Spiderweb Software today announced the upcoming release of Avernum 4, an update to its epic fantasy-role-playing adventure designed to return games "to the enormous underworld nation of Avernum, whose shadowy lands are once again facing horrible peril. Avernum is a nation underground. Its pale people live in endless miles of tunnels, pits, and gigantic caverns. Some come to Avernum to work the mines. Others come to hunt monsters for their treasure. And some risk life in the underworld because it is the only place where a person can be free from the total rule of the Empire." Avernum 4 is a fantasy role-playing adventure that includes multitudes of characters, hundreds of side quests, and traps, tricks, and treasures. Avernum 4 will be $25, or $32 with a hint book; it will ship in early 2006.
Digidesign today introduced the Mbox 2, a next-generation audio/MIDI production system that builds on the performance and simplicity of the original Mbox. The company says that the Mbox 2 is an "important evolutionary step from the original Mbox," combining "pristine" sound and a wide range of connection options (including analog, digital, and MIDI). The USB-powered device features four simultaneous inputs: two analog inputs (XLR and 1/4" jacks) and two analog outputs (1/4" jacks) as well as two channels of channels of S/PDIF digital I/O (RCA). It offers 48V phantom power for condenser mics and 24-bit/48KHz audio along with MIDI in/out, zero-latency monitoring, and Pro Tools LE software. It is available now for $500, while Mbox 2 Factory is available for $600 and includes an iLok USB Smart Key and additional plugins.
Apple is expected to launch a series of Apple-branded mobile phones, according to one analyst. Banc of America reiterated a "buy" rating and a price target of $43 in anticipation of the company's product launches next week at the Sept. 7 Music Event, according to Forbes.com: "The research firm believes that the most likely product to be included in the announcement is a line of Apple-branded cellular phones with iTunes functionality, in a partnership between Apple and Motorola. A higher-capacity flash player with color screen is also a possibility, to help Apple regain some share in the flash market. It has been reported that Apple flash suppliers Samsung and Toshiba are increasing production of both 2-gigabyte and 4-gigabyte high capacity NAND flash chips."
InterServices today announced SQL4X Manager J 3.3 for Mac OS X, its professional database tool for web and database developers, administrators and power users. SQL4X Manager J 3.3 introduces support for new database servers (Mimer SQL and MySQL 5), enhancements to the visual design features (Entity Relationship Modeling with support for database reverse engineering) and the "Data Editor". The new SQL4X Manager J is the first native database design and visualization tool built for Mac OS X only. Version 3.3 provides enhancements to existing features such as Database Quick Access, and Database Navigator/Data Editor. Upgrading from J 3.x is free, while single-user licenses for the basic edition are available for $60.
Iomega today launched the Iomega MiniMax Desktop Hard Drive, a a dual-connectivity external device designed to compliment the form factor of the Mac mini and boost its storage capacity by up to 250GB. "It is not only a perfect companion to the Mac mini but with three USB and three FireWire ports, it can function as a complete Mac hub. The unique design of the drive means that it is equally at home stacked with the Mac mini or functioning independently as a stylish desktop HDD for Mac or PC users." It features an integrated 3-port USB 2.0 hub, an integrated 3-report FireWire repeater/hub, a smart power switch that powers up/down in tandem with Mac mini, and a specially designed active/passive cooling system. The system includes Iomega Automatic Backup software, which provides advanced realtime backup of user-selectable folders and any custom time interval. The software offers multiple backup locations, scheduling, multiple file revisions, external backup media, and file restoration. It will be available in the fourth quarter. (Pricing not yet available.) [only available in Europe, according to TMO]
macProVideo.com today announced the latest addition to its Final Cut Pro tutorials, Mastering Color Correction in Final Cut Pro. The video tutorial program is produced by professional video technician Jamie McCallister, and demonstrates all aspects of color correction in Final Cut Pro. Color correction is particularly important for editors working with DV footage, because it can make that typical "DV Haze" disappear completely. "Many video editors think color correction is a black art ... but it's actually very easy once you know a few tricks, such as the correct way to use the Vectorscope and Waveform monitor to analyze the color content of your video." Mastering Color Correction in Final Cut Pro is available for $30 as a direct download.
Big Nerd Ranch is offering another chance to learn Tiger's new Core Data techology with Cocoa Bootcamp on Tiger, which takes place from November 14-18. Core Data represents one of Tiger's key new features by simplifying the creation of data models for developers. After an initial overview of Objective- C, students delve deeply into the heart of Cocoa development. Topics include controls, delegates, Nib files, and user defaults. Within the first day, students begin writing their first code in Cocoa and developing mastery of the fundamentals before progressing on to advanced topics such as OpenGL, bindings, Interface Builder, the creation of classes, frameworks, view swapping, and Tiger's XCode 2.1. The class price of $3500 includes lodging, all meals, original instruction materials, 24-hour lab access, and transportation to and from the Atlanta airport.
In brief: MacNN has published a review on Belkin's 6-port FireWire hub, designed to reduce clutter and manage cables while providing connectivity for Mac accessories.... Creative could find it hard to take a bite out of Apple, according to a report from asiaone, which suggests that "It's not an easy thing to force big companies like Apple to pay licensing fees".... SmartSound released four new movie music CDs for home movie creators, offering more options to users of home video editing software packages.... As anticipated on iPodNN yesterday, HMV and Virgin are both preparing to launch music download services that will compete with each other, as well as Apple's iTunes music store.... Apple is now soliciting and accepting donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina via the iTunes Music Store.
Philips today introduced two new digital music players that offer higher capacities, color screens and PlaysForSure compatibility to compete with Apple's iPod. The GoGear HD1630 and HDD6330 are to offer 6GB and 30GB storage capacities, and both use a backlit touchpad with Philips SuperScroll technology that allows quick navigation through song collections, according to BetaNews. Both players provide the ability to browse JPEG photos one at a time, several as thumbnails, or view them in a slideshow that can be set to music. An FM tuner and voice recorder are also included, and Philips boasts a battery life of 15 to 18 hours with the ability to charge up to 70 percent capacity in one hour. Both models support protected content in Windows Media Format, can be used with subscription services such as Napster, and will be available in October.
FileWave today announced that its flagship FileWave software suite is able to automatically upgrade Macintosh workstations running Mac OS X v10.3.x to the new Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger. "Initially it was considered impossible by everyone we spoke with at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference this year," said Norbert M. Doerner, chief development officer at FileWave. "But because we have a real enterprise solution for Macintosh systems with unique abilities and functions, we were confident that we would find a solution." Current FileWave customers will be able to learn the process of this major upgrade to Mac OS X Tiger in a workshop to be held in several cities worldwide in the following weeks. Businesses not using FileWave will be able to license the software with special pricing until the end of this year, or they can pay a fixed usage fee for a one-time upgrade to Mac OS X Tiger within a limited timeframe.
Avid today released Media Composer Adrenaline 1.8 and Xpress Pro 4.8 editing solutions--both optimized for Mac OS X Tiger. Media Composer Adrenaline and Avid Xpress Pro systems include bundled Noise Industries Factory Tools, which tap the Core Image units of the Mac OS to provide over 80 real-time effects. Groups of Core Image units can be combined to create Quartz Compositions, highly stylized visual effects, filters, and transitions that can immediately be applied to individual clips, titles, or entire Avid sequences. Avid Media Composer Adrenaline is available for $25,000, and version 1.6 users can upgrade for $1000. Avid Xpress Pro 4.8 can be purchased for $1,700, and current 4.x users can upgrade for free.
Steinberg this week released the latest update to its Cubase SX and Cubase SL music production software products. Version 3.1 features over new 50 new functions as well as numerous other enhancements, including enhancements to its advanced Studio Connections functionality, which links Cubase SX to MIDI hardware supporting this standard. External instruments and effects supported by Studio Connections Recall and Audio now behave like virtual instruments and effect plug-ins, while any hardware, which does not support Studio Connections, can now also be integrated directly into the VST mixer in Cubase SX 3.1 as External Instruments or External FX including full MIDI control and latency compensation.
Some 3,700 Creative Zen Neeon MP3 players that shipped in late July contain a mass-mailing worm, known as "W32.Wullik.B". Creative said in a statement that the worm is believed to have spread from machines used during the manufacturing process, according to the report from eWEEK.com. The worm was located in a file named "Winfile", which is part of the MP3 players file system. While the worm doesn't pose a serious threat of spreading, but it can potentially infect Windows systems that are connected to the Neeon, according to anti-virus company F-Secure. Infected systems have been removed from the manufacturing plant, and Creative said it recalled infected Neeons from stores. Specific infected models are the Zen Neeon 5GB players with serial numbers between M1PF1230528000001M and M1PF1230533001680Q.
In light of recent video iPod rumors, one columnist at TheStreet.com predicts that the market isn't ready for the devices. The columnnist says that Apple is wise to postpone the device, as it did with the iPod. "Apple is going to try to dominate the portable (and stationary) video player world and duplicate the success it has had in the music world. But the video iPod and iShow products just aren't reality yet, and the market is probably not ready for them anyway. Part of the secret of Apple's success in the MP3 market was that it had let the market develop and get beyond the very early adopter stage before it got into the business. Being the first mover is not always advantageous, especially in the consumer market."
OpenBase says it will release OpenBase SQL 9.1 on September 14th at the Summit 2005 Developers Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. OpenBase SQL 9.1, a free update for v9.0 users, will be the first database solution to support stored procedures written with REALbasic logic. OpenBase forms and form designer offer instant gratification when building a fully functional database interface, while expanded subquery support broadens interoperability between OpenBase and other outside services, according to the developer. Subqueries now support stored procedure calls and remote queries for any JDBC-compliant data source. Other features include server-side cursor support; temporary tables; EOModel schema synchronization; schema modification recorder; relocatable databases; and more.
In brief: REAL Software announced that REALbasic 2005 for Linux will ship September 13.... Roughly 3,700 Creative Zen Neeon MP3 players that shipped in late July contain a mass-mailing worm, known as "W32.Wullik.B".... Abracode is looking for an experienced Cocoa and Carbon developer to take over MailTemplate and EntourageTemplate shareware development.... Organizers of the Photoshop World Conference & Expo are offering free passes September 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center.... SmartDisk, a provider of portable network and multimedia storage products announced that it has acquired the business and certain assets of Zio, a market leader in digital media readers, video editing and mobile telephone products.
Paul Thurrott has published part one of a comparison between Mac OS X Tiger and Windows Vista Beta 1 on his SuperSite for Windows. When comparing interfaces, Thurrott writes, "Windows Vista Beta 1 closes the gap," making a large improvement over Windows XP. Microsoft has added a number of visual effects, including translucencies, high-resolution icons, and animation effects. Still, In Vista Beta 1, "underlying windows can often cause a muddy-looking display that is distracting and sometimes even ugly." Both operating systems offer similar search features, according to the report. However, even in this early Beta 1 release, Windows Vista "far outstrips the data file visualization and organizational features in Mac OS X Tiger," Thurrott notes. "It will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with for Leopard, the next OS X release."
Creative Technology today accused Apple Computer of violating its recently granted software patent, and said it would consider every option available to defend the patent, including possible legal action. Apple declined to comment on the patent, according to The New York Times. The "Zen Patent," awarded to Creative on August 9, covers the navigation of menus. Craig McHugh, president of Creative's United States operations said Apple was the only company that Creative had identified so far that was in violation of the patent, although Creative was investigating others, according to the report. Apple may request that the patent office re-examine the patent, which would require Apple to provide evidence of "prior art" in court to prove that similar technology existed previous to Creative's use of the technology.
Little Gods is the debut game from independent developer Grim Inventions Interactive. Two players (human or computer opponents) face off in six vivid arenas "alive with atmosphere and motion." Players choose from six characters and duel their way through nearly 80 levels. "Bricks swoop and spin, explode and move in all kinds of ways, creating a dynamic and highly interactive field of play." Nine power-ups allow players to strategically choose when and where to use them. The game comes with a level editor so players can make new levels and share them with other users. "If you like Breakout or Arkanoid but you are tired of the same old game with different artwork, the answer to your prayers has just materialized in the form of Little Gods," the developer says. The game is available immediately for $20.
Other World Computing has added a 120GB version to its Mercury On-The-Go line of 2.5-inch drives, making it "the first company shipping a portable FireWire/USB2 drive of this capacity." The newest 120GB version runs at 5400RPM and includes 8 Megabytes (MB) cache. As with all Mercury On-The-Go drives, the new 120GB version includes two FireWire 400 and one USB 2.0/1.1 ports, weighs less than 12 ounces, and ships with carrying case, FireWire cable, USB Cable, EMC/Dantz Retrospect and Intech Speed Tools. It also is covered by a one-year warranty and officially supported by Dantz Retrospect with the EMC/Dantz Retrospect Backup Certification. The drive is available for today $350.
Apple will launch its iTunes mobile phone in Britain in the next few weeks in conjunction with mobile operator O2, according to The Times. "Apple is expected to unveil the new technology in the United States in partnership with Cingular Wireless next week. A British launch is expected shortly after, with the new devices available in time for the Christmas shopping season. A spokesman for the British mobile phone operator declined to comment on the company’s relationship with Apple, saying only: 'Music plays an important part of our overall portfolio.' But it is understood that confirmation of the partnership could come as soon as today. O2 will have a period of exclusivity on the latest version of the new iPod."
Motorola reportedly completed shooting for a ROKR iTunes phone television ad yesterday. According to Madonnalicious, the spot stars Madonna, Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, Sum 41, Mya, Lil' Jon, The Pussycat Dolls, The White Stripes, and Billie Joe from Green Day. Actors reportedly play Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Biggie Smalls. The ad begins with a teenager talking in a phone both. He is soon joined by Madonna in the booth, followed by an instrumental version of Madonna's new single, 'Hung Up.' As the commercial progresses, more celebrities are packed in the booth, "with various difficulties." The ROKR iTunes phone is expected to debut September 7th.
iEvents 2.5.3 is a powerful client-side tool for quickly creating custom calendar websites that can then be easily uploaded to any Internet server or iDisk. It is intended for individuals, schools, user groups, or any organization that wants to share their calendar of events online. Version 2.5.3, released today, fixes a bug discovered in iEvents 2.5.2 that would result in the iEvents file being deleted when building a site if the iEvents file is located in the calendar site folder. iEvents is a $20 shareware application. Users can evaluate it free for 15 times to try out most of its features.
DssW today released Power Manager 3.1 for Mac OS X, a new system utility for scheduling automatic power events including start up, log out, and shut down. Version 3.1 offers control over the event notification period, an option to delay pending events by 5 minutes, an option to cancel pending events, support for fast-user switching, and new log out and restart actions (start-up/wake-up, shut down, lot out, restart). Power Manager extends the scheduling functionality provided by Mac OS X's Energy Saver, offering unrestricted schedules, greater customisation, and additional actions. "Unlike Energy Saver, Power Manager is aware of multiple and fast switched users. Version 3.1 introduces a new staged method of logging out active users. This method ensures that the scheduled event takes place while giving running applications the opportunity to quit gracefully." It is available for €20 for both Mac OS X Panther and Tiger.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives