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In brief: Edified.org has released a free collection of 11 desktops at 1680 x 1050 resolution for the 20-inch iMac, including two new desktops entitled "A Longing Fulfilled" and "Sunset at Rim Trail...." Apoio in September it will arrange a two-day conference for Mac system administrators from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.... PortalPlayer has said it will downsize its work force by 14 percent, or 45 employees, after losing a bid to supply chips for certain iPod music players.... Verbatim and its parent company, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM) have announced that retailers in Japan will receive shipments of the industry's first 15GB HD DVD-R media in early July.... One Mac user is offering a bounty of $50 to anyone who can find a way to tether a BlackBerry 8700 to a Mac running Mac OS X for use as a modem.
Apple is selling refurbished 12-inch G4 1.5GHz PowerBooks, each featuring a Combo Drive for $1,099, a $400 savings; and 12-inch G4 1.5GHz PowerBooks which include a SuperDrive for $1,199, $500 off the original price. Refurbished 15-inch G4 PowerBooks include the 1.33GHz 256MB Aluminum model for $1,299, a $700 savings; the 1.5GHz 512MB Aluminum model for $1,499, a $1,000 discount; the 1.67GHz SuperDrive model with 64MB of DDR graphics memory for $1,499, $800 off; and the 1.67GHz SuperDrive model with 128MB of DDR graphics memory, a scrolling trackpad, and dual-link DVI for $1,599, a savings of $400. Apple's refurb 17-inch G4 PowerBooks consist of the 1.5GHz 512MB 80GB model with a SuperDrive for $1,699, a 40 percent savings; the 1.67GHz 512MB 100GB model with a SuperDrive for $1,849, 32 percent off; as well as the 1.67GHz 512MB 120GB notebook with a SuperDrive for $1,999, 21 percent off the original price. As usual, all refurbished Apple equipment includes free shipping with a one year warranty.
FastMac today began shipping its TruePower PowerBook G3 batteries for WallStreet, Lombard, and Pismo models. The batteries offer up to 56 percent more capacity than the original from Apple, and all customers who placed pre-orders through the company's website will receive their shipments within the next few days. The company utilizes custom form factors and color matching techniques for each battery model to ensure an exact fit and look to Apple specifications. Each battery is individually tested and includes safety features to protect against overcharge, short circuit, and power surges. All TruePower laptop batteries come with a one-year warranty and 30 day money back guarantee. The TruePower battery for Apple's PowerBook G3 Wallstreet is priced at $120, while the TruePower battery for the PowerBook G4 Lombard or Pismo is priced at $130.
Feral Interactive today launched the mini-site covering its forthcoming game entitled "The Movies." The site offers a walkthrough movie recorded by Peter Molyneux, as well as some of the best user-created movies made with the game. "Behind every box office hit is a Hollywood mogul... In 'The Movies,' that mogul is you," writes Feral Interactive. "Build your studio from an empty lot into a glittering Hollywood empire by producing must-see blockbusters, creating huge stars and giving the movie-going public exactly what they want to see." Players settle into the director's chair with tools to help write and direct custom movies. Once finished, players can upload films to The Movies online website to show the world their best shots.
Intego today launched ChatBarrier X4, an update to its application that works in conjunction with iChat to provide two-way, real-time encryption of text chats, audio chats, and file transfers. ChatBarrier X4 uses AES or Blowfish encryption to prevent malicious users or unintended recipients from reading private messages. Messages are encrypted the moment a chatter presses return, and are sent over the internet to the recipient where ChatBarrier X4 decrypts the messages. ChatBarrier X4 is priced at $40, includes a free second license, runs natively on Intel-based Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Astro Components 1.0.0 ($60) are Macromedia Flash Extensions offering text effects that users can drag-and-drop in Macromedia Flash .fla files from the Component Panel onto the timeline or stage. The extensions feature more than 1,000 effect variation lists, a quick preview in the custom user interface, and more. [Download - 457KB] EntourageABMenu 1.5 ($10) is designed as a convenient and intuitive way to utilize Microsoft Entourage address book data through a system-wide menu. The update adds geographical menus for sorting contacts by city, state/province, and country. EntourageABMenu 1.5 also offers user-defined sorting to lookup results, as well as multiple world search capability in personal lookups. [Download - 960KB] Kids GoGoGo 10.5 ($30) updates the parental control software for Mac OS X, adding support monitoring and archiving for iPods. Kids GoGoGo 10.5 improves restriction of movie playing, enhances the "restrict sites by time" function, and offers an optimized database. [Download - 6.3MB] Launcher ($25) is a tool for quickly launching applications in Mac OS X. Launcher features include sub-second application launching, hotkey support, Spotlight integration, and an intuitive interface designed to keep things simple. Dossier 2.2 ($20) adds Spotlight support, Wiki links with entry auto-creation, link auto-detection, and import improvements to the information management tool. Dossier features live search, smart folders, rich text editing, password protection, encryption, and blogging support. [Download - 2.6MB]
In brief: MacNN has reviewed DiskWarrior 3.03 ($100) from Alsoft, an application that analyzes and rewrites a hard drive directory.... Flash Mobs are planning to gather in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Long Island, and New York, converging on Apple stores to warn customers of the dangers of DRM in the iPod and iTunes on Saturday, June 10th at 10:30 a.m. local time.... SmartSound Music has released its latest collection of multi-layer music ($100) designed to work with the new "Mood Mapping" feature in Sonicfire Pro 4.... Cramer of the "RealMoney" radio show compared Apple to a lemonade stand, saying that Apple needs flat screens and microprocessors just as lemonade makers need lemons and water.... Peachpit today announced that more than 25 of its most popular books are available in a new, graphically rich format in its online reference library.
Sassafras Software has begun shipping K2 - KeyAuditor & KeyServer 6.1, updating the cross-platform IT asset management (ITAM) tool for software asset management, hardware auditing, usage tracking, and software license compliance. The new reporting architecture includes scheduling features to automatically run reports on a recurring basis, a Web interface for convenience across an enterprise network, several new reports, and a speed increase for faster reporting. The application manages software assets for Mac, Windows, and thin-client computers across any global network including laptop computers both inside and outside a firewall. K2 6.1 runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and comes with a Dashboard widget for monitoring the status and usage activity of a remote KeyServer. Pricing ranges from $10-55 per client.
Groothuis Visual Effects & 3D has released Metro Newspaper Downloader Workflow 1.8, a set of Automator scripts that automatically download the free local Metro newspaper. Metro Newspaper Downloader Workflow can open the newspaper in Preview without user intervention, and contains 70 workflows from Metro newspapers around the globe. The update offers local Metro papers in Italy -- from Lombardia, Veneto, Torino Bologna, Genova, and Firenze; Spain -- with Catalunya, Castilla la Mancha, Elx, Canary, and Bilbao; Mexico -- adding Publimetro; Czech republic -- offering Bohemia and Moravia; and Sweden -- adding new versions of Stockholm, Goteborg, Skane, and Riksupplagan. Metro Newspaper Downloader Workflow 1.8 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Google has released Google Browser Sync, a FireFox plug-in that keeps browser settings synchronized on multiple computer systems. The plug-in unifies bookmarks, history, saved passwords, and persistent cookies across all the computers where it is installed. Google Browser Sync remembers which tabs and windows were open when the user last closed the browser, offering the chance to reopen them. Google has also updated Google Toolbar for Firefox 2, fixing numerous bugs, increased stability, and bringing the program out of beta status. Both the plug-in and the Toolbar are available for free, and require the Firefox browser.
Onset Computer has introduced the HOBO RG3, a new Mac-compatible rainfall data logging system that combines a data logging rain gauge with a built-in data logger. The new HOBO RG3 system enables agricultural researchers, growers, stormwater managers and others to record rainfall data right out of the box. It records data with each tip of the rain gauge bucket, which is ideal in situations where peak rainfall rates need to be determined, according to the company. An internal temperature sensor enables the logger to be used in a solar radiation shield to measure temperature. Other features include convenient data offload to a Mac computer, twice the memory of previous versions, and support for Onset's new HOBO Waterproof Shuttle. For plotting and analyzing rainfall data, Onset offers HOBOware software, a graphing and analysis software package. The HOBO RG3 Rainfall Logging system is $400, while the optic-USB base station, HOBO Waterproof Shuttle, and HOBOware software are all priced separately.
Gefen today unveiled the DVI-3000 HD, a small sender/receiver system that connects a local computer to its remote workstation using multiple SC single-mode fiber optics cables. The device enables high definition (HD) video, USB, and RS-232 control signals to traverse more than six miles from the computer, delivering up to 1280 x 1024 resolutions while maintaining high bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) compliance. "Data travels an average rate of 1.65Gbps over fiber optics cables, making this one of the safest and reliable methods of long-distance extension as well as the fastest," said Hagai Gefen, president and CEO of the company. Gefen is taking orders for the long-range KVM extender, which is priced at $2,000.
Dracosoft has released Sudoku 1.0, a challenging number-puzzle game with logical solutions and analytical answers. Based on the popular Japanese number game, Dracosoft's Sudoku includes the "classic" number-puzzles as well as "Random" mode for amorphic puzzles and "Chaos" mode, for completely "wild" challenges. "Dracosoft's Sudoku will leave you thinking numbers all day long." Sudoku 1.0 is priced at $10, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Nisus Software today released Nisus Writer Express 2.7, an update to its popular alternative word processor for Mac OS X. This new release adds features such as multikey keyboard shortcuts, full screen view, Leader Tabs, an Attribute Dropper toolbar item, and numerous fixes and enhancements. Other features include RTF and .doc support, multilingual (BiDi) text support, support for text styles, a customizable interface, powerful find and replace functions, bullets and numbering, columns, and more. Nisus Writer Express 2.7 is available now for only $70. Current Nisus Writer Express owners are able to upgrade to Express 2.7 for free. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and is available as Universal Binary.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ