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ChatFX, iKey, iClock
Script Software today updated its ChatFX, iClock, and iKey applications. ChatFX brings visual effects to iChat such as bluescreen, twirl, and comic book. ChatFX 1.21 adds the ability to change settings for each composition, and adds numerous new compositions. iKey is a utility designed to eliminate repetitive actions, allowing users to create shortcuts of action sequences accessible via hotkeys, the menubar, and other means. iKey 2.2.1 adds an icon to launch the iKey Editor directly, and offers support for more USB devices. iClock replaces the antiquated/limited Mac menubar clock in Mac OS X. iClock 3.04 offers numerous interface changes, updates the French translation, and fixes a bug in the Auto check popup menu. ChatFX ($20) requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, iKey ($30) requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and iClock ($20) requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
WebcamTweaker 1.2 released
Tweakersoft today released WebcamTweaker 1.2.0, offering support for the Apple Remote that ships with new Mac systems. The software enables users to record video messages or shoot photos with support for special effects. WebcamTweaker effects include Bump, Glass, Pinch, Black & White, Bloom, Crystallize, Dots, Halftone, Pixel, Pointilize, Thermal, TV, Warhol, XRay, Balls, Christmas, Crazy Heart, Cube, Love, Moving Glass, SpaceWrap, and Teapot. Users can optionally develop custom effects with Quartz Composer, and movies generated with WebcamTweaker are compatible with Apple's video iPod. Photos are transferable directly to iPhoto via email, and are usable as iChat buddy pictures or User Account photos. WebcamTweaker 1.2.0 is priced at $16, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
myNotes 1.2 released
Mishimo today released myNotes 1.2, an update to the note management software for Mac OS X. myNotes allows users to create, organize, and share notes as well as clippings. The software can import text documents, allows entry of ideas, supports to-do lists, includes an auto-naming feature, and offers a real-time word count. Users can customize the work area, sync notes onto an iPod, print notes using customizable themes, and search using Apple's Spotlight technology. myNotes exports notes as Rich Text format (RTF) documents, HTML Web pages, and Microsoft Word documents. myNotes 1.2 is priced at $16, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Mac OS X Internals
Publishing company Pearson Education today unveiled Mac OS X Internals, a book that dissects the internals of the system by presenting a detailed picture that grows incrementally as it is read. Topics include roles of the firmware, boot loader, Mach/BSD kernel components, and the object-oriented I/O Kit driver framework. The book also covers user libraries and other core pieces of the system. Readers learn how these pieces connect and work internally, where they originated, and how they evolved. The book also covers several key areas of Apple's Intel-based Macs (pricing and availability were unavailable).
Mac OS X 10.4.7 redux
Apple today said it has updated its initial Mac OS X 10.4.7 Update for Intel-based Macs, although it has not provided a new update via Software Update or on the Web. The revised update does not affect PowerPC-systems, according to the company. An email to its security list noted that "the install package that upgrades a Mac OS X v10.4.6 (Intel) system is being revised.... to provide several files related to OpenGL performance that were missing. Only the package that upgrades a Mac OS X v10.4.6 (Intel) system to Mac OS X v10.4.7 (Intel) is being changed. All other Mac OS X v10.4.7 install packages remain unchanged." [update: Apple has posted the updated disk image with the newer checksum]
A security researcher has provided details on the launchd vulnerability fixed in Apple's latest OS update. The flaw, which was patched in the Mac OS X 10.4.7 update on Tuesday, could allow unauthenticated local users to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. The launchd daemon takes the place of the cron, xinetd, mach_init, and init programs on Mac OS X systems to perform system initialization, call system scripts, and run startup items. The proof-of-concept code offers a facility for launchd to send messages to the syslog daemon via a format string vulnerability that ultimately results in root access to the host system.
iPod Updater 2006-06-28
Apple today released a new iPod Updater 2006-06-28 (available via Software Update), which offers bug fixes along with support for Nike+iPod in its iPod nano software. The latest update includes the iPod Software 1.1.2 for iPod, iPod Software 1.2 for iPod nano, and iPod Software 1.1.4 for iPod shuffle. For all other iPod models, iPod Updater 2006-06-28 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2006-03-23. iPod Software 1.1.2 for iPod offers bug fixes, while iPod Software 1.2 for iPod nano includes Nike + iPod support (when used in conjunction with iTunes 6.05) and bug fixes, and iPod Software 1.1.4 for iPod shuffle adds a volume limit as well as bug fixes.iTunes 6.0.5 or later is required to set a maximum volume limit for iPod shuffle.
Apple today announced that an internal investigation has discovered irregularities related to the issuance of certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001. One of the grants in question was to CEO Steve Jobs, but it was subsequently cancelled and resulted in no financial gain to the CEO. A special committee of Apple's outside directors has hired independent counsel to perform an investigation and the company has informed the SEC. Apple executives will refrain from commenting further on this matter until the independent investigation is concluded. "Apple is a quality company, and we are proactively and transparently disclosing what we have discovered to the SEC," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We are focused on resolving these issues as quickly as possible."
Refurbished Power Macs
Apple is selling refurbished G5 Power Macs which include the Dual 2GHz system with a 1GHz frontside bus per processor, 1MB of L2 cache per core, 512MB of RAM, a 160GB SATA hard drive, a 16X double-layer SuperDrive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE graphics card with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM for $1,699, a savings of 16 percent; the Dual 2.3GHz system with 512MB of RAM, a 250GB SATA hard drive, a 16X double-layer SuperDrive, and an ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card for $1,999, 21 percent off; the Dual 2.3GHz system with a 1.15GHz frontside bus per processor, 1MB of L2 cache per core, 512MB of RAM, a 250GB SATA hard drive, a 16X double-layer SuperDrive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 graphics card with 256MB for $2,149 and the Quad 2.5GHz with two dual-core processors, a 1.25GHz frontside bus a 250GB SATA hard drive, a 16X double-layer SuperDrive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 graphics card with 256MB for $2,799, a 16 percent savings.
iTunes 6.0.5 released
Apple today released iTunes 6.0.5, adding the ability to sync Nike + iPod workout data to nikeplus.com and fixing a security issue related to AAC file parsing. The AAC file parsing code in iTunes versions prior to 6.0.5 contains an integer overflow vulnerability. Parsing a maliciously-crafted AAC file could cause iTunes to terminate or potentially execute arbitrary code, according to Apple. iTunes 6.0.5 addresses this issue by improving the validation checks used when loading AAC files. Apple gives credit to ATmaCA working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative for reporting this issue. Apple and Nike in late May announced a partnership to bring sports and music together, launching Nike + iPod products that allow Nike's new running shoes to communicate with Apple's iPod.
Maine, iBook program
The state of Maine has extended its educational laptop program with Apple for another four years. Maine has signed a contract with Apple worth $41 million to provide more than 30,000 seventh- and eighth-graders with new laptops while also accommodating teachers. Maine was the first state to equip students statewide with laptop computers, and Maine officials say the initiative remains the largest of its type in the nation, according to the Associated Press. Apple is set to provide 4,000 teachers and 32,000 students with iBooks, as well as upgraded wireless networks. The contract includes warranties for the equipment, and professional development for each of Maine's 241 public middle schools, according to the report.
Intaglio 2.8 ($90) updates the Quartz drawing application, adding several "Arrange" options as well as a basic Bézier Curve Polygon tool. Intaglio 2.8 includes an intensity mask option for groups, MacDraw Pro file import, and supports drawing scale export with graphics.
[Download - 4.7MB]
Navicat 6.2.1 for PostgreSQL ($100) is the latest iteration of the database management tool, featuring enhanced support for HTTP tunneling as a Universal Binary. The update can run Navicat on Intel Macs and connect to remote PostgreSQL systems without the need for pre-configuration. [Download - 6.53MB]
French Vocab 1.0 (free) is designed to test users' French vocabulary, presenting 20 English words or phrases matching 20 French translations. The default list includes more than 1,000 English words and phrases with their French equivalents, allowing users to add, edit, or delete information. [Download - 1.9MB]
Interarchy 8.1.1 ($40) brings native compatibility for Intel Macs to the internet-based file transfer software. Interarchy 8.1.1 can download as well as upload files via FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, FTP over SSH, and SSL-TLS. Version 8.1.1 includes Automator actions, Dashboard widgets, and a new streamlined input window. [Download - 7.9MB]
Art Collector 1.1 ($8) updates the album art management software, allowing users to drop album art into the "current artwork" column or drag artwork to export it to the desktop. The application also filters viewable tracks based on the presence of album art, enabling users to easily locate albums that do not yet feature artwork. [Download - 442KB]
NewerTech lowers prices
Newer Technology today lowered prices on its full line of miniStack V2 FireWire and USB 2.0 combo storage solutions featuring integrated port expansion hubs, and announced a summer sales special on its 500GB model. The 500GB miniStack V2is on sale for $300, and is deemed the most affordable model in its class according to the latest CNET indexes. Other price reductions on the 7200 rpm miniStack V2 include the 80GB model with a 2MB buffer for $124.99, down from $129; the 160GB version with an 8MB buffer for $139.99, reduced from $149; the 250GB miniStack with an 8MB buffer for $175, down from $179.99; the 320GB model with a 16MB buffer for $199, down from $209.99; and the 400GB version with a 16MB buffer for $279.99, reduced from $299.99.
Google launches Checkout
Google today launched Google Checkout, designed as a fast, secure, and convenient checkout process for Google users. The service enables shoppers to purchase from participating stores with a single Google login, and works with the company's search advertising program, AdWords, to help merchants acquire new customers while processing all or a portion of their Checkout sales for free. Shoppers can find stores that accept Google Checkout by looking for the Google Checkout icon on AdWords advertisements, or whenever they come across the Google Checkout option on a merchant's site. Users can then create a Google Checkout login right from the merchant's site with a single username and password by entering basic information.
Mac Web Agent beta
MotionBased.com has released the beta version of its Mac Web Agent as a plug-in for Safari, offering performance tracking via GPS. MotionBased is a Web application that translates GPS data into functional analysis and online mapping for endurance as well as outdoor athletes. Currently supported devices include the Forerunner 205/305, Forerunner 301 (firmware versions 3.00 or 3.20 only), and the Edge 205/305. Mac Web Agent 1.23 fixes a problem with sync when no lap data was available for a run. The Map Player and Analyzer are currently inoperative in Mac OS X, however, as only partial Mac support is available. Mac Web Agent requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Apple on The Wired 40
Google has displaced Apple as the No. 1 company on The Wired 40, Wired's annual listings of its top companies that have basic fundamentals such as strategic vision, global reach, and killer technology as well as an "X-factor, a hunger for new ideas and an impatience to put them into practice. Such companies inevitably become trendsetters, literally: As we debated and redebated the list this year, six major themes flickered into view. From the rise of peer production to the end of carbon pollution, they tell us where the world is heading." Google is described as less cuddly but more profitable than ever, the monster from Mountain View has rivals but no peers. Is it a search engine? A media company? A software provider? Who cares? Microsoft, for one. Get ready for the grudge match of the decade," while Apple, No. 1 last year, is recognized for its iLife suite of applications.
Review, Spider-Man 3
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Super-Deluxe Bag and Laptop Insert ($100 for bag, $35 for sleeve) from CourierWare, a handmade bag made from tough nylon.... Kensington is offering a 10 percent discount on its new cases, as well as free shipping through July 30th.... Apple's iTunes Music Store was scheduled to host the exclusive premiere of the Spider-Man 3 trailer, until pirates posted the trailer first on YouTube.... The CEO of HealthWare has announced the iHealth Trade-In, Trade-Up Program, allowing buyers of other Mac OS X software for the dental, medical, and chiropractic healthcare professions to purchase iDental or iMedical with a 50 percent credit for previously purchased software.... ToMarket, a class designed to teach attendees how to become a successful vendor of commercial software built with FileMaker Pro, is scheduled to take place just prior to the FileMaker Developer Conference in August of 2006.... Linspire has released the Linspire Mini Koobox, a small form-factor Linux machine starting at $400 after a $100 mail-in rebate.
Mark/Space acquires MySync
Mark/Space and MildMannered Industries announced that Mark/Space has acquired MySync, the Mac-to-Mac sync software still in beta form. MySync provides synchronization of personal information, such as Address Book contacts, iCal calendars, and Mail accounts between multiple Mac OS X systems. As part of the agreement, MildMannered Industries will provide continuing technical input and advice on the product. "MySync fits perfectly with our product lineup and allows us to expand our focus from syncing Macs with cool gadgets to include syncing multiple Macs," said Brian Hall, Mark/Space president and CEO. "MildMannered Industries have done a fabulous job with MySync. We look forward to working with them to add additional capabilities that users will love and to bring the software to market." MySync requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available for free.
Versa2 iPod case unveiled
Das Blau today unveiled the Versa2, a case that doubles as a stand for Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The Versa2 offers protection from bumps and scratches from everyday use, guarding the screen with a built-in protector. The accessory fits both 30GB and 60GB video iPods, featuring a belt loop that turns into a stand for watching videos hands-free. The iPod dock connector is accessible in "stand mode," and the case is constructed from supple leather coupled with fabric, or alternatively corduroy. Four new color combinations include "carrottini," "mocha sky," "sherlock" (shown at right), and "hot rod." The Versa2 case/stand is priced at $60, and is handmade in New York City.
Media 100 v11 ships
Media 100 today announced that Media 100 HD Suite, Media HDe and Media 100 SDe version 11.0 are now shipping. Announced at NAB 2006, the version 11 release offers Media 100 editors 10-bit uncompressed HD and SD editing capabilities, support for broadcast-quality format conversions, and increased system performance by leveraging Mac OS X and AJA Video OEM solutions. The version 11 release is also a first step towards native integration with the Boris FX product line, bringing the advanced compositing and effects technology seamlessly within the Media 100 interface. Version 11 also supports embedded SDI audio, compressed HD, hardware-based 1080-to-720 or 720-to-1080 cross conversions, uncompressed 10-bit and 8-bit 4:2:2, DVCPro/DV/JPEG B codecs, and s Media 100 HD with HDX hardware. Media 100 HD customers who subscribe to Media 100's Platinum Software Updates service ($700) will receive version 11 as well as Boris RED 3GL. New Media 100 NLE systems start at $2500. Media 100 sw, a software-based companion to existing Media 100 systems, is available for $400.
Etnus TotalView 7.3 ships
Etnus today announced the release of a new version of TotalView 7.3 featuring support for the Intel Core Duo processor-based Macs. TotalView Version 7.3 supports Apple's build of the GCC compiler, as well as the Intel compiler suite. In addition, it provides integrated memory debugging for Power Mac OS X and Intel Mac OS X, a data viewer for dumping memory contents, and an MPI message queue graph that performs cycle detection. TotalView supports threads, MPI, OpenMP, C/C++, and Fortran, plus mixed-language codes and offers advanced features such as on-demand memory leak detection, other heap allocation debugging features, and a Standard Template Library Viewer (STLView). Developers can leverage a wide variety of breakpoints, the Message Queue Graph/Visualizer, powerful data analysis, and control at the thread level. It supports Mac OS X 10.4 or later. (Pricing not available online.)
Trans Int's miniXpress
Trans International today introduced its first SATA-to-FireWire miniXpress Portable External drive. Utilizing the latest Serial ATA-to-FireWire, hot-pluggable and bus-powered technology, the MiniXpress solves the MacBook and MacBook Pro internal drive upgrade issue of utilizing the replaced drive. With Trans' miniXpress Portable enclosures, users can upgrade their MacBook and MacBook Pro with larger capacity drives and can then install the replaced drive in a miniXpress and use it as back up or added storage. miniXpress cases are portable rugged--yet stylish--and are made from aluminum, assuring durability and heat dissipation. Equipped with anti-shock mechanism and triple interface (F800/F400/USB) for maximum connectivity options, the miniXpress is an ideal and versatile solution for portable external storage.
PopChar X 3.0 released
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 3.0, a completely re-designed version of its widely used tool for inserting special characters into the text of any application. The new release of PopChar adds over 25 new features, including Universal Binary support for native operation on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Mac computers, quick search functions for special characters, a more flexible user interface, optimized character/font selection. ""PopChar solves a problem faced by every technologist and multi-lingual worker. Inserting special characters into application documents can be frustrating and result in a stead loss of productivity. The extent of the problem is a function of several factors, including the number of special characters in a document, the variability of the characters, and the variability of fonts used in conjunction with the special characters." It is available for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and costs $30.
Yahoo Messenger 3.0b1
Yahoo! today introduced a new beta of Yahoo! Messenger 3.0b1 for Mac users, which boasts an all new interface designed specifically for the Mac OS X operating system. The application features an ntirely new user interface written in Cocoa, supporting Yahoo! Avatars and Display Images, custom stealth settings, webcam support, compatible across PCs and Macs, custom Status messages (including links to music tracks), animated sign-in/sign-out/contact list, new sound effects, visual notifications with support for the Growl global notification system, and alerts for Yahoo! Calendar, Mail and Personals. The company also said it would add support for interoperability with Windows Live (MSN) Messenger in the the future. The beta of Yahoo! Messenger for the Mac will be introduced to U.S. users today and will roll-out on a phased bases to international markets in the future.
MTV adds iTunes content
MTV Networks and Apple today announced that new television programming from Spike TV, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Logo, MTV and The N is now available on the iTunes Music Store. Adding to the MTV Networks content already on iTunes, the new round of programming available for purchase and download crosses virtually every genre and includes Spike TV's brand-new action series "Blade: The Series," MTV's prank-comedy show "Viva La Bam" and TV Land's "Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg." MTV said that its programming has been a "huge success" on iTunes since debuting earlier this year, with COMEDY CENTRAL's "South Park" alone selling over one million episodes. iTunes now offers over 150 TV shows for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod.
MaxUpgrades today announced the availability of a newer version of its MaxConnect, featuring an auxiliary cooling fan for disk drive cooling. The company's MaxConnect is an internal hard disk drive mounting solution that allows three additional hard disk drives to be installed in G5 Power Macintosh CPU Bay. The newly designed MaxConnect is compatible with all G5 Power Macintosh Series Models (PCI/PCI-X & PCI Express) and is made from aluminum as well as machined from single piece. It features a unique base mount for anchoring disk drives to the G5 chassis, guide pins for easy removal and insertion of the disk drives, and can be used to leverage multiple data channels via any SATA controller. It ships with optional power cables, SATA Data Cable and Serial ATA Controller cards. Prices start at $75.
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