Evening tech news: The game industry is leading the race to create a digital multimedia convergence device; camera cell phones, one of the hottest items on this year's Christmas must-have list, is also a growing privacy issue for both consumers and organizations; a public interest group had a holiday warning and a new word Monday for parents of video game users: beware of "killographic," defined as the "graphic depiction of brutal violence."
A MacNN reader reports that the 40GB iPod was briefly featured on "Live! Regis and Kelly" during TechTV's Leo Laporte's segment for holiday gifts, with Kelly Ripa exclaiming, "I have one of these and love it!" She then turned to co-host Regis, saying "you've got to get your daughter one of these!"
Peachpit recently released "Apple Pro Training Series: DVD Studio Pro 2" ($45), a guide to Apple's DVD authoring software. The book uses detailed step-by-step instructions illustrated with screenshots and reinforced with end-of-chapter review questions to teach the basics of creating professional-looking DVDs. Topics covered include storyboarding, bit-budgeting, encoding audio and video, creating still and motion menus, interactivity and navigation, camera angles, and more.
Bare Bones Software today released BBEdit 7.1.1, the latest version of its HTML and text editor for the Mac. BBEdit 7.1.1 adds a new "Refresh BBEdit Preview" command, which can be used to refresh a BBEdit Preview window when files have been changed outside of BBEdit, as in the case of linked images, style sheets, and other external content. This update is also a maintenance release to fix reported issues and add minor enhancements and refinements.
OpenBase International has released OpenBase SQL 8.0, an update to its database software. Version 8.0 now includes Rendezvous auto server discovery; automatic IP configuration; improved security; increased performance; new OpenBase Manager tools and Mac OS X 10.3 Panther compatibility. New plugins for REALbasic, JDBC, ODBC, Perl, PHP, Omnis Studio, and Omnis 7 have also been released. In addition, OpenBase also unveiled a new licensing program, which provides even greater flexibility and value, including a no-cost, entry-level "Personal" license that never expires. Special upgrade pricing is available until December 31st. Small office pricing starts at $700.
SpamSieve 2.1 brings powerful Bayesian spam filtering to popular e-mail clients : "It learns what your spam looks like, so it can block nearly all of it. It looks at your address book and learns what your good messages look like, so it won't confuse them with spam." It adds support for Apple Mail POP accounts, a training tip window, improved use of rules, support for Entourage address book, and other enhancements. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later and works with any number of mail accounts, of whatever types are supported by your e-mail software (e.g. POP, IMAP, Hotmail, AOL). A demo of the $25 application is available.
The Omni Group recently earned two industry awards for its diagramming and drawing application, OmniGraffle. OmniGraffle has received a MacUser award, and OmniGraffle Professional has won a Macworld Eddy. The Editors' Choice Awards (Eddy Awards), are given to the year's top hardware and software products chosen by Macworld's editorial department. The Macworld editors looked at "nearly every" new Mac product on the market between Nov. 1, 2002 to Nov. 1, 2003. On December 3, OmniGraffle Professional was announced as a winner. OmniGraffle 3.0 received the MacUser "Maxine" award in the category of Business and Productivity.
Aspyr today announced that several of its game titles have gone 'gold' and will be available in time for the holidays: Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy ($50), the latest installment of the Jedi series will be shipping around December 19th; Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield ($50) will ship around December 17th; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness ($40) will ship around December 20th; and Wakeboarding Unleashed ($30) will ship around December 22nd. Aspyr is offering free shipping for the month of December on all of its game titles.
Infinisys today released an update to Mail Magic 2 for Macintosh, an HTML email program that allows anyone to easily create and send out HTML mail greeting cards and personal newsletters. The update fixes a few bugs and also comes with a large number of extra Christmas Card templates. A demo of the $18 application is available online. [1.1MB] Captain FTP 3.1.1 brings a new "slim" interface, a new search option and custom toolbar in the Address Book, the ability to specify alternate Server name to be displayed in the Toolbar, and an option to "Set Captain FTP as FTP Helper". A 14-day demo of the $25 shareware for Mac OS X is available. [4.5MB] 24U SimpleHelp Plug-In 2.0 ($50) is a cross-platform plug-in for FileMaker Pro that allows you to define more interactive help in your solutions. Users can provide more info through multi-line help tags, alternate text display (based on modifier keys), dynamically update help tags, customize the display for mouse events, and other enhancements. [2.0MB] Creative Project Manager 5.9 improves the user interface for compatibility with Panther and Safari 1.1; the project management software is designed for the creative design industry using a web-based integrated job tracking solution for developing new business, staffing, managing, and executing projects. The Alpha-Cabal has released AlphaX 8.0b14, the third public beta release of the Mac OS X native version of the Alpha8 text editor: "We are a small group of Alpha users who have taken over its development from the original author P.Keleher." It is available for $30. [7.6MB]
LaCie today announced it will begin shipping in December its a FireWire 800 PCMCIA card, allowing users to add 3 seperate FireWire ports to their Mac or PC laptop: two external FireWire 800 ports and one FireWire 400 port. The bus-powered card can supply up to 18W of power per port using an included power adapter. LaCie's FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card only requires a single available 32-bit CardBus slot, while FireWire 800 functionality requires Mac OS 10.2.4 and higher. The $80 FireWire 800 CardBus PC ships with an 18W (12V-1.5A) AC-DC power adapter and a user manual.
IOGEAR today introduced its new Wireless USB Print Server, allowing any USB printer to set up anywhere in the office and shared with all computers on a wireless 802.11b/g network. The palm-sized print server supports USB printers capable of printing standard- or tabloid-sized documents. Using the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) users can print from any computer over a LAN/WAN or the Internet by specifying the device's URL. Users or network administrators can configure, monitor and even reset the print server via a Web browser with built-in Web management features. It is available for $130.
The Iconfactory has released its first holiday freeware icon collection: "A Christmas Story" is based on the popular holiday movie classic from Turner Entertainment of the same name and features icons based on objects from the film. The set features the infamous Leg Lamp won by Raphie's dad - "Its a major award!", as well as the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, and even the Red Ryder BB Gun itself. The icons are available in either Macintosh, Windows or iContainer formats.
TechPool Software today announced Transverter Pro 4.0, a PDF, EPS & PS file conversion utility with options for TIFF, JPEG, GIF, EPS, WMF, and other file-format export. The new features include a PostScript Level 3 Interpreter, Hot Folders, updated PDF Handling (including support for PDF 1.4), 10,000 dpi file output, Mac OS X compatibility and more. The new 'Hot Folders' optionsl offers workflow automation and batch conversion of groups of files to a specific format. The full version is $500 and runs on Mac OS X only. Upgrades from v3.x (the Mac OS 9 version) are $125.
Now Software today the release of Now Up-to-Date & Contact 4.5.1 for Macintosh, featuring support for Mac OS X "Panther". The new NUDC 4.5.1 also includes a number of stability enhancements and features to its personal, family, and group schedule and contact management application: "New features like Contextual menu support and more convenient importing of text files to Contact have been added as well, to ease routine processing and information management." It is $130 with a $10 discount for online purchases. Now says that version 5 is expected to ship in the later part of 2004.
Noting that Apple's iPod and iTunes Music Store has energized the music industry, Jupiter Research today announced that it forecasts that U.S. shipments of MP3 players will almost double in 2003 to over 3.5 million, and will continue to grow almost 50% per year for the next three years: "Demand for MP3 players with hard drives will outstrip demand for those with flash memory starting in 2004. By 2006, the installed base of MP3 players will top 26 million, establishing a critical mass of users that will help spur digital music sales." Based on a new forecast and an October 2003 consumer survey, it says that nearly 60% of consumers in the market to buy a music player will be shopping online for the holidays.
Version 4.4 of the Mac OS X and Windows versions of the Ultralingua English and foreign langauge dictionaries is now available. This update includes significant improvements in indexing and data, and the Mac OS X version is fully Panther compatible. It is free to registered users of any version 4.X. The English Dictionary and Thesaurus includes a significant update to its data, including notes on usage, making it the standard reference for writers and students. Ultralingua Dictionaries cost $30 per language module; $15 to upgrade from version 3.x.
SubRosaSoft.com today began shipping CDRestore 1.0, a new Mac OS X utility that creates image files from scratched or surface damaged CDs and DVDs and allows replicas to be produced using CD/DVD burning utilities: "Once in a while, we have important data files on scratched CDs that cannot be recovered by simply dragging-and-dropping to a hard drive. With CDRestore, recovering the information is made possible. CDRestore will attempt to create an image file from the scratched CD, with which you can then burn a fresh copy." The $20 utility runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
nPINE has released MathMagic Pro Edition v4.1 ($700) for Adobe InDesign and MathMagic Personal Edition v4.1, its stand-alone equation editor application for editing any mathematical expressions and symbols. Version 4.1 includes several new demanding templates and many new commands and shortcuts for the increased productivity and also displays visual baseline information on the screen and brings Panther compatibility with Magic shortcut key. The MathMagic Plug-in also offers more stability and display performance especially when large EPS graphics are used in InDesign documents.
Arguing for Apple's return to the PDA market, a TechNewsWorld columnist writes: "The impression that Apple is out to lunch is enhanced by Steve Jobs publicly saying that the Tablet PC is a niche product. This is sadly ironic, given that Apple gave up the PDA market to Palm and Microsoft as a result of one of his decisions. Like a lot of CEOs, Jobs seems to think it is more important not to admit he was wrong than to correct a mistake."
Apple has sold more than more than 20 million songs in fewer than seven months through its iTunes song store and more than 45 percent of songs downloaded through iTunes had been sold as part of a full album, rather than in single song form, according to Apple's director of marketing Peter Lowe: "Additional research from the NPD Group indicated that iTunes customers bought more music than did ordinary offline consumers over the first four months of that service's operations. The average iTunes customer bought 49 songs online during that time, or the equivalent of about an album a month, compared with the average teenagerís purchase of a CD every two months."
AEC Software today announced that the newest version of its project manager, FastTrack Schedule (145 Euro), is now available in a Dutch language version. Fully translated and localized by Design Express, FastTrack Schedule 8 delivers the "most advanced set of precision planning features in the mid-priced project management software category." A free demo version of the Dutch version of FastTrack Schedule 8 will be available soon.
A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP) announced today InBooklet 3.0, a new version of its popular $100 imposition plug-in for Adobe InDesign. This version adds new functionality as well as support for the newly released Adobe InDesign CS. A major addition to InBooklet 3.0 is the ability to impose multiple documents from an Adobe InDesign book. Also new is the ability to save imposition settings as an InBooklet style, for widespread use. ALAP also announced the release of an updated version of its $400 imposition Plug-In for Adobe InDesign, Imposer Pro 1.1. This new version adds support for Adobe's new CS version of InDesign, along with the ability to impose multiple documents from an Adobe InDesign book.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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