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NHANDZ has released SpeedDial for Skype, which works with the popular VOIP service, Skype (owned by eBay), allowing users to use Skype remotely, away from their Macs. SpeedDial lets consumers create keyboard shortcuts or "hotkeys" for making, answering and hanging up calls using only a keyboard. SpeedDial offers built-in speed dial settings for answering and hanging up calls, and a simple interface to automatically create speed dials for anyone on their Skype contact list or to add new speed dial contacts. The softwre is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later and costs $7. A 30-day free trial is available as well.
Excel Software is now shipping MacA&D OSX 2.0, an engineering tool for system analysis, software models, code generation, reengineering and customized project reports. The new release adds system models, time simulation with dynamic charts and graphs to its suite of software engineering capabilities. Other enhancements include team dictionary and requirement documents for concurrent team development, a project scrapbook, flow, store and external entity detail dialogs for structured analysis & design and new project reports. MacA&D can model and simulate systems driven by cause and affect, including financial, production, inventory, biological, chemical, thermodynamic and workflow systems. MacA&D OSX 2.0 is available in Standard ($500) and Developer ($2000) editions.
ContactPage 2.0 ($90) is an XTension that automates the creation of contact sheets of images with captions. ContactPage 2.0 offers a new user-interface, incorporates several new features requested by users, and is compatible with the recently released QuarkXPress 7. [Download - 1.7MB] MailSteward 7.4 ($50) updates the email archiving solution for Mac, utilizing the SQLite 3.3.5 database engine. Reply to email now places the body text into the clipboard so that it can be easily pasted, adds the ability to set and/or buttons for searching, supports deletion of attachments, and allows users to set a default font. [Download - 872KB] Painter's Picker 2.1 ($16) places an interactive color wheel in nearly every Mac OS X application, adding the ability to choose related colors directly within the standard color picker. The update brings native compatibility to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, along with a new PDF-based manual and several minor changes. [Download - 2.6MB] uGrabIt (€10) captures and records video clips from almost any device. The software supports both FireWire as well as USB devices while offering users the ability to customize dimensions, select a desired codec, and specify a suitable framerate. [Download - 2.52MB] SQLiteManager 2.0.6 ($40) updates the SQLite database management tool, adding new "InstantQuery" technology for faster queries, full SQLite2 and SQLite3 support, and complete REALSQL Server support. SQLiteManager 2.0.6 also adds the ability to browse tables/views/indexes, as well as the option to rename tables and add columns to existing tables. [Download - 5.5MB]
Kainjow today released Life2Go 1.6.4 for Mac, the application previously known as Pod2Go. The software provides a variety of features for extending the functionality of Apple's iPod digital media player, such as syncing any RSS or Atom feed and downloading weather forecasts to view on-the-go. Life2Go can sync movie show times, stock quotes, driving directions, horoscopes, lyrics, and gas prices. The application offers the ability to store documents on an iPod in a variety of formats, and can automatically back up data to the portable player. Mac users can sync Address Book contacts, iCal calendars, Mail messages, Stickies notes, and Safari bookmarks as well, effectively turning an iPod into a PDA. Life2Go is priced at $13, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, or Windows 2000/XP.
Toshiba today debuted a 2.5-inch double-platter hard drive that features the highest density of any like component. The disk utilizes perpendicular magnetic recording technology to store 277.1 megabits per square millimeter, or 178.8 gigabits per square inch, according to PC World. The drive, which is designed to hold 200GB, is slated for mass production in August. Portable music player manufacturers could incorporate the new drive in future products to boost storage capacities, and Toshiba was recently rumored to be developing just such a player to compete with Apple's iPod. Though Microsoft denied involvement, rumors recently circulated that numerous companies are teaming up to take on Apple in the digital media player market with new products and services.
IOGEAR today introduced its new Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology-based UWB Hub & Adapter Kit, designed to eliminate cables in workplaces and living rooms without compromising file transfer speeds. IOGEAR's Hub contains four USB 2.0 ports enabling connectivity to devices such as printers, scanners, MP3 players and external hard drives. Users wirelessly connect their laptops or PCs to the Hub up to 30 feet away with the included USB adapter, which supports transfer speeds of up to 480Mbps/sec. The kit is based on WiMedia's Multiband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (MB-OFDM), a Wireless Personal Area Networking (WPAN) technology for transmitting data quickly and with low power consumption. IOGEAR will display the UWB Hub & Adapter Kit and preview its upcoming UWB products at COMPUTEX Taipei 2006, held in Taiwan June 6-11th, 2006, at booth #901. IOGEAR has told MacNN that the product will be available in Q3 of 2006 (pricing was unavailable). [updated]
Industry sources suspect that Apple may unveil a new 8GB flash-based iPod based on further NAND flash orders. Sources say the industry will likely break out of its low point as Apple books considerable capacity at chip makers, according to DigiTimes. Both of the leading Korea-based chipmakers -- Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor -- have received more orders from Apple, and DRAMeXchange noted in mid-May that Apple had ordered considerable 2Gbit NAND memory at Samsung. Apple in November of 2005 announced long-term agreements with Hynix, Intel, Micron, Samsung Electronics, and Toshiba to secure the supply of NAND flash memory through 2010. The Cupertino-based company planned to pay a total of $1.25 billion for flash memory components over the following three months, and word came in early April of 2006 that Apple had agreed in December to buy 40 million gigabytes of flash memory chips from Hynix last year alone.
British company Xara is developing its Xara Xtreme all-in-one drawing and photo manipulation package for Mac OS X as well as Linux, according to one MacNN reader. The software features direct action tools; drag-and-drop support; solid object dragging; anti-aliasing; PDF export; a clipart gallery; and a bitmap tracer. Xara Xtreme offers single click auto-enhancement; crop & rotate functionality; red eye removal; "magic" undo; access to third-party plug-ins; and photo compression. The application is currently only available for Microsoft Windows, but provides drawing tools alongside animation capability, Dreamweaver integration, image slicing, and more. Xara Xtreme is priced at $80, and requires Windows 98/Me/2000/XP.
In brief: One blogger has posted a step-by-step tutorial describing how to connect remotely to another computer over the internet using Timbuktu Pro and Skype.... An avid Mac user has posted a video on YouTube of a MacBook Pro with temperature readings at various points on the notebook.... FileMaker today announced four new authorized FileMaker training companies in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Texas and California.... Architosh has reviewed SketchBook Pro 2 ($200) from AutoDesk, which was acquired as part of the company's purchase of Alias.... Architosh has also reviewed the Wacom Tablet Graphire4-640 ($200, shown at right), which features a wireless mouse and a two-button customizable pen.... Apple has added a new section about Macs at Work to its website.
Maplesoft today announced a native Intel-based version of Maple 10, its flagship product for solving complex mathematical problems and creating rich, executable technical documents. The company said that Maple users operating on the Intel-based Mac platform will benefit from significantly reduced start-up times, improved speed in rendering 2-D mathematics, and real-time 3-D plot manipulation that is both faster and smoother. All of the capabilities of Maple are fully supported, affording Intel-based Mac users access to all of the same features that PowerPC-based Mac users enjoy. "Individually, Apple and Intel offer industry-leading products," said Maplesoft CEO Jim Cooper. "In combination, they enable Mac users to experience the full power of Maple 10. With new levels of speed and responsiveness, Maple is proud to provide the highest level of computational power in math modeling today." The native Intel Mac version will be available in "early June."
Guidance Software and WiebeTech today announced a partnership to enhance the FastBloc2 write-blocker series by adding USB host compatibility and support. Investigators can examine any target IDE or SATA drive by attaching the FastBloc2 FE (Field Edition, shown at right) to a host via a USB port, and while a FireWire-compatible host computer is no longer required, it is still an option with the enhancement. The FastBloc2 FE allows investigators to attach the suspect drive directly to FastBloc2, and then connect the device to a laptop computer using either USB or FireWire ports. The FastBloc2 LE (Lab Edition) offers an internal write-blocked docking station for hard disk drives via a provided FireWire compatible host controller, which fits into the desktop computer bay to provide convenient access to power and an IDE port from the front of the unit. Both models require Mac OS X 9.1, 9.2 or Mac OS X (pricing was unavailable).
Apple is offering college students a $179 rebate good toward any qualifying iPod when they buy a new MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Power Mac G5 system. The offer is available from any participating Apple Authorized Campus Reseller from today through September 16th, 2006. Students will receive a mail-in rebate for up to $179, which can effectively pay for a 1GB iPod nano. The company is touting its Macs as "the perfect college companion," reminding consumers that its Macs can run Microsoft Office and allow users to video chat or build a blog. Additionally, students can use their education discount to save even more when purchasing Macs and iPods.
Rake In Grass today announced the released of its second game for the Macintosh: Styrateg is new and challenging turn-based strategy game with strong RPG features from a fantasy medieval world. "The heavy clouds on the horizon gather as there are troubled times to come. The kingdom of a wise king is in danger. Legions of unearthly adversaries come from the unknown to spread the plague and disease across the ancient kingdom. Your investigation and actions will take you through many adventurous quests in deep forests, hot deserts and frozen icebergs. You and your party will look for the clues to solve the mystery in ancient monasteries, countryside villages and blood bathed battlefields." Styrateg is available as a Universal Binary for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs for $20. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
In brief: Apple has opened its latest retail store in Atlanta, Georgia, and Technology Wrap is offering photos along with details regarding the new Studio Bar.... Ars Technica has posted a look at the movie rental industry and where it stands today, checking a list of 70 movies for availability at two local stores.... David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox owns five iPods, but won't use them to track his hitting because they are "simply too small...." MacPips has released "MacPips Loop Pack 1" for GarageBand, a collection of 125 royalty-free real instrument and software instrument loops.... Babya today began shipping Babya AU Host for Intel Macs, a Mac exclusive Audio Unit host featuring Core Audio.... Marina's high-nrg fitness is offering the Marina Audio Workout Center with iPod workouts, music for iPods, a mix & match menu, and thousands of workout combinations.
Microsoft has denied rumors that it had teamed up with several other companies to challenge Apple's dominance in the Japanese portable music player market. Last week reports circulated that the software giant was collaborating with eight other companies including Toshiba, Victor, NTT, and others to develop a portable audio/video player for the Japanese market. "The announcement that came out of Japan this week was simply about the Japanese launch of Windows Media Player 11," a Microsoft representative said, according to PC Magazine. "Due to translation issues the announcement was misconstrued to sound like Microsoft was developing a rival to the iPod; that's just not the case."
Mac SlingPlayer, which was originally slated for release in the second quarter of 2006, has been pushed back 90 days to September. The software enables Mac users to watch and control their home television from an internet-connected Mac anywhere in the world, and a public beta release will be available for download in late August, according to Zatz Not Funny. The company stated: "Ultimately, we recognize that many Mac users have high standards for digital media products, and we are working hard to ensure we will meet and exceed those standards with the upcoming SlingPlayer for Mac. Unfortunately, while it's probably not exactly what you wanted to hear, I hope you understand just how tricky some things are to manage for a small company. Bottom line is despite our initial intent to deliver a Mac OS X version of the SlingPlayer in Q2'06, we are moving our target to Q3'06."
AssistiveWare today announced that it has partnered with Acapela Group to bring two new high quality speech solutions to Mac OS X: Infovox iVox and VisioVoice. In collaboration with AssistiveWare, Acapela Group has created Infovox iVox, an application that allows the naturally sounding, high-quality voices of the Acapela Group to be used in any Speech Manager compliant application on Mac OS X including applications such as TextEdit and AppleWorks, as well as many educational titles. Infovox iVox, which will be distributed worldwide by AssistiveWare, can also be used with Tiger's built-in VoiceOver screen reader; however, non-English users also need VisioVoice to hear all the VoiceOver menus and messages in their own language. Both products are expected at the end of June for $200 (US), $360 (Scandinavian), and $220 (Other European languages) or in a bundle with VisioVoice for $250 (US).
Western Digital today introduced My Book Pro Edition, the newest model in its external storage solution that combines three interfaces: FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0. Targeting small office and home office (SOHO) power users who require large capacity and high-performance external storage, the solution features backup and system recovery software and is available in capacities of 250GB and 500GB. It features intelligent drive management, such as SmartPower automatic power on/off, Safe Shutdown and LED activity lights. It bundles EMC Retrospect Express backup and system recovery software with a customized setup wizard, allowing users to backup and restore a single file or an entire system in a few simple steps. My Book Pro Edition's unique, book-shaped silver enclosure stands vertically for a tiny footprint in an enclosure that employs shock protection and an ultra quiet fan. It is available for $220 (250GB) or $350 (500GB) and requires no additional software CDs to install: "It simply self-installs when connected to a computer and automatically and safely powers on and off with the computer to which it is linked."
MaxUpgrades today announced MaxExpress, a Serial ATA II PCI-Express Host Controller with two SATA II internal Ports for PCI Express-based Power Macintosh G5 computers. The company says that MaxExpress each SATA Port is capable of transferring 3Gb/s and features Native Command Queuing (NCQ), Non-zero offsets NCQ, Out of order data delivery NCQ, and FIS-based switching with Port Multipliers. MaxExpress is offered with MaxConnect internal hard disk drive mounting solution for G5 Power Macintosh (PCI Express), a CPU Bay internal storage expansion assembly, that enables three additional disk drives to be housed in the lower CPU bay of the G5 Power Macintosh Series. The 2-port SATA controller (along with CPU assembly) is available now for $140, while the 4-port controller (along with CPU assembly) is $270.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k