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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: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir