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GenieCommands is a unique programmable application that allows users to control all your applications and media via simple menus, in a theatre or lounge room environment. The developer suggests using the software to create a "media center" -- a computer combined with the GenieCommands software that powers the all-in-one entertainment center for the entire home. While attached to a television screen, it allows you to watch DVDs, record TV or pause TV, listen to music, share digital photos, and more. GenieCommands suggests using a Mac mini for the media center configuration. The software costs $20
Monster Music SuperDiscs
Monster Cable today announced its Monster Music Division, which it says will deliver improved music that will feature a "surreal" sense of quality through the "monstrous" innovation known as Monster Music SuperDiscs. Fully compatible with CD/DVD devices as well as iPods, Monster Music SuperDiscs offer advanced features to "enhance the listening experience" According to the company, the limited edition Monster Music SuperDiscs are carefully mixed and mastered to "bring out all the clarity, detail, and excitement of the original performance." Monster Music SuperDiscs are priced at $25.
Troubleshooting Mac OS X
The X Lab has published "Troubleshooting Mac OS X, Tiger Edition," an ebook dedicated to preventing or resolving common problems with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. This is the third e-book in The X Lab's continuing "Troubleshooting Mac OS X" series. According to the company, the e-book format enables the reader to quickly find the solution to any of the numerous Mac OS X problems addressed in the over 600 pages. The book is extensively hyperlinked and cross-referenced, both within the book itself and to some of the best Mac OS X troubleshooting information on the Internet. Pricing begins at $20 for a single-user license. Multi-user licenses are also available.
Christmas Quest released
Spinapse today released Christmas Quest, a game that combines scavenger hunt strategy with quiz show competition. Christmas Quest explores the history, traditions, and funny quirks of Christmas celebrations around the world. Play starts with a set of nine photo assignments chosen at random. Players navigate the globe, exploring live-action scenes in search of these items. As assignments are found players snap a photo and drag it to the correct slot on the game board. Each matching snapshot earns quick cash, a spin of the Big Wheel, and a tricky trivia question about the Yuletide celebration. Christmas Quest is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
IconBuffet free icons
Firewheel Design today launched its new free delivery service--once a month, IconBuffet will deliver a free stock collection to its members. Each member may or may not receive the same free delivery as the next member, and all free icons can be traded between members. IconBuffet membership is free, and the icons may be used in both commercial and personal projects. Additionally, IconBuffet has released over a dozen new royalty-free stock icon and illustration collections. Each collection features digital icons for use on the Web or in traditional desktop software. Many collections are created specifically for web applications, such as content management systems (CMS) or blogging software. IconBuffet's stock collections start at $20, and can be purchased from iconbuffet.com.
First TuneBook on iTMS
Tunebooks.com today announced that earlier this week, its first full TuneBook--digital liner notes that accompany an album downloaded from the iTunes Music Store--went live on the store for Atlantic Record's, "The Darkness One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back." The TuneBook contains cover art, lyrics, pictures, band notes, posters, and other perks that are currently missing from the digital music scene. One year ago, Tom Gibbons and a friend started the company called TuneBooks, aimed at improving the digital music experience. "We invented this much needed media format, and are the first ones to create and release one with a band on iTunes."
Sony TV rental service
Sony today launched a Portable TV rental service for PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners in Japan that is set to compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store, allowing Sony customers to access the company's communication network to download current episodes of TV shows, music videos, trailers, and other video programming by downloading from Sony's website onto a Memory Stick. Video downloads cost between $1-3 each, but are only good for a limited time--between one and two weeks--after which they expire and become unusable, according to a report from ExtremeTech. Sony's lineup contains the "Mobile Suit Gundam films", popular TV anime "Noein", a comedy show featuring the comic group "~giggle~", and "Private Princess: Ayase Haruka." Sony hasn't said whether its service will make a debut in the U.S., according to the report.
QuickCRC MacOSX, MindMap
QuickCRC MacOSX 1.0 ($300) is designed to aid responsibility-driven design of object-oriented software. CRC cards are used to discover, collect and document class information such as responsibilities, attributes, and collaborations between classes. CRC cards are popular among developers using agile development methods, or as a front-end to UML.
Screentime for Flash 3.1 ($200) converts Macromedia Flash SWF files into screen savers, and packages them into customized one-click installers. Version 3.1 adds support for Flash 8 and includes more than 50 custom "STF" functions. The software touts the ability to download files, set custom wallpapers, read, write, copy and delete files, detect if a computer is connected to the internet, and more.
MindMap 4.0.1 ($100) updates the brainstorming tool that uses standard mind mapping techniques to help organize ideas and tasks, adding a large set of task-specific templates. Version 4.0.1 adds approximately 53 new templates.
Yasu 1.3.5 (unknown) is a Cocoa application wrapper built with AppleScript Studio that allows users to run various system-level Unix shell scripts to perform maintenance routines and clear the various cache files used by Mac OS X. The software is designed to do a specific group of maintenance tasks quickly within a few clicks, rather than needing to endlessly type shell script commands in the Terminal application. [Download - 783KB]
DiscBlaze 6.0.3 ($30) updates the CD/DVD burning software for Mac OS X, adding new preferences for customizing the user interface. Version 6.0.3 includes bug fixes, as well as updated online help. [Download - 542KB]
Cocoa UltraSMS 1.0 (free) is a utility for extracting SMS messages from a mobile phone into a simple MySQL database for use within personal applications and websites. Cocoa UltraSMS includes the SMS Framework, as well as Growl support. [Download - 1.9MB]
Kinemac 1.0 released
Kinemac.com today released Kinemac 1.0, its realtime animation and presentation software for Mac OS X designed to create professional 3D animations with the simplicity of a 2D presentation tool. Kinemac plays animations in real-time at full screen, and exports them as QuickTime movie files or as a series of single still images. The software supports drag-and-drop for images, text, movies and songs onto the Kinemac stage, simplifying the process of adding files to animations. Kinemac can create cubes, cylinders, spheres, tubes, pies, rectangles, disks, and more. Users can set surface attributes such as color, transparency, and reflection, as well as apply textures to objects. Key frame management allows creation, modification, copying, pasting, and deletion of a single key frame or group of key frames. The animation control system--based on Bezier curves--ensures each movement is represented by a Bezier curve that can be edited acting on its control points, offering full control over the position, rotation, size, speed, and acceleration of any object. Kinemac is available for $250, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.
Four icon add-on sets
The Iconfactory today released four new Stock Icon Add-on sets for the "Aquatica," "Xpressionism," "Logica," and "Carbon" styles. Stockicons.com provides developers and designers with affordable, royalty-free collections of icons for use in software applications, website designs and interactive presentations. The add-on sets cover concepts such as audio, video, mixing, and more. Each collection is available for $180, and contains 52 unique icons in Iconfactory's standard sizes and formats.
Real Estate Home Show
Explicit Media today announced that its Real Estate Home Show is now available for download to Apple's fifth-generation video-capable iPod. Pat Dulleck, a real estate broker for Realty World in San Jose said "my clients love the Featured Listing Videos; I provide six images and a few details of the listing and they create an incredible finished video product that has been a tremendous aid to my marketing. Now that they have added the ability to load the videos to my Apple iPod, it is absolutely awesome. I carry the iPod with me at all times, it's easy to use and just dazzles prospective clients as I am able to immediately provide them with video details of all of my active listings; no matter where I am, I never miss an opportunity to show a property, and it costs less than a 360 tour!" "Our Featured Listing Videos are now reaching all of the senses. They are viewable on the Web, on our national television show and now the Apple iPod, taking marketing of home listings to an entirely new level," said Greg Johnson, CEO of Explicit Media.
Apple SEC filing
Apple's total Mac sales increased $1.4 billion or 27 percent during 2005 compared to 2004, according to the company's most recent SEC filing. Meanwhile, net sales of iPods rose $3.2 billion or 248 percent during 2005 compared to 2004. Apple's total R&D expenditures in 2005 totaled $534 million in 2005, an increase of more than 9 percent from 2004. The Retail segment’s net sales doubled to $2.4 billion during 2005 compared to 2004. According to the report, Apple’s total capital expenditures were $260 million during 2005 and Apple currently anticipates it will utilize approximately $390 million for capital expenditures during 2006. Apple's filing also revealed new lawsuits: a class action regarding Apple wireless products, and a patent infringement case. Other highlights from the annual report include:
Civilization III: Complete
Aspyr Media today announced that Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete for Mac is now live on its website, available for preorder. Civilization III: Complete includes the original game, Civilization III, both expansion packs, "Conquests", and "Play the World". The bundle also introduces Civilization III multiplayer capabilities to the Macintosh platform for the first time. "Civilization III: Complete provides more ways to win, more ways to explore, more strategies to employ, and more exciting modes of play all in one box! Civilization III: Complete gives Civ fans the opportunity to enjoy unmatched strategic gameplay alone or against players from around the world." Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete will be available for $50 on December 14th; it requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
\"iPod tax\" plan dropped
Japan has decided not to push forward with a plan that would charge royalties on digital music players. The so-called "iPod tax," which was part of a copyright law revision, was abandoned after discussions in a government panel produced no consensus on ways to police violations, according to the Associated Press. "The decision Thursday from the Cultural Agency committee followed yearlong debate over how outdated the nation's system for levying an extra copyright fee on gadgets had grown, given the dramatic social changes in recent years in the digital content business, said government official Hiroyuki Suzuki."
PDF2Office Pro 3.0
Recosoft today announced PDF2Office Professional 3.0 for Mac OS X, a major upgrade to the PDF-to-Office format conversion tool. Version 3.0 offers over 200 new features and enhancements, as well as the ability to convert PDF files to Macintosh PowerPoint 98-2004 and Windows PowerPoint 97-2003 formats. The update also introduces a new "Document Inspector" that provides detailed information about a PDF file. PDF2Office recreates the original construction and layout of the document to form paragraphs, apply styles, regroup independent graphic elements, extract images, and create tables. The software also processes headers, footers, columns, and sections automatically. Other new features include font matching, substitution, and auto-sizing. Password-protected PDF documents can be converted, providing the password is known. The upgrade is free for registered users of PDF2Office 2.1, while PDF2Office Professional 3.0 is priced at $130 and will ship in February of 2006.
Korean iPod knockoff
Apple is taking action again to protect its intellectual property. The company has accused Iops, a Korean portable music player manufacturer, of illegally copying the design of its popular iPod mini music player. Iops, the fifth largest MP3 player seller in South Korea, said Thursday that it had received an official complaint from Apple in October which demanded the Korean firm stop manufacturing and selling its two MP3 player models, the Iops Jock and Iops Z3, according to The Korea Times: "Apple insists that the Jock and Z3 models copy the exterior design and case colors of the iPod Mini, especially the layout of a display screen and a round-shape control button on the front panel. Iops rebuffed the claim, saying it is waiting for further action from Apple. The Korean firm said that it is expecting an international legal suit from Apple.
iPodNN roundup: How2Share Technologies yesterday launched Flixpo.com, its online source for free iPod and Sony PSP video content which it claims is the largest independent repository available via the internet.... XtremeMac has released the MicroShield ($25, shown at right) for Apple's fifth-generation video-capable iPod.... Clear Channel is planning to experiment with video podcasts of its radio stars, and conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is set to be the first.... Popwire Technology yesterday released updated versions of its Compression Master and Compression Engine, adding support for media coding to the video iPod and Sony's Playstation Portable (PSP).... E.R.S. has announced its podcast production suite--Ubercaster--which is described as a complete production suite for podcasting on the Macintosh.
PDFKey Pro 2.0 released
Acutus Trading today launched PDFKey Pro 2.0, a utility that unlocks and decrypts password-protected PDF documents. The software is designed to help Mac users work with PDF files even if their passwords have been lost by removing the editing and printing passwords--creating exact copies of PDF documents without the passwords. PDFKey Pro also removes viewing passwords, but only if the passwords are provided beforehand. The application includes batch-processing tools for the command line, as well as Tiger's Automator. PDFKey Pro 2.0 is available for $17, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
MacNN review, NVIDIA in G5
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Contour Design MiniPRO 2, a miniature mouse that works well with notebook computers due to its reduced size.... Apple has begun shipping Power Macintosh G5 systems with NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT graphics cards.... Ripple Training has introduced Pro App tutorial podcasts, professionally produced tutorials as video podcasts created by Apple certified pros and trainers.... FunPause Games today announced the release of the musical soundtrack from their recent puzzle game, "Fairies".... A growing number of establishments across the U.S. are allowing customers to play their own music--often on Apple's iPod--to share their tracks in clubs and bars with other patrons. [updated]
ScriptPak for iPhoto 5
MacSpeech today released a new ScriptPak for iPhoto 5 that installs over 100 commands into iListen, replacing the previous iPhoto ScriptPak which was compatible with iPhoto 2. The new ScriptPak allows users to do virtually anything by voice in iPhoto that could normally be done using keyboard shortcuts or menus. ScriptPaks work with iListen, enhancing the software's command-and-control capabilities by "teaching" it the individual keyboard and menu commands of a specific program. ScriptPaks are not required for dictation, and only affect Listen's ability to control an application. The ScriptPak for iPhoto 5 is available for $15, and requires iListen 1.6.5 or later.
Spamphibian for Mac OS X
Outspring has announced Spamphibian, a solution designed to help Mac OS X users fight spam. The product works with an administrator's existing email server to eradicate spam and other unwanted email with virtually no false-positives. Spamphibian can be configured to quarantine, flag, delete or bounce unwanted email and is compatible with practically every email server and ISP. Spamphibian Gateway is a spam fighting solution that evaluaates all incoming emails. Spamphibian utilizes a database of spam identifiers which is continuously updated by Outspring's staff of spam analysts. The product is expected to ship on December 7 for $650, which includes a 1-year subscription to the Spamcaster Service that provides automatic and frequent database updates.
Disclabel 3.0 released
SmileOnMyMac has released disclabel 3.0, an update to its CD labeling software. New features include folders for organizing designs, a "factory function" for automatic generation of label designs, and a design elements sector to view/select from all available design elements. Disclabel creates and prints CD labels of purchased iTunes Music Store albums, while offering the ability to customize media choices. The software includes an enhanced media display to ease the process of matching labels with designs, as well as new text templates available for designs. Additional enhancements include an improved user-interface, a Sepia image filter, and more. Disclabel requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is priced at $30.
Star Chamber expansion
Matrix Games today announced that the Mac version of Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga has gone "gold" and will be available next week. The Harbinger Saga is an expansion of Star Chamber, a strategic trading card game set in a sci-fi themed universe. Star Chamber is a turn-based online strategy board game of space combat and diplomacy, and players use special decks of cards that represent the assets and abilities of their favorite alien races. Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga has enhanced graphics and an improved user interface, new maps, new cards, new sound effects, four player games, a tournament drafting system, and many minor adjustments to improve the game. The digital download will be available next week fro $30.
Jobs MWSF keynote
IDG announced today that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver the Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld Expo will be held at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center January 9-13, 2006. IDG recently cancelled its sumer Macworld Expo in favor of focusing on the January event. Last year's Macworld in San Francisco had sizable growth from the previous year with an 11% overall attendance increase. There was also a 13% increase in the number of paid conference delegates; a 10% increase in the number of exhibitors; and a 31% increase in the average number of hours spent on the exhibit hall floor by attendees. "Steve’s keynote is always a great way to kick off the biggest Mac event of the year,” said David Korse, CEO of IDG World Expo. "We’ve added several new features to this year’s event, and we’re working hard to make this the most entertaining and informative Macworld ever."
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