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FireFox 1.01 browser
The Mozilla Foundation has released FireFox 1.01, an update to the free open-source browser. The update brings improved stability and also now displays International Domain Names as punycode. To show International Domain Names in Unicode, users must set the "network.IDN_show_punycode" preference to false. It also includes several security fixes, according to the release notes; however, its security page has not been updated with the most recent changes.
iPod shuffle accessories
XtremeMac today announced 13 new iPod accessory lines, which include 24 new products for the iPod shuffle, including the AirPlay FM Transmitter ($50) that allows users to play audio wirelessly through any FM radio; Car Charger ($25) offers mobile charging; Bumperz ($20/5pk) offers stylish silicone protection in 15 colors; SportWrap ($30) is a moisture resistant sports armband available in four colors; Shieldz ($20/3pk) provides protection with a splash of stylish color in nine new shades of transparent plastic; Wrapz ($25/3pk) are thin silicone sleeves that provide form-fitted protection from minor scratches and dents in nine different colors; and more.
simple caption ($3.50) is a plug-in for iMovie that allows you to place any short text message onto a clip. Additionally, the plug-in provides controls for exact timing (lead-in and -out) for when the message should appear. [1.4MB]
ChemCalcsX 1.1 ($10) is a chemistry 'question and answer' environment for students. This update corrects questions in the elements' question set and the precipitation' question set. Additionally, it offers minor bug fixes and a Glossary of Terms. [3.4MB]
Agitprop (free) is a Mac OS X application for separating your blog entries from Lifli Software's iBlog application. iBlog (1.4.x and earlier) does not readily provide any form of export functionality that preserves blog entry information, such as category and posting date. [1.9MB]
iPod It 2.4.2 ($15), iPresent It 1.1.1 ($18), and iSpeak It 1.7.1 ($13) were released today by ZappTek. The iPod It release fixes problems with Entourage recurring event modifications, the iPresent It release provides more robust Keynote 2 support, and the iSpeak It release fixes problems with the formatting of full articles for News and RSS feeds. [iPod It, iPresent It, iSpeak It]
ColorSafe 1.7 ($50) is a filter plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications that provides fully interactive color pickers for the easy creation of almost limitless 'hybrid' colors from the 216 colors in the Web safe palette. Version 1.7 introduces Mac OS X support. [180KB]
TiVo, PortalPlayer stocks
In brief: Shares of personal video recorder technology pioneer TiVo were up for a second straight session Thursday amid speculation that Apple Computer may be mulling a takeover of the company, but pulled back from their intraday high.... Shares of PortalPlayer, which provides technology for Apple's iPod, are up about 20 percent in three months, and rose $1.02 today to close at $21.10.... Edirol announced today that Apple has chosen Edirol Audio Interfaces and MIDI Keyboard Controllers to be featured on Apple's upcoming iLife'05 and Beyond seminars and Apple's Audio Production Ecosystem seminars.... Educators specializing in design and photography at learning institutions nationwide recently nominated their most talented and promising students for a 2005 Photoshop World scholarship.
AAPL target raised
Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf has raised his target price on Apple from $83 to $104 a share. The firm also raised its earnings per share estimates from $1.85 to $2.00 in fiscal 2005, and from $2.25 to $2.50 in 2006. Wolf reiterated his belief that 11% of Windows users owning iPods will purchase a Mac, and notes that sales at the iTunes Music Store have accelerated to a $450 million annual run rate. "The increase in music sales in combination with a decrease in peripheral sales in our revised model raises Apple's overall gross profits because music sales are much more profitable than peripheral sales," Wolf said. Needham maintains a 'Buy' rating on Apple.
New Mac game ports
Beenox announced today that its team is working on four Mac game projects, including the Mac version of Myst V: End of Ages, the finale of the adventure series from Cyan Worlds. Ubisoft will publish this final episode for the PC and the Mac in fall 2005. The current line-up includes "Myst V" and "Star Wars Battlefront," as well as games code-named "3.14159...wow!," and "Rascals-3." Founded in 2000, Beenox is a rapidly expanding game development studio based in Quebec, Canada, with past projects including Tony Hawk's Underground 2 for Windows.
TiVo buy \"highly unlikely\"
Smith Barney said this afternoon that a buyout of TiVo by Apple was contradictory to recent comments from Apple senior management and said "we strongly believe Apple has no interest in acquiring TiVo." The statement comes after rumors began circulating that Apple might acquire the DVR maker. "Based on Apple's commentary, we believe a deal is highly unlikely," said Smith Barney. "Specifically, Apple had two points that lead us to discount the current reports. First, it appears as though Apple want to stay focused on selling select proven products (e.g. iPod) rather than gambling on unknown initiatives. ... Second, Apple indicated that the DVR market seems to be a commodity whereby all players will eventually have similar hardware and software longer term, which means that the DVR market really boils down to marketing and branding. Apple clearly already has a strong brand and would not gain much from acquiring TiVo." The research firm maintained a "sell" rating and $3.50 target price.
Griffin iPod cable
Griffin Technology today announced the Dock400, a cable for synchronizing and charging your iPod using a PC or Mac's FireWire 400 ports. Apple's newest iPod photo and iPod mini come with only a USB 2.0 cable, so customers with computers that lack USB 2.0 ports will need a FireWire 400 cable for fast music and file transfers. Griffin says its Dock400 cable is "the perfect solution." The Dock400 cable is 48" long, uses Apple-approved connectors, and is "built with the quality that users have come to expect from Griffin." It can be used with Apple's iPod dock, or plugged directly into the iPod. The Dock400 cable costs $18, and will begin shipping the first week of March. Pre-orders are being accepted now.
Macs regain credibility
Today, the decision between buying a PC or buying a Mac is "not so clear-cut," Daniel Holevoet of Yale Daily News says. "Ten years ago, the computer world was different than today, and it seemed like Microsoft had bested its rivals. Beleaguered was a popular phrase used to describe Apple, and Linux was less than a year old and unknown outside small circles of avid coders." According to Yale Information Technology Services' registration records, nearly 20 percent of University students and 33 percent of faculty choose Macs over Windows PCs. "With a reinvented, cutting-edge operating system and a cool, sleek design, Apple is clawing its way to technological equality on campus. Products like iPod and iTunes have transformed the Apple brand into a status symbol as much as a technological tool, and alternative platforms such as Linux have moved out of the shady realm of hackers and into the public eye."
Cobb County iBooks
More than 250 parents, students, teachers and taxpayers met Wednesday night in east Cobb County to learn more about a plan to give Apple iBooks to 63,000 students and teachers. Three Cobb County school board members and Apple representatives were on hand for the first of four community meetings, designed to educate the public and answer their questions about the laptop computer program. The majority of the comments at the meeting were from people in favor of the initiative, which would provide laptops to teachers and middle and high school students. Cobb officials expect the cost after the first four years to be about $20 million a year if it continues to lease 63,000 laptops at once. Apple also will provide an around-the-clock help desk as well as 100 computer servers to the district.
Jobs turns 50
In Brief: Steve Jobs today turned 50 years old....James Stewart, author of the book "Disney Wars," offers his analysis of why the Pixar/Disney relationship broke down, saying that it was due in part to Disney CEO Eisner's Congressional testimony denouncing Apple.... Apple introduction of new iPods that ship without a FireWire cable marks a departure away from the Apple-standard high-speed interface to USB 2.0, which is more prevalent in the Windows world..... Mark/Space is now selling the top third-party applications for Palm OS and Windows Mobile/Pocket PC handheld devices in its online store.
Sente Word integration
Sente 2.1, the academic literature research tool from Third Street Software, can now be used from within Microsoft Word to add citations and bibliographies to documents as they are being written. The format of these citations and bibliographies is controlled by the user and can be changed at any time to meet the requirements of different journals or instructors. The integration of Sente and Microsoft Word makes it easy for researchers and students to take their work from literature searches to properly-formatted manuscripts and research papers. This new version of Sente is a free upgrade for all existing customers. A standard, single-user license can be purchased for $100. Student licenses are available for $50.
New 1-inch 6GB drives
Seagate and Hitachi both announced new 1-inch hard drives with a 6GB storage capacity this week--with Seagate first out of the gate to ship the product, according to The Register: "Seagate's 6GB ST-1 unit started shipping last December, the company said yesterday, and may well be the storage component found in Apple's latest 6GB iPod Mini, unveiled yesterday too. Certainly when news of a higher-capacity iPod Mini emerged late last year, it was suggested that the new machine would not contain a Hitachi drive as the first version had done, Apple allegedly having been annoyed with the problems the drive maker experienced ramping up production of its 4GB 1in unit, the Microdrive 3K4."
Shoebox photo catalog
Shoebox is an application for organizing digital photos by content. Shoebox helps users manage a collection and find specific photos, even among thousands of items. "No more useless keywords, no more having to remember which folder you put that special photo in." Shoebox uses Knowledge Base technology to "learn about your world." With Shoebox, photos are organized in a way that makes sense to the user. According to the developer, Shoebox comes with "a lot of knowledge about the world." For example, it already knows that New Year's Eve is in December, London is in England, and purple is a color. Shoebox also lets users create separate password-protected catalogs. Pricing ranges from $40 to $80.
In brief: Effective on March 1, The Mid-Atlantic Apple & Macintosh User Groups Team (MaMUGs) will become The Apple Groups Team (TAGteam).... NewTek, today announced the release of the seventh edition of its free Texture Collection, featuring fifty high-resolution textures.... Lake District Desktops of England has launched launched two free Mac screensavers.... Harris & Baseview will debut IQue Server 4.0, new features in CirculationPro, improvements to its Jazbox content management system and updates to AdManagerPro at the NEXPO show in Dallas, March 19-22.
A.Pack training videos
macProVideo.com has announced the release of "A.Pack: Complete Training," a guide to A.Pack, the Dolby Digital AC-3 encoder that comes with DVD Studio Pro. The A.Pack software training videos use real-time screen captures with clear voice over instructions to demonstrate Dolby Digital AC-3 encoding using A.Pack. According to the DVD-Video specification, all DVD-Video players must decode AC-3 audio streams. The complete A.Pack training module includes an hour of video training designed and delivered by best-selling technical author and Apple courseware designer Martin Sitter. The training kit costs $12.50.
iPod shuffle margins
IDC has released an analysis on Apple's iPod shuffle margins, saying that Apple's gross product margins are as large as 40 percent on each of its iPod shuffle it sells , according to IDG News Service. The market research firm said that "Apple makes a healthy 35 per cent to 40 per cent profit on each player sold, and stands to make even more from iTunes music purchases and expected drops in flash memory pricing." Currently, IDC says that iPod shuffle's flash memory, made by Samsung, is the most expensive component, costing $37.50 for each 512MB shuffle--or about two thirds of the estimated total $59 cost of the player. The product retails for $99, thus the product margins are about $40 or about 40 percent; however, its overall margins are reduced by its wholesale cost to both its own retail stores and resellers.
New Keynote, iDVD themes
KeynotePro has released KeyStation and KeyStation HD, a web-inspired, presenter/kiosk-mode hybrid theme designed to make creating interactive presentations and Keynote-powered kiosks a snap. The company also released MetroBlue for iDVD, a new theme for iDVD. The KeyStation themes are designed for both traditional projector-driven presentations and the new Interactive and Kiosk-mode presentation options available in the recently released iWork '05/Keynote 2. KeyStation HD, available exclusively in the KeyStation Pro Edition, opens the doors to HD-presentations and kiosks that take full advantage of larger displays such as Plasma/HDTV screens, the iMac G5 and Apple Cinema Displays.
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