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Peachpit Press has published DVD Studio Pro 2 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickPro Guide, by Martin Sitter, which covers "the secrets of DVD creation," including AC3 audio and MPEG video encoding, advanced interactivity through scripting, and subtitling. The task-based reference features hundreds of screenshots. Apple's comprehensive DVD Studio Pro enables users to create and burn professional-quality DVDs.
Boinx Software has released iStopMotion 1.1, an update to its $40 tool for Stop Motion Animation (aka. Claymation) and Time Lapse Recording: "Stop Motion Animation lets still objects become alive, fuelled by the phantasies of the young artists. Besides the usual bug fixes, iStopMotion 1.1 features a new overlay to mark title safe and action safe areas of the image and an aspect ratio for creating other format than PAL and NTSC like 16:9. Users with cameras using the IIDC standard now benefit from a much faster performance." It is a free upgrade to the Mac OS X application. A free "Lite" license limits the resolution of the captured frames to 320x240 pixels.
MacSoft has released Unreal Tournament 2003 patch 2225.1 for Mac OS X. It's the first Mac-specific patch to the retail version of UT2003. This patch contains several improvements over the initial retail version of the game, notably: significant performance improvements; removed CD check; improved support for Panther; built with gcc 3.3; and many other improvements.
Evening tech news: Microsoft said Wednesday that its MSN business will split into two units, an effort to streamline the long-struggling Web property; IBM is toying with notebook designs mimicking its famous Butterfly keyboard; Nokia launched new phone models yesterday, including a handset that will allow users to watch television, part of a drive to try to sustain market growth in 2004.
WiebeTech today introduced three new combo FireWire 800/USB 2.0 storage product lines, including a new FireWire 800 fanless desktop storage enclosure (DesktopGB+800), a removable drive desktop storage system with single or dual bays (BayDock 800), and a plug-and-play hot swappable dual drive FireWire 800 hardware-based RAID (RaidTECH). WiebeTech also cuts prices on select existing FireWire 400 products.
BusinessWeek says that Panther "isn't a huge improvement, but it's faster and loaded with small enhancements that'll make your Mac purr," while Forbes.com takes issue with Apple's built-in "intelligent" search technology, but concludes: "Still it's not enough of an annoyance to dissuade us from giving Panther an otherwise enthusiastic endorsement." (Meanwhile, Forbes.com has posted a Billionaire Halloween Masks feature that includes a sample mask for Steve Jobs, while an iPod-o-Latern offers tribute to the iPod.)
Neon Software has released CyberGauge 4.2, a free update to its bandwidth monitoring software that works with any SNMP-based device, including routers, switches, and servers to monitor bandwidth usage and create utilization, periodic QoS and billing reports. It now supports Mac OS X 10.3 ("Panther") and includes minor bug fixes. CyberGauge also monitors the status of a device and can notify the user if the device goes down, comes back up, or hits a through-put threshold. Pricing starts at $300 for 5-devices. A free update is also available to Apple Xserve-bundled versions.
A Better Finder Attributes 3.2 updates the $10 Finder enhancement (contextual menu plugin) that features an improved Mac OS X 10.3 Panther look and feel and allows file dates and times to be manipulated separately. [1.4MB] The personal automation toolkit Desktop Assistant 1.02 ($30) is designed to assist users when accessing databases, navigating or routing files to server locations, as well as quick access to any number of AppleScript tools. It offers access to multiple FileMaker Pro servers, client preferences, and Panther compatibility. Excourse Excentro 1.5.3 ($500) is a unique software tool that could be used to create guilloche designs common to banknotes and security papers as well as mathematics books illustrations. The update resolves few problems with Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) compatibility and improves user interface issues. [1.2MB] Whiteout replaces "a Mac OS X system resource file with a modified version. The metal texture is changed to the original Aqua pinstripe texture. Included in the device image, is a double clickable shell script that will restore your system back to it's original state." [805KB] SQL4X Manager J 2.7 and eSuite4X 2.7 both bring Panther compatibility and other enhancements to the database tools. SQL4X Manager J ($50) is a database management tool for administration and database/web developers and eSuite4X ($100) can install and run a database driven web site using Mac OS X. [SQL4X, eS4X] The $30 shareware junXion v1.2 is a Mac OS X data routing application that allows the connection of any USB game controller as well as defines the translation of each key or joystick action into a specific MIDI event. It features new activity modes, GUI improvements, and bug fixes. [380KB] PandoCalendar 6.0.3 (freeware) places a fully functional and customizable calendar on the desktop. Users can choose from several styles, assign notes to any day, and set alarms to remind you of time sensitive events. [busy] Econ Technologies has updated its five applications with features, fixes, and Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) compatibility: Portraits & Prints 1.3.1 ($20), TemplateMaker 1.02 ($10), ChronoSync 1.1.3 ($20), DayChaser 1.03 ($20), and ImageCaster 1.05 ($20) have been rebuilt with GCC 3.3 for better performance. [PP, TM, CS, DC, IC]
IOGEAR today announced it would expand its product line to include Wi-Fi hardware solutions, saying it that it plans to introduce a number of innovative Wi-Fi access products, including USB 2.0 flex adapters, routers and CardBus cards.IOGEAR will launch its first Wi-Fi router in November 2003 to complement its Bluetooth wireless product line: "IOGEAR's customers rely on us to provide reliable and cost-effective devices that simplify their lives. Eliminating the clutter of wires, and having the freedom to access email or the Internet from any location is a significant benefit for today's computer user."
FirewireDirect.com has added FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 to its Vanguard FireWire RAID system. The updated disk array features an independent hardware controller to provide RAID Level-0 (striping) and Level-1 (mirroring), enabling RAID functions without using CPU resources. Using RAID Level 1, the system sets up a drive mirror array with a unique auto-rebuilding function and a host of security features designed to protect critical data, including convenient additional drive "Swap-Kits." Pricing is $470 for the enclosure, while 500GB ($1,260), 400GB ($940), 240GB ($750), and 160GB ($690) models are available.
Logitech today announced its QuickCam Orbit webcam, designed to "turn heads with its mechanical pan and tilt feature and elegant form factor. The camera is ideal for video instant messaging, since it physically moves to keep a person's face automatically centered in the field of view." The camera offers 128 degrees of horizontal motion, and 54 degrees of vertical motion. It features Logitech's face-tracking software and auto-zoom technology (up to 3x zoom). The QuickCam Orbit captures up to 1.3 megapixel still photos, and true 640x480 videos; The USB 2.0 device is $130 and includes a 9-inch stand, a built-in microphone, and Mac OS X software.
MacNN reader Geoffrey Plank notes the differences between internal and extermal Bluetooth options on the iBook G4: "the [Internal] Bluetooth module is a built-to-order item. One would assume then, like the Airport Card or other built-to-order components, the Bluetooth module is an item you can purchase and install later. But according to the Apple Sales representative I just spoke with, it is not. It is, as she agreed, a now-or-never option. If you must order the Bluetooth module along with your iBook G4 purchase as a built-to-order item; the module will not be available later as a separate purchase."
Apple's new .Mac/Contribute promo offers a bundle of .Mac services (for 1 year) and Macromedia's Contribute 2 product for $150, a savings of $100 over regular pricing. The promo is only available via the Apple Store (online or by phone) and requires that both products be purchased as a bundle product by January 31, 2004. It is not valid with Apple’s education institution purchase programs or other discount programs. Earlier this month, Apple offered an exclusive $20 discount on Contribute 2 to .Mac customers.
Canto today announced a new product line featuring the server solutions, which bundle the components for the most typical needs around managing digital assets of any kind. The Business Server Solution ($14,000) includes high-end collaborative web tools. It offers out-of-the-box a Workgroup server, three clients, Cumulus Vault and Internet Client Pro. The Publishing Server Solution ($5,000), geared to sales and marketing departments, includes a Workgroup server, three clients, and Web Publisher Pro. The Archive Server Solution ($2,500) includes a Workgroup server and three clients.
Nielsen/NetRatings reports that "work surfers flocked to Apple's Web site during the week ending October 19 th to download the newly released iTunes application for PCs. Traffic from work to the Apple Product Info & Support channel, which provides access to download the iTunes application, surged 112 percent to more than one million unique visitors, as compared to 479,000 unique visitors during the previous week. Traffic from home to the channel jumped 37 percent to 941,000 unique visitors, as compared to 686,000 visitors the week prior."
ZDnet Australia discusses three of the many security holes that Mac OS X 10.3 Panther fixes, noting that patches are not yet available for users of earlier versions of Mac OS X (e.g. Jaguar): "The first details 'systemic' flaws in the way Mac OS X handles file and directory permissions, while the second details a kernel level vulnerability that does not affect default installations of the operating system. The third involves a buffer overflow condition that may be remotely exploitable. Controversially, Apple has not yet released patches for the security issues. @Stake has advised Mac users to upgrade to the latest Apple operating system, which is not vulnerable to the flaws."
Medea Corp today unveiled VideoRaid RT3 and VideoRaid RT3X, the latest additions to its line of VideoRaid disk arrays and the industry's first ATA-based RAID storage solutions to feature a high-performance Ultra320 SCSI interface. VideoRaid RT3 (starting at $2,130)features a single-channel Ultra320 SCSI interface and storage capacities up to 1.25TB, while VideoRaid RT3X (starting at $4000) is a dual-channel, Ultra320 SCSI disk array with ten disk drives and is available in storage capacities up to 2.5TB in a low profile (3U) rack mountable enclosure. They will ship in November. Both are fully compatible with the leading real-time SD and HD editing systems.
IOXperts is adding Mac OS 9 support for most of its USB and FireWire video drivers and is looking for beta testers: "Please note, we're not supporting the iSight's mic yet -- we'd like to in a future release. Interested parties should sign up for our beta discussion list. Release notes and download locations are also available. We're getting close to release and could use some more testing on Mac OS 9."
Technology columnist Walt Mossberg measures the iPod against a few of its clones, including the Dell DJ and the Samsung Napster YP-910GS: "I still give the edge to Apple, but the margin is very slim and the other players, especially the Dell, are credible alternatives. The iPod wins because it is lighter and thinner, comes in higher capacities, has better built-in software, and integrates much better with Apple's download service than the Dell and Samsung do with their companion services. But I am very impressed with the Dell DJ, which is less expensive than the iPod, yet has roughly double the battery life and a very clean user interface that borrows a lot from the iPod itself."
A Microsoft employee has been fired for his blog posting titled, Even Microsoft wants G5s, which includes photos of delivery of Power Mac G5s to Microsoft's Redmond Campus: "To my mind, it's an innocuous post. The presence of Macs on the Microsoft campus isn't a secret (for everything from graphic design work to the Mac Business Unit), and when I took the picture, I made sure to stand with my back to the building so that nothing other than the computers and the truck would be shown — no building features, no security measures, and no Microsoft personnel. However, it obviously wasn't enough."
Apple's Safari download page is now available, although not linked off its main Safari Website. Several users noted the dissappearance of the download when attempting to restore their Safari installation. Although the browser is included with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, the latest non-beta is only available via the Web to users of older versions of Mac OS X. The download was not available yesterday, prompting speculation of a new version.
ResearchWare today released HyperRESEARCH 2.6, a multi-platform software package for qualitative analysis research. The new version is the first release of HyperRESEARCH for Mac OS X and offers new features and performance enhancements as well, including enhanced performance for its Auto-Code and unique Hypothesis Tester features. HyperRESEARCH is used by researchers in social science, psychology, usability, and corporate marketing to identify and analyze patterns and trends among qualitative data from a variety of media file types, including text, images, audio and video. Registration ($370) lifts the limits on the number of codes and cases in the study. It runs on Mac OS 8/9/X. [Classic, OSX]
Canon's new CanoScan 3200F Color Image Scanner allows consumers to scan 35mm slides or negatives as well as photos and documents. The USB 2.0-enabled flatbed scanner offers 600 dpi color scan of a letter size document in approximately 15 seconds and a maximum optical resolution of 1200x2400 dpi (enhanced resolution of 9600 dpi). It features a built-in 35mm film adapter, Canon's exclusive Z-Lid Expansion Top, 48-bit color, and correction for dust & scratch, Grain and Fading. It is $130 with a Mac software bundle (ScanGear CS, CanoScan Toolbox, ScanSoft OmniPage SE OCR).
MacNN readers report that the Apple is offering special discounts to some of its Apple Store customers: "Thanks to your continuing support, we're celebrating our sixth anniversary at the worldwide Apple Store. You've helped us grow into the premier online destination for Apple products, and the digital lifestyle accessories and software that make them even more useful and fun. Because you're one of our loyal customers, we're offering you this special discount of $25 off your order of $250 or more when you shop online at the Apple Store by December 15, 2003." Several other readers note the discount varies among emails (up to as much as $100 off a purchase of $999 or more) with special customer-specific promo codes for each discount.
MacSpeech today released iListen 1.6.3, the latest incarnation of the company's flagship speech recognition product for Mac OS X. The update provides Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) compatibility and several other improvements that provide a more consistent user experience when issuing voice commands. It is free for iListen 1.5 or later ($40 upgrade for others). Included in the update is iListen 1.5.5, a small update to the end-of-life product for Mac OS 9 (with changes to names of certain commands). It is $100 or $150 with a USB headset/microphone. [form]
Babel Company has released Impression 1.8, an update to the $25 Mac OS X backup utility. It uses the 'hfspax' archiving too, which offers a reliable method for "archiving all the facets and attributes" of a complex Mac-based file. Version 1.8 brings compatibility with Panther (burn engine, erase engine, disk image generation module and the application's UI). It also includes several bug fixes and additional enhancements.
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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko