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Call for switcher stories
Apple today posted a call for "New to Mac" stories on its website. The company is soliciting stories for Windows-to-Mac switchers: "If you're a PC user who's recently bought a Mac, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know what made you get a Mac instead of a PC. Did you fall in love with your iPod and then buy a Mac? Were you looking for a computer that's more stable and secure than your old PC? What's it feel like to go from Windows to Mac OS X? What do you use your Mac for -- managing your music, editing photos, creating movies, recording your own songs? What can you do on your Mac that you couldn't do on a PC? Share your story."
New RSS apps
Feeder is an application for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds. It enables users to create RSS content without a high degree of technical knowledge. RSS is a technology for distributing news on the web. Many organizations, weblogs , and news sites (including MacNN) publish RSS feeds to keep readers informed of the latest news, product updates and more. Meanwhile, Pheed has released Pheeder 0.6, the latest version of the extensible Mac desktop news and XML reader. New features in the update include export Feed List to OPML, autodiscovery of Feeds when viewing web pages in the integrated browser, 'Mac-like' navigation buttons in integrated Web browser, and more pre-installed plug-ins.
iPods, MP3 players in US
As many as 22 million American adults, or about 11 percent of the U.S. population, own iPods or other MP3 players. CNET News.com reports on a new study that performed by the nonprofit Pew Internet & American Life Project. The group found younger, wealthier consumers as well as those who use the Internet are more likely to own MP3 players: one in five people under the age of 30 have an iPod or other MP3 player, while only one in seven in the 30-to-39 and 40-to-48 age groups owns a similar device. Internet users are four times as likely to have MP3 players, while men have a 50 percent greater chance than women of owning a digital music device, according to the report.
WWDC 2005 dates
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference 2005, which will take place this summer in San Francisco at the Moscone Center, is scheduled for June 6th to 10th. One large focus of the the conference will be the next version of Mac OS X, code-named Tiger. Apple is widely expected to announce a timetable for the release of the new operating system at WWDC. "With its unique integration of breakthrough technologies, open standards, and robust development tools, Mac OS X Tiger is the platform for unparalleled developer innovation. At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference ... you'll get the in-depth knowledge, hands-on instruction and one-on-one support you need to deliver products and solutions that transform the way your users work, play, search, and share on a Mac."
Refurbs at Apple Store
Apple is offering a number of refurbished 12-inch 1GHz iBook G4s for $800 (256MB/30GB/Combo drive configuration) as well as refurbished 14-inch 1.33GHz iBook G4s for $1,300. (256MB/60GB/SuperDrive). The Apple Store also offers refuribished 17-inch iMac G5s starting at $1,100 (1.6HGz/256MB/80GB/Combo)--$200 off the original price. The SuperDrive version with a faster 1.8GHz processor is $200 more at $1,300. A refurb single-processor 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 (256MB/80GB/SuperDrive) is only $1,299, while the high-end, dual-processor 2.5GHz Power Mac G5 (512MB/160GB/8x SuperDrive) with an ATI Radeon 9600XT GPU is $2,600 ($400 off). Both 12-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks (previous generation) with SuperDrives are also available starting at $1,300 and $2,000.
Cintiq 21UX tablet
Wacom Technology today announced its Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display that allows users to work with a pen directly on a 21.3" color-accurate LCD. The Cintiq 21UX offers more screen area, greater pressure sensitivity, better pen control, higher resolution, and increased comfort over previous models. At a suggested retail price of $2500, the Cintiq 21UX delivers many enhancements no price increase over the previous generation. The Cintiq 21UX will go one sale in March, but customers can register at now to be at the head of the line for units. The 21.3" display features UXGA (1600x1200) resolution, a 170 degree viewing angle, anti-glare and hard texture coatings, 24-bit color with ICC color profile, a 400:1 contrast ratio, and 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Virtual Programming and Freeverse Software announced today that KnightShift has been declared "Gold Master" and is headed to production. KnightShift's offers real-time strategy and role-playing with "wacky humor [that] keeps you smiling." Players can "choose the Archer, the Amazon, the Sorcerer, Priestess, Barbarian or Spearman and set forth to battle in the RPG mode, protect your village with Wizard Towers in RTS mode, or combine it all and win back your Kingdom in the daring Campaign mode."
Briefly: New iPod book
In brief: SpiderWorks today announced the e-book release of "Cocoa Game Programming Workshop" by David Hill for $10.... OmniPilot has officially partnered with MySQL AB to promote fluid integration between MySQL and Lasso technologies.... The next meeting of The Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia (MacBUS) will on Tuesday, February 22, will focus on adding scripting to the iApps (iTunes, iPhoto, iCal, etc.).... Advenio has announced the Mac Cruciverbalist - a companion blog for MacXword.... Peachpit has has released "The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store" ($20) by award-winning author Scott Kelby.
YooDoo for children
Midori today released a new children's software title for Mac OS X. YooDoo 1.0 combines two innovative activities that encourage kids to explore their creative sides. "YooGlow" offers colorful bulbs that can be placed on an on-screen board to create pictures, patterns, words or anything a child can imagine. The second activity helps perfect the computer skills: "Drag 'N Drop" stimulates the child's imagination as they drag and drop eyes, noses, mouths and facial hair on a monster of their choice. Eight monster backgrounds are available to build the scariest, silliest monsters thinkable. The custom produced monsters can then be printed out as well. YooDoo is available for €15 ($20); a free demo is limited to 30 minutes of use.
Guest PC, FutureBASIC...
Guest PC 1.0.1 ($70) is an update to the Mac OS X application that allows users to emulate and manage a virtual x86 computer. The update corrects a number of bugs, including problems with creating a configuration file, transferring large files over a network, and the inability to select .DMG disk images. [Download - form]
FutureBASIC 4 Release 2 ($170) is a development environment for the BASIC programming language. A preference now allows auto-completion of toolbox parameters. FB now supports manipulation of two-byte (Kanji) text and has extended its handling of XML scripting. [Download - 12.5MB]
Surround SCM 3.1 ($600) provides complete control over source code and change management process. Version 3.1 includes news features to work with image files, a CVS conversion utility, and numerous security and usability enhancements. [Download - form]
MiNews 0.23 (free) is the latest version of the utillity that provides an interface to scan thousands of Web sites for the latest news, information and articles. News items can now be viewed by selected feed only, in addition to the existing all-feeds mode. Minor bug fixes have also been made. [Download - 1.4MB]
PDFpen 2.0.1 ($50) and PDFpenPro 2.0.1 ($95) are updates to the tool that enables users to fill out PDF forms and edit PDFs easily. The new version improves display of multi-line text in forms, allows users to view and follow links in PDF documents, and offers show and snap to grid features. [Download - PDFpen, PDFpenPro]
WMF Viewer 1.0 ($10) lets users view WMF image files on Mac, and convert them to numerous vector and raster formats including PDF, EPS, JPG, GIF, TIF, PSD, PICT, PNG, BMP, and SGI. Users can navigate through the images in a folder using navigation keys and keyboard shortcuts. [Download - 1.4MB]
ExtremeZ-IP File Server 4
Group Logic today released ExtremeZ-IP File Server 4.0, a major upgrade to its Macintosh file connectivity software for Windows servers. The new version of ExtremeZ-IP introduces significant improvements in the product's scalability and is the first and only Windows-based file server solution to fully support both Mac OS 9/X. Version 4 features a re-architected internal structure and an advanced caching strategy that offers Immediate startup, new active-active clustering capabilities for better control of node resources, reduced memory usage, configuration of multiple virtual servers on the Windows cluster, better performance under high loads, Kerberos and Active Directory support, and improved flexibility in failover options and functionality.
New Brother multifunctions
Brother has released two new multifunction printers for small- and medium-size businesses. The The MFC-7420 offers fast print and copy speeds of up to 20ppm, up to 2400 x 600 resolution for sharp text and graphics, 250-sheet paper capacity and integrated flatbed 35-page automatic document feeder capacity. Items can be scanned at an interpolated resolution of up to 9600 dpi (600 x 2400 dpi optical). The MFC-7420 also includes a 14.4K bps fax modem with 8 one-touch and 200 speed dial locations. The MFC-7820N includes all of the functionality of the base model for Brother's new line, but adds the ability to do printing, faxing, PC faxing and scanning over a network. The MFC-7420 and MFC-7820N will be available in March for $300 and $350, respectively.
Real Software this morning introduced REALbasic 2005, and said the latest edition of its popular development environment for Mac OS X would be available in the next 90 days. REALbasic 2005 creates self-contained executables that run natively on Windows, Mac and Linux, all from a single set of source code. In addition, REALbasic is a modern, object-oriented rapid application development environment, providing developers increase in productivity over other cross-platform development tools." REALbasic 2005 Professional Edition is offered at a special introductory price of $400; list price is $500. REALbasic 2005 Standard Edition starts at $100.
Casio unveils new cameras
Casio today announced two additions to its popular Exilim Zoom line of digital cameras. The EX-Z750 is highlighted by its 7.2-megapixel imaging, while the EX-Z57 boasts a large 2.7-inch liquid crystal display. Both cameras will be available at retail in April, with pricing starting at $400 for the EX-Z57 and $550 for the EX-Z750. The EX-Z57 features a 2.7-inch display with a 5 megapixel CCD and an optical 3X zoom lens to take photos of remarkable picture quality. Extra-long battery life of approximately 400 shots (CIPA standards) on a single battery charge. The more expensive EX-Z750's 7.2 megapixel CCD imaging element delivers superior picture and also features a 3X zoom lens. The EX-Z750 has a slightly smaller 2.5-inch liquid crystal display. It can capture video at 30 frames per second, and can take approximately 325 shots on a battery charge.
LaunchBar 4 update
LaunchBar 4 is a significant update to the tool designed to provide fast access to thousands of files, bookmarks, email-addresses and applications just by entering short abbreviations. The new release adds improved phone number support, unlimited undo/redo support, a new multithreaded indexing engine, and display of recent documents for the selected application. Additionally, it offers Address Book browsing, iTunes Library Browsing, direct Input of URLs, an optional text field allows entering search strings or parameters, file content search, and renaming files and creating new folders. The new version also introduces Adaptive Abbreviation Search 4, speech synthesis, and switching network locations. LaunchBar is $20.
ML raises AAPL target
Merrill Lynch today raised its 12-month price target on Apple stock to $102 from $85 based on hints of a new collaboration with Sony. In a research note to clients, analyst Steven Milunovich said that Sony President Kunitake Ando's appearance at Steve Jobs's Keynote at Macworld Expo San Francisco in January may foreshadow an upcoming partership between tne companies. Milunovich said that such a partership would help bolster Apple's position in the digital consumer revolution and speculated that it could take the form of an iTunes-like iMovies Store and/or new products based on the recently announced IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell processor.
Salvage recovery utils
SubRosaSoft.com has released the third generation of its Salvage technology, which offers more file format support, a much faster recovery engine, and a streamlined user interface. SubRosaSoft Salvage technology helps recover lost files, including those that have been accidentally deleted or have become unreadable due to media faults. Utilities that leverage the new technology include FileSalvage ($80, free upgrade), which supports all file types; OfficeSalvage ($40, free upgrade) for files in your 'Documents' folder; MovieSalvage ($40) for media projects/DV storage; PodSalvage ($40, free upgrade) for your Music files, iPod, or other MP3 player; and CamerSalvage ($40) for photos, digital camera storage, and more. Each utility requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Brand helps drive Apple
Recent music announcements at the mobile phone industry conference in Cannes, France may help bolster Apple's position in the digital music world, according to one columnist at CBS.MarketWatch.com: "More competition just elevates Apple's brand to another seductive, unquantifiable, cool-factor level that consumers are willing to pay for. Apple's the new status symbol of the generation. Kids may not care which brand of jeans they're wearing these days, but it's absolutely not cool if you don't have an Apple....It seems smart for others to partner with Apple at this time because what they're getting is a bit of Apple's brand cachet, that they don't have themselves when it comes to digital music players.... There are competing products that are cheaper and offer more features. But Apple's brand is just too strong to sway anyone."
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