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Dozens of users are reporting problems with Apple's latest updates, which appear to be centered around one or more startup items. A lengthy discussion on Apple's threads indicates that latest round of Apple updates, including QuickTime 7.1 and the latest security update, appear to cause random freezes after startup--especially on Intel-based Macs. The problem has been localized to some startup items such as Adobe Version Cue and users suggest removing the startup items from the startup folder (users can disble startup items by pressing shift after the bootup chime), while others have had success by reinstalling the operating system using Mac OS X's Archive and Install command, which will allow users to return to relatively familiar state (with all applications and documents still available). Others, however, have resorted to a clean install of a new operating system to resolve the problems. [updated]
JBL launches Radial Black
JBL has launched its JBL Radial Black, a speaker dock for iPod that delivers high- and mid-frequency sound with distortion-free bass. The Radial Black dock can send iPod photos and video to a TV monitor through a Video Out port, and is compatible with most docking iPods via a Universal Dock. A stereo mini jack allows users to connect a variety of other audio devices, such as the iPod shuffle or satellite radio. The wireless RF remote control operates the unit from up to 20 feet, and offers full access to the iPod to change tracks, browse libraries, adjust settings, and scroll through extras. The JBL Radial measures 12 x 10.5-inches, is priced at $300, and ships with a Harman Multimedia warranty.
Security Update 2006-003
Apple today released Security Update 2006-003, repairing numerous vulnerabilities in Mac OS X and other bundled applications. The update contains fixes for AppKit, BOM, CFNetwork, ClamAV, CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics, Finder, Flash Player, ImageIO, Keychain, LaunchServices, libcurl, Mail, MySQL Manager, Preview, QuickDraw, QuickTime Streaming Server, Ruby, and Safari. Users can update via the Software Update feature in Mac OS X, or from Apple Downloads.
QT, Front Row updated
Apple today released QuickTime 7.1 for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, delivering numerous important bug fixes and addressing critical security issues in the company's multimedia software. Apple also issued an important notice to users of older QuickTime Pro installations prior to version 7, reminding them that they must purchase a new QuickTime 7 Pro key to regain QuickTime Pro functionality after updating. Apple highly recommends the update for all QuickTime 7 users. QuickTime 7.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later or Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP. Apple also released a Front Row Update that delivers a variety of fixes for better reliability and compatibility when playing music, photos, and videos on your Macintosh. [updated]
ABM opens Apple store
Arab Business Machine (ABM) -- Apple's independent marketing company in the Middle East -- has announced the opening of its second store in the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi. Sales of Apple systems and devices have steadily increased across the Middle East, according to AME Info. The new store will offer the entire Apple product line, and is to be organized into zones for movies, photos, music, and children. "ABM is proud to finally announce that we are opening a store in the nations capital," Arab Business Machines general manager Elias Abou Rustom said. "It was inevitable that Abu Dhabi would get its own Apple Center and we can promise that all that is available in our other dedicated stores worldwide will be accessible here. In much the same fashion as our Dubai store, our new one will be unique in terms of customer service, product offerings and general ambience."
MP3 player owners, iPod
A new survey shows that 49 percent of MP3 player owners own an iPod, offering yet another reminder of Apple's dominance in the portable music player market. The world-wide market for flash- and hard drive-based players is expected to soar from 140 million units in 2005 to 286 million by 2010, according to a report from DMasia.com. Falling price points, legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites -- such as Apple's iTunes Music Store -- are drivers for the market, as well as increasing flash memory capacities and greater functionality. Sales of low-end, flash-based players were particularly strong in 2005, especially in Asian markets where some players sell for as little as $25, according to the report.
seSales, Style Flocker
seSales 1.3.5 ($130 for entry edition, $250 for standard edition) updates the flexible point of sale system that is native to Mac OS X, offering customizable fonts on printed invoices. The update also adds printable customer notes on invoices, shipping provider and cost information to invoices, and offers users the ability to add a background PDF to printed invoices.
[Download - 16MB]
Style Flocker 1.0 (free) is a plug-in for Adobe InDesign that allows users to group and manage all character, paragraph, and object styles. Style Flocker features include the ability to create hierarchical groups of styles, and already-applied styles are prominently displayed at the top of the palette. [Download - 432KB]
Confluence 2.2 ($1,200) updates the J2EE enterprise wiki designed for collaboration and knowledge management, adding personal spaces and support for internationalization. Version 2.2 also includes CAPTCHA spam protection, new extension points for plugin developers, a simple LDAP configuration syntax, and more. [Download - [form]]
PDF to Keynote (free) converts PDF-based presentations (e.g., made using LaTeX and Prosper) into Apple's Keynote format. Once translated into Keynote format, every page of the original PDF file becomes a PDF image, properly scaled and centered on its own slide. A preference allows users to choose which version of the Keynote XML file format to produce. [Download - 218KB]
Pandora 1.9.6 ($20) is an update to the image collector's Web spider and search agent for Mac OS X. Version 1.9.6 fixes a potential crashing bug related to custom icon drawing, as well as a modification to Google Image Search that improves reliability of results. The upgrade is free to all registered users. [Download - 1MB]
August ODBC Router
August Software today expanded its ODBC Router, the Open Data Base Connectivity networking system, to enable the new ODBC Pro features of 4th Dimension on Mac OS and Windows. ODBC Router enables applications such as PHP, Excel and FileMaker Pro on Mac, Windows and Linux to leverage vendor-supported Windows ODBC drivers that deliver high-integrity access to mainframe, UNIX and Windows databases. 4th Dimension applications may now deploy ODBC Routers to interact with databases managed by IBM DB/2, SQL Server, MS-Access, ORACLE, MySQL, Rdb/VMS, VAX DBMS, Informix, Ingres, PostgresSQL, TeraData, Red Brick, Universe and more. "ODBC Router eliminates countless hours of proprietary database-client configuration work throughout your network, replacing all complex and expensive components with our single self-contained and free 'overdriver.'" Pricing for ODBC Router starts at US$170 for an entire network of computers with substantial discounts for non-profits, education and health services.
DEVONtechnologies today updated several of its applications for Intel-based Macs, including PhotoStickies as well as its freeware utilities EasyFind, ThumbsUp and XMenu. The photo and Web cam viewer PhotoStickies 5.5 ($12) can now optionally suppress Dock icon notifications, displays the modification date of Webcam pictures, offers unlimited history, uses the system-wide proxy settings, more accurately names folders for recorded Webcams, improves the built-in HTML parser, and better recognizes Webcams contained in Web pages. EasyFind 3.9, now a Universal Binary, offers a versatile Services menu command that now supports more input types and improves search for file and folder names containing umlauts, accents or diacretical characters; it also allows users to select and search invisible folders. The free ThumbsUp 4.3 can now create thumbnails of QuickTime files that require a third-party component, while both ThumbsUp and XMenu 1.8 have been updated with a French localization. All of the applications requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Review; new Apple patents
In brief: MacNN has reviewed screen protectors ($20, shown at right) from Macally, its plastic-like translucent protective covers designed to shield Apple notebook displays from harm.... Apple has filed for a new patent describing "a touch screen capable of sensing multiple points at the same time," alongside an advanced media file format that embeds sale and marketing information.... MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for iMovie HD 6 ($15), adding nearly 100 commands to iListen that allow users to control iMovie HD 6 via voice-command.... Peachpit Press has released Secrets of Videoblogging: Videoblogging for the Masses ($25), a guide designed to provide everything consumers need to get started video blogging.... Autodesk said it has no intention of ending Mac support in Maya, its recently-acquired 3D software.... DICE Electronics has begun shipping its hard-wired DICE iPod interfaces, which help users connect dock connector-compatible iPods and selected Audi, Volkswagen, Honda and Mazda vehicles.
Plaxo for Mac v1.0
Plaxo today announced Plaxo for Mac v1.0, bringing the "world's first" smart address book to the Mac community. Plaxo provides members with a single, smart address book that can be used virtually anywhere. "The average person has several email and instant messaging accounts and as a result, they also have contact information in more than one location. Plaxo combines this separate information into one, always updated address book that is accessible within all of the most popular applications so that the same information is available everywhere," according to the company. The desktop client features automatic synchronization between Mac OS X Address Book, Plaxo's online service and a number of other popular communication tools and services, including Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, AIM, and Thunderbird. In addition, users can import contacts from Netscape, Palm, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail accounts. The freely available client requires registration and works on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
Ohio U partners with Apple
A new push by Apple is helping the company make inroads into the education market, following the continued expansion of iTunes U, the company's education portal for students. iTunes U features podcasts of class lectures, notes, photography, and more from Universities such as Standford, Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Oregon State University. Despite the controversial dominance of the iPod on college campuses, Apple has again announced two new partnerships with Ohio University (OU), following a visit by Apple's vice present for education, John Couch. Apple has selected OU as a "Beta Site" for its iTunes University, which will allow OU faculty and staff to use iTunes software to manage data such as photographs, podcasts and videos for free, according to The Athens News. The report also said that Couch announced a new Apple partnership with OU on its new Go Mobile discount laptop purchasing program. In this program, the university is making laptop computers available at a low cost to students.
65-watt AC Adapter ships
Newer Technology today began shipping the NewerTech 65-watt Power Adapter for Apple PowerBooks and iBooks, featuring "Intelligent Auto Switch" capabilities. Designed for use as either a primary power supply upgrade or a spare for travel, the NewerTech adapter is compatible with all of the latest PowerBook and iBook models from Apple including the PowerBook G4 "Aluminum," iBook G4, iBook G3 (Dual USB), and PowerBook G4 "Titanium." The adapter ships with a 12-foot (4-meter) cord to relieve strain and allow maximum workspace flexibility, and puts out a full 65W of power to charge batteries at the fastest rates possible from 100 ~ 240-volt AC input at 50/60HZ. The accessory features proper Apple System Profile recognition for PowerBook G4 Aluminum 12/15/17-inch and iBook G4 models, which check the AC adapter for power supplied. The NewerTech 65-watt Power Adapter is priced at $50, and ships with a three year guarantee.
France amends DRM bill
Apple can breathe a bit easier, but will still have to renegotiate contracts with music labels and copyright holders if it wishes use its propietary iTunes music protections in France. The French Senate yesterday approved a new softened version of its copyright bill that would force companies to open-up their digital rights management (DRM) technology to their competitors to allow interoperability between different digital music services and music players, such as the iPod. Apple's "closed" ecosystem currently only allows tracks purchased on iTunes to played on the iPod. The newly added amendment would allow companies to keep their own DRM technologies and protections if they have the the approval of the copyright holders themselves.
Second NYC Apple store
Apple's flagship store in Manhattan, the company's second, will open on May 19, the fifth anniversary of the opening of the first Apple retail store. The company today updated its website with details on the grand opening of the 20,000-square foot retail store along with a countdown and a computer rendition of the "Cube," a hollow $9 million 32-foot glass cube designed and paid for by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The glass cube is visible from street level and sits above the subterranean Apple retail store, which is located on Fifth Avenue in the underground concourse of the General Motors building. The company is expected to keep the store open 24-hours a day, although Apple has not confirmed this. Apple's SoHo location recently served its five millionth customer.
Gefen HDMI adapters
Gefen has unveiled two new audio and video adapters that enabler users to integrate various hardware into a modern home theater. The DVI Audio to HDMI Adapter (shown at right) connects DVI home theater devices or DVI video graphic cards to HDMI compliant digital monitors. The DVI Audio to HDMI Adapter features one DVI, one TOSlink, and one S/PDIF input connector. Users can send HD video to a display with digital audio in TOSlink and S/PDIF formats, while the HDMI display and audio receiver connect to the unit's digital outputs. Installation is plug-and-play with the unit running on its own 5-volt power supply. The DVI Audio to HDMI Adapter is available for pre-order for $300.
Apple working on cellphone
Apple is working on developing a simple, integrated media-playing cellphone and a home-media hub, according to a new column by industry pundit Walt Mossberg. Citing different approaches to building products, Mossberg says Apple's "end-to-end" model is a sharp contrast to Microsoft's component approach. "In the component model, many companies make hardware and software that run on a standard platform, creating inexpensive commodity devices that don't always work perfectly together, but get the job done. In the end-to-end model, one company designs both the hardware and software, which work smoothly together, but the products cost more and limit choice," the columnist wrote in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal. The column adds more weight to many industry rumors about a possible "iPhone"--as recent reports suggest that Apple has already begun looking for suppliers and analysts have said any such device could affect other cell phone manufacturers. [updated]
iPod users steal music?
Real Networks' CEO Rob Glaser says iPod users are stealing music. In an interview with The Guardian, Glaser said that while users purchase some music from iTunes, most of their collections are illegally obtained. "If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it's called stealing. The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends' CDs, which is illegal." Glaser noted that Apple's closed iTunes/iPod ecosystem pushes users to piracy to obtian non-copy protected, portable, interoperable music, but admits that Apple has been able to use iTunes to help drive sales of its iPod, where it makes most of its money, while other services struggle to make on money on music.
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