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Napster cuts, Iconfactory
In brief: The Iconfactory has released a set of 52 add-on icons which extend the original Logica collection, covering concepts such as transactions, credit, interest, and more.... Napster today reduced its workforce by ten percent, and told employees to "exit immediately" without prior warning.... GEAR4 today launched the PocketPower, a reserve power pack for all iPod models and USB devices that offers extra playback/usage time.... Feral Interactive today released Chessmaster 9000 1.0.2, improving stability and performance under Mac OS X Tiger.... Apple's iTunes Music Store email Tuesday featured The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" video, after the band expressed disappointment with Apple following the company's debut of its new Intel Mac ad, which showed many resemblances to the music video.... Intel has informed users that it will not accept any more participants for its Intel Software Development Products for Apple beta program.
45-nm chips from Intel
Intel today announced that it is the first company to reach an important milestone in the development of 45 nanometer (nm) logic technology, and that it has produced what it believes to be the first fully functional processors using that technology. Intel says that the company is well on its way to manufacturing the new smaller, more efficient chips, which boast more than one billion transistors and expects to ship them sometime next year using 300mm wafers. The company's 45nm process technology will allow chips with more than five times less leakage power than those made today, improving battery life for mobile devices and increasing opportunities for building smaller, more powerful platforms.
Strong Intel Mac sales
Sales of new Intel-based Macs may be stronger than expected, according to a new report. Despite anticipation of lagging sales of Apple's new Intel Mac computers, Apple is have having some difficulty meeting demand for its Intel-based Macs, according to analyst Shaw Wu at American Technology Research. Sales of the Intel-based iMacs are being fueled by consumers who waited for the release of the new Macs to purchase computers, according to Wu. In a note to clients, he said that there was a noticeable purchasing trend in the K-12 and higher education, content creation, and consumer end markets. Meanwhile, pre-orders for Apple's new MacBook Pro are also strong.
SuperCard Universal Binary
Solutions Etcetera today announced that a Universal Binary version of its SuperCard application is under development, and is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year. "Although the current release of SuperCard appears to perform quite well under Rosetta on Apple's newly released Intel based Macintoshes, we just wanted our developers to know the universal binary is on its way" said Scott Simon, director of product development. SuperCard allows users to create games, teaching aids, utilities, personal productivity tools, automation tools, kiosks, and multimedia-rich projects. Users who purchased or upgraded to SuperCard 4.5 on or after January 25th, 2006 will be entitled to a free upgrade via download from Solutions Etcetera, while users who purchased version 4.5 prior to the afore-mentioned date can upgrade the standard edition for $50 or the developer edition for $100. Upgrades for users of all previous versions will be priced at $130 and $180 for standard and developer versions, respectively.
Apple CEO a sinner
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is undeserving of his "saintly" reputation, while Microsoft CEO Bill Gates deserves recognition for his generosity, according to a Wired News columnist. Speaking out against Jobs, Leander Kahney says that the Apple CEO is "nothing more than a greedy capitalist who's amassed an obscene fortune. It's shameful. In almost every way, Gates is much more deserving of Jobs' rock star exaltation." The columnist cites the fact that Gates has spoken out on major policy issues and publicly donated to charitable funds, "throwing billions of dollars at solving global health problems." Steve Jobs, on the other hand, does not speak out publicly on behalf of important social issues, nor do he or his wife appear on any charitable contribution lists "of note."
Bitcartel Software announced full support for Intel-based Macs with the release of Universal Binary and Rosetta compatible versions of its consumer software products. Universal binaries are available for RadioLover ($15), an MP3 stream recorder and song splitter, and ComicBookLover ($25), a digital comic book viewer, collector and organiser. iRecordMusic ($25), an Internet audio recorder for time-shifting radio shows, music and more, is now fully Rosetta compatible. All Bitcartel Universal binary software requires Mac OS X Tiger.
Asset Trustee 7.5
FileWave announced the release of its cross platform software and hardware Asset Inventory system, Asset Trustee 7.5. Asset Trustee give IT staff the ability to gather and report detailed hardware, software, and configuration information for laptops, desktops, and servers. Asset Trustee Inventory Database incorporates a SQL back end database with a web-based PHP front end. The Scanner is an automated agent installed on each computer in the enterprise which sends the information to the Asset Trustee PostOffice, a TCP/IP based server. Available for Mac OS X, pricing on Asset Trestee 7.5 is based on the number of Scanners and the Inventory database.
Security flaws in OS X
Apple could be leaving its Mac OS X users prone to attack if many newly and previously discovered bugs are not fixed. Software security specialists at Suresec recently dug through the coding of Mac OS X to find bugs that persist in current versions of both Intel- and PowerPC-based versions of Mac OS X--many of which were fixed in other companies' operating systems years ago, according to ZDnet Australia "The code that Apple uses in its applications and libraries is relatively under-audited, which leaves a lot of low hanging bugs... Some of the security vulnerabilities we've seen during research on OS X were fixed on most other operating systems 10 to 15 years ago," said Suresec's Neil Archibald. The company said that as Apple's marketshare grows, malicious users will find and exploit more of the underlying flaws. Apple is slow to fix them after they are found, and doesn't use the right software to preven them in each release, according to the firm.
Index Builder for Quark
Meadows Publishing Solutions today released its Index Builder for QuarkXPress, a software module designed to reduce the tedious and labor-intensive task of creating an index for a catalog. Index entries can be entered by hand or imported from a tab-separated text file, while AutoPrice users can extract SKU information to include in the final index. Index entries can be saved, exported, and shared by any other system. Index Builder includes a built-in batch processing feature that processes any number of individual QuarkXPress documents in a single session, and is compatible with MPS' GroupPicture software which allows users to create, save, and archive product blocks with embedded index information. Index Builder is available from Meadows Publishing Solutions' website (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Napster firing rounds
Napster has reduced its workforce by ten percent, mostly in the programming and marketing departments. According to Digital Music News, Napster employees "were told to exit immediately, and were not given prior warning." This reducation comes amid speculations that the pioneer download service may not be able to recover from government regulations and stiff competition that has been forced upon it. Although Napster's subscriber total has doubled to 500,000 in the past year, it still trails far behind the industry-leading iTunes.
Growl, Shoebox, SpamSieve
Growl, Shoebox, and SpamSieve are all now Universal binaries. Growl 0.7.4 is a notification system allowing applications that support Growl (browsers, Dashboard, email, games, music, phones, RSS, etc) to send the user notifications with new information. Notifications are emailed or spoken to the user instead of being displayed on the screen. Growl centralizes all the user's notification preferences into its preference pane, and offers complete control over which notifications are shown and how they are displayed. Growl is a free download for use with Mac OS X as a Universal binary.
PocketPower battery pack
GEAR4 today launched the PocketPower, a reserve power pack for all iPod models and USB devices that offers extra time for usage. The PocketPower ships with four AAA rechargeable batteries that can be charged via the USB port of computer, and with the flick of a switch can provide power to an iPod or any other USB device. The lightweight, portable battery pack provides an additional eight hours of playtime to an iPod, and comes with a male-to-male USB cable. Tom Dudderidge, managing director of Disruptive Technology Channels--which launched GEAR4--said that PocketPower is the first of ten new products to be launched within the next few weeks. The PocketPower features a bright LED built into its casing for added convenience, and will be available within four weeks for £20.
popXpress giveaway, MS
In brief: popXpress today announced its in-store giveaway of four pairs of Etyomotic ER6i earphones over the next four weeks.... A new review of several iPod sound systems covering the Bose SoundDock ($500), Altec Lansing's iM5 ($250) and iM7 ($450), Logitech's mm50 ($230) and Wireless Headphones ($250), and Tivoli Audio's iPal ($350).... Microsoft is defending its decision to provide search data to the U.S. government, stating the company would never compromise the privacy of its customers.... Microsoft has agreed to license the source code for communications protocols in its Windows server software, to avoid being fined $2.43 million per day by the European Commission.... iVideoBlast.com has announced the addition of a video podcast directory to its library of classic content video.... 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.
iPod battery replaced
Replacing an iPod battery is not easy; however, one user wowed crowds at Macworld San Francisco by replacing iPod batteries blindfolded. Jamie Dresser, Product Manager of New Product Development at Other World Computing was acting on a challenge. Dresser took iPods from audience members and went through the intricate tecnical process of opening the iPod casing without damage, installing a higher capacity NewerTech NuPower battery-- all with his eyes completely covered. Dresser then sealed each iPod's casing to a like-new appearance in perfect working order, boradcast on an oversized plasma screen behind him for view by the continually growing audience. "Do not try this at home," joked Dresser to the capacity audience as the blindfold was secured on him during each demonstration.
TinkerTools, Wx, SpotMeta
TinkerTool System ($12) is an all-in-one maintenance tool for the Macintosh platform. It allows the user to change advanced operating system settings with a variety of maintenance features. The latest version comes prepared for Mac OS X Tiger. TinkerTool System differs from other maintenance applications in that it never uses scripts and is fully integrated into the security architecture of Mac OS X. [Download - 1.5MB]
Wx 3.21 ($10) is an update of the Wx application. Wx is a specialized internet weather station app for Mac OS X that downloads and processes weather information and forecasts for the United States, displaying it in a transparent main window. Wx can be configured to track weather conditions, watches/warnings/advisories, live RADAR, and forecast information for five locations, and it can download up to twelve weather maps or images. Version 3.21 is a Universal binary that runs natively on PowerPC and Intel Macs using Mac OS X 10.3.9 through 10.4.4, and includes numerous other improvements. [Download - 635KB]
Seasonality 1.2 ($25) adds localization with a French translation, a new activity window, and a scrollable forecast display. The scrollable forecast display allows users with limited screen space to view a full forecast by simply clicking and dragging on the view. In addition, Seasonality 1.2 includes interface updates and several bug fixes. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 17.2MB]
High Priority 1.1 (free) for Mac OS X 10.4 is a menu extra that allows the user to access iCal ToDo items directly from the menubar. iCal To Do items can be added, edited, and removed using High Priority, with or without iCal running. Menu can be sorted by calendar, due date, priority, status, or title. Other options include using tooltips to display further information, coloring ToDo items by their corresponding iCal calendar color, and hiding completed ToDo's. [Download - 230KB]
SpotMeta ($price) gives users new ways to extend Spotlight's search facility. Users can attach custom definition tags, category information and annotations to any file or folder with SpotMeta's editor. SpotMeta uses "Smart Folders" to find needed files and collect them into logical groups. [Download - 402KB]
Disctop Pro 2.5 (free) is the latest version of Disctop, now running as a Universal binary for new Intel Macs. The new version adds options to clear artwork, maintains a consistent CD size throughout different Mac models, and Disctop is now localized in Brazilian Portuguese, as well as Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Japanese. After installing Disctop, the users inserted CD or DVD slides in from the side and fades back into the desktop picture, so that the user always knows whether there is a disc inside the computer, and what it is. [Download - 322MB]
Wider video content bridge
Vydeo's Wider video content bridge is designed to put video content on Apple's fifth-generation iPod without the need for a computer. Current methods of transferring video to an iPod require a computer, QuickTime or another third-party application, and usually iTunes. The Wider video content bridge requires no internet connection, software applications, third-party utilities, or tedious customization settings. The device plugs everything together and streams video directly to an iPod or an attached USB 2.0 hard drive, automatically converting files to high-quality H.264 video. Wider processes DVDs, VCDs, MiniDV, VHS tapes, and live television. Wider offers two USB 2.0 480Mbps ports for high-speed transfer rates while supporting s-video, composite video, audio, and converts to an iPod acceptable H.264 320x240 format in real time. Once an iPod is connected, the process begins automatically when video input is present, and users can schedule recording with iCal (pricing and availability were unavailable).
FW Depot storage solutions
FireWire Depot has unveiled a new line of FireWire and FireWire/USB2 products, including four PCI Express controller cards and six drive solutions. Featured controllers include the FWA3414 PCI Express Card ($160) with three 800Mbps FireWire ports; the FWA2414 PCI Express Card ($90) touting three 400Mbps FireWire ports; the UFC2412 PCI Express Card ($160) offering users the ability to add hardware features into a PC in a simple way; and the USB4414 PCI Express Card ($90), allowing the connection of up to five USB devices. FireWire Depot's featured drive solutions include the G-DRIVE Q Quad Interface (from $220), providing users with FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and eSATA ports in a single 3.5-inch enclosure; the G-RAID Pro ($1,700) with FireWire 800 that supports both RAID 0 and fail-safe RAID 3 modes of operation; the FWB2ATA35QR ($400) FireWire 800-to-ATA RAID 0 sub-system, offering cost-effective RAID 0 disk striping; the FWBEIDE525QA-R1 ($450) FireWire 800-to-IDE RAID 1 controller with hot-swap support; the FWBEIDE525Q-R5 ($1,200) five-bay 5.25-inch FireWire 800 to EIDE enclosure with a RAID 5 controller; and the WBATA35Q-R0, ($300) an ATA-to-ATA RAID 0 sub-system without a bridge board that supports RAID 0 disk striping.
Apple in the grocery store
The Tesco chain of grocery stores has given Apple its own space within its UK-based retail stores, a first for the retailer. The 120-square foot area will be stocking Apple computers, accessories, and iPods. The concept is being tested at Tesco's Milton Keynes store, and if successful Tesco will add Apple departments to other stores nationwide, according to Retail Week. "We have sold Apple products in our electrical departments before, so this is simply the next step beyond that,” said a Tesco spokeswoman. Apple said that it was working to expand its relationship with Tesco: "There are currently 150 Tesco stores selling iPods and the Milton Keynes store is the first to trial the combination of iPod and computer accessories in a dedicated space."
New AppleScript guide
O'Reilly's latest release AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition by Matt Neuburg is now available. The new edition-- completely revised and updated to cover Mac OS X Tiger and AppleScript 1.10--explains everything from what AppleScript is, to why it exists, where it lives, how it works, and how to make it perform better, smoother, and faster. The new book provides examples of when, why, and how to use AppleScript, warnings of pitfalls, common mistakes, and AppleScript shortcomings, guidance on interpreting an application's dictionary, instructions for combining AppleScript with Unix scripting, a new tutorial on making Cocoa applications scriptable, and more. AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition costs $40 and is available from O'Reilly.
Aperture book plugins
mac:method today released the first two book design plug-ins to work with Aperture, Apple's professional photography workflow application for Mac OS X. The book design plug-ins work seamlessly to expand available creative options by providing additional themes and filters within Aperture's book design module. The first two themes, called "Fade To Black" and "Snowblind," feature 20 page layouts and over 50 additional CoreImage-based filters that can be applied to photographs used in the layout. Each page layout also feature dramatic gradient masks that allow photographers to fade the edges of photos into the black or white backgrounds of the pages. Each theme includes layouts for large hard cover and soft cover books. Both plug-ins are available immediately for $20 each or in a Combo-Pack that includes both plug-ins for $35.
Studiometry 3.2 released
Oranged.net today has released an update to its organizational tool for studios and freelancers: Studiometry 3.2 is billed as a complete solution for companies to organize, plan, invoice, track and create with Client and Project data. The free update adds integration with two applications commonly requested by Studiometry users, including iCal and Quickbooks. Along with the existing complete integration with Address Book, Studiometry can now sync ToDo's, Invoice due dates, and Project deadlines to Apple's iCal. In addition, Studiometry can now export directly to Quickbooks format (.iif), making it easy to incorporate your Studiometry payment and expense information into your Quickbooks accounting package. It also adds column totals for hours worked and total value in the work tab and the ability to compare the estimated amount to the actual amount of hours and value directly beneath the list of work items. A single-user license is $150, while upgrades from v.2.x are priced at $30.
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