In brief: SBC Communications on Wednesday announced it will offer high-speed Internet access service for only $15 per month when new residential subscribers order SBC Yahoo DSL Express online.... MacForce in Portland has announced 13 new seminars for June, including "Taming the Tiger," "It's a Wonderful iLife," and "Getting the Most From Your iPod."... AppleScript Pro Sessions have been announced for October 31-November 4 in Chicago (pricing starts at $1300 through September 15).... A software update for Apple's iPod photo may deliver slew of new image transitions and a tetris game.... Nintendo hopes to benefit from the iPod's "cool factor" with the release of its new Game Boy Micro.... TD Canada Trust is offering a free iPod shuffle to anyone who transfers their main personal or small business chequing account to TD Canada Trust.... Phillip Torrone of Make: has posted a review of the Super Tangent, an iPod shuffle knockoff made by Luxpro.
A software update for Apple's iPod photo may deliver a slew of new image transitions and a popular arcade game. "Anonymous sources also say the software update will pack a color version of the popular arcade game tetris," according to AppleInsider. "Users will be able to use the iPod photo's click-wheel to move the tetris blocks horizontally while the iPod click-button performs block rotation." Users will reportedly be able to select and set transitions from a new "transition menu." The report claims the software update will be marked as version 1.2, and will be available for download "sometime this month."
Kids GoGoGo 9.2 ($30) is the latest version of the Internet filtering program for adult-related content. Version 9.2 implements a new installer, brings back the quick sleep function, improves database update, and more. [Download - 3.9MB] Curio 2.4 ($80) is an environment for brainstorming and idea management. Curio 2.4 features a new Tiger Spotlight plugin which quickly indexes all text, URLs, and titles found within your project. Curio 2.4 also features additional Organizer preview options, a refreshed toolbar with new optional Back/Forward and Previous/Next navigation buttons, an iWork Pages instant document template, and minor Tiger fixes. [Download - options] MimMac 1.5.5 ($10) is an update to the backup, cloning, and data synchronization utility. When authorized with root permissions, MimMac automatically disables Spotlight on the destination volume(s) to prevent Spotlight from indexing the destination while MimMac is running. Version 1.5.5 makes several other small improvements as well. [Download - 585KB] Docktop ($4) is a new launcher for Mac OS X. It provides a highly customizable launchbar on your Desktop -- behind the icons -- to which you can add items to open applications, files, folders, weblinks, or AppleScripts. [Download - 1.3MB] MiNews 0.60 (free) is the latest version of the RSS news reader for Mac OS X. The new version is the first release of MiNews to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. It also fixes bugs for Mac OS X 10.3 users. [Download - 2.4MB] Adobe Bridge 1.0.1 fixes a number of problems discovered after Bridge, the new navigational control center built for Adobe Creative Suite 2, was released. Version 1.0.1 includes improved stability, fixes a "problem updating database" error, improves performance, and more. The update includes localized resources for several languages. [Download - 40.8MB]
Velan Software today released Fast DVD Copy 4, its Mac OS X application that allows users to copy DVD video collections, Audio CD collections, PlayStation 2 games, DVD-ROMs or CD-ROMs without losing any quality from the original. Version 4 includes a new interface and two new modes: Rip Only and Rip & Compress, which allow users to test the resulting VIDEO_TS folder before burning the copy or to store several DVDs on a hard drive. The application can compress a dual-layer DVD to one single-layer DVD, supports all recent DVD players, removes CSS/Macrovision protection, copies multi-channel audio (e.g., Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS/THX), supports NTSC/PAL, and creates region-free DVD copies. It runs on Mac OS X (Jaguar/Panther/Tiger). A single-user license is $100, while upgrades are free.
A former Cobb County commissioner has filed a lawsuit to stop the school board's iBook laptop program. Former Commissioner Butch Thompson accuses school officials of planning to misspend taxpayers' money. Thompson claims that voters were not informed that a 1 percent sales tax would be used to start the program. County voters approved the tax in 2003. The lawsuit contends that language was not specific enough to inform voters that the system intended to provide computers for all students in grades six through 12. "I didn't vote for laptops for every student in the county, and I don't think anyone else did," Thompson said. "In essence, they took funds designated for one purpose and used it for something else." The first phase of the program costs about $25 million, which the school board approved in April.
PC Magazine continues to be impressed with Apple's iMac G5. In its recent review of the iMac G5 2.0GHz, the "independent guide to technology" says, "when we last reviewed the iMac G5 in September 2004, we were mesmerized by its minimalist design and the subtle changes over the dome-base iMac that first wowed us. We gushed about how it's the perfect non-TV, all-in-one computer for minimalist-design fans and people with limited desk space. Today's iMac G5 ($1,799 direct) has the same perfect design, with hardware improvements that continue to make it one of our favorite all-in-ones." Another recent review looks at the 1.42GHz eMac. "Users on a $999 budget should look hard at the Apple eMac with DL SuperDrive."
Keyspan is now shipping its new USB PS/2 Adapter for Macs and PCs. The USB PS/2 Adapter makes it easy to connect a PS/2 keyboard and PS/2 mouse to a single USB port. At $20, Keyspan's USB PS/2 Adapter solves a connectivity problem resulting from the lack of PS/2 ports on most new laptops and desktops. Keyspan points out that the USB PS/2 Adapter may be useful for "Switchers" who want to use their old PC's keyboards and mouse with a new Mac mini (which ships without a keyboard or mouse). On Windows there is no software to install. Users simply plug in the adapter to a USB port on the PC then plug the keyboard and mouse into the color-coded connectors on the adapter. For Macintosh users, a software utility is provided that re-maps the PS/2 keyboard and mouse for optimal use on a Mac.
NewTech (NTI) today announced Dragon FliX, a new software solution for making high-quality copies of non-protected DVD videos with compression options. NTI say it has equipped Dragon FliX with advanced copying and compression features and "made them incredibly easy to use." With Dragon FliX, users can compress unencrypted* 8.5GB dual-layer movies down to 4.7GB single-layer size, remove unwanted features, and burn them without having to split the movie onto two discs, and without sacrificing audio and video quality or playback compatibility. Users have the option of selecting either the entire DVD for compression and copying or just the main movie. The software can also compress and simultaneously burn movies to multiple DVD burners. [site not updated; pricing not available]
Columnist John Yunker thinks that Apple may be in talks with Intel not about using Pentium processors in Macs, but rather about WiMAX, a next-generation home wireless technology. "There have been lots of speculation about Apple launching an A/V equivalent of iTunes. Now, connecting the cable or DSL modem to the TV is a hurdle we're seeing lots of companies tackle, with limited success." Yunker believes that WiMAX may hold the solution." That's because only WiMAX can stream multiple streams of HDTV content in difficult RF environments to all ends of the home. Apple may be trying to keep on top of the latest technology, as it did in 1997 when it introduced AirPort. "Apple likes to lead with wireless technology, not follow." (Background: last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Intel were in talks.)
Nintendo hopes to benefit from the iPod's "cool factor" with the release of its new Game Boy Micro. "The smaller, hipper Game Boy is about as big as an iPod but plays a huge collection of Game Boy Advance games," explains Punch Jump. "It can also play MP3s and videos with an additional cartridge, to let Nintendo inch toward a brand new status in video games." At less than 1-inch thin, the Game Boy Micro is the tiniest Game Boy ever and includes a minimalist edge that "strays from the cute design of Pokemon characters." At $250, Sony's PSP has "taken a 'wait-and-see' status with most consumers. But Game Boy Micro's more modest pricing, expected to be a bit more than the current $79 Game Boy Advance SP, could hit much faster mass market adoption."
TD Canada Trust is offering a free iPod shuffle to anyone who transfers their main personal or small business chequing account at another financial institution to an eligible chequing account at TD Canada Trust by August 12, 2005. "For personal chequing accounts, you will also need to have at least one direct deposit or two pre-authorized payments set up (can be new or existing). And thanks to our EasySwitch process, moving your account is hassle-free - because we do the work for you." Recently, we reported that Citibank was also offering free iPod shuffles for those who open a new account with them.
Phillip Torrone of Make: has posted a review of the "Super Tangent," an iPod shuffle knockoff made by Luxpro, a Taiwanese manufacturer. Torrone says "It's a funny little mutant, that's for sure." The device offers voice recording, and FM radio playback. "It's quite good quality, I was surprised." Torrone notes that the Super Tangent seems to work with iPod shuffle accessories, but doesn't fit perfectly. The Super Tangent is not officially sold in the United States, but can be found on eBay, according to Gizmodo. Another review posted online was less flattering, stating the device is "worse than you could believe."
CryptoCard has updated its secure authentication and ID management tools for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Clients with CryptoCard use either a software token, a PIN pad, or a Smart Card to generate one-use keys for two-factor system authentication. Enterprise networking writer James Gaskin says "I do find it aggravating when companies mash a PC product onto the Mac with little grace or user interface attention. If you're going to play in that market, then do it right." Gaskin points out that "CryptoCard rewrote their software from the ground up for Tiger, and have even updated the firmware in their card readers to work with Macs."
Mark/Space today announced that The Missing Sync for hiptop, the company's Mac OS X synchronization software for hiptop mobile devices, now fully supports synchronizing with SunCom Wireless' hiptop and hiptop2 devices. The Missing Sync for hiptop integrates with Apple's iSync technology to provide two-way synchronization of calendar events, contacts and to-do items between a Mac and a hiptop mobile device. Now, SunCom hiptop owners who use a Mac can "have their most current information at their fingertips." The Missing Sync currently supports Mac OS X 10.3.x; a free update with support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" is expected by the end of June.
Aspyr today announced that Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2005 for Mac has hit beta status. The golf simulation challenges "you to take on the man who has changed golf forever - Tiger Woods. After making a name for yourself on the Tour, tee off against legends including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan to see how you stack up against the all-time greats." New "Tiger Proofing" course alteration technology allows users to modify course dynamics by adding lengthier Tiger Tees, tighter fairways, dramatic undulations to greens, etc. An enhanced Game Face offers non-proportional bone scaling and texture blending for creating "incredibly realistic looks". The $40 title, now available for pre-order, requires Mac OS X 10.3.6 or later and a G4/G5 CPU running at 1GHz or faster; it will ship in July.
Software MacKiev has posted its June Holiday Greetings Collection for The Print Shop. "Not just a one-holiday collection as we've done for the past, this a full set of a dozen holidays -- all excellent excuses to send greetings to people you care about." The holidays included range from the standards such as Father's Day and Graduation to "more esoteric ones" such as National Hug Day (June 11), Best Friends Day (June 8) and Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 24). The collection starts with International Children's Day which is celebrated every June 1st in many countries. As usual, the collection is available as a free download for users of The Print Shop ($50).
Synk Audio Studios has introduced Cyan Life, a music content package for Musicbed DV, its application for customizing stock music from the Synk Music Library. Cyan Life is composed by Rom Di Prisco, whose credits include "The Sopranos", "America's Next Top Model", and "MTV Cribs." Additionally, Synk's Musicbed DV 1.0.5 update is now available. This latest update includes a new relevancy-based browser, new browser sorting options, new dynamic updating of music clip events during keyframe editing, improved G4 performance, and more.
Faronics has released Deep Freeze 1.8 for Mac OS X, a new version of its system administration software that can automatically (and transparently) protect and restore computer configurations, home directories, printing information, and more. It offers two types of protection: Non-restrictive protection allows users to make changes to the home directory, but restores the entire directory to its exact original configuration after a logout, restart, selected time interval, or on a selected day of the week. Restrictive protection enables administrators to specify read, write, and execute privileges on-the-fly on a per-user basis for any file, folder, application, or system preference pane--on any drive. Version 1.8 is compatible with Panther/Tiger, while the previous version is comaptible with Jaguar. Pricing starts at $28 per workstation.
M-Audio yesterday unveiled the Studiophile BX5a [site not update], an updated version of the company’s successful BX5 near-field reference monitor. The upgrade centers on improved driver materials and a stylish new industrial design. The 5” low-frequency driver cone is crafted from Kevlar, instead of the polypropylene used in the original BX5. These low-frequency drivers also employ a curved cone design and high-temperature voice coils. Damped rubber surrounds deliver "amazing fidelity and durability." The BX5a features a 56Hz-22kHz frequency response. The units have a power indicator and volume control. Each unit measures 9.85" high, 6.54" wide, and 7.88" deep. The BX5a is currently shipping at an MSRP of $400 per pair.
In brief: We've reviewed MacJournal 3.1 from Mariner Software, PreSonus' FIREPOD, and Business Card Composer v3 from Belight Software.... iPhoto 5 users on Apple's support forums report that the application makes an unrequested softening of any photo when saved.... Another support topic includes discussion of major compatibility issues between iChat AV 3 and home routers, NAT devices, and ISPs.... The Missing Sync for Palm OS 4.0.5 is a free update for registered owners of version 4.0 that primarily addresses minor issues with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger."
Computer Systems Odessa has released ConceptDraw PROJECT v1.3, a new version of its professional project management software. Version 1.3 features new pro-looking interface and a new toolset for quick and easy editing of Gantt charts, customizing project calendar, etc. In addition, it offers new advanced reporting system supplied with new wizards, extended file exchange with support for MS Project XML, import of ConceptDraw MINDMAP Outline, and more. ConceptDraw PROJECT 1.3 is available for $150 (or for $80 to ConceptDraw users), while previous version owners can update for free.
Now AAPL Stock: 97.9 ( + 1.47 )
Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ