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Film Effects 2.5 ships
Nattress today released Film Effects 2.5, a major new update to the plugin package for Apple's Final Cut Pro. Film Effects offers greater control over how video looks, and the ability to make it look like film. Film Effects is based around a high quality 60i to 24p simulation plugin and also includes over 20 preset looks as well as 8 other plugins to make video look more filmic. The package includes nine new plugins: four new optimized de-interlacers, three new gamma control plugins, and two new plugins to work with reduced resolution chroma sampling in all video formats, including HDV. Other improvements include faster 24p simulation with anti-aliasing control. It is available for $100.
Note Studio, Yasu
FontCatalog 1.6 ($30) is a type reference tool for graphic arts professionals, The new version is more stable. New features include 15 extra category/style definitions for accurate font search, bringing the total to 30 unique style groups. [Download - 2.4MB]
The Serial Keeper 3.3 ($10) is the latest version of the informatiion storage program from Byrd Soft. Version 3.3 brings many improvements and features including: Info Sheet which drops down to show a quick view of information, exporting and importing via XML, ability to hide unused entries and many other features and improvements. [Download - 2.4MB]
Note Studio ($40) provides a simple, powerful way to manage notes. Note Studio allows you to create notebooks for every task. Pages in these notebooks can be linked together, just like Web pages on the internet. It also features encryption, searching, and more. [Download - 10MB]
Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) (free) is designed to do a specific group of maintenance tasks quickly within a few clicks, rather than needing to endlessly type shell script commands in the Terminal application. "Created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind." [Download - 773KB]
oXygen XML Editor 6.1 ($48) is the latest version of the XML Editor, Schema Editor and XSLT Debugger. Version 6.1 of the XML Editor adds as main features an XSLT profiler, enhanced XML Schema documentation, automatic detection of the XSLT parameters, RelaxNG annotation support and persistent bookmarks. [Download - 24.2MB]
EyeTV 1.8.2 (free update) contains a firmware update that improves compatibility with various DVB-C digital cable providers. When EyeTV 1.8.2 is first launched, EyeTV will offer to update the firmware of your EyeTV 610 unit. Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the firmware update. EyeTV 610's firmware version should be 1.0.4 as displayed in the Device Information window.
Apple recall expands
In Brief: Apple has launched a global battery exchange program for iBooks and PowerBooks, following the initial recall announcement for customers in the US in May 2005.... Digerati University has made its Photoshop CS2 video tutorials available for free through iTunes.... Radio Disney announced today that songs from its playlist will be featured on the iTunes Music Store.... Big media hopes to capitalize on podcasting -- which lets nearly anyone "broadcast" on the Internet.... Resellers are wary about the transition to Intel-based Macs, while some analysts question whether Apple will have the buying power to warrant price cuts on the processors to deliver less expensive Macs.
FlightCheck 5.6 released
Markzware today launched FlightCheck 5.6, a free update to both Professional ($500) and Designer ($200) editions of the quality control program. The application includes checks for a plethora of layout applications and digital files of many types including PDF, with the ability to check over 250 various items. FlightCheck 5.6 now expands and improves the solution in several areas, including bringing compatibility with Mac OS X Tiger and QuarkXPress 6.5. Other enhancements include new Ground Control for detecting embedded fonts in native files, improved accuracy for reading Illustrator CS EPS files, improved support for fonts activated through Extensis Suitcase, and detection of Pantone colorized text for both InDesign and QuarkXPress. It is a free update for registered users.
VVI today announced the release of Vvidget 10.2.1, an update to its chart and graph system for Mac OS X. The software features programmable graphs that can be used as Dashboard widgets. Vvidget includes a historical CPU Chart Dashboard Widget as a sample. Vvidget features a graphical layout interface. Graphs are designed using the Vvidget template building tool so they can "take on the highly-stylized appearance of a widget." Users can download Vvidget for free so that Widgets based on Vvidget function, developers can purchase distribution rights to include Vvidget in their own products for distribution, or can vend graphs in Dashboard Widgets from their own server using Vvidget Server or a hosting Chart Service.
Radio Disney announced today that songs from its playlist will be featured on the iTunes Music Store. Radio Disney listeners can now easily find the music they hear on Radio Disney on the iTunes Music Store, including special features and exclusives. "iTunes is a great way for our loyal listeners to find and buy the music they love on Radio Disney. Consumers count on Radio Disney to bring them fun, contemporary music that's appropriate for families," said Jean-Paul Colaco, President and General Manager, Radio Disney. "This is yet another important step in our strategy to bring Radio Disney music to kids and families in every platform." Radio Disney covers 97 percent of the United States via 50+ terrestrial stations that include 18 of the top 20 DMAs; XM and Sirius satellite radio and digital cable & satellite TV music provider, Music Choice.
Sonos 1.2 update
Sonos has announced a software feature update (available tomorrow) that gives Sonos customers more ways to control their digital music and more content to listen to. Version 1.2 Sonos software includes the addition of a Sonos Desktop Controller for Mac users and support for Windows Media Audio (WMA) Internet radio stations. The Sonos Desktop Controller for the Mac gives users full control over the Sonos Digital Music System from a Mac desktop. The Sonos update also adds support for the latest Apple iTunes 4.9 release, allowing iTunes users to access their music collections, podcasts and iTunes playlists on the Sonos system.
LaCie Biggest S2S
LaCie today unveiled the Biggest S2S ($2000-$3500), a five-bay RAID tower capable of reaching interface speeds of 3Gb/s with next generation serial ATA (SATA) technology. With sustained transfer rates of 187MB/s, this compact tower is intended for real-time storage of uncompressed video files. Biggest S2S is the second new RAID solution from LaCie in less than a year, offering a combination of either 1.25TB or 2.5TB capacity, RAID security and fast throughput at a "fraction of the cost for traditional RAID systems." Biggest S2S can be easily configured to Fast (RAID 0) in which disks are striped together for best performance without redundancy; Safe (RAID 1) in which all data is mirrored on duplicate disks; Safe + Fast, (RAID 0+1); Big in which drives are strung together or oncatenated and treated as one large volume; or JBOD in which each physical disk is mapped to its logical volume.
iPod outshines Walkman
A new report says that more than 32 million adults in the US are planning on purchasing an iPod in the next 12 months. The survey, conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, also found that the iPod continued to outshine virtually every other music player, including the Sony Walkman Phone. According to a recently released study on digital music devices, more than 140 million adult Americans have not heard of Sony's new music device: however, while consumer awareness levels are important, acceptance levels may be much more so. According to TechnoMetrica analyst Constantine Kambanis "our findings suggest that the Walkman Phone is poorly positioned for a head-to-head match up against Apple's iPod or Dell's Digital Jukebox. While the generic concept generally does well among consumers and those who crave convenience, it has a weak showing among the consumer groups that propelled Apple's iPod to superstardom."
Star Wars Battlefront
Aspyr Media today announced it is now shipping Star Wars Battlefront, an open-ended single-player and multiplayer action game. Expected on retail shelves by July 23rd. Star Wars Battlefront allows players to re-live all of the epic battles from the classic and prequel Star Wars film trilogies; it was developed for the Mac by Beenox Studios and licensed from LucasArts. It features both single- and multi-player modes and is now available for $50.
OWC battery program
Other World Computing today announced it is offering an iPod battery replacement program for the "not-so-do-it-yourselfer." OWC customers within the continental U.S. purchasing any NewerTech NuPower iPod battery replacement for their Apple first-, second-, third- or fourth-generation iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo model can elect to have OWC install that battery for an additional $40. The batteries are available for $25 to $40. Customers will receive a packing box for shipping their iPod to OWC, complete with a return overnight shipping label and protective cushion. Once OWC receives the iPod, trained service technicians will perform the battery replacement as well as clean and test the iPod prior to repackaging and returning the iPod - all within 24 business hours. OWC said it properly disposes of the old batteries.
Citing further evidence of iPod-to-Mac carryover, investment firm Piper Jaffray maintained an "outperform" rating and $52 price target on Apple, according to Forbes. "Results over the last three quarters have illustrated the existence of the 'halo' effect, and we expect to see continued evidence of iPod-to-Mac carryover in the September quarter due to back-to-school." IDC released second-quarter PC market-share data Monday. "While not surprising given last week's strong results, Apple continues to gain market share," Piper Jaffray said. Apple's share of PC shipments climbed to 4.5%, up from 3.7% a quarter earlier. According to the research firm the increase is the second-largest in the last two years. "We expect continued market-share gains through the back-half of calendar 2005, as Apple benefits from carryover from the massive installed base of iPods during the back-to-school and holiday seasons."
Video iPod, iTunes
CNET News.com speculates that Apple may be working on an online movie store and a movie playback device that "does for movies what iTunes and the iPod have done for music." The iTunes Music Store has already "begun selling a handful of music videos, with more being added each week.[...] Record label sources say Apple has been in talks to sell a much wider range of music videos through the store, probably as soon as this fall. The company also has indicated to media executives that an iPod that plays video could be unveiled as early as September." However, industry observers caution that "the iTunes phenomenon will be a tough act to follow, and they figure Apple will take incremental steps later this year and next rather than diving headfirst into video overnight." A recent report indicated that Apple was working to license various Disney content for use with its rumored forthcoming video iPod.
WiebeTech has announced enhancements to its FireWire DriveDock, which allows bare 3.5" IDE and 2.5" notebook drives to mount to hosts via FireWire or USB2 ports. The new FireWire DriveDock+ and Notebook DriveDock+ ($150 each) add numerous features over the standard versions, according to James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech. "For instance, LED indicators give a visual indication when a FireWire or USB host are attached to the dock. This simple feature is immensely valuable when troubleshooting a drive (or a host computer). Approximately a dozen new features have been added to these DriveDocks so that they will be the very best utility docking devices ever used by our customer base."
Apple now No. 4 in US
In Brief: Apple was the No. 4 PC vendor in the US during the second quarter, rising one spot from No. 5 and also experienced a 31 percent surge in global PC sales, according to research firm Gartner (following similar numbers from IDC noted earlier this morning).... HP plans to reduce its workforce over the next six quarters by 14,500 employees, or about 10 percent of its regular full-time staff, and modify its U.S. retirement benefits programs for ongoing annual savings of $1.9 billion.... CDW is the official sponsor of the Guru Awards at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo, which will take place Sept. 7-9 in Boston.... The G5 Drive Bracket Team will be selling its G5 Drive Bracket for $75 (savings of $20) as well as offering one in five customers a free $20 iTunes gift certificate as part of its One-Year Anniversary Special.... O'Reilly Media has launched its first O'Reilly European Open Source Convention (EuroOSCON), which will be held in Amsterdam from Oct 17-20, 2005.... Apple is working to integrate its iPod with Japanese cars, following successful iPod-ready stereo system upgrades from other car manufacturers.
Apple Store in Victor, NY
Apple has announced the grand opening of a new retail store in Victor, New York. Scheduled to take place on July 23, the store is located at 7979 Pittsford-Victor Road in the Eastview Mall. "To celebrate our Grand Opening, we're featuring a week of exciting events. In our store, we'll have a variety of unique and educational presentations, demonstrations and workshops -- all free of charge.... The first 1000 people to visit the Apple store receive a free Apple T-shirt." The new retail store will be Apple's ninth store in the state of New York. Yesterday, we noted that Apple will be expanding its retail store hours and that Apple's retail segment vice-president and COO Bridget Ryan Berman has resigned under amicable conditions.
Apple\'s music video move
Apple may help the record labels yet again, according to one columnist. Following reports that Apple may be working to sell music videos via the iTunes Music Store, a Forbes columnist says that the move could help the labels recover the cost of producing expensive music videos. With shrinking budgets and sky rocketing production costs, Apple may help the industry turn music videos into a source of revenue for the industry: "Now, suddenly, Apple is dangling the prospects of turning these [music videos] into a profit center, or as one senior record label exec put it, 'at least it might let us recover our costs.' In fact, it could do whole lot more than that."
EyeTV for other devices
Elgato today began offering its EyeTV software as a standalone product for with third-party hardware from Plextor and TerraTec. EyeTV software allows users to watch, record, edit and archive television on their Macs as well as enables "timeshifting", where users can pause, fast-forward, and/rewind live television signals. Previously only available bundled with Elgato hardware, the software will initially support Plextor ConvertX PVR PX-TV402U (both North America and Europe versions) and Cinergy T (DTT). ConvertX offers a built-in TV tuner, realtime MPEG 1/2/4 hardware recording, and a USB 2.0 interface. Elgato says it will mount an "aggressive" development schedule that will enable EyeTV to run on as many devices as possible. EyeTV is available via the company's website for $80.
Apple working with Disney?
Apple is working to license various Disney content for use with its rumored forthcoming video iPod. Following a WSJ report that Apple is readying a video iPod for release as early as September and prepping to sell music videos via the iTunes Music Store, Business 2.0 editor Paul Sloan reports that "Steve Jobs has spoken with Disney President and soon-to-be CEO Bob Iger about ways to license various Disney content for a video iPod." The report is based on an internal company email reportedly obtained by Sloan. Sloan also said that while Apple won't be the first to enter the portable digital video device market with the rumored video iPod, the company will leapfrog the competition, including both Microsoft and Sony. "If the past is any measure of what's to come, Jobs will enter the arena late (as he did with the iPod) only to leapfrog over the competition with some entirely different device."
Pocket-size digital TV
Elgato Systems today announced that its EyeTV software now supports a USB 2.0 digital terrestrial television (DTT) receiver designed for international use. The new EyeTV for DTT digital TV recorder is a compact device that does not require an external power supply and is designed for home use and travel," according to the company. EyeTV for DTT enables Mac users to watch and record unencrypted, high-quality DTT. Users can pause live programming and repeat individual scenes as well as record shows and burn DVDs, export to other formats such as H.264, transfer to mobile devices like Sony PlayStation Portable, or send to iTunes as an AAC file. EyeTV also supports multiple audio tracks as well as Dolby Digital.
Apple grows in Q2
Apple's worldwide PC sales in the second quarter grew by twice the rate of the overall industry and its US marketshare grew by more than 20 percent from the year-ago quarter, according to a Reuters report: Apple's share of the U.S. PC market grew during the second quarter to 4.5 percent--up from 3.7 percent a year ago. Apple's global unit shipments rose more than 37 percent, more than twice the 16.6 percent growth of the overall PC industry. IDC said Apple's growth was helped by sales of the Mac mini and its iPod music player. The article also notes that Gateway's US marketshare grew at a slightly slower rate of 17 percent, as it captured 6 percent of the market in the US--up from 5.3 percent a year ago.
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