Allume Systems today shipped Creative Essentials, a powerful collection of creative and affordable tools for "everyone from the design professional to hobbyist looking to get their creative juices flowing." Creative Essentials is priced at $150 and the suite includes top-rated design, graphics, and animation software from Corel, Daz3D and Toon Boom. The suite also includes a bonus collection of fonts from Bitstream. It offers CorelDRAW, Corel PHOTO-PAINT, CorelTRACE, DAZ3D Bryce, and Toon Boom Studio Express.
Intelli Innovations today unveiled IntelliScanner Collector 1.5, the second generation of its Personal Barcode Reader, now shipping in one box for both Windows and Mac. IntelliScanner Collector "empowers home and small business users with barcode technology, offering easy collection management of books, DVDs, CDs, and games." Collection version 1.5 features AutoFill support for BMG Music Service barcodes, faster search options, a new database format, customizable genres, "Send To iPod" export options, a new USB scanning tutorial, support for IntelliScanner Asset Tags, and printing enhancements.
lynda.com today announced "Learning Adobe CS Integration and Version Cue" ($50) with Mordy Golding, a movie-based tutorial designed to help users of Adobe Creative Suite gain a basic understanding of the included applications and how they work together. This tutorial also focuses on using Adobe Version Cue to help keep track of your files. The training begins with a basic overview of the individual applications and quickly advances to cover a wide range of different design projects -- creating a corporate identity, an ad campaign, a brochure, a Web page, a Web banner, and a business presentation.
Afternoon tech news: With DualDisc, which has CD on one side and DVD on the other, record labels hope to counteract sliding sales; dozens of arrests of people charged with crimes related to junk e-mail, identity theft, and other online scams will be announced Thursday, according to a New York Times report; a U.K. advertising standards body has warned Microsoft that its 'Get the Facts' ad campaign claiming Linux isn't cheaper than Windows could be misleading.
Bare Bones Software has released Mailsmith 2.1.3, an update to its email client for Mac OS X. Version 2.1.3 fixes minor bugs and issues reported by users, adds support for ASSP spam headers, and adds minor interface refinements. Mailsmith costs $100 for new years; version 2.1.3 is a free update for all registered users.
The MathWorks has released its Video and Image Processing Blockset, a new product for designing embedded video and image processing systems. The Video and Image Processing Blockset allows imaging engineers to rapidly build models, simulate algorithms and system behavior, generate C-code for deployment on programmable processors, and verify their designs, all within the Simulink environment. It provides a customizable framework for rapidly designing, simulating, implementing, and verifying video and image processing algorithms and systems. Its library includes 2-D filters, conversions, geometric transformations, morphological operations, and transforms for rapid algorithm and system specification development. It is available now starting at $1,000.
Aurora Video this week launched its "ultimate" standard definition PCI video editing card: Aurora's PipeStudio is specifically designed to take advantage of the Final Cut Pro RT Extreme architecture while providing virtually every commonly available professional-level audio and 10-bit video input and output on an included industrial-quality rackmountable 2U breakout box. It supports selectable 2-channel 24-bit analog or 4-channel AES digital audio inputs and outputs on balanced XLR jacks or unbalanced RCA jacks and up to 8-channel SDI-embedded digital audio inputs/outputs as well as desktop/video sync, an RS422 deck control interface, True Color filtering for enhanced colorspace conversion, upper/lower field PAL, and more. It will be available later this month for $2000.
Paul R. La Monica of CNN/Money calls Apple "the Teflon tech stock" in his latest column, noting that no amount of bad news seems to damper the company's performance on Wall Street. "Here are just a few of the issues the Mac faithful have had to ponder: CEO Steve Jobs' cancer surgery, intensified online music competition from Real Networks and Roxio (which is renaming itself Napster), rumblings about an imminent online music entry by Microsoft, Sony's debut in the digital music player market, delays in the introduction of the new iMac, concerns about a shortage of the G5 processor and a recall of some PowerBook batteries. Whew! Despite all this, Apple's stock is up more than 45 percent this year. Since my last positive column about Apple in mid-May, the stock is up 16 percent. Meanwhile the Nasdaq lost 2 percent." La Monica remains bullish about Apple despite the recent gains and shaky news, noting that heavy demand continues to surround several Apple products and that Apple's music strategy seems very sound.
LivingTime 2.0 is an application for recording and charting the events of a person's life, combining diary, logbook, calendar, photo album, and graphical timeliner features. Designed to allow one to collect and review the significant events of their life or that of a parent or child's, LivingTime offers access to thousands of world events that can be imported to provide additional richness and perspective to the act of remembering one's experiences. LivingTime 2.0 sells for $50; a free trial for Mac OS 8/9 and Mac OS X is available.
MRWFormat 2.0 ($30) is a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop (and other compatible software) to open and pre-process raw images taken by Minolta DiMAGE digital still cameras. The plugin allows user to leverage the benefits of the RAW format and adds 15 new features, including support for color management, new preview sizes, logging, and a color histogram. [436KB] iClip 3.2 ($30) updates the system utility for Mac OS X, adding a new method for adding clippings to a clipping set via drag & drop to the icon at the top of the iClip window as well better preview control and better clipping management. iClip is a multiple clipboard/scrapbook/launcher application. [4.2MB] CNS Menu 1.0 ($65) is a new FileMaker Pro 7 plug-in that allows you to place hierarchal menus anywhere on a FileMaker layout. "When a menu item is chosen, the script of your choice in the database of your choice is performed. Menus can have any number of sub menus and can be displayed with a variety of styles and bullet marks." It includes an example database with 15 examples. [form] Navicat 5.2.1 ($95) adds support for importing csv, dbf, XML files to MySQL through an import/export wizard. The database manager offers an integrated GUI tool let you perform MySQL administration and database development, offering functions to import/export data, backup, transfer database from server to server, create query and manage local or remote MySQL server. [2.0MB] MacAT 6.7 ($50) brings FileMaker Pro 7 support to the automated task scheduling application for server administrators. It allows more than 42 of the most common Mac OS tasks to be run daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or yearly without user intervention. Version 6.7 also updates the application for the latest release of Mac OS X, makes a few UI changes, and fixes a few bugs. [3.4MB] Barres II.0.0 ($30) is a simple barcode generation application that can generate a variety of symbologies, including UPC (12 digits), EAN13 (13 digits), and SCC14 (14 digits). It can export in many resolution-independent formats, in a standard epsf file or in a PICT image. This version is now Carbonized, offers scaling options, and displays the graphic size. Upgrades are $20. [648KB]
Sorenson Media has begun shipping Sorenson Squeeze 4, an update to its line of video compression applications for digital video professionals and enthusiasts. The Sorenson Squeeze 4 product line includes the Sorenson Squeeze 4 Compression Suite ($450), Sorenson Squeeze 4 for Macromedia Flash MX ($120), and Sorenson Squeeze 4 for MPEG-4 ($200). Version offers improved workflow and timesaving enhancements, including several innovative new features, including support for high-definition (HD) video and the Sorenson AVC Pro codec (also known as H.264) in the Sorenson Squeeze 4 Compression Suite and Sorenson Squeeze 4 for MPEG-4. Other new features include improved batch processing, a customizable interface, etc. Electronic versions are available now.
Recent job postings by Apple's iPod division searching for hardware engineers both with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi experience has prompted speculation that a future version of the handheld MP3 player may be equipped with wireless connectivity, according to a report by The Register: "The job applications [were] posted on behalf of Apple's iPod division and call for candidates with 'a consumer electronics background dealing with high volume, low power, high quality products'." The report speculates that the new wireless functions may be used for primarily for connectivity to Apple's AirPort Express device rather than for replacing the FireWire/USB connection currently used to sync songs.
Now AAPL Stock: 91.89 ( -1.51 )
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