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Tech news: Microsoft is quietly preparing for a counterattack to iTunes by improving its own technology for supporting subscription music services; The California State Senate approved a bill that would make it illegal to send unsolicited e-mail advertising and allows people to sue spammers for $500 per unwanted message, while a new proposal in the House promises to slap the worst bulk e-mailers with prison terms and millions of dollars in fines; Kazaa file-sharing software is on track to become the most-popular free program on the Web with over 230 million downloads; and Amazon.com has announced it will use Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series products to stream music samples to customers from its sites (e.g., CDnow.com, VirginMega.com and Borders.com).
Mac Design Magazine announced today that individuals in the greater Chicago area will soon get the chance to preview the new QuarkXPress 6.0. Quark will be demonstrating 6.0 in their booth (#118) at the new Mac Design Conference Expo Hall next week. Also exhibiting at the conference will be Adobe Systems, Inc. (booth #317), who will be there to highlight the benefits of their various software products, including Adobe InDesign. The Mac Design Conference will be held May 28-30, 2003, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Alias|Wavefront announced today that tickets are now on sale for Maya MasterClasses seminars being held at the SIGGRAPH 2003 Conference in San Diego, CA. The sessions will be held July 28 – August 2, 2003. Accomplished industry professionals from production companies such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, WETA Digital, Walt Disney Studios, ILM and Meteor Studios will lead the sessions. "The Maya MasterClasses will be packed with the most up-to-date tips and techniques in the computer graphics industry," the company says. A total of 21 unique seminars will be held. Tickets start at $200 USD for two classes and are available for early bird pricing until June 15th.
MacASP 1.13 offers server-side processing for Mac web servers to allow the creation of dynamic web sites. The new version adds enhanced sendmail function, new Error_Message() function, email address verification, MacHTTP 2.6 virtual hosting compatibility and a lot of fixes and improvements. It is free for use with Apple's Personal Web Sharing Classic and MacHTTP, and 300 Euros for other Mac web servers. CG Software has released Computer Admin Pro 3.5, an application that combines asset management software with a help desk solution. It lets you easily store and retrieve detailed information on both hardware and software as well as analyze recurring computer and software problems by viewing histories. Version 3.5 includes several enhancements. It is $150 per seat or $1000 per site license. [6.6MB] X2 Studios is seeking beta testers for XMMS Remote 2.0, which will include a playlist feature and an 'Aquafied' interface. The freewarwe XMMS Remote is a two part software solution that uses web-services to remotely control and display the status of the xmms media player. xDNS builder 2.0 is a new utility for administrators of web servers: "With it, you can set up or maintain Domain Name Service (DNS) on Mac OS X or Mac OS X server. Mac OS X already has this capability, but it's currently limited to access through the Terminal." Version 2.0 can manage primary and slave domains, manage alias, MX records, and other settings; it also has a new interface with beginner and expert modes. The application is $80 with unlimited free upgrades and one year of support via email. [download not yet available] piDog Software has released TelnetLauncher 2.5.6 and ScreenShot Plus v1.0.3. TelnetLauncher (shareware) is a bookmarking utility for launching telnet and ssh sessions using Apple's Terminal application. ScreenShot Plus ($5 shareware) is an enhancement to Mac OS X's built-in screencapture tool normally accessed by pressing shift-cmd-4. [TL, SSP] Joost Markerin's uEdit 1.1 is a simple plain text editor that can insert or mainupulate text-parts created by text files or AppleScripts in plain text documents with a single click, start a new document from templates, and debug HTML, AppleScript, Perl and Python code. It also offers zoomable text and export as Unicode text, Rich Text Files '.rtf' and as Microsoft Word '.doc' files. [869KB] Bosco's Foto Trimmer 2.0b1 is an update to the digital photo utility that scales, stretches, squishes, rotates, flips, and trims images. It can also adjust the brightness, contrast, and color level of your image. The $22 utility now supports iTunes (album cover art) as well as iPhoto. It also adds fixed-size trimming, free rotation, auto-zoom, full-screen mode, and other features. [Classic, OSX]
Infoworld reports: "The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved a new and final draft standard for 802.11g wireless LANs that will have a true throughput for Internet-type connections of between 10M and 20Mbit/sec., far lower than 54Mbit/sec. raw data rate initially billed for the standard....he lower actual vs. raw data rates for 802.11g arose from the need to assure backward compatibility with millions of existing 802.11b Wi-Fi client devices and access points that operate in the same 2.4-GHz frequency band....even at these data rates the 802.11g devices still outperform 802.11b devices, which have a raw data rate of 11Mbit/sec. but an actual throughput of about half that speed." Apple adopted a preliminary version of the standard for its AirPort Extreme products and touted a 54Mbps througput. A MacNN reader followed up on the article: "The article is misleading. The 802.11g now provides for 'better' backward compatibility in mixed environments, which will slow transmission (by about 2Mbps) on networks with both 802.11b and 802.11g devices. However, the networks almost never achieve the theoretical transmission maximums--in this case 54Mpbs on an 802.11g-only network; the actual transmission speeds of *both* the older and newly revised 802.11g standard is somewhere between 20-24Mpbs. So the revised standard may slow things a bit in mixed environments, but not as much as the article makes it seem."
KB roundup: Apple explains how to troubleshoot burn underrun protection issues ("Unknown Error -2147352480" alert) when burning a disc; Under Mac OS X, items copied to another account's Drop Box (located in ~/Public on the same volume) may not be accessible by the account owner; and The Mac OS X Keychain application may store your Mail account password even if you tell it not to.
BombSquad 1.2 is an update to the shareware game for Mac OS X. It is based on the popular Windows Minesweeper puzzle/game. In addition to a few bug fixes, BombSquad now "allows users to 'Zap Click' a number if the adjacent bombs have already been marked. This will reveal the surrounding squares without you having to click them off one by one. Games a;sp now end with a "Fortune Cookie" - a clever saying or quote to cheer your day." It is $5 shareware and runs on Mac OS X. [205KB] stupidFish programming has released beta 3 of its Diabetes Management Application, InsulinDiaryX. The simple application is designed to help people with Diabetes to easier keep track of their blood sugar and insulin dosage levels. The new beta includes printing and graphing support, customizable date and time formats and a refined user interface and various bug fixes. [393KB] DVDxDV 1.04 is "designed to extract your home movies off of a DVD. After a DVD is created, the original source material can get lost or damaged. When this happens, there is no easy way to get the video off the DVD and back into the computer where it can be re-edited." This version features better reliability and performance. A 30-day trial of the $25 application is available. [613KB] Selznick has released PasswordWallet 2.7.4, which addresses issues with copying and pasting between multiple files and notes, and Palm synchronization. PasswordWallet is an easy-to-use, safe, secure utility to store usernames, passwords, PIN numbers, combinations and notes. A $5 off coupon ('A523') is available on the $15 utilty through the end of June. [1.3MB] Navicast, a Web TV media system based on QuickTime, MPEG4 and Mac OS X has been upgraded with new features. It now features the ability to play an intro movie clip before each Navicast channel session, new slideshows functions for still images, and the ability to generate a printable list of all subtitles and corresponding time codes of a movie. The suite allows you an create and maintain your unique channel on the Internet, offering functions to edit, compress, upload, and broadcast movies. Directors NoteBook 1.5.2 is an update to the project management software now gives users the option to choose their job title from a pull down menu. Other new features in this release are alpha numeric shot numbers and a new Zoom feature in Presentation Mode for Bluetooth remotes like Salling Clicker. It functions as a digital "project notebook", organizing all information creative professionals need access to during preproduction, production, and post. Pricing starts at $170. [SA, Pro] YazSoft today released Speed Download 1.9.9, an update to its download acceleration and management utility. The latest version is optimized for the new Safari beta (1.0v74), updates SD PLUGINs for speed and compatibility with more servers, has improved handling of certain .ZIP files, and other enhancements. A single license is $20, while two single-user licenses is $30, when purchased together.
OpenOSX.com began shipping its $30 Gimp 1.2.4 CD, an easy-to-use solution for installing and utilizing the popular, open-source "The GIMP" software that offers users sophisticated photo manipulation and graphic tools. The new edition brings: updated software, additional features, enhanced stability and was entirely rebuilt for "Jaguar" delivering over 200% increased performance over previous versions of the product. It is available immediately for $30 and upgrades from previous versions are $15.
The Baltimore Sun discusses the legal issues surrounding streaming iTunes songs over the Internet and the various methods hackers devised to use the sharing function to download songs from one another's drives: "the Advanced Audio Coding file-compression format that Apple uses in its music store prevents large-scale streaming or downloading, as AAC-coded songs can only be played on three Macs authorized by the same user account. Streaming and downloading AAC-coded songs to strangers doesn't work."
Amazon and AOL as well as MSN and others are scrambling to play catch up with Apple's iTunes Music Store: "Since the launch of Apple’s iTunes music store on April 28, talks have intensified between the major record labels, various leading Internet services and technology providers to offer paid download singles to online consumers," according to a MSNBC report. "But in the wake of the Apple surprise, record industry executives have become more reasonable and flexible in negotiations for rights to their artists’ music, insiders say. EMI's Cohen calls the excitement a 'big halo effect,' predicting that a number of digital music storefronts could open in the next few months."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.75 ( -0.26 )
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X