Parliant Corporation has begun shipping PhoneValet through its online store. PhoneValet is an inexpensive single or multi-line computer-telephony solution for Mac OS X, announced at MacWorld Expo. It includes all the hardware and software required to connect your Mac to a phone line for use as a telephone. It features logging, caller ID, and voice recognition for dailling. It costs $130; additional lines are $90 each.
Macromedia has released its Authorware Web Player 7.0 (AWP7, 5MB) for Mac OS X. The viewer application, allowing Mac users to playback applications created with Authorware 7. A more compact version--only 2MB--of the Author Web Player 7.0 Compact (AWPC) plays only basic Authorware applications and does not inclue any Xtras. [AWP7, AWPC] dmg software today released Sidekick 1.1.1, a $10 Mac OS X menu bar item that offers both instant access to AppleWorks functions and integration with third-party websites. The update adds is now localized for French users, adds Encarta Encyclopaedia search, and a new preference to disable the startup sound. [269KB] St. Clair Software's Default Folder X 1.84b4, a second public beta, is a $35 system utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs in Mac OS X. Version 1.8b4 further refines the ability to click on the name of an existing file in Save As dialogs to name a new file. It also has more options for contolling its features. [3.3MB] Beeper Pro 1.0.3 (BP) adds a simplified folder system to the freeware application that seamlessly plays a customizable list of sound fx and can manage a sound effects collection. Beeper Studio 1.02 (BS, $20) includes full screen mode and 4- and 8-console mode. [BP-Classic, BP-OSX, BS] Network Associates has released a Virex DAT File for Virex 7.x, which contains the latest virus definitions, including detection of 288 new virii and removal of 268. [3.7MB] Bains Software has updated Bad Cookie 1.5 (BC), an update to its $10 shareware cookie manager that now now automatically finds all supported browsers; Mail Beacon 2.1 (MB) adds Hotmail support to the lite $15 shareware that can read/delete/filter email on server; and Cram Session 1.4 (CS) adds full support for foreign alphabets to the $7 study tool that emulates conventional flash card sets. [OS X -- BC, MB, CS] YAAC 1.0b is a free, open-source (gpl), wrapper around SoX, LAME, OggEnc, and flac, supporting the following formats: aiff, au, avr, cdr, cvs, dat, flac, mp3, ogg, sf, smp, snd, wav, raw, 8svx. [567KB] Web Site Maestro 2.6 is an update to Tonbrand Software's $30 tool for checking and optimizing web pages for faster loading. The HTML optimizer for Mac OS X incluides a built-in ftp client and a separate File Drop Window. Users can now adjust column widths. [1.9MB]
Bitzhead has released Unity 3.2, a free update to its family of professional audio applications, including Unity Session ($650), Unity DS-1 ($450), Unity AS-1 ($260), Unity Synth Expander ($200), and Unity Player. Version 3.2 offers improved integration with RTAS, VST, and Audio Unit supported sequencers under Mac OS X; a new interface; the ability to use audio input as a modulation source; and support for Mac OS X's multi-channel high-sample rate Core Audio. It also offers import/export of tuning tables, improved Unity Librarian functionality, and a new modulator as well as modulation routing support for audio and MIDI effect parameters. [Classic, OSX]
DEVONtechnologies has released ServicePack 2.5, a collection of all its latest freeware services for Mac OS X. It includes: AntiWordService 2.0, a free filter service; BlueService 2.0, used to easily send selected text to BlueTooth devices; CalcService, for calculating the result of a selected formula; HotService, a Cocoa Input Manager bundle; and WordService, which provides 34 functions to convert, format or speak the currently selected text. Included is the new HotService and a new version of WordService.
LightWork Design today released LightWorks 7.3, a new version of the rendering engine for 3D design. The latest version of LightWorks "builds upon the product's success in the Industry" by adding new features, including: cross-platform, plug-in shaders, easy-to-create LWA-Enabled applications, performance enhancements, and RPC and Real-time for Macintosh. The developer says performance has been increased by as much as 40 percent for many features.
I/OMagic today introduced DataStation, a new USB 1.1 external floppy drive with an integrated '7-n-1' media reader. The DataStation features include a small and lightweight design that couples two essential components into one easy to travel with product -- a floppy drive and a 7-in-1 media card reader. The bus-powered DataStation, featuring a sleek design, is $80 and is available at Circuit City stores.
Aspyr Media today announced it is publishing the upcoming action adventure "Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb" on the Macintosh platform: ". It's 1935 and this time you must prevent a powerful Chinese artifact from falling into evil hands. This globe-spanning adventure pits you against evil Nazis and the Asian underworld with a mysterious and alluring partner, Mei Ying." Aspyr says the game will only run on Mac OS X 10.2.6; the $40 title is expected to ship in September and is available for pre-order now.
Fuji Film announced today that it is shipping the Fujifilm USB Drive 2.0. The personal pocket-sized storage device plugs into any computer's USB port, and is now available in a 1GB (gigabyte) capacity, providing users with high flexibility, high- capacity storage and fast data read/write speeds.†Fujifilm will ship the USB Drive 2.0, including the 1GB capacity drives, to major retail outlets and catalog distributors in August. The 1GB USB Drive 2.0 will have a suggested list price of $500.
Afternoon tech news: Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony reported a 98 percent decline in profit for the April-June quarter as sales faltered in key businesses; Microsoft will spend about $6.8 billion on research and development in its new fiscal year, an increase of 8% from the previous 12 months, much of which will be directed to the company's Longhorn operating system project; the Federal Trade Commission recently issued a finding that probably won't surprise many computer users -- two-thirds of spam contains false information.
netomat announced today the beta release of its new personal multimedia communication service. The beta is available as a free download. With the new netomat service, anyone can create and publish or send multimedia Web sites, emails and blogs using any combination of digital pictures, audio, voice, text, free-form drawing and animation. Because netomat is built upon open standards, formats and protocols, viewers of netomat-based communication do not have to download the application or any proprietary plug-ins.
Apple 'Switch' ad star Jeremiah Cohick has posted some interesting comments in defense of the Switch campaign this morning. Mr. Cohick was compelled to post on the subject after three different market research firms reported that Apple's marketshare fell in the past year.
Freeverse has released Burning Monkey Solitaire 3, the third edition of its unique solitaire game for Mac OS X. It is an all-new game, according to the developer, with 16 monkeys, 26 games, over 200 megabytes of "insane solitaire action," Internet high scores, songs, jokes, and "flaming arrows." The game is also full of 'easter eggs,' the first three of which have been posted on online. It costs $25; a demo is currently not available.
Bare Bones Software today released BBEdit 7.0.4, an update to its HTML and text editor. This update is a maintenance release to fix several bugs as well as add a group of settings to the "HTML Markup" preferences. It is a free update to the $180 application. [15MB] Tanjero has released BitPlayer 1.1, a freeware movie player for Mac OS X. It provides numerous options for viewing, organizing, and exporting QuickTime-compatible movies. It supports export from the playlist into different formats, batch processing, queueing, shuffle play, and has other enhancements. [1.6MB] SSHKeychain 0.1 is a GUI front-end for ssh-agent and ssh-add on Mac OS X. It offers all the functionality of ssh-agent and ssh-add, including options to "time-out" all keys in use, a menubar item, default keys, Keychain support, and global support for SSH in all applications. [146KB] KisMAC 0.05d1 is a stumbler application for Mac OS X that puts AirPort (but not AirPort Extreme) cards into monitor mode. It is "completely" invisible (does not send any probe requests) and supports third-party PCMCIA cards. The update has bug fixes, includes a wordlist attack, and has the ability to disable the password question as well as improves Netstumbler export. [2.7MB] Aizai 1.4 allows users to view, create and distribute digital photos, movies, music, web pages, documents and folders via virtual television channels. Version 1.4 has fully integrated support for the Apple's Safari WebKit as well as improvements to performance, audio playback and channel feedback. A single-user license (with five channels) is $1 (summer special) through the end of September. [3.3MB] Matrox has released a Matrox RTMac version 4.0 PR2 (preview release 2) for its PCI video capture card that works with Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Discreet combustion. It fixes A/V sync issues (NTSC/PAL also includes a native Mac OS version of the firmware updater. It is available to registered owners only. Jeremy Wood's $20 shareware Flipmovie 1.1 (formerly Flipbook) is a tool designed to combine still frames into animations. It features several transitions (Fade, Push, Wide, Slide), titles (for introductions, credits, etc.), and cropping, rotating, and layering functions. It supports .mov, .avi, .dvc and .mng animations. [2.8MB]
Several readers have noted BuyMusic.com's AppleMusic.com commerical knockoffs (featured in WMF format on its Website), in which individuals are listening to music on iPod-like MP3 player singing popular songs: "Buymusic.com just ran an ad during Howard Stern's E! show that rips off Apple's iTunes Music Store [ITMS] ad, with ordinary people singing along holding a mp3 player in front of a white background. The device looks like a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen." The commericals conclude with a tag line hinting at Apple's (currently) Mac-only service: "Music downloads for the rest of us."
KB roundup: some PowerBook G4 adapters may not charge correctly because the AC adapter's over voltage protection feature senses ground noise and turns off the adapter; Starting with version 3.0.1, iDVD can be used on any Mac with a PowerPC G4 or G5 processor to create DVD content; however, DVD burning is only available on computers with a built-in SuperDrive; Apple describes how to reset the PMU (Power Management Unit) on newer PowerBook and iBooks as well as older PowerBooks.
The Baltimore Sun (TBS) talks about signals of a fundamental shift in Apple's strategy with the launch of non-computer products (iPod) and its foray into other markets (online music): " Apple has put itself in a strong position to become a major provider of digital content over the next decade. And in such a role, the Mac vs. PC issue will be much less relevant."
Orange Micro has debuted its Blue2 Wireless Headset, which bundles Orange Micro's USB Bluetooth adapter with JABRA's FreeSpeak Bluetooth wireless headset. Designed to conform behind the ear, the FreeSpeak headset weighs less than an ounce, allowing users to comfortably wear it for hours. It is expected to ship in August for $130 with Mac OS X support expected in September. It includes a power supply and charger as well as a 20-inch USB extension cable.
EZQuest is now shipping its new Boa 4x DVD+RW/-RW external drive. The FireWire version ships with Pixela IMX authoring software for encoding iMovies to MPEG-2 and burning DVDs, and either Charismac or Toast software for burning CDs and DVDs; while the USB 2.0 model ships with Windows-compatible software; both also includes Retrospect Express. The $300 drive features a 2MB buffer and a 4x2x12x mechanism for both DVD+ and DVD- media as well as an integrated 16x8x32x CD-RW mechanism.
Poisoned 0.311 is the latest update the peer-to-peer client, offering a GUI interface for the giFT daemon as well as the Kazaa Fast Track network. It updates the Gnutella network plugin, offers new columns (artist and album), and other enhancements. The open-source project is for Mac OS X only. [1.6MB] Several updated Mac OS X Address Book utilities are available: Address Book Importer 1.2 (ABI) Importer is a free utility to import data from tab-delimited files; iDress (IDS) is $15 a envelope and mailing label creator; and ABMenu (ABM) adds a menu item for quick access to Address Book info. [ABI, IDS, ABM] The Blue Technologies Group has updated Ulysses 1.0.1, its Mac OS X text editor aimed directly at creative writers. It adds a word count feature, an option to have the statistics field update dynamically, faster application startup, and other enhancements. It is a free update to the Ä60 application (pricing through the end of August). [1.3MB] BITcom Xnet 1.4.4 monitors local and remote servers and routers, send out alerts if a server is going down, checks services and maximize uptime. A limited version of the $50 shareware for Mac OS X only is available online. [481KB] Alexander Wilson Studios has updated its Internet Explorer Toolbar Icons for Mac OS X--all 300 icons can be used with any browser with the new freeware IndieToolbar 2, a standalone vertical toolbar that lets users mix and match any 13 of their favorite icons for use with any browser. [Classic, OSX] Alexander King has released photos 4.0b3 is a web based application for managing (storing, cataloging and retrieving) digital photos. The donationware uses both PHP and MySQL; the latest version adds IPTC data import and viewing among other enhancements. [228KB] Photo Layout 1.0 is an $80 Cocoa application designed to "create birthday cards, flyers, business cards, garage sale posters, T-shirts, brochures, or almost any kind of design." It supports drag & drop, offers 8 border shapes, custom border sizes/colors, text editing (font, size, alignment, etc.), text manipulation (distortion, kerning, leading, etc.).
Terragen Mac is a new version of the scenery generator that can generate photorealistic landscape images and animations for Mac OS 9/X. Mac-only features include rendering directly to a file, QuickTime file support, generation of cubic/cylindrical QTVR panoramas, an OpenGL-based 3D preview, AltiVec optimizations, customized preferences for startup, AppleScript support, dynamic plugin support, and a Snapshot system, which allows you to record your position. Registration ($80) allows for higher-resolution image and terrain rendering as well as enhanced anti-aliasing modes.
Maxum Development has updated iAssist R1-007, its Internet server administration tool for Mac OS X. It adds shortcuts, an improved server installer, an option to apply stricter password enforcement and a variety of UI improvements. It includes functions to launch/restart/monitor server processes (remotely configurable), access to 30 Unix utilities, and web server acceleration via the Squid proxy server. Pricing starts at $250 for managing 2 servers. [1.4MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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