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Symantec CEO: buy a Mac
Macs received a big endorsement today from the CEO of one the leading security companies. Symantec CEO John Thompson touted the security of the Mac platform, saying that the current dominance of Windows attracts more hackers and virus writers. "We think more people ought to buy them," Thompson said of Apple's growing Mac platform. CNET News.com reports that he was responding to a question from the audience at the Future in Review conference on Monday. He also said that the "target-rich" environment created by Windows vulnerabilities means that virus writers and hackers have set their sights on Windows PCs; however, he warned that as Macs become more popular, the platform may attract more attention from virus writers and that an increasing number of phishing attacks are independent of any operating system. Earlier this year, the company released a patch for a critical security flaw in its LiveUpdate for Macintosh and late last year issued a patch to resolve a critical flaw in its Norton anti-virus application.
FM Transmitter for Shuffle
ezGear is shipping the ezTrip Shuffle FM Transmitter for Apple iPod Shuffle. The ezTrip offers an LCD display, access to all FM frequencies between 97.7 to 107.9, is small and compact, and includes a coiled cable to keep wires neat. The ezTrip draws its power from the car DC socket providing a stronger signal than other FM transmitters powered from the iPod as well as a clearer signal and reduced interference from local radio stations, according to the company. "We didn't want to develop "just" another FM transmitter. We made it better," said Charlie Bernstein, President of ezGear. "Based on our widely popular ezTrip for iPod technology, the ezTrip Shuffle continues our commitment to quality, features and value." The ezTrip Shuffle is available for $45.
MySpace sells videos
Apple's iTunes faces yet another rival in the rapidly expanding digital video market: this time from the most popular social networking Web, Rupert Murdoch's MySpace. According to Forbes, a new promotion will jumpstart the networking's site move to ecommerce as well as leverage its own video content. "Starting next Monday May 22, MySpace users will be able to download two free episodes of Fox's hypersonic-paced drama 24 from the "Have it your way" page, while a "social network" will be created around the show where users will interact with each other, create content and download the entire first and fifth seasons of the drama for $1.99 per episode." MySpace is the largest video site on the Web, with more video uploaded every day than other site, according to Fox Entertainment--that makes it the perfect distribution channel, according to its president. Last week, Fox and Apple announced iTunes would sell Fox TV shows via iTunes.
iLife \'06 updates
Apple today released updates to its iLife '06 applications, including iDVD 6.02, which addresses issues with burning some 16:9 projects and improves overall stability; iWeb 1.1, which adds comment and search support for blogs and podcasts published to .Mac. It also addresses a variety of usability and performance issues for all users, including image management fixes to improve site load performance; iPhoto 6.03, which addresses issues with Photocasting of Smart Albums, sharing iPhoto libraries, and creating calendars and books as well as a number of other minor issues; and iMovie HD 6.03, which addresses issues with PAL audio and displaying iLife Sound Effects automatically in its iLife Media Browser. It also improves overall stability and address a number of other minor issues.
Intel overclocked, EFF
In brief: One user claims to have overclocked an Intel Core Duo (T2600) to as high as 3.8GHz.... The U.S. government filed a motion on Saturday to intervene and seek dismissal of a suit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against AT&T over a federal program to monitor U.S. communications.... BBC News 24 accidentally interviewed a cab driver about the outcome of the Apple Computer versus Apple Corps court case, who played along and suggested that we will soon see "a lot of people downloading the internet and the website and everything they want...." Really Basic REALbasic has completely revamped its website for beginning REALbasic users that offers information about programming.... MacEnterprise.org is set to host its next webcast entitled "Apple Remote Desktop 3 and Automator: A match made in heaven" on Tuesday, May 16th at 1:00 p.m. EDT.... Macsupport.ca has offered a tip for Intel Mac users, who can use Apple's remote to choose a boot drive by pressing the "Menu" button just after the startup chime sounds.
Creative sues Apple
Creative has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting that the Commission institute an investigation of whether Apple has violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 through its importation and sale after importation into the United States of iPods and iPod Nanos that infringe U.S. Patent 6,928,433, which Creative refers to as the "Zen Patent." As relief, Creative is seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist order against Apple to prohibit Apple from engaging in sales, marketing, importation or sale after importation into the United States, or other infringing activities in the United States with regard to the infringing iPod and iPod Nano products. Creative also filed a lawsuit today against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that seeks an injunction and increased damages for Apple Computer Inc.'s willful infringement of the Zen Patent.
Apple music revenues, $15b
Analysis carried out by the independent research and consulting provider Generator shows that Apple's music business could more than double the size of the company in just five years. For the year ending September 2002, music contributed only 2.6 percent to Apple's total revenues. By September 2005, however, music had grown to account for 40 percent of revenues and by September this year, Apple will be deriving most of its revenue from music, rather than iMacs. "Most people now understand that Apple's music business is the main source of growth but what's not widely appreciated is just how big the music business could become in the future. It's a big worry for some people in the industry," said Andrew Sheehy, Vice President of Research at Generator.
RSSDreamFeeder 1.4 ($50) is a free update to the Dreamweaver extension for creating RSS feeds from existing Dreamweaver-based content. Version 1.4 offers case-sensitive URLs in all locations where linking might occur within the feed, and all extracted content within feeds is checked for closing HTML tags. Missing colors are also added to ensure that content is valid XML.
[Download - 1.8MB]
Dossier 2.1.3 ($20) migrates the journal style personal/workgroup information manager from an entry limited demo to a full 30-day trial. The software includes Rendezvous networking, live search, "smart" folders to organize entries based on rules, and password protection/encryption. Dossier 2.1.3 also features integration with Blogger and LiveJournal, as well as export to Word, RTF, and text. [Download - 2.3MB]
xBack 3.6.1 ($10) updates the utility that replaces the Mac OS X desktop with a screen saver, fixing an issue related to bundle serials. The software allows users to quickly start/stop or change the desktop screen saver, configure the screen saver preferences without the need to open System Preferences, and more. [Download - 933KB]
Media Phone Plug-ins 2.7 (€10) adds support for Nokia and Siemens phones to Apple's iSync software. The plug-ins support the Nokia E61, Nokia N7,1 and Siemens SL7F phones. The update marks support for more than 28 mobile phones from Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson.
Mint Recent Referrers ($5) is a Dashboard widget that displays a list of the ten most recent referrals to a designated website. The widget shows the site the visitor came from, where on that site they came from, and where on your site they arrived. All information is tracked in the background, and updated at a customizable frequency.
Shuffle Up (free) is a poker tournament clock utilizing Cocoa and Quartz composer. Shuffle Up provides a simplistic interface that is easy on the eyes while delivering important information to guests. The customizable clock is designed to replace Web-based alternatives, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 242KB]
AU approves iPod downloads
The Australian government has decided to change its copyright laws, allowing users to record television programs and transfer music from CDs to an iPod legally. While downloading music and video files from the internet remains illegal, and authorities have threatened to heavily police such activities, the changes will allow consumers to record shows for one-time playback with family and friends. The changes also put in place new enforcement measures to combat piracy, such as on-the-spot fines, proceeds-of-crime remedies, and a change to presumptions in litigation to ease the process of establishing copyright piracy, according to PortalIT.
iStyles iPod sleeves ship
iStyles today announced the launch of iStyles Sleeves for fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. Each sleeve is made from one of twenty-three exotic materials that consist of high quality fabrics, leather, suede leather, semi-microfibre synthetic leather, synthetic fur, and straw. The insides of each sleeve are lined with a micro-fiber cloth that not only protects the iPod from scratches, but also polishes and cleans the device as it is placed inside the sleeve. Each sleeve also ships with an easily hidden loop that can be attached to belts, backpacks, or other items. iStyles Sleeves are priced at $10, and are available in limited quantities according to the company.
Apple\'s security patch
Despite fixing 31 different software vulnerabilities in a range of products that could be used by remote attackers to compromise Mac OS systems, Apple's latest security patch falls short, according to one researcher. Infoworld notes that Apple's latest security update, which was released last week, includes critical software fixes for holes in OS X, the Safari Web browser, and Mac components for viewing image and video files, but leaves some holes reported by independent researcher Tom Ferris unpatched--although he reported them to Apple last month. According to the report, Ferris said the company did not patch security flaws in Safari, QuickTime, and the iTunes application; he described them as critical flaws that allow remote code execution, but did not post the details on his Web site in April (although he is now). In addition, he said that Ferris has found new holes in Mac OS X affecting TIFF format files and BOMArchiver, an application used to compress files, Infoworld writes.
Recycled rubber cases
Better Energy Systems today launched Tread, a new line of digital accessory cases made from reengineered Columbian truck tires. Each environmentally aware case is hand crafted and one of a kind, featuring durable waterproof rubber and nylon stitching. The cases boast a sleek design coupled with an integrated headphone holder. The various case styles are available for 40GB third-generation iPod ($30), iPod nano in four colors ($35, Ellipse III blue shown at right), and PowerBook G4 or MacBook Pro ($100). All Tread cases ship with a one-year warranty.
FireLite XPress storage
SmartDisk today introduced FireLite XPress, the portable, palm-sized hard drive that includes a unique cholesteric liquid crystal display. The always-on display is readable without power, identifies the drive by a user-designated name, indicates the last date that information was recorded and provides a table of contents for the drive. According to the company, the display provides excellent readability even in direct sunlight, allows for wide-angle viewing and exhibits high brightness and contrast. The palm-sized FireLite drives weigh about six ounces and are "Mass Storage Class" peripherals, requiring no driver installation when used with operating systems like Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, Windows XP and Windows Me. All FireLite drives, including the new XPress, feature BounceBack Express backup software. They will ship in June for $200 (60GB) and $300 (120GB).
FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1
AEC Software today released FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1, a new update to the company's premier project management application. FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1 offers enhanced data exchange with Microsoft Project through XML, new support for opening Microsoft Project template (.MPT) files, and the capability to open Microsoft Project (.MPP) files within FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1 running on Intel-based Macs. A FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1 Updater is available as a free download for FastTrack Schedule 9 users. FastTrack Schedule 9.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later or Microsoft Windows XP/Me/2000/98SE/NT 4.0, and is available in the U.S. for $350.
Micro Heaven, iHome IH5
Micro Heaven today announced a partnership with iHome Audio to sell its iH5 iPod clock radio in addition to the company's existing iPod accessories. The iHome iH5 iPod clock radio features a "wake to iPod" AM/FM radio/buzzer, removable dock inserts that fit all docking iPods and charge the devices while docked, programmable sleep, and stereo drivers utilizing exclusive Reson8 speakers. The device includes a patch cord, gradual wake and gradual sleep increase/decrease alarm or sleep volume, and a multifunction LCD display with adjustable backlighting. The iH5 is available for pre-order from www.easyishop.co.uk for £100, and is slated for shipment in late June.
Videocue 2, Wirecast 2
Vara Software has released Videocue 2 and Wirecast 2, updated versions of its movie making and webcast applications. Videocue 2 helps users create movies while reading words aloud. The application features a scrolling teleprompter, blog and video-blog support, Core Image transitions, podcasting, 3D graphics, and more. Wirecast 2 eases the process of creating dynamic webcasts, designed for building detailed multimedia broadcasts with numerous cameras, images, titles, and movies. Wirecast introduces the concept of shots, allowing users to package up selected cameras, graphical overlays, movies, and titles into a "shot." Videocue 2 is priced at $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, while Wirecast 2 is available for $450 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Apple phone dubbed a rumor
In brief: Softbank today released a short statement dismissing the iTunes mobile phone plans as a rumor.... The role of FileMaker Pro database technology in content management for multiple publications at Harvard University Press will be featured in a session presentation at the 2006 Book Expo America, May 17-19th.... PC Publishing has released "Keep It Simple with GarageBand," offering a series of ten easy music-making projects written specifically for beginners and amateur musicians.... Tunewear has launched its new Tetran Luminous ($13, shown at right) glow in the dark cable winder for iPod and other portable media players.... Canto is inviting users to attend QuarkXPress 7 Launch events, which feature Quark technology partners and XTensions software developers in various cities throughout Europe.
Urge beta set to launch
Apple will finally experience some real competition this Wednesday when a beta version of Urge -- a joint effort between MTV and Microsoft -- will launch to the masses. The Urge service will offer both subscription-based song downloads and pay-for-play ownership of digital tracks, priced competitively with similar services. Urge, like iTunes, plans to sell individual tracks for $0.99 each, allowing users to keep those songs even after they stop purchasing music from the online service. Urge, however, is also offering subscription services for users who prefer to "rent" music, which allows unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee that become useless should they stop paying for the subscription. Urge is due to launch with an offering of 2 million tracks, matching iTunes, according to ITWire, but will not be compatible with Apple's iPod digital media player. Microsoft has said it will integrate Urge into its Windows Media Player, which will push the new service onto Windows desktops.
Default Folder X 3.0
St. Clair Software has released Default Folder X 3.0, a major update to the utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs. Default Folder X 3.0 runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and adds Spotlight comments as well as search keywords to files immediately while users are naming a file in the Save dialog. Expanded support for AppleScript allows users to control Open and Save dialogs, and numerous user interface/compatibility enhancements make Default Folder X easier to use. Further changes to the application include the ability to edit Spotlight comments within Open and Save dialogs from Default Folder X's Get Info window, while two additional AppleScript commands -- SetDefaultFolder and GetDefaultFolder -- allow programmatic control of the initial folder shown in the Open or Save dialogs of any application. Default Folder X 3.0 is priced at $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
MaxUpgrades, 17\" MBPs
MaxUpgrades has announced its iProtect Micro Screen Protector, as well as its MaxProtect for 17-inch MacBook Pros. MaxProtect (shown at right) is an impact resistant carrying sleeve made from "Visco-Elastic Memory Foam" designed to resist impact and shock. iProtect Micro Screen Protector provides protection against dust, scratches, grease, and oil that gradually get deposited on the laptop keyboard and palm rest area by every day use. iProtect Micro Screen Protector is made with ultra-fine microfibers that protect and remove dust particles, grease, and fingerprints, while also protecting the LCD display from keyboard and trackpad indentation, which is caused by the keyboard keys touching the display when the notebook is closed. MaxProtect for 17-inch MacBook Pros ship for $30, while iProtect Micro Screen Protectors are priced at $12 each.
Softpress Freeway 4.2
Softpress Systems has released version 4.2 of Freeway Pro and Freeway Express. This update includes the new Freeway Shop, an easy-to-use e-commerce solution that allows web designers to set up shop pages and effortlessly integrate with a choice of back-end payment processors. It also includes an innovative suite of Actions that allows Freeway users to create catalog pages, shopping carts and connect to a choice of payment authorization schemes as well a fix for the Eolas/Explorer issue, speed enhancements and a useful Save as Template feature. It is a free update to the Universal Application. Freeway Pro is $250 (electronic), while Freeway Express is $90. The Pro version adds multiple output options (HTML 3.2, HTML 4.01, XHTML Transitional and Strict), full choice of output encodings, an auto-generated link map, support for multiple windows for the same document, full CSS text styling and CSS Layout, and more.
PACE Interlok 5.4 released
PACE Anti-Piracy has released version 5.4 of InterLok for Macintosh, an update to its copy-protection for Mac-based software that now includes support for protection of Intel-native and Universal binaries. InterLok can be used for pure software copy protection or hardware-based copy protection using the optional iLok USB Smart key. Version 5.4 continues to support the same range of software licensing features as previous InterLok versions: automated wrapping, easy integration into existing build systems, trialware and buy-before-you-try functionality, metering, software rental, remote feature/module control, iLok USB smart key support, web-based user registration, and automatic delivery of authorization via the Internet. Developers can protect both Xcode- and gcc-based projects as well as all types of Mac OS X executables, including applications, bundles, and frameworks. Interlok also provides support for PACE's patented embedded checksum technology for Mach-O executables.
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