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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 4ís 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 (100Ä) 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 brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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