Adium X 0.88 is an update to the popular multi-protocol instant messaging application that supports many different protocols, including AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more. Version 0.88 is now offered as a Universal binary, running natively on PPC Macs with OS X 10.2.7 or later and Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later. "That's a Big Deal for you early adopters out there, since Macworld's recent benchmarking indicates that native applications may have as much as a 50% speed advantage over applications running in Rosetta." It also fixes a MSN bug that was preventing MSN buddy icons (avatars) from updating properly as well as problems when waking from sleep. Adium 0.88 also features a new Australian English localization.
MOTU recently debuted its Ethno Instrument, a cross-platform virtual instrument that gives users quick and easy access to an 8GB library of world/ethnic instruments, loops and phrases. Ethno's multi-column preset browser clearly organizes both instruments and loops by regions of the world that include Africa, Asia, Australia, Celtic, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, Mediterranean, West Indies, Occidental, and others. Ethno Instrument's 4GB of authentic loops and phrases include percussive rhythms; vocal utterances; solo/ensemble voices; single-instrument chord progressions; multi-instrument rhythm sections; ornamental flourishes (such as harp glissandos); and more. The MOTU Ethno Instrument is priced at $300, and is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2006.
Apple today added more exclusive Disney content to the iTunes Music Store, following the announcement of Disney buyout of Pixar. "Disney rolls back the clock 70 years with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the rest of the gang. Offering up some of the animated short films that helped spark the imagination of generations upon generations of children and adults, these ten Disney classics are now available for download exclusively on iTunes."
iVideoBlast.com has announced the addition of a video podcast directory to its library of classic content video. The new directory focuses on video podcast iTunes-compatible content, and has developed a unique "hybrid" navigation system that makes finding iPod video content "almost instantaneous" for its members. iVideoBlast filters for audio-only podcasts, and does not include these in its offerings. iVideoBlast is integrated with iTunes 6.0.2, and works with both Macs and PCs to offer Movies, TV shows, and cartoons priced between $1-2 each. Member video podcasts will be available soon, according to the company.
The Walt Disney Company has announced it is buying longtime partner Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in stock. According to the AP, the deal "could restore Disney’s clout in animation while vaulting Pixar CEO Steve Jobs into a powerful role at the media conglomerate. Under the agreement, 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share. Disney announced the deal after the close of trading on Tuesday. Pixar CEO Steve Jobs will join Disney's board of directors, while Pixar President Ed Catmull will serve as president of the combined Pixar and Disney animation studios and Pixar Executive Vice President John Lasseter will be chief creative officer of the animation studios. Jobs' role as a Board member of Disney, however, may bring conflicts with his CEO role at Apple, according to several reports.
DockStar version 1.1 ($8) is an add-on for Mail.app that allows Mail users to keep track of email as it arrives in various accounts and local mailboxes, and brings customizable shapes and colors to the Mail dock icon. Version 1.1 adds Universal binary support, a new indicator shape, better control over colors, and other enhancements. [Download - 452KB] Final Log ($100) is a database designed to organize and search the user's footage by spoken words. After logging and capturing the footage in Final Cut Pro, selected clips can be brougt into Final Log where the transcripton or the script is added next to the corresponding shots. Final Log works as a standalone for Mac OS X or as a Filemaker Pro application for Mac OS X, and also works with other editing software. [Download - 367KB] TeXShop (free) is a TeX previewer for Mac OS X, written in Cocoa. TeXShop uses TeXLive and TeEeX, standard distributions of TeX programs for Unix machines. The distributions include tex, latex, dvips, tex fonts, cyrillic fonts, and virtually all other programs and supporting files commonly used in the TeX world. The latest TeXShop release requires Mac OS X Tiger. [Download - size] Url Extractor X ($45) is a Cocoa application to extract URLs from files. It extracts web addresses, emails, and ftp addresses, using multithreading to show the user the extraction as it is performed. Url Extractor X saves extracted data on disk as text files with each url separated by a new line, ready to be imported into other software. Url Extractor X requires at least Mac OS X Jaguar. [Download - 144KB] Butler v4.0 ($18) the final release of Butler. Butler lets you arrange various tasks in its fully customizable configuration. There, you can assign one or more triggers to a task for easy use. Tasks include managing bookmarks, running AppleScripts, extending the pasteboard, entering text snippets, controlling iTunes, simulating keystrokes, accelerating Spotlight, and moving/copying files. Triggers include pop-up menus, abbreviations, Hot Keys, Hot Corners, and Events. [Download - 1.21MB]
Neuros Technology International this month showcased its MPEG-4 Recorder 2, which is designed to provide content for portable video devices--such as Apple's fifth-generation video iPod. Video from TVs and DVD players can be recorded directly onto a Memory Stick or Compact Flash memory card, and played back on an iPod or Sony PSP without the need for conversion. The Neuros Recorder 2 features a simple RCA cable setup that works without a computer and operates like a VCR, as well as three resolution settings--VGA (640 x 480), QVGA (320 x 240), and WQVGA (368 x 208). High quality stereo sound is achieved with support for the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) format, while upgradeable firmware provides for expanded functionality in the future. The Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder 2 is available for $150, and includes The Core Pocket Media Player, an open-source media player for Palm OS-based devices.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the InstantMusic sound transfer device ($50) from ADS Tech.... Apple has expanded its iTunes U service, offering a Stanford iTunes store as well as content for other universities.... Iconfactory has added to its "Litho" style application icons with Litho Extras Vol.3.... Apple's iPod shows that success in technology today has less to do with features and more to do with ease of use, according to one report.... MacProVideo.com today released its Logic/Soundtrack DSP Plug-Ins tutorial application ($50), covering topics such as EQ and noise gates.
Caphyon has released Advanced Link Manager 2.0, a tool designed to help users manage incoming links to their websites. Advanced Link Manager informs the user of where the link comes from and what its content is, and also tracks backlink evolution in time. Advanced Link Manager also creates updatable reports and graphical charts to help track links. New in version 2.0 are added abilities to gather potential referrers from search engines, added printable reports, added header and footer templates, more status options to referrers, the ability to rename columns when exporting Backlinks in CVS format, and more. Advanced Link Manager 2.0 costs $100-150 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
NetMap 1.0 ($45) is a hardware and software asset management tool for network administrators, designed to provide an overview of established network devices. The application provides a single source for access to data such as software licenses, system versions, and login information. NetMap can be used to manage user requests for repairs or upgrades through a built-in messaging system, and serves as an asset management tool that affords network administrators convenient access to information about the managed network. [Download - 1.4MB] Personal Finance 1.0.1 ($15) allows users to keep capital transactions updated and control multiple accounts. Users can add categories, contacts, and view graphs. Version 1.0.1 can export to Excel, enabling financial data to be manipulated in a spreadsheet format. Personal Finance offers a simple, easy-to-use interface and requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later. [Download - 1.9MB] I Can Animate 1.1.0 ($50) updates the animation creation software, adding support for the new Intel-based Macs. I Can Animate allows users to capture video from a digital video camera or a Web cam, such as an iSight. Frames can be captured into clips, easing project management and supporting export as clips within an iMovie project. Users can create animations by drawing directly within the application, and the application supports "onion skinning" to compare select captured frames with feed from the camera. Youpi Optimizer 2.00 (free) enables users to delete resources localized in unused languages, thus freeing up disk space. Under a standard Mac OS X installation users can gain more than 100MB of space by deleting unused localized resources with Youpi Optimizer, and the deletion process is secured to avoid system or application crashes. Version 2.00 offers an updated main window interface with a toolbar, allows modification of the window width, and allows users to view resources either by language/bundle or by bundle/language. [Download - 236KB] Incubator 2.0b ($50) updates the MiniCad application to support Apple's Intel-based Macs. Incubator organizes ideas using a tool that complements the way humans think. Features include drag-in text and images directly from Safari, import and export for OPML, RTF, PNG, TIFF, and PDF file formats, and more. Version 2.0 provides a view of the underlying datastore via the data drawer, allowing quick traversal of large documents. The update also incorporates a new inspector panel, adds collapsible branches, includes justification, and offers manual placement of topic branches. [Download - 954KB] USB Overdrive X 10.4.4 ($20) is a device driver for Mac OS X that handles any USB mouse, trackball, joystick or gamepad from any manufacturer that enables users configure the devices either globally or on a per-application basis. The driver reads all numerous types of wheels, buttons, switches and controls. USB Overdrive X also supports scrolling, keyboard emulation, launching applications, and basic features such as clicking or control-clicking.
The Student Filmmakers Showcase (SFS TV) is a new series that will be devoted to showcasing student short films from around the globe. Officially set to begin “vodcasting” January 30th, the vodcasts will be made exclusively available for Apple's iTunes and video iPods. Along with the show’s official launch, its website will also be available in Spanish and French to accommodate filmmakers around the globe.
VendorNation.com announced the NoteNiks.net "Healthy Eating and Excercise" CD-ROM, to be released on January 27th. Through games on the CD-ROM, children ages 3-8 learn about healthy eating habits and exercise importance. The Healthy Eating and Exercise games have been reviewed and approved by nutritionalists, educators, parents, and children. The Healthy Eating and Exercise CD-ROM costs $30 and requires Mac OS 9 or later, at least 128MB of RAM; it will soon be available as a Universal binary for use on Intel Macs.
Participants at the music industry's annual MIDEM conference are warning that a shakeout could be in the works among Apple's many competitors. With roughly 355 online music retailers, there are concerns that some of Apple's smaller competitors might be forced to consolidate, according to a report from Reuters. "I don't imagine all these services can last. Some will go out of business or be consolidated," said Gabriel Levy, head of music in Europe for RealNetworks. The future of Napster was heavily discussed at the conference, which recently denied rumors of layoffs and liquidation. While many in the digital music industry would like to see a more powerful competitor to Apple, thus far the company has demanded and received its own pricing and kept its FairPlay DRM closed to other manufacturers. "Apple is going to listen to their customers before they listen to the industry," IFPI Chief Executive John Kennedy said. "They have a commercial advantage."
Apple's iTunes U has expanded, now offering not only a Stanford iTunes store, but also content for other universities, such as the University of Michigan's Dental School. Many universities are now offering podcasts of lectures, notes, and other pertinent information. iTunes U is a free hosted service for colleges and universities that provides access to educational content-- including lectures nad interviews- for download onto PCs or Macs. Content is then transferable onto an iPod for portability and ease.
FileMaker today began shipping FileMaker Mobile 8, a companion database application to FileMaker Pro 8 for Palm OS and Pocket PC handheld devices. The new FileMaker Mobile 8 now synchronizes handhelds with databases on FileMaker Server 8 and FileMaker Server 8 Advanced and also includes new mobile Starter Solution, such as contact management, asset management, research notes, student records, a movie library, and recipe tracking. In addition to providing one-button, two-way synchronization, FileMaker Mobile 8 allows flexible data entry and viewing features. FileMaker Mobile 8 costs $70, or $20 for an upgrade, and requires a Macintosh G3, G4, or G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher and Palm Desktop 4.1.4 with HotSync Manager installed.
Digital Video has unveiled Toonz 5.0 Harlequin, bringing Mac support to the paperless animation software. Toonz allows animators to both input and paint hand-made drawings, or draw from scratch and animate custom work afterward. The application offers a full set of drawing/editing tools, a text tool, a digital light table, and SWF support to import drawings made with Macromedia Flash. Toonz also features new generation vectors, pressure sensitivity, simple mode animation, a function editor, numerical columns, color ink recognition, and more. Audio features include easier lip syncing, as well as the ability to import multiple audio tracks. Toonz 5.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.
Alien Skin Software today released Exposure, a new plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and other compatible host programs. Exposure brings the look and feel of film to digital photography. Digital photographers can simulate current and discontinued film stocks, as well as recreate their signature look as a one-click effect. Exposure also simulates darkroom and studio effects such as push and cross processing.
Digital media is poised to take over traditional mediums, and Apple may just be the company to help cement that transition. As Apple, Microsoft, and Sony race to become the most widely accepted "living room" entertainment platforms, Apple's current technology could easily be adapted for mainstream home use. The main objective for any company desiring to replace the TV, stereo, and VCR/DVD is ease of use, since more Americans own TVs than computers, and many do not feel comfortable with computer use. Current, traditional entertainment systems "just work," explains Robert Acker, vice president of digital music services at RealNetworks.
In brief: Today marks 22 years since Apple first screened its 1984 ad for the original Macintosh at the Super Bowl.... Opera Software today released Opera Mini, a full Web browser that runs on almost every mobile phone including low- and mid-end handsets.... Mean Tangerine has added Taffy to its collection of Keynote themes, featuring a pastel color palette and subtle textures.... MacGear has unveiled its MacColors silicone slip covers ($50) for 17- and 20-inch iMacs.... Avanquest Software announced that it will retail the WebPodStudio ($50), PodPresenter ($30), iPocketBible ($40), and iExtend ($30) iPod applications.... CrispSofties has released iPod.iTunes 3.1, updating the iPod utility that offers an improved way to sync iPods and iTunes which is compatible with Apple's Intel-based Macs.
Apple will open its second retail store in London this week. The company plans to hold the grand opening of its Apple Store, Brent Cross on Saturday, January 28th at 9.00 am. Located at the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Apple is holding its traditional grand opening festivities: "you’re invited to help us celebrate. Throughout Grand Opening Month, we’ll host a variety of in-store presentations, demonstrations and workshops — all free of charge.... Enter the Grand Opening Sweepstake to win a Digital Lifestyle Collection valued at over £1,900. No purchase necessary. Submit your entry before 6.00 pm on Tuesday February 28th." Apple said it plans on opening 40 new retail stores this year, most of which will be in the US, although one reseller claims that five new retail stores are set to open in Germany.
Mimer will bundle Minq Software's DbVisualizer as a database front-end tool in its Mimer SQL database server. The companies today announced that DbVisualizer with extended support for Mimer SQL will be included in Mimer SQL for Mac OS X. DbVisualizer is a cross-database tool aimed to simplify database development and management for database administrators and developers. It supports simultaneous database connections, allowing users to explore and manage database objects, execute SQL queries, visualize information and more. DbVisualizer is integrated in the free development versions of Mimer SQL and can be upgraded to a DbVisualizer Personal version ($100) by purchasing a license from Minq Software. DbVisualizer with extended support for Mimer SQL is available now for download at Minq Software's website.
Caravel Games has released a new expansion for its hit series Deadly Rooms of Death (DROD). DROD: Perfection is an expansion for Journey to Rooted Hold. Perfection is available only through the CaravelNet membership, an online service that not only provides access to Perfection, but also over 7,000 user-created rooms and dungeons, online high scores, the hint and solution system, and other special member-only benefits. DROD is a series of adventure and puzzle games about a dungeon exterminator named Beethro: "His adventure begins in DROD: King Dugan’s Dungeon when the stingy and questionably ethical King Dugan hires him to take care of a 'small' roach infestation." Perfection begins right where the second game, Journey to Rooted Hold, leaves off. Perfection is available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. A one-year CaravelNet membership is $12.
iPod.iTunes 3.1 is a an update to the useful utility for iPod users. The software evaluates the source for songs, videos and/or playlists that are not in the target folder or iPod and only adds those items, avoiding duplicates. It can also transfer song-dependent data such as "My Rating", "Last Played", "Play Count", album artwork, and more. Version 3.1 features eight synchronization modes in two directions--from iPod to iTunes and iTunes to iPod--, simple one-click synchronization, Univeral Binary support, and compatibility with the latest iPod firmware. iPod.iTunes 3.1 runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later and is available for $35.
NitroAV.com, a leading developer and manufacturer of Serial-ATA (SATA) hardware storage and RAID subsystems, today announced that its SATAStar Series PCI Host and CardBus Adapters are now available. The first products in the company's upcoming line of SATA adapters and peripherals, the SATAStar Series offers a 4-Port External Serial-ATA PCI Host Adapter ($60), which provides an easy and affordable way to add high-speed storage and devices. With four external shielded eSATA ports, each offering 1.5Gbits/sec performance, the SATAStar 4-Port provides the high bandwidth. The 2-Port NitroAV SATAStar Series CardBus ($60) delivers transfer speeds up to 150MBytes/sec with two Serial ATA ports for any CardBus-enabled laptop.
Disney is planning to announce as early as Tuesday the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in a stock transaction valued at about $7 billion, according to The New York Times. The report says that Disney's board voted to give the chief executive, Robert A. Iger, the authority to offer Pixar CEO Steve Jobs about $59 a share, a slight premium over Monday's closing of $58.27, and would give Jobs a seat on Disney's Board. However, the deal was not quite sealed, as the report says that "all of the people briefed on the negotiations cautioned that the deal could fall apart at any time. "This is tricky," one said. "All of the things have to be just right." Several crucial details were still being hammered out Monday, including the employment contracts for certain Pixar executives, among them John Lasseter, Pixar's chief creative officer who is expected to oversee the animation unit that would become part of Disney's filmed animation division.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl