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Afternoon tech news: Google is expected to announce it will carry out an initial public share offering (IPO), the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday; Network Associates is changing its name to McAfee, the name of its most prominent product line and will sell its Sniffer line of manageability tools for $275 million in cash; The DOJ's "Operation Fastlink" sweep consisted of 120 searches in 27 states and 10 countries, where officials seized 200 computers, 30 of which were alleged to have been used as storage and distribution servers, containing thousands of copyrighted works, including newly released movies and music.
Inside Mac Games today announced that it has begun shipping its first DVD issue of the MacGames DVD, a subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters, and much more. There are over a dozen new demos, hundreds of shareware games, updates, add-ons, and QuickTime movies and trailers on the DVD. That's over 4 gigs of Mac gaming goodness!" Subscriptions to the MacGames DVD start at $50 for one year and include a free game.
PalmOne next week plans to announce two new Zire handhelds as it continues to look to the consumer market, according to a CNET News.com report. Both will use PalmSource's Garnet operating system. The Zire 72 ($300), which will use Intel's 312MHz handheld processor, will come with a built-in digital camera, a digital audio player, a high-resolution display, a SD expansion slot and Bluetooth on the high-end model (but will not use the sliding case used with the Zire 71). The Zire 31 ($150) will use an 200MHz Intel handheld chip and will come with a SD expansion slot, a digital audio player, and a display with a 160-by-160-pixel resolution.
A Japanese company says it was deluged with thousands of orders for multiple eMac PCs this week after a glitch caused the computers to be listed on an online shopping site for the knock-down price of $25, according to PC World: "Catena says it received orders from around 20,000 people for a total of 100 million of the computers, but in a message on its Web site says it won't be able to fulfill the orders. The company says a code number assigned to a set of five 8X DVD-R discs, which were the products it was intending to sell, was sent to Yahoo Japan on Wednesday afternoon."
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: photos of one customer's new Apple Xserve G5 dual-2.0GHz; availability and shipping status of the ATI Radeon 9000 for Mac; critical discussion of the aesthetics of the recent aluminum PowerBook G4 enclosures; comparing the former top of the line PowerBook G4 to the latest top model; audio line-in options for connecting an iPod to a car's stereo; the best types and the ideal amount of RAM for Mac OS X.
Aspyr today announced that Call of Duty has gone 'gold': "You get to fight alongside your brothers-in-arms as history comes alive. In momentous battles from D-Day to Stalingrad, you’ll find yourself in incredibly real terrain, caught in breathtaking life and death combat. You’ll fight as American and British paratroopers and as a young Russian soldier conscripted into the Soviet Army." It features 24 single-player missions as well as an online gaming team-based multiplayer action. The $50 title will begin shipping May 10 and will be available in stores nationwide by May 14.
Cycling '74 has released MODE plugins, which "combine classic synthesis and effects technique with state-of-the-art performance control. MODE features user-friendly arpeggiators, integrated synth effects and simplified control of complex systems." The suite, built using Pluggo technology, includes five primary plugins: POLY (polyphonic synthesizer), MONO (synth with a dual 2-op FM engine), BANG (FM and analog percussion voices), SPIN (time-synchronized effects) and WASH (delay-based effects processor) as well as 18 plug-in "modules". It is available for $200 for Mac OS X (and a host that supports VST, AU or RTAS plug-ins).
Roxio's Toast Titanium 6.05 will update any previous 'Titanium 6' version of the CD/DVD disc burning application. It adds an auto-play option to DVD video, new support for 12x and 16x DVD recorders, support for 24-bit 192kHz files for audio CDs, support for copying from +R discs, improved playback of PAL VCDs, and other DVD Music Album improvements. [14MB] iRecordMusic 1.3 ($20) offers new ways to split recordings, bookmarks and history, advanced media handling, and many important bug fixes. The application enables you to record Internet audio as MP3 and MP4-AAC and can record multiple source simultaneously, offers iCal integration, and includes AppleScript support. [0.9MB] VideoWeb 2 (29€) for Mac OS X updates adnX software's application for sharing a webcam or DV camera on the internet. It brings a new interface, functions to manage the apache server, better ftp support, time-stamps on images, application of image effects, an integrated HTML editor, Panther optimizations, and other new options. [2.4MB] LatitudeZERO ($100) is Hi-Voltage's latest FileMaker Pro plug-in that brings new functions pertaining to latitude and longitude coordinates, including calculating the distance between ZIP codes/coordinates, record sorting by distance, and determination if specific points are within a certain radius. [726KB] DiscBlaze 3.1 ($20) is an update to the application for burning data to CDs and DVDs. Version 3.1 offers a revamped interface, drag & drop support for folders, AppleScript support (including dictionary), a new burner, and import of burn lists. [1.7MB] Cumulus 6.0.2 is a free upgrade for myCumulus ($20), Single User ($70) and Workgroup editions (starting at $2,500). It features enhanced stability and performance, a new Palette Mode, printing of records, categories and previews (based on the selected View Set), new options for print/search/display functions, a Quark XPress filter on Mac OS X and new PowerPoint support modules for Mac OS X. [form] Subtitler 1.5 ($120) adds spotting with QuickTime movies, support for timecode comments, export to Avid (EDL), Final Cut Pro (XML) and DVD Studio Pro (STL), and export to 720p: "a translator will now be capable to do the whole spotting and translating within one application...you can now also reuse the same subtitles for a video and a DVD application." [2.8MB] OnSync 1.5 ($10) allows users to sync your contacts between a mobile phone and Mac OS X Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Eudora and Now Contact. Version 1.5 adds support for more Samsung mobile models (SPH-A600/610/620/660 family) and Sagem mobile models (mySeries familiy) as well as email addresses management for some Samsung and Motorola mobiles. [1.2MB]
HELIOS Software has updated its ImageServer server-based image replacement and conversion solution to support QuarkXPress 6, as well as Quark 4/5 (including Japanese versions). The HELIOS OPI TuneUp XTension enables full QuarkXPress OPI workflow support and allows working with foreground and background colorized images as well as DCS-2 images containing spot colors, ensuring proper separation for composite (in-RIP DeviceN) and separated PostScript output or PDF generation using the HELIOS ImageServer image replacement; and the HELIOS Preview XTension allows creating preview files of QuarkXPress 4/5/6 documents. Both are available for free download for ImageServer users with software upgrade service.
MacMice today introduced its MicFlex, a USB microphone, which it says works as both a desktop and a portable microphone solution: "The entire USB mic assembly is enclosed in a small aluminum pod at the end of an 18-inch long flexible metal tube stalk. And, the stalk can be used inserted into a desktop base, or removed, and used plugged directly into a Powerbook or iBook USB port. MicFlex is plug and play with all Macs with a USB port, running OS 9.1 or higher." It is priced at $50 and will will begin shipping on May 7th.
SMART Technologies has released SMART Ideas 4.1 concept-mapping software in English and French. The Mac OS X-compatible software enables teachers and students to create colorful, multilevel concept maps to capture and organize ideas during brainstorming sessions and class discussions. The software can export maps to HTML, AppleWorks and Microsoft Word; it also features Cliplets, unique interactive clip-art images that students can manipulate directly to learn concepts such as telling time, measuring angles and calculating probability. SMART Ideas software can be used on desktop computers, SMART Board interactive whiteboards and Sympodium interactive lecterns.
Antares Auto-Tune 4 is a new version of the professional pitch correction application. It is now available for RTAS ($360), VST ($360), TDM ($540), and MAS ($360). Auto-Tune 4 includes updates to the automatic (specify target behaviors, virtual keyboard, enhanced Vibrator functions, etc.) and graphical modes (multi-level undo/redo, navigation controls, larger pitch edit display, etc.) as well as 192kHz compatibility, a selectable knob control, and a sleek new interface. Upgrades are $150 (TDM version) and $100 for others.
At Providence's Success by Design conference, Apple VP Ron Johnson said that "while investors were wary, the science museum-like stores work... Unlike most retail outlets, Apple stores are sparse, open and have a feeling that's more like a hands-on exhibit at a science museum. The idea, Johnson said, was to make customers feel as though they are in a public place, like a library. Only 25 percent of a store's floor space is devoted to products, he said, such as the company's popular iPod music player. Products are stocked, but they are kept in the back, out of view." [free registration required]
Apple's Motion and xSan won the Vidy Award Best of Show 2004 awards at NAB 2004, while Apple's Motion was recognized by a Government Video Salute and by the second annual Awards for Innovation in Media (AIMs) in the 'Content Creation' category. Apple and Panasonic's 100 Mbps DV-HD over IEEE-1394 also received a Government Video Salute and DTV Pick of Show. The 2004 Vidy Awards, Digital Television/TV Broadcast Awards and Government Video Salutes are presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in the advancement of the art and science of video technology; the AIMs recognize technological innovations that "best address current and upcoming issues in the electronic media industry by boosting efficiency, increasing user flexibility and creativity, and lowering cost.
Griffin Technology today announced the iTalk Voice Recorder for the iPod is now shipping. The iPod accessory snaps directly on top of the iPod and turns it into a fully functional voice recorder and playback device. In addition to its built-in microphone and internal speaker, the iTalk has a connector that supports both headphone monitoring and the use of an external microphone. Recording control is handled by the iPod and recording time is limited by amount of free space on the iPod. The iTalk retails for $40 and is available online.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt