Evening tech news: After years of concern over the lack of effective wireless LAN (WLAN) security, players in the WLAN arena have agreed on a security specification that addresses most of the vulnerabilities; the Washington Post has a published a comparative report that reviews the Apple PowerBook G4 and the Dell Inspiron; Hewlett-Packard today posted quarterly results before items that beat the most optimistic Wall Street forecasts.
Stupendous Software has released the "Big & Bold" plug-in pack ($25) for Apple's iMovie video editing package. It contains 40 titles, featuring a variety of motions and graphical elements. The plug-in pack is available for free to registered users of the Stupendous Bundle. The Stupendous Bundle -- the developer's $200 all-in-one collection of plug-in packs -- now includes 13 iMovie plug-in packs featuring 347 effects and titles ranging from color correction to slow motion. [Download - 46KB] Lux 2.0 is an update to the Mac OS X adaptation of the popular Risk board playing game. Version 2.0 introduces a multiplayer mode for gaming over the Internet. A game finder is built in to make hosting and joining games simple. [Download - 2.3MB] Pariahware has released File Stitcher 1.0, a Mac OS X utility that gives users an easy way to merge files together. File Stitcher is made with REALbasic. "Simply drag and drop files onto the File Stitcher icon and click the button in the main window." File Stitcher is shareware and costs $5 to register. A 30-day trial period is included. [Download - 794KB] After three beta releases, crispSofties has made available the final release of iPod.iTunes 2.1. "iPod.iTunes provides real synchronization of tracks and playlists from any iPod to any Mac," It can be used to: keep music and playlists on different Macs up to date, do a full restore of tracks and playlists, revert accident deletion of tracks and/or playlists, clone an iPod, and transfer an entire music library from one Mac to another via the iPod. Version 2.1 adds support for AAC, iTunes 4 compatibility, and support for the latest iPod firmware. [Download - 473KB] Five12 has released version 1.1 of Numerology. Noteworthy new features include Gate Division for sequencing complex rhythm patterns, a MIDI Learn mode for remote control via MIDI CC, and new modules for processing control signals. [Download - 2.5MB] Eudora Mailbox Cleaner 3.0 adds direct import of nicknames into the Address Book (including all group information), and import of mailing lists. "Since this requires the AddressBook.framework, MacOS†X†10.2 or higher is required," the developer notes. Mailbox Cleaner prepares Eudora accounts to be imported to Apple's Mail.app. [Download - 341KB]
ackNOWLEDGE today announced that its recently introduced iSkin ProTouch is now shipping. The iSkin ProTouch ($36) is a durable, made-to-fit silicone skin that sits above the Apple Pro Keyboard protecting it against dust, dirt, finger oils and spills that lead to wear, damage or malfunction. The iSkin ProTouch is made of soft, flexible high-grade silicone and is custom molded to fit the contours of the Apple Pro Keyboardís keys, allowing users to type freely without ever having to remove the protector. The ProTouch requires no adhesives and may washed if dirt buildup occurs. It is available in nine Skin Tones (colors) including White Frost, Blue Mist, Cherry Pop, BubbleGum, Abyss, Aqua, LimeLight, Lemonade and Creamsicle.
Aspyr has announced that it is bringing Zoo Tycoon to the Mac with the conversion is being done the fine folks at Westlake Interactive: "In Zoo Tycoon, you'll be challenged to build the most healthy and vibrant zoo possible. With an easy to learn interface, you can begin planning your strategy and building your ultimate zoo the moment you start the game. Which is a good thing since you'll need to build, manage, and maintain a zoo with over 200 animals, exhibits, and zoo materials. Plan wisely, because your success depends on your ability to keep the animals happy! Zoo Tycoon - enjoy the fun and challenge of building and managing the ultimate zoo." The $50 title will run on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.
Destineer's MacSoft has begun shippping Tropico: Mucho Macho Edition. The "definitive" Tropico compilation offers a substantial amount of new content, including the original Tropico, the Paradise Island expansion pack, 12 new scenarios, the Brady Games strategy guide, and an in-depth "making-of" featurette: "In Tropico: Mucho Macho Edition, the player is installed as ďEl PresidenteĒ of a small Caribbean Island. Players manage the islandís resources and its people in this graphically stunning building game flavored with the spice of Latin American political intrigue." The $20 strategy game runs on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. [site not updated]
BIAS is shipping both the stand-alone edition and plug-in update of SoundSoap, a digital audio signal processing tool. The professional-quality noise reduction solution can remove unwanted hiss, room noise, rumble, electrical hum, and other background noise from almost any digital media file. The stand-alone version allows anyone to use SoundSoap without requiring a compatible VST or DirectX host application. SoundSoap 1.1 stand-alone edition and version 1.0.1 of the plug-in for Mac OS X 10.2 are now available as free downloadable updates to all registered users. New licenses are $100.
MacNN reader Jason Titus notes that that he has written up a Mac OS X Filesystem Performance Comparison: "I just finished a long set of benchmarking and analysis of how well the various filesystems perform on Mac OS X and thought you might be interested in checking out the results. I used IOZone to benchmark HFS+ w/ and w/o journaling, HFS, UFS, and ext2 (using the alpha driver on SourceForge by Brian Bergstrand). Nothing too surprising, but I found it interesting that HFS+ was not that much better than some of the others. Ext2 seems like it has some potential to me - while it is much slower in small writes, it is faster in some reads, and hasn't even been optimized yet."
dot software's Aquaruler 4.2 is a multipurpose screen measuring utility for Mac OS X, featuring an edge ruler, mouse XY coordinates, drag ruler, measure box, resolution box, screen guides, full screen cross hair, customizable pixels per inch, zoom functions, angle tools, and a zap ruler. The $11 shareware runs on Mac OS X. SwapSwapVM 0.99b8 is an AppleScript application made with Smile written to change the target volume (disk; partition) for the Virtual Memory swapfiles in OS X 10.2.x Jaguar. It has bee tested on various configurations under OS X 10.2.0 through 10.2.6. [1.5MB] Redcort Software today released Virtual TimeClock Pro 4.5, an update to its cross platform software replacement for traditional employee time clocks. Version 4.5 is a free maintenance release with improved cross platform and data file sharing on Mac OS networks, custom font sizes, and other improvements. New licenses are $180 with upgrades starting at $90. [Classic, OSX] Pariahware has released File Stitcher 1.0, a Mac OS X utility that gives users an easy way to merge files together. The $5 shareware allows users to simply drag and drop files onto the File Stitcher icon. A 30-day trial is available. [795KB] Mek & Tosj have released iRNAi, a tool for molecular biologists that helps with RNA interference, a common technique for determining the function of genes within our genome. It offers instantaneous recognition of potential target sequences, automatic generation of oligonucleotides, customizable search and primer settings, text export, automatic database search, and other functions. [1.3MB] Ovolab today released AAChoo 1.1, its full-featured AAC converter that converts all your MP3 songs as well as any other sound file to AAC, the new high-quality compact audio format at the core of MPEG-4. The new version preserves song tags, such as genre, that QuickTime would otherwise discard when converting MP3 files to AAC. [246KB] VVI has released an update to its Interface Builder Graph Palette, adding support for templates, bar and column chart labels, more format types, and support for distributed processing among multiple servers as well as expanded documentation. The Interface Builder palette allows developers to add basic chart types to your custom OS X applications. Pricing starts at $90 for Vvidget User (students).
Apple today announced that this week marks the second anniversary of opening its first retail store in May 2001, noting that it has since opened 57 retail stores in 26 states, hosted over 15 million visitors and sold over $650 million of products through its retail stores. More than 1,100 Apple employees work in Apple's retail stores and there is an Apple store location within 15 miles of 90 million people in the U.S. Apple also announced that during the next 12 months it plans to open 20 new Apple retail stores, including its first store in downtown Chicago, on North Michigan Avenue; its first store in San Francisco, in Union Square; and its first retail store outside of the U.S., in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district. These three locations will be high profile store formats, like Apple's popular "SoHo" retail store in New York City.
Now AAPL Stock: 99.62 ( + 1.72 )
Parallels Access 3.1 updated for iPad Pro
Virtualization software Parallels Access 3.1 has been updated with support for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including Apple Pencil support. The software allows remote access to your PC or Mac from anywhere to control desktop applications from iOS or Android tablets and phones, with native touch gestures, as well as from any computer with an HTML5 web browser. Featuring three resolution choices for your mobile device ("Best for your Device," "More Space," and "Same as Computer") and 3D Touch support for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the update also adds a new Tablet Mode in Windows 10, which makes it easier to interact without a mouse or keyboard. http://bit.ly/1OWZqjg
Hyundai brings CarPlay to more 2016 models
Along with its previously-announced support for adding CarPlay technology to the 2016 Sonata, 2017 Elantra, and 2017 Ioniq, a leaked memo to dealers has revealed that CarPlay-supporting software updates will be available today that bring the infortainment tech to the 2015 and 2016 non-hybrid Sonata models, the 2016 hybrid Sonata, the 2015 and 2016 Genesis Sedan, the 2016 Tucson, the 2017 Santa Fe, and the 2017 Ioniq. Owners can upgrade the system themselves by visiting the Hyundai website, and will need a Mac or PC with either an SD card slot or SD card reader to transfer the update to the vehicle. http://bit.ly/1YZqkqS
Google Paris HQ raided by investigators
Google's Paris headquarters has been raided by dozens of French police. The Tuesday raid was part of an ongoing investigation into possible tax-avoidance practices, stoked by widespread dissatisfaction with the way multinationals like Google are structuring their business operations. Although trading in many countries around the globe, Google reports its international sales only in tax-friendly Ireland, similar to a practice adopted by Apple. According to French law, if it completes any of its sales contracts in France and not Ireland alone, it could be in breach of its laws. Google, for its part, denies any wrongdoing, and said that it is fully compliant with French law. http://reut.rs/1Udk2T9
Apple TV extends universal search to NBC
Apple has extended its universal search function on the Apple TV to now include NBC shows in its results, provided the user has installed the NBC tvOS app. The search results can be generated either through Siri, or through the Search app, and includes support for searches by title, genre, and actor, among other queries. NBC joins CBS, more recently, among other channels including: Disney Channel; Disney Jr; Disney XD; FOXNOW; FXNOW; HBO GO; HBO NOW; Hulu; Nat Geo TV; Netflix; PBS; PBS Kids; SHOWTIME; SHOWTIME Anytime; Starz, and Watch ABC, all of which are supported by universal search. http://apple.co/25lGi5R
Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z