New multi-purpose 'smart monitors' from Gefen (starting at $700) can function as video players, televisions and computer monitors. Currently available in 18- and 14-inch displays, each provides a radiation- and flicker-free flat panel that maintains a 1280x1024 resolution. Each sports a video input for VCR or camcorder connection, a digital input for VD players and a television tuner that requires a cable hookup or antenna. The monitors come with remote control, touch screen capability, built-in stereo speakers and picture-in-picture options.
MacNN reder 'Ryan' notes: "Apple purchased a significant amount of air time on Krock WXRK-FM in NYC. They have been giving iPods away hourly, have ads running hourly, and paid enough to have Howard Stern speak about it constantly. I don't know how much it costs to have Howard mention the iPod constantly, but I know live ads on Stern cost in excess of 10k/each."
Acquisition 0.94 is an update to the popular peer-to-peer file sharing client. This release adds support for browsing hosts via acquisition:// URLs. This release also fixes a bug related to reappearance of deleted downloads and a rare crash during iTunes importing. [Download - 1.6MB] PhotoSpray 1.5 is a $90 plug-in for Adobe Photoshop that offers the unique ability to spray pictures on top of any RGB photos. It offers the unique ability to spray pictures on top of any RGB photos. This method of painting lets users brush sets of images on top of any other photo. Brushes can be adjusted through a large variety of parameters. "This spray brush is ideal for photo-realistic painting." Version 1.5 fully supports layers for more accurate brush strokes and repositioning. PhotoSpray 1.5 includes 50 Sprays, 3 additional volumes are available. PrefsOverload 5.3 is an update to the utility for managing preference files on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. This new version includes new features, such as ability to export preference files list, scroll wheel support and other interface improvements. It can browse the Preferences Folder, allowing you to detect unnecessary preferences files. Version 5.3 adds the ability to create and export to a text file the full list of preference files on your computer; the ability to export PrefsOverload scan results to a text file; scroll wheel support (Mac OS X only); and standard "Window" menu support (Mac OS X only). [Download - 2.6MB] AmazonShopper 1.1 is a free application that lets you search for products available on Amazon.com. The developer puts emphasis is on "speed and simplicity." [Download - 672KB]
One MacNN reader writes: "Just saw Finding Nemo this weekend and according to the end credits, the soundtrack is available in stores. I find it odd, however, that it's NOT available in the iTunes Music Store. Given that Jobs runs both Apple and Pixar, you'd think new Pixar soundtracks would be available right away in the ITMS." John Fowler writes: "I have been unable to purchase any songs from the iTunes Music Store for over two weeks due to this weird error. The billing of a purchase from May 28, 2003 failed and I owe Apple $2.12, preventing me from buying anything until I pay up. When I provide a perfectly valid credit card number, the store accepts it, but doesn't attempt to clear the outstanding purchase, putting me right back where I started." Fowler emailed Apple and was informed that the issue was affecting a number of users, and would be resolved as soon as possible. Gabriel Botnick observes: "I was just checking out the iTunes Music Store for the Robbie Williams CD, Escapology. I found it very interesting that the songs could not be purchased individually...only as an entire album. I thought the whole point of the ITMS was that consumers could buy only the tracks they want for 99 cents. This may be the way Apple plans on attracting big name acts." Added: In response to complaints that certain albums are only available in whole, one MacNN reader writes: "This is not new, it has been that way since day one of the service. I read somewhere that this is not Apple's doing, but a requirement set by certain artists. [...] What gets played on the radio is such a limited sampling of what many artists are all about. Some artists are all about singles and hits, while others are more about deeper cohesive messages that you can only really get at by listening to an entire album. Or it could just be because they will make more money by forcing buyers to buy the filler songs on the album."
Destineer's MacSoft today announced that it is now shipping Unreal Tournament 2003 for Macintosh, noting that the game should be available on store shelves in the US by this weekend, and in the UK by next week. Purchasers of the Mac version will receive an added bonus: Both the "Epic Bonus Pack" and the "Digital Extremes Bonus Pack" will be included with the Mac version of Unreal Tournament 2003. The company said that over 400,000 Mac users downloaded the Unreal Tournament 2003 beta tech demo within the first four days after it was made available. It requires a 700MHz/G4 processor, 32MB video card, 256MB RAM and Mac OS X 10.2.6.
WiebeTech today announced a 500GB/7200RPM version of its DuoGB, its dual FireWire drive in one enclosure. "We are now able to offer a dual 500GB (2 x 250GB) FireWire drive with 7200RPM spindle speed for $1000. A single bridge controller supports two drives with full ATA-6 speeds. The DuoGB ships in an aluminum case, which provides EMI protection and ruggedness. Each contains contains a power supply and an (internal) ultra-quiet fan as well as ships with a FireWire cable. Prices start at $180 (case-only) and $450 (dual 120GB/7200 rpm drives).
Barbara Null, of card maker Hallmark, said that next week's release of Quark Xpress 6 for Mac OS X will "allow her company to migrate its 2,000 Macs fully to OS X: The company had been working on transition plans for some time, Null said, but "there was one really important piece missing," according to c|net.
Maxprog's iCash 1.4 is a $25 shareware personal finance and money manager designed to track incomes, expenses, credits, debts and banks transactions. It offers unlimited categories, multiple account creation, a SQL backend engine, password protection, export/import routines, search functions, and drag & drop support. [Classic, OSX] Melonsoft's BubbleDrum 1.0 is a new $10 shareware drum machine for Mac OS 9/X: "BubbleDrum's work space is contained in an area known as the Stage. From the Stage, users can create drums, arrange them, and set their numerous properties such as size and color. Drums can either be clicked visually with the mouse, or played via an assigned keybind on your computer's keyboard." [Classic, OSX] Wild Bits has released Ask the DJ 1.1, which brings support for AAC, the default encoding in iTunes 4 and Music Store. It can also export bpm information to iTunes 4. Ask the DJ is a sophisticated mix engine which analyses the music's rhythm to perform DJ-like transitions between tracks. A demo of the $30 shareware is available now. [1.1MB] Albert 2.2.1 is a "program that monitors a POP e-mail account looking for messages with a secret code within its text. It will then execute commands the sender has typed into the e-mail. The purpose of the commands is to run AppleScripts located on the computer running Albert. An e-mail conformation is then sent back to the user verifying that the commands were executed." [Classic, OSX] myPhoto 1.2 automatically shares all of your photo albums, captions, etc from iPhoto onto your personal web site with a search engine and much more. This release adds a localization engine (as well as full English, French, German, and Russian translations). Added a slideshow mode, the ability to resize images, new admin options, and much more including several bug fixes. Freeware, requires Mac OS X and iPhoto 2. [1.2MB] EchoFX has released InterView 2.2.3 for Mac OS X, which corrects a problem with QuickTime Broadcaster and the InterView for Mac OS X software. Full-size QuickTime Broadcaster movies will no longer appear grainy or "blockish" on the machines receiving them. In addition, the software will periodically check with the EchoFX server for updates, letting the user know when a newer version becomes available. It is a free update to the $25 application.
AudioXplorer 1.0 is a new sound analyzer software designed specifically for Mac OS X. It supports multiple real-time analysis windows for visualizing the sound, spectrum and sonogram. It supports its own Cocoa plug-ins architecture as well as Audio Units Effects plug-ins. The final version adds real-time play-thru, new support for Audio Units Music Effect, and other features. The $15 shareware requires registration to unlock the limited demo. [2.1MB] EarthDesk 2.01 replaces your static desktop picture with an animated, real-time rendered image of the Earth, continuously updating in the background while you work. The software supports eleven different map projections, political and satellite views, and renders accurate sun, moon and city lighting. Version 2.01 fixes several bugs in the $20 utility; upgrades are $10 for v1.0 users. [3.6MB] Tri-Edre has updated is Mac OS X backup utility, Tri-Backup 3.2.1, adding filters for exclusion for partial or complete file paths as well as other bug fixes. The $50 backup utility offers automated backup, scheduling, synchronization, and other advanced functions. It runs on Mac OS 9/X. [2.5MB] Monkeybread Software releases Desktop Movie Player 2.0, a utility to play a QuickTime movie on the desktop behind the Finder icons. It adds more menu commands, commands for volume control, continous random playlists, and other features. The freeware runs on Mac OS X 10.2. The source code is available as well. [948KB] Publicspace.net has released version 5.7 of its A Better Finder Rename contextual menu plugin. The new version allows the tool to be started from the Finder using the 'Cmd-Ctrl-L' hot key combination. The $15 shareware allows users to quickly rename multiple files. A limited trial is available. [1.6MB]
Insider Software announced today the release FontAgent Pro 1.3, its font utility that repairs or eliminates corrupt fonts, partial and unmatched fonts, duplicate fonts and unnecessary point sizes, and builds optimized, organized font libraries. The latest release, which is free to registered owners of earlier versions of FontAgent Pro, boosts performance by a factor of ten during database saving operations. It also adds enhanced driver support to facilitate printing in Classic mode. It is $90 for electronic delivery and $100 for a boxed version.
Marathon Computer today announced the RePorter, which it descrdibes as "an elegant solution to a problem facing most desktop Macintosh users every day: an easy, convenient way to get to the ports on the back of the machine." The RePorter is a simple, compact extension, through a single cable, of the FireWire, USB and audio ports usually located on the backplane of a desktop Mac. It features a single cable with connectors to the rear ports of your Macintosh, rugged high-impact plastic housing, two Type A standard flat USB ports, FireWire 400- and 800- compatible ports, and stereo 1/8" in and out mini audio ports. It is $100 and is due to ship at the end of the summer (2003).
Apple is now offering Safari Bookmark sync functions through .Mac, its suite of Web-based tools: "If you have more than one Mac and aren't using iSync, now is a great time to try it. Your Safari bookmarksójust like your iCal calendars and Mac OS X Address Bookócan now be synchronized on all your Macs using new iSync 1.1 and .Mac. Taking a laptop on the road? Just synchronize the sites you bookmarked on your desktop computer, along with your contacts and calendars, to your laptop for easy access while you travel."
Babel Company has released Impression 1.5, an update to its backup utility for Mac OS X. This version adds direct-to-disk archiving, file-copy support and performance enhancements. The UI has also been "brightened up and various bugs have been fixed." The $20 shareware is available for immediate download. [537KB] Inventive has released iClip 2.1, a $20 multi-clipboard/scrapbook utility for Mac OS X. It allows you to quickly copy & paste and drag & drop clippings to and from its multiple "clipping bins" so that you can easily access them in the applications you're using. ZIt offers speed increases, startup time improvements, better Unicode support, and the ability to change the locations of clipping control buttons (left/right for vertical orientation, top/bottom for horizontal orientation). [1.6MB] VesperWorks has released QiPo 1.6.1, an update to its utility that generates previews from QuickTime movies. It adds support for MPEG4 video files (requires QuickTime 6), a new option to add the creation and modification dates of the movie file on to the preview header, and support for all major video file formats under Mac OS X. [1.4MB]
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