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Bloglight, iBabel, Awaken
VectorWorks 12 Viewer (free) enables users who don't own the VectorWorks 12 CAD design software to open, view, and print native VectorWorks CAD files up to version 12. VectorWorks Viewer 12 works with all the latest products by Nemetschek North America in the VectorWorks 12 product line, and the VectorWorks 12 Viewer is reportedly popular for service bureaus that plot large format drawings for architects and engineers.
[Download - 17.5MB]
Bloglight 1.0 ($14) simplifies the process of searching for and finding weblogs (blogs). One search in Bloglight gathers results from many popular search engines, and results from each search engine are consolidated and displayed in an easy-to-read format. The application includes advanced search capabilities, as well as the ability to view results in either a combined view or by individual search engine. [Download - 407KB]
iBabel 2.0 (unknown) is an AppleScript Studio application that provides a graphical interface for the command line-driven file conversion application OpenBabel. The update requires the installation of OpenBabel 2.0, and includes additional file conversions as well as very fast similarity and sub-structure based searching. Structures can be viewed in 2D or 3D as appropriate using the embedded Jmol or JChempaint applets. [Download - 2.7MB]
Awaken 2.3 ($9) updates the digital alarm clock application designed to wake users up by playing a chosen iTunes playlist, adding full-screen alarm and sleep timer preferences. Additional changes include a 24-hour clock preference, as well as support for multiple years in the specific date calendar. Version 2.3 fixes sleep timer, preferences window, and song information bugs. [Download - 915KB]
Noodle Flix 1.1 ($20) is a talking head movie studio for Mac OS X, allowing users to create talking head movies with a few clicks. The application converts text into a spoken movie, with options for custom actors, backdrops, and background music. The update supports Cepstral voices, and offers the option to create and install custom actors. Version 1.1 also allows users to scale the size of actors on the stage, and provides new default actors to use out-of-the-box.
SATA accessories announced
FireWire Depot today announced its The SATA-CB02-MAC two-port SATA CardBus Card, SATAMR01 mobile rack for Serial ATA hard drives, and its UF2SATA35D USB 2.0 and FireWire (1394a) combo to SATA dual drive enclosure. The SATA-CB02-MAC transfers at speeds up to 1.5Gbps, and uses two eSATA connectors allowing users to connect using an eSATA to eSATA cable or an eSATA to SATA cable connection. The SATAMR01 mobile rack is designed to fit into a standard 5.25-inch device bay on a computer case or external enclosure, and allows users to plug-and-play a Serial ATA hard drive from the front panel of the computer or enclosure. Finally, the UF2SATA35D is 3.5-inch dual drive enclosure for two SATA hard drives, allowing them to be connected any USB 2.0 or FireWire 800/400 serial bus in a plug-and-play fashion. The SATA-CB02-MAC two-port SATA CardBus Card and SATAMR01 mobile rack for Serial ATA hard drives are both priced at $70, while the UF2SATA35D USB 2.0 and FireWire (1394a) combo to SATA dual-drive enclosure will retail for $150. All three products are expected to ship in mid-January.
NoteShare for Mac OS X
AquaMinds today that NoteShare for Mac OS X, a desktop application for creating, publishing and sharing media rich, multi-page notebooks. Users can instantly share information with other NoteShare users for presenting, viewing and editing information. The application also can be used across the Internet or local networks to connect and share with other users. The powerful information processing platform is designed for organizing both structured and unstructured information, making it ideal for written projects, journals, brainstorming, web research, tracking time, etc. Users can share information in realtime or in shifted-time modes as well as share their notebooks with Windows--users using a forthcoming family of NoteShare add-ons called NoteShare Express. NoteShare will be available to current customers in January through a special promotion; early adopters will be able to purchase an early release version later this month. The full version, for Mac OS X 10.3.9, is due in March.
The newest version of Merlin, ProjectWizard's project management application, will be presented at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco next week. Developed exclusively for Mac OS X, the powerful Merlin application allows users to effortlessly plan a wide variety of projects. Version 1.3.8 will be presented alongside a new Template Pack for Merlin. Merlin 1.3.8 integrates with iLink's Direct, enabling team members to dial telephone numbers directly from Merlin's resource list when using Bluetooth or a Direct-compatible phone. Merlin's Template Pack allows the project manager to choose a template best suited for his line of business. The new template pack contains a list of project activities and phases. Merlin 1.3.8 is available now for €145. A demo version is available for free.
Canon unveils PIXMA MP150
Canon today unveiled the PIXMA MP150, its all-in-one multifunction printer that can print a borderless 4x6-inch photo in approximately 55 seconds. The device features Canon's "Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering" (FINE) print head technology, utilizing 1,472 nozzles. Photos can be printed in color at up to 4800 x 1200 dpi (dots-per-inch) with an ink droplet size as small as two picoliters. The PIXMA MP150 can print at a maximum speed of 22 ppm (pages-per-minute) for monochrome documents and 17 ppm for color documents. The PIXMA MP150 Photo All-In-One is expected to be available this month for $90.
Memorex today introduced the TravelLink (shown at right) and TravelSync accessories, allowing users to transfer digital files--such as photos and music--between flash cards and USB mass storage devices without a computer. Both devices requires that digital cameras support USB mass storage and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer photos. Both devices feature an LCD screen that eases individual file selections and transfers, while the TravelLink can function as an 8-in-1 card reader when connected to a computer via an included USB cable. Both models are compact in size and offer battery power for portability. The TravelLink ($80) and TravelSync ($60) are available from Memorex; however, they are incompatible with Apple's iPod digital media player.
With the largest Apple/Mac-centric show approaching, one columnist believes that Mac faithful's undying devotion to Steve Jobs is bad for consumers. Technology Review's Brad King says that Jobs' deal with the entertainment industry and its DRM practices are bad for consumers, according to a recent column that talks about the restrictive iPod/iTunes ecosystem: "owever, that's not what really, really sticks in my craw. I reserve that (possibly irrational) anger for the iPod and iTunes, two music products that are so restrictive in their licensing and user set-ups that I have never been able to bring myself to download the software to purchase music through iTunes or pony up the cash to by an iPod." Despite Jobs' efforts to take on the music labels over pricing, King notes that the company has towed the music industry line in terms of licensing and digital rights management (DRM).
Memorex today added a new product to its growing lineup of computer and media accessories. With the company's new iPod Wraps, consumers can print labels for and customize their iPods as often as they like. The adhesive, removable wraps leave no residue when changed, and are made of photo quality, scratch- and scuff- resistant paper. The paper is usable with all iPod models from Shuffle to the Video. Each package of iPod Wraps also contains the new edition of Memorex's exPressit application, exPressit Label Design Studio, compatible with Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable). Consumers can use their own images or one of over 1,500 that the new Design Studio comes equipped with to decorate their iPod. Like the older exPressit, the new version includes templates for CD and DVD labels as well as a new playlist manager for importing playlist information to be printed onto a label or case insert. The iPod wraps will retail later this month for about $15 per 10-pack.
PC Mag Innovation Awards
Apple has won yet another award for its innovation. Today PC World recognized Apple's iPod nano for its industrial design. The Nano was among the five top products picked in the magazine's Audio Category, along with the JVC Home Theater, Sonos Digital Music System, Yamaha Home Theater Receiver, and Yahama YSP-1000 Speakers. Overall, the iPod nano was among the top 25 products chosen for the 2006 PC World Innovations Awards: "Overnight, the svelte iPod Nano (see picture) irrevocably altered the landscape for portable audio players. Not only did this model take clean design aesthetics to a new level, but it brought us the first high-capacity (4GB) flash-based player--and one priced within reach of the masses, no less. Now, if only it didn't have that scratch-prone surface."
Demolition request denied
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was denied the right to demolish a 17,000 square-foot mansion in Woodside, California that preservationists are calling a historical treasure. "The Jackling House" was designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style for Utah Copper Company's magnate Daniel Jackling, and was purchased by Jobs in 1984. The CEO hasn't occupied the home for over 10 years, but said he wants to tear down the mansion to build a new, smaller dwelling for his family. Steve Jobs currently resides in Palo Alto, and his attorney, Howard Ellman, said he will likely appeal the judge's decision.
Portable iPod theater
Icuiti today unveiled the DV920, its pocket-sized video eyewear that offers users a home theater experience with most video sources, including Apple's video iPod. The DV920 allows hands-free, private viewing on a virtual 42-inch screen, and can plug-and-play with a workstation or laptop for 3D gaming. The DV920 is available for $550, and will be showing at this year's Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. "The DV920 will serve to enhance the current portable video revolution by offering the user an unparalleled high resolution video experience. It has the ability to display 2D and stunning 3D stereoscopic video in the privacy of your own portable home theater," said Paul Travers, President and CEO of Icuiti.
New case for iPod video
ezGear has announced the ezArmor Video Protective Case for Video iPods. The case is made entirely of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, and fits the Video iPod perfectly with a clear protective screen and a click wheel cutout. Neoprene cushions the inside of the case to protect from impacts and scratches. Included with the case is a removable belt clip and neck strap. The ezArmor Video retails for $35 and fits both the 30GB and 60GB iPod video models.
Ford like Apple?
Ford's Executive Vice President Mark Fields today compared his company's current situation to that of Apple in the 1990s, according to Leftlane News, an automotive news site from the creators of MacNN. "I'd point you to the latest Interbrand ranking of the companies that are building their brand images, and their fortunes: E-Bay, Apple, Motorola. Guess what? Apple and Motorola had been written off less than a decade ago, just like the American auto industry. The headlines were grim," he said. But Fields hopes his company can innovate itself out of a slump, much like Apple did in recent years. "Apple and Motorola went on the offensive. They redefined themselves, they refocused on their brands, and they connected like never before with more customers. They did it with products like the iPod and the Razr phone - products that have excited customers with bold design and innovation."
In brief: Macostones.com is offering a complete collection of Apple and Mac OS sounds for download to computers and mobile phones.... MacTech today updated its new website that includes a new news aggregation section.... iPod Xtras has announced 65 percent off all older iPod accessories until Friday, January 6th at midnight.... Sonos today introduced a new ZonePlayer ($300), which allows users to play their digital music on all of their favorite audio equipment.... Digital video content brings more revenue to content producers than the 50-50 split record labels get for downloading a 99-cent song.... The Flux has announced the opening of the Flux iPod Film Festival, the world's first online film festival and competition of content formatted for the iPod.
The guitarist of a clasic rock band is the latest to crusade against hearing loss and the use of iPod's earbuds. Pete Townshend, of The Who, has issued a statement via his website to warn earphone users about hearing loss. Townshend expressed his concern that others may retain serious hearing damage if they do not turn down the volume of their music while using earphones. Townshend maintains that his own hearing was permanently damaged after years of using studio headphones. In recent months, a Northwestern University professor and audiologist also warned that the earbud-style headphones could cause serious, permanent hearing loss, while one study attributed hearing loss in Australia's youth to iPods and other similar devices.
iPod rock and pop quiz
Coolgorilla.com today launched its Coolgorilla Rock and Pop quiz, a free trivia game for iPod owners, and announced a contest that offers participants a chance to win a free video iPod. The download contains 20MB of sound files, and poses questions about The Gorrilaz, U2, Metallica, Beyonce, The Beatles, The Whites Stripes, The Killers, Madonna and more. Users who answer all of the questions correctly can enter the hall of fame, and one lucky user with the fastest completion time will earn the video iPod (specifications were unavailable).
Analyst picks Apple
Piper Jaffray has named Apple's stock as one of the top investment picks for calendar year 2006, indicating a strong faith in the ability of the company, along with Adobe and Avaid, to outperform others. Despite mounting investor sentiment that Apple's growth has peaked, analyst Gene Munster says that the company can continue to perform because of its ability to improve the iPod and its ability to develop innovative products in the coming year. Munster also cited the expected release of new Intel-based Macs at this year's Macworld Expo. Given the explosive popularity of iPod products and Apple's general resurgence in the market, Munster sees Apple as a "malleable" company and an attractive investment.
AppZapper for OS X Tiger
AppZapper.com today released AppZapper for Mac OS X 10.4 and above, allowing users to confidently uninstall nearly any application via drag-and-drop. AppZapper is designed to intelligently locate leftover support files and allow users to place them in the trash with a single click. AppZapper removes extra preferences, caches, and other support files generated during launch that can at times be much larger than the original applications. The process of removing abandoned files can enhance system performance, and increase stability of the operating system. AppZapper is available for $13, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
New Logitech kybd/mouse
Logitech today introduced the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac, a cordless keyboard-and-mouse combination, which it says "accentuates the elegant simplicity and style of today´s best-selling Mac computers" and provides premium controls. The keyboard and mouse are soft white with silver accents, matching the coloring of the Mac. The sleek, ultra-flat keyboard is less than 3/4 of an inch high, minimizing wrist extension; it also includes a large built-in palm rest. The Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac will be available in February in the U.S. for $100 and in Europe in March ("Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Mac").
LaCie to debut 6 products
LaCie today unveiled six new storage solutions, announced that it will offer MacWorld show specials with a daily prize drawing, and touted the impending launch of a new customer profiles website to showcase its best customers. The new products will make their debut at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco from January 9-13th, and LaCie has said it will offer special MacWorld pricing on its most popular hard drive models via its online store. New devices to debut include the "Little Big Disk" ($400-800), "Rugged Hard Drive" ($170-400), "Skwarim" ($150-200), "Two Big" ($500-1,000), "mini Hard Drive and Hub" ($200-430), and "Slim DVD RW Design by FA Porsche" ($220).
Reports: No MWSF stream
In Brief: Apple has confirmed that there will be no live stream of the Macworld SF Expo keynote by Steve Jobs, but said it would provide a replay of event on the Web shortly after the event ends.... MacNN has posted a review of Internet Cleanup 3.0, the latest version of the privacy utility from Allume Systems.... dinc! has released its first fonts of 2006 called the 2600 Fontpak--a limited edition through Saturday, January 7th--which includes five fonts.... Spring Medical Systems announced today that its new SpringCharts Exchange for MacPractice MD, due on January 16th, will provide seamless data integration between SpringCharts EHR (electronic health record) and the MacPractice MD practice management system (PMS).
SmallTree BlazeFS at MWSF
Small Tree Communications today announced that it will demonstrate BlazeFS--a new remote file sharing system designed specifically for Macintosh systems--during the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. BlazeFS is designed to be a high performance file system for working in concert with networking products such as 10Gb Ethernet and InfiniBand. BlazeFS provides remote file sharing that is completely transparent to client applications, works as if the user were accessing files on a local disk, and can drive data to the maximum speed of a Gigabit Ethernet link (pricing was unavailable).
Macromedia Flash Lite 2
Adobe today announced the immediate availability of Macromedia Flash Lite 2 software and Macromedia Flash Player SDK 7, its software technologies for building rich mobile and device experiences based on Flash technology. Flash Lite 2 is a "major" new release of the Flash Player for non-PC devices, bringing rich user interfaces to mobile phones and consumer electronics devices worldwide. Flash Player SDK 7 is the Flash Player optimized for consumer electronic devices, enabling consumer electronics manufacturers, system integrators and browser companies to create high impact products and services, with full web browsing capabilities, that leverage the vast number of Internet sites featuring Flash content.
iBank 2 for Tiger
IGG Software today released iBank 2, a new and completely rewritten version of its financial management application for Mac OS X. Users can manage budgets and investment portfolios, reconcile accounts with bank statements, work with multiple currencies, and import transactions from QIF, OFX, and CSV files. iBank supports AppleScript and Automator, allowing customized workflow for each user. The application also offers the ability to schedule and memorize transactions, view income and expenditure charts, export QIF and CSV files, print customized checks, and more. iBank 2 is available for $40, with upgrades for existing users priced at $20. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.
SlideKey, iPod competition
Zicplay today rolled out its SlideKey digital music player, a new device that could compete with Apple's iPod for dominance. The gadget plays MP3s, features a digital voice recorder, and operates as a USB storage device. The SlideKey player is available in 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB models, and has optional built-in FM radio on the 512MB and 1GB versions. A cover slides back to reveal the device's various function keys, and the unit can play MP3 as well as WMA files. SlideKey music players are expected to be available in mid-January starting from £45, and all units carry a full one-year warranty.
FM Server 8 Advanced
FileMaker today began shipping FileMaker Server 8 Advanced, an enhanced version of FileMaker Server 8 that lets administrators securely and reliably manage and deploy shared FileMaker Pro 8 and 7 database files over networks, intranets, and the Internet. The "all-in-one" server solution for sharing FileMaker databases extends the networking and security features of FileMaker Server 8 and enables rapid deployment of web solutions, custom integration with internal and external web sites, and links with external corporate data sources through ODBC, JDBC, and XML. The company also said the new version is up to 89 percent faster than the previous version. Upgrades are $750, while the full version is $2,500. Upgrades from FileMaker Server 8 are $1,500.
Sonos ZonePlayer ZP80
Sonos today introduced a new ZonePlayer, which allows users to play their digital music, all over their house, on all of their favorite audio equipment - a home theater system, powered speakers, a premium table top radio, and more. "By connecting a ZonePlayer ZP80 to any amplified audio device via the analog or digital outputs, that device instantly and seamlessly becomes part of a wireless, multi-room digital music system. This provides the consumer with the power to use the full-color Sonos Controller to control all of their music, in all of their rooms, all from the palm of their hand." The company says that the ZP80 can also be used to retrofit a conventional multi-room audio system with home-run speakers or as a wireless extender to increase the wireless range of Sonosnet, its AES-encrypted peer-to-peer wireless mesh network created by Sonos.
AirPort firmware updated
Apple today released new firmware updates for its AirPort Extreme products to address a DoS security issue, reliability and resolves issues with AirTunes, AirPort compatibility, and issues with some third party Routers. Apple said that the update, which will auto launch when downloaded, will offer the opportunity to update a number of base stations with either version 5.7 and version 6.3 for the Extreme and Express base stations, respectively. The 2.5MB update, which contains both firmware updates, is available via the Web for either Mac OS X or Windows and is available via the Software Update in Mac OS X. The company provided a short list of the specific changes:
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