Aspyr's Game Agent 1.1 (free) allows users to easily match a computer's hardware with system requirements of various games. The Mac OS X application automatically checks a specific Mac configuration. Version 1.1 can customize their Mac configuration or the standard Apple configurations to see which games will run with different upgrades installed and now displays ESRB ratings for all games. [826KB] Transmit 3.02 updates the popular FTP client, bringing more reliable import from Fetch and old Transmit, better reconnection to and compatibility with SFTP servers, more compatibility with FTP servers, more AppleScript options, and more. Version 3 offers a new column view, multiple connections in a single window, improved bookmarking, iDisk/WebDAV support, Docksend functions, server-to-server transfers, and more. [1.5MB] Meridian 2 ($22) is a super clock for Mac OS X, offering an improved Menu Bar Clock and new Alarms, Time Zones, Timers, Stopwatches, and Chimes. Meridian's timepieces are easily customizable and can be displayed in a window, the Clock Menu, or the Dock. The application can alert users to scheduled events and timed events as well as wake a sleeping Mac. [1.6MB] A new UT2004 patch build 3355 works on any prior retail version of Unreal Tournament 2004. It includes the Bonus Pack to simplify installation and offers several changes: the Mac version no longer requires the DVD to be in the drive to play (but still requires a valid CD key), supports UTV on the Mac, and includes bits of the editor package for improved mod compatibility. [87MB] GmailStatus 1.03 (free) is a handy utility for users of Google's new email service Gmail. It installs itself in the Mac OS X menubar and shows the number of unread messages in the inbox. It offers a user-definable hotkey opens Gmail inbox in browser, an option to manually check for new messages and/or open the Gmail inbox, support for proxy servers, and localization in several languages. [113KB] URLwell 1.0 (free) is a utility that allows users to store URLs. It supports drag & drop to URLwell's menu bar icon as well as the ability to manually edit the saved list: for removal or marked as visited. [55KB]
Keyspan today announced it is expanding its family of ZIP-LINQ retractable cables. The company today introduced new USB 2.0 and Cat5E ZIP-LINQ retractable cables, which will retail for $15 each and be available later this month. The USB 2.0 retractable cables connect a computer to USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 devices. The cable is just four inches long when retracted, and extends to four feet. It is available in three versions for use with devices that have USB "B" connectors, mini USB 4-pin connectors, or mini USB 5-pin connectors. Keyspan's Cat5E Ethernet retractable cable extends to five feet and features Evernew flat Cat5E cabling with twisted pair construction.
Firetrust Limited today announced it is now shipping a Mac version of MailWasher Pro, a server-side anti-spam tool that provides additional protection for businesses and home users from unsolicited and unwanted emails. The company says that MailWasher Pro increases in accuracy over time to stop spam from reaching a user's inbox. The anti-spam software offers an intuitive, convenient and easy-to-use tool that allows users can access, view and manage multiple email accounts all in a single location, whitelists (good) and blacklists (bad), intelligent filters that learn over time (a.k.a., "Bayesian filtering"), heuristic scanning, and both virus and worm protection. It is available now for $37 (single-user license) and works with POP3, IMAP, AOL and Hotmail/MSN.
TiVo shares today jumped more than 17 percent on Wednesday, fueled by speculation that Apple may try to buy the digital video recorder maker, according to analysts. Reuters reports that although TiVo's CEO says the company is not for sale, its low $300 million market capitalization make it an attractive takeover target: "What we hear on the street is that Apple is interested in their business and that they are a takeout target," said analyst Steven Kroll Jr. of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. The report says that several companies have been discussed as potential suitors for TiVo, including Time Warner and Comcast, Sony, and Liberty Media.
LightWork Design today released LightWorks 7.5, an update to its rendering engine for 3D design. The company says the software, designed for incorporation by third-party developers, is renowned for its physically accurate visualization of CAD data and for simulating real-world lighting conditions and materials. This newest release offers LightWorks Real-time, which provides a single API that gives software developers device-independent access to hardware rendering on cards supporting the OpenGL Shading Language or Cg, several improvements to the Global Illumination product for easier creation of high-quality images using radiosity, new GUI components for rapid development of user interfaces, new shaders in the Architectural and Industrial Toolboxes, and new cross-platform plug-in shaders.
Apple is selling its previous-generation iPod photos for discounted pricing. The Apple Store is offering the older 40GB iPod photo for $379 along with a FireWire cable, Dock, and carry case--all of which are not available with the new generation 40GB and 60GB iPod photos. The previous generation 60GB iPod photo model is available for $479. Both models also include Apple Earphones, AC Adapter, USB 2.0 cable, and AV cable. As noted earlier today, Apple has discontinued the 40GB standard iPod and revamped its iPod mini line with lower pricing, larger 6GB models, and reduced color choices.
Merrill Lynch today said that despite a short supply of iPod shuffles, the company will ship 1 million Shuffles and about 3 million iPods--for a total of 4 million units in the March quarter. The estimates would represent a decline from the December quarter high of 4.6 million units--much of which was driven by the seasonal holiday demand. Analyst Steve Milunovich say that the iPod mini line update would reduce the previously expected decline: "Updating the iPod mini should help iPod units decline only 35% sequentially from 4.6 million to 3 million," the analyst said. Milunovich also said that drastically reduced pricing on the iPod photo line was likely due to less than spectacular demand since its October debut. Merrill Lynch reiterated its 'Buy' rating on Apple with a price target of $102 per share.
In an inteview titled "Adobe versus the world", Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen says that his company has worked out a coexistence strategy that treats Apple as both friend and foe, according to CNET News.com: "They are clearly both a partner and, in some cases, a competitor. They're an important partner in that about 25 percent of our business comes from people who own Macs. That's a very loyal customer to Adobe and a very important customer as well. That's also a very important customer obviously to Apple. So it's in both of our best interests to partner, and I think we do a pretty good job of it." Chizen also said that Mac business has been decreasing--in large part due to the growth of its enterprise business driven by Acrobat.
MacNN Reviews: We have published a review of the Monstor USB 2.0 Drive from US Modular. The device has "tremendous potential" but falls short of expectations due to "very slow throughput when compared with alternatives like flash drives." We have also published a review of RadioSHARK from Griffin Technology. The $70 radioSHARK is "a radically designed radio tuner [that] brings the airwaves right to your computer. Everything about the radioSHARK radiates class and sophistication. The packaging, the design and its quality are top notch."
In brief: In response to a recent list of the "Top 10 Mac Failures," MLAgazine has published the "Top 10 Mac Successes," which includes the Mac classic, Mac OS X, and the iMac.... QuickerTek today announced availability of its Aluminum PowerBook Handles for the 12, 15 and 17-inch PowerBooks.... 3DNY Publishing today announced that its "MAYA|Multi-Pass Rendering" educational MediaBook is now shipping for Mac OS X.... An online petition has been started that asks Apple to include FireWire cables with new iPods, rather than USB2 only.
Apple today released its new iPod Updater 2005-02-22, which includes software for all versions of its iPod. iPod shuffle Software 1.1 now includes support for iPod shuffle Battery Pack and Increased software stability, while the iPod mini Software 1.3 for iPod mini brings support for second-generation iPod mini and support for charging and syncing over USB with Mac OS X v10.2.8 or 10.3.4 or later. It also includes iPod Software 2.3 for iPod with dock connector and iPod Software 1.5 for iPod with touch wheel or scroll wheel, which brings a new Shuffle Songs selection in Main Menu, a new Music menu item in Main Menu, and support for iTunes 4.7 and later.
Today's iPod update widens the gap between Apple and potential competitors, research analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said in a report this morning. According to the report, Apple "continues to increase its competitive gap." In response to criticisms that Apple is "taking a hit to margins in reaction to competitive threats," Munster says his firm believes that "Apple's changes to the product line are more offensive than defensive. Apple clearly holds the leadership position on this market and we believe these changes will widen the gap between Apple and potential competitors that are trying to chip away at iPod market share." Focusing On Halo Effect In fiscal 2005 and 2006, the firm believes "iPod carryover will impact numbers," and "iPod buyers who are PC owners will increasingly move to the Mac platform." Piper Jaffray maintains an Outperform rating on Apple's stock.
So Smart Software has released six free plug-ins for the Revolution and Dreamcard software development environments. Color Picker allows users to import colors, save color sets, assign colors to objects, and more. Guides Picker enables users to customize color and thickness of guides, use a grid with snapping, and zoom items using a magnifying glass. Encoded Text Picker offers translations both to and from HTML and URLEncode, as well as text style and color functions. Navigation Picker allows users to jump to any desired card, lock messages, and modify the order and properties of cards. Message Box Picker allows one-click message sending and error message management. Objects Picker features one click editing of scripts and properties, and incremental renaming of objects.
WiebeTech is now taking orders for its Bus Powered Forensic ComboDock, which allows write-blocked field access to 3.5" IDE and SATA drives through a powered FireWire 800/400 interface--eliminating the need for an AC adapter; Designed for high-speed forensic analysis of data storage devices, it will ship in early March for $500 or $630 with optional SATA support. WiebeTech also announced FireWire 800/400 PCI-X Host Adapter Card ($180) that provides high power support for external Bus Powered FireWire drives as well as a High Power Adapter ($100) that allows attachment of 3.5 inch bus powered drives to the Cardbus adapter.
Apple has quietly made several small changes to the iPod lineup and acessories--in addition to introducing the 6GB iPod mini for $250 and reducing the price on the 4GB iPod mini to $200 and adding new 30GB and 60GB models of the iPod photo. Apple has quietly discontinued the 40GB model of the standard fourth-generation iPod as well as discontinued the 'gold' version of its iPod mini. The iPod mini is now only available in four colors: pink, green, blue, and silver--in either 4GB or 6GB models. Apple's iPod photo models also no longer ship with a dock and a black carry case, as the previous models did, helping Apple reduce the price of the 60GB model by $150 to $50.
Pumpkin Pop ($10) is a puzzle/falling blocks game, featuring 9 different game modes. Users must unlock game play modes by earning points. Originally a PC game, Pumpkin Pop was ported using the game engine, PTK. [1.8MB] Process 1.2 ($25) makes it easy to outline and organize ideas and projects. Version 1.2 features include: a new progress bar, iCal support, the ability to work with multiple items at the same time, a project notes sheet, improved sorting, performance enhancements, and bug fixes. [1.2MB] Safari Prairiefire 0.99.4 ($6) lists all Safari bookmarks, scans for dead and missing links, and allows the user to delete or edit any bookmarks." The new version can scan multiple bookmarks simultaneously, now uses a Brushed Metal interface, and offers comprehensive reporting on bookmark status/error codes. [1.4MB] FotoMagico 1.2 ($80) enables users to create "outstanding" photo slideshows. Version 1.2 represents a significant update, adding a powerful titles system and a vastly simplified export to QuickTime or DVD leading to much better results and many other improvements that were implemented in response to customer requests. [form] A Better Finder Rename 6.8 ($20) now ffers a smart truncating feature which preserves file extensions wherever possible. The Finder contextual menu plugin allows users to quickly rename multiple files using both manual/automatic modes, subfolder processing, sequential naming, file name manipulation, and more. [3.5MB] PC-Mac PasswordVault v4.1 ($20) is a simple and practical password manager that provides 896-bit encryption, and stores Internet banking data and software serial numbers in addition to website usernames and passwords. This new version offers new document icons, Ctrl key password unmasking and streamlined tab order on the add and edit service dialogs, and more. [Classic, OSX]
TikiMac today unveiled the Big Tiki Drive, a flash-based storage device in the form of a "big, grinning Tiki idol, complete with hypnotic glowing eyes and a blinking 'aura.'" The drive offers a simple and inexpensive way for users to transport and share their data quickly and easily between computers. The Big Tiki Drive offers USB 2.0 connectivity and is plug-and-play compatible with systems running Mac OS X 10.x (and Classic Mac OS 9.2.x). Big Tiki Drives include a 6 ft. illuminated "Lava USB" data cable in either red, white or blue, a soft draw-string pouch, and a protective connector "end cap"; they are available in 256MB ($60), 512MB ($80), 1GB ($120), 2GB ($230) and 4GB ($430) capacities.
Apple today updated its iPod photo lineup by introducing a new slim 30GB model, holding up to 7,500 songs, for just $350 and a new 60GB model, holding up to 15,000 songs, for $450. Apple also introduced the new iPod Camera Connector, due in late-March for $30. The optional accessory enables customers to connect their digital camera to iPod photo and import their photos into the iPod. "By simply connecting the iPod Camera Connector and a digital camera, customers can easily transfer digital images to their iPod photo." The iPod photo includes earbud headphones, a USB 2.0 cable, and a USB power adapter.
Apple today unveiled the second generation iPod mini lineup with a new 4GB model priced at $200 and a new 6GB model with 50 percent more storage priced at $250. Both iPod mini models feature increased battery life of up to 18 hours, USB charging and an ultra-portable, lightweight design available in four colors (pink, blue, silver, and green). "The iPod mini is now available at the magic price point of $199," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "At this breakthrough price point, and with more than twice the battery life, the new iPod mini should appeal to even more music lovers." The 4GB and 6GB models of iPod mini are available worldwide immediately and include earbud headphones, a belt clip case, and a USB 2.0 cable.
Apple is offering refurbished models of its flat-panel Apple Cinema displays, starting at $1,400 for the previous-generation 23-inch display. Refurbished versions of the current generation large-format displays--with the aluminum bezel, are available for $1,500 (23-inch) or $2,600 (30-inch). Apple is also offering refurbished versions of its previous-generation PowerBook G4 line, starting at $1,500 (15-inch), $1,100 (12-inch), and $2,000 (17-inch). The store also has new stock of the refurb 12-inch iBooks starting at $800 (1GHz/Combo). For $50 more, users can get a faster 1.2GHz iBook ($850) with built-in AirPort connectivity. Refurb 14-inch iBook models are also available in several configurations, starting at $900 for the base 1GHz model with a 40GB drive and Combo optical drive and $1,300 for an AirPort-enabled 1.33GHz model with a 60GB drive.
Apple has unexpectedly delayed orders for the 1GB iPod shuffle, according to several readers. The Apple Store began notifying users who ordered the 1GB version of the popular flash-based player that it would not be able to deliver the device until mid-March. The Apple Store had initially expected to deliver one order, placed on January 24, by February 22, but in an email to the customer said that an "unexpected supply delay" could push back the order by up to 3 weeks. Representatives at the Apple Store San Francisco could not confirm when 1GB models would be in stock, although the store had recently received a limited supply of the 512MB model. The Apple Store currently quotes a 2-3 week delivery time on the 1GB version and a 1-2 week delivery time on the 512MB model.
In Brief: Speculation is growing that Apple will introduce new iPods this morning, according to several media reports and one analyst as well as changes in ship times at the Apple Store.... President George Bush listens to Creedence Clearwater Revival on his iPod, but the first lady doesn't have an iPod, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.... Apple saw nearly 50 percent more sales of Macs to Australians in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to IDC figures.... Apple may be seeking an iPod software game engineer, according to a job advertisment on gaming industry recruitment site.
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