February 2006 News Archive

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Copyright 2006 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: Feb. 10, 2006

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Brief Hands-On Report Redux--Universal Workaround for Keynote 3.0 Text-Wrap Bug: A reader put their finger on the problem we cited yesterday of Keynote 3.0 having difficulties with text-wrapping bulleted text in some slide presentations created in Keynote 1.x. They suggested a workaround that will work for those who do not have Keynote 2.0.2.

But first, what caused the problem? In Keynote 3.0 there is a field that allows the user to specify the number of pixels that bulleted text is indented. That field did not exist in either Keynote 1.x or 2.x. When importing some of our slides created in Keynote 1.x, Keynote 3.0 assigns the value "NaN" (for Not a Number?) to the Text Indent field (red circle in image at right) which creates the problem. Presentations saved in Keynote 2.0.2 have a blank Text Indent field when opened in Keynote 3.0 and the slide does not exhibit a text-wrap problem.

The workaround is to delete the "NaN" and to assign a number of pixels, like "10 px", in place of "NaN" in the Text Indent field.

Still, if one has a copy of Keynote 2.0.2, the easiest workaround is to open a Keynote 1.x presentation in Keynote 2.0.2 and save it before opening and saving it in Keynote 3.0 because one does not have to fiddle with each affected slide. However, one is risking a blank field causing problems at some time. [Bill Fox]

Review--Online Income Tax Preparation Services: CNet compared the three main online tax preparation services: TurboTax Premier Online, TaxCut Premium Online and TaxAct Online Ultimate Bundle. TaxAct is free to everyone for filing an IRS return, TurboTax Premier is free if you make less than $28,000 or $50,000 if you are on active military duty and TaxCut Premium is free if you are over 50. All charge something for the state return. Phone support is expensive for TurboTax ($10 per incident) and TaxCut ($20 per incident). CNet's choice is TurboTax Premier since it is as flexible and complete as the boxed version. More... [Dana Baggett]

Apple Released 1GB iPod nano for $149 and Reduced iPod shuffle Prices by $30: Apple released a 1GB version of the iPod nano that holds 240 songs or 15,000 photos. The 1GB iPod nano is identical to the 2Gb and 4GB iPod nanos in colors (white or black) and features. The 1GB iPod shuffle was reduced to $99 and the 512MB iPod shuffle was reduced to $69. More... [Bill Fox]

Apple Adds CBS' SHOWTIME Video Programs to iTunes Music Store--Video Downloads Over 12 Million: With the addition of SHOWTIME hit programming, iTunes now offers more than 50 popular TV shows available for just $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod. The iTunes Music Store is the world's most popular video download store with more than 12 million videos purchased and downloaded.

"iTunes allows fans of these hit Showtime programs to purchase and watch them in an innovative way," said Matthew C. Blank, chairman of Showtime Networks. "It is also a tremendous opportunity for non-subscribers to sample Showtime's programming."

"We’re thrilled to expand the iTunes video catalog with premium content programming from Showtime," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "With over 12 million videos sold, iTunes provides the best way for consumers to discover, purchase and download video online."

SHOWTIME programming on the iTunes Music Store covers a variety of current and previous-season content. Programs include the first full season of the critically acclaimed Golden Globe nominee, "Sleeper Cell," the complete first season of the groundbreaking "Weeds," starring Golden Globe award-winning actress Mary Louise Parker; and the complete first season of "Fat Actress," starring Kirstie Alley. [Bill Fox]

Brief Hands-On Report--Fix for Keynote 3.0 Text-Wrap Bug: While using Apple's new Keynote 3.0, we discovered a fairly serious bug. Keynote 3.0 is one of two applications included in Apple's iWork 6 suite released last month. We have used Keynote to prepare slide presentations since it first came out so we have presentations that were prepared and saved using either Keynote 1.x or Keynote 2.x.

When opened by Keynote 3.0 many, but not all, slide presentations with bulleted text prepared in Keynote 1.x exhibit a severe text-wrap problem. Instead of wrapping to the next line when text reaches the right margin of the text box, the text turns vertically downward, running along the right margin. The bug remains if the presentation is then saved to PowerPoint. If one manually inserts a hard return, then a new bullet is created and the spacing is thrown off, requiring manually deleting the bullet icon and fixing the spacing. This is a tedious job for long presentations.

So far, however, we have not found a slide presentation prepared or saved in Keynote 2.x that has the same issue when opened in Keynote 3.0. Accordingly, the fix is first to open and save Keynote 1.x presentations in Keynote 2.x (ours is at v2.0.2). Then open them in Keynote 3.0 and save again. Of course, this issue would still present a problem for those who skipped updating to version 2.x. Hopefully, Apple will fix this bug permanently in the next update to Keynote 3.0. [Bill Fox]

Hard Drive News from Other World Computing--Price Drops: Other World Computing, a reputable firm that we have done business with for a long time, sent us a couple of notes regarding discounts on their cool-looking hard drive offerings:

[Bill Fox]

Share Picture and Video Clips on Macs through DropShots is a leading personal video sharing service. It hosts online over 150,000 video clips and over 2 million photos with a growth rate of over 35 percent each month. DropShots users are typically sharing the sights and sounds of their newborn baby, their child’s first steps, graduations, weddings or family vacations. These personal experiences are then shared with a private circle of friends and family.

"For the budding filmmaker or musician looking for public Internet fame there are other services that serve that purpose.  For families and friends looking to keep in touch and privately share the intimate experiences of their lives, DropShots is what they are looking for," says DropShots CEO Darren Hardy.

One can set up a DropShot account for free that allows sharing of up to 500 photos and 10 video clips or opt for a fully featured account for $4.95 per month. A demo account is located on this DropShots Web page. DropShots is Web-based so it works with any platform including Mac OS X and Safari. [Bill Fox]

Mac/PC SystemsShootouts Updated for New Macs: Charles Gaba announced eight brand-new (or updated) Shootouts on The latest updates include:

--£500 Mini Desktop Shootout (Apple Mac mini vs. AOpen MiniPC)
Note: MiniPC was only available in the UK as of December, so it's matched up a £500 Mac mini against it off of Apple’s UK store.

--$2,000 Midsize Laptops (Apple 15” MacBook Pro vs. Acer TravelMate 8200)
Note: Some of the final specs & pricing on the Acer model remain uncertain, so this is a tentative shootout.

--$1,300 Slimline Desktops (Apple 17” iMac Core Duo vs. Dell XPS 200 w/17” LCD)
--$1,700 Slimline Desktops (Apple 20” iMac Core Duo vs. Dell XPS 200 w/20” LCD)

--Updated Apple Laptop Lineup (Books & PowerBooks)
--Updated Apple Desktop Lineup (Mac minis, iMacs & PowerMacs)

--Apple vs. Apple: $1,300 17” iMac G5 vs. 17” iMac Core Duo
--Apple vs. Apple: $2,000 15” PowerBook G4 vs. 15” MacBook Pro

You can also listen to a 1/26/06 interview with Charles Gaba on The Tech Night Owl LIVE's streaming broadcast or podcast. The interview covers why Charles set up the Web site and the ways that he tries to level the playing field in his comparison of Macs to PCs. [Bill Fox]

Consumer Reports Again Rated Apple BEST in Reliability and Support: The March 2006 Consumer Reports (CR) tree edition just landed in our mail box. It includes a report on using computers as a living room media center. In its list of criteria to consider, CR reports on reliability and support based on its reader survey covering more than 134,000 desktop and laptop computers.

Once again, Apple leads the pack. In its brand repair desktop history survey, Apple at 11% (lower is better) leads seven PC brands by 4% or more, a difference that CR calls "meaningful." In a survey of laptop repairs, Apple is clustered with six other brands in a group that is statistically equal.

For tech support, Apple is the runaway leader for desktops; its readers scored Apple 22 points higher (higher is better) than the closest PC brand. The reader survey of laptop tech support puts Apple again at the top, 12 points higher than the runner up and a whopping 24 or more points better than other PC brands.

CR summarizes by noting under the heading of Quick Picks "As our surveys indicate, Apple's reliability and tech support have been top-notch. The Mac Mini is more user-friendly than comparable budget Windows PCs and includes a FireWire port and a DVD writer."

Elsewhere, CR notes that Macs are less vulnerable to computer viruses and spyware. [Dana Baggett]

Apple Revised the Offerings from Five Hot Deals Retailers:

audioMIDI has great deals on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including the Abelton's Live 5 with free M-Audio Triger Finger bundle for $399; Tascam US2400 the plug and play DAW controller with 25 moving faders for $799 - a $699 savings!; UF5-49 metal body 49-key controller with free Yamaha stand for $199; Frontier Tranzport wireless DAW controller with free Tranzport Gig Bag from Frontier Design Group for $195.00; and much more.

B&H Photo Video has great deals on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including; Microtek 211SD 21" LCD Display with VGA and DVI inputs for $349.95; Canon EOS 5D SLR digital camera - body only - for $2969.95; Nikon Super CoolScan 500ED film scanner for $979.95; Canon Optura 400 MiniDV Camcorder for $489.95; Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 for $85.95; Hewlett Packard DesignJet 90r photo-quality tabloid size inkjet printer for $1349.95; and more.

CompUSA has great deals on on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including: $50 mail-in rebate on the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D Digital SLR kit with zoom lens for $749.99 after rebate; $100 mail-in rebate on the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 1320 laser printer for $399.99 after rebate; Epson Stylus CX3810 All-in-one photo printer $59.99 after $30 mail-in rebate; and more.

J&R Computerworld has great deals on on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including the Revolution 7.1 Surround Sound PCI card fro M-Audio for $89.99; Epson's Perfection 3490 Flat bed photo scanner for $99.99; Miglia Tech's HA02 HarmonyAudio Firewire interface lets you record from any source straight into GarageBand, LogicAudio or any other Core Audio application for $239.99; MacJournal from Mariner Software. Chronicle your life with this journaling software for $28.99; X2: The Threat video game from Freeverse for $38.99; and more.

Ramjet has great deals on on a wide variety of RAM upgrades for your Mac, including 1GB DDR kit for PowerMac G4 (Mirror Drive Door) for $96.00; 512MB DDR DIMM for iMac G5 for $48.00.00; 1GB RAM Module for the iBook G4 for $185.00; 1GB DDR RAM Kit for the eMac 1.25GHz+ for $95.00; and more.

[Bill Fox]

February's List of Free Apple Online Seminars--One Dropped from January: No new online seminars are listed for February and one, Computational Clusters for Bioinformatics by Apple's Dr. Elizabeth Kerr, is no longer listed as an active seminar. This link to Dr. Kerr's seminar still works, however.

Apple's online seminars are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any computer with internet access. They are designed to be no more than 30 minutes in length and offer a wide variety of resources and information. Topics cover solutions using Apple and partner products and technologies. Here is February's complete list:

3D Modeling on the Mac with modo--Watch Brad Peebler, President of Luxology, as he provides a tour of modo and find out how you can turn your inspiration and creativity into amazing 3D models.

A Blueprint for Tiered Storage--Steve Duplessie, recognized independent expert on storage technology, discusses the practicalities of tiered storage & set-up of a solution that works.

Apple in Science: Diversifying the IT Infrastructure--By incorporating Mac OS X into the infrastructure and supporting desktop Macs, IT organizations have increased the productivity of their research organizations.

Architecture By Design--Join Jacques Sedille as he demonstrates and discusses the Mac and key 3rd party design tools that enable architects to imagine, design and communicate.

Asset Management for Creative Workgroups: With Xserve G5 and Extensis Portfolio Server--Learn how you can better manage your photographs and creative assets with the winning combination of Apple Xserve and Extensis Portfolio Server.

Biotech is in our DNA--Michael Athanas, Ph.D., of The BioTeam will show how to install a fully provisioned informatics cluster on one or more Xserve servers using iNquiry. Topic: Servers/Networks

Build High Performance Tiered Storage Strategies With Xserve RAID--Join Alex Grossman, Senior Director of Server and Storage Hardware, and learn how you can implement a tiered storage strategy using Xserve RAID.

Capture, Create and Share Digital Media with QuickTime 7 Pro--Join Apple?s team of QuickTime experts in this free online seminar to learn how QuickTime 7 can take your digital media to the next level.

Change Your Infrastructure Legacy: Lower Costs and Simplify Server and Storage Management--Join Alex Grossman, Apple Sr Director, and learn how adding Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID to your IT infrastructure can help you meet today's business demands.

Color Management: From Input to Edit and Print with Mac OS X Panther & ColorSync--Join Steve Upton, industry consultant on color, as he gives you an overview of color management from displays to applications and output.

Computational Clustering in the Sciences--A number of Apple technologies simplify cluster computing, and for clusters of up to 64 processors, Apple provides pre-qualified solutions to meet your needs.

Cost-effective Storage Deployments for Research Computing--Learn how to achieve better data accessibility and faster storage retrieval in a more cost-effective way with industry-leading solutions.

Deliver Simplified Workgroup Services--Join Douglas Brooks, Server Product Mgr, to learn how to deliver robust workgroup & internet services without straining your budget or stretching your IT staff.

Desktop Management Made Easy with Apple Remote Desktop 2--Join Apple Product Mgr Nader Nafissi to learn why Apple's new, easy to use desktop management software is the essential tool for any Mac system administrator.

Developers win with Mac OS X, Reap the rewards--Built on a rock-solid UNIX core and standards-based technologies, Mac OS X is hailed as the world's most advanced operating system.

DWG on the Mac--See how ArchiCAD, eDrawings and VectorWorks allow you to view, edit and manipulate DWG files on the Mac.

Font Management for Creative Professionals--Join Brent Haley, Apple marketing mgr, for an overview of font management capabilities in Mac OS X and to see solutions from Extensis and Insider Software.

Getting Started with High Performance Computing--On-demand rebroadcast of the Dec 16, 2004 webcast discussion of the high-level concepts of high performance computing, issues & obstacles, and more.

Grid Computing in the Life Sciences--Learn how Xgrid, built into Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server, makes it feasible to deploy large computational grids without the addition of software.

Guitarists and the Mac: A Conversation with Pat Metheny--Join Pat Metheny in this free online seminar and learn how the Mac can help you take your music to the next level.

Improve Your Presentation Skills--Watch this free online seminar and find out how to improve your presentation skills.

Increasing Workgroup Productivity with Xsan--Join Doug Cunningham as he demos how to set up Xsan, reviews powerful admin and reporting tools, and demos real-time collaboration in a video environment.

Information Lifecycle Management--Steve Kenniston, an Enterprise Storage Group analyst will offer insights as to how to manage vast amounts of data while keeping your overhead low.

Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server for High Performance Computing--Learn about the technical underpinnings of Apple's latest OS, and how new features and updates will benefit users of Mac OS X-based clusters and grids.

Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" for Scientific and Technical Computing--Join Apple in this densely-packed on-demand webcast rebroadcast on how each new feature in Tiger applies to Apple's scientific customers.

Making Music on the Mac with GarageBand--Join John Danty, Apple Product Marketing Manager for GarageBand and GarageBand Jam Packs and Eric Thomas, Apple Audio Marketing Manager, in this free online seminar and learn how to transform your Mac into a musical instrument and record new and inspiring masterpieces.

Managing Your Creative Assets--Join Brent Haley, Apple marketing manager, for an overview of the latest storage solutions from Apple and an intro to asset management solutions.

Maximizing Mac OS X Application Performance--Re-broadcast of the webcast discussion of the basics of optimization, how and why developers should turn a critical eye to the code they've just written.

Mobile Creative Studio, Portable Workstation, Office-on-the-Go--Join Gail Nishimura, PowerBook product manager, to learn about the latest advancements in the PowerBook G4 line and discover which model is right for you.

Mobile Field Editing with Journalist Dr. Bob Arnot--Join Dr. Bob Arnot to learn how the Mac can help you become a more successful storyteller and videographer by editing video on-the-go using tools from Apple.

Optimize Your Creative Workgroup with Apple's UNIX-Based Server Technology--Join Brent Haley as he demonstrates how to deploy, manage, and scale technologies for creative workgroups using the latest services included in Mac OS X Server.

OsiriX: Multi-dimensional Image Navigation Software--Dr. Osman Ratib's presentation at Children's Hospital Boston, Department of Radiology, on OsiriX, an open source, medical imaging application built on Mac OS X.

Perfect Color Starts Here, With Apple Cinema Displays--Join the Apple Cinema Displays product manager to learn how adding an Apple display to your creative system can boost your color-viewing experience.

Powerful tools for 2D and 3D post production--Watch Daryl Obert of Alias and Charles Meyer of Apple as they explore ways you can bring new levels of integration to your post production workflow.

Powering Creative Desktops with Mac OS X Tiger--Join Brent Haley, marketing manager for design and print market, as he goes under the hood and shows you the creative features of Mac OS X Tiger.

Pre-Visualizing and Presenting Your Ideas with StoryBoard Artist--Watch Jeff Walsh of PowerProduction demo StoryBoard Artist and find out how to convey your ideas with more depth, flair and accuracy than you thought possible.

Russell Brown presents Mac OS X and Photoshop CS2--Join Photoshop expert Russell Brown for a look at the ultimate digital studio: Adobe Photoshop CS2, a Power Mac G5, and the 30" Apple Cinema HD Display.

Standards-based Web Electronic Filing Systems--Apple invites you to view a free webcast that discusses technical best practices around web-based electronic filing solutions.

The Production Value of HD---Don't miss Don Peebles of Apple, as he provides an overview of Final Cut Studio, the suite of pro applications for video content creation, editing and output.

The Ultimate Creative Workstation. Discovering the Apple Power Mac G5--Todd Benjamin provides a tour of the Power Mac G5, describing what makes them so innovative and how they will benefit your creative endeavors.

Third-party HPC Solutions for Mac OS X--Apple will be joined by representatives from companies who develop their software or hardware for the platform to talk about their products.

Why Hire a Member of the Apple Consultants Network-NEW--Learn about the services provided by and advantages of hiring members of the Apple Consultants Network.

Apple's online seminars are excellent in our experience. [Bill Fox]

The eBook Serious Editing in iPhoto 6 is Out: Serious Editing in iPhoto 6 by Kevin Wolfe has been updated for both iPhoto 6 and Tiger. The eBook is packed with 25 fixes for common photo problems and 33 effects. These can easily be created with iPhoto 6 and what's already on your Mac.

Fixes include: how to correct lighting temperature (including fluorescent lighting), using iPhoto's Retouch tool to remove dirt from scans/eliminate wrinkles/etc, filtering images for better tone and less noise in black and white conversions, correcting serious exposure problems, minimizing the harsh look of on-camera flash, removing stubborn redeye, reducing color artifacts, restoring old color prints, improving phone cam photos.

Effects include: solarization, posterization, thermograms, negatives, silhouettes, toning black and white, monotoning, extreme sepia, newsphotos, selective blur, double exposures, image masks, soft focus, warping, mirror images, collages, and 8 vignette/ matte/border effects that use iPhoto 6's new Effects dashboard.

Serious Editing in iPhoto 6 is a true eBook and not just a paper book in PDF form. It's hyper-indexed with 450 links for quick navigation and up-to-the-minute Web updates. It's $24.95 and includes lifetime upgrades as more is added, as iPhoto improves and as the Mac OS is upgraded. Serious Editing in iPhoto 5 purchasers are already enjoying their free upgrades. Serious Editing in iPhoto 6 can be purchased from this Web page. [Bill Fox]

Divine Fiat Released Classical for Keynote: Divine Fiat announced the immediate availability of Classical, it's latest theme for Apple's Keynote presentation software. A theme of elegance and style, Classical features a piano keyboard across the top of each slide and reflective photo cutouts in four different shapes: rectangular, oval, pill and circular.

While ideal for a wide variety of presentations, Classical was designed with more formal occasions such as banquets, concerts and weddings in mind. Obviously, Classical is also ideal for musicians and music instructors. Classical is perfect for presenting your wedding or recital photos or introducing students to the great composers.

In addition to the fifty-four master slides of text and photo layouts, many of which are aligned for seamless dynamic transitions, Classical includes nine slides of extras. Classical will function properly on both Keynote 2 and 3 and may be purchased from Divine Fiat for $19.95. [Bill Fox]

The Game Developers Conference 2006---Five New Sessions: GDC:06 is the official event "by game developers for developers" of computer, console, mobile, arcade, online games, and location based entertainment, the GDC attracts over 12,000 attendees and provides educational, networking, and business opportunities for game development professionals driving the $11 billion video game industry. It will be held in San Jose, CA, on March 22-24, 2006.

Here are the latest new sessions:

"Is That a Franchise in Your Pocket? An Animal Crossing: Wild World Case Study" by Katsuya Eguchi (Nintendo) - Game Design Track--Thursday, March 23, 5:30-6:30pm

"The Zen of Wi-Fi: A Postmortem of the Wireless Features of Nintendo DS" by Takao Ohara (Nintendo) - Programming Track--Friday, March 24, 4-5pm

"Physical Gameplay in Half-Life 2" by Jay Stelly (Valve) - Programming Track--Friday, March 24, 9-10am

"Successful Outsourcing on Triple 'A' Games - A Case Study of Forza Motorsport" by Rajesh Rao (Dhruva Interactive), John Wendl and Nick Dimitrov (Microsoft Game Studios) - Business & Management Track--Friday, March 24, 9-10am

"What's Next in Digital Distribution & Mainstream Games" by Greg Zeschuk
(BioWare Corp.), Ray Muzyka
(BioWare Corp.), Gabe Newell
(Valve Software), Greg Canessa (Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft Corporation), Lars Brubaker (Reflexive Entertainment)
- Business & Management Track--Friday, March 24, 12-1pm

[Bill Fox]

Keyspan Adds Support for Apple's New MacIntels: Keyspan's software updates support Keyspan's serial adpaters, USB Server, IR remote controls (including support for Apple's Front Row), and the recently released Easy Presenter (RF) and its USB PS/2 Adapter. See this Keyspan Web page. [Bill Fox]

Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Ihnatko, Microsoft, TidBITS and Gruman: Tonight Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson will feature cutting-edge conversation on a wide range of subjects. Noted author and commentator Andy Ihnatko will weigh in on the state of Apple Computer and provide predictions on potential Oscar winners. You'll also hear from Microsoft's Amanda Lefebvre, who will talk about plans for new Mac products. Adam Engst, publisher of TidBITS, will be on hand to discuss such provocative issues as computer recycling, and noted desktop publishing guru Galen Gruman will give his assessment of the forthcoming QuarkXPress 7.0. Tune in the Internet radio broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

Mozilla FirefoX Update Released: The update to this popular Web browser is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. It provides security and stability enhancements. Here are the release notes. [Dana Baggett]

AppleCare Now Available in Florida: According to reader Bob Patterson,

Floridians are now finally allowed to buy AppleCare, after years of restriction to education and business.... I'm not sure exactly when this came about, but sometime since Thanksgiving I believe. I've always had it on my portables for business use, but in general Florida residents were not allowed to be covered by it.

[Bill Fox]

Apple Reduced Price on 20" iMac G5 to $'s is $1349: In order to clear out remaining 20" iMac G5's running at 2.1GHz, Apple reduced the price from $1,699 to $1,499. is offering a $150 rebate bringing the cost down further to just $1,349. Apple's price for the 17" 1.9GHZ iMac G5 remains at $1,299 but it is also discounted at with a $125 rebate. [Bill Fox]

Mozilla Released SeaMonkey 1.0, Its New Internet Application Suite: Mozilla replaced its Mozilla Suite 1.7 with SeaMonkey 1.0 and it is available for download from this Mozilla Web site. SeaMonkey 1.0 is essentially Mozilla 1.8, an integrated internet suite consisting of a Web browser, email client, web composer and IRC chat client. Here are the release notes.

We downloaded a copy and it appeared to work fine during several hours use. For those who prefer an integrated internet application suite rather than a series of stand-alone applications, SeaMonkey is well worth exploring. [Dana Baggett]

Aspyr Media Game Report--Call of Duty 2 and Quake 4 plus a Doom3 Patch for MacIntels Coming Soon: In the past three months, Aspyr has shipped Stubbs the Zombie, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, SpongeBob SquarePants the Movie, Call of Duty Deluxe, The Sims 2 University and Civilization III: Complete, all for the Mac.

Aspyr is expecting to make two early 2006 releases for the Mac: Quake 4, and Call of Duty 2. Aspyr is also working earnestly on Civilization IV. They have a slew of games for 2006 yet to be announced.

We especially welcome Call of Duty 2, which so far has been released only for Xbox, since we are a heavy online player of Call of Duty.

On the MacIntel front, Aspyr been working on an Intel version of Doom 3 for a while, and early testing on the Intel iMac shows some great performance. Look for a free downloadable patch for Doom 3 to provide native Intel support soon.

Other games that Aspyr has been working on internally for OS X Intel include Sims 2, Quake 4, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. [Bill Fox]

Spiderweb Software Released Avernum 2 for Mac OS X: Spiderweb Software, the maker of fantasy role-playing adventures for the Macintosh, has just upgraded Avernum 2 to v2.0. Like the recent upgrade of Avernum, this update enables the game to run natively on Mac OS X.

Avernum 2 is a classic fantasy role-playing game that features 3-D, 16-bit graphics (including drawings by well-known fantasy illustrator Phil Foglio), a massive storyline with three different game-winning quests (complete one or two of them, or even all three), and addicting gameplay. It is the second game in the Avernum series. [Bill Fox]

Nova Media Released Free Plugins for Mac OS X iSync Support of many Cell Phones: Nova media introduced its free nova media phone plugins software featuring iSync support for the latest mobile phones. Nova media phone plugins for iSync do not modify the iSync application itself but instead place new mobile phone definitions in the appropriate folder in the Mac OS X system.

The list of new devices has more than 25 mobile phones from Motorola, Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson, allowing seamless synchronization of calendar and contact data with a Mac OS X computer according to nova media. [Bill Fox]

Apple Seeking Assistance on Aperture from Professional Digital Photographers: Aperture is Apple's application dedicated to digital photography post-production workflow, According to Photo District News Online, Apple is seeking examples of RAW images that Aperture does not handle in an acceptable manner. We are glad to see that Apple is reaching out to the digital photography community for help in improving its new and ground-breaking application. More... [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

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