Evening tech news: Microsoft is expected next month to disclose more details on Longhorn, its planned upgrade to Windows, as the company looks to drive demand for the forthcoming operating system; Good Guys Inc., an electronics retailer, said Monday it agreed to be purchased by computer store chain CompUSA for about $55 million in cash; AMD has begun showing an updated reference design for a personal digital assistant running the Linux operating system to hardware makers, according to a company executive.
Omicron Software Systems has released an updated version of ToDo X, its simple to-do list application for Mac OS X. Version 1.4 introduces a comprehensive Dutch translation, in addition to other minor upgrades. ToDo X is $15. [Download - 278KB] DVDxDV 1.062 is a complete DVD extraction package. Unlike other software, DVDxDV ($25) contains everything you need to start extracting video from a unencrypted DVD. Version 1.062 has improved audio sync and better video encoding. [Download - 529KB] GNUMail.app 1.1.1 is an update to the free feature-rich mail application for Mac OS X. The new release features many UI improvements such as auto-completing text fields, full drawer support, PGP improvements, and bug fixes. [Download - 1.2MB] WeatherMenu 3.5 adds a menu item to your menu bar, filled with a "huge amount" of weather data. It automatically puts multiple icons in the menu bar, downloads and displays current weather info for multiple cities worldwide, and offers full forcast information. [Download - 2.2MB] PostArmor is an application that helps to keep users' electronic mailboxes free of unsolicited e-mail ("spam"). It looks at the relevant parts of incoming email before it leaves the mail server, and lets the legitimate messages pass through undisturbed. [Download - 707KB] DEVONagent, the "intelligent search agent" and alternative browser for Mac, is now available as Public Beta 3, the last beta before the final release. Version 1.0b3 comes with four new plug-ins for searching directories, such as Yahoo, WebShots, Mac news sites and the DEVONtechnologies Web forum. [Download - 1.6MB]
Printable announced plans to acquire PrintReady from Extensis. An application service, PrintReady provides preflight file inspection, compression and transfer capabilities that simplify and expedite the process of preparing and electronically transferring print jobs. Printable has been employing PrintReady technology to power PrintFlight, the company's own preflight product which is integrated into its PrintSite, Printer's Dashboard and PrintOne Customer Center websites: "There will be no interruption of service to Extensis' current PrintReady customers during the relocation of the system to Printable's operations center. A specific transfer strategy will be communicated to existing customers as both companies work toward signing a definitive agreement."
Olympus today announced its C-5060 Wide Zoom digital camera. The 5.1 megapixel camera features a wide-angle lens (27mm to 110mm, f2.8 - f8.0) and a 14x total seamless wide-angle zoom (4x optical + 3.5x digital). Based on the success of the C-5050 Zoom, it adds improved processing speed, greater zoom power, as well as a more-articulated LCD to provide greater flexibility while framing awkward angle shots. The C-5060 Wide Zoom is a compact camera with a rugged, black, magnesium alloy body that measures a mere (4.6" long x 3.4" high x 2.6" wide, and weighs just 15.2 ounces (without the battery or media).
Shapiro Consulting Group has released its third plug-in called Asiva Shift+Gain Component. It is based on SCGI's patented image enhancement technology that uses curves to allow operators to make selections based on the Hue, Saturation and Luminance components. and has been tested with Photoshop 5.5 through 7.0. Within Photoshop, the plug-in supports 8- or 16-bit, RGB and offers flexible control over how shifting or gaining is applied to an image using adjustable maps (curves) on the Hue, Saturation and Luminance components as well as control of the roll-off on the maps, saveable presets, a color sampler tooler, and other features. The $70 plugin runs under Mac OS 9/X.
Aladdin today released StuffIt Standard Edtion 8.0, following the recent launch of StuffIt Deluxe 8.0. Version 8 includes faster compression, DropStuff filters, new access to newsgroup and Windows formats .yenc and .cab, and integrated HTML help. StuffIt Standard Edition includes StuffIt Expander, DropStuff, DropZip, and DropTar, to easily create and access email attachments and other compressed files. Full versions are $50, while upgrades are $30.
Apple has extended its "Every Mac Needs .Mac" promotion through December 27, 2003. The rebranded "A Must-have for Mac Users" promotion offers a $30 discount on .Mac memberships ($99) when purchased with a Mac. The offer is good in the US only and requires submission of a mail-in rebate by January 31, 2004.
Captain FTP 3.0 updates the Mac OS X FTP client with a metal interface, server-to-server transfers, a custom toolbar editor, improved 'Favorites', custom icons, and other enhancements. The $25 software offers support for SSL-FTP and SFTP, accelerated downloads, file resume, folder synchronization, Rendezvous support, browser and text editor integration, and permissions management. [2.4MB] iMark 3.0 is a small application that helps manage student grades, providing a graphical overview or print functions as well as management of several users. The donationware is available for Mac OS X only. [2.1MB] Saft 3.2 adds full-screen browsing and kiosk mode for Apple's browser. It now allos users to keep the same windows size/location when switching back to normal mode. It is freeware for Mac OS X. [216KB] The $30 TrainingLog 1.1.2 is an application for storing and reviewing your athletic training. It is designed for use by multi-sport athletes, such as triathletes and duathletes, but can be used equally well by single-sport athletes, such as cyclists, runners, rowers or swimmers. [Classic, OSX] SmallImage 1.2 will reduce the size of your JPEG files, without changing the quality or resizing your images---by removing metadata: "For example a JPEG image taken from a digital camera was reduced with SmallImage from 420 KB to 168 KB, without any change of quality or size!" [900KB] ActiveDeveloper 2.15 for MacOS X 10.2 is a runtime Objective-C & C IDE, JIT compiler and Debugger that cuts your API learning curve and allows incremental Development of any size project. It adds support for the new WebKit and also supports developing Cocoa and QuickTime-based apps in Objective-C. Pricing starts at $50.[form] The "donationware" Another Launcher 2.1 adds the ability to display a popup of folder contents when pressing a hotkey, more System Controls, editing/deleting multiple items via the contextual menu, and improved startup time. It offers keyboard-based app/file launching, hotkey customization, hot corners, and file management. [461KB]
FineLine BarCode Technologies today launched SymArt 6, a prepress barcode generation software package that interacts with Adobe Illustrator and Acrobat products and other software to allow users to create Digitally Verifiable Codes (DV Codes): "We have shortened to an absolute minimum the prepress production process by allowing users to digitally check barcode quality, on-screen." The new Digital Verification Tool (DVT), a companion product (patent pending) works together with DV Codes created by the SymArt suite of software products."
Markzware today launched FlightCheck Professional 5, its professional preflighting tool for print and multimedia. Version 5 adds Mac OS X support, support for PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 in PDF FlightPlans, a special PDF object model, support for OpenType fonts, and other improvements. The stand-alone solution scans QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Multi-Ad Creator, Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, FreeHand, CorelDRAW and PDF files via drag & drop to warn users of over 150 potential problems, including colors, fonts and images. Upgrades to the $500 application are $200, while FlightCheck Designer 5, a "lighter" version, is $200 (upgrades are $100).
UK newspaper The Times Online reports that "a battle over name rights between the Apple Computer and Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label, may take years to settle, according to Steve Jobs...Mr Jobs told The Times that the two sides' latest quarrel looks destined to be decided by a judge. He said: 'Itís really stupid. We canít reach an agreement, but the courts could drag on for a few years.' Apple Computer and Apple Corps signed a pact a decade ago on what each can do with the name, but now disagree on its terms. Mr Jobs said: 'Weíre going to have to take it to court to find out whoís right.'"
NAPP today announced "The Photoshop CS Revolution," its largest and most comprehensive Photoshop training initiative, which begins with PhotoshopWorld's keynote presentation which will give attendees the first in-depth look at Photoshop CS. At the conference, Adobe will also provide hands-on Photoshop CS training and distribute a bonus issue of Photoshop User magazine with articles and tutorials on how to make the most of CS. NAPP also announced its Photoshop CS Summit, a six-city seminar tour sponsored by Adobe and led by nationally-known trainers Scott Kelby and Dave Cross, offering an evening of free training in Photoshop special effects and photo retouching using Photoshop CS (SF, L.A., Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, and Dallas).
Avid today began shipping Avid Xpress Pro software and the Avid Mojo DNA (Digital Nonlinear Accelerator), its Mac OS X solution for professional video, film, and audio editing--including true real-time digital and analog output. As standalone software, Avid Xpress Pro ($1,700) offers Film Composer technology, which includes 24p film editing and support for the Panasonic AG-DVX100 24p camera, as well as support for various offline formats, including 15:1s, 35:1p, 28:1p, and 14:1p. The software also offers automatic expert color correction and advanced 2D and 3D OpenGL technology-based effects. Xpress Pro works with the portable Avid Mojo accelerator ($1,700) to deliver a hybrid architecture for both host-based CPU processing and hardware-based acceleration.
Analyst Daniel Niles at Lehman Bros. upgraded Apple stock (AAPL) to "overweight" from "equal weight," citing "solid" back-to-school demand, according to CBS MarketWatch.com. Niles also believes the company is at the very beginning of a "significant" PowerMac upgrade cycle, and expects incremental music related revenue. He raised his price target to $24 from $22.
Black Cat System has updated iUnit 2.5 ($20 unit conversion program), Atomic Mac 5.9 ($25 periodic table of the elements and nuclear database), MultiMode OSX 4.1 ($30/$50 decode and transmit shortwave radio), and Black Cat CW Keyer 1.0 ($20 shareware to send morse code from your computer). DragThing 5.0 is an upcoming version of the popular destkop launcher utility, offering full support for Panther, new optional sound effects for system actions, browser specific URL launching, new "Metal" Docks, and a new "Window" dock for Panther users. The new version will be a $12 upgrade or $30 new, however, new purchases ($25) of DragThing 4 will receive a free upgrade. CocoaTech has released major portions of the source code for its recently released Path Finder 3 file browser, which combines Finder functions (viewing, moving, and manipulating your files) with some powerful, integrated utilities. It includes 5 Path Finder plugins (Hex View, Image Converter, Get Info, Disk Image,and a sample starter plugin). iSightWeb 1.0b1 is beta of the new QuickTime-based webcam application: "It handles any QuickTime compatible camera, like Apple iSight or DV camcorder. Capture can be scheduled to predefined interval, and stored locally as JPEG images. [It] is almost entirely written in Objective-C, and requires at least Mac OS X 10.2." [127KB] MPE2Works 2.1 is an update to the free tool for converting video to/from various vidoe formats, including the ability to convert to MPEG1/MPEG2 and DVD/SVCD/VCD formats as well as options to mux/demux MPEG files. It adds an option to play movies with MPlayer, more tools, better disk space management, a new Web-based FAQ, and either Aqua or Metal appearances. [Metal, Aqua] VChat 1.0a25 is a native client that implements the CU-SeeMe video conferencing protocols under Mac OS X 10.2.5 (recommended). It works with some USB cameras using IOXperts ($20) or Macam (open-source) drivers. It offers preferences for client/connection time out, maximum frame rate, video size, IP address correction, etc. [826KB] X Shuffler 0.5b allows quick and easy changing of your X11 configuration without using the terminal. It can save multiple set-ups with GUI functins for start/stop, startup options, window manager preferences, and other configurations: "This application alters your xinitrc file and could cause your X11 implementation to stop working. Please use it with caution." [218KB]
Adobe today announced major updates to its entire line of applications, including Photoshop CS for image editing, Illustrator CS illustration/design, InDesign CS for desktop publishing, GoLive CS for web authoring, and ImageReady CS for web graphics as well as a new standalone version of InCopy CS for collaborative text editing within InDesign. The products are due as standalone versions or as part of the Adobe Creative Suite, a new integrated suite bundling the application as well as Acrobat. The updated applications are expected to be available from Adobe later this year, and are available for pre-order now.
Adobe today unveiled the Adobe Creative Suite, a new software product that combines new full-version upgrades of Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Illustrator CS, Adobe InDesign CS, and Adobe GoLive CS, incorporates Acrobat 6.0 Professional, and introduces its new innovative Version Cue file version manager: "The all-new Adobe Creative Suite is a complete design environment that gives today's creative professionals everything they need to create and publish content to print and the Web faster, more easily, and more efficiently than ever." It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later and is expected to be released by end of the year for $1230 (Premium) or $1000 (Standard).
Tech news: Following the arrests of computer virus and worm creators, writers of other potentially troublesome worms have been lying low; security holes in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser have been exploited by hackers to hijack AOL instant messaging accounts and force unsuspecting Web surfers to run up massive phone bills; after a slow start, tablet personal computers are starting to take off, fueled by Microsoft's release of its operating system Windows XP Tablet PC.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN