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In Brief: Adobe has warned investors of weaker-than-expected performance in its current second financial quarter, saying that its quarterly results will be "toward the low end" of its previously stated targets.... SupportMyMac today announced new affordable and bilingual Macintosh support and training services in the National Capital region of Canada, Ottawa.... iLifeStuff has released three new customizable iWeb templates -- Light, Pink and Green -- ($13 ea. or $30 for all three) which feature a several page layouts for “About Me”, photo album, blog, podcast and movie.... The FastIcon has released a new icon set called "Comic iPod HI-FI", which contains 6 freeware icons.... Coolgorilla has posted a free, comprehensive guide to the 2006 World Cup designed for the iPod.... Two miners trapped in a Tasmanian mine for over a week were given iPods to alleviate boredom while rescuers work to free them via a drilling operation.... H2O Audio today began shipping its H2O Audio for iPod nano (pictured at right), the latest addition to the company's line of adventure sport accessories for iPod players.
Microsoft is dead in the water and, with the exception of the Xbox 360, the company is doing nothing interesting or exciting, according to tech columnist. John C. Dvorak of MarketWatch. He claims that "none of the upcoming upgrades to the operating system or Microsoft Office appear to have any 'must-have' qualities needed to boost sales in a meaningful way" and lists eight signs which he believes point to Microsoft's "bed-ridden" condition that include (among others) Windows Vista, Office 2007, and MSN. Windows Vista -- which has been under development for a number of years, was scrapped and started over from scratch, and has been called a glazed over copy of Mac OS X -- may be pushed back yet again following Microsoft's last announcement, signaling that the consumer product would miss the holiday season of 2006.
Ankama today announced that it will preview the next extension to its primary online MMORPG, Dofus (shown at right), as well as two future games entitled Focus-Arena and Wakfu. The company is set to showcase the games at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles from May 10-12th (booth #153C) at the French pavilion. Dofus-Arena promises to be a multiplayer and 100-percent tactical game, while the extension to Dofus entitled "The Dragoturkey Riders" will debut at the conference in May. Wakfu is described as an MMORPG with a very challenging concept, and is due to be released by the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008. Dofus is available for free with no subscription obligation, and requires Mac OS 9.0 or later.
A new open-source firmware upgrade for Apple's iPod is turning heads, offering users choice and greater control over audio playback. CNET recently reviewed Rockbox, an open-source firmware project that completely replaces the iPod's firmware while expanding the capabilities and limitations of the existing hardware. The firmware features OGG and FLAC support, as well as gapless playback. Users can crossfade, fade in/out, and can configure an antiskip buffer. Rockbox displays photos -- although not in a thumbnail grid view -- and allows users to zoom in or modify slide-show settings. The firmware is slated for release in November.
Two miners trapped in a Tasmanian mine for over a week were given iPods to alleviate boredom while rescuers work to free them via a drilling operation. A rock fall in a Beaconsfield gold mine in northern Tasmania trapped the two men beneath 12 meters of rock, and killed a fellow miner. The survivors were discovered alive on Sunday night, and were given nutrition on Monday evening via a small PVC pipe, according to a report from The Age. The men, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, are reportedly still in good spirits. "They remain in good health and have now received iPods so they can listen to their favorite music," mine manager Matthew Gill said in a statement. Eight loads of concrete were sent to the mine to create an even pad for a Raise Borer, which rescuers will use to drill through the rock burying the two men, according to the report.
Apple's stock compensation program continues to be a gold mine for its executives. Former Apple senior hardware exec Jonathan Rubinstein, who resigned in April, cashed in last week on nearly $8 million in Apple shares, according to a new report. AppleInsider notes that Rubinstein sold 112,293 shares of Apple common stock on April 28th at a market value of nearly $71. Citing a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the publication reports that the sale netted the former Apple hardware chief approximately $8 million. Rubinstein, who retains almost 30,000 shares of Apple, will continue to consult for the company following the announcement late last year. Under the terms, Rubinstein will make himself available for consulting for up to 20 percent of general weekly business hours, or one business day per week on average, until April 16, 2007. Apple did not disclose his consulting fee, but said that it would pay the former exec a non-material flat fee for his services.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Kensington SX2000 Speakers ($160, shown at right), a speaker dock for iPod owners.... Apple has served a cease and desist order to the webmaster of Something Awful, after one user posted a link to the MacBook Pro service manual on a forum to help users fix problems with MacBook Pro heat issues.... H2O Audio today began shipping its H2O Audio for iPod nano, a waterproof case for Nano owners rated at a depth of up to 10 feet.... GetGoingTraining.com today released "Get Going with GarageBand 3," a DVD and QuickTime video download offering in-depth training and tutorials for Apple's GarageBand 3 music creation software.... Architosh has reviewed SketchUp 5 ($500), an intuitive application for creating 3D models.... In response to numerous requests, RevCon West 2006 sponsors RevCentral Newsletter and Runtime Revolution have agreed to extend the Early Bird Registration deadline to midnight Pacific time Friday, May 5th.
Apple's new "Get A Mac" ad campaign may be defending the Mac OS operating system, but the company suffered an embarrassing security setback as the Korean-localized version of its online Apple Store was hacked last Thursday. The Web-based store, which runs Apple's own WebObjects and Apache on Mac OS X, was defaced earlier today, according to Silicon.com. "The defacement - which took the form of a dozen lines of code posted to the apple.co.kr homepage - was documented on hackers' forum zone-h.org, which said Dinam attacked a Mac OS X server running Apache," according to the report. Although Apple promptly removed the defacement and has since resumed normal operation, the company refused to comment on the attack.
CourseForum Technologies today released ProjectForum 5.0, a major update to the company's wiki collaboration software. ProjectForum features full version control, group project support, multiple authentication options, and image and file management. The software also offers page templates, SSL, full branding support, and multiple forums. The update provides native compatibility for Intel-based Macs, integrated slideshow support, and an upgrade to the internal runtime engine for increased performance/reliability. ProjectForum is available either as a fully managed hosted service or as in-house software. CourseForum boasts easy installation in minutes without the need for a webmaster or IT aid. ProjectForum hosting starts at $20/month, while digital download versions are priced at $250. Clients can connect using any standard Web browser, and a free version is also available. The server software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Apple has once again pulled ahead of Dell in overall marketcap value, as Dell waits for Microsoft's delayed Windows Vista operating system to ship while the Cupertino-based company airs TV ads promoting its new Mac systems. Apple is still enjoying the publicity of its recently-released Boot Camp software, allowing Intel Mac users to dual-boot Mac OS X with numerous other operating systems, including Microsoft Windows XP. The software's debut caused a massive spike in Apple's share value, resulting in a gain of more than 15 percent in four days' time as investors mulled over the prospect that Apple could snatch considerable marketshare from other PC makers, such as Dell. Apple first surpassed Dell in market cap value on January 13th of 2006, after which Apple CEO Steve Jobs sent an "email chuckle" to company employees. The email cited CEO Michael Dell's prediction in 1997 that he would shut down Apple and give the money back to its shareholders.
AppleCare has said there is a known issue with some early MacBook Pro batteries, and is cross-shipping fresh replacements to customers experiencing those specific issues. The problem appears to affect MacBook Pro models with serial numbers up to W8608, meaning that only the first two weeks of MacBook Pros produced are potentially affected, according to one report. MacBook Pro battery problem symptoms include battery power level going from a full charge to 90 percent, then immediately off; the battery often either goes directly to one blinking LED, or fails to respond at all; and some may experience a sizeable loss of battery capacity. One Mac developer has released a beta version of Coconut Battery 2.3 beta 7, a utility that can prove useful for diagnosing notebook battery issues. Earlier today MacNN reported that several users are claiming to have found the source of some MacBook Pro heat problems, attributing them to the misapplication of thermal grease inside the laptop.
H2O Audio today began shipping its H2O Audio for iPod nano, the latest addition to the company's line of adventure sport accessories for iPod players. The custom form-fit case is designed to compliment the iPod nano's slim-line design, and includes a ready-wear armband. The enclosure features new patent pending engineering and design technology that includes a durable "elastomeric" diagonal T-seal, providing absolute waterproof protection. The case also offers a unique full-function "Commander" scroll-wheel assembly that provides ready access to all of the Nano's proprietary clickwheel functions, even when fully submerged in water. The waterproof housing is rated at 10-feet, is compatible with a wide range of standard headsets, and provides waterproof protection when used with H2O Audio patented waterproof headphones. The H2O Audio for iPod nano housing is priced at $80, while waterproof headphones are available for $40.
Big Fish Studios today released Mystic Inn for Mac, an arcade-styled casual game where players must help Daphne break the spell of the enchanted Inn. The game features full-screen OpenGL graphics, as well as a studio soundtrack and lead vocals from singer Julianne Regan. Mystic Inn includes 50 levels, five complete makeovers of the Inn, and the ability to mix your own power-ups. Players serve orders to go, chase dragons away, learn spells, and more. "Playing as Daphne, the unfortunate hostess ensnared by the enchanted Mystic Inn, you serve potions to a multitude of impatient patrons. Serve them quickly, and you'll earn magic tips that will help pay for the inn's upgrade. Take too long, or serve them in the wrong order and you risk losing customers-and valuable tips!" Mystic Inn is available for $20, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Longtime iPod chip supplier PortalPlayer may not be down and out yet. A new report says that the company may supply the chips for Apple's next-generation video iPod, despite indications that the company had lost a future contract bid for iPod chips and one Samsung executive claiming that it has already won the contract to supply chips for the next-generation iPod nano, which analysts expect could surface by the September quarter. Craig Berger, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, told the EETimes that PortalPlayer is still the favorite to win the contract for at least some of Apple's future iPod line. "We continue to believe PortalPlayer will retain its socket in the soon-to-be-released video iPod given Apple's design constraints," Berger said in his Tuesday report to clients.
AquaFold has released Aqua Data Studio 4.7, a powerful application that provides complete database administration and query tools for Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, Informix, and PostgreSQL. Version 4.7 includes powerful Oracle DBA Tools: The Instance Manager, Storage Manager, Rollback Manager, Log Manager, Security Manager, Session Manager and SGA Manager. It also offers a rewritten Auto-Completion Parser supports that almost any SQL syntax, a new SQL Formatter that provides user customization when formatting SQL statements, and a new Shortcut Toolbar that lets you drag a node from the schema browser, and create a shortcut by dropping it onto your custom toolbar. Aqua Data Studio licenses for personal and educational use are available without charge, while a single-user commercial license is $150.
SubRosaSoft.com today began shipping CopyCatX 3.5, its software-based drive duplication and recovery system for Mac OS X. Version 3.5 incorporates optimization for Intel-based Macs, support for Boot Camp drive cloning, and enhanced support for CD/DVD media. "CopyCatX is the only quick and easy solution for backing up your Boot Camp drive. Unlike most Macintosh based backup solutions, CopyCatX will make an identical copy of the drive to the image, including Linux-, Windows-, and Macintosh-based partitions." In addition, the new version of CopyCatX can also recover CDs and DVDs. It also features proprietary resizing technology to regain lost space after a volume copy. SubRosaSoft CopyCatX 3.5 is now available for $60 (CD) or $50 (electronic). It is a free update to v1.0 and above and requires Mac OS X 10.3.
In Brief: One developer's Front Row Enabler software (along with instructions), which allows any Mac to use Apple's Front Row multimedia software, has reposted the software after questioning the validity of the 'Cease and Desist' from Apple's legal team.... Several users are claiming to have found the source of some of MacBook Pro heat problems, attributing them to the misapplication of the thermal grease inside the laptop (using the MacBook Pro Service Manual as a guide)... One user has posted a brief tutorial on using a Mac mini with an external analog tuner and BeyondTV4 with Boot Camp/WinXP to create an economical Mac PVR, saying its cheaper (but more complicated) than the prepackaged solutions.... The list of serious unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser keeps getting longer and longer, as Microsoft has acknowledged yet another flaw affecting fully patched Windows systems--less than a week after researcher Michal Zalewski went public with a new zero-day vulnerability that could be used in code execution attacks.... Apple's rival Creative is expected to post a quarterly loss of nearly $90 million for its March quarter due to cut-throat competition and falling flash prices.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
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