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Microsoft last week released Expression 3.3 on its web site, after Microsoft finalized a deal late last year to acquire Creature House and its Expression 3 software. "Expression 3, the innovative vector-based stylish drawing and illustration software that continues to re-define vector graphics [...] you will find Expression 3 an indispensable tool for your creative tasks." It runs on both Mac OS 9/X. (Version changes and other related information were not available at press time.)
Winter Wolves Studio, creator of Universal Soccer Manager, announced today the release of its next sports manager simulation, Universal Boxing Manager. It allows users to create a custom manager by assigning skills in training, negotiation, scouting, and more. You can manage up to 6 boxers in 17 weight categories, selecting from a database of over 1,000 unique boxers. Universal Boxing Manager is available for $25 for both Mac and PC; a free demo is also available.
Forgent Networks today announced that its owned subsidiary, Compression Labs Inc., has initiated litigation against Apple and 30 other companies for infringement of digital image compression patent (US Patent No. 4,698,672). Forgent says intellectual property business has generated approximately $90 million from licensing of the 1987 patent to about 30 different companies worldwide, but did not specify the damages against each company; the company says it has sought to reach agreements on numerous occasions with all these companies, but has been unable to come to terms with any of the defendents.
Redstone Software today released Eggplant 1.5, which can create videos of any on-screen automation sequence for documentation, training, sales, etc. It also offers improved image capture, better control of timing commands, and integration with AppleScript. Eggplant is a unique system automation and testing tool, capable of automating tasks on any computer system. It combines the ability to remotely control any computer on the network with powerful intuitive scripting. The company also released a new OSX VNC 1.33 update, which provides an easier connection, new setup for automatic startup, and better reliability.
St. Clair Software has released HistoryHound 1.0, a new search-oriented utility for quickly searching and managing browsr bookmarks. It allows users to perform a fast text search on the entire content of all recently visited Safari web pages (as well as bookmarked pages): users can type in a few keywords to display a list of recently viewed pages, ranked by relevance. It has options a customizable hotkey, complex/boolean searches, pop-up window listing of results, and more. More browser support is expected in future releases. A 30-demo of the $20 utiilty is available.
Mozilla 1.7rc1 is a release candidate of the suite of Web utilities (Web browser, mail client, chat client) from the open-source group. It offers improved cookie dialogs, better date handling, more pop-up blocking functions, smooth scrolling, Mail improvements, performance improvements, etc. [14MB] BluePhoneMenu is a small application that adds Caller ID functionality to your menu bar using your Bluetooth-enabled phone. It offers incoming call notification options, recent call list, current status of connected phones, and support for multiple phones. [108KB] PDFshrink 3.1 ($35) reduces the size of PDF files created by Mac OS X and other applications. It compresses images, removes unused elements such as metadata and thumbnails, eliminates duplicates, compresses non-image parts, and optimizes image resolution. Version 3.1 can convert PostScript, JPEG, TIFF and other formats directly to PDF and has a new queue manager. [2.0MB] Apple's FireWire Audio Driver Update 1.0.8 is recommended for users of FireWire audio devices built on the BridgeCo Enhanced Breakout Box (BeBoB), including the FA-101 from Roland/Edirol. [11MB] color storm 1.0 ($5) sports over 2500 alien color effects for iMovie that "defy any description (other than, well, alien)...it includes 15 seriously deranged storm systems, of which ten can be explored (i.e. dynamically changed). It features live previews as well. [863KB] Path Finder 3.2 ($35) updates the powerful file manager with many built-in utilties and tools. It offers integrated burning, a revamped 'Connect to Server' window, new disk image features, more compression options, built-in screen capture, new reports, Expose improvements, better secure deletion, improved file name functions, etc. [6.4MB] FmPro Migrator 1.97EE ($100) adds a new FileMaker to PostgreSQL migration feature, allowing images within FileMaker container fields to be automatically migrated to PostgreSQL 'lo' (large object type) columns. Improvements have also been made to the existing FileMaker 7 table consolidation feature. A demo is now fully functional for a limited number of database fields. [2.4MB] Synergy 1.0b (5€) is an application for Mac OS X that puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause; as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune and optionally displaying the cover of the currently playing album. [907KB]
A MacNN reader points to a very lengthy Apple support thread on G5 freezes, which seem to be linked to underlying issues with recent releases of Mac OS X 10.3, although there has been no acknowledgement by Apple or confirmation by other sources: "I'm a Macintosh Technician in San Diego, CA and I have had a customer come in with a G5 having serious freezing problems. The same problems that are happening to a lot of people. On the Apple discussion board the thread has 500+ replies. This is not hardware-related like people think."
Apple CEO Steve Jobs publicly dismissed an overture from RealNetworks to open up the iPod, saying such a move does not make business sense, according to CNET News.com. "Speaking at Apple's annual shareholder meeting here, Jobs said there would be both an initial and ongoing cost to allowing the iPod to work with other music services. 'To be honest, it's just not worth it,' Jobs said, noting that RealNetworks has made a number of overtures to Apple and adding that Real's music service has been 'less than successful.' Although some at the meeting questioned Apple's declining market share, Apple executives noted that the company has chosen not to compete in the low-end desktop PC market. One executive justified the move, noting that that the company chose instead to focus on the iPod, which has been highly profitable for the company and has a 40 percent to 50 percent unit share of the market."
One thousand songs, or about the capacity of Apple's iPod mini, is "about the right size" for an MP3 player, according to a survey by Jupiter Research that found 90 percent of consumers have fewer than 1,000 songs on their systems. Additionally, the survey found that a rechargeable battery, small device size, and the ability to connect the device to a computer are the most important features to consumers. Finally, 20 percent of consumers said they prefer MP3 files, 7 percent prefer Microsoft's WMA format, and 1 percent prefer AAC; presumably the remainder have no preference.
Apago has released PDF Enhancer 2.5, an update to its PDF assembly, optimization, and repurposing tool. Version 2.5 includes new document optimization and assembly capabilities along with tools for the creation of electronic editions of print magazines and newspapers. It also can now convert TIFF files directly to PDF, compress and enhance files in single step; the desktop version also supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, Photoshop, and Postscript (Mac OS X 10.3 only) files. PDF Enhancer is available in Standard ($180) and Professional ($350) for desktop use and Server Edition ($1000) and Server Edition with JBIG2 compression support ($1500).
Apple is pushing sales of Power Mac G5 to business customers with a 24-Month, 0%, Fair Market Value Lease offer. Qualified business customers can enter into a 0% interest offer for 24 months through AFS Commercial Credit with a minimum purchase of $3000. Eligible equipment includes iMac, iBook, PowerBook, Power Mac G5, Xserve and Apple Displays; "soft" costs (software, services, etc.) are limited to the 10% of the total cost: "What's highly interesting is that this is clearly a high-quality, customized piece for every person on their list, because they've not only set up an individualized landing page on the web [see www.mynewG5.com], but also the printed piece includes my company's name in the body of the copy."
Apple shareholders Thursday reelected the company's six-member board, voted down a proposal to restrict executive pay, and voted in favor of retaining KPMG as the company's auditor. U.S. pension fund giant Calpers had objected to all three moves, and previously said it would withhold its 1.48 million shares from support of the measures. Nevertheless, the board was reelected with 82 percent of shareholder support. About ten resellers picketed the meeting, upset with Apple over alleged preferential treatment that Apple's own stores receive over third-party resellers. Jobs also dismissed the possibility of opening the iPod for RealNetworks.
Boinx iVeZeen 2.0, formerly known as iRecordNow, the application that allows a webcam to operate as a digital camcorder, now offers even better quality, motion detection, voice control, and AppleScript to start and stop recording. The new "Advanced Controls" let you adjust the values of the camera properties such as Hue, Saturation, Brightness and the Focus of the iSight camera in single value steps. Boinx iVeZeen 2.0 is available immediately for $15.
BitJazz has announced the development of StickyColor, a new process for interconverting between spectral RGB color pixels and video Y'CbCr color pixels with "absolute zero loss in image quality...[It] permits editors to switch between their favorite tools without having to worry about error accumulation from repeated conversion between RGB and YUV color spaces." StickyColor will be incorporated in the upcoming version 2 release of BitJazz's real-time nondestructive SheerVideo codecs for QuickTime, which will ship in May.
On Friday, May 14th, The Long Island Macintosh Users Group (LIMac) welcomes Daniel East for its monthly meeting at the Old Westbury campus of the New York Institute of Technology. Presented in cooperation with Matterform Software and Tonbrand Software , East will present "Intro to Effective Web Design: Making it work for everyone" along with the latest Mac news and "Tech 911 Q/A" help for members. In related news, O'Reilly is holding its 'Mac User Group Day' in Sebastopol on Saturday, April 24. Speakers include Derrick Story ("Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition," "iPhoto 2: The Missing Manual"), Chris Stone ("Mac OS X Panther in a Nutshell"), Tom Negrino & Dori Smith ("Mac OS X Unwired"), and Scott Fullam ("Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks").
German developer IRIDAS announced that Mac users now have access to its powerful video toolset including realtime, uncompressed playback, scrubbing with sound, AB Channels, Quick Compositing and a host of new features included in the new, multi platform version of FrameCycler. The FrameCycler MP product line includes FrameCycler MP Professional ($250), a RAM-buffered playback application targeted at animators and compositors as well as FrameCycler MP Digital Daily System (starts at $1500), which streams frame sequences directly off a fast disk array. The application will run on Mac OS X Panther.
New York Times columnist J.D. Biersdorfer, comparing desktop PCs in the $1K Club (from Dell, Gateway, and Apple), concludes: "The eMac was by far the easiest to set up of all the machines I tried out - power cord, keyboard, mouse and network cable, and you're all plugged in. (Not that a PC setup is hard anymore, since with most systems you get a color poster and colored-coded cables to guide you.) Software compatibility is still the Mac's Achilles' heel, however, as many programs are still Windows-only and gamers often face a frustrating lag until popular titles get ported over from their PC versions."
Apple has posted the new developer notes on its new machines, which include specifics on the internal design, I/O features, and expansion capabilities of the new Macs: eMac, 12-inch PowerBook G4, 15-inch PowerBook G4, 17-inch PowerBook G4, and iBook G4. (The developer note on the Xserve G5 is also available.)
An interveiw with Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen talks about the Adobe's Mac applications, focus, profits, and future: "When you look at our overall revenue, or percentage of revenue, we get somewhere between 22% and 25% of our business from Macintosh customers or software that runs on the Mac. If you factor out Acrobat and the server products, our Mac business has stayed relatively strong, which is good news. What we don't see are a lot of graphics professionals moving over, back from Windows to Macintosh.. Most of our customers are telling us they have plans to move to G5 this year, which is good news for the industry and good news for us."
CNN has posted a profile of Steve Jobs as part of TIME's 100: "the magazine's editors searched for newsmakers who have played a critical role in shaping modern society. The 20 picks in the 'Builders and Titans' category represent the best in international business, men and women who have created successful ones, championed established ones and influenced financial policy."
Apple's iPod has inspired a thriving aftermarket for owners who want to add features to their digital-music player, or simply sport custom aesthetics. "Like street racers who trick out their Hondas with air foils and neon lights, iPod users can buy external speakers, winter jackets or fanny packs for their pricey MP3 players," reports Reuters. One site lists over 60 different protective cases for those not satisfied with Apple's basic black model. For some, that's not nearly enough: "I still haven't found one I really like," said New York entrepreneur Nina Watkins. Some might consider the Felicidade Groove Purse, a white synthetic-leather tote bag with built-in speakers that can function as an "upscale boom box."
Tech news: Toshiba unveiled a 100GB drive for portables which will begin sampling next month and usually ships "several months" later; A new system in Tyler, Texas puts digital video cameras on the city's police cars and links them through a wireless network; U.S. investigators have conducted 120 searches across the globe to break up online piracy networks that distribute copyrighted music, movies and software.
Marketcircle today updated its powerful contact and sales manager, DayLite 1.6. The update includes Proxy access to calendars in a multi-user environment, streamlined contact details with hyperlinks, a new customizable report mechanism with over 10 templates. Version 1.6 also includes an updated database server, improved Palm and Address Book synchronization, new toolbar shortcuts, consolidated activity tab and more. The update is free for all DayLite v1.5 and Business Edition users. DayLite retails for $150 per seat.
Gush 1.1b for Mac OS X is an all-one news reader and messaging client with support for MSN, AIM, Yahoo, and ICQ as well as Jabber/XMPP network. Version 1.1 offers an improved news reader, multiprotocol IM support, HTTP proxy support, presence change notifications, feed icons, an image viewr, and other changes. It also features a "unique" Split Chat mode, conversation management, Group Announcements, and tabbed news browsing. The "rough"b beta runs on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.
Native Instruments announced the worldwide availability of Elektrik Piano, which "fuses the four most legendary electric pianos of the last century into one charismatic software instrument. [It] reproduces the beloved electro- magnetic sounds of the Fender Rhodes MK I and MK II, the Hohner Clavinet and the Wurlitzer piano with unparalleled authenticity and charm--making it an essential companion for studio and stage." It is available for $230 and runs on Mac OS X.
Opera Software today released Opera 7.5b1, a beta of its redesigned cross-platform web browser: "Today's release marks the first time that upgrades for all desktop platforms have been released simultaneously, with Opera now bringing its Mac browser up to par. Opera 7.50 offers users a significantly improved user experience, with added Internet functions and an entirely new user interface." It offers an enhanced built-in e-mail client and a new IRC-compatible chat feature as well as an improved interface, a better layout, etc. An ad-supported version is available. Registration ($30) will remove the banner and enables 6 months of access to Opera Mail.
FileMaker, Inc. reminds customers that the free preview of FileMaker Server 7 begins today. The preview includes a functional pre-release version of FileMaker Server 7, which can be used with trial or retail versions of FileMaker Pro 7 or FileMaker Developer 7. In order to participate in the FileMaker Server 7 Preview you must be a current registered FileMaker customer. FileMaker Pro Server 7 will sell for $1,000 ($500 upgrade) when it ships this summer, while FileMaker Pro Server Advanced 7 will cost $2,500 ($1,500 upgrade).
Canto today released Cumulus 6 for Enterprise, the server-centric version of its digital asset management software. Features include Embedded Java Plug-In technology, multilingual support, Live Filtering, central asset management in one window, and more. Both server and client versions are available for Mac OS X; the basic Enterprise package includes the server software and 20 client licenses.
PocketMac, a developer of software that enables Macs to interface with PocketPCs, has put together a site detailing how Palm users can trade-in their device for an HP iPaq PocketPC and receive a minimum of $93 in rebates from HP and PocketMac. PocketMac's software also enables users to directly sync their Palm data with their new PocketPC.
Starting today, AOL customers can begin accessing their email from any IMAP-supported third-party email program, as opposed to having to use AOL's software. Instructions for configuring one's email client are available here. Certain management limitations still exist, however, which are detailed on the aforementioned page. Meanwhile, readers note that Google's Gmail is not (yet) compatible with Apple's Safari browser.
Kagi, the popular service that manages payments for shareware authors, today announced that it has integrated LicenseControl from Derman Enterprises into its service, enabling shareware authors to take advantage of anti-piracy product activation licenses. LicenseControl prevents customers from sharing their registration code with others. The service features a zero entry cost model and costs $0.50 to $5.00 per license depending on the software's number of sales.
Pod2Go 0.7 brings support for downloading lyrics to your iPod, full article support for news feeds, the ability to export your iPod's music to a webpage, manage your iPod's notes and much more! It also features weather forecasts, movie listings, stock quotes, horoscopes, driving directions, etc. [1.3MB] CrushFTP 3.2 (starts at $25) is an update to the Java-based FTP server, featuring load-balancing, redundancy, and bandwidth loading as well as other advanced features. It brings a workaround for Mac OS X 10.3/Safari users, updates the documentation, and dozens of other fixes. [Classic, OSX] SimpleImage 4.0.1 ($25) is an image and movie viewer for Mac OS X. Version 4.0.1 offers improved launch time, slideshow items window toggling with the Tab key, freeform movie resizing, and bug fixes. [Download - 2.2MB] Archive Toolbox 2.0.1 is an update to the $30 plug-in for the recently announced FileMaker Pro 7. Archive Toolbox 2.0.1 supports the creation and expansion of two popular archive file formats: StuffIt (.sit) and Zip (.zip). The update also adds support for UNC file paths. [Download - 2.2MB] Apimac Address Book 5.9 is a practical telephone and address application with extended printing capacities that allows users to manage addresses, phone numbers, URLs, and e-mail addresses. The OS X version delivers a new shareware scheme, while the Classic version can now be used completely for free. [Download - OS X, Classic] 007 Nightfire ($40 pre-order) from Aspyr has reached the beta development stage. "The ultimate secret agent is back in his most dangerous adventure yet." It features online battles with up to 32 people and challenging Al enemies in more than 15 exotic locations, nine different single player missions, and several special gadgets. DesktopCollage 2.0 ($13) allows users to easily arrange images, movies and animations ("stickers") directly on the desktop. Version 2.0 offers many new features, including: movie stickers, full control over the layering of the stickers, initial settings for playback and volume for each movie sticker individually, and multiple-monitor support. [Download - 323KB] MConvert X 5.3 is a $20 conversion utility that offers currency and measurements conversions. Measurements include: Acceleration, Angle, Area, Consumption, Currency, Data, Energy, Length, Mass, Permeability, Pressure, Radioactivity, Temperature, Time, Torque, Velocity, Viscocity, Volume. [Download - 949KB]
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 ÂPower 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