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Skype enters online music
Ebay, following the launch of a new retail-like shopping service this week, may be preparing to enter the music download business through its Skype subsidiary and compete with Apple's iTunes. Skype has inked agreements with EMI Music Publishing and Warner Music Group to sell music from its internet store, according to Forbes.com. EMI said that the internet telephony company has rights to sell its songs and ring tones to its more than 95 million users. Skype, which does not yet have a formal internet music store, will reveal details later this week, but already sells generic ring tones for $1.20 each. While Ebay's Skype has permission to use its songs from the publisher's catalog for downloading, subscriptions and master-tones on a world-wide basis, the company must get permission from individual record labels such as Warner, according to the report. Skype could sell full versions of digital songs on a per-song or subscription basis to compete with iTunes, Napster, Microsoft MSN Music, Rhapsody, and Yahoo! as well as mobile operators such as Sprint and Verizon.
Booq sleeve for MacBook
BOOQ today announced the addition of Vyper XL2, a compact and durable laptop sleeve perfectly fitted for Apple's new 17-inch MacBook Pro. "Perfectly fitted for the 17-inch MacBook Pro, Vyper XL2 is a compact and durable sleeve with a slick, rugged exterior and a non-scratch interior designed to protect your laptop against scratches and excessive wear. Although Vyper does not have a handle, it can be used on its own, but it is designed to be used first and foremost as additional protection inside another bag, like our Boa, BP3, or Python backpacks. We sandwiched durable, semi-rigid high density foam between a layer of 1682D cross-weave ballistic nylon on the exterior and a super non-scratch lining on the interior." It will ship in early June for $60.
Boris Red v4.0 debuts
Boris FX announced it will unveil the next generation of its Boris Red at NAB 2006 as well as announced support for Intel-based Macs. Boris Red is an integrated 3D compositing, titling, and effects solution that provides integrated broadcast-quality features directly inside nonlinear editing systems. Version 4.0, which will be a Universal Binary, introduces hundreds of new features, including more than 40 new filters, 16-bit color support, and a sophisticated new paint engine. Designed specifically for editors, Red integrates with more than 20 NLEs, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid systems.
DVDs of TV shows
Amazon.com's subsidiary, CustomFlix Labs, has signed deals with television networks including NBC Universal that could let it sell DVDs of television shows soon after they air, according to a new report. The Associated Press reports that a new agreement calls for CustomFlix to sell DVDs of archived shows with a niche audience--those such as NBC's "Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" and "Antiques Roadshow" from PBS; however, "networks could choose to offer DVDs of television shows within 24 hours of the first airing, much like Apple's iTunes offers popular shows such as 'Lost' for sale online soon after they air." The agreement mitigates any potential risk for networks as the service creates the DVD on demand following the customer's order, thereby saving the network costly production and inventory expenses. The technology also could allow users to download or stream the shows over the Internet, although neither company had no announcements about such plans right now, according to the report.
Flip4Mac XDCAM Component
Telestream today announced availability of Version 2.0 software for its Flip4Mac XDCAM Component. The import component allows editors to ingest MXF content directly from Sony's XDCAM Professional Disc production system into Apple's Final Cut Pro 5 application for editing. Version 2.0 software adds support for high-definition media and low-resolution proxies. Flip4Mac XDCAM Component now provides ingest support across the entire XDCAM family. The Flip4Mac XDCAM Component expands to enable greater functionality for video professionals using Sony's XDCAM system. Version 2.0 software enables broadcasters to preview low-resolution proxies on a Sony device before transferring clips into their Final Cut Pro 5 editing systems.
CEO Pay, Jobs, iPod clones
In brief: Forbes.com has ranked Apple CEO Steve Jobs at no. 19 on its CEO Pay list within the Technology Hardware & Equipment category, showing the executive as earning $87.67 million over a five-year period.... iPod knockoffs that cost as little as half of Apple's own Nano are flying off the shelves in Taiwan, following a warning from the Cupertino-based company to its resellers last week about the devices.... Microsoft today told a special 13-judge European court that the European Commission made fundamental errors in deciding that the company illegally tied Windows Media Player to its operating system.... Intriguing Development today announced the iRemember Scrapbooking Contest, in an effort to locate desirable layouts to convert into templates for future versions of the company's iRemember Digital Scrapbooking software.... ezGear today launched its ezSkin nano three-pack ($20, shown at right), a set of protective covers designed specifically for iPod nanos.
Pro Tools HD 7.2 software
Digidesign today announced it would make several new announcements at NAB 2006. The company will showcase the forthcoming Pro Tools HD 7.2 software upgrade, which includes enhanced mixing and automation capabilities as well as improved post workflows. Digidesign will also present a technology preview of Avid HD picture support in Pro Tools|HD; display the new Surround Panner Option by JL Cooper Electronics for ICON D-Command and Pro Tools|HD systems; and more. In addition, Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered 7.1.1 software are expected in late May 2006 as free updates that will run as a native application on Apple's new Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro computers. Digidesign also released VENUEPack 2.0 is an updated version of the software bundle that is included with every VENUE live sound environment, offering a group of the most coveted Digidesign and Digidesign Development Partner TDM effects processing and analysis plug-ins.
ezSkin nano 3-packs ship
ezGear today launched the ezSkin nano three-pack, a set of protective covers designed specifically for iPod nanos. The ezSkin nano case is made from silicon with an anti-dust coating, providing a smooth surface while protecting the device. The covers feature an opening at the top for the Nano's hold switch, as well as openings on the bottom that provide access to the dock connector and headphone jack. ezSkin nanos cover the iPod's clickwheel with a thin layer of silicon, providing full touch sensitivity while guarding against scratches and grime. The ezSkin nano three pack ships with a removable neck strap, removable wrist strap, an integrated removable belt clip, and three clear ezShade screen protectors. The cases are priced at $20, and are available in three color combinations.
Bravo XR series unveiled
Primera Technology today announced the Bravo XR-Series [site not updated], its enterprise-class line of disc publishing solutions that includes the Bravo XR Disc Publisher, Bravo XR-Blu Disc Publisher, Bravo XRP Disc Publisher, Laminator XR, and Server XR. XR-series hardware is built with 18-gauge steel cabinets and 11-gauge steel bezels, featuring access doors with locks and keys for enhanced security. Supplies replenishment is accomplished entirely from the front, allowing placement on counters, shelves, and in standard 19-inch wide racks. All components bolt securely together for stability and system integrity for desktop applications. The Bravo XR Disc Publisher uses a robotic arm to automatically record a CDs or DVDs with one drive and then inkjet print full-color, photo-quality images and text direct-to-disc at 4800dpi. The Bravo XR can burn and print up to 50 discs per job, and is available for $3,000. The Bravo XRP Disc Publisher burns and prints up to 100 discs per job with two drives, producing discs twice as fast the Bravo XR. The Bravo XRP is priced at $5,000, and is expected to ship in May of 2006.
Apple\'s Xsan 1.3 updates
Apple today released its Xsan 1.3 for Tiger and Panther, an update to the software for its enterprise-class storage area network (SAN) solution. The free update delivers overall improved reliability for Xsan and is recommended for all systems running Mac OS X 10.3 Panther or 10.4 Tiger, according to Apple. The update includes labeling and initializing LUNs greater than 2TB in size on Mac OS X 10.4 only, while also preventing labeled LUNs from becoming unlabeled, improving AFP performance when re-sharing Xsan volumes, offering more accurate file permissions when sharing Xsan volumes via AFP, adding support for accessing Xsan volumes larger than 16 terabytes in size, delivering better server stability when re-sharing Xsan volumes via NFS, bringing support for handling quotas with no associated user or group name, and running Postgres SQL on SAN volumes.
Bella debuts Catapult
Bella today introduced Catapult, the world's first device allowing users to capture video footage from DV or HDV video cameras directly to iPods or USB drives with the ability to immediately edit the data, according to the company. The Catapult is a battery powered device slightly larger than a Blackberry, offering a standard USB 2.0 connection. The device features time lapse and trigger-based events, as well as pre- and post-record functionality. The configurable Time Lapse feature allows users to record frames of video at specific intervals, while Remote Trigger Recording allows a remote switch or a motion detector to trigger recording on the device. With the Pre-record setting users can set Catapult to begin recording for a preset amount of time prior to actually hitting the "record" button on the camera. Built-in rechargeable batteries allow continuous recording in excess of three hours, and an included AC adapter provides power near electrical outlets. The Catapult "Configurator" allows users to save settings for up to four presets that can easily be accessed on-the-go, and the device ships with a "piggy-back" neoprene pouch designed to hold an iPod or 2 1/2-inch USB drive. The Catapult works with DV and HDV format cameras that include a FireWire connection, and is expected to ship in the second half of 2006 for under $300.
KONA 3, 2K video support
AJA Video today released KONA 3 v2, featuring 2K resolution video support for the recently released KONA 3 uncompressed HD/SD PCI Express capture card. KONA 3 v2 supports hardware-based 1080-to-720 or 720-to-1080 cross conversion, streamlining dailies and deliverables creation at true broadcast picture quality in real-time. 2K telecine to KONA 3 saves time and steps in the process by directly and simultaneously creating 2K DPX files and 2K QuickTime reference movies. Material can be played out at 2K via HSDL (High Speed Data Link), offering further synergy with other 2K products. Additionally, KONA 3 v2 allows 2K files to be viewed on HD 1080 24P-supported video monitors, which can be down-converted to SD in real time, giving the 2K DI pipeline a solution for multi-format video playout of 2K material. By generating 2K DPX files during the digitize phase, different parts of the process -- such as delivery of full-resolution media for shots intended for visual effects -- can be done much earlier. Further new features of KONA 3 v2 are 16-channel embedded audio, and 96KHz AES audio. 16-channel embedded digital audio allows for full support of all audio channels on HD tape formats, such as HDCAM SR. KONA 3 is available for $3,000, and all existing owners of KONA 3 can download the v2 update for free.
GarageBand 3.02 update
Apple today posted GarageBand 3.0.2, which addresses issues with video handling, podcast exporting, and importing QuickTime markers. It also addresses a number of other minor issues. The update is 30MB and available via the Web and the software update. GarageBand is Apple's consumer audio editing software that is bundled with iDVD, iWeb, iMovie, and iPhoto in iLife '06, which is available for $79 or free with all new Macs.
Parallels Workstation 2.1
A slick new switching solution allows users to easily move between operating systems when using Parallels Workstation 2.1, a virtualization software for Intel-based Macs that allows users to run Windows without having to restart their machines. Virtue is an open-source application offering the ability to switch between operating systems using a cube-like interface. The developer of Virtue has stepped forward, offering Parallels the option of incorporating his code into its virtualization software. In addition, users note that Parallels been working hard to fix bugs and optimization in the virtualization software. Beta 4 of Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X fixes several bugs for greater stability as well as offers a full screen mode, dual-monitor support, improved real CD/DVD support, an enhanced user interface, and improved sound support -- including a fix for Windows 2000 guest OS. The latest beta also repairs networking kernel panics, bridged networking issues, WiFi networking issues, and bugs encountered when entering "Sleep" mode when a virtual machine is running. Parallels Workstation 2.1 is available for pre-order for $40.
Avid Xpress 5.5 for Mac OS
Avid Technology today announced version 5.5 of Avid Xpress Pro software and unveiled Avid Mojo SDI, the newest member in Avid's line of Digital Nonlinear Accelerator products. Avid Xpress Pro v.5.5 software now delivers HD capabilities for both Mac and Windows-based systems, while the new Avid Mojo SDI works seamlessly with Avid Xpress Pro, providing high-quality, advanced analog and digital SDI (Serial Digital Interface) I/O connections for professional video and audio projects. Avid Xpress Pro v 5.5 software combines professional video, audio, film, effects, encoding tools, and custom music creation software. The software supports native HDV and DVCPRO HD for acquisition, editing, and output; real-time effects and 2:3 pulldown insertion over FireWire; and Avid DNxHD encoding to create effects, transitions, and titles. Aivd Xpress 5.5 will ship in June for $1,700.
Puma 0.3.1 released
A developer today announced the arrival of Puma 0.3.1, an open-source media player set to compete with Songbird and iTunes. Still in its early sages, Puma takes a difference stance on modern media player design. "I don't believe that the current standard in user interface is 'how it should be,' and I've got a school full of college students that agree with me," wrote Puma author Nick Meyer. "Web browsers look alike because Web browser interface design has been evolving for a long time, that's not the case with media players. There's plenty of room for improvement and Puma hopes to address those design issues." Songbird -- an open-source alternative to Apple's iTunes -- had industry watchers speculating in early February whether iTunes' real competitor would be a corporation or an open-source project. Apple has managed to retain its hold on the digital music industry, however, and recently celebrated its one-billionth download. The author hopes to have a working version of Puma available for Mac OS X in the near future. Puma 0.3.1 is available for free, and requires Microsoft Windows as well a Java 5.0 JRE.
AirPort booster ships
QuickerTek today began shipping its iBook Connect AirPort booster for Apple iBooks, which boasts up to five times the standard wireless performance by adding an external antenna. While eliminating tangles of wires, the device connects AirPort and AirPort Extreme networks without the need to disassemble the iBook, and users can set up the device using a standard Web browser. iBook Connect is powered a USB connection, an AC adapter, or alternatively an internal battery (not included) for consumers who demand complete mobility. Both iBook Connect models can attach to the iBook case or rest on a flat surface, amplifying the wireless signals via a 200 milliwatt antenna. The iBook Connect is priced at $200, or $230 with an internal battery, and works with any iBook without taking apart the notebook.
NewTek\'s 3D Arsenal
NewTek today announced the addition of 3D Arsenal and the 3D Arsenal suite of products to the NewTek line. 3D Arsenal is a collection of content, plug-ins and training material that simplify the creation of custom motion graphics and logo animations for video editors. 3D Arsenal is based upon NewTek's LightWave 3D software. 3D Arsenal ships with over 750 pre-created scenes and templates. A content-only version of 3D Arsenal is available to current LightWave owners. 3D Arsenal is available at a retail price of $500, while 3D Arsenal content is available to LightWave owners for $300. The 3D Arsenal Wedding and Event Ammo pack retails for $150.
SATA adapter for G5 debuts
FirmTek today debuted the SeriTek/2SE2-E, its two-port Serial ATA PCI Express adapter for Dual-Core G5 Mac systems. The SeriTek/2SE2-E is a Serial ATA host adapter fully compatible with the new PCI Express bus architecture found in Apple's latest Dual-Core G5 Macs, offering two external SATA II ports at up to 3GBits/second to enable individual drives or RAID arrays full utilization as high-performance storage on Dual-Core systems. The SeriTek/2SE2-E is compatible with the new Dual-Core G5 systems which include PCI-Express slots, and is expected to ship in early Q3 of this year for $100.
BD-R Blu-ray Disc media
Primera and TDK today announced "the world's first" inkjet printable BD-R Blu-ray Disc media. Using a DVD/CD compatible inkjet printer, users can print custom text and graphics directly on each disc's label-side surface. The discs, which incorporate TDK's advanced DURABIS 2 hard coating technology, are on display at Primera (Booth No. SL1233 and TDK (Booth No. C10741) at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, which is taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 24-27, 2006. Primera and TDK have partnered to optimize TDK's printable surface BD-R media for use with Primera'sline of inkjet BD-R disc publishing and duplication products. TDK and Primera will offer single-layer BD-R 25GB (write-once type) Inkjet Printable Blu-ray Discs in third quarter of 2006. Also the companies will introduce dual-layer BD-R 50GB Inkjet Printable Blu-ray Discs during the same time. (Pricing not available.)
iPod nano knockoffs
iPod knockoffs are flying off the shelves, so to speak, in Tiawan. Following a warning from Apple to its resellers last week about fake iPods, a new report says that the iPod nano knockoffs, which are manufactured in China, can cost as little as half of the regular price of Apple's iPod, according to The Tapaie Times. "The Nano Apple is available in three different storage capacities: 512MB, 1GB, 2GB. If you don't look carefully, the device could easily be mistaken for original Apple iPod nanos." The report says that the most noticeable difference is that instead of "Menu," which is written on the iPod nano's dial, the Nano Apple has an "M," and that the Nano Apple's "play" button is in the center of the dial, while the volume is controlled at the bottom of the dial. Both MP3 players have 1.5-inch screens, and "despite the slight alteration in the placement of the function keys, the look, finish and feel of the devices makes them indistinguishable from Apple Computer's product to the casual observer," according to the report.
SATA adapter for MacBook
FirmTek today unveiled the SeriTek/2SM2-E, a Serial ATA adapter for Apple's MacBook Pro (MBP), which is the world's first device of its kind according to the company. The SeriTek/2SM2-E extends SATA's performance beyond the desktop, offering transfer rates up to 3Gbits/second per port via the MacBook Pro's ExpressCard slot. The adapter offers hot-swap compatibility to ease the process of moving entire drives and arrays from the MacBook Pro to any FirmTek-equipped desktop system. The SeriTek/2SM2-E ExpressCard adapter is slated for shipment in early Q3 of this year, with an estimated price of $120.
iMac review, MacGroup
In brief: SilentPCReview.com has reviewed the 17-inch iMac Core Duo, saying that the Mac "has almost everything a silencer could want...." MacGroup-Detroit announced that it has signed up its 400th member, who is to receive an engraved video iPod as well as a lifetime membership to commemorate the milestone in MacGroup's history.... Ars Technica has published a comparative review of the iPod Hi-Fi, Klipsch iFi, and Altec Lansing InMotion iM7 portable speaker systems.... Scotsys today announced plans to offer its Mac customers software bundles with Windows XP Home or Professional, Microsoft Office or Works, as well as other software and hardware that will ease their transition from PCs to Macs.... Griffin today announced a new, updated PowerJolt Auto Charger and Power Adapter for iPod that charges an iPod while allowing users to listen to their music library.... iPodNN today noted that the music labels may concede their position, after publicly jockeying for variable pricing on iTunes.
Prosit Software has released iDictionary, an application that can upload a dictionary and/or thesaurus onto iPod digital media players. iDictionary utilizes the Oxford dictionary available with Mac OS X 10.4, along with filtering and optimization techniques to create a dictionary or thesaurus that can fit on an iPod. The dictionary/thesaurus is displayed using the built-in "Notes" feature, which is available on third-generation or newer iPods. The software includes an array of options enabling users to customize the dictionary to exclude words which match specified criteria, saving space that can be used to store music, photos, or video files. Users running iPodLinux can view both a dictionary and a thesaurus without limitation, because iPodLinux does not impose a 1,000 file viewing limit, as does Apple's "Notes" software. iDictionary is priced at $7, and all future upgrades are free for registered users.
ThinkFree Online launches
ThinkFree today launched ThinkFree Online, a free Web-based office productivity suite that blends internet collaboration features with Microsoft Office suite compatibility. The online service contains ThinkFree Write for word processing, ThinkFree Calc for spreadsheet management, and ThinkFree Show for creating presentations. ThinkFree Online features collaborative capabilities for group document editing or file sharing, document tagging for optimal organization, and 1GB of free upgradeable online storage. The service includes the ability to publish documents to a Web page or blog, and supports insertion of images through the Flickr online photo management community. ThinkFree Online provides Ajax and Java functionality, with a consistent user-interface for all computing platforms. The Web interface is localized for U.S. English, but features built-in multi-lingual application support for U.K. English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, simplified and traditional Chinese, and Japanese. ThinkFree Online requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Teacup releases DataLinker
Teacup Software today released DataLinker, an application that connects databases to Adobe InDesign CS-2 documents. The software allows users to link CSV and ODBC-compliant databases to documents via a simple palette using a plug-in, and offers merge capabilities to insert data from a source one field at a time or from multiple records simultaneously. DataLinker automatically updates changes to data sources, integrating with Teacup's TableStyles/CellStyles and BarcodeMaker plug-ins. The application can link an unlimited number of data sources in a single document, and features automatic formatting based on configurable field rules. Users can simultaneously merge multiple records into an InDesign document, and data can be merged into a flat text file or a table. DataLinker and the ODBC plug-in are priced at $300 each, requiring Adobe InDesign CS-2 (specific system requirements were unavailable).
LightMachine for Mac OS X
The Plugin Site has released a Mac OS X version of LightMachine, a plugin for performing all kinds of light adjustments in photos. LightMachine combines shadow/highlight, virtual lighting and color-based correction tools for performing sophisticated corrections without the need for time-consuming selections and layer stacks. Users can correct photos taken under bad light conditions or with inadequate camera settings to achieve results that rival photos taken under the best circumstances, according to the developer. Additionally, it offers special effects such as glows, sunsets, high key and selective b/w effects, replace one color with another and simulate polarizing filters. It supports Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator, Painter, Canvas and Fireworks as well as both 8-bit and 16-bit RGB images. LightMachine is available for $70 with a $30 discount for academic/educational users.
iTunes pricing resolution?
The music labels may concede their position, after publicly jockeying for variable pricing on iTunes. The record industry may be prepare to waive the white flag and adonbdon its demand for iTunes to charge different prices for different songs, according to The New York Post. " Negotiations between Apple and the four major music companies - with which iTunes deals all expire in the next two months - have reached a crucial point as several record executives now say they are unlikely to convince Jobs to allow variable pricing, sources said. This marks a change of tune for the record industry as late last year several executives said they believed variable pricing - something the music companies have been pushing for - was imminent." The report says that Universal, Warner Music, SonyBMG and EMI North America are all in various stages of renegotiating their deals; however, pulling the music songs from the iTunes may be a (remote) possibility, which may help the record industry bargaining power.
Griffin PowerJolt for iPod
Griffin today announced a new, updated PowerJolt Auto Charger and Power Adapter for iPod. The company said that the PowerJolt has been redesigned for ease of use, and its new stylish black industrial design that "complements any auto's interior." The PowerJolt charges an iPod, while allowing users to listen to their music library. It plugs into any available 12V accessory port or cigarette lighter socket and offers a convenient status LED that changes color to indicate whether the iPod is charging or fully charged. In addition, the PowerJolt protects the iPod with a replaceable fuse. It ships with a detachable, high quality 48-inch USB to Dock Connector cable that can be used for normal syncing and docking operations with your computer as well as a 48-inch USB to mini-USB cable for use with Griffin iTrip and iTrip nano. The $20 package, available now, also includes a free LE version of Griffin's exclusive iFill software that fills the iPod with music from MP3 streams such as the free Internet radio stations.
TheftSensor for MacBook
Orbicule has unveiled TheftSensor, an innovative alarm system for the MacBook Pro. "Taking a page from the car alarm, MacBook Pro owners can enable TheftSensor by pressing the play button on their Apple Remote. When enabled, TheftSensor will start a loud alarm whenever the MacBook is moved, lifted or when its lid is closed. The alarm can be disabled by pressing the play button a second time." TheftSensor uses the MacBook's built-in sudden motion sensor (SMS) and the Apple Remote. It is currently available as a free public beta and requires Mac OS X 10.4.
NewTek iVGA for Mac
NewTek today announced a new version of , a small software client that allows a presenter's screen display to be integrated into a live TriCaster presentation via Ethernet. Small and light, TriCaster embraces the power of a TV live truck in a backpack-sized 10lb case. iVGA is a software application launched on a network-connected Mac. Any display on a Mac is sent across the network as a video input into TriCaster live switcher, or, can be sent through TriCaster at full-resolution to projector. NewTek TriCaster is a portable, live production system that elevates live presentations, events, product launches and seminars to network television quality.
17-inch MacBook Pro
Apple today unveiled its new 17-inch MacBook Pro notebook computer featuring the Intel Core Duo processor and an all new system architecture that delivers up to five times the performance of the PowerBook G4. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features an aluminum enclosure, that is one inch thin, weighs only 6.8 pounds, includes a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go, and the breakthrough Front Row media experience with Apple Remote. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro also features a MagSafe Power Adapter, which was invented by Apple and shipped on the previous 15-inch MacBook Pro. It features a 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo, a 17-inch widescreen LCD (1680x1050) with 300 cd/m2, 1GB of RAM, 120GB SATA drive, a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support, and a PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory. It will be available next week for $2,799.
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