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Evening tech news: A new Maryland law would make spamming a criminal offense, with penalties that could include up to 10 years of jail time; Microsoft today warned that three "critical"-rated flaws in the Windows operating system and other programs could allow hackers to sneak into personal computers and snoop on sensitive data; a California state senator on Monday said she was drafting legislation to block Google's free e-mail service "Gmail" because it would place advertising in personal messages after searching them for key words.
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Apple shut down its manufacturing operations in Elk Grove today, idling a reported 235 workers as it attempts to cut costs in the cut-throat computer-making business. Apple said that manufacturing will move to a third-party supplier in Southern California, but declined to provide further details.
KeynotePro has announced the release of Platform ($20), a theme designed from the ground up to be "the easiest†and fastest way to make a presentation entirely your own." Platform is designed with end-user customization in mind. "Based on extensive user feedback, we set out to design a theme that would allow user customization with little more than a background color change†- enabling a world of options and stellar results for even novice† Keynote users." KeynotePro also recently announced the "Groove into Spring" Promotion: when you buy any Keynote Pro theme before May 31,† you are automatically entered to win a 20 GB iPod.
Apple has updated its job listings site with an Assistant Store Manager position for an Apple retail store in the Stonestown mall in San Francisco. This appears to confirm rumors that company would be opening a second San Francisco store at the mall, first reported by AppleInsider in February. The Apple Jobs Web site also indicates that at least three other stores are currently in the works. Positions are being offered for locations listed as 'Santa Rosa-Santa Rosa Place, CA', ' Rockaway-Rockaway, NJ', and 'Bridgewater, NJ.'
DigitalScores today announced the availability of 3D-Matrix 2004, a powerful environment for creating 3D models. 3D Matrix is targeted towards game developers and graphic designers starting out in 3D modeling. 3D Matrix is easier to use than other modeling packages. 3D Matrix 2004 delivers substantial upgrades from the earlier versions, offering an XML file formay, a flexible and memory-efficient model design, mirrored polygon groups that can be skewed and distorted, new polygon optimization tools, a multi-step undo and redo feature and more. The free Lite Edition of 3DMatrix 2004, limited by reduced polygon count, is available for download; the commercial Standard Edition is priced at $300.
The Pixel Farm today made several new announcements at NAB 2004, including new advanced optical flow analysis tools, a new post-production workflow application (PFSilo), a new turnkey digital daily and production review system (PFPlay), and PFTrack 1.6, and PFTrack 1.6 with new advanced optical flow functionality that offers analysis of per-pixel inter-frame motion.
Morgan Stanley increased estimates for Apple, citing better-than-expected sell-through in the fiscal second quarter (ended March '04) of iPods, Mac OS X Panther and iBooks, but noting a possible shortfall in G5 sales. According to Forbes, "The research firm raised expectations for the quarter to earnings of 10 cents per share on revenue of $1.82 billion, compared with an earlier estimate for earnings of 9 cents per share on revenue of $1.81 billion. Morgan Stanley raised fiscal 2004 estimates to earnings of 49 cents per share on revenue of $7.69 billion, compared with an earlier estimate for earnings of 45 cents on revenue of $.750 billion.... The firm lowered its second-quarter G5 unit forecast to 181,000 units from 212,000 units. For the remainder of fiscal 2004, Morgan Stanley increased its iPod unit estimates to 3.7 million from 2.8 million." Apple will release earnings Wednesday after the market closes.
Apple has reportedly informed buyers with iPod minis on back-order at the Apple Store that their orders are not expected to arrive for another three weeks, MacSlash notes. On account of the extended delays, Apple is offering customers who have already been waiting for a considerable time the option of replacing their order with a 15GB iPod model at no additional charge. "We apologize for any inconvenience. Your business is very important. If you would like an iPod sooner, we are offering to replace your iPod mini with a 15GB iPod at no additional charge. This model usually ships within 24 hours," an email from Apple says. Meanwhile, reseller sources inform MacNN that no iPod minis have shipped to the channel in the last two weeks. Apple continues to cite "incredible demand" for the delays.
Caldera Graphics today added support for three more super wide printers from VUTEK to its line of imaging solutions for Mac OS X and Linux. Caldera has added support for VUTEK UltraVu2360, 3360 and 5330 wide printers to its three software solutions dedicated to grand format: GrandPRINT, an integrated desktop solution to drive grand format printers with support for raster, PostScript, EPS & PDF jobs; GrandRIP, a client/server solution for large format color productions, offers multi-tasking and multi-peripheral support along with a built-in PS and PDF RIP; and GrandRIP+ offers additional tiling features, spot colors management, a lay-out module, and Sign-Mark, a grommet positioning system.
IOGEAR today announced a low-cost, Wireless Broadband Router, featuring Super-Fi technology. The secure 802.11g wireless router has a built-in patch antenna, allowing users to focus signals directly toward a specific location: "Depending on how the patch antenna is positioned, the unidirectional broadcast can eliminate outside access into a user's network." The router also features an additional flip-up omni antenna that delivers 360-degree coverage. It is available now $130 and includes web-based administration, firewall technologies, and support for the latest wireless security.
CourseWizard 5.0 is a database-independent, platform independent solution that helps create/organize professional development programs. It maintains course catalog info, course locations, course evaluations, transcripts, surveys, and offers separate logins for participants, instructors, administrators, and SuperAdmins. (Pricing not available.) Summary 2.5 ($60) is a final version of Jason Linhart's web server log analyzer. Version 2.5 adds traffic spike detection and 27 new reports, including state/province analysis (using GeoIP), search phrase/engine reporting, and search phrases by entry point. The SP Lite ($500) and SP ($700) editions also offer customized overviews and free-form custom HTML reports. xBack 3.0 allows you replace your desktop with a screen saver or xPaks (custom collection of images for playback). It offers options to quickly start/stop the desktop screen saver, easily change the desktop screen saver, configure screen saver preferences without having to open System Preferences, preview screen savers without having to open System preferences, and menubar-based control. [1.2MB] UpdateGenie 2.0 ($83) is a development tool for creating update packages for FileMaker solutions. Version 2.0 features FileMaker 7 compatibility, comprehensive documentation outlining the conversion process, easier use and setup, logging, better handling of Runtime solutions, etc. Upgrades are $50. [form] iBlog 1.3.6 ($20) is a desktop weblogging application that can easily preview and publish weblogs to Apple's iDisk with a single click of a button. It offers extended support for hyperlinks, support for image attributtes, UTF-8 character encoding, "top stories", and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [4.4MB] Ircle 3.1 ($20) is a final version of the popular IRC client for Mac OS 9/X. The new version now now uses small scrollbars in the userlist, connections, faces, channel list windows under Mac OS X, adds the correct end of line characters on OS X, fixes /dcc send 'path to file', resolves a number of crashing problems with audio or video streams, etc. It is available in English, German, Italian and French. [Classic, OSX] Alco Blom has posted a public beta version of his $20 Web Confidential 3.7b4 utility for securely storing PINs, passwords, and other confidential information. It brings a new Panther-optimized look, a new Search toolbar item and new Action toolbar as well as an optional brush metal interface. [3.6MB] VolumeInfo 1.1 (freeware) offers a menubar-listing of mounted volumes and disks as well as related information. Dock Switch 1.1 is another menubar tool that offers users the ability to create and switch between multiple dock configurations. It can create an empty dock or recreate the standard Apple dock. [VS, DS]
Absoft today released IBM's high performance XL C/C++ Compiler, Advanced Edition V6.0 for Mac OS X" "through its expanding OEM relationship with IBM. By adding XL C/C++ to its extensive line of products, Absoft further strengthens its position leading the software development industry by offering the most comprehensive and powerful line of compilers and related tools for desktop and workstation customers using Macintosh, Windows, and Linux operating systems." XL C/C++ Compilter is an optimizing command-line compiler derived from IBM's family of compilers used in larger AIX systems.
Human Computing, developers of the ComicBase comic book collection management software, has ceased development of the Mac version of the software. "As longtime Macintosh supporters, this was a heartbreaking decision for us," Peter Bickford, ComicBase's creator said in a statement. "But it was becoming all too clear that the Macintosh version wasnít going to remain viable unless we could somehow make it run natively under Mac OS X. Unfortunately, Apple has effectively mothballed the development environment that ComicBase was built in, preventing us from creating an OS X-native version of ComicBase without rewriting it completely in another language. Given the size and scope of ComicBase, that was a development effort we just couldn't justify financially." Instuctions for transitioning Mac users to the Windows version are provided here.
Virtual Programming has started shipping Virtual Grand Prix 2, an advanced open-wheeled race car simulation game. Developed exclusively for Mac OS 8/9 and Mac OS X, the game features a state-of-the-art OpenGL 3D engine, 20 cars, 15 tracks, a network game mode, and a track editor. Virtual Grand Prix 2 sells for £17 ($30 or €25).
Kingston Technology has introduced a 1GB version of its CompactFlash Elite Pro card. The Elite Pro line of cards are aimed at imaging professionals and feature faster transfer speeds with lower power consumption. The 1GB card is capable of writing data at up to 5.2MB/sec and reading data at up to 6.1MB/sec. The card is available now for $350 and ships with Kingston's standard five-year warranty.
Apple today released an updated eMac featuring a 1.25GHz G4 processor, 256MB DDR333 SDRAM, 32MB ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card, and USB 2.0 connectivity. The $800 model features a 40GB hard drive and a 32x DVD/CD-RW combo drive, while the $1,000 model features an 80GB hard drive and an 8x SuperDrive. A new, optional built-in Bluetooth module can be purchased for $50.
In an article that analyzes the ever-changing media industry and the influences that a younger, more savvy generation is having on age-old stalwarts, Apple VP of applications Eddie Cue tells The Financial Times that in launching the iTunes Music Store, Apple largely decided to ignore the 18-25 age group that media companies often cherish. "We thought the 18-25 age group was a lost cause because they've been downloading [music] for free for years. The under-10 crew and the over-25 crew is where we're aimed." While Apple has sold over 50 million tracks since the music store's inception, Apple does not disclose demographic information about those customers.
Toshiba today introduced a new mobile projector, the TLP-S71U, targeted at educators and budget-conscious professionals. The projector combines Toshiba's detachable document camera, which allows users to add photo samples, printed material, or almost anything else to their presentations. Other features include 2,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, SVGA (800x600) resolution, and a 400:1 contrast ratio. The projector is available now for $1,700.
Some iPod mini users are reporting issues with the device's headphone jack that leads to distorted audio during playback, according to posts on iPodlounge. One user with the issue has put together a more detailed page covering the problem, which apparently stems from a fragile connector. Apple says it is aware of "a few, isolated" such incidents and that the problem does not represent a fundamental design flaw that will be inherent to all users. Reuters and BBC News have both picked up the story.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ¬≠Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ