Macromedia's Video Update for Flash MX Professional 2004 resolves issues identified with the Flash Video Exporter and Media Components in Flash MX Professional 2004. It includes a new "two-pass" encoder for better image quality, now embedds video length information in each file as well as includes updated Media Components. [1.7MB] Adobe's After Effects 6.0 Plug-in update fixes problems in the Radial Wipe effect and in OpenGL shadows on Mac OS X v.10.3. The After Effects 6.0 Plug-in update will modify both Standard and Professional versions (retail, education, and OEM versions). [AE 6.0 plugin] Seapine has released TestTrack Pro 6.1, an update to its bug-tracking solution that adds spell checking with support for 11 languages and user-customizable dictionaries, email notifications with hyperlinks, and electronic signature and verbose audit trail options. Licenses start at $300. [form] Seapine's Surround SCM 2.1 updates the $300 change management solution. It adds reporting options including trend and labeled file reports provide better change management process feedback, Eclipse IDE integration, improved repository differencing, and a new file details pane. [form] NI has updated its vintage synth PRO-53, which brings Mac OS X (standalone and as a plug-in), support for Core Audio and Core MIDI, and as well as Audio Units, RTAS and VST 2 plug-in formats on Mac OS X. The update will be available in a few weeks on CD for $50 and is available now for $30. Vvidget Code 9.1 now includes two Xcode projects, one for Cocoa the other for Carbon, demonstrating how to add source code to display graphs, from line graphs to 3D surface graphs, to applications. Version 9.1 also improves 3D graphs and can be Applescript driven or programmed in Objective-C, ANSI-C and C++ using either the Carbon or Cocoa programming systems. Spherico has released a new 'Shifter' Plugin to mix PAL DV and SD video: "Shifter is a free plug in for Final Cut Pro which shifts the clip one video line down. So PAL DV25/PRO25/PRO50 and SD clips can be used in the same timeline. Also reverse speed will look much cleaner with this filter." [form] Norbyte has released an update to its $17 3D arcade/puzzle game: Downfall 2.1.1 "takes the falling blocks genre one step further with its real-time 3D graphics and 28 uniquely designed implementations of the classic concept." [827KB]
Apple has released DVD Studio Pro 2.0.3, an update to its DVD authoring software for Mac OS X. Added is support for Cropped D-1 and 1/2 D-1 MPEG-2 video resolutions. Additionally, the update "changes the behavior of the dual-layer break point to force a pause during playback of DVD-9 projects while the DVD player switches to the second layer." The result is increased compatibility of a DVD project with DVD players. A complete list of changes is available here.
Microspot today announced Microspot Interiors 3.4 for Mac OS X, a 3D design application that allows users to visualize interior designs: "Ideal for previewing room makeovers, renovations or other spatial plans, Interiors makes it simple to draw rooms with windows and doors then add furniture, wallpaper, carpets and accessories from the library containing hundreds of items. The size of the furnishings can be adjusted and colors and textures can be customized. Users can add lighting and render with anti-aliasing and shadows to create realistic 3D scenes. Interiors is $130.
Apple today posted a new .Mac Getting Started Manual for members of its .Mac (paid) membership service--the same PDF version of the Getting Started Manual that's included with the retail boxed version of .Mac. It also added new exclusive .Mac Member benefits, including a discount on Panorama Maker from ArcSoft and is offering ArcSoft's Panorama Maker for $30 ($10 off regular pricing). Panorama Maker allows users to merge three or more pictures into a panoramic image.
Apple has released Xcode 1.1, Final Cut Pro 4.1.1 and LiveType 1.1.1 via its Software Update utility. Xcode 1.1 is an update to the OS X developer suite that provides stability and performance improvements to Xcode IDE, Xcode's build system, and CodeSense. Final Cut Pro 4.1.1 and LiveType 1.1.1 address issues with the Simplified Chinese Input Method, and third-party LiveFonts, respectively. Apple recommends all three updates to all users of the applications.
Apple is set to release a security update for its Mac OS X operating system following yesterday's release of version 10.3.2, according to CNET News.com. This comes from a company representative who stated the update would be available later today.
Pushing the envelope for speed and storage capacity, Verbatim is now shipping 8x DVD+/-R (DVDR) to channel partners. The company says it's "on a solid path [to] deliver 8.5GB Double-Layer DVDR media." Pilot production for such media is reportedly already underway. The company aims to ensure maximum compatibility with DVD players already in use by working with standards groups and manufacturers to develop advanced media for compatibility testing.
FirewireDirect has announced an enterprise-level 2Gb Fibre Channel RAID solution for storage and Storage Area Networks (SAN). The new Vanguard Ultra Elite Fibre System will support any platform with Fibre storage support and can deliver 200MB/s dual loop fibre throughputs in a space-efficient 3U rackmount system. Boasting 512MV of high-speed cache and a high-speed IBM RISC processor for high throughput across up to 12 hard drive mechanisms, it supports large drives, currently up to 250GB, to provide up to 3TB of storage.
Cladonia has released Exchanger XML Editor 1.2, a $48 Java-based XML Editor that facilitates easy browsing, editing, managing and conversion of XML Documents. It includes a new Navigator view to quickly traverse the XML content, Element and Attribute Helpers to easily add attributes and elements to the XML content and basic XQuery 1.0 and XSLT 2.0 support. [19MB] Chinese Rewriter 2 is a $10 shareware Chinese text conversion utility for Mac OS X. This application can convert texts between Traditional and Simplified Chinese and replace lexical items automatically. Version 2 adds support for Mac OS X services, ID3 tag convesion, and batch processing as well live translation previews. [2.5MB] Mindlube Software today announced the availability of revzeroconf, an open-source SDK that gives developers the ability to easily add Zeroconf/Rendezvous networking to their Revolution applications. Revzeroconf is powered by Swampwolf Technologies's Howl, a cross-platform implementation of the Zeroconf networking standard. [2.0MB] AE Monitor 1.0.1 offers several bug fixes and significant performance to the utility that helps developers understand the flow and structure of Apple Events by monitoring Apple Events as they occur and presenting the data in an easy-to-understand format. It is $5 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.1MB] Network 23 Canada's Screen Query 2.0 a new version of the pixel test utility for Mac OS X, has been updated. The application has been entirely rewritten from ground up for Mac OS X and now includes multiple monitor support. It is free for both commercial and non-commercial use. [653KB] Ambrosia Software's pop-pop 1.0.3 ($25) has been released; this new version contains a number of bug fixes, including fixes for Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) compatibility. pop-pop is a "unique fusion of pulse-quickening arcade game action and Internetworkable brick-bashing combat." It features over 100 built-in puzzle levels. [15MB] Nemetschek has released VectorWorks 10.5.1, which "contains fixes for a small number of important problems which have been found since the release of 10.5.0 earlier this year. This single download will update all VectorWorks 10.5 products (VectorWorks, RenderWorks, ARCHITECT, LANDMARK, SPOTLIGHT, and MECHANICAL) to version 10.5.1." [11MB]
Akumen Online today announced a new combination FireWire 800/1394b and USB 2.0 PCI Host Adapter Card. The "SuperCard" Combo FireWire 800 USB 2.0 (64-Bit) PCI Host Adapter features 3 FireWire 800 ports (1 internal) and 4 USB 2.0 ports (1 internal). Both technologies are backwards compatible, meaning they will still support legacy products and require no drivers. It is available now for $100.
Apple has quietly released iTunes 4.2, an update to its digital jukebox software that provides integrated access to the iTunes Music Sotre. iTunes 4.2 allows you to sign in and buy music from the iTunes Music Store using either your AOL or Apple Account, view the iTunes Music Store in a separate window, and includes a number of performance improvements.
America Online and Apple today announced that AOL members can now preview, purchase and download songs available on AOL Music by simply clicking an iTunes button placed next to featured tracks. The iTunes button will launch Apple's iTunes Music Store, and automatically select the featured track for preview or one-click purchase and download. In addition, AOL members can use their AOL Wallet or card-on-file to conveniently purchase and download songs from iTunes. Starting today, AOL is also offering iTunes Music Store customers the opportunity to purchase exclusive and original music from its popular music programs Sessions@AOL and Broadband Rocks
Apple today announced QuickTime 6.5, the industry's first mainstream media architecture for the creation and playback of rich multimedia content for both CDMA 2000 and GSM wireless networks. It expands support for mobile multimedia standards to include both 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2). Additional features of QuickTime 6.5 include cross-platform Unicode text support, enhanced DV playback, and performance improvements for iMovie, iDVD and Final Cut Pro. It is available via the Mac OS X Software Update.
Aspyr Media today began shipping Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness: "This time around Lara is darker, harder and more intense than ever.... a series of grisly murders brings Lara into conflict with a secret alliance of powerful individuals shrouded in mystery. Lara can adapt to how different players play the game. Rewards are given for puzzle solving and exploration in the form of improvements to Lara's jumping ability, brainpower, upper body strength and much more. Lara has the ability to talk to characters. Conversational choices made by players affect Lara's route through the game." It is available for $40 for Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later.
piDog Software has released SimpleKeys 2.0, a $20 shareware utility that allows users to execute almost any action or sequence of actions on their Mac with any key or key combination they choose. Available actions include type/paste text, open files/applications, execute AppleScripts, Open URL and more. The developer says that SimpleKeys 2 was designed with the intent of keeping the simplicity of the original incarnation while adding significant power for the average user. It is available for a special price of $10 until December 25th.
Boinx has released iRecordNow 1.1, which offers manual control over Apple's iSight, including focus, sharpness, hue, saturation and brightness while recording: "The new version adds controls for the camera focus and the sharpness processors which can be used while recording. Together with the controls for hue, saturation and brightness, the camera offers an astounding range of artistic effects." It is a free update to the $15 application. A time limited demo key is available online.
Blackmagic Design today released a public beta of DeckLink v4.2pb, a major software update for the entire DeckLink product range offering significant enhancements to HDTV capabilities. New features in DeckLink v4.2 include a real time HDTV to standard definition down conversion and the "world's first" HDTV real time effects on a HD QuickTime video card. In addition, all standard definition DeckLink models are compatible with the new HDTV down converter, and can now play back HDTV video out to NTSC or PAL standard definition video in realtime.
Apple's Java 3D and Java Advanced Imaging Update contains support for Java3D and Java Advanced Imaging (JAI). Java 3D extends the Java platform, providing additional capabilities for running 3D graphics applications and Internet-based 3D applets. JAI Update extends the Java platform, providing additional capabilities for running image processing applications and imaging applets in Java. [7.1MB] Horizon 1.3 (HZ) is a BBC Model B emulator for Mac OS X: "it has fairly good compatibility with original BBC software, allowing you to play titles such as Elite without problems. The Mac OS X version adds an improved GUI and significantly improved sound." Emulator Enhancer 1.4 (EE) adds many additional features to this emulator, including support for USB joysticks, full screen mode, and bilinear filtering, as well as substantially improved performance. [HZ, EE] Acrux Software has released X-Builder 1.0.3, an update to the company's flagship authoring tool for OS X. Version 1.0.3 is a maintenance release with minor bug fixes and improvements to the authoring tool specially designed for creating multimedia projects and applications for Mac OS X. It is $50 shareware. [7.4MB] Laurent Colson has released MusicMath 2.21, a Mac OS X compatible version of the freeware which converts music values (BPM, semi-tones, samples, ms, Hz, Timestretch %). It has five separate conversion functions, including Temp, Transpose, Delay, Samples, and Tap. [2.0MB] stupidFish has released an update to its desktop search interface utility shadowGoogle 3.0. Version 3.0 adds customizable search engines, a customizable show/hide hotkey and Panther compatibility. The US $8 shareware is free for a week. [400KB] VLC Controller 2.1 (VLCC), MPlayer Controller 2.1 (MPC), and DVD Controller 1.0 (DVDC) offer commands to control the applications using the Bluetooth-based Salling Clicker, which allows users to their phone and/or PDA to control their Mac. [VLCC, MPC, DVDC] G-Force 2.5 brings both WMP and iTunes for Windows support, cosmetic and stability improvements, better image/movie/sprite support, faster boot time, many new configs, pixel doubling, new config type called DeltaField Unions, and better fullscreen support. The free udio visualization plug-in for media players can also visualize auxiliary or "line-in" audio. [2.1MB]
IDG World Expo today announced that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver the opening keynote address for Macworld Expo San Francisco 2004 on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. The Expo will be held at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center January 5-9, 2004. "This is the biggest Macintosh community event of the year and we're looking forward to a great show," said David Korse, president of IDG World Expo. "We are thrilled that Steve is going to kick off Macworld with a keynote address."
Apimac Address Book 5.6 updates the telephone and address application. New in this version is Unicode support and the introduction of the Return Addresses Printing Style, which allows a custom image along with text. [Classic, OSX] Econ Technologies has released ChronoSync 2.0.3, a maintenance update to its automated synchronization and backup application for Mac OS X. Version 2 can automatically mount and unmount a wide variety of volumes, provide regular backups (or triggered when a specific volume is mounted). The $30 application requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.2MB] Benjamin Faber's SignalScope 1.4 ($35) updates the 2-channel real time audio spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope built for Mac OS X. It now printing of the spectrum or oscilloscope display, improved vertical and horizontal scaling options, and a new view menu, which allows the user to zoom in on FFT or oscilloscope data. [772KB] xPad 1.0 is a $10 notepad/scrapbook application with robust drag and drop support for OS X 10.2 or greater. Users can manage an unlimited number of documents in a single window interface. It also features color-coded categories and document sorting. [618KB] CGIScripter 1.62EE ($50) has been updated to generate Perl CGI scripts for Access and SQL Server databases. Version 1.62 also adds the capability of accessing Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server databases without the expense of licensing ODBC drivers for Mac OS X (or any other UNIX based Apache web server). [1.5MB] ESP Graphics has released Poirot Search Pack 1 for its Poirot 1.02 ($15) grep search software. The free collection contains 9 saved search patterns including MS Cleaner (removes CSS bloat from MS Word exports to HTML), Mailto Email Address (searches for email address links), Remove Spaces (text manipulation), and other enhancements. [Classic, OSX]
QuickerTek is now shipping its "Plug N Play" external antenna that works with Apple's Airport Extreme Base Stations, which it says increases line-of-sight signal distance to an average of 600 yards. It is shipping now for $90 and includes a 5Dbi Omni directional antenna along with the necessary cabling, bracket and installation instructions (as well as CD for measuring your wireless system performance). QuickerTek also announced its G5 Bluetooth Extension cable, which allows G5 owners to improve Bluetooth range. The $55 BT Cable Extender extender is available immediately.
GeeThree has announced the Sweet Multiport, which provides both USB and FireWire ports as well as 5-in-one memory card reader at the front of G4 and G3 Macs as well as additional rear ports: "In the location of the lower optical/Zip drive bay sits the front interface card that provides two FireWire, one USB and a 5-in-one memory card ready. In addition there are 2 additional FireWire and 2 USB ports on the PCI card." The Sweet Multiport works with all G4 desktops, and the blue G3 Macs; its does not require software. Sweet Multiport is available immediately for $130.
Apple is negotiating a 21,000-square-foot lease for the GM Building's underground concourse, for the computer maker's second store in Manhattan, according to The New York Post: " The store will have a mini-entrance at the edge of Fifth Ave. and then drop into the space that once housed Vidal Sassoon, a travel agency and a handful of other uninspiring renters.... Another broker, Richard Hodos, president of Madison HGCD Retail Services, said Apple is known to have been scouting Fifth Avenue locations between Rockefeller Center and the GM Building. Rents along Fifth between 50th and 59th streets go for $700 'and even higher' a foot, he added."
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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
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