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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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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko