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In Brief: Steve Wozniak's offered a peek into his vision for Wheels of Zeus, his new company, at Ziff Davis Media's Security Virtual Tradeshow, where he introduced "wOz Location-Based Encryption," an application that uses GPS tracking within a wireless hub to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data for large businesses.... The new Google Groups, which has been available as a Google Labs test since May, brings the search giant the type of community feature that has been a fixture for such competitors as Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN.... MacMonkies has released an all-new batch of icons in the form of three new sets from Elpincho Designs, Wonton, and Alphan Gunaydin.... The next meeting of The Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia (MacBUS) will be held on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, at 6:30 pm and will feature the latest hardware from LaCie.... This Holiday season, Dracosoft is offering a 10% discount on all Dracosoft products through the end of the year.
MacPractice MD for OS X
MacPractice today announced the forthcoming beta release of all new Mac OS X practice management software for doctors' offices. The company says it will ship beta versions of its software to preselected beta clients later this month. Software is available for physicians, dentits, and chiropractors. MacPractice expects MacPractice MD, DDS and DC to be out of beta and shipping next quarter and says it will add scheduling and e-claims in the second quarter of 2005. The applications, including scheduling and EClaims, are free for customers who subscribe, by December 31, 2004, to telephone support from MacPractice for MediMac, DentalMac or ChiroMac.
Roxio Popcorn in the UK
Roxio today released its Popcorn DVD utility in the UK. The Mac OS X native application helps users make high quality copies of DVD movies--using the latest compression technology to copy virtually all movies to a single-sided DVD disc. It can copy non-encrypted DVD-Video discs, disc image files, and valid VIDEO_TS folders from hard disk as well as incorporates Toast burning technology. Popcorn supports flexible extraction, offering options to the select only the main movie, audio and language as well as support for multi-channel audio, such as Dolby Digital 5.1, multi-language content, NTSC and PAL video, and widescreen or pan/scan aspect ratios. The application also includes a built-in disc labeler, allowing users to personalize a finished DVD with a label and jewel case cover creator. Both the boxed and electronic versions are £35. Roxio last month began selling Popcorn in the US and Canada.
Charity album at iTMS
Apple is helping two college students use the continent's music to aid relief efforts in Darfur, Sudan. BusinessWeek reports that Apple's iTunes Music Store, in conjunction with Ben & Jerry's ice cream company, is selling Modiba Records' compilation to help people caught in the escalating ethnic violence in Sudan. "The Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project (ASAP) is the label's first release, a compilation of African-beat music with 100% of the proceeds going to Kebkayiah Smallholders Charitable Society, a community group that helps the Sudanese find food and shelter. The organization is affiliated with international charity Oxfam.... Apple's successful Internet music store, signed on as a pro-bono distributor -- its first foray into charitable work. Launched just last week, ASAP has already cracked the iTunes top 30 albums chart, sharing space with the likes of Shania Twain and U2."
Simpl A1 iPod amp
Simpl Acoustics today introduced its first product, the Simpl A1 headphone amplifier for iPod. The Simpl A1 is a high performance audio component designed to deliver the best possible sound from the iPod. "Music lovers with high-end headphones can now enjoy audiophile-level performance from the iPod. Until now, those who wished to use high-end headphones with the iPod were required to use expensive, bulky amplifiers that were not designed with the iPod in mind." It will be available the next few days from resellers for $150.
FWD 1394b/USB2 bridge
FireWire Depot introduced a new FireWire 1394b/USB2 combo bridgeboard that supports two (2) drives using either FireWire 800 1394b, FireWire 1394a or USB2. The IF8U2-VB Dual Drive Internal FireWire800/USB2.0 Converter "offers the performance people have come to expect and is very simple and easy to use. Our IF8U2-VB is a truly plug and play devices, which converts any new or existing TWO bay tower, TWO ATAPI/ATA devices into IEEE-1394b/FireWire800 (FireWire400/1394a compatible using a 9-6 cable or adapter) or USB2.0 within seconds." The device is priced at $120.
Security Update 2004-12-02
Apple today released Security Update 2004-12-02 via the web and its Mac OS X Software Update mechanism. The security update is recommended for all Mac OS X users and includes revisions to the following components: Apache, AppKit, HIToolbox, Kerberos, Postfix, PSNormalizer, Safari and Terminal. More detailed information on this update is available from the Apple Knowledge Base article.
.Mac affiliate program
Apple today launched a .Mac affiliate program. The new program, designed to award referrals, offers a $15 commission for every new paid .Mac subscription generated: "You're invited to partner with .Mac, Apple's suite of Internet essentials, as a .Mac affiliate. More than half a million Apple customers use .Mac to make the Internet the ultimate Mac experience—and now your customers can, too." The program is run through LinkShare, which also manages the company's Apple Store and Apple iTunes affiliate programs. An online FAQ offers answers to commonly asked questions.
NI Komplete 2 package
Native Instruments has added new software to its NI Komplete 2 software bundle, which now includes Battery 2 and Absynth 3 at no additional cost. Battery 2 offers a powerful new sampling engine, enhanced sound shaping and modulation capabilities, sophisticated sample control and a revised user interface, while Absynth 3 is the latest reincarnation of the company's creative synth, offering a fully surround-enabled and versatile multi-channel synthesizer implementation. Both updates are not physically included in the NI Komplete 2 package, but will be delivered free of charge after the bundle has been registered. Each update includes a PDF manual on the installation disc. Printed manuals for both products can be ordered separately for $20 (plus shipping). NI Komplete 2 is $1150.
Lasso Pro Server 8 ships
OmniPilot today began shipping Lasso Professional Server 8 (LP8), its tool for developing, serving and managing data-driven web applications. "Lasso Professional Server continues to optimize the user experience with dramatically enhanced performance and security. LP8 allows developers to quickly and securely develop applications with any database on virtually any platform - without a degree in programming - and with far less code than ASP, PHP, JSP or ColdFusion. LP8 is 100% backward compatible with LP7." Version 8 offers new independent configurations (datasources, security, etc.) for each site, on-demand tag loading, POP support, a built-in SOAP client, and more. The full version is $650, while upgrades are $350 (LP7 users) or $400 (LP3-LP6 users).
PDF2Office v2.0 Pro
Recosoft has started shipping PDF2Office v2.0 Professional Edition, a major upgrade to the PDF document conversion tool. In addition to the more than 150 features and enhancements made, it provides seamless integration with Microsoft Word X/2004, allowing PDF documents to be opened directly within Microsoft Word X/2004. PDF2Office v2.0 automatically recreates the original construction and layout of the document, including forming paragraphs, applying styles, regrouping independent graphic elements, extracting images, and creating tables. Version 2.0 also offers support for Acrobat 6-generated documents (PDF 1.5 spec), better layout reconstructions, graphics conversion to MS-native format, custom image resolution, compression support, and more. Upgrades to the $130 application are $60.
AAPL estimates raised
Analyst Smith Barney has advised its clients that near-term profit-taking could become justified with Apple stock and says that clients may want to consider selling the stock, according TheStreet.com: "While we do not see negative catalysts between now and year-end, our valuation work suggests that clients should use strength between now and January to take profits," Smith Barney said in lowering its investment rating to hold from buy. In positive research note, Smith Barney however, said it expected higher PC unit and iPod shipments and raised its fiscal 2005 earnings estimate to $1.75 a share and raised its 2006 estimate to $2.11 a share--aboe the current Wall Street consensus of $1.36 a share for 2005 and $1.69 a share for 2006. It also raised its 12-month price target on the shares to $75, reflecting a 29 multiple applied to the 2006 earnings estimate, plus about $15.50 of net cash on Apple's balance sheet.
iTMS for Canada
Apple today officially launched its iTunes Music Store in Canada, giving music Canadian users the same innovative features and breakthrough price of $.99 CDN per song that it offers in the US. "The demand across Canada for the iTunes Music Store has been overwhelming," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Applications. "We are excited to be able to offer music fans in Canada their own customized iTunes Music Store featuring many top Canadian artist exclusives." The iTunes Music Store in Canada features over 700,000 songs and dozens of exclusive tracks as well as the same personal use rights as in the US and Europe. MacNN first noted the iTMS for Canada late last night.
SoftRAID 3.1.1 released
SoftRAID, LLC today released SoftRAID 3.1.1, a free maintenance release to its software-based RAID application for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. The software supports any combination of devices (SCSI, ATA, FireWire, FC, USB, etc.), allows you create a mix of RAID volumes on the same disks, performs automatic conversion from Apple Disk Utility and older SoftRAID volumes, supports RAID 0 and RAID 1, and more. Version 3.1.1 adds the ability to create bootable SoftRAID DVDs and fixes several bugs related to the manipulation of Mirror volumes. SoftRAID 3.1.1 is available for $130.
Columnist leaves BW
In his final column, Alex Salkever writes about his years covering the Mac and Apple: "This is my last 'Byte of the Apple' for BusinessWeek Online. I started writing this column roughly three years ago. At the time, I didn't understand what I was getting into....I've learned a lot -- not least that writing about Apple is a more consuming activity than covering any other technology company. My greatest problem became too many things to write about. Of course, Apple CEO Jobs helped me along by doing amazing things. The flat-panel iMac, the iTunes Music Store, iPhoto, the iPod, and the G5 chip all were unveiled on my watch....And it's especially hard for me to walk away at a time when Apple's future looks brighter than ever."
Eovia ships Amapi Pro 7.5
Eovia today launched Amapi Pro 7.5, the first major update to its NURBS 3D modeling application. The high-end creative tool is used for the conception, modeling and assembly of 3D objects and scenes in Product Design, Architecture and advanced 3D modeling. The "essential update" addresses the multiple problems of numerical design, according to the company, offering a more complete 2D drawing toolbox, including a new Bézier curve drawing and edition tool and a full set of advanced NURBS snapping assistants. Amapi Pro 7.5 also offers a new Dynamic Geometry Navigator. The new version also brings a high-level module for texturing and photo-realistic rendering, based on Carrara 3, and a unique NURBS Box-modeling tool to combine Box Modeling and NURBS representation. Upgrades to the $800 application are $100 for v7 owners.
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