Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Team MacNN's latest distributed computing undertakings and achievements; the high temperatures levels of the 12" PowerBook G4 associated with processor-intensive computing; one user's positive experience with the AppleCare program and the repair of his PowerBook; various tips and tricks for Mac OS X; an iMac LCD failure after 1.5 years of use.
GridIron Software has announced an agreement with Adobe to provide the "first commercially available solution for consumers and small to medium businesses" to harness the power of distributed grid computing. Adobe plans to include a version of GridIron's grid computing technology, GridIron XLR8, with the next release of its Adobe After Effects Professional software. GridIron XLR8 features a unique, peer-to-peer architecture that allows the computers to discover each other and automatically set up a processing network, distribute work, and recover from failure.
Evening tech news: Microsoft on Tuesday afternoon alerted users of a trio of new security vulnerabilities in Windows and Internet Explorer, one of which was characterized by its discoverer as even more dangerous than the flaws that spawned some of the biggest worms of all time, Nimda and Code Red; only a fraction of the unsolicited e-mail slipping into in-boxes complies with a federal antispam law, according to research from a spam-filtering specialist; PalmSource today unveiled an updated version of its operating system designed for mobile telephones, in hopes of extending its success with pocket computers to a much larger market.
Apple's latest U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing is now available online. The report covers Apple's financial situation as of the end of calendar 2003. According to the report, PowerMac, PowerBook, and iPod sales all increased during the last quarter, while iMac sales fell. Regionally, Europe saw the largest sales increase. We've compiled a list of important points from the filing.
Students at Highland-Goffe's Falls School in Manchester raised over $25,000 --through innovative fundraising and donations--to purchase 24 iBooks for use in their classrooms. "The Manchester school's fundraising started in March 2002, with a 'Tech Jump' by jump ropers who raised $6,795 in their schoolyard. In May 2002, Wal-Mart donated $1,000 to the effort; local businesses contributed a total $450. The following September, the school raised $2,644 with a cookie dough sale, followed by an April Tech Jump that brought in another $6,444. When the school PTA donated $10,000, the school had $25,335 in the bank, enough for 24 iBooks and a wireless mobile computer lab."
Microsoft has released Virtual PC for Mac 6.1.1, an update to its application that allow users to run programs for Microsoft Windows on your Mac. The update addresses security issues and bugs related to running upcoming Windows XP Professional service packs and works with versions 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2 or 6.1 in English, French, German, and Japanese.
ASC today released version 2.01.00 of its driver for the DFG/1394-1 uncompressed analog to digital video converter, which delivers uncompressed, full size, full frame rate NTSC or PAL YUV 4:2:2, YUV 4:1:1 and Indexed Color video over FireWire. The updated driver, which works with Mac OS X Jaguar/Panther, reduces FireWire bandwidth usage to allow two separate 640x480 30 fps video streams on a single FireWire bus, reduces G4 processor utilization by 30%, improves G5 processor support, utilizes GPU to reduce the CPU burden, etc. It is free to registered users and $30 for others.
FasterMac.Net has unveiled its new internet service designed specifically at Mac users: TurboMac: "Using specialized software that enables on-the-fly data caching and data compression/decompression, TurboMac provides accelerated Web page display and email downloading. This is most visible when loading Web pages, which are able to fully display up to six-and-a-half times faster compared to standard, non-accelerated dialup services." Special pricing of $120/year is available for the first 500 subscribers, while regular pricing is $14/month.
PC Magazine has published a review of GarageBand and iLife'04, giving the suite of digital lifestyle applicaton 4 out of 5 stars: "GarageBand makes music mixing and song creation easy enough for any novice to enjoy yet produces results professional enough for real musicians to use on their demo discs..Software like GarageBand has been around for a while, but it's never been so easy to use. Record your music into GarageBand, then make it sound like any of over 100 instruments."
MacNN reader Tom Sheppard today released the beta version of iCal Backup, an AppleScript application that backs up one or more Apple's iCal calendar files at custom intervals: "iCal Backup runs as a companion to iCal and silently backs up your calendars only when the calendars have changed since the last backup. Should you ever need to restore an event, to-do or even a whole calendar you can select only the calendar you wish to restore and from what point in time. Your old calendars are not overwritten." A demo of the $9 application is available.
A MacNN reader discovered today that a new Apple Store is under construction in the Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. Apple has posted job openings on its website for the Bethesda store. The store is expected to open in the next 2-3 months, according to the mall's front office.
Harmonic Vision today announced Music Ace Deluxe, its new home-based application for beginning and intermediate music students (age five and up). It features self-paced lessons for up to ten family members in an entertaining and game-like atmosphere that teaches the basic skills, such as music theory, note reading, ear training, notation, keyboard, scales, etc. A doodle pad feature allows beginners to easily compose and hear their own musical creations using a variety of instrument sounds. It is $80 and runs on Mac OS 9/X.
Popwire has released Compression Master 2.2, a Mac OS X-based encode designed for Broadcasting companies, Media houses, ISPs, and Mobile operators with the need to provide high-quality content in multiple bit rates. Compression Master, which can encode in a large variety of formats, adds support for Watermark, 3:2 pull down, GUI improvements as well as performance optimization. Other features include a new and improved H.263, optimized and improved MPEG-4, new AAC, DV stream input, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 output as well as support for RealVideo and RealAudio. It is available for Mac OS X for $585.
Intelli Innovations today released IntelliPrompter 1.5, an update to its advanced desktop teleprompting solution for Mac OS X. The update adds faster performance on G3- and G4-based PowerBooks, better control from an auxiliary screen connected to the host computer, live window resizing, a redesigned story-board feature, and miscellaneous bug fixes. The update is free to previous IntelliPrompter users. Personal ($130), Presenter ($400), and Pro ($700) editions are available.
Mark/Space has unveiled plans for a new version of Missing Sync that enables synchronization between Palm OS Cobalt Smart Mobile Devices and Mac OS X. Due later this year (when the the first Palm OS Cobalt devices are expected to ship), it will allow users to connect and synchronize information between Palm OS Cobalt devices and Macs running Mac OS X via USB, network, WiFi or Bluetooth. The new version, which will support all devices based on Palm OS 4.0 or higher, will also include synchronization support for Tapwave Zodiac handhelds, iCal calendar events, to-do items, and Mac OS X Address Book as well as work with existing Palm OS conduits.
Apple yesterday released several smaller component updates: Graphics Driver update 1.0 delivers updated graphic drivers for Mac OSX v10.2.8 to restore DVD Player functionality; AppleWorks File Repair Utility 1.0 fixes AppleWorks documents that have become damaged from AppleWorks 6 running on a Mac OS X 10.2.x client; AFP Client Update improves the reliability of data accessed from an AFP server when using AppleWorks.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple acknowledged it is a "defendant in five separate purported class-action lawsuits filed in California on Dec. 23, 2003, alleging misrepresentations by the company of its iPod digital musical player's battery life. According to its quarterly report filed with the SEC, Apple said the lawsuits allege violation of a California law for unfair competition and violation of California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Also, the lawsuits allege false advertising, fraudulent concealment and breach of warranty by Apple Computer, the filing said. The company said the lawsuits seek unspecified damages and other relief. Apple said it's beginning its investigation of the claims."
Apple today announced that its first retail store in the city of San Francisco will open in Union Square at One Stockton Street on Saturday, February 28 at 10:00 a.m. PST. Apple Store San Francisco will be one of Apple's five flagship stores worldwide, joining flagship stores in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Tokyo. "Our customers are consistently delighted with our unmatched level of service and our unique hands-on approach to learn about Apple's products," said Ron Johnson, Apple's senior vice president of Retail. "We look forward to welcoming thousands of Mac and PC users to our incredible new retail store in San Francisco, our seventh store in the Bay Area."
ThemesForKeynote today released Blue Mosaic, a new theme for Apple's Keynote presentation software. The general purpose theme includes 38 slide masters as well as upbeat, colorful chart and graph fills, 20 photo cutouts, and works well with Keynote's "cube" transition. Available for immediate download, Blue Mosaic is priced at $15.
Apple will be exhibiting at Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston next month: "Bio-IT World Conference + Expo is the most comprehensive event focused exclusively on the integration and utilization of information technologies across all life science discovery and development processes." The conference runs from March 30 to April 1. Apple will be in Booth #BIO408.
SmileOnMyMac has updated its PDF manipulation utility: PDFpen 1.1 adds a new hand tool for scrolling, convenient combine and split scripts, improved drawing speed, and better handling of non-spec PDF files. A 30-day free demo of the $30 application is available online. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.5 or later. [1.8MB] Extra Suites 1.1 ($10) is a faceless background application for AppleScripters containing more than eighty new AppleScript commands to Mac OS X. Version 1.1 adds commands to select menu items, get and set screen resolutions, get and set volume levels as well as restores the create thumbnail icon command. [962KB] 24U Software Email OSAX 3.0 is a Scripting Addition that allows you to automate e-mail communication directly using scripts. It adds support for sending attachments, support for Apple Single, Apple Double, BinHex and Base-64 encodings, and ability to authenticate with a POP3 server before connecting to SMTP server. Pricing starts at $17. [233KB] Panic has (again) updated its new Usenet newsreader for Mac OS X: Unison 1.02 ($25) improves the handling of message text when replying, adds better recovery when encountering errors with queued transfers, and adds support for encoded foreign characters in From: and Subject: lines, and more. [1.2MB] LiveIcon 1.0 adds animated icon support to iChat AV, allowing users to see animated icons in your AIM buddy list from within iChat AV 2.0 Users can control animation speed and count. Registration ($10) offers users the MyIcon application, which can set the iChat icon to be animated. [192KB] GoldfishSoft today updated its unique fraction calculator, FrakKalk 2.0 for Mac OS X 10.2: "Unlike most handheld and computer calculators, FrakKalk returns the results of its operations as simplified fractions, not decimals." Version 2.0 has been completely rewritten in Cocoa, offering significant speed improvements and a cleaner interface. [34KB] Infinisys has updated Mail Magic 2.3.3, its HTML email program that allows anyone to easily create and send out HTML mail greeting cards and personal newsletters. The free update offers bug fixes for sending and displaying email, better documentation for creating original HTML templates, and other improvements. It is $18 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.1MB] Tabasoft has posted Biferno 1.0.3, an update to its new object-oriented, HTML embedded, scripting language for web development. It is an open-source, cross-platform project for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Classic that features a plug-in architecture. [Classic, OSX]
WiebeTech today announced price reductions on the MicroGB800 FireWire 800/USB2 pocket combo drive as well as other desktop and pocket products. Pricing on the MicroGB800 enclosure has been reduced by $40 to $120, while pricing on its DesktopGB+ enclosure (without drive) is now $100 ($20 reduction). The company notes that approximately 50 different storage devices within its product line have been reduced in price.
Enlista today released Enlista Calendar 1.0, a multi-platform peer-to-peer Calendar Sharing software product that "does not require expensive centralized software, nor does it require that users share a common infrastructure in order to share information." Enlista Calendar lets users access information and make changes offline for synchronization at a later time. The $50 cross-platform solution is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. A 30 day free trial is avialable online.
Fuji Photo Film's new ColourKit Profiler Suite v4.0 color profiling software offers ICC v4 support as well as profile-making and profile-editing modules for monitors, cameras and scanners. An image processor and image editor can also be purchased separately. ColourKit v4.0 features a user-friendly, "wizard-based" interface as well as additional options to improve and verify profile quality for advanced users, including profile editing tools for input and output and both RGB and CMYK image types. It runs on Mac OS X and features support for the EyeOne spectrophotometer and improved support for inkjet profiles. A 14-day demo is available.
MacSpeech has released an update to its ScriptPak for iLife. The new ScriptPaks support iLife 04 and add over 250 voice commands for controlling virtually every aspect of GarageBand, iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes. iListen 1.6.4 ($100), which is a free update for users of iListen 1.5 and later, is recommended in order to use all the commands in these ScriptPaks. The iLife Voice Solution is priced at $30, while the individual ScriptPaks are also available separately for $10 each.
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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
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN