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New Brother MFCs
Brother on Tuesday launched a new line of low-profile color inkjet Multi-function Center (MFC) products, replacing the current flatbed MFC-210c, MFC-420cn and MFC-640cw models, respectively. Brother's new line-up features a small footprint, a stand-alone 14.4kbps fax and a 10-page auto-document feeder to complement standard robust printing, copying and scanning functions as well as media card support. They feature among the fastest print speeds in their class with 25ppm black / 20ppm color for MFC-240c/440cn, and up to 27ppm black / 22ppm color for the MFC-665cw. Both the MFC-440cn and MFC-665cw come standard with a built-in Ethernet network interface to enable the sharing of printing, scanning, faxing and media card access. All feature print resolutions of up to 6000 x 1200 dots per inch using droplets as small as 1.5 picoliters and optical scan resolution of 600 x 2400 dpi.
PDF Handshake UB updated
Helios Software today announced PDF Handshake UB and pdfInspektor3, updating the software designed to reduce prepress workflow costs. PDF Handshake allows users to automatically inspect PDF files to verify printing compatibility, conforming with PDF/X standards. PdfInspector3 is automated by PDF HandShake to examine PDF files as soon as they are created. Automated server-based PDF preflight is designed to save time and ensure that incoming as well as outgoing PDF files are production compatible. PDF HandShake UB includes pdfInspektor3, and fully integrates with the entire Helios product suite. Helios ImageServer adds hot folder support for automatic or interactive preflight, while Helios WebShare provides a fast and secure managed file transfer platform for remote users. Helios PDF HandShake UB with pdfInspektor3 is available via authorized resellers, and existing users can upgrade for free (pricing was unavailable).
Developer launches RB site
An avid Mac software developer has launched a new website designed to provide high quality REALbasic objects to other developers. The site currently offers REALbasic objects that aid with customer support, preserve/restore color profiles regardless of the development platform, and provide developers with access to meta data stored in music as well as picture files. Objects include Audio Meta Data Suite, Image Meta Data Suite, Machine Information + Error Reporting, and Apple Remote Interface. Audio Meta Data Suite, Image Meta Data Suite, and Machine Information + Error Reporting are priced at $50, while Apple Remote Interface is available for free.
BetterZip 1.2 ($20) allows users to inspect archives without extracting them, then have the options to extract, delete or add what they want to the archives. New in this update is support for RAR and 7-Zip files, creation of PKZip2 encrypted archives, opening of CPIO and CPGz files, as well as some performance increases up to 5 times faster.
[Download - 2.0MB]
InstantGallery 1.5 ($15) is an application that allows users to create web galleries from folders containing images. Version 1.5 adds the ability to save galleries, allowing users to to reopen and maintain them later. It also adds picture rotation, and several bug fixes. InstantGallery requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later running on a G4- or Intel-based Mac. [Download - 886KB]
Mousepose 2 ($10) helps presenters by highlighting key points or helping to find the cursor on a big screen. New in this version is the ability to blur the edges of the cursor, visualize mouse clicks with circles relative to number of clicks, and take a "talkthrough," and a voice over walkthrough of the applications features. Mousepose requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a graphics card with Quartz Extreme support. [Download - 2.6MB]
Process 2.0.2 ($40) is a utility to help manage projects from the brainstorming sessions to the execution of each task. The update adds support for Address Book, improved Safari support, performance boosts, importing Process 1.x documents, recent documents memory, and several bug fixes. Mac OS 10.4 or later is required to run Process 2. [Download - 3.0MB]
SQLiteManager 2.0.9 ($40) allows users manages SQLite databases in OS X with a "next generation" GUI. Additions to version 2.0.9 include improved support for the EditRecord window, improved support for specific characters, and several bug fixes. SQLiteManager requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 5.5MB]
Review, AAPL Q3 results
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Tom Bihn Super Ego Bag ($140, shown at right), a water resistant messenger-style laptop bag.... Apple is set to hold its conference call webcast discussing Q3 - 2006 financial results at 2:00 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 19th.... Construction is still underway on the upgraded theater for the Regent Street Apple store in London, which is due to finish at the end of July.... Three world-renowned photographers -- Jay Maisel, John Paul Caponigro, and Jeff Schewe -- are teaching at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo September 7-9th in Las Vegas, NV.... The Flashforward Conference & Film Festival is offering early bird pricing until July 28th, allowing attendees to save up to $450.
Nova ships Berlitz Premier
Nova Development today announced the retail release of Berlitz Premier, a new line of foreign language instruction programs. The Berlitz Premier series debuts in Spanish, French, German and Italian. The "time-proven learning system" offers three ways attain foreign language proficiency: (1) on a Windows PC or Macintosh, (2) in the car, and (3) on the go using a Pocket PC, Palm, iPod or other mobile listening device. Each Berlitz Premier title offers instruction suitable for beginning, intermediate and advanced users; it also allows users to set the pace for learning by exploring the software’s many topics and focusing their learning in the subject areas that best fit their needs. It features "Real World Learning" that allows users to actual conversations, built-in multimedia activities, more than 1,000 vocabulary words and phrases, advanced speech analysis, and innovative iPod-based exercises. It is available for $50 (before a $10 mail-in rebate).
MS updates Mac Office
Microsoft today issued an update to Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, repairing issues in Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac while including all of the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates. The update also fixes vulnerabilities in the business suite that could allow an attacker to overwrite memory with malicious code. Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.2.5 applies to Office 2004 Standard Edition, Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Office 2004 Professional Edition, Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac, Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac, Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 for Mac, Entourage 2004. The update requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is available for free to current license holders.
Execs named in Apple suit
Apple executive officer Steve Jobs, former Apple executive officer Michael Spindler, and other executives of the company have been named in the most recent investor lawsuit over stock option grant irregularities and may be forced to return the funds they earned from grants received as part the Cupertino-based company's executive stock compensation plan, should the lawsuit succeed. The complaint filed last month in U.S. court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all Apple investors, claims that company executives and directors worked secretly together to backdate stock options in an effort to maximize returns on their options, breaching their fiduciary duties to Apple and costing the company millions in losses, according to AppleInsider.
Apple, Google find loyalty
Apple, Google and Symantec are among the high-technology companies with the most loyal customers, according to a new report based on data from early last year. The company conducted three separate studies looking at the Online Services, Computing, and Consumer Services sectors of the high technology industry, assessing various companies' commitment to maximizing customer experience and driving revenue growth through customer loyalty. Satmetrix sought to discover how likely customers were to recommend the company to a friend or colleague, creating a proprietary Net Promoter Score for each company. Apple received the highest score for the 'Computer' category, while Google was first in 'Online Services' and Symantec tops in 'Consumer Software.'
Active Sport iPod cases
Speck Products today launched its Active Sport line of fitness-inspired cases for Apple's iPod nano and video iPod players. Designed for athletes, the Active Sport cases are made from breathable mesh material for comfort, and feature an adjustable Velcro strap for a snug fit. Each case is outfitted with reflective material to increase visibility during non-daylight hours. The case features a sewn-in, clear screen protector as well as a neoprene enclosure to guard the digital media player from scratches. Active Sport Armband for iPod nano and iPod with video are available for $35, while Active Sport basic cases for iPod nano and iPod with video are slated for shipment in mid-July for $25 and $30, respectively.
Aegis Mini unveiled
Apricorn today unveiled the Aegis Mini, a pocket sized portable hard drive featuring USB 2.0 or FireWire connectivity. The Aegis Mini is bus-powered and features an integrated cable that wraps around the Mini when not in use. The Mini drive comes bundled with Apricorn's Data Protection Suite that provides backup, synchronization, and encryption in a shock-mounted enclosure with a padded carrying pouch. Apricorn's Aegis Mini utilizes Hitachi Global Storage Technologies' 1.8-inch hard drive, protecting data with a unique 16-point omni directional shock mounting system. The Aegis Mini is plug-and-play, hot swappable, and ships in 30GB as well as 60GB capacities. The portable accessory includes a neoprene protective carrying pouch, a one-meter USB extension cable, and Data Protection Software Suite. The Aegis Mini USB 2.0 is priced at $160 and $240 for 30GB and 60GB capacities, while drives featuring FireWire connectivity are priced at $170 and $250 for 30GB and 60GB capacities, respectively.
MCE 160GB laptop drive
MCE Technologies has added a 160GB Serial-ATA hard drive with a fast 5400 RPM rotational speed to its MobileStor-S lineup of hard drive upgrades for the MacBook Pro, MacBook, and Mac mini. The MCE MobileStor-S 160GB/5400RPM drive is the highest-performance, highest-capacity drive available for Apple's MacBook Pro and includes an 8MB cache buffer, according to the company. It achieves its high capacity by utilizing second-generation "Perpendicular Recording" technology: data bits are stood on end within the disks' platters allowing more bits to be packed into the platter for increased hard drive capacity. The MCE MobileStor-S 160GB hard drive has sustained data transfer rates of up to 67.5MB per second with burst transfer rates of up to 150MB per second, according to the company. The drive is available now for $300.
StorCase SATA enclosure
StorCase Technology today released a new InfoStation 5-bay SATA desktop model that supports both Macs and PCs. The high-density RAID enclosure allows increased configuration flexibility for up to five removable SATA 3Gbps drives, integrating a SATA port multiplier that simplifies cable management by allowing a single cable connection for up to five SATA devices. The enclosure can use all five bays for RAID levels 0, 1, 10, and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks), supporting twice the SATA-specified external cable length. The InfoStation 5-bay SATA desktop model incorporates a 64-Bit PCI-X 133MHz HBA (Host Bus Adapter) and includes a shielded 2-meter cable with standard eSATA external connectors (pricing was unavailable).
OWC storage sale
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced a Summer Sale, significantly lowering prices on all 500GB model Mercury Elite-AL Pro, Neptune, and NewerTech miniStack V2 external storage solutions by more than $100. Sale pricing includes the miniStack V2 500GB 7200 RPM drive with a 16MB buffer for $299, down from $419.99; the Mercury Elite-AL Pro 500GB FireWire 400+USB 2.0 for $319.99, previously $419.99; and the Neptune Value Done Right 500GB FireWire 400 for $259.99, down from $369.99.
Wedding music on iTMS
Platinum Guild International USA has released its "Gone Platinum Wedding Collection," an iMix designed with the platinum marketing strategy in mind. The iMix features artists who have reached platinum sales of over one million copies, offering 45 tracks that contain a mix of both classical as well as contemporary music. The full iMix is available for $45, with individual songs priced at $0.99 via Apple's iTunes Music Store.
Sony launches "Tiny"
Sony today launched its Micro Vault Tiny drive, a portable and removable storage device offering capacities from 256MB to 4GB. The drive is roughly half an inch wide, just over one inch long, and as thick as a quarter. Sony's "Tiny" comes in five color-coded capacities that include 256MB (orange), 512MB (violet), 1GB (blue), 2GB (green), and 4GB (purple). The accessory ships with a clip-on carry case designed to easily attach to apparel, and features Virtual Expander technology which automatically compresses data as it is transferred onto the drive, decompressing that data as it is retrieved. The 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB Tiny drives are already available, with the 4GB model planned for release later this year. Pricing for Sony's Micro Vault Tiny drives range from $30-200.
Darbat Project explained
One blogger has published a report of the Darbat project -- or the L4/Darwin project -- and it's implications. The Darbat project is an experimental port of Darwin to the L4 microkernel which will ideally run existing user-level Darwin binaries. The project consists of a port of IOKit to the L4 microkernel, a modified libc, and XNU. Darbat 0.2 currently supports all iMac Core Duos, Mac Mini Core Solo, MacBook [white] 1.83GHz Core duo, and the 15-inch 1.83GHz MacBook Pro.
Vodafone 3G modem
Vodafone Australia is planning to release a USB-based 3G mobile modem that is capable of 1.8 Megabits per second. The modem is expected to be fully compatible with Mac OS X. APC Magazine reports the new modem is only 1.4cm (0.55-inch) thick with a face smaller than the average business card. Vodafone says that the modem will be backwards compatible with GPRS 2G at 384 Kilobits per second. Dave McNaughton Senior Project Manager at Vodafone Australia stated, "The chipset in the modem is actually capable of up to 3.6Mbit/s, which is the next revision of HSDPA," but no timeframe was given. There is also an ExpressCard 3G modem, for compatibility with the expansion slots in the new Intel-based MacBook Pro, planned for release within the same timeframe as the USB version. The USB Modem, due in the fourth quarter of 2006, will likely cost $400 according to McNaughton.
MacPractice 2.2 announced
MacPractice today announced that it will ship a major new version of its practice management software for dentists, optometrists, physicians, and chiropractors. MacPractice 2.2, designed especially for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, is expected to ship in August with improvements to the appointments module, improved charge processing, and improved integration with third-party digital imaging solutions. The company says that the changes have the "potential to dramatically change how a doctor’s office works," while also addressing new government requirements. Changes to workflow will allow offices to use Transparencies to control which procedures may be scheduled at certain times also schedule multiple appointments for a patient. Integrated processing of credit/debit card charges will help reduce staff time and associated fees for most offices as well, according to the notes.
Summary 3.0 released
Smith Micro Consumer Products Group has released an update to its Aquazone line of customizable aquarium screensavers for Mac OS X. The new release of Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe features detailed graphics, twenty unique tanks, and forty different fish types. Aquazone Bass Edition natural movement animations, and behavior such as consuming bait fish and other realistic Bass habits. Both screensavers now run natively on Intel-based Macs as Universal Binaries; they require Mac OS X 10.3 or later and cost $25.
Senior Apple Japan leaves
Apple Vice President of Marketing Yoshiaki Sakito, one of the company's top executives in Japan, has reportedly stepped down. The Associated Press reprts that Sakito resigned Monday after the company reached an agreement. Apple declined to provide any details and it is unknown whether the executive's departure is related to the recently announced internal stock option irregularity investigation the company announced earlier this month. According to the report, Sakito has been credited with leading a successful marketing push for Apple's iPod portable digital music player in Japan. As a successor has not been named, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president overseeing worldwide marketing, will replace Sakito in an interim position. According to local media reports, Sakito plans to start setting up an undisclosed venture business; his departure, same report claims, will have a major leadership impact at Apple Japan at a time when competition in music players may heat up from rivals such as Sony and Microsoft.
CEO Classic for iPod U2
Marware has announced a new addition to the C.E.O. Classic line of iPod cases. The new case is designed for the iPod U2 Special Edition Video iPod. This release features full-grain leather materials, easy access to the hold switch and headphone jack, clear vinyl screen protection, removable lids, and compatibility with all sizes of iPod Video versions released. The C.E.O. Classic for iPod U2 with Video is now available to pre-order for $50.
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