iPodlounge reports that Pepsi has purchased 600 Lajo indigo exo iPod cases in its company colors for "a major give away to be announced soon." Apple and Pepsi previously the giveaway of over 100 million free song downloads for the iTunes Music Store. The music giveaway begins in February; it is not known of the iPod cases or other products will be a part of that giveaway.
FastCompany's January 2004 cover story focuses on Apple's continuing innovation, yet lack of sweeping success. "The battle over digital music is just another verse in Apple's sad song," the magazine says, "this astonishingly imaginative company keeps getting muscled out of markets it creates."
Evening tech news: Downloading music through peer-to-peer services in Canada now enjoys regulatory approval, but that may do little to prevent the music industry from taking its own action against file swappers; Toshiba says it has developed a tiny coin-sized hard disk drive that can be used to store music and video in mobile phones and other portable gadgets; U.S. President George Bush signed the "Can-Spam" bill today, creating the first federal law regulating junk email, a move backers say will be a major step in the war against e-mail solicitations for pornography, diet pills, get-rich-quick schemes, medication, and the like.
Reindeer Graphics has released a new free plug-in, Wide Histogram, for Photoshop 5.x, 6, 7, and CS on Mac OS 9/X: "[It] is a tool for exploring the detail in the histogram of a 16-bit image that cannot be shown in Photoshop. The plug-in can display the histogram in three widths that give between 2x and 4x the resolution of the histogram palette in Photoshop. The plug-in provides eight different modes for the histogram display, including RGB, red channel, green channel, blue channel, 'colors', hue, saturation, and luminance." Wide Histogram is a free component of Optipix, a $150 suite of Photoshop-compatible plug-ins for correcting common problems in digital images.
A MacNN reader notes the use of an iSight, EvoCam shareware, and a Power Mac G4 helped catch thieves stealing items from an office a Brigham Young University (BYU): "We set up an Mac OS X shareware called EvoCam with an iSight on our office G4. It starts recording automatically after sensing motion. Soon it recorded two guys wearing gloves and BYU sportswear entered our office with the aid of a key, removing several items from our office and the office next door and putting them in their backpacks. Footage was turned over to university police."
Steve Jobs said he has no plans to lower prices or dramatically change the iTunes Music Store to address upcoming competitive stores from Wal-Mart, Sony, and Microsoft, according to the USA Today. 'We're going to continue on our winning strategy'...Nor does Jobs plan to let iTunes customers use portable digital music players made by other companies. Today, customers can download songs to nearly any PC but need Apple's iPod if they want a portable player. "Our strategy is to support the No. 1 MP3 player in the market," Jobs says. iPod has 50% market share, researcher NPD Group says. Jobs also said that half of iTunes sales are entire albums, not individual songs."
Kekus Digital today updated its Photoshop-compatible PanoTools v2.04 plug-ins for digital image correction and adjustments. Based on Helmut Dersch's PanoTools library, it includes 5 native Mac OS X plugins: Adjust (extracting/inserting corrected images to/from panoramas); LensFix (correcting distortions); Correct; Perspective (changing the viewing angle); and Remap (converting between image projections). It adds support for 16-bit RGB and Lab images; Graphic Converter compatibility; full recordability for playback in Photoshop actions; and other enhancements. A 15-day trial of the $40 suite is available.
Apple today updated Apple Remote Desktop 1.2.4, its software for remotely managing software over the Internet or other LANs. It improves large file copies by up to 30 percent on 100BASE-T networks; improves performance when using the Observe, Control, or Sharing screen; includes new Apple Remote Desktop menu extra icons and status indicators; a new command line tool, and improves handling of International text. It is available via the Mac OS X Software Update.
Freeverse Software today released a demo of ToySight, its $35 camera-controlled entertainment software for the Mac. ToySight features a dozen interactive games and toys for one or two players: "Instead of using a joystick, mouse, or keyboard, players maneuver themselves in front of an iSight or other FireWire camera to control the action. The players are superimposed onto the game screen, and must use arm and hand motions to play the games." It requires a computer running Mac OS X, as well as a FireWire camera. The demo is limited to one game mode, FreeFall, one toy, the Laser Harp, and a tutorial to help new users learn how to play.
WiebeTech has announced its Forensic BayDock 800, which is available with one ($650) or two removable drive bays ($900). One bay is write-blocked; and each drive bay is supported by an independent FireWire 800 bridge with daisy-chainable ports for high-performance. It is assembled from presentation grade anodized aluminum with black anodized accents. The single bay version uses an external power supply, while the dual version uses an integrated internal high capacity power supply. All power supplies are compatible with worldwide voltages (100-240VAC). Units are easily stackable and daisy chainable and contain two FireWire ports.
Kekus Digital today announced the release of version 2.0 v4 of its Photoshop-compatible PanoTools plug-ins for digital image correction and adjustments. Based on Helmut Dersch's PanoTools library, the five plug-ins include Mac OS X native versions of Adjust, LensFix, Correct, Perspective and Remap. This major upgrade adds: support for 16-bit RGB and Lab images; Graphic Converter compatibility; full recordability for playback in Photoshop Actions; and loadable databases in LensFix. Additionally, Lens database for LensFix now includes expanded listings of camera and lens correction factors. The plug-ins are available now for Mac OS X and are $40 for the set of five.
Infoworld's A CTO's holiday wish list includes Apple's 40GB iPod as well as better Wi-Fi access in airports and airplanes, better GSM phone networks and Groove Workspace for OS X, which enables businesses and individuals to simplify document exchange and reduce the cost of coordination using Microsoft Office, instant messaging, and email.
Elemental Audio Systems has released version 1.2 of its audio analysis plug-in, Inspector. The new version adds Digidesign RTAS support, an enhanced user interface design, automation support, and new spectral display modes. Digidesign Pro Tools users can now utilize Inspector's alarms to be notified of adverse conditions in their audio. Inspector is available as a free download from the Elemental Audio Systems web site and supports the following plug-in formats: RTAS (MacOS X and Win XP), Audio Unit (MacOS X) and VST (MacOS X, Windows).
The New York Post talks about Microsoft's aggressive push into the online music industry using the WMA standard: "Microsoft pushes a competing digital music standard called Windows Media Audio, or WMA. Yesterday, it announced a partnership with Loudeye, a Seattle-based firm that sets up inexpensive Internet music stores using WMA for companies, including Gibson Guitars and AT&T Wireless....With everyone from Wal-Mart to Coca-Cola getting into the online music business - and most of them using the WMA standard - Microsoft plans to flood the Internet, muscling out Apple the same way Windows crushed the Mac."
Axis today launched the first network camera based on MPEG-2 compression. Designed for around-the-clock security and surveillance applications, the AXIS 230 MPEG-2 Network Camera is a day/night camera that delivers 30fps of DVD-quality video and synchronized audio over IP networks. It is designed for customers requiring continuous, high quality audio and video in a variety of lighting conditions, such as departments of transportation, airports, casinos, hospitals and universities.
Periodic Table 3.5 ($15) is an update to its chemistry reference software. It now includes info for 4th ionization energy, atomic volume, metal cluster type datasets; major ores of elements dataset (under Sources & Uses), plotting of atomic number as graphs and gradient tables, new gridlines preferences, and an improved Bohr model window. [Classic, OSX] Mail Toolbox 1.0 is a new shareware ($21) that combines Mail Siphon and Mail Watcher. The new Cocoa application supports POP3, APOP, IMAP, and SMTP protocols and can be used as an online mail client, a mail watcher, a tool to delete SPAM, etc. Users can monitor multiple accounts, alert users of new messages, preview messages, and other features. Upgrades are $11. [3.3MB] K-werkx today released updates its file distribution and storage management utilities for Mac OS 9/X. Version 2.0 offers speed increases and large file (over 2GB) support. Fast File Saw 2.0 ($10) breaks up larger files (MPEG, Dv, sit, zip archives etc.) into smaller pieces, while Fast File Joiner 2.0 ($15) joins .001 .002 etc. file pieces. A bundle is $20. Boinx iStopMotion 1.2.1 brings improved performance to the popular stop motion animation and time lapse capturing tool for Mac OS X. "Time lapse recording with 1 second intervals is now possible even on moderately equiped Macs like the iMac G3s. The new version is fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and QuickTime 6.4." It is available for $40. [540KB] Eovia has released Carrara 3.02, an update to its 3D software for web, print, and video. Version 3.02 offers Eovia News Service, improved Booleans, OpenGL work support for ATI cards, and over 60 fixes and improvements. The Eovia News Service allows you to immediately learn about important updates and availability of a patch, a new version, technical support and plug-ins. [form] iSynCal 2.4 is built to synchronize events and todo from iCal calendars between two or more Mac computers using the standard Apple File Sharing shipped with Mac OS. It also supports syncing calendars with your iPod or between multiple users on the same Mac. A 15-day demo of the $17 application is now available. [404KB]
Macromedia today announced the immediate availability of the Macromedia Flash Video Streaming Service powered by VitalStream. The service enables companies to quickly and easily deliver video-enabled Flash content across a high-performance, reliable content distribution network to Macromedia Flash Player: "By working with Macromedia, we are providing the infrastructure for companies to reliably deliver great user experiences that can scale to meet the needs of any size deployment." The Sundance Online Film Festival is utilizing the service to deliver dynamic, streaming video content to promote the film festival and highlight the films.
Jeremy Kezer has released ThermographX 1.2, a system utility that monitors the internal temperature of your Mac, utilizing the thermal sensors built into the computer to provide realtime measurements as well as historical graphs for plotting temperature trends. Version 1.2 adds MacPAD support for automatic update notification and the latest user-submitted temperature measurements. ThermographX is compatible with most late-model Mac including the G4 Cube, Mirror-Door G5, Aluminum PowerBooks, and G5's. It is $7 shareware and available for Mac OS X.
Rampell Software has released TypeRecorder X 2.0, a significant upgrade to its flagship keystroke recording application. TypeRecorder X records all keystrokes typed and applications used on a computer, providing a useful log of computer activity. Version 2.0 has been been completely rewritten in Cocoa, and adds numerous features, including encryption of log files, hot key access, and much more. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. A 5-day free trial of the $35 software is available online.
Blackmagic Design today announced a new software update with new features for all DeckLink model uncompressed video cards. Blackmagic DeckLink v4.1 adds Video and Key output support to DeckLink Pro, allowing users to connect the two SDI outputs of DeckLink Pro into vision switchers for live keying of graphics over realtime video. Version 4.1 also includes Blackmagic LiveKey, which allows users to enable DeckLink key modes; it adds support for real world video speed tests with disk arrays with the new included Blackmagic Disk Speed Test application. It is a free update for all customers.
Apple and Time Warner's Reprise Records label today will begin marketing blank "Lord of the Rings"-themed CDs designed for fans to purchase the CD and use it to store a digital copy of the film soundtrack bought online, according to The LA Times: "As part of the promotion, the label will sell three different blank CDs outfitted with images from Time Warner's 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' film. Apple's iTunes Music Store will offer the recordable CDs, which will sell for $5, exclusively today through Jan. 5....Label executives are pitching the blank CD as a collectible item. Reprise will press 1,000 copies of each of the three discs, and each will be numbered."
Inventive's iClip 2.6 is a clipboard/scrapbook application designed to improve user efficiency and productivity for many computing tasks. iClip works as a small window that floats above all other applications, allowing easy access to multiple bins that store clippings (text, pictures, URLS, sounds, etc.). Version 2.6 adds the ability to copy and paste between iClip and the current application with just one click as well as a new global iClip menu and both QuickTime and PDF previews. It is a free upgrade to the $20 application and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
Cocoatech has released Path Finder 3.1, which extends and improves on Path Finder's integration with Mac OS 10.3 ("Panther"), adds new tools, and improves existing features, preferences, and performance. The free update now includes a contextual menu editor, improved Spring-loaded folders, better Panther integration, dramatic speed and memory improvements, and other enhancements. The $35 application combines file browsing with a host of useful utilities. Upgrades from pre-3.0 versions is $10.
A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP) has released Imposer (Pro) 2.6, an update to its impostioning software for QuarkXPress. Both Imposer and Imposer Pro are now fully compatible with QuarkXPress 6.0 and Mac OS X. Imposer Pro will impose pages from a single QuarkXPress document into 2-up, 4-up or 8-up flats. It offers full control over creep, bleed, and crossover traps. Whether your production piece is a brochure or a book. Imposer is slimmed down version of its pro counterpart, Imposer unlike Imposer Pro is limited to 4-up impositions. Both are compatible with Mac OS 8/9/X. Imposer is $200 (upgrades are $70), while Imposer Pro is $400 (upgrades are $250).
Math Game House has released iStorm 3.0 (IS) with a new syncPDF module, which allows collaborators to view imported PDF files with synchronized navigation and annotations. The $20 application also offers a blue on-screen laser pointer, simultaneous editing in a shared scratchpad, voice messages, and Webcam snapshots using Rendezvous technology. The $10 iChalk 3.0 (IC) has also been updated with flexible chalkboard size. Math Game House also released rendezvousPong, a modern update to the classic Pong based on the same networking technology. It is free with registration of iStorm or iChalk.
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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
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R