Digital Voodoo this week introduced the SD | Spark video card, which is compatible with Mac OS X Panther, Final Cut Pro HD and the G5 series of workstations. SD | Spark is a multipurpose uncompressed SD SDI / analog QuickTime video card that offers a unique number of SD SDI and analog video and audio I/O connections and options. Digital Voodoo also announced that it intendeds to support the forthcoming H.264 codec, QuickTime 7, Mac OS X Tiger operating system, and the future releases of Final Cut Pro beyond Final Cut Pro HD 4.5 for its entire line of uncompressed SD SDI / Analog and HD SDI video cards.
Topics on the MacNN Forums today include: Speculation about an imminent Power Mac G5 update.... A poll of members' favorite iPod colors.... Reports that Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is already shipping to customers.... discussion of blogging software for Mac OS X.... Using existing Mac OS X "Panther" themes with "Tiger".... Adobe's surprising acquisition of arch-rival Macromedia.
AstroVision, which will launch an Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) in 2008, will be using Apple technology for processing data when received on Earth. "In teaming with Apple AstroVision intends not only to set up the fastest supercomputer in Australia but to deliver a vital service to a whole range of organizations and consumer markets across the Government, Education and Private sectors. Apple Australia will provide AstroVision with construction of a state of the art High Performance Computing (HPC) environment using Apple's Unix-based Xserves and Xgrid computing software. Additionally, Apple will employ QuickTime technology and an architecture for online distribution of multimedia content. AstroVision will consist of a geostationary imaging satellite orbiting at 36,000km above the equator. The orbit speed matches the speed of the Earth's rotation so the satellite is able to continuously image the same areas. A ground system that controls the satellite and receives, processes and archives the imagery.
Mac game developer Funmangames has announced the release of The Cursed Wheel, its first game for Mac OS X. The Cursed Wheel was created using 2D game engine PTK. "Discover the ancient secret hidden by the Mayan pyramid! Use your skill and dexterity to spin the cursed wheel, beat the Stone Guardian and loot the treasure!" The game features refined 3D animations and graphics within a Mayan theme. The Cursed Wheel is controlled entirely via the mouse. It offers unlimited gameplay in Arcade mode, with random levels "that never end." There are four different difficulty levels to increase longevity of the game for skilled players. Online high score rankings are available for Arcade mode. The Cursed Wheel is $20.
Netflix Freak 2.1 ($15) is a full-featured Mac OS X application for managing your Netflix rental queue. Version 2.1 adds: support for multiple Netflix accounts, the ability to Cut/Copy and Paste movies from one Netflix Profile to another, the option to switch between Netflix Profiles without being prompted for a password. [Download - 1.0MB] Picture Arena 1.2 ($25) is the latest version of the picture management software from Isoprint. Highlights of the new version include: RAW and DNG support, email composition, reworked digital camera import and more. [Download - 4.2MB] RbApp 1.0 ($200) is a platform-neutral collection of reusable REALbasic classes that help programmers create industrial strength applications on Macintosh and Windows. The main components of RbApp are: RbEdit, RbView, RbCommand, RbPalette, RbStringList, RbXML, RbHelp, and RbLibrary. [Download - 2.8MB] Text Cleaner 3 ($90) can be to significantly reduce text cleanup time in Mac OS X 10.2 or later via a context sensitive engine to set or remove em/en dashes, smart quotes, ligatures and ellipses, while removing unwanted spaces, tabs, returns, and more. It adds direct cleaning in InDesign/Quark 6.5, 10 custom operations, and more. Upgrades are $50. [Download - 3.0MB] Grammarian PRO X 1.6 ($40) is a major update to the Grammar, Spelling, Dictionary, Thesaurus, AutoCorrect, and AutoType universal writing tool. This version adds smart spell checking with in-context spell suggestions that match the context of the sentence; styled-text Autotype to expand text with different fonts/styles; interactive checking grammar; and spelling popup menu, and more. [Download - 14MB] GBMidiXtractor (demo) provides a way of accessing all of the MIDI loops contained in GarageBand. It instantly creates a MIDI file by dragging a GarageBand MIDI AppleLoop onto the GBMidiXtractor application window. A non-registered version is limited to a single extraction each launch. It is free with DOT-POD or DOT-TUNES applications, which can publish your iPod or iTunes music on the web. [Download - 960KB]
Steve Jobs jumped to No. 18 from No. 81 on Forbes' list of "Bosses That Delivered." In the magazine's survey of compensation of the CEOs of the 500 large U.S. companies, it analyzed the performance versus pay of the 189 bosses who have been in power at least six years: "in essence, we looked at six years of stock performance and juxtaposed that against six years of executive compensation--including bonuses, perks and stock options. These efforts gave us a measure of which chief executives delivered the best return to shareholders relative to their total compensation. ....In one year Apple's earnings rose 295%. More importantly, Apple shareholders were rewarded with a six-year annualized total return of 29%, compared to -1% for the S&P 500. Over the past six years, Jobs has been paid an average of $14.6 million per year in total compensation."
Miglia Technology today announced the availability of a new version of MediaBank HS-R, its high security FireWire 800 storage solution. MediaBank HS-R now sports a high-speed Oxford 912-based FireWire 800 interface to increase the data transfer rates. The power supply unit has also been upgraded to cope with the larger, more power-hungry drives appearing on the market. The Miglia MediaBank HS-R Features two easily removable hard drive trays and hardware support for Raid 1 (mirroring). Data is written to two hard drives simultaneously, preventing total data loss if a drive were to fail. Hardware support for mirroring removes potential software conflicts. The device sells for $450.
In brief: MacNN readers report receiving shipments of Adobe Creative Suite 2 ahead of the anticipated May timeframe.... The Apple Store has extended ship dates for Power Mac G5 orders to 3-5 business days, indicating a possible update to Power Mac line in the coming days.... Shares of Google soared past $215 as the company said its first-quarter profit increased more than 500 percent on revenue that doubled, as more businesses placed ads with Google and its distribution partners.... For the second year in a row, Ableton Live 4 has won the Musikmesse International Press Award (m.i.p.a.) for the best DJ software.
CNET News.com has posted additional details from yesterday's Apple shareholders conference. Jobs pointed out that Apple took back 1,500 tons of material in 2004 through its recycling program, with 90 percent of the material able to be recycled. Jobs said that Apple takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and added that the company is leading the industry on environmental issues. "They have an image of being proactive, but they are being really reactive," said Sheila Davis of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. Jobs expressed frustration at Apple being singled out for criticism over its peers, calling it "bullshit." As to the lack of women in senior positions, "It is a deficiency we have," Jobs said said. "We recognize it and we are trying to solve it."
"If security concerns are your most important driver for desktop change, and Microsoft Office compatibility is your most significant barrier, then switching to Macs actually offers you the best of all possible worlds," writes columnist Paul Murphy. He says Office on the Mac even features a "better GUI, longer product life, some cash savings and a performance bonus thrown in." Although software vulnerabilities are half the problem, Murphy points out that many "don't see the hardware side of their security problems." In contrast, "attacks on Unix generally require some form of initial legal access to the machine."
Apple has begun shipping Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, the next version of its Mac OS X operating system. Expected to be officially launched on April 29th, one MacNN reader forwarded shipment confirmation from the Apple Store. The documents showed a delivery date of April 25 via Fedex Ground--well ahead of the official release date next week (orders with expedited shipping may have earlier delivery dates). Several Apple retailers planning Tiger launch parties and Apple will open its second UK store on the same day. Tiger features over 200 new features, including its Spotlight search technology.
FunPause Games today released its new game for Mac: Garden Golf is a Mini Golf game where players can play through two complete 18-hole golf courses (36 holes). "Taking the true spirit of Miniature Golf, Garden Golf features many of the entertaining obstacles and challenges a real 'Putt Putt' game of golf can offer: moving windmills, tricky angles, ponds, hills, valleys and sand pits. To further enhance game play, FunPause offers additional aspects in the game play that only a digital version of golf can introduce." The $20 game title features a colorful game board that uses 3D graphics and an upbeat, stress-free music track.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE