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Electric Rain today announced it is shipping Swift 3D 4.0 and Swift 3D Xpress for the Mac OS X. Swift 3D is a standalone application that can build and export vector and raster-based 3D animations to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format, as well as other popular formats. Swift 3D Xpress is a plug-in for Macromedia Flash that instantly converts 2D artwork and text to 3D animations without leaving the Flash interface. Version 4 features the ability to build custom models with powerful polygon modeling toolset and enhanced bitmap texturing controls, precise animation control, drag-and-drop galleries, and workflow enhancements. Swift 3D V4 is $190 (upgrades are $100); Swift 3D Xpress is $130.
Business 2.0 offers some insight into Apple's new "Mini" store strategy and says that the company is testing a new store-within-a-store concept at a dozen of CompUSA's Good Guys electronics stores in California, which could later expand to the 60 or so Good Guys stores in the West, if it is successful. "At 300 to 1,500 square feet, [Apple's mini stores] cover a fraction of the area of the full-size stores, which run between 4,500 and 20,000 square feet. In markets with a proven appetite for Apple products, the minis are a less expensive way to saturate the territory. In second-tier markets, they're a low-risk way to test consumer interest in pricier offerings. In addition, every mini-store will feature a "genius bar" offering expert advice. Why? The company has found that 30 percent of genius bar visitors end up making a purchase the same day."
iPatch 3.0 ($10) can compare the resources of two applications to produce a self-applying patch to update an older version of an application to a newer version. iPatch is now able to compress data using zlib and fully supports prebinding. It now includes a tool to compare files and folders. [Download - 3.8MB] ADmitMac 2.0.2 ($120) is a software solution for easily including Macintosh computers in Windows Active Directory Networks. New for this release is support for" domains configured using Microsoft's "hisecdc" template, "Drop box" type folders, and Apple's recently released Remote Desktop 2.1. [Download - 11.5MB] quickWebAlbum 1.5 ($10) creates photograph albums from a folder of JPEG files. This update adds an 'Advanced Settings' option for the 'standard' album. In addition, the update includes improvements to the format and quality of the HTML output, a minor improvement in a 'JPEG size issue' and improvements in memory handling. [Download - 260KB] MediaMaid FM 6 ($200) is the latest general-use release of the a powerful, easy to customize media asset management solution for use with FileMaker Pro. “In response to requests from customers, we’ve added a huge amount of functionality. In addition to a complete new user interface and improved reliability and speed, MediaMaid FM offers more customization options, a lot of better and easier to use search functions and many powerful possibilities to exchange data.” [Download - 13.4MB] A Better Finder Attributes 3.6 is a contextual menu plug-in for the Macintosh Finder that allows users to change the file date and other attributes of Mac OS X files. The new release introduces a file details drawer designed to make it easier to interactively judge file changes. [Download - 3.4MB] GarageSale 1.1 ($25) is a client application for the eBay online auction system. It allows Mac OS X users to create auctions quickly using an intuitive Mac-like interface, integrates with iPhoto and offers WYSIWYG text editing. Version 1.1 adds support for "Buy it now" auctions, support for the eBay UK Site, status icons for template, and more. [Download - 927KB]
Xten today announced the release of their new eyeBeam SIP softphone for Mac OS X and said it had achieved 500,000 deployed Xten "endpoints." Xten will be demonstrating new versions of eyeBeam on both Windows and Mac OS X systems at VON (booth No. 833). It will include new features users such as Instant Messaging and Presence Awareness using open standards like SIMPLE and XCAP. Xten offers co-branded and private labeled solutions for cable operators, carriers and various service providers. The software supports many open-standards for both Voice and Video over IP.
Sun Microsystems today released an update to its visual development environment, Sun Java Studio Creator. Available as a free upgrade, the new version now supports Mac OS X and the Solaris (x86 Platform Edition) as well as includes support for Japanese and simplified Chinese. The development environment offers a simple drag- and-drop visual interface and includes a complete version of Sun Java System Application Server 8, Platform Edition, the Java 2 Platform Standard Edition (J2SE) 1.4.2 SDK, and development time drivers for market-leading databases. Based on JavaServer Faces technology, Java Studio Creator simplifies Java coding, without requiring developers to manage details of transactions, persistence and other complexities. It is available as part of the Sun Developer Network subscription program ($100/year).
iPod-chip maker PortalPlayer faces an uncertain future as it recently filed for an IPO in August based on the soaring sales of Apple's iPod. BusinessWeek says that it has no profits, lacks a contract with Apple, and may face competition: " Should investors dive into this one? Not so fast, analysts say. No one doubts that PortalPlayer's technology is innovative, but the business of designing semiconductor chips is dicey. What's more, the concern may have trouble protecting its intellectual property, and competition is building. And then there is the fact that, despite iPod's runaway success, PortalPlayer still hasn't managed to turn a profit. Buying in at any price could carry a high risk, since the outfit relies on Apple for the vast majority of its sales."
FileMaker today released FileMaker Pro 7v3 and FileMaker Developer 7v3. The company says that "these important updates" improve the performance of each of these products, offering over 300 modifications have been made in areas including text editing, layout editing, scripting, calculations, portals, value lists, import/export, find, spell-checking, security and Japanese language functionality. The FileMaker Developer 7 v3 updater addresses several areas, including the script debugger, DDR and Developer Utilities, text editing, layout editing, scripting, calculations, portals and more. The company also said it plans to provide the FileMaker Server 7v2 updater and FileMaker Server 7 Advanced -- ODBC/JDBC updater before the end of this month.
Apple's iTunes Music Store won more industry praise at yesterday's Digital Music Awards, according to Macworld UK: "The service took first prize in the 'Best Music Service' category, beating off competition from Napster, Sony Connect, MyCokeMusic and KarmaDownload. The ceremony took place at the Shepherd's Bush Empire....Around 1,500 music and tech/music professionals attended the event, which was presented by BT Broadband. ...Apple's iTunes team sat at table number 10 last night - scant feet away from Sony representatives, but declined to give interviews on their achievement. A representative of the UK independent labels did confirm that some labels remain frustrated at Apple's progress getting their music onto iTunes."
edGenuiti today announced that its CRM For Higher Education is now "the first and only" enterprise CRM running natively on Mac OS X. The next-generation student recruitment and enrollment management software acts as a platform-independent, web-based application service provider, offering access via a conventional browser. edGenuiti uses clusters of XServe G5 servers together with XServe RAID devices in its data center to host enrollment management and student data for more than 500 colleges and universities globally. It can be used for marketing to prospective students, application management, course registration, improving student retention, and alumni fundraising.
Kurzweil Educational Systems today introduced Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh v3, its reading, writing and learning software for struggling students. The release adds a new network edition that enables students access across a network as well as as new writing, vocabulary-building and document preparation features to both the network and standalone editions. It also provides users with a host of decoding, writing and study skills tools as well as unique test-taking capabilities that allow students to independently complete worksheets, quizzes, classroom exams or standardized tests with greater confidence and fewer mistakes. Version 3 adds Word Prediction, Vocabulary Lists, and options for better document recognition/preparation. It will ship in November for $540 (5-unit labpack).
SmartDisk today introduced three new versions of its FireLite portable hard drives: FireWire 800 FireLite 80GB, FireWire FireLite 100GB and USB FireLite 100GB. The company's FireLite drives are designed for users who require convenient, portable storage to backup critical data, transport and synchronize data between multiple computers, and free up valuable hard disk space on existing computers. Featuring a sleek, silver-colored magnesium casing for durability, FireLite drives are palm-sized and weigh about six ounces. They are available in capacities of 40GB ($160 USB, $170 FW), 60GB ($200 FW), 80GB ($250 FW, $240 USB) and 100GB--with either USB 2.0 (USB) or FireWire (FW) interfaces. Pricing for the 100GB models were not available.
Fidelity Media today announced MegaSeg 3.0, an update to its Pro DJ and radio automation software for the Mac. Version 3.0 includes over 100 improvements and new features, including a revamped live mixing interface, refined iTunes and iPod integration, a robust new search engine, a new dual-deck player view, expanded database fields, multi-select edit abilities, improved events and scheduling features, the ability to preview saved playlists, web-based remote control functions, a new play log browser, right-click mouse support, and a completely new interface. MegaSeg 3.0 will ship in mid-November for $200. Free upgrades are offered to all new purchases of MegaSeg 2.7.4.
Econ Technologies today announced Portraits & Prints 2.0 ($30) as well as a new Pro Edition ($50) of its application that generates custom layouts, can email photos, and also create holiday cards--all using your own photos. Version 2.0, due in November, can now download free templates via built-in Template Manager (in addition to the bundled templates). Users can also add balloon captions with custom text (font, size, and color). The Pro Edition can edit or create templates for any size paper, using multiple custom-sized photos as well as create user-editable text, shapes, lines, graphics and custom photo cells and perform other advanced graphics functions (shadows, masking, opacity, etc.). The current version is $20 (which includes a free upgrade to v2.0).
ADS Tech has announced it is shipping Instant Music, its new external USB analog-to-digital audio converter, allowing users to convert analog music to digital formats. The plug and play device offers both stereo (right and left RCA) and SPDIF Digital Audio (TOSlink) inputs and outputs: "When combined with a Mac system equipped with GarageBand (included in iLife) or Sound Studio, Mac users can export directly to their personal iTunes music libraries." the USB 2.0 device is available for $60. It ships with a 6-ft. USB 2.0 cable and a 6-ft. RCA audio/video connection cable with a turntable grounding wire. (Windows software is included as well.)
In Brief: Nito is offering Japanese Localization services for Macintosh developers---in three basic packages for English-to-Japanese and Japanese-to-English including application windows (nib), Localizable Strings, and documentation.... AAPL's Quarterly Financial call for Q4 is now available via the Web or at the iTunes Music Store.... One reader notes that a Powerbook was prominently on display in the keyboard area as the rock band Duran Duran performed on NBC's Tonight Show on Tuesday, October 19th.... Gefen has re-engineered its HDTV Switcher, 4x1 HDTV Switcher and HDTV Splitter products to address connection issues between new DVD players and set-top boxes with DVI or HDMI ports and HDTV displays with HDMI inputs.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k