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Aperture, Pro apps updated
Apple today released Aperture 1.1.2, an update to the post production photography software that addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance. The company also released Pro Application Update 2006-01, fixing several bugs with underlying frameworks and shared components for its professional applications. Pro Application Update 2006-01 is recommended for users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro 5.1, Motion 2.1, Soundtrack Pro 1.1, DVD Studio Pro 4.1, Shake 4.1, LiveType 2.1, Apple Qmaster 2.1, and Final Cut Express HD 3.5. The updates requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
Blu-ray media arrives
In brief: Memorex today announced the retail availability of its Blu-ray media, offering recordable (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) discs that support HD video recording.... The Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia (MacBUS) today announced the June meeting, which will feature a special presentation by Dave Marra from Apple on Tuesday, June 27th at 6:45 p.m. in Dorrance Hamilton Hall at The University of the Arts.... Aatrix Software today announced plans to develop an Intel-Mac version of its payroll product line.... TheMacNurse.com is partnering with Take Control eBooks, Screen Casts Online, Euro Mac Podcast, and Interesting Thing of the Day to offer the first ever Geek2Mac live show via Skype.... Pacific Design has announced the retail availability of NanoGo ($30, shown at right), a multipurpose case for protecting Apple's iPod nano while carrying daily essentials.
MS exec departs
The former Microsoft executive responsible for marketing Windows Live -- a new series of services similar to Google's collection of tools -- has left the company in an unusual manner. Microsoft refused to offer reasons for Martin Taylor's departure, who worked at the software giant for 13 years. Taylor was scheduled to give interviews Monday about the release of Windows Live Messenger, but was reportedly bumped from a flight out of Dallas on Sunday night where he had to wait on standby, according to The Seattle Times. "This is not a normal type of exit," said Rob Horwitz, CEO of analysis firm Directions on Microsoft. "[...] [This] is pretty odd to have someone center stage in press releases and stuff one day and removed from the Web site the next day."
Best Buy considers Macs
Best Buy is considering selling Apple's full line of computers in its stores, which now only carries Apple's iPod and accessories for the portable media players. Seven Best Buy stores are currently selling Macs, and the company is considering expanding Mac sales across the chain, according to Best Buy Senior Vice President for Merchandising David Morrish. Morrish said the Macs are being sold by Best Buy employees who have been trained by Apple, adding that Best Buy is watching to see whether the computers can be sold profitably, and whether Best Buy employees can provide the level of customer service that Apple customers are used to in Apple's own retail stores, according to a report from The Associated Press.
DRM-free music in France
Starzik -- a French digital music service -- is offering musical tracks without DRM copy protection, a restriction imposed by services such as iTunes. Offering 600,000 tracks from three major record labels and thousands of independent labels, the service circumvents platform differences between Microsoft Windows systems and Macs, whose incompatibilities arise from the Digital Rights Management (DRM) copy protection schemes imposed by digital music distributors to regulate how consumers use the music they purchase online, according to Macworld UK. Starzik's tracks will be offered in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, and WMA formats. Thus far the store only caters to French customers, selling individual tracks for €1 each and albums for €9.
France iTunes DRM bill
The French draft law that initially threatened Apple's French iTunes Music Store has passed both the National Assembly as well as the Senate, and is poised to pass both houses tomorrow. French lawmakers agreed to weaken the measures after Apple called the bill "state-sponsored piracy," resulting in a loophole for companies such as Apple and Sony which will allow them to maintain their copy protection on music with permission from music copyright holders. The bill would provide record labels with a vital bargaining chip in their struggle for variable pricing on digital music sales, though, as Apple has so far maintained a stranglehold on pricing with its industry-leading iTunes service. Key members of the process say they have agreed to many of the weaker measures endorsed by senators, according to the Associated Press.
Flash shortage, Apple
Research firm Gartner expects a shortage of NAND flash memory by the fourth quarter of this year, especially if Apple launches a flash-based iPod with 10-12GB of storage capacity in the fall. "We're expecting a more severe shortage," said Gartner analyst Joe Unsworth. Apple thus far has said nothing of a new player, but the top exec of an iPod manufacturer recently stated that Apple is close to unveiling the next generation of iPod that will feature a "none-touch" concept. It is still unclear whether the new iPod will feature more than 4GB of flash, however. Gartner predicts a shortage of flash supply of 5.8 percent by the fourth quarter, up from its previous expectation for a shortage of approximately 3-4 percent, according to MarketWatch. Gartner believes that hand-held music players led by Apple's iPod will drive growth of the NAND flash market in the second half of this year.
ezSupport for eBay 2.0
HostedSupport.com today released ezSupport for eBay 2.0, an upgrade to its automated customer support software customized specifically to the needs of eBay sellers. The Web-based application is designed to help sellers deal with the overwhelming volume of repetitive email questions from buyers by automatically answering 80 percent of incoming inquiries, according to the company. HostedSupport.com has established a unique partnership with the online auction company, and is the only developer of an automated customer support solution that has integrated into the eBay API to support "Ask Seller a Question." ezSupport for eBay 2.0 is priced at $10 per seat, per month on a month-to-month subscription basis.
Google Sitemap Automator
Rage Software today released Rage Google Sitemap Automator 1.2, a free update to the software package allowing webmasters to automate Google Sitemap generation. The application helps search engines which utilize Google Sitemaps to locate and index important documents on a website. Rage Google Sitemap Automator communicates directly with Google to keep the search giant informed about which pages to index, how often those pages are modified, and how important each page is relative to every other page on the site. The software utilizes filters as well as preset conditions, and includes a new parsing engine to ensure it can find/scan every link on the website. The application also provides better control over which files are scanned for links, reducing bandwidth requirements while scanning. RAGE Google Sitemap Automator 1.2 is priced at $30 (system requirements were unavailable).
starQuiz 3.1 ($40) is a major upgrade to the computerized testing software for Mac systems that enables teachers to create online tests which are automatically graded by the computer. starQuiz 3.1 introduces quiz resources, a field for notes to the student, and a French translation of the application.
[Download - 8.9MB]
TabletMagic 2.0b3 (donationware) is an open source driver that supports many older Wacom serial-based tablets. The update runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and adds a data rate readout to the testing pane. Two buttons can enable "Ink" handwriting recognition or kill the daemon. TabletMagic 2.0b3 also removes extraneous daemon logging, and offers preliminary support for SD as well as Intuo tablets. [Download - 778KB]
iBank 2.1.2 ($40) updates the financial management application, fixing a critical bug that could cause a crash when reconciling statements. iBank 2.1.2 also offers improved error checking and data validation. The maintenance release is free to all current users. [Download - 5.6MB]
InDesignSecrets plug-in (free) issues Adobe InDesign tips and tricks each time InDesign is launched. The plug-in offers a new feature that can automatically download new tips important to InDesign users as they become available. [Download - 2.2MB]
A&AM Manager 1.0.1 (donationware) is management software for the World War II miniatures collecting game Axis & Allies Miniatures. The application helps users keep track of constantly growing collections of miniatures, featuring a built-in database with statistics for special abilities of every unit released so far, as well as a Battleset manager to build or manage battlesets. [Download - 3.7MB]
Spanish Vocab 1.0.0 (free) tests Spanish vocabulary, prompting users to identify 20 English words or phrases matching 20 Spanish translations. The software randomly selects a Spanish translation from a list of over 1,800 words and phrases, allowing users to add or delete information from the list. [Download - 1.9MB]
In brief: Elemental Security today announced that its Elemental Security Platform has been certified by the Center for Internet Security (CIS) for the CIS Mac OS X Benchmark 1.02.... Toon Boom Animation has announced its partnership with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to jointly create a Center of Excellence that will provide training in animation.... Belkin's N1 Wireless Router has won Laptop Magazine's Ultimate Choice Award, which appears in the summer 2006 issue currently on newsstands.... MacForce has announced a June meeting of the Portland Mac Film Makers User Group, featuring a look at "vodcasting:" an emerging term combining Video-On-Demand and Podcasting to be held Wednesday, June 28th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the MacForce theater.... Targus has announced three new security locks for Apple's iPod, including its Mobile Security Lock (shown at right).
Macs may offset iPods
UBS analyst Ben Reitzes today predicted sequentially lower iPod sales for Apple in the third quarter of this year, but expects new iPods next quarter and noted that MacBook demand is solid. "To reflect checks that indicate more interest for new MacBooks and solid education buying, we are raising our 3Q06 estimate for Mac units to 1.32 million units (was 1.24 million) and our FY06 unit estimate to 5.1 million (was 5.0 million)," Reitzes wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "We now estimate iPod unit sales of 7.8 million for 3Q06 (was 8.4 million) reflecting year over year growth of 27 percent (-8 percent quarter over quarter) and FY06 unit sales of 39.8 million (was 40.9 million)." UBS is maintaining a "buy" rating for Apple shares with a price target of $90, hovering above its peers due to faster growth and higher margins.
UGS supports Mac OS X
UGS Corp today announced plans to add native support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" to the list of supported environments for its NX digital product development, and Teamcenter digital lifecycle management software solutions. The software, which already supports Windows and Unix/Linux environments, offers an integrated solution for a full range of development processes in product design, manufacturing and simulation with a suite of integrated CAD/CAM/CAE applications. "We are proud to offer our products on Mac OS X in order to help even more companies transform their process of innovation," said Chuck Grindstaff, UGS' executive vice president of Products. "As the first major PLM supplier to offer its software products for Mac OS X, UGS can now give worldwide Mac users access to best-of-breed PLM solutions." A limited edition version of NX is available today for PowerPC-based Macs under UGS' Early Adopter Program. It plans to add support for Intel-based Macs as part of a future product release. UGS also plans to make Teamcenter Engineering Integration for NX available on Mac OS X in 2007.
Torque Game Builder
GarageGames today released Torque Game Builder and Torque Game Builder Pro for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. Built upon the definitive technology of the 3D Torque Game Engine, Torque Game Builder features animated sprites, flexible tiles, a special effects system, state-of-the-art collision, real world physics, and hardware-accelerated 2D rendering. The easy-to-use editors for interface creation, effects, tiles, level building, and packaging are designed to make Torque Game Builder approachable by anyone with the desire to create games. GarageGames is providing the C++ and TorqueScript source code as part of Torque Game Builder Pro for $1,250, or $250 for Indie developers, while Torque Game Builder is priced at $500, or $100 for Indies and hobbyists (system requirements were unavailable).
Muffgear notebook covers
Muffgear today began shipping the Designer Muff for MacBook and MacBook Pro (MBP), a collaborative effort to create unique covers showcasing the efforts of young up-and-coming artists. A percentage of each Designer Muff sold goes straight to the artist, and each Designer Muff is hand-made in Australia from a printed polyester canvas or polar fleece with foam. Designer Muff cases for MacBooks and MacBook Pros feature the same designs as the company's iPod cases, which launched in mid-April. Designer Muff for MacBook and MacBook Pro are priced at $35 in three designs which include "Ghosties" (shown at right), "Skulls," and "Satisfied."
Camino 1.0.2 released
The Camino Project has released Camino 1.0.2, a stability and security update to its Mozilla-powered Mac style Web browser. The update fixes security issues which were fixed in the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine 126.96.36.199, and repairs an issue in Camino 1.0.1 where proxy auto-config (PAC) files were ignored. Camino 1.0.2 repairs a problem where the software's bookmark metadata could not be added to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching, and performance degradation no longer occurs when using Camino on a network with many Bonjour hosts. Additional bug fixes include Camino ignoring the "Link from other application" tabbed browsing preference in certain cases, and the software no longer displays some search fields on Apple.com incorrectly. Camino 1.0.2 is free, requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Slingshot 2.0 for syncing
Martian Technology has releasedSlingShot 2.0, a major update to its network file synchronization application for Mac OS X. SlingShot 2.0 adds the ability to synchronize iTunes music (songs and playlists) between two or more computers connected over a network -- the easiest way to back up all of your important music. With SlingShot 2.0, you can Publish an iTunes Playlist of music onto the network and then Subscribe to the Playlist from other computers. SlingShot will copy over any songs from the Published Playlist that aren't in the Subcriber's iTunes Library, add them to the Library, and then recreate the Playlist on the Subscriber. Then it will check periodically to see if the Playlist has been changed; any changes will be reflected in the Subscriber's copy of the Playlist. SlingShot uses Apple's Bonjour technology to keep files (and now iTunes music) in sync between two or more Macs. It is available as a Universal Binary, supporting both PowerPC and Intel Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or newer. SlingShot 2.0 is a free upgrade for existing customers; new licenses can be purchased for $30.
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