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Macromedia has posted a public beta of its Flash Player 7.0b, an update to the browser plugin for Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, and Opera. Version 7 for Mac OS X improves video performance by 15-70%, offers improved video quality, and has ActionScript performance increases. [Classic, OSX] DansGuardian is a web content filter that filters the actual content of pages based on many methods including phrase matching, PICS filtering and URL filtering. The freeware uses Squid and Dansguardian. [1.6MB] The Essential Wedding Planner 1.5 includes more vendor categories and a new "Bridal Party" section. It features a simple interface to track expenses, including deposits, balances due and total expenses, as well as dates, guests, vendors and seating charts. The $15 utility runs on Mac OS 9/X. The $15 shareware AtYourService is an application allows users to add items to their Services menu, allowing users to perform functions based on selected text. It includes Google services, translation services, text manipulation, web services (definition, synonyms, etc.), and Yahoo! stocks. [672KB] LapCop 2.0 is a stealth software application that secretly transmits an electronic beacon to an e-mail address of your choice, allowing you to track & locate your Mac, anywhere in the world in the event of theft. Registration is $25. [453KB] D-Vision 2.0 is a donationware utility that can encode DivX 3/4 using Mencoder and Mplayer (included). [6.2MB] Formac's DVD authoring software, devideon 2.5, adds support for StudioTVR 3.0.3, and iMovie 3 chapter marks as well as fixes a bitrate calculation bug and improves support for movies with Photo-JPEG compression. The software works with Formac's devideon SuperDrive, a DVD-R/RW & CD-R/RW combo drive. San Saeteurn's Image Interlacer 1.1 w/ 3D FX ($12) is an advanced version of the freeware Interlacer, offering the ability to set the line thickness of the interlaced image and options for tinting, image opacity, vertical/horizontal/cross interlacing, and 3D image creation. [4.0MB]
Profound Effects has released Useful Assistants (UA), a powerful automation tool for Adobe After Effects (AE). UA streamlines workflow within After Effects by automating tedious tasks and supplementing After Effect features. The plug-in includes more than 35 assistants and allows users to save common settings for assistants as presets, and even chain presets together to automate more complex tasks. Using Profound Effects' uPlug technology, users can also create their own or modify existing assistants to expand the toolset. The $300 plugin supports both AE 5.5 and AE 6.
James Sentman has released CD Session Burner 2.0 for Mac OS X, allows users to burn multiple volumes on CD-R or CD-RW media--until all the space is used up. (The built in software on OSX only lets you burn a single volume to a CDR.) Version 2.0 of the $17 shareware improves support for Mac OS X 10.2, eliminates the problems creating disks with more than 3 or 4 sessions, better supports machines with multiple burners attached and brings preliminary compatibility with Windows (i.e., it can only read the first session) by including ISO9660/Joliet formatting data. [1.8MB]
Afternoon tech news: Earthlink is offering a branded version of MusicNow, the subscription-based online music service; The New York Times looks at the "fragile" economics of of IBM's chip business and "the higher costs from low production efficiency at its new factory in East Fishkill, N.Y.;" worldwide shipments of LCD TVs increased in the first quarter, while retail sales of laptop and desktops with DVD recorders jumped 550 percent in the first half of this year; Gateway will outsource production of its new $399 desktop.
Adobe today began shipping After Effects 6.0 (AE), an update to to its motion graphics and visual effects software. Version 6 offers performance enhancements, next text animation tools, integrated vector paint tools, a new motion tracker, render animation, Keylight for creating mattes, more than a dozen new effects, better masking, and an improved interface. AE Standard ($700) provides core 2D and 3D compositing, animation, and visual effects tools, while AE Professional ($1000) adds motion tracking and stabilization, advanced keying and warping tools, more than 30 additional visual effects, a particle system, render automation and network rendering, 16-bit-per-channel color, 3D channel effects, and additional audio effects.
MacSoft has announced it will release Microsoft Game Studios' best-selling real-time strategy game, Age of Mythology, for Mac OS X in October, 2003: "Harnessing the powers of Greek, Norse and Egyptian gods and more than 40 mythological creatures, such as Cyclopes and Minotaurs, [it] envelops players in a world where heroes battle mythological creatures and gods meddle in the lives of mortal men." The game was created by Ensemble Studios and the Mac conversion is being performed by Westlake Interactive.
The Computer History Museum, home to the world's largest collection of computer artifacts, today announced plans for AppleLORE, the second in its series of commemorative events to capture and preserve stories from notable information age companies. AppleLORE will celebrate Apple's historical contribution from 1976 through 1993. The invitation-only event will be held September 13, 2003, at the Computer History Museum's new home in Mountain View (CA) and is open to alumni of Apple and Claris who worked at the companies between 1976 and 1993.
Dartware's network application InterMapper 4.1 provides a real-time view of a network, showing the health of servers as well as the traffic flows through and between critical wired and wireless network devices. This release allows customers to create their own programs (written in C, Perl, etc.) to test devices, or to use plugins developed for the open-source Nagios or Big Brother systems. In addition, it can monitor a device's CPU, memory, and disk utilization using the Host Resources MIB, and can create historical strip charts of values read from a device. Pricing starts at $500. [Classic, OSX]
Lexar Media is shipping "the world's first and only" 4GB CompactFlash memory card ($1,500), which stores about 600 images captured in RAW mode using a 6-megapixel digital camera. It is speed rated at 40X, offering a sustained minimum write speed of 6MB/s and can achieve even greater speeds in Write Acceleration-enabled cameras. Lexar's Image Rescue software is included to recover lost images or permanently erase the card preventing future image recovery. The CompactFlash Type II card requires FAT32 file system support (see list of cameras).
The icon organization tool for Mac OS X, Pixadex 1.1, addresses several commonly reported bugs and now fully supports the import and export of Mac-based .icns files, especially useful for developers. It is a free upgrade to the $20 shareware. [962KB] iStumbler is a free, open-source tool for finding and mapping 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networks. Version 0.81b previews the new location panel and introduces iStumbler.net and improves the monitor window with configurable stay-on-top and transparency. [664KB] Virtual TimeClock 4.7 is a cross platform time and attendance software replacement for traditional mechanical employee time clocks. Version 4.7 includes a new electronic (PDF) version of the user's guide and other bug fixes. New licenses are $180 with upgrades starting at $90. [Classic, OSX] Parker Software has updated NewsHunter 2.1.3 (NH), its $50 news reader for Usenet group; Archer 2.3.3 (AR), its free multimedia viewer for Mac OS X; and ArcherPro 3.1.1 (ARP), its $30 advanced multimedia viewer for Mac OS X. [NH, AR, ARP] NetScrape 1.0 is a shareware ($15) application for Mac OS X that can find all the images on a given website, download them, and present thumbnail and full-sized views. It can be confifured to select images of a certain size, type, or from a particular website or crawl one or more websites. [545KB] Colin Munro's $15 shareware iRC 0.9 is a native Mac OS X IRC client, supporting multiple servers, mIRC colors and text formatting, message highlighting, private messages, DCC chat, DCC file transfer, auto-connect to servers, custom font colors and types, multi-window/single-window operation, and other features. [1.0MB] Gerard Putter's Virtual ][ 2.0 is a shareware application for Mac OS X that emulates the Apple ][, Apple ][+ and Apple //e computers. It adds emulation of the Apple //e, mouse card emulation, full-screen support and multiple window sizes, configurable support for the Game I/O connector, and other enhancements.
Strange Adventures In Infinite Space (SAIS) is now available for Mac OS 9/X. "Sail the high sea of stars in your own deep space exploration vessel. Explore exotic star systems; seek out new technologies, artifacts and lifeforms; boldly blow up stuff where no one has has blown up stuff before! SAIS is different every time it is played. Stars, planets, black holes, nebula mass, alien patrols, items, lifeforms and other encounters are randomized for each new Strange Adventure." The full version ($15) features many advanced features including more ship types, weapons, alien lifeforms, planet and star types, and unique alien races.
Virtual Programming (VP) says it will publish Horse Racing Manager for the Mac later this year. The game, which is currently in development at VP, will allow players to enjoy the sport as an owner, a breeder, a trainer, a jockey, or a gambler. We have a posted a photo gallery of screenshots from the game.
Canon has introduced its new i560 Desktop Photo Printer, which it says is the world's first PictBridge-enabled inkjet printer, allowing users to print directly from any PictBridge compatible camera or camcorder. The i560 delivers print speeds of up to 22 ppm in black and up to 15 ppm in color and is capable of delivering 19 million droplets of ink per second at the maximum of 4800 x 1200. It is expected to ship in August for $130 and is compatible with Mac OS 8/9/X. [site not updated]
Booq has announced its PodPaq nappa iPod case, a "3G" (third-generation) iPod case made from pure Nappa leather. Based on the company's ballistic nylon PodPaq014 iPod case ($40) introduced at Macworld New York, PodPaq nappa targets iPod users looking for "refined styling, pure materials, impeccable construction and solid functionality." It integrates a slim belt clip, two accessory pockets in a removable flap, as well as precise cutouts for controls, headphone jack and dock. It is available now for $50.
Microsoft today announced a Microsoft Exchange Update for Entourage X 10.1.4, which provides enhanced functionality between Entourage X for Mac and Microsoft Exchange Server, the company's enterprise server for messaging and collaboration. The MacBU also recommends that Office v. X for Mac customers download the free update for enhancements to Word X, PowerPoint X and Excel X. The free download is available from the Mactopia Website. [Now available -- 29MB]
Australian retailers are unable to obtain an adequate supply of iPods, forcing users to turn to Internet auction sites such as eBay, according to ARNnet: "'We've been averaging a hundred calls a day,' Next Byte director, Adam Steinhardt, said. He described the supply situation as 'dire'. 'It's been a drought for six weeks,' Steinhardt said. 'Supply has been trickling through.' Apple Centre Broadway was seeing a 'disheartening' supply of iPods, salesperson... 'We have a steady dribble of supply that goes out to back order. We’ll order 20 and maybe get five.'"
Now AAPL Stock: 93.92 ( + 0.22 )
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU