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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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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko