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Apple Store in Dallas
Apple today announced that it will open its seventh retail store in Texas. Opening this Saturday, March 4, the new Dallas-based Apple Store NorthPark Center is located at 8687 North Central Expressway. The store opens at 10 a.m. local time. The company is holding its traditional t-shirt giveaway along with a grand opening sweepstakes for a Digital Lifestyle Collection, which is valued at $2229 and includes a 17-inch flat-panel Intel Core Duo iMac, an iPod nano, a Canon PowerShot SD450 digital camera, a Sony Handycam CCD-TRV138, and an HP Deskjet 5440 printer. The store is showcasing its School Nights, which feature student-directed presentations through April 25th.
Apple eats its words
Apple's been bitten by its own marketing words, according to report on CNET News.com. The company had touted its graphics superiority in the first G4-version of the Mac mini, noting that it had included a separate graphics card, while other low-end PCs used an integrated chip. The Apple webpage, which has since been taken down, said: "Go ahead, just try to play Halo on a budget PC," Apple said. "Most say they're good for 2D games only. That's because an 'integrated Intel graphics' chip steals power from the CPU and siphons off memory from system-level RAM." Ironically, Apple's new Intel-based Mac mini features an integrated graphics processor: the Intel GMA950 graphics supports Tiger Core Graphics and the latest 3D games, sharing the main system memory.
Schiller talks Mac mini
Apple says it is not trying to replace TiVo--the popular subscription service that allows users to record video from their television. Despite many rumors of a DVR-enabled Mac mini--by both analysts and Apple rumor sites--and what many analysts believe is the logical next step "into the livingroom," users will have to wait--maybe for a long time--for an Apple-branded software DVR solution for Macs. Because the size makes it perfect for families to use in the livingroom, many have speculated that Apple would use its Front Row software to control DVR-like functions on the Mac; however, Apple's Senior Vice President says that adding video recording functionality would have made the Mac Mini too complicated, according to The USA Today. "We're not trying to replace the TiVo," he says. "This is about taking the media from your computer and accessing it via the TV."
ListServ 14.5 released
L-Soft today announced the joint release of ListServ 14.5 and ListServ Maestro 2.1, offering a unique assessment feature to boost deliverability in an increasingly hostile environment. ListServ 14.5 introduces a new "Deliverability assessment" interface, a Web-based center that analyzes ListServ and DNS configurations, and attempts to provide site administrators concrete suggestions on improving deliverability. The new feature also helps senders to ensure that opt-in messages reach the subscribers who have requested them. Deliverability assessment encompasses the three major certification standards that are used by large email service providers, which include DomainKeys, Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and Sender ID, as well as additional DNS tests. ListServ Maestro 2.1 supports DomainKeys, and allows users to customization each page of the Web interface. ListServ 14.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later (pricing was unavailable).
MailSteward 6.0 on Mactels
Pubblog.com today released MailSteward 6.0, an email archiving solution for Mac users that incorporates a relational database. Version 6.0 is a Universal Binary, running natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The update features major restructuring that allows parsing and storing of email files simultaneously, while offering continuous feedback while storing that displays the current email file being processed. Users can manipulate MailSteward during a store, and display a list of invalid email files after the store operation. The software is designed to provide an elegant solution to the growing problem of organizing, backing up, and accessing tens of thousands of emails. MailSteward 6.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is priced at $30.
AxProtector protects apps
Wibu-Systems today announced a unique protection solution for all platforms and technologies with the software protection solution CodeMeter. The software protected via CodeMeter can only be used if the correct license has been stored in a CM-Stick that is plugged in a suitable PC or within a network system. The company's AxProtector automatically encrypts executables without any source code changes. It offers a single solution PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs as well as Windows, Java and .NET applicatoins. "The new AxProtector offers an unprecedented service package for software vendors: highest level of security and flexibility for the license management with a minimum of implemenation effort. The finished application can be protected later with one and the same protection solution for different operating systems." It supports many different license models, including trial/evaluation versions, modulare licenses, software renting or leasing, Pay-Per-Use, single-user licenses, network licenses or time-limited access.
OWC Mac mini upgrades
Other World Computing (OWC) has begun offering memory upgrades for Apple's new Intel-based Mac mini systems. The new Mac mini's are designed with two memory slots, each holding a factory-installed 256MB memory module. OWC offers a 1GB memory kit for $110, as well as a 2GB memory kit for $230. The kits include matched pairs of memory, as recommended by Apple for maximum performance. Both memory kits are completely compatible with Mac mini Intel models, as well as other Apple and PC systems, meeting or exceeding Apple and Intel specifications. Both kits ship with a lifetime warranty, and OWC is offering 512MB and 1GB modules individually. Yesterday Ramjet unveiled its Mac mini RAM upgrade offerings, with similar kits to bolster system performance.
Matlab 7.2 released
The MathWorks has released Matlab 7.2, a high-level language and interactive environment that enables users to perform computationally intensive tasks faster than with traditional programming languages such as C, C++, or Fortran. The update offers support for Windows XP 64-bit edition, integration of the M-Lint code analyzer with the Matlab Editor to provide continuous code checking, and new regular expression features including evaluation of Matlab expressions to perform dynamic matching or replacement of text. Version 7.2 adds a new ddesd function--enabling users to solve initial value problems for delay differential equations with variable delays--upgraded optimized basic linear Algebra subprogram (BLAS) libraries for Intel processors on Windows and Linux platforms, and improved performance of sparse Cholesky factorization as well as solve, etree, and symbfact functions with use of CHOLMOD 1.0 routines. Matlab 7.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later (pricing was unavailable).
Kinemac 1.1.0 released
Kinemac.com has released Kinemac 1.1.0, its 3D real-time animation and presentation software for Mac OS X. The application is designed to allow users to create professional 3D animations with the simplicity of a 2D presentation tool, and exports those animations to QuickTime movie files, or to a series of single still images. Version 1.1.0 offers "Infinite Sliders" that allow users to set any value by dragging the mouse, "Steppers" to increase the value of one point, locks to resize objects proportionally, and "Anchor Points." The update supports multiple duplication to replicate an object in series, can create automatic charts from text files, and can create movable sprite lights. Kinemac 1.1.0 is a free upgrade for existing users, and requires Mac OS X 10.4. Kinemac 1.1.0 is priced at $250.
Stellar data recovery app
Stellar Information Systems has released Stellar Phoenix Macintosh, its recovery software that can restore data from damaged, deleted, corrupted, and in come cases initialized volumes. The application performs an exhaustive scan of the drive to locate lost partitions, and all data found within a lost partition is presented in a tree structure allowing users to copy that data to a working volume. Stellar Phoenix Macintosh supports the HFS and HFS-plus file systems, and offers multi-disk drive support for all IDE, EIDE, and SCSI disk devices. The file filter feature provides selective file recovery, allowing users to include or exclude specific extensions in the search and recovery process. The application also provides a safe scan option that can save the details of a particular scan which can used to resume any data recovery process in the future. Stellar Phoenix Macintosh requires Mac OS X 10.2.x or later, and is available for $400 to data recovery service providers and repair/maintenance companies.
Apple today released GarageBand 3.01, which updates the ddresses an issue with Podcast production using the French or Finnish localized versions. GarageBand 3 is part of the latest iLife '06 suite, which is free with new Mac purchases and $49 for others; it allows users to record music on a Mac as well as record podcasts. The update follows recent updates of other iLife applications such as iPhoto and iTunes as well as its Front Row multimedia software. GarageBand 3.01 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4.3 and iLife '06. The 1.5MB update is available via the Web or the Software Update in Mac OS X.
Apple zones in Tesco
UK-based retailer Tesco is set to roll out standalone areas for Apple in 300 of its biggest stores by the end of the year, according to a new report. IncentiveBulletin reports that the retailer aims to become one of the biggest multimedia vendors, following a successful trial of both an iPod and Mac-dedicated area, called an "Apple zone," in its Milton Keynes store earlier this year. "It now hopes to emulate French supermarket Carrefour, a leading player in multimedia sales, on which it is understood to be modelling its tactics. It has similar dedicated areas and staff trained in multimedia and computing applications. Tesco is initially extending the Apple trial to six stores as it prepares for a full roll-out." The report says that Apple uses the same point-of-sale materials as its retail stores and sells Macs, printers, and iPods.
CheathamLane has released an alternative to the standard QuickTime VR controller: spinControl:VR offers custom navigation elements for QuickTime movies which, when embedded in a Web page with a QTVR, can control the QTVR's pan, tilt and zoom, and more. New functionality includes AutoTilt and AutoSpin for QTVR, as well as play/pause control for embedded QuickTime audio. Developers can change spinControl:VR's colors and functionality using code from the Web page's HTML, allowing them to match the look and feel of the website. CheathamLane also says the custom controller offers clients and newbies help when navigating QTVR movies and that a controller is a convenient way to ensure that clients have a full QTVR experience. spincontrol:Hextended ($25) offers custom colors and extended QTVR navigation, while spinControl:Linguist ($45) adds eight languages (English, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Irish and Welsh) and now controls Audio playback. Both require QuickTime 6 to operate.
Analyst on Tuesday Event
Credit Suisse today maintained an "outperform" rating on Apple stock and a price target of $90, following Tuesday's Apple event. Credit Suisse analyst Robert Semple said while Apple has switched about half of its Mac lineup to the Intel architecture, the real upside has yet to come: "We continue to believe the most important transition to Intel will in occur in iBook, given its $999 price point has mass market appeal," tha analyst noted in a wrote in a research report obtained by Forbes. Like other analysts, Semple believes that the $350 iPod Hi-Fi is more expensive compared with third-party iPod accessories items made by Bose, JBL and Altec Lansing. "We expect Hi-Fi to be successful, but do not believe it will be a blockbuster product as its functionality is very similar to that of the Bose, which is still recognized as a leader in acoustics." The firm noted potential x86 transition issues and iPod seasonality in the March quarter, but ex[ects future growth possibilities: "We believe that near-term issues will resolve themselves and expect Apple to maintain its dominant presence in music and remain a market share gainer in PCs throughout 2006."
Dossier, Red Cells
Dossier 2.1 ($25) is a full featured information organizational tool for the Mac designed to organize notes, passwords, and other information. Version 2 adds "Smart folders" to automatically organize information based on user-definable rules, as well as live search, Blogger support, LiveJournal support, and an integrated calendar to browse entries by date. The update includes an easy-to-use interface offering flexible views, along with drag-and-drop support.
[Download - 2.3MB]
Red Cells 1.0.1 ($15) is an action puzzle game for Mac OS X. Gameplay takes place on a grid of red and white cells, while players to click on a red cell to convert it to a white cell. Holding down the mouse button and dragging will cut a row or column of red cells, and every few seconds the red cells spread. Random white cells will mutate into red cells, and the object of the game is to clear the grid of red cells before they spread past the edges. Additionally, 20 percent of any purchase will be donated to the V Foundation for cancer research. [Download - 1.3MB]
Solavant ($30) marks the first Mac OS X version of the solitaire game, designed for advanced players who enjoy mental challenges. The game is designed to fill the needs of players who believe that most solitaire games "come with training wheels," and offers over 150 games. Solavant does not provide easy games, stacked shuffles, hints, cheats, or hollow victories. [Download - 4.9MB]
Squirt (unknown) reads in REALbasic source code that has been exported in XML format to generate C-plus-plus code. The application does not attempt to replicate the REALbasic runtime, but rather is aimed at converting core algorithms written by the REALbasic programmer. The software can alternatively be used as a learning tool, allowing users to write REALbasic code and then view the equivilant in C-plus-plus. Squirt can generate empty C-plus-plus wrappers for all REALbasic specific runtime objects, and is written to implement garbage collection in a flexible, expandible manner. [Download - 3.3MB]
Oxygen XML Editor 7.1 ($180) updates the tool designed to edit XML and Schema files, and also serves as a XSLT/XQuery debugger. Version 7.1 adds support for Berkeley and eXist XML databases, a view for XSL templates to easily navigate through edited XSL stylesheets, and an XPath builder view for editing complex XPath expressions. The update optimizes document loading time, improving performance by up to four times that of the previous release. Oxygen XML Editor 7.1 also adds annotation tooltips for XML adttributes, and spell checking works faster for long documents as well as documents that have long lines consisting of thousands of characters. [Download - 31.6MB]
iTunes feature films?
Apple could be in the intermediate stages of developing an iTunes movie download service to offer full length feature films to iTunes customers with broadband internet connections. A survey distributed this week through Coyote Insight--a California-based market research firm--asked participants to answer a series of questions related to a potential "iTunes movie service" which would provide on-demand access to movies that could be downloaded to a computer, or an iPod. "This iTunes service would provide access to 1,000 movies on demand which can be downloaded to your computer and, in turn, to your video iPod if you have one, or even your television if it is connected to your computer," a description in the survey read. The service would operate similarly to Apple's current iTunes download services for songs and videos, with one or two differences: "The first difference is you would need to have a high speed (broadband) internet connection such as DSL or cable modem to use the service. The second difference is access to the movies is offered on a monthly subscription basis."
HD Mac mini, data center
In brief: A recent report suggests that Apple may well be on its way to making the Mac mini a high-definition home media center, citing various features and pointing to Apple's instructional pages.... The Clinton Presidential Library website, which is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, appears as a blank page when accessed with Safari.... Apple's recently-acquired data center at 39800 Eureka Drive, which is categorized as one of the most elaborate types of data centers, showed little signs of activity Wednesday afternoon.... Avis Rent A Car is offering customers at least five free songs each time they rent a vehicle, while the Caribou Coffee chain has announced its "Wake Up and Smell the Music" campaign, offering 30,000 prizes including iPods and iTunes song downloads.... Following reviews by Ars and WSJ's Walt Mossberg, The New York Times has published a review of the MacBook Pro (free registration required), covering each aspect of the new system from aesthetics to functionality.
SynthEyes 2006.5 released
Andersson Technologies has released a native Intel version of its SynthEyes 2006.5 3-D tracking application. Designed for testing, the company has made the preview available to existing customers. The SynthEyes tracking application offers a complete high-end feature set, including camera tracking, motion capture, object building, object tracking, camera+object tracking, multiple-shot tracking, tripod (nodal) tracking, zooms, lens distortion, light solving, RAM playback, image preprocessing, rotoscoped object separation and more. SynthEyes exports to 25 common animation and compositing packages, while built-in scripting allows users to customize the standard export rourtines or add custom import/export functions. SynthEyes runs under Mac OS X 10.3 or later on G5 and G4 processors. Details of SynthEyes upgrades and pricing for the Intel Mac platform will be announced with the final release, according to the developer.
Spherico today released SoundCount, which it says is the fast and easy way to calculate the total playtime of commercial sound in a sequence or project. "SoundCount is a big timesaver if you are working with commercial sounds. This will be very useful when preparing logs for commercial music for licensing," according to the developer. By leveraging the FCP XML format, SoundCount allows users to create time tables from a FCP sequence XML for each track, or combined tracks, or combinations of tracks and Sequences. After opening and XML file exported from Final Cut Pro, SoundCount will go through the tracks and look whether they are empty and enabled and subsequently display a list of active tracks: "From there you can choose a single track (if you organize music by track) or use the selection option to check each clip in the selected tracks and calculate duration of all channels of a clip." A 14-day demo of the €45 ($55) application is available online.
Geekbench Rosetta results
Geek Patrol today posted results from its Geekbench Preview 2 for Rosetta application, which it released yesterday. The website tested an iMac Core Duo with a 2GHz processor and 2GB of memory, running Mac OS X 10.4.5 (build 8G1454). The results were dubbed impressive, with performance running under Rosetta coming in at 40-80 percent of measured native performance. Additionally, single-threaded tests running Geekbench under Rosetta is comparable to running Geekbench natively on a Power Mac G5 1.6GHz, according the site. Two benchmarks stood out, revealing that Stdlib Allocate's performance is "incredibly poor" under Rosetta, while Blowfish's performance is unbelievably good--leading those involved to believe that a poor standard library implementation under Rosetta is holding back the Stdlib Allocate benchmark, while a bug in the Blowfish benchmark or Rosetta itself is inflating the Blowfish benchmark. "Overall, I don't think Rosetta performance will be a concern for almost anyone with an Intel-based Mac."
Ars reviews MacBook Pro
Ars Technica has posted an in-depth review of the new MacBook Pro, offering benchmark comparisons to a Dell Inspiron 9100 with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 HT chip running Mac OS X 10.4.4. The article notes that the inclusion of the iSight has may prevent sales to users in environments where cameras are banned (e.g., the government) and that the ambient light sensors on the new MacBook Pro may be too sensitive. The review also says the battery life is a bit shorter than previous-generation PowerBooks--with an average of 3 hours and 3 min per charge and says that MagSafe connector, while an "ingenious idea," needs a bit more refinement. "Unfortunately, however, most pro software is not yet available in Universal Binary and is not expected to be for a little while (Adobe is estimating sometime in 2007, for example), but Rosetta is usable enough to get by in the interim if you don't mind the performance hit."
Power Mac G5 firmware
Apple has released yet another update to its Late 2004 1.8GHz single-processor Power Mac G5 v1.1--this time for Tiger users. The update, now released for Mac OS X 10.4, fixes issues where the machine stops responding randomly. "This update is only for the 1.8 GHz, single-processor Power Mac G5 (Late 2004) computer and supports installation on Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later. Also improves the reliability of your Power Mac G5, especially after it has been inactive for two hours." Apple also provided a note about the installation: "After installing the firmware update, there will be a residual folder installed on your hard drive called "AppleInternal". Inside that folder is another folder called 'PackageDataTools'. Inside that folder is an application called 'Lurk-n-Launch'. You can safely delete the folder and its contents."
Netopia Timbuktu Pro 8.6
Netopia today introduced the latest version of its Timbuktu Pro software for both Macintosh and Windows, which enables users to remotely view and interact with individual desktops through any Internet connection. Timbuktu Pro 8.6 integrates with Skype, the peer-to-peer Internet telephony application and brings support for Intel-based Macs. "Timbuktu Pro 8.6 for Windows and Macintosh provides seamless integration with Internet telephony provider Skype, allowing users to connect and remotely control machines while conversing and collaborating with other Timbuktu Pro users, all through a Skype tunnel. Timbuktu Pro leverages Skype's API to automatically navigate through routers, firewalls, and NAT devices. Users can now search for, speak to, and collaborate with other Timbuktu Pro users through their Skype contacts. They can even launch a Skype call from within Timbuktu Pro."
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