iPodNN roundup: Belkin today announced its dock adapter for iPod shuffle, an add-on that lets users connect iPod accessories with the dock connector through the Shuffle's USB port... One columnist has posted an editorial criticizing the iPod as well as iTunes.... BellSouth has announced a marketing deal pairing high-speed internet service with a free membership to the "Napster To Go" portable subscription music service, leaving iPod owners in the cold.... Wells Fargo has followed the lead of Gap's iTunes promo by offering free iTunes songs as an incentive learn about its banking services.... Alwaysstock is ovvering a free iPod mini to customers who purchase any eight images or two CD collections by November 30th.... Scosche Industries is now shipping a Bluetooth wireless iPod interface for aftermarket brand-name head units and home audio systems.
Tech news: A computer worm affecting Windows 2000 shut down systems across the United States , including those at CNN, ABC and The New York Times this afternoon. The reach and identity of the worm is still unknown, though some analysts are pointing to recently-discovered exploits in Windows 2000 and some versions of Windows XP. David Perry of Trend Micro said that the attack seems to have been triggered by a new worm called rbot.ebq. Johannes Ullrich, director of the Sans Institute, a network security firm in Jacksonville, Florida, said the outage also may have been caused by the Zotob worm, which was released last weekend. Several versions of the worm have been released, some as late as Tuesday, Ullrich said.
Memina today announced the availability of its Rocket and Pocket Rocket USB flash drives. Featuring read/write speeds of up to 30Mbps (Rocket) and 18Mbps (Pocket Rocket), both models are backed by a lifetime warranty. Both drives weigh less than one ounce and come with a keychain and lanyard for easy portability. A rotating, never-lose cap prevents damage or data loss from dust, moisture and vibration. Storage capacities for the Rocket and Pocket Rocket range from 512MB to 4GB; pricing from one distributor ranges from $50 (512MB model) to $150 (2GB model), pricing for the 4GB model was unavailable.
A column in the Electronic Engineering Times bashes Apple's iPod/iTunes music ecosystem, calling it "just a hard disk with a play button" Criticizing Apple's iTunes software, Jim Turley says he has owned numerous MP3 players and also owns an iPod, but claims that the iPod "is inferior to all of them." Citing the fact that iPod owners must use iTunes to manage content, Turley stated that "iTunes is terrible. It's absolutely appalling, in my humble opinion." He continued to explain how he apparently accidentally erased all the content he laboriously downloaded onto his iPod, twice. Turley notes that he could go on about the fact that iPods only copy files in one direction, and how it "obliterates all your content" if the device is plugged into somone else's computer. Concluding, Turley states "Yes, my friends, we have entered the age where high-tech electronics are sold based on the color of the plastic. Truly a milestone in the electronics industry."
EZQuest today unveiled its Monsoon FireWire/USB2 external high speed, high capacity hard drives and digital recorders. The DVD+/-RW drives allow writing to DVD+R and DVD-R media as well as new dual layer DVD+R that can hold up to 8.5GB of data or digital media, and can write to 650MB and 700MB CD-R and CD-RW media. The Monsoon external hard drives have a FireWire 400 and high speed USB 2.0 interface. They ship pre-formatted for the Mac and are easily reformatted for Windows and other systems. Monsoon hard drives are currently available with storage capacities of 80GB ($110), 160GB ($140), 200GB ($165), 250GB ($185) and 400GB ($390). The optical drives will include a one-year warranty and are expected to ship in September for $150.
Piper Jaffray today maintained its 'outperform' rating on Apple, saying it does not believe that Apple will be affected by the same pricing issues faced by Gateway and Dell. In a research note to clients, the firm said that Apple had already factored component pricing into its quarterly guidance adn that Apple is typically not affected by the same types of pricing pressures. Despite lower guidance from both Dell and Gateway in recent weeks--due in part to higher commodity pricing expected in the fall, Apple had indicated during its last quarterly conference call that it expected price increases for DRAM and flat-panel displays as well as "lower than historical" declines for hard drives due to component shortage. [updated]
NewTech Infosystems (NTI) today announced the release of Shadow 2.0, a backup and recovery solution for Mac and PC users bundled with two promotional offers. For the next 90 days, users visiting the NTI website or clicking on NTI's new "Shadow for the Price of a Song!" banners can download Shadow 2.0 for $1 and will be offered 50 percent off any NTI product. Any purchase of NTI products with this coupon by November 15 will automatically be entered into a drawing for an Acer Ferrari notebook. Shadow 2.0 automatically backs up data, photo, audio, and video files in their native format every time a change occurs to ensure that the backup is always in sync with the original file, and restoring is as easy as drag and drop. New features include smart USB device detection and the job summary tool, which enables users to verify backup job configurations before starting automated backups. Shadow 2.0 supports Mac OS 10.2 or later and Windows 2000/XP; it is available currently for $1 via the promotion, or $30 after the promotion expire.
Soundz Wrap-Around speakers offer an easy-to-carry laptop audio solution. Powered by the notebook’s USB port, the Wrap-Around speakers attach to the computer's enclosure and deliver increased volume that is "sharp, crisp and loud enough to fill a conference room, lecture hall or living room." The iSoundz Wrap-Around speakers were created to be portable and designed to "look like they are one with your laptop, not just two big boxes that hang off the side, connected by miles of wire." For extra depth, the Wrap-Around Notebook Speakers come with a small but effective sub woofer that adds base and resonance (powered separately by its own AC adapter). The speakers cost $60 online from Digital Age.
A McGill University research lab uses Macs to study the structure of proteins during cell division; the team uses powerful microscopes, high-resolution digital cameras and Power Mac G5s to learn more about the complex molecular activities that cause cancer. The lab utilizes two Xserve G5 servers, four 5.6TB Xserve RAID units and six Power Mac G5 desktop systems linked together with Fibre Channel through a QLogic SANBox 5200 16-port Fibre Channel switch. Vogel configured the Xsan and Xserve RAIDs using Mac OS X server tools herself, without the aid of a system administrator. Researchers depend on a program called Volocity to study captured frames from microscopes, an image and data analysis software application by Improvision. The graphics-intensive software suite was written to take advantage of the PowerPC G5 processor and is at the core of Vogel's all-Mac system.
LaCie has launched its fourth-generation d2 Extreme range of external hard drives. Capacity ranges from 160GB to 2TB in an "ultra-compact" metal enclosure. The drives offer transfer rates of 88MB/s per drive and 800Mbits/s per bus. The d2 Extreme offers FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 connectivity. The drives make it easy to daisy-chain, stack, stand upright or rack-mount multiple units. "LaCie d2 Extreme drives are ideal for audio/video editors who demand professional performance to edit, store and exchange large projects, even in cross-platform environments (Mac and Windows). Home users will benefit from the d2 Extreme’s ease of use." No software or drivers are needed.
Aspyr Media today began shipping the Mac version of Electronic Arts popular golf title Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2005. The game challenges players to take on the man who has changed golf forever, Tiger Woods. Tee off against legends including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan after building a name on the Tour. The new Tiger proofing course alteration technology allows players to modify course dynamics and call our PGA TOUR rivals by adding lengthlier Tiger Tees, tighter fairways, dramatic undulations to greens, deeper bunkers, higher rough, and more. An enhanced game face featuring non-proportional bone scaling and texture blending creates incredibly realistic looks, right down to the bags under the eyes. The $40 Tiger Woods title, available now, runs on Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later and requires a 1.2GHz G4/G5-based Mac.
In Brief: Ars Technica has published a review comparing various wireless and Bluetooth keyboards and mice.... Daystar is offering its 1.35GHz iMac flat panel upgrades ($550) with free shipping, up to three ways until September 15.... Telestream, provider of Flip4Mac has teamed up with the Apple Consultants Network to provide enhanced access to Flip4Mac products to ACN members.... The technology sector took another beating Tuesday after Gateway slashed its sales and earnings forecasts for the year, sending stocks back into negative territory after a brief uptick.... Software publisher Avanquest UK has launched IMSI's flagship computer assisted design product TurboCAD (2D) for Mac OS X in the UK.... Apple stores are now stocking more CAD products, including lower cost solutions for small businesses and individuals.... Intel cut prices on its 64-bit line of desktop processors over the weekend.
Belkin today announced its dock adapter for iPod shuffle, an add-on that lets users connect iPod accessories with the dock connector through the Shuffle's USB port. The dock adapter enables compatibility with Belkin's line of Shuffle accessories, including its battery packs, mobile power cords, iPod speakers, and USB/FireWire cables that have a dock connector. Compatible with power and audio accessories only, the Belkin dock adapter charges the iPod shuffle using the dock connector's power cord and provides pass-through audio. The Belkin dock adapter also works with any Belkin TuneBase and will be available for $20 in September.
PowerLogix today began offering 1.6GHz single- and dual-processor PowerForce G4 7447A processor upgrade cards. The cards utilize the latest FreeScale PowerPC 7447A and include 512K of on-board L2 cache. They are available now from Other World Computing, a distributor for PowerLogix, for $300 and $500, respectively. As with all PowerForce G4 7447A cards, the new models feature an on-board thermal sensor and realtime thermal monitoring, and support Dynamic Frequency Switching (DFS). The 1.6GHz Single and Dual PowerForce G4 7447A cards are available for Power Mac G4 AGP Graphics (Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, Quicksilver and Quicksilver 2002 models. OWC also offers 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz versions for $340 and $400, respectively. Dual PowerForce 7447A upgrades in speeds of 1.2GHz to 1.8GHz also are available starting at $420.
IGG Software today announced its forthcoming Mac OS X Tiger-based iBank 2 software solution. The completely rewritten version of its popular financial management application allows users to manage budgets and investment portfolios, reconcile accounts with bank statements, work with multiple currencies, and import transactions from QIF, OFX, and CSV files. It also includes AppleScript and Automator support for easy customization into any workflow. iBank continues to offer the ability to schedule and memorize transactions, view income and expenditure reports, export QIF and CSV files, print customized checks, and much more. iBank v2 will recognize common transactions, apply user-defined payees, transaction types, and budget categories to each, and deliver new budgeting features. (Pricing and release date have been set.)
A mad rush during Henrico County School’s $50 iBook sale left a handful of people with scrapes and bruises, according to a report by NBC12 News. Many people arrived late last night to wait outside the gates in line. When the gates finally opened, the anxious crowd rushed in, leaving several people with injuries. "One woman with a one-year-old child pushed in, but her stroller was crushed in the rush." The County is selling the 1,000 surplus computers to Henrico county residents because it has switched from iBook to Dell computers. Response to Henrico County's $50 Apple iBook sale was so overwhelming that school officials moved the event to the Richmond International Raceway, which offers more space, parking and security than an earlier-announced site. People wanting to buy a computer must prove they live in Henrico County and are only allowed to buy one computer per person.
Two years since its last release, the Codebook has returned for Mac OS X. Established in 1995, Codebook provided the gaming community with quick access to cheats, codes and Mac-only walkthroughs for Macintosh games. Created by Robert Edvardsson, former chief-editor of the gaming site "The Mac Game Gate," Codebook contains over 1500 cheats for over 400 games, and has been downloaded over 100,000 times. Back is also the Codebook Forum, which, in 1999, hosted well over 1000 threads and had 500 visitors daily.
CS Odessa today launched ConceptDraw Business Suite, business visualization software: "The Suite represents professional solution for enhanced thinking and pro-quality creation of visual documents and enables managers, businesses, educational and research centers effectively manage projects, solve problems, make decisions, document and present concepts, structures, processes as clear maps, charts and diagrams." Available for $500, ConceptDraw Business Suite combines ConceptDraw MINDMAP, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw V for managing different bisness documentation tasks within single software environment.
Romain Piveteau today released LiveQuartz 1.0, a free CoreImage editor that is designed for "people that need a powerful basic image editor to easy manipulate layers, transparency and filters." Available in English, Chinese, German and French, LiveQuartz is built around layers and filters. Each photo dropped to its window is converted into a new layer--each of which can have several filters applied in realtime. It used a single-window interface (without palettes) and offers common photo editing tools, such as a brush, a duplication tool and an eraser tool. Users can also add a text layer. LiveQuartz, officially billed as "donationware," runs on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger only. (BeLight earlier this month also released a free realtime effects and image editing application based on the same CoreImage filters.)
Macs are safer than Windows PCs for some online hazards, while online threats to computer security and privacy continue to worsen and cost American consumers more than $11 billion over the past two years. The 2005 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey of online consumers found that home users have a 1-in-3 chance of suffering computer damage, financial loss, or both because of a computer virus or spyware. However, the survey found that only 20 percent of Mac owners reported detecting a virus in the past two years, compared with 66 percent of Windows PC owners. In addition, only 8 percent of Mac users reported a spyware infection in the last six months, while 54 percent of Windows PC users reported the same. Consumer Reports offered the conclusions based on a nationally representative survey of more than 3,200 households with at-home internet access.
Apple's customer satisfaction rating remained at its highest levels ever, while Dell's rating fell this year as consumers complained of long-wait times for help and trouble getting questions answered. A poll of 80,000 consumers conducted by the University of Michigan found that customer satisfaction at Dell declined 6.3 percent, falling further behind Apple which remained number No. 1 in the survey, after grabbing the top spot in 2004.Bloomberg reports that Apple's customer satisfaction rating was unchanged at 81, while Dell's declined to 74 from 79 in 2004; among internet companies, Time Warner Inc.'s America Online had the biggest gain (rising to 71 from 67 a year ago), while HP rose 2 points from last year to 73 and Google scored 82 on the index. Apple has managed to keep its constomer satisfaction rating at the highest levels since 1994, while Dell slipped to the lowest levels since 1998, according to the report.
Forum members explain the merit of a Mac over a PC laptop to a potential "switcher,"... A report indicates that ATI will offer its 9600 Pro 256MB video card (Mac Edition) for less than $200.... Apple enthusiasts speculate about a possible final revision of the PowerBook G4 amid recent rumors.... Discussion continues surrounding Apple's recent hiring of 19-year-old graphics guru and MacNN local Mike Matas.... Adventurous Mac users share their experiences with installing Mac OS X for Intel on regular Intel-based PCs.... Users share their initial reactions to today's Security Update for Mac OS X.... Discussion continues about Apple's new Mighty Mouse.
Now AAPL Stock: 99.86 ( -0.49 )
Biggest Canadian banks launch Apple Pay
Three of Canada's largest banks will turn on Apple Pay support for their debit and credit cards beginning today, June 1. The move follows the initial support of Apple Pay in Canada only on American Express-branded cards from Scotiabank earlier this year, with CIBC and RBC offering full support at the beginning of May. As of Wednesday, all five of Canada's largest banks -- and its unifying Interac debit-card system -- will accept at least some bank-issued cards into Apple's Wallet program. Users will need to have an iPhone 6 or later running iOS 8.1 or later, or an Apple Watch paired to an iPhone 5s or later. ATB Financial and Canadian Tire Bank are also supporting Apple Pay, and other smaller banks and credit unions are expected to support the technology in due course. http://on.thestar.com/1sKizKW
Atari, Sigfox partner for IoT development
Atari and Internet of Things pioneer Sigfox today announced a global partnership to develop a line of new connected devices based on Atari's brand. The collaboration will cover a wide range of new Atari products, with launch products covering "categories such as home, pets, lifestyle and safety" according to the pair. Development of the new product line will begin this year. http://bit.ly/1WvklfB
Samsung still not recommending Windows 10
Nearly a year after release, Samsung support is recommending that owners of its PCs not upgrade to Windows 10. In an email exchange with UK Samsung technical support and an individual in need of help getting Wi-Fi to work, the support representative wrote that "honestly speaking, we don't suggest installation of Windows 10 to any Samsung laptop or PC and we are still coordinating with Microsoft regarding to this matter" and "the Drivers that we have on our website are not yet compatible to the latest version of Windows." Samsung will update users when there are no more compatibility issues with Samsung hardware and Windows 10. Microsoft has no meaningful comment on the matter. http://bit.ly/1PgrJcx
T-Mobile offers 'tourist' plan
A new plan from T-Mobile is launching on June 12, and will offer visitors to the US a flat-rate $30 plan that offers a free US SIM, 2GB of high-speed data, and 1,000 minutes of calls good for a three-week period. The plan will work with any unlocked GSM-compatible smartphone, and is advertised as "unlimited" data (but speed will slow down after the first 2GB). The plan does not automatically renew, but can be manually renewed for those staying longer. It also comes with unlimited international texting to some 40 countries, but does not offer any international talk minutes at all. http://t-mo.co/1TI1Pe9
First hardware RAID 10Gbps USB 3.1 controllers
Marvell today announced the Marvell 88RC13xx family of high-performance RAID storage controllers with a full set of features that include eight 6Gbps SATA ports, four lanes of PCI Express 3.0, and a 10Gbps USB 3.1 device port with Type-C connector support. The move paves the way for high-performance USB-C UASP hardware RAID multi-drive arrays, utilizing the full bandwidth of USB 3.1. http://bit.ly/1P0JBmb
Tama debuts adapters for Lightning-only iPhone
Predicting an iPhone without a standard 3.5mm headphone, a Chinese accessory maker has released three Lightning-to-headphone-adapters ready should Apple pull the trigger on what would be a controversial decision. The three adapters, picked up by Macotakara, includes two models that simultaneously support charging an iPhone over microUSB while the user also continues to listen to music. Rumors have suggested that Apple will eventually drop the 3.5mm jack on one of its next-generation iPhones, although it is not clear whether it will be in the 'iPhone 7,' due this year, or a future model. In the interim, the Tama Electric Lightning-to-headphone adapters offer little particular utility. http://bit.ly/1P0sYXM
French Google tax raid evaluation could take years
The data retrieved from the Paris raid on Google's headquarters by French police could take months or even years to analyze, according to a prosecutor assigned to the case. Authorities seized dozens of files and related data that recorded Google's financial transactions in the country with a view to lodging a claim for unpaid taxes by the Internet search giant. Although Google has denied any wrongdoing, it must complete all of its sales contracts in Ireland, where it is incorporated. If French authorities sifting through the documents seized in the raids discover that any of its French sales transactions were completed locally, it could be subject to further action, including fines. http://reut.rs/1P0n8G2