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Pro Import PPro/FCP plugin
Automatic Duck is shipping Pro Import PPro 1.0, its $500 import plug-in for Premiere Pro that allows users to import AAF and OMF 2.0 compositions from Avid editing systems as well as XML files from Final Cut Pro 4.1/FCP HD 4.5. Pro Import PPro brings Automatic Duck's timeline integration technology to Premiere Pro 1.5. The company says that layers translate in a single step along with scaling and position changes, keyframes, speed changes, and audio levels. The company is also offering a free XML exporter for Final Cut Pro. The free FCP plug-in exports a sequence to XML without any intervening settings dialog and automatically entering the sequence name in the save dialog.
EFF fights Apple subpoenas
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping two Mac news websites challenge Apple Computer's subpoenas, which ask the trade magazines to divulge their sources related to an internal leak of confidential information. The websites are seeking protection under California state laws, the California Constitution, and the US Constitution. CNET News.com says the "subpoenas directed against PowerPage and Apple Insider raise the question of whether online writers, especially those who might be part-time or have other jobs, enjoy the same legal protections as their paper-based colleagues. California law shields journalists 'connected with or employed by' newspapers, magazines, periodical publications and wire services from divulging their sources--but it doesn't explicitly mention Internet sites."
Spectron, Ozone 3, Trash
M-Audio has announced the distribution of three new software titles from iZotope-- Spectron, Ozone 3 and Trash. Spectron is a software package that provides 64-bit spectral domain effects processing. Users will find standard effects, including delay, chorus, filter, flange, panning, morphing, and more. Ozone 3 is a 64-bit integrated mastering system with analog modeling. It combines analog modeling with 64-bit digital precision to deliver a "complete integrated suite of world-class mastering processors." Trash is an all-purpose distortion plug-in capable of selectively delivering everything from warmth to grunge. Trash serves as a realistic guitar rig simulator, including rectified overdrive and a stunning array of 85 cabinet models ranging from vintage to experimental--plus three microphone models.
New Apple marketing VP
Hewlett-Packard's top marketing executive is leaving the company for high-level VP position at Apple, just days after the forced resignation of HP CEO Carly Fiorina--although the departure is unrelated and was made sometime ago, according to the report. CNET News.com reports that Allison Johnson was HP's senior vice president of marketing and led the company's public-relations campaign during the contentious proxy battle over the acquisition of Compaq as well as the "+HP = everything is possible" advertising campaign that followed the deal's closure. "The marketing guru is leaving HP to take a top marketing post at Apple Computer. She will become vice president of worldwide marketing communications, reporting to CEO Steve Jobs.... At Apple, Johnson will be responsible for Apple's global advertising and related efforts."
Apple Store celeb stories
Apple has four retail stores in the Los Angeles area, which give the sales associates ample opportunity to rub elbows with Hollywood celebrities, reports Wired News. Not all celebrity encounters have been positive, according to anonymous staffers, who report awkward encounters with everyone from Melanie Griffith to LeVar Burton. One sales associate says Griffith came right up to him and "pretty much demanded" a pink iPod mini. The mini was in short supply, and the associate told her there were none in stock. Fred Durst also knows how to rub store associates the wrong way, as was the case when he exercised a $1 discount on an iPod cable. However staffers said most stars who come into stores are "nice and friendly." Andre Benjamin from Outkast graciously posed for one photograph after another when visiting the Apple Store. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart "finds what he wants, smiles and leaves."
PowerSchool Premier ships
Apple's PowerSchool division today released PowerSchool Premier, a new SQL database-enabled version of its web-based, student information system (SIS). The new database option offers "a mature solution that can meet the needs of schools and districts that are much larger, complex, or have more sophisticated technology requirements," according to the press release. The system offers an "Open SIS" approach through a hardware-independent platform, enables compliance with the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), and now provides a scalable database connectivity solution. PowerSchool Premier offers ODBC connectivity, includes a bundled SIF agent, and a built-in Sybase SQL database.
Physics 101 SE update
Physics 101 SE 4.1 ($10) is an update to the educational software that provides useful tools for physics calculations. The new version adds several new formulas, and a handful of new tools, including tools for calculating special relativity, a body diagram simulator, a periodic table reference, and a tool for studying waves and oscillations. Physics 101 SE includes ProjectileX, a powerful yet simple projectile motion simulator that calculates every detail of an object's trajectory. Additionally, it offers Circuit Analysis for simulating an electrical circuit. Kinematic Motion Analysis allows users to look at an object's acceleration, initial velocity and time, and instantly graph position versus time and velocity versus time for its movement.
Software to drive AAPL?
In addition to higher fiscal second quarter estimates noted earlier today, research firm UBS raised its 12-month price target to $99 from $85, citing strong product releases and potential increases from Apple's software business. In a report to investors, the company said that the new Mac Mini & iPod Shuffle are being "well received" and noted that current shortages and order backlog will likely be alleviated next month. The company also said that the "magic" could be in Apple's software business, including the forthcoming release of Mac OS X Tiger and its recently introduced new iLife and iWork programs--all of which may provide the next "multiplier effect." The report said that Apple may approach $1 billion in software revenues for the 2005 fiscal year, following a strong December quarter ($213 million).
In brief: Microsoft reportedly held a secret Webcast with some of its closest partners to discuss ways in which the company might improve its Internet Explorer browser and customer confidence in the platform.... Connexion by Boeing, the wireless in-flight Internet service, said Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) will become its first customer to introduce the service in the Seattle market.... REALbasic Developer magazine announced the launch of "REALbasic Olympics," a series of programming challenges for both amateurs and professionals using the REALbasic development environment.... Inside Mac Games today announced that it has begun shipping its fourth DVD issue of the MacGames DVD, a subscription service featuring game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters, and more.
Motorola today announced its first iTunes-compatible phone as part of new announcements the company made at 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France. The company debuted the long-awaited music phone with Apple's iTunes music player software, according Reuters. The E1060 model, designed for music afficionado, will feature iTunes Music Player--the first product of the last summer's Motorola-iTunes announcement, which will make iTunes the default music player on Motorola handsets, however, the company said it would also support other music players as well. The Motorola phone will be able to carry a limited number of songs in the iTunes format, as noted when Motorola previewed the phone in early January.
MS, Nokia music deal
Microsoft and Nokia today announced a new mobile music solution for mobile operators. The mobile music solution offers mobile carriers the ability to deliver music to Nokia handsets and to Microsoft Windows XP-based PCs. Similar to the Apple-Motorola partnership announced last summer, the Nokia and Microsoft have also agreed to long-term collaboration on extended digital media formats, including support for Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) 10 and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) on select Nokia handsets as well as support for Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Digital Rights Management and the MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) family of codecs in Windows Media Player via a plug-in.
Mac mini upgrades
FastMac today announced an "Take-Your-Mini-to-the-Max" upgrade program for Apple's Mac mini. Packages start at $200 for an 8x Dual-Layer "SuperDrive." The company is also offering 1GB of RAM ($200) and 100GB hard drive ($200) upgrades. Pricing includes prepaid 3-way shipping, professional installation, free data transfer, and a 1-2 business day turnaround. FastMac's 8x DVD±RW drive adds DVD authoring and dual-layer media support and is two times faster than Apple's optional "SuperDrive" (no dual-layer support in Apple's drive). FastMac's 100GB hard drive upgrade, the largest drive available for the mini.
\"Outperform\" for AAPL
Piper Jaffray maintained an "outperform" rating for Apple and said valuation of the stock is "not outrageous based on three-year historical average." Piper Jaffray said shares are currently trading at 34 times the 2006 earnings-per-share forecast of $2.40 while the average forward price-to-earnings multiple for Apple has been 43 times. The report points to the "explosive growth we have seen as Apple has transformed into both a computer hardware company and a provider of products for the consumer digital hub." The research firm said a recent check with Apple specialty resellers indicated the demand for the iPod Shuffle has been "very strong," but none of the resellers have received any shuffles to date, with "big demand, zero supply." Regarding the Mac mini, many resellers say "demand will not significantly accelerate until Apple increases marketing for the product."
Cache database on Mac OS X
InterSystems today announced that its Caché ($200-$1,000) post-relational database is available for deployment on Mac OS X. The Caché database delivers a rich feature set combined with highly automated system management. Caché features a Unified Data Architecture that automatically makes data available as both objects and tables, eliminating the need to synchronize data definitions or map from one form to another. In addition to enabling rapid SQL development and deployment, Caché offers the advanced object technology preferred for deployment in the inherently object-oriented Web environment with a complete object model, including encapsulation, polymorphism, multiple inheritance, collections, and relationships.
iPod shuffle, mini review
The San Francisco Chronicle and CNET look at four "featherweight" digital music players, including the iPod shuffle and iPod mini. The review gives the shuffle 7 out of 10, citing good sound quality, a stylish design, and affordable price point. However, the review picks Creative's MuVo Micro N200 over Apple's shuffle because, "a simple MP3 player with no extra features (or even a screen) appeals to some people, but we prefer a device with a little more bang for your buck." The iPod mini receives a higher rating of 8.7 out of 10, for its "impressive graphical interface and sound specs" and "excellent design." The mini loses points, however, for not including "FM radio or recording" and having a non-user-replaceable battery.
CC Generals Zero Hour
Command 'N Conquer Generals Zero Hour, the first expansion pack for the popular strategy game, is scheduled to begin shipping Monday, February 21. Aspyr today announced the expansion pack has been completed, and will enter production. "With new units, structures, and upgrades, as well as the all-new Generals Challenge Mode, Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour delivers all the firepower players need in the quest to become the ultimate modern warfare General. Unload on enemies with an all-new, hi-tech arsenal featuring 30 new units and 20 new upgrades from the Chinese ECM Tank to the United States Spectre Gunship." The game is rated "T" for Teen and is available now for $30.
FMR holds stake in Apple
In brief: FMR (parent company of No. 1 mutual fund firm Fidelity Investments) holds a 5.6 percent stake in Apple, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday.... During a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Steve Jobs took aim at Walt Disney chief executive Michael Eisner, referring to him as a "loose cannon".... Australian IT says "there's something really compelling about an entire desktop computer in a box about the size of an external hard drive".... Mobile communications software company nova media said today it is seeking a sales and support partner in the USA.
TiVo Desktop, DayPhone
Intaglio 2.2 ($90) is a Quartz drawing and illustration application for Mac OS X. This version includes improve interoperability with iWork, a text ruler to control margin and tab stops, document properties metadata, contextual menus, and a new toolbar for document windows. [Download - 2.4MB]
System Optimizer X 4.6 ($12) is designed to improve system, Internet, and disk performance and stability using proven system-level operations and tweaks. Version 4.6 adds the ability to select a specific time of day to execute the selected tasks. [Download - 2.7MB]
DayPhone ($27) is a plug-in for Marketcircle's DayLite that integrates the it with Parliant's PhoneValet phone system. When a phone call is received through PhoneValet, DayPhone prompts users to create a new note, a new task, or start a task timer for the contact associated with the provided caller ID. [Download - 700KB]
FlySketch 1.0 ($20) is a screen capture and drawing program that floats above all other applications and allows users to take mini-screen captures and annotate, highlight, and mark-up the files. VoodooPad 2.0.2 ($25) is a "new kind of notepad" that severs as "your own digital junk drawer" for notes, Web addresses, to-do lists. Version 2.0.2 fixes bugs. [Download - FlySketch, VoodooPad]
The Missing Sync 4.0.3 is the latest version of the Palm synchronization software. This release boosts synchronization speed, improves iPhoto integration, offers a native Mac OS X conduit that downloads AvantGo content during synchronization, adds support for the Fossil Wrist PDA, and improves MemoPad application functionality with a new sort feature. [Download - 11.1MB]
TiVo Desktop 1.9 is an application that enables users to publish and share digital music, photos and TiVo recordings between a networked TiVo Series2 DVR and a computer. This update contains: a revised preferences mechanism, support for photo album heirarchies, a new plug-in API, and minor bug fixes. [Download - 418KB]
AAPL estimates raised
Research firm UBS has raised its 2005 second quarter earnings per share projection for AAPL to 45 cents from a prior estimate of 41 cents. MarketWatch reports that the firm has expectations for a 67 percent jump in revenue to $3.19 billion. "Our checks indicate that the new Mac Mini & iPod Shuffle are being well received & that current shortages will likely be alleviated next month," analysts said. UBS also sees software revenue for Apple rising to $1 billion this fiscal year, according to the report.
Apple honors GRAMMYs
In recognition of the achievements of this year's GRAMMY award winning artists, Apple is offering special iTunes pricing (US only) on all albums that include a GRAMMY award winning trac. The iTunes Music Store has offered previews and downloads for voting members of the academy, a showcase for nominees and winners, and the exclusive online music distributor of the live version of "Across the Universe." "We want to extend our congratulations to all of the GRAMMY nominees and winners," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We're thrilled to be able to honor the industry's top artists by showcasing their award winning music on the iTunes Music Store."
27db AirPort Transceiver
QuickerTek tody began shipping its new Wi-Fi transceiver designed to "dramatically" increase the effective signal range of the AirPort and AirPort Extreme Base Stations. The company says the new 27db Transceiver will add up to 1/2 mile line-of-sight. It transmits a more powerful signal as well as uses a LNA (low noise amplifier) to increase the receiver sensitivity. The 27db transceiver operates on all 2.4GHz, Wi-Fi systems. The transceiver is Wi-Fi compliant, supporting both 802.11g and 802.11b and allowing the maximum power output of 500mW allowed by the FCC: Apple wireless products have RF output of 30mW. The product can also be added to any Mac desktop that has Apple's AirPort and AirPort Extreme cards. The $150 kit comes with mounting brackets, adapter cable, wall mounted power supply and (optional) utility software CD.
Pentax 5MP digital cameras
Pentax today introduced two new compact digital cameras. The new OptioS5n (pictured at right) is a stylish and compact digital camera that offers 5 megapixel resolution, a 3X optical/4x digital zoom lens that uses its Sliding Lens System, an easy-to-see 2.0-inch large LCD monitor, MPEG-4 file format (Windows-only) for extended duration movies of up to 640x480, SD card support, 9.3MB of built-in memory, USB 2.0 connectivity, Super macro mode, and PictBridge functionality. It will ship in March for $400. Pentax also launched its "simple" new Optio50 (pictured below), an entry-level 5 megapixel digitalcamera powered by AA batteries. It offers 3X optical zoom, weighs only 130 grams, a 1.8-inch LCD, SD media support, auto flash with red-eye reduction, USB connectivity, 320 x 240-pixel movie mode, a 'simple' function which selects the best settings for the scene, and more. It will be available in the UK in April for £150 ($230).
FW Depot SATA products
FireWire Depot has announced a series of Serial ATA products, including new SATA removable drive trays, a SATA pass-thru bracket for multi drive enclosures, SATA multi drive enclosures, and SATA PCI bracket for making internal SATA connections externally accessible. Additionally, FireWire Depot is offering new Dual Drive FireWire enclosures ($125-140), and a new 4 bay FireWire 1394a Hotswappable hard drive enclosure ($650-740). FireWire Depot also unveiled its Stor N Burn DVD recording device ($400-425), and its FireWire CD Recorder ($350-375), both with 200 gigabyte hard drives.
In brief: Telecom services company, Teleca, announced a relationship with Apple in which the company has: "become a preferred system integrator of Apple media creation and delivery solutions in the European telecommunications market".... Pandromed has announced today Valentine's Day "Love Thy Brother" campaign that offers $100 off the price of MojoWorld 3 Standard Edition for owners of Bryce 4.... ADHOC, also known as MacHack, is now seeking speakers for ADHOC 2005, scheduled for July 26-31.... The San Antonio Express-News says "Apple has done a great job with iWork '05, and it works seamlessly with Mac OS X and iLife."
Napster\'s \'bad\' math
Napster's new music subscription service doesn't add up, according to a column at The Washington Post: "Whether you like Napster To Go, the online store's new music subscription service, depends on whether you think of it as all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-pay. Both descriptions are accurate. For $15 a month, Napster To Go offers unlimited song downloads -- in a copy-restricted format that can be played only on Windows XP computers and some digital music players -- but these songs expire if you don't keep paying that fee each month." Columnist Rob Pegoraro notes that there are a limited number of compatible players and concludes that Napster To Go "looks less like a service that allows you to pay to get new music and more like one that forces you to pay to keep your existing music." [free subscription required]
Apple, Sony sued
A French consumer group has sued Apple and Sony, claiming that their online music sites violate European anti-trust legislation, according to The Register. Similar to a lawsuit that was filed in California in early January, Paris-based UFC-Que Choisir claims that Apple's iTunes Music Store and Sony's Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies' own music players. The report notes that the French government's anti-trust organization has already ruled in November 2004 that Apple has a right to maintain a proprietary link between its music store and the iPod, after an unsuccessful attempt by VirginMega to force Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology--to allow any third-party device to play ITMS-downloaded songs.
Stylus Photo R1800
Epson on Friday announced the Epson Stylus Photo R1800, which features USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity, 5760 x 1440 dpi resolution, 1.5 picoliter droplet size, and an eight-color ink system using UltraChrome Hi-Gloss inks. Epson says the printer can produce documents that last between 104 to 200 years using Epson paper and features its Gloss Optimizer technology for producing uniform glossy prints. The printer features print speeds of as little as 42 seconds for a 4" x 6" print or 111 seconds for an 11" x 14" print. It offers borderless printing for sizes up to 13" x 19" as well as panoramic prints and is also capable of printing directly on printable CDs or DVDs. The company said the new photo printer will cost $550, but did not provide details on its release date.
iBooks help learning
Although Henrico County students are using their iBooks successfully for learning, one study says the students are not convinced that the laptops help them do better in school. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a survey, commissioned by the Henrico School Board, found that most teachers use the computers and support the laptop initiative (even though they said it has added to their workload), and that over 71 percent of parents support the program. The program cost the district nearly $44 million over the life of the four year-program--much higher than previously noted $26.5 million purchase for 26,000 iBooks. Nearly 90 percent of students bring their iBook to school everyday, but less than half said they used them everyday.
UK iBook repair program
Apple is now charging UK customers shipping and handling fees for repairs unders its iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program, which provides free repairs for faulty components in older versions of its consumer laptop. The Inquirer: "The change means that users who previously would have had the cost of the repair covered totally by Apple will now have to pay shipping and handling both ways, or take the computer into an Apple Authorised Service Provider. However, netizens from the US are still able to have their iBook repaired free of charge....Our source claims that Apple is squeezing retail and support firms so tight in the UK, that many are not accepting these logic board repairs unless the iBook has been bought from their stores. Some stores have such a backlog of iBook repairs that they are refusing to take on more, we are told."
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