Strata today announced that its shipping Strata 3D Vector, a rendering plug-in to its Strata 3D CX application. The plug-in is based on RAViX II technology licensed from Electric Rain. RAViX is the industry leading solution for creating high-quality, low-bandwidth, scaleable 3D vector animations for Flash-enabled Websites. In addition to Flash output, the Strata 3D Vector plug-in creates high quality Adobe Illustrator based images. Strata 3D Vector is now shipping as a separate plug-in to Strata 3D CX for $140. It can be purchased from Strata’s online store or from a Strata distributor.
In Brief: Readers have posted photos from Apple Expo and PhotoshopWorld--both of which are taking place this week.... PlasmaDesign has released a ten high-quality 2560x1600 desktop backgrounds designed for use on Apple's new range of flat panel displays.... AppleInsider reports that Apple has notified customers about delays on shipments of the new 30-inch Apple HD Cinema Display... Creative Manager announced today the release of Creative Manager Pro 7.2.5, which includes features designed for in-house creative and marketing groups.
Executives at Apple continue to downplay the importance of both music subscriptions and portable video, according to a CNET News.com report that says Microsoft offers a more diverse range of (music) services (subscription, video content, etc.): "In that interview, Gates stressed that Microsoft's approach is to offer a variety of music services and digital players, but noted there is probably room in the market for both Apple- and Microsoft-based products. Apple focused much of its attack Thursday on the MSN Music store, rather than Microsoft's overall approach. 'The iTunes Music Store is currently selling over 16 million songs per month (a rate of 200 million songs per year),' the company said in a statement. 'How many songs will Microsoft's new online music store sell during its first month?'"
Afternoon tech news: For about $10 million, city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot; video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment filed for bankruptcy liquidation on Thursday after failing to line up new financing; HP has surprised many in the industry by choosing Linux as the primary operating system for a new notebook.
Destineer's Macintosh unit MacSoft has announced that Railroad Tycoon 3 for Mac OS X, has reached 'gold master' status and is on track to ship to retailers on September 13, 2004. "Players recreate history in Railroad Tycoon 3 as they build the ultimate railroad empire. They will see cities grow into thriving metropolises as they carve out their cross-country routes, and the prosperity of thousands will depend on their decisions as players acquire other businesses, dominate industries, and manipulate a realistically simulated stock market in an effort to amass a fortune greater than Vanderbilt." Railroad Tycoon 3 features a "sandbox" where players can create a custom rail system and a scenario/MAP editor. The 25-scenario title supports Internet/LAN play via GameRanger. MacSoft is also including the maps from the recent Coast to Coast Expansion Pack.
Belkin today announced the TuneDok for the iPod mini (as well as a similar holder for handheld devices) and a multiformat USB 2.0 card reader. The TuneDok for the iPod mini ($30) provides "security and stability, along with flexible construction for a perfect fit in your car's cup-holder console." It offers height-adjustment capability, a ratcheting-neck to reposition the iPod mini, and cable-management clips to eliminate loose and tangled cords. The device comes with two differently sized rubber bases and an adapter cup for exact fit in your cup holder. The company's Hi-Speed USB 2.0 15-in-1 Media Reader & Writer ($40) works with 15 media cards including xD Picture Card, allowing you to drag & drop files, images, and music to any supported media. The OmniDock-L for Handheld Devices ($30) holds your handheld device in your car's cup holder so you can view your data in the vehicle. They are all immediately available.
Grady Booch, the author of six best-selling books and writer of several hundred articles on software engineering, has taken "the bold step of dismissing the endless upgrade path that Microsoft demands us to take. He has decided to embrace a Microsoft-free computing environment. Grady just got a new 17" Apple PowerBook G4 and is very content with his new path and other additions to his computing environment that enables him to turn his back on the Microsoft tax."
FileScope 1.0 ($14) is an application for the remote monitoring of server log files. FileScope wraps the complexity of remote connection management, password handling, and file location with a simple to use interface. With one button click, users can remotely log in and view their remote logs or status files. [1.2MB] Mac PVR 1.0 ($12) is an application that turns your Mac into a digital personal video recorder using a VCR and a camcorder with analog inputs or DV bridge. It features one-touch recording to the MPEG-4 format as well as a scheduler to start and stop your recordings automatically. A free demo is limited to five-minute recordings. [2.3MB] Sticky Windows 1.0b extends the tab browsing experience to the Desktop. Sticky Windows "transforms your windows into tabs when you drag a window towards the edge of your screen, offering a clutter-free workspace. By clicking on the tab the user can show and hide the window." [872KB] PowerController is a System Preferences pane that allows users to schedule an unlimited number of events that will wake your computer from sleep, play an iTunes alarm, or put your computer to sleep. PowerController is originally designed as an iTunes alarm clock. [386KB] ProScale ID ($140) is a resizing XTension for Adobe InDesign. "It's the only scaling tool with IntelliScaleTM Technology which allows InDesign users to scale non-proportionally without distorting type and graphics, whether using a click-and-drag tool or from the dialog." [511KB] Sample Manager 1.4.0 ($50) is the a full-featured batch audio file processor for Mac OS X. New features include speed and memory improvements (especially noticable on large files or large numbers of files), multiple columns available in the File List, more details about extracting files, and a handful of other improvements and fixes. [
Microsoft's online music service, launched today, looks a lot like Apple's iTunes on the surface, according to the Associated Press: "...songs will cost 99 cents -- the same as Apple. The catalog will initially include about 500,000 songs, but the company plans to scale up to more than 1 million songs over the next few weeks -- matching the volume available to Apple users. But Microsoft insists it is different. Among other things, the company claims its service will have a different look and feel, and says a main selling point is that is that songs can be played on more than 70 handheld devices that support its Windows Media format." However, Analyst Piper Jaffray said the launch of the Microsoft 's service "will have little near-term impact" on the traffic and sales of iTunes, estimating that 85% to 90% of iTunes traffic is driven by iPod users.
CMS Products today shipped BounceBack Professional 5.0, a new version of its backup and restore software application for Mac OS X. It is now available in five new languages: German, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish as well English. "The easy to use BounceBack Professional is a simple way to quickly recover from a disaster. BounceBack Professional only takes a few steps to select a FireWire drive as the designated backup drive. Once identified as the BounceBack Professional device, CMS Products' patent-pending "Automatic Launcher" technology makes backing up a breeze by automatically sensing when the drive is connected and backing up the system." It is available for $80.
I.R.I.S. Group, a developer of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), today announced the European availability of a new version of its unique business card reading solution, the IRIS Business Card Reader II. The IRIS Business Card Reader II (IBCR II) is a tool for Macintosh users to scan and encode business cards to their contact manager of choice. "This time-saving device was designed specifically for busy users such as managers, salespeople, executives, etc., who regularly collect business cards and need to update their electronic contact managers." The suggested retail price is €200.
macXware today released its four new font collections, which each feature 150 OpenType fonts and offer a license for use on up to 10 computers. Classic, Refined, Designer or Creative styles. "The OpenType font format provides a distinct advantage over TrueType, PostScript and other font formats. These include a single cross-platform compatible font file for easy font management and improved document portability between the Mac and PC platforms; ability to embed fonts into PDF projects; superior print quality; improved language support with an expanded set of international characters including the Euro currency symbol; and, advanced typographic control where a single font file may contain many nonstandard glyphs such as small caps and stacked fractions." Each collection is $100, while all four are available for $300 in a limited offer.
Prosoft Engineering has released Picture Rescue v1.1, an easy-to-use software utility for recovering pictures from corrupt or reformatted media cards. The utility can also recover pictures that have simply been deleted from the media card. Version 1.1 now offers a thumbnail preview of all recoverable images; drag & drop-based recovery; 'Secure Card Erase' functions (with three different levels) to protect privacy and confidentiality; and improvements to reliability and performance. Picture Rescue 1.1 is available fo $60.
Aspyr Media today announced that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has gone gold and will begin shipping September 14. The title is expected to be in nationwide beginning September 19th "The critically acclaimed KOTOR takes place in the popular Old Republic timeframe, 4,000 years prior to the Star Wars films, in an era dominated by an epic conflict between Jedi and the evil Sith. As the Force within you develops, do you follow the light and join the Jedi, or do you embrace the power of the Dark Side? Your actions determine the fate of an entire galaxy." Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic requires Mac OS X 10.3.4 or later; a G4- or G4-based Mac, and a 1GHz CPU speed.
Mireth Technology has introduced Music Man, its new digital music software that rips from CD, converts between formats, burns to CD or to USB Flash Drive Memory and plays music files, CDs and directly from USB Flash. "Music Man was developed to provide support for MP3 devices other than Apple’s. Initially supporting MP3 files and MP3 CD, Music Man was called MacMP3CD. With the addition of support for USB Flash Drive MP3 players, MacMP3CD was re-named Music Man. It supports MP3, WMA, Wav and Ogg Vorbis formats for burning up to 10 hours of music on a single CD. It is available for Mac OS X and costs $20.
TLA Systems today released DragThing 5.3, an update to its popular alternative dock application for Mac OS X. The release adds the ability to display the number of unread messages on the dock icon for Apple's Mail application as well as Entourage, Eudora, Mailsmith, NetNewsWire, and PowerMail. Version 5.3 also offers updated contextual menus that now display application specific commands such as "Play/Pause" for iTunes, and "Get New Mail" for all the mail applications listed above. It also features improved clipping support, built-in registration, and more. It is a free upgrade for users of DragThing 5 or a $12 upgrade from DragThing 2/4. A demo of the full version ($30) for Mac OS X 10.2 (or later) is available online.
Gefen today debuted two new high definition video switchers, which offer greater flexibility and support for a wide selection of high definition video displays and sources by accommodating both HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) and DVI (digital visual interface) devices. Gefen’s HDMI Switchers are designed to support both interfaces, allowing for cross-interface connections. While the Switchers are manufactured with HDMI connectors, which are smaller than DVI, Gefen supplies a variety of low-cost (up to $30) HDMI-to-DVI and DVI-to-HDMI adapters and cables for DVI devices. These adapters enable incompatible sources and displays to connect and operate seamlessly. The 2x1 HDMI Switcher ($250) is currently available for purchase, while The 4x1 HDMI Switcher ($350) is expected to begin shipping in October 2004.
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Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives