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.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R