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: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl