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PDF Enhancer 3.1
Apago today released PDF Enhancer 3.1, a powerful production tool for PDF document assembly and preparation tasks. PDF Enhancer streamlines the creation of PDF documents by automating the most common preparation tasks, including assembly, optimization, stamping, cropping, imposition and color correction, which previously required several applications and extensive manual labor. The latest upgrade, brings support for Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger," font repair, new color correction options and digital signatures. Pricing is $200 (Standard), and $400 (Professional), while the server editions are $1000 (basic), and $2,000 (advanced). PDF Enhancer 3.1 is available as a free upgrade to customers who previously purchased PDF Enhancer 3.0
ezTrip FM TransCharger
ezGear is now shipping the ezTrip FM TransCharger for Apple's iPod. The ezTrip, dubbed a "TransCharger" by the compay, is a combination FM Transmitter and car charger that offers an LCD display with access to all FM frequencies between 97.7 and 107.9. The small, compact device includes a coiled cable to keep wires neat, and charges the iPod during use. The ezTrip draws its power from the car DC socket, which the company says provides a stronger signal than other FM transmitters powered from the iPod--resulting in a clearer signal and reduced interference from local radio stations.
Swirls for PS, Iconfactory
In brief: Iconfactory today released two free icon sets, "Happy Holidays 2005" and "QuickPix 2005".... Printer and Publisher Rheintaler Druckerei und Verlag has switched from WoodWing Smart Connection Enterprise to the K4 publishing system to produce the magazine "Marketing and Kommunikation," as well as its dossiers.... The Blue Technologies Group today announced that there is still time to enter its post NaNoWriMo lottery, where users can win an iPod nano.... Graphicxtras has released "Swirls," ($6) 100 custom shapes for Photoshop as a royalty-free download.
iTunes 6, iPod guide
Peachpit Press today announced its Visual QuickStart Guide for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows platforms that offers step-by-step, task-based instructions to get users up and running with Apple's iTunes Music Store and iPod. The book--which contains visual aids--explains how to download music, videos, audiobooks, and podcasts; create and share iMixes and on-the-go play lists; watch videos on the iPod and other devices; burn custom CDs and DVDs; add music to your other iLife projects; sync your iPod to your computer; understand 'Smart Play lists' and AAC encoding; and more. The book is available for $20.
MTV, Microsoft join forces
MTV Networks and Microsoft are joining forces to develop an online music service dubbed URGE, set to launch early next year which will compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store. Microsoft will integrate the new service into the next iteration of its Windows Media Player software--which comes bundled with Microsoft Windows--leveraging its dominance in the operating system market to push the music service into homes and businesses around the world. The service will offer over two million tracks, available individually or as part of a subscription package, and will feature music over online radio. Pricing was unavailable, but Jason Hirschhorn, MTV's chief digital officer said users can expect to pay different tiers for individual downloads, subscriptions, and moving rented tracks to a portable music player, according to the Associated Press. Apple's iPod currently reigns over the digital music market with about 75 percent market share.
Clear video iPod cases
Contour Design today rolled out its iSee-video crystal clear iPod cases for Apple's 30GB and 60GB video iPods, featuring unobstructed viewing in a slim-line snap-on design. The cases are constructed from impact resistant polycarbonate to protect the LCDs, and ensure both menus and videos are seen clearly. Openings for the clickwheel and hold switch keep all of the control surfaces easily accessible without compromising protection, and the cases provide clearance for headphones and dock connectors. iSee-video crystal cases are expected to be available in the second week of December for $26, and ship with a detachable belt clip that provides a secure, comfortable fit.
iPod transmitter kit
Scosche is offering an iPod Car Transmitter and Receiver Kit, allowing wireless integration of an iPod with a car stereo using Bluetooth technology. The device offers digital streaming audio and a 30-foot range, negating the need to be tethered to the dashboard with costly corded systems or lower quality FM systems. Installation consists of tapping power and ground, then plugging the supplied RCA's into the auxiliary port on any name brand stereo. The device includes all iPod cradles, a charger for the iPod, the transmitter, power cables, and audio cables. Scosche's iPod Car Transmitter and Receiver Kit is available for $250, and is compatible with all iPod models including iPod nano and the new video iPod.
MacPOSX POS app released
Crossman Software today released MacPOSX, its point-of-sale (POS) application for Mac OS X that offers integration with AuthPayX credit card processing software. MacPOSX Pro offers inventory management, UPC scanning, barcode printing, and web-based selling features for small to medium-sized businesses. MacPOSX Pro is a mature suite of point-of-sale software subsystems that harbor features such as an optional touch screen interface and display poles which are available in the traditional Macintosh user-friendly manner. MacPOSX allows users to sell or find items by using the item ID, SKU, UPC, style, manufacturer number, and more. The application also supports the latest in barcode scanning technology, USB printers, and credit card authorization software. MacPOSX is available for $180 (system requirements were unavailable).
PJ on iPod Competition
Investment research firm PiperJaffray today said it believes the only way competitors can steal market share away from the iPod is to price their devices below Apple's -- and so far that is not happening. Creative, for example, has priced its 30GB video iPod competitor at $330 -- 10 percent more than the iPod. While it may offer more features, Piper says consumers will stick pick the iPod for its ease of use and "cool" factor. "We believe that non-iPod devices must compete on price to gain adoption, but Apple has such massive relative shipment volume with the iPod that other MP3 player manufacturers are not able to replicate the economies of scale achieved by Apple. We believe this reality will allow Apple to sell iPods at the lowest prices in the market, thus retaining the iPod's pole position for years." The firm also said in its report today that it expects 2006 to be a stronger year for Apple both in terms of its iPod line and Mac products (with Intel machines just around the corner).
Mac Store opening near MS
Computer Stores NW--owners of the regional chain known as The Mac Store--is set to open a new retail store just three miles from the world headquarters of Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. "With the popularity of the iPod, and the resulting growing popularity of the Mac and Apple in general, we thought it was time to see Redmond with a Mac Store in its backyard," said Kevin Anderson, CEO of Computer Stores NW. "Despite the presence of Microsoft as a major employer in that area, we know there are many Mac devotees in their ranks, and of course the area has great demographics for the iPod and all its accessories." With seven retail/service stores, The Mac Store chain is a longtime local Mac devotee hangout in the northwest, and has become the largest Apple Specialist in the U.S., a special designation given to Apple-centric outlets that achieve specific goals and guidelines for the reselling of Apple products.
Auto videos on iTunes
Edmunds.com, a resource for automotive information, announced today that 21 of its automotive videos are now offered as free podcasts on Apple's iTunes Music Store. Edmunds.com also announced that Nissan became its first ever podcast advertiser, developing a 15-second "teaser" advertisement that introduces Edmunds.com's video podcasts. According to the company, the advertisement demonstrates the excitement of driving Nissan's exciting and popular 350Z, concluding with a shot of the Z's gear shift and the suggestion: "For another rush, try this little hand-held device." The podcasts feature road test reports on vehicles as diverse as the Lexus IS350, the Honda Civic Si, the Nissan Titan and the Porsche Boxster S. In addition, vehicle comparisons include the BMW 330i vs. the Audi A4 and the Mazda MX-5 vs. the Pontiac Solstice.
TMG Apple training center
The Millennium Group and DeVry University today announced the grand opening of TMG's Apple Authorized Training Center at the DeVry University facility. The center delivers Apple's proprietary developed courses utilizing state-of-the-art equipment including iBooks, Xserve servers, and wireless mobile labs. The center is also staffed with Apple certified trainers, and a catalog of Apple training courses are offered to prepare students for various Apple certifications. TMG's Apple Authorized Training Center is located at Ft. Lauderdale Center, 600 Corporate Drive Suite 200, Ft. Lauderdale. Current courses include Mac OS 200 Server Essentials v10.4 ($2,000) and Mac OS 101 Support Essentials v10.4 ($1,500).
Design Intuition 1.5
Gizmolab today introduced Design Intuition 1.5, its woodworking design tool for Mac OS X designed to be powerful enough for professionals but simple and intuitive enough for everyday home use. Version 1.5 includes a completely rewritten 3D rendering engine, offering all of the familiar editing capabilities of the 2D view in full 3D. Changes to objects are made throughout the project in real-time, upholding the idea that all visible information can be trusted. Objects automatically align to each other, and to the nearest precision grid line which relieves much of the tedium that accompanies aligning objects. The software also harbors a library of smart objects from which users can create a variety of cabinetry, furniture and rudiments of remodeling. Design Intuition 1.5 is available for $180, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later.
Video encoding to iPods
bitMAX, a Hollywood based digital archiving management company, now offers output of all content stored by clients to the new Apple's iPod video. Using a single click, BAM (bitMAX asset manager) users can output content to be played on this new portable device to be shared company-wide. "This natural offshoot of digital media distributionanswers the need for companies to easily and cost effectively distribute and share their media electronically at a high enough quality that provides a new 'punch' to their marketing arsenal," according to the company. It is available to all users effective immediately and requires only that they have QuickTime 7 and the latest version of iTunes installed. The product is compatible with both Mac and PC platforms.
AAS updates Lounge Lizard
AAS today released Lounge Lizard EP-3 Electric Piano for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. The update includes an extensive new preset library, a new high-end effect section, refined modeling of the tone and tine bars, new and improved pickup modeling, and support for micro-tuning. The application offers classic electric piano sounds such as Rhodes, Wurlitzer, RMI, and Hohneralso, while supporting DXi, VST, AudioUnits and RTAS (Mac OS only) plug-in formats. Lounge Lizard EP-3 is available for $250, while the upgrade for existing users who purchased Lounge Lizard prior to September 1st is priced at $50. Upgrading users who purchased the software after September 1st can upgrade for free.
iSnug Nano Armband
HandStands today announced the arrival of the iSnug Nano Armband, its latest armband specifically designed for Apple's iPod nano digital music player. The armband features a leather glove that wraps around a Velcro closure, and was created for Nano owners seeking protection while exercising. The carrier is lightweight and comfortable, securely fitting the iPod nano. The iSnug Nano Armband is available in black from HandStands' website for $20.
Adobe InCopy CS2, TechTool
Adobe InCopy CS2 4.0.2 (free) provides key fixes in the areas of text and fonts, inline graphics, German hyphenation, performance, SING glyphlets, text import, and others. The installer also includes the updates from the original InCopy CS2 4.0.1 update and the Central European Dictionary update (posted in May 2005), which provides hyphenation and spelling support for seven Central European languages.
[Download - 36.7MB]
TechTool Pro 4.1.1 ($100) helps recover, repair, and optimize hard disks. TechTool Pro 4 features a suite of S.M.A.R.T tests (Self Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology) that take advantage of modern hard drives. New features include faster volume structure testing/repair, faster directory maintenance rebuilds, updated eDrive creation and removal routines, and more. [Download - 19.9]
Typinator 1.2 ($20) updates the typing automation software, adding insertion of formatted text. The application enables users to rapidly insert text or graphics into any type of application, and provides an easy-to-use graphical interface. The update also restores the clipboard content after insertion, and offers a number of other new features, improvements and fixes. [Download - 500KB]
Clone X 2.0.2 ($50) is a disk copy utility for Mac OS X that can copy an entire disk to another disk or a set of CDs/DVDs, offers restoration features, and can create bootable CDs. Version 2.0.2 adds Mac OS X 10.4.3 compatibility, as well as the latest machines for the creation of Tiger's bootable CD. [Download - 2.1MB]
WebcamTweaker 1.0 ($15) is "the iSight ultimate application," recording video messages or shooting pictures to be seen with an iPod or sent by email to friends. The software offers effects such as Bump, Glass, Pinch, Bloom, Crystallize, Dots, Halftone, Pixel, Pointilize, Thermal, TV, and more. WebcamTweaker also provides the ability to create custom effects using Quartz Composer composition. [Download - 1.7MB]
MacMediaSift 1.0 (free) is a tool to organize Avid media files, sifting and copying them relative to a project or an Avid bin. The design of MacMediaSift is conservative; it will not erase a file, nor will it overwrite files which are already present at the destination. This latest version offers a bug fix related to NilObjectExceptions when sorting by date. [Download - 1.3MB]
Wrappers debuts iPod cases
Wrappers today launched its first cover that provides Apple's iPod with 100 percent protection, designed like a pillow case. The 100 percent covers tuck the iPod away when not in use for complete protection, and are available in "Smokey Black," (shown at right) "Sunset," and "Otter Grey" colors. The covers are soft to the touch, machine washable, and fire retardant. Covers also use a new rubber coated lining that cushions the iPod without adding bulk. 100 percent covers are priced at £12, fitting iPod video, iPod photo, and iPod mini.
Auto FX, free iSticky pads
In brief: Auto FX has announced its Mystical Painter Bundle, offering Mystical Lighting and Corel Painter bundled together for $200.... HandStands is offering free iSticky Pads, its iPod accessory that secures an iPod to the dashboard of a car using no magnets or adhesives.... Maccelerando.com today made its debut, a website for Mac-using classical music lovers strictly limited to the classical music/Macintosh-related information.... Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today announced that it received a CNET Editors' Choice award for its DLO TransPod Car Solution for Apple's iPod and iPod nano.... Cucusoft has released DVD to iPod Converter Build 08, its DVD to iPod converter software for the Video iPod.... iDevGames today announced a reminder that voting for the "OMG Cup" game programming contest ends December 15th.... Meetro--a proximity-based online social network service--has launched a private alpha test and is distributing copies to the first few hundred individuals (contact email@example.com: users must include the geographic region where they reside).
The Sims 2 University
Aspyr Media today announced that Mac version of The Sims 2 University, an expansion pack to EA's popular The Sims 2, has been declared Gold Master and is expected to begin shipping tomorrow, December 14th. The Sims 2 University, the first expansion pack available for the The Sims, allows players to explore a whole new stage of life as young adults and introduces college-related wants and fears that are ultimately tied to their Sims' social life and academic goals. It introduces influence gameplay allowing players to earn influence points to have other Sims do certain tasks for them such as homework, term papers, cleaning up the fraternity house or even pulling pranks on other Sims. Players will be able to choose from one of 11 majors and open up 4 new career paths as they make their way through University. It requires the full version of The Sims 2 ($45) to play and is available for pre-order for $35.
iPod mini 8GB upgrade
MacNN reader Jason Parry has managed to upgrade his iPod mini to 8 gigabytes of storage. He upgraded the now-discontinued music player by installing an 8GB "Seagate Photo Hard Drive," which sells for around $200-$250. Jason recommends that users attempting the hard drive upgrade get a battery upgrade at the same time from Sonnet Technology, as the company includes tools and an instructional video to aid in getting the Mini open. Parry also provides instructions for restoring the iPod's operating system after installing the new drive. With the hard drive and battery upgrades, "Mini enthusiasts can double the capacity and battery life of the iPod mini and extend its usefulness arguably past that of Apple's replacement, the Nano," writes Parry.
Mister Retro product line
Mister Retro today unveiled its new Machine Wash Filters Volume III, Snappy Hour Invitation Kit, and Vegas Cowgirl Serigraph. Machine Wash Volume III ($32) is the follow-up to the Machine Wash collection with 60 new effects that can be used to age, weather, texturize and distress images, bringing the total amount of Machine Wash effects to 180 among all three volumes. Snappy Hour Invitation Kit ($32) is a deluxe design kit that features a combination of vector images and retro fonts designed to be used to create invitations, greeting cards, and more. Vegas Cowgirl Serigraph ($60) is a four-color silk screened serigraph printed on heavyweight French Kraft paper measuring 11 x 20-inches, with each piece bearing a signature and numbered by the artist with a limited quantity of 150 available.
Traktor DJ Studio 3 demo
Native Instruments (NI) has released a demo version of Traktor DJ Studio 3, its next-generation mixing software that offers a host of powerful new features, including four playback decks, a suite of performance effects, an analog-modeled mixer section, a customizable user interface and more. Traktor DJ Studio 3 also allows DJs to browse and purchase the latest club music releases from within the software by giving access to the full catalog of Beatport, the leading online store for club music. It features 4 fully-featured playback decks (including an optional 2 deck mode), improved MIDI/hotkey setup, advanced mouse control, and improved user interface, a new 'Search by category' feature, new Professional tempo-synced effects, and a "perfectly emulated" Allen&Heath Xone:92 4-channel club mixer, including its adjustable cross-fader curve, cross-fader assignable filters, high-end EQs and 'Cue logic' toggling automatically between decks. The full version is $280 and runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9.
Now Up-to-Date v5.1 update
Now Software today introduced Now Up-to-Date & Contact 5.1 for Macintosh. The integrated calendar and address book allows users to track calendar and contacts as well as share them with others, including business colleagues, family, and friends. Version 5.1 provides a wide selection of enhancements and improvements, including upgraded web publishing and networking, shared keywords across categories, and improved reliability. Version 5.1 includes support for multiple network interfaces in the Now Server Manager, updated web publishing, enhanced calendar display and keyboard shortcuts throughout the product, as well as many performance updates and fixes. Upgrades are $50 for v4 owners and free to v5.0 owners; the full version is $120 (electronic). It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4.
Pelican hard case for iPod
Dr. Bott today announced that is now carrying the Pelican Products i1030 iPod case for Apple's iPod video and iPod mini. The i1030 is a "tough," watertight case with a molded rubber compartment that fits Apple's iPod (3rd and 4th generations), iPod mini, and the new iPod video. A separate cavity holds the USB or FireWire cable, while "the lid has plenty of space to organize music-lovers' earphones and AC adapter." Boasting Pelican's trademarked "Dual Band" design, the i1030 has a high impact polycarbonate shell that stands up to punishing conditions, according to the company. The strong latch with stainless steel pins keeps the case closed after drops and hard knocks, and the shock-absorbing liner doubles as a watertight seal. It also features the pressure-balancing Gore-Tex valve to keep moisture out and to make it easier to open the case after altitude changes. It is available in white or yellow for $40.
Amnesty Widget Browser
Mesa Dynamics today released Amnesty Widget Browser 1.1, its Mac OS X utility for running Dashboard widgets directly on the desktop. Version 1.1 delivers a new transformation feature that allows users to change the size and rotation of any widget. In addition to providing a Dashboard-like environment for Mac OS X Panther users, the software allows users to run Dashboard Widgets outside of Apple's system environment. Widgets loaded in Amnesty Widget Browser maintain their own preferences and feature expanded capabilities such as adjustable window level (desktop, standard or floating) and opacity (transparency). The application also allow users to arrange Widgets into multiple virtual workspaces that can be called to the screen at any time, via hot key or menu.
Apple hurting music sales?
Apple may be holding back the music business, according to a new BusinessWeek column that notes iPod sales--nearly 10 million or so expected this holiday season--have not driven sales of digital music. Apple's closed iPod/iTunes system may preventing the market from growing as fast it could because it limits buying choices--at least according to its competitors such as Napster and RealNetworks. Citing figures from Nielsen SoundScan, the report says that average weekly download sales as of Nov. 27 fell 0.44% vs. the third quarter. "As has been true since the start, iPod owners mostly fill up their players from their own CD collections or swipe tunes from file-sharing sites. Now legal downloads may be losing their luster. ...Says independent media analyst Richard Greenfield: 'We're not seeing the kind of dramatic growth we should given the surge in sales of iPods and other MP3 players.'"
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