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RocketRAID PCIe cards ship
HighPoint Technologies today announced that its RocketRAID controller cards are now shipping. The high-speed multi-channel SATA controllers offer multiple SATA II ports and support for multiple platforms which include Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, BSD, and Linux. HighPoint currently offers its RocketRAID 2320 (shown at right), 2240, 2224, and 2220 models, as well as its X4 external storage solution. Highpoint designed its controllers to meet the needs of both high end workstation and enterprise storage server environments as well as entry-level storage servers commonly found in small to medium size business IT environments (pricing was unavailable). [updated]
FunSkins for iPod video
Speck Products today began shipping its FunSkins for Apple's iPod video. Both Cloud FunSkins (pictured at right) and Grass FunSkins are now in stock and shipping, according to the company. "FunSkins are in!" said General Manager Tim Hickman. "They make great gifts- something really stylish, hip and attractive that you wouldn't necessarily buy for yourself, but anyone would love to have for their Pod." Cloud FunSkins are white, soft and puffy and include a screen protector and removable belt clip. Grass FunSkins are "spiky-cool" and are available in Green or Black and also ship with a screen protector and removable belt clip. Both are priced at $35. FunSKins fit both 30GB and 60GB "5G" iPod video models and are available for immediate purchase at the company's website; they will soon be available on retail shelves worldwide.
clearCase Sport for Nano
ezGear today introduced the clearCase Sport for Apple's iPod nano. The clearCase nano Sport is a crystal clear case that provides a full 360-degree view of the iPod as well as a removable neckstrap and a removable sport armband. The case is made of ultra-clear acrylic, has openings on the bottom for access to all ports, and an opening for the clickwheel for easy control. The top face of the clearCase flips open for easy installation and removal of the iPod. The form-fitted design offers a compact design with more rugged protection: "Our customers told us they wanted to use their iPod nano at the gym, but still wanted a strong sturdy case they could store and use their iPod in. Having a case that can also be used as a stand alone case was a bonus.." It is available now for $35.
Apple Store shipments
The Apple Store has posted its shipment schedule for the holidays. The final day for guaranteed Christmas delivery for shipment of both standard and popular custom configurations is December 19th, while orders upgraded with 2-3 day expedited delivery can be placed on December 20th and those with overnight delivery on December 21st. The final day for custom configurations with standard delivery is December 17th. Orders must be placed by 2 pm on the aforementioned dates. Apple is also offering refurbished 12-inch PowerBooks for $1,099 (1.33GHz/256MB, previous-generation) and $1,200 (512MB/1.5GHz), while upgraded versions with a SuperDrive and SuperDrive/80GB drive are $50 and $100 more, respectively.
Nano shortage fuels demand
Apple's iPod nano digital media player has been flying off shelves since its debut in September, and with the recent tidings of shortages as the holidays approach, some consumers have shown they are willing to pay over $350 for the 4GB devices. In an eBay auction which ended just before noon today, a brand-new 4GB iPod sold for $355--$105 above its $250 retail price. Several similar 4GB iPod nano auctions remained open with bids near and over $300, suggesting they could also close near the $350 mark.
ADC unveils free videos
The Apple Developer Connection (ADC) today unveiled seven in-depth videos, featuring Apple experts who offer software demos and practical insights, providing the guidance needed to accelerate a developers transition project to Intel-based Macs, which are expected to ship early next year. Video titles include "An Introduction to Universal Binaries," "Making Your Code Universal," "Building Universal Binaries with Xcode," "Compiling with GCC 4," "Xcode: Introduction and Importing Projects," "Xcode: Targets and Build Configurations," and "Xcode: Debugging and Project Settings." The free videos, as well as other resources are available at the Apple Developer Transition Resource Center.
Tiger leak lawsuit
Apple finally settled with the last person charged late last year with illegally distributing pre-releases of Mac OS X Tiger. CNET News.com says that the company has settled with the last of three men it alleged had leaked pre-release versions of Mac OS X Tiger onto the internet--reaching a pact with David Schwartzstein, who had been a member of an Apple developer group. "In December 2004, Apple sued three men, as well as unnamed others, in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The company said the men had posted developer versions of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger onto BitTorrent file-sharing servers ahead of the software's official release. It settled one of the cases this March and another in April."
Avernum 4 RPG released
Spiderweb Software today released Avernum 4, an epic fantasy role-playing adventure that thrusts players into the underworld nation of Avernum, whose shadowy lands are once again facing horrible peril. "Avernum is a nation underground. Its pale people live in endless miles of tunnels, pits, and gigantic caverns. Some come to Avernum to work the mines, while others come to hunt monsters for their treasure. Some risk life in the underworld because it is the only place a person can be free from the total rule of the Empire." The game features numerous characters, hundreds of side quests, traps, tricks, and treasures. Avernum 4 requires Mac OS 8.1 or later, and is available for $25, or $32 with a hint book included.
Mobile download service
A new wireless phone service, dubbed Amp'd Mobile, is set to launch tomorrow with a pricing structure that matches Apple's iTunes Music Store. The new service will offer over-the-air downloads to mobile subscribers for 99 cents per-track, beating out Sprint's current service which sells tracks for $2.50 each. "I think it's ludicrous to think you can sell a track at $2.50 when everyone else is selling it at 99 cents," said Amp'd Chief Executive Peter Adderton. The exec also noted that he will continue to sell music at the same rate until Apple changes its pricing. "I don't think that we can price music above the market, and right now Apple has set the market." The company will lose money with every song sold, however, because the record labels that are cooperating with Amp'd Mobile are getting the same rate they receive for their mobile music sales via Sprint, or roughly $1.25, according to a report from Forbes.com.
MicroGlove for iPod video
XtremeMac today announced its new MicroGlove case for the iPod video. The sporty case offers complete protection, featuring a neoprene and microsuede exterior in contrasting colors with integrated play-through protection for the screen and Click Wheel. The company says that MicroGlove's unique Velcro and strap closure secures any iPod and a removable carabiner allows users to clip it to their belt loop, backpack, or purse. When closed, MicroGlove provides access to the Dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch. It supports both the 30GB and 60GB iPod video models and will be available in 1-2 weeks for $25.
Apple's iPod has been used for music, audio, and now video playback, but in the future it could become a platform for variety of other applications, including as secure storage for receipts, plane ticket information, and more. Ingenico's research teams have developed the world's first terminal accepting a payment on an iPod. Utilizing its i5100 technology, the iPod-compatible payment gateway was demonstrated at the Cartes 2005 exhibition held November 15-17, 2005. The system allows users to make payments, offer receipt information, and transmit other information stored on the iPod via an FM transmitter. While the concept was workable, the company said that the technology may not become mainstream: "While this demonstration may not be a sign of what the future holds, it certainly proves Ingenico's ability to innovate for the benefit of its current and future customers."
Classic TV for iPod
iVideoBlast.com has launched its service to deliver classic Animation, TV shows, and movies to video iPod owners. The initial iVideoBlast.com library includes classic American video entertainment such as Popeye, Betty Boop, the Beverly Hillbillies, Andy Griffith, Looney Tunes, the Three Stooges, and more. Pricing should prove to be familiar to iTunes Music Store customers as animations and TV shows are priced at $1 each, while movies are priced at $2. "The new video iPod is one of the top selling products for Christmas 2005 but the iPod technology is only as good as the content available for it," says Justin Thorn, co-founder of iVideoBlast.com.
ezGear debuts ezSound 2.1
ezGear today debuted the ezSound 2.1 speaker system for Apple's iPod digital media player. The ezSound 2.1 system features two one-inch tweeters that provide high range stereo sound, while a "true" subwoofer that can be powered by batteries or AC power from a standard wall outlet produces bass tones. The device harbors an iPod dock with full music and data synchronization capabilities via FireWire or USB connections to a computer, and charges the iPod when powered by the included wall adapter. Portability is achieved with a compact design measuring 4 x 5.25 x 1.625-inches and a weight of less than 10 ounces. The ezSound 2.1 is available for $110 and is compatible with iPod nano, Video iPod, 4th generation iPod, iPod photo, HP iPod, 3rd generation iPod, and iPod mini.
Quark acquires ALAP
Quark--a provider of multi-channel communication and commerce management software solutions and creator of QuarkXPress--today announced that it has acquired the business and assets of A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP), a provider of extended technology for the publishing and graphic design industries. With the acquisition, Quark has acquired ALAP's products, adding functionality to the Quark product family. Additionally, ALAP founder Paul Schmitt has joined Quark as vice president of product development. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. "This is very exciting for both Quark and ALAP. There's a strategic fit between the Quark and ALAP product lines, and our customers will see immediate benefit from the closer collaboration in development on QuarkXPress 7 and future products," said Paul Schmitt, president of ALAP and Quark's new vice president of product development.
4th Dimension 2004.3
4D today released 4th Dimension 2004.3, its cross platform database program with enhanced data recovery capabilities. The update offers an integrated mirroring system, debug logging capabilities, and numerous bug fixes to the popular database solution. Data mirroring provides a sophisticated backup system for data redundancy and recovery, where administrators can utilize a second computer that mirrors the data on the operational database on the main computer. The mirror periodically updates itself to keep pace with the operational database, while the new and more flexible system provides developers increased programmatic control to fully automate database maintenance. The advanced Debug Log Recording, which provides a new level of testing and debugging, allows developers to retrieve detailed information such as execution time and memory, which is used when running 4D commands, form events, and methods. The update is free for 4D 2004 users, while 4D 2004.3 is available from $350 and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
Online video needs ads?
Apple changed history when it released the video-capable iPod and simultaneously added video content on-demand from ABC and Disney via its iTunes Music Store, sending advertising executives on a rampant search for marketing strategies to address new distribution models and monetize the content. Despite this, most media industry watchers believe a majority of the video services that will successfully lure cable subscribers, Web surfers and mobile device users will evolve with free video content containing advertisements, not necessarily the paid-for distribution that iTunes currently offers. T.S. Kelly, analyst with researchers Media Contacts said that by experimenting with new ways to package Web-based video with advertisements and other types of content--such as social networking communities--those companies should be able to make as much money, and someday even more, than they have generated using traditional strategies, according to a report from eWeek.com.
ScriptPak for iDVD 5
MacSpeech today released a new ScriptPak for iDVD 5, replacing the previous iDVD ScriptPak and installing over 50 commands into iListen. The new commands allow users to do virtually anything by voice in iDVD that coul dbe done using keyboard shortcuts or menus. "You can loop, apply themes, edit drop zones, and much more--all by voice," said Chuck Rogers of MacSpeech. "Adding this to iListen along with the iMovie HD ScriptPak we released last week gives Mac users complete power to create professional looking movies using the power of their voice." The ScriptPak for iDVD is available for $10, and requires iListen 1.6.5 or later. MacSpeech is also offering free shipping on selected purchases through the holidays, and every purchase entitles users to two free passes to the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, to be held in January.
Aperture, PB in Audi A6
In brief: Ars Technica has revisited its Aperture review, this time focusing on the workflow aspects of the application and RAW image rendering, rather than the comments made previously on the individual features/bugs.... The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group (LAFCPUG) along with leaders from the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and other FCP user groups will unite at the Mezzanine Club in San Francisco as part of the Macworld Expo to hear various speakers, including film editor and sound designer Walter Murch.... Cableyoyo.com is offering its gift box ($19) with three cableyoyos, a customizable gift card and an instruction sheet.... Dosch Design today began shipping a new 3D model collection ($120) of 14 detailed and fully textured models of well-known ship types.... Aspyr Media announced that the Mac version of The Sims 2 University expansion pack (pictured at right) is now shipping (and available from Amazon), after the game title went 'gold' earlier this week.
Car reviews on iTunes
Edmunds.com and Apple are now offering video car reviews online via the iTunes Music Store. The videos, offered as podcasts, can be viewed via iTunes, or on a new video iPod. The most recent videos include a comparison of the Pontiac Solstice to the Mazda MX-5, a look at three Corvette variants, a 2005 sport coupe comparison, a look at the 2006 BMW Z4, and more. Recently, it was also reported that Autobytel was offering its CarTV for iPod video users.
User puts Mac in Audi
Leftlane News today published several interesting Apple-related car news stories. The first involves one Mac user's installation of a Mac running Front Row in an Audi A6. The user, with the help of an Audi technician, managed to wire the computer directly into the car's navigation display screen, offering easy access to Front Row, as well as any other programs on the Mac -- such as GPS navigation software. Additionally, LLN notes that a Japanese company has begun offering a Mac mini mounting system for cars. The computer mounts in a standard stereo mounting bracket. Meanwhile, iPodNN notes that Edmunds.com is now offering its automobile video reviews as podcasts via the iTunes Music Store.
iPod minis an eBay hit
Apple's iPod mini--which the company discontinued during the month of September in favor of the new iPod nano--has seen almost 40,000 sales--both 4GB and 6GB models in every color--over eBay in the past three months. The eBay marketplace has 79 million registered users in the U.S., and is a real-time barometer of which products are "must-haves" during the holiday shopping season. The average eBay selling price for iPod mini was $194, while iPod nano boasted an average selling price of $221, seeing more than 16,000 sales on eBay since its introduction in September just three months ago.
Nano ScratchStopper pack
ArtWizz today announced its ScratchStopper pack for iPod nano, three transparent protective films that cover the front, back, and clickwheel of the Nano to prevent scratching. The ScratchStoppers are hard-coat films that appear to be invisible when applied and leave no residue when removed. A front film protects the entire surface of the iPod nano against scratches and other potential damages, and is pre-cut for a precise fit. Another film protects the Nano's clickwheel from grime, dirt and fingerprints, while the back film covers the entire back side of the media player. The pack includes a micro-fibre cloth to clean the Nano's surface before applying the films. The ScratchStopper pack for iPod nano contains two front films, two clickwheel films, and 2 back films for £10.
AAPL downgraded by BofA
Banc of America Securities today downgraded Apple Computer to 'neutral' from 'buy', making it the second downgrade on Wednesday morning. Banc America, echoing similar comments by Bear Stearns earlier in the morning, said that the downgrade was made primarily because of concerns over valuation--as the stock is up nearly 40 percent since the end of September and 133 percent since December 2004, according to MarketWatch: "Analyst Keith Bachman said he still likes the company's story, as its central processing unit business appears to be tracking well, but he feels the stock's reward vs. risk profile is now more balanced given its recent run up and longer-term concerns over investor expectations for the iPod market and operating margins."
yakForFree for Mac OS X
Yak today announced the launch of a Mac OS X version of its yakForFree Virtual VideoPhone software, which offers free member-to-member voice and video calls over the Internet using a high-speed connection. In addition, yakForFree offers several advanced phone features, including Audio Conference for 10, Unlimited Distributed Conferencing, Quad User Video Conference, Audio and Video Call Recording, Speaker Phone Mode, Call Transfer, Call Logs & Missed Call Indicator, Auto Answer & Conference and Do Not Disturb. Users can search the Yak Community directory listing for friends and, with the Buddy List feature, see which contacts are online at any given time. Users can upgrade to one of Yak's WorldCity VoIP paid services to make voice calls to traditional landline and cellular telephones worldwide at what it says are "exceptionally low rates."
Mac music record label
Mac music record label Simig Media Records has released its second and Peter Greenstone's debut album: "Something." The album spans multiple genres including alternative rock, acoustic solo guitar, and was created entirely using Apple's GarageBand software. Simig Media has placed several bonus tracks available online for free download, and the album itself can be purchased for $12 directly through the Simig Media website. "Something is the first album of music from Austin, Texas artist Peter Greenstone. Writing and recording music over the course of 2005, Peter has produced this eclectic collection at his home in Austin. The music ranges in style from upbeat rock to dark epic, from acoustic simplicity to massive, lush hybrids of orchestral, electronic, and "other" arrangements."
Most Admired CEOs in 2005
Apple's Steve Jobs was ranked No. 2 in a survey of The World's Most Admired CEOs of 2005. Jobs was second to Microsoft's Bill Gates, but ahead of Dell CEO Michael Dell (No. 4). The global study conducted by Burson-Marsteller with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) named the Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect as the world's most admired business leader, although Gates is not the CEO of Microsoft. The 2005 CEO Capital study asked more than 600 global business influentials in 65 countries to write in which CEO or chairman they admire most in the business world today.
Apple stock was downgraded to 'peer perform' from 'outperform' by Bear Stearns, following a string of upgrades and recent 'outperform' ratings by other analysts. The firm said the move was based on current valuation, but it maintained its estimates for the December quarter. Apple stock was down nearly 3 percent in pre-market trading. MarketWatch reports that "Bear Stearns said the valuation reflects much of the near-term optimism and is 7% above its year-end 2006 fair value, even though it's still encouraged by emerging opportunities, such as Intel-based Macs, iPod shuffle refresh and the emergence of iPod as a media platform." Piper Jaffray earlier this week maintained an 'outperform' rating on AAPL, despite the recent announcement of an iPod knockoff by Creative , noting that other companies were struggling to compete with the iPod pricing, the "cool factor" and Apple's user-friendly interface.
Objective updates Sharity
Objective Development today released Sharity 3.0, a new major release of their long standing SMB file system for Unix. Version 3.0 offers Windows domain integration (including Kerberos authentication and Active Directory browsing), Distributed File System access, manipulation of Access Control Lists, a German localization and many other improvements. Sharity mounts shares exported by Windows, Samba and other SMB/CIFS servers in the file system of Unix computers. It implements Resource Browsing similar to the Windows Network Neighborhood (Netbios Workgroups and Active Directory), NTLM, NTLMv2 and Kerberos authentication, Microsoft's Distributed File System (DFS), manipulation of Access Control Lists (ACLs).
Intel demos Yonah
Intel is not only prepping its next-generation chips for laptops, but also for PC-based home media centers, perhaps signaling the company's first step toward consumer/entertainment devices. Buoying circulating rumors of Apple's own desire to develop Mac mini with TiVo-like features, the company demonstrated its own version of the device featuring the new Yonah processor, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report says that Intel is attempting to build a brand called Viiv, which "will be applied to a new generation of PCs that are styled as home media centers. Besides supplying chips for the effort, Intel is trying to persuade media companies and hardware makers to adapt their products to work together, and identify the offerings it has certified with a Viiv logo."
iMac G5 antenna
QuickerTek today debuted a new antenna that boosts wireless connectivity for iMac G5 users. The new external antenna is an iMac 5.5 dBi Omni Directional Antenna, which offers iMac G5 users "the best all-around antenna solution for networks where a directional antenna limits AirPort signal strength and speed," according to the company. The new iMac G5 Antenna offers 5.5dBi of RF power, delivering up to three times the distance--over the stock antenna--for wireless networking: "It also means that the signal will also allow a full speed connection - so that not only will users be able to use more networks, but also use them at the highest speeds possible." The $100 kit includes a three-foot coax cable to connect the iMac to an antenna that mounted in remote location to maximize signal strength.
PowerBook screen problems
A growing number of users are complaining about screen problems on Apple's new high-resolution PowerBooks, including the sudden appearance of "horizontal lines". MacNN readers and posts by users Apple's support forums describe the appearance of inexplicable horizontal lines on some 15-inch PowerBook G4 displays. "I just ordered one of the new 15" Apple PowerBooks with higher res displays, writes one MacNN reader. "Immediately I noticed that there were horizontal lines running across the display. On certain colors its more noticeable than others." Several threads in the PowerBook section of Apple's forum contain discussion about the issue. Some possible fixes have been suggested, but so far affected users have had only limited success. One user says the lines are "hardly visible," and require close inspection to notice. But another owner says the lines on his machine can be seen "from a considerable distance." Similar reports are echoed by many new PowerBook consumers; however, Apple has yet to provide PowerBook owners with a solution.
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