Walter Mossberg has published an editorial comparing the top online music stores for Windows: iTunes, Musicmatch, and Napster. "The Windows version of iTunes is a clone of the terrific Macintosh version -- in both its design and its functionality," Mossberg says, "it's a Swiss Army knife of a music program, packed with features, but in a package that makes it all simple." Mossberg cites the inability to use downloaded songs with devices other than the iPod as a downside to the iTunes store.
Computerworld has an overview of HP's consumer 8-ink photo printer, which it says offers studio quality photo printing performance: "The HP Photosmart 7960 photo printer delivers professional-quality photo printing in 8-ink for color and black-and-white prints with up to 4800-optimised dpi...[it] features a colour 2.5-inch image LCD screen and convenient digital camera memory card slots which support CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo and IBM Microdrive...In addition, the HP Photosmart 7960 photo printer can produce borderless prints, up to A4 size."
ExecutiveSync 1.3 ($20) uses the superior TAS (Time And State) synchronization for file synchronization. It offers file archiving, multiple projects, file histories, support for long file names, and Windows Server support. The latest version brings Panther support and other optimizations. [1.7MB] SiteCleaner v1.0.3 is a Mac OS X shareware ($10) website content-collection utility for gathering all code and media when publishing your website: "A simple drag & drop builds a new "cleaned" project folder while ignoring any unused files, leaving your original project folder untouched." [2.0MB] Intelli Innovations has released IntelliMerge 3.5.2, an important release for improved Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" compatibility. The $80 e-mail merge software offers an integrated message editor, recipient database, and e-mail delivery program. [Classic, OSX] CE Software's QuicKeys 2.02b3 brings Panther compatibility to the software for automating tasks on your Macs. It offers shortcuts for storing and retrieving collections of images and text, pop-up menu selection, recording and playback, a redesigned interface and multi-step shortcut tools. [11.2MB] Apple has released an updated version of its MPEG-2 Playback Component for QuickTime 6.4. It is available via the Software Update in Mac OS X if you received your MPEG-2 Playback Component as part of Final Cut Pro 4 or DVD Studio Pro 2 and via the Apple Store if it was purchased there. Script Software's $20 iKey 1.04 gives users the ability to create a hotkey that performs a series of actions which can control all aspects of your Mac. Use a hotkey, menu or event to launch a series of shortcuts to do the least and accomplish the most. [1.9MB] Channel D has announced the availability of a Mac OS X native version of its audio signal analyzer and signal generator suite, Mac the Scope / Waavebox. The new version includes support for CoreAudio, the new audio interface technology introduced in Mac OS X. Pricing ranges from $50 to $450 depending on configuration. [Download - 900KB] Recurring Dream has released Meridian 1.1.0, a $15 World Clock, Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, and Timer for Mac OS X. Version 1.1.0 includes floating and transparent clocks; alarms can be "One Time" or "Daily;" there is an Alarm indicator on Clocks when an alarm is set; it is compatible with Mac OS 10.3. [Download - 325KB] iCash 1.4.1 is an application intended to manage your personal finances, keeping track of incomes, expenses, credits, debts and Banks transactions. "You don't even need to know about accounting or even care about it! Your finances depends largely on good organization that lets you know where your money comes from and to where it goes." [Download - Classic, OS X] Make Mine MPEG-4 4.5 allows users to import and encode iTunes CD tracks as MPEG-4/AAC files (.m4a, .mp4, or .mov) while taking full advantage of QuickTime Pro export settings, including Encoding Quality, Streaming and Compatibility settings. New In Version 4.5 is support for Panther, the option to convert iTunes AIFF tracks, and the ability to eject a CD after conversion. [Download - 265KB]
The next meeting of The Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia (MacBUS) will, scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, 2003, at 6:30 pm., will offer tips on how to boost traffic to a Web site through the top search engines and directories. The East Bay Mac User Group (ebMUG) is hosting a guest Toast event presentation by Roxio on November 13th from 6:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Main Library.
Following our note yesterday about receipt of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther in the UK, several MacNN readers have verified that their orders of Mac OS X 10.3 have begun shipping in the US as well: "I just received an e-mail from Apple saying that they shipped my pre-ordered copy of OSX 10.3 today, Oct. 22! With overnight shipment I should have it by tomorrow, before the official launch date!!"
Turtle Lane Studios has released TLSTranscription tool kit, part of its Testimony Software architecture used for deploying oral histories. TLSTranscription enables you to transcribe and markup QuickTime video and audio files: "[It] is useful to anyone who needs to transcribe video or audio and also those who require synchronisation between such transcripts and the movie or audio. Users can add markup tags that enable you to specify images to be displayed at various points, table of contents entries, and scrolling markers for the Testimony Software browser. A demo of the Mac OS 9/X application is available. (Pricing not available.)
PowerLogix's new PowerForce G4 Dual CPU cards feature the latest Motorola PowerPC 7457 processor: "Running at speeds of 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz, these new CPU cards have twice the L2 cache (512K) of the previous 7455-based cards (256K) for additional performance. In addition, the new 7457 draws an incredible 40% less peak power than the previous." The Series 100 and Series 133 cards are compatible with all Power Mac G4 models beginning with the "AGP Graphics" model, up to and including the QuickSilver 2002. Retail pricing is $800 for a dual-1.2GHz PowerForce and $1200 for dual 1.4GHz PowerForce. The first production boards will begin shipping in approximately 1-2 weeks, with constrained supplies of the higher speed model, according to PowerLogix.
St. Clair Software today released Default Folder X 1.9, an update to its utility for enhancing open/save dialogs. Version 1.9 is fully compatible with Mac OS X Panther and supports Panther's new file dialog design. It also adds significant new features to speed navigation in Open/Save dialogs even more and also displays hierarchical menus in Open and Save dialogs as well as provides a new system menu in the menu bar, displaying all favorite and recently used folders hierarchically. The $35 shareware runs on Mac OS X only.
Apple today posted iTunes 4.1.1 for Windows to solve some of the initial glitches with the PC version of the jukebox software, according to CNET News.com. "A few customers reported conflicts with specific PC configurations and we quickly updated the iTunes software in response," Apple said in a statement. "iTunes 4.1.1 addresses an isolated incompatibility with Windows 2000 and older third-party CD burning software, as well as problems caused by corrupt MP3 files on some users' PCs." Apple by tomorrow will also release the update via the built-in software update function.
WaterField Designs today began shipping its $35 iPod Gear Pouch designed to keep the iPod, docking station, power supply, ear buds, FireWire cable, and power supply cable all together in one compact, portable case: "Rather than keep all these items in the iPod's original box, or scattered in different locations, the iPod Gear Pouch organizes these items conveniently in one, slender case that can be whisked away at a moment's notice." It provides individual pockets to securely and neatly store all the iPod accessories, while internal padded lining protects all the pieces.
Aspyr today announced that the Macintosh version of The Sims Superstar, the newest expansion pack to the top-selling PC game of all time, is now shipping: "Players can live their fantasies of fame and fortune as they pursue the dream of being a Rock Star, Movie Star, or a Supermodel, live the lifestyle of a celebrity, and even mingle with the rich and famous." Aspyr licensed the game from Electronic Arts and conversion was done by Westlake Interactive. The $30 title is available on Mac OS 9/X. Aspyr also announced two compilation titles: Leave the Lights On ($30) contains BloodRayne, Clive Barker's Undying, and American McGee's Alice. Extreme Fun ($40) includes Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and it's explosive Expansion Pack, Clone Campaigns, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, 4x4, and iPuppet. Both are expected to ship in November.
A MacNN reader notes that Honeoye Falls-Lima School District (Honeoye Falls, NY) will give a 12" PowerBook to every student in grades 6, 7 and 8: "While our Middle School students will receive the new laptops, all HF-L students will benefit from the digital learning efforts to increase student literacy and academic success using wireless technology. Broadband width will be increased for faster internet and network connection speed, aging hardware will be replaced, and peripherals will be updated throughout all of our schools. Last year, the Middle School hosted a digital content study with much success. The valuable lessons we learned have helped us prepare to successfully expand one-to-one technology."
USB Overdrive X 10.3 is a driver for Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later (including Panther) that handles multiple USB mouse, trackball, joystick and gamepad, allowing users to configure them either globally or on a per-application basis. It supports multiple wheels, buttons, switches and controls and supports scrolling, keyboard emulation, etc. [597KB] Troi Automatisering has released Troi Dialog Plug-in 3.5, an update to its $50 cross platform plug-in that adds more flexibility in creating custom dynamic dialogs in FileMaker Pro, including a big input dialog function for long text, support for upto nine input fields, and the ability to preload bulleted fields in the InputDialog. [972KB] QuizMaker Pro 5.0 is a complete rewrite, offering increased stability while adding toolbar, server-based score files, export functions, speech functions, and other features. QuizMaker Pro can create, archive, administer, grade, and analyze multiple choice, matching and short answer quizzes. Registrations are $18 (personal) or $100 (site). [Classic, OSX] Panic and The Iconfactory have updated their icon organization application, Pixadex 1.2.1 ($20). This release fixes several important bugsthat have recently been discovered, adds support for another new Panther CandyBar icon and contains code changes to make user's transition to Panther even smoother. [1.3MB] Andrew's (Video) Effects 1.1 offers improved support for After Effects 6 as well as improved color channel/grayscale plugin effects. The $20 bundle includes 12 dynamic plugins, including Blur effects, line, dot, circular, rings, interference pattern effects, negative, average/grayscale, posterization and solar effects and more. [165KB] Alfred 1.6.2 is an easy-to-use, customizable, universal plug-in manager: "it improves user experience to install, remove and manage any kind of plug-ins like screen savers, preference panes, fonts... or anything else." It offers plugin management, file inspectors, one-click installation of plugins, and other features. [2.2MB] David Ahmed has released ExhibitionX 2.3, the $15 photo utility that offers easy-to-navigate 3D environments to browse picture folders and/or iPhoto albums. Version 2.3 adds QuickTime recording function and a 'Beach' walkaround view. [2.5MB] CookBackground 2.3 is a free application allows you to display a screen saver as a desktop picture: "It runs only on OS X 10.2 or later with Quark Extreme activated (works better). It's CPU intensive; it is advised to use this application only with high-powered machines." It is now G5-optimized and supports Panther. [213KB]
Forbes.com has posted G5 benchmarks against its Power Mac G4 predecessor: "The first noticeable difference with the G5 is how it starts up faster than the G4. Our tests showed that the G5 booted up 13% faster than the G4. It's also quicker when launching big applications like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro....The video-editing process felt much faster and more stable on the G5 than on the G4. Filters were available immediately, and there was far less time lag when adding video to the timeline on the G5."
Aspyr today announced that will publish the upcoming action adventure Lara Croft Tomb Raider: the Angel of Darkness on the Macintosh platform: "A series of grisly murders brings Lara into conflict with a sinister Alchemist from the past, and a secret alliance of powerful individuals shrouded in mystery... Accused of the murder of her one time mentor, Werner Von Croy, Lara becomes a fugitive on the run. Lara must work alongside Kurt Trent, a new playable character, to clear her name and clean up a most desperate situation." It features character evolution, character interaction, and improved control of Lara. It is available for pre-order for $40 and will run on Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later. The title is expected ship on December 22 and will enter beta next week.
Epson America today announced two new photo printers, the Stylus Photo R300 and Stylus Photo R300M. Both can print directly onto the surface of ink jet printable CDs and DVDs and offer the ability to print photos with or without a computer. The R300M also adds a 2.5" color preview monitor for viewing and selecting images before printing them. Both offer up to 5760x1440 optimized dpi resolution, 15 ppm print speeds (black), USB 2.0 connectivity, BorderFree images (up to 8.5"x 11"), and the ability to crop, resize, save and print photos directly from memory cards or picture CDs using the built-in flash memory reader or the front-mounted USB port for access to external devices.
Apple today announced lowered prices on its eMac desktop computer. Starting at $800, the new eMac features a 17-inch flat CRT in a compact all-in-one design, Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" pre-installed, and an optional SuperDrive. The eMac features an ATI Radeon 7500 graphics with 32MB of dedicated DDR SDRAM and hard drives up to 80GB as well as support for AirPort Extreme. The $800 model features a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 128MB of memory, a Combo DVD-drive, and a 40GB hard drive, while the $1,100 model features 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB of memory, a SuperDrive, and an 80GB hard drive.
Apple today unveiled its new iBooks featuring PowerPC G4 processors, with the 12-inch display model starting at just $1,100 and the 14-inch display model starting at $1,300. The new iBook line offers AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth, and USB 2.0 connectivity; each feature 256MB of DDR memory as well as slot-load Combo drive for burning CDs and watching DVDs. The new iBooks also include Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther." The new iBook with a 12-inch display is available immediately, and the new iBook models with a 14-inch display are expected to be available next week.
Archos has introduced a new line of portable MP3 players that can be customized to suit individual preferences with new music fans add-on accessories for creating a custom player with music, radio and photo options, and an icon-based interface for easy navigation. The differences in the GMINI 220 and 120 devices are in the form factor and screen size: the GMINI 220 is the smaller and has a 2.5 inch LCD screen, while the GMINI 220, featuring a 20GB drive, weighs only 6 ounces and features a grayscale screen with a blue backlight. Both players offer MP3 and WMA recording and playback, an icon-based interface, and advanced music management.
BusinessWeek Online's Everybody Wants A Piece Of The iPod says that "Apple's e-music dominance will be sorely tested as cheaper players hit the market...By Christmas, a variety of iPod wannabes will hit the market, from Samsung Group's YP109GS to Dell Inc.'s (DELL ) Digital Jukebox, due on Oct. 28. A range of new gizmos also will join the party, from smaller, cheaper models like Rio Audio's 2-ounce Nitrus to devices that play movies on liquid-crystal displays... What's more, as cheaper players hit stores this fall, Apple may have a hard time persuading consumers to pay up to $500."
The Java-based peer-to-peer download client, LimeWire 3.6.6, offers numerous enhancements designed to improve search and download performance and refine the user experience, including a new "out-of-band" replies for better search functions and several pro-only ($20) features as well as a native OS X installer and other Mac OS X bug fixes. [Classic, OSX] ZappTek's iCal modifications for Entourage, Eudora, PowerMail or Mailsmith, will now send notifications when iCal isn't running. The free applications for Mac OS X allows users to send iCal notifications via third-party e-mail applications. [several options available] Saft 4.0 adds full-screen browsing and kiosk mode to Safari. The freeware now adds URL shortcuts in addition to previous features such as auto-show-menu-bar, the ability to hide toolbars and status bar, a kiosk mode, and an option to disable/enable the contextual menu. [283KB] SupaImage 2.1 updates ImageIP's unique image enhancement application. The $85 application can be used to enhance digital photos or video frames by combining two similar images (or video fields) together to give one higher resolution result. It now features improved matching and combination methods and a new comparison tool. [182KB] The freeware SpaceInBack will fetch images from the NASA web site and display them on the desktop. It offers an option to pick the desktop image from a library of previous images. [89KB] The $15 shareware RF Toolbox 3.0 (formerly known as Antenna Master) brings several additional calculation tools to the antenna design and electronics calculation package for engineers, amateur (ham) radio operators, and other radio enthusiasts, as well as those in the communications professionals. [Classic, OSX] Audiocorder 3.9 adds auto-detection of monophonic input devices (like USB microphones) and several bug fixes. to the $20 application that allows your Mac to act as a sophisticated audio recorder with both noise-triggered and scheduled recording modes (as well as record phone conversations on some Mac OS 9-based systems). [Classic, OSX] piDog Software's SimpleKeys 2.0b1 is a complete rewrite of its f-key shortcut program. It now allows you to execute any action using any key combination, improves typing speed, can create multiple macros, offers import/export functions, supports drag & drop, can pause for completion of other events, and other features. [1.1MB]
MacResQ today announced a new full-service hard drive upgrade for PowerBooks & iBooks as part of its PowerBookResQ repair program. The new service offers a quick and easy way to upgrade to a larger-capacity hard drive with PowerBookResQ's 24-hour service and nationwide convenience. The upgrade includes pick-up at the customer's location in our custom PowerBox, overnight delivery to the PowerBookResQ service center, expert drive installation and data transfer within 24 hours, and return overnight shipping to the customer. The old hard drive will be returned and could be used as an external drive or kept as a backup. Upgrades of 60GB ($300) or 80GB ($300) are available.
The New York Times reports that the G5 Supercomputer at Virginia Tech may be the foruth fastest computer in the US: "The Virginia Tech supercomputer, put together from 1,100 Macs, has been successfully tested in recent days...The official results for the ranking will not be reported until next month at a supercomputer industry event. But the Apple-based supercomputer, which is powered by 2,200 I.B.M. microprocessors, was able to compute at 7.41 trillion operations a second, a speed surpassed by only three other ultra-fast computers."
Sony has introduced its new 5 megapixel Cyber-shot T1 digital camera, which it says has a "slim, pocket-friendly design no larger than a deck of cards." It features a large 2.5" LCD view finder, shoots full-resolution images in one second intervals, can capture four high-speed burst shots in less than two seconds, and captures moving images in MPEG-VX Fine mode using optional Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. It is due in January for $550. Sony also introduced its new Cyber-shot U-series. Expected in January for about $200, the stylish 2 megapixel U40 camera will come in four colors (silver, black, dark blue and red) and "is about the size of a candy bar.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE