Automator, Apple's new scripting technology expected to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger next year, offers a simple, graphical environment for building complex scripts. It combines AppleScript and other Mac OS X technology to interface with AppleScript Studio, Apple's Xcode, and Apple's object-oriented Cocoa framework, according to eWEEK: "However, Automator is not simply a new front end to AppleScript. Although it's capable of running AppleScripts as well as Unix shell scripts, Automator Actions are compiled C++ code. Third-party developers wanting to let customers use their applications in the Automator environment will need to write their own set of Actions, in addition to opening them up to AppleScript." The article notes that lack of conditionals and the inability to link together two items that don't match may be potential pitfalls for the new technology.
An eWEEK article talks about Apple's Play for NT Orphans, noting that Apple is planning on providing an NT migration tool as part of the Mac OS X Server 10.4 Tiger release, due out in the first half of 2005: "Goguen said Apple expects more than a few Windows Server customers to continue to shun Active Directory. They are offering Apple's plain-vanilla LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory as an alternative. And with Microsoft retiring NT 4.0—it stopped supporting client versions June 30 and will stop supporting the server version at year-end—Apple thinks the time is right to try to win the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised Windows Server base." The article, however, notes that Apple's (high) pricing remains a concern for potential customers.
SIPphone, a free Internet phone service, has added support for Mac OS X. Previously, Mac users could buy a hardware adapter to make and receive SIP calls from their home or work phone; however, SIPphone has now released a free softphone for computers and laptops, including Mac OS X: the Xten 2.0 softphone. "With SIPphone, users get a phone number, free voicemail to email, free conference calling, free SIP-to-SIP calling anywhere in the world, very cheap International dialing, and the option of a virtual number in the US or the UK so they can receive calls from the 'traditional' phone network."
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Estimated shipping dates for PowerMac G5 2.5GHz orders; member commentary on an article suggesting steps for increasing Apple's market share; discussion of Apple's latest promotion for PowerBook buyers; speculation regarding the next iMac revision; the possibility of Apple creating a sub-notebook; recommendations for a Bluetooth mouse; speculation about the next minor revision of Mac OS X.
Macro Enter Corp. and Encad have announced a special bundle offer for the Encad NovaJet T-200+, Microspot X-RIP software driver for Mac OS X, and Macro Enter support. The bundle is designed for architects, engineers and graphics designers who need a professional an affordable large printing system. The bundle offer is available for any of the 3 Encad T-200 options (4-pigment blacks, 3-dye CMY + 1-pigment K or 4-Dye CMYK). The 36-inch printer includes a 32MB buffer, stands, basket, roll feed, and Mac OS X drivers. It is priced at $3,000, while a special SEH print server 10/100 for network connectivity can be added for $190. In additional, there is also a special discount of $100 for all registered VectorWorks users.
iSkin today introduced the ProTouch XT, a protector for Apple keyboard and Apple wireless keyboard designed to offer complete surface protection while maintaining the natural typing feel of the keyboard. "Crafted from durable high-grade silicone, the ProTouch XT offers a full-coverage transparent barrier to keep the keyboard free of dirt, food spills and other hazards. The ProTouch XT’s form-fitting design ensures the protector stays in place, allowing key characters to show through clearly without compromising the functionality of the keyboard." It is available now for $30 in a variety of colors, including sonic (Blue) and arctic (Transparent)--with more colors coming soon, according to the company.
KeynotePro has released Duet, a new theme for Apple's Keynote presentation application. The company describes the theme as a "harmony of clean, minimalist style and bold, contrasting color [that] is decidedly restrained - crisp, reverse type against a two-tone palette - allowing for on-the-spot placement of contrasting shapes and type." It includes a range of text + photo masters (25 Masters in all) as well as a Supplemental Objects file with a style guide and "Distressed" and "Printed Page" paste-on elements for adding "gritty noise" or press-proof elements, such as registration marks and color bars. It is available for $20 or in a bundle with 2 other themes for $50.
Xupport 2.2 ($20) is the latest release of the graphical user interface to configure hidden Mac OS X and Unix options. It provides many functions to maintain, optimize, backup, clean, hack, enhance and secure Mac OS X. It adds a menubar option, improved browser, new shortcuts, code/script optimizations, an un-installer, and other fixes. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.6MB] PDF2Office v1.1 ($130) is a tool for converting PDF documents into fully editable MSWord, RTF, AppleWorks, HTML etc. It can automatically recreate the original layout, including paragraphs, styles, graphics elements, images, tables, headers/footers, endnotes/footnotes and columns/sections. It adds Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility, improves RTF file conversion, document previews, and more. KidsBrowser 1.6 ($30) updates the browser designed for children. It includes new options, better stability, improved better performance, and other bug fixes. The application restricts access to Mac OS X 10.3 (only), disables 'Force Quit' and other options, and offers Web-based filtering. [2.3MB] Backdrop Folders 1.1 ($20) is an addition to the Finder that takes advantage of Expose to "open 'views' of your folders at the desktop level and interact with them." The views remain visible when the desktop is revealed with Expose. [228KB] Safari Bookmark Exporter (free) is a simple utility designed to export Safari bookmarks. Safari Bookmark Exporter supports exporting to Firefox, the latest betas of OmniWeb 5, and Camino 0.8, in addition to previous versions of OmniWeb and Camino/Chimera, Mozilla, Firebird/Phoenix, Netscape, IE, iCab, and Opera. Version 1.0.8 adds support for Firefox 0.9 and also fixes some problems when exporting to OmniWeb 5. [156KB] DynaStrip 4.2 is an imposition application that accepts PDF, PostScript, EPS and DCS files from over 100 applications. It can output to any printer, digital imaging device, imagesetter or platesetter as well as enables populated or non-populated imposition and outputs in both PJTF and JDF. It adds flexible JDF 1.1/1.2 imposition plans that can be used as job templates, new JDF settings for job definition/output, and multiple sheet templates.
In Brief: The PokeMac project is a new initiative "to make 'trading cards' of every Mac and Mac OS computer ever made." Applied Acoustics has cut the price of its Tassman 4 modular sound synthesis studio to $350 ($150 reduction), while the online version is $290; Eric Vlietinck of IT-Enquirer has written a lengthy reply to Alex Salkever of BusinessWeek Online regarding his recent "A Six-Step Plan for Apple" column. Nicholas Pyers will give a presentation on the History of the Macintosh, through the Advertisements of Apple hosted by AUSOM on Saturday, August 7 in Melbourne, Australia. Apple has criticized Sony for what it says are "misleading" claims about the Japanese company's new digital-music player, the 20-GB Network Walkman.
Apple will be opening a retail store at the Christiana Mall in Newark, DE -- Delaware's largest mall -- according to a MacNN reader who spotted signs in the mall regarding the store's imminent opening. Additionally, Apple's jobs page is currently hiring for various positions at the store.
Take Control of Your AirPort Network by Glenn Fleishman is the latest ebook in the Take Control series. The 89-page guide provides advice about purchasing the best networking gear for both new and old Macs, how to find the best location for a base station, how to configure it for sharing an Internet connection most effectively, and how to protect a wireless network from snoopers. The ebook also reveals four little-known ways to expand network coverage area and how to improve reception on a Titanium PowerBook G4. Take Control of Your AirPort Network is available for $5 in PDF format.
"[Apple's] a different kind of company you're buying today than you were four years ago when you were buying this PC company that you hoped would be able to reverse their losses in PC market share," Dan Niles, chief executive of Neuberger Berman Technology Management, tells Reuters in an article discussing Apple's stock market valuation. Despite the stock's run-up in the last six months, some investors are still bullish, citing Apple's impressive retail store numbers ($1 out of every $7 it generates comes from the 80 stores, which have a 40 percent profit margin), continued iPod and iTunes growth, and attractive new product prospects in the third and forth quarter. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, of course, agrees. "We think [the digital lifestyle] strategy still has a lot of legs. If investors are catching up with us, that's terrific and hopefully they'll continue to follow us," Jobs said in a recent interview.
Microsoft has teamed up with designer Philippe Starck to design a new optical mouse. The Optical Mouse by S+ARCK features a sleek shape with a shimmering finish and two buttons extend the length of the mouse, separated by either a blue or orange distinct lighted strip. The S+ARCK mouse will be available in August for $35. Also being released in August is the Wireless Optical Mouse in Mood Ring for $45, a graphic pattern created by Microsoft designers with a circular blue, gray and white patterned finish, and Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in Cobalt Basin and Crimson Fire colors for $55.
FaxCenter 1.4 ($10) turns your Mac into a fax machine, offering searchable fax activity records, Address Book integration, a fax browser, compatibility with most modems, and more--from any native Mac OS X application's print screen, allowing for fast and easy sends. It adds the ability to print a fax activity record, and enhances how the fax browser catalogs information. [1.8MB] iTube! 1.1 ($24) allows users to watch Internet Television with over 1500 channels of TV, Live Video Channels and Webcams as well an Internet ideo library (with search functions) with over 2 million videos. "You can watch ,em>uncensored news, music videos, education and entertainment channels from around the world." HaveFun 1.0 ($12) is a shareware Java-based application that offers several popular games, including "Demon, Golf, Klondike, Pelmanism, Mines, Target and Tic-Tac-Toe [also known as Noughts and Crosses]. Golf, Klondike and Pelmanism are free to play. Registered users may save scores to disk and play Demon, Mines, Target and Tic-Tac-Toe. [544KB] Dejal Simon 2.0b1 updates the site monitoring tool for Mac OS X 10.3. It checks sites for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, or other means. It adds a new Port service, that enables you to engage in a telnet-like conversation with any server, e.g. POP, SMTP, SSH, and more. Basic ($30, 3 tests), Standard ($60, 10 tests), and Enterprise ($200, unlimited tests) versions are available. [3.4MB] Anthracite 1.0.6 ($100) is a "collection of web mining power tools combined in an easy-to-use graphical environment that lets you quickly and seamlessly extract data from Internet sources, modify it to suit your needs, and export it to templates or databases as part of your daily workflow." Version 1.0.6 introduces AppleScript "run" support and better handling of encodings in large documents, an added feedback menu, and more. [form]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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