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New Altec Lansing headset
Altec Lansing today introduced an iPod nano adapter for its line of inMotion portable speaker systems, as well as its newest USB behind-the-neck stereo headset, the AHS302usb. The adapter is designed to give iPods a more stylish and snug fit, and is available for free from Altec Lansing. The headset connects via USB and 3.5mm inputs, harboring a noise-canceling microphone with adjustable mute, low, and high output settings. The AHS302usb is expected to be available early this month, and is priced at $40. The free Nano adapter will be shipped for free through February of next year, and now comes standard with all "Made-for-iPod" inMotion speaker systems from Altec Lansing.
Fox, Clear Channel, iTMS
Apple is reportedly preparing to announce a host of new iTunes video content early next year, with Fox and Clear Channel's radio division expressing interest in selling their content via iTunes. James Gianopulos, Fox Film Entertainment co-chairman said he is open to a deal with Apple's iTunes music and video service. "Of course, we'd be open to that. We believe it would be a great opportunity," Gianopulos said. Clear Channel's radio division chief executive John Hoga said his company could ink distribution deals with Yahoo or Apple's iTunes music service by next year, according to a report from AppleInsider. The company is seeking as many distribution outlets as possible for its programs, and has been in talks with Apple, Yahoo, and Microsoft over the past year. Meanwhile TiVo recently announced a timeframe for its highly-anticipated Mac version of TiVoToGo, targeting mid-2006 for Macintosh support.
Christmas Crisis, DockStar
Christmas Crisis 1.0 (free) is a game that needs you to save Christmas, before it's too late. Santa has fallen ill, and won't be able to make all of his deliveries without your help. Players must deliver at least 70 percent of their present quotas to each town while avoiding aircraft in a race against time.
[Download - 3.1MB]
Boinx Xmas Calendar widget (free) is a resizable widget version of the Xmas Calendar by Karl A. Bihlmeier and Achim Breidenbach. The widget offers a different way to count the days until Christmas, with each day opening a new door to reveal another part of the Christmas story. [Download - 2.3MB]
WorldTimes 1.0.1 (free) updates the compact world clock for Mac OS X that displays up to 12 different time zones from a database of more than 420 worldwide locations. Version 1.0.1 improves compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.4, and fixes all known issues. Major changes include improved display of custom time formats, easy access to Artisan Codeworks support, and more. [Download - 212KB]
Golfwerkz public beta 1 (free) is platform-independent golf statistics software that allows golf players to easily keep track of performance, as well as correctly identify the highs and lows of a game by means of statistical analysis. Golfwerkz is a Web-based application written in PHP that runs on MacOS X within environments such as MAMP. [Download - 4.6MB]
WeatherMenu 3.7.5 (free) adds weather data to the menubar, downloading and displaying current weather information for multiple cities worldwide. Version 3.7.5 is free, and offers Tiger compatibility as well as numerous bug fixes. Features include monitoring current conditions, viewing extended forcasts, and more. [Download - 2.7MB]
DockStar 1.0 ($8) is an enhancement for Mail.app that adds up to five new-mail indicators to the dock icon, allowing users to keep track of email as it arrives in various accounts and local mailboxes. The application also brings customizable shapes and colors to the Mail dock icon, providing control over every aspect of the dock icon directly from Mail's settings panel. [Download - 452KB]
iTMS video sales double
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has said his proprietary checks with industry sources indicate that iTunes video sales from music videos, ABC TV shows, and Pixar short films continue to come in ahead of expectations. Apple is also reportedly planning a major update to its video services that includes possible new partners, set to launch as early as January. Wu said "Apple disclosed that it sold one million videos on October 31st, 2005. We are picking up indications that sales have more than doubled since then and that this strength is attracting attention from other content providers including NBC, CBS, and Fox eager to participate in this new market opportunity." The analyst said he would not be surprised to see Apple announce new content partners over the next few quarters, even as early as Apple's CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Macworld Expo during the second week of January.
Safari popularity growing
Apple's Safari Web browser has continued to grow in popularity, currently holding 2.78 percent of the Web browser market--up 1.22 percent since December of 2004. Apple's browser gained .22 percent market share since last month, steadily climbing as internet surfers turn to more secure browsers and platforms. Safari is currently the third most popular Web browser with over double the number of users that Netscape touts, according to Net Applications. Safari still trails behind Firefox, an open-source surfing solution distributed by the Mozilla Foundation that currently holds 8.84 percent of the browser market. Microsoft Internet Explorer continues to dominate with 86.08 percent market share.
EarThumps, first TuneBook
In brief: Griffin Technology today announced EarThumps ($20, shown at right), earbuds engineered specifically for Apple's iPod.... Monster Cable has announced its Monster Music Division, designed to deliver improved music that will feature its Monster Music SuperDiscs.... Tunebooks.com announced that its first full TuneBook went live on the iTunes Music Store for Atlantic Record's, "The Darkness One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back".... Sony has launched a portable TV rental service for PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners in Japan that is set to compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store.... Explicit Media has announced that its Real Estate Home Show is now available for download to Apple's fifth-generation video-capable iPod.
Aperture book, RAZR cases
In brief: Peachpit has begun shipping the first book for Apple's Aperture post-production photography software, titled "Apple Pro Training Series: Getting Started with Aperture".... Speck Products has that it is shipping five new cases ($30 each) for the Motorola RAZR series of phones.... Marware is now shipping its CEO Classic case for both the iPod nano ($30) and fifth-generation iPod ($35, shown at right).... A new eBook, "Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac" ($10) is available for Mac users intimidated by podcasting.... Chwang Yi is now shipping The Ball ($70), its Bluetooth trackball with two buttons and a scroll wheel control layout.
Mac mini in Ford F-150
Car news site Leftlane News has a report on one Mac user's project to install a Mac mini in a Ford F-150. The user makes use of Apple's Front Row software and a Keyspan remote for easy navigation. He placed the Mini out of sight, and also installed a 10.2-inch LCD touch screen. The user also installed some GPS software to serve as a navigation system. In January, we noted a Washington Post article suggesting the Mac mini "comfortably fits in my car's glove compartment." Later, we reported that a New York-based company had plans to install the new Mac mini into car dashboards.
Flotshop iPod store
Flotshop has launched a one-page website to display top-selling iPod products with an image-based approach that offers more than 80 items without clicking, scrolling, or opening additional windows. An overall map provides a quick, clear landscape of the entire shopping category. Rolling the cursor over a product on Flotshop.com instantly pops up a balloon with details, price, and Amazon product ratings. "This is primarily an experiment to solve a crummy user experience," said Eric Antonow. "On almost every online store, it still feels like I'm staring at a database--or at least an interface that only a database could love. We're hoping that other people provide feedback and direction on ways they want to see the idea improved." The project is openly soliciting comments and criticism from designers and user experience professionals to expand on the prototype, with plans for revisions and additions before the year's end.
Nuvvo 2.0 released, free
Savvica today released Nuvvo 2.0, and announced that the service for Web-based interactive learning is now free. Instructors and students both can use Nuvvo to teach and learn free of charge, improving accessibility to education and encouraging the free exchange of knowledge and ideas. The on-demand learning management system (LMS) allows individual instructors to teach online with included content creation, blogging, multimedia integration, evaluation tools, and portal customization tools. Instructors sign up and receive their own online learning portal from which to enroll students and run unlimited courses. Developed almost entirely on Power Macs and PowerBooks, the software aims to increase usability and accessibility to online education.
Two new FCP plug-ins
Digital Heaven today released two new Final Cut Pro plug-ins--DH_Counter and DH_Fade--and updated its DH_WideSafe plug-in. DH_Counter is a video generator that automatically creates a "mins:secs" text counter featuring options for count up/ down, whether or not the count includes zero and a stopwatch mode for display of 1/100ths of a second. DH_Fade is a video filter designed to easily create consistent fade in/outs on clips which have different durations. Once set up with the desired duration, the filter can quickly be copied/pasted to other clips, saving time. DH_WideSafe is a 16:9 safe area generator, now fully compliant with BBC/EBU specifications for widescreen safe areas. The DH_WideSafe upgrade is free to existing customers, while the range of 12 Digital Heaven FCP plug-ins are available individually for $10.
Multicam Lite price drop
Digital Heaven today lowered the price of its Multicam Lite 1.03 software by 66 percent, from $300 to $100. Multicam Lite is a Mac OS X application that works in conjunction with Final Cut Pro 4.1 or later for the input and output of sequences via XML files. The software boasts a streamlined interface, and can cut up to three cameras in real-time. Multicam Lite can use DV, DVCPRO25 or OfflineRT source clips directly, and offers comprehensive trimming and camera swapping features built-in. When the cut is finished, the XML file is imported back into Final Cut Pro where all the cuts are automatically recreated, ready for further effects work or output. Digital Heaven suggests running Multicam Lite 1.03 on a dual processor G4 or G5 Macintosh when playing three streams of DV footage. [updated]
Europe iTMS 100M downloads
Apple is running a special promotion to thank customers for helping it make history: Music fans in 17 countries around Europe are clicking their way to 100 million downloads on the European iTunes Music Stores. To celebrate this milestone in the digital music revolution, Apple is offering a grand prize that includes a 10,000 song gift card: "Selling 100 million songs on the iTunes Music Stores in Europe marks a dramatic acceleration in the purchase of legally downloadable music on the internet." The music fan who purchases the 100 millionth song in Europe will receive a 17-inch iMac G5, a 30GB fifth-generation iPod, a 10,000 song gift card for the iTunes Music Store, and two tickets to see Robbie Williams live in concert on his 2006 tour.
PDF Library Mactel support
Datalogics today announced that its PDF Library will support Intel-based Macs. The Adobe PDF Library SDK (software development kit) is based on the technology of Adobe Acrobat software to offer complete functionality for generating, manipulating, rendering, and printing Adobe PDF documents. The SDK also ensures compatibility with the latest PDF specification and full interoperability with related Adobe products. Additionally, the Adobe PDF Library SDK offers access to reliable and broad platform support, as well as high-performance, scalable, optimized PDF processing.
Cumulus Video Suite
Canto today began shipping Cumulus Video Suite, an option for the Cumulus Enterprise product line that is designed to help manage videos assets. The Cumulus Video Suite enables Cumulus Enterprise to manage video files as well as individual shots of a video. Using shot boundary detection technology, the Video Suite can automatically create records, previews and thumbnails for each shot in the video, which then can be annotated with additional metadata. Cumulus Video Suite also supports streaming for viewing video files and individual shots over the Internet. Users can preview videos and shots directly in Cumulus and also edit and view the metadata of each shot. This substantially simplifies the searching and accessing of specific parts of a video.
EarThumps earbuds for iPod
Griffin Technology today announced EarThumps, earbuds engineered specifically for Apple's iPod. Earthumps are designed to isolate the listening experience from outside sound by fitting comfortably inside the ears, and come in "Status Symbol White" or "Undercover Black" to match the Apple's fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos. EarThumps weigh 12 grams, and ship with three different sizes of silicone inserts for comfort. Neodymium dynamic micro-drivers boast greater sound output and enhanced bass, while the iPod-specific design touts "excellent" noise isolation. The earbuds include a nylon zippered carrying case, and are available for $20.
Fontographer 4.7 for OS X
Fontlab today released Fontographer 4.7, the first Mac OS X-compatible version of the popular font editor. In addition, it also adds support for the Euro character, updated encodings, and copy-paste compatibility with new Illustrator and Freehand versions--along with numerous bug fixes. The company says that Fontographer fills the gap between its beginner and advanced products: it is designed as a "font editor for graphic designers and desktop publishers, powerful enough for real-world typography but without the learning curve of our high-end products." Users can expand existing fonts to include fractions, symbols, foreign characters, and logos in Type 1, Type 3, and TrueType fonts as well as create an entire typeface--for both Windows and Mac--from scratch. Fontographer 4.7 is available for Mac OS X only for $350, while upgrades from v4.x are $100.
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