The book begins by laying out the Mac OS X tool set, from the included Java Runtime Environment to third-party tools, IDEs, and Jakarta Ant. Readers are then brought up to speed on advanced, Mac-specific extensions to Java.
Ars Technica has posted a second part of its look at the PowerPC 970, IBM's upcoming 64-bit Power4 derivative desktop chip, which is rumored to be used in future Apple desktops: "I believe that Apple is poised for a huge overhaul of its hardware line based on this processor and a renewed relationship with IBM. I'm finally convinced that Apple's days of wandering in the wilderness with Motorola are over, and that personal computer users will be able to see the Mac as a real option again in terms of desktop, and not just portable, performance."
Blizzard Entertainment today announced plans for a Mac OS X version of World of Warcraft, its upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game. For the first time ever, the company previewed the game running on Mac OS X, along with the game's fifth new playable race, the reclusive Night Elves: "These shadowy, immortal creatures were the first to study magic, which they unleashed throughout the world of Azeroth nearly ten thousand years before the events chronicled in the original Warcraft." Blizzard also announced several new classes, many forms of transportation, and stunning new lands to explore. The company also previewed the game's new fully customizable interface, which allows players to adjust the appearance and features of the interface to suit their particular preferences and style of play.
Logitech today released Mac OS X software support for its credit card size digital camera, Logitech Pocket Digital. Mac users can easily import, organize, edit, and share VGA quality digital images using iPhoto and Apple's Image Capture applications. The new OS X drivers are available for download now. The Logitech Pocket Digital is currently available in major US retail outlets for $100: "Measuring only inch thick, the Logitech Pocket Digital stores up to 52 pictures. Its built-in lithium polymer battery automatically recharges through the USB cable each time the camera connects to the PC during picture download. In addition, Pocket Digital features a protective sliding lens and viewfinder cover for safekeeping in pocket or purse."
Casady & Greene today released an update to its light database, iData Pro 1.06. It includes a number of improvements, including ptimized save methods for faster saves, improved modem dialing, better handling of HTML email imports, more compatibility with Netscape 7 mailboxes, and improved import functions. The $40 application runs on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. The cover creation software for the Macintosh, UnCoverIt 2.0b5, features direct track and playlist import from iTunes and adds support for iTunes 4 data CDs when creating MP3 covers. The shareware application automatically generates labels for Data, Audio, and MP3 CDs and other media types. The final version of UnCoverIt 2 will additionally provide templates for ZIP, JAZ, SuperDisk and ORB discs. [843KB] WebDesign 2.1.1 is a maintenance update to the $30 web-authoring package from Rage Software. It combines a drag and drop interface allowing for visual creationof HTML elements with a feature rich text editor and offers advanced web site management tools as well as an FTP client. Version 2.1.1 fixes problems with find and replace within folders, file includes and offers enhanced stability. [2.4MB] Ultralingua has released Ultralingua Dictionaries 4.34 for MacOS X. It adds numerous entries to the language dictionaries--especially the English Dictionary and Thesaurus and the German-English dictionary) as well as a new Spanish-German and German-Spanish module. It also offer improved indexing and better handling of multiple databases. Pricing starts at $24 per module with upgrades from v3.0 priced at $15. Waves in Motion has released Analyzer 3.5, a FileMaker Pro assistant that "hunts things down, tracks changes, and finds common problems so developers can build better solutions." Version 3.5 produces useful new reports, including the Notes Report, which consolidates all notes for your entire solution and a Trace Report that shows a hierarchical view of a script as well as a Problem Report, which consolidates all problems into one place. The $190 application requires FileMaker Developer 6.0.
Riverdeep today announced its 2003 product lineup at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition. Showcasing new kids' licenses, innovative productivity solutions, and multi-platform gaming, the lineup includes: Batman Edutainment Adventures (Agest 7-10, September 2003), Strawberry Shortcake Fantasy Cookie Factory! (Ages 4-6, October 2003), Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer! (Ages 4-7, October), and Cyberchase Casablanca Quest and Carnival Chaos (problem solving skills, September 2003).
Scholastic today announced its line-up of children's software products for 2003. The company will build on its award-winning and best-selling collection of software with the release of seven new titles, including two based on the popular children's brands I SPY and Clifford The Big Red Dog. In addition, the company has created a new and original brand: Math Missions, debuting this fall, has been designed exclusively for software. Scholastic is also licensing several popular properties from Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon. Two Math Mission titles (for K-2 and Grades 3-5) are due this Fall along with Clifford Phonics (Ages 4-6). I SPY Fantasy (Ages 6-10), Nickelodeon Cartoon Creator (Ages 6-11), Dragon Tales: Learn and Fly with Dragons (Ages 4-6), and Little Bill Thinks Big (Ages 4-6) are expected to ship in time for the 2003 holidays. Each title will be $20.
TransGaming and Aspyr today launched the 1980s arcade classic, SpyHunter, for both the PC and Macintosh. Ported from Midway's popular PlayStation 2 title, and only recently released on other consoles, TransGaming brings SpyHunter to the Mac and includes the PC version on the same CD: "Packed with amazing 3D graphics, relentless action, and a game play experience similar to that offered on the console versions, both Mac and PC fans can experience the incredible adrenaline rush of taking on a multitude of missions to save the world....[it] challenges players to make split-second decisions as they engage in offensive attacks and defensive counterattacks, while behind the wheel of the slick new G-6155 Interceptor loaded with incredible high-tech weaponry." The ship date and pricing are not available.
Sorenson Media has released Sorenson Squeeze 3.1 for Macintosh (and Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 for Windows), the latest versions of its video encoding software. Sorenson Squeeze 3.1 enables video producers to save and reuse their own video and audio filter settings to quickly batch process video files through the use of Watch Folders. "Two of our most frequently requested features for Squeeze include DVD quality MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoding and the ability to save filter settings." It is a free update to the $450 application.
MacNN readers note that Apple's X for Teachers program is now available internationally. The program provides all K-12 and qualifying teachers with a free copy of Mac OS X 10.2. Apple has quietly launched the program in in Australia and in the UK/Ireland. The program ended on March 31, 2003 in the US.
Logitech today announced the new Cordless MX Duo performance keyboard and mouse. The Cordless MX Duo combines the MX 700 rechargeable cordless optical mouse with the company's top-selling Cordless Elite Keyboard. Based on Fast RF technology, the MX700 performance mouse offers a high level of precision and accuracy, while the keyboard design has advanced Internet navigation and media center controls. The Logitech Cordless MX Duo is now available worldwide in retail outlets and online for $100. It is compatible with Mac OS X.
Stupendous Software's new Masks & Compositing plugin pack for iMovie contains 24 effects, including blue screen, green screen, blending, and compositing effects. Various mask extraction effects allow users to "pull" masks from video clips and use them for compositing of clips over each other. The plugin pack is available for free to registered users of the Stupendous Bundle ($200), which has nearly 350 effects and is $25 for others. Intaglio 1.2 is an update to the new Mac OS X drawing application from Purgatory Design. The release adds multiple layer support, horizontal and vertical guide support, EPS import functions, a new ruler tool, and other bug fixes and improvements. The Mac OS X application ($60) offers support for AppleScript, Apple Type Services, ColorSync, and QuickTime technologies. [1.4MB] iMedia Software's Omega 1.0 is a fully featured Alarm clock with functions for setting alarms by date, using it as kitchen timer, comparing time zones and much more. It can also remind users about important events by playing your favorite music or video (MP3, MPG, mov, etc.), showing a notification message, opening a document, or launching a specific application. It is $10. [1.5MB] Publicspace.net has released version 5.6 of its A Better Finder Rename. The new version adds an online user manual and improved support for handling long file names as well as bug fixes. The $15 shareware contextual menu plugin allows users to quickly rename multiple files. [Classic, OSX] West-Forest-Systems' CDFinder 4.1.1 is an update to its powerful disk cataloging tool. It can catalog hard disks, iPods, CD-ROMs, DVDs, floppies, ZIPs and other media via its flexible user interface and also offers powerful search functions. The $25 utility now adds support for AAC files created by iTunes, storing related information such as song duration and the enclosed tag information, such as Artist, Album, Genre, and such. [1.2MB] VideoCalc X 2.0 has been released for Mac OS X. VCX, available as donationware, is designed as a tool for iMovie users who wish to know the free space on their hard drive and how much space vide will take up on that hard drive. It now features auto-calculating fields, offers hours or minutes info, and has new grahics/icons. [260KB] Maxi Bidder is a new program for Macintosh owners that utilize eBay. Maxi Bidder will allow you to bid on eBay auctions at the last few minutes of an auction. It features automatic bidding on eBay items and support for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It is $10 shareware. A demo is available. [Classic, OSX]
SubRosaSoft today announced DiskGuardian 2.0, a collection of tools that alert users of imminent hard drive failure in addition to performing Volume Repairs, Backup and Restore, Benchmarking, Surface Scanning for media defects, and verification of data integrity on storage subsystems: "DiskGuardian utilizes a feature called Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, or SMART, that is built into most modern hard drives to monitor and alert users before the drive starts to fail." The company says that the application can "even backup many disks that are known to have physical faults. For example, scratched CDs and disks with bad blocks." It is available for $70 with competitive upgrades starting at $55. It runs on Mac OS X only.
Apple today announced that over two million songs have been purchased and downloaded from its iTunes Music Store since its debut 16 days ago: "Continuing the trend set during the first week, over half of the songs purchased to date were purchased as albums, further dispelling concerns that selling music on a per-track basis will destroy album sales....Over 4,300 new songs were added to the iTunes Music Store yesterday..."
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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