Cinematte, a Photoshop plug-in, is now available for the Mac platform, offering all the features of the original plug-in as well as several important enhancements. The advanced plug-in for Photoshop can automatically create masks and clipping paths using blue/green screen technology and offers support for Photoshop's Layers and Actions, batch processing and multiple layers. Cinematte allows blue or green screen background for input and can output layer masks, mattes, transparencies and keyed foregrounds. It is available for $190.
Innoventive Software has announced the release of FrameForge 3D Studio for Mac ($350). The software now ships on a dual-OS CD, allowing users of both Macintosh and Windows computers to use the application. FrameForge 3D Studio provides a new way for directors, filmmakers and other creative users to easily create and manipulate storyboards. Features include the creation of virtual sets and fully articulated actors that allow users to explore and experiment shot planning in ways never before possible.
iLocalize is a powerful and intuitive application designed to help developers with creating localizations for their application. iLocalize handles multiple languages in the same project and offers glossaries. Registration of iLocalize is $20.
MacNN reader Dennis Callahan has provided us with two photos from Apple's new store in San Francisco. The large building -- placed at a high visibility intersection -- features a simple design with two illuminated Apple logos on either side. The store is located on the corner of Ellis Street and Stockton Street near Union Square. It opens February 28th.
A-Dock X 1.1 updates the free application that allows you to skin your dock, add spring loaded folders, and many other dock customizations. The update adds smoother effects, ability to check for updates and is no longer affected by Expose. [1.9MB] CE Software has released the beta version of its Mac OSX program QuicKeys X2 v2.1. The $100 application automates time-consuming and repetitive computer tasks with customized hot keys, toolbars and much more. The beta will expire on March 31, 2004. [10MB] DX Toolbox 1.5.0 is a $20 radio analysis and forecasting tool for amateur radio operators, and other radio enthusiasts. It adds twenty different shortwave propagation reports and forecasts, and includes enhancements to the program and faster plotting of the grayline map. [1.5MB] CreativePage 3.2 updates the $30 web site creation software made for Mac OS X. The (x)HTML editor adds full scroll wheel support, an improved/updated interface for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, Dock-aware windows, line number display while editing files, and an improved FTP client. [1.9MB] Luma Code's Mac Minder 2.1 is a maintenance update to the applicaton that helps track/regulate computer usage in Mac OS X. It offers detailed control of/reports on on application usage and day/time computer use and import/export functions for easy administration. Mac Minder is $30 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.1MB] SnailFile $15 is a easy to use drag'n'drop application that enables you to manage paper documents. SnailFile remembers the time and date that the record was created along with a title, keyword and description so that you can find your documents easily without the need for hours of hunting through files. [296k] MkConsole v1.7 is a little application that displays logfiles on your desktop. The update adds a setting to make the console window 'sticky' so that it remains on the desktop when using Expose. [123k] Apago, Inc has released a free update for their PDF Enhancer 2.0.2. It is a free update to the $180 application. PDF Enhancer 2.0 now supports a much larger selection of “targeted optimizations” that can be applied to a PDF to help reduce its size. [6.9MB]
Apple has released iSync 1.4, an update to its application that lets you manage your contacts, calendars, To Do lists, and Safari bookmarks across multiple Mac OS X computers and devices (such as an iSync-compatible mobile phone, Palm OS device, or iPod). Version 1.4 includes support for more Symbian OS smart phones and the iPod mini, as well as stability improvements. It requires iCal 1.5.1 or later and is available via the Mac OS X Software Update.
Web Crossing today shipped Team Crossing 3.0, which adds support for Web Crossing customization themes and plugins for easy extensibility without programming. It also adds support for multiple Team Crossing areas, a new WebFile mirroring system for syncing files via a browser and a plugin architecture. Team Crossing is a specialized implementation of Web Crossing optimized and configured especially for intranet and workgroup use. It is available as traffic-based ($300/month) or per-seat based ($300/seat) software application or as a hosted solution starting at $65/month or as a free upgrade to registered users.
Polycom today added Mac support and other enhancements to its Polycom WebOffice personal conferencing portal solution, which provides users with a single interface for launching and directing presence-based integrated instant messaging, voice, video, data and web conferencing. WebOffice 6.0 enhancements include improved collaboration capabilities, deeper video integration and support for Linux and Macintosh computer users through a light web client. Pricing ranges from $25 to $200 per seat, depending on volume.
Apple has launched a new version of the iBook Wireless Mobile Classroom, its portable computer lab for education: "Each Mobile Classroom is now sold as a ‘Base Unit’, containing the key elements — such as the Bretford Cart and AirPort Base Station — to which you can add your choice of 5, 10 or 15 iBook G4 systems with either 12.1-inch or 14.1-inch screens." Meanwhile, Apple UK also notes that Apple's new iPod TV ad campaign kicks off in the UK this week and runs until mid-March.
Sony today announced its FIU-810 Puppy Fingerprint Identity Token device, an update to its fingerprint security device that adds digital certificate capabilities and USB flash storage (secured by fingerprint authentication). The portable security device also features onboard fingerprint matching using an embedded RSA engine that supports RSA key pair generation up to 2048-bits. The keys can be used for digital signatures, secure email, SSL authentication, VPN remote access, and file encryption/security. The cross-platform FIU-810 replaces the previously released FIU-710 and FIU-900 units. It will ship later this Spring for $170.
Zengobi has released Curio 1.01, a new product for Mac OS X that "helps creative thinkers and design professionals generate, communicate, and organize their best ideas." It includes a freeform sketchbook environment to collect images, bookmarks, documents, movies, and text clippings; take notes; and sketch with pressure-sensitive pens. The application also features Sleuth for easy web searching, an integrated dossier feature with creative brief support, advanced searching, archiving, and a built-in asset manager. It is available for $100 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later.
The Iconfactory has released a new freeware iconset: "To the Moon" offers artist renditions of the landmark spacecraft from NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The free set is available in either Macintosh, Windows or Pixadex iContainer format. Meanwhile, dincTYPE has added 7 new free fonts for both Mac and Windows users. The new limited editions are Ranger, Noveltease (typewriter simulation), Mr. Earl, Hipster, Q-Bats, and Rhymes.
Morning tech news: European Union regulators have rejected Microsoft's latest offer to settle long-running antitrust charges but are continuing talks; Cingular Wireless on Tuesday won an auction for smaller rival AT&T Wireless Services with a $41 billion offer that edged out Britain's Vodafone Group Plc and secured its future as the largest wireless carrier in the United States; Macromedia announced a strategic partnership to embed Macromedia Flash on Samsung Electronics SMT-7000 series set top boxes with the first two models expected later this year.
Rogue Amoeba has updated Nicecast 1.5, its utility for broadcasting audio on Mac OS X: "Use Nicecast to create your own internet radio station for the world to hear or to listen to your iTunes Music Library from anywhere in the world." Versoin 1.5 now supports Live365.com accounts, integrates with Megaseg, iTunes crossfades, support for Icecast2 servers, a new Nicecast Server Checker, and many other updates and bug fixes. The update is free for registered users. The $40 application runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Small Dog Electronics now offers replacement batteries for both the original and 3rd generation (slim) iPods. The batteries have the same capacity as the original batteries and are available as a self-install kit or as part of full service install package that requires your iPod to be sent to Small Dog. The self-install kit will include the tool and an illustrated instruction sheet, and should take customers 5-10 minutes, according to the company. The self-install kit for original and "3G" (third-generation) iPods is $48, while installation service is $20 more (original, 3G).
Calling response to the iPod mini "off the charts," Apple today announced that it will be available in the U.S. on Friday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Apple Store, Apple's retail locations, and authorize resellers. Apple also said that more than 100,000 pre-orders have been placed for the iPod mini, which will be available worldwide in April.
Caphyon today released Advanced Web Ranking 2.4, an update to the $50 tool that helps check any web site position on over 130 search engines. Version 2.4 adds new interactive reports, the ability to define custom reports that can be executed after each update, and a better documentation system. . [5.2MB] PageSender 3.2 ($30) adds several new features to the fax software for Mac OS X 10.1.3 or later. A page comparing its features to the built-in fax capabilities of Mac OS X 10.3 is available here. Letter Star 1.6.0 ($30, $60 Pro) is an application for composing letters that automates all the layout, formatting, and text. Formerly known as LetterWorks, version 1.6.0 has been renamed due to legal reasons. The Pro version adds mail merge and fax merge functionality. MovieEdit3D Plugin Pack 01 contains 3 plug-ins for MovieEdit3D, the software for creating a 3D scene showing multiple DV files moving and rotating through 3D space.
AMG recently released six collections of Apple Loops from professional music producers, including today's releases from Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook and Vince Clark. The loops are compatible with GarageBand, Soundtrack, and the upcoming version of Logic, and sell for £30-£60.
About 18 months ago the state of Maine equipped all seventh- and eighth-grade students with iBooks. The plan, which initially came under fire amid budget cuts, is garnering high praise today from students and teachers alike. According to a positive report based on responses from 26,000 students and 1,700 teachers, four out of five teachers reported that students are more engaged in their learning and producing better work with the laptops. The state would like to extend the program to high school students as well, although its future, even in present form, has been called into question due to budget reductions. The current program, which cost the state $37.2 million, will expire in 2005.
CNET has published a review of Apple's new iPod Mini, with much praise for the new device, calling it a "near-perfect MP3 player"--citing the lack of an FM radio, recording functions, and a nonreplaceable battery as shortcomings: "Although it scarcely seems possible, we think the Apple iPod Mini's design surpasses even that of its photogenic older sibling," the review says. The article praises the machined aluminum construction of the iPod, saying, "we felt as if we could stand on the device without consequence....the tastiest design treat to our palate is the revamped scrollwheel."
Tech news: Disney's board has rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from cable television company Comcast, saying it has faith in the leadership of CEO Michael Eisner; at the BAFTA awards, Stephen Fry said "they should have used a Mac," after a technical mishap; Hewlett-Packard will create a digital archive containing every issue of TIME magazine published, which TIME will make freely available to subscribers on its Web site.
DanLabGames has released Scruffy Gems 1.0, a new game that challenges players to swap gems from a disorderly grid into tidy rows and columns of the same color. "While attempting to fix a clogged pipe, Scruffy accidently locks himself in his flooding basement. The water level is rising menacingly, and there is only one way to save poor Scruffy from his doom." It costs $14 and offers online score keeping and ranking.
Apple is now selling "Silence", Sonic Youth's 63-second stretch of silence, on the iTunes Music Store after some confusion: "In an article in The New York Times on Feb. 9, an Apple spokeswoman had said that such decisions were up to the artists and that the band had requested the change. But Lee Ranaldo, a guitarist and singer for Sonic Youth, disputed Apple's version of events. 'We are very happy for the track to be sold to anyone who wants it as an individual download.'"
JomoSoft has released osXigen 2.6, an update to its $20 FTP/SFTP client for Mac OS X. This new version fixes some incompatibilities with Mac OS 10.3, adds a completly new threading model and a faster ASCII transfer algorithm. It also includes threaded support for AppleScript commands and some bug fixes. OsXigen is a fully featured queue-based FTP/SFTP client with AppleScript, web site mirroring/synchronization, BBEdit integration, and other advanced functions.
Apple/Pixar CEO Steve Jobs said last week that he felt Pixar had surpassed Disney as " the most powerful and trusted brand in animation." As momentum builds behind the convergence of technology and entertainment, Jobs finds himself on both sides of the divide. "Go back to the early '90s, and people were talking breathlessly about digital convergence, about Hollywood and Silicon Valley (coming) together. But what's been absolutely fascinating is that Steve Jobs is virtually alone (as someone) who has a deep credibility in Silicon Valley and deep admiration in Hollywood,."
NewTek and RealViz have announced a special offer providing purchasers of NewTek's LightWave 3D for Mac platform with RealViz's Interactive Studio bundle, at no additional charge. The Interactive Studio consists of RealViz's Stitcher 3.5 (for building panoramas), ImageModeler 3.5 (create 3D scenes using photographs), and SceneWever (for adding 3D to panoramas)--a $1,500 value. LightWave 3D 7.5 (and the free Interactive Studio bundle) is available for $1,600.
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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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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