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AirPort 3.3.1 Update
Apple has posted AirPort Update 3.3.1, which "improves reliability of AirPort connections when changing network locations. The update is recommended for all users with an AirPort Extreme and AirPort enabled computer or an AirPort Extreme base station."
Feral Interactive today announced that "Chessmaster 9000" is expected to be released the second quarter of this year. The developer hopes to launch a site for the game in two weeks, on Friday, March 12th. Feral says it has not decided if Mac OS 9 support will be offered. Feral also recently released a QuickTime movie captured from the current Mac development version of Worms 3D, and the third and final trailer in its teaser campaign for XIII.
LOTR game coming April
Aspyr today said its upcoming Mac version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King game would be available in early April. The role-playing game is based on New Line Cinema's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel. In the final installment of the trilogy, players must "destroy the One Ring by casting it into the Crack of Doom, freeing Middle-earth from the clutches of the Dark Lord Sauron." Customers can pre-order the game for $50.
Shapiro Consulting Group has released its Asiva Sharpen+Soften Plug-in 2.0 for Adobe Photoshop. The plug-in is based on the Asiva technology and the unique Sharpen and Soften functions used in Asiva Photo. The update ensures "ease of use and vastly increased precision in how corrections are applied." The $70 plug-in allows users to make 'maskless' selections using Asiva's unique curve technology. Users can make precise sharpening or softening effects based on the hue, saturation and luminance components of each pixel in the image.
Apple brand tops in US
Apple was tops in BrandChannel's survey for Brand of the Year 2003 in the US/Canada rankings, but was second to Google in the global survey: "The Global Brand of the Year goes to Google, which narrowly beat out Apple for the second year in the row as the brand that had the most impact on our readers in 2003. " Apple was the No. 1 Global Brand of the Year in 2001 and fell to No. 2 in 2002.
Liquid Ledger 1.3
Modeless Software today announced the availability of Liquid Ledger 1.3, an update to its personal finance solution for Mac OS X. The update introduces a new set of tools for summarising financial activity at tax time, it enables support for working with large documents, and it offers a new Setup Assistant to help those switching from Quicken or Microsoft Money more easily migrate their financial data. Liquid Ledger costs $45.
Sean Cullen, First Assistant Editor to Walter Murch on "Cold Mountain" will be the featured guest at a gathering of Final Cut Pro users, Thursday March 4 at the Hotel Pennsylvania beginning at 7:00 p.m (doors open at 6:30; $5 admission) as part of the annual ShowBiz Expo in NYC. Scheduled to appear along side Sean Cullen will be Evan Schectman who will talk about FCP and HD. Abba Shapiro, author of "Final Cut Pro 4 On the Spot" will demonstrated FCP tips and tricks as well.
FreeHand MX 11.02 updater
Macromedia last week released FreeHand MX 11.02, a free update to its illustration application which "fixes several outstanding issues discovered since the release of FreeHand MX v.11.0.1 and improves support for Macintosh OS X 10.3." Fixes are available for PDF export, zooming, Color Control Xtra, legacy file handling, Panther UI's, text leading, printing fonts to PostScript, ec. It is available for the English, German, Spanish, and Italian language versions of FreeHand MX and supports Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later.
Belkin Microphone Adapter
Belkin today announced the Belkin Universal Microphone Adapter, which connects to your iPod and to any audio microphone with a 3.5mm plug. It attaches to the iPod with remote/headphone connector, records 16-bit audio at 8KHz, includes a real-time recording-level LED indicator, can adjust microphone sensitivity using a 3-level gain switch, and works wtih iPod software version 2.1 or later. It will begin shipping on March 17 in North America for $40.
Exhibit, TimeLog, EditiX
Exhibit 3.0 ($15)
is a robust solution for creating digital photo galleries. Version 3
features a redesigned interface for quicker gallery creation, a zoom tool
for captioning, and new HTML templates. [Classic, OSX]
TimeLog 2 ($15) is an
integrated timer solution for iCal that keeps track of the time spent on
projects. All recorded data is stored in iCal and can also be synchronized
with iSync. Version 2.0 offers Address Book integration, drag'n'drop
support, locations for calculating driving expenses, charts, and more. [1.9MB]
XERD 1.01 ($48) is an easy to use database design tool for MacOS X that enables users to rapidly develop database designs and automatically implement the design. The update delivers support for Sybase and OpenBase databases and improved database support for existing databases. [1.1MB]
JAPISoft's EditiX 1.1 ($40) adds DTD, W3C XML Schema generator from a document, drag'n
drop,extension for the project and fixes several bugs. EditiX is a Java-based XML editor designed to help web authors and application programmers take advantage of the latest XML and XML-related technologies such as XSLT / FO and XSD Schema. [8.8MB]
Cladonia has released Exchanger XML Editor 1.3, a $100 Java-based XML Editor
that offers a broad spectrum of functionality to help XML Authors, Business Analysts and Software Developers. It adds support for different UIs, DTD editing, catalog support and full RelaxNG and DTD based tag completion. [20MB]
24U Software's FM Dev Pack v2 simplifies the development of complex database solutions based on FileMaker Pro. Version 2 can simply extend the possibilities of user interface for audio aids such as alert sounds or spoken instructions. The $500 pack includes 24U SimpleDialog Plug-In 2, 24U SimpleHelp Plug-In 2 and 24U SimpleSound Plug-In 2.1, which adds new looping support.
Targus notebook cases
Targus today announced it has refreshed 11 of its popular notebook carrying case designs. Targus' three most popular models -- the BlackTop Standard Notebook Case, the Notepac Carrying Case and the Sport Standard Backpack -- now include increased pocket sizes to accommodate file folders; luggage attachment straps; pockets that fit Targus accessories; and built-in scratch-resistant CD/DVD sleeves as well as features such as business card compartments, pen loops, key clips and cell phone pockets. The cases will accommodate notebooks with screen sizes up to 15 inches. The cases are expected to ship in April and will range between $40 and $140.
Win db access toolkit
SideSpace Solutions today announced Mac OS X support for UniverSQL, an enterprise-class Windows database access toolkit: "Using UniverSQL, connecting to Windows databases is possible from Linux, UNIX, Macintosh, or any TCP/IP compatible platform: "With clients and source code for C/C++, PHP, Perl, Python, Java, and Delphi, UniverSQL delivers a solid, well-documented Windows data access .... UniverSQL uses a well-documented XML protocol to transfer data from any Windows machine to its TCP/IP clients." Pricing starts at $50.
Command & Conquer Generals
Aspyr today announced that Command & Conquer Generals is now in beta (the Mac conversion is being handled by i5works). "In a time of modern war, recent military aggressions around the globe have many nations worried. Between the United States, China, and the Global Liberation Army, tensions run high. Their leaders profess no interest in escalating the situation, but words ring hollow when satellite photos tell a different story." The title is expected to ship in April for Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later and will require a 1GHz or faster G4 processor. It is available for pre-order for $50.
Rendezvous whiteboard apps
Math Game House has released updates to its collaboration programs. iStorm 3.3 and iChalk 3.3. Both now offer text (caption) tool for the shared chalkboard, an innovative Web Editing/Archiving module and significant performance improvement in collaborations over the internet. iStorm 3.3 also fixes a bug which prevented users from sync'ing PDF navigation and sharing annotations across different time zones. The company's RendezvousPong 1.1 Politik Edition, which can played against the machine or a human opponent over LAN. Pong players now have an option to use images of well known US political figures as paddles. It is dubbed "free satire-ware."
Apple resellers displeased
Apple's retail initiative continues to create friction with independent Apple resellers, VARBusiness reports. Resellers' list of qualms haven't changed significantly in the past few yearssecond-rate treatment and communication, no advance notice of pricing or product announcements, repairs that Apple only performs in-housebut they've grown more challenging to deal with as Apple cuts back its reseller liaisons and favors the promotion of its own stores. Nevertheless, "despite the issues, Mac loyalists remain. That includes Michael Oh, owner of Tech Superpowers, a Boston area Apple specialist for the past 10 years. He has seen the depths of Apple's troubles and says this era just brings another set of challenges--poor relations but better products. Take your pick, he says."
Media 100 signs term sheet
Media 100 today announced that it has executed a non-binding term sheet providing for the sale of substantially all of its assets to Optibase. "With an extremely strong balance sheet, Optibase gives Media 100 the financial wherewithal to continue engineering and marketing 844/X and Media 100 HD and compete aggressively in the market," John Molinari, president and chief executive officer of Media 100, said in a statement. "The deal is timed well to support us just as we begin first shipments of our new 844/X Version 3 release and prepare to deliver our first implementation of 844/X technology on the Apple Power Mac G5 platform--Media 100 HD." Last week, Media 100 announced it was seeking additional capital or a buyer in order to sustain operations.
Apps: QuickMenu, more...
- QuickMenu 1.0 ($19) is a robust utility that allows quick access to more than 50 different functions from the menu bar, including iTunes, Internet and email, and iPod functions.
- AlgeKalk 2.0 (free) is an algebra-related calculator that can factor numbers, find algebra-style square roots, and more. Version 2.0 includes major performance improvements and interface refinements.
- GarbagePickup ($2 shareware) is a small application that builds an index.html file of the contents inside a folder. The contents are also embedded with links, allowing for browser-based navigation. The company also released GarbageIP, a free utility that displays your IP address in the menu bar.
- SlimBatteryMonitor 1.1 (free) is an alternative menu bar battery monitor that takes up far less space than Apple's own battery monitor. Version 1.1 includes flexible low-power warning panels and enhanced support for two-battery systems.
- Email Merge X ($39) is the first Mac OS X version of Sig Software's mail merge software. The software combines a database and an email message template to create customized email messages. Email Merge can be used for invoicing, sales, list management, student grading, and personal messages.
Apple\'s Shake helps Oscar
One of the eleven Oscar's The Lord Of The Rings won yesterday evening was for visual effects, an accomplishment that digital effects firm WETA Digital says it couldn't have pulled off without the use of Apple's Shake 3 compositing software. "Shake was the cornerstone of our visual compositing pipeline," explained Joe Letteri, Weta Digital's Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor. "We're thrilled that for seven years in a row, movies created with Shake have won the Oscar for best visual effects," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement today. "Shake is helping Hollywood film editors communicate their vision and deliver their art at an Academy Award winning level. We couldn't be happier." Apple acquired Shake from Nothing Real in February 2002.
Xbox 2 SDK on Power Mac G5
Microsoft's Software Development Kit for its forthcoming Xbox 2 has been seeded to developers and features dual-processor Power Mac G5 systems running a custom Windows NT Kernel, The Inquirer reported this weekend. The news has since been confirmed by gameindustry.biz, which adds that the kits are designed for creating extremely early prototypes of game technology for the Xbox 2, which is expected to ship by the close of 2005. Furthermore, the software itself features a prominent Apple logo in its sidebar. One month ago, it came to light that Microsoft would be using a version of IBM's PowerPC 970 (G5) processor in the Xbox 2.
Theme mockup contest
MacThemes.net today kicked off a theme mockup contest. One entry is permitted per person and must be received by March 29, after which all submitted themes will be available for viewing and voting. Six winners will be selected with $175 and other prizes at stake. The top three mockups will also be converted into usable themes, so winners will have to fully complete their mockups if selected. Not sure where to begin? Check out MacNN's GUI Customization forum.
Penn iBook program report
Pennsylvania's Quaker Valley School District has had mixed experiences with its pilot program that placed iBooks in the hands of 1,800 students from grades 3-12, according to The Associated Press. Lackluster technical support and training from the district as well as forgetful students has stunted the reach of the program into many teachers' curriculums, a new report finds. Nevertheless, school officials intend to continue the program. A report released two weeks ago describing Maine's success with its iBook program paints a different picture of the impact laptops can have on the classroom.
Exclusive tracks online
Exclusive content is both driving and defining digital music downloads, The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) reports today. Apple, which has paid special attention to promoting tracks available only through iTunes, has reaped big gains from such offerings as it finds exclusive tracks accounting for a good portion of its sales while also luring new customers to the service. The ability to also make available live recordings shortly after they're performed, such as Beyonce's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that could be purchased on iTunes the day after the Super Bowl, is another aspect that's setting the online music business apart from its traditional counterpart.
Forbes: iTunes vs. Napster
Apple's iTunes takes on Roxio's Napster in this week's Monday Matchup at Forbes.com. The feature includes a brief slideshow highlighting the differences between the two services. Furthermore, it quotes Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg as predicting the online music download business will grow from 2.4 million users to 28 million users by 2008.
Gefen FireWire Extender
Gefen today announced the ex-tend-it FireWire Extender, which enables FireWire devices to be connected at distances of up to 500 meters while maintaining transfer speeds of 350-400 Mbps. Sender and receiver modules are connected to the FireWire device and computer with data being transferred along multimode, LC-terminated fiber optics cables. The FireWire Extender sells for $900.
Tech: piracy struggle
Weekend tech news: the entertainment industry's pursuit of tough new laws to protect copyrighted materials from online piracy is bad for business and for the economy, according to a new report; nearly half of U.S. Internet users have built Web pages, posted photos, written comments or otherwise contributed to the enormous variety of material available online; Maryland's sleek new voting machines will be swathed in tamper-proof tape during Tuesday's primary election, but that won't make computer scientist Avi Rubin any more confident in the outcome.
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