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Apple extends promos
Apple has extended its Final Cut Express, HP printer, and .Mac promos, which were originally scheduled to end on September 25. "Edit like a Pro. Instant savings" is now scheduled to end January 10, 2005. Apple is offering an instant savings of $200 on Final Cut Express 2 with the purchase of any Mac from the Apple Store online, all Apple Store retail locations, and from participating Apple Authorized Resellers. Apple's "Great-looking deal", which ends November 1, 2004, offers $99 back via a mail-in rebate with the purchase of any Mac and HP Printer. Finally, the company has extended on its $30 mail-in rebate on the purchase of its recently upgraded .Mac services ($99) and any Mac. "Sweet deal on .Mac" now runs through January 10, 2005. Previously, we noted that Apple extended its Mac OS X Panther/iLife promo.
SanDisk debuts Photo Album
SanDisk today introduced the SanDisk Photo Album, a compact, sleek device that lets consumers display digital still pictures or video clips on their TV sets and even attach soundtracks to slide shows. Using any one of eight flash memory card formats as well as portable USB flash drives, the unit also enables consumers to play MP3 music files on their home audio systems. The SanDisk Photo Album (SPA) connects to any television set that has an audio/video input and the included remote control offers multiple functions. It will cost $50 and be available this holiday season.
EazyDraw 1.6.4 released
EazyDraw 1.6.4 is an update to the affordable drawing application designed exclusively for Mac OS X that can be used for creative projects including technical drawings, illustrations, icons, logos and stylized text. It can be used for vector drawing, architectural projects, flow charts, mathematical curves, and much more. Version 1.6.4 provides configurable mini palettes, preview thumbnails, support for Export of the Apple ICNS desktop icon format, and several other improvements and enhancements. This is a free upgrade for all existing users. A 9-month license is $20, while a full license is $95.
2.3GHz Xserve G5s
Echoing a report by AppleInsider earlier this week, CNET.com says that Virginia Polytechnic Institute has completed its upgraded to new Apple Xserve G5 machines with dual-2.3GHz processors, faster than the 2GHz configurations currently shipping from Apple. The faster 2.3GHz G5 processors are not available as a build-to-order option from the Apple Store. AppleInsider notes that Apple first advertised the 2.3GHz Xserve G5s in January 2004: "Apple introduced the XServe G5 in January 2004, claiming top speeds of 2GHz. But mistakenly placed graphics on the company's Canadian web site briefly advertised the servers at speeds of up to 2.3GHz. If recent events are any indication, it's likely that Apple had originally intended to introduce the Xserve G5 at speeds of up to 2.3GHz, but were later forced to surrender the higher-end configuration due to a shortage of the speedier G5 chips from IBM."
SanDisk flash memory
SanDisk today introduced "the world's fastest" flash memory cards - the SanDisk Extreme III line of CompactFlash (CF), SecureDigital (SD) and Memory Stick PRO (MSPRO) digital film cards. The company also announced that it has quadrupled the capacity of its SanDisk Ultra II line of flash memory cards, including an 8GB CompactFlash Type I card, a 4GB Memory Stick PRO card, and a 2GB SD card. Each SanDisk Ultra II card offers a minimum 9MB/sec write and 10MB/sec read speeds for users of 4-megapixel or higher resolution digital cameras that require fast, high capacity digital film cards to quickly shoot many high resolution images.
Barcode Producer 3.0
Intelli Innovations today introduced Barcode Producer 3.0, a major upgrade to the company's barcode generation suite for Mac OS X. The new upgrade offers support for customers adapting to new business standards, including Sunrise 2005 compliance, Global Trade Identification Number representation, and the upcoming transition to 13-digit ISBNs. Other new features include PDF barcode generation, easy transfer of vector graphics to other applications (Illustrator, Photoshop, and Preview), a redesigned ISBN Check Digit Calculator, and an enhanced PDF Stamper feature to mark PDF documents with barcodes in identical or sequential configurations. It is available for $150 (additional $20 for CD). Upgrades are $50 from any previous version.
Iomega 16x USB 2.0 DVD
Iomega has begun shipping its new second-generation Iomega Super DVD 16x recorder. Offering support for the new 8.5 GB double-layer (DL) recording standard, the new drive will debut next week at the TechXNY tradeshow in New York City, Oct. 5-7, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The drives feature a USB 2.0 interface and support DVD+R and DVD+RW (16x4x8x write, rewrite, and read), DVD-R and DVD-RW (8x4x8x), and CD-R and CD-RW discs (40x24x40x) as well as 40x digital audio extraction. The $200 drive, now available, includes Charismac Discribe for Mac OS and requires Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later. A $30 mail-in rebate is available as well. (Currently only supports Single Layer recording only--4.7GB per disc.)
IBM supercompter, 1TB DVD
Afternoon tech: IBM says that its new Blue Gene supercomputer is the world's fastest, reaching a sustained peak of 36.01 trillion calculations per second--or 36.01 teraflops--during internal tests in the company's laboratory in Rochester, Minn.... London researchers are developing a new way of storing data that could lead to discs capable of holding 1,000GB--roughly 100x the amount that is currently stored on a DVD.... Foes of a controversial copyright bill in the Senate are stepping up their opposition before an expected committee vote Thursday, saying that the 'Induce Act' would engender "an unmanageable flood of litigation that would tie up innovators and chill investment."... Some FireWire 800 devices may not work at their full speed under Windows XP after SP2 has been installed.
16X internal \"SuperDrive\"
MCE Technologies today began shipping its 16X DVD-/+R/RW internal "SuperDrive" upgrade for Apple's Power Macs and also reduced pricing on its 8x "SuperDrive' upgrade. MCE's DVD-/+R/RW upgrades are compatible with iDVD, iTunes and Finder burning under Mac OS 9/X. The MCE 16X "SuperDrive" is $120 ($110 on the website), while the 8X "SuperDrive" is now $100. The 16X "SuperDrive" upgrade writes at up to 16X speed to 4.7GB DVD-R and DVD+R media and up to 4X 4.7GB DVD-RW and DVD+RW media. In addition, it integrates a 32x/24x/40x CD-RW mechanism as well as reads DVD-RAM discs at up to 2X speeds and reads DVD-ROM discs at up to up to 16X speed. The upgrade requires a Power Mac G3 or G4 (and runs with iDVD on those systems running Mac OS 10.2 or later). The drive is bundled with Roxio's Toast Lite software and two pieces of 8X DVD-R media.
Jam Packs for GarageBand
Apple today introduced two new Jam Packs for its GarageBand music creation software. Jam Pack 2: Remix Tools makes it easy to produce compelling dance, hip-hop and electronica track. Jam Pack 2 offers more than 2,000 additional loops, 20 new beat kits (Techno, R&B, House, Trance), new synth and sound effect instruments and classic drum machines from Roland (TR-808, TR-909, TR-606, CR-78). Jam Pack 3: Rhythm Section offers songwriters a complete backing band to help build a professional sounding foundation for their rock, alternative and country music. It includes 2,000 loops and over 50 new instruments, including new drums (Jazz Brushes, Indie Rock, Warehouse Kit), basses (Motown, Liverpool, Progressive Rock, Unplugged) and guitars (Dobro Slide, Bluegrass Banjo, Bluesy Acoustic, Heavy Metal Electric). Both are available now from the Apple Store for $100.
Apple refurb laptops
The Apple Store is offering a number of refurbished laptops, including new 12-inch iBook G4 (1GHz/256MB/30GB/Combo) starting at $949. The larger 14-inch models are also available for $1,100 (1GHz/256MB/40GB/Combo) and $1,300 (1.2GHz/256MB/60GB/Combo/AP Extreme Card). Apple is also offering refurbished versions of the 12-inch PowerBook for $1,350 (1.33GHz/256MB/60GB/Combo/AP Extreme Card) and $1,550 (1.33GHz/256MB/60GB/SuperDrive/AP Extreme Card). The 17-inch version (1.5GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive/AP Extreme Card) is available for $2,400. Apple is also offering a refurbished AirPort Extreme Card for $70, $30 off the regular price.
Sony Network Walkman
Sony has updated its hard drive-based Network Walkman with some design tweaks and a lower price, according IDG News Service. Due in October, the new player features a new range of colors (silver, blue or pink)--much like Apple's iPod mini: "Sony's switch to blue and pink follows a local market preference. Apple Computer has seen the silver and blue versions of its IPod Mini player become the most popular of the five colors it offers in Japan, and the pink and green versions are popular among young women." Sony also changed the backlight from green to blue, now offers a cord-based charging option (vs. cradle-only), removed the inline remote control control, and will make it available in Japan (only) for a lower price ($360 vs. $477), about 20% higher than Apple's 20GB iPod, which sells for about $300 in Japan.
SanDisk media card readers
SanDisk today introduced three high-speed card readers, including its ImageMate 12-in-1, ImageMate 5-in-1 and ImageMate CompactFlash (CF) readers. The reader includes a one-step transfer button and a high-speed USB 2.0 port. For maximum versatility, the 12-in-1 reader ($35) supports virtually every memory card format currently available with no additional adapters required. In addition, multiple cards can be inserted simultaneously for card-to-card data transfers. It comes with a docking station and can be removed and used with a short cable (bundled) for maximum portability. The ImageMate 5-in-1 reader ($20) supports SD, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick (PRO), and xD-Picture Card, while the ImageMate CF ($20) supports Type I and II cards.
Forums roundup for Sep. 29
Topics of discussion on the MacNN forums today include: Power Mac G5 heat statistics for various models; speculation about recent processor announcements as they apply to Apple's future notebook offerings; shipping status of iMac G5 orders; discussion regarding the video card offerings in the new iMac; comparing the various generations of iPods; Apple's increase in .Mac storage space.
Aspern 1809 game title
By Design today announced its new Mac-only game: Aspern 1809 is based on the Waterloo Campaign engine but covers the battle between Napoleon and the Allies in 1809. The title features rich historical content and features battalion level conflict, the ability to command hundreds of units--including all the commanders down to the Division level. It mouse-based group/formation movements, editable units for changing characteristics, and more. Users can play either side or switch sides in the middle of a battle. It is available for Mac OS 7/8/9 and Mac OS X 10.2 or later for $25.
Tom Clancy\'s Splinter Cell
Aspyr today announced that the Mac version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell began shipping earlier this week and will be available in stores nationwide by October 1st. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell adds a new gaming genre to the series line-up with a 3rd person stealth action game with "cyber-terrorism, shadow agencies and covert operations on the menu. When two CIA agents mysteriously vanish in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the NSA's secret sub agency, Third Echelon, deploys Sam Fisher-its most capable splinter cell operative-to recover them. Fisher soon uncovers a deeper conspiracy: a plot that threatens to destabilize the world order and spark nuclear conflict." it is available for $40 now from Amazon.com and other retailers.
Apple is planning the next wave of expansion for its iTunes Music Store with a multi-country European launch in October, as announced previously. According to a Reuters report, Apple said that that the launch would include more than five new countries in the next wave of stores--a "good portion of Western Europe". The report also notes that Apple has had some trouble with European licensing: "Europe's notoriously cumbersome red tape and the multiplicity of languages have also made it a tougher market to crack. And Apple acknowledged on Wednesday it is having difficulty sourcing local repertoire from the music labels in some countries."
Athena Sword due in Nov.
Aspyr today announced that the Mac version of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword has hit beta status and is expected to ship in November. Continuing the story from Raven Shield, Athena Sword "takes the elite, multinational squad of counter-terrorist operatives to the exotic Mediterranean. Your mission is to command Team Rainbow while tracking the desperate remnants of the international terror network from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield." The game requires the full version of Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield for Mac OS, Mac OS 10.2.8, and a 733MHz processor. Network play is Mac to Mac only (GameRanger is supported). The title is $30 and is available for pre-order from Amazon.
.Mac storage increased
Apple today increased the amount of storage space it offers members of its paid .Mac service. The company said that it is now offering a 250MB of combined storage for its email and iDisk services, allowing users to customize the the amount of storage available for each service. The default settings are 125MB of mail storage and 125MB of iDisk space. Apple is offering an option to upgrade any .Mac account to 1GB of storage for $50/year. Previously, Apple offered 100MB of iDisk storage and 15MB of mail. In June, Apple increased the maximum email size from 3MB to 10MB, added email aliases, and offered a customizable spell checker. Apple's .Mac web services are also online after the unannounced upgrade caused an unexpected outage.
RhinoTyper, TarMac, ...
RhinoTyper 1.1 ($5) allows users to edit the file types and creator codes of files on Mac OS X 10.2 in three ways: by matching a selected file to any other file on the computer, by choosing from a list of file types and creator codes for common applications, or by manually entering the file type and creator code. The new version also adds the ability to change the creation and modification dates of files. [1.3MB]
TarMac PB is a public beta of the "only full Finder like graphical user interface for the tar archiving command." The utility allows for full browsing, creation, updating, and extraction of tar and tar.gz files.￼"TarMac is especially useful for UNIX system administrators, developers, and any user who wants a powerful unencumbered cross platform archiving format usable on Mac, Windows, Linux, and any other UNIX like system." [404KB]
Quickie Web Albums 4.1 ($23) helps users create custom Web Photo (and movie) albums that offers several options to customize your albums. Registered users can use a custom template, save/load albums, add a custom logo, removing the 'created by Quickie' logo, and technical support. Version 4.1 adds higher quality image scaling and new watermarking features for images. A 45-day trial is available. [Classic, OSX]
SQLitePlugin 1.6 ($40) is a simple-to-use database plugin for REALbasic built on top of SQLite, an embeddable, stand-alone SQL database library written in C. SQLite's on-the-fly indexing and ACID transactions ensure that SQLitePlugin databases are both fast and free from corruption. It adds support for MachO and Linux, an updated SQLite library, new 'SQLiteRecordSet' and SQLSelect options, and more. [800KB]
Smart Trash 1.1 ($10) is a system utility that allows users to delete items in the trash using several additional menu features. Users can save a log file of the deleted items, delete only specific items, empty the trash on a single volume and more. It adds volume-based options, "super delete" for items with the wrong permissions, and better performance.. [1.0MB]
Soundflower 1.1 (free) is a Mac OS X (10.2 and later) system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. Soundflower is easy to use, it simply presents itself as an audio device, allowing any audio application to send and receive audio with no other support needed. Version 1.1 adds a Finder menubar item for easy monitoring and audio routing. [30KB]
In Brief: PB FixIt is offering free, online laptop repair guides for PowerBooks and iBooks that include detailed disassembly instructions... Iconkits.com has released a new royalty free icon kit called Soul Developer Icon Kit Vol. 1 ($100), which includes 80 icons.... Freescale Semiconductor yesterday introdcued its dual-core microprocessor design, which the company said would be tailored to embedded applications....Microsoft will disable Hotmail access from MS Entourage (as well as Outlook and Outlook Express) for all free users in an attempt to fight spammers. [updated]
Replication for Mac OS X
Constant Data has added Mac OS X Server support to its network-based replication solution that provides automatic point-in-time disk-based backups. OnDemand Replicator installs on existing Apple Mac OS X servers to provide automatic data replication in mixed server environments including Linux, Sun-Solaris, IBM AIX and Apple Mac OS X platforms. It preserves resource forks and enables legacy applications and files to be seamlessly replicated to other servers, replicates both, data and metadata of files for complete recovery in case of a disaster, and provides flexible modes of replication (1-1; 1-N; N-1; M-N; unidirectional or bidirectional).
iMac G5 for education
Computerworld looks at the special low-end iMac G5 for education institutions (but not students or faculty), which is available at a lower price ($1,100--a $100 discount) and with some stripped down components: "The specs on the education iMac model are knocked down significantly from the base consumer model. It ships with the same 17-in. screen, the same basic processor and motherboard configuration -- 1.6-GHz G5, 512KB backside cache and 533-MHz front-side bus -- and the same base amount of RAM, 256MB. But it also includes a significantly lower-powered video card (the Nvidia GeForce4 MX with 32MB of virtual RAM, as opposed to the Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB) and a 40GB hard drive, half the standard 80GB hard drive. Even more noteworthy, it ships with no optical drive."
Griffin ships radioSHARK
Griffin Technology today announced it has begun shipping the radioSHARK, a desktop AM-FM Radio with time-shift recording capabilities. Announced at Macworld Expo SF in January 2004 (and then delayed), the radioSHARK allows users to listen to and record their favorite AM or FM radio broadcasts. The radioSHARK allows the recording of scheduled radio events and can also be used to 'pause' live radio. The USB-based fin-shaped device acts as the antenna and can be adjusted and positioned for best reception. It includes software that offers controls for radio tuning and control, favorite presets, frequency scanning, and scheduling/management of radio recordings. Griffin says that recordings are automatically synced to iTunes--for playback or transfer to an iPod. It is available now from Griffin or the Apple Store for $70.
TrayDock for SATA drives
WiebeTech today announced TrayDock, which allows desktop (3.5-inch) Serial ATA drives or standard IDE drives to mount via FireWire. The TrayDock, due in mid-October, features a hot-swappable removable tray, compatible with either SATA or IDE drives, that plugs into a low-profile desktop FireWire 800/USB 2 enclosure, allowing users to easily externally mount SATA drives. The enclosure features dual daisy chainable FireWire 800 ports and a USB2 port. It is available for $170, which includes either an IDE or SATA tray. The TrayDock will also be available in pre-configured capacities: 120GB ($220), 160GB ($230), 200GB ($300), 250GB ($360), and 400GB ($650). Additional SATA or IDE trays are $50.
.Mac web services down
Apple today acknowledged more problems with its .Mac service. In an announcement this morning, the company said that its .Mac Web-based services are currently unavailable. The company yesterday suffered an email outage due to delivery problems, but said that the outage, which was resolved later in the day, only affected a small number of users. According to a message on its website, Apple says that iDisk and client-based services (like email, Mac Slides Publisher, and iCal) are unaffected by outage, but Apple provided no time-frame for resolution of the problems. .Mac members pay an annual fee for a suite of web services--many of which are bundled in to Mac OS X for easy access.
\'Win Your Inner Suit\'
Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today launched its nationwide 'Win Your Inner Suit' sweepstakes, in which entrants can enter to win a replica action figure of themselves as a business professional. In addition, individuals can take Office 2004 for a test drive to see the product in action. "The inner suit is the alter ego in all Mac users who handles the business details. Mac users are known for their creativity, but that doesn't mean they don't also know how to take care of business." Through December, individuals can enter for a chance to win an inner suit replica action figure and a copy of Office 2004 for Mac. No purchase is necessary to win.
Apple debuts Logic Pro 7
Apple today introduced Logic Pro 7 and Logic Express 7, the next major releases of its professional music creation and audio production software. Logic Pro 7 ($1000), available now from the Apple Store, includes new software instruments such as Sculpture, a component-modeling based synthesizer; UltraBeat, an innovative and powerful drum machine; and new plug-ins including Guitar Amp Pro, a full-featured guitar amplifier simulator. Along with over 100 workflow enhancements, new mastering plug-ins and support for Apple Loops, Logic Pro 7 debuts distributed audio processing, a new technology for leveraging virtually unlimited number of Macs to expand available Digital Signal Processing (DSP) power. Logic Express 7 ($300), due in October, is a streamlined version of Logic, providing a basic set of professional tools for students, educators and advanced hobbyists. Upgrades to Logic Pro 7 are $300.
Portfolio 7 Raw Filter
Extensis has announced an update to its Pro Photo Raw Image Filter for Portfolio 7, its digital asset management (DAM) solution for organizing digital photos, illustrations, page layouts and presentations. Pro Photo Raw Image Filter generates high-quality thumbnails and previews from the unprocessed raw image files created by professional digital cameras from Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Canon, Fuji, Konica-Minolta, Pentax and Imacon. It also allows Portfolio 7 to extract EXIF metadata and IPTC from the Raw files, create thumbnails for displaying the images in catalogs, and generate high-resolution JPEG previews on-the-fly for detailed viewing, printing, slideshows and QuickTime movies. The free update is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2004. The full version of Portfolio 7 is $200, while upgrades are $100.
SubRosaSoft file recovery
SubRosaSoft.com today announced new versions of its file recovery utilities. FileSalvage 2.0 ($80) is an application for recovering deleted files from your drive or volume; CameraSalvage 2.0 ($40) has been designed to recover picture and movie files that have been deleted intentionally or accidentally from a digital camera or your storage media; and PodSalvage 2.0 ($40) helps recover music files that have been deleted from your iPod, MP3 player, hard disk and many other types of storage. Camera Salvage supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, AVI, MOV, ASF and RealMedia files, while PodSalvage recovers MP3 and M4A/M4P (iTunes AAC), AIFF and WAV files. File Salvage combines both utilities and also offers support for MIDI, Word, and Excel files--with support for more file formats in the near future. The utilities require Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Custom FX Collection
Wildform today released a new utility that allows users to create unique video titles and sophisticated text animations: The Custom FX Collection for Wild FX ($40) and Wild FX Pro ($100) contains 400 effects, including fully customizable versions of the effects that come standard with each program. In addition, the Custom FX ships with new "Master" effects that allow the user to specify basic animations such as vertical, horizontal, diagonal and zoom motions. Each new custom effect has between 5 and 35 customizable variables, including those for position, timing, scaling, alpha, skew, color, and rotation. The Custom FX collection is $50 with a 20% discount offered for a limited time.
Apple No. 12 on EPA list
Apple is No. 12 on the EPA's new listing that ranks companies based on the benefits they offer commuting employees, while Intel, Fannie Mae, and Cisco were ranked at the top of the listing (respectively). The AP reports that "the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hopes to combat air pollution by encouraging more companies to compete for top spots on its 'Best Workplaces for Commuters' list, compiled from Fortune 500 companies. EPA's honor roll is top-heavy with computer and energy businesses that emphasize telecommuting. Next on the list are USAA, Sun, Oracle, AMD, Texas Instruments, Safeco and EMC. The EPA wants to encourage more companies to offer such benefits as $30 or more a month for commuting costs, emergency rides home for parents with children and shower or locker rooms for bike riders."
iBooks for Oregon students
An Oregon school board on Monday gave district staff the green light to negotiate a contract with Apple that will place iBooks in the hands of every student and teacher at Springfield Middle School and Gateways Learning Center early next year: "The board authorized a contract not to exceed $800,000, which will cover the cost of the machines as well as ongoing technical support and training. Much of the money will come from federal Title I funds, earmarked for schools with high percentages of low-income students."
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