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Media coverage of Apple
Some believe Apple gets more attention than it deserves, including a new Slate editorial that examines the press corps' crush on Steve Jobs and company. The editorial looks at the inordinate media attention given to Apple, its product launches, and its products, in part to Apple manipulation of its message and the media as well as leveraging several rallying messages of Steve Jobs' mad genius and its role as the underdog: "The inordinate amount of attention paid to Apple's launches must be, in part, a function of the company's skill at throwing media events, stoking the rumor mills, and seducing the consuming masses. All this, plus the chatter-inducing creativity of Apple's ad campaigns, and its practice of putting its machines in pretty boxes make writing about Apple products more interesting than assessing the latest iterations of the ThinkPad or Microsoft Office."
Apple event on Oct 19
Apple is scheduled to hold a special press conference on October 19th in New York City. Scheduled one-day before the PhotoPlus Expo, also being held in New York City, the event is Apple's third event in two months, following the high-profile introductions of the iPod nano, iTunes 5, video iPod, new iMac G5, and iTunes 6. MacNN sources have confirmed that the event will be used to introduce the last PowerPC-based PowerBook G4 lineup with new high resolution displays and other improvements. Other reports also suggest the event will bring a photography-related announcement as well as updated Power Mac G5 systems using IBM's dual-core PowerPC chips, although the (unconfirmed) details are scarce.
Apple removes P2P ads
Apple has withdrawn advertisements it placed on some peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing sites. The ads were removed by both Apple and Napster after the companies received criticism and threats of legal action from the UK record industry, according to The Guardian. Record industry representatives called it ironic that the two leaders in legal music downloads have been supporting sites with illegal activity, according to the report: "We deplore the unauthorised distribution of music on internet sites which prosper by selling advertising on the back of copyright theft. It is hugely ironic that iTunes and Napster, two companies which have done so much to encourage legal downloading, have been caught up in these sites." The report notes that Sky, O2, BT Broadband, Easymobile, msn Messenger and Barclays also use these networks to promote their services.
The Omni Group
The Omni Group today announced it has updated its Omni Frameworks, bringing many enhancements to the collection of open-source frameworks, plug-ins, and example applications. The current release is the first to use Xcode 2.2, and build on the Intel-based Developer Transition Kits available from Apple Computer. The update includes the OmniInspector framework which has been split out from OmniAppKit and enhanced with tabbed inspectors as seen in OmniGraffle 4. The OmniSoftwareUpdate framework is also included and allows developers to easily implement a simple software update check from within their applications. Other improvements include a single package for all source code which includes a build script providing an easy way to build debug or release versions of the source code. The Omni Frameworks are released under the terms of the Omni Source License.
iFM with dock connector
Griffin today unveiled a new version of its iFM with a dock connector, integrating FM radio tuning and remote control functionality with the iPod in a tiny enclosure. iFM switches seamlessly between controlling the iPod music library and listening to FM radio programming, and serves as an inline remote to control the iPod's transport controls. Features include an integrated white backlit LCD that shows the operating mode of the iFM; digital auto station scan with wraparound capability; band-switch functionality to switch between US, European, and Japanese FM bands; six station presets per band; control via remote to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, play the next song, play the previous song, and volume control which toggles the iPod's EQ setting. iFM works with 5th generation iPod video, iPod nano, 4th generation iPod with clickwheel, iPod mini, and iPod photo. iFM with its dock connector is expected to be available in November for $50.
iPod network TV
Mark Cuban, who became a billionaire in the content delivery business, says the announcement this week by Apple and ABC will "enabled a new revenue stream which if it grows, could definitely be the revenue stream that saves primetime network TV," says Cuban. He believes other companies will try to get in on the action sooner than they did with music. "All of this isnt going to happen overnight. Distribution must expand beyond Apple, and it will. It will be interesting to see how fast Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Sony (If sony had an iTunes and an ABC deal for the PSP...wow !), AOL and even retailers like Walmart Online and Best Buy respond. Which they will. They arent going to let Apple run away with this market like they did music."
The Sims 2 updated
Aspyr Media today released a free update for The Sims 2.1. The Sims 2 1.0 Rev B fixes problems using the in-game content browser to connect to Sims2.com, improves stability related to sound, adds support for Japanese character input, and localizes the package installer for the Japanese and Italian languages. The Sims 2 offers players the chance to take sims through an infinite number of generations, evolving the family tree. Sims have a purpose in life as well, aspiring to a life of fame, fortune, family, knowledge, or romance. The Sims 2 is available for $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later.
CheckBook 1.6 released
Splasm Software today released CheckBook 1.6, the latest release of its personal finance application that is designed to handle basics while keeping things simple. Enhancements include a new QIF export feature, expanded QIF import support, new account management options, a getting started tutorial, a few fixes and more. Additional features include a friendly single-window interface that stays focused on the task at hand; always-on filter/search similar to Spotlight; support for multiple password-protected accounts; scheduled entries; customized account summaries; and searchable online help. CheckBook 1.6 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is available for $18. The update is free for registered users.
MacNN review, new ebook
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Pivot silicone rubber skin case ($22) for iPod nano (shown at right).... A new ebook entitled "Take Control of Permissions in Mac OS X", the latest entry in the Take Control library has been released.... Digital Lifestyle Outfitters introduced the DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano, its cushioned neoprene case featuring a clear built-in screen protector, a 180-degree rotating belt clip, and a slender armband.... Speck Products sent off its first shipment SkinTight singles and 3 packs, SkinTight DELUXE 2-packs, ToughSkins in clear and black, and the FunSkin CLOUD for iPod nano.... Amazon.com has the black 4GB iPod nano available for immediately delivery.
Exec changes at Apple
Apple today named Tim Cook its COO (chief operating officer), and announced that Jon Rubinstein, Apple's senior vice president of the iPod Division will retire on March 31 to be succeeded Tony Fadell. Cook, who has been Apple's executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations since 2002, will continue to report to Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Tim has been doing this job for over two years now, and it's high time we officially recognized it with this promotion," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Tim and I have worked together for over seven years now, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with him to help Apple reach some exciting goals during the coming years." In addition, Fadell will report to Steve Jobs and take over all aspects of iPod engineering.
Knox, Sinbad, TimeCache
Knox 1.0.4 ($30) is an integrated encryption and backup utility for Mac OS X 10.3 or later. Version 1.0.4 improves stability and adds Tiger support. Knox can back up files to an iPod whenever the device is docked, and can utilize the 1-2GB storage capacity of .Mac online to make vaults available on the internet.
[Download - 1.3MB]
Sinbad 1.0 (free) is a web searching application designed to simplify web browsing and information retrieval. Similar to Watson and Sherlock, Sinbad provides a consistent and simplified user interface for all web services and makes finding specific information faster and easier. Sinbad includes modules for finding country facts, song lyrics, famous quotes, drug information, books, song albums, and more [Download - 1.3MB]
Altomac Hide Folders 1.2 (free) conceals files and folders, including their contents, to prevent modification or deletion. Version 1.2 opens files and folders with the key combination Command-Down arrow, improves the display for item names with a custom background, and fixes all of the known bugs in the previous version. [Download - 2.7MB]
TimeCache 6.0.6 ($50) tracks time and expenses with better support for invoicing, easier data entry, and new ways to customize what and how time and expenses are tracked. The update removes a beta-testing timeout that was mistakenly left in the release of version 6.0.5. [Download - 3.8MB]
Atomic Mac 6.3.0 ($25) is a periodic table of the elements and nuclear database for the Macintosh. The update adds a "Decay Tree" window for each radioactive nuclide, showing the decay path it takes until it reaches a stable nuclide. The Atomic Mac also contains a wealth of nuclear information on each isotope, including half life, decay mode, and daughter products. [Download - 3.5MB]
Super Cool Pool 1.2 ($20) provides training in a variety of pool games and trick shots. Super Cool Pool offers 6 Ball, 9 Ball, 8 Ball, and UK Rules for the classic pool feel. Advanced players can take on 12 different trick shots, each making use of the various skills required to master the table. [Download - 4MB]
MacExpo UK participants
MacExpo UK 2005, which will take place at Olympia's National Hall in Kensington, London, on Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th October will feature new products by several companies. At Booth 126, I.R.I.S will debut two new products: ReadIRIS Pro 11, the new version of I.R.I.S. OCR (optical character recognition) software totally redesigned for Mac OS X, and the IRIScan, a unique portable scanning solution combining an A4 scanner with ReadIRIS Pro. Be.ez will showcase its LEmini satchel as well as its LArobe and LArobe mini, providing polyurethane protective cases for portable computers and their accessories. PodGear will launch the PocketParty for iPod nano, the newest member of the PocketParty family specifically designed for the iPod nano. PodGear will also announce a new range of accessories for the iPod video. In addition, Sonnet will debut the Fusion 400 and Tempo Cards, new additions to the Sonnet range. Sonnet will also feature the recently launched SideKick, flexible USB 2.0 adaptor.
Doom 3 Last Man Standing
Platinum Arts today released Last Man Standing 2.0, a single- and multi-player mod for Doom 3. Boasting major improvements over the first version, the new mod offers ROE Coop (the Doom 3 expansion pack) and Kaiser's (one of most talented mappers in the Doom 3 community) single-player maps Tlabs Complex, Refueling Station, and Sigma Quadrant which have been tweaked for co-op play. By popular demand, ragdolls can now be turned on using the 'cvar lms_useragdolls' command, and monsters now drop their weapons. Doom 3 Last Man Standing 2.0 is available for free.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today introduced the DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano. It is a cushioned neoprene case featuring a clear built-in screen protector, a 180° rotating belt clip and a slender armband. The DLO Action Jacket for iPod nano costs just $30 and is available immediately. It is making its debut at the Digital Life Expo Booth #1239 in New York City, October 14, 15 and 16th. "The Action Jacket was one of the first DLO products ever produced, and it continues to be one of our customers' favorites," said Rick Case, VP of Sales for DLO.
WatchMouse Site Monitor
WatchMouse Site Monitor is a unique Dashboard widget that monitors any internet site from the desktop. The widget checks any site every 5 minutes and alerts users in case of problems--in cases of errors, it checks the site the from 16 other monitoring stations worldwide and alerts users immediately or after 2 to 5 concecutive errors. The widget pauses when the computer is not connected to the Internet as well as display the hourly availability of your website over the last 72 hours. It is available for free and requires Mac OS X. Meanwhile, AirTrafficControl 1.2 is an advanced wireless networking Widget that can connect to any type of network, sort networks by any feature, integrate with Keychain to retrieve and update WPA or WEP passwords, and view current connection details including network speed. Version 1.2 of the freeware offers a new enhanced interface, Keychain support, and other enhancements.
ToySight Gold retail box
Freeverse and Strange Flavour today announced the release of the ToySight Gold retail box. The award-winning camera-controlled entertainment software for the Mac adds new games and is available for less. Toysight Gold features fifteen interactive games and toys for one or two players. "Instead of using a gamepad, mouse, or keyboard, players maneuver themselves in front of an iSight or other firewire camera to control the action. The players are superimposed transparently onto the game screen, and must use arm and hand motions to interact with the games." It is expected to ship by the end of the month for $25 and will be available at Apple Store and other Mac retailers.
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