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Apple server strategy
Columnist Mark Hall comments on Apple's recent endeavor into the server market with the Xserve and RAID products. "What's stunning is that Apple's marketers will price the Xserve system at $3,999," says Hall, Apple is the "the price leader for dual-CPU servers." Hall points out that in addition to savings on hardware, Apple does not charge per-client fees for Mac OS X, in contrast to Microsoft's 25-user enterprise license for Windows adds $2,500 to the price of a Dell PowerEdge 1750. Jon Moog at St. Cloud-based RiskWise, which runs credit checks for large financial institutions, says "Dollar for dollar, the systems are cheaper than Windows machines."
Apple Austin retail jobs
Apple has posted a number of retail job openings in Austin, Texas, indicating that it may be planning to open a Apple Store in the area. Job listings have been posted for store manager, Mac Genius, and more.
Janus reduces stake
Janus Capital Group has reduced its stake in Apple to 2.8 percent from 6.5 percent, according to a U.S. regulatory filing, reports Reuters. The mutual fund reported in a filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a 2.8-percent passive stake with almost 10.3 million common shares. According to Apple's March proxy statement, Janus held 6.5 percent with 23.3 million shares as of Jan. 31, 2003, and was the second largest shareholder behind Lord Abbett, which held 8.6 percent.
Afternoon tech news: Adobe and other makers of image-manipulation programs have, inserted secret technology into their programs to foil counterfeiting, by preventing their software from opening high-resolution images of money; U.S. computer makers Hewlett-Packard and Dell said on Monday they would support a new DVD standard with much higher storage capacity which is being promoted by 10 electronics companies; two of the largest backers of Linux -- Intel and IBM -- are contributing to a new fund that will defend Linux users against copyright infringement lawsuits threatened by SCO Group.
New 17\" PowerBook cases
Shaun Jackson Design last week introduced the Big Back Office, a larger version of its computer carrying case that transforms into a mini portable office and a larger version of its Laptrap--both expected to ship early next month; while it also debuted a new leather version of the Laptrap designed for the business executive; it is expected to ship this Spring.
Forums: G5 rev. II ...
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: speculation about the second revision of the Power Mac G5, which a minority of a Mac fans expected to see at last week's MWSF; the forthcoming ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition; the recent announcement of the Hewlett-Packard-branded Apple iPod, which will come in "HP Blue" and sport an HP logo; the merits of a large-screen setup versus multiple smaller screens; users' opinions on what Apple should include in the next major release of Mac OS X.
easy beat 2.0 beta
ergonis software today announced easy beat 2.0 for Mac OS X, a MIDI sequencer software. It supports up to 156 tracks, 128 instruments, 9 drum kits, multiple views, import/export of MIDI files, export of QuickTime/AIFF files, background music, stylistic variations, high-quality score printing, and templates. A public beta version is available now and the full version ($90) will be a free upgrade to all new purchases.
Forbes: Macs in science
Forbes reports that the Mac, which "has long sat on the desktops of many molecular biologists, is now seeing wider use in genomics, the study of how many genes work together within organisms... Botstein outfitted the center almost soup to nuts with Apple computers and servers, which are used for everything from desktop applications to comparing lengths of genetic code....he says he has also cut down on the cost of maintaining his number-crunching machines."
Meanwhile, CNET News.com talks about the "marketing message" and "true cost" behind Apple's 1,000 node G5 supercomputer: "itt cost $5.2 million to buy the Virginia Tech gear, but that figure doesn't include what the school says were "hundreds of volunteered hours of Virginia Tech faculty, staff and students to help set up the 19.25 tons of computers, routers and other equipment."
HP to add WMA to iPod?
HP will be working with Apple to add support for "Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio (WMA) format to the iPod by mid-year," according to Connected Home Media. Meanwhile, while some analysts say the size--not the price--of the new iPod mini is the new product's main feature, and that the price may fall below $200 in the next 12 months.
iPod Decloak 1.0 released
iPod Decloak allows you to see the songs on your iPod on OS X in an organized manner: "This is achieved by creating a Music folder on your iPod that has Aliases that reference the music files on your iPod. These Aliases are then organized into folders according to artist and album. Using these Aliases, you can use the built-in import capabilities of iTunes for adding the music to the music library on your hard drive." A demo is limited to 100 songs, while registration ($2) will remove the limitation.
GNOME, ThumbsUp, Xmenu
Niagara Software has released Splendid City 1.8 (formerly known as 'Advanced Team Scheduler'). The free scheduling System is "dedicated to the volunteers who spend countless hours towards the noble cause of organized sports," and instantly publish HTML sport calendars on the Web. [2.5MB]
Fink has released GNOME 2.4 in the unstable trees for Mac OS X 10.3. GNOME 2.4 expands the offerings of the popular free software desktop, with a new web browser, improved accessibility tools, and includes 11 new applications and more than 100 user-requested
MultiMode OSX 4.4 ($90) adds reception of SITOR-B / NAVTEX modes, which are used to send weather and other related information to mariners. MultiMode is an application which allows your Macintosh to decode and transmit several different modes of non-voice communication often heard on shortwave and ham radio. [MM, MM-Lite]
ThumbsUp 3.5 (freeware) for Mac OS X 10.2 is a simple, drag-and-drop based utility to create thumbnails, offering configurable options for size, quality, sharpening and antialiasing. Version 3.5 can create thumbnails in a subfolder, cam only create icons for the original image files and supports the BMP thumbnail format. [116KB]
XMenu 1.0 (freeware) "brings back the Apple Menu to Mac OS X and includes also a complete application launcher. By adding one or more global menus to the right side of the menu bar you can easily access your preferred applications, folders (and subfolders), documents and files." It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [120KB]
Celview 3.03 for Mac OS 9/X provides you with the ability to connect to IBM AS/400 and Mainframe systems, providing 3270 and 5250 terminal emulation, file transfer, and printing capabilities. It now supports multiple Macintosh keyboards, more robust FTP functionality, and support for both Panther and Jaguar. Pricing starts at $180 through March 1, 2004.
FireStarter 1.0b6 is a maintenance release to the Cocoa-based burning application which will allow you to "duplicate all kind of CDs (even those that other Mac OS X applications won't), burn VCDs and SVCDs, and have access to unique features such as overburning and CDDB access." [1.6MB]
Entourage Email Archive X 1.8.1 is an utility for archiving emails and attachments you have received or sent using Microsoft Entourage X in Mac OS X. It supports archiving to the Finder or export as a text file, .eml file, or a tab-delimited text file. It adds new settings for archiving emails as native .eml files, rerranges the interface preferences, and more. [780KB]
Tog Panther commentary
Human Interface guru Bruce (ex-Apple employee) "Tog" Tognazzini has posted a series of "The Mac is Back" articles that cover "where Panther stands, why the Dock (still) sucks ["The Dock is the most notorious interface element ever to appear on a Macintosh, the first one that is probably bad in almost every way.], and how you can trick out your personal Macintosh today to turn it into a high-productivity machine."
CourseForum Technologies has released CourseForum 3.2 and ProjectForum 3.2, updates to its powerful web forum software for business and educational collaboration. It can now share RSS feeds in any forum (as well as allows users to track changes in any forum via a per-forum RSS feed). It also includes new and improved standard themes and the ability to directly include the content of other forum pages into any page. CourseForum licenses are start at $90, while ProjectForum licenses start at $230.
Super drive clone utility
Shirt Pocket today announced SuperDuper!, a new disk duplication utility for Mac OS X. SuperDuper can be used as a flexible disk copying utility, offering functions such as "Safety Clone" which allows users to "install potentially risky drivers or system updates without fear of creating an unbootable or unworkable system - or losing access to your critical personal data." The $20 software runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later and will be release on January 14 along with a limited "clone-only" version that will allow users to backup and clone drives for free.
ZIP-LINQ Road Warrior Kit
ZIP-LINQ last week launched its ZIP-LINQ Road Warrior Kit, a complete solution for laptops. It includes a USB Power Notebook Light, a USB Super Mini Optical Mouse, and patented retractable cables (Cat5 Networking, Male-to-Female USB, Phone/modem). The wired mouse features two buttons and a scroll wheel while the Power Notebook Light is bus-powered. It is available from Staples, CompUSA, Fry's, Tiger Direct, PC Mall, etc. for a suggested retail price of $60.
Bookends, Reference Miner
Sonny Software today released Bookends 7.7.3, an update to its $100 bibliography/reference and information management system. It now includes an import filter for MARC records retrieved from the Library of Congress as well as from the Library of Congress Z39.50 Internet gateway. Reference Miner 1.2 (freeware) also updates the free Mac OS X application that can search PubMed, Amazon, and now the Library of Congress (with a boolean functions on up to three specific fields). Reference Miner runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [BE, RM]
Realmac Software today launched ShopIcons.com, a website that offers "ultra high quality" icons and graphics for applications and web projects. It offers collections of 32=bit ultra high quality icons for Application and Web based projects, including those for toolbars, web projects, or full size Application icons. It also offers custom design services for application icons or toolbar suites.
Expo Photo Gallery
We've posted a complete Photo Gallery from MWSF Expo. A complete list of all the announcements from the Expo last week can be found using our search engine, including several important announcements from Apple and Microsoft (Office 2004, VPC 7, FCP v2, iLife '04, GarageBand, Xserve, etc.) as well as Diskwarrior 3.0 for Panther, Griffin's iTalk and SightLine, DAVE 5, Retrospect 6.0, and Roxio's Toast with Jam 6.
Time Palette 5.7 ($30) adds full map centering and zoom support for all map projections to the application that offers world time, alarms,, an almanac, and real-time weather reports as well as displays multiple world maps demarcating the Earth's sun, moon and city illumination. [Classic, OSX]
JunkMatcher 0.98 supplements Mail.app's junk mail filtering with various effective techniques such as IP-based filtering, attachment filename matching, and flexible regular expressions. It now supports use of meta patterns to simplify pattern writing. [735KB]
motion detect is a free iMovie plug-in that highlights motion in your clips: "it does this by comparing to successive frames, and highlighting differences between those frames." It has controls to amplify changes, to suppress very small changes, and can super-impose the original frame over the changes." [436KB]
WormHole is a $25 Audio Unit plugin for Mac OS X that can transmit audio via TCP/IP: "This means transmitting audio between CPUs and transmitting audio between applications and even transmitting audio inside an application. It has a low (adjustable) latency and lets you create many independent audio connections at the same time." [784KB]
Gimp-Print 4.2.6 is the latest release of the high quality printer drivers for Canon, Epson, Lexmark, and PCL printers. It adds a number of newer Epson Stylus printers and multi-function devices, supports the Canon S200, and offers normal and reversed paper order in the CUPS driver. [5.9MB]
That's Not a Picture 2.0 converts images into intricate HTML tables. PNG, TIFF, JPG, GIF and PDF files can be imported." Version 2.0 offers configurable cell sizes and a more efficient algorithm with compression improvements of more than 50%. [25KB]
DiskGO! USB Watch
Peripheral Enhancements is now shipping its DiskGO! USB Watch Drive 'Steel Dress Style' watch. The new style of DiskGO! USB Watch Drive stores data via a built-in flash memory storage drive: "As a fully functional watch with luminescent hands and a stylish brushed stainless steel band, the device provides users a portable and secure means of transporting important data in a sleek and fashionable style." It is available in 128MB and 256MB capacities for $100 and $150, respectively.
Wrapping Themes released
MyKeynoteThemes has completed the Wrapping themes ($25), which is described as a "collection of paper, ribbons, bows and other gift related decorations that can be used to build a presentation marking any gift-related occasion. From birthdays to weddings to Valentines and, of course, Christmas." Each of the five themes can be embellished with any of the 30 included paper textures, five included semitransparent patterns or the 27 different ribbons or 20 different bows.
More HP news from CES
In addition to the iPod-based 'Digital Music Player,' HP last week announced it would introduce an entertainment hub designed to "put consumers in control of all of their entertainment content. The hub will serve as the single, central storage repository, distribution and access point for all music, photo, video and movie collections in the home."
NASA Mars24 \"sunclock\"
NASA's Mars24 displays a Mars "sunclock", a graphical representation of Mars showing the current sun- and nightsides of Mars, along with a numerical readout of the time in 24-hour format. Another reader notes that NASA also offers a Java image browser and mission simulator called Maestro that "purports to be derived from the application used in mission control. It's the only app I know that depends on the new Java3D frameworks, and may be the reason why they were released by Apple." [updated with Maestro info]
Meanwhile readers note that the Mars Rover uses a variation of PowerPC chips: "The computer in each Mars Exploration Rover runs with a 32-bit Rad 6000 microprocessor, a radiation-hardened version of the PowerPC chip used in some models of Macintosh computers, operating at a speed of 20 million instructions per second."
Lens & Light Optimizer
Camdynamics showcased Lens & Light Optimizer 1.02, an application that creates lens profiles to correct digital camera lens imperfections. The application, designed for professional photographers, can manually produce a lens correction profile or draw from its internal database of profiles. The software corrects photos from by applying a correction filter for lens imperfections, distortion, vignetting, and lighting variations. The software is priced at $850 (€750) and is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Eazy Draw 1.5
Dekorra Optics showcased EazyDraw 1.5 for Mac OS X, an illustration or drawing software application that offers vector-based graphics for creating simple, non-photographic drawings, technical diagrams and illustrations such as logos, icons, buttons and stylized art. Version 1.5 provides significantly optimized performance for large professional level drawings, enhanced group editing, support for version control strings, better alignment, and other improvements. A limited demo and $20 trial license (for 9-months) is available. The full version is $95 (electronic) or $115 (CD).
Imagaro Z previewed
Conclipse showcased Imagaro Z, an scanning and auto trace application for Mac OS X that creates vector images and text from a scanned image. The application can identify scanned fonts using a built-in library of 17,000 fonts (Adobe Font Folio 8/9, Bitstream, CorelDraw, etc., but conversion requires font ownership). Vectorized logos can be edited and simplified for precision by combining curves, straightening lines, etc. using "smart cleanup tools." It supports import from AI, EPS, BMP, TIFF, and other file formats as well export to DPS, HPGL, DXF, and CorelDraw. It runs on Mac OS 9/X, including Panther. Pricing is $700 and it is expected to ship in 1-2 weeks.
Acuta 4 RAID solution
Accusys last week announced Acuta 4, a newly designed ATA external solution with both Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 as well as S-ATA support. The driverless 4-disk array supports 4x ATA-100/133 drives with RAID 0, 1+0, and 5+spare support. The hot-swappable disk supports up to 2TB of storage, offers 2MB of on-board cache, and LED indicators for disk status, fan status, power. It also features GUI support for system status monitoring (via an RS-232 port) and event notification through an audible alarm or email. The $1000 system is shippping now in the US.
Squeezebox MP3 player
Slim Devices last week showcased its Squeezebox wireless MP3 player. The device streams music from your computer to your digital stereo over your wireless or ethernet network--without any loss of sound quality. It features 2-line, 40-character display, 29-button custom remote control, an Ethernet 10-B-connector, 802.11b wireless support, new coxial and optical digital outupts, and an integrated headphone amplified plug. Squeezebox supports MP3, VBR MP3, MP2, uncompressed WAV, and AIFF as well as software-based automatic conversion from Ogg Vorbis, AAC, and FLAC. It is now available for $300.
Design Intuition CAD tool
Gizmolab introduced Design Intuition, a design tool for for Mac OS X that is "powerful enough for professionals yet simple and intuitive enough for everyday home use...Design Intuition is about drawing blueprints. Start out by creating a new design document. At your disposal, now, are two tools for creating 3D objects: one for blocks and one for cylinders. Each object is automatically provided with dimensions. Objects can be resized, repositioned and manipulated in a variety of ways,.. Dimensions can be relocated, edited, and hidden. The Object Inspector provides a full set of controls to edit each object in detail." Pricing starts at $130.
Tech: presidential race...
Weekend tech news: The Internet has emerged as an important source of U.S. presidential campaign news for many Americans, on par with weekly news magazines and television talk shows, according to a survey released Sunday; Microsoft has showed off 'Connected Concept Cars' based on the Windows Automotive platform that provides cell-phone integration, Web services and speech support; rapidly expanding voice communications over the Internet should be protected from excessive government regulation and from being pigeonholed as simple phone service, the Federal Communications Commission chairman said Friday.
Wired on Mac 20th
Wired News is running a series on the 20th anniversary of Apple's Macintosh, including the "father of the Macintosh" Jef Raskin who says he started the Mac project 25 years ago and Apple's Unlikely Guardian Angel [Microsoft], which is also celebrating 20 years on the Mac (a special Macworld Expo in the Microsoft booth exhibits of dozens of older generation Macs running older versions of Microsoft software). The article notes the "marriage of convenience" offers Microsoft a very profitable business with over 7 million Mac Office users worldwide. [corrected information about Raskin's comments]
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