Apple has released AirPort Extreme 3.4.2, which it says provides "improved AirPort Extreme wireless networking software and is recommended for all customers with an AirPort Extreme enabled computer." Specifically, it adds "enhanced networking reliability during certain memory intensive operations." The 752KB update is available via the Software Update in Mac OS X.
Following our note about an upcoming Apple Store in Santa Rosa, The Press Democrat notes that the 1,500-sq foot retail location in Santa Rosa Plaza is targetted to open in September 2004: "According to Romero and one industry analyst, the move signals a departure from Apple's 78 existing retail branches, which are located primarily in densely populated metropolitan hubs...'It would represent a foray into a much smaller market' than San Jose's Valley Fair mall and other high-traffic Bay Area shopping centers, said Tim Bajarin, a Silicon Valley analyst with Creative Strategies."
Evening tech news: A system glitch destroyed emails, photos, and other correspondence stored in an active Hotmail users' home directory; CNN has published an article on Utah's recently enacted legislation addressing certain types of "spyware" -- its Spyware Control Act; McDonald's and Sony on Thursday teamed up to give away free music downloads, as the fast-food company looks beyond its long-standing partnership with Walt Disney and goes after young adults.
In Brief: Miglia Technology today announced a summer sale that extends through July 15th, offering a $20 mail in rebate on Directors Cut Take 2 and $50 mail in rebate on the MediaBank HS-R; Ars Technica has posted a review of 8 USB 2.0 Hi-speed Flash drives, testing them on both PCs and Macs; The Portland Mac Filmmakers' User Group will discuss an assortment of techniques that transform digital video to look and feel like traditional film at this month's meeting on June 28th; MightyData today announced its training schedule for the new Professional Training Foundation Series II for FileMaker 7, which includes four one-day classes with three modules per class.
Several readers note that Google's Gmail, the forthcoming email service currently in beta, today added Safari 1.2.1 to its official list of supported browsers, which also include Microsoft IE 5.5, Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.4, and Mozilla Firefox 0.8. Mac browsers such as Camino and Opera are not still not supported, but the company says that "We hope to expand this list in the near future and announce new platforms as they become available. In the meantime, you can install one of the supported browsers from the links above." Update: Readers using Safari 1.2.2 are continuing to have some compatibility issues.
TLA Systems has released DragThing 5.2, an update to the popular dock application for Mac OS that adds extensive support for clippings -- "anything you can copy and paste or drag, you can now keep in your docks as a new kind of clipping item. Unlike the Finder, DragThing will automatically create thumbnail preview icons for picture clippings." Users can shorten/edit clippings and assign hotkeys to copy/insert them to the clipboard. Version 5.2 also adds hot keys for switching between windows using the Window Dock, new Simplified Chinese and Danish language support, a new icon, and more. The $30 utility runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Adobe's Adjusted Refresh plug-in helps increase preview performance in Adobe Photoshop CS, but saysit may affect performance on some machines, according to the company: "The Adjusted Refresh plug-in addresses the time it takes to visually preview some filter updates in Photoshop CS. This plug-in reduces the size of the Photoshop image tiles. This causes the display to redraw in smaller pieces, reducing the time it takes to see the updated preview. The Adjusted Refresh plug-in will also reduce the initial scratch disk usage after you launch Photoshop. Note that overall performance may be reduced for users with multiple processors or more than 1GB of RAM."
CS Odessa today released ConceptDraw 5.2, a new version of its flowcharting and diagramming application for Mac OS X. Version 5.2, available as a free update, features improved and enhanced XML for Visio import with full support for well-formed Visio XML documents as well as usual performance improvements and bug fixes. ConceptDraw enables users to create pro-quality charts and diagrams in a variety of fields including project management; software design and development; database design; and more. It is available in Standard (for businesses) and Professional (for IT, technical users, etc.) versions, which are priced at $150 and $300, respectively.
Alias today announced a Mac OS X version of its pen-driven sketching and annotation software, Alias SketchBook Pro 1.1. Users can create conceptual ideation sketches and production artwork when used with a Wacom or other tablet. It features Marking menus for easy access tools, a full range of color-based tools (pens, pencils, markerts, brushes, etc.), dozens of effects (transparency, roundness, slant, etc.), non-destructive layers, screen capture, email integration, and management/presentation features. An electronic version ($180) is available now, while a CD version ($200) is due in July.
iLiner 2.0 ($30) is an outline processor designed for Mac OS X 10.2 (or later); it sports auto summarization of text into an outline, import and export of outlines to OPML (Outline Mark-up Language), Unicode and RTF formats and the dragging of collapsed outlines into other applications with all formatting retained. Upgrades are $20. [4.7MB] SoundFont Synth 1.0 ($15) is an Audio Unit component plug-in designed to make the synthesis of natural instruments using Sound Fonts, available to GarageBand and other Audio Unit hosts. It utilizes Apple's DLS synthesizer engine to produce high quality sounds and industry standard SoundFont files (.sf2). [264KB] iPrint 1.5 ($15) adds a new, universal keyboard shortcut to Mac OS X, offering users the ability to instantly print multiple non-contiguous text selections within any application. It improves compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, supports more applications, and offers other optimizations. [1.2MB] DataWerkz 1.2 ($100) is GUI-based application for working with databases such as MySQL and PostreSQL. Version 1.2 adds a table summary feature, improved support for MySQL's 'auto_increment' fields, improved PostgreSQL support, and the ability to export SQL statements. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [1.8MB] Big Bang Chess 1.1 (free) updates the "casual" gaming application from Freeverse Software that offers complete integration with Mac OS X technologies such as iChat, iTunes, Mail.app (and other email clients), and Rendezvous networking. It also features "visually stunning" OpenGL-based graphics. [10MB] XeTeX 0.8 includes preliminary support for OpenType font features in "the typesetting system based on a merger of the venerable TeX system with Unicode and Mac OS X font technologies." It requires Mac OS X 10.3. [6MB] MultiMode OSX 4.7 offers decoding and transmition of different modes of non-voice communication often heard on shortwave and ham radio, including Morse Code, RTTY, etc. Version 4.7 adds Improvements to RTTY demodulation and to FAX synchronization. Standard ($90) and Lite ($30) are available. [full, lite]
Strange Flavour Ltd today announced it would transiting from console game development to focus on developing new Mac-only games and games related software, after its founders worked on several major titles including Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Alien Resurection, and the upcoming Catwoman . The founders have already created a few Mac games, such as Bushfire, Airburst and ToySight. Strange Flavour also said it is currently working on Airburst Extreme, a follow-up to Airburst. It has partnered with Freeverse Software publish their games internationally and its games will be available in Apple Stores as well as most major Macintosh games retailers.
Apple "needs to communicate better" on security issues, after it failed to respond to a security vulnerability reported by one user, down-played the seriousness of another, and issued an incomplete patch for the multiple URI exploits noted earlier this month: "Although the tech industry has guidelines that call for researchers to notify vendors of threats and then wait at least 30 days before going public, Schiller said Apple uses its own process to decide when to issue a patch, a process that takes into account Apple's assessment of the threat posed by the vulnerability....[Also] critics have called on Apple to offer more detailed information on its Web site..." [updated]
MacWay today announced the AluICE 400GB, its large capacity FireWire 800 drive that combines Hitachi's Deskstar 3.5" 7K400 7200rpm 8MB buffer 400GB hard drive with a triple interface (standard FireWire, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0) and a compact all-aluminum case design that matches Apple Power Mac G5. The fanless, vertical design uses "advanced passive cooling" and offers a small desktop footprint. It ships with FireWire, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0 cables as well as Mediafour's MacDrive 5.0 and Intego Personal Backup X software with support for scheduled backups, bootable cloning, etc. The drive is available in a FireWire-only model or a triple interface with capacities starting at 80GB (200Ä). The 400GB version will ship in mid-June for 500Ä.
Berkhan Software today releaesd Omikron Basic 8.0, its BASIC programming environment for developing applications without internal knowledge of the Mac operating system. It features a high-performance compiler/debugger, generates fast and compact PowerPC code, and supports modular programming with procedures and functions, recursive programming with local/global variables, and indirect addressing. Version 8 runs as a native application under Mac OS X and also offers more Mac OS X functions. It is available as a free demo (up to 75 program lines), $53 Lite version (up to 5000 lines of code), and a $107 Pro version (supporting up to 65,000 lines of code).
Apple has added more exclusive benefits to its paid .Mac Web services, including a free download of the chapter on iDisk and an exclusive 20 percent discount off the $20 cover price of O'Reilly Media's new, comprehensive book to .Mac called Inside .Mac. Apple also noted that its .Mac support is "now fully integrated into Apple's online support site, with features including FAQs, community discussion boards, and convenient email-based support." It also added new .Mac tutorials on iLife, Keynote, Panther, and other .Mac tools. Apple will also be offering free demonstrations of .Mac at CompUSA demo days on June 12, 19, and 26th.
In Brief: On Thursday, June 17th Apple's Bill Foster will be on hand to demo new video technologies at the MacForce and PMFUG free Pro Video Seminar; BlogSnaps.com is a new "moblogging" service that lets iBlog users create blog entries using their cell phone, camera phone, PDA, or email; "BSD Hacks" (O'Reilly, $25), by Dru Lavigne and a contributing team, offers a unique set of practical tips, tricks, and tools for administrators and power users of BSD systems.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
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