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Apple is offering refurbished PowerBooks (current-generation) at the Apple Store as well as refurb previous-generation iBooks starting at $700. Refurbished versions of the 15-inch PowerBook are $1,700 (Combo) and $1,900 (SuperDrive)--each ship with 512MB of RAM, 80GB hard drive, Bluetooth 2.0, and a backlit keyboard--while previous-generation 15-inch PowerBooks are still available for $1,700 (1.33GHz/256MB/60GB/Combo) or $1,800 (1.5GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive). Refurbished previous-generation iMac G5s (256MB/80GB) are available for $900 (1.6GHz/Combo) and $1000 (1.8GHz/SuperDrive), while the refurb current-generation with 512MB of RAM and 160GB drives are $1,100 (1.8GHz/Combo) or $1,250 (2GHz/SuperDrive). Refurb 12-inch iBooks are $700 (1.2GHz/CD, $750 (1.2GHz/SuperDrive/AE), while the larger 14-inch versions are $900 (1.33GHz/Combo), $1000 (1.33GHz/SuperDrive), and $1,100 (current-generation 1.42GHz/SuperDrive/512MB). Apple is also offering refurbished iPods for $80 (512MB Shuffle), $100 (1GB Shuffle), $160 (4GB Mini), $200 (6GB Mini), and several iPod color models: 30GB ($300), 40GB ($330), and 60GB ($350). As noted this week, Apple's Back to School promo offering a free iPod mini or $179 toward another iPod (along with educational pricing) ends on Saturday.
Digital Foci today introduced Picture Porter, its portable digital photo album with hard drive and card reader that securely saves and views digital photos and video, alleviating worry about running low on memory card space. Picture Porter also serves as a portable MP3 player, and connects to most televisions for big-screen viewing. Offered in frosted white and graphite colors, 20GB ($400) and 40GB ($470) models are available. Picture Porter ships with Ulead management software, a USB cable, a video/audio cable, earphones, an AC adapter, a Lithium-Ion battery for 3.5 hours of video and 7.5 hours of music, a remote control, and carrying case.
Promethean today announced its ACTIVote VR Assessment software for Mac OS X, a new software component of the company's Collaborative Classroom that extends whole-group assessment capabilities to include wireless student laptops. Designed for realtime, whole-group assessment, ACTIVote VR works as a virtual student response device on networked Macs, integrating with ACTIVstudio2 lessons that run on the ACTIVboard. iBooks equipped with ACTIVote VR software are used to "vote" on questions posed on the ACTIVboard, encouraging paticipation by all students and providing immediate feedback to teachers during instruction. Results are displayed graphically on the ACTIVboard as pie charts or bar graphs. (Pricing not available.)
In brief: Steve Jobs is officially the 67'th richest American, according to the Forbes 400 list.... The final system requirements for Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 for the Macintosh have been set to Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and a G4/G5 processor running at 1GHz or faster.... Malte Brill of DerBrill Software released a range of free tutorials particularly geared toward learning how to write games and multimedia applications using Revolution, and the powerful ArcadeEngine library.... Belkin introduced three leather Nano cases (shown at right), designed to reinforce Apple's minimalist industrial design approach.... zCover released its iSA micro Duo Pack silicone protective cases for the Nano, offered in a selection of nine colors with clear screen protectors and removable lanyards.
Palm Desktop 4.2.1 Rev D (free) updates the PIM software that manages date books, to-do lists, address books, and memos; it can be used as a stand-alone application, or can view, sort, find, edit, back up, and add applications to a Palm device. Version 4.2.1 Rev D adds support for Mac OS X 10.4 and additional handhelds that were not supported by version 4.2.1 Rev A as well as fixes some permission issues on installation. [Download - 17.1MB] Adobe InCopy 4.01 and InDesign CS2 4.0.1 updates software to provide key fixes in the areas of text and fonts, scripting, inline graphics, InDesign Interchange (INX) files, German hyphenation, performance, and more. [Download - 35.6MB] InEffects 1.0.1 ($100) applies any combination of effects such as drop shadows, inner shadows, inner glows, outer glows, bevels, and embossing to any InDesign page object(s). InEffects is compatible with both InDesign 2.x and InDesign CS, supporting InDesigns own built-in effects and can be used in conjunction with them. [Download - 5.1MB] VODcaster 1.0 (free) is a tool for publishing audio and video podcasts with drag-and-drop support. Podcasts are uploaded to web servers or added to the iTunes Music Store podcast directory, and information is collected without the need to know XML. [Download - 1.3MB] DVD Database X 1.7 ($20) is a full-featured database system designed to keep track of DVD collections. Version 1.7 offers a redesigned interface and many usability improvements. Features include online movie lookups, DVD label and jacket printing, and automatic playing of movie trailers. [Download - 2.8MB] BoosterElements 1.5 ($30) is an add-on to Adobe Photoshop Elements that provides three plug-ins: Curves, Density Masking, and Color Effects. Version 1.5 creates masks with density or brush, offers color correction with curves, and enables color changes (Sepia, DuoTones).
Belkin today announced three form-fitting leather cases for the iPod nano, designed to reinforce Apple's minimalist industrial design approach. The Carabineer case with its fine-grain leather construction provides easy accessibility to ports, features a locking clasp, and ships with a carabineer clip for hands-free carrying. Belkin's Nano Flip case offers a built-in cable management mechanism, and is designed with a multi-mount clip/hook providing a variety of ways to access the Nano. The Belkin Nano Folio case (pictured at right) secures the Nano around the wrist with a lanyard strap, also offering easy accessibility to all ports of the device. These new leather cases from Belkin will be available for $25 in October.
Forums roundup: Users discuss the the possibility of a Mac mini update in the near future.... Discussion continues about the recently-released iPod nano.... Speculation continues about a possible Mac OS X 10.4.3 update.... Mac fans discuss the possible affect Windows Vista will have on Apple.... Mac OS X enthusiasts share and discuss the latest GUI customizations.... Users talk about a new solution for solid-state storage, and future possibilities as memory prices fall.
Sonnet today announced Sidekick, a double-jointed USB 2.0 adapter that "bends over backwards and sideways" to connect USB devices in small spaces. Sidekick plugs into recessed or closely spaced USB ports, offering 180-degree rotation left-to-right and a 180-degree sweep up-and-down. Sidekick makes it easy to plug iPod shuffles into challenging USB port configurations on devices such as the iMac G3, eMac, some iBook models, and others. The Sidekick is compatible with any computer harboring a USB 1.1 or 2.0 port, and any device or cable with a standard USB type-A connector. Sidekick is available in the UK for £7 (US availability not noted).
Several iPod nano owners are reporting inexplicable screen failures within the first few days of owning the music player. The affected screens appear to be cracked, but owners cannot recall any events that would lead to such damage. In the cases cataloged by flawedmusicplayer.com, no impact marks are visible on the cracked displays. Most users report leaving their Nano in a pocket for an extended period of time, and discovering a destroyed display when they remove the device to use it. It is unclear if a design flaw, poor manufacturing, or something else is to blame for the seemingly delicate display. iPod repair company iPodResQ reports a temporary price increase on its iPod nano screen replacement service due to "overwhelming demand."
Paradigma Software today released Valentina 2 for Revolution ADK and the Valentina Developer Network for Revolution products. Valentina 2 is a fast, robust database with multi-platform support for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows networks. New features include abstraction links, foreign keys, fast Valentina ObjectPtrs, and Valentina binary links for one to one, one-to-many and many-to-many links. Valentina 2 for Revolution (single OS) requires Mac OS X blah, is available for $200, and comes with a free copy of Valentina Studio Administrator. Valentina Developer Network pricing begins at $500 and includes a license to deploy Valentina 2 Embedded Server royalty free.
With the licensing agreements between Apple and the record labels set to expire next spring, the labels are lobbying for a more flexible pricing structure. Jobs, a staunch supporter of the flat-rate of 99 cents per song, earler this week called the music labels "greedy" if they want to raise prices, arguing that raising prices increases the likelihood consumers will return to piracy; however, Warner Music Group's Chief executive Edgar Bronfman continues to lobby for the labels' own agenda, saying that "not all songs are created equal. Not all albums are created equal," according to the report from Reuters UK. "That's not to say we want to raise prices across the board or that we don't believe in a 99-cent price point for most music. But there are some songs for which consumers would be willing to pay more. And some we'd be willing to sell for less."
Xgaming today introduced the X-Arcade Trackball, an industrial-grade consumer gaming mouse tailored at the growing market for "retro-gaming experiences." The X-Arcade(R) Trackball is built with the same industrial-grade arcade materials as arcade machines popular in bars and arcades in the 80s, according to the company. The bundle includes an authentic arcade trackball mouse (both PC and Mac compatible); it works with any existing mouse-based game and includes 12 classic arcade games designed to fulfill the nostalgic desires of older gamers. "Games like PGA Tour, Golden Tee Golf and Marble Madness aren't the same playing with a keyboard or game controller. They were designed for arcade use with a real arcade trackball. The gaming input device is due this holiday season for $100.
Cingular says it's hoping to work with Apple to create a music service that will allow users to download songs their mobile phone early next year. The company says that it hope partner with Apple and that song download fees would be "slightly higher" than what consumers pay for songs on iTunes. Cingular's COO Ralph de la Vega told Reuters at the Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York that while the details still have to be worked out, the company was looking to work with Apple to deliver the music service. Earliier this month, Cingular became the exclusive provide of the Motorola ROKR phone, which integrates Apple's iTunes mobile software and works seamless with Apple's iTunes service.
zCover this week released its iSA micro Duo Pack Fashionable Silicone Protective Cases for the Apple's iPod nano. The zCover iSA micro Duo Pack offers a selection of nine colors, while each zCover "iSA micro" Duo Pack contains two individual designed protective cases, one in lanyard style and one in sheath style. This Duo Pack also features one hard crystal clear screen protector and a removable lanyard. "The iSA micro lanyard design allows you to show off your unique personality by wearing it around your neck. This design provides serious protection from scratching the surface of iPod nano."
Griffin Technology today announced it has begun shipping its iFM device, its radio, remote, and recorder for Apple's iPod. The iFM combines FM radio tuning, recording and remote control in an 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." In addition, iFM can be used as a recording device with the ability to capture sound using the built-in microphone or to capture live FM radio directly to the iPod. The iFM is $50. A version for the iPod nano will be available in November, according to the company.
Alias today began shipping Maya 7 Personal Learning Edition (PLE) and MotionBuilder 7 PLE, special versions of Maya Complete and Alias MotionBuilder Standard that provide free access to the software for non-commercial use. "With the Personal Learning Editions, industry professionals and those interested in breaking into the world of 3D have an opportunity to learn with the same industry-leading tools found in professional production studios around the world." MotionBuilder 7 PLE software offers almost every feature found in the commercial version of MotionBuilder 7 Standard including: advanced real-time animation tools, unique story timeline performance environment, auto rigging, motion editing, motion layering and storytelling tools. MotionBuilder 7 PLE also allows artists using any commercial 3D software that supports the FBX file format.
CS Odessa has released ConceptDraw MINDMAP 4, a mind-mapping program for Mac OS X. New features include freehand branch drawing, floating and callout topics, task information support and ability to import MindManager files on both Mac and PC. Freehand Branch Drawing makes mind-mapping quicker – users add branches by simply clicking over the map. Callout and floating topics allow putting down comments and ideas that do not associate with the map. The extended customizable collection of symbols provide for more expression freedom by letting users choose a symbol style. Another important feature of version 4.0 is ability to import files created in popular mind-mapping application MindManager. The update also adds export to Microsoft Word and Project. ConceptDraw MINDMAP 4 is available for $100 (Personal) and $200 (Professional).
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Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.