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Apple today acknowleged problems with email delivery for members of .Mac service, resulting in loss of some email: "The following is a quote from a moderator of the .Mac discussion forums. 'From 12:30pm to 4:00pm PST some portion of .Mac Mail was not received as expected. All mail services are currently operational. Messages sent to .Mac recipients are now being delivered in a timely fashion.' I sent myself a message during the outage, and it never showed up in my box. Be warned that incoming mail to your .mac account may have been lost during this period." [Forums link requires .Mac membership]
HyperNext Creator is an HyperCard-like development system for quickly creating programs that can build both stacks which run on the free HyperNext Player and standalone applications: "The software structure in HyperNext is like a set of cards, with cardsholding buttons. fields, canvases and multimedia. Its programming language is easy to learn with English-like commands and variables not requiring their type or structure be declared." Also included is HyperNext Developer which creates plug-ins for HyperNext Creator as well as free HyperNext Player. A limited 30-day trial of the $25 application is available for private/shareware use ($50 for commercial).
SloppyDisk Software has updated Descender, its popular $12 Tetris game, to version 1.3. Descender features smoothly animated pieces, 2-player support, a global online high score system, and a Game Boy inspired surf-rock soundtrack. The update features a new full-screen mode, and bug fixes. [Download - 7.3MB] Mibasoft today announced the release of Muquiz 1.0, a new music quiz application for Mac OS X. Using information from your iTunes music collection, Muquiz takes you through a musical quiz that will "test your knowledge of your own music." Registration is $12. [Download - 597KB] LiveSearch 1.2.2 is an update to the powerful launcher and file finder for Mac OS X. Version 1.2.2 adds the ability to search by by the Finder's "locked" flag; better accommodates extremely fast typists; prompts to relaunch when dockless mode is out of sync; and offers an improved info drawer layout. LiveSearch is $18 shareware. [Download - 1.0MB] LockPopCM is a simple and compact contextual menu plug-in that allows users to lock or unlock a selection in the Finder or any compatible application. It is distributed with "pluginInstaller" a small utility. LockPopCM is free. [Download - 147KB] Page Curl 2.0 ($30) is a filter plug-in (8bf) for Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications. The latest version helps create two types of effects -- Page Curl and Page Fold -- using an "all new" and "vastly improved" engine. [Download - 1.84MB] Dent du Midi 0.4 is an application that takes standard MIDI files and generates separate files for each track which contains the MIDI note data. These files are suitable for dropping into Apple's GarageBand application for use as loops or entire tracks. Version 0.4 is enhanced so tracks line up properly from the beginning. [Download - 94Kb] TimeLog 1.3.0 is the latest version of the $15 application for keeping track of time spent on your projects. It integrates with Apple's iCal for maximum usefulness. The latest version adds allows users to export as tab-separated text; offers a Finnish Localization; sports an improved interface; and corrects several minor issues, in addition to adding other features. [Download - 1.6MB]
Evening tech news: The surprising severity of the MyDoom attack has sent a shiver through the Internet security community, representing "a new level of cyber warfare," security officials said; Intel today unveiled new Pentium 4s, which run at speeds of 2.8GHz, 3GHz, 3.2GHz, and 3.4GHz; American cell phone makers are introducing their latest generation of cell phones, after years of trailing Japan and Western Europe, where cell phones have long had color screens, e-mail, music, video games, cameras and more.
Computerworld has posted a positive review of the Xserve G5, noting that it is up to 60% faster than its predecessor: "Focusing solely on the hardware, the new Xserve just wows me. It has one or two 2-GHz G5 processors, uses 400-MHz ECC RAM and has a dedicated front-side bus running at 1 GHz. Add to that the ability to support up to 8GB of RAM, and you have the makings of the fastest Mac ever conceived. But Apple didn't stop there. Each of the three drive modules contains dedicated 150MB/sec. controllers, and the Xserve supports 100- and 133-MHz PCI-X cards. Rounding out its impressive technology pedigree are two onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports, each with its own dedicated controller."
Art Files ($30) is a standalone application that simplifies the tedious task of organizing associated Illustrator documents, linked images and fonts for graphics files. It focuses on gathering "just the information you need" to get your files packaged. The latest version includes support for Illustrator CS. Art Files also has the unique ability to collect several documents at once, "saving precious time." Aditionally, this feature also cuts down on disk space by collecting shared images and fonts between documents only once.
Apple's Java 1.4.2 update, available in the Software Update on Mac OS X, offers support for Sun's Java 1.4.2 APIs and also "includes enhancements to drawing performance and stability for both Java applications and Java applets. Note : This installer will replace your current installation of Java 1.4.1."
Ars Technica has a review of Apple's new GarageBand music production application: "[It] carries forth the Apple ease-of-use tradition with startling precision - perhaps even to a fault. Here the world of audio production (with its myriad of outboard devices, MIDI configurations, and software peculiarities) has been condensed into an environment so easy to use you barely need to crack the help file." Meanwhile, MacJams has reviewed and detailed Apple's Jam Pack, the add-on collection of loops, Software Instruments, generators, and effects.
The Iconfactory has launched the 8th installment of its annual icon design contest, Pixelpalooza 2004: "Every year we invite the Macintosh icon design community to pull out all the stops and send us their pixelated creations in each of the three icon categories: OS X, CandyBar and Classic. Last year's event drew 137 entries from around the globe and was a huge success. The contest's submission pages are now active and waiting to accept entries [until March 31st]."
Micronet Technology today began shipping its PlatinumRAID line of professional storage solutions announced at Macworld Expo San Francisco earlier this year. It features up to 1.5TB (terabytes) of capacity along with a hardware-based RAID controller, speeds exceeding 68MB/Sec with parity protection, FireWire 800 or Ultra160 SCSI interfaces, and lightweight aluminum design. PlatinumRAID incorporates five hot swappable, 7200RPM ATA-6 hard drives in a "sleek, compact enclosure (approx. 12x10x8 inches) that weighs less than 21 pounds." Update: Pricing starts at $2,000 for 600GB (FireWire 800 or Ultra160 SCSI).
Objective Development today released Sharity 2.9, a client for the file sharing protocol used by Windows and Samba. Sharity mounts shares exported by these servers in the file system of Unix computers. It adds NTLMv2 authentication for improved password security and SMB signing for compatibility with Windows 2003 domain controllers. It is free for non-commercial use (with 1 connection) and $60 for unlimited connections. Business pricing starts at $100.
The Mercury News reports that Microsoft will use the G5 chip in its next-generation Xbox due in the fall of 2004 before Sony's PlayStation 3 launch (expected in 2006): "The details suggest Microsoft is far more concerned about keeping the cost of its Xbox Next console low than it is with including dazzling technological features or driving its rivals out of the business...[It will feature] (1) Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors. The combined power of these chips means the Xbox Next will have more computing power than most personal computers. The chips are used in Apple Computer's high-end G5 PowerMac machines now. (2) A graphics chip designed by ATI Technologies with speeds much faster than its upcoming R400 chip for the personal computer. This chip will help the next Xbox to display games with the resolution of high-definition TV."
Photo Layout 1.07 is an low-cost ($80) DTP application that allows users to create flyers, letters, birthday cards, signs, business cards, newsletters, t-shirts, etc. Version 1.07 adds JPG export options, a new guide layer, pre-made templates, and keyboard-based positioning. It runs on Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later. [1.8MB] CrystalFire Wormhole 1.1 is a small application intended to provide near-trivial file transfer between Macs and/or PCs. It adds support for large files (> 2GB), improves some file transfers, adds better install/uninstall on Windows, provides send/receive speed indicators, etc. It is available for $15 per computer. [Classic, OSX] Black Cat Systems' shareware ($20) Audio Toolbox 1.5 adds white and pink noise generators and a frequency/amplitude display for current cursor position. Audio Toolbox is an audio function generator that can produce sine, square, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms of any frequency up to 22 kHz, as well as generate noise. [Classic, OSX] DX Toolbox 1.4 ($20) is a radio propagation and conditions analysis/forecasting tool. It adds the display of NCDFX/IARU Beacons in realtime; Great Circle path, distance, and beam heading calculations; the Sun Spot Number to Current Conditions; and a rotating the dock icon under Mac OS X to show important current conditions. [Classic, OSX] The freeware iCosmo is described as a "beautiful screensaver for Mac OS X that lets you view a sharp quality image of solar system! It has same engine that come in your Mac OS X package but it give you in high quality and in small sizes." It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or higher. [4.5MB] abyssoft has released teleport PR1, a "simple utility to let you use one single mouse and keyboard to control several of your Macs. Simply reach the edge of your screen, and your mouse teleports to your other Mac! The pasteboard can even be synchronized between the computers." It is free and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [182KB] PixxxGrabber 2.0 ($25) is a web media browser and download manager that allows you to surf to photo or movie gallery pages and batch download the images or other media from that page. It downloads much faster and much more conveniently than with conventional web browsers and also offers encrypted storage of your photo library. [Classic, OSX] Genius 1.5.1 is a learning tool that helps "you memorize things. It organizes your information using the Leitner 'learning cardfile' system.... For each quiz, Genius carefully chooses each question based on your past performance, by combining repetition intervals and weighted random selection." The freeware runs on Mac OS X 10.3. [158KB] Thumnailer 2.2 is a freeware application that creates and displays picture thumbnails, is a quick picture viewer, slideshow (with music) creator, and image converter. Version 2.3 is only available for Mac OS 9. [Classic v2.3, OSX v2.2]
Adobe today began shipping InDesign CS PageMaker Edition, a new release of its page layout application first announced at Macworld Expo in January. It includes a full version of InDesign CS as well as a PageMaker Plug-in Pack with designer templates, keyboard shortcuts and training materials designed to ease the transition to InDesign CS. It is available in the US and Canada for $350, but requires a PageMaker serial number for installation. Customers who already have InDesign CS can order and download the PageMaker Plug-in Pack.
Ivis Technologies today announced JBoost 2.0 for Mac OS X, which provides a tightly integrated suite of essential application infrastructure services, including Security, Globalization Strategy, Asset and Presentation Management. Ivis says JBoost reduces the need to develop custom code for application access control, alert, documentation, and audit capabilities required for compliance with government regulatory acts." The Developer edition (free) offers two concurrent development seats, while the Professional Edition ($2,500) supports 10 concurrent users.
Apple will be exhibiting at Sounds Expo 2004 and Video Forum 2004, both of which take place in adjacent halls at Wembley Exhibition Centre (Feb 10-12): "Apple will host a unique ‘crossover’ theatre between the two. Drop by and get the lowdown on the latest Apple software for video and audio production, including Final Cut Pro 4, DVD Studio Pro 2, Logic Pro and Logic Express, GarageBand, iDVD 4, Soundtrack and Final Cut Express 2." Apple will also be exhibiting at FOSE (booth 1603), a tradeshow for government IT, which takes place in Washington, D.C. (March 3-5) and at NAB 2004 in Las Vegas (April 19-22). Apple will also be exhibiting at Solutions Linux 2004 (booth A08) in Paris (Feb 3.-5), which takes place later this week.
Kanzu's Extra Suites 1.0.1 ($10) is a faceless background application for AppleScript users, which offers more than seventy new AppleScript commands for Mac OS X. Developers can distribute read-only scripts to any end user without requiring them to pay for Extra Suites. Version 1.0.1 reduces conflicts with other AppleScript commands. Kanzu also released Info RB 1.0.6, a REALBasic class for developers to retrieve information about images, including its dimensions, color mode, layers, channels, etc. Version 1.0.6 more EXIF data support and compatibility with REALbasic 4.0.
Team Lazarus, a volunteer-run "mod" organization, today released a demo of Ultima V: Lazarus, a complete recreation of ORIGIN Systems' classic role-playing game Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny. This demo is available in English, French, and German, and is fully compatible with both the Mac and PC versions of Dungeon Siege: "Although not feature-complete, [it] does contain several of the more impressive features which will be appearing in the final release," including a robust dialogue system, custom artwork, and a digitally re-mastered orchestral soundtrack.
The Omni Group today released a public beta version of OmniWeb 5.0, the forthcoming update to its Mac OS X browser with new new features such as a tab drawer, saved browsing sessions, updated bookmarks, page marking, improved shortcuts, site-specific preferences, and more. The beta version will expire on March 3, 2004. The final version of OmniWeb 5.0 is expected to ship in April, 2004 for $30 (upgrades will be free for new purchases after Dec. 1, 2003 and $10 for others). Omni's website outlines some known issues and offers some tips on using the beta.
Alkemedia Productions today released The Essential Wedding Planner v2.0, whichnow includes the ability to import/export guest list data, print labels using Avery address labels, and has a revised user interface: "Currently the only wedding planning software produced for Mac OS 9.x & Mac OS X, [it] features a simple, easy-to-use interface that allows brides to keep track of expenses — including deposits, balances due and total expenses — as well as dates, guests, vendors, meals and a seating chart." It is available for $20.
The New York Times says that Pixar's decision to walk away from Disney is "the clearest indication yet that Mr. Jobs is becoming the personification of the digital media mogul," noting that Jobs has "been built on his ability to anticipate the public's appetite for technical innovation...Indeed, one of Mr. Jobs's strategic strengths may be his understanding of the limits of technology. Some industry executives have wondered whether Mr. Jobs's breaking off the Disney negotiations was partly a prelude to efforts to take the top job at a Hollywood company - maybe even Mr. Eisner's job."
The HP-Apple deal was a shortcut in playing catch up to Apple's iPod technology, according to The LA Times: The deal reportedly began with a phone call from Steve Jobs to Carly Fiorina in mid-2003 with negotiations picking up in "earnest" in December 2003 for the January 8th announcement: "HP had gone through numerous music player designs and had built several prototypes to show to focus groups around the country. But people kept saying they preferred the celebrated iPod from Apple Computer Inc."
Billboard reports that the music industry is pushing Microsoft and Apple to figure out interoperability issues between the companies' digital music formats: "Hardware makers and digital format developers, including many traditional adversaries, are engaged in private talks aimed at meeting the music industry's goal of compatibility among competing digital music devices by 2005. [However], at a minimum, the companies behind the leading format standards would have to cut licensing deals to allow for the conversion of content and transfer of DRM rules -- something the companies have been loath to do so far."
Apple is negotiating to lease roughly 275,000 square feet in Northwest Austin being vacated by Plano-based technology outsourcing company Electronic Data Systems Corp., according to the Austin Business Journal: "The pending deal is being interpreted as a positive sign for the Northwest Austin submarket, which has been plagued with excess space and the highest office vacancy rate in the city -- roughly 28 percent. Adding to the optimism is the execution of recent deals in the immediate vicinity that total more than 450,000 square feet."
Apple took 3.9 percent of the Australian computer marketshare, as sales for PC industry picked up 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003. Apple was No. 6 behind HP (18%), Dell (13%), IBM (9%), Acer (8%) and Toshiba (6%), according to ZDNet Australia. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Ministry of Education announced that free OS upgrades, Keynote, iLife, and other software over the next three years will be provided to all state and state-integrated schools using Macintosh systems in mid- February and at a discount to private schools in the country: "With more than 20,000 Apple computers currently in use in New Zealand schools these software upgrades will greatly benefit teachers and students throughout the country."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
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