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: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl