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Mactracker 3.0 (free) the latest version of the utility that provides detailed information on every Apple, Motorola, PowerComputing, and UMAX Mac OS computer ever made. Version 3.0 sports a new interface along with some highly requested additions such as database searches, addition of Metric (SI) values, and more. [Download - 8.9MB] ClickScroll ($7) gives a Mac a "highly-addictive" feature: scrolling without scrollbars and scroll wheels. As soon as ClickScroll is activated, the user can scroll documents by moving the cursor. ClickScroll supports multi-button mice for a fast access, as well as single-button mice. [Download - 216KB] MacTopos USA 1.0 ($30 per state) provides the "ultimate digital topographic mapping solution." New technology allows the same sharp detailed maps as the original Digital Raster Graphics maps from the USGS in a smaller file size. [Download - see options] NeatImage ($40) the noise-reduction tool for digital images, is now available in a Mac version. Neat Image not only reduces the high ISO noise associated with image sensors (CMOS, CCD) in digital cameras and scanners, it can also reduce the film grain visible in scanned slides and negatives, JPEG artifacts of overcompressed images, and color banding. [Download - 206KB] Easy Card 3 ($30) enables users to create personalized holiday greeting cards. "Use your own words, sentiment and creativity. Don't chase around after hollow sounding Hallmark cards. Drop in your photos direct from iPhoto or use the graphics we supply." [Download - 4.1MB]
Ambrosia today released Apeiron X, a Mac OS X-native version of the classic "Apeiron" game title. It features updated 16-bit graphics, Mac OS X compatability, and the "same fast paced, frantic gameplay" as well as new built internet high scores. "During a port through the looking glass, the mirror shatters and your ethereal energy is trapped within one of the crystal shards. Immediately, the residents of the mushroom patch sense your presence. Lead by the Pentipede, this motley crew of mushroom patch misfits relentlessly hunt the crystal (you!), intent upon sucking out the trapped energy. The Pentipede is a sinister creature that has the ability to divide. So, if you think your troubles are over when you shoot this sneakered psycho once, you are twice as wrong."
The Omni Group today offered MacNN a preview of its forthcoming upgrade to its outlining and organizational application, OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner 3.0, expected as a public beta in the coming weeks, will have several new options for styling and editing documents, as well as support for attachments, new export options, inline notes, improved AppleScript support, and much more. The Omni Group is also expected to OmniOutliner Professional, a new version that includes in-depth outlining features like folded editing, clipping service support, audio recording, and saved templates. The company provided MacNN with a few exclusive images....
BIAS today announced that SoundSoap 2, a major update of the highly popular "one-click" audio cleaning software plug-in and application for Mac OS X, is now shipping. In conjunction with the release of SoundSoap 2, BIAS has launched a holiday rebate promotion offering customers a valuable savings off the purchase price of SoundSoap 2 and many of their most popular titles. Rebate promotions are available on the following audio titles: SoundSoap 2 and Peak LE ($20 off) and SoundSoap Pro, Peak 4.1, and Deck ($50 off). The rebate is in effect for products purchased from November 1st 2004 through December 31st, 2004. The rebate applies to new retail (non-upgrade or cross-grade) products purchased either directly from BIAS or through authorized BIAS resellers within the U.S.
Digigami today announced it is now shipping Digigami MegaPEG.X 2.0, a new MPEG VBR (variable bitrate) encoder for Macintosh. The company claims that the quality, file size and bitrate output from this new compression tool rivals or "exceeds competing formats such as WindowsMedia, Flash and Real (even MPEG-4), while continuing to support the universally recognized international standard known as ISO-11172 or simply 'MPEG-1'". Digigami says that the new product is capable of producing a high quality 320x240x24 fps movie with stereo audio (ISO 11172-3 Layer 2, 64kbps) at a combined average bitrate as low as 200 kbps (0.2 Mbs). Digigami MegaPEG.X Pro 2.0 is available now at the introductory price of $240.
In Brief: With the confirmation that Cell -- IBM's new multi-core processor -- is indeed derived from IBM's POWER architecture, it raises the possibility that "Cell" may be of interest to Apple.... A german retailer is selling an MP3 player that borrows from the appearance of Apple's iPod.... dinc! is offering sixteen new free fonts for the month of December.... South Florida Windows users interested in learning more about the Apple platform are invited to attend Apple Advantage Night at the Sun-Sentinel Building in Deerfield Beach on Tuesday, November 30th hosted by the NATMAC user group.
Alias today began shipping MotionBuilder 6, its 3D character performance and animation software, to customers worldwide. MotionBuilder 6, first released to customer with maintenance contracts earlier this month, delivers real-time character animation technology including an advanced Story Timeline and enhanced keyframing, intelligent character technology (such as auto-rigging with Human IK) and precision-animation tools. The suite features sophisticated tools for motion editing, motion layering and story-telling tools. Version 6 natively supports FBX, a platform-independent 3D authoring and interchange format designed to easily exchange 3D assets and media from a wide variety of sources. The Standard version is priced at $1000, while the Pro version is $4200 (with one year of maintenance). A fully functional, non-commercial trial version is available online.
KaraTunes 2.2 ($11) is an add-on for iTunes, puts all your lyrics data in one single database, letting you save, modify, and search lyrics with a single interface. It also lets users search the Lyrictracker database and upload lyrics to iPod. Version 2.2 can import all the songs in the iTunes library and find their lyrics with Lyrictracker automatically, as well as upload multiple songs to iPod at one time. [2.2MB] Navicat 5.3 ($100) now offers support for the Character Set of MySQL, adds a Filter Wizard to quickly and easily locate data, improves XML import, and adds a History Log of executed SQL statements. The database management tool is an integrated GUI tool, which can perform MySQL administration and database development, includin import/ export data, backup, transfer database from server to server, create query and manage local or remote MySQL server. [2.3MB] Totwise 2.0 is a youth program management software, featuring improved reliability and scalability, a stronger, easier security system, and new support options. It also offers a new "Easy" mode that's perfect for small centers with reduced security requirements. The price has been reduced to $100 for unlimited number of students. [12.8MB] iZoom 1.0 (free) simple application designed for Mac OS X 10.3 that can easily resize and crop photos for optimized display on an iPod photo, on the web, or in email messages to friends. It can be used to create web photo galleries, forum-user avatars, and image thumbnails. The Java-based tool offers options for resizing, export quality, cropping, and drag & drop. [200KB] OnSync 1.8 ($10) is a utility for mobile phones designed to sync contact information with Mac OS X Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Eudora and Now Contact. It supports serial cable, USB,infrared and Bluetooth connections. It now offers better feedback during long operations, new localizations in French and Italian, new prefs layout, more sync options for descriptions and duplicate numbers, and more. [2.6MB] Euro Converter Pro 1.2 ($25) brings various bug fixes and introduces a limited time Christmas Special Offer--a free license of any other application written by Macron. The Euro currency tool offers conversions among 40 world currencies and offers multiple conversions, an integrated calculator, remote update of currency rates and custom post-process formulas. [2.2MB]
Aspyr today began shipping Call of Duty: United Offensive, the expansion pack to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty. 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. Three all-new campaigns allow players to 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 $30 expansion pack requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 and a 867MHz G4/G5 processor.
Olympus today introduced its next-generation Stylus 500 digital camera, which offers a 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD, 5.0-megapixels of image resolution, and a circular lens that retracts into the a compact, durable, all-weather body (3.9" x 2.2" x 1.2") when powered-off. It offers 23 shooting modes with automatic exposure adjustments for shooting Portraits, Landscapes, and Fireworks as well as two new underwater shooting modes and two Shoot & Select modes for shooting rapid sequences of frames. The lens provides the equivalent of 35 to 105mm, f3.1 - f5.2 in 35mm photography, with 12x combined total zoom (3x optical and 4x digital). The Stylus 500 also features an all-weather speaker and microphone, QuickTime Movie Mode, USB 2.0 connectivity, PictBridge technology, and Olympus Master software for digital imaging management. It will be available in January 2005 with a 32MB xD-Picture Card, wrist strap, AV cable, and a Li-12B Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery and charger.
CompUSA is holding a special Mac User Group (MUG) event later this week. "Get into the holiday spirit and join the festivities at CompUSA nationwide for an Apple users exclusive holiday celebration. The event will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Thursday, December 2, 2004, so get there early! Eat, drink and be merry, the coffee and donuts are free and the deals are worth celebrating. Do your shopping early and take advantage of special pricing on almost every product in store, and exclusive offers from CompUSA and Apple vendors just for you." CompUSA is giving away one free iTunes Music Gift Certificate (75 free downloads) at 9 a.m. as well as a $50 Instant Gift card on any HP printer/camera bundle purchase valued at $300 and above.
Merrill Lynch raised its target price and fiscal year 2005 and 2006 estimates for Apple stock, saying it expected the company to sell 4 million iPods in the December quarter, up from 3.5 million and 12.9 million for fiscal 2005 up from 10.7 million. CBSMarketWatch reports that the analyst upped its target share price to $78 from $61 and raised its fiscal year 2005 earnings per share estimate to $1.45 from $1.38. Merrill expects $1.80 earnings per share for 2006, up from $1.71 and told investors to look out for a flash memory-based iPod from Apple in the first quarter and "other possible exciting products such as an entertainment server." UBS also raised its forecasts for Apple, noting a survey of U.S. retailers showed strong demand for its higher margin Photo iPods and Mini iPods as well as iMacs and accessories which the broker said were all selling "very well." The broker upped its share price target to $77 from $66 on a raised FY 2005 revenue forecast of $11.1bn (was $10.9bn) with an EPS EPS for the year at $1.40, up 10c.
Apple.com attracted the largest pool of users for the week ending November 14. Apple led all computer manufacturers in terms of unique visitors with 4.9 million, Nielsen/NetRatings reports. Internet Retailer says that Dell was No. 2 with 2.7 million, followed by HP with 2 million, Gateway with 479,000, Xbox with 406,000, Sun with 339,000, IBM with 332,000, and eMachines with 299,000. "Consumers spent the most time at IBM, at 10 minutes and 38 seconds. The average time spent at a computer manufacturer’s site was 8 minutes, 3 seconds. Men dominated computer sites, with 57% of traffic being male. 35% of visitors had household incomes over $75,000."
Creative is taking on Apple for a share of the MP3 player market. Last Friday, Creative offered heavy discounts on its Zen Micro digital music player--even offering it for free--to those who would trade-in their iPod. However, the Straits Times says that "Apple fans were not easily tempted though. The promotion saw just 20 people give up their iPods. Apple currently has a 54 per cent slice of the MP3 pie. Creative has just 16.5 per cent but wants that figure increased to 40 per cent. The Sunday Times rounds up a die-hard iPod mini fan and a Zen Micro convert and asked them why they think their little player rocks harder than its competitor."
A Los Angeles Times article about the iPod's popularlity says that pop culture phenomenon could fizzle as public tastes change: "'With a lot of pop culture products, if something becomes so much of its time, then it becomes a parody of itself,' said Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University....Apple founder Steve Jobs said he wasn't worried that iPod might one day be considered the Rubik's Cube of the 21st century. Instead, he said, iPod is capitalizing on a fundamental shift in the way people buy and enjoy entertainment in the digital age....'I don't think we're seeing trendiness here," Jobs said of the iPod. "I think we're seeing a product that's truly revolutionizing the way we listen to music.'"
Pandromeda today introduced MojoWorld Focus, a new composition tool for digital camera enthusiasts and artists. MojoWorld Focus allows users to add an entirely new dimension to digital images: "Transform your 2D pictures by placing them into a complete 3D world, using a dollhouse-like metaphor. Just like a photo shoot, you have an entire world in which to set up your scene, populate it with subjects, stage lights and then generate a new image." It offers basic photo editing tools, an automatic planet creator, realistic props (e.g., plants, models, photobillboards, etc.), lighting effects, other graphic effects (lens flares, watermarks, borders, etc.) and more. It is available for $50 for electronic delivery and will ship on December 13. For a limited time, it is bundled with Shortcut Software PhotoArtist Express artistic effects painting software ($30), which includes 14 effects filters. Pandromeda has also begun shipping MojoWorld 3 Standard ($200) and Professional ($480) Editions, its products for professional 3D designers and production effects companies.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.64 ( -0.37 )
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X