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Spiderweb Software today announced Geneforge 3, its newest fantasy epic game title with a science fiction twist--in which users "can explore strange, hostile lands, choose which side you will fight for, and, as always, make your own horde of completely obedient mutant monsters. You have been chosen. You are one of the precious few who will be allowed to become a Shaper. You will be given the power to create life and mold it to serve your own needs. The whole world fears and respects the Shapers. Your secrets are many, and your power is absolute." Geneforge 3 has an open storyline that allows players to support one of several factions. The $25 title ($32 with a hint book) will be available in the first half of 2005.
Toshiba, Japan's second largest chipmaker, has agreed to start selling flash memory to Apple, according to a report by Xinhuanet. The company is expected to begin selling to Apple "early next year," according to Yasuo Morimoto, senior executive vice-president at Toshiba, adding credibility to inside reports by sites such as AppleInsider that Apple will soon introduce a flash-memory based iPod--possibly as soon as Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Analysts expect Apple's flash memory iPod will sell for US$149 to US$199. The same analyst says that the market for flash memory music players is five times as big as the hard-drive market by unit sales and double its size by revenue.
The Omni Group has posted a new public beta version of OmniOutliner 3.0b5, and has now released a beta of OmniOutliner Professional 3.0b5. Both versions of the software include support for inline images, links to external URLs, more flexible options for searching and navigating, and rich formatting options for presentation on screen and in print. OmniOutliner Professional adds more powerful outlining features, such as folded editing, named styles, clipping service support, audio recording, and saved templates.OmniOutliner 3.0 and OmniOutliner Professional Beta 5 can be downloaded from the web. The final versions are expected to ship early 2005 for $40 and $70, respectively (with upgrades priced at $20 and $50, respectively).
Absoft today released Visual Numerics' IMSL Fortran Numerical Library 5.0 bundled with the high performance IBM XL Fortran Advanced Edition compiler Version 8.1 for Mac OS. Through a special OEM relationship with IBM, Absoft is now able to offer powerful new development tools such as the IMSL Fortran Library and Absoft's Integrated Development Environment bundled with the IBM XL Fortran Advanced Edition V8.1 compiler for Mac OS X for $1,700. The IMSL Fortran Library is the gold standard mathematical and statistical library for Fortran programmers developing high performance computing applications and version 5.0 includes new powerful and flexible interface modules.
Apple has launched its second Apple Dashboard Widget Contest, offering developers a chance to win a 40GB iPod and to "receive public recognition for their work. Enter the Apple Dashboard Widget Contest today to take advantage of this terrific opportunity to begin developing Widgets for Tiger. Entries will be judged on technical excellence, innovation, and ease of use. The contest is open exclusively to Apple Developer Connection members whose memberships include access to pre-release versions of Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger." Submissions must be made between December 9 and January 5, 2005.
RCDefaultApp 1.2.1 (free) is a Mac OS X preference pane that allows a user to set the default application used for various URL schemes, file extensions, file types, and MIME types. The update improves compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2. RCEnvironment 1.1 (free) is a Mac OS X preference pane that allows a user to edit their ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist file. The latest version adds a backup file and fixes bugs. [Download - RCDefaultApp, RCEnvironment] AbiWord 2.2 is a multi-platform word processor that combines good usability, powerful features, inter-operability, and a powerful framework to extend the program as needed. Version 2.2 of AbiWord includes support for Mac OS X. [Download - 6.3MB] Reckless Drivin' 1.5 is an action game for the Mac in which the player drives a car through 2-dimensional levels as fast as possible, leaving as much destruction as possible on the way. Version 1.5 now uses OpenGL, resulting in much smoother graphics, and offers registration from the application. [Download - 5.7MB] Quicken 2005 for Mac, Release 2 ($60) is a major maintenance update to the money management software for Mac OS X. Release 2 offers improvements to home inventory, account setup, tax reports, and scheduled updates. [Download - 12.7MB] OpenVG is a royalty-free, cross-platform API that provides a low-level hardware acceleration interface for handheld and desktop vector graphics libraries such as Flash, PDF and SVG. The 1.0 draft specification is now available for public review and comment. [Download - apply]
auto·des·sys has released form·Z 5.0 with native Mac OS X support as well as all of the features and enhancements in version 4.5, which was not released to the broader user community (only to a special group of beta testers and plugin developers). Version 5.0 fetures a new API technology for plugins written in C/C++ and new script language (FSL), which is a simplified version of the C language. Other new features include improved copy & paste between windows, better font supports, improved shadows and interactive OpenGL rendering, a new new Doodle line renderer, four new primitives of ruled parametric surfaces (paraboloid, single hyperboloid, double hyperboloid, and hyperbolic paraboloid), a new star tool, new plugins (frames, screws/bolts, and gears), and improved rendering with the LightWorks 7.4 engine, which includes additional types of maps, new environment light, two new image formats (HDRI and OpenEXR), and more. It requires OS X 10.2 or later.
Planet Spogg today announced the release of four new Mac games. The games; Crosswise, Multris, Ooze and Sketchorama, are all multiplayer in the genres of word, drawing and puzzle. Since being founded a year ago, Planet Spogg has created a number of unique multiplayer online games. These games can be played directly on the Web site on any operating system that supports Java. With the new Mac games the most popular online games have been refined and the graphics have been improved. The membership is currently priced at $4 for a month or $34 for a year.
In Brief: Prosoft Engineering has announced a special pricing offer for Picture Rescue, offering 50 percent off, making the price $30 (use code 'PIC007').... Secunia Research has reported a vulnerability in Safari, which can be exploited by malicious people to spoof the content of Web sites.... Absoft today announced general availability of it’s new High Performance Computing (HPC) Software Developers’ Kit (SDK) for IBM Linux on IBM Power clusters and servers.... The Iconfactory has released "Xpressionism: Database Add-On," a $180 extension of the original Xpressionism stock icon set that adds 52 unique icons.... O'Reilly & Associates has released Mac Annoyances by John Rizzo, a book that provides solutions to scores of common problems faced by Mac owners.
Technology guru Walter Mossberg says that security issues are plagueing Windows-Based PCs, impairing their ease-of-use, but Macs may offer a viable alternative: "To be fair, Microsoft has made some contributions to ease of use in the past couple of years. ...But the company's dominant Internet Explorer Web browser has fallen way behind smaller rivals in features and functionality. Its free Outlook Express e-mail program hasn't had a major upgrade in years. And it won't have an all-new version of Windows until 2006. Meanwhile, the company's historic rival, Apple Computer, has been making giant strides in ease of use. The Macintosh, with its OS X operating system, is rock solid. It is elegant, and -- when you do a feature-by-feature price comparison with Windows competitors -- it's surprisingly affordable."
DrawWell today released WorksWell 2.5 and DrawWell 2.5 for Mac OS X. WorksWell is a vector drawing application with a set of drawing, charting, PDF annotation, slidesow and text tools to create virtually any presentation or document. It can also merge data from your iTunes Library with design freedom and support for CD labels as well as merge data from iPhoto and Address Book. DrawWell is the lite version of WorksWell, featuring only drawing and text capabilities. Version 2.5 features an improved rotation tool, better drawing performance, a new reflection tool for path graphics (lines/curves), contextual menus for certain tools, and other enhancements. WorksWell also adds support for iTunes 4.7, improved markup tools, and support for derived attributes in EOModels and WorksWell's lightweight Schema. WorksWell is $100, while DrawWell is $50. Upgrades from DrawWell to WorksWell are $60.
Vaja has launched a mew Special Edition leather case for Apple's iPod photo and other fourth-generation iPods. The iVod Rasta delivers protection, while offers easy access to the iPod controls. The semi-rigid leather case features a screen protector, padding for extra protection, headphone-jack access, and a belt-clip option that allows it to swivel 360-degress. The case is also designed to allow users to sync and charge their iPod using their travel cable,. The custom-buit iVod Rasta and iVod (Standard) may take up to 20 days for manufacturing and are available in several color combinations for $90 and $70, respectively. (A European distributor offers VAT-free shopping.)
Miglia Technology has today announced its AlchemyTV card now fully supports Wirecast, a webcasting tool from Vara Software. Wirecast allows users to easily create dynamic webcasts and also build detailed multimedia broadcasts with many web cameras, images, titles and movies. "We are pleased to be working with Vara Software as it again expands the range of applications for the already extremely successful AlchemyTV card. A single or multiple AlchemyTV cards can be used to feed analogue to Vara Software’s Wirecast application, thus enabling customers to create very advanced internet webcasting setups." Wirecast uses the QuickTime Streaming architecture for its broadcasting over the internet or a LAN. Miglia's AlchemyTV card ($150) requires a PowerMac G4/G5 with a free PCI or PCI-X slot and Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Aspyr today announced that DOOM 3 for Mac has hit beta status and is expected to ship in February 2005. DOOM 3 features a "dramatic storyline, pulse-pounding action, and incredible graphics that combine to produce the most frightening and gripping gaming experience ever created....The ruins of an ancient Martian civilization have unlocked the secrets toteleportation, and the UAC will stop at nothing to harness this world-altering technology. As part of a marine detachment sent to protect the facility, your duty seemed simple enough - until the invasion. Now, in an epic clash against pure evil you must fight to understand who is with you, who is against you, and what must be done to stop this nightmare from reaching Earth." It is built on ID's new 3D graphics engine and requires Mac OS X 10.3 and a 1.5GHz PowerPC G5-based Mac. It is available for pre-order for $50.
TLA Systems today released DragThing 5.5, an update to its popular alternative dock application for Mac OS X. It brings full support for spring-loaded folders, new slick visual effects when switching between layers (fades, zooms, spins, and wipes), a restricted "Classroom Mode" designed for using DragThing in a lab, background-only operation (and an option to hide the dock icon), storage of editable text clippings, permanent Process Dock items, and more. It is a free upgrade for registered users of DragThing 5. An upgrade for registered users of DragThing 2 or 4 costs $12, individual licences cost $30, and five and ten packs are available for $100 and $150 respectively. DragThing 5 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Wired Inc. this week introduced several new products at DV Expo, includuing a new Wired BUB Box (balanced-un-balanced adapter), Mason HD video decoder, and its new MediaPress LE realtime MPEG encoding card. Designed for facilities working with analog sources like Betacam or VHS, it offers the same quality and controls as the industry-standard MediaPress X, and features component, s-video and composite video inputs, along with analog stereo audio inputs. It is built for Mac OS X and compatible with Power Mac G4/G5s as well as supports MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 realtime encoding--both variable bit-rate (VBR) and constant bit-rate (CBR) encoding. It is available now for $2,200.
Apple has quietly changed the default page for its Mac OS X browser Safari. "Instead of being automatically redirected to a Netscape news page, with Apple advertisements, it is a full Apple web page, hosted on apple.com, and is basically all Apple advertisements and Apple news, top ten iTunes songs, etc. The page now redirects livepage.apple.com to apple.com/startpage.
Maxum today released Rumpus 4.0, an update to the internet file transfer server (FTP) for Mac OS X. It now features a completely new interface, context-sensitive help, an expanded setup assistant, self-diagnosis of common problems, and a significantly improved server engine, which the company says is faster, more efficient and more reliable. It features direct use of BSD sockets, high-performance threading optimized for single- or multi-CPU Macs, and background operation as a Unix daemon process. The standard version is $250, with upgrades priced at $80. A Professional Edition for larger organizations and ISPs is $400 ($130 upgrade).
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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
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermĂ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
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