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Special MS Office deal
Apple dropped the price on its refurb iBook G4s as well as begun offering refurbished Mac mini's. The 12-inch iBook G4 is available in two models for $800--either 1.2GHz/CD or 1.0GHz/Combo. The 1.2GHz/Combo with AirPort Extreme wireless networking is only $850. Apple is also offering a refurbished 1.33GHz 14-inch model (60GB/AE) for $1,100. Refurb Mac mini's are now available for $450 (1.25GHz/40GB/CD) or $530 (1.42GHz/80GB/Combo). Apple is also offer a slew of refurbished previous- and current-generation 12- and 15-inch PowerBooks as well as a refurb high-end 17-inch PowerBook for $2,300. The iMac G5 is available in both 17- and 20-inch models for $1000 and $1,400, respectively as well. Apple is also offering a limited-time special $100 deal for teachers and students on Microsoft Office 2004 (after mail-in rebate; expires September 16, 2004).
Bootcamp, iSkin, Synaptics
In brief: Big Nerd Ranch announced PostgreSQL Bootcamp, which runs from September 26-30 and is described as an "intensive, five-day, hands-on class designed to take students through the rigors of PostgreSQL." ... iSkin announced the availability of their "Wheel Cap" iPod protectors.... Windows executive listed the "Halo effect" created by iPod sales which spurs sales of Apple desktops and laptops as an obstacle for Microsoft.... iPod component manufacturer Synaptics said that it expects earnings to decrease as much as 10 percent in the coming quarter, causing its to plunge 24.6 percent.
Gefen's new 4x2 HDMI Switcher is designed to deliver high performance audio/video switching with no signal interruption, degradation or time lag. The 4x2 HDMI Switcher comes equipped with four HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs. It connects four HD sources to two displays, making it ideal for the OEM market. DVI sources and displays can be connected with a HDMI to DVI Adapter and when combined with a HDMI extender, displays can be extended hundreds of feet from the source. To operate, users simply switch to the source they want to view by using the unit's IR remote control. Both displays show the same source when selected; multichannel digital audio and high definition video for each source is routed to both displays at the same time.
Awaken, Feeder, Sinbad
Feeder 1.2 ($30) by Reinvented Software is an application for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds with Mac OS X. With full support for the RSS 2.0 specification, features inlcude auto-completion and templates to save repetitive typing as well as automatic updating of publication dates, HTML previews, feed validation and more. Enclosure uploading and support for iTunes podcasting extentions are also supported. [Download - 2.1MB]
Sinbad 1.0 beta (free) is a web searching application designed to simplify web browsing and information retrieval, providing a consistent simplified user interface for all web services. Included are modules for finding song lyrics, famous quotes, country facts, books, restaurants, albums, Amazon items and more. [Download - 375KB]
Chameleon 2.3 ($69) is a plug-in compatible with Adobe Photoshop (and compatible applications) for automatic adjustment of inserted objects to the target image color range and smoothing of the object's border. Ysers can insert new objects into a picture with flexibility as well as conceal undesirable artifacts by replacing them with nearby parts of an image. [Download - 3.6MB]
iStill 1.2 ($25) is a still image capture application for Mac OS X. Using an iSight camera and iStill, users can capture sketches, signatures, business cards, photos, and other media that are "inconvenient or difficult to get quite right, with a traditional scanner or camera." This version includes the QuickTimeVR Object Builder which lets users create web-ready QTVR Objects with drag-and-drop simplicity and create printable rotation markers to catch the perfect spin. [Download - 2MB]
iClip 3.7 ($20) is multiple clipboard and scrapbook software enabling users to quickly store, organize and access snippets of information. Clippings can be arranged into groups and a special group exists which automatically records everything copied to the clipboard. Version 3.7 provides a simpler, much more intuitive interface with new "Dock-like" behavior as well as several bug fixes and other improvements. [Download - 3.7MB]
HP to stop reselling iPod
Hewlett-Packard has decided to stop reselling Apple's iPod portable music player, according to the Wall Street Journal. "The two companies have reportedly confirmed that H-P will immediately phase out sales of the iPod through its retail distribution partners, whom H-P notified of the changes Thursday. 'They've decided that reselling iPods doesn't fit with their company's current digital media strategy,' the Journal quoted Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton as saying."
New Macintosh Headset
Sennheiser today debuted a computer/multimedia headset specifically optimized for Mac desktops and portables. The Sennheiser M145 combines high-fidelity stereo headphones with a hands-free, noise-canceling "boomlet" microphone and immediate plug-and-play capability. It offers a dedicated USB adapter with built-in "soundcard" electronics to ensure near-studio sound quality for both independent input and output connectors on standard "mini" stereo plugs. The Sennheiser M145 is expected to ship within a month for $120.
Soundtrack Pro review
Today Frank Moldstad discussed his experience with Soundtrack Pro at Hollywood Industry. Complementing Apple throughout, the general message was positive without a doubt. Described as "a robust environment for audio editing, analysis, and effects processing that offers seamless file exchange with Final Cut Pro and Apple's other professional applications." Frank continues on, stating "I would highly recommend Soundtrack Pro to anyone working with audio and video. Its great control over audio file manipulation results in a much better finished product -- and besides, it's great fun to use." Soundtrack Pro is available for $300 as a standalone program but is also available as part of Apple's Final Cut Studio boxed set which bundles Soundtrack Pro, Final Cut Pro, Motion and DVD Studio Pro for $1300.
iSkin \"Wheel Cap\"
Today iSkin announced the availability of its wheel protector known as the "Wheel Cap" available in three-packs for $15. This protector works in conjunction with iSkin's popular silicone covers eVo2 and iSkin mini offering complete click wheel protection for iPods while retaining natural scrolling feedback. The Wheel Cap sits above the iPod's click wheel protecting it during use, covering that last vulnerable area. It installs in seconds and doesn't hamper sensitivity or functionality. Usable only with the iSkin eVo2 and iSkin mini iPod protectors, it fits seamlessly creating a barrier against dirt and grime while also allowing for easy, non-restrictive scrolling. Maintaining the look of a scroll wheel, this protector is formed to fit the contours of the wheel and stays in place without adhesives. Companies, organizations and promoters can also take advantage of branding their marketing message or photograph over the click wheel with Wheel Cap imprinting.
Sony slashes outlook
Sony slashed its full-year profit outlook today by nearly 90 percent and said it slumped to a first-quarter loss because of falling prices and a big charges for reviving its ailing consumer products business. Sony now expects net income of 10 billion yen, or $89.3 million, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, compared with an April forecast of 80 billion yen, or $714 million. Sales will be 7.25 trillion yen, 3 percent lower than its April outlook, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement. Sony blamed the downgraded outlook on bigger than expected restructuring costs, falling electronics prices, sliding television sales, and falling behind other rivals in hit products like the iPod.
iPod \"Halo Effect\", MS
Top PC Windows executive Will Poole reportedly mentioned three main obstacles facing Microsoft as it tries to keep sales of the operating system growing, according to this blog entry. These include the "good enough" problem stemming from people who are relatively content with their existing version, the continued challenge posed by open-source software and the "halo effect" where sales of Apple iPods are boosting sales of personal computers. Poole stated that "It's enabling them to more effectively go after PC users and sell them future Apple products."
Flash 8 may compete
Early next month Macromedia is expected to announce Flash 8, according to a source familiar with the company's plans. The company has officially re-designated Flash as a platform for application development and released a public beta earlier this month. The new version's improved codec (VP6 from On2 Technologies) along with various other advantages could pose a threat to Microsoft Windows Media technology, Real Format of RealNetworks and Apple Computer's Quicktime.
Imperial Glory for Mac OS
Feral today announced that it would develop a Mac version of Pyro Studios' epic Real Time Strategy (RTS) game, Imperial Glory. Set in the late 18th century during the Napoleonic Wars, players can control one of five European nations - France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria, "as they struggle for military, diplomatic and economic supremacy in the race to become empires." The gameplay is similar to the Total War games, but adds naval battles, a tech tree, and "quests." The company expects to ship the title in fourth quarter of 2005. [updated]
Mark/Space Missing Sync
Mark/Space has begun shipping The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile v2.0, a major update to the company's synchronization software that connects Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone devices to computers running Mac OS X. Previously named 'The Missing Sync for Pocket PC', the software now supports a broader range of Windows Mobile devices, including smartphones from Audiovox, i-Mate, Motorola, O2, Orange, Samsung and others. The solution integrates with the new Sync Services technology in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", allowing users to synchronize their Address Book and iCal data directly to a Windows Mobile device. It also adds sync support for Microsoft Entourage, features SyncMinder; at-a-glance status, and offers support for USB cable/cradle mode, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It is available immediately for $40 (electronic) with CDs ($50) expected later this summer.
Awaken 2.0 alarm clock
Embraceware has released Awaken 2.0, a digital alarm clock that wakes you up by playing the iTunes playlist of your choice. Alarms can be created to alert users on a weekly basis at a set time, or at any specific date and time. In addition, users can also fall asleep to their favorite music using the newly introduced sleep timer. It offers a customizable snooze timer, wake-from-sleep feature, volume control, more keyboard shortcuts, podcast playback support, and more. The software runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available for $9. A 14-day trial is available as well.
Griffin iFM for iPod
Griffin Technology today announced iFM, a device which integrates FM radio tuning, recording and remote control functionality to the iPod--from within a tiny aluminum enclosure. "With the flip of a switch users can now switch seamlessly between controlling their music library and listening to their favorite FM radio programming. Use the iFM as an inline remote to control the iPod's transport controls, great for workouts, biking or hiking. iFM is also a recording device, with a built in microphone to record voice, or change modes to capture live FM radio directly to the iPod." It features digital audio station scan, a built-in microphone, band-switching (for US/Europe/Japanese bands), six station presets per band, and playback controls. It will ship in August for $50.
MaxUpgrades has announced the availability of MaxConnect Lite, a CPU Bay internal storage expansion assembly for G5 Power Macs. MaxConnect Lite is made of PolyAcetal, a thermoplastic known for its high strength and stiffness. It enables three additional disk drives to be housed in the lower CPU bay. To power the additional three hard disk drives in the lower CPU Bay, optional custom power cables are included that splits power from the optical drive connector, power from the optical drive bay is routed into the lower CPU Bay via power cable that provides power to the three additional drives with standard hard disk 4-pin connectors. MaxConnect Lite offers four bolt hard disk drive attachments, and its unique design exposes maximum area for heat dissipation for the attached hard disk drives. MaxConnect Lite is priced at $74 (Bare Assembly).
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