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3ivx 4.5.1 updates the decoder that plays back most MPEG-4 variants (including DivX 3,4 and 5, Apple MPEG-4, Philips MPEG-4 and XviD): "The 3ivx decoder produces noticeably higher quality video than other decoders due to its high quality postprocessing filters, and because of its core design and optimization maintains a record-breaking speed." The company says that 3ivx is up to twice as efficient as Apple MPEG-4, producing the same quality video in half the size and up to five times faster at encoding. Pricing starts at $7.
Kairos v2.1.2 records the weather conditions for up to 3 locations you specify and graphs the data. It can be programmed with alerts that can send out emails, run scripts when triggered, and can speak the weather and display current conditions in the dock. The $20 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.2. [1.4MB] Actual Technologies today released Actual ODBC Driver for SQL Server 1.1, a $30 ODBC driver that lets Mac OS X users access MS SQL Server databases from applications such as Excel. The new version adds support for FileMaker Pro, Sybase databases, and ISO-8859-1 character set translation. [form] Kanzu's Image Info 3.1 ($25) is an application for viewing and retrieving detailed info about images. It doesn't open images to return the info, including EXIF, IPTC and color profile info, and info about an image's dimensions, color space, channels, layers, clipping paths, comments and much more. [1.2MB] BloodRayne Panther Beta 1 is the latest version of the popular ($20) action game for Mac OS X. This update fixes crashing bugs under Panther. It is only for Panther users, and is not a final patch- it may have other bugs. [Download - 1.4MB] TinyBooks v1.1.3 is an update to the family and small business accounting application. This version is a free maintenance update with minor improvements to the $50 program. [Download - 117KB] AEC Software today announced that the newest version of its project manager, FastTrack Schedule (Ä460), is now available in a French language version. Fully translated and localized by CESYAM--the official distribution partner of AEC Software in France--FastTrack Schedule 8 delivers an advanced set of precision planning features. [Download - 22MB] Xupport 2.0 beta 9 adds an Italian localization, some graphical corrections, and bug fixes to the system customization utility. Xupport provides a clean graphical interface to configure many Mac OS X options that are not or hard to configure manually. [Download - 871KB] Bobby Cronkhite Software today released ZeboPhoto 1.4.1, an update to its image viewer for Mac OS X. This version adds support for PNG, JPEG 2000, MacPaint, QuickTime Image, SGI and TGA file formats and many more enhancements. [Download - 2.9MB]
Blue World Communications today announced Lasso Studio 7, a major upgrade to its Web development environment for Mac. The update provides enhanced functionality and compatibility with the latest versions of Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive and Blue World Lasso Professional. Also new in version 7 is support for new tags introduced in LDML 7. Lasso Studio 7 is scheduled for release within the next two months at $300 ($200 upgrade).
Evening tech news: A new version of the mass-mailing MyDoom virus has hit the Net, aiming data attacks at Microsoft's Web site and interfering with an infected PC's ability to access downloadable security-software updates; U,S, Homeland Security officials unveiled on Wednesday a new cyber-alert system to help protect the nation from attacks on computer networks; a report published this week finds sweatshop working conditions at the contractors who make the components for Dell, HP, IBM and other brand manufacturers.
WaterField Designs today started shipping its iPod InMotion Travel Case, ($50) which is specifically designed to store an iPod, the inMotion portable speakers from Altec Lansing, and related accessories in a single compact, portable pouch. (measuring 10"x 6"x 3"). "The new WaterField Designs iPod inMotion Travel Case is a slender, sectional padded case. One side has padded compartments for all iPod gear, plus added room for the inMotion power adaptor. The other side stores the inMotion speakers. A front pockets holds all cables and extra batteries. Like all the WaterField Designs Gear Pouches, this is made from ballistic nylon with neoprene, closed cell foam padding, and self-locking zippers."
Apple's retail stores will be hosting "Pro Day" every Wednesday: "We open one hour early and offer special presentations and demonstrations to help business professionals learn about all the latest technologies." Apple will offer a different presentation every Wednesday during February on how to use a Mac to run your business, unwire your business, manage your customers and contacts, and promote your business. Meanwhile, Apple will open its Apple Store Aventura in Aventura, FL on January 31st.
Intelli Innovations today introduced Barcode Producer 2.5, an upgrade to its barcode generation suite for Mac OS X 10.2. It now includes an inventory report; can create asset tags with custom info; has interface enhancements; and includes more detailed documentation. The $130 standard edition includes a vector EPS bar code generator and two dozens symbologies, while the $230 Pro edition adds the Asset Tag Maker, PDF Stamper, Inventory Printer, PDF417 Plug-In, OCR FontPack, and IntelliScanner Barcode Tester.
Nupha has launched a new international cross-platform music store, which features a growing library of songs from many independent music labels. It is compatible with Macintosh (running Mac OS X 10.3 and iTunes 4 or greater) and PC computers (running WMP series 9 or greater): "Nupha is the first independent music provider compatible with Apple iTunes. On Macintosh, users must download and install a small package (known as the nupha kit) which allows iTunes to play nupha encrypted media. Media are encoded in AAC 128 Kbps on Mac and WMA 192 Kbps on Windows." Songs are 0.99Ä or 8.99Ä for a complete album (including VAT).
Folklore.org offers a collection of "anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh computer, and the people who created it," including dozens of stories from Andy Hertzfeld on topics, such as Software Design, Management, Personality Clashes, prototypes, Marketing, The Launch, Microsoft, and Apple Spirit.
SQLabs has released SQLitePluginPro 1.0, a REALbasic database plugin that seamlessly replaces REALbasic's built-in database engine with an SQL92-compliant, embeddable, stand-alone database library, offering on-the-fly indexing and ACID transactions. It offers a "dramatic increase in both speed and reliability with only a few changes to source code," according to the developer. SQLitePluginPro utilizes REALbasic's built-in database controls and classes, as well as bindings, to create SQLite database applications. A single-user license is $120.
OverClockers.com offers a G5 Mod that puts an Athlon motherboard in an Apple Power Mac G5 case: "Don't get me wrong, I'm sure G5 is a great computer, but I wanted a Dell for Christmas. I donít have any programs for Apple and didnít feel like waiting for them. I thought about selling it, but my parents would be upset with me. After all, this was a very expensive gift and it meant a lot to them to give to me."
Darwine is a open-source community project at Sourgeforge that aims to "port and develop Wine as well as other supporting tools that will allow Darwin and Mac OS X users to run Windows applications. Wine is an open-source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix: "It does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely alternative implementation consisting of 100% Microsoft-free code, but it can optionally use native system DLLs if they are available. Wine provides both a development toolkit (Winelib) for porting Windows sources to Unix and a program loader, allowing many unmodified Windows binaries to run on x86-based Unixes, including Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris."
Virgin Records today announced that the exclusive digital EP "From KFOG to iPod" by Virgin Recording Group "The Thrills" was released early this morning on Apple's iTunes Music Store, less than 48 hours after the band recorded the tracks at a KFOG-FM Emerging Artist Concert in San Francisco on Sunday, January 25. Five songs from the show, including the single "One Horse Town" are available for purchase, allowing consumers to download the live recording from iTunes to their Macs or Windows-based PCs and iPods. The entire EP can be downloaded for $5 or single tracks are available until February 24th for 99 cents each.
Apple Knowledge Base roundup: Apple notes that the Activity Monitor may show an application's name twice, and/or with the wrong process identification number ("PID"); A PowerBook G4 may experience issues when the display resolution changes under Mac OS X Panther; iPhoto 4 slideshow transitions cannot be exported to QuickTime; and on burned discs, an iDVD 4 slideshow will repeat the first song of an iTunes playlist instead of playing the whole list.
Waves in Motion has released Events Manager 2.0 for FileMaker Pro, which allows any user on the network to manage their own FileMaker events. It has an easy to use interface that allows users to schedule scripts to run at any time in the future. Version 2.0 also supports a new reminder event type that allows users to "snooze" the event so that it occurs later. Events Manager 2.0 is also fully integrated into Security Manager, features the ability to build automated robots (i.e., for processing orders, sending email, etc.) and offers user administration.
Pepsi today announced that there would be five new commercials for Pepsi and Sierra Mist during Super Bowl XXXVIII, including one to kick off its new iTunes song giveaway promotion. The spots will mark the 19th straight year that the company has advertised during the Super Bowl. Pepsi's iTunes commercial, dubbed "I Fought The Law", features 16 real-life teenagers who were sued by the recording industry for illegally downloading music from the Internet, shows music fans a new way to freely and legally download music -- the Pepsi iTunes 100 Million Song Giveaway. The commercial is set to Green Day's version of "I Fought the Law."
Panic has introduced Unison, Mac OS X Usenet newsreader that offers "all the expected newsreader functionality: easy-to-navigate threaded discussions, the ability to ignore annoying posters, multiple signature management, and easy, Mail-like posting with spell checking and all the trimmings." A 15-day demo is available. The $15 application runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. Panic's new Unison Usenet Access offers access to the Usenet for $12/month or in a bundle with registration for $29 (22% discount).
Alsoft today released DiskWarrior 3.01, a free update to its $80 disk utility. The update allows DiskWarrior to run when started up from Mac OS X 10.2.1 or higher, including Mac OS X 10.3.x. The updated version also offers a speed increase over DiskWarrior 3.0 and also supports volumes larger than 2TB (terabytes). Alsoft has also released the DiskWarrior CD Update 3.0.1. Customers with DiskWarrior 3.0 can use this free update to create and burn a new DiskWarrior CD containing the updated application. Customers who own DiskWarrior 1.x or 2.x can can purchase the DiskWarrior 3.01 upgrade for $40. Update CDs, which boot Mac OS X 10.3.2 and are compatible with G5 machines, are available for v3.0 owners for $20; others can download the update and burn their own boot CD.
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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko