Copyright © 2015
In brief: Alias announced today the launch of its Maya 6 Evolution of 3D tour with sponsors HP and NVIDIA, visiting Montreal, New York, San Francisco and Hollywood; RAE Internet has been selected as the primary Northeast vendor for Sophos Small Business Suite, which provides full protection against virus and spam threats; SanDisk today introduced the world's first 6-in-1 PC Card Adapter, giving notebook computer users the largest number of card formats for moving files to and from flash memory devices.
A MacNN reader let us know about a widespread problem for many iPod users with iTunes 4.5. The update is apparently causing some users' iPods to fail to connect to the computer. The problem has been reported by multiple readers.
Tech news: The backers of two anti-spam proposals said on Tuesday they would work together to provide a single standard that would make it easier for Internet providers to block unwanted junk e-mail; when it comes to choosing a portable music player, the power of a device's battery is an important factor to consider, as many shoppers have discovered; with identity theft rampant, users need to be cautious with their personal information, but consumer advocates say there's something else they ought to be vigilant about: expensive services for identity theft protection.
LaCie has announced that it will ship its LaCie d2 DVD±RW Double Layer Drives with new double layer DVD recording technology next month. The new technology offers users almost twice the capacity of current recordable DVDs on a single-sided disc. LaCie's new drives also feature "the fastest speeds available" with 8x DVD±R and 4x DVD±RW for high-speed, dual-format recording. The drives will begin shipping next month starting at $250 with FireWire and Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interfaces as well as Toast 6.0. LaCie d2 DVD±RW Double Layer Drives are also available with Roxio Toast 6.0 Titanium software or CaptyDVD 2.0.
Paranoid Android 1.2 updates the free application designed to protect Mac users from the recently discovered URI security flaws in Mac OS X (and not completely addressed by Apple's latest security patch). Version 1.2 adds a new "whitelist" (and configuration) of acceptable ("safe") URI commands ('http', 'https', and 'mailto') and display of the application that will be used to open a URI. [810KB] Apple Xcode 1.2, released last month, is a complete "installation of the Xcode development tools. It includes an enhanced version of the Xcode IDE with improved stability and improvements to the user experience and build system. It also includes updates to several additional development tools, documentation and SDKs." It is available from the ADC Website and now from the Mac OS X Software Update. SQL4X Manager J v2.8 ($60) updates the database management tool that offers more than 80 assistants and tools, including table/user management, SQL queries with syntax coloring, data transfer, reporting, etc. It offers an improved UI, support for Oracle 10g, enhanced DB2 support, better MS SQL Server support, and support for a new PostgreSQL JDBC driver. [3.7MB] CourseForum 3.6 ($90) and ProjectForum 3.6 ($230) are updates to the professional and easy-to-use web software for business and educational collaboration. Version 3.6 provides numerous enhancements in the area of user access control, including multiple improvements in the recently introduced Campus and Enterprise licensing options. [CF, PF] HomeProject 1.1 ($30) is personal project management utility for Mac OS X. Version 1.1 offers better stability and performance, calendar display improvements, better export functions, support for more currencies, and bug fixes. The software integrates with iCal and Mac OS X AddressBook, offering Gantt charts to display project details in custom timelines. [1.5MB] Forty-TwoDVD-MPPlus 2.0 ($15) supports transcoding DVDs or DVD-Folders to common MPEG formats such as VCD,SVCD and CVD and offers the added ability to use the chapter marks from the DVD, automatically--even across mulitple output disks. Version 2.0 offes a new Setup Assistant, a new interface, multithreading support, and chapter support on SVCD, VCD, etc. [7.7MB]
Apple debuted on this year's "Wired 40" list by Wired Magazine at No.3 by creating "the kind of platform-and-content synergy that gadget makers dream of. Having sold 5 million iPods, Apple owns 55 percent of the music-player market. Its iTunes has coaxed the Big Five record labels into a single online store and persuaded fans to download -- legally -- more than 60 million songs." Google, Amazon, Apple, Genentech, eBay, Samsung, Yahoo!, Electronic Arts, Pixar, and Cisco were among the Top 10. The 40 companies are ranked on the basis of five criteria: innovation, technology, strategic vision, global reach and networked communication. "The Wired 40" feature appears in the magazine's June issue (on newsstands on May 25th) and will be online the following day (last year's list is currently online).
Daystar Technology has enhanced XLR8's upgrade technology to deliver new "value-priced", high-performance upgrades for Power Mac G3 owners: "the new upgrade utilizes the proven performance of the backside cache, to turbocharge its MAChSpeed G4 ZIF upgrade. The resulting upgrade delivers a 600 MHz upgrade that rivals the Power Macintosh G4 'QuickSilver' 733 system. Power Macintosh G3 speed improvements range for 2.5x in normal applications, to 8x in Mac OS X-optimized applications." The new MAChSpeed G4 ZIF 500/600 with 250MHz of backside cache is available for $200. (It also works with Power Mac G4 PCI systems.)
ViewSonic today added two slim bezel displays to its business LCD lineup, including the 15-inch VX510 and 17-inch VX715. Featuring an elevated neck that provides a floating effect, both are framed by black bezels and stylish silver accents. The VX715 features ClearMotiv technology for displaying broadcast-quality video and compatibility with high-definition 720p and also includes OptiSync dual input technology for both digital (DVI) and analog (VGA) connectivity. The VX715 ($425) has 1280x1024 native resolution, 450:1 contrast ratio and 300 nits of brightness, while the VX510 ($525) provides 250 nits of brightness, a 450:1 contrast ratio and 1024x768 native resolution.
Sony today launched two new flat panel computer displays featuring its new high-brightness Xbrite technology. The SDM-HS74P and SDM-HS94P, with 17-inch and 19-inch viewable image sizes respectively, feature a special LCD panel that allows the displays to deliver superior brightness and enhanced contrast even when placed in a sunlit room. They also feature Sony's ErgoBright technology, allowing users to adjust brightness settings in one touch, with minimal loss of contrast or color fidelity.
ClearOne Communications today introduced AccuMic PC, an echo-canceling microphone for use with a personal computer in desktop videoconferencing and webconferencing applications. AccuMic PC uses audio technology from ClearOne's industry leading XAP conferencing systems to deliver high-quality sound and create a hands-free alternative to headset microphones. It has three microphone elements to provide 360-degree audio pickup for small group conferencing, and it can be linked with a second AccuMic PC for use in larger rooms with more participants. It uses a standard stereo (3.5 mm) connector. It will begin shipping this week for $650.
Applimiser 1.0 ($10) allows you to preview optimization results before any changes are made on your disk, offering a statistical analysis with the potential savings. It can remove unwanted language localization files and optimize embedded help files. [404KB] XMonitor 1.9.5 is a real-time system and email monitoring application for Mac OS X. It allows you to easily monitor your disk, cpu, ram and network usage, PPP status, IP address, email, and more. It no longer requires helper utilities and adds separate/combined monitoring of all network interfaces. [1.7MB] JIMZip 1.4.2 ($7) is an easy-to-use, yet powerful, zipping and unzipping interface for Mac OS X that can compress files by simply dragging files to the dock icon or application window. It is compatible with programs such as: WinZip, PowerArchiver, PKZip, ZipIt, Aladdin Expander, Stuffit DropZip, etc. [564KB] dincTYPE has posted six new free limited edition fonts: Fishboy, Truth, King Me, Starry, Howdy and Silicon Chip. It also debuted Cool Jerk, which it says will feature bitmap fonts that work well at very very small point sizes and also very large sizes. One of ten different fonts will be available for download at any given time. Print Magic 3.5 ($25) is a Mac OS X utility for collecting and printing information. Users can add notes and time stamps, instantly copy text using a hotkey, print using drag & drop, and more. Version 3.5 offers greater application compatibility, on-the-fly notes for drag & drop printing, code optimizations, etc. [1.3MB] UT2004 for MacOS X patch 3204 (free) is an unofficial patch from that keeps the game in sync with the PC version. It will apply cleanly to either a fresh install of UT2004/Mac (3186), or an installation with the interim patch (3186.1) (requiring install of the retail game, not the demo). [12MB] Radeon Enabler 1.01 (free) allows owners of the OEM versions of ATI's Radeon 9000 Pro, 9600 Pro, 9700 Pro and 9800 Pro video cards to use ATI's Radeon Displays 4.2.5 utility for Mac OS X 10.2.8, which offers features such as OpenGL override. Version 1.01 offers improved device tree parsing and recognition of more ATI chipsets. [1.2MB]
Perceptive Automation today released Indigo 1.5, an update to the company's intelligent home control and automation server for Mac OS X. Indigo 1.5 now provides support for Smarthome's USB-based PowerLinc Controller (model 1132CU) home automation interface, allowing basic home control without leaving their Mac running. Other enhancements include improved AppleScript support, allowing users to customize and integrate home automation with other applications. For a limited time, Indigo 1.5 can purchase (through Smarthome) both a PowerLinc Controller and LampLinc for $70 ($16 savings). Indigo is available for Mac OS X 10.2.6 for $90.
SFGate.com has published an article by Asma Gull Hasan on the difficulties of being a Mac user, titled "What do Macs and Islam have in common?" Hasan writes, "Macs are seen as toys, not serious computers for serious people. [...] The choice to use a Mac or to be Muslim in today's world is not easily understood. In a world where the vast majority of computers are PC, where Islam is perceived as the enemy, why would someone choose to be a Mac user or a Muslim? [...] As every Mac user knows, suggesting a Mac product to a PC-using friend may end the friendship. I'd feel more comfortable encouraging a Christian friend to learn more about Islam [...] it's always open season on Macs."
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ