GlobalSCAPE has updated CuteFTP Mac 2 Professional, the commercial version of its file transfer protocol client that provides secure transfers, power features, and runs on Mac OS X only. Highlights of the new release include secure sessions, fast transfers, easier connections, robust management, and improved navigation and viewing. Pricing for the professional version starts at $50.
PC Magazine has published a review of Apple's iTunes 4.5. "While iTunes is still a top-tier player and store, the improvements in 4.5 turn out to be less interesting in practice than they are on paper [...] iMix is less than thrilling so far. Looking at other people's song lists isn't all that fascinating, and there's no way to post comments on mixes; all you can do is rate them from one to five stars. [...] To be truly useful, Party Shuffle should offer more control over which artists, playlists, or genres should or shouldn't be included [...] iTunes finally delivers jewel-case printing with this release ... but here again, customization is lacking."
ACD Systems today announced Canvas 9 Advanced GIS Mapping Edition, which blends native support for Geographic Information System (GIS) data with Canvasā its vector illustration, image editing, page layout, Web graphics, and desktop presentation features. The program includes a host of professionally engineered GIS capabilities for visualization, annotation, editing, filtering, and import or export of GIS data. The "Advanced" version offers new editing features by object properties, workflow enhancements, and expanded import/export options. It is available for $1000 (with a $50 discount for the electronic version), while the Canvas 9 GIS Mapping Edition is already available for $550.
eWEEK has a follow-up report on the Mac OS X/Safari security vulnerability first noted by MacNN yesterday: "The issue revolves around two URI handlers, 'help' and 'disk.' The first allows any AppleScript on the user's machine to be run, while the second allows users to mount a disk image automatically over a network. In theory, this allows malicious users to create a Web page that will either download a small disk image onto a Mac or mount it remotely, then execute an AppleScript on the mounted image, which could contain any Unix commandó including ones to remove any file in the user's Home directory. The flaw works with any browser, including Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox." One reader has posted a webpage that offers details on the problem and several examples of scripts that will automatically execute when viewing a page [warning: clicking on the link will execute an non-destructive 'du' command in the terminal as an example] Isophonic.net has released a third-party fix for the security vulnerability: GURLfriend 1.0.
Evening tech news: Internet portal Yahoo on Tuesday released a new e-mail standard that prevents "spam" marketers from hiding unwanted messages behind legitimate e-mail addresses; a federal judge on Tuesday handed domain name registry VeriSign a preliminary setback in its dispute with Internet regulators over proposals to add controversial new features to .com and .net addresses; L.L. Bean has filed lawsuits against Nordstrom and three other companies it alleges used unauthorized pop-up ads that appeared when some customers visited the clothier and outdoor gear retailer's Web site.
Apple says it plans to continue rapidly bringing out new versions of Mac OS X, but it won't continue at quite the pace it's maintained in recent years, according to CNET News.com: "Since rolling out the first version Mac OS X in 2001, Apple has released three updates, and it plans to show off a new version of the operating system, code-named Tiger, at its worldwide developer conference next month. However, during a talk at the SIIA Enterprise Software Summit 2004 here, Apple Chief Software Technology Officer Avie Tevanian said, 'We're slowing that (pace) down a little bit...because that's not a sustainable rate. But you'll still see us go really fast.'"
iStabilize 1.0 ($30) is a new video stabilizer for Mac OS X that removes unwanted shaky motion from movies with respect to translation, rotation, and zoom. The complete movie player offers editing capabilities, can read/write many movie formats, offers a realtime preview mode, and can apply effects to multiple temporal intervals of a movie. [1.4MB] NetShred 3.5 ($20) is a privacy utility that automatically shreds (securely deletes) web browser cache, browser history files, download cache, email trash, Apple junk mail, Mailsmith spam and more. Version 3.5 adds support for Firefox and Camino, as well as shredding Safari icons. [3.0MB] King's Corner 1.0 ($10) is described as a rare and unique solitaire game with smooth gameplay, rich graphics/sounds, multiple card styles, a simple interface, score keeping, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [2.1MB] The Tassman 4 ($400), now available as a demo, is a modular sound synthesis studio based on Applied Acoustics Systems' physical modeling technology. It offers a wide collection of synths ranging from highly realistic emulation of acoustic instruments, analog and FM synthesizers, loop processors to entirely unique hybrid creations. [10.6MB] EditiX 1.3 ($60) updates the cross-platform and multi-purpose XML/XSLT Editor with improved XSLT Editing and an improved UI. It also fixes various bugs and offers better global peformance. The editor offers project management, realtime syntax feedback, context-sensitive assistants, a schema generator, template support, etc. [10MB] CrushFTP 3.3 ($25) adds ability to script or manually create users from a command line and brings other bug fixes to the full-scale FTP server with support for multihoming, virtual serving, virtual directories, event-based actions, resumeable downloads/uploads, central management of multiple ftp servers, and more. [Classic, OSX] PC-Mac PasswordVault 3.0 is a password manager which securely stores information. New features include a random password generator, auto-lock timer (with clipboard clear), powerful import/export functions, masked passwords, and enhanced support for use in large organizations. A lite version is free, while the full version is $20. [Classic, OSX] The NRG Postal Tool 1.2 ($300) adds support for mailing via Global Express Mail as well as support for international customs forms. It streamlines workflow for FileMaker-based order entry systems, with USPS-based functions such as address validation, city/state/zip code lookups, domestic and international rates, tracking, time in transit, Express Mail labels, pre-paid return labels and electronic delivery confirmation. InterMapper 4.2b10, now in beta, offers enhanced Helper Applications, more powerful, flexible acknowledgements (timed, pre-acknowledgement, etc), a new Cisco wireless probes, more flexible probes with support for calculations, improved strip chart recording, support for Multicast DNS (Rendezvous) name resolution, improved icon handling, etc. [Classic, OSX]
Virtual Programming has announced that Ideas From The Deep will be distributing Virtual Grand Prix 2 in North America. The Mac-only game has yet to be added to Ideas' online catalog but will be ship later this week for $20. Virtual Grand Prix 2 is an advanced open-wheeled racecar simulation game "that uses industrial automotive standards for the simulation of the dynamic components (whose parameters were tuned using real telemetry data) and tested by real one-seater drivers." The game features 20 cars and 15 detailed tracks.
A MacNN reader notes that some songs at the iTunes Music Store are available as free downloads, despite not being featured as single of the week nor promoted anywhere else. One such example is the Jamie Cullum track All At Sea. It's unclear how many such free songs exist.
IDG World Expo today announced that a series of new Birds of a Feather (BOF) meetings will take place at Macworld Expo Boston. "BOFs offer a chance for members of the Mac community to meet in a structured forum for in-depth discussions with their peers. Open to all registered attendees, BOFs provide opportunities to network with other Mac users, find out answers to tough questions and discuss resources for accomplishing new goals at work and at home. While each BOF is moderated by highly-respected industry experts, the discussions are driven by the participants." Six BOF meetings will take place on Wednesday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m. covering the following topics: Digital Photography, DVD, Color Management, AppleScript Success Stories, the Business of Macintosh Consulting, and DV/Pro Encoding.
Sony today introduced the Cyber-shot DSC-F88 digital camera, which features a 300-degree rotating lens for shooting flexibility. The 5.1-megapixel digital camera also boasts Sony's Real Imaging Processor, with near immediate startup time and minimal delay between shots, and a 3x optical zoom. The camera will ship in July for $450 and supports both Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro. A wide angle lens ($60) and Cyber-shot Station dock ($80) will also be available in July.
Apple Pro Application Support 2.0 (via Software Update) provides various undocumented improvements to Apple's pro applications and is required in order to access future upgrades of Final Cut Pro HD, Cinema Tools, Compressor, LiveType, Soundtrack, and DVD Studio Pro. Camino 0.8b (free) is the latest beta release of the alternative Web browser. Improvements since version 0.7 include an updated look, updated Gecko HTML rendering engine, rewritten bookmark system with bookmark search, and a Google search field in the toolbar. (This release is not yet noted on the Camino homepage.) Mozilla 1.7rc2 (free) is the latest version of the Web browser. A list of detailed changed and known issues with this version can be found here. VueScan 8.0.1 ($60-$80) corrects a handful of bugs with the recently released versatile scanning software. Among the problems resolved are: printing issues, startup problems with Mac OS X 10.2, and focus issues with the Minolta Dual Scan II. OfficeRestore 1.0 ($25), from SubRosaSoft, is a utility for recovering Excel and Word documents that have been accidentally deleted. Files can also be recovered from failing disks. Brushes Collection for Photoshop ($30), from Abneil Software, includes nearly 9,000 royalty-free brushes for Adobe Photoshop (7, 8, CS, and Elements 1, 2). The update includes new gel pens, permanent markers, pens, scratchy brushes and many other brush effects.
Insider Software has released FontAgent Pro 2.1, adding several new features to the font management and repair utility. Among the new additions are font-activation support in Classic mode, user-configurable startup actions to determine which fonts are available at startup, an improved user interface, and improvements to WYSIWYG font display options. FontAgent Pro sells for $90; the Workgroup Edition, which has also been updated and allows users to share fonts across a network without a server, sells for $140.
Apple is offering students a chance to win two tickets to the August 19-20 Warped Tour show in Boston. Along with airfare and a backstage pass, winners will also receive an iPod mini. Three winners will be selected; students must enter by July 20 by completing a short form.
With two months to go before Macworld Expo Boston kicks off, Ilene Hoffman has once again started compiling the Hess Memorial Macworld Events and Party Page, which keeps track of all the Macworld-related happenings in Boston. All companies, user groups, and web sites are requested to send their announcements for posting as soon as possible.
Apple today announced that Founder, one of China's largest PC makers, will start bundling iTunes with all of its systems beginning next month. "Digital music is becoming very important in the Chinese PC market, and Apple's iTunes is the runaway market leader," Wei Xin, chairman of Founder Group and Founder Technology, said in a joint press release. "As the first Chinese company to bundle this innovative software with our PCs, we are excited to provide our customers with the world's best digital music experience."
Apple has begun shipping DVD Studio Pro 3, its professional DVD authoring application that was announced in early April at NAB 2004, according to a MacNN reader who received shipment confirmation. Version 3 offers render-free transition preview, alpha transitions, graphical views for projects, DTS audio, Compressor 1.2 for encoding to SD MPEG-2, DLT output, iDVD 4 import, integration with Final Cut Pro HD, Motion, Soundtrack and Adobe Photoshop, and more. The full version is $500, while upgrades are $200.
A federal judge ruled that Eminem's copyright infringement claims over use of his "Lose Yourself" song in an Apple iTunes tv ad can go forward, after a preliminary hearing was held on Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press: "On Monday, U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that Eminem's publishing company's suit can proceed against several companies, including MTV parent company Viacom and advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day. Taylor threw out two state law-based claims of unfair competition and unjust enrichment. The television ad appeared many times during three months beginning in July 2003 and on Apple's Web site, despite the fact that the computer company had unsuccessfully sought Eminem's permission for the campaign."
Apple has updated its .Mac web services with new benefits and other service/product upgrades for its paying members. New exclusive benefits for members include a $20 discount through October 6, 2004 on software from Symantec and a free version of Norton Parental Control by Symantec, which it says "provides customizable child-safe browsing, allowing parents to set the categories and sites to which their kids have access. Members can download the software and receive a year's worth of updates for free." Apple also redesigned its iCards service, adding more than 200 new iCards as well as integration with the .Mac Address Book. Apple says it also added new a dozen new templates for web publishing as well as the the ability to create and edit web pages using Windows XP and Internet Explorer.
The University of Central Florida will be hosting two Apple Certified ASCA training courses in June on its Orlando, Florida campus. The courses held at UCF are $2000 each: over $600 less than the regular cost. In addition to tuition savings, students can receive large discounts on hardware pricing. For example, students can receive course tuition and a 1.33GHz PowerBook G4 for $3500. Likewise, students can receive tuition and a dual-2GHz Power Mac G5 for $4600. Prospective attendees are asked to call David Palaniuk at (408) 974-3071.
"Network Security Hacks" (O'Reilly, $25) by Andrew Lockhart was written for individuals tasked with protecting networks from hackers. It offers a wealth of useful techniques to make the job of detecting and dealing with intruders easier. Readers will learn how to detect the presence of network intruders, methods for protecting their networks and data using strong encryption, and even techniques for laying traps for would-be system crackers. The book presents important security tools, as well as clever methods for using them to reveal timely and useful information about what is happening on a network.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
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