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Apple has added two more .Mac exclusives to its .Mac Member Benefits, including Twelve Free GameHouse Puzzles ($25 value) and a special discount for Pop & Drop: "this challenging game from GameHouse full of shooting and bouncing balls, then upgrade to the full version at the special .Mac member price of $13." (Readers also note that .Mac email service is continuing to have problems as some readers are unable to send mail to other users on Time Warner's RoadRunner Cable ISP. Earlier this week we noted email/data loss during a four period for .Mac members.)
Ars Technica has published an in-depth look at OmniWeb 5.0 Beta for Mac OS X. Author John Siracusa says "OmniWeb 5 goes beyond the call of duty by providing more than just the 'obvious' featuresóthe ones that every Mozilla user is shocked to learn are missing from Safari. The Omni Group has incorporated all their interesting and unique ideas from OmniWeb 4 and built on them in a big way: the tab drawer, workspaces, per-site preferences, RSS integration, it's all gravy."
Connected Home has publisher an analysis of Apple's new iLife '04 suite, calling it an "amazing software value and a must-have application for all Mac users." While the suite still has some small flaws, columnist Paul Thurrott says Mac users should "run" to their "nearest Apple Store, CompUSA, or Apple dealer, and pick up this package immediately." Thurrott comments that "although you can often surpass the features and performance of iLife through separate applications, trying to assemble a software package that rivals iLife '04 would cost many times the iLife price."
DEVONtechnologies has released DEVONthink 1.8 and DEVONagent 1.2.1 ($35 each). DEVONthink is a notepad, outliner, scrapbook manager, information manager, freeform database, archive, and more. DEVONagent is a next-generation Internet information search tool. DEVONthink 1.8 now allows the creation of Wiki-style links to build cross-references from RTF texts to other documents, images, bookmarks or links. DEVONagent has been updated to take advantage of some features inherited from DEVONthink such as the highlighting of search words in HTML and text views, and better supports proxies which require authorisation. [Download - think, agent]
James Saldana has created an anti-RIAA Pepsi-iTunes Super Bowl ad parody called "Fight Back!" It is a remix of Apple and Pepsi's television spot promoting the two companies' partnership to give away 100 million iTunes songs. Mr. Saldana is a multimedia graduate at Southern Illinois University. The parody, which alleges the RIAA "cheats" consumers and artists, was produced with the help of IDC Films. The ad promotes an anti-CD site called "What a Crappy Present" (some readers may find this site offensive).
Walter Mossberg's How to Become a Rock Star reviews Apple's GarageBand, he he says "helps to solidify Apple as the leader in digital music, an arena in which it sees a chance to attract millions of new loyalists. It is aiming especially at music-loving teenagers and young adults, who may have bands but not the funds for expensive production software. Apple hopes these young musicians, and parents who want their kids to be musical, will opt for a Mac over a Windows-based machine." Meanwhile, a Recipe for Fun describes how to use the new Usenet reader Unison and GarageBand to "record amazing karaoke cover of song with your friends."
Caldera Graphics today announced that its imaging solutions running on Mac OS X, Linux and Unix now support the HP DesignJet 20 PS printers. CopyPRINT-PS is a RIP (File-to-Print) for medium format inkjet printers (up to 24 inches), offering a user-oriented that can process raster, PS, EPS and PDF files. It offers advanced functionnalities such as preflight or step and repeat. VisualPRINT is a professional server for processing and printing middle format color productions. VisualPRINT provides power and reproduction quality for service bureaus or reprographers.
SlimBatteryMonitor 1.0b is a free replacement power gauge that monitors both laptop batteries and many UPS batteries. Users can select different views for when powered, charging or on battery even instruct SlimBatteryMonitor to automatically hide itself in some circumstances (e.g. while fully charged). A graphical icon in the Mac OS X menu bar shows the power remaining (along with an optional text description that indicates the battery charge in percent, or time remaining. Colors indicate whether the system is fully charged, charging or on battery. "In some cases, SlimBatteryMonitor can be 70% slimmer than Apple's system meter."
Canto has released Cumulus 6.0.1 (myCumulus, Single User and Workgroup), with a built-in multilingual capability with support for both French and German. Version 6.0.1 also boasts greater stability and improved performance, especially on the Mac OS X 10.2.8 platform. VirtualScreens 2.0 is a "small application that resides in Menu bar of Mac OS X (Jaguar and Panther). It enables unilimited 'virtual screens'. A virtual screen is simply a user-defined set of active (visible) applications." The freeware runs on Mac OS X. [620KB] The free XSLT Tools Scripting Addition allows AppleScript to apply XSLT transformations to XML data and to use XPath expressions to extract information from XML data. XSLT Tools also allows you to extend the XSLT processor using AppleScript functions. It runs on Mac OS X 10.0 or later. [1.8MB] SnapWeb 1.2 provides optimization for Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther", support of multiple browser windows, drag & drop functionality, a comprehensive manual and other improvements.The $18 shareware creates complete screenshots of web pages-- even if the users screen isn't large enough to show the whole page content at once. [601KB] Trolltech today announced Qt 3.3, which adds support for Microsoft .NET platform, 64-bit processing, and IPv6 to the multiplatform, C++ application framework that lets developers write one application that will run on Windows, Linux/Unix, Mac OS X, and embedded Linux with a simple recompile. DVDpedia 1.0 ($14) is a DVD cataloging software for Mac OS X. It retrieves all DVD information from the Internet, can arrange the titles in manner, and offers printing functions. Other features include export functions, filter by keyword, a rating system, and support for multiple collections. [681KB] TclTkAqua 8.4.5 updates the native port of the Tcl scripting language and the Tk toolkit for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. It is available in three different formats: TclTkAquaBI: Batteries-Included distribution (with fifty popular extensions); TclTkAqua (TclTk frameworks, Wish, tclsh and html docs); and TclTkAquaStandalone (drag & drop install capable, self-contained version). Master Key 3.0 adds the typing game ParaTyper, ability to choose pages of large text files such as Gutenberg Project books, printing of graph and log as well as fixing problems with Mac OS X 10.3. Master Key for Mac OS 9/X is a typing tutor program with lessons for U.S., Dvorak, German and French keyboards. It is $15 ($5 off) through February 10. [4.2MB]
Prosoft today began shipping Data Rescue X 10.4, a new version of its emergency file recovery program. It features a new look, and new "Content Based Recovery" which improves Data Rescue's file recovery. It now also adds support for recovery from flash media cards from digital cameras and MP3 players--even recovery of deleted pictures from media cards or recover from re-formatted media cards. The full version is available for $90. Current customers can purchase an upgraded bootable CD for $10.
ScreenTime Media today released ScreenTime for Flash 2.5, an update to its professional screen saver creation tool ("the only product that creates Flash native screen savers for Mac OS"). Version 2.5 adds support for Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) and Flash MX '04 as well as improves support for xml streaming, file downloading, long file names, and non-standard installations. It also includes a Flash-enabled "Settings" window to create custom screen saver controls, with settings for sound level, and playback speed. Upgrades to the $200 application (per platform) are $100 and include a free upgrade to v3.0 due later this year.
KeepAnEye 1.1 ($12) is a multipurpose monitoring and notification utility that "lets you watch pieces of information by generating visual representations which can be freely organized on the screen. Moreover, it observes them and provides a general notification system upon dedicated events to warn you when something interesting happens. RSS feeds, pictures, eBay auctions, web pages, disk usage, software updates, IP addresses." The release includes support for hierarchical listings, groupings, and two new observer plug-ins for "eBay" and "Uptime" (monitoring computer status). It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Matrox has announced new, downloadable (registration required) v4.1 drivers for its Matrox RTMac product, which brings support for Mac OS 10.3.x, QuickTime 6.4 or later, and Final Cut Pro 4.1.1, but not for the G5: "Please note that no new features are included with this updater. It is only required for Matrox RTMac users running Final Cut Pro 4.1.1. Note The RTMac 4.1 drivers will not work with Final Cut Pro 4.0. If you want to use RTMac with Final Cut Pro 3 or 4 (Mac OS X), you must use Matrox RTMac version 4.0." An RTMac 4.1 FAQ says the company has "no plans for any additional driver releases."
Apple is offering a $30 instant rebate on any order totaling $299 or more, as noted by a MacNN reader who forwarded Apple's email: "It's the perfect opportunity to give your special valentine the iPod they've been wanting so they can take the music they love with them wherever they go. The new 15GB model costs only $299 and holds more than 3700 songs in a package that looks and feels as elegant as it sounds. Place your order today and you can add laser engraving for free and save $30 instantly as well."
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Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ¬≠Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ
View-Master VR device in Apple Store
Apple has started to sell a Google Cardboard-style VR headset modeled on a classic Mattel toy. Initially launched early last year, the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack for $30 is designed to use an iPhone as a display, with a Preview Reel and lever system mimicking the toy's switching between images to take users between different VR apps and scenes. http://bit.ly/1RhJW8y
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t