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Apple firmware updates
Apple today posted new firmware for its previously released Intel-based Macs, including the iMac Core Duo, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. Apple says the SMC Firmware Update addresses intermittent boot issues. It is available for the iMac Core Duo (1MB), MacBook Pro (1MB), and Mac Mini (1MB). Apple says that SMC firmware update starts automatically, while a status bar indicates the progress of the update. "During the update your computer fans will run at full speed, but will return to normal once the update completes. Important: Do not interrupt the update. Your computer restarts automatically when the update is completed and opens the MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update."
MacBook screen protectors
ShaggyMac is offering new screen protectors for Apple's 13.3-inch widescreen MacBook (shown at right), as well as a Prime Pac cleaning kit for laptop and desktop systems. The ShaggyMac screen protector cushions the display when the lid is closed, preventing common marks and scuffs. The screen protector is made from ShaggyMac's "TrueMicro" material and doubles as an optical polishing cloth. The Prime Pac includes one 5-ounce OptiMist Prime LCD cleaning spray, 10 "Grubby Sticks" cleaning swabs, and two TrueMicro optical polishing cloths. Screen protectors for Apple's new 13.3-inch widescreen MacBooks are priced at $13, while the Prime Pac cleaning kit ships for $17.
CDFinder, breve, UniSudoku
CDFinder 4.6 ($30) updates the media disk cataloging software, bringing native support to Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The update expands the Find feature allowing up to 16 distinctive search parameters for every query, adds five custom fields for catalogs, and offers automatic serial number generation for new catalogs.
[Download - 3.6MB]
breve 2.4 (free) is an open-source 3D software simulation package for multi-agent systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence research. The latest iteration runs natively on Intel Macs, includes improved support for genetic algorithms as well as evolutionary computation, and offers faster more robust memory management and garbage collection. [Download - 12.3MB]
PhotoComplete 1.1 ($40) brings native Intel Mac support to the photo editor for Mac OS X. Version 1.1 also includes various minor bug fixes, and allows users to add simple borders to photos. Current PhotoComplete owners can upgrade for free, and the software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 2.8MB]
Easy iWeb Publisher 1.0 (free) enables users to upload sites created with iWeb to any Web host via drag-and-drop. The Universal Binary runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, and is compatible with all versions of iWeb, including the recently released iWeb 1.1. [Download - 204KB]
UniSudoku 1.4 ($15) allows users to play the popular game of Sudoku on a Mac. An intuitive interface supports "pencil marks" that can be used to fill in guesses while staying in the flow of the game. The update brings native compatibility with Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and users can pause the game while tracking best times. [Download - 315KB]
Typing Tutor 4.2 ($26) is a personal typing trainer that features the "Five Habits of Highly Effective Touch Typing." The application can link to iTunes, enabling users to download and type favorite song lyrics as they learn. The update is a Universal Binary, adding native Intel Mac compatibility. [Download - 7.6MB]
MacResQ today announced a new line of services and upgrades for all MacBook and MacBook Pro owners. The new division, MacBookResQ, offers upgrade and repair services worldwide, including LCD Screen Repairs, Hard Drive Upgrades, Memory Upgrades, and Diagnostic Services. A flat-rate hard drive upgrade includes the following: MacBookResQ will send a custom PowerBox to the customer's location in the continental U.S. via overnight courier to pickup the unit for overnight delivery back to the MacBookResQ service center. MacBookResQ will receive the unit, install the SATA drive of the customer's choice and transfer the data, then return the unit back to the customer overnight." The company said that the drive installation and data transfer is done within one business day. Pricing for a 120GB upgrade (along with data transfer and shipping) is $330.
Teddy Factory released
Toybox Games and Macgamestore.com have released Toybox's latest Mac game, Teddy Factory. "Try your skills in the exciting new game play of Teddy Factory. In this cut throat Toy industry it's a wild mix of matching and precision aiming, all with the drive of constant orders, and Oh those demanding customers. How far can you climb the Corp ladder at the local Teddy Factory? Will you get that promotion? Try it out!" It features 45 different levels, a 'Survival' and 'Quest' modes, three difficulty levels, and full/window modes. It is available at MacGameStore.com as a digital download for $20. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Faronics Power Save Mac
Faronics today released Faronics Power Save Mac, an intelligent utility that effectively controls and manages Macintosh energy usage throughout an enterprise. Organizations can see significant energy savings by using Power Save Mac by scheduling their computers to log off, restart, shut down, or start up at specified times on a one-time or repeating basis. The utility is conveniently installed as a preference pane within the Mac OS X System Preferences, and has an integrated inactivity monitor that can automatically cause computers to log out, shutdown or restart after a specified number of minutes of inactivity. This ensures that even if a Power Save event has not been scheduled, your Macs will use power as efficiently as possible. A single-user version is $10, while volume pricing is available online (along with a a demo).
Mamba S MacBook case
BOOQ today unveiled the Mamba S, a vertical messenger bag designed for Apple's new 13-inch MacBook. The compact and lightweight Mamba S protects the MacBook, accessories, and additional personal items with a convenient flap that features a magnetic closure. A variety of fully lined and padded Velcro pockets store accessories, while the MacBook is kept in an entirely separate compartment surrounded by a half-inch of high-density foam padding lined with a non-scratch material on all six sides. The Mamba S is priced at $110 and is available now, but is back ordered until May 29th.
MacBook wallpaper, Contour
In brief: InterfaceLIFT has released more than 600 widescreen wallpapers for the new MacBook at its native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.... Contour Design is giving away 200 iSee Nano cases, and is offering a 15 percent discount on all of its hard shell cases until May 23rd, 2006.... Group Logic today announced that Findel Education, the largest supplier of educational products in the U.K., has deployed a MassTransit solution to help expand its business and increase new contract orders through automated file transmissions.... Radical Breeze has announced reduced pricing on its DiscBlaze software, as well as a single purchase option for multiple platforms.... AudioBase.com today released Techno Base 1, a collection of 2,000 loops by seven of the site's top techno producers.... ezGear is now shipping the ezTrip Shuffle FM Transmitter ($45) for Apple's iPod Shuffle.
Call Recorder for Skype
Ecamm Network today released Call Recorder, an easy way to record Skype calls and podcasts. Call Recorder is an add-on for Skype which automatically transforms calls into QuickTime movies. It can be used for lessons, interviews, podcasts or just having fun. A Call Recorder window allows users to start and stop the recording, as well as adjust recording options, including file size and quality. Calls are saved as QuickTime movies with the local and remote side of the conversation on different tracks. and each file is saved with information in the file name for easy categorization and search. "You can configure Call Recorder to carefully record and save all internet phone correspondences, ensuring accountability and fulfilling corporate audit-trail needs. " It also supports the AAC file format as well as the ability to convert into the MP3 format. A try-before-you-buy download the $15 software is available now online.
Propel Accelerator 5.2
Propel Software today announced the general availability of Propel Accelerator 5.2 for Macintosh. The company says it is still the only Internet accelerator on the market with a native Mac interface; the new version runs on all Mac operating systems version 10.2 and above, including both PowerPC and Intel-based Mac platforms. Propel Accelerator provides an optimized experience for users of dial-up connections, low-speed broadband, wireless mobile data and 802.11 hotspots. It is currently deployed by hundreds of ISPs and other Propel users in more than 75 countries, according to the company Propel launched its original native-interface version for the Mac in 2004.
D-Link ships RangeBooster
D-Link today began shipping its RangeBooster G multifunction printer server DPR-1260, a multi-port wireless print server that supports multifunction printers. Users can plug a USB printer into one of the four ports and run the automatic configuration wizard to start printing and scanning over a wireless network. The D-Link DPR-1260 can also be used to provide wireless connectivity to any Ethernet-enabled device, such as a computer or Network-Attached Storage (NAS). The Quick Installation Wizard included with the D-Link DPR-1260 eases the process of setting up the print server and configuring the attached printers when attaching multiple devices. The RangeBooster G multifunction printer server DPR-1260 is priced at $120, and ships with a one-year warranty as well as free 24-hour tech support that includes firmware updates.
Aperture customers cry out
Many early Aperture license holders are banding together with the hope of drawing Apple's attention, as frustration mounts regarding Aperture 1.1's increased system requirements. "Like many others when Aperture was released I ordered a new Power Mac to be able to run Aperture. At the time the nVIDIA GeForce 6600 was a recommended system," said one user. With increased system requirements and no way to upgrade to a better graphics card, many users want Apple to either sell an individual card to upgrade their systems or take back their current machines so that they can purchase newer hardware to run Aperture as they originally intended. "As it currently stands Aperture is painfully slow and all indications are the only fix is upgrading my graphics card to the GeForce 7800 GT. Unfortunately Apple will not sell this card alone nor do they provide an upgrade path."
iPod accessory production
A new report suggests that mainland China and Taiwan accessory manufacturers expect to produce over $104 million worth of iPod and related audio accessories in 2006 -- up 37 percent year-over-year. "The iPod phenomenon has created plenty of opportunities for accessory manufacturers. At least 50 new suppliers are ready to begin production this year in Taiwan and mainland China alone," report publisher Mark Saunderson said. The report forecasts 2006 production value of about $33 million for mainland China manufacturing -- up 85 percent -- while Taiwan production is expected to be about $71 million. "Production costs are increasing due to compliance with the European restriction of hazardous substances directive and high energy costs. Many manufacturers expect to increase export prices by about 10 percent in the months ahead," Saunderson added.
Heliodisplay M2 launched
IO2 Technology today launched Heliodisplay M2, its second-generation Heliodisplay free-space display. Like the first-generation Heliodisplay M1, the Heliodisplay M2 displays high-resolution, full-color video in thin air, without a physical screen. The M2 features a screen area 87 percent larger than that of the M1, and a rear projection system captures images onto a nearly invisible plane of transformed air. The company's Heliodisplay weighs 48 pounds, boasts 16.7 million colors for full frame video, and offers a 2000-to-1 contrast ratio. RGB analog, USB, RCA, S-Video, and VGA connectors enable easy connectivity, and the device is compatible with NTSC as well as PAL and SECAM HDTV. Both the M2 and M2i feature a 30-inch diagonal (4-to-3 aspect) image, and the M2i utilizes cursor control interactive capabilities enabling "virtual touchscreen" control. The devices ship with a six month limited parts and labor warranty (pricing was unavailable).
Navicast 3.2 released
Barsark today released a new version of the Navicast Online-TV system. Navicast 3.2 allows organizations to publish, distribute, and present movies to the Web, online-TV applications, and mobile phones via drag-and-drop. The update adds full support for publishing to and controlling Navicast PreZenter, as well as improved movie compression/cropping. Navicast 3.2 for Mac includes support for publishing .mp4 and .3gp files, improves viewer stats and reports, enhances channel and system management, offers better control of intro movies, and adds a mobile phone player. The latest iteration of Navicast also improves support for custom html-player designs, and integrates full support to manage and control movies that are published directly from mobile phones. Navicast 3.2 is priced at $160 (system requirements were unavailable).
Review, MacBook photos
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Altec Lansing's AHS302 USB Stereo Headset with Microphone ($40, shown at right).... Apple's new MacBooks have arrived in Chicago, and one user has posted photos of the new laptop.... 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.... Nemetschek North America announced that with its distribution partner in Norway, Dakantus AS, it is releasing a localized version of VectorWorks 12.... Apple has sent out its promised Aperture e-coupons, good at Apple stores for those users who purchased Aperture prior to the price cut in April.... Stellar Information Systems has announced Stellar Phoenix Macintosh, its application that allows users to recover data from damaged, deleted, or corrupted volumes, and from initialized disks.
NUDC 5.2 for Intel Macs
Now Software today released Now|Up to Date and Contact 5.2, a new version of its contact management solution that provides limited support for Intel-based Macs. The company has added Universal support to both its QuickContact and QuickDay functions, while offering other improvements as well. Now Up-to-Date adds a new unified toolbar and titlebar, offers iproved reliability of Save a Backup and Auto backup, printing improvements, and several bug fixes. The Now Contact also adds a new toolbar/titlebar, a new category color to the contact detail window, new XML-based web services a hierarchical menu for Web Services, and a new 'Save a Backup' function. The company plans to release a fully Intel-native version of its software in the near future. The current version is compatible with Mac OS X version 10.3.5 through 10.4.5. It is a free update to the $120 cross-platform application.
Analyst looks at Mac vs PC
The price of Apple's Mac systems is more than its comparable PC couterparts, but less than most people think, according to one analyst. Senior research analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray said that his comparison of Apple's new Intel-based iMac and MacBook Pro against several PCs from Dell and HP showed that the average difference in price is about 13 percent compared to a non-Apple PC. When comparing notebooks, he found the difference is even less at 10 percent. Munster said that these numbers compare favorably to the general consensus, which he estimates at 20 to 30 percent.
IEWebFix 1.1 released
Recent changes to Internet Explorer 6 are set to impact a large number of websites, and one Mac developer has produced a solution for Web developers. After Microsoft lost a lawsuit to a small company named Eolas, the Seattle-based software giant elected to break seamlessly-integrated active content elements in Web pages and launched the new behavior as part of a "non security update" patch to Internet Explorer in April. The resulting IEWebFix 1.1 software is designed to repair active content elements such as QuickTime or Flash movies, as well as ActiveX components. IEWebFix is available for $20, and is compatible with Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
iPod Hi-Fi case debuts
Tunewear today launched its genuine Italian nappa leather case dubbed "Concerto Bianco for iPod Hi-Fi." The case is crafted using genuine Italian nappa leather, delicate hand stitching, and a soft felt lining. The grille (not included) is easily attached or removed without the need to remove the Concerto Bianco, and the case includes a removable strap that can attach to the carry handles of the iPod Hi-Fi using a soft leather wrap. Concerto Bianco has two openings on the back for the AC power and audio cables, while an additional small leather case totes the Apple remote control with openings for the buttons. Concerto Bianco for iPod Hi-Fi is slated for shipment in June for $300.
Ricoh color laser printers
Ricoh today introduced the Ricoh Aficio SP C410DN and Aficio SP C411DN color laser printers, two compact printing systems designed to combine color and fast print speeds. Designed for small to medium size businesses and large workgroups, the Aficio SP C410DN and Aficio SP C411DN allow efficient color and black & white printing with expanded security and energy-saving features. The Aficio SP C410DN boasts print speeds of 26 pages per minute (ppm), while the Aficio SP C411DN produces 31ppm in both full color and black and white. Standard integrated duplexing saves both time and paper, printing two-sided pages at nearly 100 percent of simplex speed. With extended memory and high performance 600 MHz controller, the Aficio SP C410DN and Aficio SP C411DN provide quick output of large files. The Aficio SP C410DN is available for $1,200, and the Aficio SP C411DN ships for $1,600. The IS200e Image Scanner is priced at $1,800.
Discovery on iTunes
Discovery Communications today announced that content from Discovery's family of networks is now available for purchase from Apple's iTunes Music Store US. The offering includes programming from the Discovery Channel, the number one television and media brand in the United States and around the globe, as well as TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel and Discovery Kids. With the addition of more than a dozen series and specials from Discovery, iTunes now offers even more video content to download for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod. "We're thrilled to bring video programming from Discovery Communications to the iTunes Music Store," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "Customers can now choose from a wide range of great video content from Discovery's family of networks."
OWC G4/933MHz upgrade
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced its new Mercury Extreme G4/933 Megahertz (MHz) processor upgrade as well as price reductions on its entire Mercury Extreme G4 line. The Mercury Extreme G4 upgrades improve performance of the OS and applications currently being used while also allowing users to take advantage of newer software with faster processor requirements as well. Each Mercury Extreme G4 features 256KB of 1:1 L2 Cache and 2MB of high-speed L3 Cache. All units are covered by OWC's three-year limited warranty and offer a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee, allowing customers to try without risk. The new G4/933MHz w/2MB L3 Cache is available for $160, while the 1.0GHz model is $190 ($5 reduction), the 1.2GHz version is $220 ($20 reduction), the 1.4GHz version is $260 ($30 reduction), and the 1.5GHz version is $310 ($40 reduction).
MacBook Pros get update
Along with the introduction of new consumer MacBooks, the company also updated the speeds of the 15-inch MacBook Pro processors. The $1,999 MacBook Pro now ships with a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor, while the $2,499 model now ships with a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo chip. The company also added a new "Glossy" display option to its build-to-order options for both the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro at the Apple Store. Apple says the glossy widescreen display, which ships standard with the new consumer MacBooks, makes graphics, photos, and videos appear with richer color and deeper blacks and is "great for watching DVD movies. If you prefer a display with anti-glare coating for a matte rather than glossy viewing experience, choose the standard widescreen display." The gloss display is available at no extra charge from the Apple Store. The new faster MacBook Pros are available for immediately delivery.
Shinza.com ZeroShock case
Shinza.com today released its new ZeroShock case for the Apple's 17-Inch MacBook Pro notebook computer. Available in black and silver grey colors, the ZeroShock case is composed of a high-resistance polyurethane foam that "provides superior absorption of external impact force. Considering the 17-Inch MacBook Pro's starting price of $2,799, the ZeroShock case offers ideal protection for this substantial computing investment." The case is available in both black and grey, offers high-resistance polyurethane that provides superior protection against external shocks, is custom designed to fit the 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro, and allows the notebook to be used in place, without removing it from the sleeve. It features two high-quality zippers with easy-to-grab rubber "mini-handles" and is designed to be carried inside a separate bag or backpack. It is available now for $35.
Photoshop 9.01 update
Adobe today released an update to its popular image maninpulation program. Photoshop 9.01 (CS2) update for English (and International versions) fixes a number of problems discovered after Photoshop CS2 (9.0) was released; The application no longer hangs for several seconds when using painting tools with quick strokes; it fixes a runtime error that could appear when mousing over a high-res document with the Brush tool has been fixed; documents containing a large number of text layers now open more quickly; problems related to palettes (slow redraw, palettes go white, possible crash) have been addressed; TIFF files from certain scanners can now be opened correctly; after editing an image in Photoshop CS2 via the TouchUp tool in Adobe Acrobat? software, the image no longer gets repositioned; XMP metadata from AI and PDF files is now retained in Photoshop; slow performance when toggling layer visibility has been fixed; info palette numbers are now displayed and updated when moving a curve point in Curves via the cursor keys; and problems opening certain TIFF and PSB files greater than 2GB have been resolved.
New MacBook laptop
Apple today unveiled the newly designed MacBook, its new consumer notebook featuring the Intel Core Duo processor and a new 13-inch glossy widescreen display. Apple says the new sleek design is up to five times faster than the iBook and up to four times faster than the 12-inch PowerBook. Together with the 15-and 17-inch MacBook Pros, the new MacBook, which starts at $1,099, completes Apple's Intel-based portables lineup and replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook. Apple's line of portables now offers Intel Core Duo processors; a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go; Front Row media experience with Apple Remote; and several advanced features including DVI with dual display support, optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor, Scrolling TrackPad and MagSafe Power Adapter. Three MacBook models are available--two white models for $1,099 (60GB/Combo) and $1,299 (60GB/SuperDrive) and a black model for $1,499 (80GB/SuperDrive).
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