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Evening tech news: Adobe's portable document format is under fire from competitors looking to muscle in on the electronic document market; U.S. federal prosecutors credited the man responsible for transmitting the Melissa virus -- a computer bug that did more than $80 million in damage in 1999 -- with helping the FBI bring down several major international hackers; the long-awaited launch of Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon64 processor is less than a week away, and it's only a matter of time before rival Intel duplicates AMD's approach, the company has said.
Griffin today released PowerMate 2.02 beta drivers for Mac OS X, its driver software for its PowerMate USB Controller. It now adds support for use of up to six PowerMate USB Multimedia Controllers simultaneously. Griffin is offering a special price of $40 ($5 off) for a limited time. It is available in Black or original Brushed Aluminum colors and comes with presets for many common applications such as iTunes, iMovie, Safari, etc., while new settings can be created for other applications.
MetaCommunications today announced Virtual Ticket Production Pack 2.5 (VTPP), an upgrade to its solution that offers in-process digital asset management and now includes support for QuarkXPress 6.0 on Mac OS X (as well as previous versions). VTTP offers the ability to access related production and digital asset information using either a QuarkXPress XTension or an Adobe plug-in, both of which automatically capture detailed multi-page document previews and rich XML metadata as well as integrate into Virtual Ticket 5.5. It will ship next month with special upgrade pricing through October 15.
WaterField Designs, a leading maker of custom-fitted computer cases and bags, will soon begin shipping a SleeveCase model designed specifically for Apple’s newly-introduced 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook G4. The SleeveCase is a slim, durable covering made of ballistic nylon and high-grade neoprene that envelopes itself around laptops. It can be used by itself, or can be inserted into briefcases, messenger bags, or backpacks. The new SleeveCase for the 15-inch Aluminum Apple PowerBook G4 (size 11) will be available tomorrow for $40.
Synergy Software has released KaleidaGraph 3.6, the latest version of its application for "sophisticated curve fitting and data analysis." Version 3.6 adds to the statistical testing capability begun with the inclusion of the student t-test in version 3.5, eliminating the need to move data to an additional application. Upgrades to KaleidaGraph are priced at $50 and are available both electronically and on CD. Platform crossgrades are $75, while new purchases of KaleidaGraph 3.6 are $180 (CD) or $160 (electronic).
A group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against some PC makers (Apple, Dell, Gateway, HP, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba), claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives. The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the purportedly unfair marketing practices, an order requiring the defendants to disclose their practices to the public, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits and attorneys' fees, according to Reuters.
We have three video reports from Apple Expo Paris, including "How long have you been waiting?", "It's my birthday!", and "Getting though the security". This supplements our three photo galleries: Show Floor, Keynote, Keynote/Showfloor.
Eovia today began shipping Carrara Studio 3, its 3D solution for the Web, print and video. Carrara Studio 3 offers professional-level tools for modeling, texturing, animation, rendering and special effects. It introduces Eovia Impression, a "revolutionary" non-photorealistic rendering engine, and Eovia Photon Reality 2.0, a global illumination renderer with HDRI support. Other new rendering features include Alpha Channel rendering, Raytraced Soft Shadows and more. The English/International version of Carrara Studio 3 is available for $400 for Mac OS 8/9/X. A free trial requires registration.
Samsung Electronics has introduced the SyncMaster 403T, the industry's first 40" TFT-LCD monitor and its new USB-enabled CLP-500 color laser printer. The 403T features a slim form factor, a 170 degree viewing angle in all directions, 1280 x 768 resolution, a 500 cd/m2 brightness, and a contrast ratio of 600:1. Samsung's new CLP-500 color laser printer offers 21 ppm (black/white) and 5 ppm (color) print speeds, USB 2.0 connectivity, up to 160MB of memory, and 850 sheets (with an optional paper tray). It also offers optional 802.11b and Ethernet connections. The company also exhibited its new 70" PDP TV and 54" TFT-LCD TV--both of which feature 1920x1080 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio extremely high brightness (1000 and 800 cd/m2, respectively) and high contrast ratios (1,500:1 and 800:1).
Archos has announced its ARCDisk, which it describes as "the world's smallest and lightest" 20GB external hard drive. The companys say the bus-powered storage device is smaller than a floppy disk, weighs only 2.7 ounces, and features USB 2.0 connectivity. It is based on the new generation 1.8-inch hard disk from Hitachi. The 20GB version (4,200 rpm/2MB buffer) is available now for $250 and ships with a USB 2.0 cable and power adapter. It will also be available in a 40GB capacity at a later date.
Each classroom of the Tempe, Arizona Elementary District's 24 schools will be equipped with two new eMacs, according to The Arizona Republic: "The 1,400 new flat-screen monitors and computers are designed specifically for education and were installed over the summer. They will cost the district $2.15 million over the next three years, which will be paid out of a fund for technology, buses and textbooks....The computers will operate on the Cox Education Network, enabling students to access their projects at any computer with an Internet connection in or out of school."
D-Link today extended its line of popular Internet security cameras with the release ofthe D-Link DCS-900 Video Monitoring Internet Camera, its compact web-based camera that delivers live video over the Internet for real-time viewing and monitoring or automatic sensor-based recording and notification. It will ship in October for $130. Sony today also introduced its SNC-Z20N network color video camera, which is scheduled to be available in October, although it said would announce pricing at a later date.
Digit magazine is offering the complete, commercial version of Eovia's Carrara Studio 1.1 (£300 value) with the new issue, which is on sale now. Carrara is a professional 3D modelling, animation, and rendering tool that enables full real-time scene manipulation and high-quality 3D rendering. Eovia today began shipping the latest version, Carrara Studio 3, announced in July. Digit says that an (undisclosed) upgrade is enclosed as well, while Eovia announced $250 upgrade pricing from v1.1. Digit 66 is available for order in the UK (£6), Europe (£9), and other parts of the world (£10). [pricing updated]
Thursby has posted ADmitMac 1.1p1, an update to its application that offers directory services provided by both Active Directory and NT Directory Services and DAVE 4.1p2, an update to its cross-platform sharing application. Both correct recognition of DFS junctions and add URL/UNC name resolution. [AD, DAVE] Unsanity's WindowShade X 3.0.1 adds new actions to minimize windows and enhances the minimize-in-place functionality to the Mac OS X utility that brings the familiar window-collapsing effect from Classic Mac OS into Mac OS X, and allows you to control window shadow settings. [1.9MB] David Ahmed has added a 'Flyby' view to Exhibition X 2.2, which now offers 7 easy-to-navigate, OpenGL-enhanced 3D viewing environments for picture folders. It offers direct iPhoto 2 integration, choice of background textures & colors, and other options. The $15 shareware runs on Mac OS X. [unknown] DigiSlice has released AppComposer 3.0.2, an update to its integrated assembly environment for building applications from reusable Java components. In addition to several bug fixes, the free version (SE) can now create webpages with Free Marker. The $600 Enterprise Edition (EE) has a rewritten JMS (Java Messaging Service) component. [SE, EE] Alexander Clauss's freeware MisFox 1.1 (MF) makes some internet settings accessible again under Mac OS X. It will display the file mappings settings and the protocol helpers as well as allow users to edit, delete and create new items. More Internet 1.1 (MI) is a free System Preferences pane with the same functionality. [MF, MI] OSXvnc 1.3 is a full featured VNC server providing remote access to the GUI, keyboard and mouse using any VNC client. Version 1.3 offers several new features including local cursor support and more UI control. It also addresses several stability problems and has improved performance. [221KB] Another Launcher 2.0 (donationware) lets you open applications, files, local folders, system preferences, and bookmarks by either browsing fully customizable system-wide spring-loaded menus, entering abbreviations of the applications, pressing hot keys, and clicking hot corners. It also offers move/copy functions for files, access to browser bookmarks and Address Book, and control iTunes. [455KB]
Macworld UK has a report on the possibility of an upcoming G5 PowerBook, which Apple VP of Hardware Engineering says is "a challenge," but simply "an issue of good, solid engineering." The report says "He made it clear, however, that the current crop of G5 processors are designed for desktop machines, and a cooler-running version of the processor would be needed for a PowerBook. But he did point to the fact that a few years ago, nobody thought it would be possible to get a G4 processor in a PowerBook."
Belkin this week introduced its new Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub, a reversible and stackable design allows the unit to be positioned toward the back of the desktop for efficient cable management, or to the front of the desktop for easier port access. It is the "size of a deck of cards" and ships with a power cable. The Hub is self- powered and allows cascading, so that up to 127 USB devices may be connected to a single port. The Hub will begin shipping at the end of the month for $30. The Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7- Port Hub ($50, pictured at right), also due at the end of the month, features two top-loading 480Mbps ports and five horizontally mounted 480Mbps ports.
breve 1.7 is a freeware 3D artificial life simulation environment with realistic physical simulation and an OpenGL display engine. Users define the behaviors of agents using an easy-to-use language and observe how the agents interact in a simulated world. This release features major enhancements to physical simulation, graphical rendering, support for customized terrains, fractal-based landscapes, new documentation, improved shadow effects, and more. The source code is now also available under the GPL.
Informatix has launched the Mac OS X version of Piranesi, its "3D Painting" program: "Designers can start with simple models and renderings, and use Piranesi's patented '3D Painting' technology to quickly fill in missing detail and produce artistic, hand-drawn effects. Piranesi images can be produced from 3DS or DXF models; popular Macintosh 3D applications such as Art*lantis, form*Z, and LightWave provide direct interfaces." It has Mac-only features such as multi-fill styles, automatic contrast adjustments, and improved support for pressure sensitive pens. The style library technology also has been reworked using XML and floating cutouts can now be saved directly into a Piranesi EPix file.
A MacNN reader notes that Microsoft's updated IntelliPoint Mouse and IntelliType keyboard drivers (noted yesterday) bring compatibility with the new G5 Power Macs (and other Macs with USB 2.0): "The previous version of IntelliPoint did not detect a Microsoft Mouse when used on a G5, and I assume the same would have happened with IntelliType." [IntelliType, IntelliPoint] Epson's Twain Driver and EPSON Scan Utility v1.25A for its Expression scanner series supports both USB and FireWire connections: "Finally I can scan into Acrobat 6 and use OmniPage Pro! Even GraphicConverter works! WorkingPapers new X version works! Even the button on my scanner opens the Epson Scan app!" [8.7MB] Eduphant is a freeware educational client designed to help users learn SQL and PostgreSQL. It offers templates for the basic SQL commands to easily pick up the syntax and the logic and the ability to enter commands quickly as well direct links to internet documentation. [Classic, OSX] Andy Szybalski's Shellsilver 1.2 is a freeware application for Mac OS X that makes it more convenient to execute UNIX shell scripts. The user can simply double-click any .sh file in the Finder, and the shell script will pop open in a Terminal window. [80KB] FFusion 2.2 (previously ffmpeg D*vX) is an alternative open-source DivX Codec that can play MS-MPEG4v1, MS-MPEG4v2, DivX 3.11 alpha, DivX 4 (aka OpenDivX), DivX 5, 3ivx (Delta 4 and later) and XVID. It is based on ffmpeg libavcodec 0.4.6 and is optimized for G4/PPC processors, but no longer includes Avi2Mov for converting DivX 4/5/XVID files. [3.9MB] Matrix pre9 is "not merely another filesystem. [It] is being designed to completely replace the Finder and the Desktop and a variety of other utility apps with a single integrated application." It offers inline image viewing/editing functions, virtual volume creation, and more UI options. [849KB] Webroot Software's MacWasher X ($40) is a new Mac OS X privacy tool with the ability to "bleach" files with secure overwrite capabilities that exceed stringent Department of Defense standards, including browser and Instant Messaging (IM) files as well as other popular application using customizable plugins. [4.9MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ
View-Master VR device in Apple Store
Apple has started to sell a Google Cardboard-style VR headset modeled on a classic Mattel toy. Initially launched early last year, the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack for $30 is designed to use an iPhone as a display, with a Preview Reel and lever system mimicking the toy's switching between images to take users between different VR apps and scenes. http://bit.ly/1RhJW8y
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t