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Dejal Simon 2.0b3 ($30-$200) is a site monitoring tool for Mac OS X that checks sites for changes or failures, and notifies you. You can use it to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important site goes down or recovers. Developed in Cocoa, it is a native Mac OS X application with an intuitive and attractive user interface. [Download - 6.3MB] Descender 1.4 ($12) is the latest version of the popular Tetris game from SloppyDisk Software. Version 1.4 features "incredible performance enhancements" under Panther, smoother, crisper animation, and better formatting for long names in the high scores displays. [Download - 7.3MB] Concierge 1.1.0 ($10) is a drawer-based bookmark assistant for Safari. The new version adds Safari's bookmarks and history items to the drawer, and provides on-the-fly searching of those items via a convenient search field. [Download - 969KB] Parsnips 1.2 ($12) allows users to organize notes and URLs as well as store snippets of text and other information. Version 1.2 adds a "Close" command that closes the main window, tool tips to the items in the tool bar, and menu commands to optionally show the Text Summaries, URLs and Last Modified Times. [Download - 698KB] Edo is a high-performance and high-quality image compositing application designed for maximum flexibility. Edo lets you combine and manipulate video files, 3D sequences and still images in a non-destructive way using a powerful node graph visual interface. [Download - 3.4MB]
DropDV 2.0 ($40) is a software package that seamlessly integrates MPEG video into iMovie and other Mac apps. DropDV 2 has a been fully rewritten with a new look, faster processing, and a "slick Macintosh user experience." DropDV handles any MPEG file, including those from: TiVo, ReplayTV, EyeTV, Sony MicroMV camcorders, Digital Video Recorders, DVD-R Video Recorders and camcorders, and more. "DropDV is simple and easy to use. Just drop your MPEG files onto DropDV to convert them into DV video streams. After conversion, your video is already imported into an iMovie project and ready for you to edit."
Topics on the MacNN Forums today include: frequently asked questions about Mac hardware and tech support.... discussion of Apple PowerBook display quality compared to other brands, and display anomalies.... running a iMac G4 without its standard display.... the latest discussion relating to Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger".... GameSpy's decision to discontinue Mac support.
Apple today released iCal 1.5.5, an update to its bundled calendaring software. It includes improvements in iSync synchronization on computers running Mac OS X version 10.2. The free update is available via the Mac OS X Software Update Preference Pane and is 7.0MB.
Startly Technologies today released QuicKeys X3, an upgrade to its automation utility software for Mac OS X. "It takes the daily tasks that would normally require you five...six...twenty or more steps and turns them into simple one step shortcuts. Automate anything from launching programs, mounting servers, selecting menus, and running UNIX commands to typing text or shutting down your Classic environment." New features including a redesigned interface, more logic and variables, new shortcut triggers (Speech, Time Range, Application Event, Mouse Button and Device), improved recording and recording hints, new text tools, printer switching, passvault plugins, and other new features and improvements. QuicKeys X3 is $100, while upgrades from previous versions are $30.
FastMac today announced the availability of what it calls the "fastest" internal slot-loading DVD/CD burner for Mac laptops, offering DVD burning that is eight times faster than Apple's original "SuperDrive." FastMac's new 8x DVD±RW drive is compatible with all PowerBook G3/G4, iBook G4, PowerMac G4 Cube, iMac G3 Slot-Load and iMac G5 models. Designed to replace Apple's original optical drive, the FastMac 8x DVD±RW drive is compatible with Apple's iDVD, iTunes and Disc Burner, as well as Roxio's Toast Titanium and Popcorn applications. It burns DVDs--both +R and -R formats--at 8x speed and rewrites DVDs at 4x speed. It also writes to DVD-RAM discs at 3x speed, CD-Rs at 24x speed, and CD-RWs at 10x speed as well as reads DVDs at 8x and CDs at 24x. The $230 drive features a one-year warranty and buffer under-run protection.
Aspyr Media today announced a new game utility for Mac users: Game Agent allows users to easily match their computer hardware with system requirements of various games. Users will be able to quickly identify which games will run on their current system and any necessary system upgrades for other games. Game Agent is an OS X application that automatically checks the user's Mac configuration, including: OS version, RAM size, video card, and processor speed, and then offers specific title information compatibility ("will run," "will run well," or "will not run") with various Aspyr games. The free utility also automatically updates its list of Aspyr's games and their system requirements.
Apple's FileMaker division today announced the appointment of Simon Thornhill as the company's vice president of Engineering. In his new role, Thornhill will focus on setting company-wide database software technology directions. While at Borland Software Corporation for the past 12 years, Thornhill served as vice president and general manager for the .NET group, and as VP and general manager for the RAD group. He was also director of development for Borland's Windows product group. "With the recent successful introduction of the new FileMaker 7 product line, this is an exciting time for Simon to lead the FileMaker Engineering team," said Dominique Goupil, president of FileMaker. "With a strong understanding of the needs of today's knowledge worker, Simon is keenly equipped to lead the next generation of FileMaker software development."
EazyDraw 1.7.0 updates the vector-drawing application for Mac OS X with new ClarisDraw import capability. This release expands supported classic Mac graphic's formats to include MacDraw, MacDrawII, and now Claris Draw file formats. During import, EasyDraw conserves all vector information including, colors, gradients, patterns, groups, and layers. The converted files may be edited and exported as well. The new release provides several other new features and enhancements, including a new paragraph palette, symmetric resizing, more shortcuts, improved PDF/EPS rendering, etc. A 9-month trial is $20, while the full version is $95.
In Brief: Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner expects Apple to sell 22 million flash-based iPods over the next two fiscal years.... One columnist says that Apple could be facing lawsuits over exclusive and exclusionary tactics, because "what is smart and legal for most companies, under law can retroactively be ruled monopolistic and illegal when a company is too successful."....A spouse of an Apple employee lodged his own informal protest against overtime hours required by Apple by driving around his car around Apple's cupertino campus with a sign reading: "KAPAO: Kids and Pets Against Overtime."... In little more than a month, the open-source Firefox browser has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
Apple is continuing to strengthen its position in the digital music industry with a new partnership with the organizers of the Grammy Awards, according to The Associated Press. The agreement puts iTunes in forefront of the music industry's elite, and marks The Grammys first foray into the digital world: "In a sign of digital acquiescence for the music industry, organizers of the Grammy Awards are letting voting members hear nominated songs for free through the Apple iTunes Music Store. The Recording Academy will initially test the scheme with one category, yet to be chosen."
U2's "Live From Under the Brooklyn Bridge" EP is available for download at the iTunes music store, according to New Music Countdown: The four-song EP features live performances from the free show U2 played in Brooklyn, New York on November 22. The live digital tracks include "All Because of You," Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," "Vertigo" and "I Will Follow." Each download costs $0.99.
ComChart Medical Software has released ComChart EMR v8K, the newest version of its software for keeping electronic medical records. Designed to mimic the traditional paper medical record, ComChart enables physicians to build a paperless office. ComChart EMR now includes the ability to generate tables and graphs of any combination of user-selected lab results as well as the ability to create tables and graphs of a patient's height, weight, length, BMI, blood pressure and head circumference. ComChart EMR will also interface to several billing products as well as interface with many PDA devices. It also includes interface to practice management software, an integrated patient calendar, drug interaction info, and more.
Analysts are split on the so called "halo-effect" of iPod, despite its the success it has brought Apple, and the company faces challenges, according to CBSMarketWatch.com: "While the Macintosh computer line remains Apple's biggest revenue source -- combined Mac sales made up $1.23 billion of Apple's $2.35 billion in fourth-quarter revenue - the Mac's sales growth has slowed as all PC companies face longer replacement cycles and a shift toward notebook computers. In its fourth-quarter, Apple's PC sales grew just 3 percent over the $1.2 billion reported a year ago. While Apple is shining now, skepticism remains about whether Jobs can shake the shadow of previous decisions that proved nearly fatal to Apple in the past..."
MarsEdit 1.0 ($25) makes weblog writing like writing email, with each post edited in its own window, the ability to save posts as drafts, spell-checking, support for categories, text filters, trackbacks, custom templates, AppleScript, image and file uploading, a bookmarklet that lets you send a page from your Web browser to MarsEdit, and custom tags. [2.0MB] Desktop Poet 1.0 ($20) is "fridge poetry" application, which offers hundreds of word tiles on your desktop or "virtual fridge" area. It gives "the user the ability to compose imaginative prose or to formulate specific brainstorming ideas. Desktop Poet visually helps the poet or brainstormer create clearer thinking, more imaginative projects, and better organized writing by expanding on the free flowing thought process." [form] Home Weather Center 1.1 ($35) is a weather graphing, monitoring and analysis application for Mac OS X. It is designed as a virtual weather station that utilizes Internet based weather sources, monitors the weather and can run a set of pre-defined and user programmed alerts that can trigger emails, send SMS messages to a mobile phone and/or run scripts should an alert trigger. [3.3MB] DVDxDV 1.0941 ($25) updates the software that unleashes the video from your DVDs. It adds improved video resizing, reducing the amount of visual artifacts to video that is stretched or shrunk. It also will automatically break a movie file up into chunks, so that a long clip can be imported into iMovie--bypassing the 2GB limit of iMovie. [1.5MB] DVDRemaster 2.0 ($40), based on two open-source libraries, can be used recompress large DVDs so that they fit on standard DVD5. It can either preserve all tracks (including menus, multiangle, commentaries, other languages, ...) or work in "Movie Only" mode where everything but the main feature is discarded. The Pro version ($50) allows users to choose exactly which video and audio tracks you want to copy. It is a free upgrade. [850KB] Investor X 1.0 is a fast and easy tool to calculate your investment after a set amount of years! You can choose between different interest rates as well as how often the interest is compounded. The full version also includes support for opening and saving the results. [243KB] FraudEliminator is seeking Mac users to provide feedback and suggestions in building a Mac version of our anti-fraud and anti-phishing product. "Like our Windows product, the Mac version will be completely free and will prevent users from accessing known fraud and phishing sites, and will also identify the geographical locations where websites are hosted. Please e-mail mac[at]fraudeliminator.com if you are interested in participating."
Mousechief has released The Witch's Yarn, a new adventure game developed specifically for the downloadable market. "The Witch's Yarn tells an upbeat tale of modern living served with a lighthearted dish of fantasy....The Witch's Yarn, is a brassy adventure about a witch starting a small business in the mortal world. Help her survive: her husband's legacy, three adult offspring, a neurotic familiar, conflicted neighbors, rampaging witches, and worst of all her mother." Built with the CineProse adventure engine, the user is able to decide what happens, how the plot thickens, and how it ends. A limited demo of the $20 game is available online. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Synk Audio Studios has released the public beta of Musicbed DV, an interactive tool for working with production music that offers visual media professionals to customize stock music in realtime. Musicbed DV is an intuitive and easy-to-use production music tool, allowing users to browse and shape professionally composed music beds for a video, DVD, or web project. It offers interactive control over the music's stylistic and textural characteristics, allowing you to customize the music's feel to "match the mood of any visual project. Additional music timeline automation features provide professional video creators with an easy way to sculpt the music over visual scenes or sequences." It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later with QuickTime 6.5 installed.
Apple has encountered more problems registering iTunes domains. New Zealand's Stuff reports that the company is now also having problems with top-level domain names in New Zealand and Australia. Apple, who last month began fighting for control of the equivalent domain name in Britain ( itunes.co.uk), does not currently own the rights to itunes.co.nz and itunes.com.au, which are currently registered by third parties. "The website itunes.co.nz was registered in October to Dunedin firm Dave Gee Online. Dave Goosselink, sole owner and operator of the firm, says the site was originally intended to be an affiliate of other online vendors for iPods. Since he couldn't interest any of the New Zealand online vendors, his site currently links to an iPod page on Amazon.com...The site itunes.com.au is owned by Capitol Bar and Lounge on the Gold Coast. Spokesman Cameron McCrae says the company registered the site two years ago and plans to use it to host an Internet radio site."
Blitz Research has released a Mac OS X version of BlitzMax, next generation game programming language that expands on the BASIC programming environment found its its previous generation languages (Blitz3D and BlitzPlus). The development environment offers a modular design, a set of OpenGL-based 2D command set, direct OpenGL support, an intelligent build system, and an 'integrated development environment' (IDE) with a debugger for tracking down bugs. It also includes a compiler, sample code, documentation, and the source code for all modules. The application runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later and is available for $80. A 30-day demo is available.
M-Audio has announced it is now distributing three new software titles developed by iZotope: Spectron, Ozone 3 and Trash. Spectron ($130) is a complete effects processing software package, offering an easy-to-navigate interface, internal 64-bit processing and support of up to 192kHz audio. iZotope’s Ozone 3 ($250) combines analog modeling an 8-band paragraphic equalizer with linear phase, tube-modeled and matching modes, and more. Trash ($200) is an all-purpose distortion plug-in that serves as a realistic guitar rig simulator, including rectified overdrive and a stunning array of 85 cabinet models. All three products offer 64-bit processing, 192kHz audio, CPU efficiency, unlimited undo history, and automation and stability.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
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 HermÃ©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
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