Norbyte has released version 2.0.1 of Downfall, its 3D arcade/puzzle game. The updated version features enhanced graphics, one bug fix, and a printable manual. "Downfall takes the falling blocks genre one step further with its real-time 3D graphics and 24 uniquely designed implementations of the classic concept." Downfall is $15. [Download - 730KB] VPN Tracker 2.0.3 for Mac OS X introduces interoperability between equinux's VPN Tracker and CheckPoint's VPN-1. "The delivery of this highly requested support follows intensive cooperations between the two leading edge internet security companies," says equinux, "and comes as great news to CheckPoint users in the Mac OS X community." VPN Tracker ($90-$200) can be purchased for download from the equinux Web site or from authorized VPN Tracker consultants worldwide. [Download - 3.2MB] IconBox 1.1 is an iPhoto-like application that helps store and manage your icons. It allows you to browse through your collection of icons using libraries, preview the icons at any size and export them with the click of a button. IconBox also allows you to search for your favorite icons by name, description or keywords. Version 1.1 corrects small bugs, makes interface adjustments, introduces a reworked "icon matrix," adds icon descriptions, and several other features. [Download - 1.1MB] nikotel has released mac2phone 1.8 for Mac OS X: "The development focus was on making the software faster, user friendly and rock solid. With version 1.8, we have reached this goal. Right now we are using our own interface (skin system) on a Java program and beginning with version 2.0 we will use a native Aqua interface. Soon we will also release a Phone software which will allow video conferencing between Mac OS X computers and also Mac OS X to PCs and vice versa." IGG Software has released maintenance updates to its iBank and iWork programs. iWork 1.3.5 offers improved printing and fixes a number of small bugs. Ibank 1.1.1 includes options for importing QIF files and users can now choose a location to where backup files are saved. The iBank updated also fixes a few small bugs. iWork costs $25 and iBank costs $20 ($35 together). [Download - iBank, iWork] Gentoo has released two 'LiveCD' Linux distributions for the Mac. "We are releasing two full-featured LiveCDs for the PowerPC: one with KDE 3, and another with GNOME 2." Calillona 1.1 is an update to the powerful plug-in for Sherlock that searches the Amazon.com catalog. Version 1.1 adds support more categories for the USA and UK catalogs, and improve some internal logic. "We will support more countries as soon as Amazon provide the corresponding Web Services (XML). [Download - subscribe] Ecamm Network has released iChatter 1.0, an iChat add-on that adds voices to the instant messaging program. "You'll hear your Instant Messages spoken aloud using Mac OS X's built in speech synthesis." iChatter is $8 shareware. [Download - 1.4MB] iCalViewer 1.0.4 is an update to the utility that displays iCal events traveling across a window, the screen, the desktop, or as a screen saver in real time. Version 1.0.4 provides better sorting of events on display (no longer random) and live updating of the application only. Bug fixes and other small enhancements are also included. [Download - 710KB] Epigroove has released an update to SuperTac, its "simple yet addictive game." SuperTac is cross-platform (Mac OS X, Mac Classic, and Windows) and playable over the Internet, "allowing you to challenge all of your friends from around the world." SuperTac is made with REALbasic. Details of the latest update were not published. [Download - Classic, OS X]
iMovie 3.0.3, which was released yesterday, introduces a number of changes, including changes to methods for: activating the Ken Burns Effect, deleting audio or video clips, and switching from NTSC to PAL. Additionally, version 3.0.3 corrects an issues whereby some users may have experienced unexpected results if they reversed or sped-up a PAL clip in iMovie 3.
Motorola is preparing a next-generation two-core G4-class PowerPC processor, which it will unveil this week, accord to The Register: "The chip, as yet unnamed - at least in public - will contain two PowerPC cores with AltiVec, Motorola's SIMD engine. It will also contain its own memory controller, capable of connecting to DDR and DDR 2 SDRAM...The G4+ that appears on the January roadmap will be fabbed at 0.1 micron, the sales sheet says, and will feature a "higher level of integration" than previous G4-class CPUs."
PDASmart.com is offering an iPod Internal Battery Replacement Kit, which is designed for the "classic" iPod (not the new 3G iPods): " The Do-It-Yourself kit comes complete with very detailed instructions and all the right tools to do the job without damaging your iPod (please don't pry open that case with a flat-tipped screwdriver!). We had this battery developed with the same lithium-ion polymer battery technology as the original and it is rated at 3.7 volts and 1500mAh." It is $60 and an optional mail-in service (plus battery) is $68.
JR Hill & Co today announced The Wrap for the new 10GB, 15GB and 30GB iPods. It is a "simple, inexpensive, clear vinyl wrap to protect your new iPods finish from srcatches and fingerprints. Made specifically for those who don't want a full size case and want some protection when keeping their iPod in their pocket, backpack, purse, fanny pack, etc. With simple static cling, The Wrap clings to the iPods front, back, sides and bottom. Since the new iPods have touch sensitive scroll wheel and buttons, the iPod is fully usable through the clear vinyl. The top is exposed for easy access to the headphone/remote jacks and hold switch." It is $8 with a special shipping price of only $2.
Palm today announced plans to acquire Handspring, which was created five years ago by the people who had founded Palm, according to the AP: "The deal calls for the Silicon Valley rivals to merge after Palm completes its spinoff of PalmSource, the unit that makes the Palm operating system for handheld computers. The transactions are expected to be completed back-to-back in the fall, and the merged company will be renamed, the companies said. Under the proposed terms, Handspring's shareholders will receive 0.09 Palm shares -- and no shares of PalmSource -- for each share of Handspring common stock owned. Palm will issue approximately 13.9 million shares of Palm common stock to Handspring's shareholders on a fully diluted basis."
Apple today released Keynote 1.1, an update to its presentation software. It features improved PowerPoint import and export compatibility, enhanced performance of imported QuickTime video, a new option to maintain 3D transitions within projected screen area, improved interaction and feedback while working with slides in the Navigator, an option to down-sample images upon import, reduced size of Keynote themes and files, reduced size of exported PDF files, optimized playback of exported QuickTime files, the bility to jump to specific slide during slideshow, and the ability to show series labels on vertical bar charts. It is available via the Web and via the Software Update.
SoftIntegration today released Ch 3.7, an update to its C/C++ interpreter for cross-platform scripting, 2D/3D plotting, numerical computing, shell programming and embedded scripting. Major product enhancements include C99 features, computational array for numerical computing and bug fixes. It is available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X and HP-UX. Ch Standard Edition 3.7 for Unix, Linux and Mac OS X is free for personal, academic and commercial use, while the Professional edition is $600. McGraw-Hill Higher Education's ClearLearning has begun shipping version 4.4 of Test Pilot Enterprise. The platform-independent Java web application extends Mac OS X's web services with a new web-based test and survey authoring and delivery server. Version 4.4 adds new features for automated custom reports and gradebook generation, built-in uploading and streamlined installation. Pricing starts at $50 for up to 9 instructors. Pariahware has released ClipSaver 1.2, a Mac OS X utility that gives users the ability to automatically save text in the clipboard to a file. It has options for saving clipboard items into separate files, customizing the filename, and setting the type/creator of the file A 30-day demo of the $10 shareware is available online. [877KB] Optigold ISP 3.2.6 is a cross-platform business software package designed to run all aspects of an internet service provider (from billing to server management). It fixes syntax error in HTML code for customer domain additions, supports the trigger of billing cycle create server events during package addition, and now offers an audit trail that tracks decline emails as well as disk usage import into SQL databases. Pricing starts at $1000.
Symantec today announced Norton SystemWorks 3.0 for Macintosh, its first complete antivirus and drive repair/optimization solution for Mac OS X that includes both Norton Utilities (NUM) 8.0 and Norton AntiVirus (NAV) 9.0 along with Retrospect Express Backup and Aladdin's Spring Cleaning (uninstal utility and privacy utility). NUM 8.0 includes tools for disk repair, data recovery and optimization, including support for drefragmenting Mac OS X hard drives in idle time, new scheduled FileSaver scans, Mac OS X startup support ("boot"), and Mac OS X support for Volume Recover and Wipe Info. NAV 9.0 adds the ability to scan and disinfect PC viruses. The $130 suite is now available for pre-order and is expected to ship later this month. Current users of Symantec's Mac products, as well as users of select competitive products, are being offered a $50 mail-in-rebate. NUM 8.0 and NAV 9.0 both run Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 and can also be pre-ordered separately for $100 and $70, respectively.
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