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Apple this weekend will begin upgrading Apple Discussions, its user forum for online technical support. The company announced that it would a number of new features, including an improved search, improved RSS support, and the ability to better identify threads: users will be able to mark threads as a "question" and then "answered", when appropriate, to help those searching for answers. The new search engine will feature the ability to search for numbers and perform proximity searches, while new subscription options will allow users to receively weekly updates to user's posts (in addition to specific threads and forums).
ezGear has announced the introduction of the clearCase nano. The crystal clear case provides a full 360-degree view of your iPod; it is made of ultra-clear acrylic, has openings on the bottom for access to all ports, and an opening for the clickwheel for easy control. The top of the clearCase flips open for easy installation and removal of the iPod. It features a form-fitting design that makes it compact enough to be stored in a pocket, purse, or worn around your neck. The clearCase nano comes with a removable neck strap. It is available in two models: the clearCase nano for the iPod nano will be available for retail sales on November 14th for $25, while the clearCase nano Sport, which includes an integrated secure armband, will be available on November 26th for $33.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences next week will announce that it has created an award category to recognize original video content for mobile devices, such as the iPod. The New York Times reports that The Academy on Tuesday will that new mobile video content category will debut at the academy's next Sports Emmys presentation, "and ultimately be added as a category for other Emmy presentations as well, including those for news and documentary, business and financial reporting and daytime television. The category will not be included in the prime-time Emmy Awards, which are overseen by a sister organization." While the Academy already offers a technical achievement award for new media, this will push the technological envelope and broaden the market for original video content designed for celll phones, PDAs, iPods, and other mobile devices.
NetScrape 1.9 ($20) updates the Web spider and search agent, adding a "polished metal" appearance, a customizable toolbar, and tabs to represent scrapes and searches. The application can set the desktop image, adds an image info display, and adjusts the number of slide display columns automatically as the preview pane is resized. [Download - 944KB] Magic Dice 1.0.0 ($10) is based on a popular dice game which consists of thirteen rounds, at the end of which the player with the highest score is the winner. Features include single or multiple players, animation and sound, simple scoring, and network play. [Download - 2MB] MimMac 1.7 ($10) is a major update to the cloning, backup, and data synchronization utility. Version 1.7 offers a new backup set file management system, and backup set files are automatically stored in a local backup set storage folder. A pull-down list to the main interface provides quick access and loading of backup set files in the backup set storage folder, in addition to many other improvements. [Download - 705KB] MacLoggerDX 4.2 ($100) updates the Ham Radio logging software, adding support for the microHAM USB CW and USB micro KEYERs. The update includes a Yaesu VR-5000 driver, and offers three bug fixes. [Download - 11.1MB] Photoshop Action Pack 1.0 (free) drives Photoshop CS and CS2 using Automator, offering 56 Actions to control Photoshop's functions. New actions include Add Watermark, Auto Contrast, Bleach Bypass, Crop, Diffusion, Hue/Saturation, Purge, and more. [Download - 10.2MB] Kids GoGoGo 9.8 ($30) is a parental control program that can block both RSS feeds and websites. The update supports contents filtering by user-defined words, improves the filtering accuracy for numerous languages, improves blog filtering (RSS), and more. [Download - 4.5MB]
Several PowerBook owners report disappointment with new 15-inch models due to horizontal lines on some LCD displays.... Potential PowerBook buyers attempt to decide between buying now or waiting for the forthcoming Intel PowerBooks, expected some time early next year.... 5G iPod owners discuss how video output looks on a television.... Mac OS X users continue to speculate about the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5.... Apple fans asks what brand of MP3 player might become 'fashionable' next.
In Brief: Apple is now shipping soft protective cases with each iPod nano, following consumer complaints about its durability and two class action lawsuits.... One MacNN reader notes that he has received early shipment of confirmation his Dual dual-core Power Mac G5, which was originally expected to ship on November 29..... The Rolling Stones are using a Mac-based lighting effects system for their 'Bigger Bang' tour.... FTC Publishing is offering a new resource book on podcasting designed especially for educators: KidCast: Podcasting in the Classroom gives educators a road map for integrating podcasting into their curriculum.... HDVxDV 1.024 ($80) now supports the popular JVC ProHD format--which is not supported by Final Cut Pro or Avid, but can now be converted to a true 24p video via HDVxDV.... The HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 PCI Express SATA II RAID Controller now supports the Apple Dual-Core Power Mac G5.... Bare Feats has posted a basic CPU "crunch test" comparison between the Quad-Core G5/2.5GHz and the Single-Core Dual G5/2.5GHz Power Mac systems.
Lasso today released a pre-built Message Board solution, allowing Web developers to integrate discussion forums directly into websites. Lasso's Message Board solution is well commented and documented to provide instructional value to help beginners get started with Lasso, while the source code for the Message Board solution is completely open and can be expanded and/or customized. The Message Board solution utilizes the built in SQLite database for data storage, is available for free, and requires Lasso Professional 8.
Apple has reduced the prices on some of its refurbished items at the Apple Store, including its PowerBooks and iBooks. The previous-generation 12-inch PowerBooks are available for $1,200 (1.5GHz/Combo) or $1,300 (1.5GHz/SuperDrive), while the older 1.33GHz 12-inch PowerBook with 256MB is only $1,150. Apple is offering two older 15-inch PowerBook with Combo drive models for $1,300--either running at 1GHz or 1.33GHz. The previous-generation 1.5GHz/Combo 15-inch model is only $1,450, while the previous-generation 17-inch PowerBook is only $2,000. Apple has reduced the price on its 1.2GHz/Combo/AP 12-inch iBook to $720, while offering the slower 1.2GHz/CD model for $700.
Walter S. Mossberg, columnist for the Wall Street Journal recently said that " for now, the Mac is the best computer, with the best operating system and the fewest security problems, for average consumers." The columnist cites the increasing number of PC users who are switching to Macs, both because of security threats to the Microsoft Windows operating system and the iPod "halo effect", in which iPod owners examine Macintosh computers--and sometimes buy one--after having used an iPod, according to a report from SmartMoney.com.. The columnist attempts to address some of the important questions PC users who are considering switching to Macs might have, and provides detailed answers to those questions. Some of the questions include "How do Macs compare in quality with Windows PCs?," "How does Mac software compare with Windows?," and "Are Macs more secure than Windows PCs?" Mossberg also touches on incompatibilities between Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, noting that many custom applications cannot transfer documents between platforms.
PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster said he believes Apple will Apple will enter the mobile phone market in 12 to 18 months with the launch of an "iPhone." Additionally the research firm expects to see wireless integration for transfer of audio, photo, and video content between Mac, iPod, AirPort Express, and other devices. Consumers should expect the Mac to "become a hub for consumer digital media as Front Row technology gets incorporated into the Mac Mini." Munster further says to expect "incorporation of TiVo-like DVR capabilities and continued refinement of media center friendly menus and applications. Expect a new product, AirPort Express for video, to bridge the gap between iTunes and the TV, allowing video in iTunes t o be wirelessly sent to your TV." Five years from now Munster predicts that Apple will produce a 1TB iPod offering wireless capabilities that will become a "portable coffee-table media center." The firm has increased its price target for shares of Apple to $68.
In brief: An Orangevale store Thursday morning offered iPod nano's for $1 to the first nine customers as part of its grand opening, with one man pitching a tent around 8:00 p.m. the night before to be the first in line.... Apple has begun shipping iPod nanos with a protective cloth sleeve, following a recent international class-action lawsuit.... Speck Products today began shipping its black ToughSkin rubberized case ($35, shown at right) for video iPods, with clear colored cases expected to ship November 21st.... Tunewear has launched the Tetran fun cable winder ($13), an earbud cable management system and "fun strap" that doubles as a massage aid. [Updated]
Tunewear has launched the Tetran fun cable winder, an earbud cable management system and "fun strap" that doubles as a massage aid. Earbud cables are wrapped around Tetran's body of 23 spikes, while a squeeze opens the "mouth" to stow the earbuds themselves. Tetran harbors a removable ball-bearing style chain which transforms it into a "fun strap" for mobile phones or key chains. Squeezing Tetran in the palm of the hand or applying it to the neck, shoulder, back, hands, or feet produces a massaging effect. Tetran measures 58 x 61 x 49mm, and weighs approximately 25 grams. The plastic cable-winder is available in pink, yellow, green, or orange for $13.
Runesoft today announced that Airline Tycoon Deluxe has gone "gold" and is expected to begin shipping next week. The Economy simulation "Airline Tycoon Deluxe", originally developed by Spellbound Entertainment, offers users the ability to run their own airline in a "funny" economy simulation presented in comic/cartoon style. "Plan your routes and fill your order books. You have the complete management control, you can hire and fire staff and so much more. About The Game " Airline Tycoon Deluxe" is a funny economy simulation proceeding in realtime and assigning you the complete responsibility for an airline. However, donít be fooled by the funny comic style or the included jokes: A variety of tasks are requested and your competitors never miss a chance to set a trap for you in order to put a spoke in your wheel." It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later (pricing not available).
Griffin today announced iTrip for the new iPods is now shipping. Now compatible with all full-sized dock connector iPods, including the newest fifth-generation iPod with video, the new iTrip, with its compact, self-contained design, delivers superior performance and innovative features, making the device one of the most popular iPod FM transmitters. The large, easy to read backlit LCD screen makes setting its digital tuner easy and intuitive, while a convenient switch on the side of the iTrip allows users to easily select a broadcast frequency. It requires no batteries, drawing its power from the iPod itself. The iTrip remembers its settings for convenience. In addition, the iTrip features an innovative, selectable mode for LX or DX broadcasting, which allows you to adjust for the absolute best possible audio under real-world. It is available for $50.
Sony BMG's controversial DRM code may have spread to Macs, according to a published report. Mac users report that at least one CD distributed by the major label includes a Mac OS X application that purportedly installs a pair of extensions to the operating system's microkernel. Imogen Heap's 'Speak for Yourself' CD is said to contain an extra disc partition for "enhanced content." The CD ships on the RCA label, part of of Sony BMG. On the disc is Start.app, a Mac application that sits alongside the usual Windows files. Start.app presents the user with a licence agreement and a dialog to enter the administrator's username and password. Two kernel extension are copied over: PhoenixNub1.kext and PhoenixNub12.kext.
Speck Products today began shipping its ToughSkin rubberized case for the video iPods. The company said that ToughSkins in black will begin shipping today--both online and to major retailers nationwide. "This is the best ToughSkin to date. We've improved the look, feel, and functionality," said General Manager Tim Hickman. "We've enhanced the screen protector- adding a rubber ridge around the back to make it safe and secure, and we've made the 30GB spacer out of soft rubber instead of hard plastic." The skin features ruggedized bumpers, soft-edged screen protection, and a detachable belt clip. Speck said that the "clear" colored ToughSkins will begin shipping November 21.
Aqueous Software has released Gambit 1.0, a Mac OS X application for chess play and analysis. Gambit allows games to be played against the chess engine "Crafty," which can use an opening book and endgame tablebases, and also "learns" as it plays. Gambit allows completed chess games to be recorded, replayed, annotated, and analyzed. The level of play can be adjusted, the board appearance can be customized, and the style of chess pieces can be selected. Other features include 100% compatibility with the PGN format standard and support for game annotation (with standard punctuation and evaluation glyphs, variations). It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available as shareware for $20 or as a 30-day limited demo.
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Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.