Paradigma today began shipping Valentina 2.3, an update to its next-generation, object-relational database model that builds on the traditional relational database model. Valentina 2.3 includes a dramatic leap forward in speed for database JOINS (including data from two or more database tables) with a new breakthrough algorithm, according to the company. Version 2.3 also includes improved speed and performance in Add Record commands, new SHOW commands, new test projects, and a Universal Binary version of both the Valentina 2.2 ADK C++ and of Valentina Studio, the browser, query, and administration tool. ADK Standard Edition ADKs start at $200; VDN pricing begins at $500. Owners of the 2.x versions of the products receive a free upgrade to 2.3.
PGP Desktop 9.0.6 ($60) updates the security tool that uses encryption to protect data while at rest on a system (files, disks) and while it is in motion (email, instant messaging). Version 9.0.6 supports recent changes to Verizon POP server CAPA responses, which violate widely accepted standards. PGP Desktop provides security for individual desktops, enabling organizations to protect sensitive information for a single person without changing the existing IT infrastructure or disrupting work processes. pearPlay 0.1 (free) is a Dashboard widget to assist iTunes with song-preview playback. By playing the next preview just prior to the current preview finishing, pearPlay ensures constant music previews via the iTunes Music Store without pause. The widget features an adjustable preview length, though the author notes that anything above 30 seconds will prevent pearPlay from continuing on to the next preview. [Download - 77KB] Master the Facts Multiplication 4.1 ($10) is a "no-nonsense" drill and practice quiz application aimed at teaching multiplication math facts. The update allows students and teachers to toggle between English, German, and Spanish language program prompts via the Preferences menu option. The company boasts that students using Master the Facts Multiplication may demonstrate improved multiplication skills on quizzes and tests by practicing 10 minutes per day. [Download - 2.1MB] Snard 2.4.8 ($10) updates the enhanced launcher program, offering native support for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. Snard can be used as a system menu or as a hotkey activated popup menu, and supports the use of hotkeys. The software makes use of "Worksets" to specify a list of files to open with one click, and can easily open applications as root. [Download - 1.9MB] ChangeUnits 2.1 (free) is an Excel add-in providing unit conversion that can be parsed, as well as conversion to and from standard metric Meter-Kilogram-Second (MKS) units. ChangeUnits allows units to be expressed in Excel as simple combinations of pre-programmed base units. The software also changes to and from standard metric MKS units, which is useful for editing programming formulas. [Download - 384KB] Sleep Monitor 2.1.1 (Ä20) gathers information over days, weeks, and months to build a complete picture of a Mac's energy use. Background monitors record information about battery levels, recharging rates, periods of sleep, shut down, and usage. The update is a Universal Binary offering native support for Intel-based Macs, and introduces numerous bug fixes. Version 2.1.1 also incorporates Spotlight support. [Download - 1.3MB]
Coinstar today announced that it is allowing consumers to exchange coins for iTunes gift cards or for Virgin Digital eCertificates as part of its new Coin to Card program. Consumers who visit a Coinstar Center can now pay no counting fee to exchange their change for digital downloads. The company added that it still charges a processing fee for standard "Coins to Cash" transactions, however. In addition to offering numerous coin-related facts, Coinstar estimates that over 10 billion iTunes tracks could be purchased using gift cards exchanged for all of the idle spare change in the U.S.
SmartSound today launched Sonicfire Pro 4, a new version of its flagship software. Version 4 introduces a new capability called Mood Mapping, which it says represents "the biggest advancement in music scoring technology since the launch of SmartSoundís first software more than a decade ago." Through a single Mood Map track and a collection of preset mood mixes, users can instantly and precisely match the feel of their music to the changing mood of their productions, without having to perform any advanced audio or music editing or mixing. Coinciding with the launch of Sonicfire Pro 4 is the release of the first ten volumes of the Strata Series of Multi-Layer music, which is designed to work with the Mood Mapping capabilities in Sonicfire Pro 4.
SKB has introduced the DRYPOD family of protective waterproof, interactive hardshell cases for the fourth-generation iPod, iPod nano and fifth-generation video iPods. "Wear the DRYPOD on the waves, in the rain or down the mountain while your staying in control of every audio function. The seamless 'flex-pad' technology allows for the manipulation of the iPod's control wheel right through the case. Independent laboratory tests declare the DRYPOD compliant with immersion and rain tests." A compression fitting completes the watertight seal for the headphone. The DRYPOD Includes a flexible neoprene arm band, comfort-adjust lanyard and stainless steel belt clip. The item was not available from the website and the company had no estimated time for delivery or pricing information.
Miglia Technology today launched the TVMicro, a portable device that allows users to watch and record analog TV via Mac systems on-the-go. The TVMicro is roughly the size of an iPod shuffle, features a "cool white" color, and plugs into any USB 2.0 port. The device is powered by EyeTV 2.0 software, which supports one-click recording to Macs. Miglia's TVMicro can display TV in a window or in full-screen mode, and offers users the ability to browse online TV guides to find a desired show. TVMicro ships with a remote control for $100, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. A Dual G4, a G5, or an Intel Dual Core system is required for full-size recording.
Mac users could unknowingly contribute to growing network security and virus problems, despite their relative immunity to most viruses. An executive from McAfee has said that Macs pose a potential threat to network security because they can incubate infected files which only Attack Windows systems, and because Mac users are lax with regard to security practices. Allan Bell, Asia Pacific marketing director of McAfee, says that many Mac users are not as vigilant as they should be, and that sloppy security practices on Mac systems may enable Windows viruses to lay dormant on Macs to later infecting Windows machines, according to ITWire. [updated]
An avid Mac user has managed to install and boot Windows Vista an on Intel Mac, according to report on the OSx86 Project website. The site says that despite Apple's beta release of its Boot Camp software and several previous successful attempts at getting the installer to work, actually making Vista run on an Intel Mac has still proven to be quite a challenge. The user has taken screenshots of his success, but says he had to delete the Mac OS X partition to get Vista running. The OSx86 Project, which says it is a good start and congratulated the user in a blog post, earlier this year was served a DMCA notice by Apple and forced to shut down its user forums after it posted content that listed steps to install Mac OS X for Intel on non-Mac hardware.
MaxUpgrades today launched its MaxProtect II, an impact-resistant rigid case for Apple's MacBook Pro. The new MaxProtect II Rigid case boasts maximum protection against shock and impact, featuring construction from synthetic leather and cushioned velvet on the interior for scratch protection. The case offers a handle for portability, and MaxUpgrades touts that the slim-design cases offer the lowest size-to-weight ratio. The MaxProtect II for MacBook Pro 15-inch models is priced at $40. MaxUpgrades recently began shipping the original MaxProtect ($30), an impact-resistant carrying sleeve for the MacBook Pro 15-inch model.
Disney today said its TV group is planning to offer four ABC prime-time shows for free online starting in May. Episodes of "Commander in Chief," "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," and the entire season of "Alias" will be available through June, according to the Associated Press. Advertisers have already come forward to support the initiative, which currently include Unilever PLC, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Toyota, and Ford. The TV group also said it is planning to launch a broadband channel for soap operas on April 17th called "Soapnetic," which will be available to Verizon consumer broadband customers, according to the report. Another report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that the move won't pose much of a threat to Apple, largely because the content can't be transferred onto portable devices such as its popular iPod digital media player.
In Brief: The new version of Mark Szymczyk's book "Xcode Tools Sensei" offers updated material to reflect the changes made by Xcode 2.2 and the introduction of Intel Macs.... Microsoft's Mac Business Unit has congratulated Apple on its 30th birthday, offering the company an image of a disco ball with the words "Rock On, Apple...." Ars Technica has spent some time using Windows XP on Intel Macs, and has tried various other operating systems including Windows Media Center Edition (WMCE) on Apple's latest hardware.... Apple has officially announced that its conference call webcast discussing the company's second quarter of 2006 financial results will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 19th.... Fabrix cases has unveiled a new range of retro-inspired polka-dotted iPod cases, lined with inner quilted padding to protect the player from light bumps and scratches.
SlappingTurtle.com today debuted iAlertU, its remote motion-sensitive alarm system for MacPook Pro owners. The application utilizes the MacBook's built-in motion sensor technology, and is designed to serve as a tamper/theft deterrent system when users need to step away from the notebook for brief periods of time. iAlertU overrides the mute button, sets maximum volume when the alarm is active, flashes the screen when the alarm has been triggered, and disables idle sleep mode as long as the alarm is enabled. SlappingTurtle.com plans to implement camera integration, email snapshots on network availability, and other features in future releases. A beta version of iAlertU is now available. (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Fabrix cases has unveiled a new range of retro-inspired polka-dotted iPod cases, lined with inner quilted padding to protect the player from light bumps and scratches. Each Fabrix case is hand-made, and displays numerous white dots 1cm in diameter over various colors such as black, blue, pink, and red (shown at right). The Fabrix cases are designed to fit iPod nano, iPod mini, and fifth-generation iPods snugly and securely. Polka-dotted cases are priced from $17-20, with price varying based on design.
An in-depth Q&A interview with Apple's "other Steve" talks about the founding of the company and the role of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as well as touches on their current relationship: "Steve Wozniak says he never intended to change the world. That was the other Steve, Steve Jobs. He just wanted to build computers," according to Knight Ridder Newspapers. "Oh, and he really ó really ó wanted to spend his career as a Hewlett-Packard engineer, a position he reluctantly left. Life turned out differently for the self-trained electrical engineer. In 1976, he and Jobs started Apple Computer, which would help launch the personal-computer revolution." Wozniak, whose autobiography is due in the Fall, says that Jobs still invites him to the VIP line of all press events, but that he doesn't ask about new products "because it was bad for Apple to have all the rumors and leaks from the inside," and that testing new products requires too much work.
Red Giant Software (booth no. SL5138C) will show four new products at NAB 2006, which takes place in Las Vegas, NV from April 24 - 27, 2006. The company will showcase Knoll Light Factory 2.5, Magic Bullet Suite 2.1, Film Fix, and Instant HD, as well as its other products: Primatte Keyer, Magic Bullet Editors, Image Lounge and Key Correct Pro. Knoll Light Factory 2.5, a free update to its popular After Effects plug-in to simulate reflections from a very bright light source, will bring render high-quality flares in near real-time along with support from GPU render engines for a speed increase of up to five times, according to the company. It will also bring plug-in support for Premiere Pro 1.5 and later and Avid AVX systems as well as 25 new flares in the standard and EZ versions. It is expected to ship in May for $400.
REAL Software today announced that is shipping REALbasic 2006 Release 2, which it says delivers over 150 improvements to components such as the code editor, window editor, project editor, the compiler and built applications. The release also includes a new version of Lingua, a utility for localizing applications. REALbasic 2006 Release 2 also includes a number of new features, including an update to the code editor to hide events that contain no code and additional mouse cursors, including invisible, show and hide cursor commands. It is free for those users with an update plan, while upgrades start at $50. REALbasic 2006 Standard Edition starts at $100, while REALbasic 2006 Professional Edition is available for an introductory price of $400 ($100 off).
Zimbra today announced a Universal version of its Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) that offers support for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. ZCS for Mac OS X is an open-source, enterprise-grade email and collaboration server and application that includes support for iCal, Apple Mail clients and Apple Xsan storage. In testing ZCS for Mac OS X, Zimbra says it has achieved speeds up to five times faster on Intel-based Mac clients. The ZCS 3.0 Open Source Edition for Mac OS X Tiger is free, and the commercially-supported Network Edition for Mac OS X Tiger is available for $28/mailbox/year, which includes full product support as well as software subscriptions to new releases, updates and patches.
Sonos today announced its new Sonos ZonePlayer 80 Bundle, its solution to transform audio equipment into a wireless, multi-room digital music system. The new bundle includes two compact Sonos ZonePlayer 80s (ZP80s) and a Sonos Controller, allowing users to play digital music, all over the house, on any current audio equipment, such as a home theater, stereo, powered speakers, premium table top radio such as a Bose Wave radio, and more. The compact ZP80 has digital (optical and coaxial) and analog outputs and also includes auto-sensing line-in connectors that can digitally encode any line-in source for connection to an external audio source, such as an Apple iPod, a CD player or satellite radio, allowing the music to be delivered to all other connected ZonePlayers. The suggested retail price of the Sonos ZP80 Bundle is $1000.
WiebeTech has announced it has expanded its popular DriveDock series to include a new mini SATADock that allows users to easily attach SATA drives to a computer via a single SATA cable. "The new mini SATADock takes advantage of fast SATA speed," said James Wiebe, president and CEO of WiebeTech LLC, "and nicely complements the rest of the WiebeTech DriveDock line." mini SATADock can be used with bare external SATA drives. Users can attach power, attach the drive, connect to a computer with the included SATA cable, allow them to read/write/access the drive's data just as if it were inside the computer. The dock includes new Power Status LED indicators for power attached/power on and a convenient on/off switch. The mini SATADock is in stock and shipping now for $75.
Funkypixels Software has released PhotoComplete 1.0, a new photo editor for Mac OS X that is designed to be an easy to use, yet powerful application specifically for editing photos. Focusing on core features, the software provides an affordable alternative to more complicated applications. PhotoComplete provides all the standard photo editing operations such as crop, resize, color and contrast enhancement, sharpening and noise reduction. It also features full 16-bit color support, realt-time, non-destructive editing, and integration with flickr.com. A free, fully-functional 30-day trial version of PhotoComplete is available online. The $40 application requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN