Evening tech news: Just a week after it signed a controversial sponsorship deal involving Top of the Pops, Coca-Cola is muscling in on record retailers by launching its own music download service in the UK; the U.S. Congress has given final approval to the first federal law regulating email spam, which President Bush has indicated he will sign before the end of the year; Time Warner Cable and two U.S. telephone service providers announced Internet phone agreements Monday that may help the cable company's attack on the local and long-distance phone service market.
Runtime Revolution today announced a limited-time special offer on its Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor. For a limited time, Ten Thumbs 2.3 is available on CD for $17 plus shipping, a savings of over 50 percent. Ten Thumbs teaches the skill of touch typing in an "accessible, fun and step-by-step way." Ten Thumbs is regularly priced at $40.
After five months with no new freeware icons, DV Graphics has returned to the Mac-icon scene with two new sets. The first set, Urban View 2, -- a follow up to the very popular “Urban View” set from last year -- includes some popular international landmarks. The second set, “Brushed Minis,” is a set of tiny brushed metal windows -- "the only way to understand them is to see them for yourself." [Download - UV2, BM]
O'Reilly has published "Mac OS X Unwired" ($25), a guide to wireless technology and Mac OS X. "Mac users can connect to the Net whenever their iBook or PowerBook is in range of a Wi-Fi network," authors Tom Negrino and Dori Smith explain. But wireless technologies aren't just for Internet access, Negrino and Smith advise. "You can also use your Mac to communicate wirelessly with peripherals such as mice and keyboards, to connect to your cell phone or PDA, or to share files and use iChat with other computers." The book introduces readers to the basics of wireless computing, from the reasons behind it, to setting up a wireless network or accessing wireless services on the road.
PhotoPresenter ($8) is an alternate, faster viewer for your iPhoto library: "Even large library are displayed very quickly and, thanks to its multithreaded capability, you can interrupt PhotoPresenter at any time. PhotoPresenter uses OpenGL to display very fast 2D and 3D effects: 3D rotation, 3D cube, cross fade and cross zoom." [717KB] VoodooPad Lite is the free version of VoodooPad 1.0, a "new kind of notepad. It's like having your own personal hypertext library, where you can jot down notes, web addresses, to-do lists... Anything on your mind. VoodooPad automatically links each page together, to form a miniature world wide web, on your desktop!" [833KB] Goldberg 2.32 is a freeware image viewer and editor that includes support for applying QuickTime and other effects. It adds new resampling algorithms, offers JPEG 2000 support with QuickTime 6 (Mac OS X only) as well as improved ICC/EXIF support for JPEG/TIFF and a new Japanese and French localizations. [Classic, OSX] David Ahmed's ExhibitionX 2.4¸is a new version of his $15 photo utility that offers the ability to one of eight different 3D environments to view photos: the walk-around gallery, octagonal carousel, book view, multi-cube, flat ,disc view, flyby and beach view. Version 2.4 updates the 'full screen' function to allow for different display resolutions. [2.1MB] KavaSoft today released iTunes Catalog 1.5, its $10 shareware "creates beautiful online catalogs of your music collection, displays the cover artwork for each album, and can even look up song lyrics. In addition, it can copy all your album artwork into iTunes." Version 1.5 creates multipage documents, custom links, new links to online resources, custom font color/sizes, and other enhancements. [1.4MB]
Rogue Amoeba Software has released Nicecast 1.0, a new application for Mac OS X that can be used to broadcast audio over the internet or other network: "Nicecast can help you create your own internet radio station or simply allow you to listen to your iTunes Music Library from anywhere in the world! You can use an audio player like iTunes to DJ hour after hour of your favorite music or just to let your friends hear that new song you've been working on. The included VoiceOver effect lets you insert radio-style commentary, right between songs." Nicecast is available for $50; a 20-min limited trial is available.
Griffin Technology today announced the iTrip Station Finder 2.0 for Mac (and Windows). The small free application helps iTrip owners find a clear frequency in over 200 US cities. It now includes frequencies for 15 additional countries, interactive map navigation, and user submission of new frequencies. The $35 iTrip FM Transmitter allows iPod owners to play their iPod's music in their cars or over their stereo through the FM radio. The iTrip's most distinctive feature is its ability to broadcast to any clear FM frequency on the dial. The iTrip Station Finder 2.0 for Mac OS X is available immediately for free on the Web.
Kano Technologies today introduced its 8x dual-format DVD+RW/R and DVD-RW/R drive. The K8Xtreme offers both a USB 2.0 and FireWire connection and an 8x write speed for both DVD+R and -R media, allowing it to burn an entire DVD in less than 15 minutes. The drive can also write to and read CD media at 32x16x40x speeds, and can read DVD-ROM at a speed of 12x. The external K8Xtreme Mac model includes Roxio Toast Lite for audio and video recording and playback. It is $300 (model no. K8500RF).
A Rolling Stone interview with Steve Jobs talks about Apple's foray into the music industry, its competitors (Dell, RealNetworks, and Microsoft), relationship with successful artists, and other many other topics: "Still, Jobs' bet on digital music is a hugely risky move in many ways, not only because powerhouses such as Dell and Wal-Mart are gunning for Apple (and Microsoft will be soon, as well), but because success may depend on how well Jobs, a forty-eight-year-old billionaire, is able to understand and respond to the fickle music-listening habits of eighteen-year-olds in their college dorms."
MacSoft today announced that Halo: Combat Evolved for Macintosh has been declared 'GM' and was sent to manufacturing on December 5. MacSoft said Bungie Studios' popular game title should be available in retail stores in North America early in the week of December 14 and in Europe later the same week. The $50 title features many enhancements over the best-selling Xbox version, including 16-person online multiplayer mayhem, better graphics, new vehicles, new weapon, new maps, customizable multiplayer games and the precision of playing with a mouse and keyboard. The requires an 800MHz G4 processor and Mac OS X 10.2.8.
SimpleTech today announced its new Bonzai USB 2.0 Upgradeable Flash Drive, which offer a transfer rate of up to 480Mbps and are backward compatible with USB 1.1 and 1.0. Bonzai is available in capacities of 64MB, 128MB, 256MB and 512MB with either a SD or MMC Flash card memory (Bonzai is also available without a SD or MMC Flash card). The compact drive (70mm x 33mm x 12.7mm) does not require driver or a power-source. Pricing ranges from $54 to $320, while the card reader version is $20. The MMC version is available in 64MB and 128MB capacities for $40 and $67, respectively. It will ship in January 2004. [site not updated]
The free SBook5 5.1.7 is "an extremely fast, AI-based personal information manager. Information is organized in free-format entries. [It] uses an artificial intelligence engine to recognize information in each free-form entry. SBook provides for transparent multi-user access to files shared over AppleShare, two-way synchronizing with Apple AddressBook, and automatic export of vCards to the Apple iPod." [2.1MB] Koingo's Alarm Clock Pro 6.3.4 updates the $16 system utility that offers reoccurring & static alarms, a timer, a calendar, an uptime display, a To Do List manager, and more. It now adds an option for recoccuring monthly alarms. It runs on Mac OS 8/9/X. [1.5MB] eSanta 1.2 adds a 'Santa Thank You' option to the freeware Mac OS X application that "will allow your children to email Santa Claus without the use of the Internet. The program simulates connecting to the 'Santaputer' at the North Pole with connection progress bars, and will then send your children back a customized letter that he or she can print, or use the onboard speech to speak. [473KB] The freeware DropJPEG 2.2, now compatible with Panther, converts images dropped on its icon into JPEG fromat. Version 2.2 will now automatically quit after conversion, can show files in the Finder, can save images to designated folder, and adds a new Japanese localization. [122KB] iCal Calling iChat! v1.5 is an AppleScript application that lets you schedule iCal Events as messages in your iChat AV status message, which is visible in other iChat users' Buddy Lists. It now supports Weekly as well as Daily repeat events, quits promptly at shutdown, and has other enhancements. The $7 shareware requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [189KB] mac:method has released a maintenance update to its advanced scientific calculator for Mac OS X: f(x) 3.0.2 ($15) offers editable constants, a new Scripts palette for storing functions, and other functions. [750KB]
SiK today announced that it is accepting pre-orders for its new iPod accessories for the iPod with a Dock Connector. imp is an iPod car charger with line level audio outputk, which the company says functions when powered or unpowered. The $26 accesory, expected to ship in 4-6 weeks, also includes a standard 6-pin FireWire connector for owners of older model iPods. FireJuice is SiK's patented multi-mode FireWire power injector, which offers bus-powered devices on computers with un-powered FireWire ports. It is available in both 4- and 6-pin versions.
Cyberduck 2.1 updates the open-source SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer) and FTP browser licenced under the GPL: "Cyberduck is now Mac only, with a completly rewritten user interface using the Cocoa Framework. You can open connections to multiple servers thanks to its document based interface. A bookmark manager allows you to store frequently-used servers. Bookmarks can be exported as a regular file by dragging them to the Finder." Version 2.1 adds new bookmark management features and a new Dutch and German localizations.
dincTYPE today released new free fonts for both Mac and PC users: Emmanuel, Snow Falls on Hoboken, and Balls. The company said it also helping a former user by liquidating one of his font sets. dincType is selling Retro Clip Art Font Pack, a set of five authentic retro clip art sets in font format for $60 for the five fonts."
CourseForum Technologies has released CourseForum 3.1 ($80) and ProjectForum 3.1 ($200), its easy-to-use web forum software for business and educational collaboration. The web-based applications offer increased interaction, coordination and communication to online or face-to-face courses, student groups, workgroup projects, business teams, and corporate intranets. Both applications, which can be hosted on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and FreeBSD, offer Web-based access for clients with web connection and browser. Version 3.1 provides a range of new options, enhancements and fixes throughout both programs, including several improvements to the recently added user interface theming support.
Automatic Duck is now shipping Automatic Duck Pro Import FCP ($500), an OMF import plug-in for Final Cut Pro 4.1. It allows users to import the layers of entire sequence in one step--both audio and video. It translates Automation Gain keyframes and converts many Avid video effects, including Picture-in-Picture, 3D Warp, Resize, Superimpose, Speed Changes, collapsed layers, etc. Automatic Duck Pro Export 2.0 ($500) is also now available to create "Avid-Compatible OMF" files from FCP 4.1 projects. Version 2.0 also adds translation of audio clip levels and audio level keyframes in addition to FCP 4.1 compatibility. Finally, Automatic Duck Pro Import AE/RED brings FCP 4.1 support to the plugin for getting from FCP to Adobe After Effects or Boris RED 3GL.
MyKeynoteThemes has released Gingerbread, a $16 keynote note that is part of its Christmas'03 Theme package: "There are separate graphic elements, background graphics, and borders or corners of several types with this theme. An entire graphic alphabet of the Marker Felt font is included as individual letters with the look of fresh icing. Gingerbread comes with two themes, both with a baked gingerbread background with rough or straight photo cutouts that look fantastic when bordered by the included candy cane graphics. One theme uses the Marker Felt font, and the other uses the Brush Script font for a bit of added class."
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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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