Afternoon tech news: Insensitivity to cultural issues has led to some of the Microsoft's products being banned in some countries; Google made its long-awaited debut on the Nasdaq today; Pharmacy chain CVS on Thursday said it would offer the world's first disposable digital camera with a bright color viewing screen that allows consumers to instantly preview pictures.
PC Magazine has published a review of Apple's Xserve G5 and xServe G5 RAID. "If you have a Mac-heavy or mixed computing environment, the Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID might be the right solution for your company. The overall package presents an elegant alternative to Windows or Linux setups, although you will give up the diversity and cost savings of the more commoditized hardware that supports those other platforms."
In Brief: Members of .Mac can now download a free copy of WingNuts from Freeverse, and get 25 percent off the new AirBurst Extreme; Each attendee of the nik multimedia seminar at the PhotoshopWorld Conference & Expo will receive a free copy of nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 Standard Edition; The Portland Mac Filmmakers' User Group will take an in-depth look at the features of Motion, Apple's latest application; a Mac user has published photos of their new Power Mac G5 dual-2.5GHz.
LogTen 2 ($50) is a pilot logbook system for Mac OS X. The new system has been rebuilt from the ground up using Objective-C and Cocoa to take advantage of the latest Apple technologies. The new version also adds better searching, filtering, and printing. [Download - 924KB] State Capital Quizzer 1.0 ($6) is a tool for anyone studying or memorizing state capitals. It includes built in quizzes, as well as detailed information (population, land area, date of state hood, political figures, largest cities, etc.) about every U.S. state. [Download - 1.5MB] File Buddy 8 is a utility for working with and organizing large amounts of files and folders. Version 8, a major update, brings full Panther compatibility, an Administrator mode, and more. [Download - 1.6MB] The Logitech Control Center (LCC) supports Mac OS X and allows users to program keyboard and/or mouse buttons to perform different functions and to take full advantage of your Logitech keyboard, mouse or trackball. [Download - 1.6MB] Canvastic is a new graphics/text publishing tool for K-8 students. It features easy to understand tools and options with a clear, clean interface. There are no "toy" features, and the program can be customized for age or ability. [Download - 4.9MB] Now Up-To-Date & Contact 4.5.3 ($130) is the latest version of the cross-platform calendar and contact manager. Version 4.5.3 provides numerous updates, including improvements in server performance. It also provides multiple improvements to the public event and contact servers that allow users to share their calendars and contact lists. [Download - form]
HardwareGeeks.com has posted an iPod review by a self-confessed Apple-hater, whose experience with the iPod has made him thinking about getting a Mac: "I guess in the end I am not much of an Apple hater after all. I honestly have no real complaints about the iPod and it's a spectacular product. I am really thinking about getting an iBook since I am on the market for a laptop but since the laptop I was considering cost $800 and the PowerBook G4 with similar specs is in the $2000 range I might have to hold off on that for a while if I do decide to get an iBook. Heck, I maybe even get a Power Mac G5. If the iPod is any indication on the quality of products Apple has to offer then maybe they are worth the high price so many people criticize Apple about."
Apple has agreed to recall about 28,000 batteries used in its 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptop computers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "The batteries, made by LG Chem Ltd . of South Korea (news - web sites), could overheat and pose a fire hazard to consumers, the CPSC said. Apple has received four reports of overheating though no injuries have been reported, the consumer-protection agency said," according to the Reuters report. Update: Apple has posted information on its website relating to the PowerBook G4 Battery Exchange.
EZQuest today began shipping its 16x Boa DVD+/-R/RW FireWire drive offering read/write compatibility with the latest 8.5GB dual-layer DVD as well as read/write speeds of 16x for DVD+/- R; 4x for DVD+R dual-layer and DVD+/- RW; 32x for CD-R; and 24x for CD-RW. The Boa 16x DVD+/- is also available in USB 2.0 and internal models. It includes both burning and backup software as well as a one-year warranty. The FireWire model is available in two versions: one version (K16660) bundles Toast Lite, Retrospect and Easy CD/DVD Creator software for 4200, while the second version (K16661) bundles powerful Toast Titanium 6, Retrospect and Easy CD/DVD Creator for $260. The internal version (K16150) bundles Easy CD/DVD Creator, Toast and Retrospect for $140.
In Brief: Australian wireless ISP has signed a deal with Apple that suggests the Mac maker will soon open its iTunes Music Store down under...Native Instruments has launched User Library for Absynth 2 users, allowing users to freely exchange their own sound creations....Deskop icons and graphics site WatiWorks.com today announced the opening of its online shop selling Flags of the World icons and graphics...RealNetworks is being knocked by Apple fanatics for its "Freedom of Choice" campaign as its own site is not Mac-compatible.
Information Appliance Associates today released PocketMac Blackberry Edition, which it says is the "first ever tool" to sync Mac users' data with RIM BlackBerry handhelds. The PocketMac BlackBerry Edition supports older serial-based BlackBerry 957s as well as newer USB-based models. The tool offers syncing of PIM with Microsoft Entourage (notes, tasks, contacts, calendar), Mac OS X Address Book, Now Contact (contacts, calendar), iCal, Stickies, etc. The application also offers a sync-on-contact function to automatically sync data when the user places the Blackberry in their connected cradle and is integrated with iSync. It is available now for $30.
The iPod is a colossal hit on Sony's own turf in Japan, according to a report by the Associated Press: "The tiny white machine is catching on as a fashion statement and turning into a cultural icon in Japan, much the same way it won a fanatic following in the United States. Apple has launched a marketing campaign in Japan with catchy TV ads and billboards painted on Tokyo trains.... The waiting list for minis is now several weeks' long. Although Apple doesn't release regional sales figures, six of the top eight selling music players in Japan are iPod models, according to Gfk Japan, a market research company." The report says that Apple will offer the Japanese equivalent of iTunes within the next year.
In his public apology to Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek's technology editor Alex Salkever says that the iPod mini "is not a flop. In fact, it's a hit. I can't deny it. So, here's my apology, Steve. The mini is no Cube. I was wrong, and you were right," but continues to argues that the price of the device remains too high: "Do I still think the price needs to come down? Absolutely. The Sony Walkman didn't truly take off until it dropped below $200, and video-game consoles often sell poorly or slowly until they fall below that threshold.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R