iView MediaPro 2.5 features an improved UI, enhanced file/folder file management, and Adobe XMP support. It allows users to capture, annotate, organize, search, repurpose and present digital files--with the ability to create custom slide shows, Web galleries, movies, catalog layouts, and contact sheets. A basic version of the $200 application is $50. [4.5MB] Sound Byte 2.2 updates the "cart machine" for playing sound recordings (for DJs, radio stations, etc.) It adds a pause feature, custom start points, multiple file drag & drop support, a better interface, etc. It is available in Lite ($25, single rack of carts, 75 recordings), Standard ($50, five racks, 375 recordings), and Pro ($150, 50 racks, 3750 recordings). [Classic, OSX] Translation Service 1.2.1 ($5) translates selected text from one language to another. Supported languages include English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, Greek, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian. It is accessible from 'Services' menu and offers a customizable shortcut. [656KB] iConquer 2.3 ($13) updates the game of world conquest for Mac OS X. Version 2.3 features a new interface for downloading map plug-ins, twenty maps total maps (including a new Excel map that disguises the game as a spreadsheet), and a new Continents info window. It supports both multiplayer and artifical intelligence gameplay. [7.2MB] Bookpedia 1.0 offers an iTunes-like interface for cataloging a book collection: "it retrieves all Book information from the Internet and lets you arrange your Books in any which way you like." It retrieves book information from 3 different Amazon sites and Library of Congress, offers book ratings, supports UPC barcodes, and more. [2.1MB] Googlet 1.5 (free) offers a floating window from which users can directly search dozens of search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, BBC News, Dictionary.com, eBay, iTunes Music Store, Reuters, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many others. [71KB]
Kutoka Interactive today announced Didi & Ditto Kindergarten, the first installment in its new grade-based series. The $20 title stars two "zany beavers and grabs and holds children's attention with fun activities related to math, literacy, music, logic, creativity and memory. It features "engaging characters, unique and distinctive graphics, feature-film quality animation and solid educational content that builds on the basic classroom curriculum." This first release is designed for kindergarten-level education (ages 4-6) and offers three levels of difficulty.
Evening tech news: Net threats keep coming as Sasser evolves to a new variant, and a virus dubbed Wallon targets Microsoft's media software; the United States is launching a new push to regain the lead in the competition to have the most powerful super computer; cheating has gone high-tech at one high school, after a student was caught using a camera phone to cheat on an exam.
Apple's iTunes has won two 2004 Webby Awards, after being nominated in three different categories last month. Apple's iTunes won in the 'Commerce' and 'Music' categories, but lost in the 'Services' category to Google. Apple was also the People's choice winner in the 'Music' category, while eBay took the People's Choice Award in the 'Commerce' category.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: IBM's recent announcement that its G5 production problems are easing, and the number of defective units has dropped closer to the company's target; installing a 7200 rpm hard drive in a PowerBook G4; rumors of a G5-based iMac in the near future; sending a complaint to Apple for poor service; criticism of some feature changes in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.
NewTech Infosystems announced today the latest release of Dragon Burn , the easy-to-use CD/DVD burning software. In addition to fine-tuning the DVD Video burning capabilities of Dragon Burn 3.1.19, NTI has added Panther compatibility and support for virtually all of the leading image and audio file formats. Dragon Burn CD provides Mac users with a single, integrated solution for recording audio, data, and MP3 files to CDs and DVDs with DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, Dual DVD, DVD Multi, and DVD Super-Multi drives.
Hamrick Software today officially announced VueScan 8.0, as briefly noted yesterday. Version 8.0 is a major revision to the program that enables users to easily produce better looking digital images from color snapshots, negatives, slides and documents. VueScan 8.0 now offers an enhanced, user-friendly interface, support for raw files for 109 digital cameras, and support for more than 100 scanners. The Standard Edition of VueScan costs $60 and the Professional Edition costs $80 for a single user license.
KeynoteUser.com has released Keynote Address ($13) for Apple's Keynote presentation application: "Originally based on the look of Steve Jobs' presentations, Keynote Address allows you to create presentation that resemble Steve's simple but strong slide layouts. In addition, Keynote Address includes 26 custom, stretchable photo cutouts, allowing you to totally customize your slides from scratch. Add to that 8 stretchable highlight boxes and 18 slides full of extra objects..." It also released Gradient Blue ($7), the first in a new series of inexpensive themes that contain 16 slides, several stretchable extras.
Apple is listed as an exhibitor at DV Expo East, which takes place July 13-16 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. The Expo has almost the same dates as Macworld Expo Boston, which takes place July 12-15 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Apple has still yet to confirm its presence at the semi-annual tradeshow for Mac users.
Intego today announced its latest virus definitions are offering protection from a new Mac OS X Trojan Horse: AS.MW2004.Trojan: "This Trojan horse, when double-clicked, permanently deletes all the files in the current user's home folder. Intego has notified Apple, Microsoft and the CERT, and has been working in close collaboration with these companies and organizations. The AS.MW2004.Trojan is a compiled AppleScript applet, a 108 KB self-contained application, with an icon resembling an installer for Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac OS X. This AppleScript runs a Unix command that removes files, using AppleScript's ability to run such commands. The AppleScript displays no messages, dialogs or alerts. Once the user double-clicks this file, their home folder and all its contents are deleted permanently."
Apple is now selling a 5 pack of 8x DVD-R media for $20 with an estimated ship time of 7-10 business days: "Apple 8x DVD-R media is certified for use in Apple 8x SuperDrive and with 4x, 2x, or 1x SuperDrive equipped systems (some systems may require a software update [...]). These discs are ideal for use with iDVD or DVD Studio Pro. Before you use this media in any DVD recording device, it is important that your device be up to date." Apple is also selling the Apple 4x DVD-R media kit (5 pack) for $10.
Apple continues to add exclusive content to its iTunes Music Store with the addition of an exclusive catalog from Death Row Records, exclusive albums from Roy Orbison, an exclusive track from Snow Patrol, and a free single from San Francisco's new wave revivalist quartet Simon Stinger. Apple also recently added exclusive tracks from the Mean Girls feature film and an exclusive track from German DJ-turned-produer ATB.
The winners of the 2004 dotmac.info Movie Competition have been announced. The competition started in February and ran through April 15th, with hundreds of movies, all from .Mac members, being submitted for consideration. Over $1,500 in prizes were awarded to the top three entrants in both amateur and professional categories, whose movies are available for viewing.
Logic Pro 6.4.2 updates Apple's professional audio application for music composition, audio recording, sound generation, notation editing, and post production. The free update offers import/export of OMF files in Mac OS X, enhances support of AU plug-ins by Logic, includes a new, simplified registration process, and offers better reliability. [Classic, OSX] SoftCare Overset Manager 3.0 ($100) for Adobe InDesign CS and Adobe InCopy CS allows users to count fitting text and overset with greater flexibility as well as show, edit and print overset text. Users can choose to automatically show or hide overset frames for the selected text flow or all text flows on the page. [670KB] Curio 1.2 ($100) helps generate, communicate, and organize ideas using a freeform sketchbook environment that can collect images, bookmarks, documents, etc.; take notes; and sketch with pressure-sensitive pens. It also offers 'Sleuth' for web searches, archiving, and a built-in asset manager as well as new HTML export and inner-project links. [1.6MB] Missing Sync for Pocket PC 1.0.4 ($40) uses Apple's native iSync technology to synchronize information between a Pocket PC handheld and Mac OS X. It adds support for several new handhelds (Carrier Devices' i-mate Pocket PC, O2's XDA II, and Toshiba's e400 and e800 models). It adds the ability to automatically download drivers and support for multiple users on Mac OS X. [7.3MB] ImagePort 1.3.1 ($100) resolves some known issues in ALAP's Adobe Photoshop import XTension for QuarkXPress. ImagePort retains full control of layers, channels and paths once the image is imported into the QuarkXPress document and allows users to manipulate layers, channels and paths. It includes support for Adjustment Layers. [6.4MB] breve 1.9 (free) updates the 3D simulation environment for decentralized systems and artificial life. It includes physical simulation and collision detection as well as an OpenGL display engine. Version 1.9 support PNG and MPEG on all platforms, better networking, new demos, and an experimental Java bridge plugin. [3.8MB] SpellCatcher X 10.1.2 ($40) improves its Speech Recognitions functions with a full, flexible, context-sensitive recognition model that allows users to make corrections, change languages, ignore words, learn words, create shorthands and much more with spoken commands. It also adds new preferences and other many other enhancements. [5.7MB]
The 1394 Trade Association approved Monday a new wireless protocol adaption layer that paves the way for future wireless FireWire devices (IEEE 1394 over IEEE 802.15.3). The specification allows for both wired and wireless devices to communicate with each other. Prototype products are expected to arrive later this year.
PearPC is a new PowerPC architecture emulator for Linux that allows users to install Mac OS X, Darwin for PowerPC, or Mandrake Linux 9.1 for PowerPC on their systems. Version 0.1 is the first public release of the software. "Please note that this is an experimental program not meant for productive use. There are still unimplemented instructions, mysterious bugs and missing features," a disclaimer reads. A screenshot of Mac OS X booting under Linux can be seen here.
The iPod mini and its five colors reflect personality, analysts say. "They are a point of differentiation for the individual and they're almost a status symbol. Because of the colors and its small size, it really is an expression of personality." Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, told Reuters. Meanwhile, Wired notes that many high-end fashion designers now offer iPod cases, with Fendi's Juke Box topping the list with a $1,500 price tag and the capability to carry up to a dozen iPods. The case's designer, Karl Lagerfeld, owns 40 iPods.
Apple's continual effort to bolster the iTunes Music Store catalog is leading the company to dig up music that's out-of-print, never been available in a digital format, released only overseas, or simply forgotten, Wired reports. "Even Steve [Jobs] himself will occasionally send me an e-mail pointing me in the direction of a missing album or artist that he's looking for, and we'll go and find it," said Alex Luke, director of music programming and label relations for iTunes. Adds Barry Ritholtz, a market strategist with Maxim Group, a money-management firm. "It's probably a bit much to say Jobs is saving the music industry, but he's showing them the way into the digital age. They have been stumbling around drunk in the dark."
Apple has won a patent for the interface of its iTunes music software, reports CNET News.com, "underscoring the growing importance of the multimedia business for the company." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple a patent for its media player software interface on May 4, along with several other features of the company's high-profile products. Other parts of the iTunes software, including the ability to stream songs over a network to another copy of the program, had been the subject of earlier patents. Apple has recently been the recipient of countless of patents, ranging -- in the last month -- from iTunes software components to the swivel arm joint supporting the iMac's flat-panel screen.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX