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New Apple retail VP
Apple has hired former Ralph Lauren executive Bridget Ryan Berman as vice president of its retail operations, according to a report on ifoAppleStore. AppleInsider writes: "A 12-year veteran of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp, Berman recently oversaw operations at 40 domestic and 121 international Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Stores. Berman joins the Apple Retail team with significant international retail experience, just months prior to an expected boom in the company’s international retail store initiative."
BUG.tv today announced its new HD motion graphic video server, CLASS-BUG HD. Described as the "world's first" HD motion graphic video server, it is based on Apple Xserve G5 platform and support playback from Apple's Motion, Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects using simple drag-and-drop operation--without time-consuming ingest or transformation operations. CLASS-BUG HD is equipped to play uncompressed, full quality HD-SDI, with Alpha Channel. The CLASS-BUG HD is can be used for applications that require integration with an external keyer, such as a master control switcher, according the company. Other features include AES/EBU audio outputs, adjustable Genlock, a GPI input to interface with other systems, time Code input for synchronization to master clock, and more.
Dell servers, iTunes promo
In Brief: Dell has launched its first line of Linux-based desktop computers in Europe through its partnership with diversified energy company Questar Corp. Aspyr's Battlefield 1942 server is now online, hosting all the maps in the Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition pack (Servername: Aspyr BF1942 and Password: macsrule). Following several reports last week, The USA Today emphasizes that a pending copyright bill in the US Senate poses a threat to iPod's future (as well as other high-tech gadgets). Users can send a email to firstname.lastname@example.org (using iTunes' "Tell a Friend" feature) to automatically be entered into Apple's 100 million song countdown promotion.
Canopus DV converter
Canopus today announced ADVC110, a portable and easy-to-use external bidirectional analog/digital video converter that features FireWire bus-powered operation and audio-only conversion capabilities. ADVC110 easily connects VHS, Hi8 and other analog video equipment to all DV cameras, decks and editing systems and can be used for capture and output of S-Video and composite analog video from FireWire-equipped notebook or desktop computers.
Live365 launches Radio365
Live365 today announced Radio365, its new application-based Internet radio player for the Windows and Mac platforms. Radio365 allows desktop access to thousands of Live365 stations, with many channels in full CD-quality--without pop-ups or other visual advertisements. Listeners can browse stations by genre or search the network for stations that play a particular artist, album or track and similar offerings. In addition, Radio365 links Internet radio with digital downloads, enabling listeners to purchase tracks of interest from a station's playlist. Listeners with a Mac can click a "buy" button to locate the track in the iTunes Music Store.
Music stores in Asia
Creative Technology has teamed up with Soundbuzz.com to set up online music stores in Singapore, Hong Kong, and India. The first store, in Singapore, launched today with 250,000 tracks for $1.16 each in "a format designed for quick downloading into Creative's digital music players," Reuters reports. Apple has yet to announce any plans for its iTunes Music Store in Asia, a region largely dominated by pirated CDs. Soundbuzz.com expects Singapore, which has a population of 4 million, to download 300,000 to 500,000 songs annually.
Memorex Travel Mice
Memorex today introduced two new travel mice for mobile users. The Prism Optical Travel Mouse and ScrollPro Travel Mouse are about 50 and 35 percent smaller than traditional mice, respectively. The Prism features an illuminated rainbow scroll wheel, retractable and removable USB cord, and 800 dpi optical technology while the ScrollPro features a black and silver design and 400 dpi optical technology. The Prism Optical Travel Mouse will ship later this month for $20; the ScrollPro Travel Mouse is available now for $15.
Maya Learning Tools
Alias today announced its full lineup of new Maya Learning Tools to accompany Maya 6, the latest version of its 3D animation and special effects software. Maya Learning Tools are books and DVDs that offer self-paced learning for 3D professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Alias says it will release dozens of DVDs and books in the coming months for a variety of learning levels including the Beginner's series for novices to beginners; the Discover Series that has specific market focus for novices to intermediate users; the Learning series for beginner to intermediate users and the Techniques series for intermediate to advanced users. Pricing starts at $20.
QPict, Gmailstatus, ...
QPict 6.1 ($35) is a free update to the tool for viewing, organizing, searching and batch processing media files. Along with major improvements in RAW file support, QPict 6.1 includes more than 40 new features, including an improved batch processor that supports dynamic variables as inputs. [Classic, OSX]
GmailStatus is a new notification menubar addition for OS X that displays the number of unread inbox messages. Users can store their username/password, check for new mail manually or via timed intervals, choose a custom sound, quickly open the inbox in your browser (or create a new message), and quickly view account usage statistics. [552KB]
Kids GoGoGo 8.6.0 ($30) brings an improved installer, support for "very slow" filtering, and improved add/exclude, blog filtering, URL trimming and more. The parental control software offers URL filtering as well as built-in surveillance, such as the ability to check browser history, record the web log, and create a QuickTime-based movie of the desktop. [Classic, OSX]
CornerClick 0.4 (free) adds a right-click trigger, Fn-key modifier, scroll-wheel and keyboard navigation support, custom highlight color, improved hover bubbles and preference pane, and other improvements. The system utility allows users to assign actions to various corners of desktop. [587KB]
Frames/Borders ($20) is an update to Graphicxtras.com' collection; it now includes 2500 frames/edges of mixed design and mixed resolution. The frames are for use in frame/border plugins as well as many host applications such as Photoshop. The frames are available on CD as well. [demo]
NewsMac 3.1 (donationware) is an RSS news feed reader for Mac OS X 10.3 that allows its users to quickly and easily browse the latest news headlines from hundreds of different websites using a 'Collections Drawer' and Dock menu. Version 3.1 adds automatic timed updates of channels, automatic sync with your iPod/Palm handheld, and more. [624KB]
dincTYPE has released a set of three of its "best typefaces". The free "Yr YaYa's" set of "high-quality professional typefaces" is available for today and includes three fonts--all with complete character sets and international characters: "Fatboy, Fourway, and YaYa."
Syncup 1.0 (free) is an easy-to-use free backup tool that "should help you to backup your data to another local Volume, or restore from that backup with just one click." It can perform (synchronizing) backups of multiple folders to a backup folder and supports multiple backups easily. It serves as a GUI for rsyncx, a command-line tool. [268KB]
New products at MWB
In a press release today, IDG World Expo provided a list of some of the new products that will be on display at Macworld Expo Boston next week. Among those are SketchUp 4.0 from @Last Software; Animation:Master for Mac OS X from Hash, Inc.; and the SkinTight Armband for the Mini, from Speck Products.
Kona external hard drive
TikiMac has introduced the Kuna, a new aluminum hard drive enclosure with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interface. The Kuna features an interlocking design that allows users to stack multiple enclosures horizontally and also includes an upright stand for vertical positioning. The Kuna is available in four configurations: 120GB ($170), 160GB ($190), 250GB ($290), 400GB ($500).
Epson C66, C86 printers
Epson today introduced its C66 and C86 inkjet printers, upgraded versions of the previous C64 and C84 models. Both printers feature an optimized resolution of 5760x1440 and include a new photo kit with 20 sheets of photo paper and free membership to Epson's photo craft and photo sharing Web sites. The C66 can print borderless 4"x6" prints, while the C66 can also print borderless 8"x10" and letter-sized prints. Both printers are available now for $70 and $100, respectively. [Site not updated.]
20GB FireFly drive ships
SmartDisk has started shipping its 20GB FireFly USB 2.0 portable hard drive, which uses a 1.8" hard drive similar to the one found in iPods. The FireFly features a magnesium alloy case that measures 2.5"x4.0"x0.5", weighs 3.3 ounces, and sells for $190.
Digital picture frame
PhotoVu has introduced the PV1910 wireless digital picture frame, which adds iPhoto support, a redesigned and more refined look, support for up to 12 megapixel cameras, and a future upgrade path to enhanced wireless standards. The 19-inch LCD panel features a 1280x960 resolution with 24-bit color support and 170 degree viewing angles. The PV1910 sells for $1,550.
iPod packaging awarded
Calling Apple's iPod packaging "flawless," "inventive," and "utterly consistent with what we've come to expect," judges for I.D. Magazine's Annual Design Review 2004 awarded Apple with a design distinction for its work. "Opening the box requires a series of motions... with each move, the suspense builds. 'There's this ballet of unwrapping that is clearly intentional, it prolongs your excitement about finally owning the product.'" (2004 winners have not yet been added to I.D.'s site.)
Sun buys Watson
At the recent JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, Sun Microsystems revealed that it is the company behind the purchase of Karelia Software's popular Watson utility. Sun's version of the software, code-named Alameda, is still "in rough form," according to CNET, but was demonstrated at the conference and will run on any Java-enabled computer. An updated FAQ on Karelia's site notes that the company will continue to provide support of Watson until October 5, 2004. "Hopefully, by that timeframe, Sun will have turned this project into a product that Watson users should be able to migrate to."
UCLA Xserve G5 cluster
UCLA's Plasma Simulation Group is in the process of creating a 256 Xserve G5 cluster that will feature 512 processors, Think Secret reports. The cluster, known as the "Dawson Project," cost about $1 million and is said to have been largely funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Plasma Simulation Group has been working with Mac clusters since 1998, when it started Project AppleSeed. Last month, the U.S. Army announced it was building a cluster with 1,566 Xserve G5s.
Portable storage threats
Portable storage devices, such as Apple's iPod, pose a security risk to corporate networks and companies should consider banning the devices, according to a new report from research firm Gartner. Such devices are capable of bypassing network defenses such as firewalls and antivirus software, enabling users to introduce malicious code onto a network. Additionally, the obvious possibility of portable storage devices being used to steal vast amounts of corporate data exists. Gartner advises that "companies should forbid the use of uncontrolled, privately owned devices with corporate PCs and adopt personal firewalls to limit what can be done on USB ports," ZDNet notes.
The G5 Drive Bracket
The G5 Drive Bracket Team today announced its "value-oriented" product for adding additional drives to Apple's Power Mac G5. The G5 Drive Bracket includes what the company says is "the bare necessities, the hard drive bracket and mounting hardware, allowing people to make their own choice as to what technologies to use in their G5. The G5 Drive Bracket is made of clear polycarbonate plastic and "requires a total of seven screws for the entire solution six (two for each drive) to hold the hard disk drives to the hard disk drive brackets and one to hold the G5 Drive Bracket base to the G5 itself." It is available for $100.
NI Guitar Rig 1.1
Native Instruments today released Guitar Rig 1.1, an upadate to the software bundled in a package with its "Rig Kontrol" hardware foot controller. The software offers emulations of classic and modern amplifiers, cabinets, microphones, and effects, allowing guitarists to easily create any guitar set-up. The update includes a fourth amp module based on the famous Vox AC-30, 50 new presets, and three new effect units, including "Treble Booster" (distortion unit), "Psychedelay" (reverse delay with detune), and "Pitch Pedal" (polyphonic pitch shifter). It is available as a free update. The full package is $500.
iTMS music quality
An article in this past weekend's New York Times (also reprinted in the The LA Daily News) knocks the music quality available at Apple's iTunes Music store, noting that Apple fails to explain why it has not adopted lossless data compression: "Customers are led to believe that they are getting a CD in all respects except the trouble of going to the mall. The iTunes store does not warn about the permanence of its method of compression; once freeze-dried, there is no way to reconstitute the music into CD quality for playing through a good stereo... The bit rate for iTunes, 128, is so low that when played side by side against the original, the difference is audible not only to audio enthusiasts, but also to mortals with ordinary hearing."
Apple and Linux
Sitepoint's "Linux and Apple" column notes that several features of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger release "have been driven largely by their open source participation," including the recent Rendezvous for Java, Linux/Unix, and Windows (noted first by MacNN). The article notes that the Naval Medical Research Center recently chose Apple over Linux: "He commented to me that in a review of Linux and Apple cluster solutions for their research (partially web-based), they chose Apple only because of the ease of use and ability to manage in a limited IT environment... Here Linux vendors could take a page from Apple in interface design, especially since Apple's engineers did build on a Unix kernel."
OurayCM version control
Ouray Software has announced OurayCM, a new cross-platform version control tool for software developers OurayCM provides advanced features such as unlimited branching with automatic merge tracking, file and directory renames, remote network-disconnected development, use-based pricing, release management, a graphical interface, and Durable Versions, which gives developers fine-grained recovery ability and provides a permanent, detailed project history. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.3 or higher. Pricing is $1 per computer-repo-developer-day.
eyeSignal USB device
Lamp Express today announced its first Mac USB device, the eyeSignal Personal Notification Device (PND), designed to notify the user of events. It uses a modular software approach to adapt to many applications, including an email module. "By assiging email addresses to one of its three LED's, it notifies you on-screen and by light signal (=eyeSignal) when mail comes in. Since notification is only given for pre-defined addresses you will not get disturbed by spam. Depending on the module loaded, the PND can also check your stock portfolio, your eBay auctions and many other things." eyeSignal will run on Mac OS X 10.3 only and be available later this month for $130.
M-Audio Classroom Studio
M-Audio this week debuted its new new Classroom Studio, a package which it says brings educators the same tools used by the pros to aid and document students' lessons, performances and progress. The Classroom Studio bundle includes M-Audio's MobilePre USB audio interface/preamp, two Nova large condenser microphones, Ableton Live Delta, Reason Adapted, and cables. "Educators can easily record accompaniment for students to play along with and optionally record their progress as well." It is available for Mac OS 9/X for $350.
Apple UK promos
Matching a similar offer made to US customers last week, Apple UK is offering up to £130 off the price of Final Cut Express 2. Customers must purchase the video editing software with a new Macintosh; Apple says "it is open to end user customers who purchase the qualifying Apple products simultaneously between July 1st and September 25th, 2004, inclusive from participating resellers or participating Apple Stores." A similar deal is also available for Apple UK Education Customers. PC Pro also notes that Apple UK is offering free laser engraving on with the purchase of any new iPod through September 28 via the online Apple UK Store..
Andromeda Online beta
Aepox Games is taking signups for the beta test of Andromeda Online, a strategic starship war-game where players "design a command crew, pick a stock starship or design their own, and go into battle! And while one-on-one battles are a blast, that's only the beginning! Why play with just one ship when you can command of fleet?! Command an armada of up to 500 scouts, fighters, cruisers, battleships, even space stations! Break them off into fleets and sub-fleets as you scour the galaxy looking for your opponents ships." The open beta has begun, and Aepox is accepting signups for the test, which is scheduled to run through September 30th.
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