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Horizon DataSys today announced Drive Vaccine, a cross-platform security solution that will automatically rollback any Mac or Window machine to its original configuration upon restart. The company says the software solution "tackles the real world IT challenges faced by organizations offering public computer access including schools, libraries, government agencies, Internet cafes and others. Drive Vaccine is designed for institutions requiring optimal availability and functionality of their public access computers. Regardless of what a user does, including erasing files, installing software, downloading viruses, or tampering with desktop settings..." Pricing starts at $40 per machine with volume discounts available. It supports Mac OS 8/9/X, including Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.
RealNetworks' Freedom of Choice website, launched this morning as part of its effort to increase music sales and promote its new RealPlayer Harmony technology, took direct aim at Apple with its "Hey Apple, Don't Break My iPod!" online petition that rallied support the company's Harmony technology, which enables customers to playback non-iTunes files on their iPod (and other music players), however, RealNetworks' has modified the original text and replaced it with a revised petition, removing the ability post comments after dozens of pro-Apple supporters offered anti-RealNetworks opinions on the petition.
Allume Systems (formerly Aladdin) today announced Spring Cleaning 7.0, a new version of its Mac "clean-up"system tool that claims to improve computer performance and enables users to take control and protect their privacy. The latest edition graphically displays the size of files that are taking up unnecessary space and enables users to scan their Macs and display a "snapshot" of what has changed on the system since the last scan. Other new features swiftly clean out temporary and log files, while conveniently saving custom searches for use at a later time as well as an improved interface. IT is available for $50.
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: comparing Mac and PC pricing using spec lists and more; discussion of 12" iBook screen quality; opinions on replacement headphones for iPods and other devices; impressions of OmniWeb 5.0 final for Mac OS X; ongoing discussion of new PowerMac G5 order status.
Added: Netscape 7.2 is an update to the alternative Internet suite for Mac that offers a browser, email client, and IM service. The latest version offers improved email filters, security, rendering, and pop-up blocking. [Download - 17.1MB] Rax 1.1 ($30) turns a Mac into a "virtual rig" for live performance, offloading DSP to a second computer, or "just jamming for fun." Version 1.1 adds MIDI Mixer control, 24 bit recording, and native sample rate recording. [Download - 1.5MB] TakeCharge 1.0 can handle all forms of transactions from simple credit cards to recurring billing charges and ACH check transactions. It offers strong security features including AVS Address Verification Service, an encrypted database, and CVV2 Fraud Protection. ViewIt 2.5 ($20) is a shareware image viewer that supports most popular image formats: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PSD and so on. The latest version adds an 'email images' plug-in, the option to save file lists, and bug fixes. [Download - 479KB] BackTrack is a background application that silently logs everything the user types. The log file contains the application name, the window name, the date & time, and what was typed. It costs $15. [Download - 646KB] SimpleHelp Plug-In 3.0 ($48) is a FileMaker plug-in that enables independent and in-house developers to implement interactive help such as tool tips (help tags), coachmarks, or roll-over effects in their own solutions. Version 3.0 adds support for FileMaker 7, a printable PDF user's guide, unicode tool tips, and more. [Download - 3.0MB] CGIScripter 2.19 is a multi-platform development application that is available for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and Solaris. Version 2.19 adds support for FrontBase database servers in addition to the seven databases which were already supported with previous CGIScripter versions. [Download - 1.63MB]
Macromedia has introduced the Flash Video Kit, which allows Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional users to add streaming or progressive download video to their websites without any special technical knowledge through a Dreamweaver MX 2004 plug-in. For a limited time, the Flash Video Kit is available free with new Studio MX with Flash Professional purchases or upgrades registered by September 30; current Studio MX with Flash Professional users can upgrade for $50. Other upgrade options are listed here.
FileMaker today announced the FileMaker Education Starter Kit, a free bundle of five pre-designed, ready-to-use database solutions for educators and administrators. The Kit comes with a 30-day free trial of FileMaker Pro 7, which the company says is currently used by more than 10,000 schools worldwide. Databases included with the Education Starter Kit include HumanResources, CourseTracker, Math Art, CourseWizard Lite, and Curricula.
Advenio has released MacGourmet 1.0, an application for organizing recipes and saving wine and cooking note. The company has also launched the companion MacGourmet.com website, featuring weekly recipes, kitchen gadget reviews, wine suggestions, news, recipes, recipe site reviews from around the web, and more. MacGourmet 1.0 sells for $25; a trial version is available.
The story behind Pixo's involvement in developing the iPod, is detailed in a San Francisco Chronicle interview with former Pixo founder Paul Mercer. In late spring of 2001, about six months prior to the iPod's debut, Apple approached Pixo, Inc. for help in designing the iPod's user interface. "We were able to get something running and demonstrate it in a couple of weeks," Mercer says, crediting the quick turn around to his company's experience designing cell phone interfaces. Mercer, as well as many of his employees were previously employed by Apple. Pixo's involvement suggests "that they tried [to design] it inside and failed." Pixo was sold to Sun Microsystems late last year and Mercer now heads Iventor, a company developing operating systems for feature-rich handheld devices and cell phones.
One day after Prudential Equity Group warned that the availability of G5 processors could be "worse than anticipated," UBS overnight said the "key risk" on Apple in the near-term "remains IBM's ability to produce enough G5 chips." While UBS believes yields of the G5 have been improving on a weekly basis, problems persist and "Power Mac shipments should face yield issues into fiscal first quarter 2005 and a new iMac to be launched later this month to strong demand, should be met with shortages," notes CBS Marketwatch. UBS adds that "Apple could still deliver significant sequential improvement into calendar fourth quarter 2004, with its own product cycles (iPod, iMac, etc.) that should be able to insulate it somewhat from macro-economic issues."
RealNetworks today announced its new music sale to kick off the Freedom of Choice campaign. For a limited time only, every song in the RealPlayer Music Store will be available for $0.50 cents--with most albums available for $5. "This limited time sale celebrates the Freedom of Choice made possible by the release of the free RealPlayer 10.5, the first product that integrates Real's revolutionary new Harmony Technology. RealPlayer with Harmony enables consumers to buy and download music that plays on more than 100 portable devices, including the Apple iPod." RealNetworks will also rolling out an extensive US national print, radio, and online advertising campaign and a new web-based community, which it says will "provide a forum where consumers can learn about compatibility issues and discuss the issues with other digital music fans."
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Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Hermés face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir