Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: one user's Power Mac G5 case modification; discussion of the new PowerBook G4's durability after a member significantly dented his 17" PowerBook's case; the iMac "green light of death" problem, experienced by a small group of owners; GNOME 2.6's transition to ' spatial mode' file navigation from browser-like navigation.
Roxio is conducting a survey of Toast users to gauge satisfaction with the product, and assess interest in new features. Respondents are entered into a sweepstakes drawing to win a $500 Amazon.com gift certificate.
ExtremeTech's Video Codec Shootout evaluates four different video codecs for home use, including DivX, Windows Media Video 9, QuickTime 6.5/Sorenson 3, and QuickTime 6.5/MPEG-4: "We give the nod to both DivX 5.1.1 and WMV9 -- it all depends on your priorities. If you're going to stick to computers as playback devices, the faster speed of DivX is welcome. If you want to play your stuff on the PDAs, portable video players, and DVD players coming out later this year and beyond, WMV9 has broader industry support and is worth the extra encoding time. Both codecs delivered quite impressive image quality."
The opening montage in the 76th Academy Awards was cut and comped on the set with Macs running Final Cut Pro, according to Apple Hot News: "Director Troy Miller of LA-based Dakota Pictures shot much of the film against green screen backgrounds, using clever composites to convince the audience that Crystal was really 'there.' And to convince themselves that the illusions were working, the Dakota crew used PowerBooks and a Power Mac G5 editing station running Final Cut Pro to create and view the shots on the fly, on set, as the footage was captured."
HP yesterday launched a website for HP Music, its forthcoming music download service based on iTunes (part of the HP-Apple alliance). Apple also began offering an HP-specific version of iTunes for download for both HP and Compaq customers, according to The Register: "The 'special' HP/Compaq version of iTunes is version 4.2 of the software, as per the Mac and non-specific Windows versions of the software. The chief difference is believed to be code to allow Apple to track downloads made by HP customers rather than those of its own."
MacResponder 1.5 scans email accounts periodically and automatically sends replies as well as features rule-based settings to trigger actions based on the sender or the subject. The new version features an improved email engine, speed improvements, new options for POP3 and SMTP authentification, and a new option to avoid sending replies to messages which were already on the server at application launch. [362KB] Suck It Down 1.7 ($20) will download any type of data from a Website. Users can specify file extensions to easily download images, movies, mp3s, pdfs and more. It also provides preview for downloaded images and QuickTime compatible files, like movies and mp3s. [2MB] Speed Download 2.3.2 ($20) brings several minor new features and bug fixes to the powerful download manager. Speed Download 2 both manages and optimizes Web downloads as well as monitoring your software for updates. [Download - 2.1MB]Ridge 2.1.1 ($10) can meter and restrict the amount of data that can be uploaded and downloaded from the Internet, offering a feature to alert users when that limit has been reached. Version 2.1.1 improves performance and adds a German localization. [Download - 577KB]Conversion 1.1.1 (free) is a unit converter that features 373 units and 9,811 different conversion tables. [Download - 2.3MB]AE Monitor 1.5 ($30) helps developers understand Apple Events and integrate Apple Event functionality into their applications. It now includes automatic code generation to replicate Apple Events; the ability to monitor applications one at a time; event rules; enhanced performance, customization, etc. [Download - form]
Macromedia has released Dreamweaver MX 2004 7.0.1, a free update that significantly improves performance (up to 70 percent on Mac OS X), improves stability, restores the Timeline feature from the original Dreamweaver MX, and more. Dreamweaver MX 2004 sells for $400.
Hitatchi has started shipping in limited quantities its new 400GB Deskstar 7K400 hard drive. The drive, noted earlier this week, is the highest capacity on the market, spins at 7,200 RPM, and features both Serial and Parallel ATA connectivity. It also features new Rotational Vibration Safeguard technology "used to ensure drive performance in high rotational vibration environments, where there are multiple drives in a single enclosure" as well as Hitatchi's enterprise-class spindle motor. Pricing is currently unavailable.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE