Saab has quietly introduced its own iPod/MP3 Player audio integration system. The new system, listed in the most recent Saab Accessories Catalog from October 2004, offers direct input for and control of the iPod on its Saab 9-3, according to one MacNN reader: "I spoke with the parts department at my dealership and they confirmed that it's available. Evidently it's wired through to the center console armrest and will be out of site. A tech told me the unit has power and will be able to control the iPod from the steering wheel controls. I took this to mean switching songs via the OnStar / radio controls that are stock on Saab 9-3s." Apple and BMW announced iPod-compatible cars in September 2004.
Crm4Mac 1.1 is the latest version of the contact management software that uses the standard Apple software for email, calendars and contacts. The latest version adds buttons for Expand, Collapse and Today menu commands, displays addresses in international address formats, and serial numbers are now linked to home folders. [Download - form] TaskTime3 v3.1 ($15) provides a straightforward method of tracking time spent on jobs you do for your clients. New in this version: data backup and restore, project windows retain their position and size, and the ability to manage fixed rate item charges. [Download - 2.5MB] WindowShade X 3.5.1 ($10) is a maintenance update to the window management software that fixes minor bugs and offers better localization. Additionally, ShapeShifter 2.0.1 ($20) is a minor update to the that application that lets you change the overall appearance of your Mac using 'themes.' [Download - WindowShade, ShapeShifter ] Apimac Slide Show 6.3 is the latest version of the slide show and presentation tool for multimedia files. This release primarily addresses an issue caused by a stand-alone presentation saved to a folder containing another stand-alone presentation, adds AAC support, and improves overall performance. [Download - 3.0MB] NewsFan 1.6.0 ($25) is a RSS/Blog reader for Mac OS X that lets users "download the latest news from thousands of Web sites." NewsFan now supports "PodCasting," offers an improved style sheet, and has better opml import/export. [Download - 1.6MB] iUnit 3.1.0 ($20) is a measurement unit conversion program that. The latest version of iUnit includes several bug fixes, and improvements to the user interface. It can convert between 1545 different units of distance, mass, volume, velocity, density, currency, and other types of measurements. [Download - 1.0MB]
IBM will not be buying Apple--or even partering with the company for the destkop PC business--following the sale of its PC business to Lenovo. CNET News.com reports that the contract posted by Lenovo prevents IBM or its subsidiaries from competing in the PC business, directly or indirectly, for five years. "Meanwhile, page 36 defines a "personal computer" as "any self-contained, programmable general-purpose computing device in a desktop, mobile or tablet platform." In other words, no matter what the chip or OS, IBM can't do it. But a bit of wiggle room remains for conspiracy theorists: servers and workstations designed for high-end applications and compact mobile devices. Interpret that as you will."
Apple has still not properly fixed the HFS+ filesystem named fork vulnerability discovered last week, according to NetSec, the company that first noticed it. Techworld reports that Apple's multiple flaw patch, released last week to address a number of Apache and other vulnerabilities, "will only address the security flaw for OS X systems running the Apache web server which is shipped by default. Customers using other web servers such as 4D WebSTAR remain vulnerable the managed security specialist has claimed. In addition, those running modified versions of the Apache web server on OS X would not have received the update patch automatically, but would not necessarily realise this. The vulnerability risks allowing attackers to exploit URLs to gain access to back-end data structures and carry out website defacement or information theft."
Brearley School, a private school for girls on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, incorporated the iPod into foreign-language and classics courses. It is the first secondary-school level program, according to an article in The New York Times: "...students use the iPods predominantly in interactive exercises. Last week, two students in Roberto Lazo's seventh-grade Spanish class were asked to read sections of a poem into iTalk microphones, devices compatible with the iPod that let users make digital recordings....Six other students in Mr. Lazo's class took live dictation, then listened to the tracks to check their work."
Roku today announced a new low-cost SoundBridge M500 network music player. SoundBridge M500 streams music from any computer and many free Internet radio stations to powered speakers or a stereo system anywhere in the house. It works seamlessly with the most popular file formats and music player software, features a 40-character by two-line display, and integrates into any home computer network, either through its built-in Ethernet or integrated WiFi connections. In addition, consumers can browse and select music by artist, album, song, genre or composer on the SoundBridge M500 using an included remote control. The SoundBridge M500 will be sold exclusively through the end of the year at RadioShack stores nationwide for $200.
In Brief: O'Reilly's MacDevCenter has published an article on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger that looks at the upcoming operating system from a developer's standpoint.... XtraLean Software has launched the "Test Drive ShutterBug & Win a Free iPod Mini Sweepstakes".... Consumer electronics sales rose 8.5 percent Thanksgiving week from a year earlier, led by sales of portable music players such as Apple's iPod, market researcher NPD Group said.
Topics on the MacNN Forums today include: the new 1.7GHz Power Mac G4 upgrade from Sonnet.... comparing a 1.8GHZ Power Mac G5 to a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 PC.... one Mac user's disappointment with their PowerBook G4 setup.... reasons to choose a PowerBook G4 over a similar iBook.... discussion of rumors regarding future iPod Mini models.
John C. Dvorak says that Apple's iPod may face stiff competition from the X2, a video-enabled digital music device from Taiwan-based MSI that also offers slideshows, an FM radio/recorder, voice recording, and more: "With a range of X2 branded MP3 players. The company is matching prices with the Apple hard disk offerings but adding a video component. This is something Apple has been reluctant to do and others who have tried have not achieved the price points of the X2 brand handheld hard-disk-based MP3/MPEG4 combo player.I have used the new MEGA view $399 device and I'm impressed. I'm not easily impressed, either. This device, which does everything the Apple iPod does, also allows you to use its PVR (personal video recorder) capabilities to record and play video."
Redlien Systems has released an update to its flagship product, Redlien Account Executive 1.1. The application provides Mac OS X users with an easy-to-use, powerful CRM / SCM (customer / sales relationship management) solution. Version 1.1 adds many stability enhancements, including the ability to email contacts for use by other users, more company specific information and the ability to sort your contacts by their assigned color. User can use the improved products and services manager to assign fixed costs for service tasks to create a more refined Product Catalog. Finally, users can also track company-specific revenue and profit amounts and their total usage activity with 5 new Dashboard components. It is available for $90.
BBEdit 8.0.3 ($200) is a free update to the HTML and text editor; it is a maintenance release to fix reported issues and add minor interface refinements and enhancements, including improved contextual menu support, a Rendezvous popup in the FTP/SFTP dialog, AppleScript support for Text Factory, and much more. The application offers a plethora of features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text. [11.5MB] Alarm Executive 1.0 ($30) is a full digital alarm system that offers both static or recurring alarms--with an array of unique events to process at ring time. Options include a customizable sleep patern for snoozing, calculation of time between two dates, several alarm options (radio station, iTunes playlist, emails, open file, run shell command, etc.), a custom stop watch, kitchen timer, and more. [2.4MB] MaxBulk Mailer 4.0 ($30) updates the email-merge solution for Mac OS X. It adds inline attachments/pictures, a spell checker, the ability to send existing webpages, speech support, advanced conditional statement with the ELSE, ELSEIF switches and the OR and AND instructions, conditional attachments, new tags, a spam checker, etc. The Pro ($40) version adds styled text support, conditional message contents, custom tags for mail maerge, MySQL/PostgresSQL support, SSL support, and more. [Classic, OSX] The Labyrinth of Time ($20) is a classic first-person adventure game that "takes place in a wondrous maze built by the spirit of Daedalus, master craftsman of the ancient world. This maze stretches though space and time, and the power-mad King Minos intends to use it to rule the universe. The player must discover how to destroy this labyrinth of time and stop Minos' nefarious plot." A demo is expected in the next few weeks. FmPro Migrator 2.68 EE ($100) has been updated to add repeating fields extraction from FileMaker to Sybase and DB2. Each value of a FileMaker repeating field is inserted as a new record within the repeating fields table in which the records are related to the main table by the primary key. It also now better prevents duplicated column names in the destination database. [2.9MB] WinSwitch 3.0b (free) is a major update to the popular replacement for Apple's Fast User Switching menu. It includes a new preferences panel and the ability to set a customizable hot key to take you back to the login window, an adjustable user icon size, and other options. Users can save menubar space with a custom icon and short user name (other other name display). [628KB]
Rogue Amoeba today released Nicecast 1.7, an update to its $40 solution for broadcasting audio on Mac OS X. It allows Mac users to create their own internet radio stations or listen to their own iTunes Music Libraries from anywhere. Version 1.7 now allows for full custom MP3 settings, and features an enhanced VoiceOver plugin with a customizable buffer to reduce latency and the ability to add voiceovers without background audio. It also incorporates an updated Effects window with parallel routing and support for Cocoa AudioUnits, as well as Advanced Audio Device options and an updated Instant Hijack component. It is a free update and requires Mac OS X 10.3.
China's Lenovo Group Ltd. on Wednesday signed a definitive agreement to acquire IBM's PC division, according to IDG News Service: "Lenovo will pay US$1.25 billion in cash for the business, which is expected to transform it into the world's number three PC maker...In addition to money, IBM will also take a 18.9 percent stake in Lenovo. The cash and equity combined brings the total value of the deal to about $1.75 billion. It is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2005....IBM and Lenovo said customers will see no change in product availability and support, either while the deal is being completed or afterward, while the PC operations of the two companies are integrated."
Alien Skin Software has announced Eye Candy 5: Nature, a set of 10 plug-in filters for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Jasc Paint Shop Pro and Macromedia Fireworks. As the second of a three-part upgrade to Eye Candy 4000, Nature simulates a variety of phenomena, including fire, smoke, rust, snow, ice and more. Nature features four all-new filters and reincarnates six Eye Candy classics. Version 5 refines the features of previous Eye Candy versions, simplifying usage and supporting the latest digital imaging innovations. The electronic version is available now, while boxed versions will ship on December 14. Upgrades to the $100 application are $50 for users of previous versions.
In Brief: Ars Technica has posted analysis of the IBM-Apple rumors, following reports that IBM is preparing to sell its PC business and speculation that it may "make a move on Apple."... Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus is scheduled to present his annual "State of the Macintosh" address at Capitol Macintosh (CapMac) meeting on Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 pm...."Mind Hacks" (O'Reilly, $25), written by authors Tom Stafford and Matt Webb, is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment workings of the brain, including experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception, and more.... This week's Envision Web Show of the Week is of the Hebrew alphabet, a number of characters of which play a leading role in the Hanukkah game of dreidel.
JamPlug, a division of DVForge, Inc, is now shipping its new JamPlug miniature guitar amp system. "The JamPlug is the only guitar amplifier made that's small enough to just drop in your pocket." said DVForge Executive Vice President, Chuck Leonard. "We built the JamPlug to give electric guitar and bass players a handy little device for practicing anywhere, any time, in complete privacy." The company says that the JamPlug is the smallest guitar amplifier in the world. It plugs into the jack on a guitar or bass, and includes a set of white earbud type headphones and a Duracell alkaline AAA battery. It is available immediately for $50.
Chris Paveglio has released PDF Bee 1.0, an application for automating the creation of single page PDF files output from InDesign via distilled PostScript files. PDF Bee, designed for production and pre-press industries, watches a 'hot folder' for InDesign files, loads fonts if necessary (via Suitcase X1), prints a Postscript file of each page individually, and then Distills every page. Users can specify the print setting and the Distiller setting. PDF Bee can also watch a single file individually and generates a log file to processor errors, such as missing fonts our outdated images. The source code project (xCode 1.5) is provided with purchase. PDF Bee ($50) requires Adobe InDesign CS, Mac OS X 10.3, and Acrobat Distiller 6.
pdatrends has launched a new range of iPod PowerGuards, ScreenShields and WheelFilms designed Protect the iPod from scratches, dirt, and grime, while injecting it with your own unique personality. PowerGuard and WheelFilm are available in different colors and patterns--each uniquely designed and engineered to its best quality. Each is available for $10 in models for the 3G and 4G iPods as well as the iPod mini and iPod photo. The iPod Bundle Pack contains the PowerGuard and WheelFilm for $15.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN