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IK Multimedia has released SampleTank 2.1, an upgrade for the industry-standard sample workstation plug-in that comes complete with enhanced application features and an enlarged 2 DVD sound set. Offering 2GB of additional new material, more than 1,700 sounds and a total of 6.5GB of samples on 2 DVDs, the new SampleTank 2.1 features more multi-sampled instruments, loops, phrases, percussion, traditional instruments, world percussion loops and a wider range of electronic and acoustic instruments in every category and style. Version 2.1 is also now available as a stand-alone application and features ability to create complex 16-part splits and layers with new Range controls. SampleTank 2.1 XL is $500/€420, while SampleTank 2.1 L is $300/€250.
In brief: The iPod nano has been crowned the MP3 player of the year by UK's Stuff magazine on gadgets and gear technology.... The author of "Essential Mac OS X Server Administration" has cancelled the Tiger edition.... Nikkipod.com is offering all Nikkipod cases for $12.... NewerTech's miniStack for the Mac Mini has been named accessory of the year.... As the podcast revolution grows, private podcasts and vidcasting are expected to be the next big thing.... O'Reilly Digital Media has released five excerpts from the "iPod and iTunes Hacks" book by Hadley Stern.
Advanced Bridging Technologies has unveiled the iJet wireless RF remote for iPod, which operates an iPod from over 150 feet away. The iJet is designed to function from anywhere in a home or car, with no interference and no line-of-sight necessary. The remote can advance tracks, control volume, fast forward, fast reverse, play, pause, and put the iPod to sleep. The iJet's infrared signal travels through doors, walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as around corners. The device is water resistant, and includes five buttons with nine functions. The package includes the receiver, a universal audio cable for home stereo connectivity, and a belt clip. The iJet wireless RF remote for iPod works with iPod photo, iPod mini, fourth-generation clickwheel iPod, and third-generation iPod (pricing was unavailable).
O'Reilly Digital Media has released five excerpts from the "iPod and iTunes Hacks" book by Hadley Stern that describe various modifications of Apple products. The first hack describes the process of turning an iPod into a universal remote control for televisions and other devices, while the second offers step-by-step instructions on how to permanently install an iPod into a vehicle's center console, as well as how to integrate the iPod with the auto's audio and electrical systems. Further hacks include how to install and run Linux on an iPod, as well as the process of making smart playlists in iTunes. The last hack shows users how to "tame" iTunes with AppleScript.
Speck Products today introduced iKitty for iPod nano, the company's third rubberized cat case designed to protect Apple's iPod digital media players. ikitty for Nano stands on four legs, offering access to the iPod controls on the "kitty's tummy." The case features a bendable tail designed to allow users to express iKitty's mood or feelings, and offer "unique cat style." "The size of the nano gave us the opportunity to totally re-design the iKitty product, giving it a much more 'cat-like' appearance," said Tim Hickman, general manager of Speck Products. "iKitty for nano stands on all fours and will be available in two color options, two changes that came directly from consumer requests." The iKitty case for iPod nano is available in white or black for $35.
Apple was dubbed both a winner and a loser in 2005 by PC World. Looking at the Winners and Losers 2005, Dan Tynan said the company announced innovative products all year: "Apple started the year with the Mac Mini, a pint-size $499 Macintosh sans monitor, and ended it with the long-awaited video-enabled IPod. In between, Apple announced it would start using Intel chips in its new line of Macs. The first Intel-based Macs should debut at around the same time as Windows Vista, which could lead to the first serious OS competition since, oh, 1989. All in all, a very good year in Apple-achia." The magazine also called Apple's iTunes a winner, offering kudos to Apple for clinging to the $1-per-song pricing, despite tremendous pressure from the labels. However, the column challenges the company--along with CEO Steve Jobs--for its efforts to control the press and for taking Mac rumors sites to court.
While a growing number of companies are jumping on the podcast bandwagon, private podcasts and vidcasting are expected to be the next big thing. The Boston Globe says that Podcasting, which gets its name from Apple's iPod, just turned a year old in September and "has already evolved from the playground of hobbyists to a tool of Fortune 500 companies.... Still to be seen is whether Disneyland's recent podcasts will turn out to be part of a short-lived fad or will help lead the way to increasing corporate forays into a new technology for reaching customers, investors, and employees." The report notes the growing use of podcasts by large companies, including Pontiac to launch its new Solstice car, IBM inventor podcasts, Virgin Atlantic's NYC city tours, TV Guide's weekly broadcast, Edmunds.com car reviews, and educational content from Stanford and Harvard.
The iPod nano has been crowned the MP3 player of the year by UK's Stuff magazine on gadgets and gear technology. Calling 2005 the "Year of the iPod", Stuff cited the Nano's "iconic mix of style, size and sheer desirability." The tech publication calls 2005 the year that digital music went mainstream, the year that download sales surpassed CD singles, and the year that MP3 players became the year's must-have gadget. Creative and Sony battled to catch Apple, however, it says Apple "stole the budget market" with the debut of the iPod shuffle. In the aftermath Apple released its most popular iPod model, the pencil-thin Nano, which flew off shelves and saw "staggering" demand straight through the holiday shopping frenzy.
Apple may begin selling subscriptions to podcasts via its popular iTunes service begining as early next year. Although Apple currently offers a full podcast directory, all of the listed content--from both individuals and growing number of companies--is available for free; however, that may change soon. According to a Macworld UK report, Apple will begin offering fee-based podcasts through iTunes in early 2006. The report draws from a press release from a new company--called What I Want Podcasting--that promises to offer podcasts for sale through iTunes "in the very near future." The company says it will offer live performance footage from the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival which takes place in late January 2006.
OtterBox today debuted its waterproof case for Apple's video iPod, and announced that it is now accepting pre-orders. The OtterBox iPod case protects the device from accidental scratches, and offers a waterproof housing for the device to a depth of three feet. OtterBox cases are designed to protect iPods against water damage, dust, sand, and drops. A thin membrane protects the iPod clickwheel while retaining full functionality through the case. The OtterBox for iPod video fits both 30GB and 60GB video iPod models, and comes with a lifetime unconditional guarantee. The new cases are expected to begin shipping on January 15th, and are priced at $50.
In brief: Apple has released its Apple Store Event Widget, allowing users to download the schedule of free workshops and events at their local Apple retail store.... Nzal Marketing is launching an Apple Education promo exclusively for the University of the Philippines, entitling any bonafide instructor, staff and students of the University to enjoy special discounts through the end of the year.... Vice President Dick Cheney's iPod was prioritized over reporters' need to file their stories on a recent trip back from the Middle East.... Apple's iPod is among The Best Tech Gifts of 2005, according to TheStreet.com's Cody Willard.
Another disgruntled iPod nano owner has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over scratches to her the player, according to The Advocate. Apple is apparently attempting to consolidate this and five other similar lawsuits in California, New York and New Jersey. "Emily Mayo of Baton Rouge is taking one of the world's biggest computer makers to court -- over some scratches. Mayo claims the abrasions have snuffed the life from her iPod nano, and is suing Apple Computer in Baton Rouge federal court, alleging its popular petite digital music player's design is knowingly flawed." The class-action lawsuit claims the Nanos scratch excessively with normal usage, rendering their full-color display screens unreadable.
Apple has apparently chosen Quanta and Asustek as original design manufacturers (ODMs) for its new line of Intel-based notebook computers. Quanta is expected to manufacture Apple's high-end PowerBook line, while Asustek will produce Apple's entry-level iBooks, according to a report from emsnow. The report says that Apple is expected to unveil its Intel-based Macs at the MacWorld Expo during the second week of January, and rumors suggest that some of the first Macs to feature Intel processors will be notebooks, as well as a revamped Mac Mini. Recently, specifications and performance statistics surfaced for Intel "Yonah" processors, the chips which are widely believed to be a likely candidate for Apple's first-generation Intel Macs.
Apple is among the winners in Forbes' Platinum 400 list of America's best big companies that outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 12 months. Ranked No. 4 in stock return over the past year--behind SanDisk (memory), Holly (Oil & Gas), and Valero (Oil & Gas)--Apple's stock is up 103 percent since 2004, due in large part to sales of its popular iPod music and video player, which helped Apple's revenue increase 68 percent, to $13.9 billion, in its 2005 fiscal year that ended in September. After a year of absence, Apple rejoined the Platinum 400 for 2005, according to the report. It is the third time Apple has made the list. Apple led the Technology Hardware & Equipment industry with a five-year return of nearly 50 percent, outpacing its competitor Dell (6.3 percent return) and industry heavyweight Cisco (-19.2 percent) as well as the industry average of just under 10 percent. Apple was No. 19 when ranked for its 5-year total return.
Yahoo today announced that it is streaming two episodes from each of the CBS' comedies "Two and a half men" and "How I met your mother" for free via its website. Pushing the envelope for online video distribution, the move could help lure potential video-viewers to Yahoo rather than the iTunes Music Store. iTunes began offering video content to consumers for $2 per episode with the debut of Apple's fifth-generation video-capable iPod in October and has also been recently offering free videos to attract potential purchasers. In early November CBS revealed that it had been in talks with Apple to offer its content via iTunes after rival network ABC made several hit shows available through the online store.
24U Software today released 24U SimpleCode Plug-in 2.0, designed to correct badly imported characters from FileMaker 6 Pro and call old-style external functions with custom, non-English encodings. The plug-in requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and FileMaker Pro 7. A one-user license for 24U SimpleCode Plug-in 2.0 is available for $40, with licenses thereafter priced at $10. Upgrading from the previous version is $30 for the first time, or $10 thereafter. Developers can purchase a license to bundle the plugin with their software for $320.
Small Tree Communications today announced that it is using Sustainable Softworks' IPNetTunerX application to increase latency and improve system performance in its Intel GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) product line. The announcement follows the introduction of Small Tree Gigabit card support into IPNetTuner, an application designed to optimize and measure the internet performance of Mac OS X systems. "System tuning is vital to reducing latency in cluster operations," said Corky Seeber, president of Small Tree Communications. "Typically, if a user is trying to create a cluster over their gigabit network, they want to disable interrupt coalescing, which will interrupt the CPU for each packet that arrives."
Eltima Software has released SWF Movie Player, a free, small and streamlined Flash player for Mac OS that offers many unique and convenient extensions, such as zooming, playlist, SWF Info, and standard movie controls. Described as having "everything which standard Flash lacks," the software is based on the standard Macromedia Flash player for Mac OS X. SWF Movie Player brings advanced features that enables users to play, rewind, fast-forward and preview SWF files frame-by-frame, and also create and manage playlists, zoom movies in/out, fit to current window size or restore to original one, set playback quality, control Flash security, check SWF file's comprehensive information and lots more. It is free and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
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Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW