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NPR radio show on Macs
NPR's Talk of the Nation has a feature on Celebrating 20 Years of the Mac: "Over the years, the small beige box has undergone numerous transformations (think Bondi blue, ruby and sage.) Macintosh design has influenced everything from paper-clip holders to vacuums. NPR's Neal Conan and guests look at the 20-year history of the Macintosh and discuss how a 17-pound cube, a mouse and a smiley face changed the face of computing." Guests include Jeff Raskin. The 30-minute radio show can be heard via RealPlayer.
BKMS iMovie plugins
BKMS today expanded its iMovie plug-in line with four new plug-ins, including Fancy Wipes (two fades and a transition inspired by silent movies); Melt In (the incoming scene dreamily melts in from black/white); Pixel Fade (the image is broken into jazzy random blocks of pixels); and Pixel Wash (washing in/out from/to white). The new plug-ins work with iMovie 2.1.1 or later; they are available individually for $8, or in sets of three for $20.
Atomic Bird today announced the availability of Macaroni 2.0, the latest version of its $9 maintenance software for Mac OS X. It performs both improved versions of standard Unix maintenance tasks and maintenance specific to Mac OS X. This major update adds new features and a completely rewritten core. This release now periodically removes user-specified language-specific localized files from applications to save disk space. The release also adds a new scheduling choice for custom maintenance jobs, enabling users to schedule their custom jobs to run whenever the Mac wakes from sleep.
Apple Store Aventura
Apple will be opening the new Apple Store Aventura in Aventura, FL on January 31st, as anticipated last week. The store is located in the Aventura Mall on the second floor across from the food court. As usual, Apple will offer free t-shirts to the 1000 people and a "Grand Opening Sweepstakes" for a Digital Lifestyle Colleciton valued at $2100. (The store was originally scheduled to open in November 2003.)
New MOTU DP features
MOTU showcased several new features being worked on in Digital Performer (DP), its integrated digital audio and MIDI sequencing system. A forthcoming version of MOTU DP will feature a consolidated preferences window and an enhanced MIDI arpeggiator. MOTU also previewed Digital Performer's Beat Detection Engine, a new audio processing technology that examines the transients in waveform data and applies artificial intelligence to determine beat locations and the overall tempo of the audio--even when the audio file is not "trimmed to measure or beat boundaries."
Tech: e-tailers, ...
Evening tech news: Last week, it was reported that Adobe has incorporated anti-counterfeiting technology in Photoshop; HP has reportedly included such technology in its printer drivers since 2002; Pixar has released a new short film called "Boundin'"; e-tailers are poised for continued growth in 2004, with the potential to break sales records and sustain positive momentum over the next five years, a report says.
iPod Arm Carrier
Tune Belt today introduced the iPod Armband Carrier: "the innovative design is engineered to fit iPods in upside down so that when the arm is raised slightly with the flap open the LCD reads right side up." Other design features include open access for the touch wheel and touch buttons, a clear protective window for the LCD screen, an opening in the bottom for the headphone jack or remote cord, and a zip pocket on the flap for personal items or the earbud headphones. It is available for $20.
URW++ Fonts on Fonts.com
Agfa Monotype has added the URW++ font collection, bringing more than 3,300 new fonts and font packages to the Fonts.com website. "URW++'s massive assortment and worldwide popularity among graphic designers make the collection a key addition to Fonts.com." The URW collection includes versions of some of the world's most widely used typefaces with high-quality designs custom tailored for use at text, display or poster sizes. Individual fonts start at $24 with entire volumes beginning at $42.
MS vs. Apple battle
USA Today posted a story on the "new" battle between Apple and Microsoft over the online music market. "Microsoft lost the first round of the digital music war," says Phil Leigh, an analyst with research firm Inside Digital Media. Apple's iTunes software "was good enough to persuade (H-P) to switch. That's huge." Last year, Microsoft signed up company after company (including Wal-Mart, Musicmatch and Best Buy) to sell digital music in the Windows Media format. It clearly had the companies on its side -- even while Apple was winning the heart of consumers. "There's a lot of confusion about different formats," says Mike McGuire, analyst with research firm GartnerG2. "But the digital music business is so young right now, nothing's permanent." Interestingly, the article notes that there are 2 million iPods and 4 million portable devices that can play Windows Media (Dell, Creative Labs and Rio Audio)
MUG: Alaska & Washington
The Alaskan Apple Users Group will hold a regular monthly meeting Wednesday, January 21st where local graphics artist and Web developer Mystie Rail will demonstrate her "Ten Favorite Photoshop Techniques. On January 22, Mac Business Solutions (MBS) and Apple present "Final Cut Pro 4: Real-Time Unleashed," a free seminar at MBS in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to be held at 1:00 p.m. Attendees will get an in-depth look at the capabilities of Final Cut Pro 4.1, DVD Studio Pro and iLife '04 The Washington Area Final Cut Pro Users Group meeting will be held at MBS later that evening at 7:00 pm.
Rayman 3 demo available
Feral Interactive has released a free demo version of its new Rayman 3 ($50) video game. The demo is a cut-down version of the full game, with some restrictions. Rayman is "one of computer-gaming's best-loved characters." The game features a "bizarre fantasy universe" in which you can "unleash wicked powers against the Hoodlum Army in this combat-crazy platform adventure."
Ch 4.5/Embedded Ch 4.5
SoftIntegration today released Ch 4.5 and Embedded Ch 4.5. Ch is a C/C++ interpreter for cross-platform scripting, 2D/3D plotting, numerical computing, shell programming and embedded scripting. Major product enhancements include C++ features, file name completion using a tab key in command shell, easier interface with binary C/C++ libraries and embedded scripting, and bug fixes. The standard edition of Ch is available for free download and the professional edition costs $400.
Sagan offers Metro 6 LX
Metro 6 LX is a professional grade MIDI and audio sequencer: "this is the middle sibling in our product line. Bigger than Metro SE yet much more compact than the full version of Metro." The Mac OS X-only LX contains most of the features of the Metro 6 full product including: 16 sections, 48 tracks, 10 simultaneous audio tracks, 10 simultaneous real-time plug-ins or 3 synthesizer plug-ins. LX hosts both VST and AudioUnit plug-ins. In addition, it includes all of the features of Metro SE as well as 'Set Selection' and 'Tap Tempo'. It is $130 with upgrades from SE priced at $50.
MetroBlue for Keynote
KeynotePro has announced the release of MetroBlue, a new theme for Apple's Keynote presentation application. MetroBlue is a sophisticated, contemporary theme with variety of layout options, including unique "Alpha Gradient" masters that allow placed imagery to add subtle, semi-translucent accents to other regions of the slide. It is $20 or $50 when bundled with 2 other themes.
HyperSpell 1.2 is a menu item that gives quick access to Mac OS X's built-in spellchecker via the menu bar. It offers visual identification of misspelled words and single-click access to possible correct spellings. Version 1.2 offers a resizeable window. The $10 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.2. [494KB]
TFTP Server v2.5 (freeware) helps utilize and configure the TFTP server in Mac OS X. It can easily start/stop the TFTP service and change where the files are sent to/received from. TFTP cannot list directories content or change the working directory, and currently has no provisions for user authentication. [148KB]
The freeware Zingg! 1.4 for Mac OS X 10.2 (or later) shows a list of some or all applications that claim to open the selected file. Users can include/exclude apps from the listing and designate special handling for Classic applications. It adds an option to display icons, duplicate checking, keyboard navigation of menus, etc. [498KB]
Luma Code's LiveSearch 1.2 is a powerful launcher and file finder for
Mac OS X. Version 1.2 can search/display AddressBook contacts, offers improved indexing speeds, can sort the display by kind, and offers improved search pattern learning. [1.1MB]
24U SimpleHelp Plug-In 2.0.1 is a cross-platform plug-in for FileMaker Pro allows you to define powerful interactive help in your solutions, using help tags (tool tips), coachmarks, roll-over effects and other guidance. It supports runtime and kiosk-mode applications and improves stability. Pricing starts at $50. [2MB]
Print Documents CM 1.0 is a Mac OS X-compatible contextual menu plugin which allows users to print selected documents, offering access to all printers in Printer Setup Utility and to print multiple documents. The $7 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. [360KB]
Mail Watch 1.5 will watch multiple e-mail accounts and notify users when new mail is available. The $6 shareware offers an account configuration utility with options for notification and screen display and a background deamon to periodically check the accounts. [1.2MB]
EAC clustering on Mac OS X
Emic Networks today announced that it will be adding support for Mac OS X to Emic's Application Cluster (EAC) products for Apache and MySQL servers. Designed to offer a price-effective cluster platform for horizontal scaling of web applications, EAC scales from small and medium size environments to high-end server platform environments, offering performance scalability and load balancing, fault tolerance and continuous availability with fast fail-over, and centralized cluster management.
Apple has posted a teaser page for its upcoming Pepsi iTunes promotion, during which both companies will giveaway 100 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. It will begin with Pepsi's TV campaign during the Superbowl on February 1st. The page allows users to be notified when the promo begins and touts a "More than pop" message: "soul. metal. funk. rock. rap. punk. more than pop. jazz. country. and blues. 100 million free songs. 1 in 3 wins."
iPod as a status icon
The iPod is the modern-day equivalent of the Samurai sword, according to a Penny Arcade column that talks about the iPod as a cultural (and status) icon: "The simple fact that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for an iPod, when equal technology is available in a less impressive-looking package, points directly to this analogy. People will pay more for a status symbol, and in doing so, they have made the iPod one of the most important cultural icons today."
Allegro Media Server
Allegro Software earlier this month announced its Allegro Media Server, which provides the ability to present an iTunes Digital Music Library over both wired and wireless networks to networked UPnP-based Digital Music Players such as the Philips Streamium series and NETGEAR MP 101. The Allegro Media Server leverages UPnP technology and runs as a background application on Mac OS 9/X and Windows (98, Me, XP, 2000), offers "a bridge between an iTunes Digital Music Library and the world of networked digital audio players."
Apple focused on music
Reuters reports that "Hopes are running high among the makers of instruments and accessories that Apple, with its recently introduced "GarageBand" program, can have the same energizing effect on their market that the computer maker's iTunes digital music store has had for recorded music. 'For us, all of a sudden, music is the No. 1 priority of the company,' Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of applications marketing."
Adobe Design Awards
Adobe today issued a call for entries for the 2004 Adobe Design Achievement Awards. "Using software and design tools provided by Adobe, students submit projects in seven categories such as print, photography and digital collaboration." Winners will be selected based on overall impact, design execution and technical capabilities and will receive a trip to San Francisco to attend the awards ceremony, while first place entries will receive $5,000 and their choice of 10 Adobe products.
More CNET redux
Alex Graham has posted A CNET Follow-up that offers more insight into the "CNET bias" by dissecting a recent commentary piece by CNET News.com Executive Editor Charles Coooper: "If there is anything I want people to take from these two blog entries, it is that this type of journalism is not only irresponsible, it is worthless. Sure, I respect the right for a commentator to voice his opinions, but please write something that has some actual insight into the topic it covers. Otherwise it has zero credibility, and it is biased and not balanced."
Coke music site, 64bit CPU
Early morning tech: The new music download site launched by Coca-Cola was inaccessible for much of its first day due to technical problems; eMachines is the second notebook manufacturer on the market, after Voodoo, to release laptops with new 64-bit CPUs; and Start-up PolyFuel has commercially released a membrane for creating fuel cells for laptops and cell phones, a milestone in the budding fuel cell industry.
MacSoft has released Halo 1.03, which brings the Mac version into sync with the Windows version (1.031 Build 606), multiplayer support, new "NV Shaders" rasterizer path, fixes for FSAA glitches, improved Servers, and more. It now requires a CD to be inserted to play the game. [2.4MB]
Eric Roller's TrashLater X v3.3 ($12) is a Mac OS X utility that automates trash collection for user-defined folders. Version 3.3 introduces a background client as well as Panther compatibility. Users can select which folders to watch and how long any (unused) file is allowed to stay. [206KB]
Deep Sky's Athenaeums v1.2 for Mac OS 9/X is an EIMS filter for archiving standard EIMS log documents, specifically the error log, mail log, sending error log, and console log. It adds email notification and hierarchical archiving support to the popular EIMS filter. Pricing starts at $30 for 2 CPUs. [524KB]
iChat Emotimaker ($7) offers custom sets of smilies for iChat and Proteus: it allows simple creation, editing, saving, and installing of smileypacks. Included is Oscar Gruno's "N3 Emoticons", a set of 40 great smilies. [255KB]
Troi File Plug-in 2.7 for FileMaker Pro 6 lets you manipulate your files and folders and use file and folder information directly from your FileMaker Pro databases. It improves the TrFile-MetaData function, adds better support for long filenames, and has other enhancements. The application is $60 per user with free upgrades to v2.2 or later. [1.2MB]
Portrait 1.1 is a virtual picture frame for your desktop: "You can then set up the portion of your picture you'd like framed, and even change the style of your frame." The freeware (for Mac OS X 10.1 or later) now includes two new frames and allows you to create your own custom frames. [787KB]
Low-cost match moving
The Pixel Farm has announced the release of its new low-cost match moving application, PFMatch. Match moving is the process of analyzing video footage in order to create a virtual camera that can be used within 3D computer animation systems to exactly match the movement and camera parameters of the original sequence. The $1000 software runs on Mac OS X 10.3 only (and is available for $80 to students). The company also announced PFTrack 1.5, an update to its advanced tracking environment.
Edirol audio products
Edirol announced the FA-101, a 10-input, 10-output FireWire bus-powered audio interface offering 2 premium mic preamps with phantom power, 6 dedicated TRS balanced inputs & 8 dedicated TRS balanced outputs. The half-rack unit has a front-mounted optical S/P DIF input & output and rear accessible MIDI input & output and will be available in April for $700. Edirol also announced the PCR-1, a new combo device that integrates a USB bus powered 24-bit/96kHz audio interface into a 25-key MIDI keyboard controller. It is due in February for $370.
Macs offer better ROI
The law firm Brookfields has undertaken a $165,000 Mac upgrade as an internal IT audit over-rules a carefully considered move to PCs, but decided on Macs because of the support costs involved, according to The New Zealand Herald: "Our IT staff numbers would need to double if we were to run the equivalent amount of PCs. "It is very easy to maintain a Mac network, we have just four staff who manage the website, intranet, staff training and support for 145 Macs."
\'Buy\' rating on AAPL
Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf has reaffirmed his 'Buy' rating on Apple stock, and predicts a price target of $27, according to Macworld UK: "The Apple story has become analogous to a rich boy, poor boy story. The company is finally growing revenues at a material rate -- up 36 per cent in the first quarter and they should be up at least 20 per cent for the year." Wolf points out that margins are not rising in line with this growth, reflecting rising expenses, continued research and development spend and investment in extending the number of retail stores the company has."
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