PictureSync 1.5 ($15) introduces enhanced uploading, improved annotation/metadata support including XMP sidecars, import from Aperture, annotation batch-saving, and a fullscreen view for easy annotation. PictureSync is a utility that simplifies annotating photographs and movie clips, as well as uploading them to galleries or photoblogs. The update also offers support for the Shutterfly, BubbleShare and 23 additional services. [Download - 1.3MB] iCal Events 2.2 Widget (unknown) updates the dashboard widget to display event notes in a tooltip when the mouse hovers over the event name, adds support for iCal's birthdays calendar, displays the current date in the header, runs natively on Intel-based Macs, and more. iCal Events displays upcoming events from multiple iCal calendars in a resizable widget, showing up to two weeks of upcoming events in the same window without the need to open iCal. The update also fixes a bug that prevented it from loading some calendars. [Download - 220KB] Speak N Spell 1.0.0 (free) helps users practice spelling skills, featuring a built-in word set that is appropriate for adults. Users can create custom word sets for children or for specific needs, and the application features four levels of difficulty by default. The current difficulty level and dictionary word set are saved between sessions, while the included word set consists of over 48,000 words. [Download - 1.6MB] PictoGrab 1.0 ($15) is a utility designed to quickly download pictures from any website automatically. Users can specify minimum and maximum file sizes, as well as search depth to refine searches. PictoGrab supports drag-and-drop of URLs, and can save to any destination folder. PictoGrab 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.7MB] LogOutScreenSaver 3 ($7) gracefully logs out users automatically when a session goes idle after a pre-determined time period. Version 3 is a Universal Binary, offering support for Intel-based Macs and the ability to automatically save documents in Mac OS X 10.4. The application includes two installers, that can install a LoginHook script that sets LogOutScreenSaver as the default screen saver for each user. [Download - 1.6MB] iPDA 3.0.1 ($20) updates the iPod enhancement utility by fixing a problem that occurred when attempting to add multiple documents or folders to iPDA. iPDA transfers information from Entourage, Stickies, Mail, Address Book, and iCal. Version 3.0.1 sanely handles documents that are deleted or renamed in the Finder, and will transfer everything rather than selected items only. [Download - 732KB]
Ableton announced the availability of new Live 5 bundles with hardware for use with Live 5 recording software. Ableton's Live 5 is a software solution designed for each stage of the musical process, from creation to production to performance. Live 5 combines professional recording and mixing tools with stage control. Live 5 requires Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows.
Zend has released version 5.1 of its Studio IDE for PHP/LAMP development, as well as its Optimizer 2.6 software to enhance the speed of PHP applications. Zend Studio 5.1 is designed for professional developers and encompasses all of the components necessary for the full PHP application lifecycle. The software offers a set of editing, debugging, analysis, optimization, database, and testing tools to speed development cycles and simplify complex projects. Zend Optimizer 2.6 now features a graphical user-interface for Mac users, previously only available to Linux and Microsoft Windows users. Zend Studio 5.1 is available in Enterprise ($500), Professional ($300), and Standard ($100) editions. Zend Optimizer 2.6 is available for free (system requirements were unavailable).
PodOmatic, provider of free services enabling anyone to find, create, distribute, promote and listen to podcasts, announced today the addition of video podcasting support to its suite of products and services. Users need a PC or Mac, webcam and microphone to create a videocast with PodOmatic. PodOmatic syndication wizards enable users to place their videocasts in directories (i.e. Yahoo!, iTunes, etc) and viral marketing tools for promoting videocasts. Videocasters can now also podMail their videos directly to any PC, portable video device or TiVo box, and receive audio and video "emails" in their podMail account. All of PodOmatic's basic podcasting and videocasting services are free to registered users. PodOmatic also offers PodOmatic Plus accounts at $10 per month for podcasters and videocasters with successful shows requiring additional storage and bandwidth.
The Plugin Site has announced the Mac OS X version of FocalBlade. FocalBlade is a Photoshop-compatible plugin for sharpening photos for screen display and printing and producing blur, soft focus, and glow effects on 8-bit and 16-bit images. FocalBlade can be used with many graphics applications such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator, Painter, Fireworks, Canvas, Photoline, and GraphicConverter. FocalBlade offers three automatic sharpening tools, screen and print buttons, and several split view modes. FocalBlade for Windows or Mac OS X costs $50 for a download, $60 for a mailed CD version, and $30 for an academic/student/educational license.
Martian Tecnology today released Martian SlingShot, a network file and folder synchronization utility for Mac OS X. SlingShot helps users keep files in sync between two or more Macs, incorporating Apple's Bonjour technology to find and connect to other computers on a network. SlingShot supports both simple one-way "mirroring" of files from one computer to another, as well as two-way synchronization arrangements to update files on all participating computers. SlingShot allows one computer to "Publish" a folder onto the network, to which other computers can then "Subscribe." Several computers can contribute changes to the folder, automatically updating the files on all participating machines. SlingShot requires Mac OS X Tiger and is available as a Universal binary, supporting both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. SlingShot is available as a free, limited demo, or as a $30 license.
WaterField has unveiled the Sleevecase for notebook computers, a neoprene shell-case designed to offer one-hand access to the device. A flap secures across the top of the case to conceal the notebook inside, while an optional shoulder strap offers hands-free carrying. A "piggyback" option adds an external pocket to stow various items and accessories. The Sleevecase is available from $35-42. Sleevecases are available for Apple's MacBook Pro 15-inch, PowerBook 12-, 15-, and 17-inch models, 15-inch Titanium, PowerBook G3 14-inch, and the 12- and 14-inch G3 and G4 iBooks, as well as the older Clam Shell iBook.
code poetry announced Notae 1.0, its advanced notebook for Mac OS X Tiger centered around the collection and location of notes and snippets of information. It is powered by Tiger's Core Data and Spotlight technologies and allows users to search through thousands of notes. Notes in Notae are in rich text, using the all the abilities of Mac OS X's text-editing architecture such as colors, styles, links, and tables. All notes can be exported to RTFD or to iTunes using Text-to-Speech, ready for syncing with an iPod, and can be saved in XML or SCLite stores for use with other programs. Notae v1.0 is available as a free, full-featured 30-day shareware demo, otherwise costing $15.
Pangea Software today announced the release of Nanosaur II v2.0, which is now a Universal Binary application that will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. First released as a public beta in early October, the final Nanosaur II 2.0 updater is currently available for download from the company's website. The 2.0 update will update all previous versions of the game, however, version 2.0 requires Mac OS 10.4. Users with older versions of Mac OS X should stay with version 1.1 which is still available on the Pangea web site. Pangea also notes that Universal Binary versions of many of their other games will be available in the coming days and weeks. Last week the company announced Pangea announced Enigmo 2, a 3D puzzle game offering players the ability to manipulate flowing water, plasma, and laser beams to reach the final destination. The new title is due in mid-February.
BeLight Software today released Business Card Composer 3.2, a major update to its business card tool. Version 3.2, now a Universal Binary application that will support the latest Intel-based Macs, it supports double-sided cards, adds 32 smart shapes, and offers object group selection. The software supports duplex printers, and offers the option to select several objects for resize and rotation as if a single item was added. The update also features extended business card paper layouts, a paper layout preview addition to the paper selection dialogue, an option to set up addresses in preferences, and the addition of ruler/measurement units. Business Card Composer is available for $35 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. The upgrade is free for all existing users.
Pubblog.com today announced the release of MailSteward 4.0, its email archiving solution for the Mac. MailSteward archives email in a relational database for easy access and backup of all email. The new version stores the email text, html, enriched text, and attachments, and now also keeps a copy of the raw source of the email. Version 4 is a Universal binary that runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-Macs. MailSteward v4.0 is a native Cocoa application that requires Mac OS X Tiger or greater, and works wit the Mac OS X Mail email application or exported mbox files. A demo version is available for free download, and MailSteward costs $30, with a 50-user site license available for $300.
NHL and NASCAR are close to signing a deal with Apple that would offer videos from both sources via the iTunes Music Store, according to a report from the SportsBusiness Journal. The online content provider has already seen an explosion of offerings from Disney, Pixar, ABC, NBC, ESPN, and others since Apple debuted its video iPod in October of 2005, making history and changing the distribution of mainstream television forever. Now Apple stands to increase its offerings, further expanding selection for its customers while bolstering its already large content collection.
Britain's Sky News has announced that Sky News video can now be downloaded via podcast to the video iPod. Starting this week with their "7 Days" feature, Sky News will be building a library of clips for download over the next few weeks. The immediately available 7 Days program features a look at the week's lighter stories. The Sky News podcast is available to anyone using iTunes and a multimedia player or video iPod.
Viruses tailored for Macs are uncommon, but belief of infalibility leaves users exposed to attack, according to a new BBC column. Comprising only about four percent of the personal PC market, Mac users don't prove to be a popular target, as much of the motivation for creating malware is its widespread effect. The first known virus, the Elk Cloner, was specific to the Apple II computer, and Macs are still not immune. Bill Thomson, BBC correspondent noted that protecting your computer is like immunizing children against once common illnesses-- it works better when everyone does it. "Any Mac user who believes they are totally safe is being reckless with their files and personal information. What's worse, they are also being reckless with mine."
Disruptive Technology Channels today announced that it has switched its PodGear brand name to GEAR4, and mentioned 10 new iPod accessory products will be available before the end of the month. The old name was "limiting" in that it was obviously iPod related, according to the company, and the move to GEAR4 is intended to highlight the firm's other digital accessories expected to be sold along with the successful iPod collection under one name. "The transition from PodGear to GEAR4 should shift the great reputation we have built up for bringing exciting, stylish accessories to market over to the GEAR4 marque and negate the need to launch other additional brands from scratch," said Tom Dudderidge, managing director of Disruptive Technology Channels.
Hoping to keep its massive iPod marketshare and continue its dominance in the music industry, Apple is looking ahead at its possible competitors, which may include Microsoft, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In an interview with Newsweek, Jobs predicts that Microsoft may get into the business of making MP3 players, saying that a unifying force may be necessary to take on the iPod/iTunes ecosystem: "The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work. What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever," Jobs said in response to whether there were an "iPod-killers" that surfaced at last week's CES show in Las Vegas.
Cocoatech today released Path Finder 4, an update to its file browser featuring over 100 new improvements, including tabbed browsing. Version 4 provides a Safari-like "Bookmark Bar," a new user-interface, and a new select tool. The update also features a rewritten file copy engine, and offers spotlight fast search integration. Tabbed browsing allows users to quickly and efficiently access multiple locations on a computer or network within the same Path Finder window. An extensive rewrite of over 80 percent of Path Finder's internal code further optimizes the update for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and improves overall speed. Path Finder 4 is available for $35, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Upgrades for existing Path Finder users are priced at $18.
Apple's transition Intel chips may help the company in the consumer market, but it is unlikely to motivate businesses to transition from PC's to Macs. For the most part, government contracts require that companies use Windows, and many companies find that there is insufficient software compatibility and availability with Macs, according to InformationWeek. Even though debuting the Intel-based Macs six months ahead of schedule will help Apple keep sales up as customers will not have to wait for the upgrades, Apple is focusing more on a "living-room"-styled computer, according to the report.
Koyono today unveiled its new outerwear designs for spring of 2006 that include integrated controls for Apple's iPod digital media players. The first design to be available is BlackCoat Work, a lightweight jacket made from water resistant stretch cotton. The fabric interfaces which enable the embedded controls are made from ElekTex--a unique five-layer laminate of electrically conductive materials that transforms fabric into an electronic touchpad. Additional designs include coats dubbed Sport and Minimal, as well as a surprise garment innovation for summer with prices ranging from $150 to $1,000. The made-for-iPod BlackCoat Work jacket is scheduled to debut in March, and will be priced at $180.
Sonnet Technologies today announced that its top-of-the-line dual processor upgrade is now available in the UK. The 1.7GHz Encore/ST G4 Duet, which began shipping to US customers in mid-December, is designed 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 1.3GHz dual processor upgrade it replaces." The new upgrade is based on the latest and fastest PowerPC™ G4 7447A processors (used in Apple's current PowerBook line) from Freescale Semiconductor. It 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. Sonnet's Encore/ST G4 upgrades for Power Mac G4 tower computers include a factory-attached heatsink. The Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.7GHz (Part No. SG4D-1700) is available now for Ł450 and includes a three-year warranty.
Paradigma Software has released Valentina 2.1 for C++ on Mac OS, as well as the update of all Valentina 2.x versions to the new 2.1 kernel. Valentina 2's next generation object-relational database model builds on the traditional relational database model, much like C++ builds on top of the C language. Valentina 2 utilizes a new abstraction data model: "Links" are sophisticated structures that manage high speed, low overhead handling of one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many relationships. Valentina Links include ObjectPtrs and Binary Links, as well as new reinterpretations of Foreign Keys. Valentina 2 C++ ADK (Application Developer Kit) Standard Edition for Macintosh is available for $200, or can be purchased as part of Valentina Developer Network for $600.
Syncro Soft has announced version 7.0 of its XML Editor, Schema Editor and XSLT Debugger. oXygen XML Editor 7.0 adds more than 50 important new features, such as continuous validation and on-screen error display, XQuery debugging, XPath content completion, XSLT refactoring actions, and more. Version 7 improves document validation by adding continuous validation support, which validates as users type. It also adds error markers, an overview ruler, multiple external validation engines, and support for CSS validation. oXygen XML Editor 7.0 also brings properties or images preview, different element colors depending on the XML prefix, contextual spell-checking, the ability to extract an XML Schema from a database structure, and floating license support over the internet. It is available for $50 (education) or $180 (after a 20% discount good through January 31st).
Mactel users will soon be able to run a native version of Firefox. The Mozilla foundation this weekend said that it would release in March a native Intel version of its popular alternative browser, Firefox. "We are targeting the official release of Firefox for Intel Mac OS X in late March with the Firefox 126.96.36.199 update," said Mozilla software engineer Josh Aas told ZDnet. "While an unofficial version of the software is now available on Aas' personal Web site, until Mozilla approves it, the developer recommends those with Intel Macs use Apple's Rosetta technology to run the normal PowerPC Mac OS X version of Firefox." Rosetta technology allows users to run most programs designed for PowerPC-based Macs on Intel-based Macs. While some applications take a performance hit, most transparently to the user--without any modifications. In addition to an Intel-native version of Firefox, Aas has posted native versions of Mozilla's Thunderbird email/messaging client and Camino, another popular browser based on the same code as Firefox.
Apple is reportedly looking to exploit a tax loophole in the UK to allow it to sell VAT-free music to British consumers. The money.telegraph reports that Apple is looking into setting up operations in Guernsey so it sell music to British customers--without charging the nearly 18 percent value added tax (VAT). That could reduce the price of iTunes music from 79p to 67p, according to the report.
On Friday, Steve Jobs took a moment to remind Apple employees of a historic moment of sorts--when Apple's marketcap surpassed Dell's. The note came following a 12 percent rise last week in Apple's stock value, according to the New York Times: "It may not be the last laugh, but on Friday afternoon, after the close of the stock market, Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple Computer, shared an e-mail chuckle with his employees at the expense of Dell, a big rival.... On Friday, apparently savoring the moment, Mr. Jobs sent a brief e-mail message to Apple employees, which read: 'Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.'"
Native Instruments (NI) today announced that it would bring its full line of professional audio products to the Mac. "NI welcomes Apple’s move towards new, powerful processor technology and is already working on enabling its products for use on the upcoming iMac and MacBook Pro computers." All future product releases will include "Universal" versions that will take full advantage of the new Intel-Mac platform while maintaining compatibility with PowerPC-based Macs, according to the company. Existing NI products will be updated to support Intel-based Macs within 2006, with flagship products such as Guitar Rig, Reaktor, and Traktor DJ Studio due in the second quarter of this year.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives