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Mariner ships Montage
Mariner Software today released its screenwriting application for Mac OS X: Montage is the company's professional screenwriting software exclusively developed for Mac OS X, offering screenwriters with a live script outline, a view of scenes, characters, locations, tasks, research, and more. Several pre-formatted templates, including film, television, and theater, automatically format the user's script to industry standards. According to the company, Montage Smart Views allow writers to visually filter the script to the desired content, based on criteria. "When the script is completed, Montage even includes the ability to create, submit, and track query letters, a script synopsis, and script submissions to hundreds of included industry contacts," the company said. Montage also imports Final Draft, text, and RTF documents. Montage will initially be offered in English for $140, with support for other language versions is expected in the near future. Montage requires Mac OS 10.3 or above and runs natively on Intel-based Macs.
Mac DoD CAC system
Thursby Software Systems today released ADmitMac for CAC Beta (AFC), integrating U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Cards (CAC) into Mac OS X. AFC offers a single sign-on environment verifying the CAC against a centralized network authority, obtains authorized Kerberos certificates, and makes those certificates available to "Kerberized" applications. The software also locks the computer upon removal of a CAC card, and protects the system from unauthorized attempts to wake from sleep. AFC changes the normal login screen and challenges the user to enter their CAC card PIN authorization when a CAC is inserted into the Mac. Upon verification of the user's PIN, AFC obtains the proper network credentials from the Kerberos Key Distribution Center. ADmitMac for CAC Beta is priced at $170 for a single-user license, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
All-in-one Mac data center
Evo Networks today began shipping its Data Center Express: Mac (DCE: Mac) to offer Mac-based businesses an affordable all-in-one data center solution. The device is similar in size to a wine refrigerator, and makes use of a single power plug. Data Center Express: Mac comes standard with secure VPN remote access for employees; a fully switched network; Apple Xserve with file and printer sharing up to 1.5TB; disaster prevention and recovery; encrypted removable backup drives for off-site storage; uninterruptible power protection; and three years of software as well as hardware support. The system is designed specifically for organizations with 100 employees or less, and offers integrated firewall protection (pricing was unavailable).
Amazon movie downloads?
Amazon has joined Microsoft as yet another company rumored to be working on a movie download service that would compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store. Reuters reports that Amazon has begun meeting with industry executives and major studios, and is believed to be planning a service for video similar to its "Shorts" service that allows users to receive portions of books for 49 cents. Those rumors peaked at the Seattle Film Festival last month, when former Amazon book editor and film critic Tom Appelo made an appearance. Appelo is believed to be an editor for the new service, according to the report.
FM transmitters in UK
Ofcom -- a communications regulation body in the UK -- is holding a public hearing on the usage of FM transmitters, which are currently banned but are commonly used with MP3 players such as Apple's iPod in other regions. Since 1949 The Wireless Telegraphy Act has banned the use of radio equipment without a license or exemption in the UK, which made FM transmitter usage illegal for iPod owners. BBC.com reports that legislation will likely pass to stop this ban on FM transmitters by 2007. "This decision [...] will not only regulate a booming black market and provide the country with valuable tax revenue, but also enable the iPod generation to enjoy their music using the latest gadgets," stated Don Foster, spokesperson of media, culture, and sport for the Liberal Democrat.
GearBox plug-in bundles
Line 6 today released its GearBox plug-in Silver and Gold bundles at the Summer NAMM convention. Designed for computer-based musicians who record guitar, bass, and vocals, the GearBox plug-in bundles deliver tone from POD xt and vintage effects in a flexible software plug-in format. Both packages feature Mac AU and PC VST plug-in support and a USB guitar interface, as well as Line 6 ToneDirect monitoring. The bundles include a collection of professionally programmed presets, and presets created during the recording process are easily imported into other Line 6 products. The Silver bundle ($420) offers a hand-picked model selection, while the Gold bundle ($700) delivers a comprehensive array. Both packages include the TonePort DI USB guitar interface, and are compatible with most popular recording programs. RTAS support is also planned for the summer 2007, according to Line 6.
BeerAlchemy 1.3 released
Kent Place Software today released BeerAlchemy 1.3, a major update to the beer recipe creation and archiving tool for Mac users. BeerAlchemy 1.3 improves the existing file import facility by adding support for recipes in the .rec format, and extends the built-in brewing tools. The update adds a tool to calculate the nutritional properties of beer, as well as a tool to help brewers calculate the effect of evaporation losses during the boil. The software enables brewers to take recipes on-the-go via iPod digital media players, and offers ingredient inventory management as well as a revamped method for handling batches. BeerAlchemy 1.3 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later.
Apple Australian recycling
Apple in 1996 began a global recycling initiative, but has yet to extend the campaign to Australia. Other major computer-makers such as HP, Dell, and IBM already offer successful recycling programs in the land down under, according to Macworld. "Apple doesn't have a recycling program in Australia like we do in the U.S.; however, we are currently talking to the AIIA about creating a potential program," said John Marks, a spokesman for Apple. Joe Kremer, managing director for Dell Australia and New Zealand said that governments and retailers must cooperate to establish a national recycling campaign. "Industry, retailers, government and consumers all have a role to play in reducing e-waste and we have actively supported the move towards a national recycling scheme led by the Australian Information Industry Association," said Kremer. The Apple Store online and Apple retail locations recently began taking unwanted PCs -- regardless of the manufacturer -- as part of a recycling program in the U.S when customers purchase a new Mac.
Refurb iMacs, displays
Apple is offering refurbished iMacs, Cinema Displays, and wireless connectivity hardware with its standard one-year warranty and free shipping. Offerings include the 17-inch G5 1.9GHz iMac with 512MB of memory, a 160GB SATA hard drive, an ATI Radeon X600 Pro graphics card, Front Row software with an Apple Remote, and a built-in iSight camera for $999, 24 percent off; the 20-inch G5 2GHz iMac with 512MB of memory, a 250GB SATA hard drive, an ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card, and a 56K internal modem for $1,249, a 31 percent discount; the 20-inch G5 2.1GHz iMac with 512MB of memory, a 250GB SATA hard drive, an ATI Radeon X600 XT graphics card, Front Row software with an Apple Remote, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,299, a savings of 24 percent; and the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 512MB of memory, a 160GB SATA hard drive, a slot-loading 8X double-layer SuperDrive, an ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card, and built-in AirPort Extreme/Bluetooth 2.0 for $1,099, 16 percent off.
Groove Agent 3 unveiled
Steinberg today announced Grove Agent 3 and WaveLab Studio 6 at the summer NAMM session, marking significant updates to the audio applications. Groove Agent 3 adds more virtual drummer player technologies and studio-grade content to Steinberg's Groove Agent VST instrument. WaveLab Studio 6 is a new, streamlined version of the company's audio editing and mastering application. Groove Agent 3 is slated for shipment in September, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with at least a 2GHz or faster Power Mac G5 system with 1GB of memory (pricing was unavailable). WaveLab Studio 6 is only available for Microsoft Windows, and is set to ship in the third quarter of 2006.
FastMac Japanese site
FastMac today announced the launch of fastmac.jp, a new site offering product information, sales, and support for FastMac products in Japanese. The launch marks the first FastMac foreign language site. "For several years, Japan has been our biggest market outside of the U.S. We're excited to be able to offer our products, services and, most importantly, support to our Japanese customers in their native language," said Michael Lowdermilk, manager for FastMac Performance Upgrades. FastMac said plans to continue expanding its support for other languages. "We've already taken the first step in giving global support by translating our manuals into French, German, Spanish and Italian," said Lowdermilk.
Pangea summer game sale
Pangea Software today announced that it will hold a Summer Blast Game Sale, offering every downloadable game on its website for $9.99 each. For one weekend beginning Friday, July 14th and running through Sunday, July 16th, the company will sell every downloadable game that it has ever published regardless of its normal price or title. Pangea Mac games include Bugdom, Bugdom 2, Otto Matic, Billy Frontier, Enigmo, Enigmo 2, Cro-Mag Rally, Firefall, Nanosaur, Nanosaur 2, and Mighty Mike.
J&R ships blue, grey Nanos
Authorized Apple reseller J&R in New York is offering blue and grey iPod nanos in 2GB capacities. Color combinations include a blue body with a Maserati grey center; a blue body with a jet black wheel; a Maserati grey body with a blue wheel; a jet black body with a blue wheel; and a blue body with a red center button. The units include standard earbud headphones, a USB cable, a dock adapter, and iTunes software for Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows. Target recently began selling pink iPods, which it describes as the "ColorWare Pink Edition." J&R colored Nanos are priced at $265, and feature an "X2" scratch-resistant coating.
Wi-Fi beats iPod in survey
Kelton Reseach recently conducted a survey on Wireless network use and importance among the public, finding that nearly 80 percent of respondents would give up their home phone rather than their Wi-Fi network, while some 80 percent would forego their iPod in lieu of their Wi-Fi network. The poll found that 38 percent of Wi-Fi network owners use it 'several times' per week, with roughly twenty percent of respondents saying that they rarely use it, if ever. This survey queried subjects between the ages of 18 and 64. [corrected]
Symantec on OS X viruses
Symantec has offered clarification between the terms "virus" and "worm" via a recent blog entry, stating that there are currently no known file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X. Referencing the OSX.Leap. A security threat -- which was declared a virus by various media sources -- Symantec says its security response team had determined that the newly-discovered entity was in fact a worm, not a file-infecting virus. "Our Security Response Web site explains the differences between viruses and worms," Symantec wrote. "Basically, viruses are designed to infect files within a single computer, while worms are designed to spread from one computer to another."
Quinn distribution halted
After receiving what it describes as a "legal threat" (Page 1,Page 2) from Norris McLaughlin & Marcus representing The Tetris Company, simonhaertel.de has ceased distributing Quinn, its networked Tetris clone. The Tetris Company, however, feels that simonhaertel.de's use of the name 'Tetris' to promote Quinn is against the law. "This is not the first time The Tetris Company has attacked the little guy and it probably won't be the last," writes the author of Quinn. "The Tetris Company knows when they send these letters out that the people they are attacking probably cannot afford these expenses." The developer is asking for the community to protest the actions of The Tetris Company, and is seeking help in determining the legalities of the issue.
iPlayMusic DVD lessons
iPlayMusic today released a new learning product for Mac OS X dubbed Play Music Together. The new learning tool makes use of DVD video and applications to help toddlers as well as pre-schoolers learn music with assistance from their parents or guardians. Play Music Together features lessons which teach children to sing songs, dance to them, or play them on a guitar using a colorful, interactive environment to keep the child interested. Children are guided and paced to their needs by a puppet named Capo, who encourages children and keeps them motivated throughout the learning experience. The application/DVD is designed to teach children music and thus help them increase their learning skills for later use in school settings. Play Music Together is available for $40, while a DVD-only version is priced at $25 (system requirements were unavailable).
Apple's creative image
Apple is removing emphasis on its creative edge in an effort to appeal to a broader market, according to one Apple UK director. "There is the challenge of how you address the particular need that the customer has, rather than pitch the Mac purely as the creative tool, as I think that scares a lot of people off," said Mark Rogers. "A lot of people don't want to be creative, or don't think they want to be creative." Apple needs to answer issues that matter to a wider range of consumers, rather than focusing on its creative image, according to Macworld UK. "People are saying what I need is a machine that doesn't crash every ten minutes, and doesn't succumb to thousands of viruses and within a month," the director said.
Remote Buddy preview 4
IOSpirit has released a forth preview version of Remote Buddy, allowing users to create custom applications to control their Mac with the Apple Remote (AR). Featuring a new Behavior Construction Kit, the software allows users to create custom actions without any programming knowledge. Remote Buddy supports the Keyspan RF Remote for Front Row in addition to the Apple Remote (included with all new Front Row-enabled Macs). The software supports Adobe Acrobat Pro, CoverFlow, Quinn, GarageBand, NetNewsWire, MPlayer, Front Row, and Exposť by default. The update also features 2-button emulation on the Apple remote, Global remote mapping, EyeTV support, screen saver deactivation options, and several bug fixes. Remote Buddy Preview 4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, and is priced at $15.
Wordsmith 1.4 released
Dracosoft has updated Wordsmith 1.4, its word-forming game. The goal of the game is to form words up to seven letters long in the time allotted. There are also wild letters provided alongside bonus letters to improved game action. This update adds an extended dictionary creating four times more valid words to the game--something that was in high demand according to the company. Also refreshed were some basic graphical elements to refresh the product look. Wordsmith 1.4 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later running on a PowerPC or Intel processor and costs $10 per license.
Rex Pak loops released
Sonic Reality introduced today a new product line known as Rex Paks. These 'paks' contain 24-bit loops, each 'pak' with a unique theme which is specific to the titled genre. There are six pcks available: Vintage Grooves, Hip Hop South, Electronic Drum'n Bass, Sixties MTown Grooves, Vintage Rock Grooves, and Nashville Pop Grooves. The company has plans to expand the collection of Rex Pak to virtual all genres as more loops are produced. The new paks are $80 each, the first six paks are available for order now.
Core 2 Duo Extreme review
Tom's Hardware has posted a review of the Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme "Conroe" chips, comparing the E6300-E6700 and X6800 to an AMD FX-62 as well as an Intel Pentium D 950/850. The Core 2 Extreme defeated the AMD 64s at every task, consuming just over half the energy of AMD' chip at 65W or 75W versus 125W and 95W chips, respectively. Tom's Hardware also tested two Core 2 Extreme chips overclocked to 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz, revealing that the power consumption remained constant at around 75W. Delving into the new features of the Core 2 Duo series, the review concludes that the new chip is a huge step for Intel, and that AMD plans to answer as soon as it can with 65nm chips of its own.
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