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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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