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M-Audio and Digidesign today announced that Pro Tools M-Powered 7 software is now available. The new version of the popular professional audio application extends support to five M-Audio USB peripherals: Black Box, M-Audio Ozone, MobilePre USB, Fast Track USB, and Transit--while delivering significantly expanded MIDI, audio recording and editing capabilities; greater mixing power and flexibility; enhanced efficiency; and improved ease of use. Compatibility with select M-Audio USB products offers a variety of new music production options: Transit, MobilePre USB, and Fast Track USB all offer compact size and bus-powered operation, while specialized production hardware such as the Black Box delivers guitarists access to the industry-standard in music production, in addition to amp modeling, unique beat-synced effects and inspiring drum patterns.
Apple's "closed" iPod/iTunes music ecosystem is under fire, earning second prize in the "This Won't Work With That" awards, which honor "self-serving perpetrators of toxic incompatibilities." Newsweek technology columnist Steven Levy says that the inability to play iTunes songs on non-iPod music players and the inability to play music purchased from other music stores on the iPod frustrates customers and interferes with interoperability standards. Third prize went to the satellite radio services Sirius and XM, while the America Online received the "grand prize" for "shamefully maintaining AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as a closed system."
Xupport 3.1 ($20) is a multipurpose system utility for Mac OS X, providing features to configure hidden options and increase system security. Version 3.1 improves maintenance pilot, fixes the cleaning feature of Address Book and iPhoto caches, improves man-to-html conversion, fixes disk spindown time, offers German localization, and more. [Download - 4.1MB] VelaClock 1.4 ($7) is a free update to the world clock Widget that offers local time in 12 and 24 hour formats, displays the national flag, depicts the current natural light level, and shows an image of the moon. The update adds approximately 25 new cities, adds new locations in Antarctica and the Arctic, fixes a problem related to automatic checking of new software, and more. [Download - 1.2MB] pearLyrics 0.6 (free) looks up song lyrics on the web as songs play in iTunes, and can search for lyrics without playing a song. Changes include the ability to reject found lyrics and continue searching, more search servers, improved search algorithms, and bug fixes related to copying lyrics to iTunes. [Download - 247KB] ChannelStrip 2.1 ($700) emulates a mixing console, offering more than 100 presets to help users begin mixing audio. Features include input gain/trim, polarity invert, expander/gate with integrated side-chain filter, and compressor with integrated side-chain filter. Incubator 1.0 ($50) organizes ideas using a tool that complements the way humans think. Features include drag-in text and images directly from Safari, import and export for OPML, RTF, PNG, TIFF, and PDF file formats, and more. [Download - 585KB]
In brief: Mac Business Solutions (MBS) is hosting its Pro Graphics Day on November 16th, where users can learn about color management, RIP software with ColorBurst, and preview the features of Apple's photography post-production tool--Aperture.... Time Warner plans to launch a free Internet television service by early 2006, in one of the technology and media industry's most ambitious designs to reach TV viewers online.... Vodafone has signed a strategic alliance with Universal Music Group to deliver content and entertainment innovation to Vodafone live! customers, including music for mobile, including: Realtones and ringback tones; Full-track audio downloads; Full-track video downloads; and Video streaming.... The cable-TV channels Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network will offer several half-hour video programs, including "SpongeBob SquarePants", designed for Hasbro's VuGo portable media player, which sells for about $100 at discount retailers.
iPodNN: Tunewear has launched the Tetran fun cable winder.... The Academy this week is due to announce that it has created an mobile video award category for iPods and other devices.... ezGear has debuted the clearCase nano (shown at right), a crystal clear case that provides a full 360-degree view of your iPod.... Ten launched the flexibleDock adjustable car dock and charger for iPod.... Virgin today will launch Virgin Digital Red Pass, the latest online subscription-based music service offering.... A tutorial explains how to add icons to the iPod menu.... Nikkipod.com today announced the Crystal Elegance case for iPod nano.... Sharp has introduced a new line of MP3 players.... A study says that Apple's iTunes is driving the popularity of podcasting--a market which could reach up to 75 million people by 2010.
Midori, an independent game developer, has released Ladybugs for Mac OS X, which features playful sound effects music and bright graphics. Specifically designed with small children in mind, "Ladybugs takes warm and inviting colors and combines them with three activities focusing on goal-oriented games. These activities were created to stimulate the child's spatial thinking and to encourage color recognition abilities and practice. In addition to the mind challenging activities, also taken into consideration is a healthy introduction to racing against an opponent." It is available for Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later for $10.
Medea Corp today announced that its VideoRaid RTR320/RTR320X SCSI and FCR2/FCR2X Fibre Channel RAID arrays are compatible with the new PCI-Express based (PCIe) Power Mac G5s. Compatibility and data-transfer rates capable of sustaining HD (High Definition)_ for a variety of digital media applications are made possible with integration of the Ultra320 UL5D PCI Express SCSI host adapter from ATTO Technology. On the Fibre Channel side, ATTO's Celerity FC-42ES and FC-44ES storage adapters integrate with the Medea FCR2 and FCR2X arrays, delivering 4Gb Fibre Channel and support for PCI Express, the serial, high-speed connection.
Apple's iTunes is driving the popularity of podcasting, a market which could reach up to 75 million people by 2010. A study of listeners conducted by Bridge Ratings in 10 major markets suggests that podcasting will be welcomed by the radio broadcasting industry, and that podcast audience growth is expected to reach between 45-75 million users in five years. The survey found that nearly five million people downloaded a podcast this year, and showed that 20 percent of users who have ever downloaded or listened to a podcast are listening to podcasts weekly. Additionally, less than 20 percent of those studied listen to their podcast downloads on an MP3 player or other digital device, according to the report. The reason for rapid growth is said to be "due to the rapid acceptance of the technology by the radio broadcast industry in 2005, and Apple's iTunes distribution." [Updated]
On2 Technologies today extended its Flash 8 video encoding capabilities to users of Apple's popular digital media design tools; Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. The company today released On2 Flix Exporter 8 for Mac with builtin support for Compressor, Apple's automated media encoding tool integrated with Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. Version 8.003 offers seamless integration to enable output content to high quality Flash 8 video formats directly from within each application's tool bar. It offers support for alpha channel encoding to preserve "green screen" special effects and background masking; output to SWF and FLV formats; fractional frame rates, such as 23.98 and 29.97; and for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. On2 Flix Exporter 8 for Macintosh is available for $150.
Handmark has announced full Mac support with the latest version of Zagat To Go v4.0, he company's popular restaurant and entertainment guide for mobile users. The updated version now supports installation of the application and its survey-based guides to Palm OSģ handhelds and Treo smartphones from any Macintosh. Zagat To Go provides details on local restaurant--by neighborhood, cuisine, and special features--offering with ratings furnished for food quality, decor, service and cost. All restaurant data is searchable according to the user's needs, according to the company. Version 4.0 is available now for $30 (CD) or $25 (electronic); it includes a 1-year subscription.
Wolfram Research today announced that Mathematica Personal Grid edition supports the new G5 quad processors, which began arriving today. "Mathematica Personal Grid Edition eliminates the barriers to using parallelism as part of your daily workflow--with no administrative overhead and no contending for shared resources--and opens the door to new possibilities in high-performance computing." The software combines the computational capabilities of Mathematica with high-level parallel language extensions to create an optimal computing framework for quad-core machines, and Mathematica's high-level language, coupled with state-of-the-art numeric and symbolic solvers make it ideal for doing exploratory technical computing in a wide range of fields. Mathematica Personal Grid Edition requires Mac OS X 10.2 or higher, and is available for $4,000.
Intel has expanded its desktop processor line to include its virtualization technology, which could become a feature of Macs as early as next as next year. The transition to the Intel-based Mac architecture is expected to begin early next year and be completed by the end of 2006. Intel today began offering desktop PC processors with virtualization, a technology that can partition a computer to run multiple different types of software simultaneously, according to eWEEK. The company said it will initially offer virtualization in two Pentium chips and expand it to the rest of its desktop line next year.
Sharp has introduced a new line of MP3 players featuring a mountain-climbing style carabineer design that hopes to compete with Apple's iPod line. The Sharp MP-S200 (512MB) and MP-S300 (1GB) are housed in an aluminum case with a honeycomb structure, and can reportedly be dropped from a height of 140cm without damaging the device, according to I4u News. Features for both models include an FM tuner, FM transmitter, direct encoding, USB 2.0 connectivity, MP3 compatibility, and support for WMA DRM (digital rights management). The players are expected to begin shipping on November 26th in Japan, and will be available in four colors. Pricing has not been announced.
Nikkipod.com today announced the Crystal Elegance case for iPod nano, designed to keep the device secure, dry, and scratch free. The Crystal Elegance case is constructed from durable clear plastic, providing full access to all audio connectors. Features include a built-in belt slot, lanyard, and detachable hand-strap. The case offers full screen protection, a latch-style opening, secure side closure locks, and full access to all audio connectors. Crystal Elegance cases are available for $15.
A group of individuals have managed to crack the iPod's internal software and allow users to add icons to the menu of the popular music device. A tutorial has been released that explains how to change any string constant into an image on the iPod nano using iPodWizard, allowing users to change the length of a string (in appearance only), as well as change the iPod string into an image. The author suggests readers possess a basic understanding of character encodings, a good understanding of iPodWizard, and a good understanding of image processing down to pixel level. The maximum height of images is the height of the font being edited, which is typically the main font, and images will have the bit depth of the original font--typically 1-to-4-bit gray scale.
Emerson Radio today announced that it is launching a complete line of iPod compatible audio products for 2006. The new Emerson product line will include clock radios, portable boomboxes, home audio systems and other consumer electronic devices--each of which will employ a custom-fit "docking station" to afford consumers the convenience of simultaneously recharging their iPods, while playing music through their new Emerson appliance. Emerson will begin shipping initial products in January 2006 and retail sales are expected to begin shortly thereafter.
Brand Incubator--a Japanese firm--is selling i-Stones, carved boulders to store an iPod that provide USB 2.0 connectivity, battery charging capability, an audio connection, and a two-year warranty. The i-Stones wabi (shown at right) weighs 1.7Kg, while the i-Stones sabi weighs 2.6Kg and offers an S-video connection. Pricing and compatibility information was unavailable.
Virgin Group today will launch Virgin Digital Red Pass, the latest online music service offering. The subscription-based music service undercuts other services by offering unlimited access for $7.99 a month without a contract, according to Reuters. The service claims to have a catalog of more than 2 million tracks representing at least 15,000 record labels and says it provides 60 professionally programmed Internet radio stations, CD ripping and burning provisions and a host of other new features. The report says that downloaded tracks can be transferred to portable music players that are certified "Plays for Sure," including many devices that can play songs in Microsoft's WMA format; however, Apple's iPod is not compatible.
CourseForum Technologies today released ProjectForum 4.7, its easy-to-use wiki collaboration offering shared web-based workspaces that provide a central place to collect, manage, and discuss work that are always available over the entire life of a project. ProjectForum is easy to set up while providing full version control, group project support, multiple authentication options, image and file management, page templates, SSL security, full branding support, multiple forums, and more. ProjectForum 4.7 harbors a broad range of performance and scalability improvements throughout, and is available as a hosted service for $20, with downloadable versions starting at $230. CourseForum 4.7--also released today--is an educational variant of the software optimized for e-learning collaboration, with single courses available for $90 each.
Ten Technology today launched the flexibleDock adjustable Car Dock and Charger for iPod, replacing the flexDock mini for iPod mini. FlexibleDock works with most standard cigarette lighter sockets to charge the iPod, holding the device securely on a slender adjustable metal arm while allowing for easy positioning in the vehicle. The dark grey color of the flexibleDock blends with most car interiors, and the dock is adjustable to fit any size of iPod. The flexibleDock's adjustable line out supports a cassette adapter, FM transmitter, or line input cable to play iPod music through the car stereo, and the naviPro eX or original naviPod wireless remote control for earlier iPod models can be used in conjunction with the flexibleDock to provide wireless remote functionality. The flexibleDock is expected to be available November 18th for $50.
AEC Software today began shipping FastTrack Schedule 9, its project management software for both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh providing a re-designed interface and more direct integration with Microsoft Project, as well as other project management solutions. New features include project consolidation and enhanced linking functionality, publishing projects as iCalendars, direct exporting to iCal, and a larger library of pre-defined templates for a variety of project types. FastTrack Schedule 9 is available for $350, while upgrades from previous versions start at $150 (system requirements were unavailable).
In brief: Mac Business Solutions has received the first shipment of Power Mac Quad G5's, which will be in stock and on display for Wednesday's Epson Training Day.... One MacNN reader was fifth in line at the Brea Apple Store grand opening, taking photographs and posting a gallery of the event online.... Lumen Software today released its latest AJAX based environment and virtual desktop, Lumenation 5.4.8.... The University of Portsmouth is planning to use video podcasts to attract students, offering a taste of what it's like to study in Portsmouth.... The FastIcon Studio has released a new icon set designed in cartoon style and inspired by the look of Mac OS X Tiger, dubbed "Dashboard Comic Icons"....
Viginia Tech's "System X" Xserve-based cluster--which utilizes 1,200 dual 2.3GHz G5 Xserves--has fallen to 20th place in the most recent top 500 supercomputer independent lists, down from 14th place in June. The Mach 5 Xserve-based supercomputer--used by the U.S. Army and NASA for research and development--took fifteenth place while the University of California's Dawson--another Xserve-based cluster--placed at number 303. Xseed follows at number 308 running at Bowie University in the U.S, according to a report from MacWorld.co.uk.
MacJams.com parent company, Simig Media has announced the launch of a new record label to help promote and showcase self-made music from musicians using a Mac. In addition, the record label, Simig Media Records, simultaneously released its first album, a solo piano work from musician Tobin Mueller. The company's second album will be Peter Greenstone's "Something" and is expected to be available for purchase "soon," although specific date was given. Both albums can be previewed at the Simig Media website. The Web site also features information for artists, music fans, and potential partners.
Paradigma Software today released Valentina 2 C++ ADK for Mac OS X, allowing Apple xCode developers to build database applications that include Valentina functionality. Valentina 2 C++ ADK Standard Edition ($200) utilizes the native API (application program interface) of Valentina to interact with local databases, as well as data stored on remote servers. The native API is standardized, allowing easy porting to and from Valentina solutions with Macromedia Director, REALbasic, Runtime Revolution, and more. Valentina 2 C++ ADK Extended Edition is included with Valentina Developer Network Professional ($800) and Enterprise ($1,000), providing access to more than 300 header files for the purpose of writing custom extensions to Valentina 2. Valentina 2 C++ ADK Architect Edition (available through special licensing agreement) allows access to 95 percent of the Valentina 2 C++ code base.
Apple has begun looking to new suppliers for flash memory for its popular iPod music player. A new report by Digitimes says that Apple looking for a third supplier of memory to help supplment its current supply from Samsung and Toshiba, who reportedly also has to fill demand by SanDisk, another of its customers. "In order to fulfill strong iPod related demand, Apple has started asking Hynix Semiconductor to offer quotations for low-density NAND flash, amid a significant upcoming capacity ramp at the South Korea-based memory maker.... Apple is planning to shift to Hynix for low-density (1Gbit and 512Mbit) parts for the iPod shuffle," according to the information provided by research firm InSpectrum. The firm said that ramp in Hynix production of NAND flash memory will trigger a decline in pricing.
Apple offered free licenses of Mac OS X for MIT's proposed $100 laptop initiative, however, the proposal offered by Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was declined because the program was looking for open-source software, according to a new report. The plan to develop a $100 laptop computer for distribution to millions of school-children in developing countries has caught the interest of governments and the attention of computer-industry heavyweights, as it could represent access to a large untapped market, according to The Wall Street Journal. Companies such as Microsoft are evaluating participation options, however, the first production version of the laptop will be powered by AMD processors and will use the open-source Red Hat Linux operating system.
Red Giant Software today announced Key Correct Pro, a set of 15 tools to help motion graphic and visual effects artists achieve more realistic composites. The set of 15 plug-ins designed to help AE users create better composites with built-in keying tools. The plug-ins can be in used in combination with any keyer to better enhance the final result. Features include accurate matte feather tools, color matching plug-in with automatic matching and color balance adjustment, alpha cleaner plug-in for fixing noise and filing holes in mattes in one pass, and complete support for 8- and 16-bit operations. Key Correct Pro is available for $400, while Composite Wizard customers can upgrade to Key Correct Pro for $200. [site not updated]
Sony BMG has temporarily suspended the production of its music discs that contain its XCP copy-protection technology, following the public release of a virus that affects Windows computers with the XCP content protection software and public outcry over the use of "rootkit" technology to install copy-protection on computers. Sony has also released a patch to all major anti-virus vendors to fix the exploit and has also released Service Pack to enable users to remove the XCP DRM software, which is included on a limited number of Sony BMG content-protected titles, according to the company.
Oranged Software has released an update to Studiometry, its organizational tool for studios and freelancers. It helps companies and individuals organize, plan, invoice, track and create Client and Project data. Studiometry 3.1, a free update, adds many features, including a new File Serving ability to host Project related files on your network. Additionally, a new Business History section shows totals for billed items, worked hours, or payments over the course of any year in chart form. Users can also zoom out to compare figures for entire years. Users can easily view unbilled items in the new Items Awaiting Invoice section, while automated invoicing features let you easily set up schedules to Invoice Projects at customizable intervals.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN