iPods are becoming a larger and larger part of every day culture. The Des Moines Register reports that the iPod is "popping up in unexpected corners of everyday life, from the pub to the classroom.... 'PodJay Mondays' debuted on Valentine's Day, and it is one of many signs that the coveted gadgets are becoming much more than mere entertainment. PodJay Mondays essentially set up digital players as the new icebreaker. People program a playlist with 15 minutes or so of songs from their music catalog, then hand their players over to bartender Clint Curtis who treats the entire room to their musical tastes. That gives customers the platform to ask each other about their favorite songs, while Curtis serves up apple martinis and apple shots. (Apple is the maker of iPod - ha, ha.)"
iStumbler R91 (free) brings a new interface to the free, open-source tool for finding wireless networks and devices with your AirPort or Bluetooth equipped Macintosh. The AirPort, Bluetooth and mDNS plugins now display icons for various items and bot the application's menu and its performance have been improved. [432KB] ScriptPak for Microsoft Entourage 2004 ($30) installs almost 300 commands for MacSpeech's iListen dictation/voice command software. It users to do virtually anything in Entourage 2004 that they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. The set of commands allows almost total control of Entourage's email and project management features by voice, according to the company. Blog Torrent 0.9 now fully supports Mac OS X and adds optional MySQL support "It is an ultra-simplified Bittorrent application for websites and users, that makes offering large files as simple as posting to your blog. Mac support opens up the power of Blog Torrent publishing to every blogger who uses OS X, and any reader of their site." The project is looking for Mac OS X developers to join the community development effort. [form] iChat Remote is a set of scripts that enables someone at a remote location to move forward and back between PowerPoint slides by adjusting the iChat status. The remote user can also alternate between iChat and PowerPoint as the frontmost app. [550KB] Bullseye 1.2 ($9) is a file launcher that offers a a circular menu that surrounds the cursor, making all items equally accessible. "Press its hot key and it appears directly under your cursor. Your applications appear within easy reach all around." It adds drag & drop operations for copy/move and other improvements. [1.0MB] Adium 0.77 (free) updates the multiprotocol client for instant messaging that supports Yahoo!, AIM, MSN Messenger, Jabber, and other services. The last release is primarily a security release, but also brings other bug fixes; Adium 0.77 is a recommended upgrade for all users. [5.0MB]
Virtual Programming has released a digital download of its latest game, KnightShift. Offering a combination of conventional role-play and realtime strategy, KnightShift takes place in a mystic world in which players take "control over heroes, real (funny) or magic characters and leads them to victory and honor. Set in a living fully three dimensional game environment, KnightShift bewitches your Mac with breathtaking graphics and effects. The unique combination of RTS and RPG elements in the SP campaigns, the hardcore gamer dedicated RPG mode for Single and Multiplayer matches." It is available for £35.
Toshiba plans to boost capital spending on semiconductors for the current business year by 13 percent, accelerating plans to expand output of flash memory chips in order to meet the demand for Apple's iPod shuffle and other of its customers' products. Reuters reports that Toshiba will increase chip investment to a record $1.92 billion:"When it comes to the supply-demand balance we are currently unable to satisfy all customer demands," Muromachi said, noting in particular the launch of iPod Shuffle by Apple in January. "Demand created by this new machine is so vast that our current capacity can in no way meet their needs," he said.
MLAgazine has compiled a list of the top ten Mac-related product flops. "Apple and its compatriots have been highly innovative. These companies have proven that even if their ideas are well implemented, they cannot always promote them correctly. Other times, a good idea is implemented poorly, and despite their best marketing effort, the product fails." The products listed include Apple Pippin, OpenDoc, Mac TV, Mac XL/Lisa, Microsoft Word 6.0, Copland, eWorld, Puck Mouse/Kiddie Keyboard, Flower Power/Blue Dalmatian iMacs, the original Macintosh Portable.
In brief: The Shreveport Macintosh User Group will hold its second official meeting on February 24, at 6:30 p.m, featuring Sam Denison of Time-Warner Cable Shreveport.... Yub.com, a sister site to Buy.com, offers cash back rewards for shopping at the site or any of its affiliates, including the iTunes Music Store.... Raven Solutions today announced the widespread availability of its electronic book Beyond The Music: Doing More With Your Apple iPod.... Apple has released a new iTunes music sampler, according to MacNN readers.... Motorola executive Bogdan Nedelcou said in a French radio interview that Apple would deliver an iPod with "bluetooth technology" in the near future.
Rayner Software has released NetShade 2, an Internet security tool for Mac OS X that uses anonymous proxy servers to conceal your IP address on the web. NetShade automatically downloads a new list of public proxy servers from Rayner Software's central server every day: "When a proxy is active, all of your web traffic flows through the proxy server instead of going directly from your computer to the target host. This has the effect of hiding your IP address from the sites you're visiting." NetShade 2 adds a new NetShade Proxy Server, a dedicated anonymous proxy available to all registered users of NetShade. Rayner says the server offers the same privacy protection as the public proxies, but "because its access is restricted to NetShade users it is less trafficked and more responsive than most public proxies." A demo of the $30 software is available online.
Aspyr Media today began shipping Command N' Conquer Generals Zero Hour, the first expansion pack for Command N' Conquer Generals. "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. Fifteen new missions rattle veteran Generals as they set out to destroy the U.S. fleet in the Mediterranean, root out a splinter cell in Cairo and send in special operatives to capture weapons of mass destruction." It is avaialble now for $30 and will be in stores by Friday, February 25th.
Alien Apparatus has released Solo Performer Show Controller 2.0, a system for controlling the background music, lyrics displays, MIDI effects, and light shows for musicians. The system consists of a six-button foot controller that connects to a computer via USB as well as software solution that control MIDI effects units, lights that operate using the industry-standard DMX512 protocol and can display lyrics in a karaoke-like manner. It also includes a utility for stripping out unwanted tracks in MIDI files. Versoin 2.0 can now send MIDI files to external MIDI devices, change MIDI effects settings automatically, send hotkey commands to control other running applications, and redefine the button functions on the foot controller.
Nattress has released Film Effects v2.0, a new update to its plugin package for Apple's Final Cut Pro. Film Effects offers a number of options for control over how video looks as well as the ability to make it look like film. Film Effects is based around a high quality 60i to 24p simulation plugin and also includes over 20 (configurable) preset looks and eight other plugins. Film Effects v2.0 includes 24p Simulation with variable motion blur; G Film Extra and G RGB Colour Mixer with an improved 24p effect and a new method of altering video to look like film; G Nicer with a new algorithm that improves the creation of 4:4:4 from NTSC DVís 4:1:1 chroma; G Widescreen Matte Filter for improved letterboxing of 4:3 video; and more. It is available now for $100.
HP today announced several new digital photography offerings. HP announced its entry into the $20 billion-plus advanced amateur market with the introduction of the industry's first nine-ink color and black-and-white photo printer that produces professional-quality photos up to 13 x 19-inches. The company also expanded its line of award-winning digital cameras with the introduction of five new models. For the professional photography market, HP expanded the HP Designjet line with the new HP Designjet 90 Printer series.
Kodak Company today announced two additions to its new line of Kodak Easyshare Z-Series digital cameras, which now features four models with extended optical zoom lenses up to 10X. The Easyshare Z-Series cameras help casual photographers "get closer, better, more creative shots." The new Z7590 features a 10X optical zoom and 5 megapixel resolution for $450. The Z730 offers 4X optical zoom and 5 megapixel resolution for $350. The previously announced Z740 and Z700 cameras are now shipping. The Easyshare Z7590 and Z730 cameras will be available worldwide beginning in May.
Discussion topics on the MacNN forums today include: discussion of the midrange Power Mac G5 offerings for a budget user.... Discussion of the latest color screen iPod and iPod mini rumors.... Thoughts on the new PowerBook G4 offerings from Apple.... The latest Mac mini ship dates for several countries are discussed in multiple topics in the 'iMac, eMac, & Mac mini' forum.... Comparing a Mac mini to a low-end refurbished iBook offering.... Comparing Dell and Apple's 20" display offerings.... Apple's decision to rename its Rendezvous technology to "Bonjour."
The Register reports that Apple "isn't taking the chance" with competition from color music phones, and as a result will counterattack in the next two weeks, with a color-screen iPod mini. The article also points out that the problem facing the phone designers isn't capacity or color screens: "rather, it's the user interface ... Where is the best place to put the music control panel, and what should it look like?" According to AppleInsider, Apple will soon discontinue the 40GB iPod with a monochrome display. Sources said Apple will likely fill this gap by reducing the cost of its 40GB iPod photo model to $399, and subsequently the 60GB model to $499 -- both of which have been selling poorly at their current price points.
Netflix Freak 2.0 ($15) is a full-featured application for managing your Netflix rental queue. Version 2.0 adds the following: support for Netflix profiles, integrated Netflix login, simplified experience of adding movies to the queue, improved synchronization performance and usability, and support for Keychain. [Download - 995KB] Solo Performer Show Controller 2.0 ($400) is a system for controlling the background music, lyrics displays, MIDI effects, and light shows for musicians. With version 2.0, Solo Performer Show Controller can now send MIDI files to external MIDI devices, change MIDI effects settings automatically, send hotkey commands to control other running applications, and redefine the button functions on the foot controller. [Download - buy] shadowClipboard 2.0.2 ($10) is the latest version of the popular shareware multi clipboard manager for Mac OS X. Version 2.0.2 fixes bugs in Advanced mode that were pointed out by users, has minor UI changes and adds a hotkey combination for toggling Paste Plain Text mode. [Download - 1.1MB] OnMyCommand 1.7b1 (free) is a UNIX CLI and AppleScript executor that allows users to build their own contextual menu items or GUI applications. New in version 1.7b1 is support for sending tasks to background application, custom output windows, enhanced Droplet Builder, and more. [Download - 3.3MB] fennel DVDManager 1.5.5 (free) is an application for organizing a DVD collection. The latest version adds a new "Pretty Format" action that improves the way a DVD library is sorted; it helps you create and manage your wish list, and embeds support for 7 localizations. [Download - 948KB] Downfall 2.4.5 ($20) is a falling-blocks arcade puzzle game that uses the latest technology to produce detailed 3D graphics. This updated version includes the following changes: a minor bug fix to an issue that could cause a button's popup help text to briefly reappear after disappearing, some use of brighter texture, and optimized sound. [Download - 1MB]
WiebeTech is now shipping a 200GB 7200RPM UltraGB+ portable drive enclosure, featuring FireWire 800 connectiviity. First announced in January at MacWorld Expo, all versions of UltraGB+ are now shipping, including this new 200GB version. UltraGB+ is said to be the world's highest capacity, bus powered FireWire 800/400 drive. Joining UltraGB+ in WiebeTech's portable drive lineup are 100GB 5400RPM versions of MicroGB+ and ComboGB pocket drives which allow maximum portability with high performance and multiple host interfaces. UltraGB+ is available in three different capacities: 120GB, 160GB and 200GB. MicroGB+ and ComboGB are available in a variety of smaller configurations, in addition to the 100GB 5400RPM versions announced today. Pricing starts at $360.
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Biggest Canadian banks launch Apple Pay
Three of Canada's largest banks will turn on Apple Pay support for their debit and credit cards beginning today, June 1. The move follows the initial support of Apple Pay in Canada only on American Express-branded cards from Scotiabank earlier this year, with CIBC and RBC offering full support at the beginning of May. As of Wednesday, all five of Canada's largest banks -- and its unifying Interac debit-card system -- will accept at least some bank-issued cards into Apple's Wallet program. Users will need to have an iPhone 6 or later running iOS 8.1 or later, or an Apple Watch paired to an iPhone 5s or later. ATB Financial and Canadian Tire Bank are also supporting Apple Pay, and other smaller banks and credit unions are expected to support the technology in due course. http://on.thestar.com/1sKizKW
Atari, Sigfox partner for IoT development
Atari and Internet of Things pioneer Sigfox today announced a global partnership to develop a line of new connected devices based on Atari's brand. The collaboration will cover a wide range of new Atari products, with launch products covering "categories such as home, pets, lifestyle and safety" according to the pair. Development of the new product line will begin this year. http://bit.ly/1WvklfB
Samsung still not recommending Windows 10
Nearly a year after release, Samsung support is recommending that owners of its PCs not upgrade to Windows 10. In an email exchange with UK Samsung technical support and an individual in need of help getting Wi-Fi to work, the support representative wrote that "honestly speaking, we don't suggest installation of Windows 10 to any Samsung laptop or PC and we are still coordinating with Microsoft regarding to this matter" and "the Drivers that we have on our website are not yet compatible to the latest version of Windows." Samsung will update users when there are no more compatibility issues with Samsung hardware and Windows 10. Microsoft has no meaningful comment on the matter. http://bit.ly/1PgrJcx
T-Mobile offers 'tourist' plan
A new plan from T-Mobile is launching on June 12, and will offer visitors to the US a flat-rate $30 plan that offers a free US SIM, 2GB of high-speed data, and 1,000 minutes of calls good for a three-week period. The plan will work with any unlocked GSM-compatible smartphone, and is advertised as "unlimited" data (but speed will slow down after the first 2GB). The plan does not automatically renew, but can be manually renewed for those staying longer. It also comes with unlimited international texting to some 40 countries, but does not offer any international talk minutes at all. http://t-mo.co/1TI1Pe9
First hardware RAID 10Gbps USB 3.1 controllers
Marvell today announced the Marvell 88RC13xx family of high-performance RAID storage controllers with a full set of features that include eight 6Gbps SATA ports, four lanes of PCI Express 3.0, and a 10Gbps USB 3.1 device port with Type-C connector support. The move paves the way for high-performance USB-C UASP hardware RAID multi-drive arrays, utilizing the full bandwidth of USB 3.1. http://bit.ly/1P0JBmb
Tama debuts adapters for Lightning-only iPhone
Predicting an iPhone without a standard 3.5mm headphone, a Chinese accessory maker has released three Lightning-to-headphone-adapters ready should Apple pull the trigger on what would be a controversial decision. The three adapters, picked up by Macotakara, includes two models that simultaneously support charging an iPhone over microUSB while the user also continues to listen to music. Rumors have suggested that Apple will eventually drop the 3.5mm jack on one of its next-generation iPhones, although it is not clear whether it will be in the 'iPhone 7,' due this year, or a future model. In the interim, the Tama Electric Lightning-to-headphone adapters offer little particular utility. http://bit.ly/1P0sYXM
French Google tax raid evaluation could take years
The data retrieved from the Paris raid on Google's headquarters by French police could take months or even years to analyze, according to a prosecutor assigned to the case. Authorities seized dozens of files and related data that recorded Google's financial transactions in the country with a view to lodging a claim for unpaid taxes by the Internet search giant. Although Google has denied any wrongdoing, it must complete all of its sales contracts in Ireland, where it is incorporated. If French authorities sifting through the documents seized in the raids discover that any of its French sales transactions were completed locally, it could be subject to further action, including fines. http://reut.rs/1P0n8G2