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Speck Products today introduced the Spectone Retro, a 1950's style speaker system for Apple's iPod. "SpeckTone Retro looks like nothing you've seen for the iPod. The clean lines and nostalgic elegance of 1950's style makes a statement without replicating or competing with the modern, sleek look of the iPod itself. The all wood, sonically tuned speaker cabinet is finished with a high-gloss lacquered 'piano finish,' a gorgeous high-end feature previously available only on speaker sets five times the price of SpeckTone Retro," said Speck. The SpeckTone Retro offers 28 watts of output, a 4-inch subwoofer for producing bass, and two 3-inch drivers for mid to high tones. The three high-gloss lacquered finishes include the signature green/brown, black-on-black (shown at right), and the "classic" iPod white-and-silver look. SpeckTone will begin shipping on June 12th for $150.
In brief: 99 Cents Only Stores is set to celebrate the grand opening of its newest retail location in Vista, California by offering nine iPod nanos for 99 cents each, as well as 99 digital cameras for 99 cents each.... Rumors are flying that Apple is developing an iPod that can play games as well as music and digital video.... The Iconfactory has released Talos Tsui's latest freeware icon collection, ClearBlack (shown at right), that offers transparent as well as black icons for both dark and light desktops.... Arogo.net has upgraded its Mac mini dedicated hosting packages to include Intel-based Mac minis.... Chipmaker SigmaTel will likely remain the supplier for Apple's iPod shuffle, although cash balances may still drop to zero by the end of the year.
Thursby has released updates to Mac network software, DAVE 6.2 and ADmitMac 3.2, bringing native Intel compatibility to both applications as Universal Binaries. The upgrade is available for free from Thursby's website for customers running the most recent releases of the software, and the company spoke about the new changes: "These releases contain much more than Intel compatibility; it includes numerous PowerPC performance and stability enhancements that have been developed through an extended beta test and is a recommended update for all of our customers." The updates are designed to continue Thursby's commitment to network security, and include the required interfaces for future support of industry standard smart cards, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Cards (CAC). DAVE 6.2 requires Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while ADmitMac 3.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Strata today began shipping Strata 3D CX 5.0, Strata Live 3D, and Strata Foto 3D. Strata 3D CX 5.0 updates the 3D design application with the ability to render layers, as well as the capability to render Strata Live 3D content. Strata Live 3D is a new application that works with 3D modeling software such as Strata 3D CX, Strata Foto 3D, 3D Studio Max, Maya, and others to create real-time 3D models. Those models can contain animation, full textures, reflective surfaces, and interactivity. Strata Foto 3D is an efficient photo-based system for modeling real world objects that allows users to create 3D models with no technical skill or expensive hardware. Strata 3D CX 5.0 ($700) and Strata Live 3D ($500) require Mac OS X 10.3 or Microsoft Windows 2000/XP, while Strata Foto 3D ($500) requires Windows 2000/XP.
Aatrix has released a demo of Top Pay v16, its payroll solution for Mac that links directly with QuickBooks Pro for Mac. QuickBooks Pro for Mac customers can access a free 90-day trial of the software from a link within QuickBooks, while others looking for a payroll solution that will run on the Mac platform can download a free trial from the Web. Aatrix Top Pay is powerful payroll software designed by Mac users for Mac users. It combines an easy-to-use interface with features perfect for small businesses as well as more advanced features for larger companies. Top Pay v16 features a update function that automatically updates each time it is launched, new eFiling features for more than 250 approved state and federal payroll reports, an updated set of over 80 small business management forms available for human resources, and a simplified interface tool bar.
Square Box Systems today began shipping CatDV 5.0, a major update to its CatDV media asset database and video logging tool that runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The update adds support for editing sequences directly within CatDV, as well as the ability to catalog arbitrary types of files. CatDV 5 also improves existing online help, enhances integration with Final Cut Pro by supporting nested sequences, and allows users to import as well as export Final Cut Pro XML files. CatDV 5.0 Professional is priced at $275, with upgrades available from $100. CatDV 5.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later with QuickTime 6.0 or newer, as well as Java 1.4.2 or later.
Code Sorcery Workshop has released Pukka 1.2, a minimalist posting client for del.icio.us. Pukka can handle multiple accounts, auto-completes tags, and uses Bonjour for auto-discovery of local Pukka users. The software provides efficient keyboard navigation, Growl integration, the ability to drag URLs to the window or Dock, and self-updating capability with Sparkle. The update brings usage of the new SSL del.icio.us API, as well as revamped keychain handling. Pukka 1.2 incorporates a new tags field that auto-resizes based on the space required, and offers a new preference item for enabling or disabling the warning messages when users attempt to reset or otherwise close when there is unposted data. Pukka 1.2 is available for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs for $5, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
The elevator at Apple's new Fifth Avenue Store in New York last week malfunctioned, trapping five passengers inside beneath the large glass cube. Visitors on a school trip boarded the elevator to ascend to street level after visiting the store, only to find themselves stranded after one passenger exited the lift. "When we got to the street level I got out of the elevator, and the door closed behind me," wrote the passenger who managed to exit the elevator. "The exterior [door] wouldn't open but the inner door kept on opening and closing." Some of the passengers were reportedly dancing as Apple employees searched for a means to free them. Water bottles were handed down from the roof of the tube through the malfunctioning doors to the occupants, and after a brief period the New York Police Department showed up to help free the visitors.
QuickerTek has launched its AirPort Base Station Upgrade, offering wireless range up to five times greater than Apple's standard Base Station model. Customers send in the Apple AirPort Base Station to QuickerTek, which adds the upgrade technology and sends it back. Users can also purchase pre-upgraded Base Stations, and the upgrade does not require any configuration steps or extra software. The upgrade adds 500 milliwatts of RF (Radio Frequency) wireless power to the Base Station, and is available for $200. Pre-upgraded Base Stations (refurbished) are priced at $350. [updated to reflect 'refurb' condition of Base Stations]
Quark and onOne Software today announced the forthcoming release of QX-Tools Pro 7, one of the most popular collections of XTensions software for QuarkXPress. QX-Tools Pro 7 will be compatible with QuarkXPress 7 and will include several new features in addition to enhancements to existing features. The latest version of the collection includes an advanced selection tool, a new WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) font palette, and a new tips/tricks feature. "QX-Tools users have long relied on our XTensions software to enhance the high-quality feature set of previous versions of QuarkXPress," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "This new version of QX-Tools Pro 7 will continue in that tradition. QuarkXPress users will get tremendous value out of the new features and enhancements to existing features." QX-Tools Pro 7 is slated for shipment in July of 2006, and will be priced at $160. Upgrades will be available to existing QX-Tools Pro users for $70.
Rumors are flying that Apple is developing an iPod that can play games as well as music and digital video. GameSpot reports that a tech-sector recruiter made an offer to a software engineer, who turned it down saying he was being "heavily recruited by Apple." The engineer apparently said an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is leading a group within Apple's iTunes division, and that the group is hiring C and C++ programmers with a "gaming background." The engineer also reportedly said that the project was described as "super secret," and that he would not be told details until he had been hired and signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Gefen has begun shipping its DVI Audio Extender which extends DVI and digital/analog audio up to 150 feet away from an HDTV DVI or HDMI source using CAT-5 cables. The DVI Audio Extender sender unit sits next to a video source, while the cables supplied with the DVI Audio Extender connect the video source/audio source to the sender. The display/audio receiver plugs into the back of the DVI Audio Extender receiver, and two CAT-5 cables connect the sender and the receiver units to each other. The system supports VESA Standard as well as HDTV resolutions, and works with the DDWG standard for DVI compliant monitors. Multichannel digital audio (DTS, Dolby Digital, and more) is supported alongside Digital 7.1. The device transfers at 12.8Mb/sec, and ships for $650.
99 Cents Only stores is set to celebrate the grand opening of its newest retail location in Vista, California by offering nine iPod nanos for 99 cents each, as well as 99 digital cameras for 99 cents each. The first nine customers will be able to purchase a 2GB iPod nano -- which Apple sells for $199 -- for 99 cents, while the next 99 customers will be able to purchase a digital camera for 99 cents starting at 8:00 a.m. PST on June 1st, 2006. The new store is 16,300 square feet and located at 705 East Vista Way, between Escondido Avenue and East Bobier Drive, in Vista, California.
IntellaSys today released its Regen data backup software for both PowerPC and Intel-based Mac systems. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) that incorporate OnSpec interface controller chip solutions into their products have the option to furnish Regen software as an added feature. Following installation, the Regen application allows users to backup an entire drive or choose the folders and types of files to backup and sync. A Push Button Backup (PBB) feature is designed to streamline backup, restore, or sync operations. Regen software supports multiple USB drives while allowing users to assign unique PBB tasks to each drive. The application also allows backup as many times as desired and offers a scheduler to queue jobs. The Regen backup software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
In brief: Apple is set to open another retail store in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, June 3rd.... Amazon.co.uk has halted shipments of electronics, PCs, video games, and other goods to customers in the Republic of Ireland, listing those items as available for delivery only in the UK.... IronGate Server Management & Consulting, in association with Digital Transitions, is hosting the inaugural Toronto Birds of a Feather gathering on the evening of June 13th at the MaRS Discovery District on College St at University Ave.... A new report suggests that many engaged couples are turning to iPods and other portable music players rather than hiring disc jockeys or bands at their wedding receptions.... ScotteVest has unveiled the SeV Performance T-Shirt, its new line of shirts that combine Technology Enabled Clothing with performance fabric.... Podstar has begun shipping the Podstar Diablo series ($30-33, shown at right) for iPod video, a range of "devilish" body castings for the portable media player.
Microsoft today announced the availability of the Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac, its first Mac-specific desktop complete with a wireless Comfort Curve Keyboard and a wireless High Definition laser mouse. The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac features Microsoft's first keyboard designed specifically for the Mac, offering "Hot Keys" that map to Mac programs such as iTunes and iPhoto. In addition, it offers a Zoom Slider, allowing users to zoom in for a closer look at digital pictures, maps and more; customizable "My Favorites" keys; an "Eject" key; Mac modifier keys (Option, Control, and Command keys) and more. The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac will be available this summer for $100.
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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 Hermés 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