Sony's Connect music service, which the company hoped would unseat Apple's iTunes dominance, suffered from a number of setbacks and was ultimately unsuccessful, as the company discontinued development of its software earlier this year. CNET News.com has an insider's look the software development project, which was headed by former Apple employee and QuickTime guru Peter Hoddie at the third-party Kinoma startup. Hoddie reportedly was able to convince Sony executives to turn to the startup because of "Apple's meteoric rise in music has left top Sony executives with both respect and envy for Apple's products, even while they resist becoming dependent on Microsoft's digital music technology. Kinoma and Hoddie appealed to their envy of Apple and their aversion to Microsoft." Released only in Japan and Europe, the Connect software was ultimately discontinued this past April due to continued problems; however, Kinoma is still working on Sony's new, high-profile eBook Reader, according to the report.
Econ Technologies today updated ChronoSync 3.3, the automated synchronization and backup application for Mac OS X. The significant update introduces French, German, and Japanese translations as well as simpler sync direction indicators, folder attribute preservation, new sync triggers, and more. ChronoSync will run natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs computers running Panther or Tiger. The Setup panel contains a simple pop-up menu to select synchronization direction along with a guide to show the outcomes of each mode. All synchronizations will now maintain folder modification and creation dates. New sync triggers have been added to give more control over when a synchronization occurs. It also offers updated online help and an improved toolbar. Version 3.3 is a free update to the $30 application.
Mozilla.org today released Firefox 220.127.116.11, an important security update to the open-source browser. The update fixes 12 different security issues, including a privilege escalation using addSelectionListener and XUL persist, website XSS using BOM on UTF-8 pages, file stealing by changing input type, a buffer overflow in crypto.signText() funcion, HTTP response smuggling, and fixes for crashes with potential memory corruption.
Element Software has released Copper Project 2006, an update to its project management software. Copper Project 2006 features a new timeline chart, Microsoft Project import, billing & invoicing with PDF creation, and more than 100 other refinements. Copper is available in standard and corporate versions, designed for basic team management or extended/enhanced project management of teams, respectively. The corporate edition offers advanced permissions, a central file server, reporting, gantt charts, and more. Copper 2006 standard edition is priced at $500 with a hosted subscription fee of $50/month, while the corporate edition costs $1,000 with a $100/month subscription fee.
In brief: SecurityFocus, home of the Bugtraq mailing list, has launched a new mailing list for Apple security discussion.... Lamiavia.com has released the new "Toscana" series containing two new iWeb templates entitled "Portfolio" and "Vertigo...." ZDNet is describing yet another battery issue with Apple's MacBook Pro, one that may be related to the company's previous silent recall.... Clef Palate, a video podcast show, has released a parody of Apple's TV commercial on YouTube poking fun at competing cooking vidcasts.... HeadProng has begun shipping the uSport headband for iPod shuffle ($25), a combination elastic terry cloth headband and neoprene iPod shuffle pouch.... Contour Design today announced that it is offering free shipping on all of its iPod cases to celebrate Father's Day and the graduation season.
Unsanity today released Menu Master 1.4 and ClearDock 1.4 as Universal Binaries, bringing native Intel-Mac compatibility to both applications. Menu Master allows users to change or remove menu shortcut keys in any application, as well as set shortcuts to any menu item that previously had no shortcut. Menu Master 1.4 includes Menu Accelerator, adds automatic update functionality, and fixes numerous bugs. ClearDock removes the semi-transparent white background from the Dock, allowing its icons to "float" above the desktop. ClearDock 1.4 offers compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4, as well as various bug fixes. Menu Master 1.4 is priced at $10 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while ClearDock 1.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. Unsanity also recently updated Silk 2.1.3, which enables Quartz text rendering in Carbon applications, substitutes fonts, and allows changing of the theme font.
GraphicConverter 5.9 ($30) brings support for importing Sony RAW files as well as import/export of ICC info in PNG files to the graphic conversion application. The update includes an option to create xmp metadata parallel to iptc records, a new batch function to create xmp metadata from iptc records, new CoreImage support for filters with two images, and more. [Download - 17MB] MegaDialer 1.0 ($10) provides a centralized location to manage address books and VoIP (Voice over IP) dialers. The software is designed to eliminate complexities typically associated with transferring data between contact sources and dialers. MegaDialer enables users to retrieve contact phone numbers from various address books, SkypeOut, LDAP storage, CSV/vCard files, and can make a call from a computer over VoIP. [Download - 2.9MB] Music Collector, Movie Collector, and Book Collector ($40 each) comprise three new cataloging programs for Mac OS X that allow users to manage large collections of CDs, DVDs, and books. The applications are designed to minimize typing, and all relevant information is downloaded from several online sources. [Download - 2.6MB (Music Collector), 2.5MB (Movie Collector), and 2.4MB (Book Collector)] Pro Tools 7.1.1 (free) is an update for all Pro Tools LE owners with Pro Tools LE 7.0 or 7.1 software, while Pro Tools M-Powered 7.1.1 is also available for free for Pro Tools M-Powered owners with M-Powered iLok authorization. The updates provide support for Intel-based Macs on the Digi 002, Digi 002 Rack, Mbox 2, and Mbox Digidesign Pro Tools LE systems. [Download - 125.2MB (authorization code required)] Screenography 1.008 ($40, regularly $50) captures a Mac screen to various image, movie, and Flash formats. Screenography features include the ability to capture or record any portion of the screen, as well as the capability to capture objects on the screen such as windows or dialog boxes. Users can save captured content to BMP, GIF, JPEG, PDF, Photoshop, PICT, PNG, SWF, Targa, and TIFF formats. [Download - 3MB] Butler 4.1.2 (donationware) is software designed to ease execution of varying and potentially recurring tasks. Butler enables users to arrange tasks in a fully customizable configuration where it allows assignment of one or more triggers to tasks. Triggers can include the menu bar/docklet, pop-up menus, abbreviations, hotkeys, hot corners, and events. [Download - 1.8MB]
Escient has released FireBall-PC, an application for Mac OS X and Windows XP that lets FireBall browse and play music stored on Mac and PC systems. The software offers storage expansion for FireBall, provides music storage for DVDM and MP Series via the Mac or PC, and ensures all music appears in the Music Guide at the same time regardless of location. FireBall-PC utilizes Escient's FireBall protocol, allowing multiple FireBalls to access the same FireBall-PC server. The application automatically adds new music to FireBall's music guide, offering complete metadata support for genre, artist name, album title, track name, and cover art. FireBall-PC is available for free, requiring Mac OS X 10.3 or later or Microsoft Windows XP.
Belkin today announced that it will offer TuneTalk Stereo -- a device that allows users to easily record podcasts, lectures, and interviews onto an iPod video with CD-quality sound -- in North America in mid-June. The company also said it has launches planned in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow shortly afterward. The TuneTalk features built-in headphones, an auxiliary 3.5mm stereo-input jack for recording with an external microphone, and a stand the size of a credit card to position a video iPod toward the source. TuneTalk is available in both black and white for $70, and features an adjustable gain switch that provides instant control over recording quality in different environments. The accessory also includes a plastic spacer that offers additional stability when the iPod is not in a case.
Group Logic today announced that LaCie is embedding the company's ExtremeZ-IP file server into LaCie's Ethernet disk line of products for simplified file access. ExtremeZ-IP will bring improved performance, compatibility, ease-of-use and reliability to LaCie's network attached storage for small and medium businesses, according to the company. Group Logic's ExtremeZ-IP eliminates Mac file name limitations on Windows servers and supports the Windows permission model and security features, ensuring that file permissions are not limited by platform. LaCie's Ethernet Disk offers instant shared storage of up to 1TB along with fully customizable user access controls from any computer on the network through a Web management tool. Files can be accessed via the local network or over the Internet via HTTP or FTP.
Along with its future mobile chip offerings, Intel is readying its next-generation desktop processors, which could make its way into Apple's Macs later this year. Announced under the Core 2 Duo brand in early May, the new "Conroe" chips will likely bring performance enhancements and power consumption efficiencies to better compete with offerings from its rivial AMD. The company plans on debuting 2.93GHz Extreme version of Core 2 chip--for high-end gamers--alongside its 2.66GHz mainstream CPU model in July. The only difference between the Conroe chips will be the clockspeed, according to ExtremeTech. The publication today posted preliminary benchmarks on the new Core 2 Extreme chips, which show significant performance increases over older Intel Pentium Extreme chips (which have higher clock speeds) and AMD's Athlon-64.
Redstone has released Eggplant 3.0, a major upgrade to its tool for automated, cross-platform software testing. This release incorporates Universal Binary support for the new Intel Macs, a new text image generation technology, dynamic breakpoints, reverse connections, many new script capabilities including the ability to work directly with colors, and numerous other enhancements. Eggplant's new Text Image Generator creates images on the fly for any text with a given style, enabling scripts to find and work with textual elements on a remote screen without the need for pre-captured images. Eggplant can be used to test software running on virtually any platform,, including Windows, Vista, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and Linux. The release is available as a free download to all existing customers with a current maintenance agreement.
MacTech has announced a new exclusive article series to specifically address the needs of developers looking to optimize their applications to take advantage of Intel's Core Duo Macs. The publication's team is working with Intel to provide real world, how-to information and tips about optimizing applications for Intel-based Macs. The series will debut in the July 2006 issue, addressing optimization of applications, obtaining peak performance on each of the execution cores, Vectorization, as well as threading and advanced optimization. "Many developers have been able to take their applications Universal, and that's a good first step. The next step is to truly optimize applications for the Intel-based Macs," Neil Ticktin said, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of MacTech Magazine. "Who better to know about Intel optimization than Intel? We're excited about the prospect of combining MacTech's how-to approach with the incredible knowledge of these Intel engineers."
Microsoft, Toshiba, Victor, NTT DoCoMo, and five more companies are teaming up to challenge Apple's dominance in the digital music industry. The companies plan to develop a portable audio/video player for the Japanese market, according to a report from Bloomberg. Microsoft said it will develop the software, while Toshiba and Victor work to create the portable player. Japan's largest mobile phone operator DoCoMo already said it will provide a cell phone that is compatible with software from Microsoft which will allow consumers to transfer music files in Windows format from PCs to the handset.
Bare Bones Software today released BBEdit 8.2.6, a maintenance update that fixes reported issues and adds minor refinements to the HTML/text editor. Specifically designed for Web authors and software developers, BBEdit features grep pattern matching, search/replace across multiple files, function navigation, and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages. The software offers AppleScript, Perl, and Mac OS X Unix scripting support as well as intra-application automation. BBEdit also includes glossary support, along with a complete set of HTML tools. BBEdit 8.2.6 is priced at $200, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.5 or later.
In brief: Apple has unveiled a new re-designed Pro section of its website, offering creative professionals news and tips from the creative community.... Adobe Photoshop TV today announced that its video podcast surpassed two million downloads for the month of May, drawing more individual viewers than a typical NHL playoff game broadcast.... Disney has announced a partnership with CinemaNow to distribute movies over the internet.... A columnist from CoolTechZone.com has written to discuss "why first generation Apple products suck...." Dr. Bott has announced an exclusive partnership with i-doll, and has already begun offering the company's iPod cases ($28-50, shown at right) via its website.
iView Multimedia has released iView MediaPro 3.1, an upgrade to its cross-platform digital asset management application that brings native compatibility to Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, as well as an improved Catalog Reader. MediaPro features a new Notepad tool designed to enable communication between creative professionals and their clients. The Notepad allows clients to drag-and-drop selected catalog items onto the Notepad palette, add comments, and email the Notepad file. iView's Catalog Reader is a free utility that allows MediaPro users to distribute and share iView catalogs with anyone using a Mac or Windows system. The addition of "Light Table" functionality enables Catalog Reader users to view and compare up to six images on-screen and mark items with labels as well as ratings to aid the image selection process. iView MediaPro 3.1 is priced at $200 per license, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The upgrade is free to all iView MediaPro 3 customers. iView Catalog Reader 3.1 also requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
IGG Software today released iBank 2.1, an update to its financial management application for Mac OS X. iBank 2.1 adds a new cash flow analysis feature, easing the process of generating a PDF file showing where money is coming from as well as where it is going. "The new cash flow analysis tool was added because of the overwhelming requests for such a feature from our users", said Ian Gillespie, president of IGG Software. The application also offers support for importing OFX investment files, autofilling of stock prices when creating transactions, new options for quickly creating charts and a number of other enhancements and bug fixes. iBank 2 is available for $40, while existing users can upgrade for $20. iBank 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
SQLiteManager 2.0.5 ($40) updates the "next generation" GUI database manager for SQLite databases, fixing a cosmetic bug in the Table definition window and repairing an issue in the Dump Database command. SQLiteManager 2.0.5 also fixes a bug that caused crashes in the Design Panel, and improves the "Import SQL" command. [Download - 16MB] TimeStreach ($15) slows music without changing its pitch. Features include high quality output, as well as support for AIF, WAV, MP3, and m4a files. TimeStreach requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. [Download - 160KB] Road Trip Effect 2.0 ($10 for Standard, $25 for Pro) allows users to create a video travel log that is converted into a movie format supported by iMovie and other movie editors. Standard and Pro versions offer one or infinite layers, infinite trip points, and custom maps/icons/labels/colors. Road Trip Effect 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. [Download - 7.2MB] Max 0.6.1 (free) creates high-quality audio files in various formats from CDs or files. Max can generate audio in over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats, and can convert audio from one format to another. The software is integrated with FreeDB to allow automatic retrieval of CD information. [Download - 4.58MB] Silk 2.1.3 ($10) enables Quartz text rendering in Carbon applications, substitutes fonts, and allows changing of the theme font. Silk 2.1.3 is a Universal Binary, offering native compatibility to Intel Mac users. The update also includes numerous bug fixes. [Download - 3.1MB] Disk Order 2.3 ($23) updates the double-panel file management utility for OS X, improving usability and making the application more customizable. Disk Order 2.3 supports icons and text sizing for files, and upgrades drive buttons for quick volume switching. The latest version also improves toolbar capabilities, and offers French as well as Italian translations. [Download - 3.5MB]
Adobe today said that it would continue to support both its GoLive website creation tool and its Freehand illustration application, but skirted any commitment to future versions of both products. The statement followed a published report yesterday that claimed the company would phase out both products. In late 2005, Adobe completed the acquisition of Macromedia, whose product portfolio contained several products with overlapping focus, including Dreamweaver and Freehand. The report claimed that Dreamweaver would become an integrated part of Creative Suite 3, the first native Intel version of the professional graphics suite expected to be released next year and that Adobe would focus on development of Illustrator rather than its Macromedia counterpart.
Boinx today added support for the Apple Remote to its stop-motion and time-lapse tool: iStopMotion 1.10 allows animators to remotely control the application using the Apple Remote that comes with the latest Macs. The HR version of the software also allows users to capture an arbitrary number of frames at once. Using the Apple Remote the animator comfortably controls the application without leaving his workstation. Pressing the Menu button on the remote captures a frame, the Play button replays and pauses the movie for you to check the animation," the company said. The Boinx iStopMotion 1.10.1 update is available for download immediately and is free for all current owners of a valid iStopMotion 1.x license. New license keys are $40 for the DV version and $350 for the HR version. A five day demo license is also available online.
iPlayMusic has announced the launch of Beginner Guitar Lessons for the Mac, its guitar learning program optimized for the Mac and iPod video. iPlayMusic Beginner Guitar Lessons for the Mac takes advantage of Apple's iLife applications, including GarageBand, iTunes and iWeb. "Now aspiring musicians have everything they need to learn guitar, play and sing popular songs, and easily create their own performances," according to the company. "For learning and entertainment on the go, users can view lessons or listen to their new performances in iTunes or on their iPod." Beginner Guitar Lessons for the Mac includes more than four hours of video, presented in 140 individual lessons featuring iPlayMusic's acclaimed, multi-angle video learning method. Beginner Guitar Lessons for the Mac is available for $50.
In Brief: HCL Infosystems has entered into a strategic alliance with Apple to provide sales and service support for iPods in India--the company will set up distribution, logistics and service network in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune in the first phase; will distribute Macs to education, media and entertainment segments; and has launched an entertainment portal to offer downloads for iPods, personal computers and mobiles.... Layers magazine has created the InDesign Advantage Center, an exclusive online collection of content designed to provide a side-by-side comparison between Adobe InDesign software and the latest version of QuarkXPress.... Check Off 3.6 updates the free Mac OS X to-do manager to include German, Traditional Chinese and Japanese localizations as well as several bug fixes for both PowerPC and Intel customers.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R