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New drives, enclosures
FireWire Depot is now offering users pre-configured versions of its desktop and portable hard drives as well as new multi-drive enclosures. Designed for mobility, the Speedzter2 and Speedzter2-800 enclosures are compact 9.5mm drive enclosures, one of the smallest available, and accomodate standard 2.5-inch portable hard drives. They are now available in case-only, 40GB, 60GB and 80GB configurations. For larger capacities, the Speedzter3 and Speedzter3-800 enclosures are 3.5-inch drive enclosures made from aluminum. The Speedzter3 and Speedzter3-800 series enclosures are available in case-only, 120GB and 200GB configurations.
PowerLunch, an automated payment system for school lunches that is part of PowerSchool, has been implemented in seven of the district's 10 schools in Maine, according to The Morning Sentinel. The PowerLunch system--only available as part of PowerSchool--still has some kinks in it that are being addressed by officials and allows students to pay for their meals by swiping debit cards with a bar code on them...." Powerlunch arrived about two weeks before the start of school, forcing school officials to scramble just to get the system in place, according to the article. (Apple introduced PowerSchool 4.0 earlier this year in April.)
MS keyboard, mice
Microsoft today unveiled several new Mac-compatible mice and keyboards, including the new Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse for mobile computing, Wireless Optical Desktop with an ergonomic design (pictured at right), a value-oriented Standard Wireless Optical Mouse and Digital Media Pro Keyboard with a new Zoom slider. The new products are expected to ship by the end of the month. (The company also released new Bluetooth-capable mice and keyboards as well those with integrated fingerprint recognition technology, but the company said those were not compatible with the Mac.)
iMac G5 at IDF
At the Intel Developer Forum, Intel's model digital home contained an all-in-one PC with a striking resemblance to new iMac G5. Built around a white flat-screen monitor, Korean PC maker Lluon's Intel-based PC has been available for several weeks and features an integrated webcam, "so it's definitely not a quick copy of Apple Computer's latest creation. It does boast a 17-inch-wide screen like the iMac, and it even touts new cooling technology for quieter operation--also a feature on the latest Mac," according to CNET News.com. The report indicates that it will only be available in Korea.
DivX 5.2 (Pro) codec
DivX 5.2 is the latest release of the free codec, supporting playback of virtually any DivX-based content as well as encoding movies using any QuickTime-enable video application. Version 5.2 brings several improvements to performance and decoding and is now available in English, French, German and Japanese versions. DivX 5.2 Pro also adds new bi-directional coding using an adaptive method; fully adaptive multiple consecutive B-frames; MPEG-2/H.263 quantization choice; automatic update notification for the DivX encoder; an improved 'Fast Mode'; three-point GMC decoding support; a built-in DivX MP3 Encoder ($7 extra); One-Step Encoding to produce studio-quality DivX video; and Black Edge Removal. The Pro version with advanced encoding features and better compression (up to 30%) is $20.
Steve Jobs back at Apple
After undergoing surgery in late July for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is on the road to recovery and plans to return to full-time work later this month. CNET News.com reports that Jobs is attending some company meetings and plans to return to full-time work later this month, after undergoing successful surgery to remove cancer from his pancreas. "At the time of his surgery, Jobs, 49, had estimated he would return to work in September. That apparently is on track. Tim Cook, an executive vice president who oversees Apple's sales, operations and Macintosh unit, has been running the company's daily operations during Jobs' absence."
Olympus Stylus Verve
Olympus last week announced its new Stylus Verve 4.0-megapixel digital camera, which will be available in in 6 designer colors. The Verve features a compact and durable all-metal, all-weather body with a sleek designer shape and will be available in Silver, Blue, Black, White, Red, and Copper. It offers a compact size (3.74" x 2.18" x 1.08") and a weight of just 3.7 ounces--the smallest Olympus digital camera introduced to date. It also offers 1.8-inch LCD, 16 selectable Scene Program Modes, in-camera editing effects (Soft Focus, Fish Eye, etc.), a QuickTime Movie Mode, USB 2.0 connectivity, a 2x optical zoom (and 4x digital zoom, and more. It will ship later this month for $350, including a 16MB xD-Picture Card, Wrist Strap, Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery and Charger, and both USB and AV cables.
Kano BLUE-WAV storage
Kano Technologies has introduced its BLUE-WAV Desktop Storage system, a high-capacity solution for data-intensive storage needs. Featuring Sony's Professional Disc for Data (ProData) optical drive, the BLUE-WAV Desktop Storage system offers up to 23.3GB capacity on a single-sided media cartridge. The BLUE-WAV drive. available in both internal and external models, is ideal for professional data-intensive applications such as document and medical imaging, enterprise data management, graphics design, and financial and official records.
Spring Cleaning, Biferno..
Spring Cleaning 7.01 is a free update to Allume's all-in-one cleaning and privacy solution that includes a MacUninstaller, duplicate files locator, size management features, quick file comparison functions, and a system snapshot to show changes in your system (since the last time it was run). The latest release is a maintenance release; the full version is $50; upgrades are $20. [3.6MB]
Biferno 1.1 (free) is an object-oriented, HTML embedded, scripting language for web development. The new Biferno "xmlDoc" class can now open, create, modify and validate XML documents as well as navigate (and retrieve from) their hierarchical structure, while a new "jclass" can invoke Java classes directly. [Classic, OSX]
Synergy 1.3 (5€) puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar (previous, play/pause, next) as well as offers visual feedback, download and display of cover art for the currenly playing song and system-wide Hot Key combinations. Version 1.3 adds access to an online gallery of free button sets. [911KB]
Mail Factory 1.3 ($30) will help design and print envelopes as well as address and shipping labels. Users can now import addresses from Excel, vCards and text files. It also features iPhoto integration, expanded Avery and other label support, AppleScript support, FIM-A code printing, and improved compatibility with the Address Book, Entourage, Eudora and Now Contact. [12MB]
DropWaterMark 2.1 ($17) now allows users to scale their watermark to the image size and adds a button to quickly insert the copyright symbol. The utility offers options to configure the watermark, replace the original or create a new one, preview the watermarked image, add a border, rotate the image, and insert EXIF/IPTC (meta) as well as filesize data. [Classic, OSX]
Stock Investment Guide 1.5.5 ($40) is a stock club analysis software for both Mac OS X and Windows. Version 1.5.5 includes improved menus, better EPS projections, preferred EPS calculations, and more. The cross-platform solution can read and write standard .ssg files, plot data on a graph, automatically update 52-week high and low prices, and more. [1.3MB]
In Brief: Apple has posted new profiles on its Apple Bioinformatics Award Winners.... Apple's iPod is among eight award nominees by British Interactive Media Association (in association with Revolution magazine), who "represent key events in the world of interactive media."... UK retailer Woolworths this year will launch a digital music download service (with 79p/£7.99 pricing) that will tie into its existing online CD retail operation, which focuses on the top 50 singles and top 100 albums.... Users have begun a petition for "gap-less" play in Apple's iPod/iTunes system via a system option (as an alternative to the limiting 'Join CD tracks' feature).
No iTunes in Japan?
A Japanese version of Apple's iTunes has been unable to get started due to opposition from the local recording industry, which deems its copy protection measures to be inadequate and has refused to offer its music catalog, according to The Asahi Shimbun: "One of the biggest headaches for music industry executives is how to strike the right balance when pricing downloads. While a single download costs 99 cents (about 110 yen) at Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store site, which is not yet available in Japan, domestic services typically charge at least 200 yen per song. That's more expensive than renting a CD single, priced at about 100 yen. 'If we go lower than that, CD sales will suffer. If we go higher than that we wouldn't beat CD rental shops,' said an official of a major record company." However, Yoshiaki Sakito, Apple's VP in charge of marketing, says the popularity of the company's iPod digital audio player will eventually help "pry the market open."
Free website chart service
VVimaging (VVI) has posted a new web chart service that allows webmasters to freely integrate charts directly into any website. The service offers many examples and an online user manual that explains how to use the chart service. VVI says that service is free to use and requires no installation or configuration of software. Users can also purchase a software version of the chart service to run on Mac OS X to "guarantee the availability, control and security of your services and data." Other advantages include custom chart colors and other adjustable style attributes; the addition of company logos and text descriptions; and more. The chart server version for Mac OS X is $190.
FMPro 7 winner showcase
FileMaker has posted the "best of breed" FileMaker Pro 7 solutions along with the third-party FileMaker products that participated in the FileMaker DevCon's Product Showcase last week. "Built using new advances in security, multiple views of data, relational graphing and more within FileMaker Pro 7, the seven competing solutions demonstrated both the versatility and the business-critical role that database solutions play in organizations." The showcase highlights the Grand Prize winner, as judged by a panel of FileMaker developers. The winning solution was a patient management system for radiation oncology practices developed by Bob Shockey, who received approximately $12,000 in computer equipment and software.
WiebeTech\'s \'Mac Recovery\'
WiebeTech today launched a new line of products, Mac Recovery, which allows Mac OS X users to recover data from corrupt or crashed hard disk drives. The bundle includes WiebeTech's docking hardware with a personal-user version of Prosoft Engineering's powerful Data Rescue software, allowing Mac OS X users to easily extract data from corrupted drives. The Mac Recovery product line includes two products for 3.5-inch drives: Mac Recovery ComboDock ($200) with FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 connectivity and Mac Recovery FireWire DriveDock ($150) with FireWire 400 connectivity. Mac Recovery Notebook DriveDock for 2.5-inch notebook drives is $150.
Pixologic ZBrush 2 for Mac
The Mac version of Pixologic's ZBrush 2 is expected to ship at the end of the month, according to The Render Node Magazine. The update to the 2D/3D digital-art creation software, already available for Windows, will bring compatibility with files generated by the Windows version, speed optimizations, and multiple processor support as well as ZBrush 2 features such as an improved materials system, polyframe enhancements, new ZSphere functionality, multi-resolution mesh editing, and more, as noted earlier this year. It will be available on September 30, according to the report.
New AD plugins at IBC
Automatic Duck today introduced version 3.0 of Pro Import AE, which it says will offer import of Final Cut XML as well as project files from Apple's powerful new application, Motion. "Importing an OMF composition from Avid or Final Cut Pro takes just seconds, importing all your media and clips in one step. Supported effects are translated and recreated for you, your timeline is recreated as a composition in After Effects." Pro Import AE 3.0 is expected to ship in Q4 of this year. Version 2 is available now for $500. The company also introduced Pro Import PPro, an import plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro, allowing for import of AAF, OMF as well as Final Cut XML into Adobe's flagship editing application. (Interested beta testers can apply here.)
Wacom debuts Intuos3
Wacom Technology today introduced its new Intuos3 professional pen tablets with an array of improvements for better productivity. Intuos3 tablets incorporate ExpressKeys and Touch Strips as well as an on-board set of customizable ExpressKeys default to keyboard modifiers Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and Spacebar. In addition, new finger-sensitive Touch Strips allow users to zoom or scroll with their off-hand. The new Intuos3 pen tablets also include a new design with a high-gloss transparent surface, a redesigned Grip Pen with a larger rubber barrel for enhanced comfort, an improved ergonomic, battery-free mouse with five programmable buttons and a scroll wheel, doubled resolution of 5080 lines per inch, and a new software bundle.
AUC developer scholarship
The Australian Apple University Consortium has launched a two-year 'best of the best' Student Scholarship Program, looking for Australia's best student developers on the Mac platform. The chosen developers will receive an Apple PowerBook, programming tools, support from a high level Mentor, support to attend Apple's Annual World Wide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, support to attend the AUC's Australian Academic & Developer's Conference, and a chancee to participate in the Apple USA internship program in Cupertino, USA. Students selected as one of the 'best of the best' will be expected to produce innovative applications for the Mac platform, working individually or with other participants in the program. Applications are open through October 15th to full-time students studying at an AUC member University in Australia.
FrameMaker, Star Wars DVD
In Brief: Adobe is performing a user survey for FrameMaker, which indicates that the company may be considering further development for Mac OS X (after saying that it had no future plans for the product in January 2004).... Lowry Digital Images has used 600 networked Power Mac G5 computers to help digital restore new DVD versions of George Lucas' Star Wars films, which arrive Sept. 21 in a four-disc $70 box set.... Eric Tremblay of MacDev.ca is offering an "Introduction to Mac OS X Programming: Cocoa Workshop" on Oct. 23-24 in Biloxi, Mississippi.... Creative, second to Apple in MP3 market share, is looking to grow its 16.4 percent marketshare by boosting product lines and creating higher-capacity MP3 players.
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