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Refurb iMacs, displays
Apple has added more refurbished low-end iMac G5s and Cinema Displays to the Apple Store. The company is offering the 1.6GHz 17-inch iMac G5 with 256 of RAM, 80GB, and a Combo optical drive for $1,100. The upgraded 1.8GHz model with a SuperDrive is $1,250, while the 1.8GHz 20-inch model with a 160GB drive (and SuperDrive) is $1,600. Apple is also offering both its legacy 23" flat-panel display ($1,400) and its new-generation 23" Aluminum-bezel Cinema Displays ($1,500) as well its 30-inch Apple Cinema Display ($2,600). In its 'Sale' section, Apple is offering a new 1.33GHz PowerBook G4 (256MB/ 60GB/ SuperDrive) with iLife '05 for $1,500 as well as new models of its legacy iPods: 40GB iPod photo ($380) and 60GB iPod photo ($480). These include the dock, carry case, and FireWire cable (unlike the current generation models). Pink, Blue, Green, and Silver models of the (new) legacy iPod mini are also available for $180 (with FireWire cable).
Forums roundup for Mar 18
Topics on the MacNN forums today include: Speculation about the possibility of quad-processor Power Macs.... One members problems with a PowerBook G4's SuperDrive and DVD write speed.... A change in how Apple distributes iLife with the Mac mini.... Forum members' reasoning for buying different iPod models.... Members' suggestions to Apple for fixing minor issues in Mac OS X.
\"Free iPod\" schemes
San Francisco Chronicle looks at the widespread "free iPod" offers circulating online. "This one is from something called Incentive Reward Center, which is typically reached via Web-site banner ads and promises a free iPod ... What it doesn't say is that the offer terms will expose you to reams of spam and marketing solicitations ... [it] will almost certainly cost you money." The Incentive Reward Center is in fact a Florida business entity called Theuseful.com, "which is in fact a fictitious business name registered by another Florida business entity called NiuTech." As for NiuTech, the Better Business Bureau says the company has an "unsatisfactory record ... due to unanswered complaints concerning advertising and delivery issues." A supporter of the service said one of the pitches he was required to sign up for cost about $150. "I wouldn't recommend it to the average person ... You really have to know what you're doing, signing up for things and then canceling them. You have to document everything you do."
The 1394b FireWire Isolator ($32) cable helps to protect a computer's FireWire ports. "We have had such great response to our 1394a firewire port isolator cable that people started asking us for a 1394b version." This isolator cable fixes problems in long chains of many seperatly self powered firewire devices. These isolators prevent noise from the interconnected power lines from causing problems in long chains or where major differences. The isolator cable will help weed out bad cables, because a poorly made cable that does not adhere to the spec will fail using the isolator cable. You can continue to hot-swap devices (this cable does not pass bus power). The isolator cable has been designed to prevent charges from bad cables and faulty devices from going back up line and damaging the motherboard (such as the reported PowerBook problem many users have encountered).
MaxUpgrades has announced the MaxSleeve for PowerBooks and iBooks. The MaxSleeve is an impact resistant sleeve for PowerBooks and iBooks that provides shock protection. It's made of Visco-Elastic Memory Foam and encloses the whole notebook. There's foam padding throughout the entire surface. The MaxSleeve has a two-zipper pull design and a closed zipper type. The zippers don't come in contact with the laptop. The MaxSleeve is designed to be slipped into a notebook bag or briefcase. Pricing ranges from $23 to $28.
AAPL vs. MSFT
As a part of its "Stock Madness 2005," The Motley Fool compares the stocks of Apple and Microsoft. The article offers both pro-Apple and pro-Microsoft perspectives. For Apple, Bill Mann writes: "Apple is the prospector, the trailblazer, and yes, perhaps even a Rule Breaker. Microsoft is the Borg. Apple's technology tends to work extremely well and is intuitive. Microsoft's works with everything, eventually. Microsoft will never, ever, ever come up with a piece of functional engineering as breathtakingly beautiful as the iMac." For Microsoft, Rich Smith writes: "Microsoft's the more profitable company. It's better run. And the only place where Apple scores higher: the price tag ... Of course, you know all that already. You've known it for 19 years. So here's something you may not know, and that's of crucial importance to you as an investor: Microsoft is the more shareholder-friendly company."
In brief: Users may be able to address a problem with the iWork updater by moving the iWork application.... e2Sync today introduced a German localized version of e2Sync PE ($40).... Morgan Stanley became the fourth analyst this week to raise its estimates for Apple this quarter, upgrading Apple to "overweight" Friday.... MacNN reader Eric Lansaw has posted photos from the opening of Apple's Jacksonville, FL store.... David Pogue has posted a video review of Delicious Library on NYTimes.com.
Edirol ships R-4
Edirol announced that its R-4 portable digital recorder is now shipping. Furthermore, the R-4 has been expanded to include support for Broadcast Wave Format file (BWF). The R-4 can now write the required metadata to comply with BWF standard. This allows the R-4 to function as an even more powerful portable 4-channel field recorder with a wider range of potential uses making it easier to import the audio into a wide selection of devices and software programs. The R-4 is uniquely designed to offer sound professionals a cost-effective, high-quality solution to multi-channel field recording. The R-4 can record at audio resolutions up to 24-bit/96kHz on all four channels for complete high-resolution multi-channel performance. The R-4 records directly to an internal 40GB hard drive providing storage capacity for 58 hours of 16-bit/44.1kHz stereo recording or over 17 hours at 24-bit/96kHz.
iPod accessory ship dates
DVForge today said it would ship The Clips on April 6th. The Clips is a $15 set of three alternative carrying gadgets for the iPod shuffle. The company also announced April 8th as the shipping date of its new JamPlug FM plug-in FM music transmitter for electric guitar or bass guitar. JamPlug FM is a 1.2" x 1.8" x 3.5" gloss white module that plugs into the output jack of any electric guitar or electric bass, and then transmit the output form the instrument to any nearby FM radio, boombox, car stereo, or home stereo receiver. JamPod, a guitar practice amp module for the iPod and iPod mini, will also begin shipping on April 8th (see original report for Macworld Expo). JamPod plugs into the headphone jack and the remote port on top of any dock connector model iPod or iPod mini.
PyMusique for iTMS
Three developers have released PyMusique, a music utility that claims to let users download music from Apple's iTunes store without any plackback restrictions. The songs bought with PyMusique, which claims to be " The fair interface to the iTunes Music Store," are not protected Apple's FairPlay DRM technology, allowing users to playback the songs on any number of computers and bypassing the 5-computer limit imposed by FairPlay. Based on the Python scripting language, the application is a clearl violation of Apple's Terms of Service, which prohibits access to the iTunes Music Store from any other application other than the iTunes application. PyMusique allows users to preview songs, sign up for an iTunes account, buy new songs, and redownload previously purchased songs, a feature not available for users of iTunes.
WMV9 Export for QuickTime
Popwire today shipped its Windows Media 9 Export Component for QuickTime. The QuickTime component for Mac OS X allows users to encode Windows Media 9 content from QuickTime-based products such as Final Cut Pro, iMovie and Discreet Cleaner. It includes 32 professional presets embedded in the component, allowing users to produce windows media content at any bitrate or connection. "We decided to make the QuickTime component because many users wanted a very simple way of producing Windows Media without having to pay a fortune, create settings or be an encoding expert." It is available now for $30.
Pipe 1.2 for Mac OS X
Pipe 1.2 for Mac OS X is a Mac OS X Cocoa application made for developers and people who are interested in learning and experimenting with scripting languages. "With Pipe's intuitive three-pane layout, script development hasn't been easier before. You can simultaneously see your program, input data, if needed, and output data. Effects of changes to the script code can be seen immediately when you run the script in Pipe. This makes it the ideal tool for learning new scripting languages and deepen your inderstanding of already learnt languages." Pipe directly supports scripts that generate images or HTML code, supports external editors, and makes each accessible from anywhere in Mac OS X through the services menu. Pipe is available for $15.
Sync Buddy 2.0
Florent Pillet has released Sync Buddy 2.0, a new version of the popular active connection software for Palm OS handhelds. It is a backup, installation and photo management tool for Mac OS X users with Palm handhelds or smartphones. A full rewrite in Cocoa for Mac OS X only, Sync Buddy 2.0 offers a direct connection to Palm handhelds through USB, bluetooth or WiFi. The update also features a revamped interface, a powerful backup feature and a fast photo management interface. Sync Buddy is $25 shareware available in English and French.
MacGourmet 1.1 ($25) is a recipe, wine note and cooking note organizer application that makes organizing, printing and publishing your recipes and notes easy. Version 1.1 features many more print options, improvements in shopping lists, new .Mac publishing templates, sample recipes, and more. [Download - 2.2MB]
CrushFTP 3.8 ($25) is a FTP professional server with SSL/TLS, multihoming, virtual servers, users/groups, ratios, quotas, bandwidth limiters, remote admin, and more. This update fixes bug with Transmit 3, fixed compatibility with some firewalls, and "overall minor bug fixes in preparation for more major changes to come." [Download - 2.5MB]
iStopMotion ($40) is a solution for stop motion animation and time lapse capture. With Version 1.8, Boinx Software introduces a new pro level feature to iStopMotion which helps animators to synchronise their animation to a given soundtrack. [Download - 1.0MB]
PhotoStickies 5.4 displays one or more photos (located on your local drives or in the Internet) on your screen, shows webcam pictures, acts as a fast image viewer, and records and replays slideshows. Version 5.4 allows users to open a saved state via the Finder, opens URL files via drag-and-drop and comes with a number of internal performance enhancements. [Download - 12MB]
myPhoto 1.5 is the easiest way to share you photos--it automatically shares your digital photo albums stored in iPhoto on the Internet with no effort on your part. This release is a major update, adding a substantially improved, fast caching system that builds the site before anyone looks at it. [Download - 3.4MB]
IconBuilder Pro 5.1 ($70) is the latest version of the professional icon creation utility. The new update adds support for Fireworks MX 2004. [Download - 4.5MB]
The \'Mac opportunity\'
Startup companies that focus on Windows-only product launches are missing a huge 'Mac opportunity.' Business 2.0 says that companies' focus on the largest demographic and the most commonly used platform is misguided: "I think these companies are focusing too much on the numbers and missing the more promising opportunity. Why? Because rolling out a product for the Mac platform ensures a certain buzz and élan, which begets more buzz, which begets sales. Let me explain. By some estimates there are 5 million active Mac users. Not a lot, that's for sure. But among them are most of the influencers -- high-profile bloggers, most (if not all) technology journalists, and, of course, the hipsters."
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