Popwire today released a new version of its Compression Engine 1.3, a UNIX-based encoder that fully automates the workflow from content ingestion trough to pre-processing and encoding. It offers the ability to output content in multiple formats and bit rates as well as transcoding between different intermediate formats: "The Popwire Compression Engine drastically improves both the production process and performance when encoding high quality content. Popwire Compression Engine runs on a Sun Solaris server and Apple Xserve and is optimized for speed and quality."
WebEx has enhanced the communication capabilities of the WebEx MediaTone Network to include support for Mac OS X. The WebEx network supports live data, voice and video communications and allows users to hold interactive meetings through a standard browser (currently IE and Netscape). Mac OS X is currently supported in WebEx Meeting Center and Event Center. Support for Mac OS X in the Support Center and Training Center services will be provided later in 2003. Other limitations in Mac OS X include latency during presentation from a Mac OS X system, the inability to share a presentation/document using Meeting Manager for OS X, and the lack of a WebEx recorder for Macs (although a playback version does exist).
ExtremeTech raises some concerns about Apple's benchmarking claims made in yesterday's WWDC Keynote: "In the system configuration for the G5 system, Apple appears to have asked Lionbridge to do quite a bit of tweaking....While I don't claim to be an expert in hardware architecture, it appears that Apple actually modified the CPU registers to enable an optimized special-case scenario, and one that is not indicative of real-world performance. Lionbridge's notes regarding the malloc library also indicate that Apple included an optimized library. I think it's significant that Lionbridge, under contract to Apple, felt compelled to note that the library implementation was 'unsuitable for many uses'."
Attempts by Apple to launch a European version of its online "Music Store", where people can download individual songs, has been held up until next year by disputes between record companies and their artists over licensing, according to The Independent: ""In Europe the legal environment [for licensing songs for download] is more complicated than in the US, so the one-price-fits-all system that the US uses is difficult to do here. And the major labels themselves haven't sorted out their rights."
Fantom Drives today unveiled its new 'Titanium' product family. The new, all aluminum drive enclosures offer "unprecedented speed and flexibility," featuring FireWire or USB 2.0 interfaces. The new Titanium series is aimed at professional audio and DV users alike -- offering speeds exceeding 40MB/Sec from a single disk drive, fanless design for silent operation, and a "virtually unbreakable" aluminum casing. At the time of publication, Fantom Drives' Web site had not been updated with further details.
At this week's World Wide Developer Conference, Blacksmith will demonstrate Chartsmith's AppleScript interface. Demonstrations will include custom application development with Chartsmith, as well as examples of how DayLite users can access to Chartsmith charts and graphs through the AppleScript interface. In addition, Blacksmith will offer a sneak peak at Querysmith, its upcoming database query and reporting application. Chartsmith ($130) is a popular charting and graphing application for Mac OS X.
Aladdin Systems today began shipping Ten for X Utilities Vol 2, a new collection of it's Mac OS X utilities suite. Volume 2 includes 11 fully-registered titles valued at over $150, including Carbon Copy Cloner (drive backup/cloning), DragStrip (desktop manager), iCan (skinable Trash can and advanced options), iClock SE (menubar clock replacement with weather), iPulse (graphical system monitor), Labels X (Classic Label functions), MacReporter (headlines from favorite websites), Path Finder (file browser), Quick Voice (voice recorder), Spamfire (spam-fighting utility), and X Overload (extension manager and info database). Volume 2, which requires Mac OS X 10.2, is $50.
Eudora 6.0b24 is the latest beta version of the popular email client for Mac OS X. Eudora 6 gains Spam-fighting tools, a 'Content Concentrator,' and a 'Mailboxes' drawer. Beta 24 corrects countless bugs found in the previous release. [Download - 4.5MB] GraphicConverter 4.7 adds a host of new features to the image editing software, including Radiance HDRI and Duotone PSD support, new JPEG related functions, and a large number of bug fixes. Registration is $30. [Download - Classic, OS X] FileStorm 1.6 ($20) is designed to create customized disk image files for delivering software products via the Internet. The $80 'Pro' version has all the features FileStorm, plus it includes tools to create installers which fully utilize the Aqua user interface. Version 1.6 adds support for Unicode file names, and building disk images now executes compiled AppleScripts. [Download - 3.7MB] iStumbler is a small utility for finding local wireless networks and services. It combines a compact Aqua user interface advanced wireless scanning and reporting. Version 0.8b adds support for .public networks, mointors your connection to the network, sports an improved graph, and uses siginifigantly less memory. [Download - 266KB] iRipDVD is an high-quality direct DVD/VOB-to-MPEG4 converter/encoder based on mplayer. The developer asks those pleased with the software to consider donating a small sum of money to support development. Feedback is also appreciated, according to developer Julian Mayer. [Download - 2.3MB] System Optimizer X 4.0.4 is designed to improve system speed, responsiveness, and stability (not to mention internet optimization). Major features include System Optimization, Maintenance Scripts Running, Internet Connection Optimization, System/Application Cache Cleaning, Window Buffer Compression, Internet Connection Optimizing, Application Prioritizing, Scheduling, and Internet Version Checking. [Download - temporarily unavailable] Toon Boom has released Toon Boom Studio Express, a "value-priced" version of its animation tool, offering the ability to create Flash banner ads for Web sites, and interactive projects and games for videos, PDAs and phones. and other animation projects. It is available today for $144. [Download - form] Tobias Opfermann and William Griffin today released iGame3D Pro, a freeware OpenGL game development environment for Mac OS X. [Download - 20.1MB]
Terra Soft said today that its Yellow Dog Linux will soon include support for 64-bit processing on the Power Mac G5. As an Apple Authorized Reseller, Terra Soft is also receiving pre-orders for the new Power Macs.
Kodak today unveiled a new version of its digital picture organization and sharing software at WWDC. Designed from "the ground up" as a native OS X application, EasyShare 3.0 for Mac OS X (10.2 and higher) offers features for managing photos, including support for 10,000 images and movies, on-screen album creation, and DVD/CD burning. It automatically locates and indexes files for viewing and sorting; offers thumbnail or full-screen views; includes editing tools such as red-eye removal, one-touch enhancement, cropping, brightness and/or exposure compensation, and zoom; incorporates a built-in email client; has templates for common inkjet layouts; and offers photo archiving functions to DVDs or CDs. It is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. [form]
MacNN reader Dave Sawyer notes a slight difference among the new Power Mac G5 models: "the low-end 1.6GHz model comes with standard 64-bit 33MHz PCI slots, not the faster PCI-X which comes in the 1.8GHz and DP 2.0GHz models. This is shown in the G5's specs on Apple's web sites, but could easily be missed if someone isn't reading carefully. PCI vs PCI-X will probably not be an issue for most people as few probably will ever need PCI-X cards, but purchasers will need to be aware of this difference when deciding between the models." The low-end model also uses slower PC2700 (333MHz) RAM and has a 4GB maximum, while the other models offer PC3200 (400MHz) with a maximum of 8GB. Another reader notes that the new Power Mac G5 SuperDrive offers better all-around performance: "The iMac Superdrive writes DRV-R disks at 4x speed, reads DVDs at 8x speed, writed CD-R at 16x and writes CD-RW at 8x and reads CD's at 32x speed. While the new G5's Superdrive reads DVDs at 12x, writes to DVD-R at 4x, reads CDs at 32x, writes to CD-R at 16x, and writes to CD-RW at 10x."
Digital Peripheral Solutions today announced it is shipping its Que!007 ($600), a portable DVD Burner and digital theater. The sleek, portable, all-in-one convergence device features a FireWire DVD burner that also plays DVDs, CDs, MP3s, and PowerPoint presentations. It works equally well as a computer peripheral or as a standalone battery-powered device (mobile DVD/CD/MP3 player); it includes 4.7GB of storage, a 2MB buffer, built-in LCD display, Dolby Pro Logic and 3D Virtual Surround, a universal headphone/analog/optical audio output jack, and more. Accessories include a 36-key remote, external power supply adapter, detachable rechargeable battery pack, headphone set and all necessary cables as well as a CD mastering program. It supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and CD-RW fromats.
Apple is offering The Apple Store Pro Card, which it describes as "your passport to a world of benefits and privileges designed exclusively for the professional Mac user." The card offers users benefits such as (1) complete transfer of your existing files to your new Power Mac G5 in 24 hours with an appointment; (2) savings of 10% on software on one selected day; (3) free installation of any software purchased at this Apple Store; (4) guaranteed next-day appointment with a Mac Genius; and (5) notification of upcoming events and exclusive offers for Pro Card members.
Maxtor yesterday began shipping the "world's highest" capacity ATA hard disk drive available in the retail market. The Maxtor 300GB Hard Drive Retail Kit offers a 5400RPM mechanism, Maxtor's exclusive Ultra ATA/133 interface ("up to 33 percent faster maximum throughput than Ultra ATA/100"), and the Maxtor Ultra ATA/133 PCI adapter card (for Windows only). The internal kit is priced at $400 and available immediately at stores around the US.
Merrill Lynch has upgraded Apple stock (AAPL) to Neutral from Sell based "on their belief that yesterday's launch of the G5 PowerMac should lead to a replacement cycle in commercial desktop PCs that has traditionally been the co's profit driver, and which should positively impact AAPL's bottom line over the next several quarters," according to Briefing.com.
Sony Online Entertainment today announced that EverQuest Macintosh Edition is now available at retail stores in the US: "EverQuest is a real-time 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing game where hundreds of thousands of players come together to take on the personas of brave warriors and mystical wizards then adventure across the face of a huge world (as well as its moon and extra-planar zones), fighting hordes of monsters and uncovering treasure troves of magical artifacts." The $50 title requires Mac OS X 10.2.5 and includes: EverQuest Classic and its first four expansions: The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin and The Planes of Power.
NEC-Mitsubishi has announced its first line of light-weight LCD monitors that fold up for easy portability. "Providing consumers with the freedom to easily carry their monitor around, the new units collapse into small packages that weigh only 8.6 lbs for the NEC LCD1565 and 13.2 lbs for the NEC LCD1765. Built to withstand wear and tear, the durable acrylic screen displays 88 pixels per inch on the 15-inch unit and 96 pixels per inch on the 17-inch unit." The 15" LCD ($350) offers 1024x768 and a contrast ratio of 350:1, while the 17" ($550) LCD offers 1280x1024 resolution anda contrast ration of 400:1; both have a brightness of 225 cd/m. They are available in black bezel acrylic with silver cabinet and stand, and are backed by a one-year limited warranty including backlight.
Adobe today announced new add-on software technology designed to maximize the performance of Adobe Photoshop 7.0 software on the Power Mac G5 product line. As noted in yesterday's WWDC Keynote, Adobe's new Photoshop plug-in technology and software enhancement can make this industry-standard application run twice as fast, when compared to Photoshop running on any previous Apple system. The Photoshop plug-in technology and software enhancement will be made available as free downloads from Adobe's web site, when Apple ships its Power Mac G5 (due in August).
Apple has posted performance documentation (in PDF format) on the new Power Mac G5, including Power Mac G5 Tech note, G5 Processor White Paper, and PM Performance White Paper. (Yesterday we noted the new dual-2GHz Power Mac G5 introduced at the WWDC Keynote, several developer notes on the G5 processor, and the revised Power Mac G4 line.)
Pixels Digital is now shipping Pixels 3D|5.0, an update to its professional 3D software. Version 5.0 brings biped/quadraped, dynamic water simulation, atmospheric effects, morphable and modifiable polygons,, improved rendering, path animation with auto banking, new shader nodes, new modifiers, and an integrated flipbook. The $400 suite can create graphics for film, video, web or print. A demo is available. Upgrades from v4.0 are $200, while competitive upgrades are $300.
LiveSearch 1.0 is described as a "powerful launcher and file finder for Mac OS X, putting all of your files at your fingertips for launching, previewing, and editing." The $18 shareware offers a filter-as-you-type interface for all the files on your drive, offers common file copy/rename/reveal functions, a customizable toolbar, regular expression searching, and batch file modifications. [1.7MB] Reaktor 4.0.2, a free update to the modular sound studio application from NI, includes almost 50 fixes, improvements and new options, ranging from improved stability to better interface features, VST drag and drop support, a new MIDI controller assignable to snapshot morphing in Instrument and Ensemble properties, improved context menus and much more. [form] Modesitt Software (formerly Maui Software) today announced LockOut X 4.4.7, an upgrade to its $15 shareware security application for OS X. Version 4.4.7 now prevents the use of the "Force-Quit" command to circumvent security. [Classic, OSX] BBE FTP Open 1.2.1 facilitates the editing of remote files via FTP in BBEdit, with support for multiple files per account, multiple accounts per host and even multiple hosts via a special relational database. Version 1.2 adds support for Mac OS X, preliminary support for osXigen, and better handling of FTP helper launching. [53KB] Shellsilver 1.0 is a freeware application to execute UNIX shell scripts from the Finder: "When a file with the extension .sh is double-clicked, Shellsilver will launch, and moments later, a Terminal window will pop open executing the shell script." [70KB] John V. Holder's ScrapIt Pro X 1.1 is an update to the $25 editable, searchable multimedia scrapbook for Mac OS X for managing images, converting text files, and searching. It has improves drag & drap support, offers compatibility with ScrapIt Pro Classic and Apple Scrapbook files, and better file management. [1.8MB] LAJ Design today released Quickie Web Albums 3.5, its cross-platform application that creates custom Web Photo (and movie) albums. It adds a short description that goes on the thumbnails pages, a new pre-processing scripting, and a text editor. [Classic, OSX] MOTU has released Digital Performer 4.01, an update to its digital audio and MIDI sequencer. It brings performance enhancements that "may reduce processor spiking in the audio system, particularly on single processor Macs." [31MB] Ipanema 1.2 (donationware) will track of the IP addresses for ethernet, Airport, PPP, and a third-party ethernet card (if installed) and report to you the IP address (automatically via email, manually, or anytime it changes). Version 1.2 adds custom reporting times, new icons, and bug fixes. [591KB] GyazMail 1.01 a new email client for Mac OS X, offering support for multiple accounts, 2- and 3-pane layouts, message threading, rules and filters, tepmlates for outgoing messages, POP3 and SMTP support, integration with Address Book, and import functions. A 40-day demo is available of the $18 shareware. [2.6MB]
MARGI Systems today announced that the latest version of its Presenter-to-Go software offers compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2. Previously, the presentation software for handheld computers was only compatible with the Classic Mac OS. The software allows Mac users carry less equipment for presentation days, as it enables users to download their PowerPoint creations to a handheld PDA. Presenter-to-Go is compatible with a broad range of handheld devices, including Palm's m125, m130, m500, m505, m515, i705, Tungsten T, W and C handhelds, and the Zire 71. Pricing for Presenter-to-Go starts at $200. Registered users can download the update for free.
FWB Software today announced Raid ToolKit 3.0, a new version of FWB's storage management solution that features enhancements, including Raid Level 5 support and a much improved caching algorithm for single and RAID setups. This software adds RAID level 5 to existing Raid 0 and Raid 1 support built into the Mac OSX operating system. Raid Toolkit incorporates the NXRAID technology, recently acquired from NYRO Technix. RTK offers partition-based RAID for IDE, FireWire, SCSI and Fibre Channel systems. The $100 software, expected to ship this week, can support up to 30 drives. Version 3.5 will offer built-in formatting, partitioning and other advanced features.
LiveTime Software today announced LiveTime Support 2.0 for Mac OS X, its complete J2EE, web-based technical support and help desk solution providing a comprehensive scalable support infrastructure for organizations. The suite offers SMS messaging, email reporting, real-time business metrics and unlimited escalation pathways, Version 2 of the company's help desk and support application will begin shipping this week. Pricing starts at $3,000 for a 'Starter Pack' (3 users).
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