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Sonic Reaity debuts R.A.W
Sonic Reality today debuted its R.A.W. Universal Groove Kit (pictured at right), featuring over 5,000 stereo loops in 24- and 16-bit audio files on two DVDs. In addition, Sonic and Joytown Productions announced that a Special Edition version of the Studio ProFiles series is now available for a limited time at esoundz.com. Studio ProFiles are multitrack and stereo loop libraries of drums, percussion, and other instruments recorded in professional studios. Studio ProFiles are designed to be opened natively as multitrack sessions/songs into hosts such as ProTools, Cubase, Logic, or loaded into any DAW or sampler.
Apple vs. Dell redux
Despite the enormous size of Dell, Apple's growth possibilities, tantalizing to investors, are probably the reason it has surpassed Dell's marketcap. A new BusinessWeek blog posting looks at How can Apple be worth more than Dell?, concluding that Dell is limited by its size, while Apple can achieve growth with relatively quickly: "But if you don't have big honking growth markets waiting to be harvested, size can be a heavy anchor indeed. The math is simple. To deliver 15% growth in the upcoming year, $55 billion-a-year Dell has to find $8.25 billion in extra sales. But Apple, at $13.9 billion in overall sales, would have to find just $2 billion....So if Apple gains a point of market share this year--not a pipe dream by any means, especially given the Intel transition--Jobs & Co. will have already found the fuel for that 15% revenue growth year. And that's without any iPod sales growth."
NI Kore, reorganization
Native Instruments (NI) today unveiled Kore, which it says is "the world's first" Universal Sound Platform that includes both a hardware controller and a new software interface. The company says that Kore will revolutionize how performers and producers work with software instruments and effects. "Following a decade of evolution in music software, KORE opens up significant new possibilities for the operation of software instruments both in the studio and on stage. It also marks the first host system by Native Instruments." The company also announced that it has formed separate internal divisions for Instruments, Guitar and DJ products in an effort to better address the diverse needs of today's musicians, producers and DJs.
IBM commits to Intel Macs
Mac users have spoken and large companies are listening. IBM Software will announce updated Mac OS X support in the latest Notes client as well as announce a commitment to Apple's Intel-based Mac architecture at next week's Lotusphere conference, as Mac users refuse to be treated as second-class citizens. InformationWeek reports that despite the transition away from IBM's PowerPC chips--which may have caused a rift with Apple--IBM will announce "big-time support" for the new Intel-based Macs, as both battle Microsoft on many fronts. The commitment comes as one user says that the extremely small percentage of Mac users exert a great influence. "The older Notes 6.5 client supports Mac OS 10.3 but thus far the current Notes 7 client has not. While Macs comprise a small percentage of business desktops, their users constitute a very vocal and influential minority, solution providers said."
QuickTime 2 RSS
Apple's education department is developing the QuickTime 2 RSS technology, which will allow university professors to record their slides, notes, and details to student assignments while they are delivered to the students in the lecture hall, according to a new report. The technology in QuickTime 2 RSS can turn the "performance" into files suitable for podcast and automatically upload them, according to the Guardian Limited. The technology is similar to the system currently used at Stanford University, which provides "downloads of faculty lectures, campus events, performances, book readings, music recorded by Stanford students and podcasts of Stanford football games" via Stanford on iTunes. Despite the advancing technology, many fear the lack of student lecture attendance, as more and more content is posted online.
Soundtrack Pro, Bonjour
Apple has released a free Bonjour for Windows 1.0.2 downloadable update. The technology allows Windows users to network their PC to an existing network or create instant networks of multiple devices without additional network configuration. New features include improved compatibility with Mac OS X printer sharing, fixed "Error 1920" installation issue, improved compatibility with Norton Internet Security, improved connectivity with DNS relays in certain third-party routers, and the new version addresses compatibility issues with certain third-party VPN clients. It requires the latest Windows Service Pack.
Furnace 3 for Shake
Visual effects developer The Foundry has launched Furnace 3 for Shake, a major update with new image processing plug-ins designed to significantly enhance workflow and productivity for Shake artists. Furnace is a suite of image processing tools designed to tackle every-day composting tasks, and the new version delivers 10 new plug-ins--many of which automate time-consuming processes in the creation of digital video effects. The new plug-ins include a sophisticated DeBlur solution that automatically removes motion and out-of-focus blur, MatchGrade for automatic color histogram matching, and Tracker--a multi-point tracker which can track challenging regions of a moving image. Furnace 3 (node-locked) is priced at $4,000, while existing customers can upgrade for $2,000.
Pangea Bugdom 2 v3.0
Pangea Software today released Bugdom 2 v3.0 which is now a Universal Binary application that will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. The free Bugdom 2 v3.0 updater is currently available for download from the Pangea Software website. It will update all previous versions of the game, however, version 3.0 requires Mac OS 10.4. The company said that users with older versions of Mac OS X should stay with version 2.0, which is also available ononline. In addition to having support for Intel, the new version 3.0 also improves support for gamepads, joysticks, and other input devices, and allows customization of the game's keyboard controls. The full version is available for $35 (CD).
Steinburg commits to Intel
Steinberg Media Technologies announced its commitment to developing its audio software products such as Cubase and Nuendo for the new Intel Macs, expected to be released later this year. Cubase is one of Steinburg's music production software lines, like the Virtual Guitarist line, while Nuendo hardware and software products assist in media production. Steinburg also announced the release of the VST 2.4 SDK, a new version of its Virtual Studio Technology interface. The latest version offers new features for developers of audio applications and plug-ins, including full support for 64-bit audio, double precision floating point capability and complete compatibility with the new Intel Macs. The VST 2.4 SDK is available now via download. [corrected]
TPS on Apple\'s Intel ad
The Postal Service (TPS) this week responded to accusations about Apple's second copycat television spot. Earlier this week, we noted the growing controversy over Apple's recently-released ad featuring the company's involvement with Intel. The spot, which was debuted at Macworld San Francsico and subsequently has aired on national US television, shows "shot-by-shot" similarities with a music video from The Postal Service dubbed "Such Great Heights," according to the band--who expressed disapointment with both Apple and the film makers. "It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original," wrote Ben Gibbard, a member of The Postal Service."
Orbino iPod cases
Orbino has released new iPod cases for iPod video, nano, and shuffle. The cases are hand-made in Italy of various leathers and precious metals. iPod Cambio for iPod video is available in five leather colors for $65. The iPod nano Roadster case comes in nine leather colors for $40; iPod nano Sportivo case is also available in its own nine colors for $40. The Orbino Precious Metal and Leather case for iPod shuffle comes in 19 colors and costs $40-60. All Orbino iPod cases come with its patented spring loaded belt clip.
Virtual Guitarist 2
Steinburg Media Technologies this week presented the new version of its Virtual Guitarist software product, Virtual Guitarist 2. The software offers 6.8GB of editable riffs, parts, and licks in 88 musical styles. The computer-base insturment creates both electric and acoustic guitar parts, with an expanded audio library, and a range of virtual stomp box effects modelled to recreate tube saturation, wah, flanger, distortion, and other effects. The new amp modelling section recreates the sound of both modern and vintage guitar amps, as well as microphone type and positioning. Virtual Guitarist 2 for Mac OS X is due in February 2006 (pricing was unavailable). Steinburg also announced that intends to update its Nuendo and Cubase software for the Intel Macs.
Sonic Reality, new samples
Sonic Reality today unveiled a new series of high-end sampled instruments dubbed the "Infinite Instrument Series." The new series is designed to work with streaming samplers such as Kontakt/Battery, Giga, HALion, EXS, and others. The "Infinite Drums" collections--the first to be released from the series--focus on natural acoustic studio drum kits formatted as playable multisamples. The three titles being announced at Winter NAMM 2006 include Infinite Drums Custom, Infinite Drums Vintage, and Infinite Drums Session. Infinite Drums titles are each priced at $250, and ship on DVDs with over nine drum kits and 15 snares sampled at 24-bit resolution with top-quality studio equipment (system requirements were unavailable).
Apps: Nuvvo, Simon
xGestures 1.4 ($5) is a mouse gestures suite for Mac OS X, allowing the user to perform actions using quick mouse movements. For use with Mozilla Foxfire and Opera, xGestures also works with every program and all aspects of Mac OS X. The new version includes better integration with Tiger and a variety of new actions that can be triggered by mouse gestures. [Download - 1.27MB]
Nuvvo (free) is a free, on-demand, e-learning platform that gives users the ability to teach courses online for free, with tools for content creation and integrated e-commerce. Nuvvo is now integrated with iCal, allowing the user to create and monitoriCal format feeds. Developed on PowerMacs and PowerBooks, Nuvvo is Safari-friendly and includes many Mac-centered features.
Simon 2.1.1 ($15-100) is a site monitoring tool for Mac OS X that checks websites for changes or failures, and notifies the user via email, sound, speech, and HTML reports. Version 2.1.1 is a bug fix, with new templates, several new optional columns for the tests table, a new duplicate command to make adding tests easier, an overhaul of the monitor window, pie charts of successes and failures, new status menu, and more. [Download - 3.7MB]
MySync 0.7 (beta) provides the Mac-to-Mac syncing capabilities of .Mac, without .Mac. MySync features automatic detection of other MySync nodes on the users network using Bonjour, password authentication, keep-alive connections, an emergency data restore facility, remote syncing, SSL encryption, Growl compatibility, and more. It requires Mac OS X Tiger, and is currently in public beta. [Download - 972k]
Diet Sleuth 4.4 ($35) is a nutritional database and personal health logbook for Mac and Windows. Diet Sleuth allows the user to keep track of what foods they eat each day and their nutritional values. It adds the ability to generate reports in Comma Separated Values (CSV) format, allowing import into spreadsheets and other programs. [Download - 2.7MB]
iFlash 2.7 ($13) is a virtual flash-card program built for Mac OS X. New features are the added flash-card printing and vertical centering to the card show, and iFlash is now a Universal Binary, and runs natively on the new Intel Macs. iFlash includes audio and image support, built-in memorization tracking, the iFlash Deck Library, and more. [Download - 2.2MB]
Source-Connect Pro 2.5
Source Elements has enhanced the capabilities of its newly released Source-Connect Pro 2.5, and released a new lower cost version of the software. Source-Connect enables audio connections between Pro Tools systems anywhere in the world, allowing direct-to-the-timeline recording with real-time broadcast-quality audio using T1, Cable, or DSL internet connections. The new lower cost Source-Connect 2.5 retains the core functionality of Source Connect Pro, but is customized for musicians and voice-over artists. The new version features stereo bit-rates up to 192Kbs, a simplified user interface, Remote Transport Synchronization with overdub mode, and the ability to connect to Source-Connect Pro. The update is slated for release in early February of 2006, and is priced at $400. Source-Connect Pro is available for $1,500, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
MacNN review, Apple store
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the i-Fusion ($150, shown at right) by Sonic Impact, a portable sound system designed for Apple's iPod.... Apple is set to open a second retail store at the Eaton Center in Toronto, Canada, and is accepting applications..... Apple recently posted a profit of $565 million, which was driven by sales of nearly 14 million iPods, and revenues of just over $5.7 billion.... Wrappers has unveiled a new Candy iPod nano cover (£10) featuring a tech diva enjoying her iPod.... Chwang Yi has announced its new BassBuds ($30) bass enhanced in-ear buds, designed for Apple's iPod.... XtremeMac has expanded its line of Sport Iconz iPod cases ($25-30) to include Major League baseball.
Live 5.2 on Intel Macs
Ableton today announced that Live 5.2, due in beta form shortly, will bring native support for Intel Macs. The company also announced that Live 6, due in the third quarter of 2006, will add support for multiple core processors. Both releases of the music production application leverage new processor technologies to provide Live users with significant gains in audio performance, such as the capacity to simultaneously run more tracks, virtual instruments, and effects. Live 5.2 will bring native support for Apple's new Intel-Macs and will be available as beta as soon as the new Intel Core Duo-equipped MacBook Pro is available. Ableton's Live 6, scheduled for release in Q3, will add support for multicore/multiprocessor architectures, which will bring another "large increase" in audio performance, according to the company.
Chwang Yi today announced its new BassBuds bass enhanced in-ear buds. Designed for use with the iPod, BassBuds are intended to address the issue of low bass quality, of which many users complain, according to the company. Frequency response is between 12Hz and 22KHz, with an input sensitivity of 40mW for 114dB SPL. BassBuds are available in white or black and and can be returned for any reason within a year of purchase. The price of BassBuds is $30.
Camera Raw 3.3 plugin
Adobe today released a new version of its Camera Raw 3.3 plugin. The new version of the Camera Raw plug-in replaces the original Camera Raw plug-in that was installed with Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 software. In addition to its raw file support, it adds support for several cameras, including those from Canon (EOS 5D, EOS 1D Mark II N, EOS 20Da), Kodak (EasyShare P850 and EasyShare P880), Fujifilm (FinePix E900, FinePix S5200/5600, and FinePix S9000/9500), Mamiya ZD, Nikon D200, Olympus (E-500, SP-310, SP-350, and SP-500UZ), Pentax (*ist DL and *ist DS2), and Sony's DSC-R1. A download that includes Adobe DNG Converter with the updated Camera Raw 3.3 update is also available.
.Mac, printer promos
In Brief: Apple has extended its .Mac subscription promo, offering a $30 instant discount on the $99 individual and the $179 family memberships when purchased with any new Mac.... Apple has also extended its Choose the perfect printer promo, offering a a $100 rebate when you buy any Mac and a qualifying printer--both now expire on April 17th.... Mac OS X 10.4.4 Server resolves two issues with the default interaction between the versions of PHP and MySQL that are pre-installed on Mac OS X Server, including support for the secure authentication mechanism available in recent versions of MySQL.... NewEnding Studios has released four new Rapidweaver web site themes created specifically for the latest version, Rapidweaver 3.2.1.... Readers and resellers report the receipt of new iMac Core Duos in both the US and Australia.... Microsoft's Office promo, offering up to 50 percent off Mac Office, ends on January 31st.
Apple refurbs available
Apple has reduced prices on its refurbished Power Mac G5s, offering the dual-2.3GHz Power Mac G5 for $2,000, the older dual-2.5GHz model for $2,050, and the dual-2.7GHz G5 for $2,150. Apple has also lowered pricing on its 15-inch PowerBook G4 models, offering the older 1.5GHz combo-drive PowerBook G4 for $1,400 and the SuperDrive-enabled counterpart, the 1.67GHz PowerBook G4, for $1,600. A refurbished version of the current generation pro laptop model, a 1.67GHz PowerBook G4, for $1,700, while the 17-inch PowerBook is only $1,850. Meanwhile, 12-inch PowerBook G4s are available starting $1,050 (1.33GHz/ 256MB/ 60GB/ Combo) with the current-generation 12-inch 1.5GHz PowerBook G4 for $1,100 (Combo drive) and $1,200 (SuperDrive). All Power Mac and PowerBook models include free standard shipping. Several refurbished iPod models are also available starting at $80 for the 512MB Shuffle and $190 for the 20GB and $250 for the 40GB click-wheel iPods. In addition, users can receive up to 50 percent off Microsoft Office with purchase of any Mac.
bTop-1 data acquisition
Perfectly Scientific has updated its development tools supporting the bTop-1 data acquisition board. This release adds support for the UNIX command line, C and RealBasic in addition to it's native Objective C environment. "These single call UNIX (or C) API's make it even easier than the original Cocoa interface to acquire your data or control your real world objects. Communicating with the bTop1 board using UNIX or C, a server now runs in the background so that initialization and monitoring of your bTop1 boards is handled for you." The bTop-1 lab acquisition and control system supports full-speed USB 2.0 and offers 16 channels of digital I/O: 8 channels of 12 bit A-to-D and 8 channels of 8 bit D-to-A. bTop Development Tools 1.1 (with full source code) is available for free under the BSD license, while the bTop-1 hardware card (with USB cable) is available for $150.
Intel iMac gets 4.5 stars
Apple's new iMac Core Duo received 4.5 out of 5 stars from PC Magazine in its latest review, but the magazine says that machine is best suited for consumers due to software performance on the new Intel architecture. The magazine notes that Apple's Front Row application is much more responsive: "Front Row is now a totally natural user interface and has less of the irksome pauses we saw in the last iMac G5. You still have to load iTunes/iPhoto/video content manually in their respective programs, but now the content comes up smoothly and almost instantaneously." The review also notes that watching 1080p high-definition movie trailers without the annoying audio or video stutters is now possible without Apple's highend dual- and quad-processor G5 desktops. Interestingly, the review also focuses on the "cool" new features of Apple's iLife '06, which is bundled with all new Macs, as well as its improved performance; however, as most have found, Photoshop only performs well for the most casual users, tiggering a caution flag for Pro users.
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