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IT departments & Macs
IT specialist Chad Dickerson says "I love Macs and I use one myself, but I can't afford to spend time supporting them." Dickerson often tells coworkers who ask if they can use a Mac at his company "If you promise not to ask for support or help of any kind, sure." This attitude comes from the difficulty of integrating Macs into PC-Dominated environments. "Virtual PC is hardly proof that you can run Windows applications on a Mac. On my 1.25GHz PowerBook with 1GB of RAM, I feel like I'm being punished every time I launch it." And, if enterprise end-users use Virtual PC for anything mission-critical, "IT has to figure out a way to manage another Windows machine, virtual or not, viruses and all." Dickerson points out that with new Mac switchers, "IT could potentially face a whole crop of end-users who are not the kind of self-supporting Mac enthusiasts to which we've all grown accustomed."
Black Box for guitarists
M-Audio today launched Black Box, its creative tool for guitarists that combines amp modeling, powerful beat-synced effects, guitar/mic preamps and drum tracks with an audio interface for computer-based recording. The Black Box can be used in either standalone mode or hosted via most popular music software. It features realistic emulations of 12 guitar amps, including Fender Bassman, Fender Deluxe, Fender Twin, Vox AC-30, Marshall JTM-45, Marshall Plexi, Marshall JCM-2000, Hiwatt DR-103, Soldano SLO-100, Mesa Boogie Maverick, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Bogner Uberschall--covering virtually every type of tone required by modern guitarists.
Legal threats working?
Apple's recent lawsuit against ThinkSecret and quest to subpoena information about confidential source from Mac journalists have not stopped the Mac rumormill, according to The New York Times: "So far, the letters appear to have done nothing to reduce Ciarelli's enthusiasm. He has continued to publish articles about Apple's product plans. Apple's continued legal barrage has also stirred up the community of Web sites and Web logs, or blogs, that routinely speculate on the company's product plans. Several operators said that Apple's legal campaign did not appear to have slowed the flow of information about details and announcement dates of products." The article notes that Apple this week has sent cease & desist letters to a number of websites about the (private) release of a new build of Mac OS X developers.
Eovia VectorStyle 2
Eovia today released its VectorStyle 2 plugin, which allows Eovia Carrara 4 users to render 3D scenes as high-quality, scaleable, low bandwidth vector animations. The new VectorStyle 2 plugin features dramatically improved rendering, including shadows from multiple light sources, reflections, transparency and much more. Leveraging Eovia's new EoVEC Technology, the plugin can be combined with Carrara 4 Pro or Standard to produce images and motion files in output formats including Macromedia Flash (SWF), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). VectorStyle 2 is $120 (full version) or $40 (upgrade).
OmniGraffle 3.2 released
The Omni Group today released OmniGraffle 3.2, a free update to the diagramming and drawing application for Mac OS X. The new version includes Japanese, German, French, and Italian localizations. Version 3.2 also provides support for the OmniOutliner 3 file format: you can now import OmniOutliner 3 files into OmniGraffle in order to display outline information graphically. Other updates include improvements to the Action inspector, and a number of overall fixes. OmniGraffle is $70, while OmniGraffle Professional ($120) adds Visio import/export, multipage document and multiple window support, manual guides, presentation mode, the ability to save workspaces, favorites, ColorSync, and 'mouseless editing'.
New PowerBookResQ service
MacResQ has announced a new PowerBook flat-rate LCD replacement service as part of its PowerBookResQ repair program. The new service "offers PowerBook and iBook owners a quick and easy way to fix the display with PowerBookResQ's premier service and nationwide convenience." The price for the flat-rate LCD replacement starts at $400 and includes three-way overnight shipments, including shipping the "PowerBox" to the customer, return shipping to the PowerBookResQ service center, and shipment back to the customer). The comapny says it will install a new LCD within 24 hours of receipt.
Lawsuit settled over Tiger
Apple said on Wednesday that it has settled a civil lawsuit with one of three men it sued for distributing pre-release copies of Mac OS X Tiger, the next version of its operating system. The defendeant, who distributed copies of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger on a file-sharing Web site, has settled a case brought by Apple last December but is still the subject of a criminal investigation. As a student member of the Apple Developer Connection, Steigerwald was given early test copies of Tiger, which Apple says is set for release by June (although rumors say it could be introduced as early as next month).
No Mozilla 1.8
Firefox 1.0.2 is the latest version of the Mozilla-based Web browser. Version 1.0.2 is a security and stability update that is part of Firefox's "ongoing program to provide a safe Internet experience for our customers." In related news, the Mozilla Foundation has published its Mozilla Application Suite transition plan, ending days of speculation about the future of the SeaMonkey project. The announcement confirms that there will be no official Mozilla 1.8 release and offers an apology to all those who believed that there would be. The 1.7.x line will be the last set of Mozilla Application Suite products released and maintained by the Mozilla Foundation and all future suite versions from the Foundation will be minor updates only
iPod shuffle giveaway
In brief: Apple is giving away an iPod shuffle to college students every week through September 30th.... A review explores using Kensington's VESA standard Desk Mount Monitor Arm and Apple's 20" Cinema display.... e2Sync today introduced a French localized version of e2Sync PE.... Yahoo has expanded its e-mail storage to allow users to retain 1 gigabyte of email -- as much as Google's Gmail.
MS flash MP3 guide
Microsoft's "PlayForSure" has published "six tips for buying an MP3 player with flash memory." The checklist, which offers advice that appears to be geared against iPod's shuffle, advises users to "make sure you're getting all the goodies" -- voice recording, FM recording, and a stopwatch. The report also says "you'll want a display ... this is critical if you want to find that one song or artist you really want to hear." The list emphasizes FM radio: "let a professional make your next playlist ... having an FM radio lets you put your player on autopilot." On the topic of music purchasing, PlayForSure says "don't get locked into one online store ...Having the flexibility to choose from over 1 million tracks of music from multiple online music stores such as MSN Music, Napster, MusicMatch, and Wal-Mart can be the key to getting the music you want."
School bans iPods
The teenagers' gadget of choice, the iPod, has been banned by a Sydney private school because they lead to "social isolation." The principal of International Grammar School, Kerrie Murphy, said her decision to ban the devices coincided with the international debate on how "people were not tuning into other people because they're tuned into themselves". She was also worried that students using iPods could not hear teachers, that the iPods put stress on ears when played at high volumes and were a security risk. "They allow students to avoid communication with others and may lead to social isolation or escape from our community," she told parents in a letter last week. Murphy said yesterday that significant numbers of her Ultimo secondary school's 500 students had shown up at the start of new year with iPods. "I think iPods are fantastic, they're brilliant pieces of technology but kids don't need them at school."
Glowing Pages review
The Detroit Free Press says new programs such as Apple's Pages can "turn users into design experts." Wendland says that, eventually, "every computer owner gets the urge to make something slick, be it a family newsletter, a brochure for your kid's soccer team or even a cover for that genealogy research you've been doing." Wendland says after "first being blasť" about Apple's Pages, he is now now gaga over it." "The more I use it, the more blown away I am by its elegance. Alas, it only works with Apple computers, but with all the people who have been switching to the Mac platform recently, we need to talk about it ... It's clean, crisp, very flexible and so easy to use you don't even need to read the instructions. Style is what sets Pages apart. It comes with about 40 design templates that cover everything from invitations to newsletters, brochures, press releases and school or business reports."
$35 rebate on Tiger
Amazon is offering a a $35 rebate on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, the next generation of Apple's operating system. Expected to ship in the first half of this year (and rumored to ship next month), Mac OS X 10.4 will bring several new features and enhancements to the Mac operating system. Amazon is offering a special $35 mail-in rebate, bringing the final price to $95. The promotion applies to all purchases made by May 31st (and postmarked by July 1st). The retail price is $130 and Amazon says it will ship the product as soon it arrives with no specific delivery date offered. [no longer available for order]
Mad Catz iKit for iPod
Mad Catz Interactive today announced its iKit bundles for iPod and iPod mini are now shipping. The iKit bundle contains a high performance RCA cable to connect an iPod to a home stereo, a car adapter with a 6-foot extension cord and an elegant horizontal carry case. The iKit is available for $40: "With a rapidly growing user base already in the tens of millions, the iPod is one of the hottest products launched in the history of consumer electronics, and we are leveraging our capabilities of design, manufacturing and access to the distribution channel to expand our potential market and add new revenue streams for Mad Catz."
OWC 16x DL SuperDrive
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced the latest addition to its line of SuperDrives: the OWC Mercury Pro DVR-109 dual-layer DVD-/+ R/RW external solution. As the fastest of OWC's Mercury Pro SuperDrives, the new SuperDrive offers up to 16X DVD-/+ R/RW and up to 40X CD-R/RW burn speeds. OWC's Mercury Pro DVR-109 external SuperDrive solution includes both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports, supports the burning of up to 8.5GB of data or video per disc and comes with a one year OWC warranty. The drive is immediately available for $160 along with NTI DragonBurn, EMC Dantz Retrospect backup and restore software, five DVD-Rs in jewel cases, 25 pieces of 80-minute CD-R media and all necessary connecting cables.
KeynotePro has announced the release of Pavilion for Keynote 2, a contemporary interpretation of the enduring style of Deco-era sign and environmental design. "Pavilion takes its inspiration from the classic sophistication of Deco-styled glass-on-post panels - in a modernist interpretation bridging the timeless look of the original to thoroughly modern type and layout styles set against a foundation of polished aluminum." The result is a crisp theme, with a color-neutral balance. Pavilion includes 32 Master Slides - a wide array of linear and circular layouts, including the signature circular accent and mosaic layouts - as well as a Supplemental file containing the chart fills/ palette, 2 styles of buttons for use in interactive presentations, and Panel and Post objects that allow the user to create their own Pavilion-themed layouts. Pavilion is available for immediate download for $20.
ConvertIt Pro, UniHelp...
ConvertIt Pro 2.4 ($17) is a unit conversion program containing over 2400 unit conversions, including currency. It features a scientific calculator, pi display, scratch pad for saving and quickly accessing frequently used conversions and online definitions. [Download - 2.1MB]
Morse Mania ($20) is a morse code tutor for the Macintosh that helps users learn morse code at speeds ranging from 5 to 40 words per minute. This version adds the ability to practice sending morse code using your mouse button as the key, and includes several other enhancements. [Download - 363KB]
UniHelp 1.7 ($50) is the latest version of the cross-platform help system for REALbasic. Version 1.7, which is a free update for all registered UniHelp customers, includes improved help navigation and adds support for Virtual Volumes. [Download - 380KB]
Document Palette 1.0 ($8) an application that allows a user to create new documents directly in open folders. It holds document types that a user frequently uses and allows them to create documents without launching an editor and without fumbling around in awkward save panels. [Download - 1.3MB]
HomePrint Labels 1.2.1 ($20) is a label designer with most of the Avery labels and cards formats support and powerful mail merge features. It is supports Post Net barcode and can be used for barcode generating. It also features easy switching between database and label views and instant previeweing. [Download - 1.6MB]
MainMenu 0.2.2 is a menu item to run tasks such as repairing disk permissions, running maintenance scripts, with most tasks providing feedback during execution. Version 0.2.2 adds several new preferences, support for clearing Camino and Netscape's cache, and several bug fixes. [Download - 80KB]
Kontakt 2 library
Native Instruments has announced details of the library included with the upcoming Kontakt 2 software sampler. The factory library will set weigh in at more than 15 GB, making extensive use of the new "Kontakt Script Processor" for a wide range of advanced performance effects. A special version of VSL orchestra, a studio-quality Steinway Grand Piano, the innovative "Elektrik Guitar," and a church organ sampled in 5.1 surround are just some of what will be included. Also included is a selection of church organs and electric pianos, the "Automatic Harp," a wide selection of synthesizer sounds sampled from classic vintage analog and digital synthesizers, and a selection of over 300 impulse responses.
Macromedia Contribute 3.1
Macromedia has released Contribute 3.1, an update to its application that lets virtually any user publish information to websites without any knowledge of HTML. The application, part of the scalable Macromedia Web Publishing System, offers a cross-platform solution for managing content within intranets and public-facing webites. Version 3.1 adds the ability to create connections to different levels of a website, improved publishing of non-HTML documents to a server, better check-out/guard page override procedures (by an admin), integration with Breeze server, and more. The company also released an update to its Windows/Linux/Solaris-based central Web Publishing System 1.1, bringing the ability to create "sub-sites" and enhancements to the LDAP connectivity. Contribute 3 is available for $150 or as an $80 upgrade.
IceBox iPod cases
U.K.-based PodGear today announced the launch of IceBox for the iPod mini and iPod 20 GB. The crystal clear, thin hard case enables iPod users to protect their iPod whilst still being able to "show off it's iconic looks." The case features a lid that securely holds the iPod inside and gives it protection from every angle, while also offering cutouts to allow easy access to all controls and ports. Both models come with a belt clip and lanyard. IceBox allows full access to dock connector, headphone socket and remote output. Both IceBox models are £20.
4 bay enclosure
FireWire Depot has introduced EF8U5AL_Q, a four bay enclosure with removable drive trays for flexible external storage and two high-performance 1394b/ USB2.0 bridge adapters built-in. The EF8U5AL_Q can easily convert FOUR 3.5 inch IDE/ATA hard drives into a FireWire 800 1394b or USB 2.0 external device. With its aluminum body and directAIR cooling system, the EF8U5AL_Q provides protection for the hard drives. It supports ATA-133 and supports drives larger than 138GB. It features hot-swapping capability for hard drives with no IDs and no termination.
PyMusique access to iTMS
The trio of developers who created PyMusique have found yet another way for their software application to purchase copy-protection free songs from the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), following Apple recent security fix counter that prevented access by third-party applications. The PyMusique application allows LInux/Windows users to register for, browse, and purchase iTunes music--much like the iTunes application; however, the songs are free from any anti-piracy protections. Apple's iTunes encodes these songs using its FairPlay DRM to prevent users from playing the songs on more than five authorized computers.
NZ Mac mini delays
In Brief: OpenBase International has acquired Code Builder, a database application code generator for REALbasic.... TARI is offering special early adopter pricing of $100 on the recently released GoodPage 1.0, its graphical HTML/CSS authoring tool.... Mac mini delays of up to 3-4 weeks in New Zealand are frustrating many users.... An Mac easter egg an older System 7.1 CD (included with the Quadra 660av/840av) depicts the Quadra team toasting in front of a pirate flag, the prototype motherboard, and comments from multiple team members....Roxio's Popcorn DVD copying utility is available from Buy.com for $18 after rebates.... A Volkswagen-sponsored contest for teachers that focuses on seat belt safety for teens offers three G5 Power Macs (each with a flat screen monitor and Final Cut Pro) for the classroom.
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