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Markzware has released PM2Q6 (Adobe PageMaker to QuarkXPress), a QuarkXPress XTension module that easily and efficiently imports versions 4.2 - 7.x of Adobe PageMaker files into QuarkXPress 6 documents. “This simple, yet elegant solution that Markzware has developed further enables customers the freedom to migrate their data content,” says Patrick Marchese, president of Markzware. “QuarkXPress is a popular publishing software application used by many service bureaus and printers. We are happy to enable those that prefer to work with QuarkXPress workflow the ability to do so.” PM2Q6 will support all versions of PageMaker 4.2 - 7.x files and is available for Macintosh and is supported as a QuarkXTension for QuarkXPress 6.x. It can be purchased through any one of Markzware valued resellers or through Markzware Direct Sales for $200.
Technology guru Walter Mossberg has posted his review of the the recently released MacBook Pro, comparing it to a late-model PowerBook and a roughly similar Windows laptop, the new H-P Pavilion dv5000t. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Mossberg says that "the MacBook Pro is better (subscription required) than the PowerBook and better than the H-P, though it has some drawbacks. It is faster than previous Apple laptops, but the speedup isn't as great as Apple's claims suggest. At a starting price of $1,999, the same as the PowerBook it replaces, the MacBook Pro costs more than the H-P. But in my opinion, the price premium is more than justified by its superior design and features." The article notes a battery of life just shy of three hours, but says the new screen is a bit bigger and a lot brighter than the previous PowerBooks; however, Mossberg says the cheaper HP alternative--with a few more features for $230 less--is not quite worth it, giving the edge to the MacBook Pro because of software, built-in software, better video card, portability, and more.
Apimac PAD Editor 1.0.1 (free) is a PAD (Portable Application Description) file editor, helping software authors to provide product descriptions and specifications to online sources in a standardized fashion. The application is fully XML compliant, and uses a "smart engine" to directly obtain information about PAD files from the PAD specification XML file. Information retrieved includes names, descriptions, field length, allowed characters, and format. [Download - 1.8MB] Browseback 1.1 ($30) updates the visual Web history tool, allowing users to search by date or with Spotlight. Browseback stores a PDF of every Web page visited, and makes the copies accessible through a unique interface. The application offers the ability to surf thumbnails in browser history, or users can search history using keywords. The software allows export of Web pages as PDFs to save or share via email, and can quickly retrieve a site that was discovered weeks before. [Download - 3.4MB] Imagewell 2.1 (free) is image editing software designed to quickly manipulate and upload images to remote locations such as .Mac accounts and FTP servers. Imagewell allows users to resize, crop, or shape images, and can add watermarks, borders or drop shadows. The update offers native support for Intel-based Macs, and provides Dutch localization. Version 2.1 also incorporates new "Random Filename Generator" and "Send to Folder" features. [Download - 467KB] BeerAlchemy 1.1 ($30) is designed to help homebrewers create great beer. The application attempts to take the drudgery out of recipe formulation, and keeps track of recipes for users. The update introduces native support for Intel Macs, and can import recipes in the open BeerXML format. The update also includes "a novel approach" to ingredient shopping, and offers Skype support so that users can phone favorite establishments. [Download - 2.9MB] Advanced Web Ranking 4.5 ($60) performs checks on a website's position with all major search engines. The application can query over 700 search engines and quickly discover if a site is moving up or down in the rankings, and can track the progress of rankings over time as well as display graphical or tabular reports. Version 4.5 changes the database format to SQL, and compresses information retrieved from search engines when possible. [Download - 13.5MB] PM2Q6 1.3 ($200) is an XTensions module designed to import Adobe PageMaker files into a QuarkXPress 5.0 document easily and efficiently. Version 1.3 supports conversion of PageMaker files to QuarkXPress 5.0 for the following items: Layers, runaround on all sides from the obstruction object, runaround path that doesn’t match the box, and Pantone Hexachrome. PM2Q5 also displays QuarkXPress 5.0's missing font dialog, enabling users to replace fonts.
Apple today released Security Update 2006-001 for both Mac OS X Panther and Mac OS X Tiger, which is recommended for all users and improves Safari by fixng four different security issues, including the 'extremely critical' Mac OS X zero-day exploit and three other exploits that could enable arbitrary code execution by a malicious user. It also fixes 13 other bugs in the following components: apache_mod_php, automount, Bom, Directory Services, iChat, IPSec, LaunchServices, LibSystem, loginwindow, Mail, rsync, and Syndication. Apple also said that its AES-128 encrypted FileVault disk images are now created with more restrictive operating system permissions and that improved iChat security by using Download Validation to warn of unknown or unsafe file types during file transfers--in part to protect against the recently reported Leap.A worm.
Apple today released iTunes 6.04, an update to jukebox software for both Macs and Windows. The software update, announced yesterday and shipping, addresses stability and performance issues related to Front Row. Apple also released Front Row 1.2.1, which improves compatibility with iTunes and iPhoto sharing as well as iPhoto 6.0.2, which resolves several minor issues with playing shared slideshows in Front Row.
Applicure has released dotDefender 2.12, designed to be a cost effective security solution to protect websites against a broad range of HTTP-based attacks. Protection is provided against session or denial of service attacks, Web application attacks--SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and known attack signatures--, as well as requests originating from known attack sources, such as spam bots and compromised servers. dotDefender 2.12 installs on the Web server along with a predefined, configurable rule-base that allows the software to secure the Web environment from the moment of deployment with virtually no administrator intervention. DotDefender 2.12 is available for $1,000 for a single license, and a $200 discount coupon is available via dotdefender.com until March 31st. DotDefender 2.12 is compatible with Apache, IIS, and Sun Java System Web servers.
Four executives today from Hynix Semiconductor--the second largest maker of computer memory chips--have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing that harmed Apple as well as other companies, and will serve jail time in the U.S. The felony pleas were entered as part of the U.S. government's ongoing investigation into a global conspiracy to fix the prices of DRAM, according to a report from Reuters. To date, the Justice Department has charged four companies and nine individuals, and collected fines of over $731 million in the San Francisco-based investigation. Each of the four Hynix execs agreed to pay $250,000, serve jail time ranging from five to eight months, and cooperate with the ongoing investigation, according to the report. Among those harmed by the scheme were U.S. computer makers HP, Dell, and Apple, which reached a long-term supply agreement with Hynix late last year.
InResonance today released Portal 3.0, an admission and enrollment solution for schools and educational institutions. Based on FileMaker Pro 8, the software manages the entire admission cycle from inquiry to decision, as well as enrollment and re-enrollment. Optional Portal Web Services provide integrated Web capabilities including online inquiries, applications, and decision notification. Portal is easy to use and can be customized by non-technical users, with version 3.0 offering built-in HTML email broadcasting. The update offers enhanced security features such as connectivity to Open Directory and Active Directory, as well as more granular control of screens and fields. Data can be encrypted on the network, and the improved database engine driving the Portal is significantly faster with version 3.0. Portal 3.0 is available now, and requires FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server 8 (pricing was unavailable).
Apple may be becoming a victim of its own success, as both users and analysts were disappointed by the announcements at Tuesday's invitation-only media event. Based on the product introductions and reaction by media and users, analyst Richard Farmer of Merrill Lynch said that Apple needs to be more careful about hyping its invitation-only media events: "We wonder if the announcements were substantial enough to merit an invitational media event and suspect Apple needs to be judicious if it expects to continue to convert journalists into marketing instruments with its aura of secrecy." Farmer also offered some caution about Apple's strategy to grab a larger share of the iPod accessory market.
Digital Heaven today released AutoMotion 1.0, an application designed to serve as a powerful companion to Apple's Motion software. Created as a complete solution to the previously manual and time consuming process of creating multiple graphics, AutoMotion merges template styles with text data to create multiple graphics quickly. As changes are made to each version, AutoMotion shows a live preview of the result complete with title safe areas. Providing an estimation for speed, Digital Heaven states that 60 graphics can be exported in 5.2 seconds on a PowerBook G4 system. The software also includes a "Smart Export" feature, allowing the application to flag only the work that has changed to save time. AutoMotion 1.0 is available for $400, and requires Apple Motion 2.01 or later.
Ramjet today began offering RAM upgrades for Apple's new Intel-based Mac mini. The new Mac offers two memory slots, which come preloaded from the factory with two 256MB PC2-5300, DDR2-667 SO-DIMMs. Memory should be installed in pairs, so users will typically remove the two original 256MB modules and replace them. Ramjet offers a 1GB Kit for $150, or a 2GB kit for $270 to top out the system for maximum performance. All memory modules are compatible with the latest Apple firmware, and are SPD configured for the Intel Mac mini. Ramjets upgrade kits are shipping now, and come with a lifetime warranty.
Group Logic today released ExtremeZ-IP File and Print Server v4.2.1, an update to its cross-platform file sharing and printing solution that provides users with "the only" Windows-based AFP server certified for Apple's Intel-based Macs. The company also touted its advanced authentication: "Since Services for Macintosh (SFM) currently only supports Intel Macs using an insecure authentication technology, ExtremeZ-IP 4.2.1 becomes the only AFP solution that supports all the important Mac OS X features including single sign-on authentication using Kerberos." The company said that its ExtremeZ-IP File and Print server solutions have been fully tested on the Intel-based architecture and that its optional print client for the ExtremeZ-IP Print Server and the ExtremeZ-IP Print Accounting Add-on are now Universal Applications.
Griffin Technology today announced XpressCable, a new digital cable for the new Mac mini and iPod Hi-F as well as the AirPort Express. The XpressCable provides a completely digital connection (also called Optical and TosLink) for the highest-quality connection: "Using AirPort Express and iTunes, you can wirelessly transmit pristine digital audio from your Mac or PC to your stereo, so why use a tired old analog cable? Far superior to a traditional analog hook up, the Griffin XpressCable keeps your audio digital right up to the moment it enters your stereo. And since the XPressCable uses standard Toslink/Optical connectors, it's compatible with most home theater receivers, as well as the PowerMac G5 and the new iMac G5." It is available now for $20.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today introduced the DLO TransDock micro transmitter/charger for iPod. The device broadcasts music from an iPod over the FM radio in a vehicle while charging the iPod's battery. The DLO TransDock micro features a removable docking cable, a bright LCD display, and Aux input/output for use with other devices. Side-based controls simplify tuning, and the bright backlit LCD is easy to read even in daylight. TransDock micro includes four programmable presets for quick recall of the most commonly used stations, and a 48-inch docking cable allows users to position the iPod nearly anywhere in a vehicle. The cable is removable and functions as a second iPod docking cable for syncing/docking during travel, and an iPod shuffle can be snapped directly into the TransDock micro when the docking cable is not in use. The DLO TransDock micro is available for $70, and works with all currently-shipping iPod models.
MacLive Conference today announced that registration is open for the three-day learning conference, designed specifically for creative professionals using Macs. "MacLive brings together Mac-based digital photographers, graphic designers, iPod freaks, total Mac geeks, and thousands of the Macintosh faithful for an event that breaks all the rules." The conference will features David Pogue, Chris Breen, Scott Kelby, Bob Levitus, Deke McClelland, and more on May 11-13th, 2006 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The event is to offer full training tracks on Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Mac OS X, Adobe InDesign, Apple's iLife Applications, the iPod/podcasting, and more in over 60 sessions. Early bird pricing continues until April 7th, and ranges from $200 for students to $600 for full registration.
Aspyr Media today released a free patch for Shrek 2, offering native support for Apple's new Intel Macs and improving graphics performance. The company today also released a similar patch for the Spider-Man 2 game. Shrek 2 the game is based on the motion picture, with players interacting in the world as Shrek and four of his friends--both familiar and new--as they go adventuring through their twisted fairytale world. "Shrek, the loveable green ogre is back and this time he's bringing friends. Discover new locations full of danger, monsters and challenging puzzles while using each character's special abilities to survive." Shrek 2 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is available for $20.
Aspyr Media today released a free patch for Spider-Man 2, allowing the game to run natively on Intel-based Macs and improving graphics performance. The Spider-Man 2 game follows the same storyline as the blockbuster feature film, and places the gamer into the "web-slinging, web-swinging" world of the Manhattan metropolis. Gamers can visit locations and relive encounters taken directly from the film, from the Statue of Liberty to the Daily Bugle offices. "It was only two years ago that shy Peter Parker discovered his super hero, alter ego Spider-Man. Now he's in a fight for his life and will have to use his skills and wits to survive a new, formidable foe. Spider-Man 2: The Game follows the crime-fighter as he battles the villainous, multi-tentacled Doc Ock." Spider-Man 2: The Game requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is available for $30.
American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu today commented on Apple's recent announcements after attending the company's special event on Tuesday. "At first, we felt a little underwhelmed with the product announcements," Wu said. After more careful thought, however, the analyst concluded that Apple is making less apparent progress in building a broader digital entertainment portfolio. Wu believes the Mac mini has evolved into a competitive compact digital entertainment center with faster Intel processors, and said that the new Mac "screams connect me to a TV" with the included remote control, multiple networking options, DVD burner, enhanced FrontRow software, and more robust display options. Commenting on the new Mac mini, Wu added that "we find its price point at $799 a little steep. In addition, we would like to see Apple add more features in the future, including PVR recording capabilities which would arguably make it the most powerful digital entertainment center in the market."
PremiumSoft has released Navicat 6.1.4 for MySQL, the latest iteration of its database management tool featuring enhanced support for MySQL 5.0.x, as well as improved backup, restore, and data transfer capabilities. The MySQL client tool features an intuitive interface, can synchronize databases, and connects to remote PostgreSQL servers. Primary features of Navicat include a visual query builder; SSH tunneling for remote database connectivity; server-to-server database transfers; data and structure synchronization; import/export of most popular data formats to and from MySQL; task scheduling; and easy-to-use "wizards" designed to walk users through the steps of migrating CSV, DBF, TXT, XML, or other data formats to MySQL. Navicat for MySQL 6.1.4 is available for $100, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
Ntractive--the company developing the forthcoming Web 2.0 small business management application entitled "Elements"--announced that it has added support for the AXL development platform. AXL combines the Apache Web server with Mac OS X and Omnipilot's Lasso programming language, while customer relations management functions of Elements include an information technologies module, sales tracking, marketing, and financial tracking. Ntractive also plans to include a free custom browser--written with Cocoa--that extends the Elements application to the Mac OS X desktop. Elements allows for personal information management of an internal mail system, an employee in/out board, company-wide scheduling, contact management, and more. The beta launch of Elements is scheduled for later this year, and Ntractive announced a preview earlier this month that includes descriptions, screen shots, and QuickTime videos.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir