CASE Apps has released another public beta of Sofa Control, an application for Mac OS X (version 10.4.4 and higher), enables users to control any application on the Mac with the Apple Remote Control. Sofa Control breaks Apple's limited functionality, offering the ability to control any application on your Mac and trigger the actions you like. It uses application scripting to control any application installed on your Mac. "It's full extendible and adoptable by the end user with its own scripts. You want to play your favorite playlist in iTunes when you press the Play button. Sofa Control makes it possible," the company said. Sofa Control provides specially designed user interface elements to extend functionality beyond simple application control. Using the file chooser you can open a document in Preview or a movie in your favorite movie player and an application switcher provides an easy way to switch between applications. In addition, users can bring up their own menus and control them with Apple's remote control. The new beta is now available for download. The final version will cost $10.
"An Inconvenient Truth," a new movie directed by David Guggenheim and starring former Vice President Al Gore, combines scientific facts with practical solutions to the issue of global climate change. Apple's Keynote software provided Gore with total control over his presentation while also allowing moviemakers to project it with high-resolution graphics and video onto plasma displays. Al Gore has given approximately 1,000 talks on climate change since 1989, at first using slides in a carousel with easels and finally migrating to Keynote on his PowerBook. "When we were trying to figure out how to best film Al's presentation, we looked at a variety of options when designing multiple screens for him," said Lesley Chilcott, coproducer of the movie. "Once we started investigating Keynote and its capabilities, we realized that it was best to actually film the presentation using Keynote on multiple screens."
Script Software today released MountWatcher 1.3.8, NetCheck 1.3.3, ChatFX 1.13, and iClock 3.04b4. MountWatcher 1.3.8 is designed to organize, automate, and monitor the mounting of Windows (SMB) and Apple (AFP) volumes/shares/disks. The software can wake computers sleeping on an Ethernet LAN, and watches to ensure the shares stay mounted even during network status changes. The company updated its network troubleshooting software -- NetCheck 1.3.3 -- fixing numerous bugs and repairing an endian issue on Intel-based Macs. MountWatcher 1.3.8 is priced at $20 (system requirements were unavailable). NetCheck 1.3.3 (requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later), ChatFX 1.13 (requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later), and iClock 3.0.4b4 (requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later) are each priced at $20.
A consumer advocate group has won a preliminary ruling that may force Apple to change its iTunes terms of service (ToS) in Norway. Earlier this year, the Consumer Council of Norway lodged a complaint with the Consumer Ombudsman, a government representative, over iTunes Music Store in Norway. Alleging breach of fundamental consumer rights, the group argued that Apple terms of service were in violation of Section 9a of the country's Marketing Control Act and also said that iTunes' digital right management violated consumer protection laws. A decision, however, was not yet made with regards to iTunes' DRM and a few other issues. The group, however, claimed victory on several points and said that the ruling would also apply to other digital music services, perhaps signaling a movement toward greater consumer rights.
V-Moda today launched Bass Fréq modaphones, its earphones specifically designed for listeners who want to experience deep bass. The earphones come in eight color options and incorporate BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon) technology, reducing outside noise to produce a stronger and more natural bass response. BLISS noise isolation introduces no artificial sound into the music, and requires no batteries.
In brief: Other World Computing (OWC) today lowered the pricing of its SuperDrive Upgrade Kits, offering prices as low as $45.... Coolgorilla today released four iPod language packs consisting of German, Greek, French, and Spanish translations for iPod owners.... Macgamefiles.com today announced that it is offering free Mac game hosting for shareware and freeware developers.... GameRanger has announced the end of booting the GameRanger client on systems running Mac OS 9 at some point later this year, but will continue to support games running under Mac OS X's Classic emulation environment.... Pacific Design today launched the GrandStand ($40, shown at right), a case that offers an integrated desk stand with full protection for Apple's fifth-generation video iPod.... Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today announced a new Limited Edition Cross Case for Apple's updated U2 Special Edition iPod.
Apple's move to Intel-based Macs is not only opening new worlds for Mac users, but is also pushing Intel into new territory. Intel today said that Apple is pushing the world's largest chip maker in new directions, according to IDG News Service. "[Apple] pushes us to think about things that we may not always think about," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group told IDG. "We were hoping for that to happen and that certainly happened." Speaking at Computex where Intel touted its innovation and new chips, the exec declined to give specific examples, but told the publication that Apple was pushing Intel on both packaging and thermals. Apple's view of how the computer market will evolve has influenced Intel's product roadmap, according to the report. Chandrasekher said that impact will be felt over the long term, rather than showing up soon.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today announced a new Limited Edition Cross Case for Apple's updated U2 Special Edition iPod. The Cross Case features red and black soft leather with a large, distinctive red cross on the front. It also features a unique design that allows both fourth- and fifth-generation iPods to fit equally well, which it says is "a first" for any leather case available today. Coinciding with the release of the new U2 Special Edition iPod, the company is now offering a limited number of Cross Cases are available for purchase exclusively online for $40.
Google today is expected to unveil an online spreadsheet, and will allow users to sign up for a beta version. Google Spreadsheets will allow numerous users to work on the same document, and will provide other key spreadsheet features, according to Publish.com. Google's latest office addition will use the same file format as Microsoft Excel, enabling users who previously relied on Microsoft products to easily switch to Google's solution. In late May rumors circulated that Google could be planning to open its own music store which would compete with Apple's iTunes, further broadening the search giant's reach into other markets.
Intego today released ContentBarrier X4, an update to the company's parental control software for Mac OS X. The application blocks adult websites, sites with subjects not fit for children, and chats when predatory language is used. Predefined categories allow parents to choose what they don't want their children to see, as well as create their own custom categories. ContentBarrier X4 works with multiple users; for families with several children, parents can set different profiles that correspond to age or maturity. Parents can choose whether to allow children access to newsgroups, peer-to-peer software, email, chats, and the Web. Schedules allow children to use the internet only at certain times and on specific days, and parents can set time limits within those periods. The software runs natively on Intel-based Macs, is priced at $60, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
Intego today released Internet Security Barrier X4 Antispam Edition, a Universal Binary version of its security suite designed to provide thorough protection from the dangers of the internet. All three included applications -- NetBarrier X4, VirusBarrier X4 and Personal Antispam X4 -- are compatible with both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. New features of Internet Security Barrier X4 Antispam Edition include: Intego widgets, for monitoring and updates; optimizations for Mac OS X 10.4, for faster operations; and improved user interfaces. Intego's NetUpdate program, also included, provides automatic updates to the applications contained in the package, program filters and virus definitions. The entire suite is priced at $90, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
During a speech at Computex today, Intel senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher introduced products and technologies in its upcoming Intel Core2 Duo processors. Saying that the company's innovation will "redefine how PCs are used today and attract more buyers" around the world, the Intel exec touted the new Intel 965 Express "Broadwater" chipset, which it said would enable breakthrough PC performance, greater power efficiency, quieter systems and theatre-like sound quality when combined with the company's Core2 Duo platform. Already benchmarks have shown that the new Core 2 Duo outperforms previous generation chips by a signficant margin. As previously disclosed, he also noted that Intel will introduce the Intel Core 2 Extreme processor at speeds of 2.93GHz in July, and a faster 3.2GHz version later in the year. The company's revamped Core 2 Duo for mobile applications, code-named Merom, is due in August.
Quark today announced that The Art Institutes is upgrading 3,800 seats at its 32 school locations to QuarkXPress 7 in time for fall quarter 2006. Students will be able to take advantage of QuarkXPress 7 features -- such as Composition Zones -- to enhance collaboration in group projects. Color-based transparency and drop shadow features coupled with enhanced output capabilities and native PDF support will allow students to produce work quickly and efficiently, according to the company. "With QuarkXPress 7 included in The Art Institutes curriculum, every major creative market will have a well-educated pool of students with up-to-date skills and knowledge about the new features of QuarkXPress," said Rich Moore, vice president of academic technology for The Art Institutes. "Quark has extensive offerings in every major market of the graphic arts industry, and we are proud to educate our students on the groundbreaking new release of QuarkXPress and prepare them for success in graphic arts, design, and publishing careers."
IOSpirit has released Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview, a Universal Binary application for Apple's Remote that allows Intel Macs to integrate with both Front Row and EyeTV 2 plus. The software lets users control applications as well as the mouse and keyboard via the remote control. Users can activate or deactivate Front Row with the Apple Remote and Remote Buddy, then switch back and launch EyeTV 2 to watch live television or recorded video. Recordings and TV stations are selectable via the onscreen menu supplied by RemoteBuddy, and users can pause, playback, control volume, rewind, or fast forward video. The application provides a virtual keyboard and mouse, easy installation, expandability with plug-ins, and accurate control via "Behaviors." Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview is available at an introductory price of €10, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later.
Anystream today unveiled Apreso Podcast, an enterprise podcasting solution that enables institutions of higher education to make any lecture -- anywhere on campus -- available for playback on Apple iPods, iTunes, or any MP3 player. Apreso Podcast lets universities easily offer lecture review by automating the many complex tasks required to capture, encode, manage and distribute lecture podcasts. Apreso's hands-free, around-the-clock operation is achieved with Apreso Content Manager, which acts as a rich media command and control center for lecture podcasting. Anystream plans to offer Apreso Podcast as a $10,000 site license to enable schools of virtually any size to deploy lecture podcasts campus wide. Apreso Podcast requires Microsoft Windows XP Professional with SP2 (availability information was unavailable).
Pacific Design today launched the GrandStand, a case designed to protect Apple's fifth-generation video iPod. The case offers an integrated desk stand with full product protection for the iPod, and features screen protection made from GE Lexan. The transparent cover reduces glare, while the GrandStand is constructed from Italian-sourced polyurethane material and full-grain leather. The GrandStand comes in various color combinations which include black with a red stripe, rich brown with a tan stripe (shown at right), leaf green with a white stripe, turquoise with a white stripe, and hot pink with a white stripe. The case provides complete access to the headphone port as well as the dock connector, and attaches to briefcases, belts, backpacks, or other apparel via a snap-closure cilp on the rear of the case. The GrandStand ships for $40.
Apple has admitted that an oversight during its laptop production may cause some of its new MacBook laptops to overheat. Reaffirming earlier reports, the company said that some users experiencing warmer-than-normal running temperatures should check for the presence of a clear plastic covering that was inadvertantly left in place over the rear vent. "Some MacBook computers may appear to be running too warm, with the fan running consistently and heat emanating from the top and/or the bottom of the computer," Apple noted in a new tech support document posted to its website. "If this happens with your MacBook, check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it's not blocked." The company said that some MacBooks may have left the factory with a thin piece of clear plastic covering the rear vent, noting that the coverings prevents dust from getting into the computer in the factory, but that it should be removed during normal use; however, the company reiterated that the bottom surface and some areas between the keyboard and LCD hinge of any Apple notebook computer can become hot after extended periods of use.
Intel today will disclose plans of its next-generation Core2 microprocessors, as well as a new low-voltage Core Dup chip that will be featured in thin-and-light notebooks, according to ExtremeTech. The company will also introduce its Intel P965 or "Broadwater" chipset, which is expected to ship by August and signals the end of older parallel ATA disk drives and IDE storage within notebooks and desktops in favor of newere Serial ATA connections for faster storage access. At the Computex show in Taipei, Intel's senior VP Anand Chandrasekher will debut the company's Broadwater chipset, which will be paired with Intel's new Core2 Duo processors, according to the report. It eliminates both parallel ATA connections and the IDE interface and "will support DDR-2 DRAM at 800-MHz speeds (PC6400), a capability which was first introdced in boutique PCs in April 2005.
In Brief: Apple will open a new retail store in at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka, Minnesota on Saturday, June 10th at 9 a.m. CDT--the company's fourth in the state..... BeLight announced its Disc Artwork contest, which will award the two best designs a new Epson Stylus R220 Photo Printer; entries, which must be created with its Disc Cover tool for creating CD and DVD labels, are due by June 12th.... XtremeMac today said it would ship its MicroMemo digital recorder for Apple's iPod in July for $60.... Steve Sande's 123-page ebook, "Take Control of iWeb," ($10) assists readers with the mechanics of using iWeb and with more sophisticated techniques, such as image maps and masking.... Infrant Technologies is the first commercially available Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device to come pre-loaded with the SlimServer software, offering a best of breed distributed streaming home audio solution.... Kainjow today released Life2Go 1.6.4 for Mac (previously known as Pod2Go), which 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.
XtremeMac today offered more details on its MicroMemo digital recorder. Designed for the iPod with video, takes advantage of the player's high-fidelity audio capabilities to record and play back verbal notes, interviews, podcasts or lectures. It can also be used to record language lessons to help reinforce proper pronunciation and accent or for recording oral homework. For music students, MicroMemo also supports line-in recording directly from instruments or digital mixers. MicroMemo attaches to the iPod via the Dock connector and records 16-bit audio in high- or low-quality formats. It is expected to ship in July for $60.
The Complete Exam today announced an exclusive relationship with MacPractice and the MacPractice Practice Consultants to provide its singular Windows product, The Complete Exam, for the Mac platform. The companies also said they are co-developing a Mac OS X native version of The Complete Exam incorporated into MacPractice DDS, the practice management and clinical software for dentists. The MacPractice DDS/TCE solution requires an Intel-based Mac with Parallels' Desktop for Mac, as well as Windows XP Pro. Dentists can use MacPractice and TCE simultaneously in the operatory, and a click on an icon in MacPractice opens or creates a new patient chart in TCE. One click in TCE sends treatment plans and procedures, returning to the patient in MacPractice for checkout. MacPractice DDS/TCE will be demonstrated at the Florida National Dental Convention, June 15-17th in the MacPractice booth.
Lismore Software Systems today released Guest PC 1.9.3, allowing users to easily create and manage a virtual x86 system. The update includes the MMX instruction set for better compatibility, resulting in a 15 percent performance boost. Guest PC 1.9.3 fixes FPU emulation bugs, allows full usage of the Nokia PC Suite, and improves support for Mac OS X printers. Other bug fixes include a crash that would occur after hibernation in Windows XP, sound cripple/distortion in some applications, and various FPU emulation errors. Guest PC 1.9.3 is priced at $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. All current customers will receive the update for free, according to the company.
IOGEAR today introduced its 2.4GHz Wireless Multimedia Keyboard/Mouse Combo, a new bundle that includes a USB receiver, keyboard and optical mouse. Connected to the computer wirelessly with a USB receiver, the multimedia keyboard and mouse allows users to control their computers up to 33 feet away. The 800 dpi optical mouse requires minimal movement and is accurate on most surfaces, according to the company. The USB receiver serves as a charging cradle for the optical mouse and the multi-language keyboard (English, French and Spanish) is designed with a low-degree tilt and features multimedia keys that allow instant access to a variety of common applications and tasks, including email, volume control, CD play and pause, media player and Web browsing. (However, many of these don't work on the Mac.) IOGEAR will display the 2.4GHz Wireless Multimedia Keyboard / Mouse Combo at COMPUTEX Taipei 2006, which takes place in Taiwan from June 6-11, 2006. It is priced at $80.
Red Rock Software today released DeltaGraph 5.7, an update to the company's data analysis, charting and graphing software that provides compatibility with both the latest Intel-based Macs. The Universal Binary update to DeltaGraph for Mac broadens support for users of Mac OS 9.x, Mac OS X (10.1.5 and later) to include Apple's new Intel-based hardware; it also corrects a number of known issues with previous versions of the product. Designed with business and creative professionals in mind, Red Rock DeltaGraph 5.7 helps researchers, analysts and managers working with complex sets of data to collect, analyze and present their findings in a visually compelling and memorable manner. Users may can select from over 80 different 2-D and 3-D graphs and charts and hundreds of styles. The program includes a chart advisor and style libraries that enable users to quickly edit and arrange legends, grids and pictures. It is available for $300 ($100 for academic licenses). Upgrades are $200.
Apple has filed a second copyright lawsuit and a trade complaint in the US against Creative Technology, according to Channel NewsAsia. The company originally countersued the MP3 player manufacturer, after Creative first sued Apple for infringing on the "Zen Patent": in early May, Creative filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and lawusit alleging that iPods and iPod nanos that infringe on U.S. Patent 6,928,433. The latest report says that the latest lawsuit claims Creative is infringing three Apple patents relating to using icons, and displaying and editing data. Apple is asking for cash damages and a court order to stop Creative from further breaches and is asking the International Trade Commission in Washington to block imports of Creative's music players.
Apple today introduced the new iPod U2 Special Edition as part of a continued partnership between Apple, U2 and Universal Music Group (UMG). The new U2 iPod is based on the fifth generation 30GB iPod and holds up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 photos or over 75 hours of video and features a distinctive, all-black stainless steel enclosure, red Click Wheel and custom engraving of U2 band member signatures. U2 iPod customers will also receive 30 minutes of exclusive U2 video downloadable from the iTunes Music Store. The new U2 iPod is available immediately for $329. "We're thrilled to continue working with one of the greatest bands in the world to bring U2 fans a special edition of the world's best digital music player," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod Product Marketing. "With its distinctive new design, including an all-black stainless steel enclosure, the new U2 iPod is sure to be a hit."
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN