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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: 93.7 ( -0.57 )
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe