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Sony XCP CDs, Pod porn
In brief: After two weeks of criticism over its XCP copy-protection software, Sony BMG has agreed to replace CDs with copy-protection for new CDs that do not contain the software.... Apple's video iPod may herald a new generation of portable porn.... XtremeMac is now shipping MicroWallets for iPod nano ($20-30, shown at right), its small wallet-style cases offering protection for the device.... Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today introduced the Action Jacket ($30) for 30GB and 60GB video iPods, a cushioned neoprene case featuring a clear built-in screen protector.... PodDater.com today launched the world's first dating/social networking site that brings together the growing popularity of the online dating space with the popular video-capable iPod.
Apple, Amazon discounts
The Apple Store is offering a refurb iMac G5s for as little as $850 with free shipping. The 1.8GHz/Combo drive model is $850--offering 512MB of RAM and a 160GB drive, while the faster 2GHz/SuperDrive model is $100 more at $950. While no longer stocking Power Mac G5 desktops, Apple has several 12-inch PowerBook models: an older 1.33GHz/Combo for $1,100 an a newer 1.5GHz/Combo model for $1,200 (512MB RAM), while the SuperDrive versions are $50 and $100 more, respectively. Amazon's Mac rebate is good through December 20th, saving $200 on new Power Macs G5 desktops and the 17-inch PowrBook and $150 on other PowerBooks and the 20-inch iMac G5 as well as other discounts on iMacs, iBooks, and Mac minis. Aperture, due Nov 30, is also available for nearly $50 off the retail price.
Digital Piracy vs Fair Use
Columnist Davis Freeberg tackles the issue of fair use and DRM technology, specifically as it relates to video content and programs that allow DVD owners to copy video content to other devices. One such program, called iPod Media Studio, captures DVDs as they play on your computer and converts them into mpeg4 files that can then be played on an iPod, smart phone, or other video playback device. Recent U.S. legislation makes it illegal to circumvent anti-piracy or DRM measures. "Why Hollywood can't see the profitable business opportunities that the digital landscape provides is beyond my grasp," writes Freeberg. He blames the "A-holes that run Hollywood" for treating consumers like criminals, and refusing to adopt reasonable policies on fair use.
PodDater social network
PodDater.com today launched the world's first dating/social networking site that brings together the growing popularity of the online dating space with the popular video-capable iPod digital media player. Visitors to the site can become a member for free to identify potential matches and matched profiles/videos to their iPods via the iTunes music service. "Site tags" are freely chosen hyperlinked keywords that are used to identify potential matches, speeding the contact process. PodDater is designed to allow members to see a person's personality via video clips on-the-go, rather than guessing from an instant message or email, according to the company. With over 21 million iPods sold and more than 17 million people viewed online personals, the company hopes to capitalize on the dating and iPod crazes.
VisiStat for Web analysis
VisiStat today released VisiStat 3.0, a dynamic online website traffic reporting service designed specifically for the non-technical user. This latest version offers new reporting features and an improved infrastructure built on Apple's hardware and software. The company said it "chose Apple hardware running Mac OS X for its flexibility, ease of use and support." The second-generation Web Analytics solution dynamically captures visitor usage and habits while providing realtime analysis via graphical, in-depth reports. Version 3.0 also offers page-isolation features for tracking dynamic content, interactive geographical reporting, customized Excel output, advanced keyword trend reporting, and daily emai summary reports. The VisiStat service is available for any website for $15 per month.
New ROKR phone in 2006
BusinessWeek reports that Motorola will introduce a revamped version of the ROKR iTunes phone in the first quarter--updated to address the main criticisms of the first release. The company also said the company would "rip a page out of Apple's playbook" and begin selling phones the day after announcing them -- rather than announcing them well in advance, as it has up to now, according Reuters. The company based the change, in part, losing the edge in a competitive industry and also said that economic times and sales have also improved, allowing the company to be more secretive about upcoming products. [updated]
AAPL reaches all-time high
Andrew Neff of Bear Stearns today raised his earnings estimates for Apple's stock, raising his price target to $70 from $58. The firm maintained an "outperform" rating on the stock, which soared to an all-time high--up more than 4 percent to $68.84. Neff said that improved iPod availability and demand, an on-track transition to Intel, and potential for upside to estimates, according to a report from Forbes.com. Channel checks with retailers and component vendors showed that demand for both the iPod nano and the iPod video continues to remain strong, and the analyst said demand could be significantly higher than his initial estimate for the holidays.
iPod porn at home, work
Apple's video iPod may herald a new generation of portable porn. Fears that video iPod owners might take the devices with them to work in an effort to watch adult content while working, and that children may quickly download pornography onto the device before slipping out of the house to watch it elsewhere has created something of a stir. One columnist said that iPod porn must be dealt with in the home and at the office, citing the difficulty parents already have monitoring the internet viewing habits of their children, according to a report from ZDNet. Eric J. Sinrod, a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris, said "as video makes its way onto iPods, parents can and should let their children know that they periodically will check their kids' iPods to see what video content has been downloaded. They also should check on filters that are being developed to prevent adult content from being downloaded onto iPods."
MicroWallets for iPod nano
XtremeMac is now shipping MicroWallets for iPod nano, its small wallet-style cases designed to protect the device from harm. The MicroWallet Leather ($30, shown at right) is a slim, flip-style case crafted for durable protection that features a genuine leather exterior in black, brown, dark brown or saddle and a soft, microsuede lining. When closed, MicroWallet Accent offers access to the Dock Connector and earbud port, and when flipped open provides complete access to all iPod nano controls and ports.
PowerBook \'Safe Sleep\'
Apple's latest PowerBooks added a new feature called "Safe Sleep"--similar to the "hibernate" feature on Windows laptops--that enables users to return to the system's previous state, even if the battery runs out or is removed. An online guide explains how to implement software feature on older iBooks and PowerBooks, allowing owners of older Mac laptops to take advantage of the feature (at their own risk). Regular sleep mode works by cutting power to components except for the machine's RAM. Because RAM uses so little electricity and has no moving parts, a machine can operate in sleep for a very long time. But if a battery runs out or is removed, the system's suspended state will be lost. The "Safe Sleep" technology works by recording the machine's RAM contents to the hard disk, which is not affected when power is lost. When the power source is returned, the content is transfered back to the RAM, and the user can resume where they left off.
iTunes bug, The Sims 2
In brief: Apple today said that iTunes 6 for Windows fixes a security hole that would allow a malicious user to create an environment where an alternate program could be executed by iTunes in previous versions (iTunes 5) for Windows.... Aspyr today released a free update for The Sims 2, fixing a conflict with Nvidia video cards and Mac OS X 10.4.3.... AbsolutVision--a collection of thousands of high-quality JPEG2000 images--is offering annual subscriptions for $80 per year, $40 less than usual for a limited period.... ScottEVest has launched new tech gear for iPod users, including updated versions of its lounge pants ($80), hidden cargo pants ($80), microfleece pullovers ($60, shown at right), hoodies ($70), and shorts ($50).... FlagShip Hosting has announced free hosting offers in conjunction with the purchase of new Lasso products.... QuantumSoft's pro Fit 6.0.4 is the latest upgrade to its popular tool for analysis and presentation of numerical data and mathematical functions.
5G iPod Action Jacket
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today introduced the Action Jacket for 30GB and 60GB video iPods. The Action Jacket is a cushioned neoprene case featuring a clear built-in screen protector, a removable belt clip and a slender armband. Designed to preserve the iPod's glossy finish, the 'Jacket' allows hands-free mobility for owners who use the armband for sports activities such as jogging, cycling, hiking or working out. A sturdy belt clip offers the option of wearing the iPod on the hip or on a belt, while the workout armband fits any arm size and is easy to adjust. The DLO Action Jacket is available for $30 from the Digital Lifestyle Outfitters website, as well as most iPod outlets.
Guitar Rig, ChronoPhoto
SpamSieve 2.4 ($25) adds Bayesian spam filtering to popular e-mail clients such as Apple Mail, Entourage, Eudora, GyazMail, and others. Version 2.4 adds accuracy improvements, the ability to file Apple Mail messages by "spamminess," various notification enhancements, a Danish localization, and more.
[Download - 3.1MB]
Guitar Rig 2.0 ($580) is a professional all-in-one software and hardware set-up for guitarists and bass players. The update offers emulated classic amps and cabinets, a full setup of bass gear, an extended selection of distortion pedals and effects units, a wealth of modulation features, a powerful live looping module, and more.
ChronoPhoto 1.2 (€20) is a digital photograph viewer for Mac OS X, able to selectively view and print photos. New features include printing panorama-style photos, an improved user interface, comprehensive help, and the ability to save document window state. [Download - 1.7MB]
Sophie's Cards 4.0 ($40) allows you to choose, personalize and print greeting cards from more than 550 original images, as well as add your own pictures. The update brings Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger compatibility, new printing options, and other improvements. [Download - 582.6MB]
Calendar 2006 templates ($20) for Photoshop or Elements help create a 2006 calendar with custom images. The set offers more than 50 various templates with four separate sets of 12-months, or the full 2006 year. The templates come as .psd files, ready to be used in Adobe Photoshop or Elements.
Web Confidential 3.7.6 ($20) updates the password management software, fixing a printing bug that manifested with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. New features include a search bar, Panther-like Action menu, a system-wide generate password utility window, a preferred browser attribute for each card, and more. [Download - 4.6MB]
Apple to raise song prices
EMI Group said it expects Apple to increase the price of popular songs and cut those by unknown acts on its iTunes Web site within a year, according to the Wall Street Journal. In talks with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, EMI's chief executive said he believed Apple planned to end its single-price $0.99 per song pricing policy for iTunes music. "We are having discussions which make us believe it will happen in the next 12 months," Mr. Levy said at a press conference in London for the company's half-year profit results. "There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when. There is a case for superstars to have a higher price."
iPod is No. 1 in Japan
Apple today announced that iTunes and iPod are leading the digital music revolution in Japan with iPod market share reaching nearly 60 percent, according to Business Computer News (BCN). "Since the launch of the iTunes Music Store this summer and introduction of the iPod nano and fifth generation iPod, market share in Japan has grown rapidly, solidifying iPod's position as the number one digital music player in Japan by a wide margin. iTunes is the number one online music service in Japan and its library has grown steadily with the addition of dozens of independent labels."
Chat Transcript Manager
Unsanity today unveiled Chat Transcript Manager 1.0, an application that provides fast and efficient archiving, browsing, and searching of chat logs from iChat and Adium. The software can scan thousands of chat logs quickly, update on-the-fly, view images inline, search with various criteria, and display chat logs in custom views. Searches are conducted by date, participants, and chat contents. Features include iChat and Adium X support, a customizable chat display, fast chat log import, dynamic chat updates, full Address Book support, and native Unicode support. Chat Transcript Manager is available for $10, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Apple offers Concierge
Apple has launched a new system for scheduling customer support resources at its retail stores, replacing its previous online Genius Bar Reservation system. The online Apple Store Concierge allows users to schedule appointments for the Genius Bar and The Studio, a recently introduced service available at select retail stores that offers one-on-one consultation with an Apple expert on creative projects (rather than technical questions). "On your local Apple Store website, use Concierge to make a reservation today. ProCare members can book reservations up to seven days in advance, plus get access to enhanced services." The system streamlines tech support scheduling for iPod, Mac, Mac OS X, and Switching as well as offers scheduling for Personal training. Apple's Genius Bar, which offers free technical support to Mac users, has been immensely successful, pushing Apple to extend store hours in some cities.
New iPod tech-clothing
ScottEVest has launched version 4.0 of its lounge pants ($80), hidden cargo pants ($80), microfleece pullovers ($60, shown at right), hoodies ($70), and shorts ($50) that can stow an iPod as well as other technological devices while concealing the wiring. "Version 4.0 capitalizes on the growing popularity of iPods, cell phones, and other electronic devices, with fashionable clothing that combines the need to carry mobile electronics with looking good." The clothing is designed to have a sharp look that protects the wearer from getting tangled in cords or dropping expensive equipment.
MacIT Conference details
IDG World Expo today offered details of its upcoming MacIT Conference, where the world's largest gathering of Mac enterprise managers meet to discuss the latest innovations in integration of Mac OS technology. The three-day event is scheduled from January 9-13th, 2006 at San Francisco's Moscone Center during Macworld Expo. It covers the latest features and deployment techniques for Apple's IT products--OS X Server, Xserve, Xserve RAID, Xsan--and in-depth training in client, security and network management techniques by industry experts. MacIT participants can choose from nearly 40 sessions in servers and services; imaging systems and deployments; client issues; interoperability; and network management and security.
Digital music sales steady
Digital music sales in the United States, the world's biggest market, have remained fairly flat over the past five months, according to new Nielsen SoundScan data. MacNewsWorld reports that while digital sales almost tripled to 6.6 million downloads a week in the year through May, numbers indicate that sales were only at 6.7 million in the week ending October 23th. The report indicates that the per-iPod average dropped from 25 songs to 15 songs and that global CD sales fell 6.7 percent to $12.4 billion in the first half of 2005. Though the drop in per-iPod average may just be a function of the sheer numbers and acceleration of iPod sales, some analysts don't see digital music changing buying habits: "The download numbers suggest that the iPod's iconic success isn't translating into new music sales the way the evolution from vinyl albums to cassettes and then CDs did. For many users, the portable devices are just another way of stocking and listening to music, not an incentive to buy new music."
MacNN review, Merlin offer
In brief: MacNN has reviewed PodLock 1.1.3 ($40, shown at right) from Micromat, a disk management utility specifically designed for the iPod.... Merlin's anniversary offer is due to expire on November 20th, with all Merlin licenses discounted by 25 percent to mark the one year completion of the project management software.... Creative Manager has announced the impending release of version 8.2 of its ad agency/project management software, providing a re-design of billing worksheets and more. Google has chosen Mountain View, CA as its test-bed for its future internet service plans... Clamr.net offers a "radical but simple" method of encoding Hebrew text so that it can be displayed in standard Roman characters.
Wings of Mercury 3.5
Pyramid Design has updated its space simulator, A-OK! The Wings of Mercury 3.5. It features new Mercury, Redstone and Atlas vehicle 3D models as well as Redstone and Atlas launch facility 3D models. The game also features improved program performance and frame rate, new cloud generation, and a Freedom 7 capsule that is now available for suborbital missions. In addition, the company released the first Windows-compatible version of the game. "Armchair astronauts can download and try either the Windows XP or Mac OS X demo version for free. The full version is delivered on CD-ROM, which includes both Windows XP and Mac OS X versions and a bonus folder of historic Project Mercury Documents in PDF format." It is available for $50 (plus shipping).
Cleaner 6.5 for Mac
Autodesk today announced Cleaner 6.5 for Macintosh, the latest update to its professional desktop media mastering and encoding software. The software is an industry standard application for encoding and optimizing video content for delivery formats ranging from the Internet and DVD to handheld mobile devices. Version 6.5 features encoding support for DivX 6.0 player as well as a new Flix exporter from On2 Technologies, which allows users to publish video in .FLV and .SWF Flash formats. It also updates a few codecs, including an Kinoma version 3 exporter and offers H.264 encoding through QuickTime 7 as well as support for Real 10. Cleaner 6.5 for Macintosh is expected to begin shipping this winter. The full version is $600, while upgrades are priced at $125 (from v6) or $180 (from v4 or v5).
Mah Jong Adventures
Skunk Studios has released its latest game title, Mah Jong Adventures ($20) for Mac OS X. "Your eccentric uncle's greatest treasure awaits you at the end of a globe spanning adventure. Use his humorous journal to locate gold tiles with the grace and swiftness of a Canadian Mountie!" The adventure spans 18 destinations, and immerses players in the local culture through unique tile-sets and backgrounds. Mah Jong Adventures provides Classic and Adventure modes, the ability to use custom photos as backgrounds, and the ability to use custom MP3s as game music. The illustrated journal offers fun facts, while 54 unique location levels complement over 80 unique levels. Roughly 18 tile sets and more than 50 backgrounds are shown with a full-screen display, along with an easy-to-use layout editor.
New iListen ScriptPak
MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Microsoft PowerPoint 2004, which installs over 200 commands into the company's iListen speech recognition product, allowing users to perform virtually any task within PowerPoint 2004 using voice commands. "This will be a real timesaver for anyone who uses iListen with PowerPoint," said MacSpeech Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers. "This set of commands allows almost total control of PowerPoint through speech, including the ability to control slide shows with one's voice." The ScriptPak for Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 is available for $20 and requires iListen 1.6.5 (starts at $100). The ScriptPaks work with iListen, to enhance its Command & Control capabilities by teaching it about the individual keyboard and menu commands in a specific program.
popXpress for iPod retail
popXpress, the UK's first chain of dedicated Apple iPod and accessory stores, today announced the opening of its first store based in London's Liverpool street. The shop is the first of 12 more stores planned to be opened nationwide by the end of 2006 and is expected open on November 21st--just in time for holiday shopping season. "The three-storey 'geek boutique' on Liverpool Street has been styled by popXpress to create the very best iPod and iPod accessory purchasing environment. With minimalist design, each store will carry Apple's full iPod range, accessories and a vast array of third party products. popXpress has also commissioned a large range of luxury items that include gold and silver plated nano's and lanyards, exclusive to popXpress."
TuneShirt, iNanu for iPod
Tatuz today released two new products for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle: TuneShirt is a t-shirt with a specially designed pocket on the sleeve which is designed to hold either the iPod nano or iPod shuffle. Made from 100% cotton, TuneShirts come in four different styles: plain black, plain white, black with the GoTunes print and white with the GoTunes print. The iNanu (pictured at right) is a colorful, protective overlay for the iPod nano. It is made from heavy duty vinyl and can protect the iPod nano from a wide variety of scuffs and scratches. Each iNanu overlay covers the complete front or back surface of the Nano; they are available a variety of styles and designs. Tatuz also said it offers custom-designed TunesShirts and iNanus for businesses. The TuneShirt is available now in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes for $20, while the iNanu is available in three different three packs: clear, black and white; clear, inverted cow and flowers; and three clear overlays. Each 3-pack will sell for $10.
CS Odessa today released LeadingProject 2.0, a new version of professional project management software for Mac OS X and Windows. It adds import from MindManager and ConceptDraw MINDMAP and new reporting features.Mind Mapping software can used in project management for developing project ideas, making complex decisions and holding brainstorming sessions, according to the company. Version 2.0 also features Resource Calendar, which enables users to avoid over-allocation of resorces and makes the team's workflow flexible and manageable and supports export to RTF and Excel file formats. LeadingProject v2.0 is available for $200 or as a free upgrade to registered owners.
A Better Finder Rename
publicspace.net this morning announced A Better Finder Rename 7, a major update to the comprehensive file renaming solution that "transforms the tedious and time-consuming task of renaming multiple files into a simple matter of seconds." Version 7 is completely rewritten in Cocoa to offer an improved user experience. In addition to a host of minor refinements, the new version adds: the ability to combine multiple rename steps into a multi-step rename, a new, detachable, instant preview pane, a simple drag & drop installer, and the ability to use the product as a standalone application. Additionally, version 7 allows users to drag and drop files directly into the preview, and offers unicode support for international users, as well as improved renaming from file lists imported from MS Excel, databases, plain text files, and so on. A Better Finder Rename 7 remains priced at $20.
Apple fixes uni-proc G5s
Apple on Tuesday finally resolved long-standing issues with some of its early Power Mac G5 models by releasing a firmware update. Apple said the new G5 firmware update improves the reliability of some early Power Mac G5--especially after it has been inactive for two hours. Since early summer, users have been complaining various reliability issues with some 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 models, documenting kernel panics, crashes caused by the "Eject Key", wake-from-sleep problems, and OpenGL problems. Apple refused to acknowlege the problems until late September, when it posted a support document detailing some of the symptoms, providing a few workarounds, and promising development of a longer-term solution. Apple's new firmware update, designed only for the 1.8GHz, (600 MHz bus), single-processor Power Mac G5 (Late 2004) computer, appears to resolve many of these issues.
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