In brief: MacNN has reviewed Sophie's Cards v4 ($40), a FileMaker-based database of greeting card photos and text.... The G5 Drive Bracket Team today announced its Thanksgiving weekend special, offering its G5 Drive Bracket for $40.... Marware fifth-generation iPod products are now available through Dr. Bott resellers worldwide.... Adobe is hosting a breakfast event in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 24, focused on the company's Creative Suite and Cinema 4D.... The Sinbad Development Team today released Sinbad 1.1, its freeware web searching application featuring 23 modules for finding various types of information.... The fight for the itunes.co.uk domain is finally over as Ben Cohen has officially abandoned all further attempts to get the domain it once owned back from Apple..... Otter today began shipping the OtterBox for iPod nano, its waterproof case for the popular MP3 player. [updated]
EdgeBlur today announced three new models of surfACE laptop computer stands, designed to suspend the notebook at a comfortable working height. When used in an armchair, the surfACE completely supports the weight of the mobile computer on the armrests to relieve weight, pressure, and heat from the users legs. When used upside-down the surfACE performs the same functionality on sofas and beds, while two side boards offer surfaces for a mouse and other peripherals. SurfACE is a system of interchangeable parts that can be added and detached to create a custom configuration, and any brand of notebook computer with a width of 16 1/2-inches or less is compatible with pre-assembled models. The SurfACE 1.2 ($100), surfACE 1.3 ($120), surfACE 1.4 ($130), and surfACE 1.5 ($150, shown at right) are available with a lifetime guarantee for the original owner. SurfACE 1.5 features a new hardware connecter that fixes to a standard camera tripod to create a height-adjustable workstation.
The fight for the itunes.co.uk domain is finally over as Ben Cohen--a former dot-com millionaire--and his company, CyberBritain Group, has officially abandoned all further attempts to get the domain it once owned back from Apple. Nominet--a .uk registry--awarded the domain name to Apple in March of this year because it was an "abusive registration," according to a report from ZDNet UK. Cohen responded to the ruling by demanding that the expert presiding over the dispute resolution procedure should not be an "Apple Mac" user "because in the view of the Respondent there is a 'cult' associated with the products of the Complainant, which attracts fanatical users".
Otter Products today began shipping the OtterBox for iPod nano, its waterproof case designed to protect the Nano from the elements. The interactive design is waterproof up to three feet, fits iPod nano 2GB and 4GB models, and is offered with a lifetime unconditional guarantee. The Nano's clickwheel is protected by a thin membrane that remains fully functional through the case, and an included belt clip provides cable management for headphones. The external headphone jack is compatible with any standard mini stereo plug, and when combined with waterproof headphones the OtterBox for iPod nano allows the device to be worn while swimming. The OtterBox for iPod nano is available for $40, while an optional armband is priced at $15.
EarthDesk 3.1 ($20) is a free update to the dynamic desktop map application that makes use of a new display settings interface, updates the daylight saving time database, and fixes a rare bug that would cause EarthDesk to stop responding. [Download - 5.69MB] SuperDuper! 2.0 ($30) updates the disk copying utility for Mac OS X, adding the ability to easily schedule backups and providing additional imaging options. Version 2.0 allows more control over shutdown, offers better AppleScript support, and more. [Download - 2.3MB] FTP Suite 4.2 ($80) is a free upgrade to the software library allowing REALbasic applications to implement the FTP protocol. Version 4.2 adds two "Smart Commands": DirectCommand to send a command directly to an FTP server, and SITECommand to send a standard FTP SITE command to an FTP server. [Download - 811KB] Filegazer 1.1 ($20) allows fast navigation through a file system in order to cope with the increasing capacity of modern hard drives. New features include a shortcut menu for selecting the source for a browser menu, improved memory management, and a bugfix. [Download - 1.3MB] ScreenAction Studio 1.0 ($30) captures on-screen action while importing video clips, images, and sounds. Features include the ability to change cameras live during capture, record with date and time, widescreen/full-screen movie settings, and more. [Download - 6.5MB] EyeHome 1.7 (unknown) accesses digital content stored on Macintosh systems--photos, music, video, and movies--to be viewed on a TV and home entertainment system. Version 1.7 offers iTunes 6 and iPhoto 5 compatibility, as well as a bug fix affecting Mac OS X 10.4.3. [Download - 15.7MB]
In brief: The FastIcon has released a new icon set for desktop use, "iSimple," containing 12 freeware icons.... Marware today introduced its new line of cases for fifth-generation iPods (Sport Grip Backwinder shown at right, $20), designed to preserve the slim profile of the device while providing maximum protection.... A FAQ on TiVo's forthcoming support for the iPod notes that TivoToGo service is not yet available for the Mac, and iPod support is even further out.... Peachpit has released new books in the Apple Pro Training Series: DVD Studio Pro 4 ($50), Shake 4 ($55), and Optimizing Your Final Cut Pro System ($55).... Sid Meier's Civilization III system requirements have been set to Mac OS X 10.3.9 running on a PowerPC G4/G5 at 500Mhz or faster.
Marware today introduced its new line of cases for fifth-generation iPods, designed to preserve the slim profile of the device while providing maximum protection. Most cases are expected to be available by the middle of December. The Sportsuit Convertible ($35, shown at right)--available in black, blue, and silver--has been completely redesigned for the iPod video, constructed from orca-skin neoprene. Features include a side-opening lid, hand strap, a built-in headphone cord winder, translucent silicone clickwheel protection, static film to protect the display, and a redesigned armband that uses the "Multidapt clip system."
SkipJam announced today support for the iPod, providing docking directly to the SkipJam iMedia Center. Using Firewire or USB 2.0, users can connect their iPods directly to any iMedia Center or to any iMedia enabled PC and immediately play music, photos and video throughout their home. The SkipJam iMedia support for the iPod also allows SkipJam users to record audio or video content directly onto the iPod Storage, creating a plug'n'go recording solution which records shows directly onto the iPod drives for portability.
GarageGames today released an update to its 3D gaming engine for developers: Torque Game Engine 1.4 offers more than 200 feature enhancements, including improved work flow, more tutorials, localization support and editor updates. Version 1.4 also features integrated Unicode font rendering, enhanced map2dif interiors, and better support for Mac OS X and Theora video codec. The company says that verison 1.4 represents the last free update. Full commercial usage on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms is $500, while its unique indie license is only $100 for developers making less than $250,000 annually. Both licenses are royalty-free, offer unlimited publishing, private forum access, and membership in the Torque Developer Network wiki.
A FAQ on TiVo's forthcoming support for the iPod notes that TivoToGo service, which promises to simply the video transfer process to the iPod and other mobile devices, is not yet available for the Mac and iPod support is even further out: "TiVo ToGo does not support the Mac operating system, so this extension of the program also will not be available. A Mac version of the service is expected sometime next year. To recap: TiVo owners with a Series2 box who subscribe directly with TiVo and have a Windows-based PC and a video-capable iPod or PSP can use the service--when it's completed next year."
GizMac today announced that its XRackPro2 is featured on revised Apple Workgroup Cluster website. The XRackPro2 is a rack-mount enclosure cabinet designed to reduce noise and add mobility to Apple's Xserve line of servers and RAID systems. Noise from rack mount equipment located inside the XRackPro2 will be reduced up to 75 precent, according to the company, while the heavy duty caster wheels provide a method for easily moving the rolling rack enclosure cabinet when needed. "XRackPro2 was originally designed for the Xserve server and Xserve RAID," says Tim Cave, founder of GizMac. "We are pleased that our noise reduction rack mount enclosure cabinet became part of the Apple Xserve Workgroup Cluster." XRackPro2 rackmount enclosures are used in scientific and medical work groups, video and audio post production, film and broadcast applications, graphics, and other environments that require noise reduction and/or flexibility of equipment location.
OmniPilot Software is offering a pre-built Quick Poll solution for Lasso, allowing users to easily add polling functionality to their websites. Lasso users can add a poll to their Web site including a question, two or more answers, and buttons to cast a vote or see the results. Lasso's Quick Poll solution can increase interaction with visitors to the site without the need for extra coding or software. "Quick Polls provide a fun way to gather insight on specific products sold on your Web site or may provide general feedback on your company's services." The source code for the Quick Poll solution is completely open and can be easily customized. The solution is built using CSS and XHTML, requires Lasso Professional 8, and utilizes the built in SQLite database for data storage. In recent weeks, the company has also released pre-built message board, collaboration, and blogging solutions.
Samsung is being investigated by the South Korean government for allegedly selling NAND flash memory chips to Apple at half their market value. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday that the Samsung is suspected of "dumping" 2GB and 4GB flash memory chips to Apple, which are used in Apple's popular iPod nano, a practice that is hurting other South Korean memory manufacturers, according to The Korean Times: "FTC Chairman Kang Chul-kyu indicated last month that his agency might take action against an alleged unfair deal between Samsung and Apple, if local MP3 players request the probe, making it clear that the investigation would be very thorough." Samsung, however, claims it has maintained margins of 30 percent, which would make the dumping claims untenable, since such profits could not be generated by selling memory at half of its fair market value.
MaxUpgrades today released MaxConnect, an internal hard disk drive mounting solution that allows seven additional hard disk drives to be installed in a G5 Power Mac (PCI Express). The MaxConnect consists of two mounting assemblies: one that enables four hard disk drives to be installed in the optical drive bay and one that enables installation of three additional hard disk drives in the CPU bay of the new Power Macs. "With the MaxConnect internal hard disk drive mounting solution, a G5 Power Mac (PCI Express) can house a total of nine disk drives internally," and offers data transfer rates up to 500MB/sec using RAID software. The CPU assembly is available for $100 along with either power ($20) or SATA data ($10) cables, while the Optical Bay assembly is $220 (includes power and SATA data cables). An optional SATA PCI card is also available.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R