Two filmmakers are getting attention around the Net for an "antiadvertising" project aimed at protesting what they call the "dirty secret" of the iPod music player -- its battery life, reports CNET News.com. Brothers Casey and Van Neistat, who collaborate on video projects using Mac editing software, said they were told by a technical support representative at Apple Computer that the cost to replace the dead battery in an 18-month-old iPod would be $255--comparable to the cost of a new device. However, in the last two weeks Apple began offering a battery-replacement service for about $106 including shipping.
Alienware has used excerpts from a Macworld comparison of the Power Mac G5 to its "Area-51" and "Aurora" computers to promote its computers online. The article appears in the December 2003 issue of the popular magazine. The complete Macworld article is not available online, and Alienware has only published results from tests that favor its machines. The Alienware machine defeated the Power Mac in four out of an unknown number of tests.
PBS columnist Robert Cringely says there is an increasing possibility of an Apple tablet PC, and such a device might "finally be that link between your PC and TV." Cringely suggests that Apple create a tablet geared toward graphics designers: "They will become must-have gizmos in graphics departments everywhere. It's Apple's BMW strategy all over again, and virtually guarantees at least modest success." For Apple to have "more than modest success" it must appeal to more than the professional market: "The tablet PC killer app for the mass market is functioning as a digital hub [...] It's the idea that your computer ought to control your TV and your stereo and your VCR."
R/com Networks today announced a new line of stock footage products for DV professionals and hobbyists: DV Collections is a complete one-stop-shop for high-quality, broadcast-ready stock digital footage on DVD-ROM. R/com says that DV Collections shoots all of its footage using in-house producers, aims the material for television commercial, independent film, sports, training, education and industrial use, and offers full buy-out rights fo $90 for a complete collection (60+ clips per disc) or $150 for double disc collections, and $40 for seasonal sampler discs.
Shortly after buying the MP3.com domain name and announcing that its sprawling music archive would close, CNET said Wednesday it will start its own free service for independent musicians. CNET said it will create a new service similar to the old MP3.com early next year, offering free storage space, uploads and downloads for independent artists as part of its Download.com software aggregation site. "Download.com plans to do for musicians what it did for software developers when it launched nearly 10 years ago."
Ambrosia Software has released an update to iSeek 1.01, its tool that allows "puts a familiar search field in your menu bar, always at your beck and call, needing just a click or keystroke to start your search. Look up a word definition in the dictionary, or a synonym in the thesaurus, or even famous quotes that reference the word. Search for information on Google, in popular news sites such as the BBC News, The Economist, MacNN.com, or even search for software updates." Version 1.01 offers Internet-based version checking, improved compatibility with Panther, and Japanese-localized help.
Evening tech news: A slimmed-down Windows CE will power a variety of in-car electronics in some new automobiles, such as navigation and music devices; Chip makers not doing enough to protect fab workers, toxicologist Daniel Teitelbaum charges; Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment, saying such terms are "unacceptable" and "offensive;" and A proposal to extend a federal ban on Internet access taxes is dead for the year, as the Senate was unable to reach an agreement, officials said Tuesday
MacKiev has released a new Mac OS X-specific version of The Print Shop, its program for creating posters, pamphlets, calendars, CD labels, envelopes, and other speciality printed items. The Print Shop includes six thousand professional templates in 27 categories. In addition to Mac OS X support, the new version offers integration with Apple's "iApps," vector graphics, transparency, a new line creator, a scrapbook feature, and a "desk pattern." It is available for $50.
Researchers at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) are making use of Apple's Xserve to do its number crunching: "One of the key goals of TTL is to undertake research in molecular biology and genetics in the fields of life sciences, including plant sciences... 'The Xserve is suitable to TTL because the operating system (OS) X Unix-based open source application can be ported and run easily. And integration with specific software tools is seamless.' Other benefits of the Xserve platform is that it offers large local storage which allowed TTL to use RAID sets and the onboard gigabit Ethernet, which guarantee high-speed data transfer over the network."
Unsanity has released Xounds 2.1, its haxie that brings back appearance sounds from Mac OS 9 into Mac OS X. The update adds support for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, a new volume slider to control the volume of the Xounds sound effects, and support for Rogue Amoeba's Detour v1.2. [1.4MB] Cunning Fox 1.0b2 is an application for allocating the CPU priority on various running applications: it shows the running applications of your Mac with their CPU and memory usage and allows users to stop/continue applications. The $10 shareware offers a stylish, unobtrusive window which can be accessed simply by clicking on the upper-right corner of the screen. [535KB] osx2x v2.0 is a small Mac OS X application that lets you control other machines running either an X11 server or a VNC server using your Mac's mouse and keyboard. Version offers multiple connection support, VNC support, and Panther compatibility. Major code changes. [1.7MB] Sproing 0.2.1 is a soft-body simulator: "By connecting 'nodes' with virtual 'springs', one can create objects of all kinds that bounce around your screen realistically. Sproing is currently a beta. Included in the download are a few sample objects to play with." It adds an adjustable gravity setting and fixes a few bugs. [191KB] Ultimate Pen 1.1 for Mac OS X allows users to draw on top of any application. It offers a system-wide hotkey, drawing tools, pressure sensitive tool support, automatic save, etc. Version 1.1 of the $20 shareware adds a text tool to allow typing notes, new undo/redo of the last drawing step, keyboard shortcuts to quickly change drawing color, and AppleScript access for drawing basic shapes. [397KB] Desideratum's Praeco 1.8 ($30) is a professional utility to assist eBay online auction buyers and sellers. It maintains a categorized database of auctions, monitors auction status, searches for new auctions, and schedules bids to be placed on auctions at specified times. The update restores bidding functionality after the recent eBay change. [Classic, OSX] SwitchRes X 3.2.1 is a daemon that allows you to control the resolutions of all your displays. It includes a Control Panel, a Menu Extra for the Menu bar and a Contextual Menu. Users can change all their desktop resolutions, create custom resolutions for your monitor, HDTV, or video projector, etc. A 10-day trial of the $15 shareware is available. [860KB]
Carrel.org has posted details of an important Mac OS X Security Advisory--more than 45 days after notifying Apple of the problem: the advisory notes that a Malicious DHCP response can grant root access under Mac OS X 10.2 and Mac OS X 10.3: " A series of seemingly innocuous default settings can cause an affected Mac OS X machine to trust a malicious machine on a network for user, group, and volume mounting settings. What does this mean to the average user: Anyone who can gain access to your network can gain administrator (root) access to your computer and therefore steal your data or launch attacks upon others as soon as you reboot your machine. System administrators and users of affected software should read the section 'Workarounds' for immediate actions to protect their machines."
Aspyr has posted details on Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the latest installment in the Jedi series: "Take on the role of a new student eager to learn the ways of the Force from Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Customize your character and interact with famous Star Wars characters in many unique Star Wars locations where you face powerful enemies." Users can also build their own lightsaber as well as experience new vehicles, weapons, force powers, and Stars Wars locations. The $50 game, available for pre-order, includes six multiplayer modes, including a team-based siege mode and two-on-one power duel. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later on a 500MHz processor.
BusinessWeek says that Apple should release iPhoto for Windows: "After iTunes, it's the next most popular digital-lifestyle application on the Mac. And iPhoto is an excellent product, better in my mind than anything PC makers have offered with the single exception of Adobe's consumer package.... [with only 3% marketshare] it would grab revenues of $45 million. That could conceivably climb to $100 million or more within a few years if Apple manages to merely maintain that market share. That's not a ton of money, but it should be more than enough to cover the cost of the launch. The move would also fit in with Apple's new push to diversify its revenue streams."
UK television channel BBC2 will broadcast a show that looks both Apple CEO and company co-founder Steve Jobs, and Microsoft founder and chief technology officer Bill Gates, according to Macworld UK: "these two men were "responsible for the birth of modern personal computing," the report says, asking 'but which of the two men is the world's most powerful computer mogul?' Show presenter and financial analyst Alvin Hall will try to quantify the merits of both men. The show features 'helpful insights from those who know them best', and will declare 'who emerges at the top of the technological pile.'"
Fortune compares the Dell's iPod knockoff with the iPod: "Coming from the square world of Dell instead of the hip world of Apple, it's bigger, heavier, and clunkier than Apple's sleek, suave, elegant iPod," but notes that the "imperfect clone" [the Dell DJ] has several advantages, including a longer battery (up to 16 hours), lower pricing (by $100), better Windows integration, and a better navigation system.
Tomatochip.com is now shipping Compucable's X-MEM OTG, a compact configurable external storage enclosure (available with or without 2.5" drive). It offers unique features such as labeling panels, hybrid-material housing and an Euro-design. It provides the most compatible plug-n-play USB 2.0 interface and "even works with most Cardbus controllers without external power source." SP Edition Sapphire Blue ($33) is available for a limited time.
EdenGraph 1.1 is a free graphing calculator, which is able to plot 2D graphs using standard algebraic or trigonometric functions and lets the user dynamically shift, track, or magnify the current graph. Version 1.1 adds a new grid, offers user-modification of the grid/axes colors, and has other enhancements. [143KB] SquidMan 1.52 is a free graphical installer and front-end for the Squid proxy cache for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. Squid can cache downloaded content, reduce network traffic and improve browsing speeds; act as a proxy server; and restore the operation of many Mac OS X 10.2 system services that normally fail through authenticated proxy servers, such as Software Update. [1.2MB] M-Audio's Revolution 1.28 drivers for its Revolution 7.1 audio card is now available, offering a fi to support Mac OS 10.3.1 surround component as well as for AC3 passthrough: "we no longer support VLC as Apple has added direct AC3 support to DVDPlayer in Mac OS X 10.3." [4.6MB] TrueBlue is a free font conversion utility that converts True Type fonts (TTF) to PostScript Type 1 fonts (PS), which are required by Stone Designís PStill, a low-cost alternative PS/EPS to PDF (aka Acrobat) writer. PStill allows you to automatically view and incorporate legacy EPS, Freehand, Illustrator and PS files as PDF on Mac OS X. [326KB] The $10 shareware Samsung Mobile Utility 1.0b2 is a tool that "enables you to connect a Samsung mobile phone to a Mac to copy photos and melodies. It uses infrared communication (IRDA) and works with the Samsung V200 photo mobile phone and most probably with other samsung mobile phones too." [Classic, OSX] Softpress has released Freeway 3.5.12, an update to its WYSIWIG web authoring tool. The Panther update brings support for PostScript Type 1 fonts, fixes problems with baseline shift, resolves text spacing anomalies, and offers other minor cosmetic fixes. Security Services 1.1 ($15) offers full strength AES and Triple DES encryption/decryption, "Gutmann" file shredding & name mangling, a high-quality internal compression engine, password-protected self-extracting archives, and other features. It adds support for Panther and a new free space shredding function. [163KB] SQLite Plugin ($200) is a plugin for the 4th Dimension (Mac OS X only) that offers an embedded SQL database engine that does not require additional server software: "Since it supports large tables, it is also ideal to offload the 4D database. You can have multiple data-files open simultaneously and combine data coming from different files in a single query." [547KB] JunkBroom 0.94 is a beta of the statistical junk mail filter that "learns what makes your email legitimate and what makes it spam: "Unfortunately there are some pretty strong limitations on what you can do with AppleScript and Entourage rules, so the only way you can actually use this is as the final rule in your filter rule set. Cf. the README for details." [265KB]
America's Army: Special Forces 2.0 is now available for the Mac, after a PC version was released earlier this month. In the follow-up to Americaís Army: Operations, players "attempt to earn Green Beret status by completing individual and collective training missions drawn from the Special Forces Assignment and Selection (SFAS) process. Players who complete the SFAS process have the opportunity to take on elite Special Forces roles and are qualified to play in multiplayer missions with units ranging from the elite 82d Airborne Division to the 75th Ranger Regiment." [full, update]
Qdea today released Backup Simplicity 1.0, a new Mac OS X backup utility which emphasizes ease of use and automatic operation. Based on the professional-quality "backup engine in Synchronize! Pro X, this utility backs up your computer to a directly-attached IDE or FireWire drive once a day even if it's sleeping or logged out. It can keep a history of old versions of files, and can keep a copy of the history on the main disk for safekeeping in the event that the backup disk fails. Introductory pricing, available through January 15, 2004, is $15 for a one-year license.
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