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: 92.04 ( -1.36 )
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
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