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iTunes Manager, Chax
CDFinder 5.0.1 ($35) solution to organize your disk and data archive, and to keep track of digital media assets. Can read exhaustive photo and audio meta data (JPG, TIFF, PICT, BMP, EXIF, IPTC, MP3, AAC, WAVE, AIFF) and use AppleScript to integrate CDFinder into any workflow The new release features a direct link to Google Earth for geotagged photos several small fixes and enhancements. Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or newer. [Download - 4.9MB]
MacFamilyTree 4.4.9 ($50) genealogy application. Creates an overview of all family relations with various printing selections are also offered, as well as the option to publish your family tree on the Internet or burn it directly on CD. Based on the Gedcom Standard for the international exchange of genealogical data. This release has a new Places Database containing more geographic locations, adding also the number of inhabitants. It also includes improved reliability when reading Gedcom files with malformed Note entries. [Download - 12MB]
SSH Helper 1.3 (free) OpenSSH configuration utility for Mac OS X. Allows you to control who's allowed to access your account, Generate new OpenSSH keys, View/Export your Public Keys, and Setup and Control the OpenSSH Server. Alleviates the need to use the command line to configure a working OpenSSH system. SSH Helper also contains an Easy to use Wizard. The new release includes several bug fixes [Download - 865KB]
iTunes Manager 2.3 (free) a mini-window to iTunes that performs a number of functions beyond mere music playback. The functions include music alarm, playlist-track switching and selection, volume control, key information about the active track, playlist and track editing, and keyboard shortcuts for playback and other controls. This release allows the sound fadeout factor to be customized to the Mac's clock speed and includes alerts for alarm or timer, as the case maybe, now includes music, voice or combined music and voice. This release is tested under Mac OS X 10.4.9 and iTunes 7.1.1 [Download - 1.4MB]
Chax 1.4.9 (free) collection of minor modifications and additions that make using Apple's iChat more enjoyable. Functions include ability to toggle text status visibility of users, ability to automatically resize the contact list to fit the number of visible users, setting of font of names, status messages, and group separators and display of animated user icons. Also includes tabbed chats and the option to auto-accept incoming chats. [Download - 1.1MB]
Refurb MacBook Pros
Apple's supply of reconditioned pro notebooks has risen once again to include the 15.4-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, a 6x SuperDrive (DVD/CD burner), and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of video memory for $1,999 with a glossy or standard screen. The Cupertino-based company is also selling its 17-inch 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core Duo processor, 1GB of memory, a 100GB hard drive, a SuperDrive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB of video memory for $1,999; and its 17-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, an 8X SuperDrive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of video memory for $2,299 with either a glossy or standard display.
This Day in History
MacKiev has released This Day in History the first in a series of planned educational iPhone software applications. The app is based on the widget of the same name from Software MacKiev's World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, and shows a calendar page for each historical event that took place on a given day. The developer says "On July 6th, for example, it shows that John Paul Jones, the American naval hero, was born on this day in 1747. Events that correspond to the current day in history are shown automatically each day." Other titles currently under development are an iPhone companion application to the company's 3D Weather Globe and Atlas that will display wind speed, barometric pressure, dew point and other weather conditions and World Book Trivia Challenge, with questions taken from the World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. This Day in History is available free of charge.
Contest; SmartDisk bought
In brief: We review a macro photography book, a tutorial has instructions for converting POP accounts to IMAP (paying particular attention to usage on the iPhone), WiebeTech is running a contest for users who can guess where their products appear in the new Transformers movie, a flickr page has pictures of the iPhone UI design team, and Verbatim has acquired the hard disk assets of SmartDisk .... We've posted a review of Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop, and Macro Photography, a new book by Cyrill Harnischmacher that deals specifically with photographing teeny, tiny things and getting close and personal with your subjects. Chapters cover lenses, tripods and mounts, lighting, studio, travel, and underwater photography, in addition to very useful tricks and tips. The sample photographs are beautiful and informative. The book is priced at $25.
Pinnacle tuner/USB drive
Avid subdivision Pinnacle has debuted the PCTV DVB-T Flash Stick, an unusual approach to tuning in DVB-T broadcasts. By plugging the device into a Windows PC's USB 2.0 port, users instantly gain not only the ability to stream TV and radio, but record it using DVR software, incorporating a program guide with options such as timeshifting. The stick is further equipped with 1GB of memory, which can be used as the main source of storage except when integrating with Windows Media Center. DivX compression can be used for more efficiency. It should be available soon in the UK, but buyers must check with retailers for prices. [via Krunker]
Humminbird 997c GPS
Marine electronics house Humminbird has just launched the 997c SI Combo GPS unit for fishing enthusiasts and other boaters. It replaces the 967c as the company's top-end model through its namesake sonar imaging system: an 800MHz scanner can be used for detailed maps of the sea floor up to 150 feet directly below a boat or to 240 feet at either side. Its 8-inch screen is also said to be large enough to allow side-by-side display of live marine chart data at the same time.
SanDisk Sansa Express Pink
Although without a formal announcement, SanDisk today released a pink edition of its Sansa Express player for exercise and entry-level music fans. The new color replaces both the black front trim and the silver back without changing the underlying player, which maintains its 1.1-inch OLED screen, 1GB of internal flash, and a microSD slot that potentially triples its storage of MP3/WMA songs and Audible books.
SOHO Organizer 6.2
Chronos has released SOHO Organizer 6.2, a new version of the company's contact, calendar and note manager for Mac OS X. The tool allows synchronization with cell phones, iPods, Palm handhelds, and multiple computers, as well as sharing of calendars among workgroups. It also includes the ability to connect to CalDAV servers, and import/export of vCal files. Version 6.2 adds support for publishing calendars to .Mac, and word-wrap support for task titles in each of the calendars views. The release also fixes a problem that would cause the database to not open under certain conditions, and makes speed improvements when moving forward/back in the calendar views. SOHO Organizer requires Mac OS X v10.4.9 or later and 130 MB of available disk space. It's priced at $100.
Moto MING Windows Mobile
The enhanced version of Motorola's MING touchscreen phone coming to the US won't use its normal Linux interface, according to a new report. As the Linux-based JUIX operating system used by Motorola doesn't currently support faster HSDPA Internet access, the company will allegedly be forced to use Windows Mobile 6 to support both the touch interface and the newer connection.
New Minox compact cameras
The German manufacturer Minox has announced two new compact cameras. The most unusual of the two is the 6033 WP (right), a six-megapixel model encased in extremely tough housing. Beyond being resistant to impact damage, it is also sealed against dust, sand and salt, and is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet. Scene options include an Underwater mode, and it holds 2GB of photos on an SD card, or 16MB internally. Power comes from two AA batteries; it should ship soon to Germany for €229 ($311).
Microsoft recently chose to showcase a new technology dubbed Livestation, a service intended to challenge the Slingbox in streaming a user's TV to a remote computer. The platform, developed largely by the UK-based firm Skinkers, would effectively eliminate the need for both a separate media streaming hub as well as installing custom software. Changes made by a TV provider on its own end would let subscribers view and change channels online simply by connecting to a remote server, limiting the choice of what can be seen but saving the trouble of up-front costs and taking direct control of a home TV's input.
MeVisLab 1.5, the first version of the application with full support for Mac OS X, has been released. MeVisLab is a visual programming and rapid prototyping platform for image processing research and development with a focus on medical imaging. The tool is free for non-commercial use. In addition to Mac OS X support, this release adds new Contour Segmentation Object (CSO) library, a new SoShader framework providing a framework to use the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) in MeVisLab networks, ITK/VTK integration updated to latest library versions and a major library update (Qt4, SoQtMeVis, third party libraries). There are also several new and improved modules.
Amazon UK lists iPhone
Amazon's British online store has preempted official announcements of the iPhone by listing the device through its online store. Both 4GB and 8GB models have appeared on the company's UK website, giving local users the opportunity to sign up for notification about its release. The site also points to a December 1st release date for the device that fits into Apple's predictions of a late 2007 European launch, but may be speculation and has not been confirmed by the iPhone's creator.
Graphic Inspector 1.1
Zevrix has released an update to Graphic Inspector, its image diagnostic program. The software inspects raster and vector files, displaying info about whole folders of content, such as fonts, resolutions, EXIF specifications and more. Users can then set Checkup Presets to flag files with undesirable attributes, such as bad color modes, file formats, or ICC profiles. Version 1.1 properly recognizes EPS DCS files saved in the CMYK+Spot mode, and will now list the fonts and spot colors in native Illustrator CS3 images. Graphic Inspector is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.2, and costs $40.
Moto KRZR Sequel Leak
Motorola's KRZR flip phone is bound for a significant upgrade in the near future, according to an insider with access to the device's known features. An indication of both the phone's refresh and Motorola's future direction suggests that the 2-megapixel camera will be upgraded to 3.2 megapixels through a Samsung-made sensor, albeit without autofocus; its OS is also upgraded to the Synergy navigation introduced with the RAZR maxx V6.
iPod Reset Utility 1.0.2
Apple has released version 1.0.2 of the iPod Reset Utility. The tool is used to restore the following iPod models back to their factory settings when iTunes is unable to do so. The process completely erases all music and data and reinstalls the iPod software version listed below:
iPod shuffle (1st Generation) - iPod Software version 1.1.5
iPod shuffle (2nd Generation) - iPod Software version 1.0.3
PS3 Price Cut Inbound
Sony will use the advent of the E3 games expo this month to slash the price on the PlayStation 3, according to a Circuit City flyer as well as other retailers. The print ad shows the 60GB console's price dropped from $600 to $500, bringing its cost to the launch price of the canceled 20GB PS3 despite the inclusion of the larger disk, Wi-Fi, and a card reader. The cut is expected by many to be the result of both drops in player costs that have taken place since the PS3's November debut as well as a need to compete against the less expensive Wii and Xbox 360.
Moto i425 at Boost Mobile
Virtual network Boost Mobile today looked to inject added style into its lineup by carrying the Motorola i425. One of the slimmest phones based on instant-talk iDEN networks, the candybar design is under half an inch thick while still providing the walkie-talkie chats that define the company's service. It also includes many of the features that have come to be familiar on Boost's network, such as support for multiple IM chat networks, Java apps, and GPS navigation.
Fujitsu ESPRIMO laptops
Fujitsu Siemens has announced three new laptops in its ESPRIMO line, designed for business users who need to stay connected to their files, regardless of where they happen to be. The key to this UMTS/HSDPA broadband, which is built into all three models; 56K dial-up is an optional backup, and buyers can pick between 802.11b/g or a/g/n. Bluetooth 2.0 is standard on all but the D9500. That system is however the biggest at 15.4 inches, and can be configured up to a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 4GB of RAM, as well as 160GB of hard drive space and a multiformat DVD writer.
iPhone unlocking soon?
A company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland says it is "almost ready" to debut software for unlocking the iPhone. Uniquephones founder John McLaughlin tells IDG News that programmers have been working "around the clock" on a crack, which would allow users to activate their iPhones without agreeing to an AT&T service contract. The company is already claiming a 75 percent success rate for its pre-release software, and a forthcoming public beta may prove even more effective.
iPhone Spikes Memory Price
The increasing popularity of iPhones, iPods, and their reliance on flash memory could paradoxically cause problems for the memory-making industry, according to industry representatives and analysts. By building in as much as 8GB of NAND flash storage in the iPhone and potentially switching to flash for future high-end video iPods, Apple is threatening to dry up the overflow of memory that currently exists in the market, curbing discounts and possibly forcing price hikes to discourage buying an excess of flash chips.
"Next Big Thing" on iTunes
Apple has launched the Next Big Thing iTunes promotion, offering online digital music shoppers indie albums for $5.99 and 6.99 in standard or iTunes Plus unprotected formats. The promotional deal highlights various independent artists and bands that Apple believes could be soar up the charts. "Musical fads and bands that tap into the zeitgeist of the moment are hard to predict, if not impossible," writes Apple. "Who in their right mind could have guessed that a Modest Mouse album would debut at number one on the charts? Or that the White Stripes would become a gigantic rock band?" After traversing half the year Apple's iTunes is offering a selection of artists who the company thinks have the "true grit (or pure luck)" it takes to become the next big thing.
Hackers expose iPhone
Although the iPhone has only been available for a week, some groups have already managed to expose potentially serious vulnerabilities, reports say. The consulting company Errata Security notes that the version of Safari on the phone is succeptible to a buffer overflow attack, which could allow a remote user to take control and run code. A similar bug was discovered in the desktop Safari earlier this month, but a potential exploit for the iPhone would call 1-900 numbers until the malware reponsible was somehow stopped or removed.
Samsung Swan 22-inch LCD
Samsung finished its week by launching its Swan line of computer displays. Recalling the company's Bordeaux TVs, the 20-inch (CX2032) and 22-inch (CX2232) screens earn the nickname through their subtler tilt mechanisms. Each screen's display neck uses elastomers to hold the screen in place; this results in a subtler movement than the usual mechanical elements, Samsung says. Both are further capable of a 1680x1050 resolution and include better anti-glare treatments to work even in front of direct light.
Sharp BD-HP20S Leak
Sharp will introduce a Blu-Ray player later this year which centers only on movie playback. Unlike the company's Japanese AQUOS recorders, the BD-HP20S will strip out DVR tools in favor of advanced movie features. HDMI 1.3 will be standard and should support both deep color on compatible sets as well as uncompressed, 7.1-channel sound such as Dolby's TrueHD standard. Sharp also hopes to wipe out complaints about slow load times: a Quick Start feature will load discs within several seconds rather than the minute or more sometimes seen in other Blu-Ray and HD DVD players.
Unity 2.0 coming in summer
OTEE, the developers of the Unity game engine for the Mac, have announced that Unity 2.0 will be available later this summer. Unity is a comprehensive game development platform, incorporating not just graphics, physics and audio components, but also editing and networking layers, with the ability to import assets from programs such as Maya, Lightwave, Blender and more. Unity 2.0 will introduce some 50 new features, among them a new terrain engine, with the ability to render hundreds of thousands of trees, rocks and other scenic details at the same time. Lighting will support real-time dynamic shadows with self-shadowing, and video will be displayalbe in 2D or 3D.
T-Mobile MDA Vario III
T-Mobile's German headquarters today announced it would be first to pick up the HTC Kaiser, rebranding it as the MDA Vario III. The smartphone adopts the familiar slide-out keyboard of many high-end devices but adds a unique tilting motion that can lock the keyboard at an angle to the display, making it useful for writing e-mail or editing Office Mobile documents at a desk. Windows Mobile 6 Professional is standard and ensures a full suite of office tools out of the box. Cameras at the back (3 megapixels) and front (unknown) offer capturing and video calls.
iLinc 9.0 on the Mac
iLinc Communications has released iLinc 9.0, the latest version of its web and audio conferencing software. The most critical addition is the program's first Mac client, allowing cross-platform interaction with Windows users. Numerous other changes have been implemented as well however, among them an overhauled, single-window interface, and the ability to view multiple user videos at once, hiding any at will. Users also have the ability to share part or all of their desktop in a single click, and manage their breakout groups on a single tab. iLinc charges for its services on a per-minute basis; rates range from $0.10/min. for voice to $0.30/min. for complete interaction options.
Olympus 360 Deg Projector
Camera maker Olympus today unveiled a new lens system that allows virtually an entire scene to be captured at once. The "free curved surface prism" uses specially crafted, dome-shaped lenses as well as a refracting prism to either take in 360 degrees of a horizontal scene through a CCD sensor or to project it on to a surface. Working examples of cameras (pictured) can take still photos or record video that could be useful for panoramas or security. Attachments for projectors in turn could output an image at unlikely angles or far wider shots than normal, Olympus says.
Samsung A437 at ATT
Releasing its first new handset in the aftermath of Apple's high-profile launch, AT&T has quietly launched the Samsung A437. The Korea-made handset touches on all the core features expected from modern cellphones without costly extras. Users can connect online using EDGE access or use a wireless headset through Bluetooth; a VGA camera provides basic photography. Extra software is provided for instant messaging through AIM, Windows Live, or Yahoo.
While iPhone availability has improved dramatically since launch day on the east coast, with most localities having ample stock of the device, the west coast is still parched with most Apple retail outlets still sold out. A check of Apple's availability page shows the no California, Washington, or Oregon stores currently have stock of the iPhone. New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts stores, meanwhile, are relatively flush. Southern states are mixed, with Florida and Georgia offering decent stock but Texas remaining sold out statewide. Users searching for online purchase are out of luck too: the online Apple Store is still showing a 2-4 week wait for both 4GB and 8GB models.
VMWare Fusion, the virtualization tool that allows Windows and other operating system applications to run within Mac OS X, has arrived at release candidate stage and is now feature complete. The new version offers improvements to the "Unity" mode, similar to Parallels coherence, allowing the running of Windows applications alongside Mac applications, not within a separate window. There is now the ability to drag and drop files from Finder windows onto Windows applications or Windows Explorer windows, and there is also experimental support for Unity on Windows 2000, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows Server 2003 (32-bit and 64-bit), and Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit). VMWare is priced at $40 prior to release, and requires an Intel-based Mac as well as Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later.
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