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In Brief: Target.com has pulled the Mac mini from its website, days after it first made the product available via the Web.... Anandtech has posted an in-depth look at the Mac mini and the included iLife '05 suite.... HealthWare has announced a strategic development partnership with InterSystems Corporation for use of the Caché database technology in its upcoming iDental and iMedical software applications for Mac OS X, which are due in the first half of 2005.... Adobe today announced that leading advertising and branding agencies Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Worldwide, and Wunderman have adopted Adobe InDesign CS software.... iTheater is another open-source media center project for the Mac platform (in addition to the Mac Media Center Project noted yesterday).
MOTU has launched its Symphonic Instrument, a $300 cross-platform instrument plug-in that gives users quick and easy access to a 8GB library of quality orchestra sounds for composing, sequencing and rendering realistic orchestral performances. It can be used with any compatible host application (VST, Audio Units, DXi, MAS and RTAS), where users can load up to sixteen different instruments per instance of the plug-in. Built-in convolution reverb allows users to place their ensemble in authentic acoustic spaces, from orchestra sound stages to renowned concert halls to majestic cathedrals. It offers easy-to-use controls to allow further adjustment of each instrument; sounds can also be directly loaded into MOTU's MachFive universal sampler plug-in for more advanced layering and programming.
Apple this evening released Security Update 2005-001 for both Mac OS X Jaguar and Panther clients as well as Jaguar Server and Panther Server. It delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes revisions to the following components: AT commands, ColorSync, libxml2, Mail, PHP, and Safari as well as an updated SquirrelMail for the Server versions. The software is available through Software Update or from Apple's website. Beginning with this update, Apple has also changed the naming scheme of Apple Security Updates from a date format (e.g., "Security Update 2004-12-02") to a format based on the year and a sequence number. Apple's Security Update web site now offers a list of the releases, the applicable OSes, and the date released as well as provides details for each release on its own separate page to improve clarity and readability.
Turtle Lane Studios has released version 3 of Testimony Software, its application for building synchronized video, audio, image and text CD ROMs and web sites. Testimony Software helps professionals build engaging presentations for the Testimony Software browser that synchronize delivery of video, audio, images and text. Content can be delivered from either/or/both CD ROMs, local hard drives and the web. TLSTranscription provides a single integrated toolkit for transcribing video and audio, linking images with the transcription to the video and audio and then generating the presentation files. Demonstrations of the TLSTranscription authoring toolkit and the Testimony Software browser available, but limited to three minutes of video/audio.
Battorox 1.5 (free) monitors laptop battery information including capacity, amps, current capacity, voltage, flags, current capacity in percent and the battery temperature. Details of version 1.5 were not published. [Download - 35KB] iTunes Music Alarm Clock 7.3 (donationware) is a stay-open script application that transforms iTunes into a music alarm and offers "extended functionality from the bundled file track and playlist utilities." Version 7.3 allows users to: concatenate missing strings in iTunes' data fields and; format iTunes data fields into any of 3 styles (all caps, all lowercase or headline style). [Download - 232KB] MenuCalendarClock 1.6 ($19) is an iCal compatible menu calendar and a configurable menu clock. With version 1.6, time zone changes affect the clock display immediately. Many bugs have also been fixed. [Download - 649KB] JewelCase (free) is a plug-in that "turns iTunes into a visual jukebox," displaying each song in a virtual CD jewel case, complete with album cover art, artist and album information. [Download - 207KB] Downsize 2.2 ($20) is the latest version of the image compression and watermarking utility. New to version 2.2 is full compatibility with iPhoto '05, and the ability to watermark images according to their file names, in a font and style of the user's choosing. [Download - 360KB] AdiumX 0.75 (free) is the latest version of the instant messaging client for AIM, MSN and Yahoo!. It finally squashes one of our oldest crashes related to retrieving passwords stored securely in the Apple Keychain, and brings the usual collection of other bug fixes and improvements. [Download - 4.8MB]
Apple's .Mac users have been experiencing major problems with its iDisk remote storage service, following a scheduled eight-hour maintenance window this past weekend--during which many of its services were completely unaccessible. Users have been experiencing on-going problems with data loss and other sync problems with their Mac. According to several readers and posts on its support site, the problems have been wide-spread, although Apple has managed to recover some users' data.
Apple has quietly lowered the price of some of its build-to-order components on the Mac mini as well as offering a faster version of its optical SuperDrive. The Apple Store is now offering the combination SuperDrive reads DVDs at 8x, writes to DVD-R at 4x, writes DVD+/-R at 4x, writes DVD+RW at 2-4x, reads CDs at 24x, writes to CD-R at 16x, and writes to CD-RW at 8x. Bluetooth/AirPort Extreme upgrade for $100 ($30 drop), while offering the Bluetooth upgrade separately for $50. Apple is also offering 1GB RAM upgrades for $325 ($150 drop) and offering a faster 8x SuperDrive (with both DVD+/-RW functionality) for the same $100 upgrade price as its previous 4x SuperDrive. A hard drive upgrade to 80GB (from 40GB) is now $50 ($40 drop). The estimated ship time on BTO and standard configuration Mac minis is 3-4 weeks. Update: The BTO "8x SuperDrive" combines a 4x/2x/8x DVD+/-RW mechanism with a 16x/8x/24x CD-RW mechanism.
Xnet Communications today released "the first cooperative FTP client," Captain FTP 4.0. As anticipated last week, verison 4.0 features the ability for local network FTP users to share files directly between each other as well as new tabbed interface supporting multiple FTP connections, drag & drop support between tabs; improved file management with new built-in file viewers for movies, sounds, pictures, PDF; improved information display in the ftp browser to show file attributes; and better file/folder synchronization via a visual browser. The update also features an integrated accelerated downloads functionality for files 2GB and larger, enabling large files to be downloaded much more quickly. A new license is $25, while upgrades are $20. Twelve-months of upgrade protection is an additional $10.
Redlien has updated its flagship Mac OS X-based CRM/Sales Contact Management software, Redlien Account Executive 1.2. The free update delivers over 30 new features and improvements designed to help sales and account professionals be more productive, including a completely new calendar and scheduling system that automatically synchronizes with Apple’s iCal, an improved user-interface and enhanced contact call and event windows. Redlien also said that Task management has also been improved, allowing for users to track open tasks from either the calendar or through one of three new Dashboard components. It also offers a new Activity Log section to track contacts' activities by date. A 20-day demo is available for $90.
The Iconfactory today released its first freeware icon set for 2005. The new system replacement set from resident artist David Lanham, iSystem, is a set of over 60 system replacement icons that can be used with Panic & The Iconfactory's CandyBar application to give a Mac an organic makeover: "Based on the style of Apple's new production art for their iLife and iWork software suites, iSystem has a simple, 2D look that makes finding folders and applications easy." iSystem is available for either Mac, PC or as a CandyBar iContainer.
Managing Editor Inc. (MEI) today released version 5.1 of the K4 Publishing System, its professional publishing solution for Adobe InDesign-based workflows. Featuring support for regional editions or multi-version publications, e-mail notifications of assignments, virtual layouts for issue planning integration, and object rules for connecting digital asset management systems, version 5.1 expands the range of workflow setups with K4 and provides better overall integration into publishing enterprise environments. MEI will feature K4 version 5.1 at its free K4 for Editors seminar tour starting February 1, 2005, in New York.
In Brief: Apple's iPod shuffle significantly undercuts its competitors on price, while it's lack of a display is being sold as a "feature", according to the Washington Post.... lynda.com has released a new movie-based training title, "Texturing and Lighting in Discreet 3ds max 6" ($100), which explains how to texture objects and create realistic lighting conditions.... apple-history.com has been updated to include the recently released Mac mini and iPod shuffle as well as recent Xserve updates.... MacSpeech's Winter Sale offers a $60 upgrade to iListen 1.6.6 for existing users (along with over $100 of free ScriptPaks) and a limited time offer on Olympus DM-1 Digital Recorders for only $180 (over $100 discount).
Piper Jaffray says that Apple's share of the worldwide personal computer market could increase to as much as 4.5 percent by the end of 2006, according to an report in the Star Tribune: "That may not sound like much, but each 1 percent of market-share gain in the personal computer market is worth about $1 billion in revenue, said Ron Johnson, Apple's senior vice president of retail, who oversees 102 Apple stores nationwide, including three in the Twin Cities (at Rosedale, Southdale and the Mall of America). In addition, Apple's revenue gains would be even greater if additional software were sold with each new computer, he said." The anlayst firm also foresees no significant competition for the iPod for at least six months, and Rubin of the NPD Group said the competitive threat probably lies further in the future, when satellite radio and cell phones that play music become more popular.
Marketcircle today introduced its DayLite Mail Integration Module (DMI), which offers access and control to your Opportunities and Projects from within Apple's Mail.app email application and automatically stores the email contents within DayLite's SQL database. "The module also gives you the ability to create linked Tasks, Appointments, Opportunities or Projects. .... When opening an email, DMI identifies the Contacts and any related Opportunities or Projects, allowing you to link the message directly to those elements. DMI automatically sends the email contents to DayLite after you've reviewed or finished composing the email." It is availalbe now as a public preview (no licensing require); it requires DayLite v1.7.2, Apple Mail, and Mac OS X 10.3.5.
FileMaker today announced that it will showcase five new FileMaker Pro 7-based education solutions at its booth at FETC (in addition to distributing its free FileMaker Pro 7 Education Starter Kit). The new solutions include: Parents As School Partners ($50, designed to help parents be better partners at education planning meetings); Database Projects for Kids (offers video lessons, student workbooks, a Teacher's Guide, clip art, sound files, etc.); Classroom Observations for School Administrators (school site observation and evaluation); and CatAndMail (combine and send PDF files via email). FileMaker is also showcasing CourseWizard (online course registration system) and State of Alaska Education Management Program (caseload management features, travel arrangements, and time/expense tracking).
Apple's new iPod shuffle and Mac mini is continuing to win praise from the media. The Associated Press says that iPod shuffle proves that "fewer bells and whistles can be just as good as more.... Despite the absence of a display to tell you what's playing, the Shuffle's ease of use is unrivaled. It's also a solid performer with sounds that hold up against most other flash memory-based MP3 players you'll find on store shelves....And herein lies the feature that may change the way I listen to music. At the click of a new button called "Autofill" on the iTunes interface, the software automatically loads the shuffle with a random selection from my digital music library." Meanwhile, Mike Wendland says that the Mac mini is going to be "huge" hit, but doesn't "recommend the mini as the principal computer in your house. But for a second or third one, it's perfect."
Pepsi has begun offering its specially marked Pepsi iTunes bottles at some locations as part of its second iTunes promotion. The promotion, quietly announced by Apple last week, offers 200 million free song codes under "1 in 3" Pespi products--double the number of free songs offered last year--as well as a chance to win an iPod mini each hour. One MacNN reader notes that the "Pepsi bottles with a yellow cap (and a 1 in 3 chance of winning a free song on iTunes) are now for sale on store shelves. I bought three bottles tonight at my local Walmart." As noted last week, Pepsi is expected to officially kick-off the new promotion with a SuperBowl commercial.
FileMaker has announced it will feature its Education Starter Kit at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC), which takes place January 26-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The company says that free copies of the Kit, which includes five ready-to-use software solutions for educators and administrators as well as a 30-day free trial of FileMaker Pro 7, will be distributed to booth attendees during the show. The kit includes solutions for tracking faculty and staff; managing curriculum, admissions and grade books; offering mathematical clip art; managing registrations and course offerings; and organizing class materials.
Apple's iWork software needs some work, according Detroit Free Press columnist Mike Wendland: "The hype surrounding the new Mac mini and iPod Shuffle released last week by Apple Computer has largely obscured a new $79 software package from the company called iWork. And that's probably appropriate, because neither the Keynote2 presentation software nor the new Pages word processor are as full-featured as one would like....Of the two iWork programs, Pages is the most interesting. It's really a tool for creating newsletters, stationery, brochures and the like more than a word processor. Oh, you can write letters and documents and even save them to the Word format, but for anyone who does a lot of writing, this is not the main word processor you'd want to use. At best, Pages is a poor man's version of the Microsoft Publisher program for Windows."
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Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
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 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