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Painted Bytes is a new Web site by macUpgrades and Applefritter specializing in the sale of custom-painted iBook cases. Every design is unique and hand-painted by in-house artists. Paint jobs range in price from $90 to $180. "These custom cases replace the original plastics. Drop your computer off at macUpgrades in Bethesda, or mail it there, and we will install your new artwork for free. If you don't wish to send your computer in, we can mail the artwork directly to you, but installation should be performed by an Apple Specialist to prevent voiding your warranty ... If your iBook is out of warranty, you may send it to us and we will paint the artwork directly onto your present case."
Aspyr today announced that United Offensive, the expansion pack to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty, has gone gold and is scheduled to begin shipping November 22. "Call of Duty: United Offensive allows gamers to experience more of WWII's most legendary conflicts through the eyes of Allied soldiers fighting for the liberation of Europe through 13 intense, new single player missions and an expanded multiplayer experience with 11 new maps, plus new weapons, player abilities and special effects. Featuring three all-new campaigns, the game lets players join the U.S. 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge, the British campaign as an airman shooting down German ME-109s from a B-17 bomber, and the Russian frontlines as a conscript in the crucial eight-day Battle of Kursk." The the expansion pack retails for $30 and is now available for pre-order.
Freeverse Software and Virtual Programming today announced that Project Nomads has begun shipping to retail outlets in North America. "As one of three Nomad characters, the player takes control of an island adrift in a sea of clouds. Through exploration and adventure, the player begins to master arcane engineering arts to fortify the island against monsters, rivals, and the vast unknown. Cast fireballs and spellbombs in a strikingly realized world with stunning graphics, a compelling story and fun gameplay." Project Nomads costs $30 and is available at the Apple's retail stores, other fine Mac retailers, as well as directly from Freeverse.
Apple is furiously working to build up a broader portfolio of consumer-electronics offerings to capitalize on its current dominance of digital music downloads, writes Business Week. "The upshot? Expect a flash iPod to hit shelves sometime next year.[...]The new flash Pod's price will significantly undercut existing iPods and dip well below the $200 mark. That could bring in millions of new users who remain skittish at the higher prices on iPods and other hard-disk music players." Rumors of a flash-based iPod gained momentum last month when Thomas Weisel market analyst Jason Pflaum stated that Apple was preparing to launch a flash-based music player before Christmas.
Popwire today announced that it has begun shipping its desktop media encoding software, Compression Master 3 for Mac OS X. The application is the first tool on the market to deliver encoding support for Windows Media 9 on OS X, and also features Real SureStream, MPEG-2 and DV transcoding. Other features introduced in the new version include: a new speed and quality optimized MPEG-4, 2-pass H.263, in and out points, a fractional frame rate filter, EVRC and QCELP speech codecs, streaming support for 3GPP2, an improved GUI, and more. Additional details on the release are available from Popwire's Web site. Compression Master 3 is being offered at an introductory price of $395 for the rest of 2004.
PodShop today announced iDrops, an all-in-one product for cleaning, polishing, protecting, and removing scratches from Apple's iPod (all models), iBook, eMac, and iMac G3 and G5. iDrops is a 1.7 ounce bottle of "liquid health" featuring a medicine dropper top, allowing easy, mess-free use for repairing and restoring the acrylic portion of your blemished, scuffed, or scratched Apple product. iDrops is priced at $15, and begin shipping next Tuesday. PodShop has also announced that it has lowered the shipping cost of PodHolder, the company's $10 clear acrylic stand/display product, to $2.
auto.des.sys Inc. this week announced form.Z 5.0, a major update to its 3D modeling application that incorporates an unreleased 4.5 upgrade and offers native Mac OS X support. Version 4.5, which was only released to a group of beta testers and plugin developers, offers a new API technology and script language for form·Z. The API includes over 3,000 functions and supports nine types of extensions, all of which are available for plugin development. Some of the other new features introduced in form.Z 5.0 include: four new primitives of parametric surfaces, new star and frame tools, a smooth screws/bolts plug-in, a Formula Surface tool, and an Object and Project Doctor.
Apple has quietly removed the "5-Apple" rating automatically granted to its own products on the company's new iPod Store. All Apple-branded products are now displayed without ratings. Last week Apple added a feature that lets customers submit their own reviews--as well as a 1 to 5 star rating--for products listed on the store. However, the company had set pre-determined ratings for its own products. A statement on the store's Web site, which once read, "All Apple products have a rating of "5 Apples" because we think they’re great," has since been removed.
Chronos LC today announced the release of StickyBrain 3, its third generation note manager for Mac OS X. The application has been completely rewritten in Cocoa and sports a new interface fashioned after Mac OS X Mail. StickyBrain 3 is build around a commercial database engine and features iPod synchronization with support for breaking long notes into multiple linked parts. Other features in the new version include Safari-like tabs, a FlashNote menu bar tool, fast searching, a new Web page grabber, the ability to email notes, an alarm viewer, full Unicode 4.0 support, calendars in 5 different sizes, note sorting, and more. StickyBrain requires Mac OS X v10.3 and is priced at $40 for new users and $25 for registered StickyBrain 1.x and 2.x customers.
Strata announced today that its shipping RenderPro, a rendering application that allows users to utilize an unlimited number of computers to assist in rendering images and animations. RenderPro comes with a free open source network connection application to assist users in distributing rendering files to computers on the network. This application uses file sharing to create a series of drop boxes on the host computer that allows the user to select computers to put to work on a project. Because the Drop Box application is free and open source, users can customize the code to match their situation or even improve the program for others to use. The $139 RenderPro license allows the user to install RenderPro on an unlimited number of computers on their local area network (LAN) as long as they have an existing valid license to Strata 3D CX. Through its online store, Strata is offering RenderPro for free with all new purchases and upgrades of Strata 3D CX, or $59 for current owners of Strata 3D CX.
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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