Syngress Publishing today announced the publication of "OS X for Hackers at Heart," written to show hackers how to torque the most powerful features of Mac OS X for wireless networking, wardriving, software development, penetration testing, automation, and more. Sections of the book cover such topics as adding interfaces to create a multi-interface firewall or router, simulate a switch, add 802.3ad interface aggregation, or provide another media type; using the Mac as a router; and wardriving with a Macintosh. Other sections of the book depict configuration and usage of the KisMAC WLAN discovery tool; penetration testing with Mac OS X; using automator, AppleScript, and the bash shell to automate tasks; and more. OS X for Hackers at Heart is available for $50.
Akvis recently launched a Mac version of its photo colorization plugin: Coloriage 2.0 creates natural-looking colorization in a "quick and entertaining manner," saying that it works equally well for coloring of portraits, landscapes, fashion, and still life. The plugin offers options for skin, sky, verdure, and tree color patterns to help users to select realistic colors for their picture. "Apply your creativity and you will find a wide variety of other usages for the software. You can create colorful backgrounds out of ordinary dull pictures, you can apply AKVIS Coloriage to get rid of the red eye effect, to make selective color correction, selective desaturation and colorizing, etc." Version 2.0 adds Undo/Redo buttons, Mac support, and a Color library translated into 8 languages. It is compatible with Photoshop v5, Photoshop Elements v1, and GraphicConverterX v5.6. it is $100 for personal use and $250 for a business license.
In a recent interview with News.com, Freescale Semiconductor CEO Michel Mayer told of his company's evolving business model and revealed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs wanted to switch the Mac to Intel processors over five years ago. Freescale Semiconductor is one of the 10 largest microchip manufacturers in the world, but Mayer said the company is in the midst of an "evolution of existing businesses" that will distance it from the personal computer market. When asked if he was present five years ago during the discussions when IBM convinced Apple to adopt the G5, Mayer said "in my previous job, I ran IBM's semiconductor business. So I've seen both sides of the Apple story, because I sold the G5 to Steve [Jobs] the first time he wanted to move to Intel."
JasonFreeman.net yesterday launched iTunes Signature Maker, a Web-based application that analyzes your iTunes music collection to create a short sonic signature representing who you are and what you listen to. The software checks your system configuration and asks you a few simple questions, then combines data tracked by Apple's iTunes software with its own spectral audio analysis routines, selecting small segments of audio from your favorite songs and mixing them into a short sonic signature that can last anywhere from one second to a number of minutes. iTunes signatures can be loaded onto an iPod, emailed to friends, or posted on websites to "sum up" the variety of music you listen to. iTunes Signature Maker is free, and is available from JasonFreeman.net.
MacSoft today announced that the Macintosh version of Microsoft's "Zoo Tycoon 2" has begun shipping. The Mac version includes a bonus DVD featuring film segments and trivia from the National Geographic "Totally Wild" series. "Zoo Tycoon 2 is a wildly fun game in which you build and operate your very own zoo. The game cranks up the excitement with 3D first-person views that get you up close to the highly detailed giraffes, tigers, crocodiles, elephants, and more than 25 other types of animals in your zoo." It features new building tools and objects, photo mode options, easy terrain altering options, rivers, a new zoom mode, and improved 3D graphics." Zoo Tycoon 2 features the "Zoo Guest mode," allowing players to walk around and enjoy the game from a first-person point of view; and "Zookeeper", which allows players to experience new interaction with animals. The $40 title, which requires Mac OS X 10.2.8, will be available in stores this week.
The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen "podcast" as Word of the Year, the term is set to be added to the online version early next year. Podcast was coined by journalist Ben Hammersley, and is defined as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player." "Podcast was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the concept," said Erin McKean, editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary. Some have criticized the term for giving Apple too much credit, and have offered less catchy terms in its stead such as "blogcasting" or "audioblogging," according to a report from Forbes.com.
XtremeMac today introduced TuffWrap Accent for Apple's iPod nano. The durable silion case offers protection against scratches and bumps, and protects the screen and Click Wheel with optional inserts. The two-tone, form-fitting case features stylish ribbed sides that "not only looks great, but also provide a comfortable and secure grip. The tactile finish prevents your iPod from sliding on surfaces like the dashboard or center console of your car." The company also says that the rugged styling provides prevents slipping and that it features an open design that provides access to all controls and ports. The case are now available for $20 (with a lifetime guarantee) and are expected to begin shipping on December 19th.
iSkin today announced its new iPod Duos, protective covers for iPod nano that offer a dual layer shock-resistant silicone skin that guards against bumps, scratches, and dirt. iSkin has also broadened its available colors to include "Purple Haze" (clear on purple), "Acid Groove" (green on green), "Phantom Rave" (black on red), and "Polar Blast" (white on blue). The new Duo features an ultra-clear screen protector that sits between its double layers of silicone to ensure the Nano's screen remains visible and protected, a transparent wheel protector that provides a smooth scrolling action while protecting the clickwheel, and a new "RevoClip 2" removable rotary belt clip for maximum portability. An anti-slip grip surface with side "goose bumps" provide an easy grip to reduce the risk of drops, while an inner layer with eight point shock absorbers adds safety in the event of a mishap. iPod Duo's are available in a variety of two-tone color combinations for $30 each.
PodShop today launched a new iteration of iDrops, its all-in-one cleaning, polishing, and scratch removal solution specifically designed for use on the plastic/acrylic surfaces of Apple's iPod (all models) and other products. iDrops works on iBooks, eMacs, iMacs (G3/G5), Mac minis, and Power Macs (G3/G4). The solution is a two-ounce bottle of "liquid health" for plastic/acrylic surfaces that features a dropper top, providing mess-free use when repairing and restoring blemished, scuffed, or scratched hardware. iDrops can also be used on the plastic/acrylic surfaces of CD/DVD media, cell phones, Game Boy, PSP, and numerous other items. The new product includes a new bottle, dropper, label, and updated iDrops solution. iDrops is available for $15.
Eovia today released the international English and French language editions of Carrara 5, its 3D animation, modeling, and rendering solution. Both Carrara 5 and the more extensive Carrara 5 Pro present a suite of 3D modeling, animation and rendering tools with an enhanced user interface. The update includes Poser 6 support in Eovia TransPoser 2; improved Poser 6 support with Carrara's new native importer; translucency for more realistic lighting effects; inclusion/exclusion list for lights; replication of volumetric objects (such as clouds); smoothing of multiple objects; and more. Carrara 5 is available for $250, while Carrara 5 Pro is priced at $550. Upgrade pricing starts at $100 and $170 for standard and pro versions, respectively.
Domain registrar and hosting service GoDaddyis apparently serving blank pages to Safari and Opera users who attempt to access sites using its domain forwarding and masking service. The company is blaming Apple as the source of the problem, and with nowhere to turn, Mac users are flocking to Apple's support forums to discuss the issue in-depth. The problem seems to have started around November 26th, and while initially a blank page with no source code and no errors is displayed, some users note that loading the address in Firefox or Internet Explorer first will allow Safari and Opera to view the page contents after refreshing. GoDaddy support is apparently directing hosting customers to contact both Opera and Apple support to report the "bug," and claims no responsibility. Users say Apple support has thus far been unresponsive, while Opera support is available on a pay basis which deters many users from seeking aid. [updated 12/8]
NBC said that it expects more announcements regarding online distribution, including more content for iTunes in an effort to combat digital piracy; however, it said that recent moves by TiVo and DirectTV for were not made with the network's consent. The company yesterday "took a deep plunge into digital downloads" offering both past and present episodes of several television series via iTunes, after discussion began with Apple earlier this spring, according to a new report. NBC included a number of older favorites as well as current hits such as "Law & Order" and Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," according to Variety. The company said that future announcements would be coming to support its commitment to getting its content into the hands of consumers and fighting piracy. NBC estimates that there are 430,000 illegal downloads of "Battlestar Galactica" each week.
Aspyr today announced that its Lego Star Wars demo is now available for the Mac. The demo allows users to play a full level of the game, reliving events from Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Players can control over 30 characters, from Anakin Skywalker or Yoda to Darth Maul and General Grievous. "Drop in/drop out" two player co-operative play allows a second player to join in or leave the action at will, while players use the force to move and transform LEGO objects, overcome obstacles, and defeat enemies. The game features authentic audio from Skywalker Sound, as well as a "Free Play" mode that allows play with unlocked characters anywhere, and the ability to switch between them at will. Lego Star Wars is available for $27 from Amazon.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later. [updated]
Hubbell Automation today introduced two new means to secure a Mac mini virtually anywhere, the Mini mount Universal and Mini mount Shelf (shown at right). The Mini mount Universal is a wall-mount apparatus designed to hold a Mac mini system in almost any orientation, and is optionally available with a backlighting kit to illuminate the computer once installation is complete. The Mini mount Shelf mounts the Mac mini beneath nearly any table, desk or shelf. Both models are constructed from .25-inch clear cast acrylic, and offer unhindered access to all ports on the system. Mini mounts boast easy installation--two wood screws for the Universal mount and four screws for Shelf model. The Mini mount Universal is available for $50, or $70 with the backlighting kit. The Mini mount Shelf is available for $50, and ships with a power supply mount.
IntelliScanner today launched the IntelliScanner Kitchen Companion 100, its barcode scanner and software bundle for grocery shopping and nutrition/recipe management that features Bluetooth wireless technology. Kitchen Companion is powered by an internet-enabled database of over 300,000 grocery items that includes the name, brand, category, shopping section, and size of products scanned. Users can print a categorized shopping list, or send the list to an iPod, Palm, or cell phone. The bundle offers advanced quantity management, scan in/out capabilities, consumption history, physical location tracking, custom searching, dynamic shopping lists, and nutrition information from the USDA. Kitchen Companion 100 is available for $280 to Bluetooth-equipped computers running Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while a "tethered" USB model for use while at a computer only is available for $180.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Diamondback Mouse from Razer ($60, shown at right), an optical mouse that can travel over almost any surface, as well as a mat ($40) that offers two different usable surfaces.... MacNN has also reviewed EarBuddy's from EarBuddys.com ($5), a pair of inexpensive in-ear headphones with thick covers that come in seven muted colors.... CS Odessa has implemented a new toll-free telephone number for customers from the USA and Canada, in an effort to expand its technical support and sales assistance.... MagneticTime today unveiled MT1 software for iPod ($50) and other mobile audio players, which converts emails and Microsoft Word documents to MP3 sound files that can be played on the devices.... Etymotic Research today announced that its 6i Isolator earphones ($150) are available in black, as well as the original white.
MagneticTime today unveiled MT1 software for iPod and other mobile audio players, which converts emails and Microsoft Word documents to MP3 sound files that can be played on the devices. MT1's audio files are designed to take advantage of the standard functions of any MP3 player, so emails and documents can be played, paused, stopped, skipped back/forward, and filed in playlists. The software automatically creates a new Outlook folder, and when new email is automatically selected and copied to that folder as it arrives, where it awaits processing and translation to audio. MT1 uses Acapela high quality text-to-speech technology, which transforms emails or word attachments into natural speech, reading it aloud with the flexibility of natural sounding speech. Acapela speaks multiple languages and reads proper names, numbers and currencies for optimal and smooth restitution of the information. MT1 is expected to be available for the Macintosh early next year, and is priced at $50.
Etymotic Research today announced that its 6i Isolator earphones are available in black, as well as the original white. The 6i earphones are designed specifically for use with Apple's iPod and other small portable players, providing greater sound output and enhanced bass. Features include noise isolation, and an in-the-ear secure fit for greater performance. "The mildly enhanced bass and greater output of these earphones retains the high frequency response accuracy that Etymotic is known for," said Mead Killion, founder and president of Etymotic Research, Inc. "The 25-band accuracy score of these earphones still exceeds 80 percent, which is higher than any earphones not made by Etymotic." The 6i Isolator earphones are available for $150 from Apple stores and Etymotic dealers.
Apple today announced that it has sold 100 million songs in Europe, saying that an iTunes user in Belgium has won its Europe iTunes song promotion. The 100 millionth download in Europe, downloaded by Ken Reist, was Mozart's album "Die Zauberflöte" (The Magic Flute). Reist was awarded a 17-inch iMac G5, a 30GB iPod, a 10,000-song gift card for the iTunes Music Store, and two tickets to see Robbie Williams in concert. Apple initially launched the store in Europe in June of 2004 and within 18 months has sold over 100 million songs.
Script Software's iStar Composer 1.0 is an original and major new application that creates synchronized lyrics on the Mac to export to the iPod and iTunes. The application finds lyrics, but more importantly allows you to synch them to a song. Composer then allows you to export the new composition to a new music file (AAC) that contains embedded lyrics that play/display in iTunes and on the iPod. "By displaying the lyrics iStar Composer adds a new dimension to the iPod and iTunes. People will not just be looking at the song and title in iTunes and their iPod but can now enjoy reading or singing along with them too." It is available now for $30. [site not responding]
RogueSheep today released Magma Effects 1.0, a plug-in for Adobe InDesign CS and CS2 on Tiger. Magma Effects makes available the rich functionality of Apple's Core Image technology directly within the InDesign application. Users can apply a variety of image-enhancement and stylizing effects to any bitmap image placed in Adobe InDesign. Users can make simple adjustments such as modifying the brightness or contrast of a photo or composite two images together using one of several blend operations. It offers access over 100 image filters that ship with Mac OS X Tiger. In addition, users can also save time by storing filter effects in a preset for later use. RogueSheep Magma Effects 1.0 is now available for $50 and requires Adobe InDesign CS/CS2 and Mac OS X 10.4.1 or newer.
Matrix Games has released Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga, a new release of the Star Chamber game title, its highly acclaimed hybrid board and trading card strategy game set in a sci-fi themed universe. Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga features 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 engine for managing online play is based on the critically-acclaimed The Lord of the Rings Online Trading Card Game. The digital download of Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga is now available for $30, while a boxed version will be available within a week.
CyraKnow today launched its new Rambler audio phrase books created specifically for iPod-savvy travelers. Available in French, German, Italian and Spanish, the audio books are designed specifically for iPod use with the intent of "helping new and seasoned travelers learn the nuances of pronunciation and basic phrases for each language in a short period of time." The Rambler audio phrase books are priced at $13 separately, and $35 for all four languages. Each phrase book includes over 900 words and phrases recorded by a native speaker in French, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as a printable PDF of popular sites and attractions for major cities in each country.
MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for iMovie HD. The new ScriptPak installs over 75 commands into the company's iListen speech recognition program, which allows the user to do virtually anything by voice in iMovie they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. This replaces the previous iMovie ScriptPak, which was compatible with iMovie 3. "You can crop, move the Playhead, split tracks, and much more all by voice," said MacSpeech Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers. "Adding this to iListen is like giving the home movie editor their own production assistant." The ScriptPak for iMovie HD is available immediately for $10 and requires iListen 1.6.5 or later.
Cucusoft iPod Video Converter Suite is an all-in-one iPod video conversion solution. This suit includes "Cucusoft iPod Video Converter" and "Cucusoft DVD to iPod Converter," allowing users to convert both DVD media and video file media to a format compatible with video-capable iPods: "We support conversion from DVD to iPod directly. Some other software applications need two steps: (1) convert DVD to avi fromat and then (2) to convert output avi to iPod. That solution wastes lots of time. Our solution needs only a single step." The utility supports drag & drop as well as virtually all video file formats, including DVD, vob, DivX, XviD, MOV, rm, rmvb, MPEG, WMV, AVI to iPod video (MP4 format). It also supports various iPod video size including H.264 video: up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240 at 30 frames per sec. The software runs on Windows 9x, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server. and is available for $30.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX