Evening tech news: eBay can't be forced to take down allegedly libelous or false statements posted in profile comments, a California appeals court has ruled; a new worm dubbed "Doomjuice" targeting Microsoft Corp.'s Web site emerged on the Internet on Monday, which security experts said slowed parts of the software maker's home page; Nintendo announced it is developing a successor to its GameCube console, but said it is wary of making big chip investments for a next generation game machine.
The Unsanity and OWC ShapeShifter Theme Contest has ended and the winners have been announced. First place goes to "Digital Device" by Joe Kohlmann, second place to Martin Ottosson for "Good Grey," and third place goes to Harlan Lewis's "Latium." The winning theme, "Digital Device," resembles the interface of a handheld device, with monochrome interface elements and little use of effects.
Snerdware has released Groupcal Viewer 1.0, the third addition to its integration suite for the Macintosh OS X desktop and Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 and 2003. Groupcal Viewer enables one to subscribe to any Microsoft Exchange-based calendar directly from Apple iCal: "Groupcal Viewer was created for people who need the calendar subscription features of Groupcal, but not the power to view Free/Busy time and publish to Exchange. Groupcal Viewer further extends the Microsoft Exchange integration provided by Snerdware's AddressX, which allows access to the Exchange Global Address List from the OS X Address Book." It is $30 for a single-user license.
Alien Sands today announced tesl8 for Mac OS X, a "frustrating yet fun puzzle game with 24 challenging levels." The object of the game is to restore the puzzle to its starting form by flipping lines of adjacent tiles. "We write software for Windows during the day because it pays the bills. It's something we have to do. We chose to develop tesl8 for the Mac market first because we love the Mac." Registration of the trial version for $12 will unlock all 24 levels, an additional tile size, and the hexagon tile set.
Propellerhead Software has released the free Mac OS X update to its toolkit for Sampled Grooves: ReCycle 2.1, available on the web for v2.0 owners, is now a suite of tools for working with loops and grooves. It includes ReCycle, Reason Adapted (a Reason version streamlined for loop composition that includes Dr. REX, REX2 file player, a mixer, effects, the NN-XT sampler plus the Reason Sampler) and the Reload utility for importing Akai samples. It also offers multiple undos and full 24-bit resolution. The full version is $230 with upgrades starting at $18.
RE:Vision Effects today released major upgrades to the Avid version of Twixtor, its retiming solution, and ReelSmart Motion Blur, its solution for adding motion blur as a post-process. Both updates offer significant performance improvements on multiprocessor systems and new AltiVec and G5 optimizations. Twixtor will speed up, slow down or frame rate convert image sequences by synthesizing unique new frames by warping and interpolating frames of the original sequence, while ReelSmart Motion Blur applies more natural-looking motion blur by automatically tracking every pixel. The Avid version of Twixtor is $330, while ReelSmart Motion Blur is $135.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal held a series of meetings with CEOs of US-based IT companies, including Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in which he was briefed on Apple's strategic plans: "Apple believes music will remain the key consumer interest, Jobs added. He said that the partnership with Hewlett Packard (HPQ) on the iPod proved to be an excellent venture." Alwaleed, who is an investor in HP and has a "substantial" stake in Apple, also met with Sun CEO Scott McNealy and Priceline's chairman Rick Braddock.
Carrying case manufacturer Willow Design is shutting down and will no longer be producing its wide range of carrying cases for laptops and other Macs due to competition by overseas labor costs. A "final closeout sale" runs through the end of February: "All our cases are hand sewn in small batches by individual seamstresses so with all of them, you can count on superb protection, functional ergonomic designs and meticulous craftsmanship. This is an expensive way to make the cases though, and with increased competition of offshore, manufactured cases run through with labor rates of 22¢ - 25¢ per hour, we found we just couldn't compete. Two options would have been to drop our standards or ship our production offshore -- neither of which was acceptable. So we have decided to stop making the cases."
Canon today launched its i9900 desktop photo printer, a 13 x 19-inch inkjet printer with new red and green ink cartridges for rich, accurate color rendition. The printer also offers 4800 x 2400 dpi maximum color resolution, improved print speeds, 2 picoliter ink droplets, ICC support, and Direct Photo Printing as well as USB 2.0 Hi-speed and FireWire interfaces. The i9900 desktop photo printer will be available in May for $500. Canon also debuted its 24-inch wide-format pigment ink printer.
Canon today enhanced its Digital ELPH camera line, adding the first five megapixel model as well as new features such as a new Print/Share button that speeds and simplifies printing to compatible Canon Direct Photo and PictBridge enabled printers. The new five megapixel PowerShot S500 as well as the revised PowerShot S410 and PowerShot SD110 Digital ELPH cameras feature new Direct Print options including ID Photo Print that automatically generates passport style prints on 4x6 paper with Canon CP type printers as well as ID prints of various sizes and in-camera image cropping.
Canon today introduced the PowerShot S1 IS digital camera, which captures full 640x480 high-res movies at up to 30 frames per second for up an hour of full motion video using a 1GB Compact Flash Card. It features a 3.2 megapixel CCD, an image stabilized 10x zoom lens (38-380mm equivalent), and a full array of exposure control settings including ProgramAE, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Manual Mode and full-auto P.I.C. modes. Canon also debuted its PowerShot Pro1 digital camera, an 8 megapixel camera which offers the top-tier shooting options previously found only with digital SLRs.
Mac Flight Planner 1.2 updates the flight planning software for Mac OS X. Designed for real world aviation, it can now calculate sunrise/sunset times of your departure/arrival airports, record the lat/lon coordinates of runway ends, generate airport diagrams and calculate runway length, annd more. It is $20 or available in a bundle for $30 ($10 off). [1.2MB] dcRAW-X 1.5.3 ($15) is a robust batch image converter which helps Mac OS X users to convert "raw" format digital pictures to Adobe PhotoShop (PSD) format for post-processing. It now offers automatic white balance function and added the support for Sony DSC-F828, Pentax Optio S4, Olympus E-1 and other several new digital cameras. [513KB] FinFlow 1.0 is an economic engineering analysis tool that lets you analyse cash flows using the three major analysis methods: present worth, annual cash flow and internal rate of return. The $15 shareware runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.1MB] St. Clair Software has released Default Folder X 1.9.3, the latest revision of its utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs. Version 1.9.3 provides options for controlling Panther's "click to copy a filename" feature, a major speed boost in its hierarchicalmenus, and compatibility fixes for Adobe Photoshop CS, InDesign, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004. [3.9MB] WebPrint Plus X 3.0 offers a powerful set of system-wide tools for collecting, saving, printing, and editing information with the Mac that work in virtually any program. It adds a system-wide keyboard shortcut, a new contextual menu, a new automatic launch feature, more preferences, and other improvements. The $40 application runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.8MB] Samba 3.02 updates the open-source software suite that provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients. Version 3.02 fixes an important security flaw in the application and has other fixes, including those for logging onto a Samba domain from WinXP clients, Kerberos failures, and SMB signing errors. [10MB]
Basecamp is a web-based project management application that offers iCal Integration. The hosted service allows teams or businesses to manage projects and quickly create client/project extranets. Businesses can track internal or client projects, including conversations, ideas, schedules (featuring Apple iCal integration), to-do lists, and more in a password-protected central location. The $20 "Basic" plan can manage up to 10 active projects at a time, while a $40 "Plus" plan supports 25 active projects. A 30-day free trial is available with each package.
Mozilla has released Firefox 0.8, an update to the technology preview of its next-generation browser. Formerly named Firebird, the new release offers a new download manager, a new bookmark dialog, the ability to work offline, better handling of file types, a new default "Pinstripe" theme for Mac OS X, and other bug fixes and improvements. Mozilla also released Thunderbird 0.5, an update to its email and newsgroup client that adds multiple identities per mail account, Secure Password Authentication using a new cross-platform NTLM authentication mechanism for POP3 and SMTP, a new Palm Sync Address book conduit, and other changes. [FF, TB]
Ben Bird today released a final version of SecuritySpy 1.0, a multi-camera video surveillance application with features such as motion detection, real-time compression and network video streaming. The application supports both USB and FireWire devices as well as network devices and can display/capture live video from multiple cameras simultaneously. It also features a built-in web server (for image/video viewing), Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) support, FTP upload, email notification, and a pre-capture buffer to capture video before the time of motion. A demo for Mac OS 9/X is available. Pricing starts at $50 for a single camera.
iRiver today announced its iFP-599T MP3 player, which it says is the largest capacity flash-based memory player on the market. The lighweight, compact player (64 x 51 x 19.1 mm; 60g) ships standard with 1GB of internal memory and can record MP3s on-the-fly from any source. iRiver says the device holds up to 34 hours of music and plays up to 28 hours from a single charge to its rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It offers playback of MP3, WMA and ASF music files; data file storage; a built-in FM tuner with presets; line-in MP3 encoding; voice-activated voice recording; optical output; USB 2.0 connectivity and FM tuner recording functionality. The iFP-599T with 1GB of flash RAM is $450, while the iFP-595T with 512MB is $330.
Mek & Tosj has released 4Peaks, a program that help molecular biologists to visualize and edit their DNA sequence files under Mac OS X. 4Peaks supports most commonly used sequence file formats right out of the box, direct access to both sequence and translation, the ability to edit and correct the sequence, export functions (text or FASTA files), searching for a sequence or translation, and more. The freeware runs on Mac OS X 10.2.6.
The Pepsi-iTunes advertisment in the Super Bowl generated a significant Internet traffic boost to the iTunes website, but not as much as the Cialis products. Pepsi's ad generated a traffic increase of 593 percent to the iTunes Website, according to ComScore Networks: "No ad topped erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, as traffic to Cialis.com scored an 1,868 percent increase for the day. ...Percentage increases are determined by taking the average of the four Sundays leading to the Super Bowl and comparing that number with traffic on Super Bowl Sunday."
Pangea Software today has released new screenshots for its upcoming game, Nanosaur II: Hatchling, the sequel to the Nanosaur which was originally released in 1998. The company announced that six new screenshots have been posted to the Nanosaur 2 web site and said that it expects Nanosaur 2 to be available sometime next month, both as a download and on CD. Additionally, Pangea says that there is going to be a big surprise regarding the game which they are keeping secret until the game hits beta. "We've done something really amazing with a piece of technology in the game which is going to blow people away."
E-on software has announced Mover 5, an update to its popular tool for hosting native format Curious Labs Poser 5 content in Vue d'Esprit 4, e-on software's flagship rendering and animation tool. Mover 5 adds support for dynamic Poser 5 effects as well as support for fully animated digital characters, enhanced, new motion effects, and network rendering. Mover 4 is $100; upgrades to Mover 5 are free for registered users. (No ship date provided.)
Carpe Stellarem has updated Stellar DNS 0.2 ($20), which offers a GUI for administering DNS servers running under Mac OS X. New features include bug fixes, improved performance when connecting to remote servers running Carpe Daemon software, new contextual menus and improved documentation. Carpe also updated Stellar RADIUS 0.2, which provides a graphical interface to FreeRADIUS. It allows network administrators to protect Apple's Airport Base Stations from unauthorized access by authenticating users from a central server. Stellar RADIUS ($20) includes bug fixes to the GUI and parser as well as performance enhancements when connecting to remote servers running Carpe Daemon. [SDNS, SRADIUS]
Stupendous Software has released Effects For Titles effects plugin pack for iMovie. The $25 plugin pack contains 25 effects, including several colorization schemes, specialized glows, reflection, and slitscan effects as well as overlay effects for placing previously generated titles over video clips. It is free to registered users of the Stupendous Bundle ($200), an all-in-one collection of plugin packs that now includes 16 iMovie plugin packs with over 460 effects. The demo contains 4 free, fully functional, effects.
The campaign for U.S. presidential hopeful Howard Dean will air a number of TV ads that mimic the format of Apple's "Switcher" series. The Dean campaign has asked supporters to vote on which ad should be played on television leading up to the Wisconsin primary, which is widely viewed as make-or-break for Dean. They were created directed, and produced by grassroots supporters. The ads can be viewed online with QuickTime, RealPlayer, or Windows Media.
Now AAPL Stock: 99.86 ( -0.49 )
Biggest Canadian banks launch Apple Pay
Three of Canada's largest banks will turn on Apple Pay support for their debit and credit cards beginning today, June 1. The move follows the initial support of Apple Pay in Canada only on American Express-branded cards from Scotiabank earlier this year, with CIBC and RBC offering full support at the beginning of May. As of Wednesday, all five of Canada's largest banks -- and its unifying Interac debit-card system -- will accept at least some bank-issued cards into Apple's Wallet program. Users will need to have an iPhone 6 or later running iOS 8.1 or later, or an Apple Watch paired to an iPhone 5s or later. ATB Financial and Canadian Tire Bank are also supporting Apple Pay, and other smaller banks and credit unions are expected to support the technology in due course. http://on.thestar.com/1sKizKW
Atari, Sigfox partner for IoT development
Atari and Internet of Things pioneer Sigfox today announced a global partnership to develop a line of new connected devices based on Atari's brand. The collaboration will cover a wide range of new Atari products, with launch products covering "categories such as home, pets, lifestyle and safety" according to the pair. Development of the new product line will begin this year. http://bit.ly/1WvklfB
Samsung still not recommending Windows 10
Nearly a year after release, Samsung support is recommending that owners of its PCs not upgrade to Windows 10. In an email exchange with UK Samsung technical support and an individual in need of help getting Wi-Fi to work, the support representative wrote that "honestly speaking, we don't suggest installation of Windows 10 to any Samsung laptop or PC and we are still coordinating with Microsoft regarding to this matter" and "the Drivers that we have on our website are not yet compatible to the latest version of Windows." Samsung will update users when there are no more compatibility issues with Samsung hardware and Windows 10. Microsoft has no meaningful comment on the matter. http://bit.ly/1PgrJcx
T-Mobile offers 'tourist' plan
A new plan from T-Mobile is launching on June 12, and will offer visitors to the US a flat-rate $30 plan that offers a free US SIM, 2GB of high-speed data, and 1,000 minutes of calls good for a three-week period. The plan will work with any unlocked GSM-compatible smartphone, and is advertised as "unlimited" data (but speed will slow down after the first 2GB). The plan does not automatically renew, but can be manually renewed for those staying longer. It also comes with unlimited international texting to some 40 countries, but does not offer any international talk minutes at all. http://t-mo.co/1TI1Pe9
First hardware RAID 10Gbps USB 3.1 controllers
Marvell today announced the Marvell 88RC13xx family of high-performance RAID storage controllers with a full set of features that include eight 6Gbps SATA ports, four lanes of PCI Express 3.0, and a 10Gbps USB 3.1 device port with Type-C connector support. The move paves the way for high-performance USB-C UASP hardware RAID multi-drive arrays, utilizing the full bandwidth of USB 3.1. http://bit.ly/1P0JBmb
Tama debuts adapters for Lightning-only iPhone
Predicting an iPhone without a standard 3.5mm headphone, a Chinese accessory maker has released three Lightning-to-headphone-adapters ready should Apple pull the trigger on what would be a controversial decision. The three adapters, picked up by Macotakara, includes two models that simultaneously support charging an iPhone over microUSB while the user also continues to listen to music. Rumors have suggested that Apple will eventually drop the 3.5mm jack on one of its next-generation iPhones, although it is not clear whether it will be in the 'iPhone 7,' due this year, or a future model. In the interim, the Tama Electric Lightning-to-headphone adapters offer little particular utility. http://bit.ly/1P0sYXM
French Google tax raid evaluation could take years
The data retrieved from the Paris raid on Google's headquarters by French police could take months or even years to analyze, according to a prosecutor assigned to the case. Authorities seized dozens of files and related data that recorded Google's financial transactions in the country with a view to lodging a claim for unpaid taxes by the Internet search giant. Although Google has denied any wrongdoing, it must complete all of its sales contracts in Ireland, where it is incorporated. If French authorities sifting through the documents seized in the raids discover that any of its French sales transactions were completed locally, it could be subject to further action, including fines. http://reut.rs/1P0n8G2