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Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Comparing Apple's workstation offerings to Sun's; one member's positive repair experience with Apple; Office Depot's recent announcement that it will be carrying iMacs; the merits of AppleCare for iPod.
Spectorsoft has begun shipment of Spector ($100) for OS X. Spector works by automatically taking periodic screen shots of a Mac and saves those screenshots to a local or network drive for later viewing. Screenshots can be taken as often as every few seconds, or as infrequently as once every few minutes. "Consumers now have the ability to see exactly what their children or spouse do on their computer when they cannot be around. Corporations and educational institutions can make sure their employees and students are using their computers appropriately."
Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Milunovich says the Motorola-iTunes deal is a "net positive for iPod...iPods are the leading portable music player, iTunes is the leading on-line music seller, and it appears Apple understands it has to work with others to dominate the space. Apple could become the 'Microsoft' of music'," according to a new research note cited by TheStreet.com. The report also says that the effect of RealNetworks' new Harmony software to allow its music to be played on the iPod is still uncertain and could result in legal action by Apple: "Analysts said it's too early to gauge the takeaway from RealNetworks' new software offering. "Real could boost demand for the iPod but reduce music store sales," offered Milunovich, adding that he's waiting to see if Apple will sue Real. Others agreed that a lawsuit could be in the works."
In Brief: ATI today introduced the Mobility Radeon 9800, designed for the mobile gaming enthusiast; the Big Nerd Ranch has announced the return of one of the most popular classes in its line-up, PostgreSQL Bootcamp Linksys today announced its "Get Smart! Go Wireless!" promotion for Back to School, offering cash-back mail-in rebates on the most popular wireless and wired Ethernet products; Engadget has published a guide on "How-To Turn your iPod in to a Universal Infrared Remote Control."
Aspyr has quietly announced that Spider-Man 2 will ship next month. Based on the same storyline as the blockbuster feature film, it places the gamer into the "web-slinging, web-swinging world of the Manhattan metropolis. Gamers will visit locations and relive encounters taken directly from the film, from the Statue of Liberty to the Daily Bugle offices.... The Game follows the crime-fighter as he battles the villainous, multi-tentacled Doc Ock." It will run on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. The title is currently in (private) beta and will ship in August 2004. Meanwhile, another reader notes that the release date of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, originally expected in August, has slipped to September.
Song, Delta Air Lines' low-fare airline service, is celebrating 50 Years of Rock 'N Roll with an exclusive offer designed to reward customers with music premiums, simply for booking and flying roundtrip on Song. Customers who purchase roundtrip tickets on flysong.com between August 1 and 12, 2004 for travel September 7 through October 6, 2004, will be awarded one of three premium gifts themed around the 50 Years of Rock 'N Roll after completion of their travel: (1) 100 song downloads at the iTunes Music Store (one roundtrip flight); (2) One Epiphone Les Paul Junior Guitar from Gibson (two roundtrip flights) in the same itinerary; and (3) an Apple iPod mini -- in Song's signature green ( three roundtrip flights).
REALbasic 5.5.3 updates the development tool that can create software for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. It adds more options for building REALbasic plug-ins, including familiar environments, such as GCC, Visual Studio and Apple's Xcode; provides more reliable cross-platform group project management capabilities; and improves support for Apple’s Address Book for Mac OS X. It is a free update. [Classic, OSX] Informator Pro 1.8 ($75) is a simple, fast and convenient utility to edit IPTC metadata. Version 1.8 introduces a new slideshow/presenter area, the ability to zoom into Images and PDFs, text and rtf document editing, and bug fixes. [Download - 4.1MB] Daktari 1.0.4 is an update to the Web site project manager that implements the 'library browser' metaphor for organizing projects and editing Web page source. Version 1.0.4 introduces improvements to file handling, a new Upload command, new panels for Field and Button input elements, and improved scripting support. [Download - 4.1MB] KidzLog 1.1 ($30) is a simple weblog publishing tool for children. Version 1.1 includes the following improvements: greater control over a weblog's appearance, bug fixes with FTP publishing, and better standards-compliant HTML. [Download - 2.5MB] MakingMusic 2.5 is an online Musical Instrument Encyclopedia, providing a description, an image and a sound clip per instrument. Version 2.5 provides a necessary update to the database server: "I was forced to change server due to the increasing size of the database." MakingMusic now features 240 instruments. [Download - 700KB] StatusMonitors 1.3 is a plug-in based utility that can monitor a number of statistics. In this version, the Clock plug-in has turned into a WorldClock, changes have been made to the layout for weather, netload, and diskspace, and borders are only drawn around a monitor view when it is selected. [Download - 1.1MB] Sweet16 is a Mac OS X version of the Apple IIgs emulation tool, 'Bernie ][ The Rescue.' Registered users ($15) of version 2.5.9 and up can use this software free of charge. Bernie ][ The Rescue has been discontinued but the software and related information will remain available. [Download - 126KB]
Iomega today launched a new member of the Micro Mini family: The Micro Mini 512MB USB 2.0 Drive. Designed for the active lifestyle, the Micro Mini 512MB USB 2.0 drive offers high performance in a "go-anywhere" package that is half the size of conventional USB key drives. It weighs only 0.3 ounces (9 grams). A blinking of a blue LED reveals when the drive is active, delivering performance of up to 8 MB/sec. The Iomega Micro Mini 512MB USB 2.0 Drive is now shipping for $130.
In Brief: Basasoft is looking for feedback for future developments of BasaOne, its Web Application Development Environment (see online form); In the last two weeks since its launch, iMovieFest.com -- a Web community that provides a creative outlet to amateur filmmakers -- has grown to 500 members and 130 active movies; many articles from Apple's Knowledge Base have been translated by a team of French Mac users; the Lowrider Fontset, consisting of give commercial typefaces, is available for one more day.
Informatix Software has announced Piranesi 4, the latest version of its "3D painting" software. With Piranesi, designers can start with simple models and renderings, and quickly fill in details and create hand-drawn effects. Piranesi 4 contains a wide range of new effects, a new tool manager that provides quick access, and over 300 new cutout and texture images. A release date has yet to be determined.
The winning creations from the Delta Campus MovieFest are now available for online viewing. The Delta Campus MovieFest offered 10,000 students around Atlanta the opportunity to make movies for their first time. Over 400 teams were provided with Apple laptops, iLife software, DV camcorders, and a week of training and support to create their movies. The winning teams of 10 students received trips to Hollywood, New York City, iPods, and more.
The Henrico County School Board (Virginia) turned down an offer by Apple to renew and extend a lease on the iBook computers the school system uses in its high-profile initiative to give a laptop to every middle and high school student, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to the report the lease for the laptops used by high school students runs out at the end of the 2004-05 school year and the lease for middle school students' laptops runs out in 2006. The major sticking point was high cost of the 1-year opt-out clause, but the Board says that it will revisit the issue next year after a portion its lease contract expires.
Forbes has a few more details on the Motorola-iTunes announcement made yesterday evening, noting that "the deal was announced in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont on Monday night by Motorola Chief Executive Edward Zander on the eve of the company's annual meeting with financial analysts. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, appeared by a video conference link. They had finalized the deal only hours before the announcement....Although iTunes will be the default jukebox on future Motorola phones, the deal is not an exclusive partnership."
Iomega today began shipping its new Iomega Super DVD Writer 12x Dual-Format USB 2.0 Drive. The innovative new DVD+RW/-RW drive adds the ability to store more than 12 CDs of data on a single 8.5 GB DVD+R DL (double layer) disc. It also supports DVD+R and DVD+RW (12x4x10x write, rewrite, and read speeds), DVD-R and DVD-RW (8x4x10x), and CD-R and CD-RW discs (40x24x40x). Users can also rip CDs using 40x digital audio extraction. The drive is bundled with Charismac Discribe and MusicMatch software. It is available for $250 and is compatible with Mac OS 10.2.7 or newer with a Macintosh G4 (or faster) with a built-in USB 2.0 connection.
IBM's Microprocessor division is developing a dual-core version of the PowerPC "G5" 970 processor, which will be used in workstations and servers sometime next year, according to eWEEK: Code-named "Antares," it will contain two processing units per chip, with each carrying its own execution core, Level 1 cache and storage subsystems including a Level 2 cache...It will use 16 stages for most fixed-point integer operations; 18 for most load-and-store operations; and 21 stages for most floating-point operations. VMX operations, which will take 19 stages, will be handled in the 970MP's AltiVec-compatible vector processing unit...With the longer pipelining, the 970MP will implement "instruction cracking," which can distribute code requests to each core, splitting certain recognized instructions into several internal and simpler operations."
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
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
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt