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.
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