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Apple does \"right thing\"
Apple has done the "right thing" by admitting it shipped a number of defective iPod nanos, writes The Motley Fool. The problem only affected less than one-tenth of one-percent of the Nano players Apple shipped, but "the statistic is meaningless to a customer affected, and the publicity could potentially hurt Apple's reputation for quality." By being open about the problem, Apple has helped quell concerns about the player from potential buyers. "For a company often criticized for having an adversarial relationship with customers seeking product support, Apple's forthright offer to replace any faulty iPod nano is a smart and sensible move."
Slim, rigid PowerBook case
MaxUpgrades today let us know that they have designed a new slim, rigid case for PowerBooks. The new MaxProtect II is a slim, impact resistant case for PowerBooks. The company says the hard case delivers maximum protection against shock and impact by restricting the movement of the laptop by providing a snug cushioned interior space. Available to fit all PowerBook sizes, the synthetic leather case features a low size-to-weight ratio, cushioned velvet interior for scratch protection, and a external handle for easy portability. The case weigh just under 2lbs for the 12-inch PowerBook model, 2.5lbs for the 15-inch model, and 3lbs for the 17-inch model. It is available for $70 (17-inch), $60 (15-inch), and $50 (12-inch).
Merrill Neutral on AAPL
Merrill Lynch has lowered its rating on Apple shares from Buy to Neutral. The financial firm says Apple's execution "has been extraordinary" but questions the "upside in the stock" moving forward. Merrill cites the Intel transition that, while 2-3 quarters away, "could cause customers to pause, offsetting the halo effect." Additionally, revenue growth deceleration is expected in the next 1-3 quarters. "When everyone knows everything is going right for a company, sentiment is hard to improve," writes analyst Richard Farmer. Farmer also cites Microsoft Vista, which "could hold back Mac share gains in 2007." Penetration into the consumer PC installed base by the iPod is expected to reach 35 to 40 percent by 2007, but is "unlikely to be dramatically exceeded."
Final Draft AV 2.5
Final Draft today announced the release of Final Draft AV 2.5, its self-contained, full-featured word processor specifically designed for dual-column, audio-visual script writing. The update includes a new "Rearrange Guide Line" as well as expanded import and expor capabilities to assist with non-creative collaborators during the script approval process. The "Rearrange Guide Line" adds a new editing function unique to Final Draft AV to drag and copy text to see exactly where it will be aligned as it is moved. Additional features include customizable headers and footers; elements to create separate styles for Video description, character, and dialog; customized templates for different clients and projects; and spotlight support. Final Draft AV 2.5 is priced at $200, with $50 upgrades for registered users of previous versions. Final Draft AV requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
Nanos snatched up
The Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Xinyi District of Taipei, Taiwan sold out of iPod nanos. The iPods went on sale at 3:30 p.m. last Sunday morning, after people began forming lines as early as 9:00 a.m. Simon Yang, an analyst at the Topology Research Institute said: "affordable pricing combined with large storage is the main attraction of the gadget. iPod nano is a breakthrough in MP3 players as it comes in such a compact size yet offers huge storage," according to a report from the Taipei Times. Yang said iPod fever is expected to sweep through Taiwan's market over the next two years, driven by the product's exquisite looks, user-friendly interface, mini size and large storage. Hot sales of the iPod may force other similar gadgets that offer only 256MB or 512MB of storage to become entry-level products, according to the report. Unless vendors selling these items slash prices to below NT$1,000 from the current NT$2,000 to appeal to buyers who are price-conscious, they will find it hard to survive, Yang said.
Warner may cut off iTunes
Warner's digital strategy chief says that labels might have no other choice than to cut off Apple's digital music sales, leaving the iTunes Music Store without many of its popular tracks. "What if Jobs says 39 cents or 29 cents per download - what then? The industry can say, OK we'll cut him off - very few people people buy music from digital downloads," said Nash, according to the report from The Register. Digital downloads form a fraction of the music market, and Apple only makes four cents from every 99 cent download, but the company has been using the iTunes Music Store to supplement its wildly popular iPod music player. Earlier this month, Jobs called the music labels "greedy" based on their desire to raise prices on some music and said the move would be detrimental to the industry by pushing consumers back piracy. [corrected]
Securing Mac workstations
Ryan Faas yesterday published the latest addition to his Workstation Security series, "To secure a Mac workstation, remember the users." The article suggests hiding usernames, advises against using password hints, and warns not to enable fast user switching in Mac OS X. Further topics include setting screensaver passwords or encouraging users to make use of the Mac OS X Keychain's Lock Screen feature. Disabling the root user and altering parameters of the "sudo" command while also restricting access to the NetInfo Manager application is suggested, or alternatively enabling root and assigning a cryptographically sound password.
$500 virus bounty
Wil Shipley on Monday announced that he is considering offering a $500 bounty "to the first person who can prove that a Mac running Mac OS X (version 10.0 or greater, and patched to the latest security level available at the time from Apple) was accidentally and detrimentally infected with a virus that exploited a flaw in the base Mac OS X installation before September 20, 2005. The definition of 'virus' will for this contest will be either a virus or worm as described by the wikipedia. The challenge ends at 23:59:00, October 16, 2005." The bounty, if enacted, will be offered only once and pertains to a time period in the past which prevents would-be virus writers from collecting the reward.
MacNN reviews, inMotion iM
In brief: MacNN has reviewed StickyBrain 3.6, a third-party replacement to Apple's "Stickies" software.... MacNN also reviewed the Tune Belt iPod Carrier, a Neoprene holster to carry an iPod on the go.... Altec Lansing began shipping its new inMotion iM5 ($150, shown at right), a travel-friendly mobile audio dock for the iPod.... Dr. Bott announced that its MP3Band-It ($19) for iPod shuffle and nano is available, a simple and lightweight armband to securely hold the iPod on the move.... Wrappers has announced a range of five ultra-slim, soft protective covers for the iPod (from £16 to £20), made from a new nanofabric designed and manufactured in the U.K.... Ashlar-Vellum has updated its CAD application, Graphite 7.6, with service pack 2 that rolls together several minor issues and the translation of Graphite to Japanese using the ShiftJIS character set.
Alarm Clock Pro 7.4
Koingo Software today released version 7.4 of Alarm Clock Pro, its time management application that displays friendly reminders and performs automated tasks. When updating, the current alarm set will be lost and requires the re-entry of all items due to the massive number of changes in version 7.4. New features include automatically powering on or waking up from sleep for alarms, taking a screenshot as an event, an added Dock menu that contains application commands, an icon for podcasts when selecting iTunes playlists, and more. The update provides numerous bug fixes ensuring that Alarm Clock Pro properly names the .plist file, allows line breaks in email composition, and correctly resizes the height of the main listbox in the task and alarm list viewers. It requires Mac OS X 10.4, and is available for $16.
Nano LCD flaw confirmed
Apple today confirmed an LCD manufacturing flaw in some of its iPod nanos, while downplaying other complaints about the device's external finish. First noted last week, the news of cracked/broken LCD screens has led to widespread news coverage as well as a new website to track how widespread the problem is and allow customers to share their experiences with Apple's support/return policies. Apple said the issue was very limited and only affects a small number of owners, according to Macworld UK: "This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units. Our figures show this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 per cent of the total iPod nano units that we've shipped. It is not a design issue." Apple is offering free replacement to affected customers. [updated: first published 9/27]
DataThief 3 (free) reverse engineers data points from graphs, typically from scanned publications, saving the resulting coordinates. DataThief III, written in Java, is capable of tracing any more-or-less continuous line (even when the line crosses itself) and can convert data from numeric format to any other format (such as dates).
[Download - 290KB]
GraphClick 2.7 ($8) is graph digitizing software that automatically retrieves the original x-y data from the image of a scanned graph, or from a QuickTime movie. Version 2.7 adds points on perimeters of areas, points or lines are now draggable with the selection tool, and more. [Download - 2.8MB]
AbiWord 2.2.10 (free) is a word processor similar to Microsoft Word, available with support for a number of languages. The current release fixes a security issue in the RTF importer and repairs a list corruption in the MS Word importer. [Download - 7.9MB]
MacAT 7.0 ($50) updates the AT/UNIX cron-like task scheduling application to include support for FileMaker 8 support. MacAT can run 37 of the most common MacOS tasks to be run once, hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or yearly without intervention.
idtunes 1.7 ($20-50) fills in missing ID3 tags, deletes duplicates, and organizes music files. idtunes detects unknown or unnamed MP3's, filling in missing information such as artist, title, album, date, genre, and length. [Download - 4.6MB]
Kinemac 0.8.0b ($250) is 3D realtime animation and presentation software for Mac OS X for creating professional 3D animations with the simplicity of a 2D. Kinemac plays animations at full screen resolution and exports them to QuickTime movie files, or to a series of single still images. [Download - 1.7MB]
inMotion iM5 for iPod
Altec Lansing today began shipping its new inMotion iM5, a travel-friendly mobile audio dock that adds "out-loud listening powers to your iPod anywhere from your bedroom to your hotel room. You get big sound with special bass enhancement in a package small enough to tuck in a backpack or suitcase, plus a variety of updates to the original inMotion product." The iM5 is a sleek pencil box-shaped unit with a striking new design dominated by a silver grille trimmed in iPod white. The 20-oz. portable device offers both AC and battery power (up to 24 hours of battery operation), a headphone jack, and an auxiliary input port on the back of the unit for connecting other devices. The 20-oz device ships for $150 and includes a deluxe carry case.
Fetch 5.0.3 released
Fetch Softworks today relesased Fetch 5.0.3, the latest version of the popular file transfer client for the Mac is available. Version 5.0.3 has been localized to French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish, and features new support for a variety of character set encodings, including Arabic and Chinese. The extensive online help is now available as a printable, searchable 332-page PDF. Other changes include improved compatibility with VMS, OS/2, and Chyron servers, and numerous bug fixes, including "a running dog cursor that actually runs." Fetch 5 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2.4; it is free to try for 15 days. A single-user license is $25, while upgrades to Fetch 5 are $15.
Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe
Allume today released Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe for Mac OS X, its interactive virtual aquarium which includes 40 different kinds of fish from goldfish, clown fish, jellyfish, sea turtles, a giant sunfish, a shark and more. Allume says that Aquazone was the first virtual aquarium to bring an interactive element to a user's computer. In addition to Aquazone's realistic fish, tanks, and lighting effects, users can "feed" their virtual fish or "tap" on the tank to see their fish react. Aquazone also offers the ability to display virtually unlimited numbers of fish--even whole schools of some species. It offers different lighting and sound effects, and a "follow" feature that allows users to zoom-in and follow one particular fish while it swims. It is available for $25 with the ability to buy additional types of fish and tank environments.
Dr. Bott today announced that its MP3Band-It for iPod shuffle and nano are available exclusively through its authorized resellers. Designed for use with the iPod shuffle and iPod nano, the MP3Band-It is a simple, lightweight armband designed to securely hold the iPod while on-the-go. The adjustable armband is made of high-quality elastic and Velcro to comfortably fit most arm sizes, providing hands-free flexibility while you move and exercise. MP3Band-It retails for $19 and is available in black and white through Dr. Bott authorized resellers worldwide.
Digigami MegaPEG HDTV v3.0
Digigami today announced it is now shipping MegaPEG HDTV v3.0 for Mac OS X, its flagship MPEG-2 encoder for compressing High-Definition video into standards-compliant MPEG-2 (ISO/IEC 13818) bitstreams. The product creates streams compatible with ATSC (North American), ISDB-T (Japan) and European (EBU) standards for HD, and can perform on-the-fly format conversion, including SD upconversion and HD downconversion and conversion from ATSC to EBU and vice-versa. "The product, in it's third major revision since 1996, is unique in the world of HD encoding tools by integrating compression with built-in picture quality analysis tools (PQA) which provides the encoding operator with unparalleled feedback, diagnostics and control over the encoding procedure." It is available for $800 (introductory pricing for full version).
Salvage for data recovery
SubRosaSoft.com today released version 4.2 of its Salvage line of products. The latest generation of the Mac OS X software adds improved accuracy in salvaging, more file type support, faster shredding, and MP3 file name recovery. SubRosaSoft FileSalvage is a device- and file-independent Mac OS X application for data recovery that will retrieve deleted files and rescue data from corrupted media. Most media devices are supported: Mac OS/PC/Linux hard drives, iPods USB keys, flash-based media, CDs, DVDs, etc. The suite offers a risk-free trial that displays the type/amount of data that can be recovered, file previews, a free-space eraser, and detailed logging functions. The update is available as a free upgrade to FileSalvage ($90), OfficeSalvage ($40), MovieSalvage ($50), PodSalvage ($50), CameraSalvage ($50)--with a $10 discount offered for electronic delivery.
New WiebeTech drives
WiebeTech today announced its bus-powered UltraGB+ is now available in capacities of 250GB ($400) and 500GB ($800). The company's UltraGB+ is a 3.5-inch storage enclosure that allows drives to be accessed without AC power through FireWire 800 as well as FireWire 400 ports. WiebeTech also announced new high-performance, high-capacity versions of the ComboGB pocket drive, offering 120GB/5400RPM ($500) and 100GB/7200RPM ($600) versions of its external drive that features three ports for connectivity: FireWire 800/400/USB2. The UltraGB+ features FlexMount shock mounting for its internal drive, offering a bus-powered FireWire 800 port as well as a non-bus-powered USB 2.0 port. UltraGB+ ships with an AC adapter, while the ComboGB includes five different cables and adapters.
Wrappers has announced a range of five, ultra-slim, soft protective covers for the iPod. All five covers are made from a new nanofabric designed and manufactured in the U.K. The very high density of nanofabric makes it "almost impenetrable," according to the company. In tests against fabrics four times as thick, nanofabrics proved much more resistant to penetration from a sharp object. A further benefit of nanofabric is that it is very soft to the touch so there is "no chance of a nanofabric scratching your iPod." Wrappers' new nanofabric covers are available for iPod, iPod mini and iPod nano music players. There are five different designs: two single-color designs, a dotted pattern, a chequered design, and a striped style. Prices range from £16 to £20.
ColdFusion MX 7 for OS X
Macromedia today announced the availability of the Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Updater, a free, incremental release adding new platform support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger". Coldfusion allows developers to build and deploy powerful Internet applications; version 7 adds Flash forms generation, structured reports, and dynamic generation of printable documents. In addition to Tiger support, the updater brings improved support for Oracle 10g, Red Hat Linux AS 4, Solaris 10, and IBM WebSphere 5 Network Deployment as well as up-to-date hot and security fixes, and other feature enhancements. "Native support for Tiger opens up the well-known rapid development advantages of ColdFusion to a whole new Tiger developer audience while creating an exciting new deployment option for existing ColdFusion customers." The full version is $1,300.
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