As paid music sites from Rhapsody to Napster reinvent themselves in time for the holidays, the demand for their service remains unstable, reports CBS MarketWatch. "The music industry's failure at selling its products online and the continued availability of songs through illegal file-sharing have led analysts to cut projected sales of online music in 2006 to $1.4 billion -- a quarter of their estimate two years ago." Even the biggest success in online-music sales -- Apple's ITunes -- is "basically a loss leader meant to drive sales of IPod portable music players," the article says, to paraphrase Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs.
Human Software's SmartPicker is an advanced colorpicker plug-in for Mac OS X and Classic. It uses "the color theory to make the right choice of color within Photoshop." It offers multiple pre-arranged color schemes, a color wheel to pick exact colors, a "dynamic color palette," the ability to quickly compare selected color against images or other colors. Using an interactive color wheel within Photoshop/Elements, SmartPicker uses Analogous, Complementary, Split Complementary, Monochromatic, Tetradic and Triadic schemes. SmartPicker sells for $25.
MetaCommunications has announced a major upgrade to its Job Manager production management system for creative, publishing, and prepress. Job Manager 3.5 includes over 20 new features as well as new powerful billing system. Version 3.5 supports partial/incremental billing and costing, user defined billing policies, multiple customer invoicing, prepayment, detailed reporting, and export support to leading accounting packages. It is expected to ship on December 1st.
Apple is offering iPod Battery Service for out-of-warranty iPods. The $100 service (plus $7 for shipping) includes labor, parts, and a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship. Meanwhile, Microsoft's chief technology officer says he loves the iPod and carries an iPod, a BlackBerry, a digital camera when travelling because each device is tailored to specific job, and does that job very well. In other news, Apple says it is "fully committed" to opening up its iTunes online music store to rest of the world, noting that it "is currently in negotiations with music companies to enable worldwide sales of music via the online store."
Recent topics of discussion on the MacNN forums include: the successful "flashing" of Mac firmware onto the PC version of the ATI Radeon 8500; an over-clocking and cooling modification for "MDD" Power Mac G4s with benchmarks; the widespread difficulties many users have experienced with Apple's 15" aluminum PowerBook G4; bugs found in Apple's Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther;" game compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3 as reported by users; delivery status of Apple iBook G4 orders.
EazyDraw is a $20 drawing application for Mac OS X that allows users to create technical drawings, illustrations, icons, logos, and stylized text. An unlimited registration license is $95, while a 9-month license is $20. [Download - 12.9MB] Communique ($9) allows users to send text and media to any cellular phone worldwide. It includes full MMS support, and can transmit data instantly using a cell phone number. [Download - OS X, Classic] SharePoints 3.3 is an application or a preference pane that makes it easy to add and delete "share points," similar to the Classic Finder. Version 3.3 adds Panther compatibility, and adds more error checking when adding and deleting users. [Download - option-click] GEDitCOM is a customizable genealogy application for the Mac for editing and viewing GEDCOM genealogy files. Using the GEDitCOM customization features, users can design their own genealogy user interface. Details of the latest version were not published. [Download - 1.44MB] iCluster is a $30 shareware application that enables DX-Cluster Telnet access on the Mac. It can calculate the distance and bearing between the user and the DX and then "put the locators and distance in the DX spot automatically." [Download - OS X, Classic] CPU Speed Accelerator allows you to "drastically increase the CPU allocated to your foreground applications to make the most of the power of your Macintosh." According to the developer, it can increase performance of the foreground application by twenty to thirty percent. [Download - 773Kb] Canvas 9.0.2 is an update to the popular illustration tool for Mac OS X. Version 9.0.2 opens Claris Draw Pict files properly; corrects issus involving copying and pasting inside or between paragraphs; improvements to dual-monitor support, and more. [Download - form]
Marathon Computer today announced that it would ship a new G5 version of its desk mounting solution for Apple's Power Mac G5. The DeskMount for G5 is single-piece construction that is made of heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminum and attaches to the underside of a desk or work surface, allowing the G5's handles to fit neatly into the specially-designed brackets. The surface of the G5 DeskMount is coated with a tough, resilient material designed to prevent scratches and dings, while at the same time preventing vibration from being transmitted between desk and computer. It also features cable management features to help reduce clutter. The $60 Marathon G5 DeskMount will ship on December 19th.
ARTIS Software and The Iconfactory have announced xScope 1.0, a powerful set of Mac OS X tools for designers that are ideal for measuring, aligning and inspecting on-screen graphics and layouts. The software consists of six tools in one: on-screen rulers, screens for framing smaller viewable areas; a magnifying glass; on-screen guides and frames, and mouse positioning cross-hair. All of xScope's tools are easily accessed by handy menu bar icons, a floating toolbar, or via powerful user-definable hotkeys. It is available for $15, while registered users of Screen Tools can upgrade to xScope for $5.
Aspyr today announced that Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the latest installment of Lucas Arts' Jedi Knight series is coming to the Macintosh. The conversion is being handled by Brad Oliver, a recent addition to Aspyr's internal development team, and the game is currently at beta. Aspyr also announced that Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb for the Macintosh has gone "Gold" (Golden Master). The game is being sent to duplication today and should be shipping around December 2. The game title will be available for Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later and is available for pre-order ofr $40.
Several MacNN readers note a Apple's new iPod Website at www.ipodrocks.com, which touts the iPod as a gift for the holidays. The site, registered by Apple for its DNS records, has an Apple copyright tag line, although it does not appeared to be linked from Apple's main iPod Website. It features extensive Flash/QuickTime animation, offering a description of the iPod, how it works, and suggestions to "Convice your parents" ("Ask Nicely," "Stake your grades on it," "Do a good deed," and "Subliminal advertising," which includes a free iPod screen saver.
The Conrad Group has release ImageHauler, a Mac OS X application designed to rapidly transfer and display full-screen JPEG image captures from Canon EOS series digital cameras. It allows photographers to shoot and preview from the camera, offers integration with Photoshop 7/CS, and can shoot directly into Photoshop. The $80 application requires Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and Adobe Photoshop CS or Adobe Photoshop 7. ImageHauler was developed specifically for the Canon EOS-1Ds camera, but also supports all other Canon EOS series digital cameras.
LAJ Design has released eOrdering eCommerce 2.2, updating the product line with support for authorize.net, new CSS support, a new recent items menu, and other enhnacements. The line is made up of eOrdering Complete ($65), eOrdering Gold ($75), and eOrdering Professional ($450). All three are cross-platform applications that create eCommerce sites. iCal Calling iTunes! 3.5 is a $10 shareware that allows you to use iCal to schedule iTunes playlists. It offers better performance, supports weekly repeating events and quits promptly at shutdown. The free version can schedule the start and stop times of iTunes playlists, set playlists to shuffle before playing, and schedule Internet radio stations. A $10 registration unlocks advanced features. [188KB] More iChat Smileys 2.1 installs additional smileys for iChat, smileys from msn, Proteus or original smileys. A few smiley have been added since version 2.1; the update also adds a new German-localized version (in addition to French and English versions). [298KB] The $7 shareware ThermographX 1.1 monitors the various temperature sensors inside recent Power Macs (G4 or G5). It records maximum and minimum temperatures, displays temperatures over time, and now offers a new graph of user-submitted temperature results for comparison with your own system. [557KB] XBattery 0.7 is a battery monitoring utility for Mac OS X that provides a user-customizable dock icon that shows your current battery level and charging status. It also provides a variety of graphs detailing battery information, and a user-customizable display. The $15 shareware is currently available as a pre-release download. [154KB] Objective Development has posted a beta of its popular file/application that provides instant access and filtering of applications, documents, and URLs using the keyboard. LaunchBar 3.3 beta 1 adds phone number support and improved Panther compatibility. Free evaluation, home-user ($20), and business ($40) licenses are available. [249KB] Kensington has posted a pre-release of the next version of its MouseWorks 2.4b1 software, offering support for Mac OS X 10.1.5 and later, including Panther (Mac OS X 10.3). The custom driver software offers support for all Kensington products except the Turbo Mouse 1.0-4.0 (the older, 2-button models), the Orbit 3D and Orbit Elite, and its ValuMouse products. [3.0MB] Heart Monitor 1.0 is a very simple CPU monitor--running as a menu extra with floating window--that displays a beating heart. The heart beats faster/slower depending on CPU load average. It is freeware for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [191KB]
CommonGround Softworks has released a Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) compatible version of the $1000 Qilan database tool. Qilan 2.8 adds a database adapter for SyBase (versions 5.x and higher), an abacus operator that provides access to over 35 mathematical functions, and the QHTTP tag which can be used to manipulate pages, vary content, or download and open data. Qilan communicates between single or multiple databases and also serves as a database development environment allowing both schema and data access. A limited trial is available; upgrades are $50.
Early morning tech: CNET Networks today announced that it has acquired certain assets of MP3.com, Inc, according to a note sent to MP3.com users: "Please be advised that on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 at 12:00 PM PST the MP3.com website will no longer be accessible in its current form. CNET plans to introduce a new MP3 music service in the near future;" Intel said on Thursday that its Itanium 2 microprocessor due in 2005 and code-named "Montecito" will have four times more storage capacity than its predecessor and will be able to run several applications at once; IBM plans to reveal the first indication of the performance of its Blue Gene/L supercomputer, a machine about the size of a dishwasher that can perform 1.4 trillion calculations per second.
Old Jewel Software's Painter's Picker 1.0 is an extension to the color picker panel in Mac OS X. It adds the ability to choose related colors from directly within the color picker and adds more precise controls for choosing saturation, hue angle, and brightness. It provides the ability to choose colors in the CMYK color space while using the popular HSB-style controls. The $14 shareware offers new contextual menus as well as several new color schemes (alternate complementary, tetradic with key color, narrow tetradic with key color, tight/loose analagous, 12 color wheel, etc.)
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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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl