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.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for ‚ā¨30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives