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EasyWMA 2.0 (donationware) allows you to convert WMA audio files to the MP3 file format--so that you can play your favorite songs in iTunes or any other player on your Mac. Version 2.0 features a new customizable progress indicator, automatic bitrate selection from source, drag & drop support for folders, and new German, Spanish, and Chinese localizations. [1.4MB] M-Beat 2.4 ($7) is a flexible iTunes companion applicatio that offers one-click menu items, hot keys, floating windows, and more. It offers alarm options (with music playback for each), sleep functions, menubar controls, custom themes, custom displays, etc. Version 2.4 is completely rewritten and features a new preference pane, reduced CPU usage, better performance, and other enhancements. [436KB] MailMate 0.9 ($20) works with Apple's Mail.app for viewing, searching and printing Mail messages sent to or from anyone in your Address Book. Users "can easily locate email correspondence belonging to a particular person...When you click on an Address Book contact, email messages which have been sent to or from that person are displayed in chronological order." [420KB] NetScrape 1.4 ($15) automatically downloads images from websites and generates thumbnails as well as searches Google for relevant images. It adds adjustable zoom scaling, a "stay in directory" preference, the ability to display the file in the Finder, and bug fixes. [837KB] Speed Freak 2.0 (free) will automatically reprioritize front and background processes to a specified setting at a specified interval. "Put simply, in Unix terms, it's an automatic renicer. Put even more simply, it will make whatever you're doing a little faster." [683KB] QuickSearch-X 3.1 ($5) lets you search over 27 search engines from your desktop, including "web sites, images, audios, videos, directories and news items. It will load the web page results automatically for you, leaving you to only find the site you need!" [858KB]
Digital Video has launched TAB 2.2, a new version of its paperless animation software designed to create original animation content for the web and broadcast. Digital says the software is animation-oriented rather then graphic design-oriented. Version 2.2 features Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility, a new "Pro" edition, a new raster-to-vector converter (Pro version), mask colums (Pro), export of sequences of full color images (Pro), improved SWF support, the ability to export mobile video files, easier lip sync, and improved sequence management. The standard version is $400, while the Pro version is $900.
Maine State officials are working with Apple to determine the minimum level of participation needed for Apple to rent laptops to school districts seeking to expand the program into high schools, according to the Associated Press: " Education Commissioner Susan Gendron said Friday that she hopes to gauge support from superintendents at a meeting later this month. Already, a dozen school districts are willing to enter into their own lease-purchase agreements with Apple, but they could save money if there is enough critical mass for a state-sponsored rental plan."
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
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