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Forums roundup: Members continue to talk about the new Power Mac G5 line, which was introduced in October.... PowerBook owners continue to share pictures of their PowerBook setups.... Purchasers of the new 20" iMac discuss ship dates and availability.... Owners of older iBook G4 models discuss hacks to make two-finger scrolling work on their machines.... iPod fans talk about recent lawsuits filed against Apple regarding the iPod nano.
Lugz takes on Apple
Lugz footwear has sent a cease-and-desist letter to both Apple and its advertising agency TBWAChiatDay over its latest television spot for the video iPod and says its prepared to fight for its rights. "If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there's a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights." Lugz says that the similarities are more than striking between the commercial "Arrow," which it aired in 2002 and Apple's latest commercial spot with Eminem, which was launched last month in conjunction with the new video iPod. According to AdWeek, both television ads feature urban images on a red, yellow and orange background, with black silhouettes and a hip-hop soundtrack.
Hearts of Iron II released
Virtual Programming today released Hearts of Iron II, the sequel to its World War II game. Completely revised with an updated combat system, the title offers a new map, a revised and easy-to-use interface, a new technology tree, and hundreds of other updates and improvements. Features include a re-designed user interface; detailed diplomacy and production systems with help functions to avoid micromanagement; a "movement-is-attack" combat system making warfare more realistic; a mission-based air and naval system that offers logistical strikes and targeted bombing; a new political system that can change the political base of a country during the war; 15 different battle scenarios; historical scenarios such as Case White, Operation Barbarossa, and alternative history scenarios like Operation Watchtower, and Case Green; and co-operative multiplayer support that enables players to share the same country. Hearts of Iron II is available for £30 (system requirements were unavailable).
Lombard CPU upgrade kit
Daystar Technology today rolled out its Lombard CPU Upgrade Kit, which allows users to self-install the upgrade without returning the PowerBook to Daystar. Apple techs or technical users can install the XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Lombard in a few minutes, according to the company; the kit includes all components and tools needed for completing the upgrade. Each kit includes the XLR8 upgraded 450 G4 CPU card with 250Mhz cache, XLR8 MAChSpeed Control CPU software, Daystar modified metal heat sink, flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers, Arctic Silver thermal compound, and an instruction sheet. Daystar also offers $55 rebate form for returning the old CPU, EMI Shield, and heat sink back to the company. The kit works with the PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze Keyboard) USB - M5343 "Lombard" and offers free telephone installation support. The Lombard CPU Upgrade Kit is available for $300 (before rebates).
Venture capitalists, startup companies, and media giants are busy finding ways to make podcasting turn a profit, with one estimate suggesting that podcast advertisements could snatch $1-2 billion from the $30 billion radio advertising market in three to five years time. Adam Curry this month won a $9.8 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Sequoia Capital, two top venture firms in the Silicon Valley who "saw the amazing adoption across the Net, and it was obvious that there was a big opportunity," according to a report from BusinessWeek Online. CBS, Clear Channel Communications, and Walt Disney are producing podcasts alongside individuals even as Apple, Yahoo, and AOL race to produce aggregation services to pool thousands of podcasts into centralized locations.
MacNN this week
This week Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.3, the latest version of Tiger which it says delivers overall improved reliability and compatibility, offering over 60 fixes and addressing seven security flaws. The update also includes a new "Live verification" feature, which allows users to verify the computer's startup disk using Disk Utility -- without requiring users to start up from another volume. Later, Apple released its AirPort 2005-001 Update that fixes reliability and resolves AirPort compatibility issues with certain third party 802.11 cards and access points for Mac OS X v10.4.3 and later. Word came that Apple has fixed four vulnerabilities in older versions of QuickTime, which allow denial of service (DoS) attacks to be executed, and potentially allow an attacker to compromise users' systems.
Xbox 360, iPod support
Microsoft's Xbox 360 offers partial support for Apple's iPod digital music player, but because Apple is not officially backing the interoperability of the devices, songs downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store will not play on the Xbox. Jeff Henshaw, Xbox digital-entertainment executive producer said Microsoft tried to "engage" Apple in a partnership that would have enabled the Xbox to officially support the iPod, but Apple rejected the offer, according to a report from News.com. "So we went in and built all of the support we could," Henshaw said. The Xbox can stream any standard MP3 or AAC file from an iPod, but not protected songs purchased through the iTunes Music Store, which will appear grayed out, according to the report. One analyst, Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, predicts that Apple will fight Microsoft once the new Xbox launches on November 22nd.
Griffin updates AirClick
Griffin Technology has released an update to its AirClick USB remote software for its Mac remote control. AirClick USB is a remote that attaches to any available USB port for controlling applications, such as iTunes, QuickTime, Keynote and PowerPoint. AirClickUSB 1.04, a free update for current owners, offers new settings for GarageBand, Adobe Reader, and Preview as well as provides quick reference guide with button functions for each application, a new built-in application switcher to easily change applications using the remote, and better AppleScript support. AirClick Software for Mac OS X includes settings for GarageBand, Adobe Reader, iTunes, DVD Player, Keynote, PowerPoint 2004, QuickTime Player, iChat/Mail, iPhoto, Safari, Preview and VLC. AirClickUSB is available for $40.
MacNN review, Mitnick
In brief: MacNN has reviewed "Take Control of Your iPod: Beyond the Music", a complete illustrated guide to using your iPod in a PDF (Portable Document Format).... A report noted that Kevin Mitnick, author of The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security, owns and uses a PowerBook in addition to a Windows-based notebook computer.... Spiderweb Software is holding its annual Sadness Sale, offering 10 percent off all of its games, hint books, and other items.... One MacNN reader asks how Mac-friendly Google actually is, itemizing the major Google services and offering alternative downloads.... SendStation has started a promotion to give away 100,000 songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store, and is now shipping smartCharge and earBuddy, two new iPod accessories the company recently previewed..... Electronic Arts (EA) is offering content via iTunes.
Ventrilo client for OS X
Flagship Industries announced the first public release of the Ventrilo client for Mac OS X, its surround sound voice communication software designed to facilitate Voice over IP (VoIP) group communications. Ventrilo client for Mac is compatible with all version 2.3.x servers and is completely interoperable with all 2.3.x Windows clients. While Ventrilo for Mac is a functional prototype, the software still lacks some features that the Windows platform supports; however, over the coming months, the company expects to offer updates to Ventrilo, adding features such as Channel and Server admin features, sound events and changes to the User Interface. Current features include cross-channel communications, phantom users for listening in on other channels, user-to-user private conversations, muted channels, and more. Ventrilo requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
SendStation today announced the availability smartCharge and earBuddy (shown at right), two new iPod accessories the company recently previewed. smartCharge ($30) is a car charger for the iPod and the iPod shuffle. Its sleek design and adjustable cradle are built with the iPod shuffle in mind, but it can also charge any other iPod model via the USB docking cable supplied with the iPod. A built-in audio-jack allows users to hook up a cassette adapter and leave it connected even when they detach their iPod shuffle for use outside the vehicle. earBuddy ($15) is an ultracompact case for earbuds, designed to withstand 200 lbs of force. About the size of a jewelry box, it is coated with ballistic nylon and has a detachable keyring. Both products are part of SendStation's 100,000 song iTunes promotion, also announced today. Also available is a bundle of smartCharge and earBuddy together for $40. As a bonus the bundle includes a free matching keyring case for the iPod shuffle.
EA on iTunes
Electronic Arts (EA) today announced that it is teaming up with Nettwerk Music Group to launch EA Recordings, a digital music distribution label that will bring EA's rich catalogue of wholly-owned musical compositions and remixes to Apple's industry-leading iTunes and other music services, including MSN, Yahoo Music, AOL Music, and Rhapsody. The initiative will deliver music clips from popular EA games as ringtones, mastertones or in .mp3 format for digital delivery via many of the most popular online music services. EA says it is the first interactive entertainment company to sell its catalogue of music--which contains more that 3,0000 minutes of music from the past 20 years--in digital download format via exclusive partnership with a leading music group.
SendStation Systems, creator of the popular PocketDock line of iPod adaptors, today started a promotion to give away 100,000 songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store. Selected products like smartCharge, SendStation's car charger for the iPod, and earBuddy, the ultracompact earbud carrying case, now come with a code that can be exchanged for an iTunes Music Store redeem code. Every code provides 1 free song, and every 20th (or 25th) code hits the jackpot and wins 10 free songs.
MacSpeech offers bundles
MacSpeech today announces a series of new additions to its speech recognition product line. The iListen Transcription Solution DS-2 includes the latest release of the iListen speech recognition software for Mac OS X along with with the Olympus DS-2 Digital Voice Recorder and either the VXi Parrot USB, VXi TalkPro Xpress US, VXi TalkPro USB Headset or Plantronics .Audio 85 USB Stereo Headset/Microphones. Featuring up to 11 hours of recording time, the bundle is available for $270 (or $230 with a refurbished Olympus voice recorder). The company also announced its iListen Plantronics bundle, offering iListen with the Plantronics .Audio 85 USB Stereo Headset/Microphone for $160. The Plantronics .Audio 85 85 Stereo Headset/Microphone is a foldable, multipurpose stereo headset that offers voice transmission for iChat and GarageBand, as well as online gaming, speech recognition and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication applications. It includes a Leatherette carrying pouch.
Four vulnerabilities today surfaced in older versions of QuickTime, allowing denial of service (DoS) attacks to be executed, and potentially allowing an attacker to compromise users' systems, according to a security advisory from Secunia. The QuickTime exploits are fixed in QuickTime 7.03, which was released in October and affect QuickTime 6.5.2 and 7.0.1 for Mac OS X, as well as QuickTime 7.x prior to 7.0.3 for Windows. Secunia notes an integer overflow error when loading a ".mov" video file as well as an error that could occur when handling certain missing movie attributes from a video file--both of which could lead to a denial of service attack and cause QuickTime applications to crash. In addition, a bug in QuickTime PictureViewer decompression could lead to arbitrary code execution via a specially crafted "PICT" picture file, according to the report.
BK sponsors video for iPod
The market for video content is growing quickly. Broadband video site Heavy.com announced that fast food giant Burger King is sponsoring a set of comedic shorts that can be downloaded and played on the new video iPod. Online Media Daily says that move shows how quickly marketers have taken to iPod videoas an advertising medium and growth opportunities in the digital video market. "The Burger King sponsorship entails a branded page for video files specially encoded for video iPods. Some of the downloadable videos hosted on the page are user-created Halloween shorts that feature masks of infamous Burger King spokescritters: the costumed 'King' that appears in current television spots, and the net-famous Subservient Chicken. Heavy.com said that Burger King approached the site with "masks," which were then sent to users who submitted video content, which the site is making available on the internet. Earlier today, Zoom and Go.com said it would offer its collection of travel videos for the iPod.
More iTunes video content?
CBS on Wednesday unveiled plans to distribute three episodes of prime-time sci-fi series "Threshold" online via CBS.com, signaling its move to digital distribution of content. The Media Daily News reports that CBS has also been in discussions with Apple to offer its content via iTunes, following the landmark television content agreement Apple announced with rival network ABC earlier this year, which allows consumers to purchase of five of ABC's top television shows, including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," through iTunes for about $2 per episode. Looking the bolster its online presence, CBS is reportedly considering subscription and ad-supported models as well as selling content via iTunes. CBS Digital President Larry Kramer said a partnership with Apple is a strong possibility as long as the "economic proposal is fair enough," according to the report. CBS began offering a digital version of "Threshold" on Wednesday without any pre-roll advertising. The episodes will be available online for three days.
Prudential cuts AAPL
Prudential Equity Group today announced that it cut its rating on Apple Stock. The firm reduced AAPL to neutral-weight from overweight, citing the recent stock appreciation, according to MarketWatch. Although Prudential expects a strong first quarter and fiscal 2006, it believes the stock has now fully discounted this reality. "High expectations and still considerable froth add to risk profile, in our view," the research firm said.
Travel videos for iPod
Zoom and Go.com, a multi-media website featuring traveler videos and in-depth hotel reviews, today announced that it will make its entire library of video clips available for video iPod users. Featuring a collection of approximately 10,000 high-quality videos, the company says that it boasts the internet's largest collection of video clips shot by travelers around the world. "We're the only consumer travel site offering this kind of rich media content," said Jonathan Haldane, CEO and founder of Zoom And Go.com. "With the new video iPod and Zoom and Go's unique content, travelers can create a portable and personalized video travel guide for any destination. Current clips range from on-camera hotel reviews and insider advice about tourist attractions to tips from travelers on-camera about the best hotel beds and finding bargains overseas. Zoom And Go will have video for most major destinations and hotels by the end of this year. Each video will feature a "Download to iPod" link beside each clip.
Audible posts Q3 loss
Audible, the exclusive provider of spoken-word content for Apple's iTunes Music Store, today reported a third-quarter loss of $189,030, meeting Wall Street expectations. The one-penny-per-share fall came as no surprise to investors, as shares jumped 88 cents to $11 in after-hours trading. Revenue surged 81 percent to $16.8 million from $9.3 million a year ago, driven by new customers with total new customers growing to 79,800 over the prior-year quarter, according to a report from the Reuters. Audible backed its full-year forecast for income before taxes and charges totaling $1.6 million to $2 million, on revenue between $62 million to $65 million, and analysts are expecting full-year revenue of $64.2 million. [information corrected: source changed from AP to Reuters]
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