Tech news: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has agreed to allow America Online to transmit video entertainment over its popular Instant Messenger system, ending a restriction imposed when it approved the merger of the online company with media giant Time Warner Communications in early 2001. The decision is a victory for struggling AOL Time Warner, which lobbied hard for the change and hopes to use instant messaging to promote its video content.
Phelios has released its new PTK 1.0 game engine. The SDK is designed to port or create PC games easily to Mac OS X. The multiplatform 2D game engine built around OpenGL-accelerated hardwareat can be used by both beginners and advanced programmers: "If you can program in Basic, you can use PTK! It just requires a very basic knowledge of C++ and of course a C++ Compiler." It is available as an initial $5 trial download. Future releases will include a gaming network library and a webcam grabbing library, which "will enable players to see and be seen by their opponents while playing games."
GNUMail.app 1.1 is an update to the fully featured mail application, offering multiple POP account suport (with local caching), multiple delivery agents, IMAP support, mailbox management, personal preferences, filter with regular expressions, GPG (PGP) support, message threading, and other features. Version 1.1 features a new menu layout, an Advanced Preferences panel, improved PGP support, improved scripting support, and other features, bug fixes, refactorings and speed improvements. It is available under the GPL license for Mac OS X. [1.1MB]
Badia's FullMeasure XT 3.1 ($80) for QuarkXPress 6 now has built-in English, German and Spanish languages and is QuarkXPress 6 optimized. It offers a control palette with access to more than 150 context-sensitive functions, attributes and tools. Upgrades start at $20. [630KB] Deep Notes 1.2 is a simple hierarchical note pad. It can be used to outline ideas, make "to do" lists, or create any other type of list. Its keyboard shortcuts are designed to let users edit, navigate and control outlines quickly. Version 1.2 can open/save to tab-indented text files. [Download - 220KB] i3 has released DSP-Quattro 1.2, an update to its professional sound editing suite. Version 1.2 for Mac OS X fully supports AudioUnit Instrument and Effect plug-ins for both real-time and offline processing. The update also improves audio clipboard management and enhances the graphic interface. [Download - 6.58MB] KeyCamX is a simple application for setting up a Web camera. It recognizes any QuickTime-compatible camera including iSight or a DV camcorder. It will capture images at predefined interval, compress them to JPEG, and store locally or upload to a server via FTP. [Download - 700KB] MRWFormat is plug-in for Adobe Photoshop (and other compatible software) to open and pre-process raw images taken by Minolta DiMAGE digital still cameras. The purpose of the plug-in is to allow the user to use all the benefits of shooting in RAW format. A Mac version recently became available. [Download - 800KB]
MacNN reader Rob McKeever let us know about a potentially dangerous flaw in his office's slot-loading iMac. According to Mr. McKeever, the computer's Quantum hard drive caught fire over the weekend. As shown by photos, the fire remained contained to the hard drive compartment.
Afternoon tech news: The Sobig e-mail virus that caused havoc two months ago has reappeared in a virulent new form, according to e-mail service provider MessageLabs; the Recording Industry Association of America says it will not go after small violators when it sues people who illegally share songs over the Internet; Gateway said today that it would soon release a computer designed specifically to play video games.
For a new processor, the PowerPC G5 is "about as good as it gets," Aberdeen Group chief research officer Peter Kastner told TechNewsWorld. "The performance improvements are so evident that only a few minutes in the store demo area will convince many buyers that it's time to upgrade."
"New Icon Tuesdays" continue today at The Iconfactory, with the release of Garbage In, Garbage Out -- a set of freeware trashcan replacement icons from artist Anthony Piraino. Garbage In, Garbage Out contains renderings of five different items, each with an "empty" and "full" state for a total of 10 icons. The icons can be implemented using the CandyBar application.
Waves In Motion has released CourseWizard 3.5, a customizable FileMaker-based online solution for maintaining and organizing professional development courses. CourseWizard 3.5 offers browser-based administration for instructors and web-based information for participants. It includes online course catalog functions, online registration, email reminders, reports for course attendance and grades, participant payment tracking, and survey functions. Upgrade pricing starts at $500, while the full version of CourseWizard for Experts is $2800.
Mibasoft has released PodQuest 1.0, a $10 shareware application for Mac OS X that allows you to download MapQuest driving directions to your iPod. PodQuest adds a menu to your menu bar that contains shortcuts to MapQuest driving directions and iPod download functions. [176KB] Tumult HyperEdit 1.0b2 (donationware) is a lightweight HTML editor with a preview pane that displays the web page live as you type: "This clarifies the effects of your changes and speeds up the overall process of making a web page. It uses the same rendering engine found in Safari." [197KB] HyperSpell 1.0 ($10) is a menu item that provides quick access to Mac OS X's built-in spellchecker from the menubar: "Words that are misspelled appear with a red underline. You can then control-click (or right-click) on the misspelled words to reveal a list of possible spellings." [520KB] Brian Dunning has updated Weblet Charts (WC), a $25 utility for adding graphical business charts to Lasso and CDML web solutions: "Weblets are petite collections of format files and databases to get you started building your own system. WC provides a sample database and five chart format files." The developer ("GostCoder") of the open-source ChitChat, a Yahoo Chat client for Mac OS 9/X, writes: " I am currently looking for an outside devloper to take over the project." pixelglow software's macstl 0.12 is a C++ source library for generic programming. The library features std::valarray optimized for the Altivec execution engine and std::vector partially specialized on the Mach allocator, for OS-level copy-on-write. It is $100 per developer. [94KB] My Favorite Things 0.8.4 is a self-configuring launch utility that tracks use of applications, files, and folders as well as URLs and terminal commands. It displays a list of frequently used items in the menubar. [560KB] Optigold ISP 3.2.9 is a cross-platform business application for running an ISP (from billing to server management). It adds bank deposit report cutoff times, better billing cycle event triggering through web interface, Scotiabank support, and cookie support for HTTP events.
MacNN reader Tony Costa writes: "I was at Old Orchard Mall (in a northern suburb in Chicago) over the weekend and saw the makings of an Apple store. They had the black 'construction wall' up with the big white Apple logo. Its at the southern end of the mall near the Limited, William-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. This makes the 3rd Apple store in the Chicago metro area." The Mall's Website lists an Apple Store as "coming soon". Meanwhile, another reader passed along a photo of the construction of an Apple Store to open in Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, VA (as previously noted).
E-Book Systems' FlipAlbum product line allows users to instantly create digital photo albums or product catalogs featuring patented E-Book Systems' 3D page-flipping interface. The new Mac FlipAlbum 3 series offers cross-platform CD export capabilities, allowing the same album CD to playback on either Mac or Windows machines without any installation of software. E-Book also announced Mac FlipAlbum Pro ($150), which is expected to ship in early September 2003 and offers encryption and CD access control features for commercial use. Mac FlipAlbum 3 ($40) and Mac FlipAlbum 3 Suite ($60) are available immediately.
Apple's Emagic today released Logic Platinum 6.2, the first version of its professional audio production application optimized for the Power Mac G5. Logic Platinum 6.2 also includes special performance optimizations for Power Mac G5 models with dual processors. Version 6.2 also delivers performance and stability improvements when simultaneously recording multiple audio tracks under Mac OS X and fixes possible crashes with Waves plug-ins as well as offers other miscellaneous improvements. The free update is required when running Logic on the G5.
NTI today announced a new, more robust version of its CD and DVD burning softare for Mac OS X. Dragon Burn 3.0 fully supports new DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/+RW internal and external drives (USB 2.0 and FireWire) as well as 52x CD writers and includes NTI's exclusive technology: Dynamic Drive for eliminating software/hardware compatibility issues and Live Update to optimize software compatibility with burning devices. The Mac OS X software is $50. (Upgrade pricing was not available.)
Apple's new Power Mac G5 support articles include: external antenna required for AirPort or Bluetooth reception; it runs at reduced speed when the air deflector not properly installed; and serial number location as well as how to identify the AirPort and BlueTooth antennas: "You also receive an antenna for Bluetooth if you ordered that configuration." Other Mac OS X articles discuss network setting problems (DHCP and BootP missing) and an Software Update preference issue.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE