Lamp Express today began shipping its eyeSignal Personal Notification Device. The $80 hardware/software solution allows users to be notified of computer events through three color-coded leds located on the device. The Mac OS X-only software and a set of AppleScripts for developers, are available as a free download. The company also announced a "Free-Trial" program, offering a "no-questions-asked money-back guarantee." Gerhard Theimer, CEO of Lamp Express, says that "Lamp Express received a lot of inquiries about the eyeSignal, how it works and how it integrates with ones individual workflow. Since the eyeSignal is a very unique product and there is nothing on the market to compare it to, Lamp Express decided to offer a Free Trial program for a limited time."
The two percent decline in Apple's stock price today after news of Steve Jobs cancer treatment this weekend--and his absence from the company, may be because of the what CNN/Money calls the Steve Jobs premium: "Steve Jobs has been the hallmark of Apple's turnaround," said Megan Graham-Hackett, an equity analyst with Standard & Poor's. 'It would be a blow to the company if he were not able to be as participatory as he has been in the past.'"
The Maine Education Department fell short of its goal to sign up enough high schools by the end of July to account for 8,400 laptops, the number necessary for an interim proposal by Apple to put iBooks in some Maine high schools this fall, according to The Associated Press: "Gendron still held out hope that the laptop plan could be salvaged if more schools sign up over the next few days and if Apple lowers the minimum participation level. Gendron said she expected to make an announcement after discussing the matter with Apple officials on Wednesday."
CodeWeavers said that it has added iTunes support to its software that lets Windows programs run on Linux, according to CNET News.com: "CrossOver Office 3.1 adds support for the jukebox and music download software. The version is currently in preview form and is being made available only to existing CrossOver Office customers..... A final version is expected later this year. Apple has not created a Linux version of iTunes, though the company has already shown a willingness to go beyond the Mac in creating the Windows version. Apple's iPod also works natively under Windows and the Mac OS, though the company does not support Linux."
Red Giant Software today announced that Knoll Light Factory 2 and Primatte Keyer will support Discreet combustion 3 desktop compositing software. Previously only available as After Effects plug-ins, the enhanced versatility of these products will add increased functionality to the production pipeline for combustion 3 artists. Knoll Light Factory helps artists design lens flares and lighting effects commonly seen on television and in feature films, while Primatte Keyer enables filmmakers to extract keys from any color background, overcoming traditional challenges including uneven lighting, subtle shadows, and edge light contamination. Knoll Light Factory 2 ($400) and Primatte Keyer ($500) will be available for combustion 3 by the end of August 2004.
CaptureWorks has released JobCapture 5.0, the newest version of its automation software for accurately tracking time and activities for billing purposes. Its DocCapture technology can monitor opt-in software applications and document activity on a computer in what is called high-tech electronic "Job Jacket", which links to company project meta-data on-the-fly for near realtime project monitoring. Version 5 adds project-level tracking, support for tracking in any application without the use of custom plugin, improved reporting with more out-of-the box reports, and a new SDK to allow developers to better integrate JobCapture into existing workflows or third-party applications. Pricing starts at $200.
Apple today released iPhoto 4.02, a free update to its bundled software iLife component application for sharing, editing, and organizing photos. The free 7.1MB update addresses minor issues with Smart Albums and European books, and provides notification when new versions of iPhoto are available. It is available via the Mac OS X Software Update.
Afternoon tech news: A San Diego company has agreed to stop bombarding computer users with Internet pop-up ads to advertise its ad-blocking software, avoiding a court battle with the Federal Trade Commission; Network computer maker Sun Microsystems is considering making acquisitions, including the purchase of software maker Novell; South Korea's top Web site operator Daum Communications said today it would acquire Lycos, the U.S. business of Spain's Terra Lycos, owner of popular sites such as Wired News and Tripod, for $95 million; an open-source insurance provider finds patent risks in Linux;
Improvision has announced that Openlab 4 -- the newest version of the software for imaging cell structure and function -- will be released on August 27th. Openlab 4 contains new features as well as improvements to the ease of use of existing functionality. This release is focused on simplifying the acquisition process together with a re-design of key aspects of the unique Automator module. The company also recently released Volocity, which offers a "new dimensions in high performance imaging." It provides scientists with an interactive volume visualization system that will run on a standard desktop computer. Volume interactivity is the key to providing the user with an enhanced perception of depth and realism.
A MacNN reader notes that a 'Modern Marvels' commercial on the History Channel indirectly references Apple.
Apple UK has launched a new "Price Matching" promotion on both Apple-branded hardware and software, saying that the online store will reduce its prices to match that of other Apple resellers: "Apple will match a better price offer from an Apple reseller. Apple will reduce its price by up to 10 percent to meet a resellerís offer for Apple-branded products offered at the Apple Store for Business and the Apple Store for Consumers." Apple UK has also launched 'Cram and Jam" promo for students, offering an additional £130 or Ä200 mail-in rebate when customers purchase an iPod along with a PowerBook or iBook from Apple Store for Education. This mail-in rebate is in addition to the reduced pricing available to students and is a similar promo offered earlier this year to US students.
In Brief: MacMice today announced DVForge, its new name, and the appointment of two new Directors; iCompositions today announced that every registered user will receive 1 gigabyte of free space to upload their GarageBand compositions; DV Graphics has recently added minor enhancements and new icons to its site, including speed improvements; a Mac user has published a journal of his experience buying an iBook on eBay, resulting in an apparent fraud.
PrivateList 1.0 ($10) is an easy to use application that allows users to manage 'private' contacts. You can protect the access of a database with a password, add pictures, and manage groups, to do tasks and favorites. [Download - 1.4MB] Navicat 5.2 is an integrated GUI tool to let users perform MySQL administration and database development. Version 5.2 adds a Batch Job and Scheduling feature, support for MySQL 4.1.3-beta, and 'Set Null' support in table data grid. [Download - 2.0MB] Web Confidential 3.7.5 ($20) manages passwords, user IDs, registration numbers, and similar info, and integrates with major Web browsers for filling in Web forms. Version 3.7.5 adds a shortcut to quickly open the startup password file, adds a number of small improvements and fixes bugs. [Download - 4.4MB] IP Scanner ($20) uses OpenTalk (Rendezvous) technology to collect realtime IP data from machines on a local area network and sorts the information, with each machine's IP number displayed next to its name. Version 1.1 now discovers machines on the network even without preinstalling IP Broadcaster. [Download - 289KB] Trapeze 1.1 is a significant upgrade to the $30 PDF text extraction utility for Mac. Trapeze 1.1 features improved functionality and introduces the ability to convert PDF documents directly to HTML. [Download - 847KB] DoThisNow 1.3 is a free update to the $20 action/script scheduling software for Mac OS X. Version 1.3 adds the ability to run any action by pressing a hotkey. [Download - 3.0MB] Tag 1.1 ($10) is a major update to the XHTML editor for Mac OS X. There are many changes to Auto Complete, the Code Help Browser, Code Styles, the Colour Picker and Snippets. [Download - 2.2MB] Splendid City 4.0 is a sports scheduling useful for people who organize team sport or game events. New program features include: a utility for importing objects in alternative formats, support for drag and drop of pool objects to the Object Wizard, and the ability to be more specific with game object constraints. [Download - 3.5MB]
Rio today introduced new portable digital music players, including three flash-based Rio Forge digital music players and the drive-based "iPod-mini killer" Rio Carbon, which offers 5GB of internal storage, a USB 2.0 connection, a 5-band equalizer, and a 20-hour battery as well as captures voice memos. "The four new players...are designed with a combination of stylish metallic sheens, bright LED backlight displays and refined ergonomic designs that provide a distinctive look and feel to fit a variety of lifestyles. This next generation of Rio MP3 players all feature a new touch sensitive directional pad for simple and intuitive navigation and playback control." Carbon is $250, while the Forge players are $140 (128MB), $170 (256MB), and $200 (512MB).
OmniPilot Software has acquired the Lasso product suite from Blue World Communications. The Lasso suite of cross platform software tools allows companies to quickly build and serve powerful data-driven Web sites. Financial terms were not disclosed. OmniPilot's CEO Chad Roll, commented on the acquisition saying, "We believe there is a substantial market opportunity to provide SME's (small-to-medium enterprises) with the ability to optimize their online presence. Lasso products provide the ability to connect any database to any Web server on any platform providing us with a solid foundation for future growth."
Iomega today announced that it is now shipping the bus-powered FireWire version of its new removeable REV 35GB 1394/FireWire drive. First launched in April 2004, the Iomega REV drive is already available in USB 2.0 and internal ATAPI models, with SCSI and Serial ATA models planned for later this year. Iomega says the REV drive offers read-write performance of up to 25 MB/sec (maximum native transfer rate) and FireWire 400 connectivity. The FireWire Iomega REV 35GB drive is shipping now for $400 (includes one disk). Mac-formatted disks are also available separately for $60 each or in a 4-pack for $200. [site not updated]
The impending battle of music compatibility on the iPod between Apple and RealNetworks over Real's Harmony could discourage users from purchasing music and push them into the illegal world of music file-swapping, according to The Boston Globe: "It's also an incitement to steal music. Only honest music lovers have to worry as they buy from RealAudio or iTunes or the new, legal version of Napster, about which music players will play which songs. RealNetworks' new technology offers a way out: an all-purpose antipiracy system that will work with everybody else's, making it easy for consumers to stay on the right side of the law. But Apple's not having it, because Steve Jobs is a jealous god who will have no false technologies before him.... Since his amazing comeback as Apple chief executive in 1997, Jobs hasn't made a single major mistake -- until now."
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has undergone successful surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, the company's co-founder told employees in a company-wide e-mail on Sunday, according to Reuters. "Jobs, 49, wrote in the e-mail sent from his hospital bed that he plans to return to work in September after recuperating in August. In his absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations, will run Apple, while Ed Catmull, Pixar's president and who already runs the company's day-to-day operations, will oversee Pixar.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl