Several MacNN readers report continued difficulty sending and receiving .Mac email. Apple's status page for the online service still states that "all .Mac services are online and operational." .Mac users have reported email-related problems for over a week. Apple has responded to the issues, noting that an "extremely high volume" of email messages has caused some of the problems today.
Boinx iStopMotion, a stop-motion animation and timelapse recording application for Mac OS X, has reached preview release status. "Customers attest the software a high quality and a depth that makes it a valuable addition to the Digital Hub." New features include editing of frames in an external image editor application and exporting of frames. The licensing model includes a free 'Lite' license, which offers all the features at an Internet-suitable output resolution. Before June 30th, customers can purchase the iStopMotion DV license at an introductory rate of $36. [Download - 396KB] John Haney has released CryptoQuote 1.0, a word puzzle game for Mac OS X. CryptoQuote contains hundreds of quotes to be decoded like CryptoGrams in some newspapers. "CryptoQuote makes solving these puzzles fun and easy, taking advantage of your Mac to provide features which make it better than working on paper." CryptoQuote is $5 shareware. [Download - 298KB] PDFshrink 3.0 reduces the size of PDF files created by Mac OS X, Adobe Acrobat Distiller and other software. PDFshrink compresses images within the PDF file, "but PDFshrink doesn't stop there like some competing software products." Version 3.0 adds more resolution choices, support for encrypted PDF with proper password, AppleScript support, and an improved user interface. [Download - 1.5MB] If Then Software has released IDIot 1.0 released for Mac OS X. "If you distribute your Mac OS X software electronically, use an internet-enabled disk image (IDI) which 'cleans up' after itself leaving behind only the desired software and nothing else related to the download process ... it will remove all traces of the 'shell' that the software comes in and simply place the software on the desktop." [Download - 127KB] Xmonitor is a real-time system and email monitoring application for Mac OS X. XMonitor allows you to easily monitor your disk, CPU, RAM and network usage, PPP status, IP address, email, and more. The latest release adds HTVC Version Checking; includes support for the cut, copy, paste, and clear commands; corrects cosmetic issues; and fixes a handful of bugs. [Download - 1.3MB]
Microsoft, which agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle antitrust claims in California, dropped a provision in the agreement that would give its software away for free to schools after Apple complained, according to Bloomberg: "Schools that are awarded vouchers under the settlement can now receive any manufacturers' technology product, according to court documents filed in San Francisco. Previously, Microsoft planned to give schools either free Microsoft software or cash to buy any computer products."
Aladdin is now shipping Spring Cleaning 6.0, its all-in-one cleaning and privacy protection suite. It offers 20 powerful tools designed to clean, protect and organize Macs, including applications to uninstall computer programs, remove duplicate files, manage Internet cookies, history and cache files to improve their computer's performance and help manage and protect Internet privacy. Version 6.0 now removes language files to increase performance and make additional hard drive space available; has improved preview of search results, deletes Sherlock cookies; includes a system Menu for Mac OS X; and other Mac OS X optimization support. The $50 suite is available now. Upgrades and competitive upgrades (from competing products) are $20.
Derek Sivers, President of CD Baby and Hostbaby, has posted notes from Apple's meeting with independent music labels, which took place last night: "There are 6-7 million copies of iTunes in use; there have been 3.5 million songs sold so far; Apple is selling about 500,000 songs a week now; More than 75% of songs have sold at least once; 45% of all songs have been bought as an album....Big labels don't get preferential treatment....'Everyone is going to get the exact same deal. It's not negotiable. It's take it or leave it.'...a special Music Store Encoder tool for Mac OS X will be released in 90 days or so."
iCommune 401(ok) is a "quick and dirty hack to allow iTunes 4.0.1 to share music beyond your local network. 401(ok) redirects incoming connections on port 4689 to port 3689. This allows for the iTunes music sharing server normally run on port 3689 (but with limited access), to be reached on port 4689 globally. The local network limitation in the iTunes sharing server is achieved by sending server responses with a low IP time-to-live. By doing a local port redirection, the server responses are sent with the normal TTL, and the 'subnet' limitation is eliminated." Meanwhile, a tutorial describes how to access your iTunes 4.0.1 music collection beyond your local network.
Trisection 1.0 Is a new puzzle game for Mac OS X that "follows in the grand tradition of Tetris, involving fitting falling pieces into an existing matrix. But in Trisection, you're matching up colors, not just completing rows. And unlike the square blocks of Tetris, Trisection uses a triangular grid and pieces, making it a much more interesting puzzle." The $15 shareware features more than a dozen levels, many different Aqua-style rendered pieces, sound effects, and two soundtracks. [6.4MB] SquidCam 1.5b2 is a video phone/video chat application designed for use with broadband connections. It enables audio/video connectivity with one or more people using SquidCam over a network connection as well as text messaging. It offers compatibility with the new Windows version of SquidCam, faster video, better quality video, improved audio, and other changes. It is $25. [757KB] Pariahware has released ChimeX 1.4, an update to its Mac OS X utility that "brings back the hourly chimes missing in the new OS. Choose between speaking the time, playing an alert sound, playing a sound file (System 7 through MP3), or having ChimeX randomly choose a file from a folder. Alerts may be set for the hour, quarter past, half past and quarter of." Version 1.4 removes the dock icon and places it in the menu bar and also introduces an alarm setting. A 30-demo of the Mac OS X shareware ($5) is available online. [1.0MB] appMac software has released a preview version of xTime Project 1.0b1 designed to organize, track and manage projects. It offers functions for creating Gantt charts display project details in daily to yearly timelines; project views to illustrate assignments and resource usage, AutoFit formatting, resource allocation, summary bars, task dependency tracking, a calendar, and data exchange with iCal as well as other databases and applications. It is $100 through the end of July. [1.9MB] PowerQuote Software has released PowerQuote 10 printing estimating and management software. It handles offset, copy and brokered jobs. The system is designed for quotes, job tickets, invoicing, easy recall of jobs for reorders, and more. The Lite version can be upgraded to the Standard version to gain production schedule, invoicing, account receivables and network capability. Pricing starts at $1,700.
Aabel 1.5 is described as an integrated application that provides native worksheets, a database metaphor, numerous 2D and 3D graphs/charts, statistical tests, multivariate data analysis methods, data processing and data filtering tools. Version 1.5 adds 35 new chart types in 19 categories; a complete set of new statistics (t-tests, Wilcoxon sing-ranked test, Mann Whitney U-tests, F-test, correlation and covariance matrices, one-way and two-way ANOVA, full Kaplan-Meier analysis and logrank test); a user-defined/non-linear curve fitting module, new text frame and table editors for generating styled text and tables; additional import functions including Excel and Fortran formatted files; new marker symbols; and other changes. Aabel 1.5 is $350; academic/educational licenses are $250; it is free upgrade for registered users.
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Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv
CarPlay comes to Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche has revealed that its new 718 Cayman series will be the latest vehicles in its range equipped with support for Apple CarPlay. The new Porsche models joins the recently announced 718 Boxster, the 2017 Macans and the 2016 model of the 911 in offering support for Apple's iOS in the car interface. Both are fitted standard with an eight speaker sound system and the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system. The entry-level Cayman starts at $53,9000, while the faster S variant starts from $66,300. Although already on sale, the won't reach US dealers until late November. http://prn.to/1Tj1EW7
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6