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SportWrap for iPod video
XtremeMac has released a new version of its popular SportWrap case that supports all third, fourth, and fifth generation iPods. "Whether you're biking, jogging, walking or working out, SportWrap for iPod makes it easy to take your tunes with you. SportWrap features a moisture-resistant, play-through design and can be comfortably worn on your upper arm or forearm." It features an adjustable Velcro strap that holds the iPod securely in place and an elastic loop keeps excess earbud cord out of the way. Dual openings accommodate the position of the headphone jack on the 3G, 4G iPod and iPod with video. The company has not announced a ship date, but the item is available for pre-order from the company's website for $30.
Simon, Adium, Corona
Dejal Simon 2.1 ($30) updates the site monitoring tool for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. It checks sites for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, HTML reports, or other means. Users can use the application to track updated sites, and to alert you when an important site goes down or recovers. Version 2.1 adds HTML reporting, View Options, and several other improvements. [Download - form]
Adium 0.87 updates the multi-protocol instant messaging client that supports AIM, Yahoo, Jabber, MSN, and other popular services. The popular messgaing client offers a plethora of options for customization of buddy lists and the messaging window. Version 0.87 improves encryption, fixe several bugs, adds localizations, and more. [Download - 8.8MB]
PhoneDirector 1.08 ($30) brings support for the Nokia 7380 to the Mac OS X connectivity application for many Nokia phones, including the Nokia 6230, 6230i, 7280, 7380, 8800 mobile phones. PhoneDirector supports Phonebook, SMS, Gallery, Calendar and Wap management of Nokia phones. It supports Bluetooth connections and requires Mac OS X 10.3.4 or later. [Download - 6.4MB]
Wave Editor 1.1 ($250) is an audio editor for Mac OS X 10.4, supporting CoreAudio and Quartz as well as "layered audio". Version 1.1 allows users to slice audio into sections, move them around, assign names, colors, fades, etc. It includes an advanced Inspector, statistical analyzer, audio processing, three advanced meters, full support for Audio Units, bezier curve-based fades, support for MP3 and AAC, portable document templates and more. [Download - 1.9MB]
Corona 2.1 ($65) provides invoicing, purchasing, payroll and general form entry with its already familiar check register, account chart features and full range of accounting reports. It offers popup selectors for choosing names and accounts, expandable views with adjustable font size, and online help. Version 2.1 adds three new tool buttons, a search field, a journal selector, descriptions and query lists. [Download - 7.2MB]
DeckLink 5.2 (update), from Blackmagic Design, is a software update for its DeckLink family of PCI video capture cards. This release adds PCI Express support for the new dual-core and quad-core Power Macintosh G5's, support for DeckLink SP PCIe and DeckLink Extreme PCIe cards, and verified compatibility with Final Cut Pro HD v5.0.3 and QuickTime 7.0.3. [Download - 9MB]
Pro Tools|HD for PCIe
Digidesign today announced that is now offering two versions of its professional Pro Tools|HD digital audio production systems. By continuing to provide the existing PCI version and releasing a PCI Express (PCIe) version, Digidesign says it is ensuring continued compatibility of its Pro Tools|HD systems with a wide range of PCI, PCI-X, and PCIe-equipped computers. The company said that existing Pro Tools|HD systems are designed to work in PCI and PCI-X slots only and are not compatible with PCIe technology. Digidesign announced that it has qualified Pro Tools|HD systems for PCIe with the new range of Apple's Power Mac G5 computers, but noted that the PCIe versions will have some limitations.
Adobe earnings jump
Adobe today announced that is quarterly earnings jumped 38 percent on increased revenues of $510 million compared with $430 million in the year-ago quarter. Beating analyst expectations, the company's stock jumped more 4 percent; however, the company also announced the resignation of the its CFO and that it would cut its workforce by 10 percent--up to 700 jobs--following the closure of its aquisition of Macromedia. Adobe's net income in its fiscal fourth quarter ended December 2 rose to $156.3 million, or 31 cents per share, edging analysts' average estimates calling for earnings of 29 cents a share on revenue of $507 million, according to Reuters. Looking ahead, Adobe said it expects first-quarter revenue of $630 million to $660 million and net income of about 13 cents to 16 cents per share.
Minions of Mirth
Prairie Games today released its role-playing game Minions of Mirth. Available for both Mac OS X and Windows, the title features both single-player and multi-player modes as well as three playable realms, 16 playable classes, multiparty groups, online alliances, a free dedicated world server, and an autopatcher that delivers immediate content and feature upgrades: "Minions of Mirth gives the player an incredible amount of freedom in their role-playing experience! It can be played in single player, multiplayer, and even allows friends to run their own custom persistent worlds! We're very pleased to be releasing this amazing product. We've worked very hard with our community to make sure Minions of Mirth totally rocks!", says Josh Ritter co-owner and programmer of the title. It is available for $25 ($5 discount) through the end of January 2006.
PC Mag survey Winners
Apple again has been recognized for its notebook and iPod reliability PC Magazine's survey of over 35,000 subscribers. While being recognized as a "Winner" for both reliability and service/support for its notebooks and MP3 player, Apple received only an average rating for most desktop reliability measures and an average rating for "satisfaction" in service (oddly, many service categories were not rated because the magazine said it received too few responses). While Apple did score an "above" average for desktop satisfaction category within the report's reliability measures, it only received an average score for overall reliability.
Griffin responds to DLO
Griffin Technology today responded to Digital Lifestyle Outfitter's lawsuit against the company for alleged infringement of patents related the company's RoadTrip FM Transmitter. Griffin says company that DLO's patent is not valid. "We do not believe that the DLO patent is valid, nor that any of our products infringes the patent." Griffin said that it has sued Netalog in 2004 for a declaration to the same effect. Griffin told MacNN that it has filed motions asking that the case be dismissed on those grounds and that the court is currently considering those motions. Griffin also claims that DLO filed the lawsuit while simultaneously and secretly recruiting one of Griffin's senior managers, which the company says is under separate litigation.
Apple Store UK traffic up
Apple's retail stores appear to be experiencing a massive increase in traffic as the holidays approach. IfoAppleStore yesterday noted that it was nearly impossible to obtain appointments at the Regent Street Apple store, even at mid-day when business traditionally slows. On one occasion the store displayed a message which read: "We're sorry, due to higher than expected support traffic in our store, we will not be able to provide you with assistance at this time. Please try again later or see a Mac Specialist about becoming a member of ProCare where you can make a reservation up to seven days in advance, in addition to a host of other benefits." Recently Apple saw what it called "staggering demand" for the iPod nano, with some customers paying over $350 for 4GB Nanos on eBay.
Gadget Grips for iPod
HandStands today launched Gadget Grips--small pads that attach to an iPod or other device to hold it securely to a car dashboard. Gadget Grips takes advantage of HandStands' patented "Sticky Technology" and is available in nine cut-outs that fit all iPod and mobile phone sizes. The pads are washable, reusable, use no adhesives, and leave no residue when removed, according to the HandStands. Each measures 7 3/8 x 3 x 5/16-inches, and are available for $6 from HandStands.com. The company also recently unveiled its iSnug Nano Armband, which is designed for Apple's iPod nano and features a leather glove that wraps around a Velcro closure to secure the device.
iPod CIO\'s favorite gadget
Forbes.com's Executive Toy Box interviewed ETrade's vice president and CIO, Greg Framke, about his single favorite gadget. The exec said he favors his 60GB Apple iPod video. "When The Daily Show becomes available for download, I will be an official iPod video junkie," Framke said. "Anyone who owns one will know why." Asked what he would change about the iPod, Framke responded: "Me, improve on Apple's design? I don't think so." The one device he wishes someone would invent is tiny, wireless, high-fidelity bud earphones.
Newspaper podcast no. 1
Guardian Unlimited's podcast of the Ricky Gervais Show saw 180,000 downloads during its first week online, overtaking Chris Moyle's BBC Radio 1 breakfast show in the U.K. and soaring to number one in the Apple iTunes podcast chart both in the U.S. and the U.K. Gervais and his regular writing partner Stephen Merchant are co-creators of television shows The Office and Extras. Teamed with producer Karl Pilkington, they feature shows with all new material that are similar to their shows on XFM, according to a report from creativematch.co.uk. The three individuals are broadcasting 12 half-hour shows on The Guardian's website, the first of which aired last Monday. Meanwhile, The Telegraph's daily podcast, which launched a month ago, has ranked as high as number seven in the iTunes chart. It consists of actors and journalists themselves reading out a series of articles from each day's newspaper.
HBO interested in deal
HBO's CEO today said the network is hoping to make a deal with Apple Computer at some point to deliver programming to the video iPod, according to a report from Reuters. "I'm very excited by the video iPod," said Chris Albrecht. "At some point, I think we would have some arrangement with them." Apple may have to stand in line, however, as Cingular Wireless reportedly has plans to reveal a multiple year exclusive deal with HBO to send video clips of hit television shows, such as the Sopranos, to mobile phone customers.HBO operates multiple premium networks in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as HBO's many other lines of business.
In brief: The G5 Drive Bracket Team announced its holiday special: until 11:59 pm MST on December 18th customers can purchase a new G5 Drive Bracket for $40.... PopXpress today began offering music and gift vouchers in values of £10, £20, £30 and £50 that can be used to buy iPods and accessories online and in popXpress stores.... A new study from global marketing research firm Ipsos Insight revealed that the battle for mass market consumer awareness essentially remains a two-horse race between Apple's iTunes and Napster 2.0.... MacProVideo.com has unveiled a 180 minute Motion 2 tutorial dubbed "Mastering Motion 2" ($) featuring Jamie McCallister, a veteran video technician and educator.... The Maine Media-Arts Project and the Maine Digital Filmmakers Group--a Final Cut Pro user group--has launched the New England Indies website and podcast.
iShok iPod case debuts
SBS Innovations today debuted its iShok 4G20, a protective case that shields Apple's iPod from accidental damage through a combination of hard plastic and soft rubber. The iShok 4G20 provides wrap-around protection with a removable clickwheel cover that offers optional access to controls. The iShok also features a snap closure, a built-in stand, and a form-fitting shape that protects the device without adding bulk. The iShok 4G20 is available for $30, fitting Apple's fourth-generation 20GB iPod, as well as the 30GB iPod photo and U2 iPod models. The company announced plans to eventually cover the entire iPod series, including the Nano (to be released in March of 2006), fifth-generation models, and iPod Shuffle.
1.7GHz Encore G4 uprade
Sonnet Technologies today began shipping its top-of-the-line dual-processor upgrade: the 1.7GHz Encore/ST G4 Duet is available for most "Sawtooth" Power Mac G4 systems, including AGP Graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio and QuickSilver models. "This product represents a new high point in performance and value in Sonnet's most popular line of processor upgrades; it is priced the same as the 1.3 GHz dual processor upgrade it replaces," according to the company. The upgrade is based on the Freescale's PowerPC G4 7447A processors--used in Apple's current PowerBook line--and features 512K of SRAM on-chip L2 cache and is compatible with Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X 10.3.5 and higher. All Encore/ST G4 upgrades for Power Mac G4 tower computers include a factory-attached heat sink and fit seamlessly into all supported systems. The Encore/ST G4 Duet model carries a three-year warranty, includes free technical support, and is available now for $600.
Kenpo jacket for iPod
Apparel manufacturer Kenpo recently released its Kenpo Jacket for iPod, designed to keep wearers completely "en vogue" and in control of their iPod without fumbling with zippers, gloves or pockets. The coat utilizes a patented smart fabric touchpad technology that transforms sleeves into a five-button electronic control panel, the touch-sensitive fabric creates an easily accessible interface allowing wearers to play, pause, skip tracks and adjust volume. The coat uses ElekTex for its touchpad controls, a five-layer laminate of electrically conductive materials that is lightweight, flexible, durable and washable. The Kenpo Jacket for iPod is available in four men's styles for $275 in department stores, as well as online. The jacket is machine washable, requires no batteries, and is completely self-powered.
iTunes song incentives
Several companies are once again offering free iTunes songs as promotions or incentives to buy their products or use their services. PayPal, eBay's popular online payment service, is offering 10 free songs with the purchase of any $20 iTunes gift certificate using PayPal or 25 free songs when purchasing a $50 iTunes gift certificate using Paypal. The company says that users must use PayPal to pay for the songs and that their free songs, which must be redeemed by May 31st, will be credited to their account within 24 hours. PayPal's iTunes promotion ends December 31, 2005. Play is also offering 3 free iTunes songs to users who purchase two pairs of Play underwear, which feature a pocket to store your iPod.
Shieldz Collector Series
XtremeMac earlier this week announced the Shieldz Collector Series of cases for the iPod, which combine officially licensed Shieldz Characters with eye-catching artwork to offer durable protection for the iPod shuffle. Versions of the hard plastic case are available featuring Spongebob Squarepants, Star Wars' Darth Vader and Yoda, Batman, and more. "The impact-resistant cases allow you to personalize your iPod shuffle with your favorite pop culture icons while protecting it from nicks and scratches." The comapany says that Shieldz offer play-through access to iPod shuffle's controls and are compatible with the Apple neck lanyard and the XtremeMac SuperHook. Each Shieldz Characters design will only be available for a limited time for $20. (Not available outside the US.) In addition, the company offers Shieldz Sport cases for the iPod, which feature officially license logos and designs from Major League Baseball, including the New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Quake 4 for Mac
Aspyr Media today that it will deliver a Mac version of Quake 4, the ever-popular first-person shooter developed by Raven Software and produced by id Software. The game, licensed from Activision, is scheduled for release in early 2006. The long-awaited sequel to Quake II "enlists gamers in the role of Matthew Kane, a member of the legendary Rhino Squad, to penetrate deep into the heart of the Strogg war machine and engage in a series of heroic missions to destroy the barbaric alien race. Quake 4 begins only moments after the events of Quake II, with the Earth's fleet launching a massive offensive to the planet Stroggos." (Pricing and system requirements were unavailable.)
DVD-to-iPod app released
Lenogo Software has released Super DVD to iPod Converter for Microsoft Windows, a conversion application which the company claims is the fastest in the world. The software can convert many different kinds of DVD formats to iPod video (mp4), and the conversion speed is significantly faster than real-time converting. A single DVD movie can take approximately 30 minutes to convert on some high-end computers--such as a Pentium 4 running at 2.8GHz. The application supports single-step conversion of DVD video into iPod-ready MPEG-4 format, which reduces the amount of time necessary to complete conversion. Super DVD to iPod Converter is available for $30, and requires Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP.
Salling Clicker 3.0.1 ($24) updates the wireless phone/PDA-based remote control, improving Mac support for the EyeTV, DVD Player, and QuickTime Player applications. The update also adds support for Windows Mobile 5 devices, older Nokia S60 phones, the new Sony Ericsson W900i, and Cingular-branded Sony Ericsson Z520a and W600i phones. Salling Clicker offers the ability to wirelessly control popular applications like iTunes, PowerPoint, and others from a mobile phone or PDA.
[Download - 4.8MB]
MainMenu 1.5 (free) is an easy-to-use menubar item that can run a large set of Mac OS X maintenance, cleaning, and optimization tasks. Version 1.5 offers confirmed compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.3, updated Japanese localization, and numerous bug fixes. Additional improvements include inverted "Run Maintenance Scripts," "Disk Utility" menus, "Quit Finder" and "Relaunch Finder" menu items, as well as "Repair disk" and "Eject disk" menu items. [Download - 230KB]
ReadDVD! 2.0.1 ($40) is a utility to read most UDF-formatted disks, expanding the use of DVD and UDF (universal disk format) media beyond the capabilities of Mac OS X. The update adds support for copying, reading, and deleting video recording files (VOR). Features include NT streaming, support for CD-R and CD-RW drives and media, and more.
Ambulant Player 1.6 (unknown) is an open-source media player with support for SMIL 2.1. The current Ambulant release provides namespace-based support for the SMIL Language, Extended Mobile, Mobile, and Basic profiles as well as full backward compatibility with SMIL 2.0. Ambulant provides a platform for developers to build higher-level systems solutions for authoring and content integration, or within which they can add new or extended support for networking and media transport components. [Download - 6.8MB]
Awaken 2.2 ($9) adds a "Launch Awaken at alarm time" preference to the digital alarm clock, as well as a default playlist preference. Version 2.2 enhances the version checker, which now displays update information. The update also automatically removes specific date alarms, and incorporates two bug fixes. [Download - 782KB]
SteamTRAIN 1.4 ($20) is a 2D side-scrolling steam locomotive and train simulator, offering a Phantom Express option. Players must avoid ugly collisions, and can combine Express with Dispatcher options for a wide variety of railroading challenges. Trains travel between stops, up and down grades, negotiate curves, switch tracks, and couple/uncouple cars. [Download - 2.6MB]
MacNN reviews, Creature II
In brief: MacNN has reviewed macally's LINK360-U ($20), an iPod dock connector that offers a swiveling joint for enhanced reach and flexibility.... MacNN also reviewed the JBL Creature II three-piece speaker system ($100, shown at right) featuring two small three-inch satellite speakers and a nine-inch subwoofer.... MacOnlinePoker.com today announced that poker tournaments are now available online for iMac and Mac users.... Dinc is giving away its last set of free fonts, a full commercial font package with eight typefaces dubbed "HoHoHo".... Speck Products today began shipping its FunSkins ($35) for Apple's iPod video.... ezGear today introduced the clearCase Sport for Apple's iPod nano.
Skype phone supports Macs
IPEVO has announced that its Skype certified USB phone, Free-1, will officially support Mac users in the near future. The company recently released the Free-1 beta driver for Macintosh, and is close to unveiling the official Mac-compatible driver to the masses. The phone works with Skype--an application for making free calls to any destination over the internet--allowing users to talk on an actual handset, rather than speaking into a microphone. Free-1 is specifically designed for Skype users, boasting a simple and stylish look with features to maximize connection quality--such as anti-crosstalk. "We are pleased to offer consumers feature rich, user-friendly Skype certified products. We are especially pleased to bring this unique phone to our growing base of Apple/Macintosh users," said James Bilefield, vice president of business development for Skype. The Free-1 USB phone retails for $35, but is available via IPEVO's Christmas special for $30.
TOLIS BRU Server 1.2
TOLIS Group has announced BRU Server 1.2 for Mac OS X, which brings a new interface to the enterprise-level backup solution. Based on feedback from customers, TOLIS says it has "morphed BRU Server 1.2 from our UNIX heritage into a Macintosh visual and operational experience." Version 1.2 also adds support for backup of live databases such as running on Windows client systems using FAM (File Access Manager) technology from VisionWorks Solutions. BRU Server 1.2 delivers full native backup and restore compatibility with Apple's Xsan, ADIC's StorNet, and other distributed filesystems; providing both backup of all attributes and when used as a disk stage. Other improvements include improved scheduling, better email reporting, enhanced performance, and more. It is available as a free upgrade to previous owners; the Basic Server (with one client) is $380 and the Network edition (w/ 25 clients) is $600.
Ciprico today announced compatibility of several of its MediaVault storage arrays with the PCI Express (PCIe) architecture of the new Power Mac G5s. The company said that the MediaVault 4Gb Fibre Channel RAID array models 4110, 4105 and 4210 were qualified on the new G5 desktops running Final Cut Pro 5 (using the ATTO Celerity FC44ES and FC42ES Quad and Dual Channel Fibre Channel Host Adapters). The storage solutions provide data rates well in excess of the bandwidth required for recording and playing back uncompressed HD 10-bit 1080i content.
Napster edges iTunes
A new study from global marketing research firm Ipsos Insight reveals that the battle for mass market consumer awareness remains essentially a two-horse race between Apple's iTunes and Napster 2.0. The survey found that while that more downloaders recognize the Napster brand, Apple's iTunes was more consistently rated the "The Best" download service. Both services also boast the highest usage levels among all online music services, while iTunes was lauded more often for its integration with the iPod and new comers MTV and MySpace were associated with being "hip" or "cool." Despite the dominance by both companies, Ipsos said that its TEMPO Digital Music Brandscape study also provides encouraging news for other digital music providers, finding that American downloaders are showing significant increases in awareness of a wide variety of digital music services, and only nuanced brand differentiation among them.
DLO sues Belkin
iPod accessory maker Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Belkin, following a similar lawsuit against Griffin Technology last year. Filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, DLO's lawsuit alleges that Belkin has willfully infringed United States Patent No. 6,591,085 (085 Patent), entitled FM Transmitter and Power Supply/Charging Assembly for MP3 Player, by importing, using, offering for sale and selling its product known as the TuneBase FM. Netalogs says it is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Belkin from selling devices violating the patent and monetary damages as well as "enhanced damages for willfulness." The lawsuit is currently in the early stages of discovery.
Apple media portal?
"If Steve Jobs can make the iPod an entertainment hub, Apple will be the company to beat, a feat it could never accomplish with personal computers," writes Adam L. Penenberg for Slate. "Apple will become a force here on the day when the iPod is expressly designed to plug into your television--not to mention your car stereo and broadband network." Penenberg examines ways Apple could become a dominant player in digital video. His idea revolves around a "vast media portal" -- "essentially an Amazon.com for digital downloads." Apple has already sketched out a description for such a portal in numerous trademark applications, including its "Vingle" application. "It can be folly to predict Steve Jobs' next move, but this is one he almost has to make," Penenberg concludes.
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