Elite Computers & Software (Cupertino, CA), MACadam Computers (San Francisco, CA), and MacTech Systems (Bend, OR) will picket Apple at its annual meeting of shareholders this Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, CA. The protest is connected to a Web site launched last month by former Apple Authorized Resellers called TellOnApple.org that claims to reveal "unethical or illegal business practices of Apple Computer." Thomas Armes, President and CEO of Elite Computers & Software said, "It's time that Apple's conduct is made known to Apple shareholders."
A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP) announced today released InEffects ($100) for Adobe InDesign, a new plug-in that brings the special effects power of an image editing program directly to within InDesign. "While InDesign offers its own drop shadow and transparency features, InEffects expands those possibilities and adds more effects for layering page objects and images, producing brilliant 2-D and 3-D effects. Other features include the ability to save effects as reusable InEffects Styles, which can quickly and conveniently be applied to InDesign page objects." It is $100.
Evening tech news: For chip makers, problems on the factory floor are increasingly turning into big headaches in the executive suite; pressing to turn a profit, Gateway may cast off some products and slash its staffing again; Microsoft said today it had agreed to extend a key provision of its landmark antitrust settlement by at least two years in response to concerns that the pact is taking too long to put into effect; Walla! may upstage Google to launch world's first 1GB e-mail service, which will be free of charge, will include anti-spam and anti-virus software, and will be able to deliver files of up to 30MB.
Derman Enterprises has announced the general availability of its Licensing Services using LicenseControl, following more than a year's internal use and an extensive vendor beta period. LicenseControl was developed by and designed for shareware developers and provides piracy deterrents at a low cost. It also offers secure product-activation capabilities.
Apple and Walt Disney Records today announced that the entire catalog of Walt Disney Records, including soundtracks from its animated films and Storyteller Series, is available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store through September 30. A new Disney genre page has been added to the store with the albums.
Belkin has updated its website with information about the new Digital Camera Link for iPod with Dock Connector, according to the iPodLounge: "The Digital Link has a USB port for compatible digital cameras as opposed to the currently shipping Media Reader, which does not. You can download photos directly from camera to iPod." The $90 device supports "all mass-storage DCF-format cameras and PTP-compliant cameras," runs on two AA batteries, and offers a place to stow the cable when not in use. Details on availability were not immediately available; the Digital Camera Link will not work with iPod minis.
KB roundup: Apple notes the noise level is not updated for some monitored clients and that no graph is available when monitoring some 10.2 clients when using the newly released AirPort Management Tools, which appear to have been pulled from the Web without any explanation or notice; the Knowledge Base, however, continues to indicate that the software is still available on the software CD included with the AirPort Extreme Base Station (PoE/UL 2043). Other KB articles include information on what to do if your iBook won't run on battery and how to optimize AirPort reception in portables. Readers also note that Apple's main support site has been overhauled with a new interface.
Apple yesterday opened its first Apple Experience Center (AEC) in Malaysia, occupying 3,500 sq ft in Ikano Power Centre at Mutiara Damansara, making it the largest such centre in the Asia Pacific region, according to The Edge Daily: "Apple has similar centres in China, South Korea and Australia. Mike Tan, founder and owner of the AEC at Ikano, expected to sell at least 100 Apple products monthly, 30% of which will be for the desktop market. The center boasts training rooms for potential and new Mac customers and a mini play center for youngsters to get the Mac experience as well as servicing and support facilities for Apple products."
Fire 1.0 is a final release of the multi-protocol internet Instant Messaging client based on freely available libraries for each service. The first release of the open-source project isthe culmination of 14 months of development effort, according to the Website. "It is released under the GNU GPL. All services are built off of GPLíd libraries, including firetalk, libicq2000, libmsn, jabber, and libyahoo2 (Linux libraries). Fire can handle similtaneous connections to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, IRC, MSN and Jabber."
Apple will open a retail store in the Shoppingtown Oakridge mall in San Jose, CA, with a targeted grand opening of Dec. 1st: "According to mall owner Westfield Development Corp., the lease has not yet been signed, but the deal is good. Westfield also owns the Valley Fair mall in San Jose [should be Santa Clara], the site of an existing Apple retail store [Apple Store Valley Fair]," according to a report by ifoAppleStore.
Popwire today announced its software-based video server for Mac OS X, Ingestion Engine, following upgrades to its desktop and server encoding products earlier this week. Ingestion Engine can capture any kind of video feed, from tape or from live sources, acting as both an ingestion server and a play-out server. Other highlights include on-demand digitizing of tape and automated retrieval of archived clips, as well as connectivity with Popwire's Compression Engine. It will ship in the third quarter of this year and can be used in conjunction with off-the-shelf hardware and a high-quality capture card.
Post Magazine has rundown of Apple announcements at NAB, including notes about several key strategic alliances, including incorporation of Panasonicís VariCam native DV-HD codec into Final Cut Pro HD, integration of Final Cut Pro HD software into Thomson's popular Grass Valley Digital news production pipeline, and BBC Technology's integration of Final Cut Pro HD into its Colledia production system: "Apple rocked NAB with major announcements and cheering crowds in a packed 2,000-plus press conference where they announced strategic alliances with Panasonic, Thomson Grass Valley and BBC Technology."
The Iconfactory has announced the official winners of this year's annual icon design contest, Pixelpalooza. The 2004 edition of the contest drew 100 entries from around the globe, but in the end, only nine were selected as the Grand Prize, Runner-Up and and People's Choice Winners. The winning entries were judged to be the greatest artistically, most original, or most popular of the icons entered in each category.
The Orphanage today announced it will offer a free version of eLin, its suite of plug-ins and scripts for Adobe After Effects (AE) 6.5 that allow compositors to work in the expanded photographic color space of film. eLin (used feature films such as "Hellboy") allows AE users to composite film, video, and 3D elements together in a unified High Dynamic Range (HDR) color space that mimics the physical properties of light and includes support for Cineon film scans as well as Industrial Light & Magic's open source EXR file format. It will be available free of charge for non-commercial use in June. eLin will also be available for commercial use for $500 through Red Giant Software at the end of April.
Early registration for the second annual Mac Design Conference & Expo ends at the end of the month. Users can save $100 from the regular registration fee of $500. The second annual conference will be held in Chicago from June 2Ė4 and features instructors from both the design and Mac industries including David Pogue; Scott Kelby; Bob LeVitus; Deke McClelland (Photoshop Bible author); and Bert Monroy, a pioneer of digital art. More than 50 session will include topics such as Flash, Quark Express, iMovie, iDVD, Garage Band, Mac OS X, Illustrator, After Effects, etc.
iPix today announced a new iPIX Interactive Studio extension for the creation of Macromedia Shockwave w3d File Output. The newly extended IPIX Interactive Studio platform enables creation of highly customized panorama image viewing. The new iPIX Interactive Studio 1.1, for creating full 360-degree panoramas, includes the Macromedia Shockwave w3d File Exporter, improved Adobe Photoshop interoperability, and maintenance improvements. It is a free upgrade to the Mac OS X application. Full version pricing starts at $500 for the first year.
Freeverse Software today announced that BumperCar has begun shipping to retail outlets in North America. BumperCar filters objectionable web content, limits the sharing of personal information, (such as a child's address or phone number), and offers other parental controls. It offers simple "Low", "Medium" and "High" safety settings, as well as the ability to customize all of its features. BumperCar filters profanity, forces Google to use a "Safe Search" mode, allows you to specify the hours your child can spend online and offers special School, Home and PreSchool modes. It is available for Mac OS X for $50.
iCalViewer 1.1 ($11) is an application and screen saver which displays iCal calendar events as boxes dynamically moving towards a finish line which is 'now'. The display can be in a window, on the desktop or in a list view. Version 1.1 adds the ability to view 'to do' items, preferences, a hotkey, and limited interactivity. [1.1MB] iStumbler R84 is a free, open-source tool for finding wireless networks and devices. It offers real-time graph of signal strength and complete debugging information such as network type, name and MAC address. Release 84 adds a new plugin architecture, multithreading for better performance, and other monitoring options. This release only runs on Mac OS X 10.3. [app, pluginSDK] A Better Finder Rename 6.3 ($20) adds regular expression substitution to the contextual menu plugin that allows users to quickly rename multiple files. It also feature both automatic and interactive modes, subfolder processing, droplet creation, a customizable hotkey, and other features. [2.4MB] iTerm 0.8 (free) is a Cocoa-based terminal emulation program that offers AppleScript support, complete VT100 emulation, multitab display within a single window, bookmarks, and support for multiple language encodings. Version 0.8 adds custom key-mapping, improved drawing code, Rendezvous support, and customizable character spacing. [5.0MB] NovaMind 2.0 ($80) is a mind-mapping program that enables you organize thoughts and generate ideas through word association, color, and visual layouts. Version 2.0 adds new FlexiBranch, a whole new Outline interface with new functionality, multiple branch selection and OPML Import /Export, etc. [5.3MB] Mac Toolkit 3.5 ($10) is a suite of tools contained in a floating toolbar. Items include a small calculator, notepad, trash emptying icon, favorites launcher, system info tool and more, all accessible with a single click from the always visible toolbar. It only runs on Mac OS X. [1.3MB] Name that iTune! 2.0 (donationware) is described as "a fun little game to test your knowledge of your iTunes library...you will be presented with a question about the title, artist, or album of a random track from your library. As the time ticks away, so do your points and options." Version 2.0 adds support for iPods, a two-player mode, and more preferences (timers, questions types, etc.). [184KB] iCab Preview 2.9.8 is a bug fix release to the small, compact alternatve browser for the Mac. It includes some bug fixes, some security certificates were updated and it includes a new release of the OpenSSL library (for secure web access). [Classic, OSX]
This week's Byte of the Apple column on BusinessWeek Online tackles the implications of a crop of problems Apple is currently facing, including stagnant computer growth, a looming vote of no-confidence for its board of directors from a large institutional shareholder, and shareholder questions regarding dividends and the company's plans for its $4.6 billion cash hoard.
ScreenTime Media has released SWF Desktop 1.2, it's Flash-based active desktop creation tool that enables users to create dynamic wallpaper that can deliver branded, updateable content, images, animations, news, calendars, links, web applications and games directly to users' desktops. The new version includes a revised active desktop playback engine, providing improved remote and local file handling, improved bitmap rendering, an integrated preferences panel with options to preview and un-install wallpaper, and support for Expose. SWF Desktop requires Flash 4 or later and sells for $100. A demo is available.
Tech news: Napster has been reborn as a legal online music service, but the ghost of its former renegade song-swap self is trailing about $17 billion of legal baggage; America Online's chief executive is expected to lay out a path to salvation for the Internet company at a board meeting with parent Time Warner Inc. on Thursday, a source familiar with AOL's plans said; Microsoft has hired one of its worst enemies, the SuSE Linux salesman whose efforts led the city of Munich to adopt Linux and open-source software instead of Microsoft's products.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl