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Several analysts have commented on Apple's announcement today of stronger than expected iPod sales. The iPod sales "blew my numbers out of the water," said Michelle Gutierrez, analyst with Schwab Soundview Capital Markets in San Francisco. She had expected a seasonal decline of 20 percent instead of the 10 percent surge from the December quarter. Investors liked Apple's results, sending its shares up $2.36, or 9 percent, to $29 in after-hours trading, reports CBS MarketWatch, "iPods continued to shine, as the digital music players made up $264 million in sales."
Evening tech news: EarthLink has developed a program to fight 'phishers' -- phony Web sites designed to deceive e-mail users into providing personal information such as passwords and credit card or Social Security numbers; Internet search company Google is considering changes to its Gmail e-mail service amid criticism over privacy concerns, the company's president said; Amazon's A9 subsidiary quietly launched a test version of its new search tool, hoping to challenge Yahoo and Google in the lucrative search market.
The Houston Area Apple User's Group has announced the second annual MACFest, to take place Saturday, May 1st. The event will feature speaker Bob Levitus. Meanwhile, the annual Delta Campus MovieFest is scheduled to take place April 19 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The student movie-making event started as 'iMovieFest' by four students at Emory University, has grown into "the world's largest student movie festival."
Aspyr today announced that its Mac version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell has hit beta. The strategy and spy game is now available for pre-order at $50. Aspyr also released an update to Command & Conquer Generals Mac Demo that fixes stability issues with some ATI Radeon video cards (in particular 9000 models), addresses multiple monitor cursor controls, and increases performance of in-game movies.
Apple today posted a net profit of $46 million, or $.12 per diluted share for the second fiscal quarter of 2004--up from the net profit of $14 million, or $.04 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $1.909 billion, up 29 percent from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 27.8 percent, down from 28.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 43 percent of the quarter's revenue. The quarter's results include an after-tax restructuring charge of $7 million. Excluding this charge, Apple's net profit for the quarter would have been $53 million, or $.14 per diluted share. Apple shipped more iPods than Macs in the quarter and raised both revenue and EPS estimates for the third quarter.
FireWire Depot today announced five new products, including its FW2ATA-WP, a FireWire (IEEE 1394a)-to-ATA storage equipment with read-only (write protect) functions. Designed for forensic applications, it allows ATA/SATA storage devices to be connected to a 1394 serial bus and supports 2.5" and 3.5", both ATA and SATA, PCMCIA HDD, MicroDrive, and Type I/II devices. The non-write protected FW2ATA model is also available for $400 as are the USB 2.0 read-only U2ATA-WP ($460) and read/write-enabled U2ATA drive ($400). FireWire Depot also released IDE-SATAMT01 ($50), a removable drive tray for Serial ATA 3.5" hard drives that can be used with several removable drive systems.
ProximityMines 1.0 ($15) is a new version of the classic Minesweeper puzzle game, written in Cocoa for Mac OS X 10.2. It features a 'Best Times' feature, minefields up to 32 x 24 in size, automatic pause (when you switch to another application), etc. [1.0MB] iChat Emotimaker 1.0.1 ($7) and Safari Bookmark Exporter 1.0.7 (free) have been released from Ellipis Productions. iChat Emotimaker allows custom sets of smiles to be used with iChat; the new version adds support for creating Adium emoticon sets. Safari Bookmark Exporter allows users to easily export their Safari bookmarks. Comictastic 2.2 ($15) is an application that grabs various comics from the Web, allowing them to all be easily viewed in a single application. Version 2.2 allows comics to be grouped by their category in the main comic list now, via the Subscriptions menu and fixes several bugs. [737KB] MenuCalendar 1.7 is a free menu calendar for the menubar of Mac OS X. It now adds an alternative menu bar icon, improved day display alignment, a rearranged preferences window, a more space-efficient GUI, and new localizations for Dutch, Italian, Spanish, French, Swedish and Polish. [167KB] OsiriX 0.2a is an open-source software for 3D medical imaging. The new version supports 3D volume rendering and 3D surface rendering for PET-CT, CT and MRI. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later as well as G4 or G5 processor. [6.2MB] iconCompo 3.0 ($17) is a shareware utility that can combine images to create an icon. It offers a complete reorganization of major functions, an improved text drawing mode, more powerful settings, and finer adjustments for transformations. [1.6MB] Fatsondo 2.0 ($90) is a VST instrument (and AudioUnit plugin) that "has been tailored made for the creation of fat sounds. And it has a built-in chorus, flanger, stereo delay, comes with 64 factory patches." Features include 3 oscillators per voice, a traditional resonant lowpass/highpass filter, Performance Keys, and built-in effects. [3.1MB]
Iomega told MacNN that the first shipments of its removeable Iomega REV 35GB drive system will be partially Mac-compatible, saying that the USB 2.0 version will initially offer read-only support using its native UDF file system: however, "writeable support with the HFS+ file system--at least support to get any significant performance--a user will have to wait until our Iomega REV drive FireWire version release for the Iomega approved system software." Iomega also said that the system software, which will be ready when the FireWire version ships, will also support USB devices on Mac OS X.
MySQL Cluster is a new open-source database clustering technology that combines the MySQL database with a clustering architecture to deliver 99.999 percent availability to mission-critical database applications. MySQL Cluster features the MySQL database coupled with a distributed, in-memory clustering architecture in which data is distributed over a group of inter-connected databases residing on multiple servers, or nodes. It is offered under a "dual license" business model: it will be free/open-source under the GPL and also available as a commercial license for software vendors and other commercial MySQL customers. A preview version is available now, while the production version is expected in Q3 of this year.
Australia's NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) will deploy 1200 G4 iMacs across 140 registry offices, according to Computerworld: "the G4s will be used as point-of-sale terminals for its counter staff to handle RTA customers transactions across 'prepared business applications' as well as for 'collecting data and payments and issuing licences, registration certificates and receipts for various transactions'. The move away from Wintel desktops also appears to reiterate the recent strong stand by the NSW government to seek alternatives to wholly proprietary operating system kernels - and the licensing models that go with them - where cost-effective and viable alternatives exist."
MacOSXLabs.org will offer a "RsyncX 2.0" WebCast on Tuesday, April 20 at 1:00 pm EST. The webcast will introduce version 2.0 of RsyncX, a suite of tools for file backup and distribution for Mac OS X. The event will also feature a case study demonstrating the functionality of RsyncX in an enterprise environment, which will be presented by The University of Michigan School of Art and Design.
Peripheral Enhancements today expanded its DiskGO! line of external hard drives to a new series of 2.5" ultra portable drives. The new drives feature a brushed aluminum casing with a USB 2.0 interface and are available in capacities of 20GB ($125), 40GB ($150), and 80GB ($260).
Symantec has halted development of future Mac versions of Norton Utilities and Norton SystemWorks. The move was reportedly a strategic decision independent of the products' success on the platform. Symantec has said it will continue to develop new Mac versions of Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton Personal Firewall. According to AppleInsider, which broke the story Monday, Symantec has also stopped development of Windows versions of Norton Utilities and Norton SystemWorks. Update: Symantec has confirmed to MacNN that it has not stopped development on the Windows platform.
Blackmagic Design has announced two new products ahead of NAB: the DeckLink HD Pro, billed as the world highest quality uncompressed Dual Link 4:4:4 12 bit HDTV capture card; and the HDLink, a full HDTV resolution 4:4:4 monitoring solution with built in audio. The DeckLink HD Pro sells for $2,500 while the HDLink costs $1,300.
SubRosaSoft has released MP3Restore 1.0, an application designed to recover music files that have been deleted intentionally or accidentally from an MP3 player or other media. The software sells for $25; a demo is available for ensuring compatibility with your device.
Apple will announce its second quarter fiscal 2004 financial results after the markets close today. Analysts expect the company to post a profit of 10 cents per share, or about $35 million, according to the Thomas Financial Network. Revenue is expected to come in at about $1.81 billion. Apple will stream its second quarter conference call discussing the results at 5:00 pm ET. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple will disclose more information at that time surrounding iPod mini delays; the device now carries a waiting list from one to five weeks.
Trapeze 1.0 ($30) is Mesa Dynamics' new PDF text extraction utility, offering conversion of PDF files to editable RTF, ASCII and plain text with adjustable layout reformatting. Additional features include RTF optimization for either TextEdit or Microsoft Word and support for password-protected PDFs. [Download - 626KB] DivX.Ray 3 ($36) is a user friendly MPEG-4 Encoder for Mac. With its new design, the latest version of the program "follows the principles of the iLife products from Apple." [Download - 3.8MB] ImageCaster is a $30 solution for setting up a Web cam under Mac OS X. It is compatible with countless devices -- including iSight -- and can generate Web pages for live streams. [Download - 2.2MB] SpamSieve ($25) is a utility that employs powerful Bayesian spam filtering to help block unwanted junk emails. New in Version 2.1.3 are new menu commands for easily installing the plug-ins and AppleScript support files, improved parsing of messages with 8-bit transfer data, added support for Outlook Express 5, and more. [Download - 1.8MB] HSL and CMY are two new iMovie plug-ins ($2.50 each). HSL is an iMovie plug-in that allows direct color control via the hue-saturation-lightness model (as opposed to the more intuitive red-green-blue color model). CMY is an iMovie plug-in that allows direct color control via the cyan-magenta-yellow model. [Download - HSL, CMY] DX Toolbox 1.6.0 ($20) is the latest release of Black Cat Systems' radio propagation / conditions analysis and forecasting tool for amateur radio operators, and other radio enthusiasts. This version adds a grid square calculator to determine grid squares from longitude and latitude, as well as a world map showing grid squares and time zone information. [Download - OS X, Classic]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko