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Broadband Tuner 1.0
Apple today released Broadband Tuner 1.0, a new system utility designed to take full advantage of very high speed Internet connections that have a high latency (5 Mbps or greater). Apple's documentation says that the "installer tweaks some system parameters. There is an optional uninstaller that can be used to restore the settings that were in effect at the time just before the system parameters were changed....The installer increases the default values for the size of the TCP send and receive buffers. With larger buffers more data can be in transit at once. A startup configuration file is also updated so that these changes will persist across restarts." The file is 320KB and available directly from Apple.
Linux user reviews Mac
One German linux user recently reviewed a Mac Mini, offering in-depth thoughts about his experience using Mac OS X along with the Mac Mini's hardware. Among the many topics covered, asthetics of the computer itself was first in line: "the Mac mini is the most sexy box I have ever owned." Hardware followed close behind, "Apple just gets it right every time." When commenting on Apple's iSight camera, the reviewer said "this thing is not only beautifully designed, it also comes with features not found on those cheap USB cams, such as a real autofocus and a directional microphone. Video chats are a joy with this thing." And despite some minor interface annoyances, the reviewer says he will use Mac OS X for his GUI-intensive.
VLC 0.8.4 media player
The VideoLAN team today released VLC 0.8.4, an update to its popular media player for the Mac. The multimedia player supports various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols; it can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. The new version features a new cone design and improved interface, with new dialogs, a skins interface, prtual support for a tree playlist, an HTTP interface, UPnP service and Bonjour services support, a new shoutcast output module to forward streams to icecast servers, enhanced H.264 support, more localizations (Galician, Korean, Romanian and Simplified Chinese), and many bug fixes.
Disney, Clear Channel ads
Walt Disney and Clear Channel today announced that they are starting to advertise on video-capable portable players--such as Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The two media giants will be the first major media corporations to offer promotional videos to iPods and other related players, according to a report from the Red Herring. Disney plans to offer full-screen, high-quality video from The Chronicles of Narnia, while also providing trailers, clips, interviews, and other content via its website. Clear Channel will provide 60-second video segments of its "Rush Limbaugh Show" for both fifth-generation iPods and PCs to subscribers of the "Rush 24/7" premium content service, starting December 12th.
TiVo may strain relations
TiVo's recent plan to make TV shows and movies downloadable onto the fifth-generation iPod and Sony PSP may strain relations between networks and studios who hope to develop revenue from the digital distribution. Several TV and studio execs are considering legal action against TiVo, according to a report from the Daily Variety. An NBC Universal spokesman said "TiVo appears to be acting unilaterally, disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content. This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer." The new service is expected to be available by early next year, and software necessary to utilize it is expected to cost between $15-30.
MacGPS Pro 6.1 released
James Associates today released released MacGPS Pro 6.1, the latest version of its software that connects GPS receivers and most Macs. It works with Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers for transferring Waypoints, Routes, Tracklogs, and GPS satellite Almanacs. It works with many brands of GPS receivers for a realtime display of GPS information on a moving map on the desktop. Version 6.1 stitches adjacent USGS digital raster topo maps together on the screen, shows multiple raster maps in the same Mac window, and locates USGS topo maps by the Quad Name. The software, which requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, is available for $50 ($10 extra on CDROM).
Apple ships Aperture
Apple has posted several troubleshooting articles on Aperture, its pro-level software for photographers which began shipping over the weekend: Apple does not recommend the use of network volumes with Aperture; another article offers tips when users can't restore from a vault due to disk errors as well as how to make fine adjustments with sliders in the Adjustments Inspector; and why only one image may appear in the Viewer from a multiple selection in Browser. Shipments of Apple's Aperture were held back was held back until November 30th by some retailers, while Apple Store orders began shipping on November 26, according to several MacNN readers and at least one reader was able to pick up a copy at their local Apple store.
SaveMe, Tetroku, Blixx
SaveMe 1.3 ($20) saves all documents automatically, regardless which applications created the documents. The update allows keyboard customization, offers native compatibility with Intel-based Macintosh systems, provides an improved interface.
[Download - 768KB]
Tetroku 1.0 ($5) is a puzzle game of strategy based on Sudoku and Tetris, offering challenge in aversion. Players position blocks as they fall, avoiding lining up numbers in the same row, column or box. [Download - 3.4MB]
Brickles Pro 1.1.0 ($25) updates the classic ball and paddle game for Macintosh, adding an extra ball opportunity. Features include adjustable colors, patterns, ball, and paddle sizes, stereo sound, adjustable speed/window sizes, and more. [Download - 500KB]
Blixx 1.2 (unknown) is a fast-paced, easy to learn game where players bounce a ball with a paddle or shoot a bullet from the paddle to burst bubbles. Version 1.2 offers 15 levels of increasing difficulty, and improves the "save" function. [Download - 2MB]
XML Nanny 1.3 (free) is a Mac OS X developer tool that provides an Aqua interface for checking XHTML and XML documents for good form and validity--either locally or across the network. Version 1.3 offers multiple windows, text auto completion for the URL combo box, and basic AppleScript support. [Download - 1.3MB]
CollectionX 1.3 ($30) publishes collections--consisting of text, images, sounds, and movies--on the internet as a Web page. Features include 34 themes that offer 3D picture galleries, support for multiple picture formats, .Mac publishing capability, and more. [Download - 5.4MB]
828mkII audio interface
MOTU today announced a new USB 2.0 version of its 828mkII FireWire audio interface. The new model, equipped with high-speed USB 2.0 for connection to any USB 2.0 compatible Mac or PC, is identical to the FireWire version. The interface offers a powerful 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio with 20 inputs and 22 outputs, including 10 channels of 96kHz analog recording and playback, combined with 8 channels of ADAT digital I/O and stereo S/PDIF. "With the addition of a USB 2.0 model, the 828mkII line now delivers even broader plug-and-play compatibility with latest-generation personal computers." Both the FireWire and USB 2.0 models are available now for $800.
iPod supply constraint
Apple may not be able to meet Wall Street estimates for iPod shipments during the holiday season, according to a report issued today by investment research firm PiperJaffray. The firm said iPod supplies at non-Apple retailers is tight, as Apple is apparently holding inventory for its own stores. "Based on limited iPod availability (during times of peak demand) outside of Apple retail stores and apple.com, we continue to believe that some Street estimates for iPod unit shipments for the December quarter are too high. We are currently modeling for total iPod shipments of 9.0 million. While we do believe slight upside to our estimate is achievable, we do not expect Apple will be able to ship the number of units that are already anticipated in some Street models." Despite these concerns, the firm has raised its price target from $68 to $79 for Apple.
IRISCard mini announced
I.R.I.S. Group today announced the worldwide availability of the IRISCard mini, its light-weight, portable solution that transforms business cards into a contact database. The business card reader recognizes business cards from 54 countries, while the device harbors an A8 scanner with a small footprint--allowing business card scanning in black and white, as well as grayscale. Contacts can be exported to your any contact manager including Microsoft Outlook, Apple's Address Book, Pocket-PC, iPod, and more. The IRISCard mini is available for €150, and is compatible with both Microsoft Windows systems as well as Macintosh (system requirements were unavailable).
France tax, competition
iPodNN roundup: France is expected to reduce its copyright tax imposed on music players containing flash memory, including the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle.... Apple's competitors are looking for ways to fight the success of the iPod, with one group looking to design an open standard for a mobile device dock connector similar to Apple's propietary connector offered on the iPod.... The iPod, which was a hit among retailers this past holiday weekend, was among the top products sold on eBay.... The success of Apple's iPod has driven out yet another competitor--BenQ--from the Taiwan music player market, the company plans to withdraw its Joybee series MP3 player models from the Taiwan market.
Apple ships Aperture
In brief: Apple has began shipping Aperture, its post-production software tool designed for professional photographers, according to one reader who received shipment confirmation from Apple ahead of the expected November 30th release.... ProjectWizards today announced its Crossgrade Special--encouraging owners of any other Mac OS X-based project management application to exchange their software licenses for Merlin licenses at a 25 percent discount.... Alias has announced details of 3December 2005, the 7th annual global celebration of 3D computer graphics.... An iPod Garage columnist today released a new eBook: "So You Wanna Learn How to Podcast: A Step-by-Step Guide to Podcasting".... IconPeople has announced Icon Plus and Icon Professional versions of its icon sets for application developers and website designers.... Mac EVDO joined IMR to discuss high-speed cellular connections available for Macintosh systems.
Magic Stones expansion
Winter Wolves Software today added a new "Quest Mode" playing style for experienced players to its role-playing card game, Magic Stones. Players fight their way through undead adversaries, choosing their path on the map to finally combat the Bonelord himself. Each battle has a fixed mana amount, different starting bonus creatures--such as Royal Guards--the possibility to control neutral avatars such as Goblins, and the possibility of discovering the two new runes of Timber Wolves (Spirit Magic) and Centaur (Life Magic). Winter Wolves Software also announced that additional updates will be forthcoming--each adding a new quest with its own story, enemies, avatars, and runes to collect. Magic Stones is available for $25.
France to reduce iPod tax
France is expected to reduce its copyright tax imposed on music players containing flash memory, including the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle. The move may come as early as next week according to a source familiar with the plan. IDG News reports that the levy on a 4GB iPod nano could be reduced from over €50 (US$59) to about €8: "In France, as in some other European countries including Germany and Italy, it is legal to copy music for private use -- but in return the law imposes copyright levies on blank media, including cassettes, CDs, DVDs, hard disk drives and flash memory devices. The copyright levy is intended to compensate composers, performers and producers for revenue opportunities lost due to private copying of music."
Thanksgiving iPod sales
iPod sales skyrocketed over the U.S. holiday season this weekend, as online retailer Best Buy, Amazon and eBay reported heavy demand for the music players, according to Macworld U.K. Sales of the black 4GB iPod nano shot up 95 per cent, while the white version leaped 88 per cent between Friday November 25, and Saturday November 26, compared to a week earlier, according to eBay Marketplace Research. Best Buy's online store sold out of both the white and black versions of the 4GB iPod nano this weekend. The Nano was Amazon's sixth biggest-selling item. Apple has officially confirmed "staggering" demand for its music players over the start of the traditional holiday shopping season.
Apple Gift Cards
Apple is now offering Apple Gift Cards, which can be redeemed at any Apple retail store or the Apple Store online. The cards, which can be purchased online in any denomination from $25 to $2500, are sent via mail to each recipient and can include a personal message, according to Apple: "the card will arrive tucked into an attractive folder that can include an optional personal message. As you complete your order, you'll be prompted to tell us exactly what you want your message to say." Apple notes that the cards cannot be redeemed at the iTunes Music Store. Previously, Apple Gift Cards were only available at retail stores and could only be redeemed at an Apple retail store.
iPod rivals band together
Apple's competitors are looking for ways to fight the success of the iPod and one group is looking to design an open standard for a mobile device dock connector--much like the propietary connector offered on the iPod. The Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA's) Technology and Standards Mobile Electronics Committee has announced a new working group to develop an industry standard for a common portable device connector, according to a report by PC Advisor. The industry standard connector will allow device manufacturers, portable player manufacturers, and others to more quickly build devices and a market for their products. "To accommodate this need, the portable device industry has so far invented a variety of proprietary docking connectors that are not generally interoperable. This new working group will create an industry standard docking connector specification that could be adopted by any host or portable device manufacturer regardless of the format or protocol that it supports."
iPods a hit on eBay
The iPod, which was a hit among retailers this past holiday weekend, was among the top products sold on eBay. Numbers from eBay Marketplace Research show that the 4GB iPod nano sales were up more than 90 percent from the previous weekend and that 2GB Nano sales (Black) were up 161 percent, while legacy 20GB iPod sales were up 45 percent from the Nov 18-19 weekend. Sales of iPod accessories were also up by 29 percent. Other popular items included point-and-shoot digital cameras from Kodak and Nikon and FLY Pentop computers as well as LEGO sets. Overall US retail numbers showed that after Thanksgiving weekend retail sales surged 22 percent, giving a boost to AAPL and Wal-Mart futures.
Disney bypasses iTunes
While Disney has decided to the support the iPod, Mac users are again out in the cold. Circumventing the iTunes-iPod system, Walt Disney Co will let consumers watch full-screen video directly on PCs and the new Apple video iPods starting with its upcoming movie release, "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." Macworld UK reports that while Mac users can watch the clips online using QuickTime, and can watch/listen to a variety of Disney podcasts, some video clips use software which does not support Macs. "The software needs to be downloaded to unlock the full suite of multimedia assets, including desktop wallpaper and more. It automatically downloads new content and even supplies news on special ticket deals. It's ironic, because Apple makes both the iPod and the Mac, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs has an existing relationship with Disney." Bypassing iTunes, the Maven software for Windows will let users automatically download and synchronize trailers and clips directly to video-enabled iPods, according to DM News.
Ive influences US
UK native Jonathan Ive, Apple's vice president of industrial design, has been named one of the 'most influential' Britons in the US. The top 25 list, published by the Times Online, ranks Ive No. 3 because his music players have shaken up two industries -- music and electronics, according to the report. "Ive may not be the richest or the most senior figure on the list, but he has certainly been one of the most influential. Born in London, Ive, right, studied design and art at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) and moved to San Francisco to join Apple's design team in 1992. The rest is design history." Martin Sullivan, President of AIG, and Sir Howard Stringer, Sony Chairman and Executive are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Iomega Desktop HD XL
Iomega today announced the Iomega Desktop Hard Drive XL Series, a compact four-drive enclosure with 1 terabyte (TB) of capacity. Designed for creative services professionals, the Iomega XL Series 1TB drive delivers advanced capacity and performance and includes Dantz Retrospect Express software for a complete data backup and disaster recovery solution. The new Iomega XL Series drive features three built-in interfaces: FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 (backwards compatible with USB 1.1). Measuring 6.42" x 7.99" x 12.52" (W x H x L), the attractive XL Series enclosure takes up little space on the desktop: it includes four 250GB SATA drives, each running at 7200 RPM with 8MB cach; the drive is configurable as RAID 0 (striped) for maximum throughput. It is compatible with Mac OS 10.1 or higher and is now available for $900.
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