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The oPod by Otter Box is a watertight protective case for the Apple iPod. The $50 case has a "water resistant membrane [that] keeps your iPod safe at the beach, pool, river, lake or just walking in the rain." The manufacturer is taking pre-orders, for shipment June 15th. All pre-orders ($50) will be entered to win $20 at the iTunes music store. The case is available in a wide variety of colors. Otter Box says it will debut a version for the iPod Mini in the summer. An armband accessory is available for $15 as well.
This summer the Digital Media Academy (DMA), a nationally recognized, Stanford University accredited creative technology immersion program will be expanding its course offerings. Among the new course offerings is a Final Cut Pro Master course, taught by Tom Wolsky together with a group of FCP gurus, each of whom is an industry-recognized specialist in one of Final Cut 4’s specialty applications. "These experts bring a vast pool of knowledge and expertise to the course, which provides a unique opportunity for students to meet and work with the best in the business."
Music Industry News: Apple is "on a mission to sell all the music there is," with Alex Luke, Apple's director of music programming and label relations "hunting down everything from out-of-print singles in a music company's vaults to songs that have never been released;" the price of download music continues to rise as some longer songs are priced from $1.99 to $5.99 (Sony's Connect), some services sell only "partial" albums for $9.99, album prices rise beyond $15, and different services sell different musician offerings; Bell Canada has joined the gold rush in online music sales with the launch of its WMA-compatible Puretracks music service in Canada.
Syntext has released Serna 1.5 for Mac OS X, a WYSIWYG XML editor that incorporates on-the-fly XSL-driven rendering technology, making "XML easily accessible to authors of technical and business documents." Version 1.5 also offers XML catalog support, enhanced UNICODE symbol manipulation, basic XHTML support, and out-of-box support for NITF (News Industry Text Format), Docbook 4.3, and DITA 1.3. The interface mimicks that of a conventional word processor, and its growing base of supported industrial DTDs is now complemented with XslBricks, an XSL template library, which allows XSL developers to build new simple stylesheets very quickly. It is available for 15% off ($254) until June 1st.
The Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry has written a new freeware Trojan Detection Utility that checks for applications in user's Downloads folder. DownloadCheck, created in response to the MP3Concept Trojan horse release of April 2004: "Although its highly unlikely Mac users will encounter a MP3 or other document type masquerading as an application, it is best to be prepared. DownloadCheck was released as a deterrent for anyone who might consider writing an exploit of this type. We hope that we'll never need to use it."
Ulysses 1.1 (100€) ist a free update to the text editor for creative writers. Version 1.1 supports text markers; time stamp; floating infobox for files placed in the notes, a browser with manual/automatic sorting, import of HTML, DOC, and RTF, LeTeX export, more print options, new "themes", extended preferences, etc. [8.5MB] GyazMail 1.2 ($18) is an email client for Mac OS X that offers support for multiple accounts, messaging threading, HTML display, advanced search, customizable shortcuts, 3-pane display, and more. It adds Junk Mail filter support, support for SpamSieve, auto-completion for previous recipients, auto deletion of duplicate messages, new Rules actions, and more.[3.6MB] Pyramid 1.1.7 ($30) updates the visual thinking software for Mac OS X. New features added include options to view notes on a detached floating panel, center-justify multi-line topics, and automatically check for updates upon startup. It also adds the ability to hide annotation and a comprehensive set of object alignment commands. [422KB] Kids GoGoGo 8.4 ($30) offers improved filtering speed, an improved thesaurus (German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc.), a better database structure, and other enhancements. Kids GoGoGo helps control Web browsing by limiting access to adult-only content, limiting access by time, disabling applications, offering custom "black" lists, browser history archiving, and screen logging. [3.1MB] Fire 1.0.1 (free) updates the multiprotocol IM client with Jabber SSL and stability fixes, an AIM crash fix, problems installing themes, and an issue which caused high CPU usage with Yahoo accounts. It runs on Mac OS X 10.1 or later and offers support for AIM, ICQ, irc, Jabber, MSN, and Yahoo! Messenger. [for 10.1, for 10.2] Brian Dunning's free FileMaker 7 search tool offers HTML code that anyone can use to add a search of FileMaker 7 Custom Functions to their web site. It creates to a form to search the new Custom Function library from any web page. The open-source software can easily be integrated into any Website.
LaCie this week began notifying customers that it no longer has plans to bring Pixela FastCoder to the US market (see review). FastCoder, available in the Japanese market, is a hardware-based MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoder that plugs into the Mac's FireWire port and encodes files to MPEG-1 or MPEG-2; it is bundled with CaptyDVD 2.0, a full-featured DVD authoring program that includes a Dolby Digital-AC3 audio encoder. LaCie's email to customers says that quality issues prevented it from bringing the solution the US market.
TikiMac announced today the launch of the new Mahana series of high-capacity and performance hard drives with dual-FireWire 800 interfaces (using the Oxford 922 chipset). The Mahana sports a single, large RAID-0 (striped) disk volume out of the box, uses high-performance 7,200 rpm drives with 8MB of disk cache, and features an ulta-quiet fan. The Mahana series is available in 320GB, 400GB, and 500GB capacities and ship with a 3-year limited warranty. The drives are expected to ship later this month with prices starting at $390 (includes a FireWire 800 cable, FireWire 400 cable and an A/C adapter.
Belkin has introduced a new line of Belkin Uninterruptible Power Supplies, offering battery and surge protection. Currently shipping in North America, this line is being displayed at Networld+Interop Las Vegas 2004. The line fetures 1-in 2-out RJ11 surge protection for phone equipment, power management software for automatic shutdown, notifications (proactive alerts, messaging, diagnostic support, and history logs), scheduled shtudowns, 6 surge-protected outlets (4 with battery backup), USB connectivity, and a 3-year warranty and data recovery warranty. The Home Series Backup is available is $40 (200W, 28 min) and $60 (300W, 28 min). The Office Series is $70 (330W, 28 min) and $100 (400W, 38 min), while the Enterprise versions are $120 (540W, 50 min) and $140 (640W, 80 min). Update: Readers note the included software is not Mac compatible but third-party solutions are available: PowerGuardian and TimeLeft (free).
Logitech is previewing a family of three new USB-based game controllers at the E3 gaming expo. Due this fall, the Logitech Cordless RumblePad 2 ($40) uses 2.4 GHz wireless technology (with frequency hopping) for wireless connectivity, features 100 of play on two AA batteries, and offers dual-vibration feedback. Along with the corded Logitech RumblePad 2 ($30, fall debut), it features an improved 8-way D-pad, dual analog control sticks for maximum control, and a special-textured rubber grip for added comfort. Logitech's new translucent blue Precision GamePad, due by the end of the year, is the company's most affordable game controller at $10, while the Dual Action GamePad ($20) features dual analog control sticks.
Tech news: An attacker using a low-powered, portable device such as an wireless-enabled PDA may cause significant disruption to all 802.11 wireless traffic within range as noted in a Denial of Service Vulnerability in IEEE 802.11 Wireless Devices; The U.S. Congress is discussing revising the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which has attracted extensive criticism during the past six years; and A flaw in Microsoft Windows could allow hackers to take control of a PC by luring users to a malicious Web site and coaxing them into clicking on a link.
The Plasticsmith has released a new height-adjustable Lapvantage stand for laptops that offers "more features, including a clear, slip-on shelf to hold a HUB or docking station, a new color designed to complement the new silver Powerbook, IBook and older Titanium models, a cord clutter management solution and a new low price, 25% less than our original model." It swivels 360-degrees, vertically adjusts for optimal viewing, and sports a clear, polished acrylic platform. Gray (new), black and white models are now available for $60. It includes new silcon feet and cord clips.
ConceptDraw Project 1.1 ($180) updates the cross-platform software for brainstorming, organizing, and managing projects. It features clear attractive Gantt charts, WBS charts and Mind-Maps. Version 1.1 adds a customizable project calendar to set tasks also for weekends and holidays as well as a renovated Data Grid and export/import of MS Project XML. [form] iFlash 2.1 ($10) is a unique application designed that uses a flash-card style learning technique to assist learning. Version 2.1 includes a mew iFlash Deck Library from which users can download different card decks designed by other iFlash users as well as easily share your own as well as includes an easy way to combine many decks, table column sorting, etc. [1.2MB] Impression 2.5 is a substantial update to the backup application for Mac OS X. This release provides a significantly enhanced interface, a lovely set of new icons a significant speed boost, selective file restoral, better logging, and other enhancements. A free trial is available. [597KB] disclabel 2.0 ($30) updates SmileOnMyMac's CD labeling software with new foreground/background layers, the ability to arrange/distribute objects, masking and soft focus effects for image editing, montage creation, export (PDF, TIFF, JPEG), Rendezvous-based sharing, and a new set of professionally-designed templates. [6MB] Downsize 1.1 ($7) adds more settings for image quality and size, enhanced drag-and-drop support , and automatic update checking. Downsize allows digital photos to be resized and compressed quickly and easily and integrates with Apple's iPhoto by allowing users to select their iPhoto albums directly from within the application. [96KB] iStorm 3.4 ($20) brings a new cartoon caption tool for iChalk, better Internet collaboration, a new Web-editing module with "steal-and-archive' functions, sync PDF with notations, voice messages, and webcam snapshots. The collaboration tool uses Rendezvous to instantly share documents, offering an integrated TeX equation interface, a built-in calculator, etc. [14MB] Morgana's Revenge (EMR) has been converted to the Aleph One engine, bringing EMR to the Mac OS X platform and offering OpenGL support: "Battle Morgana's minions across time and space, wielding weapons and encountering characters native to different time periods. ...the Marathon Map Makers Guild has transformed the original Marathon into a spectacular magical new world of legend, mystery, intrigue and challenge" with 37 solo levels and 26 networked levels.
Copper 2.5 is the latest version of the Web-based project management and collaboration tool for creative teams to share information more effectively. The latest version offers an all-new permissions system, an easier interface, project templates, task copying, email broadcasts, a Better File System, tighter contacts integration, and timesheets. The standard version costs $300, while the corporate version is $750.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
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