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iPod at MS dev conference
Apple may have found a way to upstage Microsoft at its own developer conference. CNET News.com reports that several companies were using the iPod as a marketing tool (i.e., as part of raffle prizes) to attract developers to their booth and/or company websites. "One thing that many of the exhibitors had in common was the raffle prize item they used to lure people to their booths: Apple Computer's iPod. 'Win an iPod,' boasts a sign at the Kinitos booth. Ditto at PreEmptive Solutions. Business Objects tried to one-up the others by offering a first prize of an iPod plus $10 worth of iTunes. Although the iPod has little connection to Microsoft's Visual Studio developer tools, there is no question it is hot, hot, hot."
Toon Boom Express 2.5
Toon Boom Studio Express 2.5 is the latest version of the value-priced animation application for aspiring artists and students. It can be used to create animations for corporate and personal websites; Flash banner ads, Interactive projects and games; videos, PDAs and phones; and more. Toon Boom Studio Express 2.5 includes a number of new features and bug fixes. Some of the improvements include: export to video format (Quicktime), insertion of ready-to-use templates in the library, Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility, and better manipulation of drawings and keyframes in the Timeline. Customers who purchased Toon Boom Studio Express during the Pre-Launch Promo will receive instructions on how to download version 2.5. Toon Boom Studio Express is $70.
Telestream Mac support
Telestream will showcase its FlipFactory workflow automation solutions for broadcasters at NAB2005 alongside expanded support for the Mac platform with a number of innovative new Flip4Mac and MAP software solutions. Enhancements to Telestream's FlipFactory and MAP products enable all-digital workflows for the Mac community. New Flip4Mac products bridge the Mac/PC format gap, simplifying the way professional users export and import files directly on their Macs. Telestream adds support for Apple's high-performance Xsan storage area network file system. FlipFactory now provides Final Cut Pro workgroups connected to an Xsan network with seamless media and metadata exchange between a wide range of professional video devices. The MAPone personal IP delivery software, Flip4Mac MXF Import Component, and WMV Export Component will be available.
iSMARTtrain 2 athletic app
OTAG today announced the release of iSMARTtrain 2.0, an application for tracking and analyzing athletic training. The software is designed to allow multi- and single-sport endurance athletes to download training data such as hear rate, cadence, speed, and power from Polar heart rate monitors. Users can then analyze it in graphical and tabular form. Any number of different sports can be quickly and easily tracked, using either metric or imperial units. Commonly used routes and sessions can be stored quickly and recalled. Total times and distances can be viewed per week, month, or year. Version 2.0 also addresses bugs and fixes other issues. The demo version is limited to 20 entries; the full version costs $40.
\'Wrong Kind of Different\"
Apple's quest for secrecy might be a reason for IT/enterprise to give pause, according to a Computerworld that says the recent lawsuit against Think Secret and subpoenas to other Mac journalists for their sources threatens the freedoms of speech and press protected by the US Constitution: "Apple, one of the most famously secretive companies in the technology business, frames this case and several like it as little more than attempts to protect massively valuable trade secrets. The value strikes me as questionable, and the larger reality is an Apple-aimed dagger at one of the foundations of free speech: a vibrant press. IT may think it has no horse in this race. I think IT should -- ahem -- think different. A culture of secrecy, enshrined in law, would make it even harder for companies to know what's going on, in a time when transparency should be ascendant."
Apple may not be in an operating system fight with MIcrosoft, but competition in the digital music world is heating up and Microsoft is challenging the dominance of iTunes by giving away a free download every day through Saturday. "he daily freebie will be limited to the one editorial pick from Microsoft's MSN Music staff members that they think will win a Grammy in the song's nominated genre. Of course, Mr. Softy isn't known for being the generous type. The five giveaways are being done to promote the fledgling service, and Microsoft is opening up the offer only to adults willing to pony up their credit card information." Fool.com says that Apple is also facing challenges on other fronts, including Napster, satellite radio upstarts XM and Sirius as well.
iPod used by radiologists
Doctors at the University of California have found yet another innovative use for Apple's popular MP3 player. The iPod is being used by radiologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to help the medical community cut costs. Silicon.com says that the iPod, Mac desktops, and a custom-built open-source imaging program for Mac OS X have replaced systems costing as much as much as $100,000: "The platform has similar functionality [to the high-end workstations], it's accessible to the rest of the medical community and you don't have to spend $100,000, $200,000 to view the images," Ratib said. According to the report, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was interested by project and almost presented it as a feature at the Macworld San Francisco Keynote.
Duke iPod pilot program
Duke's program to give iPods to incoming college students is going "very well," according to university representatives. The iPods, which were distributed to 1,650 freshman as part of a campus pilot program, are being used to "learn Spanish vocabulary, recording lectures, analyzing music, and - no surprise here - for downloading their favorite tunes," according to The Associated Press. The university expects to decide in late March or early April whether to continue to program, which has seen the number of courses leveraging the music device increase.
2nd round of 1984 videos
The second series of video clips restored and digitized from surviving video tape of the launch of the original Macintosh in 1984 are now available. Three new outtakes show Steve Jobs reciting Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin," as he opens the shareholders meeting at the Cupertino Flint Center on January 24, 1984. There is also the first public performance of the famous "1984" commercial, introduced by a fierce Orwellian preamble by Steve Jobs. And third, there is a gallery of five Apple commercials, including "Manuals," the spot that almost aired instead of "1984." On January 24th, MacNN reported the release of the first batch of videos.
Contour Design today announced the RollerMousePRO ($200), its latest version of the "classic" RollerMouse. Key improvement features of the PRO include a lengthened rollerbar, two new function buttons located just below the left-hand side of the extended rollerbar, a repositioning of the scroll wheel and newly reshaped original three buttons, and selectable, hard-coded function options. The PRO's rollerbar is 67% longer than the original version's bar. This was done in response to Customer feedback that some larger-framed users felt they had to "scrunch" their hands together in order to manipulate the shorter bar. First introduced publicly at NECE (National Ergonomics Conference & Expo), 2004, the RollerMousePRO was chosen as the best input device at the show.
iPhoto, Nikon Capture...
Photos Pro 1.0 ($40) makes it easy for users to organize, manage, customize, upload and search photos on the Web. Users can create standard RSS feeds so that RSS-readers can subscribe to a photo blog. [Download - 2.8MB]
Form Pilot Home 1.0 ($30) is a form filler utillity that enables users to scan and fill out forms, then print them. You can use fonts of different size and colors, insert pictures, checkmarks, lines and geometrical figures. [Download - 320KB]
iPhoto 5.0.1 is now available for download from Apple's support website. The update, released via Software Update last Wednesday, addresses issues with upgrading iPhoto 4 libraries, dragging albums into folders, importing MPEG-4 movies, and also includes a number of other minor fixes. [Download - 2.0MB]
Chameleon 1.7 ($20) is the latest version of the application for transforming digital photographs into "works of art" using Oil Painting and Chalk Drawing effects. Chameleon 1.7 is a themed release of Chameleon, including 25 new borders in time for Valentine's Day. [Download - 9.9MB]
dbRadar ($50) is a tool for the administration, monitoring and development of a variety of Databases. dbRadar works with the following databases: Oracle, PostgreSql, MySql, DB2, ODBC, and SqlLite. dbRadar "competes very favorably" with products such as TOAD and NORAD, but at a fraction of the price. [Download - form]
Nikon Capture Updater 4.2 adds support for D2X, offers an improved "D-Lighting" function, and enhances the "Color Noise Reduction" functions. Additionally, a "Find Tool" option has been added to the View menu, a "Straighten" tool was added to Image menu, and Camera Control can now be used over a wireless connection. [Download - 21MB]
Apple No. 1 in support
Apple took the top spot in all four computer brand surveys that Consumer Reports magazine conducted in 2004, according to a research report released by Merrill Lynch. Apple was rated the highest in desktop and laptop repairs and had the best tech support for desktops and laptops, according to the latest survey. Analyst Steven Milunovich said that "Apple's tech support received the highest ratings for desktops and laptops in all categories (solving the problem, phone waits, support staff, and web support). Overall, Apple scored 76 out of 100 for desktop support with Dell second at 57. For laptops Apple scored 84 with IBM second at 69." Citing the continuing "halo effect," Milunovich said he continues to expect more benefits from these positive media reports, combined with Apple's strong iPod/iTunes success, strong retail presence, and growing brand awareness.
Refurbished iBook G4s
Apple is offering refurbished 12-inch iBook G4s starting at $800 (1GHz/256MB/30GB/Combo) as well as a 14-inch iBook for $1300--it features a 1.33GHz, 256MB of RAM, a 60GB drive, a SuperDrive, and AirPort Extreme connectivity. Apple also has refurbished AirPort Extreme-enabled PowerBooks for $1300 (12"/1.33GHz/SuperDrive) and $1,500 (15"/1.33GHz/Combo)--both with 256MB of RAM and 60GB drives--as well as a 17-inch model for $2000 (1.5GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive). Refurbished dual 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 machines are also available for $1,700 (256MB/80GB/SuperDrive/PCI) as well as its refurbished high-end dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 (512MB/160GB/8x SuperDrive) for $2,600. Apple is also offering refurbished AirPort Express models for $100, refurb iMac G5s (both 17- and 20-inch models) starting at $1,100, and eMacs starting at $550. Apple continues to offer a sale on new (previous-generation) 12-inch PowerBooks starting at $1,300.
In brief: The Iconfactory has announced Litho System, a collection of freeware system icons by Anthony Piraino.... Seapine Software today announced the integration of Seapine Surround SCM and JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA, which will simplify source code management for Java programmers working on code stored in Seapine Surround SCM.... W Media Group and Adobe Systems announced today that a free Photoshop Elements training session will be held Wednesday, February 16th from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.... Wikipod (pronounced Wee-kee-pod) is an iPod Wiki Encyclopedia effort that aims to be the most comprehensive, non-commercial iPod resource on the Internet.... Organizers of Photoshop World Conference & Expo today reported that registration for its March 8-10 convention in Las Vegas is at record levels with just four days to go until the early bird registration ($100 off) deadline expires.
Pepsi ads drive traffic
Apple's iTunes website saw a more than 170-percent jump in site traffic driven largely by the second annual Pepsi promotion offering the chance to win free songs through the pay-per-download music service, according to comScore Networks. The company today leased an analysis of the online impact of Super Bowl XXXIX, in which Budweiser (594%), Godaddy.com (378%), and OlympusAmerica.com (363%) showed greater changes in their website traffic than Apple. The report said that Apple's iTunes experiencd a 172 percent increase in its traffic following the Pepsi-iTunes commercials. ComScore said that Napster, which advertised for the first time as a rival to iTunes, posted a greater than 30-percent increase on Super Bowl Sunday.
Bitcartel today announced iRecordMusic 1.4, an update to the audio utility that allows users to record Internet music, sports and news for later listening on your iPod, PDA, mobile or computer. This update brings support for real-time encoding to Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, LAME MP3, standard encoding to 3GPP and Apple Lossless, as well as numerous improvements and fixes. It can record broadcasts in RealAudio, WindowsMedia, or QuickTime and save them as MP3, AAC, OGG, FLAC, 3GPP, or AIFF files. In addition, users can schedule recordings with iCal as well as recording from multiple sources at the same time. iRecordMusic ($25) requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Pyramid FTP Suite 4.0
Pyramid Design has announced FTP Suite 4.0, an update to its professional software library that allows REALbasic applications to implement the FTP protocol. This release increases performance by 30 percent and introduces new support options to speed response times for professional developers. Additionally, an entirely new support structure has been created to provide better support. A major new feature, and a direct result of the new FTP Suite architecture, is the ability to initiate and manage multiple FTP sessions. Another often-requested feature is a method to parse FTP directory listings. FTP Suite is $80.
ScriptPak for TaxCut
Macintosh speech recognition software developer MacSpeech today announced it has released a ScriptPak for TaxCut 2004. The ScriptPak includes over 40 commands that allow users to access the features of TaxCut 2004 with their voice when using MacSpeech's popular iListen program. The TaxCut 2004 ScriptPak is available immediately from the MacSpeech web site for only $10. MacSpeech offers several iListen packages, including a software only solution for $100, and a software and headset with microphone for $150.
eProof 4.0 update
cyan soft has released eProof 4.0, a major update to its document collaboration and remote proofing solution. It allows users to proofread and correct in real time the original high-resolution production files in a standard Web browser. Version 4.0 features Image Streaming Technology, support for InDesign documents, formatted text corrections, email corrections, and more.
Iconkits Plastic Base Kit
Iconkits, which offers high-quality royalty-free icons to developers, has announced Plastic Base Kit, its latest icon kit. This kit includes 160 icons with a shiny plastic styling. The icons are designed to for in any Mac OS X application or other environment. Plastic Base Kit "will give your applications or websites a professional and modern look." The Plastic Base Icon Kit is available today for $200.
Home Networking Annoyances
O'Reilly has released "Home Networking Annoyances" ($25), by Kathy Ivens. The book is a "must-have resource" for families and small businesses looking to troubleshoot connection problems, share printers swap files, and ward off intruders. The book tackles all the common annoyances associated with running a network--whether it's wired or wireless, Mac or PC, or a combination thereof. As Ivens notes, "installing a network is easier than most people think, but maintaining a network is almost as much work as raising children."
Mini\'s value in its size
The Mac mini's value is in its size, says Mark Kellner of The Washington Times , who describes his experience setting up and using a Mac mini. Kellner also says that for the price, "even this slightly upgraded Mac Mini is still a bargain compared with other Macs in years gone by ... And don't forget that Apple's Mac OS X is a far, far more stable operating system than Windows XP, or that Apple includes a free copy of I Life '05, a suite of multimedia applications including ITunes, IPhoto, IMovie, IDVD and Garage Band with each model ... I wish, however, that Apple had included its Keynote 2 presentation graphics software and word processor/publisher Pages in the bundle."
Wx, Eggplant, Marks...
Wx 1.0 ($10) is a specialized Internet weather station app that downloads and processes weather information and forecasts. The software links to XML and WML data from the National Weather Service, and presents it in a user-friendly interface with a transparent "tinted glass" window. [Download - 270KB]
Eggplant 2.1 (no pricing) is the latest update to the tool for automated, cross-platform testing. This release provides an improved image capture panel, new functions for working with dates and times in scripts, enhanced access to file system information, and minor bug fixes. [Download - form]
Marks Public Beta 2 is a new educational application for teachers that brings an iTunes-like interface to Mark Books. New to Public Beta 2 is faster saving, importing comma- or tab-delimitated files, and student ID numbers. [Download - 330KB]
Saft Lite 1.0 (free) is a patch that addresses a security hole in Safari by warning users. The plug-in by Hao Li works with Safari version 1.2.4 (v125.12) only. [Download - 93KB]
DropZone 1.0 (free) provides an easy and fast way to move or copy items. It is useful if "you have multiple files scattered throughout various directoryes that you want consolidated in one single folder." [Download - 1.8MB]
Lectura 1.0 is a text viewer developed for fullscreen reading of simple text files, like some txt based ebooks. It features two internal color themes, selectable by user for best reading experience. [Download - 1.3MB]
CyberTablet 8600 tablet
Adesso today introduced a new family of pen-based tablets for PC and Mac. The The CyberTablet 8600 offers Mac compatibillity. It features a large 8 x 6-inch workspace and is designed for graphic artists, CAD/CAM engineers, other designers, and business professionals. It includes a wireless 2-button ergonomic mouse with scroll wheel for alternative cursor control. It is priced at $130. "Our brand new line of CyberTablets deliver everything needed for fast and accurate digitizing, tracing, drawing, illustration, cursor steering, and menu picking - all in a comfortable and ergonomic design."
Canto Cumulus 6.5
Canto has released Cumulus 6.5, an update to its digital asset management system. Version 6.5 offers simplified administration with enhanced authentication methods including LDAP support, new authentication APIs for integration into existing security infrastructures, and a new Server Console, a centralized administration tool that integrates the existing Remote Admin and User Manager modules with new Activity Monitor, Backup Manager and Log Manager modules. Cumulus 6.5 Single User ($70), Workgroup ($3240) and Enterprise ($385 for single client) are immediately available in English, German, French and Japanese.
PBG4 LCD hinge replacement
TechRestore has begun offering a worldwide PowerBook G4 LCD hinge replacement service using stainless steel hardware. The company says that the replacement stainless steel hinge assembly is over 50 percent stronger than the standard hinge. TechRestore, who says its team has performed thousands of G4 Titanium hinge repairs since 2001, offers complete, door-to-door overnight service for customers in the continental U.S that offers repairs within 48-hours of receipt of the PowerBook. The Stainless Steel Hinge Repair Program is $350, which includes all overnight shipping charges, repair parts and installation. The standard hinge replacement service is available for $300.
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