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iTMS purchasing issues
Angry iTunes Music Store customers are posting in Apple's forums, wondering why they cannot buy various albums online. Numerous users of both Macintosh and Windows iTunes software have received errors suggesting that the contents of their shopping carts have changed, that the server cannot be located, or that the album they are attempting to purchase has been modified. Some customers reported receiving all of these errors at different times, while still others found that the store works at random times but repeatedly returns to a non-operational state. One user changed her network settings which seemed to remedy the problem; however the solution appears to work for some customers and not others.
MathMagic 5.2 released
InfoLogic today produced MathMagic 5.2, its equation editor for Macintosh designed for high-end desktop publishing. The update adds a new vertical shaped Integral symbol set, provides better compatibility with MathMagic files created with Windows versions, and improves factory default settings for equation shape and TeX spacing rule. Equations created with MathMagic Personal Edition can be used in other software via drag-and-drop, copy-and-paste, or export/import. MathMagic Pro Editions for InDesign ($700) and QuarkXPress ($900) allow writing or editing equations from within documents, while the Personal edition is available for $120.
eOrdering eCommerce 3.0
LAJ Design today released eOrdering eCommerce 3.0, its cross-platform applications designed to create eCommerce websites that consist of eOrdering Complete, eOrdering Gold, and eOrdering Professional. The update adds a single pulldown for multiple cost options that presents all of the cost options for a product. eOrdering Complete is designed for products with single cost options; Gold adds the ability to have several cost options per product; Professional can split a site into categories as well as other pro options, and allows categories for making larger eCommerce sites. eOrdering Complete is available for $65, eOrdering Gold for $75, and eOrdering Professional for $450.
H3D 1.3 API released
SenseGraphics today announced version 1.3 of H3D API, a C++ open source implementation of the X3D standard as a GPL licensed X3D API (Application Program Interface) for the development of haptic (touch-enabled) applications. The H3D API uses OpenGL for graphical rendering, and supports OpenGL stereo rendering modes. Version 1.3 supports the X3D working group standard for shaders using both Cg and GLSL, as well as environment mapping, as well as all common stereoscopic rendering modes. Commercial, non-GPL licensing of the H3D API is also available.
iPod batteries, security
In brief: Sonnet today announced a new line of high-capacity iPod replacement batteries for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation models (including iPod with color display), as well as iPod mini.... The Sims 2 University for Macintosh final system requirements have been set to Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later with a PowerPC G4/G5 running at 1.2Ghz or faster.... BeLight Software is offering a set of free Christmas-related images for their software, Mail Factory and Swift Publisher.... The SANS Top 20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities list shows Mac OS X as one of the operating systems vulnerable to attacks, specifically referencing the Safari Web browser.... Apple's chief designer Jonathan Ive--the man credited for the groundbreaking industrial designs of the iMac and iPod--was sat down for a rare interview yesterday.
30 million iPods
Apple announced today that it has shipped over 30 million iPods since 2001. Apple also said it has sold over 600 million songs via its iTunes Music Store since its launch. Gene Munster of investment research firm PiperJaffray recently said he expects Apple to reach 37 million iPods by the year's end. The holiday shopping season is expected to give a major boost to iPod sales, further bolstered by the availability of the iPod nano and video-capable iPod. "We expect the iPod to continue to be a foundation for growth in other parts of Apple's business, and we expect that by the end of calendar 2005 more than 37m iPods will have shipped, providing Apple with a greater scope of awareness for various products."
RailModeller 2.3 released
MacRailSoft today released RailModeller 2.3, its application to design layouts for model railroads and slot car systems on a Macintosh. The program features over 150 libraries with tracks and accessories from various vendors. Features include a three-dimensional view of the trackplan, export of track plans as pictures in various formats, and automatic creation of part-lists from the current plan. RailModeller includes a comprehensive graphical editor for libraries of track-elements and can also create new libraries. RailModeller 2.3 is available for $30, and requires Mac OS 8.6 or later.
BBEdit, Mariner, Lingon
BBEdit 8.2.4 ($200) is a maintenance release of the professional HTML and text editor for the Macintosh that fixes reported issues and adds minor interface refinements. Version 8.2.4 adds a new option in the Application preferences: "Script Menu" to turn off the built-in script menu.
[Download - 14.8MB]
Mariner Calc 5.5 and Mariner Write 3.7.1 ($40 each) are updates to the applications, introducing several feature enhancements and bug fixes. Mariner Calc adds Japanese language support, while Mariner Write fixes the print envelop dialog for the Swedish localization.
Lingon 1.0 (free) is a graphical interface for creating launchd configuration files and controlling them through launchctl for Mac OS X Tiger. Launchd is a system daemon that is used to run scripts/programs automatically at scheduled times. [Download - 633KB]
Disk Order 1.5.6 ($23) updates the utility for managing files, folders and archives that is designed to be a "Total Commander" equivalent for Macintosh users. Version 1.5.6 offers various omissions and bug fixes, improving stability and performance. [Download - 1.8MB]
EarthBrowser 2.8 ($24) displays the earth with live weather, satellite overlays, clouds, earthquakes, Web cams and more. The update adds three new 500 meter-per-pixel basemaps, daily satellite overlays at full 500m resolution, and weekly sea surface temperature animations. [Download - 8MB]
iPod replacement batteries
Sonnet Technologies today announced a new line of high-capacity iPod replacement batteries for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation models (including iPod with color display), and iPod mini. Sonnet says each "kit" includes all the required tools, as well as detailed installation instruction videos in English, French, German, and Japanese. Sonnet says its high-capacity batteries exceed original Apple specifications-- up to 75 precent greater in the case of the original 1st and 2nd generation batteries. "A video is worth a hundred illustrations," says Robert Farnsworth, Sonnet CEO, of the included video installation instructions on a CD-ROM. "While opening an iPod isn't something everyone will attempt, the high quality instructional videos guide the user in an easy-to-follow procedure." The batteries are expected to ship this month for £24 (1st/2nd generation iPods) and £20 (3rd and 4th generation iPod).
Stubbs the Zombie ships
Aspyr Media today announced that Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse has begun shipping for the Mac platform and is expected to begin arriving in retail stores later this week. Stubbs The Zombie is a third-person action game that uses an updated Halo engine to deliver "a stirring take on one man's hunger for love, justice... and brains. In the game, players step into the shoes of the rebel himself; former door-to-door salesman Stubbs is now a wisecracking zombie terrorizing the ultra-modern city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania circa 1959, using nothing but his own carcass and the weapons of his possessed enemies. The game's tongue-in-cheek humor, innovative combat and strong storyline keep gameplay as bizarre and unpredictable as its namesake." It is available now for $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
NI ships Bandstand
Native Instruments today announced the general availability of Bandstand, its global music player and MIDI interface module that leverages the Kontakt 2 sound engine. Designed as a solution for musicians, performers and producers that work with the General MIDI format, Bandstand includes a true studio-quality GM sound library, which the company says "sets new standards in terms of musical expressiveness, and is equipped with a host of powerful and easy-to-use General MIDI features that make working with GM-based arrangements efficient and convenient, both in the studio and on stage." It features a 2GB sound library with 128 carefully selected high-end instruments and 9 drumkits along with a high-quality library, integrated effects, and editing tools. Bandstand ($220) is available as a standalone application or in VST, Audio Units, RTAS, DXi, ASIO, Core Audio, and DirectSound interfaces. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later on a 1.5GHz G4 machine.
Holiday iPod shortages
Apple's iPod digital music player is going to be a colossal hit this holiday season, but there are going to be shortages. How short supplies will actually be is difficult to predict, because Apple is secretive about business practices as well as product supplies, according to BusinessWeek. Some retailers say they're getting far fewer iPods than they requested--in two cases, fewer than half of their weekly orders--and Circuit City expects demand to outstrip supply through the end of the year. The supply of flash memory seems to be one of Apple's shortcomings: Toshiba's chief executive Atsutoshi Nishida said that "unfortunately, we're not able to satisfy 100 percent of Apple's requirements."
Free Shuffle, ezTrip
In Brief: Amazon.com is offering a free iPod shuffle with the purchase of $150 or more in Kensington accessories.... Fluffpod today released two cases for Apple's iPod nano.... Tvmypod.com has introduced TVMyPod, a new service that offers new iPods pre-loaded with personally-selected DVDs of choice.... A Harvard extension class, Computer Science (CS) E-1: "Understanding Computers and the Internet" is now freely available as audio and video podcasts via iTunes.... ezGear has introduced the ezTrip FM TransCharger for Apple's iPod, combining an FM Transmitter and car charger into one device.
Microsoft opens formats
Microsoft said it will offer its Word, Excel and PowerPoint document formats as open standards, a move that could spark a war with technology rivals over standard document formats, reports InfoWorld. Microsoft said it would submit its Office Open XML (Extensible Markup Language) document format technology to the International Standards Organization (ISO) to be adopted as an international standard in time for the launch of the next version of its Office software suite, code-named Office 12. A key supporter of OpenOffice says Microsoft is using the move as an "end run" around having to support the OpenDocument format, which has the backing of several companies, including Apple, as well as the Massachusetts government.
LaCie Brick disk drives
LaCie today introduced what it called a "playful new set" of stackable hard drives in vibrant white, red and blue colors: the LaCie Brick Desktop Edition, which uses a 3.5-inch drive and offers capacities from 160GB to 500GB and Mobile Edition, which uses a smaller 2.5-inch drive and is available in capacities from 40GB to 120GB. LaCie says it teamed up with renowned designer Ora-Ïto to create colorful building block-shaped hard drives to "make everyday storage and backup not only functional, but fun." LaCie's Bricks offer nearly effortless setup and feature either a USB 2.0 connection (both desktop and mobile versions) or a dual USB/FireWire 400 interface (mobile version).
Intel forms Apple group
Industry analysts and others have confirmed that Intel has formed an internal "Apple group," according to an eWEEK report. "This group, formed in the wake of Apple Computer Inc.'s decision to base its next generation of Macintosh computers on Intel processors, is comprised of engineers and sales staff. Intel has similar groups for other large clients such as Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard. Specifics on the Apple group are sparse, however. Details are considered confidential internal information, said Intel representative Tom Beerman. He also noted that although the official Apple group is new, Intel has had 'skunkwork' operations over the years to demonstrate technologies to potential customer Apple."
Aperture coming Nov. 30
Apple on November 30th is preparing to launch Aperture, its forthcoming all-in-one post production tool designed for professional photographers need after the shoot. According to an email received by Amazon.com customers, the company has already received copies of Aperture, but is unable to release it to the public until November 30th. "Although we do have your copy of "Apple Aperture Post Production Tool for Photographers (Mac DVD)" on hand, we are not able to ship it to you until its official release date, November 30, 2005.Many manufacturers, publishers, and record labels restrict retailers from selling or shipping their products until the official release date."
ScriptPak for iTunes 6
MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for iTunes 6. The new ScriptPak, which replaces the previous version compatible only with iTunes 4, installs over 150 commands into iListen that allows the user to do virtually anything by voice in iTunes that they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. "There is something special about this ScriptPak that is unlike any of our others," said MacSpeech Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers. "With this ScriptPak there are 50 commands you can say at any time, even if iTunes is not the front-most application. So you can be working in other applications and set song ratings, increase or decrease the volume, or go to the next track, among many other things." The ScriptPak for iTunes 6 is available immediately for $15. iListen 1.6.5 ($100), the company's flagship speech recognition product, is required to use the new ScriptPak.
Fluffpod nano cases
Building on the success of Fluffpod's Fluffer for iPod, Fluffpod today released two cases for Apple's iPod nano. The new Fluffpod nano cases come in a super soft shiny white or a delicate yet bold pink. "The moment I saw the iPod nano released, I knew what would be really sexy and fun. This Fluffpod nano sleeve was designed to feel super soft with a touch of really fun character on top," said Scott Lopatin, creator of Fluffpod, which is based in New York City. Fluffpod nano is available for immediate shipping for Apple's iPod nano for $10 in either white or pink. Fluffpod nano can be purchased online and via select New York based specialty stores.
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