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Skyper Limited has announced the Mac version of Skype, its free and simple application that enables you to make free calls anywhere in the world. Skype, created by the developer of KaZaA, uses innovative P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you with other Skype users. "If you are tired of paying outrageous fees for telephony, Skype is for you!" The Mac OS X beta version will be available in a few weeks, according to the developer.
Government Computer News has published a largely positive review of Apple's latest G4 iBook. "The iBook has been a solid performer at a variety of tasks [...] For ordinary e-mail and word processing, the computer felt as fast as any Microsoft Windows notebook I’ve used. PhotoStudio image-editing software ... did tax the iBook’s 133-MHz system bus and processor, however. [...] The full-sized keyboard has a solid key-throw, although the keys rattle a bit. [...] Apple’s slot-loading optical drive is an elegant touch, as is the amazingly small and light—and also snow-white—power brick. [...] Apple’s touch pad is the most perfectly responsive I’ve ever used on a notebook." GCN gave the iBook an "A-" rating.
Evening tech news: McDonald's said Monday it would install experimental DVD rental machines in more than 100 Denver-area outlets in the next month, with a rental fee of $1 per night; a British woman has pleaded guilty to selling her unborn baby over the Internet and arranging for a third to buy it as well; in a frenzy reminiscent of the dot-com mania of the late 1990s, Web users are bidding for invitations to join Google's test e-mail service before the company begins giving them away en masse.
Extensis today announced Font Reserve Server 1.7, the first update to its workgroup font management solution since its acquisition from DiamondSoft in July 2003. Version 1.7 is fully compatible with Mac OS X (10.3) Panther, includes new auto-activation plug-ins for QuarkXPress 6, Adobe InDesign CS, and Adobe Illustrator CS, and has improved performance capabilities for large workgroups as well as the ability to auto-activate fonts across all workgroups and the ability to auto-activate entire font families. It is a free update for registered users. The Server is $1,200 per server and $130 per client. Upgrades are $500.
Earlier this month, MicroNet added the new PlatinumXL high-capacity external drive to its Platinum Professional product family. Featuring capacities up to 800GB and FireWire 800, the PlatinumXL boasts performance and flexibility in a sturdy and compact 2-inch high aluminum casing. PlatinumXL features an ultra quiet, portable, and lightweight design that can stand either horizontally or vertically, uses high-performance 7,200 rpm drivers, and includes Intech’s Hard Disk Speedtools utility. The 400GB ($460) and 500GB ($550) versions are now shipping, while the 600GB and 800GB are listed as "coming soon."
Iomega today announced two new entry-level network attached storage (NAS) servers: the Iomega NAS 200d Series 240GB and Iomega NAS 200d Series 360GB servers. Expected to ship next month, the NAS servers feature Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 software for data management, RAID 1 or 5 data protection, SATA-based drives for better performance, four USB 2.0 ports, a single UltraSCSI 320 port (only on the 360GB version), and support for mixed computing environments, including Windows, Mac, Linux UNIX and Netware. The Iomega NAS 200d Series 240GB has a list price of $1,200, while the 360GB version is $1,800.
Iomega today introduced the new Iomega Super DVD Writer 12x Dual-Format USB 2.0 Drive. The dual-layer DVD drive can store up to 8.5 GB on a single DVD+R DL (double layer) disc. Supported formats include DVD+R and DVD+RW (12x4x16x), DVD-R and DVD-RW (8x4x16x), and CD-R and CD-RW discs (40x24x40x). It also features 40x digital audio extraction, buffer underrun protection, and a software bundle that includes Charismac Discribe and MusicMatch. It is scheduled to begin shipping in June for $250 and will require Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later.
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics has introduced a high-end 21.3-inch UXGA LED backlit LCD monitor. Designed to deliver a standardized color space for perfect color matching across all digital platforms and devices, the new wide gamut monitor integrates NEC's Super Advanced Super Fine TFT (SA-SFT) panel technology with LED backlight technology that utilizes an RGB light source to generate white light with an enhanced color spectrum--which allows for tuning of the white point. The display features a 0.27 dot-pitch, 1600x1200 resolution, u pto 220 cd/m2 brightness, 500:1 contrast ratio, and both analog and DVI inputs. It will ship in the fourth quarter of this year.
KeyCue 1.0 ($15) is a final version of the utility designed to find and remember menu shortcuts: "Just hold down the Command key for a while - KeyCue comes to help and shows a table of all currently available menu shortcuts. When you have found the desired shortcut in the KeyCue table, just type it and continue working as usual. The KeyCue window will disappear automatically." [0.7MB] AudioUnit Manager 1.0 (donationware) provides a simple way to organize AudioUnits into sets: "This can mean accelerated application launch times and exclusion of incompatible AudioUnits for some hosts. AudioUnit Manager's command line option makes it possible to select a set in an AppleScript before launching an AudioUnit host." [626KB] DVD Database X 1.0 ($20) is a full-featured database program designed to organize a DVD collection. It offers movie looking up from the Internet, DVD label and jacket printing, automatic playback of unecrypted VIDEO_TS folders (from a local drive), and import/export from AppleWorks-compatible text files. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.3MB] SQLitePluginPro 1.2 ($120) is a replacement for REALbasic's built-in database engine, implementing REALbasic's database API for use of native database controls and classes, as well as bindings, to create SQLite database applications. It now supports the upcoming SQLiteServer, includes updated MachO support, and has other bug fixes. [1.9MB] SQLiteAddOns 1.02 ($40) is an AppleScript Scripting Addition bringing SQL database support to AppleScript; it is built on top of SQLite, an SQL92-compliant, embeddable, stand-alone database library that supports on-the-fly indexing and ACID transactions for fast access and protection from database corruption. [195KB] Universal Boxing Manager ($25) is a new sports manager sim that tracks multiple manager skills, including training, negotiation, scouting, and more. Players can manage up to 6 boxers from a database of over 1,000 unique boxers: "take them to the ring to watch each stunning blow, coaching your boxer between rounds on how to change his tactics and send your opponent to the canvas." [4.3MB] ArcherPro 4.04 ($30) is an update to the multimedia viewing application that can still images, audio files, and movies in the same slide show and can rapidly sort through hundreds or even thousands of images with ease. It adds a new "Hot Folder" that automatically adds images to the end of the current slideshow. [1.2MB]
F5 Networks today announced a new Mac-compatible version of FirePass Controller, its SSL-based VPN solution with complete cross-platform support. "Unlike its competitors, who limit Macintosh and Linux users to web and other TCP-based applications, F5 delivers a multi-platform solution offering full network access to any IP-based application. With FirePass Controller, remote Macintosh and Linux users can securely connect to the corporate network and access client/server, voice over IP, and other applications as if they were locally connected." It will be available in June 2004 as a software upgrade for all FirePass 1000 and 4000 controllers (pricing starts at $10,000).
Peninsula Group today began shipping "the world's first" thermal printer drivers for Mac OS X, which enable thermal transfer labelling printers from Datamax, Eltron and Zebra to be used as standard printers. The drivers allow users to utilize standard print dialogs for various thermal transfer printers, offering controls for speed, temperature, and other printer options and direct printing options from applications such as FileMaker. The drivers are available for $250 ($84 for additional licenses). Peninsula also offers companion USB-to-Parallel convertor cable ($60) for connecting non-USB printers to modern Macs.
FileMaker is now shipping FileMaker Server 7, its server software for hosting FileMaker Pro 7 database files. Version 7 offers improved performance (including server-based searches/calculations, sophisticated caching, etc.), support for up to 8TB of information, better administration (remote functions, live backup, automatic backup, audit log, etc.), and new security features (account authentication management, Open Directory, Active Directory support, etc.). It is available for $1000 with upgrades priced at $500. Retail versions are expected to ship June 2.
SanDisk today introduced the "world's first" 6-in-1 PC Card Adapter, allowing users to move files to and from flash memory devices such as digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players and mobile phones. The new adapter offers plug-and-play (driverless) compatibility, supporting six different memory card formats: SD, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, xD-Picture Card, and SmartMedia. "To read a card, users simply insert it into the adapter, and then slide the adapter into any computer with a PC Card slot. In this mode, the adapter works like a removable hard drive." It replaces the 4-in-one version and will be available for $30.
Secunia confirms that Apple's recent security update does not resolve the security issues related to the previously outlined URI Handler Registration Code Execution Vulnerability, which it continues to describe as "extremely critical." Secunia says "this problem is escalated due to the fact that it by default is possible to silently download and mount disk images using two known methods (silent download and execution of "safe" files and the "disk" URI). Furthermore, it is reportedly also possible to mount volumes using other methods such as SMB, AFS, FTP, DAV and others."
CTM Development today released PowerMail 5.0, a significant updates to itsMac OS X mail client. It offers more advanced spam filtering functions, including built-in filters and better integration with SpamSieve. Other changes include performance improvements, more filter actions, long name/alias support for attachments, new mail deletion options, a custom toolbar, live window resizing, and dozens of other UI changes. it is available as a $30 upgrade or in a $45 bundle ($20 off) with SpamSieve through June 8th.
Apple has been nominated twice in this year's Design and Art Direction Awards, according to Macworld UK: "Known as the Oscars of the creative industry, the 42nd D&AD awards include 137 nominees selected form among almost 14,000 entries. The winners will be announced at a glittering VIP reception on May 26." Apple's PowerBook is once of the six nominees in the product design category, while Apple's recent iPod commercial has been nominated for its Art Direction.
Art Directors Toolkit 4.1 ($30) offers several utilities for graphic designers. Version 4.1 is now localized for French, German, and Japanese; offers a new Palette Tool for storing/retrieving colors; the RGB Utility can be expanded from 6 to 24 colors and can be saved/restored; and includes improved ruler functions. [2.3MB] EarthDesk 2.6 ($20) is a free update to the dynamic desktop map application. EarthDesk replaces your static desktop picture with one of 11 different animated, real-time rendered image of the Earth. It now supports random map views and improved help. [3.9MB] ChangeShortName 1.0 (donationware) is a script and helper application that does the dirty work involved in changing the short name of a user's account in Mac OS X. It can also repair some problems that occurwhen a user has attempted to change their short username manually and done so incorrectly. [550KB] aMSN 0.91 is a free alternative to MSN Messenger, offering support for Buddy pictures, custom smiley, alarms, skins, multi-language, and more. It adds sound support to Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, integration with iTunes, a new "skin", interface improvements, scroll wheel support, custom nicknames, more preferences, etc. [4.5MB] NetScrape 1.3 ($15) updates shareware that will find all the images on a given website, download them, and present thumbnail and full-sized views for you to browse. It adds more information about the images, a direct link to the website and more. [702KB] CrushFTP 3.4 ($25) adds email events to be processed for all users, or a group of users, brings support for TLS/SSL support, offers an option to require encryption, improved email notifications, and more. CrushFTP is an FTP server will many advanced features. [Classic, OSX] FileXaminer 2.2 ($10) updates the file/folder info utility; it allows you to modify file and folder attributes that the Finder cannot, such as type/creator info, UNIX permissions, and much more. [2.2MB]
Evening tech news: Google is reportedly preparing to release downloadable software that helps people to search for text and files stored on their computer's hard drive; Microsoft and Oracle have announced a software development agreement Thursday, signaling an improved relationship between the two corporate database software market rivals; Cisco Systems acknowledged some of its source code was stolen and then posted to the Internet, but added that no damage has resulted from the theft.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
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
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF