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Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Comparing Apple's new Power Mac G5 dual-2.5GHz to a similar offering from Alienware; one member's satisfaction with Apple's warranty program; continued discussion of iBook case cracks; HP's new 23" LCD display for $1700; opinions and impressions regarding Apple's Backup service for OS X users.
In Brief: Apple is among Forbe's "Innovative Movers & Shakers", noting that "a healthy 3 million iPods have been sold in 2 years." Architosh says Apple needs a new "Mac LC" to help expand its market; macosxlabs.org is offering an extensive white paper on Mac OS X Application Management, covering topics such as licensing models, security, reviewing installations, etc.; Apple's Steve Jobs was among the most overpaid CEOs in the Bay Area in 2003, while Oracle's Larry Ellison was among the most underpaid, according to research compiled by the San Francisco Business Times; Vonage is expected to release a final version of its softphone for Mac OS X next week.
Aspyr today announced Battlefield 1942 has gone 'gold' and will begin shipping June 28: "Gamers fight in the heart of World War II combat, allowing them to choose from over 20 famous battle sites, including Omaha Beach, Stalingrad and Wake Island, from the four main theaters of World War II including the Pacific, Eastern and Western Europe and North Africa." Battlefield 1942 supports a multiplayer component that supports up to 64 players. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later on a G4/G5 Power Mac running at 867MHz or faster. It is expected to be stores on July 2nd.
Quark said it would release QuarkXPress 6.2 "later this summer" at its Quark Summit last week, according to Creative Pro. The release is expected to fix several known bugs that exist in Quark XPress 6.1 and will be available as new boxed version as well as free download update. "Quark CEO Kamar Aulakh also said that the company would henceforth allow XPress to be activated on two machines to address the office-home machine dilemma about which many of you have expressed your frustration to me in your emails. Quark also noted that Quark XPress 6 Japanese Edition will be launched in Tokyo on June 24; QuarkXClusive (digital output to HP Indigo digital presses) and Quark Vista (image manipulation in Quark) will be made available at no cost as downloads for current QuarkXPress 6 users; and has tripled the number of people in the field as well as opened offices in New York and Hamburg--with new office expected in Paris and London.
Wincent today released Synergy 1.0, an innovative iTunes companion application that allows users to control iTunes with hot keys and via an always-accessible menu bar controls as well as provides "unobtrusive feedback about the currently playing track in the form of the semi-transparent 'Floater'." Users can customized the size of the floater and the type of information displayed. Synergy also can automatically search for and download cover art for display in the Floater. It is available in Spanish, French, Japanese, German, and Dutch. Registration is 5€.
hfo:Design today announced its TUNEWEAR brand, which includes a new accessory called ICEWEAR for Apple's iPod mini digital music players. The strong and light case/cover for the iPod mini uses the same silicon found in diving masks which allows for both scratch protection and a clear view of your iPod mini's original color. It offers access to all ports including the headphone jack, dock connector, hold switch and click wheel. "The shock absorbing ribs on the sides not only serve to protect your iPod mini during falls, but they also function as a grip for the iPod mini when held in your hand or when placed on most any surface. The ribs also glow the iPod mini when held in the light." It also features a belt loop for use with waist belts or shoulder carry bags.
Macworld UK says that Apple's attempt to make Europe's independent labels agree to an unattractive licensing deals for the iTunes Music Store may backfire, as it did with MTV who pressured indie labels into reduced royalty payments: "Hundreds of independents across Europe refused the deal and insisted MTV stop playing their videos after the then-current agreement ended March 31. In March 2004, when faced with the threat of being unable to show videos representing such an important section of the music industry, MTV eventually relented, returned to the negotiating table and negotiated a collective agreement with Europe's indie labels."
Mozilla 1.7 is a final release of the open-source browser from Mozilla.org. It brings smooth scrolling, the ability to display your passwords (using the master password), improved cookie dialogs, better pop-up blocking, better performance, improved support for CSS and more. (Mozilla 1.8a1 is also now available as a technology preview.) [1.7, 1.8a1] PGP Freeware 8.1 offers basic PGP encryption capability for messages and files and is designed for non-for-profit use only. It does not include PGP Disk, integration with major applications, automatic encryption of email file attachments and other advanced features found in PGP Personal Desktop ($60). Radeon Enabler 1.1 (free) patches the ATI Displays application so users can use native features such as "OpenGL Overrides," which enables the user to utilize 3D options like FSAA in games without native support. Version 1.1 adds support for eMac chipsets, Radeon 9700/9600/9000/7500 (PowerBook), Radeon 9200/7500 (iBook), the OEM Radeon 8500/7500, and Radeon Mobility (PowerBook). [1.3MB] DropDV 1.04 ($20) is a Mac OS X droplet which converts MPEG video into DV video streams, which can be used in applications such as iMovie, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, etc. It preserves the audio track, uses bicubic scaling, offers full YUV pipeline (without RGB conversions), and supports NTSC/PAL output. [276KB] DockFun 4.6 ($20) adds a new search feature in the "Dockpit" featuring "super fast" Searchkit technology, offers better compatibility with Mac OS X Server, and other small enhancements. The application launcher offers an infinite number of dock configurations, autolaunch features, hotkeys, hide/show of specific docks, Donelleschi Docks, and more. [1.1MB] SignalScope 1.5 ($40) is a free update to the 2-channel real-time audio signal analyzer designed to work with Mac OS X-compatible audio hardware. It provides signal analysis in the form of an FFT magnitude and oscilloscope as well as Spectrogram and XY Plotter analysis tools. [902KB] Menu Calendar 2.0b1 is a public beta test of a new version of the popular menubar calendar. It adds a new preferences panel, hotkey activation, and the ability to show appointments/events from iCal in its own little calendar - either as stickies (tool tips) at the calendar or as list of events. Advanced iCal integration will require registration. [628KB] Feral Interactive has released a demo of XIII ($55), its first person shooter that features innovative online multiplayer modes such as Barfight and the cooperative Cover Me, along with classic modes such as Capture the Flag and DeathMatch. It requires Mac OS X 10.2.3 or later and 700MHz Mac. [91MB] ImageBrowser 1.2 (donationware) is a simple program for viewing and organizing images. It offers multiple split-screen windows, multiple thumbnail sizes, basic file operations (renaming, folder creation, etc.), drag & drop support, zoom, keyboard navigation, and more. Version 1.2 offers mouse-based scrolling, image rotation, online help, etc. [268KB]
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Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.