Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: one member's difficulties getting his Power Mac G5 repaired due to delays; understanding hard drive terminology when selecting a new drive; one member's initial impressions of their new 17" PowerBook G4; the current shortage of iMac availability in stores and online; the latest digital camera offerings from Canon.
Afternoon tech news: Cisco Systems's Linksys division is set to enter the consumer VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) space on Tuesday through a deal with Vonage Holdings to provide customer equipment for that company's Internet-based telephone service; figures from ZDNet Germany labs show AMD's fastest chips outpacing Intel's for mainstream applications; RealNetworks has sold more than a million song downloads since launching a 49 cent per song campaign a week ago, the Internet media and software company said on Tuesday
Recent data published by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows Apple leading the consumer computer industry with the the highest customer satisfaction. On average, 74 percent of consumers reported being satisfied with their computer purchase.
MetaCase has released a Mac OS X version of its customizable modeling and code generation environment MetaEdit+ 4.0 (€5,500). Designed for expert developers who generate full code directly from models, MetaEdit+ provides full CASE tool functionality for multiple users, multiple projects, etc. and includes Method Workbench (€11,500), which can be used to define a modeling language as a metamodel and a code generator to turn the models into code. "Method Workbench guides the process and automatically creates the modeling tools for the development team, who can then focus on making high-level design specifications using the domain-specific modeling language." It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Michael Tsai has released SpamSieve 2.2, which brings powerful Bayesian spam filtering to many popular e-mail clients. Version 2.2 offers improved accuracy, due to better message analysis, use of the Habeas Whitelist, and leveraging of SpamAssassin's heuristic tests; easier (more automatic) training; searchable and AppleScriptable corpus and rules; import to both block- and white-lists; support for additional match fields (From, Any Recipient, Any Address, Any Character Set, and Any Attachment Name); more notification options (Griffin PowerMate, Entourage sound sets, and other sound files); improved Apple Mail.app integration; Entourage address book integration; optional automatic whitelisting of recipients of outgoing messages; and more. It is available for Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later.
ImageWell v2 is now available with French and Spanish localizations. The latest version also adds other enhancements, including PNG support. ImageWell is a free and easy way to quickly manipulate images and send them to a Web server. [Download - 345KB] 3D-Finder 1.0b1 is a native Mac OS X Cocoa application featuring interactive 3D landscapes that provide enough docking space for all your files and applications. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and requires a graphics card with OpenGL acceleration. [300KB] xPad 1.1 ($10) is a maintenance update to the notepad application for Mac OS X. It is designed as a replacement for TextEdit and Stickies. Version 1.1 enhances usability and fixes remaining bugs. [Download - 659KB] iNotePad 2.0.1 ($14) for Mac OS X is an alternative to Apple's Classic NotePad. This new version fixes small bugs, adds minor features and is localized in French. [Download - 455KB] Pyramid 1.2 ($30) is an update to the 'visual thinking software' for OS X. New features added include the ability to link objects to external documents and Web sites, the ability to export OPML for compatibility with many traditional OS X outliners, and an updated introductory tutorial. [Download - 404KB] Retrospect Driver Update 5.7.104 for Retrospect 6.0 is the latest version of the hardware driver for Dantz's backup software. This version adds support for several new devices from EZQuest, LaCie, and Sony. [Download - 1.7MB] DigiTools 1.0 provides users with six useful tools in one small free program. DigiTools combines a word processor, decimal converter, movie player, picture viewer, and more into one small freeware program for Mac OS X. [Download - 1.7MB]
Pentax today debuted the new Optio X digital camera featuring an innovative swivel design and the new Optio S5i, an update to its ultra-compact Optio S series. The new Optio X opens with "just a twist of the hand and positions the lens on one side for shooting freedom and the LCD monitor on the other side for viewing ease." The unique design allows both above-the-head and hip-level shots, according to the company. It offers 5.0 megapixel resolution (effective), a 3X optical zoom, a 2-inch TFT color LCD monitor, and the slimmest profile body (0.7 in) in the entire Optio series. Pentax's Sliding Lens system allows the lens to be completely retracted inside the body as soon as the power is turned off.
Newer Technology and Other World Computing today introduced the NuPower "MaxCapacity" replacement battery. Compatible with the PowerBook G3 FireWire (2000/"Pismo") and PowerBook G3 Lombard (1999/"Bronze Keyboard") models, it utilizes the latest Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) cell technology to offer a 7200mAh battery that provides 50 percent more capacity than the Apple stock battery, according to the company. The new NuPower "MaxCapacity" battery rounds out the line of additional NuPower replacement batteries for G3 and G4 PowerBooks, including the NuPower 6600mAh (now priced at $150) and 5400mAh (now priced at $140) batteries also available for Pismo and Lombard models. The new MaxCapacity battery is available for $160.
In Brief: Intuit is soliciting beta testers for QuickBooks 7.0 for Macintosh, the next release of its popular small business software for Mac OS X...Fuji said it will begin shipping in September Fujifilm DVD+R 1X-16X optical media using Fujifilm's unique, patented organic dye coating and also said it would begin shipping 8.5 GB DVD+R Double Layer (DL) recordable discs in the fourth quarter... Mac users in the Washington DC/Baltimore area can get a firsthand look at Apple's Motion during Mac Business Solutions' "Discover Motion" seminar hosted in Gathersburg, Maryland on Wednesday, August 25 at 2:30 pm...The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group announced that it will host an event on DVD Studio Pro 3 at the Entertainment Media Expo, Tuesday, August 31...Edge (formerly Peripheral Enhancemens) has launched a 9-in-1 Card Reader w/ xD Slot that features USB 2.0 connectivity and is available for $25 (after rebate).
iSkin today introduced the eVo 2, an update to its protector for Apple's iPod that is "designed to offer all round surface protection while maintaining the natural beauty of the iPod. iSkin, has left in place all the things you like about the eVo such as the form fitting design, rear heat release pores, elegant lines and combined them with upgrades and other refinements in key areas of design to create the iSkin eVo 2." The iSkin eVo 2 now ships with an upgraded reinforced rotary RevoClip, and improved screen protector that maintains an ultra-clear view of the iPod's screen with an all-new six point soft contact base that reduces the possibility of your screen scratching. It will be available at the end of the month for $30.
AssistiveWare has announced that it will showcase upcoming assisitive technology product releases in the Apple Education booth of the Apple Expo later this month. The company will demo new versions of KeyStrokes 3.2 on-screen keyboard, SwitchXS 1.6 switch access solution and a completely new, multilingual speech product called Proloquo 1.0--all of which are expected to ship in October. KeyStrokes 3.2 will include a new version of the PolyPredix word prediction engine that reduces typing efforts by up to 45% from previous versions. The free update will also add German, Italian and Norwegian localizations (in addition to the existing English and French localizations).
Sony Electronics today announced an expanded range of enhanced Memory Stick Pro Media media with higher capacities and better read/write performance. The updated Memory Stick PRO (High Speed) media features capacities of up to 2GB in the standard-size media and 1GB in the Memory Stick PRO Duo media size; both are designed to support both read and write speeds of up to 80Mbps (10MB/s). The high-performance media also offers greater reliability in extreme temperatures with an improved operating temperature (-13 degrees F to 185 degrees F). Sony says the new media will be easily recognizable by its striking new red color and "High Speed" marking. In October, Sony will begin shipping the 256MB ($100), 512MB ($170), and 1GB ($350) versions of the Memory Stick Pro along with 256MB ($105) and 512MB ($175) versions of the Memory Stick PRO Duo. The 1GB MS Pro Duo ($350) and 2GB MS Pro ($700) are expected to ship in November.
Altec Lansing has introduced its next generation inMotion iM3 for the iPod family, including the iPod mini. The updated iM3 design sports a perforated aluminum grillwork over its four full-range, custom-designed 1-inch neodymium micro drivers, a brand-new hinge system, and an assortment of docking bay adapters for the growing iPod family of products. The upgraded inMotion also offers improved playback convenience with the addition of a wireless remote that controls power, volume, and song navigation as well as include an universal power supply with a changeable plug set. The wireless remote, when not in use, stores in a specially designed slot atop the unit. Other features include front-mounted on/off and volume controls, a 3.5mm jack with cable for auxiliary input from any suitable device, and padded carrying case. It will ship later this summer for $180.
Tech news: E-mail authentication efforts could hit spammers financially; "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" will soon be the only syndicated TV series to add a real-time interactive element during production tapings; business travelers will be able to surf the Web securely on long-distance flights by combining services from Boeing and iPass, the companies plan to announce on Monday....Samsung has developed a new LCD technology that builds a touch screen into the display.
Nevercenter has begun shipping a Mac OS X version of its Silo modeling application, which offers avanced subdivision surfaces, sturdy polygon modeling, customizability, integrated rendering, and more. "Silo for Mac brings the vast audience of Mac graphics professionals a new and highly-anticipated option for 3D modeling." The company says that the Mac port of Silo has full feature parity with the PC version and is offering free access to a registration code for the Mac version to registered users of the PC version, noting that a single Silo license ($110) allows an individual to use Silo on up to three computers (any combination of Macs and PCs). A 17-day trial for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther is available online.
Raleigh, NC-based Vital Source Technologies has signed a deal with Apple that could put its educational software and content on more than a third of computers sold to U.S. schools, according to the NewsObserver.com. The company's collection of 2,000 works from Western civilization will be shipped on Macintosh desktop and laptop machines along withan application that lets students electronically take notes and highlight material. The report says that Vital Source's agreement with Apple is "potentially three times larger than a similar agreement reached with IBM in March", which placed education software on all of IBM's machines headed for the education markets. The deals are "worth millions" as they generate royalty payments on a per machine basis.
In Brief: Offering a word of caution to users upgrading to Windows XP SP2, a columnist at The Post-Standard urges "anyone who uses Windows to consider the two main alternatives to the Windows operating systems, Mac OS X and Linux."...Xgrid.info has posted some interesting benchmarks on different kind of clusters...AirPort Express Assistant for Windows XP 1.0 does not work with Windows XP after Service Pack 2 has been installed...In Taiwan, Apple has launched its Power Mac G5 and new Apple Cinema Displays--with the 2.5GHz model the high-end 30-inch display expected to be available in September...One attendee will be able to win an iPod mini at the South Beach iPod Garage Party.
Real Networks has sold one million songs from its Rhapsody online store in the week since it launched its $0.49 per track promotion (Freedom of Choice campaign) and also announced that it has signed agreements to offer its Rhapsody Internet Jukebox service to more than 80,000 students at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. The discounted music program for college students, part of a one-year test program and likely be expanded to other campuses next year, offers a free Rhapsody subscription (normallly $10/month) to "30,000 Berkeley undergraduates through Oct. 31 and after that at a deep discount, Real said. In Minnesota, more than 50,000 students at four state university campuses can buy the service at reduced monthly rates or at even deeper discounts for three- or 12-month subscriptions, Real said."
Creative Manager Pro today announced new Intelligent Grouping features and support for iSync 1.5 in version 7.2 of Creative Manager Pro. Support for Apple's upgraded iSync 1.5 is part of Creative Manager's CM-Sync program, which allows for sharing of contact and calendar data from Creative Manager Pro to the Mac OS X AddressBook and iCal. "By using iSync 1.5 and the built-in Mac OS X features, users can then take along their Creative Manager calendar and contacts on the road in their iPods, Palm devices, and all other devices supported by iSync 1.5." Creative Manager Pro offers full Ad Agency Management, Project Management, CRM, Digital Asset Management, billing and accounting, and Extranet capabilities. It is a free update to registered users.
SOHO Labels & Envelopes 1.2 ($30) adds eight new features to help users print labels and envelopes, including streamlined printing, automatic DYMO printer selection (if available), new DYMO/Avery project types, custom date/time fields, color-coded delivery addresses, and more. [17MB] PhotoReviewer 1.3 ($10) is a photo management tool for Mac OS X that helps you quickly flip though and sort photos. Users can sort images into different folders, find and delete duplicates, and rename images. Version 1.3 supports more kinds of digital camera raw images, improved image preloading, better external image viewer/editor support, draggable JPEG/TIFF thumbnails, and more. [346KB] Note Pad Alepin 3.1 ($10) brings a plethora of new features to the system utility, including iPod support and (symbolic) linking of files. Other features include a robust and open file format, page filtering, drag & drop import/export, nested page sorting and Blowfish encryption. [2.8MB] Daikini Photon 1.0 ($10) gives you the power you manage your Movable Type and TypePad photo-blogs from within Apple iPhoto. "It's the missing link between the world's greatest photo management software and the world's favorite blogging platforms." The export plugin for iPhoto 2.0 or higher runs on Mac OS X 10.3. [147KB] DX Toolbox 2.2.0 ($25) updates the radio propagation / conditions analysis and forecasting tool for amateur radio operators, shortwave listeners, and other radio enthusiasts. It adds a new propagation path estimation tool, graphs of solar wind and magnetic field values, and several bug fixes. [Classic, OSX] Overflow 1.3 introduces several performance enhancements, as well as some minor bug fixes. The dock space-saving utility allows users to quickly launch applications without wasting valuable space in the Dock. "With just 2 clicks, you will have access to any application, document, or folder you want with Overflow’s fully customizable interface." [116KB]
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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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl