Ampede today introduced Ampede PDF, a software plugin that brings continuous rasterization of Adobe Illustrator artwork to Final Cut Pro HD--previously only available in dedicated compositors such as Adobe After Effects. "With Ampede PDF, Final Cut Pro editors can take advantage of continuous rasterization without leaving Final Cut Pro or exporting to other applications. Ampede PDF renders vector content from Adobe Illustrator and PDF files frame by frame, so the artwork is always sharp regardless of scale, movement, or rotation. [It] is optimized for both the G4 and G5 processors and offers ColorSync support, Velocity Engine acceleration, multi-threading, sub-pixel rendering, non-square pixel support, field rendering, and a beautiful Cocoa-based GUI available right inside Final Cut Pro." It is available immediately for $100.
TikiMac today announced it is now shipping its Lava USB Deluxe Kit, which it says allows users to "connect just about any" USB device to your PC. The Lava USB Deluxe Kit comes with a 6 ft. Lava USB 2.0 / 1.1 illuminated cable (red, white or blue colors) plus a number of adapters to support connections, including A-to-A Male, A-to-A Female, A-B, A-to-Mini-B (4-pin), Ato-Mini-B (5-pin), a 6ft silver braided commercial and shielded connectors. The kit also includes a black nylon "hukilau net" to keep everything together in one place. It is available for $20. The company also announced its "Maluhiluhi Sale," which offers offers Mahana hard drives, LavaPads ($23), LavaWire cables ($9), and FireDinos ($61). The sale ends on September 1st.
Hacking iPod + iTunes by Scott Knaster is a guide to undocumented iPod/iTunes features. "Hacking iPod and iTunes teaches readers everything needed to use the most obscure and least documented features of Apple's software, but that's just the starting point. For the dedicated, hardcore iPod users who are ready to really unlock the potential of this great hardware device, Hacking iPod and iTunes reveals the secrets of more than 100 hacks, tweaks and mods, unlocking both the musical and non-musical tricks in the iPod's repertoire." The book costs $17.
Targus today announced a suite of products compatible with Apple's PowerBook and iBook notebook computers, including its Wireless Ultra-Mini Optical Mouse, Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter, Podium CoolPad and the Notebook Portable LapDesk. Mimicking the aesthetics of the iBook, the Ultra-Mini Optical Mouse ($50) features the familiar white coloring and silver accents, wireless RF technology, a compact, lightweight design, a three-button scrolling wheel, 800-dpi optical resolution, a thumb-sized USB receiver, and a carrying pouch. The three-in-one Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter ($120) powers and charges iBooks and PowerBooks from a standard AC wall outlet, car cigarette lighter or commercial airplane power port.
ShaggyMac has added two new products to its computer cleaning and care line. Grubby Sticks and the Mini LCD Wipe now compliment their range of laptop care products. Grubby Sticks ($6 per pack) are used to swipe out all of the gunk, grunge, crud, and anything else you may encounter burrowed in the keyboard. The ShaggyMac Mini LCD Wipe ($5) is a versatile cloth made with millions of ultra-microfibers. This will "flawlessly polish any LCD screen and may be used wet or dry. "
In Brief: Bare Bones today announced new academic pricing ($40) for TextWrangler, its powerful, richly-featured text editor for writing and coding; UK music fans have purchased and downloaded over two million songs since January 1st, according to the latest figures from the British Phonographic Industry; on Thursday, August 26th, Mac4Arabs.com will host Mac4ArabsExpo, the first Mac Expo in the Arab world, to be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh city; The Support Group today announced Rich Coulombre Presents: Advancing to FileMaker Pro 7 ($500), in-depth training software designed specifically for experienced FileMaker developers and users.
Sony Electronics today announced its second generation DVD+R Double Layer (DL) burners, which support 16X DVD+R recording. Sony's 710 series, the company's seventh generation of dual RW drives, also offers support for 16X DVD+R, 8X DVD-R, 4X DVD+/-RW, 48X CD-R and 24X CD-RW recording speeds. Using 2.4X DVD+R DL recording, users can burn up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2 video or up to 8.5GB of data, music and/or images on compatible DVD+R DL media. The internal DRU-710A ships with an ATAPI interface, while the external DRX-710UL drive features a "radical, stylish and space-efficient design, and offers connectivity with both FireWire and USB 2.0 interfaces. (May require separate third-party software purchase for Mac compatibility.)
ToDo X to iPod Notes 1.0 is companion application for use with ToDo X, the shareware to-do list manager for Mac OS X. It copies ToDo X to-do lists to an iPod. ToDo X to iPod Notes is a free download. [Download - 86KB] WinSwitch 1.5 implements Fast User Switching in Panther "the way it should have been done from the start." It provides the user with a range of choices about how and what should be displayed in the menu bar. Version 1.5 is a maintenance release that updates the included localizations. [Download - 313KB] Patterns Collection 1.0.4 ($30) contains 1080 royalty-free patterns for use in Photoshop. Included are mixed pattern designs for fills, text fills, brush textures, pattern layer effects, and pattern brush effects. Version 1.0.4 adds 141 new patterns. [Download - buy] E-Oyster for Filemaker is a fully integrated advanced Web reservation and management system for apartment complexes and rental companies. It also handles hotel reservations and allows passengers to add on local activities, golf and other excursions. E-Oyster will be available in November. [Download - not available] MultiPage adds multiple pages to Illustrator for printing and pdf export. Version 2 is now improved for Illustrator CS. MultiPage is $80. [Download - 1.0MB] DeepVacuum 1.10 is a shareware Web utility based on the GNU wget command line tool. It includes a vast number of options to fine tune your downloads through both http and ftp protocols. The latest version can display a number of active downloads in Dock, among other improvements. [Download - 585KB]
As a result of the strong response to the PhotoshopWorld Conference & Tech Expo, conference organizers are opening the Tech Expo to the public for one day only on Thurs., Sept. 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tech Expo admission is $20 per person at the door. PhotoshopWorld Tech Expo provides various training opportunities and hands-on demonstrations right on the Expo floor with more than 50 companies including Apple, Adobe, Wacom, Microsoft, Nikon, Canon, B&H, Pantone, and more.
Aspyr Media today announced it will publish Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII for Macintosh. The title, licensed by EA Games and developed by Digital Illusions (DICE), lets you control the most bizarre and lethal top-secret weapons of the Second World War. Under development at Aspyr Studios, the expansion pack to Battlefield 1942 brings experimental weapons out of the lab and into the field and introduces eight tough, new battle maps. Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII is expected to ship in October. The product is not yet available for pre-order, but requires the full version of Battlefield 1942, which is available for $50.
An article on IBM's developerWorks looks at how Apple's Airport Express is leading the "new breed" of consumer wireless access points. "As Larry discovers in this month's Roaming Charges, the imposing blue Linksys box is about to give way to a whole new crop of consumer-oriented access points (AP) that work with Windows and the Mac OS. True to trend, these babies are smaller, lighter, and built to deliver everything from AirTunes to pizza." The article looks at "four new APs that integrate hardware, software, and forward-thinking design for exceptionally exciting results."
In brief: A ComputerWorld review of Apple Remote Desktop 2 concludes the suite is "well worth the money"; OmniPilot Software has renamed the Lasso Partner Alliance (LPA) to Lasso Professional Alliance (LPA) and will offer value added benefits for their new and existing members (membership now costs $1000); Xgrid.info is a Web site dedicated to the Xgrid technology, which allows the sharing of resources from many computers; the next meeting of The Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia (MacBUS) will be held on Tuesday, August 31, and will feature demos of netOctopus and Timbuktu software, from Netopia.
The latest documentation from copy protection provider Macrovision suggests the company is confident that it will be able to incorporate support for Apple's FairPlay DRM its CDS-300 copy control software. Macrovision is telling customers that it will bring iTunes and iPod support by adding "Apple FairPlay" to its software in the fourth quarter, according to The Register. "That suggests that Macrovision has indeed managed to license Apple's DRM technology - or is sufficiently confident of doing so that it can provide a timeframe for the code's adoption....it wants the technology to allow it to provide iTunes-ready compressed audio tracks alongside the Windows Media Audio files its CDS-300 copy protection mechanism already offers...The company's Q4 update is also expected to include its RealTime DRM Encoding system, which converts on the fly a disc's Red Book audio source into FairPlay-protected AAC files, ATRAC 3 tracks for Sony portable music players or WMAs, according to a given user's personal preference."
Apple is now offering members of its paid .Mac webservices, a free copy of Virex 7.5, a new release of the McAfee's virus protection application. The company announced Virex 7.5 last month, which it said would bring improvements over its predecessors such as real-time "on access" scanning, automatic eUpdate functionality, scheduling options for On Demand Scans and updating, and the latest McAfee anti-virus scan engine. An updated beta was released to some customers and the company said it would release the full version in August starting at $37 for an 11-user license.
Epson today announced two new portable XGA (1,024 x 768) projectors: the 3.8-pound PowerLite 740c and "the unique" 3.9-pound PowerLite 745c. The company says that both models are the industry's first 2,500-ANSI lumens projectors with XGA resolution to break below the four-pound weight barrier. They feature sleek new designs (7.6"D x 10.9"W x 2.7"H) are "not only slim and compact enough to carry in most briefcases or shoulder bags, but also include vast connectivity options and quick and easy setup/shutdown capabilities tailored around the needs of on-the-go professionals." The PowerLite 745c offers 802.11g internal WiFi connectivity, offers compatibility with Apple's Keynote software, and supports both LEAP-authentication and WEP/WPA for secure, encrypted wireless transmissions.
The vast majority of consumers are unaware that an Apple's iPod only plays proprietary iTunes files, while a smaller majority support RealNetworks' effort to create iPod-compatible music, according to a report in Media Daily News. In a report about consumer perceptions on music download services, eight percent of respondents were aware that files from other digital music stores were not compatible with the iPod: "However, once they were alerted that several weeks ago, RealNetworks announced that it had figured out a way to re-create Apple's proprietary technology, enabling it to sell iPod-compatible songs without Apple's permission, a 46 percent majority agreed that RealNetworks should have the right to do so. When asked if Apple should have the right to a proprietary format, 28 percent agreed, while 52 percent were either neutral or unsure." Update: The iPod only directly plays purchased music from the iTunes Music store; however, users can convert purchased music from other stores or directly playback standard MP3 files.
Curious Labs later this month will begin shipping an English version of Shade 7, its all-in-one 3D graphic suite for designers, illustrators and architects. The application, demoed at SIGGRAPH earlier this month, includes Bezier modeling tools, global illumination rendering, Radiosity with physics, photon mapping, path tracing, raytracing, and other animation tools. The English version also ships with PoserFusion, which can play back Poser scenes within Shade. The program is available in Designer LE ($100), Standard ($250), and Professional ($1000) versions. The full version is expected by the end of August, while a free trial of Shade 7 designer LE is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. The company is offering a $50 discount on the 'Standard' version until the product ships.
Apple last week began notifying customers of further shipment delays for its dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5. In a note sent late last week to customers, Apple's online store said that demand for the high-end G5 systems had caused a backlog of orders, preventing the company from fulfilling some of them until the end of the month. One MacNN reader notes that his dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 was originally expected to ship on July 30th, but was subsequently delayed until August 20th and then delayed (again) for a second time. "The demand for this item has been incredible. We are shipping them as quickly as possible, but cannot meet the ship date we previously estimated for you. We now expect to ship your Power Mac on or before August 30th." Separately, Apple has also delayed shipments of Power Mac G5s built with the high-end NVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card.
In Brief: The St. Louis Cardinals, one of Major League Baseball's hottest teams, are huge fans of Apple's iPod....Geo's Blog offers two entries on Apple's Motion application, including comparisons to Adobe After Effects 6 and more on key-framing in the timeline, AE plug-in compatibility and more general impressions....John Gruber argues that Apple's decision to keep the iPod/iTunes music system closed (not license its FairPlay DRM technology) is not like Apple's refusal to license the Mac operating system in 1984....Microsoft will enter the online music market with a "quiety" launch of its MSN online music store this week along with the new version of its Windows Media 10 player.
'OurTunes' is a new Java-based application that allows Mac and Windows users to share iTunes music: it allows users to browse iTunes libraries on other computers and download songs, but however, does not circumvent Apple's FairPlay digital rights management protection used on songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store, according to CNET News.com: "OurTunes works only among computers that share a network, however. That means that students or employees can swap songs on a local network but cannot use it to browse computers on the Internet...Still, the software is likely to ring an alarm at Apple and among record company executives."
Apple is hiring for what appears to be a third retail location in Japan, according Apple's Japanese retail jobs website. The company has advertised several positions for yet another Apple Store in Nagoya, Japan in central Japan. The city, which has population of just over 2 million, is located about 87 miles from Osaka, Japan, where Apple is expected to open its second retail store later this month. Apple opened its first retail store in Tokyo, about 163 miles from Nagoya, last November.
The the first Mac Academy in Sydney's inner city suburb of Darlinghurst has opened, according to ARN: "Developed by staff at the Apple Centre in Taylor Square, the new facility will provide customers with high-tech learning and support on Apple products, as well as those of its vendor partners, including Microsoft, Macromedia and Adobe. Apple Centre Taylor Square director, Ben Morgan, said it had received 350 preregistrations for membership to the Academy prior to its launch on August 13....Membership to the Academy is priced at $199 per year for the general public, or $99 for Taylor Square Apple Centre customers. It includes free access to demos and training sessions from Apple and its partners, as well as the refreshments bar, repairs centre and technical support."
Apple's iPod is helping driving Mac sales, according to The USA Today. The article reports that Apple's "Cram. And Jam" promo for students has helped Apple sell more iBooks during the back-to-school buying season: "Many students, after falling in love with the iPod, are packing for college with new Apple Macintosh computers.... In Tucson, at the University of Arizona's on-campus store, salesman Jeff Guba says Apple sales are way up from last year, when 4 of 10 computers sold were Macs. This year, it's 6 of 10." More competitively priced laptop offerings and lack of viruses for the Mac platform also cited as reason for Apple's brisk business and rising education market share.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.96 ( + 0.37 )
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
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