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Jan 31
New app at the Mac Store helps prepare Federal Tax Returns

Taxsoftware.com (http://www.taxsoftware.com) says an application for six of the most often used 2010 federal tax returns is now available on the Mac App Store. The forms can be completed entirely on Macs.

The app for the 2010 tax year version of Form 1040 return includes most forms and schedules needed to prepare tax returns. Paid preparers must be registered with IRS and have an EFIN, a PTIN and an IRS E-services account. They must also be registered with a Taxsoftware.com Eservices account and have a digital ID.

All business forms include depreciation of up to 10 assets and the use of one vehicle for business. The app includes unlimited tax preparation and printing. There is an e-filing charge of US$4 for a Mac App 1040 and a $15 fee for any Mac App business return (1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S and 1099-MISC.)

| Read more »
Jan 31
No Gravity 1.0 game comes to the Mac

Realtech VR has released No Gravity 1.0 (http://www.nogravitythegame.com/mac/), a game originally released as a PSP game that's now on the Mac. It costs US$3.99, requires Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Games category.

The game pits the player against evil forces who have unleashed a mind-altering sickness across thousands of colonies. To help in the fight, each ship comes equipped with six weapons, everything from lasers to ion blasters.

Players have 31 mission levels to play, can choose from six different spaceships and two levels of difficulty. No Gravity requires OpenGL 2.0 or better.

| Read more »
Jan 31
WordCrasher update, now on the Mac App Store

Kevin Ng Games (http://kevinnggames.com) has announced WordCrasher 1.0.3, an update to his tactile word game that's now available on the Mac App Store.

WordCrasher offers a take on the word game genre; letter discs fall and collect on the screen as the player touches discs in sequence to make words. WordCrasher features realistic tactile physics, three difficulty settings, comes with new music and graphics designed for the Mac version and more. Version 1.0.3 adds game dictionaries in four new languages.

WordCrasher 1.0.3 is available worldwide through the Mac App Store. It normally costs $3.99, but is available for $0.99 price for a limited period. WordCrasher for the Mac App Store requires Mac OS X 10.6.6.

| Read more »
Jan 31
Canalys: Android now world's leading smartphone platform

The Canalys research group (http://www.canalys.com) has published its final fourth quarter (Q4 2010) global country-level smart phone market data, which revealed that Google’s Android has become the leading platform.

Shipments of Android-based smart phones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smart phone vendor, with a share of 28%. Apple had 16% market share compared to 16.3% in Q4 2009. However, the number of iPhones shipped rose from 8.7 million to 16.2 million from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010.

The fourth quarter also saw the worldwide smart phone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over...

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Jan 31
Android captures 22% of global tablet shipments in Q4 2010

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics (http://www.strategyanalytics.com), global tablet shipments reached 10 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. Apple maintained first position, while Android soared and captured a record 22% global share.

Global tablet shipments grew 120% sequentially to reach 9.7 million units in Q4 2010. Apple maintained first position and recorded an impressive 75% global market share during the fourth quarter. However, it has slipped from a peak of 95% in Q3 2010 due to rising competition from Android, says Peter King, director at Strategy Analytics.

"Android tablet volumes experienced 2000% sequential growth and its global market share soared to a record 22% in Q4 2010," says Neil Mawston, another director at Strategy Analytics. "The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the main driver of Android’s success, as the model was launched in dozens of...

| Read more »
Jan 31
Apple is world's most desired brand

Apple is the world's most desired brand, per the new "Brand Desire" report (http://www.brand-desire.com/) issued by the Clear marketing division of M&C Saatchi, the advertising firm formed by the Saatchi brothers in 1995.

Apple and its various brands (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) came in No. 1 out of 100 in the survey of 17,000 people around the world. However, Apple doesn't rule everywhere. BMWs are No. 1 in China. Rolls Royces are No. 2 after iPhones in the U.K. In Singapore, it's Singapore Airlines, and in Germany, it's the World Wildlife Fund, notes "Fortune" (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/01/28/apple-worlds-most-desired-brand/).

| Read more »
Jan 31
PC graphics shipments down 7.8% year-over-year

Overall shipments of graphics devices for 2010 came in below expectations with an unimpressive 4.3% total year to year growth -- a disappointing result given the enthusiastic start of the year, according to Jon Peddie Research (http://www.jonpeddie.com).

Q4 of 2010 didn't boost the year as expected. Instead of the traditional seasonal pickup, market leader Intel showed decline, which affected the overall results. Over 113 million graphics chips and CPUs with graphics shipped in Q4 2010. Intel was the leader in unit shipments for Q4’10, elevated by Clarksdale, continued Atom sales for Netbooks, and Sandy Bridge. However, on a quarter-to-quarter basis AMD and Nvidia gained market share at Intel’s expense.

AMD reported graphics was 26% of the company’s total sales, an increase of 8.7% sequentially and 0.7% from last year. The graphics business benefited from a double-digit volume increase.
...

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Jan 31
Diagrammix is new Mac OS X diagramming tool

Deep IT has released Diagrammix, a new Mac OS X diagramming tool for building diagrams with minimal effort. It costs US$9.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later; a demo is available for download (http://deepit.ru/products/Diagrammix/info/).

You can use Diagrammix as a fast business tool for illustration purposes. It offers several art elements and different connectors that let users prepare elements in vector drawing editors. Diagrammix has several palettes with elements specially designed for this release.

Once elements are connected by a line, they stay connected no matter how much you change them or move them around. That means the logical integrity of your diagram is preserved regardless of how you choose to position the elements. There are several connector styles: thin, thick, solid, dashed, dotted, with different arrows and colors, all with predefined...

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Jan 31
Twelve South debuts BookArc for new MacBook Airs

Twelve South (http://www.twelvesouth.com) has introduced a new version of its BookArc, designed exclusively for latest MacBook Air (late 2010 models). The new model grips the thin MacBook Air and includes a built-in cable management system to keep cables in place for "grab and go" use.

When BookArc is paired with a MacBook Air and external monitor, it offers a noticeable boost in power for graphics-intensive programs, says Creative Director Andrew Green of Twelve South. BookArc for MacBook Air begins shipping next month for US$39.99.

Like previous versions of BookArc, the MacBook Air model is fashioned from heavy gauge steel. Since MacBook Air has inputs on both sides, the BookArc cable housing routes power, external display, USB and other cables behind the MacBook for a clean workspace.

| Read more »
Jan 31
ABI Research: Apple, RIM, HTC win in mobile handset race

In nearly all parts of the world, consumers’ appetite for purchasing the very latest handsets has not abated. In fact, ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com) estimates 390 million handsets and smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2010, up 15.6% year-on-year, says vice president of forecasting Jake Saunders.

Overall, that takes the 2010 total of handsets shipped to 1.36 billion. This is a remarkable turnaround given that just one year ago, 2009 shipments had contracted 4.4% year-over-year, Saunders says.

Nokia’s market share slid marginally to 31.7% because its revamped smartphone portfolio has yet to gain traction. Samsung made marginal gains in market share (to 20.7%). Samsung’s smartphones, including the Galaxy-S, have helped to strengthen its competitiveness in the smartphone sector, but in the overall handset market, this vendor is treading water, Saunders says....

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Jan 31
Icon Pallet 2.0 available in the Mac App Store

Carnation Software (http://www.carnationsoftware.com) says Icon Pallet 2.0, its program and document launcher for Mac OS X, is now available in the Mac App Store. With Icon Pallet, you can switch between apps, launch documents and folder items.

Drag files, folders and documents to the pallet, and they'll aways be there for you. Designed to complement your OS X Dock, Icon Pallet keeps your icons in the same location, and at the same size, no matter how many you add (well, up to 600).

Icon Pallet stores the link to your folders, apps and documents, for launch and access with a single click. You can organize your programs, files and folders on an expandable pallet instead of cluttering your desktop with icons or squeezing them onto a crowded dock. You can add names and colors to your folder icons, making it easier to recognize them on your Icon Pallet without having to roll the mouse...

| Read more »
Jan 31
FoldersSynchronizer updated to version 4.0

SoftoBe (http://www.softobe.com has updated FoldersSynchronizer, its Mac OS X tool for backing up and synchronizing files, folders and disks, to version 4.0.

FoldersSynchronizer is an US$40 app for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 that synchronizes and backs-up files, folders and disks. The user can choose one or more pairs of files, folders or disks and then they will be synchronized or backed-up .

FoldersSynchronizer lets you organize your sync and backup in several sessions to save to a file for a later reuse. On each session you can apply special options like Timers, Multiple Folders, Filters, Exclude Items, Auto-Mount local and remote volumes, launch your own AppleScripts, set how to resolve conflicts, execute an incremental or an exact copy, and include locked files.


FoldersSynchronizer lets you specify global settings like whether the software should display a preview panel listing all the files...

| Read more »
Jan 31
Keynote Theme Park releases USA Elements, Letter Shapes

Keynote Theme Park (http://www.keynotethemepark.com/) has released USA Elements, another in the Nation Element series, plus a new product, Letter Shapes.

These add-on products are created specifically for Keynote, but can be used with the other iWork applications. State symbols are made from single or multi-layer editable Keynote shapes that you can ungroup and edit. Location maps are made of several individual elements so they can be ungrouped, arranged, and masked.

Each state in USA Elements includes several objects, such as the state location map, flag, flag orb, seal, symbol and state border Keynote shape. A USA map is made of isolated states ready for masking with the hi-res elevation image or custom fill and stroke.

New to Keynote is Letter Shapes -- individual alpa-numeric Keynote shapes in Sans Serif regular and italic. You can use Keynote's fill attributes of...

| Read more »
Jan 31
Rage Software unveils SEIntelligence for Mac business owners

Rage Software (http://www.ragesw.com) demoed an entirely new software application for Mac business owners to help them attract targeted users to their web site at last week's Macworld Expo.

Search engines are the number one source of traffic to most web sites. Unfortunately, since we don't know exactly what Google and other search engines use to rank web sites, it's difficult for business owners to get top ranking sites.

Using statistical analysis, Rage Software's SEIntelligence application compares a user's web site to the currently top ranking web sites. The application also tells you exactly what needs to be changed in order to match, and beat, the strategies employed by the already successfully ranked web sites.

SEIntelligence is on sale for a limited time for US$99.95. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

| Read more »
Jan 31
iDatabase 2.0 available in Mac App Store

Apimac has updated iDatabase (http://www.apimac.com/idatabase/) for the Mac to version 2.0. It's available at the Mac App Store for US$19.99.

iDatabase is a personal database manager that offers a way to organize your information and data. With it Mac and iPhone users can manage membership lists, expenses, projects, keep track of Internet accounts and more. Users can choose from 16 ready-to-use, customizable database templates to organize any type of information or can create a totally new database from scratch.

The types of fields a user can create are: Small Text, Large Text, Number, Date, Time, Date and Time, Image, Choose, and calculation. There's also a special field type named Separator Field for dividing a record into distinct visual parts.

iDatabase for Mac and iDatabase for iPhone can be synchronized via Wi-Fi. iDatabase supports backup and restore, exporting and...

| Read more »
Jan 31
Akvis Sketch 12 introduces Smudging parameter

Akvis (http://www.akvis.com) has released Akvis Sketch 12, an update of the software that converts photos to pencil and watercolor drawings. The new version introduces the new Smudging parameter that creates the effect of smearing hatching in midtone areas without affecting the contour lines of the drawing.

The algorithm handles semi-processed images more effectively. They are now simpler and more exact, according to the folks at Akvis. Also new to version 12 is the ability to view a list of recent images by right-clicking on the Open Image button.

An Akvis Sketch Home License (plug-in or standalone) sells for US$72. Registered users of the previous versions can upgrade to version 9.0 for $39. Or you can buy the Alchemy Bundle (which includes the Sketch, Chameleon, Stamp, Retoucher, Coloriage, Noise Buster, Decorator, Enhancer, LightShop, SmartMask and ArtSuite plug-ins) for $325.

For business...

| Read more »
Jan 31
iSkin announces ProTouch keyboard for 11-inch MacBook Air

iSkin has announced its ProTouch Classic Keyboard Protector for the 11-inch MacBook Air. It's designed to overlay the keyboard and block small particles of food, dust and other impurities from entering and causing damage.

ProTouch forms a thin, yet durable, layer that protects without overheating or hampering use of the keyboard, according to the folks at iSkin. It also dampens the sound caused by typing and helps to prevent key wear from heavy use.

The ProTouch keyboard protector features Microban anti-microbial product protection that works to inhibit the growth of odor‒causing bacteria and fungus on the product. The ProTouch can also be removed and washed with warm water and detergent.
 
The ProTouch Classic for 11-inch MacBook Air will initially be offered in an Arctic (Clear Frosted) flavor. This is a clear, colorless version that is specially coated to provide a smooth, satin-like finish. Finally, its specially formulated non-toxic silicone has been...

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Jan 31
'MUG Event Calendar': looking at Macworld 2011

As many in the Mac space return home and start to recover from a busy Macworld 2011 week, "The MUG Event Calendar" is dominated by news from the show.

Four separate listings show Macworld 2011 news and wrap-ups as one of the main topics, with many more discussing the products and news from the event in a less formal fashion. In a different kind of presentation, the folks from The Apple Store will be at a California group, showing off some of their best selling software.

Other topics on this week’s agenda include electronic health records, running Windows programs on your Mac, MobileMe, The Mac App Store and more.

"The MUG Event Calendar" can be found at The MUG Center (http://www.mugcenter.com), an online resource for Mac User Groups. MUGs are good places for making new friends in the Mac community, improving your computing skills, finding solutions to technical problems, and perhaps...

| Read more »
Jan 29
Macworld: Connected Accounting ERP Software updated

Accountek Solutions announced Connected Accounting & ERP 6.3, the latest updates to their small business accounting software suite, at this week's Macworld Expo.

Connected has been designed to meet the needs of growing small to mid-sized businesses, providing accounting and ERP features. Version 6.3 includes full integration to NRGShip Pro for UPS, as well as enhanced customer and vendor Actions to improve business workflow and support and more.

Connected users will be able to automatically update freight amounts and UPS tracking numbers will appear as active hotlinks on Connected's invoice entry screen, enabling front line customer service representatives to immediately determine the status of a shipment from within the accounting software.

With the enhanced customer workflow, accounting staff will be able to add customers "on the fly" and enter orders without having to exit the order entry screen, saving valuable processing time, says Scott Archer,...

| Read more »
Jan 28
Macworld: new version of iPad-compatible hard drive released

Sanho Corp. announced the second iteration of their HyperDrive Hard Drive for iPad at this week's Macworld Conference & Expo. It's the only hard drive in the market that can connect directly to the iPad via the Apple Camera Connection Kit.

This new version allows users to directly use their iPads to browse and transfer up to 1TB of video and photo content without the need for computers, additional apps or a jailbroken iPad. Finished in a slim enclosure, the HyperDrive looks exactly like any portable USB hard drive except that it has two mini USB ports, one for connecting to the computer to function as a normal USB hard drive, and the other to connect to the iPad via the Apple Camera Connection Kit.

Using the Apple Camera Connection Kit, the iPad is able to connect to SD cards and self-powered USB devices. However there is a size limitation of 32GB, making it impossible for larger USB hard drives to connect to the iPad. HyperDrive iPad Hard Drive overcomes this...

| Read more »
Jan 28
Macworld: online video and music recorder for Mac introduced

Applian Technologies and Jaksta are showcasing Jaksta for Mac at this week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. As a follow-on to Jaksta for Windows, Mac users now have the same freedom to download and convert online streaming audio and video for personal use.

It’s the first program designed specifically for Mac capable of this feat, according to the folks at Applian. Jaksta supports all popular stream formats and protocols, enabling it to capture video from thousands of web sites including YouTube and Facebook.

Similarly, because of Jaksta’s audio-capturing capabilities, customers can download streaming audio from their favorite music and radio sites. In addition to allowing Mac users to save their favorite videos, songs, and radio programs, Jaksta can automatically convert the downloaded files to a variety of devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, PS3, PSP, and Android.

Jaksta is available at...

| Read more »
Jan 28
iPhone/iPod/iPad apps for Jan. 28

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).

Full Fat Games has announced Hotspot Football 1.0 for iOS devices. The US$0.99 app has a retro 50's look and dozens of real football action photos to solve.

ComboApp has released 3D Coloring Book for Kids: Fantasy Girls, developed specifically for the iPad. It utilizes color and 3D fantasy girl templates to bring almost any fantasy girl character to life. It's available for US$1.99 for a limited time.

Blowfish Bay is a new $0.99, iOS puzzle game with many twists and turns.

Blue Finger has updated Mind Scan Camera Free: The Emotion-Aware Photo Booth for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices to version 1.7.1. The free app is structured as a recreational photography tool, Mind Scan Camera Free interprets user chosen photos from their device's...

| Read more »
Jan 28
Cybermart to distribute Apple products in Greater China

Cybermart International, a major retail chain in China and a member of the Foxconn Group, has obtained the status as a first-grade distributor for Apple's products in the Greater China area, according to "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20110127PD208.html).

Cybermart plans to set up 500 Apple licensed retail shops in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to company chairman Steve Chang. The first store will be opened in Tianjin on April 1, says "DigiTimes."

| Read more »
Jan 28
Office on the Mac App Store? Maybe

Microsoft says it continues to be pleased with sales of the Mac version of Office, but has not yet decided whether to offer the product or any of its components in the Mac version of the App Store, according to "All Things D" (http://mobilized.allthingsd.com/20110127/microsoft-considering-whether-t...).

“It’s something we are looking at,” Microsoft’s Amanda Lefebvre told "All Things D." “It’s something we haven’t ruled out. We just have to see how that relates to our business.”

| Read more »
Jan 28
Apple could become 'PayPal on steroids'

Apple could cause "serious disruption" in the mobile payments space if it enters the field as reported, say analysts. Rumors Apple is planning to embed Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology into its next-generation iPhones and iPads. Such NFC-enabled systems would let users pay for purchases by waving their mobile devices near payment terminals, notes "Computerworld" (http://macte.ch/ESy4k).

Similar contactless payment technologies have been around for years and have been received with lukewarm support at best by consumers. What's likely to make Apple's entry into the space vastly different, however, is its huge base of 160 million iTunes users, Gartner analyst Avivah Litan told "Computerworld."

That base gives Apple the ability to operate largely as a "closed payment system" with minimal need to interface with credit card companies and banks, she said. "They can largely shut out credit card...

| Read more »
 
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