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Some earlier PowerBook G4 computers that have a SuperDrive with a 2x DVD-R write speed may not be able to burn 8x DVD-R media reliably, Apple said in a support document. "Because of this, you should only use 2x or 4x DVD-R media." SuperDrives with the UJ-816 as part of the model number are affected. This can be determined using the System Profiler utility. The announcement comes after heated discussion of the issue on Apple's support forums.
Podner iPod video utility
Splasm Software today announced Podner, a new application devoted to making it easy and affordable to get your home movies and video clips into an iPod-compatible format. "Drag a movie file to the Podner window, tweak the settings (if you want), then let Podner get to work. Your videos arrive safely in iTunes, ready and waiting for your next iPod sync. It's all in a day's work for you and Podner." Podner will be available during the week of October 24th for $10. A risk-free trial will process the first 2 minutes of an unlimited number of movie files. It will require Mac OS X 10.4, QuickTime 7.0.3 and iTunes 6.0.
Free util for video iPod
EchoFX today announced USBVision for Mac OS X 1.1.2, an update to its $25 software that delivers software support for USB 1.1 video digitizing devices. Version 1.1.2 is a maintenance release that corrects problems with video signal detection, audio enabled devices, SecuritySpy, snapshot sizes, InterView Lite devices, and the startup item under Mac OS 10.4. The update also brings improved AppleScript support and sleep management as well as new support for Dazzle Digital Video Creator and for Pinnacle LINX USB Plus devices. EchoFX has also made available, free of charge, its USBVision Exporter software. USBVision Exporter can export any QuickTime movie to any other QuickTime format --including those required by iMovie, iTunes, and video-enabled iPods--without QuickTime Pro.
MacNN review, contest
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Family Fun Pack 1 from Feral Interactive, offering four classic engrossing games.... The Photoshop Elements Techniques newsletter is sponsoring a "virtual Halloween digital mask contest" for subscribers, with the winner receiving a Wacom 4X5 Graphire4 Tablet.... iDiddy rolled out its Opticover for fifth-generation iPods, made from aerospace polyurethane to provide translucent protection from scratches.... Simpl Acoustics has lowered the price of its A1 Headphone Amp for iPod, from $150 to $100.... One MacNN reader informed us that the nVidia 7800 graphics card, which is touted on Apple's spec pages, is not available as a BTO option on Apple's new Power Mac Quad G5, nothing "Apple's sales staff are perplexed without an explanation."... "Geeks on Board," a new documentary that chronicles the Mac geek culture -- will be screened for the first time to the public at this year's Southern California MacFair 2005 on Saturday November 5th.
Apple\'s gross margin
The percentage of revenue left after subtracting product costs for Apple in its September-ended quarter was 28.1 percent, narrower than the 29.7 percent in the June-ended quarter, which leads some analysts to believe that Apple's profitability could suffer over time. Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research estimates the gross margin average of all iPod models is approximately 22 percent, narrower than the margin earned on its higher-end Macintosh computers, according to a report from Reuters. "You look at last quarter, their gross margin went down a bit sequentially," Wu said, referring to Apple. Chris Whitmore, a Deutsche Bank analyst noted "as music and iPods continue to outpace computer hardware sales we expect that shift to drive lower profit margins, but that will continue to translate into pretty strong operating-income dollars and earnings per share."
iPod 5G profit margin
Researcher iSuppli took apart Apple's latest, video-capable iPod to attempt to determine how much the company is making on the device. The latest iPod, like its smaller sibling, the iPod Nano, enjoys similarly high gross profit margins in the neighborhood of 50 percent, according to iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty, who estimated the price of the parts used in the iPod. He reckons the 30-gigabyte version of the new iPod, which sells at retail for $299, costs Apple $151 to manufacture. "This is in line with what we have seen with other iPod products from Apple," he says. The analyst raised some concerns about Apple's ability to keep up with demand. "We know that Apple has only one source for the display of this iPod," Crotty says. "And we also know that it is supply-constrained."
Qilan 3 released
CommonGround Softworks today announced version 3 of Qilan, a major upgrade to its web application tool designed to create and deploy sophisticated, dynamic web pages. The graphic user interface window enables creation of Java Server Pages (JSP), and the web project deployment uses Apache Tomcat, an open-source servlet engine. Web projects can be deployed on most operating systems -- including the Mac -- and support for the FoxPro database is included. Exported JSP web templates are executed by Apache Tomcat, and will run on platforms that support the J2EE, including Mac OS X. Qilan supports JDBC access to many major databases including Oracle, MSSQL, MySQL, OpenBase, FrontBase, and others. Mac legacy databases such as Helix and FoxPro are accessible, and in most cases this includes the ability to import, export and modify database schemas. Qilan ($300) requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Smart Crash Reports
Smart Crash Reports 1.0.2 (free) is an enhancement to Apple's CrashReporter application, allowing third-party developers to register products which produce a crash log after a crash that is sent to the developer, as well as Apple. New features include Dutch, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish localization as well as a Mac OS version check for the Install API.
[Download - 374KB]
Film Effects 2.5.1 Demo ($100) is a plug-in package for Final Cut Pro, offering greater control over how video looks. Film Effects is based around a high quality 60i to 24p simulation plug-in, and includes over 20 preset looks -- each completely configurable -- with eight additional plug-ins to help make video more "filmic". [Download - 1.8MB]
Factory Tools 1.0.1 ($500) is a suite of products for creating, applying and sharing special effects for the Avid AVX architecture. New features include Altivec velocity engine optimizations for better performance on current PowerPC systems, EPS/PDF file support via input source remapping, save/restore capability for effect parameters via presets, and the ability to apply a drop shadow to the output of any effect. [Download - 8.6MB]
Shrook 2.4 ($25) is an RSS and Atom news reader with automatic synchronization, as well as online access through the shrook.com web interface. Version 2.4 supports categorizing incoming news items utilizing the same Bayesian statistical filtering methods used by Apple Mail's junk mail filter. [Download - 1.1MB]
Tracktion 188.8.131.52 ($150) updates the music production software to support French, German, and Spanish languages. Other improvements include a new render track dialog, new group soloing functionality, custom naming of audio outputs, and several bug fixes.
DxO Optics Pro 3.5 automatically enhances images produced by digital single-lens reflex (Digital-SLR) cameras and their lenses. The new optical quality improvement algorithms preserve up to 40 percent more image surface when eliminating geometric distortion, extend the removal of unwanted color fringes, provide an increased level of image detail, and enable user-defined cropping.
Forums roundup: Users discuss whether to buy a quad-core Power Mac G5 now or wait for future Intel machines.... Forum members react to the release of new PowerBook G4 models with high-definition displays.... iMac owners and fans respond to the release of new, slimmer iMac G5s.... Customers discuss the shipping and delivery dates for the 5th generation video iPod.... Forum members speculate about Mac OS X 10.5, a potentially major update to Apple's operating system.
Refurb Cinema Displays
Apple is offering the refurbished 30-inch Cinema Display for $2,099 at the Apple Store as well as a refurb 23-inch Cinema Display for $1,099, following price drops earlier this week. Following the introduction of new PowerBooks, Apple also dropped the prices on its refurbished PowerBooks, offering two 12-inch models--1.5GHz/Combo or 1.33GHz/SuperDrive--for $1,299 as well as 1.5GHz/SuperDrive for $1450. Several 15-inch models are also available for $1,299 (1GHz/Combo), $1,450 (1.33GHz/Combo), $1,600 (1.25GHz/SuperDrive), $1,699 (1.5GHz/Combo), $1,799 (1.5GHz/SuperDrive), and $1,900 (1.67GHz/SuperDrive). In addition, Apple has lowered the price on its refurb Power Mac G5s, which are now available for $1,299 (1.8GHz), $1,499 (dual-1.8GHz), $1,799 (dual-2GHz), and $2,199 (dual-2.3GHz). Other refurbs include the Mac mini starting at $399, the eMac starting at $529, 20-inch iMac G5s for $1,150 (1.8GHz/SuperDrive) or $1,300 (2GHz/SuperDrive), and iBooks starting at $699.
iDiddy 5G Opticover
iDiddy today rolled out the Opticover for the fifth-generation iPod. Opticover is made from aerospace polyurethane, providing translucent protection from scratches with a tough barrier that is offered in the aftermarket for use on the front of Ferraris and Porches, as well as other high end automobiles to protect the paint from rocks. Installation consists of peeling back the pre-cut material, carefully aligning it with the click wheel and screen, then using the included squeegee to help eliminate any air bubbles that may get trapped between the surface of the iPod and the Opticover material. Opticover for the iPod 5G uses special adhesive that won't remain on the iPod after the Opticover is removed. The iDiddy Opticover is available for $15.
StuffBak device recovery
RadTech today announced its StuffBak device recovery service, providing loss protection that recovers missing possessions and boasts a verified recovery rate of over 75 percent. StuffBak ID labels are affixed to any piece of equipment, and upon equipment loss or theft the label allows the finder to return it easily. StuffBak recovery labels are activated online, and when an item is found the owner is contacted immediately by phone and/or email. The StuffBak website offers the ability to report lost items or offer an extra reward. One free StuffBak label is included with all RadTech Web orders, and additional labels are available for $2 each.
Apple display covers
RadTech today released ScreenSavrz for Apple Cinema Displays, its form-fitting protective covers for computer LCD panels. ScreenSavrz for Cinema Displays protect, clean and refinish Flat-panel LCD panels. The covers are constructed from RadTech's unique Optex fabric, which is specifically formulated using advanced optical polishing technology. As a polishing medium, ScreenSavrz safely wipe away dust and thoroughly clean the surface of the screen, while using water to dampen the cover can result in light scratch and abrasion removal from the LCD viewing surface. Covers are non-woven, wrinkle-resistant, and won't tear or fray. ScreenSavrz are available for $40 in "titanium grey" and "aqua", and are sized to fit all Apple Cinema Displays.
LiveDictionary 1.2 release
Eloquent Software today released LiveDictionary 1.2, its Safari extension that adds fast, convenient dictionary lookups to the Web browser. LiveDictionary offers a wide array of dictionaries for technical terms, general language, and bilingual usage. LiveDictionary comes with the WordNet 2.0 English Dictionary, allowing definition discovery by pointing to any word on the screen. Other dictionaries are available, such as the free online Dictionary of Computing, which provides definitions for even the most obscure computing terms. New features include integration with Ultralingua -- displaying results from a local Ultralingua dictionary running in the background, functional PDF document lookups viewed in Safari, improved Japanese support, and caps lock can activate popup. LiveDictionary is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Finale PrintMusic 2006
MakeMusic announced today the release of Finale PrintMusic 2006, its new music notation software for. The new version adds many new features, including Save as Audio, Automatic Drum Grooves, Auto-Harmonizing, and Music XML Import/Export. The new version also improves music scanning and recognition technology, and introduces file compatibility with Finale 2006. A free Software Synthesizer is included with more than 128 sounds. The program works with with MIDI keyboards, create scores and print out parts, and can create orchestrations of up to 24 staves. PrintMusic is intended for songwriters, students, teachers, church musicians, and band leaders - anyone who wants to "easily create, hear and print publisher-quality music." Pricing is $70 for new users or $30 to upgrade.
AnandTech on new G5s
AnandTech has an in-depth look at Apple's latest Power Mac G5 lineup, which are available now with 24-hour ship times from the Apple Store (except the high-end, which is due in 3-4 weeks). The column highlights the faster DDR2-533 memory support and PCI-express additions to the new desktos: "Apple has honestly done their best to make an attractive non-Intel Power Mac offering and obviously they had to. The dependency of OS X on high speed CPU/graphics communication means that the move to PCI Express graphics was a must, and I am pleased with the way in which Apple made that move. Offering four physical x16 slots, even if they aren't electrically x16, makes a lot of sense, and there shouldn't be any reason for PC motherboard makers to offer something similar. It may be a bit confusing, but the added flexibility is a definite benefit. The move to dual core and DDR2 are both nice, but they will mean a lot more when we see the move to x86 next year."
iPod nano lawsuit
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple Computer over the iPod nano's suceptibility to scratches. The Red Herring reports that Jason Tomczak has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple Computer on behalf of all iPod nano owners, demanding that customers get their money back as well as a share of the company's profits on the music player's sales." The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California in San Jose on Wednesday, October 19, 2005, according to the report. The lawsuit follows numerous discussions of Nano complaints around the Web, media reports about its increased susceptibility to scratches compared to previous generations, and Apple's acknowledgement of an LCD flaw with a small set of iPod nanos.
Griffin iTrip for Nano
Griffin Technology today announced its new innovative FM transmitter: the iTrip for iPod nano is a completely rethought version of the popular iPod accessory, according to the company: the iTrip now uses the iPod's high resolution LCD for optimal viewing of station information. In addition, it features a sled design and minimalist controls, making it thinnest FM transmitter Griffin has produced. SmartDisplay technology seamlessly integrates all functions and features with the iPod nano, displaying all iTrip tunning and setup info on the iPod nano screen itselt. Griffin's exclusive SmartSound volume control dynamically adjusts iPod's volume level for optimal audio quality. The company is accepting pre-orders now and the device is expected to ship in November for an introductory price of $50.
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