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Intel \'thinking different\'
Apple's transition to the Intel-architecture has not only resulted in faster, more power-efficient Macs, but is also making Intel 'think different," according to an Intel representative. "That's really what's interesting about Apple, is they look at our technology in a very Apple way," said Deborah Conrad, vice president and director of Team Apple at Intel. Speaking to a group of CNET editors and reporters Thursday at Intel's Santa Clara campus, Conrad told the publication that Apple was pushing Intel for better technology, noting that the company's sales teams have been "impressed" with Apple's perspective on the tech world. "It's nice to have a customer that pushes us on a technology front," Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing team, told CNET.
US backs Apple in DRM
The US government is backing Apple's stance on a draft French law that may force the company either to open up its FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) technology in iTunes or pull out of the country. US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez backed angry protests by Apple, saying that companies need to protect their intellectual property: "But any time something like this happens, any time that we believe that intellectual property rights are being violated, we need to speak up and in this case, the company is taking the initiative," Gutierrez said on CNBC. "I would compliment that company because we need for companies to also stand up for their intellectual property rights." The proposed law was passed by the lower house in France, but still needs to be debated and passed in the French Senate. Apple responded to the passing of the draft law, calling it "state-sponsored piracy" and said that if this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customer." However, some analysts believe the law may actually increase iPod sales, if Apple opens up its FairPlay DRM.
Epson unveils scanner
Epson today unveiled the Epson Perfection 4490 Office scanner, designed to combine the small office/home office businesses by adding automated document scanning capabilities. Epson's scanner features an automatic document feeder that holds up to 30 sheets of paper, as well as film holders that allow for batch scanning of 35mm slides, negatives, and 2 1/4-inch film. The device can scan up to three black and white pages per minute at 300 dpi, and as fast as two full color pages per minute at 300 dpi. The scanner features "Epson Easy Photo Fix technology for photo imaging applications, providing color restoration of faded photos, slides, and negatives. Epson's Perfection 4490 Office scanner also includes built-in Digital ICE technologies designed to remove scratches and dust from negatives or slides with a single mouse click. The scanner features hardware resolution of 4800 x 9600 dpi and a 3.4 Dmax rating for improved image quality and detail, and is available for $350.
Safari plugins, Cableguys
In brief: Apple is pointing Intel Mac Safari users to plugin vendor websites, instructing them to download Universal Binary versions of the plugins if they exist, or alternatively to run Safari with Rosetta.... Apple has also produced detailed instructions on how to force Universal applications to run with Rosetta, which can be desirable to retain compatibility with plugins that have themselves not yet been released as Universal Binaries.... Speck Products today began shipping CableGuys for iPod ($20, shown at right), its audio/video cables designed with a "hip, friendly look...." Dr. Bott today announced that the Marware Stand For iPod nano is exclusively available through its authorized resellers.... The European Commission has said it is probing Apple due to the pricing of music sold by the iTunes Music Store, not the interoperability with other online music software.
xBack 3.5.5 ($10) is a utility that allows users to replace the desktop picture with a screen saver. Version 3.5 brings support for Loops 2 to the application. Users can easily change the desktop screen saver using the xBack menu, and screen saver preferences are configurable without the need to open system preferences. xBack also supports Quartz Composer for those users running Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
[Download - 1MB]
FlameRobin 0.6.0 (free) is a database administration tool for the Firebird Database Management System. The update offers DDL extraction for all object types, a "Rebuild View" option allowing users to drop and create dependent objects, and an option to drop a database. Version 0.6.0 fixes a bug where the TCP port setting was ignored when creating/backing up/restoring databases, adds a new dialog for index creation, and ensures main tree control behaves natively on all platforms. [Download - 1.9MB]
Amnesty Screen Saver 1.1 (free) updates the free screen saver module for Mac OS X that lets any Dashboard widget animate around the screen while remaining functional and active. The company says the utility is "ideal for keeping tabs on widgets that update on a regular basis with status information from the web or a user's computer." Version 1.1 is now built as a Universal Binary and features performance increases, better memory management and numerous bug fixes. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 709KB]
Glass Writer Pro 2.5 ($20) updates the novel writing software, offering an uncluttered interface with 18 different themes. Version 2.5 features side-by-side simultaneous chapter editing, a log window that displays a count of words written per day as well as an average word count, a progress bar, and support for multiple drafts. The application also reads back text to locate errors, includes 10 bookmarks, offers word counts by chapter and book, provides configurable tabbed notes, and offers swap copy and paste. [Download - 4MB (12-inch) and 4MB (15, 17-inch)]
ScanTango 2.1 ($100-150) makes use of high speed scanners engineered specifically to convert paper documents to PDF. The software supports double-sided scanning, and can distribute scanned items automatically via email. ScanTango features the ability to print, fax, save to disk, and transfer via FTP. Version 2.1 is available as a Universal Binary, prompts users to enter an administrative password during registration, and fixes a bug related to window drawing. [Download - 4.2MB]
Cheap Impostor 2.5 ($35) is a simple alternative to other page imposition software, avoiding most high-end features while focusing on the creation of booklets and magazines. The update fixes a long-standing bug with Adobe-generated PDFs that previously required an awkward workaround involving printing to PDF within Preview. Cheap Impostor offers the ability to reorder pages and supports automatic as well as manual duplex printers, with and without collation. [Download - 518KB]
VW Gypsy interface
Volkswagen is developing a new system that provides a user-friendly interface to a number of electronic devices and software programs. It's called Gypsy, and at the center of the system in a large LCD touch screen located in the car's center console. Most notably, it includes the ability to interface with many popular devices, such as the Apple iPod and Palm Treo. The prototype car has a slot for inserting an iPod. Once the iPod is connected, the user no longer needs to touch it. Instead, it can be controlled entirely via the touch screen interface. The car also appears to have a built-in iTunes player, but that was not previewed.
xScope 1.5 for Mactels
ARTIS Software and The Iconfactory have released xScope v 1.5, an update to its powerful set of tools that screen designers and developers can use to measure, compare, contrast and get info on page layouts, screen sizes, html colors and much more. xScope is described as "a Swiss Army Knife that no designer should be without." Version 1.5 is now a Universal binary for native performance on Intel Macs and offers other improvements such as the abilit to link/move frames and guides simultaneously, improved controls for greater ease when re-sizing frames, new Ruler "Calipers" to make it easier to perform on-screen measurements, more refined adjustments, and other bug fixes. The update is free for registered users; xScope is shareware for Mac OS X 10.3 or later and can be purchased for $17.
Mac XP contest, eMac issue
In brief: Another contest has begun with a current bounty of roughly $600, this time urging developers to get Windows XP running on a Mac within a virtualization application.... Some eMac users are experiencing freezes with distorted graphics, which many on Apple's support forum believe to be a logic board failure.... The Red Hot Chili Peppers have made their music available exclusively through iTunes, offering the band's catalog with unreleased bonus material and exclusive videos.... Microsoft is offering large businesses a first chance to upgrade to Windows Vista before desktop users, but many say companies will wait to upgrade as they have in the past.... Bodelin Technologies has launched ProScope CSI, a weekly video podcast aimed at science students and ascending forensic investigators.
PowerBook LCD replacements
TechRestore today began offering overnight flat-rate LCD screen replacement service for Apple's high-resolution PowerBooks. PowerBook owners who experience screen failure due to mechanical issues or accidental damage can use the service to receive a 24-hour turnaround time that includes overnight pickup on location, installation of a new replacement LCD screen, and return overnight shipping. Once a repair is scheduled, a "RestoreBox" is sent via an overnight courier to the customers home, office or school where the system is picked up and brought back overnight to TechRestore. Within 24-hours of receipt, the Hi-Res LCD screen replacement is completed and the PowerBook is sent back to the customer's location via overnight courier. The flat-rate High Resolution LCD replacement service is $650 for 15-inch PowerBooks and $800 for 17-inch models. Repairs are performed in an anti-static and dust-free environment by a TechRestore Certified Technician, and PowerBook repairs come with a one-year warranty.
A Better Finder Rename 7.2 ($40) updates the file renaming solution designed to simplify tedious and time-consuming tasks of renaming multiple files. Version 7.2 improves the way file name conflicts are handled, and marks potential name conflicts with warning signs inside the preview while offering a conflict resolution dialog during renaming. Version 7 is a paid upgrade and is only free to customers who have purchased the software after the January 1st of 2005, or who own a "forever upgrade."
[Download - [form]]
Filegazer 1.2 ($20) updates the file navigation software, adding a full screen preview for images and movies. Filegazer is designed to provide a rich preview for many major file types such as images, text documents, audio/video files, Web pages, and others. The application is optimized for JPEG images, allowing users to easily inspect digital camera photos. Additionally, a text document preview includes RTFs, PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. [Download - 1.3MB]
TextSpresso 3.0b1 ($25) is an easy-to-use text editing and filtering application boasting more than 250 filters. The update features a rewrite of the original code base, offering improved support for Mac OS X. Version 3.0b1 introduces a "Global Filter" menu allowing users to filter text in other applications via selection, a "Global Filter" palette enabling users to filter text in other applications via double-click in the palette, a new text display engine, a BASIC script filter type to create filters using the BASIC programming language, and updated text filtering/display engines for Unicode with file encoding conversion for numerous text encodings. [Download - 4.6MB]
MailSteward 7.0 ($50) is an email archiving solution that uses a relational database to provide easy access and safe backup of email. Version 7.0 can select individual mailboxes for storage in a database, and users can choose to back up by email account or by mailbox. The update is available as a Universal Binary, offering native compatibility with Apple's Intel-based Macs. [Download - 900KB]
ImageWell 2.1.1 (free) updates the image editor, adding Swedish localization. Version 2.1.1 comes with keyboard control for draw object positioning, and includes several minor fixes. The software allows users to perform quick, simple edits and upload work to the Web from within the application. ImageWell is a Universal Binary application and offers support for .Mac accounts, FTP, and WebDAV. [Download - 472KB]
EntourageABMenu 1.0 ($10) is designed as a convenient way to utilize Microsoft Entourage address book data through a system-wide menu. The application provides quick access to contact phone numbers, email, and postal addresses. Selecting a menu item triggers an action such as displaying the content in large type, copying content to the clipboard, creating a new email, dialing the phone, or showing an address on a map using the Google Maps service. [Download - 672KB]
Universal vs iTunes U.K.
Universal Pictures has launched a service in the U.K. to sell digital downloads of full-length movies with a DVD copy to complement the download, plunging the studio into competition with Apple's iTunes Music Store. iTunes as yet offers only one full-length film that Disney and Apple silently added in January of 2006, and which industry watchers suspect may be Apple's way of testing the waters before delving into widespread full-length film downloads. Starting April 10th, users of Universal Pictures' new service will be able to download two digital copies of selected movies, with one for a computer and one for a portable device, and will receive a DVD in the mail, according to a report from Reuters. The service operates on a download-to-own basis, and utilizes Microsoft's digital rights management technology to prevent consumers from duplicating the movies and distributing them. "It gives instant access, it gives portability and it gives much greater flexibility for the consumer to consume his product any way they want," Universal Pictures U.K. Chairman Eddie Cunningham said.
16MB FlashDisc unveiled
Verbatim has unveiled the Verbatim16MB FlashDisc, a new product developed by M-Systems designed to facilitate data exchange. The device offers a traditional media-like disc design with circular features and hard plastic exterior. A recessed area provides a write-on user label, and a snap-on cap protects the connector from accidental damage. FlashDiscs include a USB 2.0-compatible interface for simple plug-and-play operation, and are based on the same technology as USB flash drives. FlashDiscs weigh roughly 0.3 ounces and measure 2.35-inches in diameter with a height of 0.35-inches. FlashDiscs are compatible with Mac OS 9.x, 10.x, Linux, and Microsoft Windows systems. The discs are priced at $20 for a multi-color three-pack, and are slated for shipment in April.
Speck ships CableGuys
Speck Products today began shipping CableGuys for iPod, its audio/video cables designed with a "hip, friendly look." CableGuys feature a small face embossed and indented into the plastic ends of the cables. The cable for fifth-generation iPods allows users to plug an iPod into a TV, and is available for $20. Speck's audio cable three-pack includes a home stereo cable, computer speaker cable, and a headphone splitter for $25. An iPod to USB cable is also available for $20. Speck today also announced its mystery case offer, where customers pay $10 to receive a random Speck case that retails from between $20-35.
The Sims Complete ships
Aspyr Media and Electronic Arts today announced The Sims Complete Collection has begun shipping for Macintosh, allowing Mac owners to enjoy the entire collection of The Sims in one box. The Sims Complete Collection includes The Sims, and all seven expansion packs including Hot Date, House Party, Livin’ Large, Makin’ Magic, Superstar, Unleashed, and Vacation. "An entire world of Sims awaits your quirky command. It’s your neighborhood, they’re your Sims, and whether they prosper or perish is completely up to you." It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9, although Mac OS X 10.4 is recommended. The Sims Complete Collection is available now for $50.
Realviz ships VTour
Realviz is now shipping VTour, the latest addition to its software portfolio for content creation. The product, which was unveiled at the recent IMAGINA show in Monaco, draws on the technology of Stitcher and ImageModeler and offers users of all levels an innovative and effective solution for the creation of photo-real 3D environments from 2D pictures or panoramas. VTour facilitates the creation of 3D scenes such as interiors, or urban areas using polygonal photo-textured primitives. The results can be exported/published as either a 3D movie, or as an interactive application using 3D viewers such as Spi-V3d viewer (based on Shockwave). VTour ($580) has been specifically developed for use in a wide range of applications, such as virtual walkthroughs inside buildings and monuments, 3D simulation, virtual reality, urban planning and video games. A Mac version is due this summer.
Apple\'s iPhone coming?
A new report says that Apple has been approaching suppliers in Taiwan to build its much rumored "iPhone." Insiders at Taiwanese phone maker BenQ said that Apple procurement executives have been talking to various Taiwanese phone makers during the past few months in an effort to cut a manufacturing deal on an iPod Phone, according to SmartHouse: The phone could be launched in the next few months, although parts availability is a concern and the manufacturing contract is still up in the air. "An iPod phone is definitely coming. BenQ will not be making it as we are in competition with Apple however several of our suppliers have been approached to manufacture parts. Among manufacturers in Taiwan it is common knowledge. The issue for many is the availabilty of parts if the phone takes off" said the BenQ executive. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster last week indicated a "75 percent chance" of the iPhone debut in the next 12 months, while Bill Shope of J.P Morgan believes Apple will introduce the phone by the fourth quarter of this year, according to the report.
Marware iPod nano stand
Dr. Bott today announced that the Marware Stand For iPod nano is exclusively available through its authorized resellers. "Designed to hold your iPod nano upright for quick syncing and easy viewing of the screen, the Marware Stand for iPod nano will provide hours of listening enjoyment. Audio line out provides easy listening while docking or the ability to connect with surrounding speakers (audio cable not included)." The stand includes a USB cable for connecting the device to a computer, power outlet or external speakers as well as two line-out ports. Marware's Stand for iPod nano retails for $25 and is available today in both black and white models.
Apple loves France?
Apple this week quietly announced a new technology partnership with a leading business school in France, despite the initial passing of a French law that could threaten the future of Apple's propietary iTunes/iPod ecosystem. If passed by the French Senate later this year, the law could force Apple to open up the closed system or--more likely--force Apple to pull out of France to protect its DRM software. BusinessWeek reports that Apple unveiled technology collaboration to integrate iPods into the classrooms and curricula of HEC, a business school located near Versailles. "Under the terms of the two-year partnership, Apple will work closely with It's the first such relationship Apple has struck in Europe, following the model of similar deals with Stanford University and Duke University in the U.S. Cooperation presents enticing opportunities for both parties. HEC will get a boatload of hardware, software, service, and support donated by Apple." The report also notes that Apple holds the number one position in the European education market with a 15.2 percent marketshare.
Sony MiniDisc Walkman
Sony for the first time will offer Mac compatibility with its new MiniDisc Walkman, according to Macworld UK. "The company took the wraps off its all-new MiniDisc product, the MZ-RH1, this morning. This portable device is being marketed as a mobile recording studio. Sony plans to make the device Mac compatible, 'bringing greater choice in digital audio devices to Mac users.'" The report says that Sony will release Mac software for the new product this summer, following the May availabiity of the player in Europe. Sony's new MiniDisc player will support audio recording with different modes and several different file formats, including LinearPCM, MP3, or Sony's proprietary ATRAC (ATRAC, ATRAC3, ATRAC3plus) formats and that it will be able to record audio.
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