FruitMenu 3.3 ($10) is the latest version of the Apple menu and contextual menus utillity that fixes a number of bugs, updates the preferences interface, and works with the latest Application Enhancer. Xounds 2.2 ($10) is an update to the "appearance sounds" add-on for Mac OS X that fixes bugs, adds an option to automatically disable Xounds, and offers individual sound volume control. [Download - FruitMenu, Xounds] MusicMagic Mixer (free) automatically analyzes your music collection and can determine the key listening attributes of any song, in any supported digital format. It now supports AAC for instant "sounds-like" playlist generation and acoustic shuffles. [Download - 1.5MB] Neat Image 2.2 ($40) is a digital filter designed to reduce visible noise and grain in digital photographic images. It is a tool for owners of digital cameras, flatbed and slide scanners. This update improves compatibility of Neat Image plug-in /Mac with older versions of Photoshop running in Mac OS X in Classic mode. Additional improvements and bug fixed are implemented as well. [Download - 210KB] Sync Buddy 2.0 ($25) is a backup and install management tool for Mac OS X users with Palm OS handhelds. It provides worry-free backups, installs, and picture management. It complements the standard synchronization by giving you direct access to your handheld’s contents. [Download - 4.2MB] Eyephedrine 1.3 ($8) is an OpenGL 3D visualization plug in for iTunes (Mac OS X version only) that renders the music with real 3D entities reacting to spectrum and waveform values and using advanced OpenGL techniques like Motion Blur and Light Bloom. [Download - 630KB]
Jumsoft has released Keynote Stills 2.0, featuring more than 100 brand-new, high-quality, high-resolution still-life images. These professional-grade photo images were designed for use in either Keynote or Pages. They are fully compatible with Microsoft’s PowerPoint 2004. They can be used with either Keynote 1 or 2 and look great exported as PDFs or any other format. Keynote Stills 2.0 comes as more than just a makeover of Jumsoft’s first edition of versatile transparent photo objects -- the new version is "100% new." Jumsoft’s transparent photo objects have no backgrounds. The 100-plus images lend themselves to illustrating a multitude of topics in business, education, science and more. The package is available as a download for $40.
SanDisk today announced the addition of a 2GB model to its line of portable Cruzer Titanium USB flash drives, a new 1GB xC-Picture card, and a new fingerprint-protected USB drive. SanDisk's Cruzer Profile is a portable, hi-speed USB 2.0 flash memory storage drive with added personal security capability to safeguard data. The fingerprint identification technology embedded in the Cruzer Profile helps restrict access to only the designated user of the Cruzer Profile. The stylish, compact Cruzer Profile is about the size of a pack of gum and will be sold in 512MB ($100) and 1GB ($200) capacities; it includes dual LED to indicate USB functionality/data transfer and status during biometric fingerprint operations. They will begin shipping in mid-April 2005 (but will require PC-based software for adjustment).
LuxPro today debuted its own version of the iPod shuffle: the Super shuffle. The flash-based player not only trades on Apple's 'shuffle' brand, but also is a virtual knockoff of the iPod shuffle, offering a stunningly similar appearance, but more features. Taiwan-based LuxPro designed the device with the same white plastic and white headphones as Apple's iPod shuffle; it features USB 2.0 connectivity, Win/Mac compatibility, a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (12-hour battery life), and support for MP3, MP3-VBR, WMA, WMA-DRM, WAV music formats. The music device also adds an FM radio tuner and voice recording functions. It is slightly larger than Apple's player, but features the same player interface (with additional buttons on the back of the device). It will be available in both 512MB and 1GB versions.
FireWire Depot has announces the G-PLAY, a personal multimedia player that lets users take movie, music and photo libraries with them. G-PLAY holds up to 20 full quality DVD movies, over 100 DivX videos, up to 25,000 songs and over 1,000,000 VGA quality digital photos. Users can download content from their computer to G-PLAY and then play it on any TV. G-PLAY plays many video formats including MPEG 1, MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 (DivX, etc.). G-PLAY also plays your personal DVD movies (ISO format) as if they were playing from the original DVD at full quality and with full DVD functionality (with menus, fast forward, pause, etc.). G-PLAY also doubles as an external hard drive for data files. It is available in 80GB or 100GB drive capacity (pricing starts at $330). G-PLAY is expected to ship March 23.
The San Jose Mercury News weighs in on Apple's "misguided" lawsuit against three Mac rumor websites. At the center of Apple's case is the question of whether the writers and publishers of these publications are legally definable as journalists. "Yes, they're still journalists ... The debate is not about who gets bragging rights to ink-stained wretchdom. It is about who is shielded under an important law that allows journalists to keep their sources confidential ... The Web sites -- AppleInsider, PowerPage and ThinkSecret -- have been writing about Apple for some time. The people behind them collect information that is of interest to the public and publish it for the consumption, primarily, of a throng of avid Macintosh fans. In other words, they perform a function that is little different from that of scores of trade publications, or even the business sections of major newspapers. The fact that they publish online and not in print is irrelevant. After all, no one would argue that online publications such as Salon.com, Slate and CNET -- not to mention MercuryNews.com or WashingtonPost.com -- are not journalism."
The open-source GRASS 6.0.0 is a Geographic Information System (GIS) used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. GRASS contains over 350 programs and tools to render maps and images on monitor and paper; manipulate raster, vector, and sites data; and process multi-spectral image data/spatial data. Version 6.0.0 introduces vector geometry management, attribute management, multibyte FreeType Font support, volume visualization, and more. It is available for free under a GPL-style license and runs on Mac OS X.
In Brief: Motorola said that its working on several mobile phones that are compatible with Apple's iTunes music service, and some can store eight hours of songs--though the E790, which was slated for a European launch this summer, has been delayed; Tower Grove ($290) is a fresh collection of 64 practical icons crafted especially for the needs of professional designers and software developers.... An article has appeared in a US education publication extolling the merits of the Mac platform and predicting that educators will want the Mac mini.... A MacNN reader has posted a review of the Agent 18 mini shield and mini shock cases for the iPod mini.... HealthWare has announced certification by ProxyMed, which will allow eligibility verification, claims tracking, electronic referrals and FTP submission using HealthWware's DentalMac, MediMac and ChiroMac software.
DEVONtechnologies has updated its professional Internet research tool and alternative Web browser DEVONagent ($35) to version 1.6. Version 1.6 now features quick search keywords that allow users to access all major search engines directly from the address field of web browser windows. Scheduled search runs now execute AppleScripts that can even interact with the search results. This greatly enhances DEVONagent's ability to integrate with other applications and workflows. The developer also released minor updates for its freeware applications EasyFind, ThumbsUp and XMenu.
Tri-Edre has announced Clone X 2.0.0, a disk copy utility for Mac OS X. Users can copy an entire disk to another disk, or to a set of CDs or DVDs. Copies are fully functional. Clone X provides restoration features as well, and bootable CD creation. It also allows users to copy a disk without the Users data, to create a master that can be used to install the same System and applications on different machines, for example. Additionally, it can create a bootable disk with a minimal System for diagnostic, testing, repair, and so on. Clone X can also perform disk comparison. Clone X costs $50 or 70 Euros.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced that Apple will become a member of the consortium's Board of Directors. The BDA was created to broaden support for Blu-ray Disc -- the next generation optical disc for storing High Definition movies, photos and other digital content. Blu-ray Discs will have five times larger capacity than today's DVDs, with a single-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 25GB of data and a double-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 50GB of data, while current DVDs hold 4.7B on single-layer discs and 8.5GB on dual-layer discs. In February, the BDA said its membership grew beyond 100 companies.
FileMaker has released a new update for its FileMaker database software: FileMaker Server 7 and FileMaker Server 7 Advanced. The FileMaker Server 7v3 updater addresses reported stability issues involving complex applications with large numbers of clients. The updater also includes important fixes for issues related to automated backups, maximum cache size settings and external authentication. The FileMaker update, strongly recommended by the company, includes two components: one for the Server component of the software and one for the Web Publishing Engine (WPE) component, which addresses reported stability and connectivity issues for web clients and also provides improvements for configuring the WPE, encrypting data transfer with the Server, and increasing the number of displayed records for Instant Web Publishing applications.
ThermaPAK offers a way to shield PowerBook users from heat generated by the computer. Excess heat can cause discomfort when using the computer for prolonged periods of time on your lap. ThermaPAK is a phase change material that goes from solid to liquid and vice versa when heat is absorbed and expelled, respectively. The material can revert "phases" for years without any noticeable changes in its heat capacity. ThermaPAK is comprised of an enclosure specifically designed to contain the phase change material and increase absorption of heat on surface contact. For convenience and simplicity, the active cooling device is built into a laptop sleeve. ThermaPAKs are priced at $50.
e2Sync PE v1.3 ($40) allows users to sync Microsoft Entourage data to .Mac, AddressBook, iCal, and other iSync-compatible devices/services, including popular cell phones, Palm-powered PDAs, iPods, etc. Version 1.3 fixes problems with duplicates and with large Entourage databases as well as brings compatibility with the Microsoft Office 11.1.1 update. [trial] Apple CHUD 4.1 tools (free) is a set of powerful performance tools for measuring and optimizing software performance on Mac OS X as well as for hardware bringup and system benchmarking. The tools work with Mac OS X 10.3 and Xcode. It offers bug fixes, support for 64-bit Mach-O 2.0 apps, improved code analysis, and more. [20.1MB] Calq 1.2 offers an on-screen, "floating window" calculator that can be activated by a custom hot-key. Calq will hide itself on inactivity and after switching to another application. Version 1.2 allows (multiple) standard calculations to be linked to single keystroke, a new optional menubar icon/menu, improved accuracy, and more. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2. [304KB] iGetter 2.2 ($25) adds a new QuickTime-based preview, an improved transfer log, a new speed limiter slider, support for "Content-Disposition" HTTP protocol for proper file renamng, and support for FTPS. iGetter is a full featured download manager and accelerator for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [1.2MB] Audio Toolbox 1.7.0 ($20) adds AppleScript support and brings several bug fixes to the audio function generator. Without any additional hardware, users can produce sine, square, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms of any frequency up to 22 kHz, as well as generate noise and more. [Classic, OSX] Navicat 5.3.2 ($95), a MySQL client, now offers support for Character Set of MySQL, and adds a Filter Wizard feature. The database management tool can perform MySQL administration and database development, import/export functions, backup data, transfer database from server to server, create visual sql queries and manage multiple databases on local or remote MySQL server. [2.4MB]
Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst Gene Munster concludes "recent competitive rumblings from Sony and Yahoo! have created a buying window for shares of AAPL ahead of what we believe will be a solid March quarter and June guidance," highlighted by the emerging "halo" effect. The firm says that despite product introductions from Sony and Yahoo!, "Apple's competitive position is strong and in some segments may become even stronger."
Iridient Digital today released RAW Developer 1.2, a major update to its RAW image conversion application for photographers. This update brings major improvements to the speed of preview updates when making image adjustments as well as improves image loading speed for many cameras--by as much as 25 percent. This release also features an all new image information window that provides detailed display of file and EXIF meta data, improves auto rotation support, and add support for Adobe's DNG file format. In addition, it adds support for RAW files from a number of additional cameras.
PodGear has released PocketParty, a "micro speaker" solution for third and fourth generation iPods. It features 1 watt of stereo sound output from two tiny speakers, up to 10 hours of play from a single AA battery, a low weight of 38 grams. It does not affect the iPod's internal battery. Additionally, there is no extra adjustment for volume: it is controlled through the iPod. PodGear is based in the U.K., and currently has European distributors only. Pricing is not available online. Users who sign up with PodGear get a chance to win iPod accessories, including the PocketParty.
VVI has announced the release of DAQ Plot 9.8.6, the latest version of its tool to measure voltages from sensors and presents them in an intuitive strip chart format. This new version upgrades speed to 50,000 voltage measurements per second. It also includes a new tool called DAQ Command which is used to program real-time control loops to automate voltage measurement and machine control. Additionally, the update adds a recording state input channel so recording can start and stop according to an applied voltage or other real-time transform of an input signal such as derivative or integration.
Motorola has indefinitely postponed the launch of its much anticipated iTunes phone, which the company had expected to debut a CeBIT on Thursday. A report in the Chicago Tribune says it was postponed "due to last-minute message from a wireless carrier or carriers, and indefinitely postponed the announcement." The report says that Motorola had previewed the iTunes phone to the media earlier this week and had expected a public launch on Thursday. Motorola said the announcement would come closer to when the phone hits the market, which is expected sometime this summer.
QuickerTek today announced that its 27dBm Plug and Play Transceiver is now available is compatible with the complete range of Apple's Airport Base Stations including the Graphite, AirPort Extreme with antenna port and Airport Base Station Extreme with the antenna port. This antenna maximizes the wireless power available to Airport users under Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It does not require disassembly and offers 500mW of power (versus the 30mW in the AirPort BS). Unlike the previous model, this new 27dbm transceiver operates on all 2.4GHz, Wi-Fi systems, supporting both 802.11g and 802.11b wireless networks. The $180 kit comes with mounting brackets, adapter cable, wall mounted power supply and utility software CD.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives