Copyright © 2015
Rock Star 1.0 ($14, $9 through February 14) is a new game from Freshly Squeezed Software that "puts you against your music" with a trivia game based on the music collection on your Mac. FTPeel 1.1.1 ($19), also from Freshly Squeezed Software, is a minor update to the FTP/SFTP client for Mac OS X. BookLightning 1.2 ($49) is a utility for imposing PDF files into booklets, either for further processing or to print directly on a duplex printer. Version 1.2 can handle encrypted files using the newest EGOS framework. Jiiva has announced Application Builder Collection 1.2.6, an update to its $200 set of reusable Cocoa frameworks for building solid Mac OS X applications. This release fixes several obscure problems with the calendar and time systems, as well as other issues affecting ABC under Mac OS 10.3. [Download - site not accesible] Added: Benoit Widemann announced today released AliasMenu 3.1 ($25) for Mac OS X. AliasMenu adds user-defined menus to the menu bar. This new release brings several changes, including: automatic linking with AliasKeys; Alias icons are now displayed from the original files; and the application uses less CPU. [Download - 900KB] Elmer 5.0.1 is an update to Black Cat Systems' utility to creates sample tests to help prepare for a ham radio examination. The latest version includes corrections to some answers for Technician level exam practice. [Download - OS X, Classic] Audiocorder 4.0.0 -- a $20 audio recording application -- gains the ability to automatically convert recordings to MP3 format with the latest release. The application utilizes iTunes for conversion, and can automatically add the file to the iTunes Library. [Download - OS X, Classic]
Microsoft said late Thursday that portions of its Windows source code had been leaked over the Internet: "some incomplete portions of the Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 source code had been 'illegally made available on the Internet.' Access to the source code could allow hackers to exploit the operating system and attack machines running Windows, which is used on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide."
Symantec today announced Panther compatibility updates for Norton Internet Security 3.0 and Norton Personal Firewall 3.0, saying that "users of these products will be able to download the Panther compatibility updates at no cost via Symantec's LiveUpdate. With these additions, all Symantec Macintosh products are now Panther-compatible." Replacement boot CDs are also now available for users of Norton SystemWorks 3.0 for Macintosh and/or Norton Utilities 8.0 for Macintosh for Apple hardware released after June 22, 2003 (post-G5). The boot CD, for use in emergencies when the main hard drive is not functioning properly, are available through Symantec’s customer support.
Apple is planning to open a flagship store on London's Regent Street, according to The London Times: "The outlet, which will span 20,000 sq ft is expected to sell Apple’s entire product line including the iPod digital music player range and Apple notebooks and desktop computers. Apple stores also sell digital cameras and camcorders and hold free interactive workshops. The outlet, which is expected to cost Apple about Ł1.5 million a year in rent, would be its first flagship store in Europe."
A string of America’s biggest media groups, including Pixar, the animation studio, and the troubled Time Warner, are examining counter offers for The Walt Disney Company in an effort to spoil Comcast’s $62 billion hostile bid, reports Times Online (U.K.). Pixar -- whose chairman is Steve Jobs (also CEO and founder of Apple) -- was involved in a joint venture with Disney until last week. Pixar is understood to be looking to form a consortium of financiers to counter Comcast’s bid.
Apple is opposed to the proposed merger of Sony Music and BMG, The Financial Times is reporting this evening. "Apple is understood to have expressed concerns about possible 'vertical integration' between the merged entity and its respective media parents... People familiar with the situation, however, said Apple had 'forcefully' raised objections over the enlarged music group's selling power for music downloads and potential favourable terms with Sony Connect, the Japanese group's forthcoming rival to Apple's iTunes." Apple's comments come as the European Commission begins a second-stage investigation into the merger. The Commission has said it would examine "the extent to which the vertically-integrated structure of both Sony and Bertelsmann could raise competition concerns."
Evening tech news: Even though denial-of-service attacks against the software maker are set to stop, SCO figures that it will be a few more days before it can reactivate its main Web site; a company whose DVD-copying software prompted copyright and piracy-related lawsuits from Hollywood is expanding into the realm of computer games, rolling out a system that lets console game buyers make copies; Australia's consumer watchdog on Tuesday launched a three-day crackdown aimed at tackling bogus Web sites designed to swindle Internet users, as part of an international campaign to highlight and shut down such scams.
Apple has posted GarageBand 1.0.1, a minor update to the music recording software from Apple. The free update "clarifies specific alert dialogs regarding system performance." GarageBand is available as part of iLife '04, which sells for $50 or is available pre-installed on new purchases of any Mac.
Virginia Tech's Big Mac continues to garner positive publicity, with the most recent story on the subject arriving today courtesy of Investor's Business Daily. The article echoes many of the successes of the supercomputer for both Virginia Tech and Apple, as other publications have, and explains the opportunities that are coming up for both the university and Apple as a result of the project. Perhaps most interestingly, Virginia Tech expects to realize a 5-to-1 return on the cost of the system from leasing time on it to government agencies and others for research.
ExtremeTech's Jason Cross predicts that "Apple is about to get Netscaped" out of the digital music arena while also extolling the benefits of Microsoft's WMA format. "I expect the iPod/iTunes duo to get Netscaped by WMA-compatible stuff within a few years... Eventually, someone will come out with a player that looks as good and is as much a joy to interact with as the iPod, and I fully expect Microsoft to whip its media playback software into shape with a better interface and a full built-in online music store. IPod sales and iTunes usage will continue to grow but the market will grow even faster, causing their actual market share to shrink. When that happens, and Apple's products become entirely marginalized, I don't want to be stuck with a whole bunch of 99-cent songs encoded with AAC and locked with FairPlay DRM."
Adobe has released a new Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop CS that extends raw file support to 14 additional digital camera models. The new version of the free plug-in brings the total number of cameras supported by the software to more than 40. It adds new support for cameras from Fujifilm, Kodak, Leaf, Lieca, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Sony. The plug-in allows photographers to directly "manipulate the original data captured by a digital camera sensor, producing images with superior tonal range and the maximum amount of detail."
Concord Camera today announced the Concord 5345z digital camera, a 5-megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom. Among the 5345z features are a metal body and 19 scene selections for optimizing camera settings. The camera will ship in April for $380.
Konica Minolta has introduced three new digital cameras: the compact 3.2-megapixel DiMAGE Xg with a 3x optical zoom that weighs 4.2 oz. and features a 0.8 second startup time, the 4-megapixel DiMAGE Z2 with a 10x optical zoom, and the 8-megapixel DiMAGE S2, an SLR-type digital camera with a 7x optical zoom. Neither pricing nor availability were announced; we are currently looking into both.
PhotoVu announced the launch of the PhotoVu PV1900, a custom-made 19" wireless digital picture frame. The PV1900 displays digital images by wirelessly retrieving them from a computer's hard drive for easy and addictive viewing on the wall. The unique PV1900 features a wide-viewing angle 19" LCD screen, wireless and wired connectivity, and a USB port for the option of simple plug-and-play display as well as the choice of custom-made wood frame and matting. It is available for $1550.
Lexar Media today introduced a 8GB Professional Series CompactFlash card, 1GB Secure Digital (SD) memory card, and updated Memory Stick, SD, and CF media lines with faster read speeds and improved performance as well as a 32-bit CompactFlash (CF) CardBus reader designed to enable the quick and convenient transfer of digital images to notebook computers.
iPIX InfoMedia today announced the North American availability of iPIX Interactive Studio, which it says is "the first" full 360-degree panoramic imaging platform for digital photography and design. It offers a flexible plug-in architecture to enable an expanded range of panorama photography capture modes, including single row multi-shot panoramas and multi-shot full-frame fisheye. iPIX InfoMedia also announced that it is introducing flexible unlimited annual licensing, ending its per-image fee-based software licensing. Pricing starts at $500. It runs on Mac OS X only.
Apple VP Jonathan Ive has been named the most influential person on British culture, according to BBC News: "Jonathan Ive, who designed the pocket-sized music player, beat the Harry Potter writer into second place. Golden Globe winner Gervais, the creator and star of The Office, came third in the list put together by a panel of culture experts."
The New York Times says the iPod still stands above the rest in the crowded digital media player market: "The rivals come from electronics makers (Samsung) and from fellow computer makers (Dell, Gateway), as well as from veteran music-player makers (Rio, Creative Labs, iRiver). Most have the familiar iPod ingredients...The other notable feature of these competitors is a marketing message that's either 'just like the iPod, only cheaper' or 'just like the iPod, only better.' Now, you're a busy person, so here's the gist: most of these rivals are cheaper - usually $100 less. But 'better' is another story. The iPod is still smaller, more attractive and more thoughtfully designed than any of the upstarts."
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters is offering a new line of cases and accessories for the iPod mini The DLO Jam Jacket mini ($20) features a built-in, transparent screen protector--a thin, clear layer of silicone that protects the LCD screen from scratching. The DLO Jam Jacket Pro mini ($25) features two reinforced slits in the back that accommodate the new DLO armband (included). The DLO Jam Jacket mini 3Pacs are $35, while the Jam Jacket Pro mini 3Pacs are $40. The elegant, Italian leather DLO Podfolio mini is available for $30. DLO is also debuting the Action Jacket mini ($30) with the new, improved armband that features a secur Velcro and fits any bicep from Felicity to Ferrigno. They are expected to ship by the first week of March.
Mireth has released ShredIt X 5.4, an update to the $20 privacy utility that securely deletes files, folders and disk free space. It offers a new "safe place" feature to protect data from accidental shredding, external drive support, a new "confirm before shred" option, and a configurable pattern and number of overwrites. [Classic, 1.4MB] Status Symbol 1.22 can manage your iChat AV status by displaying stock, weather, system, personal, iTunes, iChat and system information as your iChat status. SS also provides fast access buttons for eating, sleeping, working, errands, gym and meetings as away messages. [1.9MB] Monkeybread today released version 4.0 of the MBS plug-ins for REALbasic (€40), collection of several plug-in parts with over 350 classes and 4 controls featuring over 7200 documented functions. It adds DVD playback on Mac OS X, network/disk usage data, improved WebKit, picture effects, and CoreAudio support. [14MB] FolderOrg 1.1 is a freeware AppleScript Folder Action that is organizes files and folders by moving them into dated subfolders: "This is helpful in keeping files and folders organized by the day they were added, not created or modified." The update adds support for folders (in addition to files) and allows customs icons to be added to the parent folder. [117KB] Vvidget User 9.2.10 VVI adds 3D stereoscopic pop-out graphs: "Using inexpensive viewers customers can now view their 3-dimensional data and recover more information than what is normally presented on a screen." Pricing is $90 and includes free foldable demonstration viewers for a limited time. Bubble Trouble X 1.0.2 ($15) addresses a startup crash under Mac OS X 10.3 and adds shared license support for all users on a single Mac. [8.8MB]
XERD 1.0 is a database design tool for Mac OS X, which allows users to create Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERDs) with ease and automatically generate the associated SQL table creation scripts. It offers support for Mac OS X databases, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle and SQL 92. Other features include multi-level undo/redo, a customizable working environment, printing suport, contextual menu support, and more. A demo of the $48 application is available.
LetterRip Professional 4.04 is is the first release list server application to run natively on Mac OS X. The administrator was completely rewritten and it features much improved bounce handling features, built-in subscription confirmation, email administration, personalization in the to line of outgoing messages, better delivery to users, and support for stripping html portions of email messages as well as blocking HTML on a per list basis. It runs on Mac OS 9/X and is available for $400. Upgrades are $175.
MindCad has announced the initial release of its visual outliner, Pyramid: "A visual thinking tool, Pyramid creates non-linear representations of a vast array of subject matter. For example, writers can diagram story structure, students can create memorization maps of academic subjects, and business managers can design, present and track project strategies." It is available for $30; a demo is available from the company's website. Pryamid runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Olympus today debuted several new cameras as well as updated others, including a new 8 megapixel Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom, an updated all-weather Stylus 410, a new point-and-shoot D-580 Zoom, two new Ultra Zoom (C-770 and C-765) cameras with 10x zoom and lower-end refreshed D-540. The entire camera line features Olympus TruePic TURBO Image Processor for improved image quality, faster overall processing speeds for rapid startup, shutter release and playback, and pixel "micro-smoothing" that delivers clearer and more color-accurate photos.
Technology columnist Walter Mossberg talks about transferring files between computers in his latest column, noting that PC solutions are not as simple or effective as the target disk mode available on the Mac: "All of this is much easier in the Apple world. If you are moving up from an old Macintosh to a new one, and both machines have FireWire ports — common on Macintoshes — you can just link the two computers with a standard FireWire cable. No special software is required. Someday, perhaps, Microsoft will come up with something just as simple and effective for long-suffering Windows users. At least, we can dare to dream."
A MacNN reader notes a problem with the Quicken 2004 R2 Update, released yesterday: "I spoke with Intuit Quicken tech support yesterday about a problem I had with Quicken since I updated to R2. The problem was that downloaded transactions were disappearing from my ledger. Tech support said it was due to the R2 update and suggested that I re-install the original program. I did and all is well now. Lesson learned: don't update to R2. The tech rep said that another update will appear in a couple of months."
HP announced today a revamped Photosmart line of digital cameras that feature new HP Real Life technologies, including built-in red-eye reduction and adaptive lighting technology that automatically adjusts high-contrast photos. The first model to include these technologies will be a the Photosmart R707, a 5.1-megapixel camera with 24x total zoom and a dock for syncing the camera with a computer. The R707 will start shipping in May for $350, with the dock priced at $80.
Nikon has introduced two new digital cameras that feature In-Camera Red-Eye fix, the industry's first red-eye correction capability built into a camera. The Coolpix 4200 and 5200 are 4- and 5-megapixel cameras, respectively, that also feature a 3x optical zoom and are clad in all-metal bodies that weigh in at 5.5 ounces. Both cameras will start shipping in the Spring for $400 and $500, respectively.
MacMall has started selling Power Mac G5 Dual-2GHz systems from Virginia Tech's Big Mac supercomputer cluster. Virginia Tech announced in January that it would be migrated the 1,100 Power Mac G5s to Xserve G5s. Mac users who would like to own a piece of what was the world's third fastest supercomputer in 2003 can do so for $2,799, a $200 savings over the cost of a brand new dual-2GHz Power Mac G5, that also includes an extra 512MB of RAM (after rebate) but no internal modem.
Kodak will take wraps off many of its upcoming products at the International Photo Marketing Association today. Among the computer-oriented products are:Four new EasyShare digital cameras, including the flagship DX7630, a 6-megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom that will ship in April for $500. Three new, less expensive EasyShare CX cameras will also debut: CX7430 (4-megapixel, 3x optical zoom, $280), CX7300 (3-megapixel, 3x digital zoom, $130), and CX7220 (2-megapixel, 2x optical zoom, $150).The company has also released EasyShare Software for Mac 3.3.The Kodak Professional DCS Pro SLR/n digital camera, a 14-megapixel camera with a total available ISO range of 6 to 1600 and an entirely new 35 mm size CMOS. The camera will ship in March; pricing is unavailable.Kodak's Photo Printer 6800, a thermal printer targeted at professionals and is capable of producing 5x7-inch prints in 20 seconds. It will sell for $3,000.New Ultima Picture Paper with ColorLast technology, which is billed as "the world's longest-lasting inkjet photo paper," capable of preserving printed photos for more than 100 years in a typical home display. Pricing is unavailable.
Neon Software has begun shipping LANsurveyor 8, its application that helps diagram networks, monitor key network components, remotely manage systems, solve network problems, and create network and desktop asset reports. Version 8 includes the ability to diagram and report on managed switch and hub port connectivity as well as support for Mac OS X 10.3, multiple SNMP community strings, and improved asset management with the Neon Responder client. Pricing is $500 (20 responders), $1000 (100), or $10,000 (unlimited).
Unsanity has released FontCard 1.0.3, an update to its "haxie" that modifies the Font menu in Carbon applications. This update adds Panther compatibility, fixes bugs, and adds other enhancements. FontCard is priced at $17 per license. [Download - 1.4MB] iPod It 2.3.2 ($15) updates the utility to transfer PIM info to your iPod. It provides more robust and efficient handling of Panther Mail; enhances Entourage Contacts transfer to include all personal information; and adds the ability to transfer messages from all Entourage Mail folders at once. [Download - 416KB] Blue World today released Lasso Professional 6.0.5, a free maintenance update to its Lasso Professional 6 product for quickly building and serving data-driven Web sites. The free update for registered customers of Lasso Professional 6 includes numerous fixes. [26.4KB] CValley today announced an update to Xtream Path, its $140 plug-in that allows Illustrator users to have better control and manipulate paths in a "more intuitive way." This update fixes the problem whereby uses were not able to apply Rotate Mirroring tool, Reflect Mirroring tool, and Wallpaper tool on non-locked/hidden objects. [2.57MB] Quicken 2004 for Mac R2 (Release 2) is an update to the accounting software for Mac OS X from Intuit. The developer recommends that all Quicken 2004 for Macintosh users install this update, which includes countless bug fixes and enhancements. [15.5MB] Red Sweater Software has announced the release Clarion 1.4, an update to its $10 utility for training the ear to recognize musical intervals. This version includes improvements in the following areas: better support for descending intervals in quiz sets, a "Practice Piano," and updated support for Apple's CoreAudio framework. [142KB] NOx runs shell commands to help your Mac boot up faster. "Apple apparently forgot to include the boot cache in the right place," the developer explains, "so NOx copies over an executable so that the computer will utilise the boot cache upon startup." The free utility provides a graphical interface to these commands. [53KB] GeekTool is a free open-source 'PrefPane' (System Preferences module) for Panther or Jaguar to show system logs, unix commands output, or images (i.e. from the internet) on your desktop (or even in front of all windows). [1.4MB] Saft 6.0 ($10) is an update to the Safari add-on that implements full-screen browsing and kiosk mode. The latest version adds the ability to export a page as a PDF via a contextual menu; an optional Aqua interface; back/forward contextual menu option; bug fixes; and more. [2.4MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermĂ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir