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In brief: MacNN has reviewed Menuet ($13) from Specere, an iTunes control application, as well as the proporta retractable stereo headphones ($17, shown at right).... FastMac today lowered the price of its PowerBook G3 (Pismo) to G4 processor upgrade by $50.... Big Nerd Ranch today announced the return of Cocoa Bootcamp on Tiger 10.4 for June 19-23rd.... Koyono is due to begin shipping some of its "made for iPod" garments in May, which feature washable fabric control with built-in access to iPod functionality.... A recent poll found that over a third of airline passengers would download songs from the iTunes Music Store, were tracks available to consumers during flights.... Tekkeon today launched a limited edition black version of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPod.
Ambrosia Software today released Darwinia 1.4.2, a Universal Binary version of its real-time strategy game that runs natively on Intel Macs. The update features functional keypad bindings, added difficulty settings, an updated Ambrosia Toolkit for Intel Mac compatibility, and minor enhancements/bug fixes. Darwinia is a virtual theme park populated by sentient evolving life forms called "Darwinians." Darwinians are the product of a decades worth of research into genetic algorithms, but the systems of Darwinia have been overrun by an evil red Viral Infection. The Virus has multiplied out of control and must be stopped, as players are tasked with destroying the infection to save the Darwinians from extinction. Darwinia 1.4.2 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Apple Keyboard Update 1.0 (free) addresses the reliability of keyboard and mouse functionality on certain Mac systems. The update is recommended for owners of any MacBook Pro notebook, early 2006 iMac, or early 2006 Mac mini system. An installer guides users through the steps necessary to install the software, which requires Mac OS X 10.4.6. [Download - 12MB] Intaglio 2.7.2 ($90) is a free upgrade for existing users of the Quartz drawing application, providing native support for Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. Intaglio features CoreImage filters, full AppleScript support, and text manipulation routines. The software converts PDF, EPS, SVG, and PICT files into editable Quartz graphics. [Download - 4.8MB] CrushFTP 3.9.4 ($25) updates the FTP server that features SSL/TLS, multihoming, and virtual servers. The free update fixes numerous bugs related to email, plug-in implementation, labels, remote FTP servers, and more. The software also offers users/groups, ratios, quotas, and load balancing. [Download - 2.5MB] Alarm Clock Pro 7.6.8 ($20) is an iTunes and Web-enabled computer alarm clock application. The update enhances the Stop Watch to include more detailed information on each lap, and adds a system time offset for alarms. Version 7.6.8 also offers the ability to auto-add the relaunch daemon to user login items, as well as numerous bug fixes. [Download - 6.8MB] Mac Pilot 2.0.6 ($10) is designed to unlock more than 225 hidden features and other advanced UNIX commands. Version 2.0.6 offers the ability to set the system umask default file permissions, as well as print the key combo, ports, and error lists. The latest version also allows users to change the default system fonts. [Download - 2.8MB] Password Retriever 5.2.2 ($20) updates the software designed to secure sensitive information using 448-bit encryption, adding a password generator and "Quick Browser." The latest release enables users to dynamically specify variables in the template used for password generation, scroll up or down in the Quick Browser, and copy text directly from the Quick Browser. [Download - 2.6MB]
Running With Scissors has released Postal 2: Share the Pain (STP) and its add-on scenario, Apocalypse Weekend for Mac users with multiplayer support. Players can freely explore full 3D open-ended environments and interact with over 100 unique NPC's (Non-Player Characters) that include Gary Coleman, marching bands, dogs, cats, elephants, protesters, policemen and civilians -- with or without weapons. "Postal 2 is all about choice; experiment with everyone and everything. And remember... it's only as violent as you are!" The Mac version offers a new weapon of mass destruction, additional "Insano" and "Hate Me" modes, and new maps. The Mac edition also features faster load times, as well as native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Postal 2: Share The Pain is available for $20 via digital download from Deliver2Mac, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
Koyono is due to begin shipping some of its "made for iPod" garments in May, which feature washable fabric control with built-in access to iPod functionality. The fabric interfaces that enable embedded controls are made from ElekTex -- a unique five-layer laminate of electrically conductive materials that transforms fabric into an electronic touchpad. The BlackCoat Sport is a hybrid sport coat/jacket/overcoat designed to weather the elements, and is expected to ship on May 2nd for $225. Koyono's BlackCoat Surf Edition is a short sleeve shirt/jacket that offers the benefits of outerwear with a shape and weight that can be worn throughout the summer, and is due to ship on May 20th for $170. The company also plans to ship its BlackCoat Work (shown at right) hybrid jean jacket/sport coat on May 2nd for $250, made from either Nextec nylon or stretch cotton with encapsulated fiber waterproofing.
A judgment in the Apple Computer versus Apple Corps court battle will likely be handed down on Monday, May 8th. Both sides have been arguing their cases since late March when Apple Corps, which is owned by the former Beatles and their heirs, filed a suit against Apple Computer for breaching a $26 million settlement in 1991. Apple Computer agreed to veer away from the music business, while Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name for "creative works whose principal content is music." Apple Computer was allowed to use of the name for "goods and services... used to reproduce, run, play, or otherwise deliver such content." The presiding justice Edward Mann will decide whether to grant an injunction preventing Apple Computer from using its logo within iTunes, according to Macworld UK.
Macgamestore.com today announced that Pocketwatch Games' Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is available as a digital download. The game is a fast-paced simulation set in the African Serengeti. Players build a unique ecosystem by buying and breeding animals, and by balancing the food and water needs of each diverse species. The complete version of Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa includes 11 animals, 25 campaign maps, three levels of difficulty, a story mode, and a challenge mode. Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
A Mac developer has released Su Doku live, a package of three games based on the popular Sudoku puzzle game featured in the games section of Apple's website. An online competitive arcade version of the game lets up to 32 players race against the clock, and enables them to view each other's progress in real-time as they solve puzzles. An Online cooperative version allows players to work together to solve puzzles in a relaxed atmosphere with chat capability, and usually consists of very difficult puzzles. The single player version is near completion, according to the developer, featuring a solver, a puzzle generator, player notes, and a hint system for beginners. The forthcoming version will include a tutorial that can teach users to solve every puzzle, help them through every challenge without resorting to "guessing," and explain well-known techniques. Su Doku Live is priced at $20 (system requirements were unavailable).
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced at the company's annual shareholder's meeting that TV ads centered on the Mac will air next week. The timing marks the start of the May sweeps period, when television networks unveil season finales to boost ratings during a month when local ad rates are set, according to News.com. Jobs announced the plan after a shareholder asked why Apple hasn't acquired more market share over the past few years. The company's market share declined slightly during Q1, partially due to potential customers waiting for the completion of the Intel transition, according to Jobs. The executive said Mac sales will grow once the transition is complete later in the year.
Sony is being accused of underpaying music artists' royalties for digital downloads in a new class action lawsuit. The Allman Brothers Band and Cheap Trick are claiming millions of dollars in damages from Sony Music because the entertainment giant is not paying its recording artists half of the net licensing revenue received in connection with music licensed to digital download providers, such as Apple. The suit alleges that Sony Music handles each download as a sale of physical media, paying on only 85 percent of "sales" due to "breakage of product," and deducts another 20 percent for container/packaging charges associated with the digital downloads. Finally, Sony Music is reducing its payments by another 50 percent for an "audiofile" deduction, which results in a payment to recording artists of roughly 4 1/2 cents per digital download, according to Macworld UK.
A recent poll found that over a third of airline passengers would download songs from the iTunes Music Store, were tracks available to consumers during flights. The poll was conducted in response to recent talks between Apple and in-flight entertainment providers, who considered licensing iTunes media download software in early April. Flightglobal.com found that 38 percent of flyers would download songs from iTunes during a flight, while 62 percent would not, according to a report from vnunet.com. A deal between in-flight entertainment providers and Apple could allow passengers to download videos and music to iPods while in the air, and several airlines have requested building iPod docks into seatbacks.
A school in the UK which recently boasted 100 percent GCSE passes credits its technology infrastructure -- which relies heavily on Apple systems -- as a major contribution to the exam results. Wildern School in Hampshire is home to more Macs than any other school in England, and recently won the government's Future Vision Award for use of technology in its curriculum. In 1997, seven percent of Wildern's departing students had no GCSE qualification, and boys' achievements, as in many schools, were lagging behind those of girls. Many classrooms at the school now link to interactive whiteboards, and the number of Macs has grown incrementally within a school-wide wireless environment. "We have every type of Apple hardware with a full range of video and audio tools," said the school's head, Jeffery Threlfall. "Once youngsters get their hands on a Mac they don't want to go back to PCs. They like the intuitive nature of the system, as well as the modern design-led look... and they love the software."
Tekkeon today unveiled a limited edition black version of its myPower rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPod. The accessory adds more than nine hours of extra video playback for video iPod owners, and up to 42 hours of extended music playback, according to Tekkeon. The rechargeable lithium polymer battery built into a portable dock case includes FireWire and USB 2.0 ports to sync an iPod, a line out port for connecting to an external output device, and a 5V charging output port to simultaneously charge a mobile phone or any device that requires up to 5V. MyPower for iPod is compatible with third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation iPods, as well as iPod mini and iPod photo. The limited edition black myPower device ships with a USB 2.0 cable, five sets of sizing pads for different iPod models, a clip for the iPod mini, and a user guide for $70.
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Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.