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Mac OS X on x86
ZDNet UK has published a first look at Mac OS X on x86, installing the Mac OS X operating system on a generic PC and circumventing Apple's own security measures: "When Steve Jobs announced the platform change, he publicly demonstrated Apple computers with Intel processors running an x86 version of Mac OS X. The OS is bound directly to the hardware by a special security chip. However, some developers have succeeded in circumventing this coupling, allowing the operating system to be installed on any x86 system, as this test report shows." The report describes the 2-hr installation process and benchmarks on aToshiba Portégé M300 notebook equipped with a 1.2GHz Pentium M processor and 512MB of RAM, noting that Mac OS X faster on startup, on par with power consumption and shutdown, and less memory hungry than its Windows XP counterpart on the same hardware, but slower in application-based tests--in part due to the Rosetta emulation environment.
Apple Xsan 1.2 updates
Apple today released Xsan Filesystem 1.2 (available for Panther and Tiger). The company said the update delivers overall improved reliability for Xsan and is recommended for all systems running Mac OS X 10.3 and Mac OS X 10.4. Apple also released Xsan Admin 1.2 Update, which delivers overall improved reliability for remotely administering, configuring and maintaining Xsan deployments. The Admin update includes fixes for working with multiple Xsan metadata controllers in a heterogeneous environment, labeling Fibre Channel LUNs and creating new Xsan volumes, displaying progress messages while performing lengthy operations, preventing manually modified configuration settings from being overwritten during a save, and accurately reporting Fibre Channel multipathing errors. Finally, the Xsan 1.2 Uninstaller will remove Xsan from your computer, including the Xsan Admin application and documentation files.
Apple updates available
Apple today released Java 2 SE 5.0 Release 3, which it says includes version 1.5.0_05 and improves functionality of J2SE 5.0 on Mac OS X 10.4.2 and later. This release does not replace the existing installation of J2SE 1.4.2. It is available for Mac OS X 10.4.2 users via the Software Update. Apple also released Power Mac G5 System Firmware Update designed only for the 1.8 GHz, (600 MHz bus), single-processor Power Mac G5 (Late 2004) computer, which it says improves the reliability of your Power Mac G5--especially after it has been inactive for two hours, resolving some of the problems noted by MacNN in late September. The G5 firmware update is available for Panther and Tiger.
SmartMusic 9.0 released
MakeMusic today released version 9.0 of SmartMusic, its teaching and learning tool designed to motivate, guide, and document the individual development of students in band, orchestra and choir. SmartMusic includes a new jazz repertoire created by Wynton Marsalis and his musicians, bringing Marsalis' music to life for jazz students as they learn from the masters while playing with accompaniments performed by Eric Lewis on piano, Carlos Henriquez on bass and Ali Jackson on drums. SmartMusic 9.0 is available as a subscription service from $10 per month for individuals, or from $20 per month for schools. The update is free to all current subscribers of SmartMusic.
Genuine Fractals 4.1
OnOne Software today unveiled Genuine Fractals, its plugin for Adobe Photoshop that allows any user of Photoshop CS or CS2 to open and view an image that was scaled using Genuine Fractals and saved with the .STN file extension. The latest version of Genuine Fractals 4.1--which was released last month--is an image scaling plug-in for Photoshop that uses a patented, fractal-based algorithm to increase the size and resolution of images, boasting a better retention of detail than other scaling methods available in Photoshop. The .STN file format significantly reduces the file size of scaled images without sacrificing image quality, compressing original .PSD files by as much as 94 percent or more. Version 4.1 of Genuine Fractals improves workflow, and offers support for batch processing as well as preset image sizes. Genuine Fractals 4.1 is priced at $160 (system requirements were unavailable).
Iomega today announced the ScreenPlay Multimedia Drive, its 60GB portable hard drive with built-in multimedia playback capability that makes it a digital media jukebox for photos, songs, and video files. The drive features audio and video outputs, built-in multimedia playback capability, and a set of DVD-style playback buttons. When connected to a TV or A/V system, the ScreenPlay Multimedia Drive streams popular video formats directly to TV via its S-Video or composite video connectors; compatible formats include MPEG-1 (AVI, MPG, DAT), MPEG-2 (AVI, VOB), and MPEG-4 (AVI, XviD). The device can handle JPEG photos of up to eight megapixel resolution, motion JPEG files at 15 or 30 frames per second (digital camera movies), and MP3 digital audio files. The ScreenPlay Multimedia Drive is available for $220, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Apple's iPod remains the most highly recommended MP3 player by retail stores across the US; however, the iPod nano may be cannibalizing sales of the low-end iPod shuffle, according to a Piper Jaffray survey of more than 50 non-Apple retail stores. "The bottom line from our survey is that all iPods have retained top mindshare with U.S. retailers," writes analyst Gene Munster. The firm found that Apple mind-share for high end devices ($150+) has risen by 5 percent since June 2005, with 68-percent of retailers now recommending iPods. Mindshare on the low end (less that $150) fell from 52- to 38-percent--in part due to the release of the Nano, which may be favored by more users and also in part due to a change in the firm's methodology (it used $150 as the threshold, rather than 5GB of storage).
MS takes on Sony XCP
In Brief: podguard today introduced its high-tech, invisible film to protect the iPod against scratches, marks and fingerprints.... Textile specialists Wrappers has introduced two seasonal covers for the 5G iPod (shown at right) and iPod nano.... Big Nerd Ranch has written a useful article on how Mac OS X and Linux users can authenticate against a Windows Active Directory server.... Acutus has announced that Coverall Crew has acquired development rights to the Digital Alarm Clock suite of Mac OS X applications and will further develop, enhance and maintain Digital Clock, Schedule-It, Digital Alarm Clock and Radio-Réveil.... Viewing Sony BMG's controversial XCP copy protection software as a security threat, Microsoft announced that it would begin treating the software as spyware and offering users tools to remove it.
Dell on iPod competition
Dell CFO Jim Schneider today said that his company is far behind Apple in the digital music market, adding that "we're obviously not competing very well." Schneider said "Apple has come out with a nice product and I think it's really turned their company around," when responding to analysts' questions regarding Dell's earnings. Dell last week said that third-quarter profit was down 28 percent, as sales to U.S. consumers dropped and business in the United Kingdom brought disappointment to the company, according to a report from Reuters. Dell also issued a sales forecast that reportedly left some analysts wondering if the company has lost the growth momentum it has had in recent years.
Readiris Pro 11 released
I.R.I.S. Group today announced the U.S. launch of Readiris Pro 11, the latest version of its OCR (optical character recognition) software for Mac OS X, as well as its professional version, Readiris Pro 11 Corporate Edition. Readiris Pro 11 productively converts volumes of documents and images into editable text in numerous applications. Readiris is used with flatbed scanners, multi-function "all-in-one" devices and digital cameras to offer intelligent document to knowledge conversion with a graphical interface, while a unique hand-printing recognition engine reads and recognizes typewritten text, hand-printed capital letters, figures, and symbols. Readiris Pro 11 is available for $130, while the Corporate Edition is priced at $400.
Navicat for MySQL 6.0.10 ($170) updates the database management tool, offering enhanced drag-and-drop functionality and a minor bug fix to the Filter Wizard. New features include SSH tunneling for remote database connectivity, data synchronization, structure synchronization, a built-in SQL console, and a view builder.
[Download - 2.75MB]
ComicBookViewer 1.0 Beta ($20) views, collects, and organizes digital comic books. Users can browse cover art, edit information quickly, and view comics in full-screen mode. The application supports CBZ/CBR comic archives, and senses oversized pages while auto-resizing facing pages. [Download - 834KB]
Wcode 1.5 ($15) updates the development environment for creating Dashboard widgets (for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger). Version 1.5 includes number of updates and new features, including a plug-in creator/manager and the ability to create temporary widgets during testing.
Mimer SQL 9.2.4 (free) is a production-ready version of database tool, offering support for Mac OS X Tiger, LargeOBjects (LOBs), distributed transactions (XA and DTC), Unicode 4.0 support, and better LOAD/UNLOAD functionality. [Download - 22.6MB]
TextSoap 4.5 ($25) cleans out annoying forwarding marks, invisible characters, and formatting often found in various types of documents. Version 4.5 adds a "Remove Style from Text" cleaner, a "Quote Based on First Line" cleaner, and more. [Download - 3.4MB]
TeamSpeex 1.0b2 ($price) is a Mac OS X client for TeamSpeak, and a client/server Voice over IP system used by gamers. TeamSpeex can connect to Teamspeak 2 servers, and includes options such as channel switching and push-to-talk. The update adds support for voice activation. [Download - 458KB]
MassTransit supports Tiger
Group Logic today announced that MassTransit, its digital file transfer solution, is now fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger as well as both the Safari and Firefox Web browsers. Highlighting the company's continued investment and support of Macintosh-based technologies, the company says MassTransit now supports all leading browsers and operating systems for Macintosh and Windows. "MassTransit provides its users with the flexibility to transfer their high volume, mission-critical digital files, while using the best operating system or browser for their business environment." MassTransit is a flexible solution for managing all aspects of file transfers, ensuring accountability and visibility throughout the process. The MassTransit update is free to customers who own licenses for version 4.5.1 and have an active Maintenance and Support Contract.
LaCie encrypts drives
LaCie today introduced its LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive with Encryption, which it says "guarantees the highest-level protection for confidential files by employing hardware encryption in addition to biometric access technology." Data stored on the drive can be encoded in either DES (56-bits key) or Triple-DES (128-bits key) mode. The encryption key depends on a 24-character pass phrase stored onboard making each drive unique and "impossible to hack," according to the company. Up to five different users can be registered with customized access privileges such as read/write or read-only. The bus-powered USB.20 drives are available in 4200rpm (120GB) or 5400rpm (40GB/80GB) models--each with 8MB cache. The 40GB model is $220, the 80GB is $270, while the 120GB is $400. They are expected to begin shipping in December. The company also sells SAFE Mobile Drives without encryption, which start at $150.
LaCie 100 LCD Series
LaCie today announced new range of flat panel displays called the LaCie 100 Series offering high 1000:1 contrast ratio for digital professionals working in editing, design and layout departments. The 100 Series Monitors utilize Premium MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment) LCD technology and can be height-adjusted, tilted and swiveled to adapt to any work environment. Available in two sizes of 19-inch (1280x1024, 1000:1 contrast) and 20-inch (1600x1200, 700:1 contrast), they feature a 4:3 aspect ratio, a brightness of 250cd/m2, 20ms response time, and a wide viewing angle of 170-degrees. The monitors also work with the company's optional LaCie blue eye 2 calibration software and LaCie ergonomic desk clamp and extendable arm. The LaCie 119 LCD monitor is $430, while the LaCie 120 LCD Monitor is $700. They are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping in December.
LightWork powers radiosity
LightWork Design today announced that the new version of RenderWorks 12 from Nemetschek NA, includes a number of advanced LightWorks rendering features. The new LightWork technology, which has been integrated within RenderWorks, provides users with an "unbeatable rendering" system that features radiosity: part of the LightWorks Global Illumination product, the technology provides the ability to simulate the way in which real world scenes are lit not only by direct light but also by indirect diffuse light. The photorealistic technologies within RenderWorks 12 include ray tracing, radiosity and advanced lighting technology which allow users to "render scenes that look just like photographs and with a degree of realism that just wasn't possible before."
10Gb Ethernet solution
Small Tree today announced its latest 10Gb Ethernet solution for Apple's Xserve G5 running Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger." Using its highly optimized drivers and Mac OS X Tiger technology, Small Tree claims to deliver a 60 percent performance improvement for its 10GbE solution. The company says that CX-4, a copper interconnect standard for 10Gb class signal, is a lower cost switch interface ideal for high bandwidth network connections in high-performance computing clusters and for short distances within wiring closets. CX-4 minimizes design, installation and maintenance costs by preserving 802.3 network architecture, management and software features. A 10GbE CX-4 card, switch and support software are available for $2,400 per port.
Collaborate Lasso solution
OmniPilot today announced another free pre-built Lasso solution: Collaborate enables knowledge sharing among groups in remote locations. "The Collaborate solution demonstrates how Lasso can be used to create Web sites, which will be maintained by multiple users without much knowledge of HTML or programming. The solution enables the site developer, who sets up the look and feel of the website, to collaborate with the site's multiple authors as they create the content for the Web site." Collaborate, built using CSS and XHTML, is available for free, but requires Lasso ($650), OmniPilot's tool for connecting any database to any Web server and serving data-driven Web sites.
Apple to exhibit at GVExpo
In Brief: Apple will be exhibiting at GVExpo (Nov 30-Dec 1), a government video, broadcast, AV, multimedia and technology event.... The AssistiveWare Newsletter is written, edited and designed by Mac OS X users who cannot use a keyboard and/or mouse.... WorldSync today announced it received a US patent (No. 6892210) for "Database Management and Synchronization Across a Peer-to-peer Network", the technology used in its SyncDeK solution for sync'ing data in FileMaker databases.... AbOrygen has released new free Dashboard widgets for biologists, including The Rebase widget (access to the Restriction Enzyme Database) and The Entrez widget (access to the NCBI Databases).... Opera today released a beta version of Opera Platform SDK for developing and running Web/AJAX applications on mobile phones.... SGS-International has recently released DeskBrowse, a new Mac Web browser that offers SlideBroswer and Websposé modes and more.
NI ships B4 Organ II
Native Instruments today announced that B4 Organ II is now available in stores worldwide. The B4 II is the new version of its organ synth software instrument. The new version offers even more authenticity and flexibility due to further significant advances in sound synthesis and amplifier emulation technology: "From silky soft to relentlessly rocking, the brand-new tube amp, meticulously modelled on the original rotary speaker amp, and the 12 new speaker cabinets open completely new sonic dimensions. Add depth and atmosphere with the new spring and studio reverb units. Or use the convenient Preset Manager to choose one of the 120 outstanding organ sounds and start playing straight away." B4 II is available for $230/€200, while upgrades are $100/€80.
Holiday 5G, Nano covers
Textile specialists Wrappers has introduced two seasonal covers for Apple's fifth-generation iPod (shown at right) and iPod nano. "Merry Christmas baby" is a personalized cover that adds a touch of individuality, with his and hers available in black, white, pink or blue. Nanoel covers--offered in white with red or black with gold or silver detail--provide access to the hold switch, dock connector and headphone jack, and are compatible with the Nano lanyard. Both covers are available for £10, and Wrappers is offering free postage and packing world-wide on all orders placed before December 31st.
Mac Pilot 2.0
Mac Pilot 2.0 ($10) is the latest release of the Mac OS X customization utility, adding Tiger compatibility and 110 new features. Users can completely configure Apple File Server, enable numerous hidden features in the Finder, LoginWindow, Safari, Dock and more. Some highlights of the release include use of standard Apple User Authentication for scripts that require administrator access, an all-new icon, and the ability to disable all Finder animations. Other features include options to disallow the Dock from being modified, disable sound effects completely in the Finder, show URLs in tooltips in Safari, disable PDF support in Safari, prefer Plain Text over HTML in Mail.app, enable the Slow-mo feature for opening folders with the shift-key down, and more.
Four new Apple Stores
Apple announced it will open three new US retail stores on November 19th. The Gateway will open in Salt Lake City, Utah, while Beverly Center will open in Los Angeles, CA and Sherman Oaks will open in Sherman Oaks, CA, bringing the number of stores in California to 30. (Apple's retail page now lists the two new California stores as "Coming Soon," although both indicate a Nov. 19 opening.) ifoAppleStore reports that The Trafford Centre Apple Store in Manchester, Apple's fourth in the UK, may also open this Saturday, after its opening was delayed one-week due to installation of fiber optic cable (although Apple hasn't yet posted any announcement). Yesterday, we noted photos of the grand opening in Brea, CA.
Tech Data: AppleAdvantage
Tech Data today launched AppleAdvantage, the US distributor's comprehensive initiative to broaden its support for Apple resellers. AppleAdvantage is comprised of a dedicated sales team; inside and field-based vendor product representatives; dedicated product management resources; extended-term financing opportunities; and an expanded product offering including complementary Apple accessories from leading manufacturers. Through AppleAdvantage, Tech Data says it will will "closely engage Apple resellers to ensure they have access to the support, expertise and products they need to quickly respond to end-user demand for a wide array of Apple solutions." Earlier this month, Bell Microproducts became the third US distributor of Apple products.
SnapWeb 3.0 released
Brain Tickling has released SnapWeb 3.0, its browser-like application that creates complete screenshots of web pages even if the users screen is not large enough to show the whole page content at once. Version 3.0 now supports Flash animations and other browser plug-ins like additional video codecs, allowing users to snap a shot of any animation, movie or interactive content. It also offers Improved Safari integration, allowing users to open their Safari bookmarks and Safari history from within a SnapWeb browser window. SnapWeb 3.0, which saves images in many formats (JPEG/PNG/PDF) is available for $18, while upgrades from previous versions are $10. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.
Apple to buy Samsung flash
Samsung Electronics is expected to sign a long-term contract with Apple, which could be worth 'several hundred million US dollars'. The report says the contract could be signed as early as the end of this month and would supply NAND flash chips, according to an AFX report. Internet news provider edaily says the contract is part of Apple's efforts to secure a source for the chips, which are in tight supply. Yesterday reports surfaced saying that Apple was looking to South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor for a third supplier of flash memory and that the company would likely use Hynix parts for its iPod shuffle. Earlier this year, Apple dropped a $3.8 billion joint investment plan with Samsung, following reports that both companies were facing investigation by the South Korean government over potential antitrust violations.
podguard film protection
podguard today introduced its high-tech, invisible film to protect the iPod against scratches, marks and fingerprints. "With the go-anywhere size of the iPod nano, many owners have found scratches and marks an unfortunate side-effect; with podguard they can use their iPod without resorting to bulky cases for protection." podguard is a clear, thin film that is easily applied to the iPod nano or iPod video to protect against scratches, marks and fingerprints. Practically invisible when applied, podguard protects an iPods surface, screen, and mirrored back while still providing complete Click Wheel control and visibility of the color screen. It is available now for $18 for both the Nano and the video iPod. All purchases of podguard include free worldwide shipping and come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
RedleX updates Mellel 2.0
RedleX today released Mellel 2.0, a major update to its word processor for Mac OS X. Mellel 2.0 offers over 30 new features and improvements, including page layout application functions. Version 2.0 also includes several features enhancing ease of use and writing and managing long document, such as support for multiple columns, enhanced hyphenation, widows and orphans control, keep with next, and improved RTF import/export. The company also said that Mellel 2.0 brings improved support for tables: "To solve the perennial problem of positioning graphics and tables in columns and still keep the columns completely parallel, Mellel 2.0 supports image and table height 'rounding' which rounds the height of the table or graphics based on the line spacing in the surrounding text." Mellel is available immediately for $50 (single-user license) or $35 (education).
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