Mediafour today released XPlay 2, a new version of its popular Windows software for iPod users. Version 2 offers new features, including compatibility with Audible files, AAC files, and automatic WMA-to-MP3 conversion. Mediafour also says that XPlay 2 is also much faster than the original XPlay, has improved support for international characters, displays album art, supports play counts, and has a "greatly-enhanced" interface under Windows XP. XPlayoffers Windows connectivity for iPods, including Windows integration for Mac-formatted iPods and compatibility with older versions of Windows, including Windows Me and Windows 98SE. Upgrades to the $30 application are $15.
Iomega today began shipping its new Iomega REV 35GB/90GB drive, a removable storage alternative to tape and other backup and archiving solutions. Iomega says that the REV disks transfer data up to eight times faster than tape, are smaller than a deck of playing cards (10 x 77 x 75 mm), can store up to 90GB of compressed data, and can be rewritten more than a million times (estimated) and offer a shelf life of more than 30 years. The REV drives offer a maximum sustained transfer rate of 25 MB/sec, and use drag and drop random access technology to copy and restore individual files. Both the external USB 2.0 ($400) and internal ATAPI versions ($380) are available.
ListSaver 2.0 adds the ability to rebuild manually updated iPods from scratch, including automatically copying the music files from the local library to the iPod. This allows a user to perform a software restore on a manual iPod, and then return it to its previous state, as well as creating multiple iPods with the same set of music. [1.2MB] Basecamp, a web-based project management tool with RSS and iCal integration, has added file uploading and sharing to its feature set. The hosted service offers project status messages, milestones, to-do lists, project overviews, etc. Pricing starts at $20 per month. Studiometry 1.2 ($55) helps organize Client data, Project data, Project files, To Do's, Debts, Invoices, Reports, Notes, and more. Version 1.2 adds Windows compatibility, allowing users to copy their data file to a Windows computer and access it exactly as they would on the Mac. This update also adds customizable project specs, a completely new Alerts window, multi-threading, etc. [2.6MB] OpenOSX TojanDefuser is an application to disarm variations of the concept Trojan Horse "MP3Virus.Gen" while leaving the data intact. The drag and drop open source Cocoa application "TrojanDefuser" is available as a free download. [1.2MB] Conoa 3D 1.8 ($300) and Conoa EasyShapes 1.4 ($110) both feature improved rendering speed and reduced memory usage. Additionally, Conoa EasyShapes adds separate controls for manipulating the opacity of the front and rear of the objects and the ability to invert texture maps horizontally. Both work as plug-ins within Adobe After Effects 4.1, Final Cut Pro (v3.0 or later), Discreet Combustion 3, and Avid systems. [form] In-Out Board is a new cross-platform employee status tracking tool that allows you to automate your company's In/Out board or other employee tracking systems into a flexible electronic status board. Users can easily set their status as well as leave notes (i.e.how they can be reached, when they'll be back). It features custom categories as well as can connect remote offices over the internet. Pricing starts at $9 per user. [Classic, OSX] Two Due 1.5 ($10) updates the Java-based to-do list manager with a new find command, the ability to mass change from one category, improved web publishing (with a new playback of scripts recorded using TDF Czar), pending status display, import of data from tab-delimited files or HTML bookmark files, and web page validation. [882KB]
BBC News looks at Real Networks and the global roll-out of its latest audio and video player, RealPlayer 10: "for Real Networks the launch comes at a crucial time, caught as it is between the Microsoft rock and the Apple hard place, both of which are pushing hard into the company's market place. Microsoft media player keeps gaining market share, while Apple in recent months has managed to grab headlines with its iTunes service. However, speaking to BBC News Online, Real Networks chief executive Rob Glaser is bullish: 'If having 350m users worldwide is between a rock and a hard place, then it's a very nice situation to be in.'"
IDG World Expo today offered a "first look" at some of the industry-leading companies that will be exhibiting at the upcoming Macworld Conference & Expo in Boston. IDG says that Quark, Harman Multimedia and Xerox as well as a dozen other companies have signed up to participate a the Expo, which takes place July 12-15, 2004 at the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Macworld Boston will also offer a educational program, networking opportunities and hands-on product demonstrations. Other exhibitors include Alias, Belkin, Brenthaven, Disc Makers, DriveSavers, Harmony Remote, IOGEAR, Parliant, Prosoft Engineering, Roku, Sassasfras, Software MacKiev, and Sonnet Technologies.
Creo today released Pandora 2.6, a new version of its step-and-repeat tool for folding carton and label manufacturers. Version 2.6 of Pandora, built for Mac OS X, includes performance enhancers-up to 90 percent over Pandora 2.5 running on Mac OS 9. Pandora uses open file standards such as PDF and JDF to enable seamless integration with many workflow systems. This easy-to-use software features innovative technologies such as SmartMarks and ShopMap˙ software, and dramatically reduces the time it takes to create step-and-repeat layouts.
Other World Computing today has reduced prices by as much as 10 percent on its Mercury Extreme line of G4 processor upgrades. ZThe Mercury Extreme G4 line features Tantalum-dipped components and an ultra-quiet custom cooling system with a pre-attached heat-sink and fan in "order to maximize the reliability and longevity of the upgrade," according to the company. The company cut prices by $30 on its 867MHz-933MHz (now $250), 867MHz-1.0GHz (now $270), G4/1.0-1.1GHz (now $300), and G4/1.25-1.4GHz ($420). The G4/1.25-1.33GHz is now $390 ($10 drop) and the G4/1.4-1.467GHz is $480 ($20 drop).
Keyspan has started shipping its USB Server, which connects USB devices to a Mac or PC via wired or wireless Ethernet-based LAN. The USB server functions similarly to a print server and features four USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port for connecting to networks. The Keyspan USB Server sells for $130.
GUI Galaxy, a Web site "by and for graphic designers," has relaunched today with a new site design, daily news posts, an RSS newsfeed, OS X icons an software, staff-designed apparel, and user-driven newsletter management.
QuickerTek has started offering an AirPort-specific version of the Super Cantenna, a high-performance directional antenna that can double or triple PowerBook G4 AirPort and AirPort Extreme signals. Inspired by the original Pringles can antenna boosters, the 12dbi Super Cantenna features a 12-inch main tube antenna body that can be equipped with an optional mini tripod. Configurations sell for $70 to $150.
Apple's PowerSchool division today announced the availability of PowerSchool SIS 2004. The upgrade to the Web-based student information system includes more than 100 new features, such as walk-in scheduling automation, increased flexibility and usability for meeting NCLB requirements, streamlined reports, and state specific special compliance enhancements. PowerSchool SIS 2004 is scheduled to ship June 25, 2004; interested districts should contact Apple directly for pricing information.
Pantone today started shipping colorist, a new utility that makes it easy for graphic designers to select Pantone Matching System Colors from within applications that don't already incorporate Pantine Libraries. Colorist supports such titles as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Apple Keynote, and Macromedia Dreamweaver and Flash. The software also includes a dynamic, free Web utility called InspireME that offers an array of predefined color schemes created by Leatrice Eiseman, color consultant and director of the Pantone Color Institute. Colorist sells for $50; ColorWeb Pro users may upgrade to Colorist for $20.
Optimistik Animation is offering 50 percent off Handwritten Vol.1, its first LiveFont package for Apple's LiveType and Final Cut Pro 4.0, during NAB. From now through April 24 customers can purchase Handwritten Vol. 1 for $50.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' $74.75 million net gain from stock options in 2003 puts him second only to Colgate-Palmolive's CEO among executives who received the largest pay packages last year, according to The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required). According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting's annual compensation survey, 145 CEOs in 2003 exercised options for a net gain of $1.91 billion, up from $1.68 billion in 2002. We recently noted that should Apple have had to account for stock options as expenses, it would have turned a loss for the year instead of a profit in 2003.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.83 ( -2.99 )
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6
Snapchat sued over speed filter photo overlay
Accident victims in Spalding County, GA are suing Snapchat, as well as the driver responsible for the accident. The suit alleges that the app's "speed filter," which can post the speed that which a picture was taken, encouraged driver Christal McGee to attempt to reach 100 miles per hour in her car, leading to the accident that caused both Wentworth and Karen Maynard serious injuries. The suit alleges Wentworth Maynard suffered brain damage in the incident. McGee posted a photo of herself in a cervical collar on the way to the hospital, saying that she was "lucky to be alive." Snapchat has not commented on the lawsuit. http://abcn.ws/24nhR49
Pandora bleeding slows, posts $28.9M Q1 loss
Streaming music service Pandora today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2016, posting a loss of $28.9 million, an improvement from the $48.3 million loss it showed in the year-ago-quarter. Total consolidated revenue was $297.3 million, growing 29 percent year-over-year. Total listener hours grew 4 percent to 5.52 billion for the first quarter of 2016, compared to 5.30 billion for the same period of the prior year. Active listeners were 79.4 million at the end of the first quarter of 2016, up compared to 79.2 million for the same period of the prior year. http://pdora.co/1WtxdkW
Carl Icahn dumps Apple stock on China worries
Carl Icahn has sold all of his stock in Apple, citing concerns over sales in China. While he called Apple a "great company" and praised Tim Cook for "doing a great job," Icahn sold his shares after the Apple investor results, garnering a profit of $2 billion over three years. Icahn said of business in China that the Chinese government could "come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there." Should the market steady in China, Icahn said that he will re-invest in the company, regardless of the market price. http://cnb.cx/1SCfEdI
August Home HomeKit compatible Smart Lock ships
Smart lock developer August Home today began shipping its second generation Smart Lock, with HomeKit support. In addition to full Siri support, the Smart Lock is also compatible with third-party HomeKit apps like Insteon+, Lutron, and iDevices, allowing for multi-step actuations, like turning on a light when the door is locked or unlocked. The August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled retails for $229. http://bit.ly/1SvADlG
Triby third-party speaker with Alexa Voice Service
Speaker and telecom device developer Invoxia has announced the Amazon Alexa Voice Service is now integrated and available on Triby, its device that combines music, messaging and communication functionality in one family-friendly, voice-activated product. Starting today, Triby becomes the first non-Amazon product to be Alexa-enabled. The Triby retails for $199, with a limited time $30 launch discount. http://amzn.to/1SC4zJG
EDGE shutdown plan on track for 2016 completion
AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stevens has reported that the company is continuing to migrate its customer base as it moves forward with plans to shut down its 2G EDGE network by the end of this year. According to Stevens, the carrier has already repurposed some of the 2G network spectrum in areas where 2G device traffic has dropped off. This incremental approach, he said, means some markets will only have small chunks of spectrum left that need to be repurposed. The freed bandwidth will be used to expand the 4G network. http://bit.ly/1Tyj7w9