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Apple today notified members of its .Mac service that its "suite of services will be undergoing scheduled maintenance from 10:00 pm on January 22 to 6:00 am PT on January 23." Apple said that web-based services, iChat and iDisk access will be unavailable, while email access (POP and IMAP) from a client application will be unaffected.
iTunes/iPod mini promo
As anticipated last summer, Apple is reportedly partnering with Pepsi to offer another iTunes song giveaway. According to a iTunes/Pepsi promotion notification page briefly available on Apple.com earlier today, several readers note that Apple touted an upcoming giveaway that would be similar to last year's Pepsi iTunes 100 million song giveway, but also offer an iPod mini each hour--up to 1,700--similar to the Holiday iPod giveway in Canada. Pepsi will offer 200 million free iTunes song codes--under 1 in 3 bottle caps, according to the promo page.
InDesign switcher seminar
Adobe today announced a free North American seminar tour called "Migrating from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign CS." The free, one-day seminar for creative professionals, will be taught by Adobe experts who will show attendees how to "leverage years of QuarkXPress experience to get up and running with Adobe InDesign CS as fast as possible." The North America seminar tour begins in Dallas, Texas on January 31st. Other stops include Washington, Cleveland, Houston, Kansas City, and New York. All seminars will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
MWSF: BookEndz Docks
Last week at Macworld San Francisco we had the opportunity to look at several interesting new peripherals and accessories for the Mac. In this report, we look at the BookEndz Docks, LaCie's d2 DVD+/-RW Drive with LightScribe, and Circus Ponies NoteBook.
Savage-Battle for Newerth
Virtual Programming today announced that it will publish 'Savage - Battle for Newerth' for the Mac. VP says it will be completing the port of the first person shooter to Mac OS X, which will include all the latest updates to bring it on par with the PC version. "Choose to be a commander and you will play an in-depth RTS managing the stronghold, or choose to be a warrior and you will play an intense game of first person combat. With the creation of a new game play genre, RTSS (Real Time Strategy Shooter), Savage expertly redefines the first-person shooter and real-time strategy genres by combining elements of both into one cohesive experience." It will be available for £30.
BBC shootout, Mac mini
In Brief: BBC News has posted a comparison of the Mac mini to three other low-cost PC offerings to see "if you can you get more for your money if you stick with the beige box."... ExtremeTech says that Apple's Mac mini should stand on its own merits and not on price, because the system doesn't compare to other PC-systems that offer more for the money and better graphics performance... The Mac Mini platform talks about Apple's "play for living room and not just the living room but right there under the TV."... Dell has questioned Apple's long-term business strategy, dismissing the iPod as a "fad" and a "one-product wonder" and claiming the new Mac mini won't dent the PC market.... One company is offering Mac mini Colocation services starting at $30 per month.
Drive Genius disk utility
Prosoft Engineering last week debuted Drive Genius for Mac OS X, a new disk utility that features a drive optimizer/defragmentation tools, a comprehensive repair facility for analyzing, repairing and rebuilding volumes, and several testing tools, including media surface scanning, performance benchmarking and data integrity checking. It can be used to initialize drives, create and delete partitions, or erase them securely (with the Department of Defense's standard). Drive Genius can also hide partitions, duplicate volumes or drives, fix permissions, verify volume structures, and more. It also features advanced tools for resizing and moving of volumes without reformatting, and sports a sector-editing tool to modify the data on any sector of the drive. The utility is available for $100 and supports Mac OS X Jaguar/Panther.
Two new Aspyr bundles
Aspyr Media today announced that it will begin shipping two new Mac game bundles next week: Medal of Honor Warchest and The Sims Party Pack. Medal of Honor Warchest features Medal of Honor Allied Assault, Spearhead and Breakthrough "For the first time ever, go to battle with the complete Medal of Honor Allied Assault experience assembled in one package, Medal of Honor Allied Assault and two expansion packs - Spearhead and Breakthrough. With Medal of Honor Allied Assault War Chest, your World War II tour of duty spans the European Theater and North Africa." The Sims Party Pack includes four Sims game in a single package: The Sims, Hot Date, House Party and Livin' Large. Pricing was not announced, but the company said it would provide more information on its website later this week.
Leap Technologies last week launched its CORDination Station family of products, which are designed to help users organize the cords and cables. The CORDination Station PRO conceals ten UL-approved, surge-suppressed electrical power outlets within a low-profile 12-inch x 12-inch case that offers front/back drop-down doors as well as 'O' rings to help secure/organize cables within the unit. The Freestyle version helps keep cables within reach on the desktop. The mouse-sized, clamshell design opens up to allow users to feed power, FireWire or USB cables through small clips, which hold them into place. Expected to ship in March, the PRO ($60) and Freestyle ($20) models will both be available in three color schemes: matte black, gloss white, and black with a silver access lid.
iMac G5s not made the same
Apple is one of many companies who are selling different versions of their products in different parts of the world to counter the effects of globalization or simply counter changes in currency valuation. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple's iMac G5, which is less costly in the US than in other countries, "Indeed, Apple shopper Mr. Caine says he felt ripped off. The iMac G5s Apple sells everywhere except the U.S. and Japan are dual voltage, meaning they can cope with the electrical systems in Fiji, Europe and most of Asia, as well as those in Japan and the U.S. Other Apple products including iPods, the new Mac Mini and its laptops are dual-voltage. Ironically, tweaking products for different regions can increase a manufacturer's costs."
UML for PowerPC G5
LynuxWorks today introduced the industry's first PowerPC version of User-Mode Linux (UML) based on the latest Linux 2.6 kernel. Available with support for the Power Mac G5, LynuxWorks' UML software will run on a LynuxWorks' BlueCat Linux host, providing a stable Linux 2.6 virtual machine environment for a PowerPC platform. The company says that UML is a safe, secure way of running multiple guest, or virtual, Linux machines and applications simultaneously on the same Linux host system. The virtual machine runs in user-mode, allowing complete user-level debug access to the Linux 2.6 kernel. As the first non-x86 version, it is freely available to Linux developer community.
In Brief: Over 32,000 people attended Macworld Expo, according to the Mecury News.... Radio broadcasters are considering technology and business models that may soon allow listeners to click, listen and buy the tunes they hear on their favorite radio stations, bringing yet another competitor to the online music business.... An article on Mac Using Educators takes a critical look at the Mac mini's name, while "The Savage Doctor" takes aim at many criticisms of the iPod shuffle.... The internet-based "instant online conversion" service now offers support for Corel WordPerfect Suite, as well as Corel Envoy--now converting between most word processor, spreadsheet and graphics file formats, as well as some data base formats.
iLugger for iMac G5
Last week, LTA Projects introduced iLugger, a new carrying bag for iMac G5. The case supports both 17- and 20-inch versions of the iMac G5 and offers thick padded protection, while "keeping the the bag compact enough that even your 20" iMac can be carried with you on the airlines. The design combines quick and easy packing with ultra-light weight;" it has separate pockets for keyboard and miscellaneous hardware as well. iLugger is made from 1000 Denier Cordura Fabric, features heavy foam padding, and includes a removable Shoulder strap; it is available for $100 (introductory pricing) in either black or gray.
\'Skin Candy\' for Mac Mini
yourART has introduced 'Skin Candy' for the Mac mini. The new Mac personalization option offers both pre-made and custom options for customers: "The use of special adhesive foils over your Mac Mini creates a brilliant effect, bringing your technology to life using your own personal design and photographs. Or choose from the yourART series of produced artworks, you could even purchase a completely limited edition Mac Mini." The company says it will offer personalization services that allow users to create their own decorative 'Skin Candy' by sending their own images/designs, its own custom gallery with a range of colors/finishes, and limited-edition Skin Candy created by various artists. Skin Candy is expected to ship at the end of February for around 50.
BlueChip stock manager
Eyenovation has released its BlueChip 1.01 for Mac OS X, its personal stock and portfolio management solution that allows Mac OS X users monitor and track the ever-changing stock market. The application allows users to obtain stock quotes from around the world, quickly view market overviews/news, receive detailed portfolio valuation with realtime updates, create three unique stock alerts for near realtime notification, and create 'one touch' access to online trading accounts. Other features include custom quote intervals, color-coded displays, sorting of quotes, and more. It is available for $12 or as a limited demo.
Music Lessons for Mac OS X
MiBAC Music Software will officially introduce Mac OS X versions of Music Lessions I Fundamentals and Music Lessions II Chords and Harmony at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim California. MiBAC says it has rewritten the software to take full advantage of the native CoreMidi and QuickTime features of Mac OS X. Music Lessons I combines music theory and ear training to help any music student learn and improve the skills and concepts that are essential to understanding music and playing an instrument. Music Lessons II integrates all four areas of musical learning, including the ability to recognize chords visually, write chords in notation, play chords on a piano or guitar, and identify chords by listening. Each is available for $123.
Multitrack drum loops
SessionLoops has released the first multi-track rock drum loop collection for Apple's Garageband 2 (due later this week). Featuring drum legend Simon Phillips, the Drum Foundations Collection Vol 1. includes hundreds of song-oriented loops and grooves, organized in 34 Drum Session inspired by a specific drummer or band, from AC/DC to The Police, to Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. The multi-track format allows you to create a custom drum mix from the original studio takes, providing a separate track for Kick, Snare, Hats, Stereo Tom OH Mix and Stereo Room. Compatible with Garageband, Soundtrack and Logic 7/Express 7, it is available in both the Apple Loops multi-track collection and its Stereo counterpart for $80 ($20 off limited offer) or as Loops ($50), stereo Acidized WAV ($50) and multi-track Acidized WAV ($70).
Ars at MWSF, Mac TV?
In Brief: Ars Technica offers its Macworld walkabout as coverage of last week's Macworld Expo....The New York Times wonders if Apple is Thinking About Mac TV, after introducing the Mac mini, which it says may "make a compelling interactive television set-top box."... Apple's fine print says that memory, AirPort Extreme and internal Bluetooth upgrades for the Mac mini must be performed by an Apple Authorized Service provider and that service fees may apply...Think Secret's Nick Ciarelli is hoping to find free or low-cost legal help to argue that he deserves First Amendment protection and used proper newsgathering techniques to break news stories.... Citigroup notes that Apple's stock is trading on a multiple of 27 times next year's operating earnings (after stripping out its cash pile), which is a "healthy premium to high-growth PC market leader Dell."
iLife \'05 Up-To-Date
Apple is offering an iLife Up-to-Date program that allows select customers of new Macs and iLife '04 to upgrade for a reduced price. iLife '05 offers major new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand as well as the latest version of iTunes. The program offers reduced pricing to customers who purchase a qualifying new Mac on or after January 11, 2005 (without iLife '05 installed) or iLife '04 after January 11, 2005. Both the Software- and Hardware Up-To-Date programs offer iLife '05 for $20. The program ends on March 25, 2005 and orders must be postmarked or faxed by March 18, 2005. The Apple Store is currently promising iLife '05 ($80) delivery by January 22.
Mac min/iPod halo effect
Needham analyst Charles Wolf says that he estimates that the Mac mini could nearly triple the iPod-halo effect, according to a CNET News.com report: "The Mac Mini is indeed cheap by Mac standards, though it's still pricier than bottom-of-the-line PCs. That said, analysts say it is just the kind of device that could spur PC-toting iPod owners and others to give the Mac a try--the so called "halo effect" Wall Street has been looking for. The main question now is just how bright a halo the new machine will shine on its maker. Needham analyst Charles Wolf said that he now estimates 11 percent of iPod-toting Windows users may buy a Mac now that the Mini is on the market. Before that, he assumed the rate would be closer to 4 percent."
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