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iTunes gets Beach Boys
Apple has once again scored another exclusive for distributing digital songs online--a marketing strategy that has helped the company build the world's most popular digital music service. EMI is preparing to release a digital collector's version of the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album, which Macworld UK reports will be exclusively available through the iTunes Music Store. Pet Sounds: The 40th Anniversary, a collection of 90 audio tracks, will ship on August 28th via iTunes exclusively for one month before the collection is sold by other online music services. The report noted that a physical version of the collection will later be made available in two separate versions -- one version as a set of colored vinyl records and the other as a CD collection featuring exclusive video footage on a bundled DVD. Described as "the greatest album ever made" by some reviewers, the special collection is a revised edition of the twelfth studio album from the band -- originally recorded in 1966. It includes all of the original tracks and a large variety of rare or unheard material such as sessions and vocal mixes.
OpenDarwin to shut down
Mac OS X development and community site OpenDarwin today announced it will cease operations. Launched almost four years ago, the community-driven site was originally created with the goal of providing a development environment for building and developing Mac OS X sources as well as developing a standalone Darwin OS derivative, according to a post on the website. "OpenDarwin was meant to be a development community and a proving ground for fixes and features for Mac OS X and Darwin, which could be picked up by Apple for inclusion in the canonical sources," the statement posted on Tuesday reads. "OpenDarwin has failed to achieve its goals in 4 years of operation, and moves further from achieving these goals as time goes on. For this reason, OpenDarwin will be shutting down."
Pic Pocket camera case
WaterField Designs today unveiled the Pic Pocket, its new line of protective cases for compact and ultra-compact cameras. Made from ballistic nylon and accented with color in Indium material or leather, the cases fit cameras made by most brand name manufacturers. The case features an interior layer of neoprene, a no-scratch liner, and a loop sewn onto the top corner that allows users to carry the case with one finger. Self-locking YKK zippers ensure the camera remains securely within the case, and each Pic Pocket ships with a removable carabineer for fastening the case to a belt loop, backpack, or other apparel. Pic Pocket cases are both water- and shock-resistant, and are priced at $29 for Indium or $33 for leather.
pdf-Office Pro 5.0
Universe Software today released pdf-Office Professional 5.0, adding the ability to import and process existing PDF forms as well as PDF documents. Pdf-Office Professional offers all of the form functions that Adobe's free Acrobat Reader can work with. Users can create interactive forms, preventing form users from tampering with the original using 128-bit encryption. "From simple text boxes to calculated fields to complex programming features in PDF forms, pdf-Office Professional provides everything necessary from the first steps to the creation of highly professional PDF forms." Users can add to or edit documents once they are created, and can import existing PDF documents as well as forms. Pdf-Office Professional 5.0 is priced at $150, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later.
TDMac has released mojoFlicks, an application designed to convert movies into a format supported by fifth-generation iPods with video playback capability. The software features an all-in-one solution for managing iPod video content, the ability to convert movies without Apple's QuickTime Pro application, and the ability to transfer movies directly to the iPod without the need to sync the device in iTunes. MojoFlicks also boasts the quickest movie transfers, allowing users to configure a few settings prior to conversion. The application includes a distinct movie library to keep movies separate from audio files, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with QuickTime 7.0 or later (pricing was unavailable).
Refurbished MacBook Pros
Apple is selling refurbished 15-inch professional notebooks which include the 1.83GHz MacBook Pro with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,549, a savings of $450; the 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,699, $300 off; the 2.0GHz Glossy Display MacBook Pro with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,699, also $300 off; the 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory, a 100GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,949, a $550 discount; and the 2.16GHz MacBook Pro in standard form or with a glossy display featuring 1GB of memory, a 100GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $2,149, a $650 savings. Apple is also offering its 17-inch 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, and a built-in iSight camera for $2,399, a $400 discount.
ATI's future with Apple
In the wake of AMD's decision to acquire ATI yesterday morning, Intel announced that it has no plans to renew ATI's chipset bus license. The implications of that decision directly impact two of Apple's most popular computer lines, the iMac and the MacBook Pro. One ZDNet columnist speculates that Apple will debut all new computers with NVIDIA graphics technology; he believes that the Cupertino-based company will be "all but forced" by Intel to make the switch, as any further business with ATI will fund Intel's arch-rival -- AMD. Further speculation leads to the possibility that NVIDIA's SLI technology for multiple graphics processors may make its way into Apple systems. By the time the dust settles, the columnist believes that all Mac will feature either NVIDIA or Intel graphics technology by the end of 2007.
DMC Nano competitor
Digital Mind today unveiled its new line of portable media players featuring complete podcast capabilities and software, which stand to compete with Apple's iPod. DMC is offering its credit card-sized iPod nano-like player with 4GB of storage, a color display, photo viewing capability, recordable FM radio, and voice recording capability in either black or white. The device is priced at $130, and is "half the price of the inferior iPod nano," according to Jim Collier, DMC's president and CEO. "Our other podcast-enabled portable media players start at less than $50. [...] All of our products are podcast-enabled and are bundled with Applian Technologies Replay Radio software so that our customers can experience the rapidly evolving world of podcasting seamlessly."
Web Ranking, Mail Steward
Groupcal 3.5.3 ($60) allows users to view and share calendar schedules from Microsoft Entourage and Outlook using Apple's iCal software without the need for an Exchange server. Version 3.5.3 adds the ability to exclude specific calendars when syncing, and features a redesigned interface with alternate login support alongside performance improvements. Groupcal 3.5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with iCal 1.5.1 or later.
[Download - 3.7MB]
NewsFire 1.4 ($20) is a RSS news feed fetcher that features animated warnings when a new feed arrives, along with smart folder support. The update adds a more "refined" reader that includes an integrated video player, a new sorting feature, performance improvements, and several bug fixes. NewsFire requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 764KB]
Advanced Web Ranking 4.7 ($150) provides users with information on the ranking of their website on search engines such as Google. The update features a visibility report that adds a new table or chart view, improvements to the overview report, enhanced search engine input panels, and keyword input directly from a target website. The update requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 13.5MB]
Mail Steward 7.5 ($50) allows users to archive email databases for later retrieval and use. The software's backup function supports HTML, plain text, and raw source email types including attachments. Version 7.5 adds a new database statistical report, an enhanced user interface, fixes a major bug that caused SQL "out of sequence" errors, and repairs several other minor bugs. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 871KB]
Troi File Plug-in 3.5.1 ($75) is a tool that works with FileMaker Pro, enabling users to access information outside of the database. The update constantly checks for missing resources, incorporates a new user guide that improves layouts, and fixes a bug that prevented FileMaker Pro 7 from working with version 3.5. Troi File Plug-in 3.5.1 requires File Maker Pro 7 or 8 running on any version of Mac OS X. [Download - size]
iBabel 2.1.1 (free) allows users to access chemical file conversion, overlays sorting, manipulation lists of compounds, and sub-structure searching. The update adds search support to find chemical content alongside old features, such as Microsoft Word export and the ability to change color scripts. Version 2.1.1 adds new preference options to select the home folder for the main user. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 10.5MB]
Buzzing, Metallica on iTMS
In brief: Apple has posted a note about 15-inch MacBook Pros emitting a high-pitched buzzing sound, asking owners of the high-end notebooks to contact AppleCare for service if they experience such a symptom.... The iTunes Music Store has added the Metallica catalog, including the popular rock band that had previously shied away from digital offerings of its music.... Belkin today announced that its N1 Wireless Router has received Laptop Magazine's Editors' Choice Award for innovation in design and usability.... ThinkFree today announced enhanced search capabilities and a new rating system for its Doc Exchange Web 2.0 feature.... The $100 advance registration discount for the Photoshop World Conference is set to expire on August 4th.
Apple, Facebook promo
Facebook today announced a back-to-school promotion to give away 10 million music samplers to Mac and PC users via Apple's iTunes Music Store. Starting today Facebook will give away one million 25-song music samplers from iTunes each week for the next 10 weeks, with each sampler featuring select songs from a different genre ranging from Alternative to Rock, Hip-Hop to Dance and Electronica. "We're thrilled to work with Facebook on this great promotion," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. Facebook users will also have access to an Apple education discount year-round through its sponsored group on Facebook. Apple's latest back-to-school promotion -- which the company launched in early June -- allows participants to receive a free iPod nano with the purchase of a MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac or Power Mac G5.
Now Up-to-Date 5.3
Now Software today began shipping Now Up-to-Date & Contact 5.3 for Mac, bringing native compatibility for Intel-based Macs to the contact and calendar solution as a Universal Binary. Now Contact 5.3 adds long filename support for attached documents, fixes double selection in the custom fields dialog, and repairs an unexpected error that occurred when attaching documents to a contact. The Now Contact update also fixes the scripts folder, enabling users to execute newer data fork-based scripts, and repairs the "Open the Scripts" folder script. Now Up-to-Date & Contact 5.3 for Mac is priced at $130 for the boxed version or $120 for a digital download. Both versions require Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Synaptics to regain Apple?
Synaptics could once again do business with Apple, according to one analyst. Cowen and Company has advised investors to purchase shares of Synaptics prior to the company's quarterly earnings report, suggesting that Apple may soon revitalize its relationship with the firm, according to Forbes.com. The analyst firm raised its rating on Synaptics from "neutral" to "outperform," based on beliefs that the touch-sensor component-maker will receive a "meaningful but minority role" as an Apple supplier as soon as the first fiscal quarter of 2007.
"Add your own" SATA kit
Other World Computing (OWC) today introduced an "Add Your Own SATA Hard Drive Kit" version of its Mercury On-The-Go portable bus-powered USB 2 and FireWire external storage solutions. OWC Mercury On-The-Go 2.5-inch enclosures measure 3 x 5.5 x 1-inches, and weigh less than 11 ounces once a hard drive is installed. Users can boot via FireWire or USB 2.0, and the exterior case offers built-in shock protection to guard the enclosed drive. The new SATA Kit version of the pocket-sized On-The-Go supports SATA technology to improve data transfer rates and improve cabling performance, while an aluminum heatsink coupled with pass-through cooling vents allow for silent operation with a cool drive temperature. The kit is priced at $90, and features the Oxford 924 chipset that includes one USB 2.0 port along with two FireWire 800 connections.
SpongeBob Diner Dash
PlayFirst today released SpongeBob SquarePants Diner Dash for Mac. "SpongeBob SquarePants is here with an undersea diner twist! Mr. Krabs is expanding his Krabby Patty kingdom one restaurant at a time. With 50 levels of culinary chaos in five unique underwater restaurants, it's up to you and SpongeBob to seat, serve and satisfy even the squirmiest of patrons." The game features five types of customers, two modes of play, and surprise guest appearances. SpongeBob SquarePants Diner Dash is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
RouteBuddy 1.0 released
RouteBuddy.com has released RouteBuddy 1.0, its GPS-enabled mapping application for Mac OS X. Users can connect their USB Garmin, USGlobalSat, or NMEA device to a Mac to synchronize Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks. Key features of RouteBuddy include the ability to download as well as upload Waypoint, Route, and Track data; search capability of map data with FastSearch; recording of live GPS data and route tracking; support for connecting multiple GPS devices to one Mac; the ability to open several RouteBuddy Map pages simultaneously; view and print functionality for full-screen maps; smooth syncing data with a GPS device; and the ability to purchase road mapping for worldwide countries. RouteBuddy 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is priced at $100.
Deep Freeze 6.0 released
Faronics today launched Deep Freeze 6.0, updating its software designed to protect and preserve baseline Mac and PC configurations. The update comes with a plug-in for LANDesk that allows IT administrators to manage Deep Freeze directly through the LANDesk Desktop Management Suite Console. The application ensures that a reboot resets a workstation to its original state down to the last byte, regardless of the changes a user makes to the system. Deep Freeze 6.0 also offers a re-designed and reorganized interface, enhanced scheduling capability from within the enterprise console, and new options for managing as well as importing user-defined groups. The LANDesk Plug-in is available as part of Deep Freeze Enterprise version 6.0. Deep Freeze 6.0 pricing starts from $28 per seat for the standard edition, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
ATEN sues Belkin
ATEN International today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Beklin in the United States District Court. The suit alleges that select Belkin KVM Switches infringe ATEN's U.S. Patent No. 7,035,112, titled "Automatic Switch" ("112 Patent"). The patent gives intellectual property protection on any KVM Switches that feature attached cables, including IOGEAR's MiniView Micro Series and MiniView USB KVM for the Mac mini. The company is requesting that its partners and resellers discontinue selling and promoting the patent-infringing devices.
Video, 1.5 beta for Mac
Skype has released a preview of its video service for Mac OS X as well as updated the release of Skype for Mac 1.5 beta. The functional video pre-release software features support for Apple's iSight as well as Philips and Logitech cameras along with support to video call Windows clients. The new Skype 1.5 beta packs improvements such as a redesigned user interface targeting the contact list, call window, and chat drawer -- designed to better match the Mac environment. A new SkypeOut dialer for mobile and landline calling has been included alogn with better compatibility with Address Book, a quick search, new Skypecasts, and support for seven new international language localizations. Both products are now available to download on the Skype website at no cost.
Realviz expands Stitcher
Realviz has released new versions of its Stitcher panorama creation software. Targeting photographers of all levels from the amateur enthusiast to the professional, Stitcher is now available in three versions: Stitcher Express 2 for digital photography hobbyists; Stitcher Pro 5.5 for professional photographers & graphic artists; and Stitcher Unlimited 5.5 for professional panorama creators. Stitcher enables the creation of wide-angle panoramas for the Web, film, print, and 3D and is also widely used by post-production professionals for the creation of 3D environments, matte paintings, reflection maps and textures for film/ television. The Unlimited version adds Fish-eye stitching as well as new options for publishing panoramas on the Internet, including Java-based Pure Player from ImmerVision, Shockwave 3D-based SPi-V3d Viewer from fieldOfView, and KML-based export to georeference panoramas using Google Earth browser. All versions add new Smart Blend technology for improved rendering as well.
iTunes gets more content
Apple has added several more TV shows from both the Warner Brothers and CBS networks to its iTunes Music Store. Warner Bros. has added Friends Season 1 ($30); one tipster also reports spotting the pilot for their new TV series 'Aquaman', alongside Miami Vice Season I. Also new for Warner brothers is a new classics line including the first season of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Babylon 5. The Best of Mad TV seasons 8, 9, and 10 are now also available on iTunes. CBS has added the Big Brother: All Stars ($30) series to iTunes including a new season pass for the both previous episodes and new episodes for the remainder of the season. Single episodes of all the series added today sell for the usual $1.99 in an iPod compatible resolution. These additions come only a few weeks after Apple announced iTunes crossing the 150 television show mark.
Offical wireless Mighty
Apple has released the new Mighty Mouse, which leaked yesterday after FCC documents detailed its features. The new mouse will cost $70, and is available through Apple's online store, Apple retail stores, and authorized resellers. As expected, the new wireless Mighty Mouse uses Bluetooth technology. Also, as MacNN reported last night, the new device features laser tracking, offering up to 20 times the precision of previous optical mice. The mouse continues to feature the scroll ball and left, right, and squeeze buttons. It operates on two AA batteries (included) using a power management system which adjusts the power mode of the mouse to best conserve battery life while not harming performance when required. [images included]
universal rapture, packs
Cakewalk has announced the release of a Universal patch for Rapture wavetable synthesization studio alongside the release of free expansion packs for Rapture. The update to Rapture which brings support for Intel-based Macs is free to existing users of the studio. Rapture features a non-aliasing expression engine, support for SFZ samples, and RTAS, VSTi and AU formats, as well as six fully programable stereo sound generating elements. The new expansion packs are now available, one for Rapture and another Dimension Pro, Cakewalk's other synthesizer. Both packs feature 350 new programs, new wavetables, multi-samples, and some professionally designed programs. Both expansion packs are free to registered customers. Rapture Universal update is now available and is free to existing customers. The Rapture suite is available for $200.
REAL SQL Server ships
REAL Software today began shipping REAL SQL Server, its cross-platform multi-user database server for use with its REALbasic development environment. REAL SQL Server 2006 delivers a single-solution for desktops and servers, offering SQL reliability and performance and one-step installation along with easy configuration and administration. The company claims that the solution offers "easy transition and consistent results" when migrating from REALbasic's built-in database. "Many of our customers use REALbasic to create database applications," stated Geoff Perlman, president and CEO of REAL Software. "Now, anyone who's developed a single-user database application can turn it into a multi-user database application, simply by using REAL SQL Server." REAL SQL Server, available as a free demo, is $500 for up to five connections and $1500 for unlimited connections (available for $1000 in an introductory offer).
Toast 7 gets Blu-ray
Sonic Solutions today announced Toast 7 with Blu-ray Disc support. Billed as "the first application of its kind for the Mac," the software provides Mac users with the ability to store as much as 50GB of data on a BD-R (recordable) or BD-RE (rewritable) disc. Toast 7 with BD support is available exclusively for original equipment manufacturers developing next-generation external BD drives. The first drives to feature Toast 7 with BD support are expected to be available later this quarter. Toast's Blu-ray Disc features include Toast Dynamic Writing, which enables users to record files simply by dragging and dropping files onto a disc in the same convenient way they would move or copy files to a removable storage device. Late last month, Roxio released a Universal Binary version of Toast 7.
Laser tracking in M6 guide
Government agency documents that revealed the possibility of a Bluetooth-enabled Mighty Mouse from Apple, code-named M6, may hold have additional features. Upon further review of the user manual, there is reference to the device as a "Class 1 Laser" product. This is in contrast to earlier versions of the Mighty Mouse which is listed as a "Class 1 LED" product in user manuals. This indicates that the new mouse could feature new, presumably higher resolution, laser tracking instead of the traditional optical tracking. Laser technology is currently used in high-end offerings from Logitech and Microsoft, among other manufacturers, and recently beginning to work its way down into mid-range products. Laser tracking offers higher DPI tracking and support for a larger variety of surfaces. Images from both the old and new manual are included.
Springy 1.0.1 released
A Mac developer has released Springy 1.0.1, an archiving utility that enables users to browse files in archives with all three view types. Users can extract all or particular files or folders from archives, and modify the archives as desired. Springy offers full drag-and-drop support, works with encrypted as well as password protected files, and supports HFS/HFS+ metadata. The application works with resource forks, can compress or decompress files, and offers contextual menu support via a plug-in. Springy is priced at $18, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
WildVoice has announced its new "Shout" Web-based recorder, allowing users to record their own podcasts and provide audio comments on other podcasts. "Podcasting is about having fun and encouraging free expression on the Web. WildVoice aims to make this as easy as possible," said Albert Kim, WildVoice co-founder. "With WildVoice Studio, people can create high quality Podcasts from their PC that sound like a sophisticated studio radio program. WildVoice 'Shout' makes it even easier." The WildVoice online community enables members to create, personalize, publish, and share podcasts as well as other media online. Members can build their own WildVoice site within the community, and allows users to broadcast to specified groups of people such as friends or fans.
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