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MacEdition Pro News : April 28, 2003
Kickin’ back in consumer row

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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Busy as beavers

Shareware giant Ambrosia has been busy burning the midnight oil as a number of their associated developers have been cranking out remakes and rebuilds of their various products.

The publishing house released a Windows version of Deimos Rising, the arcade-styled space shooter that came bundled with many a Macintosh. The company announced it will also be bringing Pop-Pop – a head-to-head tetris battle game – in addition to the Mac classic Escape Velocity to Windows in the coming months.

Ambrosia also released an update for Bubble Trouble X, fixing a number of glitches and bugs in the process.

On the more serious side of things, Ambrosia also released an update for Snapz Pro X. The update added an improvement to the program’s video capture feature to reduce lag on the OS, added Korean localization, streamlined foreign language documentation and improved X11 compatibility and addressed issues with taking full screen gaming shots.

But, the one item that really caught our attention is a beta release of an OS 10.2 audio capture utility called WireTap. The program records any audio – MP3 stream or Real Audio – playing through your Mac and recording them as AIFF files with various levels of compression. The program supports AppleScript as well.

Ambrosia intends to include WireTap as part of a forthcoming release of Snapz Pro and will make it available as a free download.

Road tunes for your pocket

While the iPod may be the dandiest portable MP3 player on the planet it makes a poor substitute for catching the play-by-play of the ballgame and is even worse at giving you up-to-date traffic reports, that is until now.

Griffin Technology recently released iFM, a snap on module for the iPod that turns the unit into an FM portable radio.
The Griffin iFM adds an FM radio to the iPod in one integrated sharp package that utilizes the iPod’s own remote for its controls. Settings include room for six preset stations, station scan up or down, volume control and muting as well as manual tuning. Whether traveling or jogging around the block, the iFM gives iPod users the ability to check the news, weather or listen to their favorite radio programs – in addition to their collection of music in their iPod. The iFM works with all iPods and requires the iPod wired remote control.

The US$35 device snaps into the headset jack and incorporates the remote control as a part of a single unit. When powered the iFM makes use of the iPod’s remote control to scan for radio stations.

Your digital hub unplugged

The IEEE 1394 Association is taking a FireWire showcase on the road to demonstrate the suitability of the connection standard in a Home Theatre/Home Network application.

The association with use a Pioneer VSX-49TXi audio/video receiver as the display’s centerpiece and connect it via FireWire to a Pioneer DV-47Ai DVD player, a JVC HM-DH30000U digital VHS deck, a set of Yamaha FireWire speakers and a honkin’ big Misubishi large-screen TV.

“The 1394 standard is moving ahead in its role as the network backbone, and we will demonstrate its reliability and performance at this year’s WinHEC,” said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association.

All of the 1394 devices will be linked into the network to deliver video, audio and Internet Protocol over the network. An RCA TV is included to demonstrate future products, such as inexpensive converter boxes that will allow legacy products access to the same network. The JVC-DVHS will simultaneously send 1394 A/V and analog A/V to both the Mitsubishi DTV and the RCA analog TV.

But Mac fanatics shouldn’t get over-amped at the prospects of this well-connected universe. It seems the association will be using a Sony Vaio laptop and Hewlett-Packard’s MediaPC as the computer components for this demonstration. WinHeck is after all a Windows hardware and mum’s the word as to whether any of this gear will talk to a Mac.

Stick this to your mac

Considering the latest update to AppleWorks still doesn’t contain a CD/DVD template (a rather glaring omission considering how hard it is to buy a Mac without a burner of some sort these days), many a consumer is still stuck with trying to come up with a solution to label their “data backups” so they can tell what’s on which disk.

Enter DYMO which has created a solution for that nagging problem while addressing a number of other labeling needs for the Mac OS X platform.

The company released DYMO Label Software for Mac OS X, a free download software which allows the user to create a wide variety of standard business labels – including barcodes – and print them via one of the company’s LabelWriter 300 or EL series of USB label printers.

In additional to standard business style labels, the DYMO LabelWriter prints over 40 styles and sizes of professional labels making it the perfect technology tool for the office or small business. It virtually eliminates the need for costly sheet fed labels.

Users can print all their business and personal labels, quickly and easily, right from their Macintosh. Plus, the direct thermal technology of the LabelWriter printer means no ink or toner is ever required to produce clear high-resolution images, text and barcodes, saving money on the recurring cost of toner.

The program comes with a simple address book for generating shipping labels and supports printing curved text, images, sequential labels, mirrored text and time/dates stamps. The CD/DVD labeling feature requires the purchase of DYMO’s CD/DVD labels which come in a self-adhesive roll of 160 labels.

Hit the streets kid!

With graduation fast approaching for most post-secondary students and high school students being a mere couple of months away from entering the job pool, there’s obviously some effort going to be spent by these kids in looking for that perfect summer job.

Well kid, how does earning US$10,000 for one week’s work and doing nothing but playing video games all day long grab ya?

The folks at Kraft Foods thought that prospect would grab the attention of every “slacker” out there and have created a contest where their Tombstome Pizza subsidiary will award the plumb position to one lucky recipient via an instant win promotion.

The top prize in the contest will be a one-week “internship” at PC gaming giant Activision’s Santa Monica development studio, where they’ll get a chance to tour the facility, meeting the developers and work out their gaming skills on some of the company’s hottest titles.

One thing’s for sure, a steady diet of frozen pizza will be prime training for a career as a computer programmer.

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