Destineer's MacSoft today announced Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, the sequel to the Caribbean simulation Tropico. The title, expected on shelves on May 19th, takes the player into "the world of a hidden pirate island. Players will take the role of a pirate who will have to use artful deception to manage their island empire and protect their bounty from the likes of the French, English and Spanish fleets. Players will also have to plunder merchants on the high seas for materials and take prisoners back to the island as captive workers. See how your sea legs hold up through 100 years of challenge while making your pirate the richest in history!" It will be available in the US for $30, while a European release is scheduled for June.
MightyPods today released its birdPod Maker software for the iPod. BirdPod Maker uses iTunes to organize an extensive collection of bird songs for use on the iPod, optimizing the bird song collection for bird identification in the field and for simplified learning of bird songs. Additional gadgets and advice for effectively using an iPod when birding can be found on the birdPod website. BirdPod uses the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, Eastern Region, for its bird song collection. The Stokes Guide is also available on the birdPod website.
Snowbound today released RasterMaster 14.0, its flagship imaging SDK and library for web and document imaging. It now includes additional support for more file formats and fonts, text extraction, and more sample code, including those for C#, Visual Basic, .NET, and ASP .NET. Snowbound added support for importing/displaying Microsoft Word documents, which allows developers to build applications for viewing MS World files. It also added both read/write support for JPEG2000, providing better compression sizes over JPEG reducing the amount of memory required when archiving detailed greyscale and color images. The RasterMaster for Macintosh Imaging Toolkit and Library includes support for more than 100 image formats and dozens of image manipulation functions.
In Brief: Google's recent network outage demonstrates the weakness of internet and threats to undermine the success of Apple's internet-dependent Dashboard technology found in Tiger.... An eWEEK review of Apple's Xsan storage solution says it "is fairly easy to use and implement, and it will be a good fit at sites that need to deal with large files and share data over multiple platforms."... Mozilla.org has rushed out a partial fix for a pair of "extremely critical" Firefox browser vulnerabilities and offered advice to users on securing their browser until a full patch becomes available.... Native Instruments and Waves have announced a limited-time crossgrade offer for their respective bundle customers, offering substantial complementary discounts on the Waves Renaissance Maxx ($420) and Gold ($910) bundles and on the NI Komplete 2 ($1000) collection.... Tiger users who upgrade using either the "Archive and Install" or the "Erase and Install" features will be forced to Reactivate their Macromedia applications.
Pixel Post Studios has released Tools for Television Pro 2.0, an update to its Adobe Photoshop add-on that provides automation and extends the Photoshop feature set for digital video or broadcast television. Version 2.0 includes FTP file transfers from Photoshop, new alpha channel features for creating separate key and fill files, smarter alpha channel creation, sequence naming for Title Builder, a photo to video converter for batch processing digital photos for video, and more. The application offers automated creation of safe grids, support for multiple video formats (NTSC D1, DV, PAL, HDTV, etc.), custom keyboard shortcuts, and frame grabbing from connected FireWire devices. It requires Adobe Photoshop CS or higher and is available for $180 (upgrades are $50 for registered users).
PGP Corporation today released PGP Desktop 9.0 for the Mac. The data security solution offers new six separate modules, including PGP Whole Disk encryption (laptops, desktops, removable media), PGP Virtual Disk encryption (files, folders), PGP Mail (automatic and transparent using PGP Universal technology), PGP Instant Messenger (securing AOL Instant Messenger traffic), PGP Zip (file compression), and PGP Shred (permanent file deletion). PGP Desktop 9.01PB1, currently in beta, brings full support for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (both AIM and Mail.app are now supported); support for international characters such as umlauts, euro symbol and certain other European characters; support for encrypted AIM messaging; and full localizations in German and Japanese.
Belkin has announced new USB and FireWire hubs that offer additional ports and that are specifically engineered to stack on top of or below the Mac mini. The Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub gives easy access to USB devices such as thumb drives and the iPod shuffle. The Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and FireWire 6-Port Hub offers both standard interfaces. The USB-only verison allows users to connect up to four high-speed devices to a Mac mini. The combo hub features features a total of two FireWire ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The USB hub will sell for $35, while the FireWire and USB version will sell for $50. Both Hubs will begin shipping in North America on July 15.
"You've really got to hand it to Apple," writes Graeme Philipson for the Sydney Morning Herald, "it's a good thing its products are so good, or the company would have disappeared long ago, such is its serial capacity for poor decisions." Philipson points to Apple's latest act of "corporate lunacy" is to pull all books published by Wiley from sale in its Apple Stores. Wiley, one of the world's leading scientific publishing houses, is being "punished for the sin of releasing a unauthorised biography of Apple boss Steve Jobs." Another "giant mistake" Apple made, this time in the '90s, was scrapping its Mac OS port for Intel, code-named "Star Trek," Philipson says. "And a dozen years ago, Apple also walked away, at the 11th hour, from discussions with IBM about merging. It would have created a PC powerhouse, and the deal was all but done."
Developers today released updates two photo utilities for Mac OS X. Xtra Lean Software's ShutterBug 1.1 ($34) now supports floating pictures, freestyle positioning, collages, centered square thumbnails, image processing improvements, 45 built-in themes, new template manager, second level navigation, improved user interface, and more. ShutterBug allow users to create web albums and photo journals as well as full featured websites. Other new features include image processing improvements, streamlined tabbed user interface, object and center guidelines, auto scroll, and keyboard navigation. TalaPhoto 2.6 ($20) updates the shareware that offers advanced printing functions (crop, position tools, etc.), image level adjustments, web-based photo albums, photomovie creation for standalone slideshows, and more. TalaPhoto also imports iPhoto albums and photos.
Widget Manager 1.01 (free) is a Preference Pane for Mac OS X 10.4 that allows you to inspect, remove, and disable Dashboard Widgets. It also shows you the version numbers of widgets installed on your system and to disable Widgets on a temporary basis. [Download - 48KB] Highlight 1.0 (free) is a Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger utility that lets you import items to the Spotlight index via Drag & Drop, including those items that are not indexed by default (for example the /System folder). It also offers a visual display of Spotlight related info for any item. [Download - 50KB] Menu Master 1.3 ($10) is a haxie that allows you to easily change or remove menu shortcut keys in any application with ease. Additionally, you can set shortcuts to any menu item that had no shortcuts, or remove shortcuts from menu items. It brings Tiger support, several bug fixes, and has been updated for APE 1.5. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 1.3MB] AOL Service Assistant 1.0 (free) is a tool for AOL members that makes it easy to set up your Mac OS X applications to work with the AOL service, including automatic configuration of Mail (and the ability to import msgs into Mail), iChat, Address Book, and Safari. [Download - 1.0MB] AppleJack 1.4 (free) is an open-source, user "friendly troubleshooting assistant for Mac OS X. With AppleJack you can troubleshoot a computer even if you can`t load the GUI, or don`t have a startup CD handy. AppleJack runs in Single User Mode and is menu-based for ease of use. [Download - options] TCode 2.0 ($90) allows video editors to accurately log a show: "By simply connecting your Mac's built-in or other OS X compatible sound input, to a linear time code output, frame accurate logging is only a hot key away." Version 2 integrates wireless logging, floating clock windows, allows you to use the system clock, a much improved preference window, and more. [Download - 800KB]
In a bid to take a slice of the iPod action, palmOne has unveiled what it describes as a "new category" of mobile computing products dubbed 'mobile managers', which it hopes will bridge the boundary between smartphones and digital entertainment devices, reports vnunet. "Mobile managers are designed for customers who are eager to take full advantage of the trend toward 'digital everything', from documents and email to music, images and video, as standalone files or in organised folders," the company stated. "In studying customer trends, we found that some people want to carry dozens of documents and hundreds of songs while others want to carry a thousand-plus photos and enjoy videos," said Page Murray, vice president of marketing at palmOne.
Graphic Collective Inc. today announced the availability of Graphic Cling, its personalized protective skins for all sizes of 4th generation iPods - including the iPod Photo. The protective skins feature printed graphics on quality vinyl, providing a thin, long lasting and re-usable iPod protective skin that resists scuffs and scratches. Rather than adhesives, Graphic Cling uses "static cling" to tightly grip the iPod, leaving absolutely no adhesive or residue when removed. Graphic Cling is sold in packs of two for US$10. Free shipping is available for a limited time. A full array of Graphic Cling designs is available from the Graphic Cling Web site.
MacPractice is now offering Visiodentís RSV Mac dental imaging software and RSV System to US dentists. RSV Mac software integrates with any intra-oral camera to capture, enhance and store photos as well as facilitates the acquisition and management of digital x-rays acquired with the RSV System. RSV Mac is available from MacPractice and VDC for $1000, or $200 with the purchase of MacPractice DDS or with the purchase of a DentalMac support contract. MacPractice is offering special pricing for the RSV 16-bit Digital X-Ray System with size 1 and size 2 sensors at CDA in the MacPractice-VDC Booth (No. 169). Visiodent is also sharing native Mac OS X GesDent imaging and dental charting software technology with MacPractice.
Apple faces a "challenging environment" as it struggles to expand its role in the enterprise server market. Apple hopes its new Tiger operating system will help boost popularity of its Xserve line, which currently "lags behind Windows, Linux and other Unix offerings" in market share. Analysts say it's unclear if the 10.4 version of Mac OS X Server, which has built-in support for more than 100 open-source software technologies, will propel Apple beyond its traditional user base. Fourteen of the sixteen IT managers who responded to a random Computerworld e-mail poll last week said they have no plans to consider Tiger, either because they aren't familiar with it, or they see no need to change their existing technology environments.
Apple today released iTunes 4.8, an update to its digital music jukebox software and its client for the iTunes Music Store. Version 4.8 includes new Music Store features, improved video support, security fixes, and support for transferring contacts and calendars from your computer to your iPod (requires Mac OS X version 10.4 on your computer), according to the documentation. Several readers also note that iTunes 4.8 also offers improved support for video, allowing the application to view, store, and manage videos, while a new preference allows users to view/watch video content in either the main window, a separate window, or full screen. [updated 3:45 pm ET]
Proteron today announced MaxMenus 1.4 and LiteSwitch X 2.5, incremental upgrades to provide support for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The updates are free for current owners of the software. MaxMenus adds powerful and customizable system-wide menus. MaxMenus simplifies the launching and managing of applications, documents, volumes, preferences, recent items, photos, music playlists and more. LiteSwitch X is a keyboard-based application switcher for Mac OS X. It offers added functionality over Apple's built-in keyboard switcher. MaxMenus sells for $20, while LiteSwitch X sells for $15.
JAMF Software has released Casper Suite v3.0, an update to its comprehensive computer maintenance suite. Version 3.0 offers stages for testing packages/scripts, OS requirements ensuring packages are only pushed to compatible computers, syncing of file servers and FireWire drives, secure VNC for remote screensharing, LDAP Binding for inventory, expanded purchasing and inventory information for computers and peripherals, policies for easier remote administration, Recon for Microsoft Windows. Using the Casper Suite, administrators can automate repetitive support tasks as well as gather inventory, deploy standard images and updates to remote computers from a central location. It is compatible with Mac OS 8/9/X, including Tiger. Pricing for Casper Suite v3.0 is $25/seat to $100/seat depending on institution size.
MapMemo 2.0 ($18) is a simple application that allows users to organize all kind of image files on a map via drag and drop. Version 2.0 adds the possibility to collect all files associated with a map in an archive. [Download - 2.5MB] CrushFTP 3.9 ($25) is a professional FTP server with SSL/TLS, multihoming, virtual servers, users/groups, ratios, quotas, zipping files/folders on the fly, bandwidth limiters, remote admin, and more. The update fixes remote administration issues, fixed hung idle connections taking 10 minutes to disconnect, fixed the upload mirror function, and the third party plugin load order. [Download - 2.3MB] RPN Calculator 1.0.2 (free) is the first public release of the RPN scientific calculator widget for Mac OS X 10.4. Key features include RPN notation, decimal-to-fraction conversion, base conversion, and bitwise arithmetic. [Download - 54KB] pdf-FieldMerge 3.2 ($90) allows users to fill in PDF forms fields automatically from a database. The latest version allows users to use use graphics to fill fields. [Download - form] Agenda 3.5.0 ($20) is a virtual device that can greet you, tell you the current date and read off your pending events and to-do items for the day. It now features code execution up to 800% faster, improved virtual material file color support, and better speak greeting code. [Download - 1.53MB]
In Brief: Apple has posted its latest iPod/iTunes ad: "Rollerskating" featuring Feel Good Inc music sound track by Gorillaz.... Steve Jobs, Let my Music Go is a column in the The Hungtington Post that discusses the downsides of Apple's closed iPod/iTunes system.... IBM's latest developer tutorial shows how to rapidly prototype a simple Mac application, looking at the variety of tools and glue available natively in Mac OS X.... The Macintosh Astronomy Workshop is holding a Workshop's Student Essay Competition, which offer free admission and software to 20 high school studens (as of Sept 8, 2005).... The Apple Computer vs. Apple Corps hearing date has been set for March 27, 2006 in a UK court.... shuffletatu.com today announced that it is changing its name, effective immediately, to Tatuz International, and re-branding its product to iTatu.
Creative Manager has released Creative Manager Pro 7.8, a free update to its flagship product, adding over twenty-five enhancements within the flagship Ad Agency Management system, including Project-based P&L reporting from within the General Ledger as well as Automatic Staff Assignments, integration of Purchasing directly from Estimates, and support for Mac OS X Tiger. Creative Manager Pro is a full-featured, intuitive system for ad agency management. It supports CRM, document management, shared calendaring, accounting, contact management, online artwork approval, daily reports/charts, management/storage of digital assets, and more. The Web-based software includes training and support to ensure that clients are up and running quickly.
James Associates today announced MacTopos 1.0 for several US states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. When used in conjunction with its MacGPS Pro software, MacTopos USA provides the "ultimate digital topographic mapping solution." For most states, one DVD contains the entire state in three map scales: 1:24K, 1:100K, and 1:250K. These detailed maps can be stored using less room on a hard drive, or they can be used in real-time directly from the DVD. The DVDs are available immediately for $20.
Canto today announced that Internet Client Pro 3.0 and Web Publisher Pro 3.0 will be released in July, alongside Cumulus 6.5.1. Internet Client Pro 3.0 and Web Publisher Pro 3.0 enable users to publish their media on dynamic web pages which allow remote teams and customers around the world to search for images and other documents within Cumulus catalogs. The major upgrades of Cantoīs Internet Options support central features of Cumulus 6.5. In addition to the known valuable features, the Internet Options now support Cumulus 6.5 central features. The Internet Options also include many functions for easy administration and Web-collaboration formerly restricted to the Cumulus Client. Internet Client Pro 3.0 additionally supports Metadata Templates. Update pricing has not been announced.
In Brief: Express Online has been given distribution rights in Australia for Apple's entire product line, including iPod, Macs, and software, ... All Forces has published a visual guide to setting up iChat to support MSN or Yahoo Messenger through Jabber, ... LoadPod, an iPod music loading service, has reached its first anniversary of operation, ... Dalim Software announces that it has received SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) Certification for its Dalim Dialogue softproofing solution, ... LIVEdigitally will be giving away thirteen of its new Shockshell iPod mini cases cases over a span of the next few weeks, ... Audiologists believe tens of thousands of young people are causing serious damage to themselves, by using iPods and other music players.
Industry pundit Robert Cringely says desite the success of the iPod, Apple's future is in the iTunes Music Store and perhaps an iTunes Video Store: "The Year of HD is dependent on 10.4 and its H.264 video codec that I believe will be at the heart of an Apple HD video download service to be announced shortly... Ultimately, what Apple wants to do is make its money through iTunes, where the profit margins are better in the long term and the system is easily scalable. It was necessary to create the iPod platform to make this happen. But downward price pressures will eventually hurt iPod profit margins and affect Apple's stock price, so the trick is to know when to switch the business from being a mix of hardware and software to one that is software-only. That switch, which I believe to be inevitable, will happen shortly after Apple begins to license iPod clones."
Applied Computer Concepts has unveiled the newest release of its native Mac OS X healthcare software: Dental Office Manager Studio is designed exclusively for the dental office. The software was built using 18 years of real-life, dental office use, according to the developer: "Applied Computer Concepts has served the dental community since 1986, when they released the original Dental Office Manager product, which ran on the Mac SE 30. Their next version, Dental Office Manager II was unique in that it was one of the first true cross-platform (Mac or Win) applications for the dental practice. Today, all development, marketing, accounting, etc. is still done in-house, solely on the Mac." The company says it provides custom changes based on client requests -- usually at no additional charge.
WiebeTech today announced the SATADock, a device that allows Serial ATA drives to be mounted on a desktop via a FireWire 400/800 interface. "SATADock is a single unit that allows any host computer to access SATA drives via FireWire," said James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech. "This is the first solution on the market which fully integrates this bridging technology into a small portable metal 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. In addition, bottom plates are included for attachment to hard drives. Available now, the standard version is $230, while the bus-powered version is $300. A Forensic SATAdock, with write block firmware, is $450.
One developer claims to have found a security hole in Apple's new Tiger operating system. According to his website, Apple's highly touted Dashboard technology, found in the new version of Mac OS X 10.4, has a security vulnerability that could cause malicious third-party sites to auto-install a Widget, a small program designed to display Internet content on the desktop. "If you're running Safari on OS X Tiger and go to this website, a 'slightly evil' Dashboard widget will be automatically downloaded and installed and can't be removed without manually removing the file from the Library folder and rebooting the computer." The author says it is a demonstration "how easy it is to exploit Dashboard for nefarious purposes." A subsequent discussion by the author outlines other "more evil" exploits of the security hole. Warning: the site will auto-install the 'zaptastic' widget and will require manual removal.
XgridLite is an add-on for Mac OS X Tiger's System Preferences application that enables Apple's Xgrid distributed computing solution on the standard (i.e., Client) version of Mac OS X Tiger. "If you don't need the advanced features of Mac OS X Tiger Server's Xgrid controller but still want to run your own grid, XgridLite is for you." It allows users to turn on and off the built-in Xgrid controller with a single click, set passwords for client and agent authentication, reset the controller to default settings, and more. A 15-day demo of the $15 application is available now.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†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
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl