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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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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko