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Jobs at Stanford 2005
Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs has chosen as Stanford's 2005 Commencement speaker, University President John Hennessy announced yesterday. Hennessy said that he selected Jobs after receiving a list of recommendations from a committee consisting of faculty members Jody Maxmin and Eric Roberts, graduate students Roger Stanley and Sohini Ramachandran and senior class presidents Jen Graham, Steve Myrick, Paola Worsley and Spencer Porter, according to The Stanford Daily.
DVDRemaster 2.0.1, HDVxDV
DVDxDV has released version HDVxDV 1.0, the initial release of the software that enables users to captures and converts High Definition video from an HDV camera or VCR into any Quicktime video format. It resizes the video to fit the most common High Definition, Standard Definition, and Multi-media frame sizes. HDVxDV is priced at $80. Meanwhile, Metakine has released DVDRemaster 2.0.1, a powerful, high-quality and fast DVD recompressing utility. Its powerful compression modules enable user to easily fit a 9 GB dual-layer DVD onto a standard 4.7 GB disc, while keeping high-quality, sharp images.
Alpine head units for iPod
Alpine Electronics today announced that its 2005 line up of nine second-generation "Ready-for-iPod" in-dash head units and Mobile Multimedia Stations, have enhanced user interface features such as a dedicated iPod icon for direct source selection and identification on the unit's display screen. Alpine, who was the first to deliver an aftermarket system integration solution for using the iPod in the car, is now offering "Ready-for-iPod" head units that offer exclusive GlideTouch technology and a new easy-to-use slider function on the second-generation PulseTouch screen.
iTunes for Ireland
Apple's iTunes Music Store is now available to customers based in Ireland. Apple says that the Irish store features the same "innovative features and breakthrough pricing of €0.99 per song that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world. With Apple's legendary ease of use, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights, the iTunes Music Store is the best way for PC and Mac users to legally discover, purchase and download music online." Apple intially launched its European iTunes Music store last June and expanded its European coverage to include 9 countries in October, however, plans were stymied for an Irish version at the last minute by a disagreement with the Irish Music Rights Organization.
Proxpro service at MWSF
Mac users will be able to connect with eachother using their cell phones at next week's Macworld Expo, as part of Proxpro's mobile professional search tool. The Proxpro service can be used locate and coordinate meetings with others based on profile and proximity. Users must register online (free) to take advantage of the service as well as define their profile, type of contact they would like to meet, and manually turn on the service (via text msg) during the show. Proxpro says it uses proprietary algorithms search for the best profile match, determining the time window of availability for the optimal pairing. Privacy features ensure surname and mobile number are not revealed until the user wishes. Communication between parties costs and private messages cost $1; however, however, a $3 credit will be offered to those who use the service at Macworld Expo.
MicroMat next week will preview a new disk partitioning tool for Mac users. DiskStudio will allow Mac users to create new partitions and change disk partitions without reformatting the drive. The non-destructive disk partitioner will allow users to new partitions to your hard drive, delete partitions previously created by DiskStudio, erase and reformat existing partitions in a number of standard formats, and completely erase and repartition an entire hard disk. The companys says the utility, which has been available on the Windows platform for sometime, has been one of its most requested types of disk utilities for Mac OS X. The utility is expected to ship later this month for $50.
\'Macworld On Tour\'
IDG World Expo today introduced Macworld On Tour, a conference-driven version of the company's Macworld Expo. The two-day event will be held March 9-10, 2005 at the Radisson WorldGate Resort in Kissimmee, Florida and includes a highly-focused conference program along with a showcase component featuring an exclusive selection of the preeminent vendors in the Mac industry. Macworld On Tour will offer an educational program designed to meet the needs of both home and professional Mac users with both advanced and basic training on topics such as digital photography, AppleScript, Mac OS X, digital video, iPod, GarageBand, iLife, Microsoft Office, and more.
Proactive desktop search
blinkx next week will debut blinkx 2.0 for the Mac OS X, which will bring its next-generation contextual search technology to the Mac users. The free tool, first launched last November for Windows users, delivers new search technologies, such as proactive contextual searches of both local (after indexing) and web content based on users' every-day tasks. The new search paradigm actively brings search results to the user based on users' text input in virtually any application. As users type in virtually any application, blinkx can automatically search for related items on a users' hard drive and on the web (via any number of custom search engines defined by the user). The blinkx toolbar will be available as a free download next week for Mac OS X 10.2 users. In addition, blinkx will also offer 'Smart Folder' technology in its new release.
More Creative MP3 players
Creative today introduced several new models of its Zen Micro digital music player. The product line, which brings direct competition to the iPod mini, now includes a 1GB flash-based model as well as 4GB and 6GB disk-based models--in addition to the original 5GB disk-based model. The company touted Zen Micro's price and feature advantage over the iPod mini in its press release as well the players' compatibility with a wider range of services, such as the Naptser, MusicMatch, and the Wal-Mart music store. The diminutive players include MP3/WMA support, a "blue glow" backlight, a removeable chargeable battery, FM radio/recorder functions, voice recording support, and more. The 1GB model will be available in the first quarter of 2005 for $200, while the 4GB ($230) and 6GB ($300) models will be available later this month.. The 5GB Zen Micro is currently available for $250.
Apple has had 3 hits
Discussing the success of the iPod, Microsoft's Bill Gates said that Apple has done what many companies have been unable to do: "They had a hit with the Apple II, they had a hit with the Macintosh, and they have a hit with the iPod, so this is a company that's had three hits, and that's very impressive. There are a lot of companies that don't have three hits. And in the same way that Macintosh helped get people exposed to the graphical user interface, the iPod is doing a great job getting people to think about digital music." However, Gates was convinced that the market would continue to evolve as there was more competition: "In the long run, there will be a lot of people making digital music players, and we think that there will be a very different market share with dozens and dozens of companies. And other than Apple, all those player makers are signing up to work inside the Windows PlaysForSure ecosystem."
Instant iPod charge
Compact Power Systems today announced it has added iPod support to its line of Cellboost disposable battery/chargers. The new product will use the same technology as the company's patented Cellboost cell phone battery/chargers to restore power to dead or dying mobile devices instantly and inexpensively--without any need for an electrical outlet or cords. Cellboost for the iPod will offer several hours of additional playback time, according to the company. It is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year along with models for smart phones (palmOne Treo and Danger SideKick), camcorders (Sony, Canon, JVC, etc.), and Nintendo Game Boy (SP/DS).
Mac rumor site responds
Mac rumor site Think Secret says that it is confident it was within its rights to publish the information about upcoming product releases from Apple, according to a Reuters interview with the publisher of the site. "We're confident that Think Secret's reporting is consistent with the right and privileges granted by the First Amendment," dePlume wrote. "The complaint is being reviewed, and Think Secret defers further comment until it has been analyzed." In a statment to the press, Apple said that its "DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success," saying that its efforts to silence the publication was not an attempt to stifle free speech. Apple also said that its lawyers had repeatedly sent Think Secret letters demanding that the rumor site withdraw details of the unannounced products, which Apple said it did not do, in most cases.
Woodland Apple Store
In Brief: The Woodland Shopping Center soon will be home to a highly coveted Apple Computer Store.... Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions, and DivXNetworks announced today that Roxio will include support for the next version of DivX 6 in its leading digital media software products, including the next generation of the market-leading Roxio Easy Media Creator.... Adobe today announced a Partners in Publishing Conference & Expo to be held on January 20 in New York City. Creative professionals, IT professional and managers attending the event will be taught publishing practices to produce "optimally creative work while efficiently managing design workflow".... Verbatim announced today a new family of Video DVD Media specifically designed for home video recording.
BUG.tv video servers
BUG.tv has released upgraded versions of its CLASS-1 video and SD/HD motion graphic video servers, which it says the products are "the world's" first motion graphic video servers based on Apple Xserve G5 platform. The new dynamic "BUG-STACKER" Interface software lets you "stack" video files and cue them for play out, by simple drag-and-drop actions. It is optimized for live operations, such as news and sports presentation environments.
\'Thinking Homes Software\'
OpenPeak today announced that it has added iTunes and Rendezvous support company's flagship Thinking Homes software, which powers many third-party remote control solutions for the home. "Now, consumers using controllers powered by OpenPeak software can view and select play lists and songs without being tied to the PC that hosts the Apple iTunes library," said Andrew Lona, OpenPeak's Chief Marketing Officer. The remote control software solution enables playback on an AirPort Express with AirTunes or on a PC.
Create, PStill, iFlash...
Create 12.3.1 ($150) is the latest version of the vector illustration, page layout and Web authoring application. This release has many features and bug fixes, including: new updated and complete searchable Help, 15 new image export formats, and new art and effects. PStill 3.6.2 ($70), which converts PostScript files to Portable Document Format (PDF) files as well as repurpose PDF, can now create CMYK and Spot Color separation plates. [Download - Create, PStill]
iFlash 2.5 ($10) is a major update to its Macintosh flash-card learning program. The new version includes many new features, the most highly anticipated of which is audio recording, which lets users record and playback sound. [Download - 1.5MB]
Safer Workstation 1.0 ($20) is a MacOS X application designed to turn removable devices such as an iPod or thumb drive into a user account "key." Users simply run Safer Workstation and "tie" a thumb drive or iPod to the user account. [Download - 2.7MB]
Spell Catcher X 10.2 ($40) is a spell checking and writing tool for Mac OS X. Version 10.2 adds Internet look up, a op-up suggestions list, and the Ghostwriter auto-save feature from the Classic version. [Download - 8.9MB]
iBatt 1.2 is a battery monitor for PowerBooks and iBooks that goes beyond the basic charge level information reported by the system, and displays the battery's capacity, voltage, and "overall health report." Version 1.2 adds a French localization and more accurate averages. [Download - 463KB]
iPod Launcher 1.5 ($5) automatically launches specified items when an iPod is detected. This version adds the ability to select a minimum amount of time between launches, ensures that system resources are only used when an iPod is connected to your Mac, and a number of other minor enhancements. [Download - 463KB]
New iM4 inMotion speakers
Altec Lansing today introduced a new inMotion speaker model called the iM4, which it says can transform any brand of MP3 or CD player from a private in-ear listening system to a public one. "Small and lightweight enough to stuff in a briefcase, the inMotion iM4 is a one-piece system with two speakers on either side of a 4.5" x 5" no-skid rubberized platform that holds a music player of any size firmly in place. The speakers stand nearly vertical when the system is in use, then fold down to platform level to form a flat surface slightly larger than 5" x 10" for easy storage or travel." It features a 4-watt Class D digital amplifier, which powers four 1" neodymium micro drivers and offers clear reproduction over the entire frequency range.
SecuriKey security for Mac
Griffin Technologies today announced a new cross-platform release of SecuriKey Professional Edition, its computer access control product for individual use. Packaged with installation software for both Mac and Windows, SecuriKey manages restricted access to computers, files, or applications in multi-platform or multi-desktop environments. SecuriKey features a USB token that acts like an "ignition key" for any desktop or portable computer. The cross-platform product supports PCs running Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 as well as all Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. "By combining a security solution the user 'has' (a USB token) with something he or she 'knows' (a password), SecuriKey assures strong two-factor protection. Rules-based user controls are included as well, providing additional flexibility.
1GHz G3 upgrade
PowerLogix and Other World Computing (OWC) today announced the PowerForce 750GX G3 processor upgrade for original PCI-based Power Macs. The 1.0GHz PCI 750GX, the newest addition to the PowerForce G3 processor line, operates at 1GHz and includes 1.0MB of L2 cache (running at 1GHz). The PowerForce 750GX utilizes the 20x bus multiplier of the IBM PowerPC 750GX processor and is compatible with the 7000/8000/9000 series of first-generation PCI-based Macs and is also compatible with select Power Computing and Umax clones. The upgrade also features a built-in fan sink to provide necessary CPU cooling, fail-safe protection circuitry, and CPU Director software for adjusting speeds on the fly and compatibility with add-on PCI cards. It is available for $240 and is compatible with Mac OS 8.6/9/X.
CRYPTO-Server at MWSF
CRYPTOCard will offer next week's Macworld Expo attendees a demo of its CRYPTO-Server solution. CRYPTOCard (booth 1442) will demonstrate CRYPTO-Server's CRYPTO-Logon functionality, which takes Mac OS X authentication to the next level by replacing the traditional Mac log-on screen with a one-time password protected log-on screen to provide simple "One-PIN-and-You're-In" secure computer access. CRYPTO-Logon also supports "Fast User Switching," which enables more than one user to gain two-factor authenticated access to the same computer.
iTunes sales to help AAPL
A trend showing increased digital music sales could benefit Apple's iTunes music sales significantly. Piper Jaffray said iTunes could see a significant boost in digital music downloading, according to Forbes. Maintaining its Apple rating of "outperform" with a $100 price target, the analyst noted that Nielsen Soundscan "shows a material uptick in digital downloads" in each of the last two weeks with track volumes at 5.046 million for the week ending December 26 and nearly 6.7 million the following week.
HP Bluetooth iPod bundle
TEN Technology has announced that it will bundle its naviPlay Bluetooth Adapter for iPod with Hewlett-Packard's Bluetooth Stereo Headphones and will demonstrate the two products at CES in Las Vegas. The Bluetooth adapter streams music from the iPod using both broadcast and receive units, enabling flexible wireless listening at distances of up to 10 meters. The HP/TEN Bluetooth Stereo bundle. The HP Bluetooth Stereo Headphone features an integrated wireless remote control, which allow iPod users to listen to their music completely wirelessly. The bundle will be available for $240 and is compatible with all iPod models with Dock Connector. The bundle is expected to ship on February 1 from hpshopping.com (and later from other retailers). The naviPlay iPod Adapter and Remote (without headphones) are available for pre-order separately for $200.
Ambrosia, Sonic, Showtime
In Brief: Ambrosia Software will be showing its Snapz video capture utility and its audio capture utility WireTap Pro, as well as providing hands-on demonstrations of its upcoming games Gooball, Redline, Darwinia, and el Ballo at Macworld Expo next week....Sonic Solutions has announced that it will support the forthcoming Blu-ray data recording standard in its line of Sonic- and Roxio-branded consumer applications.... Cable premium channel Showtime is offering a $25 gift card (Apple Store or iTunes gift certificate) for new subscriptions (3-month minimum) purchased by March 31, 2005.... Red Rock will offer a $100 Macworld Expo discount on DeltaGraphT 5.x, the company's graphing, charting and data analysis program.... iCompositions, a community for sharing creations made with Apple's GarageBand music application, is offering more than 200 free loops for GarageBand as well as free book exerpts to registered users.
Sony game device vs. iPod
Sony entry hand-held gaming market may dethrone the iPod as the "world's gotta-have gadget," according to a report from CES after the US debut of the PlayStation Portable, which is already fetching more than twice the US retail price of $190 on eBay. The Age reports that Sony may have "outgadgeted" Apple: "The 18 by 8centimetre device - feted with a coming-out party at the Hard Rock Casino - can store and play music, display photos and even play movies. It's also capable of wireless connections, and can hook into a PC with a cable. An attachment - sold separately, of course - also powers it into a camera. So much is packed into the PSP that many experts believe Sony is suffering a loss with each unit sold." Sony says it expects to sell 3 million units by this summer.
iPod accessory market
Apple's iPod has spawned a growing accessory market, where users spend an additional 20 percent on related accessories, according to a Reuters report. "The top accessory, by far, appears to be the case. There are hundreds, if not thousands of them -- leather, silicone, plastic, vinyl, neoprene, fabric, metal and even knitted ones, ranging in price from $5 to more than $200 for designer-label items....The next must-have item for the iPod enthusiast is usually an automobile related accessory, typically a dock that allows music from the iPod to be played on a car's stereo system and draw power from the car."
iTunes: 46664 \'1 Year On\'
Apple has managed to land yet another exclusive iTunes release with some big name music stars, as noted by MacNN reader Marv Leventhal. One year after the 46664 concert in South Africa which launched the Nelson Mandela worldwide HIV/AIDS campaign (carrying his former prison number) new tracks recorded to support the campaign featuring Paul McCartney, Queen, David A Stewart, Jimmy Cliff, Sting and Nelson Mandela are being made available for the first time exclusively on iTunes. The 46664 '1 Year On' EP offers four tracks, which feature unique one-off collaborations, including a new Queen track featuring Nelson Mandela reading from his own writings. Portions of profits generated from download will be donated to assist the 46664 campaign in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. It is now available worldwide--except for the in the US, where it will be released on January 11.
Jabra stereo headsets
Jabra today launched two new stereo headshets that are comaptible with both mobile phones and standard music devices such as Apple's iPod. The lightweight headsets include an adapter for all standard music devices, allowing users to have conversations or listen to music without the need to carry two headsets. The Jabra C120s offers an in-the-ear wearing style, while the Jabra C220s sports a fashionable behind-the-ear design. Both headsets can also be worn in one ear for mobile phone conversations (the left earpiece hangs behind the neck). In addition, both headsets have an in-line microphone and clothing clip. The Jabra C120s ($30) stereo headset comes with Jabra's EarGels, which the company says have been optimized for stereo sound and also includes a set of foampads. The Jabra C220s ($35) includes Jabra MiniGels that channel sound directly into the ear.
Microsoft may be looking to partner with another major player in the online music industry to better compete with Apple, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Bill Gates said that both Microsoft and Sony could benefit from a broad partnership in digital entertainment--both having "a lot of incentive to work together" in digital-music "infrastructure," including online-music services and protection against improper music copying, according to Reuters. Using the rhetoric of consumer choice, Gates said the iTunes/iPod system offers consumer virtually no choice. Gates, however, declined on possibility of a Microsoft partnership with Sony, using only the rhetoric of consumer choice when discussing the closed iTunes/iPod system.
OmniOutliner 3 released
The Omni Group has announced OmniOutliner 3.0, a major new upgrade to its outlining and organizational application. OmniOutliner can be used to create draft to-do lists, agendas, manage tasks, track expenses, take notes, plan events, write screenplays, etc. Version 3.0 includes new options for styling and editing documents, as well as support for attachments, new export options, inline notes, improved AppleScript support, a batch find feature, and more. The Pro version adds Folded editing for saving space while editing, a Sections drawer to provide a document overview, Named styles for saving sets of style attributes, a new clipping service for integration with other applications, audio recording, and saved templates. It is avaialble for $40 (Standard) and $70 (Pro), while upgrades are $20 and $50, respectively.
OmniWeb 5.1 update
The Omni Group today released OmniWeb 5.1, an important update to the popular Web browser for Mac OS X. OmniWeb 5.1 integrates the latest Apple WebCore rendering engine, offering greater compatibility with Web sites. Additionally, caching changes have dramatically improved OmniWeb's history browsing performance. OmniWeb 5.1 also gives users the ability to tab between form elements (text fields, buttons, popups, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc.), and has improved Java compatibility and performance. Other improvements include a number of bug fixes and updates. OmniWeb costs $30.
Extended zoom cameras
Kodak is also showcasing two cameras in its new line of Z-Series digital cameras, which bring extended zoom functionality: the EasyShare Z740 and Z700. Both combine point-and-shoot flexibility and affordability with the photographic control avaialble at higher optical zoom ranges. The 5-megapixel EasyShare Z740 camera offers a 10x optical zoom, 1.8-inch indoor/outdoor LCD screen, a 5x digital zoom, 32MB of internal memory, SD/MMC support, QuickTime movie capture (VGA @ 13 fps and QVGA @ 20 fps), 18 scene settings, continuous autofocus, first and last burst modes, and PASM (program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual) modes for greater control and creativity. The EasyShare Z700 digital camera offers 4-megapizel resolution and a smaller 5x optical zoom.
Eastman Kodak today introduced a new wireless digital photography system featuring the Kodak EasyShare-One digital camera (pictured at right), a new pocket-sized "digital photo album" device, and new ImageLink technology to enable one-touch printing from a variety of different digital camera vendors. The company also introduced WiFi support for its EasyShare Printer Dock Plus snapshot printer via a standalone wireless card that conveniently brings support for direct wireless printing from any wireless-enabled device, including digital cameras, PDAs, and PCs. Kodak also launched its new EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3, which is bundled with both models of Kodak's new Z-Series digital cameras and will be available as a standalone product later this year.
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