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AppleScript Pro Sessions
The organizers of AppleScript Pro Sessions in Monterey, California, May 3-7, have announced a trio of industry luminaries who will be guests at the training event and lead after-hours sessions. InDesign guru and author Olav Martin Kvern of Adobe Systems will demonstrate the interface features available in InDesign CS scripting; AppleScript author Shirley Hopkins will also attend; also planned is a remote session with Mark Alldritt of Late Night Software, creator or Script Debugger. In light of these announcements, the early bird discount rate for registrations has been extended through March 24.
Mac OS X 10.3.3 Server
Apple also posted Mac OS X 10.3.3 Server, which includes improvements to Open Directory (Directory Services), Network services, general networking, file services, System Imaging (NetBoot/Network Install), printing, Mail services, Web services, QuickTime Streaming Server, Server admin tools, application server updates (JBoss), Finder Enhancements, and other changes. Apple also notes that "data stored in MySQL databases with the version of MySQL that is pre-installed Mac OS X Server 10.3.2 or earlier must be exported and re-imported in order to be compatible with version of MySQL that is pre-installed on Mac OS X Server 10.3.3, in which a byte-ordering issue is fixed."
Meanwhile, Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2.0.5 update includes critical fixes for placement of the dual layer break point on DVD-9 titles, while Compressor 1.1, also available via the Web, dramatically improves MPEG-2 encoding performance, includes presets optimized for DVD Studio Pro 2, and offers enhanced reliablity of Submit button.
Mac OS X 103.3 update
Apple has released Mac OS X 10.3.3 via the Software Update (as a 59MB download). The documented changes include: (1) network volumes are now available in the Finder sidebar and Desktop for convenient access; (2) improved file sharing and directory services for Mac (AFP), UNIX (NFS) and PC (SMB/CIFS) networks; (3) improved PostScript and USB printing; (4) updated Disk Utility, DVD Player, Image Capture, Mail and Safari applications; (5) additional support for FireWire and USB devices; (6) improved compatibility for third party applications; and (6) previous standalone security updates and Bluetooth Update 1.5. Apple has provided a more detailed list of enhancements on the Web.
iTunes sales target
More than 50 million songs have been bought from Apple's iTunes music store, but the number is far less than the target of 100 million tracks that Apple set itself last year, observes BBC News. It launched its online music store for Mac users in April 2003 and expanded it to Windows users in October. Apple is the leading player in online music but it faces increasing competition from others seeking a slice of the market for digital downloads. The iTunes store is currently only available in the U.S., but will be available internationally later this year.
StarBrite pulls pBop
In response to legal pressure from Apple, StarBrite has stopped distributing pBop, its $20 iPod simulator for PocketPC. pBop (originally 'pPod') enables owners of PocketPC devices to access their music library via an iPod-like interface. The interface was designed to look like an iPod, and offered an identical navigation method.
Maine laptop program
Apple is in negotiations with Maine's Education department to expand the state's one-on-one laptop program--currently for middle schoolers--to all high schoolers in the state at a cost of about $300 per student per year, which includes insurance, wireless networks, support and professional development, according to the Associated Press: " Against a backdrop of budget turmoil, Education Commissioner Susan Gendron's proposal would free lawmakers from new spending this year while getting wireless infrastructure in place and 22,000 laptops in the hands of ninth graders, teachers and administrators next fall."
Apago Box Editor
Apago has announced a new XML data format enabling publishers and advertisers to exchange the dimensional specifications required for print advertising. The company has also released an accompanying tool called Box Editor that uses this XML format to simplify preparing PDF/X files. New York publishers TIME and CMP Media are the first to support the XML format and will soon post ad specifications for their publications on their websites in the format, according to Apago. Apago Box Editor 1.0 is compatible with Acrobat 5.0 and later and runs on Mac OS 9/X; it is available for $30 or as part of Apago's $250 PDF preflight software, PDF/X Checkup 3.0.
Eovia TransPoser plugin
Eovia today released TransPoser, full-featured plug-in to dynamically import animated Poser 4 and 5 figures into Carrara Studio 3: "Following a strategic partnership announced by Eovia and Curious Labs last May, users of Poser and Carrara Studio 3 will now have the ability to import and manage Poser 5 scenes and animations in Carrara Studio 3, including morph targets animation, skeleton animation, and hair and dynamic clothing. Furthermore, TransPoser uses the Poser engine directly inside Carrara Studio, for seamless integration of Poser figures and extraordinarily powerful results." It is available for $130.
Fast DVD Copy 1.0
Velan Software announces today the release Fast DVD Copy 1.0, "the first" application built for Mac OS X that allows users to make copies of DVD videos with "just one click." According to the developer, copied discs can be played on almost any home DVD player. Additionally, double-sided DVDs can be copied by Fast DVD Copy, and recorded to a single-sided DVD-R. NTSC, PAL, widescreen, and Pan & Scan are supported. Single user licenses are $100; a trial version is available.
NPR on GarageBand
NPR's "Day to Day" has published a short story on GarageBand, Apple's $50 consumer-level music creation software. "Novice musicians are now able to create sounds that only a few years ago would have required the services of an expensive studio, loads of instruments and lots of money [...] Garageband is rapidly becoming the latest high-tech living room craze."
Kodak 3D imaging
Kodak today announced its new 3D technology that allows video-game players, scientists and others to visualize 3D images without glasses or headgear. Kodak's Stereoscopic Imaging Display system produces a wide field of view by creating a virtual image of two high-resolution LCD displays for each eye, offering reduced eyestrain found in other autostereographic systems, a "sweet spot" viewing, and 1280x1024 resolution. Kodak says the 3D stereo image ideal for oil and gas exploration, molecular and chemical modeling, computer-aided design, entertainment and gaming, etc.
Color calibration tools
Digital Light & Color, Inc. introduced its Profile Mechanic line of color management tools for accurate, consistent color for monitors, scanners and digital cameras. Profile Mechanic-Monitor ($180) includes an LCD/CRT calibrator and custom software thatincludes aids for setting monitor brightness and color controls and lets the user specify gamma and white point. Profile Mechanic-Scanner ($60) displays step by step instructions to walk users through the process of profiling an input device (drum, flatbed or film scanners or digital cameras), storing color values in a standard ICC profile. Both run on Mac OS 9/X and are available now.
Xffrus, MacXword, CSSEdit
Affrus 1.0 ($100) is a Mac OS X program for editing, debugging, and running Perl scripts. It offers a single window design, drag & drop support, find/replace, unlimited undo/redo, conxtextual menu support, split-pane editing, documentation, integration with third-party text editors, etc. [4.9MB]
MacXword 1.2 ($15) is an Across Lite crossword client for Mac OS X that now includes the ability to download crossword puzzles, a puzzle timer, new cell state indicators, and keyboard equivalents for check and reveal functionality. Users can now specify, manage, and download from web based crossword puzzle sources. [1.3MB]
BlogStudio for .Mac v1.0.1 ($20) allows .Mac users to easily create their own blog pages without any knowledge of HTML. It integrates with iLife 04 and iSight and now supports AAC files and improves multi-language previews as well as supports creation of photo albums, slideshows, music album, movie albums, file sharing, etc. [2.3MB]
CSSEdit 1.6.1 ($25) updates the cascading style sheets editor that offers both source code editing and preview modes. Version 1.6 adds find/replace, performance optimizations, improved CSS extraction, better 'Undo' performance, enhancements to visual editing, and other bug fixes. [833KB]
pgSQL4RB 1.0 is a set of PostgreSQL database classes for REALbasic. It includes a comprehensive 113 page manual as well as support for Unicode, MD5 authentication, and virtually all other PostgreSQL features. An internal deloplyment license is €90, while a full deployment license is €270. [1.2MB]
SleepLess 1.5 is a $5 (donationware) utility used to prevent sleeping without changing settings. Version 1.5 can now disable the system sleep command when users fold the screen down. It offers both dock- and menu-based access to alternative sleep settings. [1.5MB]
Troi Text Plug-in 2.7 ($40) leverages the new extended plug-in API of FileMaker 7, supporting Unicode and other new parameters as well as support for larger text fields, better example databases, and bug fixes. Troi also released Troi Text Plug-in 2.1.6, which leverages the 'classic' plug-in API to combine sets from two text fields, get unique lines, sort words/lines, and parse XML into fields. [1MB]
UnCoverIt 2.0.3 ($15 shareware) is a maintenance update to the cover creation application. UnCoverIt can now create covers for audio CDs whose track information has already been downloaded by iTunes or entered by the user, without having to insert the audio CD again. Track lengths of VBR-encoded MP3 files are also now recognized correctly and a cover template for DVD cases has been added. [1.7MB]
Insurer sues Apple
Apple has found itself at the end of a lawsuit filed by Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Company for a fire deemed to have been started by "faulty power wiring" in a outlet connected to a Power Mac G4 that caused $2 million in damage to Princeton University. The Daily Princetonian reports that lawyers employed by the insurance company are taking advantage of a clause in their policy to file suit under the University's name after they were unable to resolve the case with Apple. The 20-minute fire on December 11, 2001, damaged DNA sequencers, peptic synthesizers, computers, furniture, freezers and plumbing. [updated]
SimpleTech 400GB external
SimpleTech today announced a 400GB external version of its SimpleDrive Deluxe USB 2.0/FireWire external hard drive. The new SimpleDrive Deluxe features Hitatchi's recently announced 7K400 hard drive and will begin shipping in April for $500. A version with only USB 2.0 connectivity will sell for $470. Additionally, Hitatchi will begin shipping the 7K400 in a bare-drive configuration in late April/early May for $400, MacNN has learned.
24U FM 7 plug-in updates
24U Software has released SimpleHighlight Plug-In 1.0.1 and FM Template 2.0.1 for FileMaker 7, two free plug-ins that update versions shipping with FileMaker Developer 7. SimpleHighlight can highlight text and rectangular areas with a user-defined color while FM Template is a template project for developing FileMaker Pro external function plug-ins using the Metrowerks CodeWarrior integrated development environment.
Original Mac team at MWB
The original Macintosh design team will be on hand at Macworld Expo Boston in July when the tradeshow kicks off, IDG World Expo announced today. New York Times technology columnist David Pogue will host the event's opening feature presentation, "The Macintosh at 20 - A Celebration of 20 Years of Innovation," where attendees will hear from Jef Raskin, Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson and Jerry Mannock, who will share anecdotes and perspectives on the development of the Macintosh. Macworld Boston takes place July 12-15; the opening feature presentation will be held July 13 at 10:00 a.m. Apple will not be attending Macworld Boston and CEO Steve Jobs will not be delivering the keynote presentation.
iTMS hits 50 million songs
Apple today announced that more than 50 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. The figure does not include free tracks redeemed from the Pepsi-iTunes promotion. "With over 50 million songs already downloaded and an additional 2.5 million songs being downloaded every week, it's increasingly difficult to imagine others ever catching up with iTunes," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. Three weeks ago, Napster, Apple's closest rival, announced that its service had sold 5 million songs.
Prudential warns on AAPL
CBS Marketwatch notes that Prudential Equity has issued a cautious statement regarding the recent run-up of Apple's stock price. "We believe that recent investors, lured by the success of the iPod and iTunes (and associated opportunities for higher CPU attach rates) have been the driving force behind near-term momentum in the shares. Market speculation around potential Sony takeover also may have contributed. Following recent checks, we believe that the quarter is likely tracking in-line with our estimate for a 10 percent sequential revenue decline to $1.805 billion, and earnings of 9 cents per share. We are concerned, however, that at current price levels, investors may be expecting material upside in the quarter." Shares of Apple have risen about 20 percent this month.
CS now with PM Plug-ins
Adobe has started including the PageMaker Plug-in Pack for InDesign CS with copies of Adobe Creative Suite, the company announced today. The Plug-in Pack is designed to ease the transition of PageMaker users to InDesign CS by adding eight new features to the application and an in-depth training guide. Adobe Creative Suite Premium Edition sells for $1300, while the Standard Edition sells for $1000. The PageMaker Plug-in Pack continues to be available separately for $50.
Lemke Software today released GraphicConverter 5.0, a major upgrade to its versatile graphics manipulation utility. GraphicConverter 5.0 can import and export about 175 and 75 graphics file formats, respectively, and includes a graphical file browser for quickly scanning image collections. Version 5.0 adds search functionality to the browser, support for lossless cropping of JPEGs, conversion to CMYK, sepia color and border functions, and dozens of other enhancements. GraphicConverter costs $30.
Tech: \'Net wiretaps
Weekend tech news: Microsoft could be required to offer a version of Windows stripped of built-in audio/visual software; technology companies should be required to ensure that law enforcement agencies can install wiretaps on Internet traffic and new generations of digital communications, the Justice Department says; online marketplace eBay on Friday said it had removed from its Web site a listing that offered three young Vietnamese women for auction and will report the person who posted it to local authorities.
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