Digital-Tutors has announced availability of the "Fundamentals of Maya: Polygon and Sub-D Modeling" training kit. It is the latest release in a library of training resources for digital artists. In over 3.5 hours and 2 discs of innovative training methods, it guides users though the fundamentals of modeling an original concept monster in Maya. Digital-Tutors also announced the Teratology Monster Challenge, a promotional challenge that lets users submit their work and have the opportunity to win a number of prizes.
Apple this afternoon released Mac OS X 10.3.8, an update that "delivers improved compatibility and reliability." The update is available from Apple's support site and via the Software Update utility. Among the improvements: updated OpenGL technology, new ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers, enhanced file sharing and directory services, and "improved compatibility for third party applications and devices." The update also includes all previous standalone security updates. A 103MB combo installer is also provided for Mac OS X 10.3 users running system software older than version 10.3.7. For users of Mac OS X Sever, Apple has released standalone and combo updates specific to the Server platform.
Reinvented Software announced the release of Feeder 1.0 ($25) for Mac OS X today. Feeder is an application for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds. Feeder supports the full RSS 2.0 specification, including enclosures for podcasting and video blogging. Feeder provides editing features to insert and edit links and images, auto-complete fields and customizable templates to save repetitive typing.
Nattress has released Standards Converter 2.0, an update to the powerful plug-in that allows users to convert between PAL, NTSC and 24p inside Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing suite. Version 2.0 includes a completely new codebase for improved conversion quality, Varicam 60p to 24p conversion, and Film Source NTSC to PAL conversion. Additionally, the update allows DV NTSC 4:1:1 to 4:2:2 conversion and offers new tutorial movies and a new instruction manual. Standards Converter costs $100.
Aspyr Media has scrapped plans to develop Men of Valor for Mac. The decision to remove the title from Aspyr's calendar was "a result of several different factors and much deliberation." Aspyr says it "remains dedicated to continuing to bring high-quality games to Mac users and apologizes for the change of plans."
SpiderWorks today announced "Learn C on the Macintosh (Mac OS X Edition)," an e-book by Dave Mark that has been completely updated for Mac OS X. The book is intended for beginners: "Don't know anything about programming? No problem! Dave Mark, whose best-selling books have helped educate legions of developers world-wide, starts out with the basics and takes you through a complete course in programming C using Apple's free Xcode Tools." The book is available for download for $15.
Mel Karmazin of Sirius Satellite Radio, said he's talked recently with Apple about adding satellite radio to the iPod, but the "current thinking" at Apple is that "they don't need to put a satellite radio in their box".... Apple has been granted a trademark on the word "VoiceOver," its forthcoming spoken English interface, and on the word "Bonjour," which it describes as computer hardware or software.... Living a Story To Tell takes a stab at the "Napster To Go Service" and looks at how to get a free game piece for the iTunes Promotion.... IBM, Sony and Toshiba unveiled a new "supercomputer-on-a-chip" Monday know as "Cell" that could disrupt Intel's dominance of the computer industry and change the nature of digital entertainment.
Triple Triangle has released Mechanical Cubed, a suite of InDesign plug-ins that automate the creation of advertising mechanicals. It comprises Slug Cubed, Crop Cubed and Job Spec Cubed. Mechanical Cubed integrates these tools so that studio artists can create or modify a mechanical setup in a single step. The latest addition to the suite, Job Spec Cubed, allows mechanicals to be created from a simple PDF Job Specification form or automatically from a front-end job management system such as a FileMaker database. Slug Cubed, Crop Cubed and Job Spec Cubed are priced at $200, $80 and $130 respectively per seat.
As Apple's stock climbs to record levels, company executives are cashing in on stock options and making significant profits. Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, has made around $2.3 million, according to estimates. Last week, Schiller sold 75,000 shares, which he purchased at $47 per share. Schiller sold his shares at approximately $78 on February 4th. Last fall, Schiller made over $8 million when he exercised 286,000 employee stock options. Jon Rubinstein, Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, sold approximately 9500 shares of stock on January 27th, worth $688,000. Last month Rubinstein sold 250,000 shares of employee stock options, for a profit of over $13 million. Apple stock yesterday hit a new all-time high of over $80.
Plantronics today released MX100-s, a dual-purpose headset/stereo headphone device that can be connected simultaneously to the Apple's iPod and a mobile phone, allowing consumers to answer a phone call while listening to their iPod. The headset offers a secure fit and versatility with twin connectors: one plugs into the iPod and the other into a mobile phone. A single cord links them to the headset/headphone with stereo earbuds, while A switch on the headset cord allows users to choose between the two inputs and a single volume control works for both devices. The headset leverages Plantronics' AcuSpeak microphone technology to deliver clear, crisp conversations over the phone. It is available for $40 (at retailers and the Apple Store).
Apple has added a refurbished 17-inch flat-panel iMac G4 to its refurbished inventory at the Apple Store. The 1.25GHz previous-generation iMac is $1,100 and includes 256MB of RAM, an 80GB drive, and a SuperDrive. (In contrast, a 17-inch 1.6GHz iMac G5 is also $1,100, but only includes a Combo drive). In addition, Apple has added a single processor 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 (256MB/80GB/SuperDrive) for $1,300 and a dual-2GHz (512MB/160GB/SuperDrive) for $2,100. Apple continues to offer a refurbished version of the AirPort Express Base Station (with AirTunes) for $100, a 24 percent discount from normal pricing. (We noted several other models yesterday, many of which were sold out.)
HumanSoftware has released ClassicFrames 1.6 volume 8 for Mac OS X, a Photoshop plug-in for creating picture frame effects. It can be used to create classy picture frames, with options for frame materials and colors, as well as mattes. This new volume is made of more 100 rectangular or oval frames. ClassicFrames is also compatible with photo software from Jasc and Corel. Volume 8 is priced at $40.
Tech industry news: Daily computer security headaches such as viruses and spam threaten to spread to a far wider range of devices -- from phones to car engines, a survey to be published by IBM on Wednesday has found.... Carly Fiorina, the embattled leader of Hewlett-Packard, stepped down as chairman and CEO on Wednesday as HP tries to redefine itself.... The Federal Communications Commission on Monday published a list of domain names to which telemarketers may not send e-mail without permission from cell phone subscribers.
BugReporter 1.0 ($50) is a developer tool for improving customer feedback in the event of a crash. BugReporter captures Mac OS X "Crash Logs", allowing them to be sent directly to the appropriate developer. [Download - 620KB] ConvertIt Pro 2.3 ($17) is a unit conversion program containing over 2400 unit conversions including currency. There is a new option to add an infinite number of your own conversion units. [Download - 620KB] A Better Finder Attributes 3.7 ($10) is a contextual menu plug- in that allows users to change the file date and other attributes of Mac OS X files. The new release introduces a new swizzle triangle user interface and makes significant internal changes. [Download - 1.7MB] Name those Files! 2.0.3 ($12) is a powerful batch renaming utility that allows users to easily rename large numbers of files or folders using advanced numbering, trimming, and search and replace capabilities. The update improves speed for many operations, adds parent folder variables, and improves help. [Download - 2.4MB] iCalPublish 2.0 ($7) allows users to combine several iCal calendars and publish them as one calendar to your .Mac account or another WebDAV server for viewing on the Web. Version 2.0 allows multiple sets of combined calendars, WebDAV support, multiple servers, and import back into iCal. [Download - 1.2MB] WSL-Amazon 1.1 ($50) wraps the Amazon Web Services API into an easy to use REALbasic class library of 72 powerful methods and 66 properties with support for the US, UK, German, and Japanese Amazon stores. This minor update adds support for search queries that contain accentuated characters and quotation marks. [Download - 492KB]
In brief: The 47th Annual Grammy Awards will feature a special tsunami relief fund-raising musical performance of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Across The Universe," which will later be available for download from the iTunes Music Store.... FileMaker will offer free FileMaker Education Starter Kits for educators and administrators at the Texas Computer Education Association Conference.... SessionLoops announced today that selected drum loop packs from their Drum Foundations library are now available as downloads in the Apple Loops format.... Columnist Rob Enderle says, "while there are a number of trade offs that Apple made for the Mini that I donít think were necessary, the product is actually closer to what I think the consumer market is actually looking for in a desktop offering."
Thorsten Lemke today released GraphicConverter 5.5, an update to his popular graphics utility for Mac OS 9/X. The utility offers many options for manipulating graphics, including import/export, slideshows, batch conversion, and browsing/organizing photos. Version 5.5 adds DCS/WinFax/AMC/MHT archive import, support for SVG import through ImageMagick, a new keyword window for setting image info, easy access to zoom functions during a slideshow, 40-step undo, smudge/blur functions, and more. It also improves photo raw import (with support for more models), keyboard selection, contact sheet creation, TIFF/MP2 import, lossless JPEG cropping, the levels indicator display, etc. GraphicConverter is available for $30 (electronic delivery).
BeLight Software today released Business Card Composer 3.0, a new version of its business card composition tool. Version 3 adds new printing technology, new tools for badges production and many enhancements, including the ability to print multiple designs on a single sheet and more than 500 professional business card designs as well as 100 unique masks. The business card kit now offers 2 CDs with 23,000+ clipart images and free high-quality Avery paper for 100 business cards. The boxed edition is available for $40, while the electronic download is $34. Electronic upgrades are free for previous owners or $20 for boxed version.
Tunewear will ship its Prie Podwallet for Apple's iPod later this month. The compact wallet supports al iPod models as well as features elastic rubber to stabilize the iPod, access to the 30-pin connector and headphone jack, a removable black leather soft face cover for screen protection, a zippered meshed-net pouch for accessories/cables, and a small organizer for credit cards, business cards, bill/documents, and more. It also offers a belt loop and two snap buttons to attach the case to any strap. It is made from leather. The Prie Podwallet is is expected to be available the end of this month for $60. (This is a smaller version of the Prie PodOrganizer, also due later this month.)
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for ‚ā¨30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives