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Apple is offering a variety of refurbished PowerBooks and iBooks at its online Apple Store. Two current-generation 12-inch models--with AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0--are available for $1,300 (1.5GHz/Combo) and $1,500 (1.5GHz/SuperDrive), while 15-inch models with a backlit keyboard are available for $1,700 (1.5GHz/Combo) and $2,000 (1.67BHz/SuperDrive). Finally, Apple is offering a (refurbished) previous-generation 1.5GHz 17-inch PowerBook with SuperDrive for $2,000. A 1.33GHz 14-inch iBook with a Combo drive is $1,100, while a SuperDrive version is $1,300. Refurbished 17-inch iMac G5s are also available for $900 (1.6GHz/Combo), $1000 (1.8GHz/SuperDrive), while a refurbished 20-inch model is $1,400.
Cobb County's $70 million laptop program is scheduled to roll out this week with teachers in four pilot schools receiving their computers and training, according to WXIA-TV Atlanta. "The roll-out is the first $25 million of a $70 million commitment by Cobb schools to equip all 63,000 Cobb students with notebooks over the next four year. Lassiter High School is one of the four that have already received iBooks and 16 of its teachers are currently in the middle of a training session [...] Of that number, only five have ever used a [Mac]. Ann Griffiths, a Spanish teacher at the school, said she was concerned about the switch after using PCs for so long, but said the transition was relatively painless.... The teachers also have phone support specifically set up for Cobb’s teachers to help alleviate concern." Earlier this month, the school district argued that Apple offered the best deal, after reports saying otherwise.
Dartware has released InterMapper 4.3, an update to its network mapping and monitoring tool that offers a visual, realtime view of traffic flows and features tools for monitoring servers. Version 4.3 offers NT services monitoring, export/import of map data, geographic import functions, improved icon display, an improved interfaces window, a new installer, additional optional wireless probes (starting at $350), and other improvements. InterMapper 4.3 is free (5-devices), $500 (25-devices), $1245 (75-devices), and $2400 (unlimited devices). The price includes a 12-month maintenance contract that entitles you to all the updates, enhancements, and bug-fixes we release during that period.
Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin told shareholders Wednesday that the company was pursuing discussions to integrate its satellite radio service with Apple's iPod as well as manufacturers of other MP3 players and portable devices: "'We've had discussions with everyone," the executive acknowledged, including makers of cell phones, digital music players and other devices. He said that he'd had dinner Monday night with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and other digital entertainment-related executives at a conference. 'Will there be MP3 players that include satellite radio? Sure. The technology's easy,' Karmazin added. The issue, he elaborated, is whether such an agreement would cannibalize existing Sirius business, and how much of its $12.95 monthly fee the company would have to split with a manufacturer."
In Brief: ezGear today launched a Shuffle Clip for the iPod shuffle.... Sirius CEO Karmazin said the company has had discussions to integrate its service with the iPod and other portable devices.... The Iconfactory's "Vinyl" ($350 or $250 for EPS/vector version) is a Stockicons.com collection that features smooth gradients and subtle shading of Vinyl.... In addition to recently posting updated drivers for Mac OS X Tiger, Asante announced that its Gigabit switches support Apple's new Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), failover, and load balancing features in Mac OS X Tiger, which it says will increase performance by about 50 percent.... enVision, one of Denmark's largest full-service advertising agencies, announced today its success in optimizing workflow processes between Macintosh and Windows platforms using the latest version of Group Logic's ExtremeZ-IP product.
ezGear today launched the ezClip Shuffle clip for the iPod shuffle. The ezClip Shuffle is described as a sturdy belt clip that replaces the iPod shuffle's USB cap so that you can wear your iPod shuffle on your belt, in your pocket, or on a sleeve. "The ezClip Shuffle is simple and easy to use and provides the flexibility iPod Shuffle users desire." It is available now for $13 through iPod resellers and distributors, electronics superstores, and the company's website.
Apple today released Keynote 2.02, an update to its presentation application that is bundled as part of iWork. The update fixes a security issue that allows users to create presentations that retrieve files from a local system: "With a specially crafted Keynote presentation and the use of the "keynote:" URI handler, it is possible that local files could be read and then sent to an arbitrary network location. This issue has been addressed in two ways: References to external resources have been limited, and the registration of the 'keynote:' URI handler has been removed. This issue does not affect Keynote versions prior to Keynote 2." It is available via Mac OS X Software Update (not yet available via the web). Update: Apple also released Pages 1.02, an update to its word processing/layout application that addresses issues with page navigation and organization.
Apple's Mac OS X platform may be the answer the security problems faced by WinTel users, according Network World Winn Schwartau's Mad as hell, switching to Mac column: "This is my first column written on a Mac - ever. Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but I never said I was smart, just obstinate. I was a PC bigot.....But now, I've had it. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. my company has given up on WinTel. We have successfully moved to Mac in less than two days. Think about it: a security-friendly alternative that works and doesn't require gobs of third-party utilities to safely perform the most mundane tasks." Meanwhile, Shattered Mac illusions describes problems using iPhoto on a brand new dual 2GHz desktop G5 running Mac OS X Tiger.
Descender 1.5 ($12) is an update to the popular Mac OS X Tetris game with multiplayer support from SloppyDisk Software. The new version adds full Tiger support, as well as squashing several bugs that could cause the game to hang or crash on quit. [Download - 7.8MB] Booxter 1.8 ($15) is an easy to use application that helps manage a book collection. Version 1.8 adds official support for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) with full Spotlight integration. Under Mac OS X 10.4, users can search Booxter libraries using Spotlight, and double-click on a selected item to navigate directly to it in Booxter. [Download - 1.4MB] iCal Events widget 2.0.1 (free) is a Dashboard plug-in that lists events from multiple iCal calendars. The new version fixes bugs, displays up to two weeks of upcoming events, offers a French localization, and more. [Download - 98KB] Troi Dialog Plug-in 4.0 ($50) is a tool for displaying "all sorts of dialogs" in FileMaker Pro 7. Calls to the plug-in's functions can now support Unicode and more and bigger parameters. Troi Dialog Plug-in 3.6 makes use of the 'classic' plug-in API for FileMaker 6 and 5.x. [Download - 4.0, 3.6] quickWebAlbum ($20) (quickly creates web albums & slideshows) and JPEGCleaner ($15) (removes jpeg resources & metadata for email) have undergone a major update for 10.4. Both programs now correctly handle jpeg rotation under 10.4 and the image resizing code has been improved to produce better quality images. [Download - quickWebAlbum, JPEGCleaner] Disk Order 1.5 ($23) is the latest version of the double-panel utility for managing files, folders and archives. The lastest version gives users the ability to easily browse archives and extract needed files out of them without the need to extart the whole contents of the package. This feature is supported for TAR, GZ, BZ & ZIP formats. [Download - 1.0MB]
Forthcoming podcasting features in iTunes 4.9 will help popularize the growing Podcasting phenomenon and along with other recently announced free podcast offerings, it may threaten Audible's business, according to one research firm. Forbes reports that Standard & Poor's Equity Research reiterated a "sell" rating on Audible, saying that that "podcasting constitutes a growing threat" to the company, "particularly its Periodicals and Radio and TV categories." In the report, S&P Equity Research said that a number of media outlets have recently announced new and free podcasting offerings, which it thinks "will detract from interest in similar content from Audible that generally costs $6.95 to $12.95 a month per download."
In brief: We've published a sneak preview of OmniGraffle 4.0. which is expected as a public beta within the next week... Toyota's Scion car division today announced pricing for the new 2006 Scion tC coupe and iPod-integration option.... Registration has just opened for OSCON, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, taking place August 1-5 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.... Film and game industry experts from Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Turner Studios, and Weta Digital are scheduled to present Alias MasterClasses at SIGGRAPH, August 1-5, 2005 in Los Angeles (May 31 is the early bird deadline).... Organizers of Mac Design Conference & Digital Photography Expo today announced that Nikon Corporation is sponsoring a half-day “Nikon Photo Safari” digital photography pre-conference workshop on June 20th, one day prior to the full conference kick-off in Tampa.... Forthcoming podcasting features in iTunes 4.9 will help popularize the growing Podcasting phenomenon and along with other recently announced free podcast offerings, it may threaten Audible's business, according to one research firm.
Toyota's Scion car division today announced its retail prices (MSRP) for the 2006 Scion tC, its top-rated sports coupe (in its segment in initial quality) and new iPod-integration option on all models. Due at Scion dealerships next week, The 2006 Scion sports coupe comes with additional interior standard equipment as well as a new audio upgrade. All tCs will now have a new three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls and a redesigned Pioneer AM/FM/CD audio head unit as well as an optional iPod compatible audio upgrade from Pioneer that integrates the iPod with the car's sound system, including music navigation, power and display.
This afternoon, alumni and staff at Central High School in Philadelphia will unveil the revamped Barnwell Library - a new communications, research and media facility that Apple has named a national demonstration site for school-library technology. "The alumni did it all - not the school district," marveled Ellen Rosen, a library assistant in the new Barnwell Library. "I think that's what's incredible.... So many people are attached to their colleges. These people are attached to their high school." The library also will be a technology showplace that will be featured during the National Educational Computing Conference in the city next month. Vincent DeTolla, who heads the district's educational technology group, said Apple formed a partnership with the district and alumni to help outfit the facility. The project cost $4.5 million.
Online journalists and bloggers recently filed a brief supporting the three Mac rumor websites whose records Apple sought to subpoena. The Center for Individual Freedom, First Amendment Project, Media Bloggers Association, Reporters Without Borders, and several individual online journalists, bloggers, and other groups submitted a brief this week asking that the online publishers be allowed to keep sources confidential. In December, Apple sued 25 unnamed individuals -- believed to be Apple employees and contractors -- whom it claims leaked confidential product information to three Mac rumor sites. In addition to seeking subpoenas to the records of the three sites, Apple also sued Think Secret, the site that was first to publish the leaked information.
Ampede today released LayerLink 1.2, a software plugin for Apple's Motion video effects package that brings native multi-layer Adobe Illustrator support. With LayerLink, motion graphics professionals can take advantage of Motion's realtime tools when using Illustrator artwork. LayerLink provides a new command in Motion's File menu that imports an Illustrator file as a Motion project, keeping layer settings, names, and visibility intact. Users can scale, rotate, move, apply filters and animate each layer separately. Version 1.2 adds PDF Compression support in Illustrator files, Mac OS X Tiger compatibility, and is localized in German. It is available for $120.
NewTech Infosystems today announced that it has added DVD-R Dual Layer (DL) support to the latest version of DragonBurn 4.1. With DVD-R DL media support, NTI customers can record up to 8.5GB of data, up to 4 hours of DVD-quality videos, or more than 120 hours of MP3 audio on a single side without having to flip the disc. In addition to DVD-R DL and DVD+R DL support, DragonBurn can be used to burn CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/+RW, and DVD-RAM media. "Designed for novices and experienced users, the newly enhanced products leverage the power and performance of NTI’s CD/DVD burning engine, which has an installed base of 70 million users worldwide." Dragon Burn 4.1 for Mac OS X is available for $50 (or an OEM bundle with various CD and DVD drives). [site not updated as of 12:30 pm ET]
RadTech today announced the tekmõd regular, an addition to its line of universal notebook cases. The tekmõd regular is intended for 12-15 inch notebooks with standard (4:3) viewing ratio. The tekmõd regular works as a conventional top-loading case for quick access to your notebook, but also offers a unique "stay-on" feature to work right out of the case. The stay-on feature provides access to ports and slots on the side and back of a notebook. An internal suspension system cradles and lifts the rear of the notebook allowing ample ventilation and air circulation to ensure cool running. tekmõd regular's pockets and pouches completely flatten when empty, yet expand to accommodate a variety of items such as power supplies, cables, peripherals, documents, wallets, and keys. Pricing ranges from $75-80.
The success of Apple's iBook pilot program with an Alabama elementary school could lead to a expansion of the program. The 3-year program, which included 41 sixth-graders, could expand to all sixth graders, according a report in The Birmingham News: While many students have sad faces, administrators are happy with the results of a pilot program that put laptops in the hands of sixth-graders for a year. The program will continue into the next two years and could expand to all sixth-graders in the Vestavia Hills school system. Currently, 360 are enrolled." A decision to expand the program would come during the 2006-2007 school year.
iPodNN headlines: Wi-Gear has released iMuffs, a new set of Bluetooth wireless headphones that can connect to an iPod and cellphone at the same time.... Vaja is offering a new customizable leather case for the iPod shuffle with press-through access to controls, and cut-outs for the shuffle switch, USB connector, and earphones.... "Podcast Secrets Revealed" is a new 75-page PDF e-book on the emerging audio distribution concept that "shows people how to do it in only a few hours."
Vaja is offering a new leather case for the iPod shuffle. Like other iPod shuffle cases, the controls are printed on the outside of the case, allowing users to "press through" to the controls beneath. This $35 case is made of leather, and offers a cutout for the earphones connector and for the shuffle "slider." It also allows access to the USB connector. The case is currently offered in eight different colors. Each case is custom-made, and takes about 25 days to make. It measures 1.28" x 3.56 x 0.74 inches. "These cases are not in stock: you will design your case as you prefer and our master artisans will make it specially for you." To personalize cases, Vaja offers embossing and laser engraving.
Wi-Gear has released iMuffs, a new set of wireless headphones designed specifically for the iPod. iMuffs use Bluetooth technology to provide wireless connectivity to an iPod and/or cellphone. When your Bluetooth phone rings, the iMuffs automatically pause your iPod and ring in the headphones, and let you talk through the integrated microphone. Users can "enjoy CD quality sound" up to 30' (10m) away thanks to the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and Bluetooth 1.2. Intuitive on the each-piece of the iMuffs allow users to pause, change volume, skip tracks, and seek music. The iMuffs require a small receiver attached to the top of the iPod. The iMuffs offer over 12 hours of playtime via a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, according to the manufacturer. The device operates on a 2.4 GHz frequency.
"Podcast Secrets Revealed" is a new book on the emerging audio distribution concept that "shows people how to do it in only a few hours." The book shows readers how to reach the "six million U.S. adults" who are estimated to have downloaded podcasts. "Podcast Secrets Revealed" is offered as a 75-page electronic book. It is distributed in Adobe PDF format. Topics include: getting a podcast listed, using podcasting to promote an online business, creating an RSS feed, podcasting for free, the best MP3 recording devices, transitioning from radio broadcasting, and more. A sample chapter is available for free download.
Kinoma today released Kinoma Producer 3.2, an update to the video compression utility for Mac OS X users. The new version adds high quality video encoding for Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP). Mac users can convert AVI, DV, MPEG-4, 3GPP, QuickTime, and MPEG files, in addition to most other QuickTime compatible files. "Kinoma is the first to deliver 'drag and drop & port' ease for getting personal video onto the PSP," the company said. Version 3.2 is a free update for registered users of Kinoma Producer 3. The full version of can be purchased for $30.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini said the idea that Apple might use Intel chips was the "Haley's comet of rumors." Otellini, however, would not confirm or deny the Wall Street Journal's report that Apple might use Intel chips in Macs. One analyst said the talks were simply a ploy to pressure IBM into fixing its own chip supply problems. Meanwhile, many Mac enthusiasts speculate that talks between Apple and Intel may be about something other than Mac processors.
In brief: Peachpit is offering free passes to the upcoming MacDesign Expo in Tampa, for June 22 only (include your name and mailing address).... macProVideo.com has released Understanding Logic's Environment ($15) video tutorials for modular download.... French Mac news site MacPlus.net reports that chief executive Steve Jobs and lead designer Jonathan Ive were visiting Europe's first Apple Store in London when Jobs mentioned a store would open in Paris in 2007.... Splashdata said it is considering offering a Mac version of the SplashMoney conduit for Palm and Quicken users, if it receives sufficient feedback from interested users.... Ars Technica has posted the first article of a series on the architecture of the Xbox 360.... MacJams.com has announced the winners of its recent "MacJams/TuneMedia" Song Contest.
Administrators are happy with the results of a pilot program that put iBooks in the hands of sixth-graders for a year. The program will continue into the next two years and could expand to all sixth-graders in the Vestavia Hills school system. There are currently 360 students enrolled. Students seemed less distracted and got more work done on time, and there were fewer disciplinary problems, teachers say. Pat Bean, a sixth-grade teacher at Cahaba Heights, said students were more in tune when following her on an electronic version of the textbook. They also treated the laptops with more respect than they did textbooks, she said. "The iBook makes it cool," said student Blake Ange. "It makes it all cool." Students like Blake who are going into the seventh grade next year will no longer have iBooks to use. "On paper, it can be such a hassle," he said.
A Digital Video Editing review compares Apple's Power Mac G5 dual 2.7GHz to a dual Xeon 3.6GHz computer from Dell. The review concludes that the Power Mac is only slightly slower than the fastest PC available, and costs less, too. "You get speed that’s statistically just about the same as a PC, Bluetooth connectivity, FireWire 800 on the motherboard , and then there’s that striking industrial design and cachet that only goes with owning a Mac." To conclude, the reviewer writes, "I’d say that even though the Mac is still slower than the fastest PC in our benchmarks, for professional content creation it would be hard for me to pass it up." The Power Mac G5 receives a 9.5 rating. The article also looks as the 23-inch Cinema HD display. "The monitor has performed flawlessly and receives my highest recommendation, 10 out of 10 stars."
Taiwan-based lithium-battery specialists DynaPack International Technology and Simplo Technology may benefit from Apple's recent recall of notebook batteries, according to DigiTimes. The recalled batteries were manufactured by LG Chem of South Korea and "should affect LG Chem’s ability to secure more Apple orders," according to the report. "Although DynaPack has stated it began lithium-battery shipments to Apple for its PowerBook earlier this year, the company has declined to provide any forecast for total shipments to Apple for the year. However, sources at the maker anticipate DynaPack will ship a total of 4.5 million notebook-use battery packs in 2005, up 51.5% from the 2.97 million units it shipped last year. As recently reported, Simplo has also secured orders from Apple, with shipments to start by the end of the year. The maker earlier projected that its notebook lithium-battery shipments will reach 11-12 million units this year."
Sonnet Technologies today launched its PodFreq mini, a premium FM transmitter, integrated dock and protective case for iPod mini. PodFreq mini broadcasts tunes to any nearby car, home, or portable FM radio. Designed for the audio enthusiast, PodFreq mini connects to iPod mini through its dock connector to take advantage of the consistent-level, line-out signal. Users can quickly tune and broadcast to any clear station between 88.1MHz and 107.9MHz using up/down tuning buttons and the built-in, backlit display. The $100 PodFreq mini, expected to ship in July, includes a car charger, car cradle, USB 2.0 cable, soft carrying pouch, and a telescoping antenna.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko