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Pixar today released RenderMan Pro Server 11.5.3 for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. The release supports both the G4 and G5 processors as well as provides a number of important fixes and enhancements for all supported platforms, including Windows 2000/XP, 32 and 64 bit Linux, and Irix 6.5. The high quality renderer features a powerful shading language and anti-aliased motion blur that allow designers to integrate synthetic effects with live-action footage. It has been used in many feature films, including Pixar's own productions such as "Finding Nemo."
Evening tech news: Hewlett-Packard has filed suit against Gateway, charging its smaller rival with violating HP's patents on notebook, desktop and data-serving computers; Boeing yesterday announced pricing for its Connexion high-speed Internet service that will soon enable travelers to surf the Web or send messages to friends or co-workers while cruising at 30,000 feet; a German judge has issued a preliminary injunction against an advertiser that prohibits its 'adware' pop-ups from appearing over a rental car site without the company's permission.
The "Council of Better Business Bureaus" has recommended that Apple discontinue "comparative performance claims" regarding its Power Mac G5 desktop. Acting on a "tip" from Dell, the council's National Advertising Division (NAD) "determined that the evidence provided by Apple did not provide a reasonable basis for its broad unqualified claims that its Power Mac G5 is 'the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer' and that it 'edged out the competition on integer.'" In a statement Thursday, NAD also said it took issue with Apple's claim regarding the computer's 64-bit processor. The "advertiser's claim, 'the world's first 64-bit processor for personal computers,' could reasonably be interpreted to apply to workstations, in the context in which it was presented." This claim was unsupported by evidence, according to NAD.
iSkin has released the eVo iPod protector ($30), its improved protective case for the third-generation Apple iPod. The company says it has "taken all the good stuff, like form fitting design, rear heat release pores and elegant lines from its immensely popular iSkin eXo2 and combined them with new features and refinements to create the iSkin eVo." It now sports a completely redesigned rotary 'RevoClip' made of a lightweight, flexible polymer. It also comes with an improved screen protector for increased clarity.
Goldberg 2.4 is a freeware image viewer and editor that includes support for applying QuickTime and other effects. Version 2.4 includes an enhanced selection tool, custom/fixed aspect rations for selection, new resampling methods, and other changes. [Classic, OSX] Space Colony ($30, pre-order), Aspyr's Mac-only fantasy simulation game title, has hit beta status: "Save the Colony! Your staff are brawling, the Harvester Robot is chain sawing its way through the oxygen supply and small furry aliens have taken over the disco...Each unique personality has a mind of its own so remember happy colonists make for productive colonists." iTools 7.3 ($350) updates Tenon's suite of tools to manage Apache and other tools on Mac OS X: Version 7.3 supports Apache 2.0.49 (released last week), better performance, FastCGI support, log viewing options, and new tools for setting up community discussion boards, displaying photos on the web, creating personal blogs and web portals (using phpBB, Gallery, b2++, and PHP-Nuke). Design Intuition 1.1 is a CAD-like application that offers basic design, drawing, and blueprint functions with both 2D and 3D views. Version 1.1 adds better mouse support in 3D views, new Smart Lumber Objects, improvements to the Object inspector, and the ability to lock the value of all currently selected attributes. It is $135 or $175 for a license that includes a free upgrade to v2.0. [form] OSXvnc 1.33 is a full featured VNC server providing remote access to the GUI, keyboard and mouse using any VNC client. This maintenance release fixes small problems with the startup item for 10.2.8 and also some problems with authentication for startup items. [307KB] AbsoluteDeNoiser is a simple application that produces "very competitive" noise reduction filtering for digital images. The free Java utility (Pro version coming soon) is available for almost any platform, including Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. [1.8MB] JAlbum (free) allows users to create Web-based photo albums from their collection of digital images. Changes in this version included reduced startup time; skin styles may now have their own resources directory and preview image; Thai and Estonian localizations; and bug fixes. [2.7MB]
Freeverse Software today began shipping X-Words Deluxe, a new Mac OS X version the companys' word-buliding game title. "Similar in style to Scrabble or Upwords, X-Words Deluxe allows 1-4 players to take turns creating words on a board with special multiplier squares." It includes the ability to design your own boards and an online gaming mode (using GameSmith) as well as an optional computer opponent (using a 170,000 word database). The boxed version also includes a copy of CrossCards, the "addictive mixture" of poker and X-Words. It is available for $30.
Blue World is now shipping Lasso Studio 7, an upgrade to the Lasso Studio product providing enhanced functionality and compatibility with the latest versions of Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive and Lasso Professional. Lasso Studio allows non-programmers to quickly build data-driven Web sites using an intuitive set of tools and wizards. Version 7 includes support for new tags introduced in LDML 7 (the language of Lasso), the single-user version of Lasso Professional 7.0.3, support for Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Adobe GoLive CS as well as enhanced performance and stability and more. It is available for $300; upgrades are $200.
After comparing Bluetooth experiences on a Windows XP system and on a Mac, PCWorld.com senior editor Rebecca Freed concludes that the Bluetooth experience on a Mac is superior. With its built-in Bluetooth support and straightforward setup managers, Bluetooth on the Mac is "quick and painless," whereas "there are still too many seams showing in Bluetooth on Windows."
Miglia today introduced the Alchemy FW 800 CB, a PC card for PowerBooks that features one FireWire 400 port and two FireWire 800 ports. The card can also optionally be connected to a power supply, enabling it to support bus-powered devices like portable external hard drives. The card sells for $90 (€79, £60), while the power supply costs $30 (€30, £20). It will ship on April 5, according to the company.
BUM is the latest story-based adventure game for the iPod from XO Play. The player assumes the role of Rufus T. Pilkington, a homeless person looking to get his life back on track. The Choose Your Own Adventure-like game is played through the iPod's notes section and costs $15.
REAL Software today announced the winners of the REALbasic Design Awards 2004, more affectionately known as the "Cubies." Winners were selected across nine software categories and include All-Seeing Interactive (Best Overall & Most Innovative), TimeLog (Best Business), IntelliScanner Collector (Best Consumer), ColorThink (Best Graphic Design), Macabinet (Best Utility), Solve Elec (Best Educational), Help Logic (Best Cross-Platform), and Roadworks (Best Entertainment).
A MacNN reader notes: "Today's Atlanta Journal Constitution has the entire front page and most of page 6 of the living section dedicated to the iPod. The front has a huge picture of a hand holding up a iPod and 4 pictures of people holding up their iPods." The article is also available online.
Avid today announced that it has extended Mac OS X 10.3.2 support to its Avid Xpress DV, Avid Xpress Pro, and Media Composer Adrenaline systems running on qualified Power Mac G4 and G5 systems. Additionally the updates add support for the Ultra320 LVD storage controller for the G5, and Avid has also released a Fibre-and-Ethernet-attached Mac OS X 10.3.2 client for Avid Unity MediaNetwork and Avid Unity LANshare EX systems. Avid Xpress DV 4.3, Avid Xpress Pro 4.3, Media Composer Adrenaline 1.3, and Avid Unity 3.4 are available for download now.
Final Draft, Inc. has started shipping Final Draft 7, which adds enhanced writing tools and a new script element breakdown utility to the professional scriptwriting software. A new Panels System brings a suite of new organization and development tools for the writer, while the Tagger enables users to "tag" script elements and export the results into scheduling and breakdown software. Final Draft 7 is available for $230; current users can upgrade for $60 before April 30, or $90 thereafter.
Quicken 2004 R3 (free update) addressees several issues with the money management software, including backing up old data and bugs with the reconcile, calendar, and online transfers/bill pay features. [Download - 15.5MB] SETI@home 3.0.8a (free) resolves a screen saver bug under Mac OS X 10.3.x with the GUI client for the distributed computing project. MacNN has a SETI@home team. [Download - 306KB] Panther Cache Cleaner 2.3 ($9) is a utility designed to provide easy access to numerous Mac OS X maintenance and utility options. The new version adds the ability to scan preference files for inactivity and corruption, enable or disable the crashreporter daemon, customize crashreporter's behavior, customize Safari, and corrects a handful of bugs. [Download - 2.8MB]
Hitatchi has said it will ramp up production of its 1-inch disk drives as soon as possible in order to accommodate the extra demand for the units, Reuters reports. "We are planning to boost production at our plant in Thailand, and it will come sooner rather than later," a Hitachi spokesman said. Apple yesterday delayed the worldwide rollout of the iPod mini due to strong domestic demand and tight supplies of the 4GB 1-inch drive the device uses.
O'Reilly has released "Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition," a $40 book by Eric Meyer that "serves as a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation for both advanced and novice Web authors. This edition is "completely revised and fully updated" and "serves as a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation for both advanced and novice Web authors." It covers CSS2, and CSS2.1, and begins to explore CSS3. The book features Meyer's "trademark wit and clear style," while offering new content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k