Users of the MacNN forums discuss a number of topics today, including: screenshots for Mac OS X Panther that seem to indicate Apple will release wireless input devices; the pros and cons of purchasing a first-generation G5; the importance of laptop insurance for those who travel with their computers often; a potential competitor to Apple's iPod from Toshiba; features users would like to see added to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther; the recently-leaked screenshots from Microsoft's Longhorn operating system.
Apple Friday said it will delay the release of the Power Mac G5 in Japan by one month--"Consequently, the Power Mac G5 series -- the first PC equipped with a high-speed 64-bit microprocessor designed as a PC for nonprofessionals -- will debut in Japan in September. Production of the three Power Mac G5 models is behind schedule. The top-end Power Mac G5 with a 2.0 gigahertz microprocessor will be put on the market in late September, [while] the other two Power Mac G5 models will debut from early to mid-September."
Empower Pro today announced Empower Pro Phone 2.01 ($30), which allows Mac OS 9/X users to talk to others on the Internet. The newest version uses any email address to connect callers, offers enhanced web site lookup integration, has a new Metal appearance in Mac OS X, and improves performance and stability. Users can select compression settings for audio and the application provides point-to-point communication. It is available for $15 for a limited time. (iChat AV, currently in beta, requires Mac OS X 10.2, is expected to cost $30, and only works with AOL and .Mac accounts for Internet-based chats.) [Classic, OSX]
iCal Calling iChat! 1.0 lets you schedule iCal Events as messages in your iChat AV status message, which can be seen in other iChat users' Buddy Lists and allows users to notify others of current events. Registration ($5) adds support for recurring events, clearing of status message at end of scheduled event,a special "countdown message" feature, and the ability to use more than a single iChat Calendar. iCal Calling iTunes! v3.1 is an application that lets you use iCal to schedule iTunes music playlists to play. Users can schedule the start and stop times of playlists, set playlists to shuffle before playing, and schedule Internet radio stations. Registration ($5) adds support for setting iTunes volume by event, recognition of recurring events, and the ability to use more than a single iTunes Calendar.
Sillysoft's Lux 3.0 introduces the ability to load and save map files, includes a Risk map, and has more detailed Join Game and Record Book windows. It is a free update to the $15 shareware "world domination" game title for Mac OS X. [3.4KB] ZappTek's iSpeak It 1.3 ($10) adds the ability to download web pages, control of iTunes settings (e.g., artist, album, and genre), and a Services menu item. It allows users to take any document or web page and convert it into an MP3/AAC track in iTunes for playback on an iPod. It uses the Mac's built-in text-to-speech engine. [405KB] QuickAccessCM 1.5 is a free contextual plug-in for easy access to frequently used folders, documents and applications. It also offers "Move To", "Copy To", and "Make Alias In" functions. Users can now custom the folder destination for file commands. [183KB] Mariner Software has released Mariner Write 3.5.1, which adds a Swedish dictionary, improves spell checking, and has other enhancements to its word processing application for Mac OS 9/X. It features an automatic spell checker and the ability to read MS Word documents. [4.2MB] Pariahware's File Stitcher MP3 Edition v1.1 is a Mac OS X utility that gives users an easy way to merge MP3 files together. The $5 shareware allows users to register both the original File Stitcher and the MP3 Edition. A 30-day trial is available. [880KB] Calillona 1.3 is a freeware Sherlock channel that lets you search the catalog provided by Amazon.com. It now supports German and Japanese sites, adds French localization, and links to Amazon's editorials. (The developer is also looking for German and Japanese localization help.) [subscribe] PDM has announced a conversion tool that converts FileMaker Pro (FMPro) solutions to Servoy, a Java-based development and deployment environment that uses a SQL database (MySQL, Oracle, Postgresql, DB/2, Sybase). Users can move designs and scripts to Servoy and all data to any SQL database of choice.
Adobe this fall will roll out a Creative Suite collection that integrates a slew of upgrades to its professional graphics applications, reports Microsoft Watch. Sources said the Creative Suite will ship in two versions, both comprising a number of major application upgrades. The Standard version will include Photoshop 8, Illustrator 11 and InDesign 3; the Premium edition will also feature Acrobat 6 Professional and GoLive 7. Both versions will ship with the initial release of an Adobe technology code-named Bauhaus that will provide cross-application integration and other services. The Standard version is expected to cost around $1000, while the Premium edition will cost "a few hundred" dollars more.
PowerLogix has reduced the price of a number of products on its online store. Prices on some items have been reduced by as much as $150.
Nexkey's KeyAware v3 is a new version of its professional software solution for managing of all of your business keys and key holders. It offers functions for inventory, monitoring, reporting, email integration, history tracking, password protection, data entry controls, import, and export. It also offers dynamtic and fixed deadlines as well as extensive reporting options. A single-user edition is $290, while a multi-user license is $450. It is available for Mac OS 8/9 or Classic (under Mac OS X).
Dejal Systems has released Dejal Simon 1.2, an update to its site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks sites for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, or other means. It can be used to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important site goes down or recovers. It now includes Ping, DNS, and Application test, an 'Automatically Pause Test' feature, a redesigned and improved test configuration sheet, and several other enhancements. It is available in three editions: Basic (up to 3 tests) for $30, Standard (up to 10 tests) for $60; and Enterprise (unlimited tests) for $200.
PhoneValet 1.0h is an update to the $130 virtual telephone software for Mac OS X. Version 1.0h improves the details drawer by reducing its height to save space; adds import capability for Big Island YoYo phonebook export files; enhances Caller ID functionality; and improves Address Book. PhoneValet offers simplified dialing, call logging, speech recognition, number importing, AppleScript support, and other advanced features.
Apple's iPod has been recognized as the best "Internet Audio Device" in the European Imaging and Sound Association's (EISA) annual awards. EISA credits the iPod as: "A standard-bearer for the future of Internet music," reports Macworld UK. The iPod received the award based on the success of Apple's iTunes Music Store, described as: "the first successful paid-for Internet music service."
Tech news: According to screen shots leaked on the Internet of "Longhorn" -- the next version of Windows -- it will include a utility called SyncManager, which is the Windows equivalent of Apple's iSync; your Microsoft Word document can give readers more information about you than you might think, causing the UK government to turn to PDF documents; computer virus writers have unleashed an unprecedented outbreak of computer worms this past week, and finding them will not be easy.
MyKeynoteThemes has released Griffith -- the first commercial theme album available on the site -- comes in two sizes and has 27 or 33 master slides. It is based on the character of an abused book from the 18th century. It includes an Enhancement Package that contains several chiseled titles, a corroded copper plate, and two complete Album Covers, ready to be used as graphic elements, or imported into other projects as either 8x6 or 10x7 master slides or slides. Pricing starts at $10.
CompuCable has introduced FireXpress800 350DX, a 3.5" ATA bridge kit. It is powered to convert any IDE hard disk drive into a fast FireWire800 external storage device. The data stored on the drive is fully accessible with either USB or FireWire800, and does not require special partitions. It supports large-capacity hard drives, and is compatible with the latest large-capacity ATA-6 hard drives. It is available now for $180.
KoalaCalc 3.5 is a free scientific calculator for Mac OS X with numerous mathematical functions including trig and log functions plus 10 individual memory banks. It also offers unit conversion functions, statistical calculations on up to 10 data sets (including t-tests and ANOVA), a built-in tape recorder, and more. The $20 shareware DockFun! 4.0.5, now with 10 new features, can create an infinite of different docks for use with different desktop environments. It features autolaunch, hot keys, hide/show specific Docks, Donelleschi Docks, iTunes-like organization, and other features. [817KB] Finder Window Manager 1.5 ($10) manages Finder windows under Mac OS X. It allows you to create Window Sets to remember the size, placement, and all the view options of your open windows and easily restore the captured Window Set properties. It adds hotkeys, window sorting, and other features. [482KB] Perfect Score 1.1.9 is a teacher grade book program for Mac OS X, offering seating chart (with images), color-coded attendance, and score table functions. In addition, Perfect Score has built in support for curves, category weightings, custom grade systems, attendance penalties, and drag and drop support. [660KB] Alex King's "donationware" photos 4.01 is a web-based application for storing, cataloging, and retrieving photos (but does not build web galleries). It uses PHP and mySQL to create a searchable management system for track photos. [225KB] Photo Layout 1.02 is a $100 application for designing pages with photos and text. It can create birthday cards, flyers, business cards, signs, garage sale posters, T-shirts, brochures, logos, etc. A $20 discount is offered for all purchases this month. [1.7MB]
Mango Dental Software is designed for dental specialists in the professional environment. It streamlines patient management with advanced scheduling and billing resources including HIPAA-compliant e-claims service. It also stores digital x-ray images with patient records and connects to any Palm-based PDA, using companion software. Mango will import the data from competing software titles for the Mac.
Griffin Technology today announced a redesign of its PowerPod iPod Auto Charger, which it says is the only iPod charger fully compatible with both original and the new "3G" iPods. It now has a sleek new grey and white charger module that matches Griffin's other iPod accessories. The new PowerPod also includes a new ultra-light ultra-flexible 48-inch white FireWire cable. It is available now for $25. Griffin is also accepting pre-orders on the iFire, which connects via FireWire and audio mini jack to any Mac to power and connect any pair of Apple Pro Speakers. It is expected to ship by the end of the summer.
Described as an "affordable all-in-one Mac system with adequete speed and a 17-inch display," Apple's eMac was ZDNet's Back to School Pick for the "Starving Student" category: "Don't mess around with setup, crazy configuration, or big price tags; this sparely designed Mac has everything a student needs, including a SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) option. Plus, its compact size is perfect for those tiny dorm desks."
Apple is now offering Exclusive Training "Going Digital with iPhoto", a $40 retail value, as part of its subscription-based .Mac services: "Apple's online training Going Digital with iPhoto is an exclusive benefit for full .Mac members. Learn how to take great digital pictures, then organize, edit, and share them using iPhoto and your Mac. Includes 56 QuickTime movies." Readers also note that Apple is also offering Focus On: iSync, a live (limited) online session scheduled for September 9th (6 pm PST) with Apple's iSync product manager, who will give "an audio presentation on the nuts and bolts of this unique software" and will allow users to ask questions (submitted in advance).
Nisus Thesaurus, now in beta, automatically integrates with any Service aware application including Nisus Writer Express, Mail, TextEdit, Safari, and more. It is based on the WordNet lexical databae, featuring a 120,000 word database, a built-in glossary, an offensive words filter and more. The final version of the Mac OS X-only application is due later this year. [8.5MB] Jumsoft today released Keynote Objects 1.0 ($25), its new package of alive 3D objects for Apple's Keynote presentation application. Jumsoft Keynote Objects are not just simple images, but they are living images. It includes 15 transparent, high-quality and "alive" resizable objects for presentations. Atomic Bird's Macaroni 1.4.3 ($8) adds Panther compatibility to its system utility that handles regular maintenance for Mac OS X, including the Mac OS X "repair privileges" process as well as Unix-style maintenance. Users can based schedule on power settings and system idle time as well as track maintenance history. [459KB] Netflix Fanatic 1.0 ($10) offers the ability to manage a Netflix account: users can drag & drop to rearrange a Netflix queue, assign "ownership" to rented movies (for shared accounts), keep notes on individual movies, purchase already-viewed DVDs, search a Netflix queue, and track DVD rental history. [350KB] PodUtil 1.1 is a free utility that "enables you to copy the contents of your iPod to any Mac that has a firewire port. PodUtil will sort the copied files by Artist and/or by Album, and can assosiate copied files with many MP3 players." [1.1MB] The $7 shareware for Mac OS X, Craigdude 1.0, tracks an "unlimited number of Craigslist classified ads. Each classified is placed within it's own tab and contains the latest 50 postings of that particular classified." [133KB] maintain1 5.0 is an update to the free AppleScript Studio application that offers a UI for performing dozens of shell scripts for system maintenance, including application prebinding (for improved system performance), maintenance routines, and other functions. [310KB]
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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