Script Software today announced the release of iStar Karaoke, "the first" karaoke player for the Mac. iStar rips and plays CD+G via a compatible drive. CD+G format discs are used for professional karaoke. iStar also handles .kar and midi files, which can be found for free on the Web. The interface is designed to be simple, and allows users to choose from three different sizes for Karaoke text. iStar allows users to create playlists and organize music logically. It acts as "your iPod for Karaoke." Compatible drives include the PX-71 series (6UF, 6SA, 2UF, 2SA) form Plextor. iStar Karaoke costs $50.
ZDNet blogger David Berlind says "not only won't Microsoft feel the halo effect of Apple's iPod, it may only be a matter of time before Apple is feeling the halo effect of Windows Media." Microsoft doesn't think that the next version of its desktop operating system is going to suffer from any halo effect being introduced into the market by Apple's iPod. The company may have early inroads into a possible Internet video revolution with Windows Media, which is more widely used than its competitors. Berlind asks, "do you think there's any demand for mobile videos based on Real or Quicktime?" For Apple to seriously challenge Windows Media and Microsoft, it will have to "convert the iPod faithful into the Quicktime faithful." Windows Media and telecommunications networks "will be Microsoft's next franchise. The only hope for an alternative might be Quicktime."
Big Nerd Ranch announced today that Steve Kochan, one of the foremost Objective-C experts, will be teaching a mini-bootcamp on Objective-C programming in conjunction with the June Cocoa Bootcamp, June 25-26. The mini-bootcamp can be taken on its own for $1000 or can be packaged with the Cocoa Bootcamp for a package price of $4300. The two-day bootcamp will provide intensive training in the essential areas of Objective-C programming and provides the perfect opportunity for developers who want to receive training in this field. Unlike other courses in Objective-C, no prior background in C or object-oriented programming is required.
A Time article looks at iPod alternatives, many of which claim to offer more features and better reliability than Apple's iPod. On the "iPod-killer" list are Sony's NW-HD3 Network Walkman, Toshiba's Gigabeat MEG F20, the iRiver H10, and the Zen Micro. The article claims consumer interest in iPod alternatives stems from the iPod's "notorious lack of endurance" between recharges and sealed case that means you may have to "scrap the thing" if the internal battery dies. Moreover, the article suggests the iPod's "proprietary digital-music format" joins users "at the hip to Apple's iTunes online store." The article says competitors are "delivering fetching new digital-music players that adopt some of the benchmark's strengths while offering more flexibility and features."
Adobe today announced the latest version of its layout and design program, InDesign CS2 as well as InCopy CS2, an update to its professional writing and editing program that integrates tightly InDesign CS2. InCopy CS2 software streamlines and enhances collaborative editorial workflows, while InDesign manages the entire design process, serving as the central place where text, graphics, and images are assembled to prepare final pages for output. InDesign CS2 adds new Object Styles, which allow users to save graphic, text, and frame-level attributes as well as export of InDesign snippets to easily share or repurpose live InDesign content and layouts from part of a page. InDesign CS2 also features the new Adobe Bridge to manage files, images, and content within the entire Adobe Creative Suite 2. InDesign CS2 ($700) and InCopy CS2 are expected to ship in May.
Media 100 today announced Media 100 sw, a software-only version of the company's Media 100 HD editing system. The product will be distributed at NAB 2005 as a public beta software on CD-ROMs distributed exclusively at the Optibase booth (No. SL343). Media 100 sw brings the popular editing application to wider range of range of markets, including producer/editors, home enthusiasts and students as well as provides a cost-effective companion to customers and facilities using existing Media 100i and Media 100 HD systems. The software package includes a full-functioning editing application, support for all Media 100 codecs, realtime effects, full media and graphics import and export capabilities, a trial version of Boris Graffiti, and more.
Forbes looks at the controversial PyMusique iTunes client software for Linux in an article posted last week. Seventeen-year-old programmer Cody Brocious says that stripping the Digital Rights Management technology from iTunes songs happened more or less by accident. He first assumed that the copy protection was attached directly by the iTunes server itself. Had that been the case, he says, PyMusique would have left it intact, meaning the program would be subject to the same copy restrictions to which all iTunes users are subject. "This is not about circumventing Apple's DRM," he says. "It's about creating a good Linux client for iTunes." Brocious says PyMusique provides Apple with more customers without having to invest in developing its own software for Linux. "The solution is to work with us, not against us."
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) today launched the Photoshop CS2 Learning Center. This extensive learning center, including free online videos, articles, reviews, news, a downloadable CS2 overview, and a CS2 discussion forum, provides an comprehensive resource for learning about this new upgrade. NAPP has also published a special bonus issue of its magazine, Photoshop User, that is completely dedicated, cover-to-cover to the new features of Photoshop CS2. “This is clearly the most significant update to Photoshop in years,” said NAPP President Scott Kelby. “if you’re a photographer, it’s absolutely going to make your jaw drop."
Adobe today announced Illustrator CS2, a significant new release of the application for creating vector content for print, motion graphics, the Web and mobile devices. Available as a stand-alone software application or as a component of Adobe Creative Suite 2, Illustrator CS2 provides several new creative tools -- such as Live Trace and Live Paint -- an enhanced user interface, and expanded support for a variety of file formats.
Adobe today announced GoLive CS2, a new version of its authoring tool for Web and mobile content. Available as a standalone software application or as a component of the Adobe Creative Suite 2, GoLive CS2 introduces new CSS layout tools, a rich environment for mobile content development based on open standards and tight integration with Adobe Creative Suite 2 software applications. With GoLive CS2, Web designers and developers can create, publish, manage, and update content that adapts to the latest handheld devices.
Star Wars Battlefront ($50 pre-order) for Mac has hit beta status, developer Aspyr said today. Battlefront is an open-ended single- and multiplayer game that allows players to relive "all of the epic battles from the classic and prequel Star Wars film trilogies." Players can select one of the 20 different soldier types from each of the four factions: Rebel Alliance, Imperial Army, Clone Army and Droid Army. Soldier types include standard infantry, scouts, heavy weapons and pilots. Each soldier has specialized abilities and the freedom to use ground-based turrets found on the battlefront as well as more than 25 diverse ground and air vehicles including the AT-ST, X-wing and speeder bike, and the massive Republic Gunship that can hold up to five different soldiers.
Home Weather Center 1.20 ($35) is a weather graphing, monitoring and analysis application for Mac OS X. The latest update allows the software to be localized for different languages, features a graphical conditions window, and can now set up to three data sources for each location. [Download - 7.0MB] KidsBrowser 3.1 (€20) is a Web browser for children that provides a simple and safe way to browse the Internet on Mac OS X. Version 3.1 features better URL controls for parents, integration of CutX 2.0 technology to filter content, reliability improvements, and user interface improvements. [Download - 6.4MB] Picture Arena 1.1 ($26) is an update to the digital picture management software for creating albums, presentations, and more. Version 1.1 adds support for Postscript and EPS files, many bug fixes, and better control over resolution, transparency and background color. [Download - 4.0MB] Babya bSuite (free) is a digital media suite offering tools for Web site creation, word processing, spreadsheets, image editing, music creation, a media player and accounting software. The new version includes HD video streaming software. [Download - 14MB] Deep Notes 1.3 (free) is a simple outliner, with support for colouring, drag and drop, text import and export, and full keyboard control. Version 1.3 brings improvements to outlining capabilities, adds the ability to define favorite colors for quick access, and offers general interface improvements. [Download - 268KB] MimMac 1.4.1 ($10) is an easy-to-use data backup utility that was designed to aid with moving critical data between systems, and merging old data with fresh system installs. Version 1.4.1 now remembers the last location chosen in open/save dialogs, improves handling of file type conflicts, and implements few cosmetic changes in regards to window resizing. [Download - 547KB]
Adobe today announced Photoshop CS2, a major upgrade to the professional application for digital image editing and creation. Available as a standalone software application or part of Adobe Creative Suite 2, Photoshop CS2 offers new features and simplified workflows, including a new Vanishing Point feature, dramatically improved Camera Raw support, an enhanced Spot Healing Brush and Smart Objects to scale and transform images and vector illustrations without losing image quality and create linked duplicates of embedded graphics. Photoshop CS2 also now allows non-destructive editing and the creation and editing of 32-Bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) images for 3D rendering and advanced compositing. It will ship in May for $600 (with upgrades priced at $150).
Hitachi will offer 20GB one-inch hard drives (the size used in the iPod mini) by 2007, according to the company. The density breakthrough represents a refinement in perpendicular recording. Today, hard drives record and store data in a longitudinal fashion, with the read/write heads scanning over a horizontal plane. In perpendicular recording, data bits are aligned vertically, allowing for more data to be squeezed into a defined area, explains ZDNet UK. The hard drives store about 4.5GB per square centimeter using this technology. The technology will allow Hitachi to offer a 20GB microdrive and an 8.9cm drive for desktops that will hold a terabyte. Currently, microdrives top out at 6GB, such as the drive used in Apple's latest iPod mini.
WiebeTech has announced Forensic SATADock, which allows Serial ATA drives to mount via FireWire 800 (400 compatible) to a host computer. The Forensic version is write-blocked to inhibit attempts to write data to the SATA drive. SATADock "follows WiebeTech's tradition of providing tough docking enclosures" by offering a rugged aluminum enclosure. SATADock features a Serial ATA power and data connector, along with host side FireWire ports. It also has a power switch, along with a power indicator and an access indicator. Bottom plates are included for attachment to hard drives. The device will sell for $450 starting April 26th.
Best Buy may soon begin selling the Mac mini, according to a report from Merrill Lynch. "Last week one Best Buy showed us Mac mini accessories; Mac minis are coming later." The delay may be tied to the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, the research firm says. Purchasers "would not be pleased if they had to plunk down an extra $129 after their $499 Mac mini purchase." Merrill Lynch expects the upgrade by the end of April, stating it should "benefit F3Q earnings." The firm sees "plenty of anecdotal evidence of Mac sales benefiting from iPod success," but sales numbers for the Mac mini "will help provide evidence of the halo effect." Merrill Lynch has a price objective of $51 per share. For the second quarter of fiscal 2005, the firm estimates earnings of $0.22 per share, but "Apple may need to post a figure north of $0.25 to satisfy investors."
Excel Software today released MacA&D OSX 1.1, an update to its application for requirements management, software modeling, code generation, reengineering and flexible report generation. Version 1.1 adds configurable title blocks in all diagram editors, new high performance editing of large text files, drag & drop for diagrams and text and customized requirements definition. MacA&D OSX supports a broad range of methods and notations including structured analysis and design, UML for object-oriented design, data modeling and realtime, multi-task design. MacA&D OSX is priced at $2000, runs on Mac OS X 10.1, and comes with sample projects, step-by-step tutorials, ready-to-run reports, printed manuals and PDF manuals on CD.
Blacksmith has released Chartsmith 1.2.8, the first shipping application to support LinkBack, the new technology that brings embedded objects to Mac OS X. "With LinkBack, users can paste charts from Chartsmith into LinkBack-enabled applications and then edit the chart at any time with just a double-click. Users can take advantage of the new functionality right away using a plugin that adds LinkBack support to Apple's Keynote." The company also says that Chartsmith will also be usable with future versions of Nisus Writer Express, OmniGraffle, Omni Outliner, Stone Create and several other applications that will also include LinkBack support. Chartsmith is available for $130 (with discounts available to education customers and students). [site not responding]
iPodStyles today announced that it is now shipping the ShuffleArt iPod shuffle Skins and is offering the items at special introductory price. The company is offering the Skins for $8, a 33 percent from the regular price of $12. "Give your new iPod shuffle a new look in seconds and protect it from abuse at the same time. All skins are repositionable/removable/reusable for a fast, easy and accurate installation and goo-free removal." The Bloody design is currently in stock, while the other designs (Green, Monogram, Hawaiian Blue, and Hawaiian Pink) will be available within the next week.
Adobe today announced Adobe Creative Suite 2, the design and publishing environment. The Premium Edition integrates new full-versions of Photoshop CS2, InDesign CS2, Illustrator CS2, and GoLive CS2 as well as the recently released Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional. Creative Suite 2 features the enhanced Version Cue CS2 and introduces Adobe Bridge, which provides a dashboard into projects and direct access to the new Adobe Stock Photos service. Adobe also announced InCopy CS2, the professional writing and editing program designed to integrate with InDesign CS2. Adobe Creative Suite 2 will ship in May in both Standard ($900) and Premium ($1200) editions.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe