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In brief: America Online (AOL) has launched its Certified Mail system, and is accepting payment for delivering incoming email.... Apple Computer is hoping to reach an agreement with Apple Corps that would enable it to sell the Beatles' music via its iTunes Music Store.... Contour Design is offering protection to new iPod nano owners by giving away its iSee nano cases with the purchase of a new iPod nano.... Andy Hertzfeld has recorded a lecture on the Mac's early history, as well as his book.... Bosch Power Tools and Accessories today unveiled an iPod dock ($50) designed to work with its Power Box Advanced jobsite radio/CD/iPod player and power center ($180, shown at right with iPod).... ZAP today unveiled a new series of lithium battery packs ($50-60) designed specifically to work with Apple's iPod.
FM Nexus today released Inspector 1.1, updating the software that provides comprehensive analysis of FileMaker installations. Inspector is designed to quickly and thoroughly analyze the metadata of FileMaker installations, clarifying the structure, elements, relationships, and other crucial detailed information while highlighting problems in troubled areas. Inspector supports Unicode, and the latest version also supports high Ascii. Providing detailed information for deletion decisions, Inspector displays the references and dependencies used by any element -- such as a field or layout -- with green arrows and green dots. Users can search within any calculation for any element, field, text, function, custom function, plug-in function, table occurrence, or literal string. Inspector 1.1 is available via the FileMaker Europe Webstore for $400, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Apple has done away with its "Made for iPod" accessories licensing program and adopted a flat fee system instead. The Cupertino-based company formerly collected a percentage of revenue from all products that connected to an Apple 17-pin iPod connector, charging 1.5 percent at first but raising the cut up to 10 percent for companies such as Bose as the iPod grew in popularity, according to Smart House Magazine. The new system charges a flat $4-per-unit fee, which will favor manufacturers of high-end iPod accessories and appease Bose, which complained about the higher rates when Apple announced the change last year.
Bosch Power Tools and Accessories today unveiled its Power Box Dock Accessory for iPod, an iPod dock designed to work with its Power Box Advanced jobsite radio/CD/iPod player and power center. Designed specifically for Apple's iPod, the new dock plugs directly into the Power Box's 12-volt auxiliary outlet and 3.5-millimeter input jack to play music or charge the iPod without extra wires or plugs. The dock completely encases any one of five iPod models, utilizing proprietary adaptors to accommodate for the various sizes available on the market today. The Dock accessory is priced at $50, while the Power Box Advanced ships for $180.
At least one vendor in South America is illegally selling generic clones called "PowerPC G6 Macintosh" and "Apple G6 Macintosh-Clone" systems using Apple's name. The rogue machines contain a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 processor and come bundled with loads of OSx86-compatible software, according to The Inquirer. Shipping pre-loaded with system software called "Mac OSX-86 Apple MacOS X Tiger 10.4.3," the clones are being manufactured in China as well as South America. Members from the OSx86 Project discovered the illegal computers, according to the report, which are selling for $500.
Apple Computer is hoping to reach an agreement with Apple Corps that would enable it to sell the Beatles' music via its iTunes Music Store. "We certainly will do everything we can to get them on iTunes," vice president of iTunes Eddie Cue said. "The Beatles aren't available in any digital format today but they are going to be one day. We certainly hope that happens on iTunes." Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label which is owned by former band members and their heirs, recently filed suit against Apple Computer for breaching a $26 million settlement in 1991. Apple Computer won the court battle, however, and is now seeking rights to sell digital versions of the Beatles' tracks on iTunes. Apple Corps is remastering the Beatles music, and in April announced plans to release the tracks in the form of digital downloads. The combination of the Beatles and iTunes could spur more music consumers to purchase digital tracks legally, according to Bloomberg.
One Mac developer has released ClamXav 1.0.3h, an update to the free open-source virus scanner for Mac OS X that runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The latest iteration of ClamXav, version 1.0.3h, offers a handful of new features, numerous bug fixes improving stability, and the newest ClamAV scanning engine. The application includes Danish, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Swedish localizations. ClamXav 1.0.3h requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is available for free as a digital download.
NewsGator Technologies has released NetNewsWire 2.1 for Mac, an RSS reader that allows users to customize the way feeds are organized and read. The updated version runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary and features synchronized reading with a Web browser, mobile, and other NewsGator RSS products. NetNewsWire 2.1 for Mac boasts improvements when saving to disk, as well as performing changes to a subscription list. Users can sort subscriptions by attention because NetNewsWire can tell which feeds are more important, according to NewsGator. The update also offers new emailing, printing, and posting options. A beta of the free lite version is available via download, while NetNewsWire 2.1 for Mac is priced at $30. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Lismore Software Systems today released Guest PC 1.9, an update to the emulation software for Mac OS X. Users can install Microsoft Windows, Linux, and other operating systems in Guest PC to reap the benefits of those systems right on a Mac desktop. Guest PC 1.9 increases compatibility and stability in Windows configurations, raising performance by up to 40 percent with better USB functionality. Drag-and-drop no longer stops working in full screen mode, occasional crashes on Guest PC exit no longer occur, and the update addresses incorrect USB recognition in some Linux distributions. Guest PC 1.9 is priced at $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. The upgrade is free to all registered users of Guest PC. [corrected]
ZAP today unveiled a new series of lithium battery packs designed specifically to work with Apple's iPod. ZAP's Portable Energy chargers and power packs are designed to work with iPod mini, iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and fifth-generation video iPods. The energy solution for the iPod shuffle can extend listening time by up to 60 hours, according to the company, and the lithium-ion battery system can be recharged up to 1000 times, offering up to four times the power of conventional batteries. Each ZAP Pack uses a smart microprocessor control system that can power a variety of mobile electronic devices including handheld PCs, digital cameras, cellular phones, audio, DVD, compact disk players, video cameras, laptops, and more. Several models also charge DC electronics from 4.0 to 19.0 volts through either a DC or USB port. The iZAP battery pack is priced at $50 for iPod nano, $60 for iPod mini, and $60 for iPod video. The D-14 Universal Charger can power iPod shuffle players, and is priced at $60.
Ars Technica has reviewed Aperture 1.1, the update to Apple's post-production photography software that originally failed to perform as expected for most of its target audience. Aperture 1.1's high-quality RAW processing is testament to Apple's ability to move quickly in areas where it has little experience, while its discount/refund assures users won't be expected to beta test at their own expense, according to Ars. "While I'm still left wanting on the filter quality side, Aperture 1.1.1 finally gets me excited about the prospect of doing complex imaging on the GPU via Core Image." Users no longer need to sacrifice quality to get true pixel accuracy, and while Aperture's filters could use some improvement, the job is small compared to what has already been accomplished in just a few months' time. "Aperture 1.1 is everything that Apple should have released for 1.0 and at $300, it's hard to say no now to this program."
CMS Products has released BounceBack 7.0, its backup and disaster recovery software for PowerPC and Intel CoreDuo Macs. BounceBack Professional 7.0 for Mac is designed to protect iPhoto, iTunes and iMovie HD collections as well as important documents in the event of a hard drive failure. The update features backup scheduling, an automatic launcher, and a "QuickRestore" feature that allows users to select specifically which files/folders/drive volumes to restore. The software maintains the ability to create a bootable backup copy of the system, applications and data to support disaster recovery by booting from an external drive. BounceBack also features the ability to create custom backup sets, view and restore previously saved versions of files (versioning), incremental backups, native file format backups, and synchronization of data. BounceBack 7.0 is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.0 to 10.3.
RadTech today announced three new rechargeable Bluetooth mice, paired with its new RadMouse driver software. New models include the BT100 optical 3-button scrolling mouse, BT300 optical 3-button scrolling mouse, and BT600 optical 5-button full-size mouse (shown at right). All three mice feature 800dpi for smooth tracking precision, and charge internally via a USB cable. Each new model operates within the 2.4-2.48GHz frequency range, and boasts data rates of more than 700KBps. The scroll wheel on all three mice doubles as a charge status indicator, and a power-saving sleep mode extends cell life while powered on. A recessed, top-mounted power switch allows the mice to be powered down for extended periods of nonuse and prevents accidental power up during transport. The BT100 and BT300 3-button mice are priced at $50, while the BT600 5-button mouse ships for $60.
Apple today announced an update to .Mac, its suite of web services that include email, photo/file sharing, online storage/backup, and more. The company is now offering an easier way for users to access iDisk public folders--via the Web. "We're pleased to announce a new simpler way to access iDisk Public folders with a browser. Simply entering the URL idisk.mac.com/membername-Public now produces a page that automatically includes download links for whatever's currently in membername's Public folder. All you need to do is give the URL for your iDisk Public folder to the friends and colleagues you share with. They'll see and be able to download whatever you put in there, whenever they visit the page." In addition, users can also now allow other users to upload files to their iDisk public folders. It also supports a password feature to restrict uploads. As with many of its products, Apple also provides a word of warning: "Finally, it goes without saying but we're going to say it again anyway: You can only legally share what you own and have the right to share."
DICE Electronics is now shipping its hard-wired DICE iPod interfaces, which help users connect dock connector-compatible iPods and selected Audi, Volkswagen, Honda and Mazda vehicles. The company says it also expects to ship interfaces for selected BMW, Toyota and GM vehicles later this month. "The DICE interface was designed to create a seamless interconnection between the iPod and the entertainment control of the vehicle," the company said. "While the DICE interface was designed to provide the ultimate experience for iPod vehicle integration, it also features an auxiliary jack making an external satellite radio or DVD player connection very easy." Users can use the controls on the iPod as well as buttons on the radio to navigate between playlists, albums or songs. It supports connection via an iPod dock cable (3ft cable included) or the DICE iPod cradle, which features a 2.5mm video out jack that can connect a (video) iPod to any external video source.
Sony this week announced it will begin supporting the AAC audio file format, which used by Apple and other vendors for audio file compression. The forthcoming support will not yet allow users to play iTunes music on their Sony devices as Apple's propietary FairPlay DRM technology is also used to protect songs, but the move is seen as a symbolic concession to Apple, according to one report. The company has moved from using its own proprietary ATRAC audio files to supporting a wide variety of file formats: "Sony long clung to its proprietary data compression technology, known as Atrac. It has since turned to an open-door policy, embracing such popular formats as MP3 and Microsoft Corp.'s WMA. Still, the electronics manufacturer's acceptance of Apple's AAC format, used for the immensely popular iPod digital music players, marks a particular about-face." Sony will release the AAC-compatible Sonic Stage CP free of charge via the internet on May 15 for use with its hard-disk-based Walkman A series products.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k