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NeoOffice/J 1.1 released
Planamesa Software and the NeoOffice.org community have released NeoOffice/J 1.1, a Mac OS X-native version of the OpenOffice.org office suite that includes MS Office-compatible word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing applications. It features an open, XML-based file format and provides compatibility with Microsoft Office and Corel WordPerfect and offers a robust feature set common to all major office suites, including the ability to track changes and export to many formats such as PDF, HTML, Flash, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Mac-specific features include a Spotlight plugin, standard Mac OS X installer, a native Aqua menu bar, use of the native printing system, full clipboard support, drag & drop support, Mac "command" key shortcuts, and integration with major Mac email clients. The freeware runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Xsan 1.1 update
Apple yesterday posted further details of the Xsan 1.1 update, which first surfaced over a week ago. "The 1.1 Update delivers overall improved reliability for Xsan and is required for all systems running 10.4." As previously noted, the update improves performance and allows users to share files and volumes up to two petabytes (2PB) in size and takes advantage of the 64-bit file system in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger." The update also improves server stability when resharing Xsan volumes via NFS. Fixes are provided for: handling quotas with no associated user or group name, maintaining access to Xsan volumes when metadata controller failovers occur, and operating Xsan in environments with a mix of 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems.
PCI-X SATA Adapter
FirmTek announced today its newest Serial ATA host adapter: the four-port SeriTek/1VE2+2 featuring external and internal ports. This solution joins FirmTek's line of Serial ATA solutions, which already includes Serial ATA adapters for the Macintosh as well as the award-winning SeriTek/1EN2 external enclosure. The SeriTek/1VE2+2 features a 133MHz PCI-X interface. It offers direct booting from any attached hard drive or volume, hot-swap capability, support for native Mac OS X RAID 0/1 (mirroring or striping), and it works with Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X on any PCI bus-based Mac intended to run those systems.
In brief: Apple continues to expand its market share in the booming portable audio player market, despite concerns over the long-term success of the strategy.... Macromedia today announced the third annual MAX conference (Oct 16-19), offering hands-on technical training, gain new skills, network with industry leaders, and sneak previews of upcoming Macromedia products.... More than a dozen Kutztown High School students have been charged with misusing and altering district-owned computers that were part of an innovative program in the high school.... macProVideo has announces DVD Studio Pro 4 and Logic 7 for Video Editors tutorial video programs.
Market share expands
Apple continues to expand its market share in the booming portable audio player market, despite concerns over the long-term success of the strategy. According to a report released by market research firm In-Stat today, Apple sold 8.4 million iPods in 2004 and captured a market share of more than 30 percent. In-Stat reported that Apple sold nearly one third of all digital audio players in 2004. Of the 27.8 million-unit market, Apple's iPod product line achieved a 30.2 percent share or 8.4 million sold units. "Apple blurs sales figures of the individual iPod products, so it was not clear how successful certain products are. According to recent media reports, for example on AppleInsider.com, iPod Shuffle sales are much slower than expected," notes Tom's Hardware Guide.
MacPractice MD with charts
MacPractice and Spring Medical Systems today announced plans to integrate MacPractice MD practice management software for physicians with SpringCharts EMR charting software for doctors and clinics; the companies said the integration would create the first complete healthcare software solution designed especially for Mac OS X and that it would be available later this summer. SpringCharts EMR is a comprehensive, easy to use, affordable, electronic medical records option for MacPractice MD users. MacPractice also reiterated plans to add scheduling, electronic insurance submission, image storage, and integrated word processing by the end of June.
LaCie has unveiled the SAFE portable storage device that can be locked or unlocked by swiping a finger over an embedded sensor. Fingerprint authentication grants access to the drive. Thanks to embedded software, no installation is needed on the host computer making this storage solution completely mobile. It scans more than traditional readers and registers fingerprint templates as high quality images to enable fingerprint recognition in real-time as well as help prevent misidentification. Integrating a swiping fingerprint sensor also minimizes corruption risks--the movement of a finger over the sensor immediately eliminates traces of the print making it difficult for unauthorized users to duplicate. The biometric LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive is priced at $150 for 40GB and $200 for 80GB.
Organizers of Macworld Expo Boston today announced the "Apple Specialists Pavilion," taking place at the trade show, July 11-14. The Pavilion, sponsored by Apple Specialists Dealers, will have the most current Mac products on display including Power Mac G5s, Xserve and Xserve RAID as well as iMac G5 and Mac mini lines. Apple will not be participating at Macworld Boston. Apple Specialists are independent dealers formed to create brand awareness of the Apple Specialist channel through national advertising, marketing and Specialist-only promotions. The Apple Specialist Pavilion is being sponsored in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard. The latest Mac OS X Tiger-ready HP products from Designjet printers for creative professionals, Color LaserJet all-in-ones for business, and Photosmart printers and cameras for digital imaging will also be featured throughout the Pavilion.
Apple cuts 1.8GHz G5
Apple has confirmed reports from last week that it has discontinued its single-processor 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 system in favor of an all dual-chip lineup. "The 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 is no longer available at the online Apple Store but is available in other channels while supplies last," the company said in a statement to CNET News.com. "The Power Mac G5 line is now all dual processor and delivers the ultimate in performance for our most advanced customers." Apple noted that for those looking for a single-chip machine, "the new iMac G5 is a very popular solution." The company last upgraded the Power Mac G5 line in April, with dual-processor configurations ranging from 2GHz to 2.7GHz.
Now Up-to-Date v5
Now Software today introduced Now Up-to-Date & Contact 5 for Macintosh, a major update to its cross platform calendar and contact management solutions. Version 5 provides a wide selection of new features and improvements, including advanced group scheduling features, new server management tools, easier import and export, and improved interface features. NUDC 5 also sports a redesigned interface including customizable toolbars, dozens of general enhancements and improvements, and also provides support for the new Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The company says that Tiger-specific features, including Dashboard Widgets and Spotlight support, are due later this year as a free update.
Other World Computing is bulking up its line of Mercury Elite-AL Pro external FireWire 800 storage solutions with the addition of an 800GB model. The new line of drives combine custom Oxford bridge solutions with fast and reliable disk mechanisms. Using drives with a 7200RPM spindle speed and combining to feature up to a 16 Megabyte (MB) data buffer, these solutions take full advantage of the 100 Megabytes per second data rates supported by the FireWire 800 interface. "These drives are a beautiful combination of high performance and high style," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "They carry on a tradition established by our award-winning Mercury Elites - they're high-performance, high-reliability and high-capacity solutions." These aluminum drives were designed with today's aluminum style displays and computers in mind.
Servoy, FCP plugin, ...
DH_Box 1.1 ($10) is a plug-in filter that makes split screen effects in Final Cut Pro easy. This new version includes a smoothing function to give more control over the image quality. DH_Guides 1.1 and DH_WideSafe 1.1 ($10) have also been updated to make all ten Digital Heaven plug-ins now compatible with Final Cut Pro 5.
MacPoker Pro 1.0 ($40) is the exclusive online poker tracking and analysis solution for Mac OS X poker players. MacPoker Pro provides real-time information about you and your opponents which can be used to make better decisions while you play. [Download - 3.2MB]
DayLite v1.7.5 ($150) updates Marketcircle's business relationship manager application with improved compatibility with Mac OS X Tiger (as well as fixes for Panther). It is for both Panther/Tiger users and the company has posted an Upgrading document, which it says should be reviewed prior to installation. [Download - 17MB]
TableStyles and CellStyles 1.1 ($100) is a free update to the InDesign plugin that supports Adobe InDesign CS2, including its new "snippet" feature and its INX format. Users can "round-trip" tables into and out of snippets, and still retain all of their table and cell styles as well as export styled tables to INX. Both feature powerful table styling features and can import styles from other documents as well as create default styles.
Typinator 1.0 ($20) is a typing automator that enables users to rapidly insert text or graphics into any type of application; it speeds repetitive typing tasks and eliminates manually introduced errors by allowing users to easily insert often-used text or image by defining a custom abbreviation, which is automatically expanded to the replacement text or image in any application. [Download - 500KB]
Targus iPod accessory line
Targus today announced its new iPod accessory line, including Slide and Flip Cases, RemoteTunes wireless remote for iPod and SoundUP amplifier. Targus' iPod cases are uniquely styled combining both the durability of a hard shell and a classic design. Made of leather, the Flip and Slide cases snuggly fit the iPod and provide easy access to its controls and connectors. RemoteTunes is small, lightweight RF controller that allows users to control the volume and song selection from up to 150 feet. SoundUP enhances rich 3-D sound by leveraging Phantom Technologies' patented circuit to reveal "instruments and voices that are trapped during compression and previously not heard."
Apple sued over iTunes UI
Apple has been slapped with a lawsuit over the iTunes interface, AppleInsider reports. Contois Music Technology last week asked a Federal Court to stop the company from distributing its iTunes jukebox software and is seeking damages over an alleged patent violation by the software. The suit alleges that Apple's iTunes software design infringes on a six-year old design patent entitled "Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices." Contois is seeking an injunction blocking Apple from distributing iTunes in its current form. The company also asked the Court for an unspecified amount of damages resulting from Apple's "copying and willful infringement."
Freescale yesterday showcased a new high-performance PowerPC G4 processor touted as the successor to the chip used in Apple's current PowerBook G4 systems. The new MPC7448 is based on Freescale's e600 PowerPC core and is expected to offer speeds up to 1.7 GHz with the system bus at 200 MHz. The new AltiVec-equipped processor is the first of the MPC74xx family to use Freescale's 90 nanometer process. The MPC7448 offers GHz-class performance at less than 10 Watts. "The MPC7448 is a seamless step up in performance that demonstrates Freescale's continued commitment to developing compatible high-performance PowerPC processors for the embedded market."
Around 35 percent of music consumers now buy their music from an online store, according to a survey released yesterday by Entertainment Media Research. That number may soon pass the 40 percent that say they pirate music, according to the report. Fear of prosecution, Internet viruses, and inferior quality were cited as the main deterrents against illegal downloading. Nearly two-thirds of music consumers said immediate availability was the key reason for buying tracks online. "The findings indicate that the music industry is approaching a strategic milestone with the population of legal downloaders close to exceeding that of pirates," Entertainment Media Research chief executive Russell Hart said.
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