Red Giant Software today announced a new plug-in for After Effects: RotoImport allows users to import Commotion splines into an After Effects composite for further manipulation for final composition rendering. The new plug-in streamlines cross-program compositing and filmmaking: "For the first time, compositors can re-use Commotion splines inside an After Effects composition--all splines are translated into After Effects layer masks. The imported masks can be edited without leaving After Effects, saving time and improving workflow." The plugin is available for download for $300 and works with After Effects 5.5 under Mac OS X.
Evening tech news: Internet services company Yahoo today said it is working on technology to combat e-mail spam by changing the way the Internet works to require authentication of a message's sender; Japanese game machine maker Taito said Friday that it plans to restart sales of "Space Invaders" in the United States, almost 25 years after the video game first appeared in arcades; VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) could be the "next big thing" in voice communication, eventually replacing the standard telephone.
Apple today released Security Update 2003-12-05. It updates Safari to prevent unauthorized access to a user's cookies, which we first noted this vulnerability a few weeks ago. There is a separate Safari Security update for Jaguar users. [Jaguar, Panther]
Granted Software has updated Peripheral Vision 1.6, a monitoring utility that helps OS X users keep track of the peripherals around their digital hub. Peripheral Vision provides a variety of customizable audio/visual notifications and automatable actions when peripherals are either connected (or disconnected) to your digital hub. Version 1.6 adds support for file volumes which makes it much easier to automate actions with FireWire drives and provides a simplified Preference Pane layout among other improvements. [1.0MB]
As a part of its "How to Succeed in 2004" report, Business 2.0 has published a short article by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on how to "Create Cool Technology." Jobs says, "learning about new technologies and markets is what makes this fun for me. [...] Five or six years ago, we didn't know anything about video editing, so we bought technology to learn how to do that. A few years later, we didn't know anything about MP3 players, but our people looked at what was out there with a critical eye and combined that with what we already knew about design, user interface, materials, and digital electronics." Other business executives also contributed to the report, with articles on various strategies used by their respective companies.
CS Odessa has launched the "ConceptDraw Suite Offer," a holiday special that offers four ConceptDraw products in a single pack for $400. It includes recent releases: ConceptDraw V Pro and ConceptDraw Project along with popular ConceptDraw MINDMAP Pro and ConceptDraw Presenter. The offer is available through December 2003. ConceptDraw Suite enables users to make flowcharts, diagrams, manage projects, brainstorm ideas and create dynamic presentations.
The "paperless" office application, DEVONthink 1.7.3, is now otimized for Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" and also offers a new "Special characters" command to open the character palette and new menu commands for auto-completion and the new text styles. Also, the conversion of HTML to RTF(D) now uses the WebKit engine, Web links inside RTF documents are supported, Word documents can be imported directly using Panther's Word-to-RTF converter, and the application uses better validation for improved data safety. DEVONthink 1.8, which will be published early next year, will fully support the WebKit engine for displaying HTML. DEVONthink 1.7.3 is $35 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
IOXperts 802.11b v1.03 drivers for Mac OS X has been tested with Panther and updates for the latest AirPort (Extreme) firmware and support for some PCI "sled-style" adapters. The driver supports more than 60 different 802.11b wireless networking PC/PCI cards. [275KB] VEM 1.7 upgrades the cross-platform data extraction, file format conversion and import/export SDK. VEM allows applications and server-based solutions to extract data, perform file format conversions and import/export services for many document types. It contains updated import/export filters, support for more new file formats - PDF and MSWord 2003 as well as adds support for Arabic and Hebrew languages. DVDxDV 1.068 is an update to the software that extracts video from DVDs. It is 25 percent faster and offers higher quality video output with better color conversion. The update is also brings dual processor and G5 optimizations. A dem of the $25 application is available. ab DataTools has released the initial public beta of HR-View, which maintains the information needed by Human Resources in a fast, flexible, yet cost effective manner, offering user-defined tags to quickly identify groups of employees within your organization, file associations with employee records, and other functions. Mitz Pettel today released Vidi 0.4.3d1, a free application for watching and recording video on the Mac using any FireWire DV device. Vidi can be used to switch video inputs and change TV channels and picture settings and also listen to FM radio stations. Version 0.4.3d1 adds support for generic DV devices and for newer Formac devices; it also improves compatibility with Mac OS X v10.3. [306KB] Flash AV Players 2.6 updates the Flash application that broadcasts MP3, SWF (Audio and Video) and JPEG files by loading playlists in XML format. It adds code to work with non-standard file extensions, new sample skins, a new XML generator, and other enhancements. Single domain registration is 30Ä per site. [445KB] The freeware UTC Clock is a simple clock for Mac OS X designed to display UTC (GMT, zulu, etc.) time under the menu bar clock: "It uses very little resources, screen real estate, and no Dock space. Designed with the hobbyist in mind, it displays the time, date, and provides links to relevant radio and astronomy web sites." [940KB]
Isadora is a $350 graphic programming environment for Mac that provides interactive control over digital media, with special emphasis on the real-time manipulation of digital video. Isadora offers "building blocks" that can be linked together in an almost unlimited number of ways. Version 1.0 offers support for FreeFrame (an evolving, open-source video plugin standard) with over 40 open source plugins available; rendering of 3D Studio Max files (3DS) with texture mapping of live video on to the objects, an improved Control Panel interface, new Actors and improvements to existing Actors, and better compatibility with multichannel audio devices via CoreAudio in OS X.
RecoSoft is now shipping PDF2Office 1.0, its "revolutionary" and comprehensive PDF document conversion and data extraction tool. PDF2Office converts PDF documents into fully editable MSWord, RTF, AppleWorks, HTML, etc. files, re-creating the original construct and layout of the document, including paragraphs, applying styles, re-grouping independent graphics elements, extracting images, creating tables, processing headers/footers, endnotes/footnotes and columns/sections. It allows users to unlock the contents stored in PDF documents automatically. A single-user license is $130 with a $30 discount through February 2004.
MacSoft today announced it has signed to publish Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT04) for the Macintosh. "Weíve been working on the Mac version of UT04 right alongside the Windows version. Mac users should get a nice surprise when the official ship dates are announced." The sequel to last year's popular Unreal Tournament 2003, UT04 takes gladiator combat to a new level with the addition of land and air vehicles, an arsenal of new weaponry, new arenas, epic battlefields and the challenge of the Assault and Onslaught game types. It also adds the UnrealTV broadcast system, which allows hundreds of people to log on and watch famous combatants duke it out, and the return of the mighty Skaarj as a playable race. UT04 is due midway through the first quarter of 2004.
Apple is now offering refurbished models of its G5 Power Macs via the Apple Store. Apple's entry level 1.6GHz Power Mac G5 (256MB/80GB/SuperDrive) is $1,500, the mid-level single-processor 1.8GHz G5 (512MB/160GB/SuperDrive) is $1,800, while the dual-processor 2GHz G5 (512MB/160GB/SuperDrive) is $2,500.
MetaCommunications today announced major upgrades to its Virtual Ticket and Job Manager product lines for creative, publishing, and prepress organizations. The new Virtual Ticket 6.0 and Job Manager 4.0 releases will add native support for the Mac OS X environment and include dozens of new features and improvements. Virtual Ticket 6.0 is expected to ship in early 2004 with Job Manager 4.0 following shortly thereafter. "Although our products have been optimized and run very well in Mac OS X classic, we are excited to add native support for the Mac OS X platform."
David Pogue's latest New York Times column talks about using the iSight and iChat AV across the Atlantic: "And then, suddenly, there it was: My wife Jennifer's live image and her voice, transmitted in real time 3,500 miles across the globe -- instantly, crystal clear, and (by the way) free. I paraded around the coffee shop with my laptop and the iSight, showing her the local ambiance... There's a lot of junk in technology, a lot of hassle and frustration, a lot of disappointment. But this moment was like a TV commercial. It was an emotional, powerful, simple, perfect example of how technology can change a moment, solve a problem."
Derman Enterprises is searching for a few test vendors to complete development of its new Vendor Licensing Services based on its mature LicenseControl technology. Derman is offering Incentives for those who participate in the Founders program: "If you sell software without licensing or with license codes that can be 'shared' across systems and with others, we can help increase your revenue...We provide product-activation services that leave compliant users in control of their software, their system and their privacy ... and yet, also meet your needs for protection against software piracy."
StageTools has released version 5.0 of MovingPicture, its image pan and zoom software for nonlinear editors. Version 5.0 adds Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) support, 16:9 letterbox display, automatic show timing changes, expanded shortcut keys, image tinting, enhanced image filtering, and support for new editors. MovingPicture can pan and zoom on high-resolution still images, taking scanned images up to 8,000x8,000 pixels and allowing for perfectly repeatable pans and zooms directly. It is a free upgrade to the $200 solution for most nonlinear editors. MovingPicture with Rotation is $270.
The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group (LAFCPUG) along with leaders from the FCP User Group Network will hold a meeting at DV Expo in Los Angeles on Thursday December 11 at 5:15 p.m. Apple's Paul Saconne will demo FCP 4.1 plus show off AJA's new low-cost Io LA and LD, while Editor Rick Blue, and Digital FilmTree's Ramy Katrib will discuss editing the hit NBC comedy "Scrubs" with Final Cut Pro. There will also be other sessions on how to get media off a DVD and the Auto Select option in FCP 4.1. There will be a $5.00 donation requested at the door for this meeting.
Jumsoft has released Money 1.0, a new personal accounting application designed for "users who need a very simplistic, intuitive and uncluttered application. It is intended for simple accounting and personal financial management." The application features a simple analysis tool, multiple accounts, QIF support, an Aqua interface, Labels, a Search tool and much more. The $20 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
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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
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