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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.
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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
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.