In Brief: TetrUSS, the suite of computer programs used for fluid dynamics and aerodynamics analysis, has been named co-winner of the prestigious NASA Software of the Year Award, after receiving a 2004 Apple Design Award earlier this year... The Iconfactory has released Puft System, a free collection of "soft, white, and subtle" system icons... Open Door Networks announced a weekly showcase for its Envision web-viewing application... Apple is expected to deliver a Polish version of the iTunes Music store this fall (as well as Denmark as noted yesterday).
auto.des.sys today launched form.Z 4.5, a new version of the general purpose solid and surface modeler that is fully Mac OS X native. Expected to ship in September 2004, the new version offers an open architecture with a new public API (Application Program Interface) and a new Script Language, allowing third parties to develop and integrate specialized operations and applications. form.Z 4.5 also delivers OpenGL optimizations and new features, including SpaceBall 5000 (popular 3D motion controller), Doodle (imitate pencil drawings), cloning, new "Smooth Text", Unicode text, and other new tools (Frame, Star, Diagnostic and Healing, etc.).
Kaydara and Alias today announced MotionBuilder 6, the newest version of the character animation software. Following the expected acaquisition of Kaydara by Alias (announced yesterday), the rebranded Alias MotionBuilder will offer improved usability, advanced keyframing functions and increased character animation controls. "MOTIONBUILDER 6 is our next logical step in building the best 3D animation software on the market," said Michel Besner, president of Kaydara. "The new version includes many improvements that make it more powerful and easier to use, and is an ideal solution for even the most demanding keyframe artists." It will ship in September starting at $1000.
Apple today released Java 1.4.2 Update 1 via the Mac OS X Software Update. The company says it provides support for JDK 1.4.2_05, improved behavior for applets in Safari, and increased stability for desktop Java applications. "The system will be updated to Java 1.4.2 Update 1. If the system currently has Java 1.4.1, it will be removed."
Apple today released DVD Studio Pro 3.01 and Pro Application Support 2.1. Apple says the DVD Studio Pro 3.01 update brings improved stability, improves compiling when using long MPEG-1 video clips and compiling tracks with a transition on a still image at the end of the track as well as has several other enhancements. Meanwhile, Pro Application Support 2.1 "is strongly recommended for all users of Final Cut Pro, Cinema Tools, Compressor, LiveType, Soundtrack, and DVD Studio Pro. This update improves general user interface appearance and reliability and is required to receive future updates for these applications." Finally, Apple's Compressor 1.2.1 offers improved application stability and improved Preview window performance.
Wolfram Research has released Wolfram Publicon, a new integrated software solution for composing sophisticated technical documents. The company says the software was designed to create or publish documents with technical content and producing platform-independent files that can be exported to HTML, XML, LaTeX, or custom Publicon formats. It offers math typesetting technology with additional templates for chemical equations, special characters, and symbols. Mathematical notation from a Publicon document can be copied and pasted for computation in Mathematica. It is available now for $150.
Apple has released iSync 1.5 (also available through Software Update), which adds support for more devices, including the latest Sony Ericsson and Motorola phones. iSync 1.5 allows users to manage contacts, calendars, To Do lists, and Safari bookmarks across multiple Mac OS X computers and devices. iSync 1.5 requires iCal 1.5.2, released earlier this year; Bluetooth functionality requires Bluetooth 1.5.
Apple received the best "overall rating" score in both the desktop and notebook categories in PC Magazine's 17th Annual Reader Satisfaction Survey: Apple scored an "8.8 in desktops, significantly better than the industry average of 7.8, and 9.0 for notebooks, also significantly better than the 8.0 average. These scores qualify as excellent on our 1-to-10 scale, earning the company Readers' Choice awards for both categories. At 9.0 for desktops and 9.2 for notebooks, Apple's impressive reliability scores are at least a point higher than the industry averages. Nearly all respondents to our survey who supplied quotes about their Apple desktops found them extremely reliable. Compared with other brands, a much lower percentage of Apple desktop systems needed repairs over the last year."
Verbatim today announced that it is shipping its Store 'n' Go 2.1GB USB HD Drive. The portable drive is about the size of a business card, providing reliable, portable storage for digital camera/camcorder, media player, and notebook PC files. The ultra-compact storage device, which features a 4,200 rpm 1-inch drive, can also be used for quickly and conveniently transporting large digital files between devices and PCs using USB 2.0/USB 1.1 connectivity. It ships with a protective carry pouch and a USB extension cable. The microdrive weighs 1.8 oz and measures 2.75 x 2.125 x 0.5 inches. It is available immediately for $250.
Apple's forthcoming QuickTime 6.6 release, offered along with latest build of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, will feature significant improvements to audio, video, and metadata, as well as add new Cocoa APIs, and numerous other enhancements, according to AppleInsider: "For developers, the software will offer new APIs for movie audio, sound conversion, audio extraction, movie export, and level and frequency metering. ...The changes will result in a much richer approach to sound in QuickTime, with support for higher sampling rates, such as 96kHz and 192kHz, multiple channels and multiple channel layouts, including 5.1 surround sound... Additionally, the release will introduce support for a variety of more accurate audio representations, such as 24-bit uncompressed audio, during capture, playback, and export."
Livid Union offers video artists spontaneous control and manipulation of multimedia. The realtime video manipulation application offers a simple user interface, advanced controls, and seamless integration with any MIDI device for generating video effects and visual presentations on-the-fly. It offers access to over 4000 QuickTime media clipis, support for multiple layers of realtime effects, over 100 effects parameters, high-quality titles, file- or music-based triggers, audio control, OpenGL-based compositing and 3D effects, and more. It requires Mac OS X and a Power Mac G4/400MHz. It is available now for $250.
Intelli Innovations today unveiled the IntelliScanner Scanabout 800, a rechargeable, Bluetooth-enabled wireless barcode scanner that can be used for tracking inventory, collections, and more. It includes "Collection" software for managing book, DVD, and other collections as well as inventory software for business asset tracking. Other features include bundled IntelliScanner Asset Tags, a barcode-based configuration system, a customizable end-of-scan character, audible/visual scan indicators, extended symbology support, triggerless scanning, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later and is available for $800 with charging cradle.
Call of Duty 1.4 is the latest version of the $50 World War II epic battle game for Mac. This update adds changes specific to the PC 1.4 version of Call of Duty, fixes some performance issues from the 1.4 public beta, and adds better support for FSAA effects. [Download - 7.4MB] Advanced Web Ranking 3.1 ($50) is a tool that helps check a Web site's position on all major search engines. This version features a new and improved Preferences dialog, the ability to choose a custom range from the Rank Evolution report and many enhancements for the user interface. [Download - 6.5MB] Native Instruments has released Mac OS X-compatible demo versions of the popular B4, FM7 and PRO-53 software synthesizers. All three demo versions are available as free downloads on the NI website. [Download - form] Doodle! 11.0 ($130) gives VectorWorks drawings a hand drawn appearance. This update adds previewing, new pen colors, and more. It includes functions for penning and either hatch or marker polygon fill as well custom settings for each style that can be saved for later reuse. [Download - 3.6MB] Spamfire 1.6 ($25) helps filter unwanted junk email by checking for addresses of known spammers, common spammer techniques, spam keywords, pornographic keywords, spam message characteristics, etc. Version 1.6 offers remote filters for optimal accuracy, better background filtering, more filtering options, better performance, and improved IMAP/Hotmail support. [Download - form] eOrdering 2.5 helps create an online presence for small businesses, photographers, and artists, allowing them to post their products in an online catalog and take orders online. The Professional version allows for categories for making larger eCommerce sites. Version 2.5 features built-in CSS support and a new PHP-based 'Email to Friend' option. Pricing starts at $65.
Alias today announced that Maya Unlimited 6 for Mac OS X is now available. Maya Unlimited was first announced in June (see June 28th article). The $7000 suite includes all features found in Maya Complete software plus advanced special effects which include Maya Hair, Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Fur, Maya Cloth, and Maya Live.
Borland Software today announced the launch of JBuilder 2005, the newest version of its cross-platform integrated development environment (IDE) for Java. JBuilder 2005 includes the following: integrated performance management capabilities, support for JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Web applications, support for the latest Java standards, and expanded integration with Borland ALM solutions. JBuilder 2005 will ship three editions in September -- Enterprise, Developer, and Foundation -- and will be available for Mac OS X, Window, Linux, and Solaris.
Sony today unveiled the DCR-DVD301 camcorder, which records data to three-inch DVD discs. The discs are a standard format, and will play in most consumer DVD devices. The $1100 device also features a 3.5-inch display with 270-degrees of rotation, and will be available in October. The camcorder can also be used to take one-megapixel resolution images, ideal for Web distribution or small prints.
Morning tech news: VoIP offers big benefits for telemarketers--and could mean lots of unwanted messages in your voice mail; Roxio said Monday that it will sell its consumer software division for $80 million and focus wholly on its Napster digital music business in the future; U.S. regulators said on Monday they had settled charges against a supplier of computer pop-up ads that had used a little-known Windows feature to bombard users with unwanted ads; Microsoft will soon release a free major upgrade to Windows designed to make users safer from cyberattacks by sealing entries to viruses.
Pinhead Games has released Brain Hotel, the follow-up to its hit game, "Nick Bounty: A Case of the Crabs." Brain Hotel is a point-and-click comedy adventure game, "in the tradition of classic LucasArts games." The player assumes the role of Ed Arnold, a delivery driver in the supervillain-saturated city of Fort Burr. Ed has the misfortune of delivering a package to the Brain Hotel on the eve of their annual supervillain convention, and stumbles across a sinister plot that threatens the lives of countless hotel patrons, not to mention EdĻs nap.
In Brief: Apple UK is offering businesses a rebate of up to £540 on old Macs if they trade them in for new models...Tenon has released a Linux version of iTools 7.3, its set of secure, domain-specific, remote Apache administration tools originally developed for Mac OS and Mac OS X...Apple says that Mac OS X update sizes may vary as the Software Update automatically detects the best update for your computer and has also provided a listing of official build numbers for each version of Mac OS X (and those bundled with each Mac) as well as info the Mac OS X 10.3.5 "delta" and "combo" updates released yesterday.
Luxology today launched modo, its advanced polygonal and subdivision surface modeling package. Modo, built using a 3D modeling platform, can be used to model everything from organics to hard surfaces, as well as to utilize either low resolution realtime meshes or high-resolution film models. Luxology says the package includes an advanced, dynamic workflow along with a customizable interface. It features tool composites that can combine modifiers to create a custom set of advanced modelling tools. Other features include "Action Centers", precision modeling, an integrated help system, and easy integration into 3D pipelines. It will ship in early September for $900--with a special introductory discount of $200 available for a limited-time.
CMS Products is shipping the next generation of its ABSplus portable backup and restore product line. The ABSplus features a two-and-a-half inch removable hard drive with 100 gigabytes of storage capacity and a three-year warranty. List price for the 100GB ABSplus is $420. The integrated BounceBack software creates a complete, fully bootable backup of a computer's entire hard drive once the ABSplus is connected. The ABSplus incorporates a QuickRestore module to further enhance its disaster recovery and backup capabilities. QuickRestore simplifies the data recovery process by allowing users to recover data as a result of hard drive failure or accidental deletion by simply clicking on the "Restore" button.
Apple today introduced Production Suite, a bundle of its software solutions designed for film and video. It offers Apple's realtime production tools in a single integrated package, combining Final Cut Pro HD for editing; Motion for creating motion graphics; and DVD Studio Pro 3, Apple's professional DVD authoring application. Production Suite is available now for a suggested retail price of $1,300. "Production Suite ushers in a new era of production workflows with round tripping -- allowing creative pros to build stunning motion graphics in Motion, transfer them seamlessly to Final Cut Pro movies or author professional quality DVDs with DVD Studio Pro."
Apple today announced that the iTunes Music Store now has over one million songs available for download in the US, becoming the first and only online digital music service to offer consumers a million song catalog. "The iTunes Music Store offers the world's most extensive collection of downloadable music with over one million tracks available," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Applications. "With more than one million songs, over 600 independent labels and dozens of innovative features, iTunes is the ultimate destination for discovering and downloading music."
Apple today began shipping Motion, its new application that delivers high-performance, realtime motion graphics design. "Motion offers the creative freedom and power for artists to deliver stunning, professional quality results, quickly and intuitively, with realtime previews, procedural behavior animation and integration with both Final Cut Pro HD and DVD Studio Pro 3. It is available now for $300. Apple is also launching a series of special events, Discover Motion on August 25th, highlighting the motion graphics package at its retail stores, select authorized resellers, and CompUSA stores.
Immersion Corporation today announced MicroScribe Connections for Maya for Mac OS X, a new software plug-in that will enable Immersion's MicroScribe 3D digitizer to work directly within the Mac OS X version of Maya, the integrated 3D modeling, animation, effects, and rendering solution. MicroScribe digitizing products allow users to construct detailed computer models simply by tracing over the contours of a physical object. The new plug-in from Digital Element, the exclusive distributor, provides seamless data flow from the MicroScribe system to Maya.
@Last Software at SIGGRAPH will offer a preview of "SketchUp 4 Film & Stage", an enhanced version of its 3D sketch application for Mac OS X. The company says the new version extends its 3D design software for additional creative markets. SketchUp 4 Film & Screen will be shown in @Last's booth (No. 1158) and includes an enhanced Camera Tool, which enables the user to control aspect ratios and the exact position of a camera, and a library of pre-drawn filming specific components. SketchUp supports export of AVI and QuickTime files that can be imported into other multimedia programs such as Final Cut Pro. A preview release is available now.
Altec Lansing today debuted its portable audio system designed specifically for users of the iPod mini: the new iMmini offers digital amplification, high-quality neodymium micro drivers, and MaxxBass technology--all within a form factor that Altec says is 41% smaller than Altec Lansing's flagship product, inMotion. It features an easily accessible front-mounted iPod docking bay for battery charging, control over data transfer and synchronization, and support for its auto-shutoff and alarm clock features. It will be available later this summer for $130.
wondertouch today announced particleIllusion 2.0 SE for the Mac OS X, a standalone, introductory version of the company's 2D, sprite-based particle effects application. It offers artists access to hundreds of customizable preset effects such as smoke, fire, explosions, water effects, sparkles, colorful artistic effects. Version 2.0 features a collection of approximately 750 effects with OpenGL hardware acceleration for realtime (or near realtime) previews of most effects and ultra-fast rendering of final output. It is expected for release later this year ("fourth quarter") for $100. Version 3.0 is expected to ship shortly after the release, according to the company.
MOTU announced that its hybrid synthesis virtual instrument is now shipping for Digital Performer (MAS), Pro Tools (RTAS), Logic Pro and other Mac OS X audio hosts (Audio Units). MX4 is a new instrument plug-in application that combines several core synthesis techniques in a unified, hybrid synthesis engine. MX4 includes several additional features not previously announced, such as built-in effects, more LFOs, external audio input, a unison multiplier and parameter randomization options for creative programming. MOTU says that built-in chorus and delay effects allow users to program, save and recall patches with these effects as part of the patch as well as independently show/hide in the effects section to conserve screen space. Update: MX4 is available for $300. [pricing info added]
RadicalSqueeze 2.0 ($15) updates the file archiving software with the ability to edit an archive, extract individual files from an archive and view compression statistics. The utility can create/modify Zip archives, while preserving the resource forks for Macintosh specific files. [1.2MB] Oolite 1.2 (free) is a space sim game, incorporating trade, battles with pirates, bounty hunting, secret missions and more. It features high-quality sound and smooth, fast 3D graphics. Version 1.20 introduces much requested compatibility with Mac OS 10.2.8 (Jaguar) and also brings significant improvements to the simulation. [20.3MB] GrabbyWindow 2.5 ($36) offers a full-featured file browser for faster and easier access to files within layout and other applications. It features better control over files, displaying detailed images info such as measurements, resolution, color mode, sizes, compression, clipping paths as well as customizable image previews. [4MB] MenuCalendarClock is an upcoming product from both Objectpark Software and Peter Maurer that aims to "bring users the best of Menu Calendar and Calendarclock while keeping simplicity, elegance and usability." It will add a configure clock and a streamlined interface to the popular menubar-based calendar utility. A public beta is due next week. SoundHack 0.88 (free) is a soundfile processing program that "performs many utility and esoteric sound processing functions available nowhere else," including time-stretching or pitch-shifting with the phase vocoder or varispeed; spatialize with the binaural filter; cross-synthesis between two soundfiles; noise reduction, spectral expansion or compression with the spectral dynamics processor, and more. [Classic, OSX] MovieOut 1.3 ($15) takes your movies and streams them to a DV device such as a DV camera (with FireWire/i-Link). It can stream with most QuickTime-compatible formats/codec including DV & MPEG-4 and includes editing features as well as the ability to export to many other movie formats (i.e. AVI, MPEG-4, DV, etc.). It offers improved support for non DV movies. [1.2MB]
In Brief: Apple-History.com has been updated to include the latest PowerBooks, iBooks, PowerMacs and eMacs along with new info on Newtons and iPods....The iPod Garage will hold its first-ever iPod Garage Party on South Beach in Miami on August 10th... QuickerTek has announced special $120 bundle pricing for 15" PowerBook users on the Whip Antenna and the new aluminum carry handle bundle... Record companies can boost their online sales by overhauling their pricing system, according to a Princeton student's thesis "Pricing to a Different Tune: A Mathematical Model for the Sale of Music in the Digital Marketplace."
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,¬†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