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Dvorak on lawsuits
John C. Dvorak says "In a recent hissy-fit, Apple Computer got bent out of shape after revelations about a future product appeared on three different websites that specialize in news and gossip about the company ... These sites, after all were Apple boosters. It made no sense for Apple to attack them ... Apparently bloggers are not protected despite the fact that blogs, and indeed any online content, are publications no different ... This legal issue will develop over the next few years, but it does not bode well for a free press if you can declare one sort of information outlet legitimate, and another illegitimate." Meanwhile, Scotsman.comattempts to tackle the issue: "In the end, the judge ... ruled that Apple's trade secrets were more important than a journalist's right to protect their sources or the public's right to know what's going on ... So, in California at least, Apple has destroyed journalism by undermining the most vital tool of our trade: the ability to receive information without having to shop the person who told you. This is a simply insane piece of PR by the computer company."
New Tiger build
In brief: Opera Beta 3 (not yet available for Mac) is the first browser to natively support SVG technology.... Apple has seeded Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger Build 8A414, according to AppleInsider.... FileMaker says leading advertising agencies Deutsch, JWT, Lowe, McCann Erickson, Ogilvy, and TBWAChiatDay have selected FileMaker Pro 7 database solutions to help manage their creative and business processes.... The Final Cut Pro Users Group will be meeting at Mac Business Solutions, in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m tonight (Professional Video Days are March 16-17 at Mac Business Solutions).
Fast ViewSonic LCDs
ViewSonic today announced what it calls the world's fastest LCD monitors. Featuring 4 millisecond (ms) average video response time across the entire color scale, the 19-inch VX924 (shipping in May) and 17-inch VX724 (shipping in June) deliver fluid, full-motion images and optimized video performance for a variety of applications. According to the manufacturer, many high-end displays on the market today having an average gray-to-gray (or intermediate level) response time of 30 to 35ms, ViewSonic's Xtreme LCD lineup provides response time performance up to 8 times faster. The VX924 and VX724 are the first desktop displays to combine ViewSonic's Dynamic Structure and Amplified Impulse video response acceleration technologies to support rates of up to 250 frames per second across the entire color scale.
Dejal Simon 2.0c1
Dejal Systems today announced Simon 2.0c1, an update to its site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. Simon checks sites for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, or other means. It enables users to track updated sites, and to notify you when an important site goes down or recovers. This is a General Candidate release of a major upgrade to Simon. Along with many usability improvements, it delivers a much-requested new feature set: a new Port service, that enables you to engage in a telnet-like conversation with any server, e.g. POP, SMTP, SSH, and more. This release contains all of the features of the General release, other than the French localization and any last-minute tweaks. The new release is a free upgrade for purchasers of Simon from July 1, 2004. Three license levels are available: "Basic", allowing up to 7 tests, priced at $30; "Standard", allowing up to 20 tests, at $60; and "Enterprise", allowing an unlimited number of tests, priced at $200.
Swift TTS software for OSX
Cepstral has released its Swift Text-to-Speech (TTS) software for Mac OS X. "The advanced operating system has complete built-in support for speech technology, and can take advantage of Cepstral's high quality, natural sounding voices." Cepstral says that Apple has built speech services directly into the operating system and user interface. "With Cepstral's new 3.2 release, Cepstral voices integrate directly under the Apple Speech Manager, and are then available to all applications and services that use TTS." The integrated speech technology allows vocalization of all types of menus, system alerts, web browser, and text content anywhere without requiring a separate program. Cepstral's portfolio includes 18 voices in 6 languages. David, the newest voice, is optimized for reading news and browser content. Cepstral voices are free to try and available for $30 each.
AudioOutfitters, an emerging marketer of iPod accessories, today announced its car charger for the iPod Shuffle: the ezCharge Shuffle is designed for "people on the go and users shouldn't have to wait until they get home to recharge their iPod Shuffles." The ezCharge Shuffle comes in iPod white and includes a high quality coiled cable and a fuse protected car plug. The suggested retail price for the ezCharge Shuffle is $25. The ezCharge Shuffle will be available in late March at various iPod resellers and distributors including MicroEnterprises. The company also recently introduced acrylic clearCase for the iPod and its ezGear ezArmor Protective Case for the iPod.
An Apple support document details an issue with new PowerBook G4 models where the trackpad temporarily stops tracking or behaves erratically. The issue affects 12-inch 1.5GHz, 15-inch 1.67/1.5GHz, and 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook models. Apple recommends using a single finger when operating the trackpad, as "multiple fingers could cause erratic behavior." If the problem is not a result of improper use, Apple suggests resetting the trackpad by placing your entire palm directly onto the whole track pad for 3 to 4 seconds. "In most cases, trackpad operation will return to normal. If so, this resolution should work if you ever see the issue again." Apple says is aware of the issues and is investigating the problems.
New skins for iPod
iPodStyles has launched a new range of stylish skins for the Apple's iPod and iPod shuffle. "Give your new iPod and shuffle a new look in seconds and protect it from abuse at the same time. Each ready-to-apply full-color skin comes with an ultra-high resolution full-color design that is printed on premium grade adhesive-backed vinyl. The skin is then covered with a clear protective layer for the ultimate in durability." The company says the skins use a patented repositionable, removable and reusable adhesive backing for fast, easy and accurate installation, and goo-free removal.
AudioOutfitters, has released clearCase, a $20 hard carrying case that provides protection to the entire iPod while leaving it visible. The case is made of ultra-clear acrylic, has openings on the top and bottom for access to all ports, and an opening for the clickwheel. The top of the clearCase flips open for simple insertion and removal of the iPod. The clearCase comes with a detachable clearClip and a lanyard. The clearCase comes in three sizes - clearCase 20GB for 4th generation and HP iPods, clearCase 40GB for iPod 4th Generation, and the clearCase Mini for iPod Minis. The clearCase 20GB and clearCase Mini begin shipping today. The clearCase 40GB will ship later in March.
ABFA, The Fontz...
A Better Finder Attributes 3.8 ($10) is a utility that enables users to change file attributes that the Finder cannot modify (such as date of creation, hiding, etc.). The new release provides the ability to add (and substract) time intervals from the existing file modification and creation date/times. [Download - 1.7MB]
Jon's Phone Tool 2.2.1 ($12) is a versatile phone dialer that can dial a Bluetooth mobile phone or regular land line through your Mac's modem or speakers. The new version introduces a completely revised the main window interface, optional dial confirmation, the ability to pause iTunes, DVD Player, and set iChat status when dialing, and more. [Download - 2.1MB]
The Fontz 4.1 is a versatile font utility that allows you to browse installed and uninstalled fonts, see what they look like at different type sizes, styles and colors, and even group them in like categories using a "wysiwyg" group editor. New in this version is a preference option to set default sample text in Fontz Viewer, the option to show font names, and font names listed along with sample text in Fontz Viewer. [Download - 2.1MB]
Keychain Macros X ($10) enables users to browse the Web more securely by allowing users to set different secure names and passwords for each Web page that requires a login. Keychain Macros X is a keyboard macro program. This means that when you type a key combination that you have defined, known as a "hot key" or "trigger key", Keychain Macros X will then type a replacement string for you. [Download - 896KB]
Gradekeeper 5.7 ($20) "is powerful grade book application that "is as easy to use as your paper gradebook." Version 5.7 adds a new student summary report, lists recently opened files in the File menu, remembers Page Setup settings, now copies Gradekeeper Conduit to proper location, and more. [Download - 3.5MB]
Dobry Backuper 1.1 ($30) is an updated version of the new backup software built for Mac OS X. This version adds the support for resource forks, HFS file types and creators, national file names and paths, optimizes memory usage and improves the support for huge backups. [Download - 684KB]
Vue 5 Infinite ships
e-on software has begun shipping Vue 5 Infinite, the newest version of the company's flagship solution for the creation of natural 3D environments. Specifically designed for graphics professionals, Vue 5 Infinite combines a multitude of cutting edge features such as the revolutionary new EcoSystem technology that easily integrate into existing production pipelines by integrating with and extending major 3D applications, such as Discreet 3D Studio MAX, Alias Maya, NewTek LightWave, and Maxon Cinema4D. Vue 5 Infinite retails for $600, with upgrades available from Vue 4 Professional for $150 until March 31.
Rage WebDesign 2.6
New Iomega hard drives
Iomega today announced the new Iomega Portable Hard Drive, an ultra-slim high-capacity device that includes Iomega Automatic Backup Pro software for backup and disaster recovery. The company also introduced its External Hard Drive Silver Series, a Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) external device that also includes Iomega Automatic Backup software. The Silver Series drives feature a silver enclosure and high-performance 7200 RPM drives. Iomega Automatic Backup software features automatic backups whenever a file changes, custom schedules, multiple backup locations, file versioning, caching of backup data when backup media is offline/not available, and drag & drop restoration. The Silver Series is now available in 80GB ($120), 160GB ($150) and 250GB ($200) capacities.
Google X frontend
Google has launched a Mac OS X-themed interface to its Internet search engine. Google X features a Dock-like navigation bar that mimics the Mac OS X Dock's zooming feature. Many MacNN readers point to the tag line at the bottom of the page, which reads "Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X rocks. Homage to you." Google Labs operates a number of experimental and speciality search tools, including Google SMS, Google Scholar, and Google Suggest.
PJ on iPod \"halo effect\"
Research firm Piper Jaffray today said it believes Apple will gain share in the personal computer market over the next 2-3 years. Senior analyst Gene Munster attributes this potential to the iPod 'halo effect,' "continuous innovation leading to highly functional products at realistic price points," and security/performance issues for Windows-based PCs.
iPod case colors
Tunewear has announced four new patterns for its Prie Hook cases for the iPod 4G / photo. The new stylish patterns are "Silver Crocodile," "Black Crocodile," "Python," and "Black Enamel." The new colorful Prie Hook models will be available by the end of March for $55. Prie Hook has a flexible hook that makes it easy to hook an iPod to any kind of loop such as a belt loop or bag strap. Prie Hook cases are made from smooth genuine leather. The bottom cover flips open for access to the iPod dock connector. Prie Hook offers a "flexible inner architecture" so that it can fit any size standard iPod (which vary in thickness slightly based on hard drive size and generation).
Apple Store refurbs
Apple has added a number of refurbished models to the 'Special Deals' section of the Apple Store. The company is now offering the 1.6GHz 17-inch iMac G5 (256MB/80GB/Combo) for $1,100 and the upgraded 1.8GHz model for $1,250 (17-inch with SuperDrive) and $1,600 (20-inch with SuperDrive and 160GB drive). Apple is also offering a wide variety of Power Mac G5 models, starting at $1,200 (single-processor 1.6GHz). Other models include the 1.8GHz G5 ($1,300 for 256MB/80GB or $1,400 for 512MB/160GB), the dual-1.8GHz ($1,700 or $1,800), dual-2GHz ($2000 or $2100), and dual-2.5GHz ($2,600). The 14-inch 1.33GHz iBook is also available for $1,100, featuring 256MB of RAM, 60GB drive, Combo drive and built-in AirPort Extreme card (with the SuperDrive-enabled version priced at $1,300). In addition, AirPort Express Base Stations ($100), Wireless Keyboard ($50), Wireless Mouse ($50), and eMacs (starting at $550) are available.
shuffletatu iPod covers
The shuffletatu (pronounced shuffle tah-too) for the iPod shuffle combines a durable, high-gloss Mylar covering with colorful designs to provide iPod shuffle owners with a non-permanent way to customize the look of their iPod shuffle, as well as protect it from scuffs and scratches. "shuffletatus allow iPod shuffle owners to change the personality of their iPod." The initial release of shuffletatus will feature 33 different designs, including 12 national flags, 'cow' and 'flower' designs, an assortment of solid colors and stripes, and 10 shuffletatu designs from award winning graphic designer Andres Conde of Digital Assault. All 33 shuffletatu designs are available for order today with prices ranging from $2.50 to $3.50 each. Selected three-packs and five packs are also available for $7 and $10.
DALiM DiALOGUE for OS X
Dalim Software has released DALiM DiALOGUE 3.0, an update to its standalone application that enables remote and collaborative viewing and soft proofing of high-resolution files (such as PDF, PDF/X, PostScript, CT/LW, TIFF, etc.) in realtime via the internet. It utilizes unique data-streaming technology to standard web-browsers, allowing users to view high-resolution files without the need for client software or browser plug-ins. Version 3.0 features new job approval and color management features. DALiM DiALOGUE runs on Mac OS X and is specifically designed as a stand-alone product compatible with a range of automated workflows.
Nikon Coolpix S1
Nikon today introduced its ultra-slim Coolpix S1, a 5.1-megapixel camera featuring new Face Priority AF (Auto Focus) feature, enhanced image quality and improved speed--all within a new ultra-compact design that is 0.75-inches thick and weighs only 4.2 oz (without battery and card). It features a bright 2.5-inch LCD screen, a 3x optical zoom Nikkor lense, automatic red-eye adjustment, and exclusive new D-Lighting function to compensate for insufficient flash or excessive back lighting. The S1 is also equipped with Blur Warning and features reduced battery consumpution. Other features include a rechargeable EN-EL8 lithium-ion battery, continuous shooting at 1.8 fps, a startup time of less than two seconds, USB 1.1 connectivity, PictBridge compatibility, 4x digital zoom, SD/MMC card compatibility, VGA movie mode (with sound), a redesigned GUI for function navigation, and more. It will ship with a cradle in April for $380.
Dual-core PowerPC 970MP
In Brief: IBM has quietly posted information on the dual 64-bit core PowerPC970MP processor, confirming the existence of the chip and providing some information on its integrated thermal diodes.... From Google Labs, Google X is Mac OS X-style web front-end to the popular search engine, offering the same services but with a Dock-like interface to all of Google's services.... The internet-based "instant online conversion" service adds support for Microsoft Office 2003 XML as well as several other new file formats, converting files between most word processor, spreadsheet, graphics, and database as well as performing letter-perfect conversion to PDF format.... Apple's iPod and the burgeoning number of competitors increased shipments of MP3 players by 116 percent in 2004.
iTunes phone delay redux
Apple's corporate product launch strategy partly caused last week's delay of the Motorola iTunes phone launch, according to Motorola who downplayed the perceived problems with carrier networks (as previously reported). Reuters reports that "In response to a question about why Motorola did not show its upcoming iTunes phone at CeBIT, Motorola said it tends to display its products before they go on the market but Apple's Chief Executive Steve Jobs does not. 'The first thing you're seeing here is a merger of two different industries with different ideas of launching products. Steve's perspective is that you launch a product on Sunday and sell it on Monday." Motorola said it is on schedule to deliver two phones that can play music downloaded from the iTunes service this year, with one coming on the market in the first half of the year and another in the second half.
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