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Video converter utility
Forty-TwoDVD-VXPlus 3.0 is an update the software application that allows users to convert DVD Folders and video files to various formats (avi, mp4 ) including iPod and Sony PSP video. Version 3.0 is a complete rewrite that takes advantage of PPC and Intel architectures. It is also localized for English, French and Japanese. Version 3.0 adds conversion to iPod- and PSP devices, an all-new 'iApp-like' interface, several ready-to-go conversion settings, new input options, and better documentation. Users can transcode from DVD Folders, VOB, Mpeg1/2, (S)VCD images and some types of Windows Media Player and Video for Windows files. (Windows Media 9/10 WMA3/WMV3 codecs supported when Flip4Mac WMV is installed). Advanced settings allow users to set resolution, audio and video, high-quality settings and more. The full version is $20, while upgrades are $10.
MCE 160GB drive
MCE Technologies has added a 160GB hard drive to their MobileStor line. The MCE MobileStor 160GB/5400RPM hard drive includes an 8MB cache buffer, and uses a method of standing data bits on end within the disk platters instead of parallel to the platter, enabling its higher storage capacity. The drive is compatible with all Apple PowerBook G4 models and can also be installed into an iBook G4, PowerBook G3, iBook G3, and Mac mini model. It is priced at $400, including warranty and tools necessary to install the drive.
WorldTimes 1.1 (free) updates the clear, compact world clock for Mac OS X that displays up to 12 different time zones from a database of over 420 worldwide locations. Version 1.1 allows users to selectively add or remove individual time zones, reducing idle CPU usage by 95 percent. The update also improves undo/redo handling, and fixes a missing space in 12-hour time formats under Mac OS X 10.2.
[Download - 222KB]
Emailchemy 1.7 ($25) reads emails from the proprietary formats of the most popular email applications, converting them to standard formats (RFC-822, mbox, maildir) that any application can use. Version 1.7 adds CompuServe2000 for Windows, CompuServe for Macintosh, and Musashi converters. The update also provides user-interface improvements, and offers various bug fixes. [Download - 511KB]
Troi Activator Plug-in 2.0.1 ($90) for FileMaker Pro 8 is a tool for triggering scripts across the network and the internet, as well as locally. The plug-in can trigger remote scripts using built-in security, pass information for the trigger, and features start/stop commands with a single script. The update is completely rewritten for FileMaker 7/8 and uses the built-in triggering of the new FileMaker API. All functions now support Unicode characters, and users can specify data to be returned as the script parameter of a script. [Download - 1.3MB]
iPhoto Buddy 1.2.4 (donationware) allows users to use, manage, and switch between multiple iPhoto Libraries. Version 1.2.4 adds support for iLife '06, improved international support, and several minor performance/reliability enhancements. Splitting photo libraries into multiple smaller collections improves iPhoto performance, and increases flexibility when organizing digital photos. [Download - 5.4MB]
Memory Usage Getter 2.6 ($10) displays the memory and CPU usage of each individual process and application visually, allowing users to see at a glance the relative usage of processes to one another. The update offers process history windows that are able to continue displaying statistics for monitored applications after they have quit and re-opened. Version 2.6 also provides five new "Kill Special" menu items that allow fast access to various system features. [Download - 1.4MB]
To answer some problems addressed by iPod owners, several companies have released utility programs to aid iPod users in downloading, uploading, and storing files with iPod. Many iPod users find that they cannot store music in multiple music libraries with iTunes, and cannot copy their music collection between their computers. Walter S. Mossberg reports that with available utilities and a few extra steps, these problems can be avoided until Apple fixes them from within iTunes. To use an iPod to copy music to multiple computers, Podworks ($8, Mac only), PodUtil ($18, Windows or Mac), and CopyPod ($20, Windows only) will work. Libra (free for Mac and Windows users, $10 registration fee) will allow the user to create multiple libraries and switch between them.
iTunes, Apple visitors
Online traffic to digital music retailers increased 22 percent in December 2005 compared to November 2005, driving record traffic to Apple's website and iTunes during the month. iTunes ranked No. 2 in internet traffic among online music sellers, drawing an estimated 9.3 million visitors during December--in part due to the popularity of iTunes gift certficates, according to comScore Media Metrix. Barnes & Noble led the category with 9.5 million visitors, up 33 percent from November.
iPodders damage ears
Some hearing experts are challenging the notion that iPods ar associated with hearing loss. Although hearing loss is on the rise in the US, hearing loss is a gradual process that takes years to take effect, which means that as a relatively new product, the iPod cannot yet be responsible for hearing loss. Hearing damage is another matter, though, with most iPod users wearing earbuds instead of noise-cancelling headphones. Many people who use portable music devices use the volue control to combat ambient noise-- traffic, lawnmowers, subways, crowds, etc.
Apple axes Pro apps
Apple this week notified its resellers that it will no longer offer Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, or Motion as standalone products. The company will instead only sell the applications as part of the previously announced Final Cut Studio production suite for $1,300--a Universal Binary version of which is expected to ship in March to enable full compatibility with Intel-based Macs. Apple has stopped taking new orders for current versions of the applications to be bundled within the suite. "The individual applications in Final Cut Studio will only be available as part of the suite," Apple wrote in a memo.
Many universities are now allowing lectures to be webcast and podcast, in turn causing concern over student attendance. Many professors had already been in the habit of posting lecture notes online, but many students now decline to attend lectures they can access in detail online. Indiana's Purdue University now podcasts 150 courses for students to peruse at home or carry on their iPods. For some students, the online video and audio files help to relieve them from time constraints due to jobs, personal issues, and other schoolwork.
iPod survival lessons
Selfridges--an upscale London department store--is set to offer iPod usage lessons to its customers who are apparently "baffled" by Apple's digital media player. The tutorial is roughly 40 minutes in length, and will cost attendees £65 for the session. A short distance away, customers are already attending workshops and sessions focusing on how to use an iPod, offered by Apple's Regent Street Store. The one-on-one sessions entitled "iPod Survival" will begin later this month, and will be available either in-store or via home-visits, according to a report from Techtree News. The lessons will cover topics such as basic iTunes and iPod usage, downloading podcasts, and transferring songs or videos.
Apple copies music video?
Apple's recently released TV commercial--which surprised Intel just before its debut with references to "dull little boxes"--is turning heads once again. Some users pointed out that the short video clip holds a strong resemblance to The Postal Service music video "Such Great Heights," as both depict clean room employees wearing suits within a chip fabrication facility. A piano melody that offers similar-sounding tones plays along beneath the narrator of the Apple commercial, and beneath the voice of The Postal Service's vocalist. The commercial was first unveiled at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco last week, as Apple's CEO Steve Jobs gave his keynote speech to a captivated audience.
Veenix Font Tools 4.2
Veenix Software announced today the release of Veenix Font Tools 4.2 and major enhancements to its Type Book Creator tool. Type Book Creator allows users to create type books or catalogs of their font collections, and prints without the need to first activate fonts. Enhancements to the Type Book Creator Tool include a redesigned user interface, 7-page layout options and new user customization options. Type Book Creator is an integrated feature of the Visual Font Database system, from which users can preview, sort, activate/deactivate, export and backup all their fonts. Several new font searches were also implemented to facilitate the Type Book Creator tool, including an alpha search to find/print all fonts beginning with a given character or a range of characters. Veenix Font Tools 4.2 for Mac OS X are downloadable for $50 for a single-user license, $180 for 5-user license, and a site license is $360.
Eovia Corporation today announced the immediate availability of Eovia ShaderStyle bundled plug-ins. ShaderStyle plug-ins allow Carrara users to add more enhancements to their 3D imagery and animation. Eovia ShaderStyle is comprised of Anything Goos, Shader Plus, Toon! Pro and Wireframe Pro plug-ins, all of which were developed by Digital Carvers Guild. 'Anything Goos' is a dirt and ageing shader that works with other common noise shaders to create effects such as chipped paint.
MacNN review, Apple FY \'06
In brief: MacNN has reviewed StuffIt Deluxe 10.0.1 from Allume Systems, a suite of tools to archive and protect files.... As noted earlier, Apple will provide a QuickTime-based live audio stream of its fiscal year 2006 first quarter results conference call at 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 18th via its website--to discuss its quarterly earnings, which will be released the same day just after marketclose.... Shift has officially launched its LiveSurface Image Library--a set of high-resolution royalty-free comping images.... iPod Garage recently released its ExpoBook, a free 49-page book containing everything the company learned about the iPod universe at Macworld Expo.... Early bird pricing for the Flashforward Conference and Film Festival is set to end on Friday, January 20th. [updated]
Pixar-Disney rumors fly
With the end of the current Pixar-Disney distribution agreement nearing and the series of moves by Pixar to jockey for more leverage, rumors are flying that Apple CEO Steve Jobs could be the next chairman of Walt Disney. The 14-year deal ends this summer after the release of Pixar's Cars animated film, and re-negotiation talks have spurred buy-out rumors. With Jobs holding 50.6 percent of Pixar, he could sell the company if he wished, but will likely not sell Pixar given his current investment in Apple, attachment to Pixar, and the potential cost to Disney, opines BusinessWeek news analyst Ronald Grover.
Matterform Media has announced Yank 1.0, an all-purpose uninstaller for Mac OS X. Yank uses Matterform's Sonar technology to remove hidden files that search tools cannot locate. Users install new programs on their Mac using Yank, which records every change made the the computer in the installation process. When the user wants to uninstall the program, Yank then knows where any "hidden" files may be, and uninstalls them. A Yank file sharing service is also available. A free demo can be downloaded; the full Yank costs $20. Yank requires OS X 10.2 or later, while OS X 10.4 Tiger is recommended for full feature support.
Identity Driver for Mac
Trusted Network Technologies today announced availability of its Identity Driver for Mac OS X users. Identity allows organizations to see, control, and prove who's interacting with any server or application, from what computer, and when, which are requirements for IT operations. Identity establishes pervasive, permanent, and unalterable identities for every user, computer, server, and application, blocking users without an identity from accessing a company's assets. The Identity solution comprises three elements, the Identity driver (embeds a unique identity within each session by modifying the data packets), the I-Manager (establishes access and control policies), and the I-Gateway (enforces policies based on user identities). Pricing is available by contacting Trusted Network.
Apple stores in Germany?
Apple may open five retail stores in Germany within the next six to 12 months, a move that would represent a massive expansion into continental Europe for the tech giant. An executive of Gravis--an Apple distributor--said he obtained information about the new stores while attending Macworld Expo in San Francisco, and that he is "99.9 percent" convinced of the plans, according to a report from ifo AppleStore. German store locations will include the cities of Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and possibly Frankfurt. Rome is currently the only known location in Europe to boast a future Apple store, and no confirmation from Apple has yet been received regarding the supposed new stores.
Apple's latest release of iPhoto 6 produces invalid RSS (Really Simple Syndication) for its new 'photocasting' feature and asks non-Safari to download/use Apple's own browser for the "best experience," taking what some say is a page from Microsoft's playbook. Photocasting, which Apple has touted as part of its new iLife suite of applications, allows users to easily share photos with each other online. Viewing Apple's 'photocasting' feed in a browser other than Safari, or subscribing to the feed using a newsreader other than NetNewsWire displays an HTML page requesting that they use Apple's Safari browser instead, which some say is Apple taking yet another opportunity to push its own products. While the error page offers a direct link to the RSS feed, several bloggers have noted that it uses non-standard tags and contains validation errors.
Ars reviews Intel-iMac
Ars Technica has posted an in-depth review of the new iMac Core Duo, featuring a few new details about the chipset Apple as well as other details, including notes about the bundled Front Row application and performance of Apple's Rosetta technology for running PowerPC-based applications on the Intel-Mac: "Rosetta should be more than adequate when it comes to general-purpose office apps, but for the heavy-duty stuff like Photoshop and other CPU-intensive applications, you'll notice a slowdown." On the benchmarking front, the new iMac Core Duo outperforms its iMac G5 counterpart in most tests and does quite well against the faster, more powerful dual-G5 Power Mac. Ars concludes that Apple finally put a "decent video card" (ATI Radeon X1600) in its consumer Mac, but notes the lack of user-serviceability, lack of native Intel applications, and lack of support for shared iTunes playlists in Front Row.
Seagate\'s 160GB Momentus
Seagate Technology announced it is shipping its 160GB Momentus hard disk drive for laptops. Touted by the company as the highest-capacity 2.5-inch drive on the market, it is Seagate's first laptop drive using perpendicular data recording. The Momentus 5400.3 is a 5,400 rpm drive with an Ultra ATA/100 interface, and features low power consumption and a high shock tolerance. A second version with Serial ATA is expected later this year. Also available in the Momentus line are 7,200 rpm and 4,200 rpm versions for performance and value applications (respectively).
iPod bolsters ratings
Apple's iPod and the iTunes Music Store have been credited as a contributing factor to the rise in popularity of NBC's "The Office", which delivered a rating of 5.1 last Thursday--its highest ratings among adults 18 to 49. The show is NBC's top-performing video content available via the iTunes Music Store, accounting for one-third of all the NBC/Universal downloads. NBC says it is confident that the iPod exposure contributed to the rise, according to TelevisionWeek. However, one analyst cautions against making a correlation between iTunes downloads and TV show ratings. "We are not seeing the kind of volume yet on iTunes that would show up in a ratings bump," said Adi Kishore, analyst with Yankee Group.
MacBook Pro RAM
18004MEMORY.COM announced the immediate availability of memory upgrades for Apple's new Intel-based MacBook Pro. The memory upgrades come in two capacities, 512MB and 1GB. Both are DDR 2, 667Mhz, 200 pin, SO DIMMS RAM chips. The upgrade include a lifetime warranteed and are priced at $75 (512MB) and $130 (1GB). 18004MEMORY.COM also offers a 2GB (1GBx2) version kit for $250.
WinTel 2.0 for Mactels
OpenOSX today began shipping its WinTel 2.0 emulator software with Universal binaries, bringing nearly native emulated x86 performance to Apple's new Intel-based Macs and allowing Mac users to run Microsoft Windows with increased speed. WinTel is designed to be an easy-to-use solution for configuring and utilizing the open-source Bochs software, which allows x86- or Pentium-based operating systems to run on Macintosh computers. OpenOSX WinTel includes 10 ready-to-use disk images of open-source x86-based operating systems which FreeBSD, Red Hat, Linux, FreeDOS and others. WinTel 2.0 has been successfully tested running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows XP Professional. Wintel 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available for $25 via download, while upgrades from previous versions are priced at $15.
Sun, Apple close encounter
Scott McNealy, Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Vinod Khosla divulged that Sun Microsystems and Apple computers had almost become partners. The Sun Microsystems founders came together on January 11 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California to discuss technology history, stating that Sun, Apple, and Microsoft nearly agreed on a common filing protocol at one time; Apple and Sun talked about sharing a software interface, and Sun tried to get Apple to move to the SPARC architecture. Bill Joy called it a "personal disappointment" that Sun and Apple had never been able to complete a deal, citing "six very close encounters" between the companies. "As far as I know," Joy lamented, "we almost bought Apple once. We almost merged with Apple two other times."
PowerBook G4 upgrade
Sonnet Technologies today introduced its new TiBook processor upgrade service for PowerBook G4 550MHz and 667MHz (VGA) models. The upgrade features a Freescale 7457 G4 processor running at 1.2GHz, and offers 512K of L2 on-board cache--twice that of the original processor. Sonnet says it has opted to start the new full-service upgrade because of the complexity of replacing the PowerBook CPUs. The service includes the purchase of the upgrade, full installation, and testing of the upgraded computer by trained technicians. Sonnet sends out a custom padded shipping box for the notebook allowing customers to pack the device and ship it back to Sonnet, after which the company ships the device back to users fully upgraded and ready for use. The PowerBook upgrade service costs $500 and is compatible with Mac OS 9.2 as well as Mac OS X through version 10.4.x.
DROD available for Mac
Caravel Games has announced that its award-winning game series is now available on the Mac usrs: Deadly Rooms of Death or DROD is now available for Mac OS X. DROD is a series of adventure and puzzle games about a dungeon exterminator named Beethro. "His adventure begins when the stingy and questionably ethical King Dugan hires him to take care of a "small" roach infestation. Little does Beethro realize that King Dugan's dungeon hides even more secrets than it does pests. His adventures through the series lead him face to face with dangerous foes, man-eating vermin, and eventually into the Rooted Hold, in the latest installment, DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold." The new Mac versions include both the original DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon and DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold. The expansion, DROD: Perfection, which will also support the Mac, will be announced later this month.
Adobe After Effects 7.0
Adobe Systems today announced Adobe After Effects 7.0, an upgrade to the industry standard tool for producing motion graphics and visual effects for film, video, DVD, and the web. Version 7 includes a re-designed, unified user interface, accelerated OpenGL 2.0 support, and comprehensive Flash Video (FLV) export capabilities. After Effects 7.0 is available as a stand-alone product or as part of Adobe Production Studio also announced today. The re-designed interface features dockable panels, allowing users to eliminate overlapping windows and palettes, re-arrange panels, save custom workspaces, and control UI brightness. It also features expanded support for OpenGL 2.0 by accelerating the on-screen rendering of 2D and 3D composites and delivering high-fidelity support for blending modes, motion blur on 2D layers, anti-aliasing, track mattes and shadows. It is available now for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later starting at $700.
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