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Flash security update
Adobe has released an update for Flash Player to address security vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. A malicious SWF file must be loaded in Flash Player by the user for an attacker to exploit the vulnerabilities, but users are recommended to update to the most current version of Flash Player available for their platform, according to Adobe. "Adobe recommends all Flash Player 126.96.36.199 and earlier users upgrade to the new version 188.8.131.52, which can be downloaded from the Player Download Center. For customers that cannot upgrade to Flash Player 8, please refer to the Flash Player 7 update TechNote." [updated]
InTV digital TV network
America Online has launched its new digital video service in conjunction with Time Warner. The online television network called In2TV is accessible on the web with any browser or from AOL's home page; however, the service is only available to US viewers using Windows users, as licensing restricts geographical viewing and the underlying Windows Media Player 10 technology is only available to Windows users. Touted as "the first" broadband television network, it offers free, ad-sponsored, on-demand TV shows on the Web, including full episodes of popular programs from the past 40 years such as Welcome Back, Kotter, Chico & The Man, Alice, Growing Pains, Sisters, Kung Fu, Lois & Clark and many others; it also features interactive features and viral videos that enable audiences to experience and interact with television programming in what the companies says is "an entirely new way."
Exclusive iTunes podcasts
Jack Black, the star of Paramount Pictures' "Nacho Libre," will take audiences behind the scenes with exclusive "confessionals" about what it was like to make the upcoming comedy "Nacho Libre" in a series of video podcasts debuting at Apple's iTunes Music Store and QuickTime.com. Beginning March 15th and continuing for 10 weeks, leading up to the release of the film, new podcasts will appear every Tuesday and Thursday, downloadable free of charge for the video iPod. The film, which opens in theaters nationwide on June 2, stars Black as Ignacio (affectionately known as as "Nacho"), a cook by day in a Mexican orphanage, who moonlights as a Lucha Libre wrestler to raise money for the orphans. The comedy is from the creators of "Napoleon Dynamite" and the writer of "The School of Rock."
Excel flaws patched
Microsoft today confirmed that its recent Excel X update and its Office 2004 v11.2.3 updates address five separate security flaws in its Excel spreadsheet software. The Office flaws, reported by Microsoft earlier this week, are dubbed as "high-critical" by security firm Secunia and affect most versions of the Office software suite; however, a sixth "routing slip" vulnerability does not affect Mac users, a Microsoft spokesperson told MacNN. The vulnerabilities may allow execution of arbritary code on a users' systems and could be exploited by malicious people to compromise users' systems -- especially if the users has administrative privileges on the local machine, according to Microsoft's documentation.
FireWire Depot today announced a new series of bridgeboards, its USB 2.0 and FireWire 800/400 bridgeboard to Serial ATA I/II. The bridgeboard features programmable RAID 0 and 1, as well as dual drive mode. FireWire Depot's new series is designed as a solution for bridging between SATA disks to USB 2.0, FireWire400, and FireWire800. The company is offering the IF8UC-S0 SATA to FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 Bridge Board with Oxford 924 RAID 0 functionality, the IF8UC-S1 SATA to FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 Bridge Board offering Oxford 924 RAID 1, its IF8UC-S2 SATA to FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 Bridge Board with Oxford 924 dual drive capability, and the IF8UC-S3 SATA to FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 Bridge Board with Oxford 924 SPAN Drive functionality. All bridgeboards are priced at $90.
Excel update, CatSlapper
Excel X for Mac security update (free) addresses a vulnerability in Excel X that could enable an attacker to use a modified workbook file to overwrite the contents of a computer's memory with malicious code. The update applies to Microsoft Office for Mac version X, as well as Microsoft Excel X for Mac. Additionally, the update requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
[Download - 6.7MB]
Track Destroyer 1.2 ($20) is designed to destroy "incriminating" data on a Mac OS X system by completely removing the files from the hard disk without the possibility to recover it by any practical software or hardware methods. Track Destroyer features include the ability to erase history for more than 50 applications, clean system caches or logs, empty the trash, and securely wipe files with a three-pass write. The application can also scan system preferences for details that appear to be logging activity and remove them. [Download - 2.4MB]
RAW Developer 1.4.6 ($100) updates the RAW image conversion software for Mac OS X, adding support for the Nikon D70s, Canon 1D Mark II N, and Leaf Aptus 75 cameras. Version 1.4.6 also fixes an issue with the "Open Recents" menu specific to Mac OS X 10.3.9. RAW Developer improvements include new camera default settings for all Leaf and Phase One digital backs, and the application now includes default white balance presets. [Download - 6.2MB]
CatSlapper 1.1.0 ($13) is designed to make installing and managing multiple Jakarta Tomcat instances easy. Cat Slapper can add personalized configurations, customizing every detail. Alternatively, users can allow the application to pick up the running Tomcat configurations and add them to its database. Version 1.1.0 can control and install version 5.0.x of Tomcat, and while other versions of Tomcat are not supported they may work. [Download - 11.8MB]
iUnit 3.2.0 ($20) is a unit conversion application that can convert between 1545 different units, and displays the values of 91 physical constants. Various units include distance, mass, volume, velocity, density, currency, and others. Version 3.2.0 adds conversions for wire gauges, sheet metal gauges, oil/water viscosity, additional capacitance units, and updating of currency exchange rates via the internet. [Download - 1.3MB]
New Digidesign Toolkits
Digidesign today began shipping two new options for its Pro Tools LE systems, including the New Music Production Toolkit and DV Toolkit 2 options. Building on the first version, DVD Toolkit 2 provides an even larger collection of tools for producing high-end sound for film or video, offering a cost-effective entry to the world of sound for film. DV Toolkit 2 includes three plug-ins that are ideal for working with sound for picture: the TL Space Native Edition convolution reverb, DINR LE intelligent noise reduction tool, and the Synchro Arts VocALign Project for Pro Tools time-alignment tool. It adds the DigiBase Pro file management tool for working with the large number of files and volumes on post projects, the DigiTranslator 2.0 option for importing and exporting projects to and from video editing applications (e.g., Avid Xpress), and the Pro Tools MP3 Option for exporting mixes as MP3 files.
PJ models 9M iPod sales
Piper Jaffary believes that strong iPod shipments -- as many as 9.1 million based on two months of shipment data from market research firm NPD -- and strong sales of Intel Macs will lead to a strong quarter by Apple. Senior analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray (PJ) today said that January and February iPod shipment data show that Apple is on track to ship between 8.8 and 9.1 million iPods during the current quarter, which will be on track for the firm's previous 9 million iPod sales estimate. Munster also said that there is a 75 percent chance of an "iPhone" within the next year. "Our preliminary analysis of iPod unit shipment data from NPD leads us to believe that Apple is on track to meet or be slightly below our 9.0 iPod unit assumptions," Munster wrote in a research note.
Hybrid HD synthesizer
Digidesign today announced that its Hybrid high-definition synthesizer plug-in is now shipping. Developed by the Digidesign Advanced Instrument Research group, Hybrid is a high-definition software synthesizer for Pro Tools systems that combines "the warmth of classic analog waveforms with digital wavetables to produce everything from traditional synth sounds to modern digital textures never heard before." Hybrid offers 256 preset patches that include a full range of analog and digital sounds, but it is made for tweaking. Its deep set of user-adjustable parameters lets the user create unique sounds easily from a straightforward interface. Users can construct complex patches from two distinct parts -- each of which features three high-definition, sample-accurate oscillators with multiple wave modes, four envelope generators, three LFOs, 23 filter modes with true saturation, and two insert effects. It is available exclusively in RTAS format. A full-license is $250.
PSP3 delayed, free seminar
In brief: Sony has said it will postpone the release of its highly-anticipated PlayStation 3 console from the planned spring launch until November, because more work is required on its next-generation DVD technology.... Scripting Matters will be leading free seminars in New York City Thursday, March 23rd at the Adobe Customer Briefing Center on 8 West 40th Street near 5th Avenue in Manhattan.... Tunewear has announced the new [sienna] series of high quality nappa leather cases for iPod video ($50) and iPod nano ($40).... The editor-in-chief of the MugCenter website is planning to create a podcast during the Washington Apple Pi, Washington Metro area Macintosh user group meeting on March 25th at 9 a.m.... RevCentral and Runtime Revolution today announced plans for the largest gathering of Revolution users and developers to be held in Monterey, California from June 17-18th.... Kudlian Soft's Mac application "I Can Animate" has won a prestigious ICT Award in the UK for being an accessible route to animation, allowing users to create movies using a variety of animation techniques.
Memory Card Travel Case
Digital Foci today introduced the Memory Card Travel Case, which organizes and protects all important digital flash memory cards in one place. The Digital Foci Memory Card Travel Case is "the only case you will ever need on vacation or for business travel to protect your important cards. Elegant as well as durable, the case features a sturdy silver brushed aluminum shell with hard rubberdized lining providing maximum protection and accessibility for those tiny easy-to-lose memory cards." The case weights only 3.5oz and fits all types of memory cards, including CompactFlash I/II, MD, SM, MMC, SD, miniSD, MS, MS PRO, MS Duo, and xD card; it offers a unique multi-format design that allows travelers to stack up to eight different memory cards. The case's molded hard rubber lining protects these memory cards by keeping them snugly in place. It is priced at $20 and available from Amazon.
New MacSpeech ScriptPak
MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Nisus Writer Express. The new ScriptPak installs over 300 commands into iListen that allows the user to do virtually anything by voice in Nisus Writer Express that they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. ScriptPaks work with MacSpeech's flagship product, iListen to allow users to dictate anywhere they would normally type. "Nisus is excited to have a ScriptPak for Nisus Writer Express available for iListen," said Nisus President & CEO Jerzy Lewak."Nisus users will now have the best of both worlds: the Mac's premiere word processor with the best speech recognition solution available." The ScriptPak for Nisus Writer Express is available immediately from the MacSpeech for $20 and requires iListen 1.6.8 or later.
Mac Explorer, SizzlingKeys
nova media phone plugins (€10) brings iSync support for the popular Nokia 9300i smartphone, allowing smoothless synchronization of calendar and contact data. The software adds new mobile phone definitions in the appropriate folder inthe Mac OS X, extending the capabilites of Apple's iSync software to dozens of unsupported phones. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - buy]
Mac Explorer 4.4 ($16) is a free update to tabbed file browser and file management tool for the Mac. This free update adds a new compact list view to maximize the amount of files displayed on screen as well as improves the updating of folder listings when items are moved, copied or renamed in the Finder. The utility brings a hierarchical, tree-view navigation style of Windows Explorer to the Mac. It is available for Mac OS 9/10.2. [Download - 2.9MB]
SizzlingKeys 3.0 (free) is a Universal Binary version of its popular iTunes hot-key controller application. Both the preference pane and the background task now run natively on Intel Macs, giving all Mac users the ability to control iTunes without interrupting their tasks. SizzlingKeys also provides many advanced features like Playlist Search and Song Search at the touch of a hot-key. In addition, users can define hot-keys for controlling several key system functions, such as Lock and Sleep; it requires Mac OS X 10.3. [Download - 900KB]
ConceptDraw NetDiagrammer 5.5.1 ($300) features improved work of LAN scanner, realistic images of Mac computers, extended libraries of Basic Network shapes and minor refinements. NetDiagrammer allows users to scan/diagram your LAN, prepare network documentation, and plan network design. The update adds new photo realistic shapes of iMac G5, iBook, eMac, Mac mini, iPod nano and other Apple products and features a new advanced LAN Scanner that uses multithreading for improved performance, [Download - form]
Booxter 1.8.5 ($20) is an easy-to-use application that helps manage any book collection. It gathers book information from various sources on the internet to allow you to create multiple libraries and book lists to organize books using both handheld and wireless barcode scanners and iSight video cameras to quickly add large numbers of books to your collection. Version 1.8.5 is a Universal Application, improves internet search performance, and supports the new built-in iSights on iMacs and MacBook Pros. [Download - 2.3MB]
Advanced Link Manager 2.1 ($100) is a Java-based appliation that helps manage your web site incoming links and track backlinks' evolution in time. This version adds support for partial updates, a new Link Text report, and the ability to send reports by email via secure SMTP connections. A Professional edition offers "advanced" features such as printable reports for $150. It requires Mac OS X 1.2 or later; a 30-day trial is available. [Download - 8.1MB]
Monkeybread Software has released a few updates to its freeware applications: Global Hotkey 1.3 is a utility which monitors key stroke combinations looking for specific combinations that will launch applications, run scripts, or copy data to the clipboard. Classic Control Menu 1.1 is an utility to add a menu to the menubar to control the Mac OS Classic environment of Mac OS X 10.2. iTunes and Screensavers 1.2 is an utility to pause iTunes music playback while the screensaver is running. All three applications are made with REALbasic and include the source code. The new releases fix problems with Script Debugger. The applications are freeware, but contributions are accepted through PayPal.
iTunes raises movie price
Apple has raised the price of its only known full-length film available on its iTunes Music Store, High School Musical, from the standard $1.99 up to $9.99. Several reports yesterday noted the existence of the Disney movie, and some industry watchers say the movie may signal an attempt to test the waters before Apple officially delves into offering full-length feature films via its online store. In late February, analysts began speculating that Apple might debut its first full-length film on iTunes. February 28th brought the company's special event, but it failed to produce the expected service to the disappointment of many. A study surfaced just days later from a California-based market research firm that asked participants numerous questions related to a potential "iTunes movie service" which would provide on-demand access to movies, further suggesting that Apple is planning to unveil full-length feature film downloads in the near future.
DivX Beta 2 released
DivX Labs has released DivX Player Beta 2 for Mac, bringing native support for Intel Macs to the decode-only DivX codec. The latest revision offers drag-and-drop support for movies onto the player icon, the ability to dim the player window along with the Desktop Dimmer, and improved control of playback via the keyboard. Additional improvements to DivX include a hidden cursor during full screen playback; currently-open movies are selectable from the players contextual menu; the scrubber/playhead/indicator is updated properly at all times; the screen saver will not activate during movie playback; users can adjust the volume and dimmer when no movie is open; the player window unfades when a movie finishes playing, and after closing the player window users can re-open it from the file menu. DivX Beta 2 for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is available for download from the DivX Labs Web page.
Apple: Frugal to a fault?
Despite Apple's recent success, the company may be skimping on its research and development budget, which could impact its ability to bring new, innovative products to market, according to a new column at TheStreet.com. Troy Wolverton notes that Apple's R&D spending has fallen, as a portion of sales, every year since fiscal 2001, when the company devoted 8 percent. "Even while Apple's revenue has skyrocketed in recent years -- and even as expectations for future products and success have exploded -- what the company has spent on R&D has risen only modestly. As a portion of overall sales, such expenses have actually fallen by more than half. Though analysts generally praise Apple for its frugality, some warn there's a limit to how much longer the company can squeeze juicier near-term profits out of its R&D line."
WinTel 2.12 updated
OpenOSX today updated its "WinTel" product. The free WinTel 2.1.2 update can now install Microsoft Windows XP in about a tenth of the time previously required, according to company claims. WinTel is an easy-to-use stand-alone application for configuring and utilizing the underlying open source "Qemu" and "Bochs" software--both of which allow users to run x86/Pentium-based operating systems on Macintosh computers running Mac OS X. WinTel is a complete stand-alone application that allows allows host operating systems (and applications) such as Microsoft Windows to run in a protected, virtual environment in a window on Mac OS X. It is available for $30 (CD delivery), while upgrades from previous versions are $20 (CD)--with a $5 discount for electronic delivery.
Xcoder book, WiFi headset
In Brief: The availability of Apple's MacBook Pro is improving from the 3-4 week ship time in February to 1-2 weeks from the Apple Store UK.... Apple's Developer Connection looks at how Intuit added Tiger-specific and .Mac technologies to QuickBooks for Mac.... A PC Magazine columnist believes that Microsoft's decision to delay support for the new EFI firmware, used by Apple's in its new Intel-based Macs, is Apple's gain.... Users are warning that the Plaxo Mac Beta Client, released earlier this week, "will mail your list without advising you first," and that the new OS X software will "upload your entire AddressBook file during the initial setup routine and only offer you the option to block syncing for certain groups after the fact--by then its too late."... The FastIcon has released "Beach Icons", a free icon set that contains 11 freeware icons.... The new PDF-based book, "Become an Xcoder", is designed for newcomers to Cocoa programming using Objective-C and XCode and includes classes and source code as well as examples and tutorials.... Wi-Gear unveiled its iMuffs MB210 Wireless Headphones for iPod (shown at right), offering support for the iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod with video.
Al-PB Battery Update v1.1
Apple has posted a new Aluminum PowerBook (15-inch) Battery Update v1.1, which it says helps users get the most of out of their battery: "This battery firmware update is required for PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) computers.... This firmware update is required to keep your battery life up to specification, may recover battery life in some batteries that have developed short run times, and in some cases can recover batteries that are not recognized by the system." The update is required for users who purchased replacement batteries after September 2005 and also for owners of the 'PowerBook 5,8' models, according to Apple's documentation.
Sienna cases for iPod
Tunewear has announced the new [sienna] series of high quality nappa leather cases for iPod video and iPod nano. Now available, the sienna series adds a new variation on its popular PRIE Ambassador, Prie Tunewallet and Prie Tunetag series. As with theprevious models, the Sienna series is made from high quality smooth nappa leather, while it says that the Rich Caramel color is "perfectly suited to both casual and formal occasions." All models in the Sienna range include Tunefilm, a clear protective film that covers the front and back of the iPod for extra protection. The Prie Ambassador sienna features a removable hook for attachment to a belt loop or strap or can be worn with your own strap to hang Prie Ambassador sienna around the neck or shoulder. The 5G version is $50, while the Nano version is $40.
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