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Flash-notebooks from Intel
Tech industry: Intel said it would begin putting NAND flash chips into its notebook platform beginning next year in order to offer "instant on" functions to users.... After weeks of hype and speculation, Intel Tuesday offered a peek at the much-hyped Origami project: a handheld minicomputer with a touch screen designed to run on Microsoft software.... Pixar , Steve Jobs' 'other company,' today posted lower earnings of nearly $31 million, or 25 cents per share, on revenue of $55.6 million--short of earnings in the year-ago quarter but still ahead of analysts estimates.... AMD has released the first hardware specifications to get its AMD Live! consumer-electronics plan up and running, although the vision will have to wait until at least 2007 to be realized.... AOpen plans to showcase a dual-core version of its Mac Mini clone at the Intel Developer Forum this week--one that about $100 more expensive than the Apple version, which uses similar hardware. [updated]
DearAOL.com growth, Google
In brief: the DearAOL.com Coalition today announced it has grown from 50 organizations to more than 500, as it fights AOL's controversial plan to create a two-tiered internet.... Google is reportedly building a new feature that will offer consumers and enterprises with unlimited online storage for data.... Ten Technology announced that its naviPlay Bluetooth stereo headset ($200, shown at right), which is packaged with the naviPlay Bluetooth Adapter for iPod, is available from Apple's online store and other retailers.... Radio broadcasters in Japan are placing their hopes in podcasting to make up for loss of listeners and advertising revenue.... HandStands is offering its Durav˙ Bullet Proof iPod Shields ($10), designed to protect Apple's iPod digital media players from scratches.
KeyFX Bevel released
Keynote Theme Park today announced that it has released the first Keynote 3 theme, KeyFX Bevel, which is designed to take advantage of new features in Apple's latest presentation software. The application boasts an interactive guide to select Slide Masters, and leverages Keynote's ability to mask images to shape. Each panel area is edged in soft highlight and shadow that will bevel or emboss anything sent to back, either color or image. Users maintain total control over slide backgrounds and decide on color, texture, or image. The theme comes with a basic set of 48 master slides, as well as an additional 121 in a supplemental file which includes an interactive selection guide. KeyFX Bevel also includes "Bevel West," a bonus theme made with Bevel's 48 basic master slides designed to get users started with theme creation. KeyFX Bevel is available for $20.
Duravu iPod shields
HandStands is offering its Durav˙ Bullet Proof iPod Shields, designed to protect Apple's iPod digital media players from scratches. The shields disappear when applied, protecting both the front and back of the iPod. The shields measure 3 1/16 x 7 3/4 x 1/8-inches, and boast easy installation that does not require soap. The transparent shields fit both iPod video models, as well as the iPod nano. HandStands Durav˙ Bullet Proof iPod Shields are available for $10 via the company's website.
AAPL target at $103
Despite reports of limited availability of Apple's MacBook Pro, Piper Jaffray research analyst Gene Munster today maintained an "outperform" rating and $103 price target on Apple stock. While the analyst had factored in limited supply of MacBook during the March quarter, the analyst believes that Apple may not be able to meet demand for the product during the March quarter, noting that there may be downside to his fiscal second-quarter Mac sales estimates. "We are recommending purchase of Apple shares, given that controversy surrounding limited availability of the new MacBook Pro appears to be priced in," according to a research report obtained by Forbes. "Apple will ramp MacBook Pro production in the near term." [title/wording updated]
Mirage Studio Pro debuts
Bauhaus Software today announced Mirage Studio Pro, a powerful new addition to the Mirage 2D animation product line. Mirage Studio Pro integrates both Bauhaus' Animator's Toolbar and the recently released Board-O-Matic 2 with its core Mirage product. The Animator's Toolbar automates many functions for 2D production workflow, while Board-O-Matic 2 is a new fully digital storyboarding system. Designed as a complete digital animation environment, Mirage Studio Pro allows users to create end-to-end classical or digital style 2D animation--from cel animation and anime, to rotoscoping and stop motion. In addition, Bauhaus also reduced the price on its standard Mirage Studio product and introduced a new dedicated support option that guarantees response times to user issues. Mirage Studio Pro will ship on March 14th, 2006 for $650, while Mirage Studio is now $500. Both are eligible for a $100 introductory offer discount. Mirage Support Plus is $100 for six months, and $140 for a full year.
Aluminum SATA storage
Granite Digital today released a new line of Aluminum SATA storage systems. The newly redesigned storage systems feature less moving parts and are run cooler than previous designs, according to the company: "These new SATA Aluminum RAID and Backup Drive Systems are faster, cooler, better designed, more reliable and affordable than any storage system on the market," said Frank Gabrielli, President of Granite. "We have been innovating storage designs and technology for over 25 years and will continue to create designs that improve and support data storage."
Computer Systems Odessa has released ConceptDraw WebWave, software designed specifically for the website design sector. Key features include a set of vector drawing tools, alpha-channel transparency, smart connectors to ensure lines stay linked to their shapes, and a flexible interface providing access to main tools and settings with customizable toolbars. ConceptDraw WebWave includes a number of libraries and "wizards" to help users create diagrams, drawings, customized drawing tools, and shapes. Wizards include "Website mapper" to analyze the contents of a site; "Site File Structure Scanner" for webmasters to explore a website's file structure; "Site Prototype Builder" to construct a website prototype using the structure diagrams created with ConceptDraw products; "To-Do Lists generator" to manage and track progress; "Color Scheme Generator" to select harmonic, well-balanced color schemes and palettes; and Gantt-Chart Wizard to quickly start working with Gantt charts for a website development project. ConceptDraw WebWave is priced at $300, and requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later.
Intel offers chip roadmap
Intel today outlined its new lower-power, more efficient processor strategy at the Intel Developer Forum. Intel's senior vice president Pat Gelsinger, showed how Intel will deliver better computing performance and energy efficiency this year while reducing the total cost of ownership. Intel's future roadmap focuses on its next-generation Core microarchitecture, an evolution to its Intel Core Duo chips; in addition, Intel announced that it will ship three new dual-core processors for servers and workstations in 2006 and gave developers their first public view of a running quad-core processor. By the end of the year, Intel said that its new technologies would help it regain the performance per watt title, taken by AMD's Opteron chips.
Japanese radio, podcasting
Radio broadcasters in Japan are facing a decline in ratings due to fewer listeners, and are placing their hopes in podcasting to make up the difference. "Podcasts can capture narrower sectors of the audience that cannot be reached by the radio," Yukihiro Okada, head of program production at FM Inter-Wave said. Some companies are viewing podcasts as a promising advertising medium as well, according to a report from The Japan Times. Japanese radio firm IBC Iwate Broadcasting in August became the country's first AM station to release podcasts. IBC Iwate Broadcasting promotes culture by teaching listeners words and expressions unique to the local Hanamaki dialect, which is spoken in Iwate Prefecture. The number of registered listeners of the company's podcasts has already surpassed 10,000, according to the report.
Lower-power Intel chips
Intel today disclosed details of its forthcoming Intel Core microarchitecture, the foundation for its multi-core server, desktop and mobile processors for computers later this year. The first Intel Core microarchitecture products built on Intel"s advanced 65nm process technology will deliver higher-performce and more energy-efficient processors as well as offer enhanced security, virtualization and manageability for consumers and businesses. At today develop forum, Intel Senior Fellow and chief technology officer Justin Rattner, sees the new architecture as an evolultion to the Intel Core Duo processor. Intel expects processors based on the Intel Core microarchitecture, using Intel's advanced 65nm manufacturing technology, to start shipping in the third quarter of 2006.
Postino RSS newsreader
Coladia today released Postino, an RSS reader with advanced features. Postino "lets you take these news feeds and view them together in a simple list, so you can quickly find all the articles that interest you from across the Web. Packed with useful features like groups, smart lists, and auto-discovery feeds, Postino will change the way you experience the Web and RSS." The application offers a built-in tabbed browser based on the Safari engine and other unique features such as the publication of a Blog Roll, articles bookmarking and the auto-discovery of feeds. A Blog Roll is a collection of links can be easily published to a .Mac. In addition, Postino automatically searchs for RSS feeds associated with bookmarks and adds them the to the list of subscriptions. The Search subscription feature connects the users to search websites to find new content based on tags and keywords. Postino ($25) is compatible with RSS 0.9, RSS 1, RSS 2 and Atom feeds and is available for Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Jumsoft releases Process 2
Jumsoft today released a final version of Process 2.0, its outlining and project management application. Building on its innovative, one-window concept for merging outlines with the resources needed for productivity, Process 2.0 leverages Tiger-specific features as well as well as other enhancements, such as shared projects (via Bonjour technology) for group collaboration. Version 2.0 also features new Smart Projects to help search/organize projects, Spotlight support, five integrated panes to customize framework settings, and virtually unlimited options for focus aids such as color-coded labels and priority bars, check boxes, customized pop-ups, start and due dates, iCal-synced calendar reminders and alarms. Process 2 also includes speedy Action buttons, keyboard shortcuts, item formatting, unlimited undo/redo, detailed and clearly written Help files, and document-based architecture. It is available for Mac OS X 10.4 only and costs $40.
ImageBuddy, Hot Plan
ImageBuddy 3.3 ($20) is a free upgrade to the photo printing program. The update adds enhancements to Contact Sheet printing with new file name alignment and text formatting options as requested by users. Imagebuddy is a digital image layout program that offers Drag & Drop support from iPhoto allowing you to greatly expand on iPhoto's limited printing options. Users can rotate, size, crop, mask and layout digital photos for printing in just a few simple clicks. [Download - 3.8MB]
Barcode Producer 3.7 ($150) updates the barcode generation software suite for Mac OS X. It now features QuarkXPress 7 support, enhanced 13-Digit ISBN Support, an improved ISBN Check Digit Calculator that now supports 13-digit standards, Bookland EAN Issue Number Support, and POSTNET Instant Transfer to send POSTNET barcodes directly to Mac OS X's Preview application with one click. [Download - 2.5MB]
Geocaching Menu 1.0 ($8) is shareware application, for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs, that makes it easy to download geocaching waypoints from webpages directly to your GPS device without the need of first saving these on the computer. It currently supports Garmin GPS devices (with more device support planned for future versions) and works with both serial or USB devices. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or late, Safari and an internet connection as well as a GPS device to which the waypoints can be uploaded. [Download - 700KB]
Hot Plan 1.2 ($16) is a multi-purpose personal planning tool designed to help users collect and manage their thoughts, ideas, projects, but also bookmarks, links and text clips. It offers a simple and effective method to associate target dates to actions and receive notifications. It can organize/classify actions into plans, track statistics, and associate files/URL/emails with each action. Hot Plan requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and is a Universal Application. [Download - 1.7MB]
Musicbed DV 1.2 ($150 with Season One) is an easy-to-use music customization application designed for visual media professionals. The application offers a browser that allows musicians to browse by story genres/mood, styles, texture, and tempo/pitch, while offering realtime previews of each audio/video sample. It features non-linear editing of music clips (start, stop, and duration) with advanced functions, pitch/tempo adjustment, keyframes, QuickTime-based video integration, visual markers, and numerious import/export functions. [Download - 1GB]
Safari Enhancer 3.2 (donationware) is an application for enhancing the functionality of Apple's Safari webbrowser. Users can easily enable the hidden 'Debug' menu, remove underlines from or change colors of hyperlinks, increase the font size in the bookmarks sidebar, disable Safari's web content cache, force the download of all PDF files, switch between the Brushed, Aqua and Unified Title/Toolbar appearances, and import bookmarks from a variety of browsers. [Download - 712KB]
Sente 3.0 for Intel Macs
Third Street Software today released Sente v3.0, a new version of its academic literature research and bibliography software. Now available as a Universal Binary for native execution on Intel-and PowerPC-based Macs, version 3.0 also brings Spotlight support and features a new plugin-based architecture. "Many important aspects of Sente's functionality are now handled in plugins, rather than in the main code for the application. This will make it easier for to add new features to Sente in the future," the developer said. Version 3.0 also features bibliography enhancements, allowing users to override the way in which references appear when using Sente with both Microsoft Word and Mellel (from RedleX). In addition, Sente v3.0 features new organization tools to create custom reference statuses and star ratings when organizing libraries. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4 or later and is available for $100 with a 50 percent discount offered to students.
Apple\'s WWDC in August
Apple today announced the dates for its 2006 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which will be held in San Francisco. The annual conference, which usually takes place in June, will now take place from August 7 - 11, 2006. The event offers in-depth sessions, unique insight, and access to Apple engineers and has been used by Apple to make operating system announcements. Last year, the company used the forum to unveil its plans to transition Intel-based Macs. Early registration runs through June 23 and offers $300 discount on all packages. Apple is offering two promotions: a WWDC 2006 E-ticket and ADC Select Membership for $2000 ($100 discount) and WWDC 2006 E-ticket 5-pack for $6,380 ("buy four, get a fifth free"). During early registration, both packages are discounted by $300 and $1,200, respectively. WWDC could herald the first public preview of Leopard, the next version of Apple's operating system and the first Intel-based Power Macs, as the new Intel Xeon processors for high-end workstations and servers are expected to be available around the same timeframe. [updated]
MS Office Spring Cleaning
The Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today announced an enter-to-win sweepstakes in which qualified entrants can register online for one of four $10,000 home or work office makeovers. "The perfect spring-cleaning tool, Office 2004 for Mac has many unique features that make it easier for Mac customers to get organized, work smarter and better manage the business of life." The Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Spring Cleaning Sweepstakes runs through June 30, 2006, with cash and prizes totaling $100,000. More than 200 prizes valued at $60,000 will be given away in addition to the four $10,000 grand-prize makeovers. No purchase is necessary to win.
Trojan flaw persists
Although Apple last week released a patch to address the Mac OS X zero-day exploit, it does not completely solve the problem, leaving some users open to further attacks. Last week's security update fixed more than a dozen different security holes, addressed a few exploits by concept worms, and addressed a few other unpublished security issues, according to Apple's own documentation. However, the new "download validation"--which warns users that the file may be malicious--does not completely solve the widely touted, 'extremely critical' Mac OS X zero-day exploit that allows hackers to disguise malicous files as routine files, thus allowing Safari browser or other internet application to automatically unpack and execute the file. While the patch offers a checkpoint for most using Safari, iChat, or Mail, it does not protect users that use other third-party internet programs and does not alert users users who have disabled the "Open safe files after downloading" option.
MicroNet today announced the immediate availability of its PlatinumNAS network storage solution. PlatinumNAS features Dual gigabit Ethernet connections, up to 2.0TB (4x500GB) of high performance SATA storage, an integrated hardware-based RAID controller, and a lightweight aluminum design. PlatinumNAS incorporates four hot-swappable in class 7200RPM SATA hard drives along with a 64-bit RISC based RAID controller. The sleek, compact enclosure (6.5"W x 7 7/8"H x 8 3/4"D) weighs less than 18lbs; it features both SMB/CIFS networking protocols as well as Webdisk, allowing virtually every modern computer with a web browser to access the storage. MicroNet's Platinum line features PlatinumNAS, PlatinumRAID, and the Platinum line of External hard disk drives., and feature portable and lightweight aluminum design that is both stylish and flexible. (Pricing not available; site not updated.)
Study finds Mac switchers
A new study from research analyst firm Needham and Co. suggests that Apple's move to Intel processors should finally enable the Mac to match the performance of Windows PCs, and found explosive results from Windows users when presented with the possibility of running Windows applications on a Mac. Macs should be able to run Windows applications as seamlessly and as fast as they run on current Windows PCs once a small number of technical problems are solved, according to the study, and an online survey of 255 college students revealed the possibility of a dramatic increase in users switching to Macs. When presented with the possibility of a Mac running Windows applications, the mean liklihood of purchasing a Mac rose almost 20 percent, while the percentage of Windows users who would definitely buy a Mac rocketed from 1.8 percent to 13.5 percent. The survey does state, however, that there is no precise way to scale the results to determine the possible increase in Apple's share of the home market.
A-OK! 3.6 released
Pyramid Design today released the latest iteration of its space simulator, A-OK! The Wings of Mercury 3.6. The application is a realistic simulation of the Mercury spacecraft that features 3D graphics, fully functional control panels, networked simulations, and a complete manual. The update includes improved high-resolution Earth models, global cloud cover, sunrises/sunsets that cause day/night lighting conditions, and improved altitude control modes with regard to accuracy and performance. Version 3.6 offers simplified joystick setup, a more accurate periscope view, and a PDF version of the flight operations manual that can be printed and downloaded separately. A-OK! The Wings of Mercury 3.6 is available for $50 or as a free upgrade to existing users, and requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later.
Gamepedia, NewsMac Pro
Gamepedia 2.0 ($18) is a video game cataloging application for Mac OS X that runs natively on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. Version 2.0 offers library-independent collections, a "show count" feature to display the number of items in a collection, an extended autofill option that includes editing in the table view, and case insensitivity for easier matching. The update also includes a faster framework. [Download - 4.4MB]
NewsMac Pro 1.2.4 ($25) updates the RSS reader for Mac OS X, offering Bloglines integration that allows users to track their favorite blogs and websites via RSS. Users can easily share their RSS feeds between multiple computers, and the application offers Web-based access. Version 1.2.4 is compiled as a Universal Binary, offering native support for Apple's Intel-based Macs. [Download - 3.6MB]
iSpectrum 2.0 ($45) is an easy to use audio spectrum analyzer that allows the user to view live audio in a standard frequency plot, a stereo oscilloscope view and a waterfall display. The user can adjust the display resolution, center frequency and save images to disk; it works with both USB and system microphones, features a point & click frequency marker, and offers a choice of FFT window functions. Version 2.0 is now a Universal Binary and runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 2.5MB]
Meridian 3.1 ($20) updates the advanced timepiece for Mac OS X. Now available as a Universal Binary, Meridian features an improved Menu Bar Clock, and adds iTunes Alarms, Time Zones, Timers, Stopwatches, and Chimes. Meridian can alert users with its built-in custom sounds or with an iTunes playlist. Version 3.1 also adds improved support for alarms in other time zones and easier selection of alarm days. A 30-day trial is available online. [Download - 2.9MB]
SnapMeasure 1.0 ($24) is a plugin for Adobe Illustrator which implements an improved measuring tool. Unlike the native measuring tool, SnapMeasure snaps with visual feedback to elements on the page, allows scrolling or zooming during a measure operation, offers an alternate measure line color for better visibility, and can optionally change the constrain angle and/or cursor key distance without having to open the preferences window. It requires Illustrator CS2 running under Mac OS X. A $10 discount is offered for personal/non-profit licenses. [Download - 1.4MB]
FmPro Migrator 3.75EE ($100) has been updated with an improved Access to FileMaker 7/8 migration feature, by utilizing the Actual ODBC for Access driver from Actual Technologies (purchased separately). FmPro Migrator utilizes a drag and drop user interface to gather the database structure information from within Access database files. Dropping one or more Access 97, Access 2000, or Access 2003 database files onto FmPro Migrator instantly reads the metadata from each Access database file and creates the required FileMaker migration scripts. It is a free upgrade for existing users. [Download - 4MB]
OS X Security Challenge
A new Mac OS X Security Challenge has emerged, following a report that one user was able to hack into Mac OS X within 30 minutes. Created in direct response to the "woefully misleading ZDnet article," the challenge ends on March 10 and offers no prize. The creators of the new challenge say that the reports on the previous Mac OS X Hack failed to mention an extremely important factor--that users were given an SSH account on the box. The ZDnet article, first referenced by MacNN yesterday, has since been updated to note that user were given local accounts. Some, however, have objected to the challenge, saying that it is merely a test of Apache and SSH on PowerPC-based Mac; however, Dave Schroeder, the contest creator, says that "that is how most of the world will see Mac OS X externally."
Transitive at IDF
Transitive Corp, the maker's of Apple's Rosetta technology, today announced that it will work with Intel to accelerate the migration of SW application codes from legacy RISC environments to the Intel Itanium 2 and Intel Xeon processor families. The companies said they would focus on developing QuickTransit Hardware Virtualization Technology Products for market release this year. Apple's has used technology from Transitive to help the Mac transition to the Intel chip architecture: Rosetta allows legacy applications to run on Apple's new Intel-based Mac platform. In addition, Intel said will provide funding and access to key engineering resources to facilitate the ongoing development and testing of QuickTransit for Intel Xeon and Itanium processors. On heels of its March quarter earnings warning, Intel is expected to announce new, more power efficient server chips at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week in San Francisco.
PC vs. Mac TCO analysis
One Network World columnist has concluded that owning a Mac is much less expensive than a Windows-based PC--after including total cost of ownership over three years: "The results of this TCO astounded me. For my small enterprise, owning a WinTel box for three years costs twice as much as owning a MacTel. When I talked with several of our clients, I found that the burdened cost of ownership per PC - just for support - ranged from $1,300 to $4,000 per year If I can cut down on the burden of monthly and annual subscriptions, and dramatically reduce my annualized per-seat support costs, not only does my TCO go way down, but as an added plus my technical headache factors decrease, too." Noting that "much of Apple's enterprise future will rest with the adaptation of the appliance mindset and eradicating the cultural meme: one size fits all," Winn Schwartau says that he is already seeing migrations--departmental rather than company-wide--to Macs within large corporations.
Saitek ships A-350
Saitek today announced that it is now shipping its A-350 wireless headphones. Saitek's A-350 Wireless Headphones are the third product in the company's new line of Digital Media Entertainment (DME) products; Saitek's smallest DME product delivers music directly from any digital media player without the hassle of wires. Using the included wireless dongle, the new headphones have a 25-foot range from an iPod, Sony PSP, laptop, or MP3 player. The A-350 Wireless Headphones use neodymium in-ear speakers for superior quality; they feature the same ultra-sleek styling of the other Saitek DME products, with a cool behind-the-head design; a durable design with carrying case for protection; a built-in ultra lightweight rechargeable lithium polymer battery that offers up to four hours of play; an optional 3.5mm jack for wired connection (no battery required); and an integrated volume control and on/off switch. It is available now for $100.
WiebeTech mini USBDock
WiebeTech has expanded its DriveDock series to include a new mini USBDock that allows users to attach SATA drives to a computer via either a single USB cable. "This new mini Dock is incredibly small and very attractive," said James Wiebe, president and CEO of WiebeTech LLC. "We've introduced a new color and continue our tradition of rugged aluminum design, so they nicely complement the rest of the WiebeTech DriveDock line." The mini USBDock can be used with bare external SATA 1 or 2 drives, enabling read/write/access the drive's data as if it were inside the computer. The dock includes the new Power Status LED indicators: power attached, power on and access. It features data speeds of up to 48Mbps, a bundled AC adapter, an aluminum case for heat dissipation, and more. The mini USBDock is shipping now for $100.
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