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GyazMail 1.1.8 ($18) updates the Cocoa-based email client for Mac OS X with advanced functions such multiple accounts, multiple character support, 2- and 3-pane display, message threading, rules/filters, templates, customizable shortcuts, and more. It fixes a few bugs. [Download - 2.8MB] BackTrack ($15) silently logs to a daily log file everything you type in any application. The log file contains the application name, the window name, the date & time, and what you typed. [712KB] Digital Anarchy's Text Anarchy 2.1 for After Effects and Final Cut Pro offers functions for creating and animating text. It offers improved font support, OpenType support, improved speed, and better support for foreign language character sets. It is $130 through Jan. 31 (before an additional $30 discount for FCP users). [Download - 5.4MB] plugroll clip 1.0 (free) simply "rolls" your clip left/right, and up/down, wrapping the portions of the clip that fall off screen on one side wrap to the other side. shift clip 1.0 (free) is similar but does not wrap the clip across the screen and allows the color of the background to be chosen. [Download - RC, SC] Galerie 3.2 adds instant FTP functions to the freeware program for Mac OS X to export the current iPhoto selection as a Web page. It offers accented character export, EXIF data, pictures quality selection, and HTML templates. [Download - 868KB] One Key 1.1 is a function-key launcher that enables users to launch applications and open files via the keyboard. Version 1.1 adds an All Items window for quick viewing, automatic online updating, and bug fixes. [Download - 868KB] The 3D Assistants EZ/Pro ($100/$200) are a collection of keyframe assistants for Adobe After Effects that take care of layer management. "The 3D Assistants exist to allow you to arrange and manage your layers in 3D space They do so working directly within the After Effects 3D environment. There ae no import issues and no additional render time." [Download - Pro demo, EZ demo] Drop WaterMark 1.4 ($13) allows users to watermakr single images or folders of images. The latest version offers a EXIF/IPTC view, insertion of EXIF/IPTC data, and a new interactive window. [Download - OS X, EZ demo]
Sony today announced it will release a free firmware upgrade to its 530 series of dual format DVD/CD-recordable drives that will allow them to achieve up to 8X DVD-R and 4X DVD-RW recording speeds. Owners of the internal DRU-530A or external FireWire-based DRX-530UL Dual RW drive will be able to download the free firmware upgrade from Sony's Storage Support Web site in late February. The updated firmware will enable recording of a full 4.7GB DVD-R disc in around 10 minutes when using 8X DVD-R media. In addition, using 4X DVD-RW media, users will be able record a full 4X DVD-RW disc in less than 15 minutes.
WebEx quietly announced a forthcoming update to its WebEx meeting software client for Mac OS X. The software allows businesses software to share data, voice, and video interactivity needed to enable dynamic, real-time online meetings. Due by the end of the month, the update will bring compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3.
Afternoon tech news: Microsoft plans to broaden its attack on Linux and related operating systems this week by giving away a set of tools for migrating applications to Windows; CNN reports that E-mail users on both sides of the Atlantic hoping for a legislative reprieve from spam are feeling let down; Lindows.com's attempt to submit claims under the California-Microsoft settlement procedure has been rejected by a judge.
Aspyr today announced that "Nightfire," "Command & Conquer Generals," and "Splinter Cell" have all reached the alpha development stage. In "Nightfire" -- the latest James Bond 007 game (shipping in late February) -- players operate in the snow capped Austrian Alps and outer space as well as underwater in the depths of the South Pacific to defeat an evil criminal mastermind. "Command & Conquer Generals" ($50) is a modern war game that features both current and fictional political entities and armies. Tom Clancy's "Splinter Cell" (expected to ship late February) places the player in the middle of a rogue political faction to infiltrate and investigate it.
Caphyon has released Advanced Web Ranking 2.3, a tool that helps check your web site position on all major search engines. It is able to query over 130 search engines and quickly find out if you're moving up or down in the rankings, or if your site is listed at all. Version 2.3 features advanced filters for the Current Rank report, backup and restore functionality and the ability to generate reports for a previous date. It is $50 (standard) or $100 (professional).
IBM today released its XL compilers for Mac OS X. XL Fortran Advanced Edition V8.1 for Mac OS X includes full compliance with Fortran 77, Fortran 90, and Fortran 95 standards as well as support for a partial draft Fortran 2000 standard. The suite is optimized for the G5 architecture and offers symbolic debugging support. It also released XL C/C++ Advanced Edition V6.0 for Mac OS X, which multiple levels of increasing optimization to trade-off compile time with code execution speed, various compiler options and pragmas to tailor for the specific needs of a compilation, and partial GNU C/C++ portability support to ease migration of code from GNU C and C++.
MakeMusic! will begin shipping Finale 2004 for Mac OS X to customers on January 16th. A "New Year Progress Report" notes that CDs are currently in production: "We have made arrangements to expedite the process so we expect to start shipping on January 16. As requested, this is an OS X version only – including support for OS 10.3 Panther. We are already focusing our full attention on our next project, Finale 2004b, which will support OS 9 and offer additional improvements." It will be a free update to Finale 2004. (Finale 2004 was announced in August 2003 and delayed several times.)
Other World Computing has reduced prices by as much as 10 percent on many of its 7200RPM Mercury Elite Pro FireWire 800+400/USB 2.0+1.1 and FireWire 400/USB 2.0+1.1 external storage solutions. The drives are available in 40GB to 320GB capacities in both 5400RPM and 7200RPM models. FireWire 400/USB 2.0 models start at $137, while FireWire 800/USB 2.0 models start at $200. The largest reduction came on the 160GB 7200RPM FireWire 800/USB 2.0 with an 8MB data buffer, which is now $260 ($30 reduction).
The Iconfactory has released a new set of freeware icons from resident icon artist, Dave Brasgalla. Kong is based on the landmark 1933 film from RKO, soon to be remade by Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson: "Six months in the making, these highly-detailed icons evoke the mystery, thrills and high adventure of King Kong, while at the same time being useful around your desktop! Dave has also created two new custom Kong desktop pictures, and sounds, available at his personal site, Pixelhuset."
Microsoft last week debuted Office 2004 for Mac, the newest version of the productivity suite on the Mac platform. Designed for Mac users, with several Mac-only features, the new version of the suite is expected to ship in the "first half of this year" (i.e., June 2004) with dozens of new features, including a new "Project Center" in Entourage X to organize information, a new Notebook Layout view in Microsoft Word, a new Scrapbook, an Excel Page Layout view, and Compatibility Reports for helping determine document compatibility with Windows and Mac Office versions.
Obinary today updated its free Java-based Enterprise-Content Management System (CMS) to include high-performance caching and server-side image resizing templates. Magnolia 1.1 includes an improved caching mechanism that works seamlessly and automatically to deliver the best possible performance for dynamically created web pages, while maintaining full authentication mechanisms--this makes serving even large and complex web and intranet content extremely fast.
A MacNN reader writes: "Just wanted to point out that AAPL is up over 11%, to $24.62, so far this week, and it is up a dollar today in the first hour of trading. Also to note is it's been upgraded from peer perform to outperform by analyst Thomas Weisel." Meanwhile, Forbes reports that Merrill Lynch reinstated coverage of the computer manufacturer with a "buy" rating and a price target of $29 and a 2004 earnings-per-share estimate of 42 cents: "We think Apple has gotten its act together in focusing on core markets, building a mature management team and, most important, innovating again. People will pay more for Porsches, but they have to perform. We think iPod's leading position is defendable for perhaps two years and is important to Apple's 'cool' image."
LightWork Design today announced that auto.des.sys Inc, has released a LightWorks Sketch plug-in for the latest version of form.Z: "LightWorks Sketch is a unique technology that supports rendering at the conceptual design stage and also allows the easy creation of impressionistic and stylized presentations at any point during the design process. It works directly from the 3D model to give designers the ability to instantly generate non-photorealistic and hand-drawn images that can very quickly be re-rendered from any viewpoint, without having to use other tools."
HP will not be providing WMA support on the iPod, according to Muffi Ghadiali, product marketing manager for HP's digital entertainment products group: "Contrary to reports, Hewlett-Packard will not be supporting Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format in its forthcoming HP-branded iPod," according to Wired News. "According to Paul Thurrot's WinInfo newsletter, HP is working with Apple to add support for WMA to the iPod. Thurrot's report was widely circulated online on Monday. "
The AirPort Monitor Utility ($10) allows you to view information about the Apple AirPort Base Station. It uses SNMP to retrieve base station data and then displays it in well organized tables providing easy access to detailed information, including AirPort uptime, routing, wireless connections, client signal strength, etc. [404KB] Cunning Fox 1.0 ($15) provides a convenient method for viewing all running process, displaying relevant information such as CPU usage, memory, etc. in a small popup window. Users can "pause" other application to gain optimal performance for a specific application. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [387KB] AOL has posted AIM 4.7b3, a new beta of its peer-to-peer messaging client. It brings Friendly Name support: "Now, when you add an ICQ or Mobile user to your Buddy List, you will have an opportunity to create a more familiar Friendly Name for that user." It is free and runs on Mac OS X 10.1 or later. [3.4MB] iTunesSaver 1.03 is a basic screensaver that will display the artwork (if available) and track information of the current iTunes track. The update to the freeware now displays artwork along with the text and implements "gliding" text. [76KB] TunesAtWork 0.8 is a specialized web server runs on your home Macintosh and serves web pages that present your music collection (including playlists) organized visually much the same as in iTunes itself. [1.2MB] MySQL 5.0a is a new alpha release of the next generation version of the open-source database server. Version 5.0 will bring support for stored procedures, elementary cursor support, true VARCHAR support, speed enhancements, and other usability enhancements. Foundation 4 ($300) is a major upgrade to the development shell for 4th Dimension that can be starting point for new database projects. Version 4 is completely re-written, offering an improved variable naming convention, a new interface, and easy localization (with English and French versions included). Upgrades are $150.
DVDthemePAK.com today released four new DVD menu theme collections for Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2.0 software. Available in PAL & NTSC formats, each theme includes several completely custom menu templates, button shape designs, and composite graphic backgrounds. A new free Theme is also available for immediate download. DVDThemePAKs are priced at $80 (single) or $140 for two. It requires DVD Studio Pro 2.0 or later.
KeyStrokes 3.1 is an update to the on-screen keyboard for Mac OS 9/X that offers significantly easier and faster typing for people unable to use a hardware keyboard. Version 3.1 supports word prediction in languages with a non-Roman alphabet including Cyrillic and Eastern European languages; adds Dutch and Italian pre-built word prediction dictionaries; offers AppleScript support; features automatic backup and restore of user dictionaries; and adds a numeric pad keyboard model. It is $250 with cross-upgrades from similar apps priced at $200.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ