Concord intros $99 5-megapixel camera

Concord Camera Corp. on Thursday followed up the introduction of its new EasyShot line of digital cameras with the news that it will announce two more cameras during next week's PMA 2005. Its five-megapixel Concord 5042 sells for $99, with the five-megapixel Concord 5040 slightly more at $129. The former will ship this month or next while the latter will be available in April.

Olympus unwraps Total Imaging camera, DVD writer

Olympus on Thursday introduced a new digital camera, the IR-300, as well as a new portable storage device, the S-DVD-100 DVD/CD burner, that connects directly to the company's IR series of cameras. The IR-300 and S-DVD-100 are part of the company's Total Imaging Solution line of cameras, storage devices and printers that were designed for inter-operability. The IR-500 camera, S-HD-100 40GB hard drive and P-S100 portable photo printer are also part of that system and were originally announced last October for January shipping, but that date slipped.

WebMerge 2.4 adds Wiki tag, more

Los Angeles-based Fourth World on Wednesday released WebMerge 2.4, an update to its tool that generates Web pages with data pulled from databases or spreadsheets. The new version features a Wiki tag that enables users to employ simple markup syntax in their database fields, multiple IF conditions with AND and OR operators, enhanced performance and more. This is a free upgrade for registered users. The full software is US$99, with a demo available that generates up to 20 pages. Mac OS X v10.2, 64MB RAM and 9MB hard drive space are required.

Olympus debuts new Stylus, D-series cameras

Olympus on Thursday also introduced four more digital cameras: the Stylus Verve S, the D-630 Zoom, the D-545 Zoom and the D-595 Zoom. The Stylus Verve S and D-630 will ship in April for US$349.99 and $299.99, respectively, while the D-545 and D-595 will ship in March for $199.99 and $279.99. In addition, the company announced a 1GB xD-Picture Card and the MAUSB-300 portable USB 2.0 reader/writer for xD media. The latter can turn an xD card into a portable storage device, enabling it to transfer files of any type. Olympus expects to ship the MAUSB-300 in March for $19.99. The 1GB xD-Picture Card will be available in April, with pricing to be announced.

OmniOutliner 3.0.1 improves performance, more

The Omni Group on Thursday released version 3.0.1 of OmniOutliner and OmniOutliner Professional. The upgrades, which are free for registered users, include performance and stability enhancements, better import and export functionality and tweaks to the interface. OmniOutliner is US$39.95 and the Professional version, which adds such features as audio recording, is $69.95. Upgrades from version 2.x to the regular and Pro editions are $19.95 and $49.95, respectively. Mac OS X v10.2 is required.

ReadyStream offers open source multimedia tools

OpenOSX on Wednesday released OpenOSX ReadyStream, a collection of open source multimedia tools and libraries. It includes two previously released OpenOSX applications -- the Photoshop-like image editor The Gimp 2.2.3 and the video frame retouching software CinePaint 0.19 -- as well as many audio and video tools, including the 3D modeling and animation program Blender, the real-time video manipulator FreeJ, the multi-track audio recorder ReZound and more. OpenOSX ReadyStream is US$40 on CD or $30 as a download; bundles with other OpenOSX products are also available. Mac OS X v10.3 and 1GB of free hard drive space are required.

New ARAID devices make IDE drives SATA capable

Accordance Systems has released its new ARAID 1500 Dual Mode (US$365) and ARAID 2000 Dual Mode ($370) RAID devices. Both slide into a pair of drive bays and connect to either IDE or SATA drive ports; the 1500 Dual Mode works with 3.5-inch IDE drives while the 2000 Dual Mode is compatible with 3.5-inch SATA drives. Both devices also feature RAID 1 mirroring of the drives, ensuring that data is still available if one of them fails. An audio alarm, e-mail notification and SNMP traps across the network alert the user to a failed drive. While Accordance's Web site doesn't list Mac OS X compatibility on its product pages, both devices are Mac compatible.

Lasso Pro receives MySQL Network certification

OmniPilot Software on Tuesday announced that its Lasso Professional corporate database development software has received MySQL Network certification from MySQL AB for deploying data-driven Web sites in the open-source format. OmniPilot noted that members of the Lasso Professional Alliance will receive free Lasso tech support for MySQL Network installations. Lasso supports Mac OS X v10.3 while MySQL Network requires v10.2 or v10.3.

GridIron X-Factor 1.5 ups render queue speeds, more

GridIron Software has released GridIron X-Factor 1.5, the newest version of its Adobe After Effects extension that increases preview processing and rendering speeds by distributing the workload across several computers on a network. This upgrade features the application of grid computing technology to the render queue, increasing final rendering speeds, especially for HD projects. It also offers support for network drives and Storage Area Networks (SANs), increasing available storage capacity for projects and enabling faster rendering and processing speeds.

KeyStrokes 3.5 boosts word prediction ability, more

AssistiveWare on Wednesday published an upgrade to KeyStrokes, the company's onscreen keyboard for typing with a mouse or other input device in almost any Mac OS X application. The software can also auto-complete words as well as try to predict the next word in a sentence -- efficiency of the latter has increased to 40 percent with this update to version 3.5. The new software also adds word prediction ability for those using hardware keyboards, and AssistiveWare noted that its forthcoming SwitchXS 1.7, which enables disabled users to access Mac OS X features with switches, will gain that feature too.

The latest User Group Report, this week's meetings

Chuck Joiner has updated The Macintosh User Group (MUG) Center with his latest User Group Report. Joiner chats with The AppleWorks User Group's Warren Williams and Cathy Merritt, who discuss adapting their group to Apple's new iWork '05 suite, and Scott Knaster, who talks about his new book, Hacking Mac OS X Tiger, and how MUGs can invite him to speak at their next meeting. The User Group Report is available in streaming QuickTime or as a downloadable Podcast or MP3 file.

Photoleap handles dozens of images per e-mail

Photoleap Inc. on Monday introduced a new application, Photoleap, that enables users to send multiple high-resolution digital pictures in a compressed form, decreasing download and upload times. Photoleap essentially operates as a separate e-mail browser dedicated to sending and receiving images, complete with the ability to compose new messages, reply to or forward incoming messages and delete old messages. A toolbar button enables the user to add received photos directly to iPhoto. Photoleap seamlessly integrates with iPhoto 4, but owners of earlier versions can still drag and drop images to new messages. A plug-in will be released soon that adds iPhoto 5 compatibility, according to the developer.

Peachpit publishes Scott Kelby's 'The iPod Book'

Peachpit Press on Tuesday announced the publication of Scott Kelby's "The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and the iTunes Music Store." The US$19.99, 288-page "show me how to do it" book tackles one topic per page, from integrating an iPod into a car to fully exploring the iTunes Music Store to which iPod accessories best suit your needs. Chapters on the iPod photo and iPod shuffle are also included.

FastMac intros 'Mini-to-the-Max' upgrade program

Salinas, Calif.-based FastMac on Monday announced its "Take-Your-Mini-to-the-Max" upgrade program, which enables users to get an 8x dual layer DVD burner, 1GB of RAM and a 100GB 4200 RPM hard drive for their Mac minis. Each is US$199.95, which includes pre-paid three-way shipping, installation, any necessary data transfer and a one-to-two business day turnaround. FastMac noted that its DVD burner upgrade is twice as fast as Apple's SuperDrive, which can't burn dual layer discs.

Wacom releases 21.3-inch Cintiq LCD tablet

Wacom on Tuesday introduced its new Cintiq 21UX LCD tablet, which features a 21.3-inch screen, eight programmable ExpressKeys and Touch Strips for scrolling, zooming or changing brush settings with a finger touch. The 21UX also offers 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, UXGA (1600 x 1200) resolution, a 170-degree viewing angle, anti-glare coating, 24-bit color with ICC color profile and a 400:1 contrast ratio. Pricing is US$2,999 and Mac OS X v10.2.6 is required.