Carbon Computing in Toronto will be holding a special launch event for the World Premiere of Halo: Combat Evolved for the Macintosh. Friday, December 12th the store will be open until Midnight to celebrate the release of the "most anticipated Macintosh game of all time." Halo goes on sale at 8 pm, at which point the store will be kicking-off free LAN gaming. Twelve seats will be available for multiplayer gaming along with 4 spots for Powerbook G4 and iBook G4 owners to set up. Free pizza, and door prizes will be offered. Halo will be on sale for $70 (CAD).
Aspyr today released a demo version of its Indiana Jones game for Mac. Players take on the role of "legendary adventurer" Indiana Jones. "It's 1935 and this time you must prevent a powerful Chinese artifact from falling into evil hands. This globe-spanning adventure pits you against evil Nazis and the Asian underworld with a mysterious and alluring partner, Mei Ying."
PC Magazine columnist Lance Ulanoff has published an article on the security vulnerabilities of the Mac platform. "I know this is wrong, but in one respect I was happy to learn earlier this month about the discovery of a significant security hole in the Jaguar and Panther versions of the Apple operating system," says Ulanoff. Mr. Ulanoff says he was tired of the "Mac don't get attacked by viruses and hackers" sentiment of "Mac nuts." The security hole, as described by Carrel.org: "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."
Steve Kruschen of Mr. Gadget has recently appeared on a number of major television networks recommending cool gadgets for Christmas gifts. His Web site offers holiday suggestions and gives a big push to the Mac platform. "Every day I am reminded why I love the Mac, passionately. It is my personal preference and that of everyone else here at Gadget Central. We have three here who also are Windows users. The new Mac operating system, called Panther, is just so elegant, useful, and with built-in ease and smarts that it is a daily pleasure to use it [...] for anyone not passionately in love with the Windows operating system, I say, buy a Mac."
MakeMusic has delayed the release of Finale 2004 for Mac OS yet again. Finale 2004 was announced in early August and expected to ship in October, but was delayed again until mid-December. In a note to customers, MakeMusic says it continuing to work with testers to squash the last remaing bugs: "We now expect to ship Finale 2004 for OS X (including Panther support) in the month of January 2004. We cannot say for certain, of course, because each Finale upgrade is an exercise not just in development, but in invention. Thus predicting ship dates accurately is always difficult, sometimes impossible." The current version of Finale only runs on Mac OS 9; MakeMusic says the Mac OS 9 version of Finale 2004 will be released after the initial Mac OS X release.
Revenue Canada has released a new version of its software that adds Macintosh for the first time. After 78 version releases of WinTOD -- the Windows-based program to calculate income taxes and other deductions to be withheld from employees pay checks -- the newest release is now also available for Mac. A complete re-write of the original WinTOD application in Java means that the program can now be run on Macs.
SoftIntegration today announced the release of cross platform SoftIntegration C++ Graphical Library (SIGL) 1.1. SoftIntegration Graphical Library (SIGL) is a simple solution for 2D/3D graphical plotting within the framework of C/C++. Plots can be generated using SIGL for display in a local monitor, through the Web, or saved in a file with a variety of different file formats. Version 1.1 adds new features for royalty-free distribution of applications developed with SIGL. It is available starting at $300 for Windows, Solaris, Linux, HP-UX, and Mac OS X. It requires XDarwin with the OroborOSX window manager in Mac OS X.
Peripheral Enhancements today launched a new MP3 player with a built-in USB flash drive: the DiskGO! MP3 Player plus USB Flash Drive ships with earbud headphones and a rechargeable lithium ion battery, allowing users to easily store and listen to MP3s while also serving as a USB flash drive. The device's lithium ion battery conveniently charges itself each time it is plugged into the computer's USB port and provides up to eight hours of MP3 playback time. It is now available for sale in 128MB ($80) and 256MB ($130) capacities.
Toshiba will unveil a new mini hard drive that measures less than an inch across at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, according to CNET News.com: "The drive, about the same size as a quarter, will go inside MP3 players, set-top boxes and other consumer-electronic goods... The capacity of the new drive is not yet known, but Hitachi and others currently sell 1-inch diameter hard drives that can hold 1GB to 4GB of data. Toshiba was the first major manufacturer to come out with a 1.8-inch drive, which can now hold up to 40GB of data. Apple, in fact, uses Toshiba drives in the iPod and enjoyed almost a complete monopoly on the supply of these drives for about a year...Competition in that market, however, has been heating up. Hitachi came out with its first 1.8-inch drive in November, and Dell adopted it in its Digital Jukebox."
Apple is offering a special 20-pack bundle of eMacs for $950 each or a 20-pack of iBooks for $850 each, when purchased through the Apple Store for Education (Institutions). The offer lasts through December 19 or until supplies last and is available to qualifying higher education schools. Apple new 'Space Savings' is a new educational promtion, offering a $150 discount on a Bretford cart (for the iPod lab) or $150 on the purchase of a Bretford sit-Stand Workstation. The items must be purchased on the same invoice as a Mac before February 28, 2004.
Gorilla 2.0 is a new indie feature production tool from Jungle Software. It offers over fifty new features, including the ability to import screenplay information from Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter as well as features beyond traditional budgeting and scheduling. Features include the ability to track cast, crew, locations, rehearsals, profit sharing, and film festival submissions. Version 2.0 allows for multiple budget scenarios, board swap, international currencies with conversions, and production phases. Gorilla is available in three editions (Pro, Standard, Student) for $200, $300, and $400, respectively.
Apple uses a sophisticated video-monitoring system to automatically count the number of customers who enter the store, and to document their behavior once inside, according to one Apple enthusiast. Wired News also notes that the stores are completely standard: "Allen also has seen the very precise and detailed blueprint that determines the precise layout of each and every Apple Store. The blueprint, which is so detailed it is initially difficult to decipher, prescribes the exact location of every machine, peripheral, brochure, and even the mouse pads and cables."
Rune Lindman has released QPict 6, a fully featured media asset manager for multimedia files, such as images, movies, fonts and sounds. It can organize, search and batch process media files, supporting standards such as ANPA, EXIF and XML. It features RAW image file support, PostScript support, a customizable toolbar, ColorSync ICC support, kiosk mode, improved search, and other enhancements. It is available for $35, while upgrades are $15. A demo is available. [Classic, OSX]
Aurora Video Systems has released its new PipePro SDI video capture and editing PCI card, a high-performance video card offering RT Extreme capabilities within Final Cut Pro. Both the PipePro ($800) and the original Aurora Pipe system (now $500), provide an affordable solution for online and offline editors working with a variety of formats from uncompressed to DV. Aurora Pipe cards integrate with Final Cut Pro and After Effects so that editors can take advantage of new technologies such as RT Extreme. The new PipePro video capture and editing card outperforms more expensive competing devices and offers 10-bit inputs and outputs.
SmartDisk today announced an updated version of Rover, its compact portable USB data storage device that also acts as an MP3 player, FM radio and voice recorder. The compact unit slides apart to plug directly into the USB port on a computer and is automatically recognized as a removable storage device. Rover holds up to 256 Megabytes of data or 4 hours of MP3 music and allows up to 12 hours continuous play from one AAA alkaline battery: "The re-design of Rover incorporates a high-tech look with additional features like voice recording and an FM radio." Rover is now available in a 128MB model for $130, while a 256MB ($180) model is due in January 2004.
Mozilla 1.6b updates the free web browser to include a new cross-platform NTLM authentication mechanism. This feature brings NTLM authentication to the non-Windows Mozilla users for the first time. It also fixes security issues and other bugs. [15MB] Freshly Squeezed Software has released FTPeel 1.1b1, a new version of its $20 ftp client for Mac OS X 10.3 or later. It now supports SFTP and FTP-SSL. Other features include multiple views, mirroring functions, support for editing in external applications, download and upload queues, bookmark management, Keychain support, etc. [2.1MB] WebMerge 2.3 ($80) lets you export your data to HTML, generating static Web pages from database files. The Web publishing software works with nearly any database or spreadsheet data, while enerated pages can be hosted on any Web server. Version 2.3 offers many new features and more than a dozen new tags for your HTML templates. [Classic, OSX] The freeware BackLight 2.0 provides a menu extra that allows you to use screensavers as your desktop background. It can also change your screensaver and open the preferences. The developer recommends a Quartz Extreme-capable machine to use the utility. [870KB] Mac Sweeper 2.0 is a free system optimizer designed for Mac OS X: "It can greatly increase the speed of your computer, check and repair problems with your disk, clear unused files, and secure your computer by checking for and repairing damage that may have been caused by viruses." [91KB] DeskBox 1.2 ($10) helps you to manage your personal data and work data on Mac OS X 10.2. "You can treat it as a 'to do' list, a birthday reminder, or a document manager.... For example, messages in a Birthday Box have name and birthday functions incorporating features which alert you to the number of days pending before a birthday, and the age of the individual in question." [635KB] The $5 shareware iChem 1.3 is a full-featured periodic table and molecular weight calculator. Version 1.3 updates some information on a few elements and fixes a small leak in the molecular weight calculator. It offers element info such as melting point, energy of fusion, atomic radius, ionic charge, vaporization energy, etc. [3.2MB]
SmartSound Software announced its new Corporate Soundtrack Solutions at DV Expo. The new pricing structures make it affordable for corporate A/V departments to have access to a complete library of royalty-free music. Leading companies as BMW, General Motors, SBC and American Airlines use SmartSound products for their video productions. The Complete Corporate Soundtrack Solution is $5,000 (a $3000 savings) and includes two copies of the Sonicfire Pro software, the entire royalty-free library of 59 SmartSound music and sound effects CDs for each copy of Sonicfire Pro as well as a one-year membership to SmartSound's SmartClub, which entitles the customer to free copies of any additional CDs released within 12 months of purchase.
Bobby Cronkhite Software announced today it has released ZeboPhoto 1.4, an update to its image viewer featuring various image editing effects. This digital photo software displays pictures without borders, and provides easy access to your photos with it's file browser as well as provides captioned full screen or multiple picture slide shows. Memory usage and requirements have been significantly lowered in this version and the ability to view slide shows on alternate monitors has been added. The $8 shareware is available for Mac OS 8/9/X. [Classic, OSX]
Stupendous Software has released a set of six free tutorials for iMovie, Apple's free video editing package: "These new tutorials show how Stupendous Software's plugins can be used, alone or in concert with each other, to create interesting effects in iMovie. Some of the tutorials involved over a dozen steps and the application of multiple effects in sequence." The tutorials include Textured Backdrops, Basic Compositing: Masks, Grainy Black & White Look, Intermediate Compositing: Glow Outline, Intermediate Compositing: Blue & Green Screen, and Silent Film Look.
Native Instruments today announced an update for Pro-53 which brings the legendary vintage synth to Mac OS X and RTAS. Pro-53 now fully supports Mac OS X, including AudioUnits, RTAS, VST, and standalone operation with CoreMIDI and CoreAudio. The third generation of the virtual analog classic improveds synthesizer emulation using a new oscillator technology that "offers an even warmer and more brilliant sound. In addition the sonic possibilities have been expanded even further with new features like a high-pass filter mode and an invertible filter envelope. The control surface was also reworked and now shines in a whole new light." The Pro-53 update is immediately available to all registered users as a $30 direct download (or on CD for $50).
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Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu