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New PowerBooks, iBooks
Apple is expected to introduce new PowerBooks and iBooks early next week, according to MacNN sources. Apple will introduce revised 12-inch PowerBooks (two models), two revised 15-inch PowerBooks, one new model of the 12" iBook, two new models of the 14" iBook, and a single high-end 17" PowerBook configuration. The laptops are expected to be available early next week in limited quantities. Sources report that each model will feature speed-bumped G4 processors, while some models will feature larger drives and upgraded graphics cards.
Tech: Dell No. 1 ...
Afternoon tech news: Dell is back as the number one PC maker, according to preliminary figures from research firms IDC and Gartner; companies that break Britain's antispam law are likely to get away with it until at least next year because the information commissioner doesn't have "stop now" powers; RealNetworks is facing increasingly stiff competition in online music, analysts said on Thursday, as rivals seek deals with larger players and longtime adversary Microsoft Corp. gears up to launch an online music store later this year.
Forums: new eMac...
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: nVidia 6800 Ultra support under Mac OS X; the possible reasons for lower than expected Power Mac G5 sales; speculation about future PowerBook G4 specs and possible release dates; member feedback on Apple's recent eMac revision; the eMac's impressive performance to price ratio compared to that of the iMac; delays surrounding the availability and shipping of the iPod Mini.
iSkin mini released
iSkin has started shipping the iSkin mini protector for iPod minis, featuring form-fitting silicone, a screen protector, and RevoClip rotating belt clip. The iSkin mini also features an integrated dock connector port cover and is compatible with accessories that connect to the top of the iPod, such as Griffin's iTrip. The accessory is available in five opaque colors and four glow-in-the-dark colors and costs $25.
Primatte Keyer for Avid
Red Giant Software today announced Primatte Keyer for Avid AVX, which brings the power of the Primatte keying algorithm to Avid systems while preserving simplicity. Users can now sample foreground and background areas directly in the sequence window, making Primatte Keyer AVX the easiest to use keyer for Avid editors. It includes functions for sampling foreground and background areas, eliminating spills, correcting imprecise edges, generating mattes from any color background, adjusting properties of sampled foreground colors, and keying transparent objects. It will ship in June for $500.
Xupport, ATI driver..
Xupport 2.0 ($20) is a graphical user interface for Mac OS X 10.2 or laterthat can configure many hidden Mac OS X and Unix options with functions to maintain, optimize, backup, clean, hack, enhance and secure Mac OS X. Version 2.0 has an improved GUI, rewriten source code, and many other changes. [1.4MB]
ATI has released a driver update that fixes a Visual Corruption that occurs when playing a DVD under Mac OS 10.3.3: "This HotFix replaces the RADEON 9800/9700 accelerator files that ship with the 10.3.3 system software update. The update applies ONLY to Mac OS X 10.3.3 and will not install nor function with an older nor newer version of the OS." [2.1MB]
Bambusa 1.1 ($10) is a suite of script-like tools for website designers that produces an alphabetical index and a table of contents of a website. It is especially useful for web-based documentation. The demo version will treat the first 10 html files of a website only. [Classic, OSX]
EduPhant v2.0b2 (free) is a major upgrade to its text-encodings savvy and cross-platform PostgreSQL database client. It supports multiple connections to PostgreSQL 6.4 and later and feature numerous SQL templates for learning, maintaining or creating databases. [Classic, OSX]
A free demo of Optipix 2 ($150) is now available. Reindeer Graphics' suite of Photoshop compatible plug-ins includes tools for correcting common problems in digital images. It works on both 8- and 16-bit images and includes tools for automatically improving contrast, image averaging, blending bracketed exposures, enhancing edge detail, sub-pixel nudging, and color-safe sharpening. [1.5MB]
QPict is a media asset manager for images, movies, fonts, sounds, etc. The next version of QPict will have improved support for RAW files and support for over 100 different camera models including the recently released NIKON D70. The company is seeking beta testers for working with RAW files and will offer free licenses to 10 users as well as discounts to all testers. [Classic, OSX]
Apple reaffirm Euro iTMS
Despite running into some delays, Apple remains comitted to launching a European iTunes Music Store this year. "When we launch in Europe, we want to do it well. There can be no compromise on the ease of use, the depth of the catalogue or the responsiveness (of the Web site)," Apple's European chief Pascal Cagni told Reuters. "This is going to be so important for the future that a few months' delay is not essential."
PowerPC yield problems
IBM has confirmed its PowerPC G5 CPU yield problems, noted in this week's conference as the reason for the delays in the Xserve G5s: "One of the problems is ongoing yield issues within the company's 300-mm fab in East Fishkill, N.Y. For months, IBM has been struggling with yields in the fab, a 130- and 90-nm plant. 'We do see demand, but we need to make the products,' Joyce said. 'We need to improve our yields in our 300-mm plant. Our yields did see some improvement, but not as fast (as the company had hoped).'"
Hungarian Mac OS X 10.3
The Hungarian version of Mac OS X 10.3 is now available for download. The update currently only supports Mac OS X 10.3.0, requiring users to install 10.3.0 first and then apply the localization patch. Additionally, only system applications have been localized; iApps and Help menus remain in English. Hungarian localizations supporting Mac OS X 10.3.2 and 10.3.3 are currently in development.
PlayFair pulled again
PlayFair, the application developed to remove the DRM code from iTunes Music Store tracks, has been temporarily removed from Sarovar.org, India's open-source project website, after the site received a notice from Apple. "[PlayFair] is contrary to our clients' terms and conditions governing availability of the service and is causing them enormous potential loss of revenue and reputation," the notice, which can be read in its entirety on the site, says. Sarovar.org said it is investigating the matter and has removed the project until it has consulted with its lawyers. The Playfair project was previously hosted on Sourceforge, a similar open-source project hosting service based in the US, but was removed after Apple sent a cease and desist notice.
No deal for RealNetworks
Apple has reportedly turned down RealNetworks' offer to license its Fairplay DRM technology, and a meeting that RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser sought with Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week to discuss the matter is not taking place. "Steve just doesn't want to open the iPod, and we don't understand that," a RealNetworks spokesperson said. Apple declined to comment on the matter. Earlier this week Jobs told The Wall Street Journal, "The iPod already works with the No. 1 music service in the world, and the iTunes Music Store works with the No. 1 digital-music player in the world," he said. "The No. 2s are so far behind already. Why would we want to work with No. 2?" Meanwhile, an article in today's Journal reveals that Apple has previously turned down other partnership proposals regarding the iTunes Music Store. Last year, Rio Audio approached Apple to open the store so that other hardware players would be compatible with its Fairplay AAC files. Apple turned that offer down. "We can do nothing," a Rio Audio vice president said.
Link aggregation software
Small Tree Communications today released its 802.3ad Link Aggregation networking software, which "enables true enterprise class network solutions by bonding or trunking multiple Ethernet ports on a single computer into one virtual interface. This virtual interface provides higher bandwidth, higher availability, and more efficient utilization of the physical links than is otherwise possible." Small Tree says it is the first company to offer such a solution on the Mac. Pricing starts at $300 for 2 ports/1 group and ranges up to $700 for unlimited ports and groups.
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