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Google Earth Universal
In brief: Attendees registering for the annual FileMaker Developer Conference can save $200 with "early-bird" pricing until June 30th, 2006.... Google has released Google Earth 4.0 Beta for Mac OS X as a Universal Binary, providing native support for Intel-based Macs.... Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America has said that unauthorized song swapping has been "contained...." American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu today said he believes Apple will produce a mobile phone, but not in the near future.... Versatile Delivery Systems today released Frameline 47 v1.1, an update to its video annotation tool.... H2O Audio has announced that its new H2O Audio housing for iPod (with video), is now shipping, joining its line of adventure sport and outdoor recreation iPod player accessory solutions.
iPod labor abuse claims
Apple today responded to claims of labor abuse in its iPod factories, saying that it was investigating allegations working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China. The company said it would not tolerate "any violations of its supplier code of conduct which are posted online. Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible," the company said in a statement obtained by Macworld UK, referencing its online supplier code of conduct.
d-Jays earphones ship
Jays today introduced d-Jays, its earphones for portable media players such as Apple's iPod that utilize the company's new sound isolation system. The sound isolating system reduces ambient noise by up to 90 percent, offering increased battery life while decreasing the risk of hearing damage, according to the company. The technology is built around a fine balanced micro armature with a unique ergonomic design that produces sound inside the ear. D-Jays are made from poly carbonate, and use Kevlar-insulated cables for increased durability. The earphones are available in black or white for $100, with a series of three limited edition user-chosen colors expected in the near future.
Groupcal 3.34 released
Snerdware has released Groupcal 3.34 for Mac OS X. The software is designed to provide all of the group calendaring features of Exchange directly from Apple's iCal. The latest version of Groupcal fixes an issue added in version 3.33 which prevented the application from syncing on various systems, and repairs a bug which could cause intermittent crashing of the Groupcal Daemon. The update adds two time zone mappings, and offers numerous additional bug fixes. Groupcal 3.34 is priced at $55 per individual license, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later with iCal 1.5.1.
Apple fined $100K
Apple has been fined $100,000 by the state of Washington for not registering with the state, as required by law, according to a report by The Puget Sound Business Journal. The state's Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said that Apple didn't register as a service contract provider from 2000 to 2004, violating a 1999 Washington law required all companies selling service contracts to register with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Kreidler, however, noted that his office has not received any complaints regarding Apple's contracts and that Apple has complied with the law by registering.
Nike+iPod Kit at Apple
Apple is now taking orders for its Nike+iPod Sport Kit, which was introduced late last month. The device integrates a wireless sensor placed in a Nike+ shoe and a receiver attached to an iPod nano to provide data transmission on time, distance, pace, and calories burned as well as optional realtime spoken feedback at specific milestons. The data is displayed on the Nano screen and stored for later retreival and to a PC. "Transform your iPod nano into a personal workout coach with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. This wireless sensor and receiver combination works exclusively with your Nike+ shoes and iPod nano to give you real-time feedback during workouts and let you track your performance on your Mac or PC," the company's site reads. It is expected to ship in 4-5 weeks for $30.
MacBook issues, fixes
In brief: Numerous MacBook owners are reporting a strange discoloration on the palm rest of their new white notebooks. Users are reporting issues with the 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz white models, saying that the first signs of discoloration appear after 2-3 weeks of use, according to AppleInsider. An active thread on Apple's own support forums reveals that users have had only meager success removing the discoloration using cleaning products of various types. Some accredit the odd color to heat-related issues, while others suspect a chemical reaction in the laptop's plastic housing.
Office 2004 v11.2.4 update
Micrsoft today released Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.2.4 Update to fix several security issues as well as deliver other unspecified enhancements to its work productivity suite. The company says the update fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2004 for Mac that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. It also fixes issues in Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 and Entourage 2004, and it includes all of the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates. The update is available for Microsoft Office 2004 Standard Edition, Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Office 2004 Professional Edition, Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004, Entourage 2004. Microsoft also said it expects to deliver other improvements over the next month to Office 2004 with Update 11.2.5 and to Office X with 10.1.7.
MacBook test data
New test data between Apple's black and white Intel-based MacBook systems has revealed unexpected results, showing numerous speed differences favoring the white model. "Testing the white 2GHz MacBook and comparing the results to the published scores of the black model, we saw small performance differences in many of the tests, with the edge going to the white model in most cases," Macworld wrote. The iMovie and Compressor MPEG-2 Encoding tests appeared to favor the white MacBook more than other tests, according to the report. More tests, which included swapping the hard drives inside both Macs, suggested that the hard drives accounted for the differences.
plasq ships Rax 2.0
plasq today announced Rax 2.0 for Mac OS X, an update to its streamlined virtual rack software. The update brings a range of improvements with a focus on the visual aspect of performance - both by reducing on-screen visual complexity for the performer and by adding elaborate VJ visualizer output. The redesigned interface features a new fullscreen OnStage Hi-contrast interface, allowing performers to monitor Rax from a physical distance whilst remaining in control. In addition version 2.0 of Rax adds a new model for building and organizing setlists, with remote control via MIDI and the Apple Remote. Rax 2.0 also now supports 'Quartz Compositions' to provide projection-quality output of visualizers. Other improvements include a collection of professional 'skins' for the pre-installed Apple Audio Units, MIDI file playback and a song notepad. Rax 2.0, now a Universal Binary, features a built-in 16 channel mixer that offers access to 25 effects racks for fine-tuning. It is a free update to the $50 software.
SiteGrinder 2 released
Media Lab today released SiteGrinder 2 in Basic and Pro editions, updating its website production plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop. The plug-ins generate Web pages with graphics, styled as well as even scrolling Web text, rollover buttons, popups, and multi-level menus. SiteGrinder 2 Basic is faster than SiteGrinder 1, offers better reporting, generates improved CSS, and automatically merges graphics for users. SiteGrinder 2 Pro adds seven new features which include image gallery creation, import of external multimedia files such as Flash animation, and easy integration with external HTML files. SiteGrinder 2 Pro also includes sophisticated support for background tiles/images, the ability to easily create custom Web forms including email forms, and vertically expanding pages that are scalable to account for growing content. SiteGrinder 2 Basic is priced at $130, while SiteGrinder 2 Pro is available for $250 (system requirements were unavailable).
X-Clip Sports Armband
Gear4 today unveiled the X-Clip Sports Armband, a cushioned adjustable armband for iPod nano. Gear4's latest Nano accessory includes a detachable protective case to keep the iPod safe during physical activity, while the adjustable strap fits any arm size. The armband offers a "SmartClip" to keep wires out of the way, along with an emergency Rain Jacket featuring reflective strips ensure safety in the dark under most conditions. The armband offers full access to the Dock connector, headphone port, and clickwheel while protecting the player in a lightweight shatter-proof case. The X-Clip Sports Armband is priced at $30, and is available for pre-order from Gear4.
Call of Duty 2 arrives
Call of Duty 2, Activision's WWII first-person action game has arrived in retail stores throughout North America for the Mac. Call of Duty 2 attempts to re-define the cinematic intensity and chaos of battle as seen through the eyes of ordinary soldiers fighting together in epic WWII conflicts. The first person action game features enhanced graphics, a new engine, improved artificial intelligence, and choice-based innovations that simulate real warfare. The game features snow, rain, fog, and smoke, combined with dynamic lighting and shadows to create realistic effects. Call of Duty 2 is available for $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Analyst upgrades Apple
Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham Co. upgraded Apple's stock from a 'hold' to a 'buy,' issuing a price target of $90. "The trigger for our upgrade is the prospect that a significant number of Windows users will switch to a Mac once it's able to run Windows applications," Wolf wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. A survey of Windows users in the U.S home market indicated that 8 percent would switch to the Mac platform if it could run Windows, which would nearly triple Apple's share in the home market while increasing it 75 percent worldwide. "Although a seemingly small percentage, it nonetheless dwarfs Apple's current share of the home market," Wolf said.
Frameline 47 1.1 for Mac
Versatile Delivery Systems today released Frameline 47 1.1, an update to its video annotation tool. Users can generate enhanced podcasts from any video source, and can add Final Cut Pro XML export. Universities using iTunes U no longer need to provide both a lecture podcast and video stream, as the Enhanced Podcast does both, presenting the lecture audio simultaneously with timed stills taken from the lecture whiteboard. Frameline 47 enables users to embed full MPEG-7 multimedia descriptions into the podcast itself, transforming the podcast file into a media backup format. The application also features a revised notation interface, coupled with numerous other background improvements and enhancements. Frameline 47 1.1 is priced from $250 (system requirements were unavailable) [corrected]
Adobe Lightroom beta 3
Adobe has released a third public beta of Lightroom, its professional software for photographers. Much like Apple's own Aperture, the software is designed to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images. The beta 3 release includes support for several new raw camera foramts, and many new features and enhancements, including Before and After views in Develop, a history of Develop edits, live preview of HTML/Flash web output in new Web Module, automatic import (a.k.a., Hot Folder support), better handling of PSD and TIFF files, resolution control in Export, a an ddditional straighten tool, the ability to save module settings with collections and shoots, and keyword import/export. The beta expires on January 30, 2007 and is available as a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later. A beta of the Windows version is not yet available, but is expected later this year.
Apple Store Memorial City
In Brief: Apple is set to open its third retail store in the Houston, Texas-area this weekend, which will be located at 303 Memorial City; the grand opening of Apple Store Memorial City will take place on June 17th at 10:00 a.m.... Bombia Design today released a new freeware icon set entitled Eye Candy Vol. 1, containing six icons.... Campus MovieFest, the world's largest student film festival, celebrated the top short movies from over 25,000 participants this year at its International Grand Finale hosted in partnership with the Atlanta Film Festival.... Planar Systems today offered what it claims to be the latest advancements in 3D stereoscopic LCD displays with its StereoMirror 20- and 23-inch wide monitors.... Apple is sponsoring a large-scale search for talented songwriters by The Songwriters Academy.... Protestors over the weekend gathered at eight Apple Stores across the U.S. to inform the public about the company's Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme.
H2O Audio for iPod video
H2O Audio today announced that its new H2O Audio housing for iPod (with video), is now shipping, joining its line of adventure sport and outdoor recreation iPod player accessory solutions. The new H2O Audio for iPod features patented engineering and design that provides "absolute waterproof protection" for fifth-generation iPod video owners. The new H2O Audio housing protects the iPod's video screen from any scratches or abrasions. It is submersible up to 10 ft (3 meters) when paired with H2O Audio waterproof headphones, offers full control of the iPod via its Commander Scroll Wheel, includes a "Latch Tight" locking system and Seal Tight connector (compatible with standard 3.5mm headphone jacks), and ships with a sport armband. It is available for $90 (headphones are not included).
Three PlayFirst games
PlayFirst today announced the availability of Mac-compatible versions for three titles from its casual games portfolio: Plantasia, Subway Scramble and TriJinx: A Kristine Kross Mystery. In Plantasia, players "enter the magical gardens of a rundown mansion to find an enchanting world of gardening delight. Players plant seeds, harvest flowers, restore fountains and watch their gardens bloom. Insects, weeds and the clock all conspire to make this green-thumbed game a fun-filled floral challenge!" Subway Scramble is a fast-paced thinking puzzle puts players at the switch guiding train cars through miles of mazes as they tunnel their way through the subways of New York, London, Paris, Moscow and Seoul.
Small Tree networking
Small Tree Communications today introduced a series of multi-port, Intel-based, RoHS-compliant PCI-X Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) cards offering users greater integration flexibility. Ideal for data center and enterprise installations, Small Tree claims the new GbE cards provide an immediate performance increase on large transfers and feature solutions for short- and long-distance connectivity. A six-port GbE card, Small Tree's PGX6iSFP offers six empty Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) sockets, which can be customized to simultaneously meet optical and copper networking requirements. The PGX6iSFP costs $950 and $100 per copper SFP and $150 per optical SFP. For smaller installations, Small Tree has created a dual-port SFP card (PGX2iSFP) for $275, (and $100/$150 for copper or optical SFP modules). Small Tree also unveiled its PGX4iF ($1600), which it says is the densest plug-in optical card currently available and enables long-distance optical multi-network connectivity with one Apple's xServe.
Nyko debuts FM Trans Kit
Nyko Technologies today introduced the FM Trans Kit for the Apple's iPod nano. The versatile FM Trans Kit combines a high-powered, four-frequency FM transmitter, a car charger and three different mounting options. The FM transmitter broadcasts music through the car stereo and the company says that tuning is simple with the product's one-touch operation. Matching the look and feel of the Nano's design, the kit is powered by the iPod nano's battery or the included car charger. Users also have the ability to simultaneously recharge the iPod and listen to music with the charger conveniently plugged into any car power outlet or lighter. The FM Trans Kit includes an adhesive backed clip, horizontal/vertical air vent clip and sun visor clip for a variety of different mounting solutions. It is expected to ship this summer for $40.
Morph Age 3.0 ships
eX-cinder has released Morph Age 3.0, its application for morphing/warping images and movies on Mac OS X. It can easily warp and manipulate faces, photos, and scenery and save the result to a QuickTime movie. Morph Age works by allowing users to define curves on one or more images, which can be adjusted to create the corresponding distortion and morphing effect; it features real-time rendering using both CPU and GPU-acceleration for optimal performance and sub-pixel accuracy. Users can import various image formats from many sources, including iPhoto and iMovie and apply Quartz Composer effects (Sepia Tone, Crystalize, etc.) The rendered animation is in QuickTime format, enabling export to other applications such as Final Cut Pro or iMovie or to any video-capable iPod. Version 3.0 offers Intel-native operation, improved effects under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (required) with Quartz Composer integration, a new interface, and support for Apple's integrated iSight cameras. It is available for $100; upgrades are $20.
Port Authority 1.0 ships
Kevin Walzer has released Port Authority 1.0, an open-source application that provides a graphical user interface for the DarwinPorts package management system for Mac OS X. DarwinPorts is a powerful command-line tool for installing and updating a variety of Unix-based applications for the Mac. Port Authority is designed to bring the power of DarwinPorts to the traditional Mac user by providing a user-friendly graphical interface to the DarwinPorts system. Version 1.0 of Port Authority, under development for two years, is a Universal Binary and runs under the Mac's Aqua environment and its Unix-based X11 environment. The Aqua version costs $6.25, while the X11 version is freely available.
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