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Evening tech news: Hundreds of computer training schools that sprouted during the dot-com boom have now shut down, leaving frustrated students with big debts and little education; the maker of DVD-duplication software ruled in violation of copyright law has modified its software to remove a built-in tool for descrambling movies; software developers Wind River Systems Inc. and Red Hat Inc. said on Monday that they would team up in an effort to push the Linux operating system beyond personal computers into a range of industrial and commercial devices.
Apple today released a new Security Update for Mac OS X 10.3 via Software Update. Security Update 2004-02-23 is 1.6MB and updates the following components: DiskArbitration, IPSec, Point-to-Point-Protocol, and tcpdump.
allAfrica reports that Apple is determined to get its South African retail strategy right after failing to make inroads into the local market. Ten years after re-entering the South African market, Apple still has less than 2% of the desktop market. However, a strong product line, a revamped retail and corporate sales strategy, coupled with an improved exchange rate, have helped the company to grow its South African revenues by 22% in 2003 (unit sales have risen by 18%).
Buena Software today updated its Dissolve Factory plugin ($40) for creating new types of transitions in After Effects and Final Cut Pro as well as Final Cut Express. The free update adds support for Apple's Final Cut Express video editing application and also works as a transition rather than an effect in Final Cut Pro: "This update eliminates the tedious work with the razor tool in Final Cut Pro that previous versions required." Dissolve Factory allows users to create new types of cross fades based on various properties of their video.
Freeverse today began initial shipments of the realtime strategy game, Northland: "The game is the first of a two-game deal to bring games published by e.p.i.c. interactive to North American gamers. Northland is the sequel to Cultures 2 - The Gates of Asgard, and continues the story of Hatschi, Sigurd, Bjami, and Crya, the four heroes who defeated the Midgard Serpent and saved the world. Loki seeks revenge for the slaying of the serpent, and his subsequent banishment from Asgard..." The $30 title runs on Mac OS 9/X.
NetShade 1.0 is an Internet security tool which makes your Web presence anonymous and secure by routing your web connections through an external set of proxy servers (updated daily for best performance). The $25 utility runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [866KB] RapidWeaver 2.1 updates the $30 web design package that includes 20 pre-designed themes. Version 2.1 supports multiple documents, foreign characters, HTML syntax coloring, 10 new themes, improved PC compatibility of built websites, a redesigned theme system, multipage support, an improved interface, and other enhancements. [2.1MB] JunkMatcher 1.0 is a freeware utility that helps Mail.app users filter spam by matching expressions, meta patterns, raw source cleaning, attachment matching, rendering matching, IP filtering, patterns import, SpamCop, and JunkMatcher Central. [1.2MB] PortTerm 1.3 ($20) is an application for communicating with external hardware via a serial port under Mac OS X. It supports AppleScript, is capable of sending AT commands, offers access to serial ports under Mac OS X, and supports configuration of port settings, continuous data reading, a separate window for writing data to the port, and various formats for data representation. [924KB] iPod.iTunes ($40) can sync music and playlists between different Macs, perform full restore of tracks and playlists, and revert accident deletion of tracks and/or playlists, clone an iPod, and transfer an entire music library from one Mac to another via the iPod. [516KB]
Motorola today released a 1.5GHz version of its G4 PowerPC processor for embedded applications: "The MPC7447A offers developers on-chip power management features, such as the ability to change clock frequencies dynamically... and significantly reduce processor power consumption. [It] also contains a temperature sensing diode that can be used to monitor die temperature under various operating conditions." The chip uses 130 nm, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) copper interconnect process technology with both low power (9W @ 1.2GHz) and standard power (19W @ 1.4GHz) versions available for $245 per chip in quantities of 10,000. [updated]
Apple Knowledge Base: Apple says the iSight 1.02 update released last week is recommended if you also use iPod mini, or more than one FireWire drive, including an iPod. Other articles discuss changing voltage settings with Apple power supplies, how to sync music to your iPod when your library is bigger than your iPod storage space, recording audio in GarageBand using a Griffin iMic, and problems using loops with long filenames in GarageBand.
The Rise Of The Lost is a new story-based game for iPods. Framed around the premise of the Choose Your Own Adventure novels, players read parts of the story and then make decisions that dictate what happens next and ultimately the outcome of the main character as he defends the Kingdom of Valance. The Rise Of The Lost costs $10.
Nattress has released updates to its plugin filters for Final Cut Pro. Film Effects v1.2 ($100) is the 24p Film Effect for Final Cut Pro that "does everything you need to make your video look like film - whether NTSC or PAL." Version 1.2 adds Film Flash effects, which slows the video into a cut as it over exposes it in a film-like manner. Filter Set 1 v1.3 ($30) offers many filters to help video editors, including a new dither mode to G Levels and G Super, a rewritten noise reduction plugin, and the ability to target the noise reduction using a particular color or range of colors.
Tolis Group has released both Tape Tools ($160) and BRU LE ($130) for Mac OS X. Tape Tools is a set of unique data migration utilities that transfer the data contained on tar, cpio, or pax-based tapes onto a Mac OS X system. BRU LE is a data backup and recovery service that writes to disk-based files (D2D), and supports a number of target devices including those that are FireWire and USB-connected as well as all tape drive technology regardless of format. BRU LE also supports any SCSI or Fibre Channel-connected autoloader, and support for Apple's SuperDrive is under development.
Apple is the fourth most admired company in the computer industry, according to Forbes' annual list of America's Most Admired Companies. With a score of 6.11, Apple placed below IBM (6.90), Dell (6.75), and Xerox (6.13). For the industry, Apple placed first in innovation and quality of products/services, third in employee talent, and forth in quality of management, social responsibility, and long term investment. Wal-Mart topped Forbes' list this year overall, followed by Berkshire Hathaway, Southwest, General Electric, Dell, and Microsoft.
Canon today introduced three new Mini DV megapixel camcorders: the Elura 60, Elura 65, and Elura 70. The cameras all feature Canon's DV Photo Plus technology, which combines Canon optics and an exclusive DIGIC DV image processor with a 1.33 megapixel CCD image sensor and a Print-And-Share feature that speeds image transfer from Canon camcorders to computer or printer. The cameras primarily distinguish themselves from each other with their optical zoom capabilities: 14x for the 60, 16x for the 65, and 18x for 70; they will retail for $600, $700, and $800, respectively, when they go on sale in April.
Apple's iSight and iChat AV have won a Best of the Tests award from Network World in the Cool Tools category, the publication announced today. The 14 Best of the Tests winners were selected from more than 240 products released last year. Other finalists in the Cool Tools category included the iBM ThinkCentre s50 PC, Palm/Handspring's Treo 600, the Palm Tungsten T3, and Netgear's CG814 wireless gateway.
iMsafe 2 Public Beta (free as beta, $20 on release) is a completely new version of the backup software. Rewritten from the ground up in Cocoa and compatible only with Panther, iMsafe supports full and incremental backups to USB and FireWire drives, iPods, Pendrives and to remote Macs on a network.KDX 1.2 ($30) adds uni-code character support and more to the robust BBS-style client/server software. A new Friend Discount is also being offered for those who register the software as a group.MediaMover 2.1 ($4,025) is an application for transferring files through a Mac or Windows Web browser. The software is implemented through an existing Web site and requires no client-side software, although version 2.1 now contains an optional uploadclient-application for the desktop, allowing users to transfer files with a simple drag and drop. A 30-day trial is available.ProjectForum 3.3 ($230 and up) and CourseForum 3.3 ($90 and up) bring many new features and improvements, including formatting, performance, and usability, to the professional and easy-to-use Web software for business and educational collaboration. The software can be hosted on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD, and users need only a standard Web browser.
The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) takes a detailed look at how many tech companies in the consumer space are eshewing Microsoft software. "For companies tapping the exploding digital-entertainment market, rule No. 1 is a lesson they learned from the personal-computer business: Don't let Microsoft Corp. control the software," the article begins, explaining how Sony (PlayStation 2), Apple (iPod/iTunes Music Store), and TiVo have all avoided Microsoft software and intend to keep it that way. While companies are apprehensive about adopting standards set by Microsoft, which effectively put their product at the mercy of Microsoft. some are trying to juggle support for multiple platforms. "It's a delicate dance for many companies. They want the freedom not to choose Microsoft -- but many also want to reap whatever benefits they can from Microsoft's software strength, money and sheer tenacity."
File sharing services remain hugely popular with computer users, despite efforts of the RIAA to curtail online music piracy, the Associated Press reports. While a study released in January suggested that 17 million people in the U.S. are sharing music -- half the number that were with six months ago -- experts believe that many of those users have simply migrated to more anonymous or secure services. Additionally, the two million songs downloaded legally in the U.S. last week, mostly from iTunes and Napster, remains far less than the 20-25 million that are estimated to be downloaded illegally each week.
Weekend tech news: a slow-spreading variant of the MyDoom virus is expected to target the RIAA's Web site with a deluge of data; if unchecked, the increasing power requirements of computer chips could boost heat generation to absurdly high levels, said Patrick Gelsinger, Intel Corp. chief technology officer; a top Intel executive said 64-bit technology would not become "relevant" to home PC users until sometime in 2006, later than anticipated by Intel's rival, AMD.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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