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Photo Hunt in Hawaii
Game developer Spinapse today released Photo Hunt in Hawaii, a new genre of entertainment software that combines virtual travel, quiz show competition, and location-based trivia. Designed for the casual gamer, Photo Hunt uses offbeat humor and real world settings to appeal to adults as well as trigger-happy kids, according to the developer: "Game play in Photo Hunt centers around 24 live-action scenes, where you seek out and photograph your assignments to place on the game board.... Players, on the other hand, are out for fame and fortune. Each matching snapshot gets you quick cash, a spin of the Big Wheel, and a chance to show what you know about the culture, history, and inhabitants of Hawaii." It is available for $20 and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Shares of Apple got a boost today amid upbeat comments by Morgan Stanley analyst Rebecca Runkle, who said the computer maker's pact with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores may be broader than first thought. AAPL gained $1.13, or 3.1 percent, to close at $37.13. "While we don't believe Apple iPod availability at Wal-Mart is completely new news, we do think the partnership is broader than people think, in transition and set to expand in the near-term," asserted analyst Rebecca Runkle in a note to clients. Apple and the world's biggest retailer have been expanding their pact to sell versions of Apple's iPod from a test to a full partnership, marking a new development as of the last few months, according to Runkle. Runkle said that reports about mounting inventory of Apple products may be exaggerated. "In fact, we do not believe Apple has a major inventory problem," she said. "We think much of the inventory chatter resulted from inventory increases ahead of broadening retail partnerships and sell-in ahead of new product launches." The analyst maintained an overweight rating and $60 target price on Apple's stock.
DEVONtechnologies has released details on its long anticipated DEVONthink Professional. While a few features are already available with DEVONthink Personal, the Professional edition "brings the real gems now", says Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann, President of DEVONtechnologies. "DEVONthink Professional is much more than a simple document database. It's a work environment. The true paperless office for the Mac." Contrary to the home-user-centric DEVONthink Personal, DEVONthink Professional easily handles multiple databases and allows users to split up their information collection into several smaller databases for specific projects. Databases are simply packages and can be copied, e-mailed and backuped like any other file or folder. A Public Beta is immediately available for download, with the final version expected in August.
64-bit P4; Apple refurbs
In Brief: Intel shifted the majority of its Pentium 4 processors to 64-bit capability over the weekend by quietly introducing the Intel 5x1 series, which shifts the existing 775-pin, 32-bit Pentium 4 line—-known as the 5xx series—-to 64-bit memory addressing.... The Apple Store has added a slew of refurb iPods (including the U2 Edition); refurbished 12-inch PowerBooks with SuperDrive ($1,300); several 12-inch iBook models at $700 (1GHz/CD), $800 (1.2GHz/CD or 1GHz/Combo), and $850 (1.2GHz/Combo/AP); and 14-inch iBooks with built-in wireless: Combo Drive ($1,100) and SuperDrive ($1,300)..... The iPod has been a significant factor in the emergence of the market for media adapters, for which the market will grow by 76% through 2009.... BackJack's new Single Site Storage Plan ($12.50 per 1 compressed GB) is designed to appeal to Mac users who are interested in a less expensive option for their offsite storage needs.... iHome has announced a iH5 alarm clock radio for iPod users.
iHome, a division of SDI Technologies, recently announced the iH5 alarm clock radio for iPod users. Users can select audio from the integrated iPod interface or from fm/am radio. The iH5 features integrated speakers with "incredible clarity, depth and power." The speakers use Reson8 sound chamber technology. The alarm also features a wake buzzer. It automatically charges any iPod placed in the integrated dock. The device is designed to match the iPod. It features a white plastic enclosure with metallic speaker grille. It features a large backlit LCD display that serves as a clock, tuner, and audio source selector. The iH5 is not currently available, but will start shipping later this summer. SDI Technologies said the iH5 will ship in August for $100.
SilverStorm, formerly InfiniCon, today announced the addition of Mac OS X support to its suite of QuickSilver software and InfiniBand switching solutions. In partnership with Small Tree Communications, SilverStorm says it has developed a robust InfiniBand-based set of networking capabilities available for Mac OS X environments. SilverStorm’s portfolio of high performance switching solutions provides users a 10 Gb/sec, low latency, multi-protocol interconnect fabric that supports both cluster inter-process communication and shared storage and networking I/O access. The company won a 2005 Apple Design Award for "Best Mac OS X Server" solution at last week's Apple WWDC.
Power Game Factory demo
Sawblade Software has released a free demo of Power Game Factory, an innovative new game authoring tool for Mac OS X. Power Game Factory lets users and developers create graphically rich, action-packed side scrolling games--without any programming. "Harnessing old-school gameplay, hardware accelerated graphics, and realistic physics, Power Game Factory is the ideal system with which experienced artists and designers may construct sophisticated, compelling Macintosh games." The content-driven environment can compile completed game projects into self-contained, fully functional applications which may be sold without royalties or limitations. The free demo can only create single-level games; the full version is $45 and ships on a CD bundled with the Greenland Invasion game project along with a 6-step beginner's tutorial.
Aside from its powerful Spotlight search feature, the biggest new tool in Mac OS X Tiger is Dashboard, says ExtremeTech. The website lists its 20 favorite third-party Dashboard widgets in the report. Recently, we noted several useful widgets and Dashboard tools. On Monday, The Widget Machine was launched as the Macintosh community's first Web store dedicated to Dashboard widgets - mini applications featured in Apple's Mac OS X Tiger. Today, Mesa Dynamics announced the release of Amnesty Widget Browser .85b introducing support for multiple widget "layouts" that can be called to the desktop at any time. Amnesty Widget Browser, for Tiger and Panther, allows dashboard widgets to live directly on the desktop via an icon in the system menu bar, allowing them to run completely independent of the Dashboard environment, maintain their own preferences and feature additional properties such as window level and opacity.
GForce synths updated
M-Audio has begun shipping GForce's virtual models of four vintage synthesizer classics: Oddity, Minimonsta, impOSCar and M-Tron can operate in either stand-alone mode or with VST 2.0 (including VSTi), RTAS, or AU hosts. The GForce models are "faithful renditions of the originals—with modern enhancements" and are available at a more affordable price: Oddity ($130) is a meticulous emulation of the classic ARP Odyssey synthesizer; Minimonsta ($200) emulates the classic Minimoog with full programmability and 6000+ pre-programmed sounds; impOSCar ($130) reproduces the classic OSCar synthesizer, featuring digital oscillators along with built-in effects, polyphony, automation support, and preset memories; M-Tron ($130) emulates the classic Mellotron and features over 2.5GB of audio along with volume/tone/pitch controls as well as attack/release envelopes and automation support.
Mac Joy shareware
Mac Joy has launched eight new shareware games for Mac users. The titles include Bricks of Egypt, Spin & Win, Bricks of Camelot, Pirates of Treasure Island, Funny Faces, Gold Miner Joe, Digi Pool, and Superstar Chefs. Bricks of Egypt challenges players to "Embark on a journey through an undiscovered Egyptian world of traps, lasers, fire-balls, gems and hieroglyphs." Spin & Win lets players "spin the wheel and play classic favorites such as Slots, Quiz, Dice, Wheel of Furtune and Scratch Lottery in this charming game of chance." All eight games sell for $20 each. Free trials are available for download.
Single-CPU Macs disappear
In Brief: Apple has pulled the single-processor Power Mac G5 from its online store, confirming reports that the company has declared the model as "End-Of-Life" (EOL).... iPod accessory maker DLO today announced the appointment of F. Garey De Angelis, a former Apple VP, as Vice President of Product Development, which he "will be responsible for taking new products from the idea stage into successful production.".... Aspyr this Friday will be showcasing The Sims 2 at the monthly Aspyr game night at Apple Store Barton Creek (Austin, TX).... Many industry experts do not foresee Apple getting far in the mobile phone business on the hardware or software side because the firm would have to relinquish too much control over the design and feel of its products.... BuyIcons.com's new "Button Box Set" ($50) provides developers with a valuable collection of high quality and easy-to-use buttons for metal windows, including 90 different icons for use in almost every possible application.
AbOrygen releases biOpen 2
AbOrygen has released biOpen 2, a unique DNA/protein sequence analysis and structure visualization software based on dynamic integration of analysis tools. The software features extensive modularity for selecting specific analysis tools, 3D visualization, synchronized views, dynamic display of sequence analysis results, automated extraction and display of annotations from GenBank sequence files, project management, and graphic export functions. Version 2 supports Tiger and features a new assembly tool for fragment data, a prediction tool for membrane-spanning regions, easy calculations for nucleic acid info (base/atomic composition, MW, etc.), 3D optimizations, and a multiple linear view. Pricing varies based on selected modules.
Apple and the Sundance Channel have announced a deal that will make content from the cable network exclusively available as podcast downloads from Apple's iTunes Music Store. The partnership with Sundance gives iTunes one of its first exclusive podcast partners. "The Sundance deal expands iTunes beyond music and into other types of radio-like content," AdAge says. The deal "inches Apple's iTunes operations -- originally created as a music distribution hub -- toward becoming a broader, radio-like media entity."
New Chronos products
Chronos today announced the forthcoming release of two new products: SOHO Organizer and SOHO Notes for Mac OS X Tiger. SOHO Organizer, the successor to Personal Organizer and Group Organizer, is designed to help small office and home office (SOHO) users easily manage their customer relationships (phone calls, notes, appointments, to-dos, etc.). Completely rewritten in Cocoa, it features an Aqua interface, Unicode compliance, built-in spell checking, Mac OS X Services support, and integration with Address Book and iCal. SOHO Notes is described as the "first and only" networkable note manager; it can be used to store and share miscellaneous info within a hierarchy of folders, with various levels of read/write access as well as instantly sync info from laptops or remote clients (using .Mac). Both can be used as a single-user or workgroup database-driven application with encrypted communication.
Puppygames has released Ultratron, a game about "mankind’s final and finest hour." In the game, "humanity is extinct, but in our last dying days a new hero was born: Ultratron." The $10 game features over 40 levels with over 70 enemies in classic retro 2D. "Realizing that humans had come to rely on graphics rather than skill with their weapons, the retro invasion began. Our 3D technology was no match for the 2D invaders and all our greatest heroes were consumed in their terrible onslaught. It was only in the last days of humanity did we fight fire with fire and created a 2D hero of our own." Players can get power-ups for guns, shields, and smart bombs. Players can also special bonuses such as attack drones, sentinels, multi-shot, bounce shot, and more.
Secret Folder X 3.0
Apimac today announced Secret Folder X 3.0, the latest release of its shareware application that allows users to hide a folder and its contents. Version 3.0 is Tiger compatible and introduces support for multiple folders. "The interface has been accordingly actualized to deal with a list of folders, where items are added or removed with a single click." Apimac Secret Folder is an application that provides an easy and fast way to protect personal documents and avoid them being seen, modified, or erased by other users. Apimac Secret Folder X 3.0 is available immediately for download and is free of charge for customers who purchased Apimac Secret Folder on or after November 1, 2004.
OS X server review
AnandTech has posted a lengthy review of the Power Mac G5, Xserve G5, and Mac OS X. The report finds that Mac OS X on the PowerPC G5 is a viable workstation platform. However, the article concludes that Mac OS X is lacking as a server platform. Lmbench was used to test MySQL performance and measure the bottlenecks at the Unix operating system and CPU level. "Mac OS X is incredibly slow, between 2 and 5(!) times slower, in creating new threads, as it doesn't use kernel threads, and has to go through extra layers (wrappers). No need to continue our search: the G5 might not be the fastest integer CPU on earth - its database performance is completely crippled by an asthmatic operating system that needs up to 5 times more time to handle and create threads."
Nokia N91 preview
iPodNN news roundup: "Although it's still four to five months away from release, the N91 is shaping up as Nokia's first serious challenge to the booming iPod business," The Register says in a preview of the device.... ezGear yesterday announced the clearCase 60, the latest version of its case the iPod.... Columnist Andy Serwer says the iPod is more than a fad: "It's hard to recall any branded recreational product that ever carried the cultural oomph that the iPod now has."... iPods have been used by disgruntled employees to steal information from companies, according to a report.... Apple's iPod shuffle sales are not doing well, according a report from Asia.... Music will be a major focus at Macworld Conference & Expo Boston, taking place July 11-14, 2005 at the Hynes Convention Center.
"Although it's still four to five months away from release, the N91 is shaping up as Nokia's first serious challenge to the booming iPod business," The Register says. The N91 is a hard-disk based phone optimized for music playback. "Out of the box, it immediately scores over the iPod and the copycat MP3 jukeboxes by allowing you to share your music files and playlists with Series 60 smartphones in close proximity to you." However, the report notes that in other respects, the N91 lacks the iPod's ease of use. "The user interface isn't always optimal: partly because it's a multifunction device, and partly because the user is forced to fight against, rather than work with the design-by-committee Series 60 User Interface."
Stanford University has posted the transcript from Apple CEO Steve Jobs' Commencement speech on June 12. "Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started?" Jobs also talked about his battle with cancer. "This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades."
Apple laptop deal
El Dorado school board members met monday night to give their approval to a four-year lease-purchase agreement with Apple through which the district will be acquiring the laptops for the freshmen and sophomores. At its regular monthly meeting Monday night the USD 490 school board gave its unanimous approval to extension of the school's "One-to-One" laptop computer program to the ninth and 10th graders. At Monday night's meeting USD 490 Superintendent Tom Biggs said there was "enough merit and success" in this year's computer initiative program to warrant its extension to the ninth and 10th graders. Biggs said the "One-to-One" initiative was launched so successfully this past school year that it became a flagship program for other school districts in and outside of Kansas which are looking at starting their own programs to come in and look at.
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