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Google search for music
Google is looking to capitalize on surging digital music interest, creating a a results page tailored to music for related searches. PC Pro reports that "Google is now offering a single box at the top of a results page that it has decided is about music. Clicking on a link will give you a standard list of links to official pages and fan sites, and news and pictures for the News and Images indexes. However, the bulk of the page is given over to a discography and reviews of the artist's albums and, surprise, surprise, where to buy the records online culled from the Froogle service." The report, however, points out that Yahoo! has been doing the same with music-related search for some time now: "Similarly Yahoo! offers its 'shortcuts' which are also collections of links. Often, in the case of musicians this will be a link to Yahoo! Music which will not only offer background information but also offer to sell selected downloads."
ScriptPak for GarageBand 2
MacSpeech today released a new ScriptPak for GarageBand 2, which installs almost 100 commands into iListen that allows the "user to do virtually anything by voice in GarageBand they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus." The new ScriptPack replaces the previous GarageBand ScriptPak, which was compatible with GarageBand 1. "This is a really cool ScriptPak for GarageBand musicians," said MacSpeech Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers. "Coupled with a stereo headset/microphone such as the Plantronics .Audio 85, you can control GarageBand without taking your hands off your musical keyboard or guitar." The ScriptPak for GarageBand is available for $10, but requires iListen 1.6.5, the company's flagship speech recognition package available starting at $100.
SubRosaSoft today released CipherWorks 4.0, a utility that lets Mac users protect their data from unauthorized access. Delivering transparent strong encryption for Mac OS X, the application allows users to encrypt and decrypt files, as well as password protect hard disks, memory cards and other types of storage. CipherWorks 4.0 protects data at two levels: users can protect and hide your hard disks, portable drives, memory cards, and other types of storage as well as use CipherWorks to apply strong encryption to files and folders. The software is available on CD for $90 plus shipping or for $80 for electronic download.
Newton collection auction
The Newton Museum is closing its doors after seven years, and is hosting an auction on eBay for its complete collection of 13 Apple Newtons, accessories, software and manuals. The winner will receive one of every Newton Apple released, Motorola's Marco Wireless Newton, and the Sony MagicLink PDA, the chief competitor to the original Newton. The collection includes three versions of the original Newton MessagePad; the Motorola Marco Wireless MessagePad (with an extra battery and charger); Newton 100- and 110 models (both boxed); three boxed versions of the Newton 120; a brand new boxed Newton 130; a boxed Newton eMate, a boxed Newton 2000, and a Newton 2100. All models power on anf function properly, with the exception of one unit, according to the details offered.
FireWire Depot today announced a host of new products, with more due to arrive after the new year. The SATA II - 3Gbps 1-to-5 port multiplier bridge board ($160) connects up to five SATA drives to a port multiplier SATA PCI host adapter. The four hot swap SATA drive enclosure with Infiniband / Multiplane ($550) is a compact SATA drive backplane enclosure with four independent SATA hot swap channels. FireWire Depot's Multilane / InfiniBand to 4x SATA ports PCI bracket ($50) is a four-channel multilane, Infiniband Serial ATA pass-through PCI bracket. The Multilane / Infiniband Device adapter ($50) is a device-side interconnect adapter that allows 4x SATA devices to be accessed. The five-drive SATA hot swap enclosure ($600) provides a high-performance link between a single SATA host port and five SATA removable hard disk trays without internal cabling.
Aperture 1.0.1 released
Aperture 1.0.1 is available via Apple's Software Update utility, improving the post-production professional photography software. Apple says Aperture 1.0.1 addresses a number of issues related to reliability and performance, and delivers improved image export quality and metadata handling. Apple says the areas of key improvement are white balance adjustment accuracy and performance, image export quality, book and print ordering reliability, auto-stacking performance, and custom paper size handling. The updates addresses some of the issues noted by Ars Technica in its cautionary review of the software for professional photographers. The full version is available from Apple ($500) or Amazon ($440).
Over 20 iPod cases
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today began shipping over 20 new styles of its Relaxed Leather cases for iPod and iPod nano, as well as its fling fashion cases for iPod nano. The Relaxed Leather cases are offered in suede and distressed leather styles, with features such as designer stitching and rivets. Nano fling fashion cases offer styles such as "Faux Crocodile and "Metallic Snakeskin. DLO cases are available from $30-35 from Target, as well as Apple retail stores.
2005-Year of iPod in Japan
Apple's iPod is an overwhelming success in Japan. The company has a roughly 60 percent marketshare--as of the middle of November--in the country, or about six times that of its archrival Sony. A column in the The Daily Yomiuri calls 2005 the Year of iPod in Japan; however, despite the success of the iPod and iTunes Japan, music sales continue to fall: "While iTunes and the iPod captured the public's imagination, overall music sales kept falling this year. In the first 11 months of 2005, shipments of audio software by the Recording Industry Association of Japan's 41 member companies totaled 278.4 million units, down 2 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2004, for a value of 330 billion yen, down 3 percent....And just one single, the aforementioned "Seishun Amigo," managed to sell more than a million copies, in contrast to the late '90s, when at least 10 singles sold that amount each year."
iPods in 73M cars
Apple's iPod influence is growing in a variety of sectors, including the automotive industry. Telematics Research Group expects that there will be 73 million cars worldwide that will offer iPod integration by 2011--28 million of which will be the US alone. A new report finds that proliferation of automotive interfaces for portable music players is creating a new competitive landscape driven by music listening and device preferences. The report also found that Aux inputs for music and Bluetooth support will also proliferate, but to a lesser extent.
Newton auction, FMP guide
In brief: NewtonMuseum.com is currently holding an auction on eBay to sell its complete collection of 13 Apple Newtons, accessories, software and manuals (shown at right).... Application Architects today released a free FileMaker Pro (FMP) 8 "new features" guide.... Despite a dip in growth, IDC says notebook PCs will help increase worldwide PC unit shipments by 10.5 percent from 2005's predicted total.... Digital Vision Graphics (DV Graphics) has released a completely revamped website with an easy-to-use interface and faster loading pages.... ezGear has launched the clearCase Video ($30), its crystal clear case that provides a full 360-degree view of the iPod.
CopyCatX 3.0 released
SubRosaSoft.com today began shipping CopyCatX 3.0, updating its backup software for Mac OS X that boasts fast performance, optimized backup storage space, and drive recovery. CopyCatX 3.0 incorporates a backup feature and recovery function designed to work around media faults in order to create disk images from damaged media. The software's "resume" function allows the recovery process to continue after the damaged drive has cooled down, or after it has been restarted. The application also features automatic block matching for damaged media, such as scratched data CDs or physically damaged hard drives. CopyCatX uses sector copy, and skips blank space during the duplication process to increase speed. Additionally, the software offers a backup function that doesn't require a destination drive as large as the original. CopyCatX 3.0 is available for $80 via download, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
equinux pulls TamTam
Equinux today announced that it is ceasing development of TamTam--its software that enables Mac compatibility with TomTom GO GPS devices--following legal threats from the manfacturer of the device. The Dutch navigation-system manufacturer TomTom has threatened to file suit against equinux should it fail to make the wanted changes in the sales and marketing of TamTam, according to equinux. The company introduced "TamTam for Mac OS X" in 2004, offering the only solution for connecting the all-in-one navigation unit from TomTom to Mac users. TamTam allowed Mac users to load maps, voices, and firmware updates as well as perform backups for their TomTom GO.
Americans need gadgets
A recent poll found that millions of Americans consider gadgets such as Apple's iPod, personal computers, cell phones, and high-speed internet essential. "The internet connection is my lifeline," said Jennifer Strother, a mother of two young children. "It's the connection to friends, e-mail, especially for stay-at-home moms. I'm hungry for adult conversation and any news that isn't 'Dora the Explorer' or 'Blue's Clues.'" One-third of households in the U.S. pay more than $200 per month for entertainment and communications, while 4-in-10 spend between $100 and $150 per month, according to a report from the Herald Online. The loyalty to high-speed internet is assumed to be a sign that people are getting hooked on newer technology; almost 4-in-10 people consider high-speed internet essential. David Greenfield, a Connecticut psychologist who specializes in high-tech issues elaborates: "Our culture is about distraction, numbing oneself. There is no self-reflection, no sitting still. It's absolutely exhausting."
BPI warns parents of fines
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) today warned parents that giving digital music players--such as Apple's iPod--as gifts puts them at risk of being fined large sums if their children illegally download pirated tracks. The BPI points to a recent poll suggesting that half of the music which will be played on the devices will come from websites that breach copyright laws. Record labels in Britain have successfully pursued hundreds of cases against illegal downloaders, forcing some individuals to pay fines of up to £6,500. In one case, a mother was fined £2,500 after her 19-year-old son shared 1,330 songs using the family computer, according to a report from Times Online. A spokesman from the BPI said "We expect MP3 players to be a very popular gift this Christmas. It is essential that parents acquire the knowledge to make sure their children stay the right side of the law when they go online to get music to play on them."
GS raises AAPL estimates
Apple will continue to move away from its Mac core in 2006, according to one industry analayst. In a new research note, Goldman Sachs research analyst David Bailey maintained an "in-line" rating on Apple, but raised earnings estimates for the company, expecting holiday iPod demand and anticipation of upcoming product announcements to continue to drive earnings growth into 2006, according to Forbes: "2006 will undoubtedly mark another major year in Apple's transformation, but its new markets bring together tougher competition," wrote the analyst in a recent research note. "If early indications from suppliers prove correct, Apple is likely to move further from its Mac core in 2006, leveraging its brand and building on the consumer success of iPod."
U.K. top track a download?
The U.K. top chart slot may be decided by download sales for the first time in history, with weekly digital sales expected to top one million. The trade association said download sales have already topped 23 million this year, a 400 percent increase over last year. Downloads of digital music now account for roughly 70 percent of weekly singles sales, compared to 25 percent this time last year, according to BBC News. The BPI predicts that 2006 will be an even bigger year for digital music; last Christmas MP3 players were a popular gift that prompted a 30 percent increase in download sales during the last weeks of 2004. The BPI expects a typical boom in CD sales surrounding Christmas time, since singles are often considered "perfect stocking fillers" during the final week of the year.
iSnug Armband fits 5G iPod
HandStands today announced an updated version of its iSnug Armband for use with Apple's video-capable fifth-generation iPod. Designed for iPod users with an active lifestyle, the new armband features lightweight material, a velcro closure, and a pouch that fits third- and fourth-generation iPods. The iSnug Armband measures 6.5 x 6.5 x 1-inches, protecting the digital media player while securing it on your person. The armband also ships with a smaller pouch to fit iPod minis, and is available in black for $20.
Piracy still abundant
A new survey conducted by Mori for AOL U.K. suggests that more than half of consumers still download music illegally over the internet, despite attempts by record labels to stop the sharing of copyrighted works. The survey results seem to contradict Apple's CEO Steve Jobs recent claims that the iTunes Music Store would help to defeat illegal music sharing practices by providing a low-cost alternative which eludes the risk of law-breaking peer-to-peer methods. Still, questions remain unanswered as the piracy battle rages on; the iTunes Music Store made its debut in late April of 2003, and by mid-July of 2005 legal music downloads were up 187 percent, according to The Register. The study found that one out of every six consumers used paid-for services--such as the iTunes Music Store--to purchase music over the internet. The survey also showed a large degree of confusion among consumers about whether or not they were breaking copyright laws by using illegal sites, according to a report from The Guardian.
QT, iTunes security flaw
A newly discovered flaw in iTunes and QuickTime could allow malicious users to compromise users' systems, according to a new report. Security site Secunia says that a vulnerability in Apple's QuickTime 7.03 player and iTunes 6.01.3 could be exploited by malicious users to cause a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. The site, however, says the "moderately critical" vulnerability has an "unknown impact" and was unable to confirm arbitrary code execution. It is also not known if the bug affects older versions of QuickTime and/or iTunes. "The vulnerability is caused due to an error in handling malformed ".mov" files. This can be exploited to cause memory corruption, which causes the program to crash." The site recommends that users not open .mov media files from untrusted sources to avoid exposing the flaw until Apple issues an update.
iTunes Japan adds music
Apple Japan has signed another label for its local iTunes Music Store. The company on Wednesday is expected to add music content from Victor Entertainment, according to Infoworld: "The recording label, which is affiliated with Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. (JVC), will add 18 albums totalling 209 tracks to Apple's online music distribution service, it said. The tracks cover mainly Japanese domestic artists." iTunes for Japan, launched in August of this year, includes a of local and international record labels including Toshiba-EMI, Columbia Music and Avex Group, according to the report.
In Brief: MacNN has reviewed Comic Life 1.2, which offers tools to edit photographs and turn them into a multi paneled comic strip or a single pane cartoon as well as reviewed the JBL On Tour Portable Speaker System, a compact and portable speaker solution that allows you to amplify an iPod or laptop with acceptable sound quality.... Seagate plans to acquire Maxtor in an all-stock transaction worth around $1.9 billion... Sonnet Technologies today announced a new line of compact USB power adapters for Apple's iPod.... Taiwanese companies are planning to offer disk-based music players to help match the pricing of Apple's flash-based iPod nano.... Splasm has updated its Podner 1.2 utility for iPod video conversion, offering significantly improved H.264 processing performance as well as improved MPEG-4 quality.
Apple is planning a post-Christmas sale at its localized online store for Australian users. A teaser graphic on the Apple Store Australia touts "The feast after the feast"--very similar to the post-Thanksgiving event at Apple's online and retail stores in the US. The special one-day shopping event takes place on December 28 and promises "dozens of great ideas" along with free shipping on all items. Apple is currently offering a special free overnight shipping promotion to help customers receive their new Macs before Christmas and offering several Mac refurbs for holiday delivery. It is unknown if there will be a similar post-Christmas sale in the US.
Mobile High Speed 3G
nova media today added support for additional phones and PC Data Cards for mobile Internet connections around the globe: the company's Mobile High Speed 3G software helps users create and manage high-speed wireless connections using mobile phone networks. The updated list of devices now supports the Motorola RAZR V3x and Motorola ROKR E1, the Nokia N70 and Nokia N90, the Samsung ZM60 and Samsung D600, the Sony Ericsson w550i as well as the PC Data Cards Option Globetrotter 3G EDGE, Sierra Wireless AC 750, 775 and AC 850. Mobile High Speed 3G features a mobile internet connection wizard that includes more than 280 connection settings for 3G UMTS-, EDGE- and GPRS-networks around the globe. It is available for €75.
Jobs to fall in 2006?
Though Apple's future looks bright to many industry analysts and pundits, a tech columnist for a major newspaper says that 2006 could be the year that Steve Jobs falls from his pedestal. Despite the surging sales and expanding marketshare, USA Today's Kevin Maney says that the success can't continue forever: "Sometime in 2006, Steve Jobs will probably get hosed. That's not so much a prediction as it is playing the odds. Nobody in America gets such a long ride on the oh-we-sooooo-adore-you bandwagon.... Well, except maybe Jennifer Aniston. But look what happened to Martha Stewart. Or Hootie and the Blowfish.... For that reason, Jobs' popularity will be one development to watch in 2006." The columnist also predicts that 2006 will be the year that cellphone cameras will actually become useful, RSS will become the next big thing, and Google will help Microsoft get its grooveback.
iPod USB power adapters
Sonnet Technologies today announced a new line of compact USB power adapters for Apple's iPod. The adapters support fourth- and fifth-generation iPod models, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, and iPod nano. Sonnet's iPod USB Power Adapter is small, curvy, and versatile--"it's about two-thirds of the size of its competition--the blades fold away when not in use for easy travel storage, and its universal power compatibility enables worldwide use. Its non-polarized blades allow the adapter to be plugged in with the USB outlet face up or down, perfect for use in tight spots. It is available for $20 and is available in black or white; it includes matching dock cable and offers 100-240V, 50/60 Hz universal compatibility for worldwide use.
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