Topics on the MacNN discussion forums today include: speculation about future PowerMac G5 offerings featuring the IBM 970FX processor; "cost of ownership" associated with the PC platform compared to the Mac platform; the Power Mac G5 computers being sold off by Virginia Tech and MacMall for an unusually high price; troubleshooting a PowerBook G4 that locks up inexplicably running Mac OS X 10.3; first impressions of Unreal Tournament 2004 demo for Mac OS X; expected shipping dates for the iPod Mini.
Afternoon tech news: Intel plans to unveil next week a prototype consumer portable computer that blurs the line between desktops and notebooks by shedding the traditional clamshell laptop design; a programming error has been identified as the cause of alarm failures that might have contributed to the scope of last summer's Northeast blackout, industry officials said; consumers should not submit their e-mail addresses to a Web site that promises to reduce unwanted "spam" because the site is fraudulent, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said today.
Marketcircle has released version 1.5.5 of DayLite its contact and sales manager. This new release includes a new streamlined contact creation process, new XML Web Lead import keys, smarter quick filter fields and significant performance improvements. DayLite v1.5.5 is free upgrade for registered users. DayLite sells for $150 per user.
Innobits has updated BitVice 1.5, its $300 MPEG2 software encoder application available for both G3- and G4-based Macs. Version 1.5 adds speed improvements (up to 400% faster in the first pass), improved chroma resolution/registration in interlaced mode, and a smart and motion adaptive de-interlacing feature. [Classic, form] iTunesWriter is a simple program that allows you to burn more than a single iTunes playlist on a digital media: "In this way you can keep well organized your growing MP3 collection by mean of using different sessions on a CD." It is freeware and runs on Mac OS X. [474KB] SizzlingKeys4iTunes 1.0 lets you control all aspects of iTunes with hot keys you define. The hot keys are fully customizable via an intuitive Preference Pane plug-in. The freeware runs Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [180KB] Nattress 1.2 is the latest update to Film Effects, the $100 24p film effect solution for Apple's Final Cut Pro. The free update offers improved intelligent de-interlacing for PAL users, and higher quality 24p for NTSC users. Version 1.2 also offers a film lab dissolve transition that emulates 5 different types of film dissolve and is fully configurable. Splendid City 2.7 helps organize team sport or game events, managing sport schedules of any size and complexity. It adds support for cross-divisional scheduling, support for Swiss Round Tournaments, adds a project schedule merge panel, and includes a schedule game calculator. Pricing starts at $36. [3.0MB] iTunesSaver is a basic screensaver to display the artwork (if available) and track information of the current iTunes track. It supports a range of features, such as fixed positioning, scalable artwork, and automatic starting of iTunes. Version 2.2 restores text movement, offers adjustable artwork size, and an option to start iTunes when the screen saver is invoked. [91KB]
CEI has released its Ensight software suite for Mac OS X, with optimization for Power Mac G4 and G5 sytems. Included in the suite are EnSight, EnSight Gold, and EnLiten, which run under X11. The company's EnVideo is already native for Mac OS X. CEI's products cover key aspects of model pre- and post-processing, visualization and communication.
A 2.5GHz version of IBM's new PowerPC 970FX, featured in the Xserve G5 and presumably in future Power Mac G5 systems, will be announced next week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference, according to c|net. The chip is manufactured utilizing IBM's new 90nm processing, reducing the chip's need for power, among other advantages. "It's logical that Apple would select the flexibility of this chip for a next-generation notebook computer," Richard Doherty, research director at Envisioneering, told Reuters, hinting at the possibility of a PowerBook G5.
Mac customers remain important to PalmSource, despite the company's discontinuation of built-in Mac support in the next version of the Palm OS. "Palm OS provides an open and flexible architecture and allows its licensees to decide whether to ship a Mac compatibility solution with their Palm Powered device. One such solution is provided by Mark/Space," PalmSource said in a statement given to Macworld UK. "We are continuing our efforts with Apple to provide compatibility between Palm OS and Macintosh."
Feral Interactive today announced that the Mac version of XIII, a comic book-based first person shooter, has reached beta status and is expected to ship in April. In honor of this milestone, the company has posted a short teaser of the game on its site. XIII was released on the major gaming platforms last November.
SubRosaSoft has released CDRestore 2.0, a utility that recovers data from damaged or scratched CD and burns a new disc. Version 2.0 includes Audio CD support, CD burning capability, and a new and streamlined interface. Users can also remove songs, or change play order on audio CDs. CDRestore 2.0 sells for $25; it is a free upgrade to v1.x owners and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Tech Superpowers, the company behind Boston's largest free wireless network, is soliciting Mac users to donate their unused or broken AirPort base stations for use in a new, and currently secretive, WiFi endeavor. "Donate your airport base station and we'll promise to use for the good of the free WiFi community. Once your Base Station is used for the good of the world around, we'll send you a picture of what it doing in its new life."
The University of Bergen in Norway will be home to the first Xserve G5 cluster in that country, according to a note (in Norwegian) posted on OfficeLine EDBergen, the Apple reseller that will be providing the four Xserve G5 systems. The cluster will be capable of performing 16 gigaflops per second and will be utilized by the Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology to calculate protein sequences.
Casio's new Exlim Pro EX-P600 digital camera is a 6-megapixel camera that features a 4x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom with quick startup and release time lags and a high-speed continuous shutter. The camera can be used in conjunction with the three commercially available Canon conversion lenses, offers a large, high-definition 2.0-inch TFT LCD monitor, and includes a wireless remote control for slow shutter and self-timer photos. The EX-P600 will sell for $650 when it ships in April.
Along with an affordable 5-megapixel camera announced Thursday, Concord Camera has introduced the Eye-Q 2040 and Eye-Q 3040, 2- and 3-megapixel cameras that feature 4x digital zoom and carry $110 and $130 price tags, respectively. Also introduced were four VGA and one-megapixel cameras that double as webcams. The Eye-Q Splash, Eye-Q 640, Eye-Q 1000, and Eye-Q 1200 range in price from $40-$70.
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US tech giants to candidates: support TPP
Tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Uber are among thirteen major US corporations who have written an open letter to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton urging them to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, reports Reuters. Although not yet made public, the letter also asks the candidates to make it easier for the companies to hire tech workers from overseas. Both are not happy with the TPP deal, although Trump is sterner in his opposition to any kind of trade deals between countries. Trump has not rejected outright the idea of importing high-tech talent from overseas, while Clinton has already voiced her support for the idea. http://reut.rs/1Wb0Zwq
Apple mandates June 1 app IPv6 support
Apple has set the deadline for IPv6 support for App Store-supplied software. On June 1, apps thast use a custom networking stack and that are submitted to the app store must support IPv6-only networks. The rule, announced last year as coming soon, will only affect a small portion of submitted applications that do not use the NSURLSession and CFNetwork APIs. http://apple.co/24yBTIY
YouTube Unplugged OTT service coming 2017?
As part of the continuing YouTube evolution, the video streaming service is reportedly considering a paid subscription service that would provide users "over the top" cable TV service. According to sources familiar with the matter, the service has been in the works since 2012, has already made changes to accommodate the live video feeds, and could debut the offering as soon as 2017. http://bloom.bg/1rvx8BW
Kohls Apple Pay integration with loyalty program
Kohl's customers are now able to pay for their purchases with Kohl's Charge and simultaneously earn loyalty program Yes2You Rewards in conjunction with Apple Pay. The service is currently available in approximately 250 Kohl's stores and is expected to be in all Kohl's stores nationwide later this month, making Kohl's the first retailer to deliver a one-tap checkout that integrates both its private credit card as a form of payment and a loyalty program with Apple Pay. http://yhoo.it/21wEUI6
AirMap iOS app for drone operators
Provider of airspace information and services for unmanned aircraft AirMap announced today the release of the AirMap app for iOS and Apple Watch. Operators can now access low-altitude airspace advisories, create flights, file digital flight notices to over 80 airports, and manage unmanned aircraft. Building on the success of AirMap's Digital Notice and Awareness System (D-NAS), the AirMap app brings to iOS devices a fully integrated airspace management solution for recreational and commercial drone operators. The app is free. http://apple.co/21wCadD
BlackBerry video calling available on iOS
BlackBerry has made its video calling feature available to Android and iOS users. The company reports limited availability of the new cross-platform feature for now, citing "because this is the first time we're launching BBM Video calling, and we want to monitor performance, gather feedback, and iron out any kinks that may arise before we roll it out globally." http://blck.by/1ruu4pC
Apple loses iPhone brand exclusivity in China
Apple has lost its exclusive rights to the 'iPhone' brand in China, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court has ruled. According to Quartz, Chinese company Xintong Tiandi is now free to continue selling its non-smartphone "IPHONE" branded products, which include smartphone cases, among other leather goods. The Chinese court ruled that Xintong Tiandi, which registered the "IPHONE" trademark in 2007, could continue to use the trademark because Apple did not start selling the iPhone in China until 2009. Apple also could not prove that Xintong Tiandi's ongoing use of the trademark would cause Apple material harm. The latest ruling by the Chinese government follows its recent decision to shut down the iTunes Movies and iBooks Store. http://bit.ly/1SNhRmB