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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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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
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