Members of the MacNN Forums today discuss a number of topics, including: testing a PowerBook or iBook's battery capacity (which degrades over time); an ongoing thread for users to post photos of their PowerBook setups; discussion of an article that criticizes the intuitiveness of Apple's Mac OS X; continued discussion of Mac OS X GUI customization, and new themes; speculation and discussion of the upcoming OmniWeb 5 browser; the latest news on the Mac OS X version of the highly-popular Halo.
Mozilla.org has released Mozilla 1.5.1, an update to the open-source browser. New features include a spellchecker for MailNews and Composer, additional MailNews improvements, improvements to Mozilla Composer, an overhaul of the ChatZilla IRC client, improvements to tabbed browsing, and other enhancements.
Japan Consuming provided a report on the upcoming Apple Store in Tokyo: "Apple will open its first directly operated store outside the US in Tokyo November 30. Split over five floors the store has sales space of about 1,000 sqm and is located in central Ginza. At a press conference at the Ginza store Thursday, Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple will open its second store in Japan in Osaka in the fall of 2004. Apple has been raising its profile in Japan as much as elsewhere and finding considerable success both as a recognized brand and for its new high tech gadgets. The iPod in particular has found a strong following in Japan, and Apple has backed this up with TV advertising and in store events across the country."
The Wild Bits has released Ask The DJ 1.5 ($30), analyzes beats to perform truly seamless transitions between tracks. This new version improves the tracks browser by adding iTunes-like appearance: "Ask The DJ matches beats and adapts tempos whenever needed so the music always flows, even when cross-fading between tracks with different bpms. It also automatically cuts unrhythmical intros and outros, and levels volume as well as produces seamless transitions--even when mixing tracks with different tempos. It requires Mac OS X and plays files in MP3, AAC or AIFF format.
Sig Software has released Drop Drawers X 1.6.3 for Mac OS X, bringing full compatibility with OS X 10.3 (Panther). Drop Drawers provides floating drawers on the sides of monitors to store text, URLs, aliases, scripts, pictures, sounds, movies and anything else. Information in drawers can be viewed, edited, inserted and launched by clicking or pressing a user-defined key. Version 1.6.3 for Mac OS X fixes aesthetic issues with OS X 10.3 and adds text editing in Japanese and other multi-byte languages. The $20 application is available in English, French, German and Japanese versions.
SquidCam 1.5 is a video phone/video chat application intended for use with broadband connections. It enables you to have a conversation with one or more people using SquidCam over a network (LAN and/or Internet) connection, supporting audio and video connectivity, as well as text messaging. It supports both USB and FireWire devices, offers "extremely low latency compared to other video and VoIP applications," and has a LANcast mode for multi-person conferences over a local network. The $25 application runs on Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later. A limited time offer of 2 separate registrations for $15 is available.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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