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In brief: First International Digital (FID) today introduced MusiCase, a unique iPod accessory, which combines two amplified stereo speakers with a carrying case.... Native Instruments has announced that the Absynth 3 Tutorial DVD ($60) is now available in stores worldwide.... Google is expected to launch an in-browser video playback feature based on the open source VLC media player.... Following in the steps of Tiger, Microsoft's Longhorn will feature Really Simple Syndication (RSS) integration.... PiperJaffray said today that it believes that iPod's continued dominance of the portable audio market, is likely having an impact on Creative, which this morning lowered guidance for the June quarter.... "The iPod -- with its sublime design, intuitive usability, and unparalleled cool quotient -- set a new standard by which all other MP3 players would be judged."
Kano expands X-SPAND PRO
Kano Technologies today began shipping its single-cable (multilane), 4-channel external SATA solution. Kano's new product expands its X-SPAND PRO line of serial ATA storage arrays. The multilane connected X-SPAND Pro is offered in two and four drive hot-swappable desktop tower configurations as well as a low-profile 1U rack mount storage array. Kano says it uses one of the industry's first 4-channel multilane connector and shielded cable to deliver up to 3.0Gb/sec to each SATA drive channel without performance loss. The cable features a sturdy steel connector with thumb screws which it says significantly improves connection reliability over existing external SATA products while simplifying cable management. Pricing starts at $450 (2-bay, 160GB storage) and $750 (4-bay, 320GB).
MusiCase iPod carry case
First International Digital (FID) today introduced MusiCase, a unique iPod accessory, which combines two amplified stereo speakers with a carrying case. The company's MusiCase is made of a lightweight, durable nylon material, which allows users to easily store, protect, and transport their MP3 players and related accessories. Inside, two mesh pockets are specially optimized to hold iPods and the iPod shuffle (although the device is compatible with any MP3 player). The case features two internal speakers (1.8" and 1.1") to deliver a fully portable stereo system, powered by a built-in three-watt amplifier. The company says it produces clear, crisp sound without the need for headphones or cumbersome external speakers.
4D v2004.2 released
4D, Inc., today announced the release of 4th Dimension 2004.2, an update to its line of products for creating a fully integrated, Web-enabled, cross-platform database development solution; it includes tools for development, deployment, productivity, connectivity and Internet servers. Version 2004.2 delivers full support for Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4), significant new enhancements and "several hundred" new fixes. The company says that 4D v2004.2 has over 300 new fixes, delivers enhanced backward compatibility with previous versions of 4D and 4D Server, and provides improved support for more languages (e.g., Greek, Turkish, Chinese, and Arabic). Both standalone and client/server versions are available in both Standard and Seveloper editions, while several different deployment options are available. The free update is available on the web.
Adobe Acrobat 7.02 update
Adobe today released Acrobat 7.02, an update to its professional PDF creation software. Available in for both of its Standard and Professional versions, the company says the update addresses several known issues in Adobe Acrobat 7.0.1, including improved security, adding support for links to files, and fixing known issues associated with forms. The updates resolve security vulnerabilities that could allow malicious documents to launch external applications or discover the existence of local files using an XML script exploit as well as fixes an installer bug that "elevates" the permissions of Apple's Safari browser application upon install. The multilingual updates can be applied to any language version of Acrobat 7.0.1.
PiperJaffray said today that it believes that iPod's continued dominance of the portable audio market, is likely having an impact on Creative, which this morning lowered guidance for the June quarter. The company indicated that the 13 percent lower guidance is a result of softer than expected overall market demand for MP3 players and lower ASPs. "Our checks with retailers show that Apple's presence in the retail market remains significantly greater than Creative," wrote analyst Gene Munster. "also, NPD data shows a significant up-tick in Apple MP3 player market share since the release of the iPod shuffle." Munster said the firm believes Apple will "significantly benefit from back-to-school and holiday buying" in the September and December quarters.
Drag-N-Scale 1.0 (free) is a simple application that makes scaling images easy. You can scale individual images or an entire folder of images. Drag-N-Scale can also email scaled images in one step. [Download - 1.2MB]
Midnight Mansion 1.0.2 ($20) is an update to the popular classic action/exploration game. Midnight Mansion 1.0.2 contains a number of bug fixes and makes it easier to enter your registration name/code. It also adds new items to the FAQ and Documentation. [Download - 22.0MB]
Reaktor 5 ($580) is a modular sound design studio that "fuses synthesis, sampling and effects." The latest version introduces the new "Reaktor Core Technology", dramatically widening the scope of Reaktor-based instrument design. A demo version containing 21 ensembles is now available. [Download - form]
FileWrangler 1.2 (free) is an update to the file renaming utility. This version adds the ability to create user-definable configuration sets, modify user preferences, RTFD document support, bug fixes, and more. Robust PDF manual included with the download. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4. [Download - 625KB]
pearLyrics 0.3 (free) updates the utility that autoamtically looks up track information on currently playing iTunes songs and displays the lyrics on the desktop. Users can also search for lyrics manually. Version 0.3 adds more internet data sources, guitar chord searches, special character support, and more, while the widget (for Mac OS X Tiger) offers an enhanced layout, scroll wheel support. [Download - 168KB]
Creative Manager Pro 7.9 updates the ad agency software and project management groupware for creative and design firms. The latest version improves the free client extranet (with digital asset upload and assignment review), adds support for Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.1, and also offers the ability to archive all project-related emails directly into the system, by simply sending a copy of the email to a project-related email address.
Solo Performer updated
Alien Apparatus has released Solo Performer Show Controller 2.4, a system for controlling the background music, lyrics displays, MIDI effects, and light shows for musicians. The system consists of a six-button foot controller that connects to a computer via USB, and software for Mac OS X. Solo Performer Show Controller plays mp3 files, aiff files, wave files, and MIDI files. It can control MIDI effects units, lights that operate using the industry-standard DMX512 protocol, and can display lyrics on-screen in a karaoke-like manner. The software also includes a utility for stripping out unwanted tracks in MIDI files so that only the rhythm tracks play. It is available now for $400.
"Digital-audio players weren't exactly virgin territory when Apple entered the fray in 2001," writes Fast Company. "But the iPod -- with its sublime design, intuitive usability, and unparalleled cool quotient -- set a new standard by which all other MP3 players would be judged." Expanding on the report in a recent issue of the magazine, six rivals talk about designing their answer to the iPod. Commentary is available from Dan Harden of Whipsaw, Ellen Glassman of Sony, Steve Gluskoter of Dell, Young Se Kim of Innodesign, Henri Crohas of Archos, and Sim Wong Hoo of Creative Technology.
Lexmark today introduced the W840, a new monochrome laser printer for high-volume applications. The powerful 625 MHz processor and 256 MB of standard memory enable the Lexmark W840 to print at up to 50 letter size pages per minute with a time to first page of as little as seven seconds. Its duty cycle of up to 300,000 pages per month make it "rugged enough for the most demanding environments." A new user interface accessible via a customizable display provides easy access to various tasks and settings. The Lexmark W840 can be configured with a wide range of add-ons, including drawers that can be added to raise the paper input capacity to 5,100 sheets and an optional finisher can raise the output capacity to 3,750. Estimated street price for the base model is $2300 and $2900 for the networked model.
P2P ruling to help Apple?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of studios and record labels, saying that peer-to-peer software companies should be liable for the copyright infringement of people using their products, according to CNET News.com: "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement," wrote Justice David Souter in the majority opinion. Earlier today, analyst firm Piper Jaffray said that Apple's iTunes "would be the primary beneficiary" of such a decision.
Inforsense KDE for Tiger
InforSense today announced the launch of its integrative analytics platform InforSense KDE on Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and also announced InforSense BioSense Grid, the first service-based high-performance environment for creating and publishing bioinformatics applications, on an Xserve-based workgroup cluster. InforSense BioSense Grid integrates iNquiry, the cluster and web portal for bioinformatics from The BioTeam, with the visual workflow, analytics and web services-based architecture of InforSense KDE. The company is providing on-going demonstrations at ISMB 2005 (Detroit, MI) from June 26-29, highlighting the use of InforSense KDE and BioSense Grid, mapped to an Xserve G5 cluster, to create the first Service-Oriented environment for bioinformatics.
In brief: Camino 0.9 is "Firefox done right for Mac," says tech journalist Om Malik, "the alpha version of 0.9 is a sizzler. It is brisk, clean and better than Firefox."... Wil Shipley of Omni / Delicious Monster has posted the transcript from his student day presentation at WWDC this year.... TEN Technology today announced two new versions of its naviPro eX wireless remote control for iPod.... Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails are offering a multitrack version of "Only," the latest single from the band, for fans to download and remix.... MAKI Enterprise has released PodSmith 1.0.0, a new iPod utility program for Mac OS X.
iPod industry down
Shares of Apple and key suppliers for its iPod music player fell on Monday after rival Creative Technology warned about demand and a report forecast competition from mobile phones with built-in music players. The Reuters report says that shares of Apple were down almost 2 percent, while iPod chip supplier PortalPlayer was down almost four percent and SigmaTel, a supplier for iPod shuffles, saw its stock fall 11 percent. Early Monday, Creative Technology cut its sales outlook for the current quarter to 50 percent growth, down from its earlier expectations of 65-80 percent growth. "Another analyst said Apple investors could be reacting to a Barron's article forecasting that Apple shares could come under pressure if wireless phone companies push to turn most cell phones into music players."
VisiQuest 4.1 released
AccuSoft has released VisiQuest 4.1, its application that delivers a flexible visual environment for creating advanced image/data analysis and visualization solutions. Version 4.1 allows engineers and researchers to use their MATLAB Mfiles in the VisiQuest Visual Programming Environment. In addition to providing MATLAB users with a simple way to perform dynamic rapid prototyping, it offers code sharing and collaboration capabilities. VisiQuest offers programmers thousands of standard functions, as well as advanced programming constructs. It will be available later this week as a free upgrade; pricing begins at $1,800, while oftware development environment tools for extending functionality are available for an additional $700.
naviPro eX for iPod mini
TEN Technology today announced two new versions of its naviPro eX wireless remote control for iPod. Designed for owners of iPod mini and iPod U2, the device allows users to navigate through favorite playlists, albums or audiobooks with a wireless remote. The naviPro eX product line is an update of the naviPod wireless remote for iPod, now featuring an expanded remote control with 13 buttons. The expanded remote control functions include navigation of playlists, albums and audiobooks, and shuffle and repeat modes--all supported in the new 4th generation iPod with Click Wheel, iPod U2, iPod mini and iPod Photo. naviPro eX can also be used to flip through slideshows on the iPod photo.
Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails are offering a multitrack version of "Only," the latest single from the band, for fans to download and remix. The track can be remixed using GarageBand or Logic. The band is offering this latest opportunity following the "resounding success" of NIN's first GarageBand single, "The Hand That Feeds." Reznor says "there is no agenda here other than for you o explore, experiment, and have fun with it. Depending on his this goes we may construct a more formal community for remix postings and/or possibly some sort of official endorsement b means of an EP or something."
The iTunes online music-download service "would be the primary beneficiary" in its category of a Supreme Court decision against peer-to-peer file sharing, PiperJaffray this morning said. The firm noted that iTunes has a 70 percent market share in online music. "We believe a decision against P2P file sharing would be positive for online content distribution companies, as a slowdown in P2P activity would likely lead to a pick-up in sales for legitimate online content providers. Although a decision is expected today, but it is possible that the case could be held over to the next session, which would begin in October, PiperJaffray noted." The firm maintained an "outperform" rating on Apple
PodSmith for iPod
MAKI Enterprise has released PodSmith 1.0.0, a new iPod utility program for Mac OS X. PodSmith uses your iPod as a key for security and for various synchronization features. With PodSmith, users can lock or unlock their Macintosh with an iPod. The Screen Lock feature lets users lock and unlock the screen by unmounting and mounting the iPod. File Lock lets users lock specified folders in the same way. The "Protect your files" feature lets user disable all applications except those you specify. PodSmith's Auto-Sync option supports Safari bookmarks, Address Book and schedule for auto-sync. A single PodSmith license is $20.
M-Audio music products
M-Audio today announced an aggressive initiative to bring to market an entire portfolio of hardware and software products that enable people to make studio-quality music on their home computers. "Until now, computer-based music creation had been relegated primarily to professional applications," the company said. "And even those who could afford the equipment were often stymied by the complexity of the equipment itself." According to a recent study conducted by Russell Research, nine percent of those surveyed regularly make music on their computers. However, 57 percent of respondents showed some interest in making music on their computers. M-Audio will offer three music creation tools to consumers this year. At Apple's request, M-Audio designed a new music-mixing board designed specifically to control Apple's GarageBand. The company is expected to launch the $180 iControl early this week at Apple stores nationwide. M-Audio will also offer the JamLab and Fast Track Studio PODcasting Edition.
Strong June quarter
The 'halo effect' may be larger than many think and could overcome any short-term sales slowdown caused by Apple's transition to Intel chips, according to a TheStreet.com column: "...pretty much every indicator and check that I can find confirms that the magnitude of the halo effect is quite profound, and that any impact that the processor transition is going to have won't affect that magnitude except on the extreme fringes. Indeed, I think Apple has cooked itself up a heckuva strong quarter yet again, and that it's going to sail past the Street's estimates and raise guidance going forward. Several brokers and independent research shops have reported that field checks indicate Apple is taking some good market share from the (heretofore) Wintel monopoly."
RealPlayer 10 patched
RealNetworks has issued patches for security holes in its RealPlayer media software, which offers near-DVD quality viewing, full screen viewing, and playback of all QuickTime-compatible files. The company says the patch address a security vulnerability that could allow attackers to run unauthorized applications on users' computers. Affecting Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, the bug could allow an attacker to create a malicious RealMedia file to cause a heap overflow, which in turn could allow the execution of arbitrary code on a customer's machine. The company says it affects Mac RealPlayer 10 as well as well as the older Mac RealOne Player. RealNetworks recommends users upgrade to the latest version to resolve the security risk, posting a new version for download. [free registration required to download]
VLC media player 0.8.2
The VideoLAN team has released VLC media player 0.8.2, an update to the free media player that can play a variety of file formats. The player supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 playback as well as DivX files, DVDs, VCDs, Audio CDs, and several types of network streams (UDP Unicast, UDP Multicast, HTTP, RTP/RTSP, MMS, etc.). Version 0.82 offers improved playlist functionality, improved preferences, compatibility with Mac OS X Tiger, a new Mac OS X audio output module that gives full multichannel analog discrete sound support, client-side SSL/TLS support, FTP over IPv6, and new service discovery modules (SAP, HAL, DAAP, shoutcast, etc.). It also includes support for SOCKS proxy, Shoutcast metadata, (HE-)AAC raw-audio streams, PNG encoding/decoding, and the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC).
PHP Studio 1.0 released
Neometric Software has released PHP Studio 1.0, which allows users to write, visualize, and test PHP code. PHP Studio features a powerful code editor, with syntax coloring, auto complete, Regular Expression find/replace, and other features. It offers a 'function drawer' that displays all of the functions used in each document as well as integrated syntax checking, code execution, and an extensive help system. "PHP Studio takes PHP editing to a whole new level -- one that takes full advantage of OS X's sleek interface and high level of usability," stated Austin Sarner, Co-Founder of Neometric Software. It is available for $25 and runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Apple vs. mobile carriers
Music-enabled cell phones represent the largest threat to Apple's dominance of the MP3 player market and digital music industry, according to Barron's. "Some Apple bulls argue that the shares could go 50% higher, noting how Apple has held its turf against the "iPod killers" of Sony and the digital-music schemes of Microsoft (MSFT). Little noticed by these iPod zealots, however, is a looming threat from overhead with a footprint as large as the continent: Wireless phone companies are teaming up with the music industry to make most mobile phones into music players. The iPod faces smokin' competition from cellphone music services. In Asia and Europe, listeners already are capturing music straight off the airwaves and sharing it with friends. The trend could sweep America within a year." [subscription required]
Mini, Shuffle get Gold
Apple took home two gold and one silver award in this year's competition for Industrial Design Excellence Awards, which is sponsored by BusinessWeek and run independently by the Industrial Designers Society of America. Apple's Mac mini and iPod shuffle took first place--Gold IDEA awards--in the 'Computer and Equipment' and 'Consumer Products' categories, respectively. Its AirPort Express music device was recognized with a 'Silver' award. Apple's three awards tied it for third-place along with several other companies, behind other global corporations such as HP (5) and Nike (4). Over the last five years, Apple has won a total of 17 awards, two shy of corporate leader Samsung, which has received 19 IDEA awards.
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