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Apps: CHM Viewer, SimCity
JouleData Solutions has released CHM Viewer 1.1.4, an update to its $5 shareware utility, which lets Mac OS X users view Microsoft Compiled Help (.chm) files. It allows users to browse a tree view outline of the help file contents, and also view the associated keyword index. [Download - see form]
Alexander Wilson Studios this week released two updates to its free internet software, IndieToolbar 2.5 and IE Toolbar Icon set v.5. The toolbar icons are a supplement to Internet Explorer in Mac OS X, where users may drag and drop graphical links into the IE Toolbar with over 350 icons in eleven categories. [Download - 1.2MB]
Aspyr has released SimCity 4 v1.0.2, the latest version of the popular city simulation and design game. This releases fixes: compatibility issues with various ATI video cards, incorrectly colored buildings and other objects, and problems with terrain highlighting. [Download - 4.7MB]
The Nudge 1.0 contextual menu item "nudges" the Finder to update the information it displays about a file or folder. Use it on any item (or groups of items) if you suspect the Finder hasn't updated its view. [Download - 64KB]
Menu Master is a $10 "haxie" that allows users to change or remove menu shortcut keys in any application with ease. This version adds Panther compatibility, rewritten menu handling, and a number of bug fixes. [Download - 1.0MB]
RadicalSqueeze 1.0 is a simple compression utility for Mac OS X that supports both the Zip and Tar (with optional GZip) formats. Registration is $15. [Download - 968KB]
Curvus Pro X is a powerful and user-friendly equation graphing software designed for Mac OS X. The latest version offers a new trigonometric mode, 3D frame, 3D shadows, optimizations, and more. [Download - 4.9MB]
RsyncX 2.0c is an implementation of rsync with HFS+ support and configuration through a command line (Terminal) or graphical user interface. Version 2.0c fixes a permissions bug, and offers improved internal code. [Download - 430KB]
Tech: Pixar/Disney; MyDoom
Evening tech: Pixar said Thursday it had broken off talks with Disney to extend their lucrative movie distribution deal that has resulted in such blockbusters as "Toy Story," "Monsters Inc." and "Finding Nemo," and is seeking new partners; security experts warned on Thursday the fast-spreading MyDoom virus would plague e-mail users for some time as it counts down to a mammoth digital attack next week on Microsoft and software firm SCO Group; telemarketers will be required to transmit their telephone numbers and other caller-ID information under new rules that take effect on Thursday.
K4 Publishing System
SoftCare today released version 5.0 of the K4 Publishing System, an update to its professional publishing workflow solution. The new version offers support for Adobe InDesign CS and Adobe InCopy CS, and includes a number of new features and enhancements, such as improved support for ad, image and multimedia objects, enhanced use of XML for structuring content, and new workflow capabilities for other file types such as word processing and spreadsheet files.
EazyDraw 1.5.1 updates the vector drawing application for Mac OS X, bringing the ability to transfer vector graphics from EazyDraw to other applications (e.g., MS Word, PowerPoint) using a full PICT-vector export format for high-quality scalable images. The new version also provides significant performance improvements and several other enhancements. It is a free update to the $95 application. A time-limited 9-month license ($20) and free demo are both available.
QuickStream Battery Pack
MCE Technologies today announced a rechargeable QuickStream Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (QSBP) for the QuickStream DV, its FireWire DV Capture Device. The small, lightweight batter pack mounts directly to the QuickStream DV and provides an additional 3.5 hours of continuous recording time (for a total of five hours of continuous portable recording). In addition to the battery pack, MCE also announced that its free DV clip management software, MCE StreamManager, is now localized for six languages: English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, and Russian. Both the QSBP ($100) and StreamManager 1.0.1 (free) are available immediately.
Iomega Mini USB 2.0 Drive
Iomega today began shipping its new Iomega Mini USB 2.0 Drive. The new drive features USB 2.0 connectivity for faster file transfers as well as new design. The compact flash drive is wrapped in a sleek, silver package that is "both functional and striking. The redesigned drive cap now locks in place, with a swing arm, for added security. The drive itself includes a mini-window that lets users customize their drive with a photo or label." Like all Iomega USB Drives, the Iomega Mini USB 2.0 Drive operates without cables, adaptors, power supply, or drivers. The 128MB ($70) and the 256MB ($110) are now available, while the 512MB version is due in mid-February for $200.
Radical Breeze has released DiscBlaze 3, a major update to its CD/DVD burning burning utility for Mac OS X. Version 3 adds the ability to burn Audio CD's (from any QuickTime-compatible audio files), can burn a CD with both an Audio and Data sessions, can now save a pre-existing volume or folder as a DMG file (in addition to ISO), and offers faster disc image generation. The $20 application save/load play "burn lists", burn multiple sessions to CDs, and erase re-writable media.
FileStorm 1.7 updates MindVision's $20 packaging application for developers that creates customized disk image files (.dmg files) for delivering software products via the Internet. It addresses compatibility issues in disk image creation and disk image display on the different versions of Mac OS X. The new version helps visual packaging differences between Jaguar and Panther, improves handling of text files for licenses, and has other changes. The Pro version ($80) also includes the ability to create installers.
Red Marble Games has announced Twilight Mahjongg, which offers classic mahjongg gameplay with a sci-fi theme. The $20 game offers several twists on classic Mahjongg tile-matchinggameplay, ranging from a simple match game with few rules, a space card mode with special tiles and tools to solve the level, a memory match mode, and two-player options. In addition to random levels, the game includestwenty replayable puzzle levels, so that players can improve their times on a specific layout that is the same each time. The game includes 15 science fiction themed Mahjongg tilesets and five different space themed layouts and backgrounds. It runs on Mac OS X 9/X.
New Napoleonic wargame
By Design today announced that it has completed a new Napoleonic wargame, Leipzig 1813. The $25 game is based on the Waterloo Campaign engine but covers the battle between Napoleon and the Allies in 1813, covering three days of battle Oct 14, ,16 and 18 of 1813. The game features Battalion level conflict with control over hundreds of units, new graphics, Skirmishers, group-based movements, enemy flag capture, multiple units per square, editable unit characteristics, rich historical content, and other details. It is available for Mac OS 7/8/9/X.
ToySight, BMMS updates
Freeverse today released ToySight 1.01, an update to its set of games and toys that can use an iSight or similar FireWire camera. It now includes support fo NTSC video for US televisions, support for multiple video inputs, and support for "odd screen sizes." Burning Monkey Mahjong Solitaire 1.1 ($20) adds a new layout browser, new tilesets, improved difficulty settings, support for 16 layers deep, and other fixes. It is available for Mac OS X 10.1.
DVDxDV Pro 1.0
DVDxDV has released DVDxDV Pro 1.0, which allows user to extract multi-channel audio to individual 24-bit AIFF files (one file for each channel). DVDxDV Pro allows users to specify the output interlace field ordering and can crop video to a specific resolution. DVDxDV uses the same video extraction engine as DVDxDV Pro, but exports all audio to a stereo two channel mix. DVDxDV Pro is available for $80, while DVDxDV is $25. [Std, Pro]
\"System X\" Supercomputer
The Sigma Series, a forum on science and technology, is offering a free lecture on 'System X Building the Virgina Tech Supercomputer'. The free seminar takes place on February 3, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Virginia Air and Space Center in downtown Hampton, Virginia. It is sponsored by The NASA Langely Research Center, The Virginia Air and Space Center, and The Daily Press: "System X was conceived in March 2003, designed in July 2003 and by October it had achieved a sustained performance of 10.28 Teraflops. In this talk, we present the motivation for System X, its architecture, and the challenges faced in building, deploying and maintaining a large-scale supercomputer."
BTI external iPod battery
Battery Technology has posted information about The iPod Battery, a high-capacity external battery designed for all iPod users: "The iPod Battery comes with interchangeable cradles for the original and new iPod and will provide up to 40 hours of music play-time or download time, regardless of the age or status of the original (internal) battery. It will also charge the internal battery when the iPod is inserted correctly into The iPod Battery cradle." It includes a USB port for charging cellular pohnes, Palm- or other PDA devices as well as a on/off switch to conserve power and belt clip. It is available (with free shipping) for $100 from BTI.
FBI uses Mac OS X
Security Focus notes that the FBI uses Macs and Mac OS X: "many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they're secure out of the box. In the field, however, they don't have as much money to spend, so they have to stretch their dollars by buying WinTel-based hardware. Are you listening, Apple? The FBI wants to buy your stuff. Talk to them!"
QT Panther tutorial
Atomic Learning has released "A Free Orientation to Mac OS X 10.3," part its 'On the Prowl' series of narrated QuickTime screen-movies that play live over the Internet to anyone with a web browser and QuickTime installed. Atomic says that these large-format, fast-loading QuickTime movies play almost immediately, even over a 56k modem connection. Atomic Learning offers access to thousands more narrated QuickTime screen-movie tutorials for a $80 subscription fee that provides access to the entire library of narrated tutorials, including new tutorials added each month. Atomic also offers a full Video Storytelling Guide, a free Storyboard application, and other free tutorial series.
Retrospect, Audio Hijack
Dantz has posted RDU for Retrospect 5.1 v4.3.103, which adds support for another Apple-branded Panasonic SuperDrive (UJ-816) as well as improves support for Toshiba's Combo drive (SD-R2002), Benchmark VS640 Autoloader, HP SureStore 1/8 VS80 autoloader, and allows Retrospect 5.1 to work Retrospect 6.0 client software, which is also available. [RDU 4.3, RC 6.0]
Rogue Amoeba has released Audio Hijack 2.1, an update to its $16 utility for recording any audio on your computer, including sound/audio from internet streams, DVDs, Flash, etc. It allows you schedule recordings as well as save/convert audio files. It offers a stronger "hijacking" method and a new contextual menu. [1.2MB]
Chinese Rewriter 2 ($9) is a Chinese text conversion tool for Mac OS X 10.1 or later. It can convert text between Traditional and Simplified Chinese and supports the Services menu, ID3 tag conversion, and batch processing. Version 2.1 provides font size changing, improved contextual conversion, and other improvements and fixes. [2.6MB]
ChitChat is a stand-alone Yahoo! chat client that enables the user to "chat" with other users over the Yahoo chat system. It offers filters, avataars, fades, scripts, customizable toolbars, an away system, and simple interface. It is available for Mac OS 9/X. [Classic, OSX]
Alex Pagliaro's PodStat 1.0 allows you to access the music on your iPod while it is connected to
your computer. The menubar item organizes your music by playlist, can transfer select music from the iPod, and eject your iPod. A 15-day demo is available. It is $10 and runs on Mac OS X. [223KB]
osx2x 2.2 is a small Mac OS X application that lets you control other machines running either an X11 server or a VNC server using your mac's mouse and keyboard. Version 2.2 brings autoreconnect support, and now releases any flag keys on remote servers when the cursor is moved off that screen. [1.8MB]
Omicron has released an updated version of ToDo X 1.5 ($15), a dedicated to-do list application for Mac OS X. Version 1.5 can import to-do items from iCal (or any ".ics" data file). It also addresses Panther compatibility issues and
adds a number of user interface refinements, user-requested features, and a German UI translation. [527KB]
MovieFloat 1.1 is a movieplayer that enables you to watch (QuickTime) movies in a window which floats above your work. Users can also set the transparency of the movie. The $5 shareware runs free for 7 days. [88KB]
Online music alliances
Coca-Cola said on Wednesday it has teamed up with MusicMatch, the online music company, to promote its Sprite brand, marking the latest alliance between a major beverage maker and an online music service, while RealNetworks and Heineken NV have also teamed up to giveaway millions of song downloads to consumers who buy Heineken 12-packs this summer and BuyMusic.com and South Beach Beverage Co. (SoBe) have said they will co-sponsor a music tour this summer.
USB 2.0 port problems
One MacNN reader notes that some of Apple's newer laptops may exhibit USB 2.0 port problems: "It seems that on the newer aluminum-clad G4's (and iBooks with USB 2.0), when the computer goes to sleep, the USB port does not properly come back after waking up. Some USB 1.1 devices will power up and mount, but no USB 2.0 devices will. I have duplicated this with our devices and USB drives from M-Systems, C-One, Sony, Lexar and SanDisk. It affects Mac OS 10.2.7, 10.2.8, and I'm currently verifying it with all versions of 10.3. Interestingly, this problem does not happen with the G5. Different chipset, I guess?"
iBook Repair Extension
Apple has posted details of the iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program, which covers repair or replacement of the logic board in specific iBook models manufactured between May 2002 and April 2003 that are experiencing specific component failures affecting built-in and attached external displays. The new program begins on January 28, 2004 and covers affected iBooks for three years after the first retail sale of the unit and is available for iBooks with serial numbers in the following range(s): UV220XXXXXX to UV318XXXXXX. Apple will also reimburse customers who have paid for repairs on these iBooks. [first published 1/28]
Strata3D Plus, training
Strata is offering a special bundle of Strata 3Dplus and its training CD PhotoshopCafe Live! for $50, a savings of nearly $250 off the price of each item individually. The training CD shows users how to create surreal 3D effects like beveled metal text, glass text, water reflections, and more in Photoshop. Strata 3Dplus offers 3D tools, such as modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering and animation. PhotoshopCafe Live! is regularly $60, while Strata 3Dplus is $250.
Vvidget User 9.1.4
VVI today announced version 9.1.4 of its Vvidget User graphing system for Mac OS X. The latest version adds the Quadratic Equation Lab where "pre-calculus students can experiment with the quadratic equation and understand related math concepts in a highly intuitive and interactive lab setting. It also includes the full version of our graphing software so students can experiment with all sorts of graphs and learn first hand with the same application scientists and engineers use." The company has also launched special student ($20) and educational institution ($72) pricing. Regular pricing is $90.
MacSpeech today lowered the price and increased the storage capacity of its iListen Transcription Solution, which includes the latest release of iListen, Griffin's iMic USB Adapter, VXi Parrot Translator Microphone/Headset and a refurbished Olympus DM-1 Digital Voice Recorder. The Transcription Solution is now available for $300, a $70 reduction from the old price, and includes the Olympus DM-1 which has four times the recording capacity of the previous recorder and plays MP3 files. It uses a removeable 64MB SmartMedia card for storage.
Cinematize DVD utility
Miraizon has released a demo of Cinematize, its commercial software that "allows users to extract a video or audio clip off of any DVD--even a complex one. Users can then save it in a format compatible with standard movie/audio editing applications such as QuickTime, iMovie, and Final Cut." The demo version of Cinematize is fully functional, but the extraction time is limited to the first 20 seconds of any segment and the demo expires after a 15 day trial period. The full version is $50 (electronic download) or $60 (CD, requires additional shipping charges as well).
Pepsi Super Bowl ad in QT
Several readers note that tje Pepsi-iTunes Super Bowl commercial, which will kick off the Apple/Pepsi 100 million song giveaway is now available via the Web in QuickTime format.
Meanwhile, Downhill Battle, a music activism website, is debuting "The iTunes Recycler," which it says is a musician-friendly twist on Apple and Pepsi's digital download giveaway. iTunes Recycler accepts unwanted prize codes from Pepsi bottlecaps and turns it into real money for musicians: "A major drawback of the iTunes Music Store is that almost none of the money music fans pay ever makes it to musicians. And when someone gets a winning bottlecap in Apple and Pepsi's new Super Bowl promotion, it may not be worth the trouble of signing up for a new iTunes account just to redeem a single song."
pro Fit 6.0 beta
QuantumSoft today released pro Fit 6.0.0 B1 for Mac OS X, a prerelease of QuantumSoft's $95 application for analyzing scientific data and mathematical functions. It is available to current pro Fit 5.5 and 5.6 users. It now features Quartz rendering; support for PDF, PNG and TIFF formats; improved EPS; export hatching, and multi-line text support. Other features include built-in support for color plots and contour plots, dynamic updating, syntax coloring, additional commands, and multiple y-values for functions.
Apple Knowledge Base roundup: Apple offers details on compatibility with AirPort software and WPA networks; Copying files via AFP may take longer after installing Security Update 2003-12-19 under Mac OS X Server 10.2.8; Apple describes how to assign static IP addresses via DHCP using Mac OS X Server version 10.2 or later; and iTunes 4.2 lets you create Smart Playlists based on Grouping, but these playlists will be empty on iPod.
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