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Evening tech news: Microsoft plans to filter outgoing messages on its consumer email services; The German inventor who pioneered the technology behind the Sony Walkman has won a multimillion-pound payout nearly 30 years after dreaming up his invention; a new Windows "Korgo" virus will record every key you hit on your keyboard in an effort to steal passwords, credit card, and other user info; Online porn sites get about three times more visits than the top Web search engines, including market leader Google; Contrary to published reports, Sun has not made a decision as to whether to open-source its Java platform.
In Brief: Executives at Oracle and Apple are taking to the highway in a series of international road shows to introduce Oracle Database 10g on Mac OS X Server, which is Apple's Unix-based server operating system; AppleInsider has published photos of what appears to be the next Power Mac G5 revision, noting that Apple is no longer stocking older models of both the Power Mac G5 and iMac G4; Blue World has announced a 50% savings on Lasso Studio 7 when purchased with Lasso Professional 7.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Photos that seem to depict a new version of the Power Mac G5; ongoing discussion of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger"; problems experienced by some members with iTunes 4.5; members' digital still camera suggestions.
Phelios Games Studios today announced Amju Super Golf, a $20 shareware golf simulation that offers "18 rounds of 3D golf in a whimsical world of Amju and her animal friends. If the critters get in your way as you attempt your birdie, just pop 'em with a golf ball!" The company also posted an updated (demo) version of Bongo Boogie for Mac OS X, which brings 5 new levels to the $25 children's game: "From the comfort of the jungle you call home, you’ll go wild for manic monkeys and quirky coconuts in this next generation brick wall game."
UK game publisher Feral today announced that 'Republic: The Revolution' has gone "gold" and will be sent to production shortly: "The mighty Soviet Union has fallen, and the fledging republic of Novistrana teeters on the verge of collapse. The country is mired in corruption and chaos – disorder and discontent are everywhere. The time for change has come – change led by you, the charismatic leader of a rebel faction. Your goal: to oust the President of the Republic… by any means necessary." It is available for $60 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. Feral also said it would release next week a demo of XIII, its forthcoming first-person shooter for the Mac.
Freeverse today announced a new, innovative word game for the Mac: Squabble 1.0 combines "traditional word-making gameplay with fast and frantic solo and multi-player action. Easy to learn and easy to play, Squabble challenges up to ten players to form the best words they can from a shared pool of letters. But watch out - any player can steal another word in the blink of an eye if they can make it better! Squabble rewards vocabulary, spelling, quick reflexes and quicker thinking." It supports up to 3 computer players and between 2 and 10 players online (via GameSmith). It is $20 and runs on Mac OS 8/9/X.
EvoCam 3.4 ($20) is a webcam application that provides true WYSIWYG editing of text captions, picture badges, clocks and effect items--all floating on top of live video from your camera. Version 3.4 adds the ability to use saved SSH keys and allows the use of SFTP servers running on alternate ports. [954KB] Exchanger XML Editor 2.0 ($100) is a Java-based XML Editor that facilitates easy browsing, editing, managing and conversion of XML Documents. It adds a comprehensive XSLT Debugger, supports the XML Signature specification, adds a WSDL Analyzer, WebDAV and FTP support, improved performance, and a new document properties window. [20MB] Sample Manager 1.2 ($50) is a full-featured batch audio file processor for Mac OS X. It features file sorting, gain, fade, trim, detailed loop editing, and more. Version 1.2 offers a more comprehensive channel conversion panel, export to MP3, improved speed, improved progress bar feedback, etc. [1.1MB] PodQuest 1.2 ($10) is an application for Mac OS X that allows you to download driving directions to your iPod: "With just a few clicks you can now download your driving directions to your iPod for easy access." Version 1.2 adds support for MapBlast, an option to check for application updates, and now works with recent changes made to MapQuest.com. [272KB] Quinn 2.0 (free) is an implementation of the popular arcade game Tetris for Mac OS X. It includes advanced features such as a personal highscore for each player, configurable keys, and now adds network play with Rendezvous support. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [870KB] SQLiteServer 1.0 (starting at $270) is a server for SQLite databases that allows you to access SQLite databases remotely from any client written to understand the server's protocol. SQLite is a small C library that implements a self-contained, embeddable, zero-configuration, SQL92-compliant database engine. [1.8MB] LCDTest 1.0 (free) is a small application for Mac OS X to assist in common LCD adjustment tasks by providing test patterns. It can help with adjusting analog LCDs, detecting dead/lazy pixels, checking for panel alignment, and checking color transitions. [170KB] iTunesCool 1.4 ($6) is an AppleScript for iTunes that will search, fetch, and import artwrok from Amazon (US, UK, DE, or JP) for selected tracks or whole library. It will also import the artwork URL to comment field, add the album release year (from Amazon) to iTunes tracks, export artwork as PICT file, remove artwork from tracks, and export playlists to HTML. [276KB]
Ableton today announced Live 4, a major new release of its real-time music production suite, adding "a complete and inspiring approach to MIDI sequencing, pattern recording, drag-and-drop sampling, virtual instruments and MIDI hardware support," as well as swing/groove for audio and MIDI clips, a new channel-routing scheme, simplified recording, sample reverse, and several exciting new creative options for the Session View. Live 4 is due at the end of July for Mac OS 9/X. The full version will be $500, while (electronic) upgrades will be $120 from any previous version or $50 for purchases after May 15th. Ableton says a public beta will be available at the end of June.
Aurelon has released its new dedicated Signalize! RIP for the Epson Stylus Pro 4000. The Mac OS X software solution for large-format printing and signmaking includes hotfolder technology, UltraChrome color profiles for all recommended Epson media, and free Aurelon Layout and Calibrator standard edition software. It also enables cross-platform, networked printing from any application, offers automatic USB printer recognition and installation, and features both job ticketing printing and embedded profile recognition, spotcolor and ICC color correction. It is available for 800€ with additional licenses priced at 300€.
KernelThread.com looks at 10 Things Apple Did To Make Mac OS X Faster, including BootCache, kernel extensions cache, hot file clustering, working wet detection, on-the-fly defragmentation, prebinding, helping developers create code faster, helping developers create faster code, journaling in HFS plus, and instant-on: "Some of these are simply good ideas and obvious candidates for implementation; some are guidelines or tools for developers to help them create high-performance applications, while some are proactive attempts at extracting performance from strategically chosen quarters."
America's Army: Special Forces 2.1 is an update to the free Internet-based game that focuses "on the critical, specialized role of the Army's Special Forces within the U.S. Army as they fight the Global War on Terrorism, but expands the scope to include Stryker vehicles, and the M136 AT4." It now implements a new Karma Physics Engine, which applies real-life physics (and other variables such as gun/bullet type, distance, etc.) to all player characters. It adds new adjustable 3D ironsights with custom distance ranges, a new tournament mode (with a warm-up period), new tournament squad leader/admin functions, a new dmo/kiosk mode, two new maps, and more.
Apple's upcoming 4,000-sq foot retail store in Austin, TX in Barton Creek Square, noted by MacNN several days ago, will open June 12, according to the Austin-American Statesman. It will be Apple's third store in Texas and Apple says it may consider a second store in Austin as well: "The Austin store will be the 80th that Apple has opened since beginning its retail venture three years ago. Apple plans to open eight more stores by October and is on target to pass the $1 billion mark in annual sales, analysts say... 'Austin is the size city that we would consider putting in a second store,' [Apple VP Johnson] said. But for now, he is concentrating on the first store's opening, when he and 25 employees will [be] hand out free T-shirts. And then there is that stock of iPod minis."
Dartware today announced InterMapper 4.2, which adds new features to monitor the health of the network by creating graphical network maps that offer a real-time view of traffic flows and device status. Version 4.2 extends the ability to view detailed information about devices by letting the network manager launch third-party administrative or configuration tools directly from the network map's icons. It also adds enhanced acknowledgements, timed acknowledgements (for non-emergency use), and new Cisco and TCP port probes. Pricing starts at $500 for 25 devices.
In Brief: Cocoa Dev Central has published a new tutorial for novice programmers which teaches the subset of ANSI C that is required for Cocoa and Objective-C. AppleInsider says Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, expected to be shown at WWDC later this month, will feature increased integration with .Mac and an updated Finder; Macy's customized, AppleScript-driven FileMaker Pro database run on Macs is responsible for producing up to 60 pages of "well-designed, picture-perfect, letter-accurate retail advertising — versioned out for 80 to 100 regional newspapers — per day;" and Opera 7.5.1, recently updated, was named PC World's Best Web Browser for 2004, citing its "..innovative ways to view, analyze, and store Web pages. Opera's security options are strong and easy to configure."
Information Appliance Associates today announced PocketMac GoBetween, which it says is the first automated iSync plug-in to sync Entourage data to iCal and the Mac OS X Address Book, allowing Entourage users to have their data fully supported and synched by their devices (mobile phones, PDAs, etc.). PocketMac GoBetween works with Office v.X/Office 2004, Mac OS X 10.2. 6 or higher and requires iSync. For a limited time, PocketMac GoBetween customers will also get free software which will change the look and feel of their Sony Ericsson T610, P900, & T68i phones into that of a miniature Macintosh. It is available for $25 (or as a $20 competitive upgrade).
Tech news: Hope is apparently not all lost for a revival of the film distribution deal between Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; Hyatt Hotels announced plans to provide wireless Internet service in lobbies and some hotel rooms via provider T-mobile Hotspot at most of its properties in the US; dust from PCs in homes and offices may be toxic; and Windows XP users are experiencing Wi-Fi connection problems, much as Mac OS X users experienced after the last AirPort Extreme software upgrade.
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