IOXperts has released version 1.03 of its 802.11b drivers for Mac OS 8/9, which includes bug fixes and updates for Apple's latest AirPort (Extreme) firmware updates; it also adds support for several new cards and now supports more than 60 different 802.11b wireless PC cards. The $20 drivers support AppleTalk, 64- and 128-bit WEP, AirPort password algorithm, and listing of available networks. The updated Mac OS X version will be available "soon," according to the company.
NewTek today released the fifth edition of NewTek's free Texture Collection. As with previous editions, this new set includes fifty high-resolution textures available for free download. The total number of free textures available from NewTek is now at 250. The theme in the fifth edition of the texture collection is solid materials, and includes images in the categories Brick, Concrete, Masonry, Rocks, and Stone. All textures are unretouched photographic images at 1600 pixels x 1200 pixels resolution in JPEG format.
Apple has posted a document on How to Get the Most Out of the iPod Battery, which explains how to get the most usage out of one charge of the iPod's, while another says the iPod Battery Status Indicator Is Approximate. Recently we noted Apple's iPod battery replacement service and new AppleCare extended warranty fo iPods.
Members of the MacNN Forums today discuss a number of topics, including: speculation about the next revision of the Power Mac G5; members varying uses for their PowerBook computers; PowerBook carrying case options and member reviews; networking difficulties experienced by some users of Mac OS X 10.3; members' favorite free or shareware applications for Mac OS X; opinions on the recently-released 20-inch iMac.
Thursby Software has posted a white paper comparing ADmitMac v1.1 with Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), offering both a historical and detailed technical comparison of the technologies: "Although Apple claims that they support 'SMB Home Directories,' it is also apparent that they do not understand the true use of this feature by most of their customers. Panther merely mounts the Home Directory at log on, while ADmitMac allows you to actually use it for your home directory."
Nattress today released Standards Conversion, a new set of plugin filters for Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing software. Standards Conversion includes a unique pair of filters that will "convert video clips between any of the standards of 24p, PAL and NTSC. [It] will change the frame rate of your clips to either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 frames per second to match with Film, PAL or NTSC video, and carefully scale the video, if necessary to the correct pixel dimensions, taking into account the interlaced nature of video. The plugin filter provides two choices in PAL to Film conversion and five methods of converting NTSC video to Film." It is now available for $100.
Afternoon tech news: Brazil's government is urging its massive bureaucracy to use free software like Linux on its computer systems in a cost-cutting move that could cost Microsoft millions of dollars in lost revenue; yet again, a federal court has pushed back the date of a jury trial that will decide whether Microsoft's trademark claim to "Windows" will end up shuttering Lindows.com; some 250 former IBM workers are suing the computer giant, saying they were poisoned while making chips and other components.
The Norwegian programmer who distributed the first widely used tool for cracking the copy protection technology found on DVDs has turned his attention to Apple's iTunes. Late last week, programmer Jon Johansen posted a small program called QTFairUse, which evades the anticopying technology wrapped around the songs sold by Apple in its iTunes store. Johansen's program, which works only for the Windows version of iTunes, is the most recent move in the ongoing struggle digital rights management technology creators and hackers.
Aladdin Systems today announced new "Game On!" game colleciotns that bundle a variety of titles from third-party Mac gaming publishers. Game On! Action Pack (Vol I) includes Freedom Force, Incoming, No One Lives Forever, SpyHunder, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force, and Tomb Raider Chronicles, while Game On! Family Pack (Vol I) includes Burning Monkey Mahjong, Burning Monkey Solitaire, Snowball Run, realMYST, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and Zoo Tycoon. Each bundle is priced at $50 and is available now.
Mireth Technology has released MacVCD X 4.2, an update to itís $20 video player for Mac OS X, which X can play any movie supported by Quicktime. This version adds a 'preserve aspect ratio' feature, which allows you to preserve the aspect ratio on playback, or stretch the picture to fit the screen. [Download - 2.3MB] Mike Piatek-Jimenez has released version 0.4.0 of X Resource Graph, his open-source system monitor application for Mac OS X. Version 0.4.0 includes full support for Panther, and a few new features and bug fixes. [Download - 740KB] Stone Design today announced availability of new versions of its Stone Studio applications, specifically to take advantage of new features in Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther." Create 11.2.2 is an update to the drawing and layout program, while PStill 3.2 updates the application for converting PostScript files to PDF. Stone Studio is $300. [Download - Create, PStill, Studio] Poisoned 0.4.97 is a maintenance update to the giFT daemon front-end application, which provides access to the OpenFT, Gnutella, and FastTrack networks. This update adds a Log Viewer, FastTrack support for high bitrates, interface improvements, and bug fixes. [Download - 1.68MB] MacShowroom 1.0 is a powerful tool for publishing digital photos to the Web. Users don't need access to a server, or any HTML knowledge -- MacShowroom handles all aspects of image hosting and gallery layout for $40 per year. [Download - 510KB] Everyday Software has released Maquarium 1.7, a free update to the $12 Mac OS X aquarium management software.†Version 1.7 adds complete support for Mac OS X 10.3 and also includes improved printing support, fish profile additions, and bug fixes. [Download - 483KB] Mail Switch 2.0 allows users to share a single Mac without using multiple accounts: it creates separate individual Mail (now including Address Book) users, with all their own preferences, without having to create and set up a complete OS user. Version 2.0 features a redesign interface and a new Address Book switching option. [Download - 254KB] The $10 shareware MimMac 1.01 is an easy-to-use data backup utility that was designed to aid with moving your critical data between systems, and merging your old data with fresh system installs. It can also be used for simple backups, selective incremental backups, and bootable system clones. [Download - 238KB]
AbsolutVision has released its first series of royalty-free images: Photo Objects contains thousands of high-quality photographs available in low and high resolution and are saved in standard JPEG and JPEG2000 file format. "This new extended JPEG format is specially interesting for graphic designers because it offers a better image quality and an alpha channel for a clean an easy editing of the images." The collection can be purchased on a per-image basis or via a $25 monthly or $100 yearly subscription. The company says that it will add new images each week (based in part of themes suggested by users) and is offering 5 free royalty free images to everyone who registers on its website.
Mediafour today released XPlay 1.1.4, the first version of XPlay to support iTunes for Windows. The updated XPlay supports using Mac-formatted iPods with iTunes for Windows, adds support for Windows 2000/XP, and resolves compatibility with iPods modified by iTunes 4.1.1. XPlay supports both Mac- and Windows-formatted iPods and is also "the only way to use iPods with older versions of Windows, including Windows Me and Windows 98SE." The $30 application provides a drag-and-drop interface for transferring music.
Caphyon Ltd has released Advanced Web Ranking 2.2, an update its Java-based tool that monitors a website's position on all major search engines. This new version features two new printable reports, an integrated scheduler and a very useful progress information tab. Advanced Web generates tabular and graphical reports that will help you check not just the position of your website but the position of your competitors' web sites as well. The $50 application exports reports as PDF, HTML, Excel, XML or text files, and emails them to you (and any customers).
The freeware Rendezvous Browser 1.01 "lets you browse all the Rendezvous services available on your local network. This application will show you all the known Rendezvous services available and what computers have them, along with any extra information given with the service. Comes complete with a list of known services and also lets you add your own." It adds the XCode Distributed Builds service, remember domains/services between launches, allows table rows to be copied or dragged to other applications, and other enhancements.
Mark/Space has released Mark/Space Mail 2.0, an update to its email client for the Palm OS. Version 2. offers support for attachments as well as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Support, rotated and expanded screen size support, ledger view, and auto-purge. It also offers custom filters. It runs on any Palm OS device running Palm OS 3.5 or later with an internet connection. A 50% discount is available to previous owners. Mark/Space Mail is $30.
Niemeijer Consult today released SwitchXS 1.2, which provides virtually complete access to Mac OS X and all standard Mac applications for people who can only use one or more switches. It offers full mouse and keyboard emulation by means of a so-called scanning mode: "With each click on the switch the user selects an action, such as 'move the cursor up' or 'type B', from a 'scanning' menu." Version 1.2 adds support for any USB input device, provides audio-cueing during scanning, provides much greater control over scanning and mouse speed, and is now localized in French. The $150 application is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Apple has launched a new "Holiday. Special" promo, offering a free Epson Stylus C84 inkjet printer with the purchase of any Mac: "Purchase a Mac and an EPSON Stylus C84, qualifying EPSON All-In-One, or the EPSON Stylus Photo 900 between November 25 and December 27, 2003, and get $99 back by mail. This offer is available only at participating Apple Authorized Resellers."
OpenOSX today announced Gimp 2.0 Preview product based on the current developer's release of the photo-manipulation software, The Gimp 1.3.23. The preview offers several new features, improvements and enhancements, including G5-specific optimizations as well as GNOME 2.4.1, vector paths, editable paths and text, and Panther-based UI. OpenOSX says that extensive testing has determined the build is "quite mature, very stable and useable." The single-click installer also includes complete documentation (in both PDF and HTML formats), tutorials, over 100 fonts, brushes, patterns, and 600MB of plugins. The OpenOSX Gimp 2.0 Preview 1 is available for $30 (CD) or $25 (download) with a $5 discount to previous owners.
Apple, which had won an initial pilot project for the implementation of laptops for all 130,000 sixth graders in Michigan, has lost the final recommendation to Hewlett Packard (HP). HP pledged to charge the districts no more than $275 per student per year in the program, which would includ laptop computers, technical support, insurance and training for the "Freedom to Learn" program.
Barcode Readers.com today announced it is now shipping its Hawk II USB Barcode Reader for PDF417, RSS, and standard 1D barcode symbologies. The Hawk II USB barcode reader offers "plug 'n play" compatibility with Mac OS 9/X and requires no setup or drivers; it will scan barcodes as text into any application. It is available for $475 with free delivery anywhere in the world and includes an enabler code for Peninsula QuickTrack Start V, a fully functional basic asset, item and loan tracking software system for single users.
The Burton Amp Pack integrates an iPod control system using SOFTswitch technology, which allows the iPod to be controlled through a soft, flexible control pad built into the packís shoulder strap. Constructed with super durable ballistic nylon, the Amp Pack features a secure iPod storage pocket, a headphone port located on the shoulder strap, an easy-access side entry laptop compartment and padded ergonomic shoulder straps for superior comfort. It is $200 and is designed for both everyday use as well as snow sports.
Several MacNN readers note that Apple is experiencing problems with the iTunes Music store this morning: "I logged onto the iTunes Music Store just now to see what new music had been posted, but all of the song/album/artist/etc. links throughout the store appear to be broken -- they link to one of three or so pages, and never the page you want. (For example, clicking on Counting Crows takes you to a No Doubt screen. Every single link on the store seems to be broken.) I don't know if they corrupted their database during the update or if they got hacked or what, but others are starting to notice the problem."
AOL has updated its instant messaging client for Mac OS X. AOL 4.7b2 fixes a crash that can occur when closing windows: "The first time you run it, there may be a delay while a preference file is repaired." [3.3MB] Acronnect has released ImageEngine 1.1, its Acrobat 5/6 plugin that offers inspection, extraction, export, and rendering functions. Version 1.1 suppors the JPEG2000 compression method for color and grayscale images and also now supports 16-bit color images. It runs on Mac OS 9/X. [2.6MB] Karl Goiser has updated iCalViewer 1.07, a small utility that displays iCal events traveling across a window, the screen, the desktop, or as a screen saver in realtime. Version 1.07 now works with iCal 1.5.1 in Panther and Jaguar. [1.1MB] Emailchemy 1.5.5 ($25) converts email files from the proprietary formats of the most email applications to standard formats. It offers easier import into Mozilla and Eudora, support for re-attaching attachments in the Eudora converter, and new Yahoo! mail, Outlook Express 5, and Entourage archive wizards. [417KB] Mammoth PostgreSQL Replicator is an asynchronous replication system for PostreSQL databases that uses a TransactionLog system to keep track of updates produced by the Master database. The system allows for multiple Slaves to receive updates in either a continuous or batch mode using SSL and/or compression. The $1000 system supports up to 50 slave databases. The $25 shareware Hangman Pro 1.0 for Mac OS 9/X, the successor to Hang3000, is a colorful, educational word-guessing game, with dozens of built-in categories of words, unlimited custom word lists, hinting, digitized sounds, speech, timed games, a new photo feature, and much more. [1.5MB] CGIScripter 1.51EE ($50) for Mac OS X generates Perl CGI scripts for MySQL and Oracle databases. Version 1.51 is a free maintenance release which makes additions and improvements to data validation routines, allows spaces in output directory names on all platforms, offers more flexibility for database username fields, and other enhancements. [1.6MB] LogiCampus 1.0 is an open-source web-based system that "provides a single sign-on for students, faculty, and staff of an institution and provides more than just a course management / distance learning system. LogiCampus provides the standard tools for faculty to create their online courses, process assignments, make tests and stay in contact with students."
Micromat has officially announced the release of TechTool Pro 4.01, its disk utility that provides support for Mac OS X: "TechTool Pro 4 is fully compatible with Mac OS X, including Panther. In fact, we boot all current machines that are capable of running Mac OS X such as the new G5ís, and I predict that TechTool Pro 4 will become the utility of choice for Mac users." It features eDrive technology, which creates a bootable Mac OS X emergency partition containing TechTool Pro 4, allowing users to perform recovery or repairs without needing to startup from the TechTool Pro CD.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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