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Iridient Digital today released RAW Developer 1.4, a major update to its RAW image conversion application for photographers using Mac OS X. Version 1.4 features over 50 new features, a wide variety of improvements and support for 20+ new camera models including the Canon EOS 5D, Nikon D50, Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 5D and Olympus E-500. It also includes significantly expanded and revised documentation, according to the developer. RAW Developer 1.4, a free update for all currently registered users, is available for $100 with a special $30 discount available through the end of the year. It requires Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later and a PowerPC G4 or G5 processor.
Faronics released Deep Freeze Mac 2.0 with ARD integration, its all-new edition of workstation administratin and security software for Mac OS X. The software allows administrators to offer a completely non-restrictive working environment for users where "there is no need to be concerned about system misconfiguration, corruption, or malicious damage to a Mac OS X system:" a simple restart eradicates all changes down to the last byte and ensures that the standard system configuration is available at all times, according to the company. "With Deep Freeze Mac, all changes to a machine are temporary for that working session, including the installation of new software, removal of programs, renaming or deleting files and folders, and application preference configuration." Pricing starts at near $30 near per CPU with discounts for education and more.
Steve Wozniak -- co-founder of Apple and a man many consider to be the father of the personal computer -- said in a recent interview that he's not impressed with a lot of the software from major companies like Apple and Microsoft. "The big companies, Microsoft, Apple and AOL, they tend to turn out the crappiest products, you know, software-wise," he said. "I get third-party stuff and it's almost always just better, cleaner and more understandable. It works better and does what you'd expect." Woz would like to see companies take a more humanist approach to software design. "I would try to take us back to the early Macintosh, the failed Lisa-type thinking of philosophies that the human is the center of the world and the computer gets designed around that person, with very good understanding of here is how people live their lives."
In brief: macpacificpoker.com is bringing online gambling to Mac and Linux users, offering games such as Texas Holdem, Blackjack, Craps, Slots, and more.... The New Jersey Final Cut Pro (FCP) Users Group is set to present an in-depth demonstration of the Panasonic HVX200 P2-based camcorder on December 15th in Hobart Hall at William Patterson University, Wayne NJ.... Point In Space today announced its sponsorship of the upcoming Lasso Summit 2006 and FM 2006 conferences.... Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today lowered the prices of its DLO AutoPod Car Charger for iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini by 33 percent, from $30 to $20.
Zend Technologies is shipping Zend Studio 5, its full life cycle development solution that allows developers to easily and more effectively create, test, and deploy PHP applications. Zend Studio is available in standard, professional, and enterprise editions, all of which include support for PHP 5 as well as an easy switching mechanism allowing users to move between PHP 4 and PHP 5 for full application development. The software also integrates with Zend Platform 2 to provide a complete development and deployment solution for business-critical, PHP-based applications. Zend Studio 5 Enterprise Edition provides quick identification of run-time problems and gives developers instant access to source code, reducing the time required to fix and test projects. Zend Studio 5 standard is available for $100, while the professional edition is priced at $300. The enterprise edition is costs $500 for a one-year license, or $1500 for a perpetual license.
Electric Butterfly today released UniHelp 2, a help system for REALbasic that provides an easy-to-use solution for developers that want to add online help to cross-platform applications. Version 2 adds support for Linux, HTML tables, inline images, and the font tag. Other new features include a new XML-based table of contents, a new index tab, and more. UniHelp 2 requires no additional plug-ins or classes, components are simply dragged into the REALbasic project folder. Developers can then create HTML help pages and customize their configuration settings with the free UniHelp edition of HelpLogic. UniHelp 2 is available for $50, and requires REALbasic 5.5 or later. The update is free for registered Unihelp customers.
iSkin today introduced its limited edition iSkin Vibes-tokidoki iPod protector series, designed to be a stylish solution for the fashion conscious individual. The protectors are available in a number of different designs that feature Japanese inspired characters and scenes for both the iPod mini and iPod shuffle. iSkin Vibes iPod protectors are constructed from high-quality polymer to safeguard the iPod from bumps and scratches. The tokidoki iPod protectors are available in eight various patterns for the Mini, with nine distinct styles offered for the iPod shuffle. iPod mini tokidoki protectors ship with an included belt clip and lanyard for $20, while iPod shuffle tokidoki protectors are priced at $15.
The Omni Group today released OmniGraffle 4.1. This new version features a number of bug fixes, improved stability, updated localizations, and readies the application for compatibility with future Mac hardware based on Intel processors. OmniGraffle is a diagramming and drawing application, offering a streamlined user interface as well as many features under the categories of brainstorming, drafting, import and export, and document management. OmniGraffle Professional 4.0 has all of the features in 4.0 "standard" edition, plus a powerful toolset for advanced document creation and editing options. The standard edition is $80, while the professional edition is $150.
DivX today released DivX 6 for Mac, an update to code and software for video compression. The digital media software suite lets users easily create and play highly compressed, high-quality DivX video, which is compatible with millions of consumer electronics devices. DivX 6 for Mac includes the DivX 6 codec for QuickTime and the new DivX Converter, a one-step video creation application that represents the first official stand-alone DivX encoding program for the Mac platform. DivX Converter is a lightweight, drag-and-drop application that enables users to create high-quality DivX videos from a variety of sources in a single step. DivX videos created using the Converter can then be played back on any DivX Certified consumer electronics device. The DivX codec is available for free as part of the 15-day DivX Converter demo download. Registration is $20.
Hoodman has launched its ThermalRest heated keyboard wrist pad, designed to keep the users hands warm and limber. The ThermalRest offers fully adjustable heat control that allows users to customize the exact amount of warmth needed. The device is powered by a standard 110-volt wall outlet, but draws only 20 watts of power. The wrist pad is CSA certified to UL safety standards, and is available for $60 from thermalrest.com.
Walt Mossberg's review of Kodak's "EasyShare" software for photo organization and editing says that free software and iPhoto are the two best applications available for consumers. Mossberg notes that software offered by hardware manufacturers is not usually up to par; however, EasyShare appears to be the exception to the rule. As expected, users turn to Apple's iPhoto for their needs, but the software is not always free, as the latest version costs $80 as part of iLife. It is, however, bundled free with all new Macs: "if you use an Apple Macintosh, you're in much better shape, because Apple provides a very good built-in photo-organizing program called iPhoto." The downside is that iPhoto is not integrated with any of the popular online photo sites that offer storage and sharing of pictures--although it is integrated with Apple's paid .Mac service--and that most people use Microsoft Windows--not Mac OS X. [subscription required]
Apple and other online music companies along with music labels are facing a threat from satellite radio providers, according to The Wall Street Journal: "The beleaguered music industry faces a new, unexpected threat in its battle to protect copyrights and royalties: the arrival in stores of new satellite-radio receivers that mimic iPods in their ability to store and organize hundreds of songs. Fast-growing subscription radio services, offered by XM Satellite and Sirius provide hundreds of channels of music and talk radio to people who buy special radios and pay a $13 monthly subscription fee. Some satellite-radio receivers already allow listeners to record a few hours of programming." Their growing popularity also threatens the iPod-iTunes ecosystem. [subscription required]
Barsark today released a new version of the Navicast Web TV system: Navicast 3.1 delivers new new features such as automatically generated thumbnail images for each movie, all new full screen mode, faster movie uploads, improved UI and more. The company said that the updated Navicast software now offers a new full screen mode right from the HTML based channel, allowing users to enjoy movies in full screen: "It's absolutely stunning how beautiful Navicast looks on a big screen plasma TV or projector." With Navicast eZender, users can easily set thumbnail images for each movie, offering users a preview in the Navicast Channels movie list. Host packages are available starting at $160 per month.
iSkin today launched the iSkin eVo3, its latest silicone protector designed specifically for Apple's fifth-generation iPod with video capability. The iSkin eVo3 protects the iPod, enhancing the aesthetics of the device while maintaining complete functionality and control access. The skin is constructed from 100 percent pure high-grade silicone, fitting snugly and guarding the iPod against scratches, bumps, and moisture while featuring a new ultra-clear, scratch-resistant face and screen protector. The iSkin eVo3 also features shock-absorbing capability and a micro-textured body that provides an anti-slip gripping surface. The skin ships with a removable rotary belt clip that allows users to position the iPod in various ways, and rear heat-release pores keep the device cool during hard disk mode or when watching videos. The iSkin eVo3 is available in a variety of colors for $35.
Apple has unveiled a promotional video on its website depicting highlights of the NBC Universal programming, which was recently added to the iTunes Music Store. The promo video hints that Saturday Night Live and Bravo programming may soon be available on iTunes, reinforcing comments by NBC executives that indicated more iTunes content was on the way to help fight digital piracy. iTunes users have already welcomed the new NBC programming with open arms, placing nine of the network's shows in the top 20 downloads with episodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Office, Surface, and the Sci-Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica.
Among the strangest revelations about Sony's XCP copy protection system is that itself infringes on the copyrights to several open source software projects, according to Freedom to Tinker. In once case, it was revealed that XCP’s code was copied from a program called DRMS, which was released under the terms of the GPL open source license. DRMS is a software program designed to break the copy protection on songs sold in Apple’s iTunes Music Store. It turns out the use of DRMS code may be part of an effort to make XCP compatible iTunes and the iPod by reverse-engineering Apple's FairPlay DRM. In 2004, RealNetworks attempted something similar, but Apple responded with legal threats and patches to iTunes.
iPlayMusic today announced that it will make a series of 35 beginner guitar video lessons available free of charge to iTunes users. All 35 lessons can be downloaded and played in iTunes and on video-enabled iPods. Using the iPlayMusic video method of instruction, the series of lessons provides a fun way to master guitar basics and learn to play songs without reading music. The company also announced that its entire line of video-based guitar learning products are now available for download to the Mac, PC and iPod.
Creative today launched its iPod video knockoff, offering a virtually identical look and feel of the iPod video with a few more features and longer battery life. Creative's new Zen Vision:M player sports a virtually identical footprint to the iPod video and a nearly indentical visual interface; it includes a 30GB drive, rechargeable battery that claims a 4-hour life for video playback and a 14-hour life for music playback; the player supports MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA, DRM) and WAV audio formats. For video, it supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2/4, WMV 9, Motion JPEG, DivX 4/5, and XviD video files. It also supports sync of Outlook calendars and To-Do lists. The player features a connector to allow third-parties to develop accessories for the product. The Vision:M is expected to ship in either black, white or green later this month for $330. At the launch, Creative's CEO said it would aggressively pursue other companies, including Apple, that had duplicated its patented interface. [site not updated]
Apple may face a possible patent lawsuit from one of its largest competitors, Creative. At the launch of its next-generation iPod video-like portable video player, the compay's CEO told the BBC he plans to "aggressively" pursue a US patent that Creative owns on a system used to navigate music on digital players. The report follows speculation that the company would seek royalties from Apple after it said it had won a patent in the US for "the way music tracks are organized and navigated on a player through a hierarchical system using three or more screens." The new video-enabled Zen Vision: M player, positioned to take on the iPod video, look remarkably similar to Apple's iPod designs and offers more features, including an FM radio and a built-in mic and the company has other offerings with iPod-like product names, such as the Zen Sleek Photo and the Zen Nano Plus.
Maxum Development has announced Rumpus FTP 4.3, a significant update to its internet file transfer server for Macintosh. Version 4.3, released today, includes dozens of updates, and several major new capabilities, including extended character support and bug fixes. Improving remote administration functions, the Rumpus control application can now be used to monitor access, define users and adjust settings of a Rumpus server from any desktop Mac. In addition, Rumpus now automatically checks for common problems, such as server conflicts and firewall contention, and tells administrators how to resolve them, while a new "assistant" can help admins backup Rumpus settings, including preferences, user accounts, and other configuration files. Rumpus 4.3 Standard Edition ($250) is available as a $80 upgrade from any previous version, while upgrades to the Professional Edition ($400) for larger organizations and ISPs are $130.
In Brief: AssistiveWare has lowered the price of its TouchStrokes on-screen keyboard for graphic designers and touch screen kiosks by up to 50 percent, offering it for prices starting at $60.... The Portland Mac Filmmakers' User Group December meeting, which takes place on December 13th, will feature a look at professional photography solutions using Apple's Aperture software.... iTunes Signature Maker is 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 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.... XtremeMac today introduced TuffWrap Accent silicon case (pictured at right) for Apple's iPod nano, which will ship later this month.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ