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Sync Music Library
Synk Audio Studios today introduced Synk Music Library, a catalog of stock music that may be customized using Musicbed DV, its Mac OS X application for working with production music. Musicbed DV and the Synk Music Library allow visual media professionals to create music beds with a professional composed to picture feel in a matter of minutes. Each title in the Synk Music Library is a professionally composed musical world with thousands of customizable variations. Users can also automate intuitive musical parameters over time, providing virtually limitless additional variations. Synk Music Library titles are available for $150.
Apple climbs single notch
Apple is ranked No. 3 in the 'Computer Industry' category in Fortune's 23rd annual Most Admired Companies survey, behind IBM (No. 1) and Dell (No. 2). Apple's score of 6.84 helped improve its ranking from No. 4 in the 2003 survey. However, Dell was No. 1 in the overall company ranking followed by General Electric, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft, respectively. Apple also ranked No. 3 in the magazine's listing of the most innovative companies, behind Kinder Morgan Energy and FedEx (respectively) and No. 1 in Quality of products/services.
minis sell out in SA
Mac minis enjoyed a sell-out launch at three Apple centers in South Africa on Saturday, when the entire shipment of about 80 units was sold in three hours. All three of the Apple centres say their entire consignments were either sold outright or are largely spoken for. The centres have received back orders for a number of machines, although they are not sure when the next shipments will arrive. Meanwhile, Macworld UK reports that Apple is anticipating a higher Philippines market share this year as a result of its entry into the local value market with products that are more affordable to consumers. With the 512-megabyte iPod shuffle unit priced at 6,999 pesos ($128) and the Mac mini retailing at 39,188 pesos, analysts are betting that Apple might be able to tempt Windows customers to switch operating systems.
fcp2shk (free) enables users to covert Final Cut Pro XML files to Shake script. The utility is offered as a pre-release, with many new features expected in future releases. [5KB]
iFlicks 1.1 ($30) makes it easy to store, browse, and play your favorite movies. Version 1.1 introduces a streamlined interface for organizing movies, support for more video formats and codecs, Amazon Web Services integration, launching of external media players, and dual display support in full screen mode. [1.1MB]
SignalScope 1.7 ($40) is a 2-channel real-time audio signal analyzer, built for Mac OS X. Version 1.7 adds independent vertical offsets of oscilloscope waveforms, as well as greatly improved waveform triggering. The Oscilloscope now records data captured prior to the trigger event and allows manual adjustment of the horizontal waveform orientation. [1.0MB]
Gutenprint 5.0.0-beta3 (free) is a suite of printer drivers that may be used with most common UNIX print spooling systems, including CUPS, lpr, LPRng, or others. With this latest beta release, the application was renated from Gimp-Print to Gutenprint. [7.3MB]
ScriptPak for TurboTax 2004 ($10) includes 75 commands that allow users to access the features of TurboTax 2004 with their voice when using MacSpeech's popular iListen program. MacSpeech offers several iListen packages, including a software only solution for $100, and a software and headset with microphone for $150. [not available]
New training videos
PhotoshopCAFE today announced the availability of its Photoshop and Dreamweaver Integration DVD. The 2.5 hour training video will teach designers, photographers and Photoshop users with little or no prior Web experience how to build fully functional Web pages in Photoshop and Dreamweaver without the use of any programming. Total Training today announced its latest offering for office productivity and security titled Total Training Presents: Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional" ($200). This CD-based series of lessons looks at the benefits and functionality of the widely used productivity software, while demonstrating time-saving techniques for streamlining document processes.
NI Traktor DJ Studio 2.6
Native Instruments today released Traktor DJ Studio 2.6, the next version of its professional DJ software. This update offers compatibility with the latest version of Stanton's vinyl-controlled DJ system, FinalScratch 2 as well a offers live broadcasting via Internet, live audio input with on-the-fly audio recording, extended file format support (including AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files), new browser favorites, a playlist history, and more. It also includes support for multiple MIDI controllers, a powerful library search function, a revised user interface with several skins, and a number of new MIDI and keyboard assignable controls. It is a free update to the $230 applicatoin.
GarageBand 2 review
"GarageBand is largely successful in its attempts to be an all-encompassing music-making machine," says PC World, in a first-look article. "Some new features should make Apple's GarageBand 2 more attractive to actual garage bands than its predecessor. Chief among them: The ability to record eight live tracks simultaneously, versus the original's single-track limitation." The largely positive article does point to some shortcomings, including decreased performance in some situations, such as creating a song that involves 11 software instruments. "First-timers will enjoy Apple's easy-to-use app, but more-seasoned musicians will likely feel stifled."
Apple Toronto store
In brief: Apple is expected to launch its first retail store in Canada, with the May 21 launch of its Yorkdale mall location in Toronto (job listings have started appearing online).... The Australian Apple University Consortium (AUC) is offering Australian University staff and students an opportunity to apply to attend Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in the U.S. for free.... The Ramapo-Indian Hills Regional District is the first in North Jersey to use Apple's PowerSchool software to make important information including grades accessible online to students and parents.... February purchasers of e2Sync PE will receive free updates for life.... Today's Joy of Tech comic is a tribute to the creator of the Macintosh, Jef Raskin.
Safari, Mozilla increases
OneStat.com today reported that Mozilla and Safari have increased global browser usage market share since November 2004. The global usage share of Apple's Safari has increased with 0.3 percent from 0.91 percent to 1.21 percent since Novermber 2004; Mozilla browsers have a total global usage share of 8.45 percent, an increase of more than 1 percent since Novermber 2004. The company, however, said that Microsoft's Internet Explorer still dominates the global browser market with a global usage share of 87.28 percent, a 1.62 percent less as at the end of November 2004. Apple's Safari browser was third behind Microsoft IE (87.28%) and Mozilla (8.45%) and ahead of Netscape (1.11%) and Opera (1.09%), which were third and fourth, respectively.
Site Crossing hosting
Web Crossing today announced its new Site Crossing service, for the first time offering enterprise-class Web Crossing power in a consumer- or workgroup-sized package. Site Crossing offers Web Crossing-based Internet message boards and other collaboration tools in two new ways: as a service bolted onto an already existing Web site, or as an entire core Web site. Site Crossing provides a fully integrated complement of choices for interactive tools, such as discussions, mailing lists, blogs, chat, calendars, podcasting polls, etc. in a hosted, easy to manage service, with core capabilities for building an entire site, including full Web/FTP/email capabilities. Crossing hosted solutions are available starting at an affordable $8 per month.
AAPL target raised
Apple's stock this morning began trading at a split-adjusted rate of just over $44. Apple announced the two-for-one stock split just over a week ago, with the number of common shares authorized set to rise from 900 million to 1.8 billion. Lehman Bros analyst Harry Blount this morning raised his stock price target for Apple to $94 from $73 and raised his 2005 earnings and revenue estimates due to evidence that sales of the company's iPod Shuffle and Mac remain strong.
Zero Hour in stores
Aspyr Media's Command 'N Conquer Generals Zero Hour has arrived in retail stores, according to the publisher. Zero Hour is the first expansion pack for action strategy game. "Even the most experienced Command & Conquer Generals veteran must learn new strategies and tactics to take full advantage of - and learn to defend against - the next generation of the world's most lethal weapons ... 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." The game is rated "T" for Teen and is available now for $30.
Music wholesale pricing
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was reportedly angered by recent pressure from record companies to raise the wholesale price of music downloads. Some leading music labels are in talks with online digital music retailers to raise wholesale prices for digital music downloads in an attempt to capitalize on strong demand for legal online music. The labels are apparently seeking a bigger slice of the profits from digital music sales, now that online services have become both common and successful.
iPod/Mac mini cases
WaterField Designs is now shipping a SleeveCase designed specifically for the Mac Mini, available in black Ballistic nylon with Lead Indium trim. The SleeveCase costs $40 and measures 7.2" x 7.2" x 2.5". Also shipping is a GearPouch to hold the iPod mini and its accessories. The iPod mini Gear Pouch is $30, measures 7.75"x3.75"x1.2" and comes in black Ballistic nylon with Blue, Celeste, Checkers, Lead, or Taxi Indium trim.
Samsung dead pixel policy
Battery replacement problems are "making some people irate" over the iPod, says CBS 2 in its latest "Shame on You" segment.... Samsung has announced that customers who discover defective pixels on an LCD monitor produced by the company within 90 days of purchase will have the unit replaced free of charge.... PC World says a Mac mini equipped with a 1.25GHz processor and 512MB of RAM "handled most tasks gracefully, without hesitating or freezing. I even opened and switched among a half-dozen applications without any system slowness".... BBC News says the Mac mini "is not the fastest computer for the money but for under £400 you are getting something more interesting than mere technical specifications - Apple software."
Iomega Super DVD Writer
Iomega today began shipping its Super DVD Writer 16x16 Dual-Format USB 2.0 Drive, which comes with an enhanced collection of software applications. The Super DVD Writer can create DVD+R DL (Double-layer) discs at 4x speeds. Other supported formats include the new double-layer DVD format, DVD+R DL, which has a 4x write speed; DVD+R and DVD+RW (16x8x8x write, rewrite, and read); DVD-R and DVD-RW (16x6x8x); and CD-R and CD-RW discs (48x24x32x). Users can also rip music CDs with 40x digital audio extraction features. Iomega also says that the drive features buffer underrun protection for reliable burns. It is shipping now (with a collection of Windows-based software) for $190. Double-layer recordable support (8.5GB) is provided by Mac OS 10.3.6 or higher.
Jef Raskin dies at 61
Jef Raskin, the computer interface expert who conceived Apple's groundbreaking Macintosh computer but left the company before it came to market, died over the weekend. Raskin died on Saturday night at the age of 61 at his home in Pacifica, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2004. "Raskin joined Apple in 1978 - as its 31st employee - to start the young company's publications department. At the time, computers were primarily text-based and users had to remember a series of arcane commands to perform the simplest tasks. In 1979, Raskin had a different idea: A computer that's priced affordably, targeted at consumers and extremely easy to use. A small team, under his command, was put together at Apple to pursue his concept that would eventually become the Macintosh."
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