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Mactracker, Kids GoGoGo
Mactracker 4.1b1 (free) provides detailed information on every Mac ever made with items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options. The update is available as a Universal Binary, bringing native support to Intel-based Macs. Mactracker 4.1b1 also offers "My Mac models," which allows users to append details about their own Macs such as serial numbers, purchase dates, and warranty end dates.
[Download - 17.8MB]
Kids GoGoGo 11.2 ($30) updates the parental control software, adding support for more CGI proxies to block bypassing attempts. Kids GoGoGo 11.2 adds one-click website translation, support for Safe Searches via Dogpile as well as most Google mirror sites, and improves the "unblock by category" feature. Version 11.2 also extends the unblock news sites option. [Download - 8.4MB]
Google 2 in 1 widget (unknown) displays Google news based on user-specified criteria. The widget allows users to choose on the back-side which headline news to search through, while the front allows selection of the desired search category -- such as Web, images, or videos. The Google 2 in 1 widget features an entirely translucent interface, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 228KB]
Emailchemy 1.8 ($30) reads email from the closed, proprietary file formats of most popular email applications, converting it into standard, portable formats that any application can use. The update adds new utilities which include IMAP Import Server to import converted mail into new email software, Mailbox Splitter to split mbox files by message count or file size, Address Harvester to extract email addresses from nearly any file, and Mac OS X Mail Cleaner to remove files left over from the Mac OS X Tiger upgrade. [Download - 472KB]
BarracudaDrive 3.2 (free) is a Web server designed for personal use, offering numerous features such as Web File Manager and WebDAV. BarracudaDrive features include a getting started guide, HTTPS tunneling for secure connections, a multi-user editor, a chat server/client, and a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) HTML editor. Games and tutorials are also included with the latest revision. [Download - 466KB]
DoodleCAD 1.2.1 ($45) is a 2D computer aided drafting (CAD) and illustration application for budget-concious Mac OS X users. The software includes a full set of standard tools for creating simple shapes and text, as well as complex curved or straight paths. Users can export to standard image formats including TIFF and JPEG. [Download - 2MB]
Refurb MacBooks, eMacs
Apple has updated its available refurbished MacBooks, listing three separate models with prices ranging from $949 to $1,299. The 1.83GHz White MacBook comes with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) for $949. The 2.0GHz White MacBook features 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) for $1,099. Additionally, Apple is offering its refurbished 2.0GHz Black MacBook boasting 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) for $1,299. The company is once again offering its refurbished eMac desktop computer. Only the 17-inch model is available featuring a 1.42GHz G4 processor with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $800. The Apple Canada Store is offering refurbished iPod shuffles in 512MB and 1GB capacities for $59 and $95, respectively, and is offering its 512MB iPod shuffle with a free External Battery Pack or Shuffle Armband as part of the company's "Reborn to rock" promotion.
Apple: 4000 Universal apps
More than 4000 applications are now available as Universal Binaries for native performance on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs and there have been more than one million downloads of Apple's Boot Camp software. The company said that it expects that 80 percent of 500 "most important applications" will be available as Universal applications by the end of the year, but indicated that some professionals may be waiting to purchase Macs on Universal version of leading products such as Adobe's Creative Suite, which is now expected in the first half of next year. While most applications run under the company's Rosetta technology in Mac OS X Tiger, the software has performance bottlenecks. In addition, the company said that it had more than 1 million people had download its Boot Camp software, which still in beta and expected to be released alongside Mac OS X Leopard in the Spring of next year. (Boot Camp, last updated for Core 2 Duo-enabled Macs in mid-September, allows Mac users to run Windows.)
USF joins iTunes U, "boom"
In brief: The University of South Florida has partnered with Apple's iTunes University to offer students constant access to video as well as audio content from professors, joining other educational institutions such as Stanford and UC Berkeley.... One user has posted a compilation video of Apple CEO Steve Jobs repeatedly saying "boom" while speaking during presentations and special events, which continues for over a minute.... M-Audio today announced a price reduction across its entire line of Oxygen MIDI keyboard controllers, which include the Oxygen 61 (now $250), Oxygen 49 (now $190), and Oxygen 8 v2 (now $150).... D-Link today released numerous high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi devices, including its Xtreme N Gigabit Router ($200) -- a three-antenna network switch that connects at up to 14 times the real-world speed of the current 802.11g standard.... Peachpit Press has released "Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups" ($30), offering users instruction on how to keep a Mac running smoothly with a set of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. [corrected]
Laptops help set record
Apple today said that shipped more than 1.6 million Macs during the quarter, "by far" outpacing its previous record, according to Apple executives on Wednesday's quarterly financials conference call. The company said that 58 percent of the company's revenue for the quarter came from Macs--with its strongest growth in Mac portables. Surging 56 percent from the year-ago quarter, laptop sales, which totaled nearly 1 million units, were buoyed by two large K-12 deals that added about 50,000 units to quarter; Apple, however, did not offer any more information on the deals. In contrast, desktop sales grew only 4 percent, despite the introduction of the new iMac late in the quarter. The iMac, Apple said, was in strong demand, lowering quarter-end inventory levels to below the projected 4-6 week range. The company said it air-freighted some iMacs--typically reserved for portables--in order to get the Mac in the hands of its customers and expects that it will do that same for part of the December quarter.
Forums October 18
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the next iMac design, speculating about when the current flat panel design is replaced..... Others users are sharing experiences with odd bulges or cracks forming in their white MacBooks.... Another user shares a possible breakthrough utility for G5 Mac users in the form of an overclocking utility surfacing after the Mac OS X 10.4.8 upgrade.... Another member looks for input concerning text lag in Microsoft Word on Intel-based Macs.... Meanwhile, users share information regarding different hard drive options for Mac Pro users including, a debate over the 10,000 RPM model vs. the 7,200 RPM model.
Apple retail surges
Apple had another strong retail quarter with record Mac sales at its retail stores--an increase of 60 percent over the year-ago quarter; Apple executives said that 20 million people visited its retail stores during the September quarter, helping the company post a profit of $546 million. Apple said it added 10 new retail stores during the quarter for a total of 165 stores open by the quarter's end and an average of 158 stores during the quarter. While same-store sales increased slightly, the number of iPods sold in its retail stores declined due to the ever-expanding number of points of sale for the popular music device--numbering about 40,000 worldwide. The company said that it was the first time that more half of its retail Mac sales--totaling 323,000 from its retail stores--were to "switchers", a term used for users new to the Mac platform. During the three-month period, each store added about 1,000 users to platform. Average store revenue was $4.6 million and the retail division posted a $50 million operating profit. Executives told investors that it had 5,800 retail store employees.
More Best Buys carry Macs
Apple today said it will expand its Best Buy relationship to more 50 stores around the US, after the successful testing of the pilot program that began earlier this year. During the quarterly conference call, Apple executives said that the the new stores will stock both desktops and portables as well as Mac software and accessories. Earlier this year, the company began testing sales of Macs in seven stores and said that it would consider expanding the program if it was successful. In the program, Macs are being sold by Best Buy employees who have been trained by Apple and expansion of program likely means that nation's leading electronics retailer was able to sell Macs for profit and "provide the level of customer service that Apple customers are used to in Apple's own retail stores"--two key metrics outlined by Best Buy executives. Apple also began a similar pilot program in Circuit City stores, but said it had no new information on that program.
Instant FM Music debuts
ADS Tech today unveiled Instant FM Music, a Windows-only Web radio recording device designed to find as well as record favorite tracks, podcasts, and sporting events automatically. The device separates and identifies the songs for easy playback, and creates MP3 audio files for usage on most digital music players -- such as Apple's iPod. Measuring 3.25-inches, Instant FM Music includes ADS Tech's Instant Radio software (Windows only) to offer Radio Data Reception System (RDS) capture technology. RDS technology along with the application itself allows users to tune across the entire FM band, and record live broadcasts as well as view displays of RDS/RBDS data. Instant FM Music is available for $40, and works with Windows XP. The device ships with a retractable FM antenna, a USB extension cable, a CD containing Snaptune One as well as Instant Radio software, and a carrying pouch.
Freebit-H1 Bluetooth set
Norwegian designers Asono have released the Freebit-H1, an extremely small Bluetooth headset that nevertheless has a significant battery life. The H1 can (in theory) run for nine hours straight, and if put on standby, power should last about 200 hours. The operating range is 33 feet. Asono further claims that the unit is so comfortable, product testers have fallen asleep without removing it. Interested North American buyers will have to order online for 84 Euros ($105 US).
Bang & Olufsen Phone
Late Wednedsay, Bang & Olufsen announced the official launch of its first phone for North America. Named only the Serene, the Samsung-made phone is meant to recall classic rotary phones with its circular keypad and black finish. It also demonstrates the principle of "less is more," according to Bang & Olufsen: in contrast to the abundance of buttons on modern cell phones, the Serene has only a subtle directional pad to navigate its menus. Even so, the compact handset incorporates more recent technology such as Bluetooth and a camera. An aluminum hybrid docking station and charger ships with the phone as well. No official carriers or prices have been announced, though the company says it will sell the phone in its stores, giving interested buyers the option of buying an unlocked device instead of committing to a particular service.
Apple's 4Q by the numbers
Apple today posted a profit of $546 million on strong shipments of Mac portables and a very strong retail quarter. The company said that its overall Mac shipments increased by 30 percent over the year-ago quarter to 1.61 million and that its Mac sales from its own retail division increased by 60 percent from the year-ago quarter. The company saw an increase of 56 percent in portable sales from year ago quarter, while desktop sales rose by a meager 4 percent. The company had very strong Mac shipments in virtually all of its operating segments, except Japan, where it saw a 13 percent decrease in unit shipments from the year-ago quarter (iPod, though, helped it grow 28 percent in revenue from the year-ago quarter). The company saw a 23 percent increase in CPU sales from the year-ago quarter in the Americas and a strong 32 percent increase in Europe. iPod sales increased by 35 percent from the year ago quarter, but average selling price decreased.
Apple, customer treatment
Apple is treating its customers like an enemy, according to an InfoWorld blog. Dave Rosenberg outlines his troublesome encounters with Apple's retail store in Palo Alto, CA, as he sought out repairs for his faulty keyboard. After pointing out his squeaky spacebar to an Apple Store "Genius," Rosenberg was reportedly greeted with unknowing responses from the representative appointed to address his issues such as "I've never heard of such a thing," and "everything seems common when you are looking for it." Rosenberg says he recently encountered a series of problems while dealing with Apple, from a faulty returned MacBook to a "very disappointing" MacBook Pro -- which he also returned. The blogger didn't bother with AppleCare due to a colleague's "laughable" experience, and states that open-source companies "don't have the luxury of treating long-time users like they are our enemies."
Lenovo C and V Laptops
After upgrading both its N-series and ThinkPad lines to Intel's newer Core 2 Duo processor, Lenovo today said it would upgrade its remaining systems in the budget 3000 range. The pictured V100 is the company's low-cost alternative to the ThinkPad X-series and sports a 12-inch, 1280x800 screen but a thicker chassis. In its upgraded form, the V100 will still be equipped modestly at the base level with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 512MB of RAM, 80GB hard drive and DVD/CD-RW optical storage; an ExpressCard/54 slot is present for mobile broadband or flash memory cards. Prices will begin at $999 when it ships by the end of October.
Less expensive still is the new C200, a basic model for beginners or those who only need basic mobility. It features the same 1.66GHz processor, RAM, and storage of the V-series but incorporates a less expensive 15-inch, 1024x768 display. The C200 will start at $899 in its Core 2 Duo incarnation. This too is anticipated for a launch in late October.
Apple posts $546m profit
Apple today announced a 27 percent increase in profit compared to a year-ago, posting revenue of $4.84 billion and a quarterly profit of $546 million, or $.62 per diluted share. The company beat the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call who forecast Apple to earn 51 cents a share on $4.67 billion, according to MarketWatch. During the same period one-year ago, the company posted revenues of $3.68 billion and net profit of $430 million, or $.50 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Apple said it shipped just over 1.6 million (1,610,000) Macs and 8,729,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 30 percent growth in Macs and 35 percent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter. In its release, however, Apple dubbed the results as "preliminary"--because of its stock grant issues--saying that they may be "subject to significant adjustment as a result of a likely restatement of historical results."
LG, Samsung Symbian phones
LG and Samsung have premiered new phones at the Symbian smartphone show, Crave reports. The Joy will be LG's first phone to use Symbian, running OS v9 and S60 third-edition feature pack 1. Physical features will include a 2.4-inch color screen, an expandable microSD slot, and broadband connection through HSDPA (3.5G). Two cameras will be on-board: a 2 MP still camera, and a VGA camera for video communication.
Samsung's SGH-i520 should be very similar to the Joy. It too will use OS v9 and S60 third-edition feature pack 1, as well as HSDPA, a 2 MP camera, and a microSD slot. Where the phones will differ is in the i520's 2.3-inch screen and support for A2DP Bluetooth stereo. Neither LG nor Samsung have announced pricing details on the phones, or when North American versions might be released.
A Sharp releases Opal
A Sharp today released Opal, the successor to its Acta outliner that brings fluid and responsive outlining to Mac OS X users. Opal enables users to organize lists, track projects, take notes, and store information in an outline. Key features include word counting, the ability to export to Microsoft Word, and planners that can make use of numeric sorting as well as "smart checkboxes" that track task completion automatically. Opal can open 20-year-old Acta outlines, according to A Sharp, and comes with complete documentation allowing users to look up topics offline. Opal is a Universal Binary that runs natively on PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs, and is available for $32. Opal requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
RAZR Miami Ink Collection
Motorola has produced multiple special editions of its RAZR to commemorate its success, and today it announced two new versions of the phone that it hopes will revitalize its design even as the KRZR gradually replaces it. Both the new V3 Dragon (pictured) and V3 Cherry Blossom are part of the Miami Ink Collection designed by Ami James, a tattoo artist who hosts TLC's Miami Ink show. Each has a laser-etched, pseudo-Japanese design that wraps around the entire outer shell, which is a dark pearl gray in the case of the Dragon model and pink for the Cherry Blossom.
T-Mobile has been chosen as the official carrier for the Miami Ink line, says Motorola, and the new RAZRs will support the network's myFaves feature for quick access to friends and family. Both will be ready as of October 30th. Pricing was not announced but should be in line with existing models.
D-Link Xtreme N Router
Although the high-speed 802.11n WiFi specification is not set to become official until 2008, D-Link today released a slew of networking devices built on the initial draft standard. At the core is the Xtreme N Gigabit Router, a three-antenna network switch that can connect at up to 14 times the real-world speed of the current 802.11g standard (which currently connects between 20 and 25 Mbps). The router also has gigabit Ethernet ports for Internet and local traffic so that wired and wireless devices alike can connect at speeds well beyond 100 Mbps. The Gigabit Router is equally notable as the first 802.11n device to offer built-in intelligent quality-of-service traffic shaping, says D-Link. This prioritizes games, video streams, and other low-latency data over less critical connections such as web browsers. D-Link's router is available immediately for Macs and Windows PCs at a price of $200.
Accordingly, D-Link also released a PCI-based Desktop Adapter as well as a PC Card Laptop Adapter for most portables. Both will also ship today for $120 each.
Analyst on options scandal
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will maintain his position at Apple amidst shareholder worries, according to one analyst, following an investigation into recently discovered stock options backdating. Gene Munster, senior analyst of research firm Piper Jaffray notes that despite a total of 150 companies performing options investigations resulting in the resignation of nine CEOs, Apple's top exec is almost certainly in the clear. "The bottom line, it is becoming clear that Steve Jobs will remain Apple's CEO," Munster said. Many Apple shareholders believe Jobs' placement at the head of the company is key to the success of its current and future business efforts, which raised concerns after news broke that one illegally backdated grant was offered to Jobs. Another announcement clarified that Jobs in fact knew of the backdated stock options, but failed to realize the accounting repercussions of such activities. Piper Jaffray is maintains its "outperform" rating on Apple shares with a price target of $99.
Monster Zune Accessories
Monster Cable intends to make an aggressive contribution to the Zune accessory ecosystem, according to Electronic House. The home theater firm will have six new peripherals made primarily to connect Microsoft's music player to outside audio and video equipment:
- Carplay ($80), an FM transmitter that can adjust to any standard frequency;
TVLink ($30), an RCA video cable;
MusicShare ($20), a headphone splitter with two distinct volume controls;
StereoLink Car and Home (both $20), adapters to plug the Zune into a car's auxiliary input jack or a home stereo;
SlimCharger ($30), a compact AC adapter to power the Zune when away from a computer.
While a release date has not been given, these peripherals are expected to ship near the November 14th Zune launch. A lack of useful accessories has often been cited as a key weakness among challengers to the iPod, which has no shortage of peripherals. Click through for preview photos of Monster's Zune devices.
Apple on MySpace
In brief: Apple has apparently created MySpace pages for some of its iPod nanos, featuring elegantly designed user profiles to depict the blue, pink, and green models.... The Font Bros have released an expansion to their display typeface offerings with a new foundry called Typadelic, featuring casual and elegant handwritten scripts.... Hail of Bullets Software has acquired Ferion -- a strategic browser-based space game -- and announced that November will mark the beginning of the first free arenas.... Sanyo Epson today announced the development of a 2.2-inch amorphous silicon TFT liquid-crystal display that is 1.1mm thick, making it ideal for use in mobile phones and other portable devices.... FotoNation today announced that its patented in-camera red-eye detection and correction technology has surpassed an installed base of over 50 million digital cameras.
Troi Serial Plug-in
Troi Serial Plug-in 3.0.1 for FileMaker Pro 8.5 ($1,100) offers access to one or more of a Mac's serial ports from within FileMaker. Version 3.0.1 significantly improves the speed of triggering scripts when data is received, and enhances script triggering when a script is already running or is paused. The update also adds a completely rewritten version of the user guide, and offers better example files while removing remaining old style function calls.
[Download - 1.7MB]
FTPKit 1.5 ($30 for hobbyist, $75 for pro) adds a full-featured FTP socket class to the REALbasic integrated development environment. The package automatically parses FTP listings, allows for directory downloads as well as uploads, and supports changing file permissions. Users can send custom commands, and the class features a built-in queue system to manage pending transfers. [Download - 368KB]
Stock Investment Guide 1.7.5 ($40) brings native support for Intel-based Macs to the new Universal Binary version of the tool for performing analysis of publicly traded stocks. Stock Investment Guide provides users with tools to retrieve historical stock data for a company, analyze historical growth trends, project earnings, and determine buy/hold/sell ratings. [Download - 4.5MB]
Crossword Forge 4.7 ($50) is a major upgrade to the classroom crossword and word search puzzle generator. Version 4.7 runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, offering an improved Web export panel that allows customization of page color as well as control accent color. A new Web preview command also allows users to make and view changes to Web puzzles. [Download - 6.8MB]
BetterZip 1.3 ($20) creates WinZip compatible archives on Mac OS X. The latest release opens, extracts, and creates WinZip-compatible AES-256 encrypted zip archives, and can extract as well as create zip files larger than 2GB. A new file browser gives an archive-centric view of the filesystem. [Download - 3MB]
Relaunch 1.3.3 ($5) automatically starts applications and opens documents based on "snapshots" taken of the desktop's current state. Users can automatically re-launch these snapshots to resume working with the same set of applications and documents that were open prior to restarting. Relaunch 1.3.3 remembers and re-opens documents in BBEdit as well as QuarkXPress, and fixes a bug that affected opening TextEdit documents.
Visioneer 9520 Scanner
A new photo scanner has just been released by Visioneer that the company believes should make archiving and retouching photos a simple process. As implied by its name, the OneTouch 9520 includes multiple buttons that can automate frequently used scanning methods without requiring that the user delve into the menu system. A bundled copy of Corel's Paint Shop Pro as well as other image editing software should similarly ease the process of restoring old photos. With a 4800x9600 native scanning resolution at 48-bit color, Visioneer says, the resulting scans will be faithful to the originals. A built-in film holder and backlight add the ability to scan 35mm slides and other transparent images. The USB-based photo scanner is already shipping for $200.
Sony MDR-KX70LW 'phones
On November 10th, Sony will debut its MDR-KX70LW in-canal headphones in Japan, writes ATRACLife. Though not revolutionary in most respects, the headphones will come with a new disc-shaped recoiling mechanism for keeping cords secure and untangled. Other highlights include a gold-plated stereo plug, a carabiner you can hook to belts and bags, and a safety cord designed to attach to Walkmen. The headphones should retail for an MSRP of 6,195 yen (about $52 US) and come in either black or white.
Time Machine trademark
In brief: The European Patent & Trademark Office today published Apple's Time Machine trademark under application number 005348917, which includes a complete icon for the forthcoming backup software.... MacNN has reviewed the TeleAdapt ConferenceHub ($170), a 4-port network switch that plugs into an existing network or internet connection to serve data at speeds up to 200Mbps per port.... FileMaker has released a new Themes Pack ($40) with 10 pre-designed layouts that comes packaged with FileMaker Pro 8.5, FileMaker Server 8, or FileMaker Mobile 8.... Fujitsu today expanded its LifeBook range of laptops with three new models, one of which shows clear design inspirations from Apple's entry-level MacBook.... Retailer chain Target is selling the Blast Pod Audio Rocker, a hardwood chair featuring built-in three-watt speakers and a 10-watt amplifier with AV inputs.... FotoTime has announced 10-cent 4x6 prints for FotoShare subscribers, which is less costly than similar prints from Kodak, Snapfish, Shutterfly, Wal-Mart, and Costco, according to the company.
NEC AtermWR8200N router
Continuing the spate of 802.11n releases, NEC is preparing the AtermWR8200N, a new router supporting the IEEE draft version of 802.11n. Akihabara News notes that the pyramid-styled router should be capable of a full 130 Mbps and have four wired connections in addition to its broadcast capability. Since the extra performance of the router would be wasted below 802.11n, says NEC, the company will also be offering the WL130NC PCMCIA card. No prices or release dates have been published.
Treo 700wx for Bell Canada
Palm announced today that Canada would receive its first Windows Mobile-based Treo smartphone. Although they have previously received Palm-based Treos and other manufacturers' Windows Mobile devices, Canadians willing to subscribe to Bell Canada only now have access to the Treo 700wx, a newer variant of the 700w that was originially released late last year. The 700wx was first introduced last month through the US carrier Sprint and features double the amount of RAM (64MB) as well as numerous software improvements. Bell Canada users can expect the same EVDO broadband support as their American counterparts. Pricing for the new Treo ranges from $550 CDN with a one-year service to $400 for three years.
Shuttle XPC SN27P2 PC case
Shuttle has put out the SN27P2, an AMD variant (and upgrade) on the company's Intel-based SD37P2 "barebone" case. While deliberately excluding CPUs, disc drives or video cards, the SN27P2's motherboard (a Shuttle FN27) supports Athlon 64 X2 and FX processors, four DDR 2 memory slots for up to 8 GB of RAM, and a PCI Express x16 slot that can handle double-slot graphics cards so long as you don't require the regular PCI port. Up to four SATA hard drives can be combined. The case also comes with a beefy 400W power supply and native gigabit Ethernet support. Cooling is managed through Shuttle's Silent X system, making use of a full four internal fans. To keep cables out of the way in such a small form factor (12.8x8.3x8.7 inches), some are pre-installed and/or clipped to the chassis.
Brulé Vega UMPC
The Japanese supplier Brulé has begun carrying a new UMPC that caters to less demanding users. Instead of the more common low-voltage Celeron M and Pentium M processors, the Vega is powered by a 500MHz AMD Geode processor. This affects performance, but has a positive impact on the design, according to Brulé. No fan is needed, and with an extended-capacity battery the Vega can run for 5.5 hours while weighing no more than 1.06 pounds. Internet access is limited to a USB WiFi adapter, but the handheld ships with a sizeable 512MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. This new UMPC ships from Japan for the equivalent of $1,167 US. If formally released in North America, however, its price should be substantially lower and would undercut the least expensive UMPCs available.
The meeting of Mac fans -- MacFair 2006 -- is returning to southern California, featuring over 28 presentation seminars and 15 training workshops. The event is taking place at Cerritos College in Norwalk on Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th. MacTech Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Neil Ticktin will keynote the event alongside presentations from Peter Mellow, senior lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and winner of the Apple Outstanding Tertiary Educator Award. Arthur Maddalena, lead "Mac genius" at Apple will present an overview of the known features and benefits of the new Mac OS X Leopard, Apple's latest version of Mac OS X which is due to ship in early 2007. Workshops will cover Adobe Photoshop; Adobe InDesign; Final Cut Pro; Aperture; Mac OS X Server/Client; FileMaker Pro; Keynote; DayLite; and Flash. Advanced online registration for the vendor expo, presentation seminars and door prize entry is priced at $17.
Profile K2 Component 2.1
Telestream today released Profile|K2 Component 2.1, its Flip4Mac Import and Export Components for Grass Valley Profile and K2 media servers. The components are designed to provide file compatibility and enable fast as well as efficient file transfer between Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems and Grass Valley servers. K2 components provide file-based import/export of IMX D-10 SD video, DV25/50 SD video, and uncompressed audio between Grass Valley K2, Profile, Turbo, and M-Series media servers as well as Final Cut Pro applications. Users can browse, import, edit, and export content to and from devices not natively supported by Final Cut Pro, and transfers can occur faster than real-time. Users can also view keyframes and metadata support to enable a more efficient all-digital workflow, according to Telestream. Flip4Mac Profile|K2 Components are available online for $1,000.
Sysquake 3.5 ($2,000) is software designed to help users understand systems, solve problems, and design products. The update is based on LME 4.6, offers support for scroll wheels as well as scroll balls in figures, and includes an option to remove subplot margin. Sysquake 3.5 also provides a new SQ file keyword "userinterface," and features a resize handler that is called when the figure window is resized with new standard variables "_width" and "_height" supported as input by init handlers.
[Download - 3.4MB]
PlistEdit Pro 1.3 ($25) updates the Mac OS X property list editing software, adding syntax coloring for XML tags in the plist text view. Version 1.3 includes new data formatters that allow viewing of plist values interpreted as different data types, and adds Sparkle support for automatic downloading of updates. [Download - 2.3MB]
AlmostVPN 1.1 ($10) is an SSH (Secure Shell) tunnel manager for Mac OS X with a twist, packaged as a Preference Panel to mount remote volumes and offer access to remote printers as well as faxes. The latest revision of AlmostVPN fixes a serious problem which made it appear that AlmostVPN forgot all "secure" information such as passwords and the activation key after rebooting. The update also brings back the AlmostVPN widget, and offers better handling of dynamic IP addresses. [Download - 4.5MB]
DVD2iPod 3.2 (free) makes iPod-compatible video files from iDVD projects burned to DVD without source files, without the need to configure numerous settings. The software converts unencrypted DVd media to Apple's iPod format, allowing users to select multiple unencrypted .VOB or .mpg files for conversion. The update includes an explanation alert when incompatible file types are dropped for conversion, and improves output quality for the opening frames of converted video content. [Download - 6.4MB]
SimpleHighlight Plug-in 2.0 (free/$50) adds highlighting and picture manipulation functions to FileMaker installations. SimpleHighlight Plug-in 2.0 is fully featured shareware with open-source functions, runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and offers compatibility with FileMaker 7.0/8.0/8.5. The paid update also generates images from FileMaker calculations, and retrieves color information from a picture. [Download - 3.4MB]
ClassicFrames 2.0 ($50 per volume) is a graphical plug-in that adds customizable frames to photos in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements, Corel PhotoPaint, Paintshop, ULead, and more. Version 2.0 adds RGB 16-bit support, more frames per volume, and a quick side-by-side comparison of frames to aid in the selection process. Frames are designed to simulate those used to hang up expensive paintings in photo galleries, and include 70 traditional picture frames or more per volume.
ASUS A8Je Laptop
A new variant of ASUS' A8 thin-and-light laptop model was introduced on Wednesday that should appeal more to the average user than the gaming-oriented A8Js. The newer A8Je maintains the 14-inch screen and 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo that defined the previous version, but trades the more advanced graphics for a larger hard drive and a likely lower price. Instead of the expensive GeForce Go 7700, the A8Je uses the more modest 128MB Mobility Radeon X1450 to provide just enough performance for Windows Vista and most 3D games. An 80GB hard drive offers substantially more storage as well. ASUS also promises 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 2.0, and a built-in VGA webcam. Though available now, pricing is expected to vary by area and by store as ASUS regularly ships custom-configured models for individual resellers.
The biometrics firm Sequiam recently launched a uniquely accessible fingerprint security system. Where most of these locks are part of large-scale networks, the new BioLock is designed to be used on almost any door -- including homes, says the company. Instead of connecting to a central server, the lock is controlled by an LCD panel on its secure side that can register as many as 50 different visitors. Sequiam has also taken care to make the outside as inconspicuous as possible. When not in use, the outside lock resembles only a standard Black and Decker deadbolt lock (physical backup keys are provided); users press their fingers against a hidden reader along the side to gain access. The BioLock is available now for $249, putting the system within reach of most homeowners.
LG Shine Phone
LG used its presence at the Korea Electronics Show to reveal its first true successor to the Chocolate phone, which the company says will have sold over 6 million units by the end of this year. Known as the Shine or SV420, the replacement almost entirely abandons the glossy black of the earlier model for a brushed-metal surface. LG has also implemented a scrolling key in place of the larger directional pad from the Chocolate, clearing room for a larger 2.2-inch LCD. Cosmetics are not the only upgrade, according to LG. The 1.3-megapixel camera of the original has been replaced by a 2-megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach version, while the built-in storage has been expanded to 1GB. Lastly, a movie creation tool named Muvee has been added that can create videos out of photo slideshows with background music.
LG says it will initially release the Shine in Korea under its own Cyon cellphone label; however, the position of the new phone as a Chocolate successor virtually ensures a North American release for carriers such as Verizon, which is the primary carrier of the phone in the US. A gallery of photos is available after the jump, courtesy of AVING.
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