FireWire Depot has unveiled the new Concord Dual 3.5" FireWire External Hard Drive Enclosure ($170), one of the smallest dual-drive enclosures available. It enables you to install one or two 3.5" hard drives (ATA-6 compatible/compliant 200G/250G/300G) and "create a monster box without the monster size." The company expexts "a 1394b/FireWire800 version within the next couple of months, as well as a 1394b version of the Speedzter3 and other enclosures and Products."
iMatte introduced at INFOCOMM 2003 today iSkia, its first product targeted for in-room presentations, videoconferencing, distance learning, content creation, and home entertainment. Greek for 'The Shadow,' iSkia is a hardware device that interfaces between the host computer and projector, "and puts the presenter back into the presentation in a way never before possible." It allows the image to be projected on the screen but not on the presenter or in the presenter's eyes, thereby creating a "new experience for both the presenter and the audience," according to iMatte. "The elimination of dangerously blinding light and distracting projected graphics on the presenter creates a presentation that feels completely natural to both the presenter and the audience."
O'Reilly has released "Cocoa in a Nutshell," ($40) a book by Michael Beam and James Duncan Davidson that explores the Cocoa development environment. "Aside from the material that Apple includes with its Developer Tools, very little documentation exists to cover Cocoa's Objective-C Frameworks," explains the publisher."Cocoa has a lot of potential," says coauthor Beam. "It takes a lot of the burden off of application developers by providing an extremely rich foundation of functionality that is needed in every application."
REAL Software announced today that the company will demonstrate REALbasic's prototyping capabilities at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC; June 23-28). "Attending WWDC gives us the opportunity to present new and better ways to increase productivity through the use of REALbasic," said REAL Software president and CEO Geoff Perlman. "The developers that attend WWDC will be able to see how quickly and easily the interface for the applications they are writing can be prototyped, tested, and easily improved with REALbasic."
Monkeybread Software Germany has released version 3.2 of its REALbasic Plug-in Collection. The collection adds approximately 4800 functions, methods and classes to REALbasic. As manny as 400 functions have been added with the latest release. The plugin is available For $95 for commercial use and $50 for shareware, freeware and private use. [Download - options] eSuite4X 2.5 adds more than 100 new features, to the $60 database-driven Web site creator, according to the developer. Version 2.5 includes an integrated PHP code generator, SQL4X Manager J Enterprise Edition, MySQL 'Backup Scheduler,' and a Mac OS X System Preferences pane. Online documentation has also been enhanced. eSuite4X is optimized for usage with Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX, Adobe's GoLive and many major Web authoring tools supporting WebDAV.[Download - 5.4MB] Imaja has released PicScan, a new slideshow/thumbnail browser for Mac OS 9. It is available for $20. Slideshows can be controlled interactively using the keyboard or a thumbnail view. PicScan supports two monitors for interactive use with laptop computers and video projectors. It supports all file formats Quicktime supports: JPG, GIF, TIFF, PICT, PSD, etc. A Mac OS X version is not available. [Download - 243KB] Default Folder X 1.7.1 delivers a significant performance boost over the previous version, allows the use of hotkeys to access Favorites in the Finder without modifier keys, and corrects problems in both Default Folder X and its installer. Default Folder X makes Mac OS X Open and Save dialogs "work the way they should." The software is localized for English, French, German and Japanese speakers. Owners of Default Folder 3.x, St. Clair Software's equivalent product for Mac OS 8 and 9, receive a $15 discount when purchasing Default Folder X; ACTION Files users can receive a $10 Discount [Download - 3.8MB] Epigroove today released SuperTac 1.0, its "simple yet addictive" game for Mac OS 9/X. It is playable over the Internet, allowing users to challenge others around the world. Registration is $8. SuperTac includes a chat feature, and "Emo-Tac-ons" -- audible 'emoticons.' [Download - Classic, Mac OS X]
Runtime Revolution today announced Revolution 2.0, an update to its object-based programming language that allows developers write applications once for Mac OS X, Mac OS 8/9, Windows, Linux, and Unix platforms. The new release adds more than 100 new features including support for creating and parsing XML content, SOAP support, a new UI for Mac OS X, unicode support, an automatic report generator, video capture, text-to-speech functions, and better database support. It is available in several editions: The Professional Edition ($100) with full database access and email technical support for a year; the Small Business Edition ($300); the Student-Teacher Edition ($100) is for qualified educators and students; and the K-12 Classroom Edition ($25 per license with a minimum of 10 licenses); and the Free Edition with limited script length.
Apple has limited the iTunes music-sharing feature with the iTunes 4.01 update (now available online) after some Mac owners used it to swap songs over the Internet, according to c|net: "[Apple] removed a feature that had been exploited to allow Mac users to swap songs over the Internet. Version 4.0.1 of iTunes removes the ability to share iTunes play lists over the Internet, limiting the feature to streaming songs over a local network. 'We designed it to allow friends and family to easily stream (not copy) their music between computers at home or in a small group setting, and it does this well. But some people are taking advantage of it to stream music over the Internet to people they do not even know,' [Apple said]."
MacNN readers continue to report problems with Apple's .Mac suite of Web services, noting that they are unable to send mail messages (we first noted .Mac mail problems last week): [Rich Dean] "Over the last 2 weeks in particular, Apple's .mac mail service has been just horrific. Actually, I wonder if this email will actually get to you. Today, many, many people are getting outbound mail bounced and get the following error: 'Relaying denied. IP name lookup failed' You can see the thread here if you have a .Mac account (support oddly requires that you log in, then paste the url into your browser...) Yesterday, mail refused to send at all unless you repeatedly clicked 'send.' And the mail server refused connections on port 25. Apple says everything is just fine (all systems are online and operational), but clearly that is not the case. I've never had such an unreliable email provider before.
Crucial today introduced its Gizmo! USB flash drive, a miniature, portable flash storage drive. The USB 2.0/USB 1.1 device is available in 64MB, 128MB, and 256MB capacities, ranging in price from $36 to $90. Each drive comes with a three-foot USB extension cable, a wrist lanyard (strap), a multilingual user guide, a limited lifetime warranty, and free second-day shipping within the contiguous U.S. on qualified orders.
Connectix has released Virtual PC 6.02, an update to its software emulation product for PC-DOS, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, and Windows XP Professional. It fixes an incompatibility problem between Virtual PC and Apple's Airport Extreme card. The updater is available in English, German, French, and Japanese. It runs on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Full versions are available starting at $130 for the MS-DOS version.
RealNetworks is shifting its strategy for online-music distribution and rolling out a service that lets subscribers buy and download songs for 79 cents a track, according to The Wall Street Journal: "The offering from Seattle-based RealNetworks, announced Wednesday morning, is part of a new generation of online-music services spurred by the early response to Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store....'We want to draft off the attention they've gotten before they come out with a Windows service,' said Dan Sheeran, vice president of marketing for RealNetworks." The new music service, RealOne Rhapsody, is a cobranded version of Listen.com Inc.'s Rhapsody digital music subscription service.
equinux today released an update to its virtual private networking application for Mac OS X: VPN Tracker 2.0 adds new support for certificate-based authentication. "Certificates can be centrally managed by means of digital generation, signing and issuing, giving network administrators flexibility, control and greater reliability for establishing user identities on the internet." It supports RSA keys and X.509 certificates for device authentication and can respond to certificate-signing requests in PEM and DER formats. It is available in both personal ($90) and professional editions ($200) with a $20 discount on the personal edition through June 6, 2003. Upgrades are $20.
4D, Inc.today announced it is shipping the new 4D Business Kit 2.0 with dynamic synchronization for remote hosting, full integration with the 4D back-office, integration with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, and other new features. Version 2.0 automatically updates 4th Dimension back-office systems from your remote hosting location and can dynamically synchronize Web pages, items, orders and customer data. It also includes integration with technologies such as proxy servers, and Sophisticated Circuits' UpBeat technology as well as includes a new Taxes module. 4D Business Kit is priced at $500 for a two-store license.
Nikon today introduced its new 5.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix 5400, featuring a 4x Zoom-Nikkor ED optics, wide-angle coverage and a new Best Shot Selector (BSS) feature. It produces high-quality images at sizes of up to 2,592x1,944 pixels, can fire 7 full-sized images, at a rate of 3fps, and has an all-new 5 shot buffer mode (64MB). Other features include a large shutter speed range (from 1/4,000 second up to 10 minutes), 256-segment matrix metering, a 7-mode flash, enhanced Movie Mode (up to 180 seconds of QuickTime video at 15 fps at 320x240), and NikonView 6 software as well as ArcSoft PhotoStudio for image manipulation and enhancement, VideoImpression for editing and sharing QuickTime movies, and Panorama Maker. The $800 camera ships with a shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable, a Lexar 16MB Memory Card and a Li-Ion rechargeable battery and quick charger. It will ship later this summer.
A Better Finder Creators & Types (ABFCT) is a file utility that allows you to quickly and easily change file-to-application associations by setting the creator & type attributes of a single or multiple files. Version 3.1 allows files in subfolders to be processed automatically and introduces a new Mac OS X icon. It is $10 shareware. [1.2MB] BeLight's Business Card Composer is a Mac OS X package offering end-to-end capabilities for business card design and printing. The $40 utility includes functions such as image masks, opacity and color graded fill options, shadow effects for text, an automatic background generator and more. It features integration with the OS X system functionality lets using data for cards from Apple Address Book. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [6.4MB] SignalScope 1.2 is a 2-channel real time audio spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope. The $25 utility now allows both input channels of an audio device to be viewed simultaneously. Additionally, the low-pass antialias filters, which are used when selecting smaller frequency spans for a given sampling rate, have been greatly improved with less than 0.01 dB of ripple in the pass band and greater than 80 dB of attenuation in the stop band. [638KB] Canto has released HELIOS Companion 1.0.1, which ships with with improved ICC Profile support, allowing users to choose the ICC Profiles while converting assets into other formats or color spaces and also can define the compression quality. It is also compatible with HELIOS Service Controller for centrally starting, stopping and monitoring all HELIOS services and also includes enhanced protocol functionalities, a more powerful and more stable synchronization functionality and an improved EPS format support. The Cumulus Internet Client Pro from Canto lets users catalog assets, edit metadata, publish archives and market assets online over the Internet. It enables users to create dynamic web pages allowing visitors to search for images and other documents within Cumulus catalogs using a standard Web browser. Users can also catalog new assets, assign assets to new categories, edit and update stored metadata or check assets in and out for local processing. It is available with English, German, Japanese and French user interfaces for the Cumulus Enterprise Edition.
MacNN reader "Ralph" notes a Website showcasing an infrared (IR) remote control for the new third-generation iPods (as well as the second generation iPods). The prototype plugs directly into the iPod remote connector and can decode signals from most common remote controls (e.g., CD players, etc.) and most universal remote controls. The receiver allows users to start/stop playback, turn the unit off, increase/decrease volume, forward/reverse songs, and skip/rewind songs. The prototype unit for the second generation iPods combines the five buttons of the original cable remote with the IR sensor functions described above. No pricing or availability is noted.
Panic today released Transmit 2.5, an update to it popular ftp client that adds significant speed increases throughout the application: "SFTP transfers are now up to 4 times faster, directory listings are cached for instant navigation, and directories are now parsed up to 5 times faster than Transmit 2.3. Furthermore, Transmit 2.5 adds a handful of new features, like a "New File" menu option to create an empty file on a remote server, a customizable redial delay, support for TextWrangler and BBEdit Lite, better AppleScript support, an Italian localization, and much more. Plus, there are the bug fixes, of course. Everybody loves the bug fixes." A demo fo the $25 client is available. [976KB]
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R