Aspyr Media on Wednesday released Aspyr Game Agent 1.1. The free utility analyzes the user's Mac and notes which of the company's games will run well and which will encounter problems on that computer. This update enables users to customize and save computer configurations so they can see how games will run with various upgrades installed. It also adds Entertainment Software Review Board (ESRB) ratings for all games and periodically offers discounts on Aspyr titles and other special promotions when it's used. Aspyr noted that a discount on one of its Mac game bundles is now available.
New Zealand developer Firetrust Ltd. has announced that its server-side spam filtering tool MailWasher Pro is now available for Mac and Linux. The software enables users to view new e-mails on the server and decide which ones to keep and which ones to delete before beginning the download. MailWasher Pro features the ability to manage multiple e-mail accounts, maintain whitelists and blacklists, weed out unwanted messages with Bayesian filtering, retrieve accidentally deleted e-mails and scan incoming mail for viruses or worms. The software also learns over time, becoming more adept at stopping spam and viruses.
Mountain View, Calif.-based PocketSensei on Tuesday released MoviPod Academy Award Winners, its first VideoHound MoviPod module for iPod. VideoHound, which before now was available only for the Palm OS, is a collection of more than 26,000 movie reviews, complete with ratings as well as cast and crew filmographies. PocketSensei has broken VideoHound into modules for the iPod, and the first one features reviews of all the Academy Award winners from 1927 to the present, complete with such added features as trivia questions, insider notes, hyperlinks and audio samples from select films. PocketSensei's upcoming MoviPod modules will focus on such specific genres as "Alien Babes" and "Killer Reptiles." Pricing is US$1.95. Any 3G or higher iPod is supported.
San Francisco-based Red Giant Software on Tuesday released Magic Bullet Suite 2.0. The upgrade to this collection of 18 Adobe After Effects plug-ins offers support for high-definition video, eliminating the separate HD-capable set that was previously available. It also adds 23 preset film treatments, rendering speed improvements on Power Mac G5 computers and 13 "misfire" filters that mimic film grain, splotches, scratches and projection artifacts. Upgrades from version 1.x are US$129 as a download, $149 for boxed copies; the full software is $795. Version 2.0 adds the option to purchase a $495 render license ($445 as a download) that can be used to set up an unlimited number of render-only computer nodes on a network. After Effects 5.5 is required.
Keyspan on Wednesday announced new Zip-Linq retractable cables that are designed for USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity. Each retailing for US$14.99, the three new USB 2.0 cables stretch as far as 48 inches and work with male-to-male, 4-pin male-to-male and 5-pin male-to-male connections. Selling for the same price, the single new Ethernet cable stretches up to 59 inches and features Evernew flat Cat5E cabling with twisted pair construction.
Chuck Joiner has updated The Macintosh User Group (MUG) Center Web site with his latest User Group Report, which features Mariner Software's Michael Wray, who talks about the company's latest release, MacJournal; Campus MovieFest's David Roemer, who updates listeners on the company's student movie making venture; and East Bay Technologies' Craig Stadler, who covers the company's iTube and iWire Broadcast software. As always, the User Group Report is available as a QuickTime stream, a Podcast or an MP3 file.
Apple on Wednesday also introduced new iPod mini armbands -- available in grey, orange, yellow, blue and pink -- as well as a US$19 lanyard compatible with the mini. The new armbands are $29. As MacCentral posted this article, the online Apple Store showed ship dates of five to seven weeks for both the new armbands and the lanyard.
WiebeTech on Wednesday introduced two new products: a FireWire 400/800 PCI-X Host Adapter Card and a bus-powered Forensic ComboDock. The former is a high-powered version of the original card that features two FireWire 800 ports and one FireWire 400 port. It supplies 45 watts of power, enabling users to mount several external bus-powered FireWire drives on their Macs. It's priced at $189.95. The company has also added a $99.95 high-power supply for its existing FireWire Cardbus adapter, allowing users to attach 3.5-inch bus-powered hard drives to the adapter.
Drums on Demand on Tuesday expanded its offerings with the release of Bass on Demand, a collection of more than 1,800 bass loops and riffs that are available in eight keys over two octaves, with 70, 100, 130 and 160 bpm (beats per minute) tempos covered. The set is organized by tempo and feel into 70 main folders, with finger style bass play featured in all but two, which offer picking style. All of the content is available in 16- or 24-bit Acidized WAV or Apple Loops formats, and it's all compatible with many grooves found in the Drums on Demand sets. Pricing is US$49.95.
British developer LightWork Design on Wednesday released LightWorks 7.5, the latest version of its 3D rendering engine for use by the developers of 3D graphics software. Changes in this upgrade include improvements to LightWorks Real-time, the API that enables access to hardware rendering on video cards supporting OpenGL Shading Language or Cg, as well as enhancements in the Global Illumination add-on, making it easier to create images using radiosity.
Jumsoft has released version 1.2 of Process, its utility for outlining and organizing ideas and projects. This update adds support for iCal, a new project progress bar, the ability to simultaneously work with multiple items, better sorting, a project notes sheet, more keyboard shortcuts and more. Jumsoft doesn't note upgrade pricing, but the full software is US$25. Mac OS X v10.3 is required.
QuickerTek Inc. on Wednesday noted that its line of handles for the 12-, 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks are compatible with the latest iterations of the laptops, which Apple released at the end of January. The US$50 user-installable aluminum handle doubles as a desktop stand that tilts the computer at a slight angle, allowing for better airflow and cooling. QuickerTek also still offers a titanium handle for the older 15-inch Titanium PowerBook, which is the same price as the others. The company sells that handle alone or bundled with its TiBook 2dBi Wi-Fi antenna for $85.
TikiMac, a company well-known for producing peripherals and hubs in toy-like cases, on Wednesday added the Big Tiki Drive to its unique line-up. The 2.5-inch high flash-based drive uses USB 2.0 and comes in 256MB (US$59), 512MB ($79), 1GB ($119), 2GB ($229) and 4GB ($429) capacities. The Big Tiki Drive's green "aura" lights from below and pulses as the drive reads and writes data. It's compatible with Mac OS X v10.1.2 or higher and ships with a six-foot illuminated "Lava USB" cable that illuminates its eyes with a red glow. It also comes with a soft draw-string pouch and a protective cap for the port.
Boinx Software on Tuesday released version 1.2 of FotoMagico, its slideshow creation tool. The upgrade adds full support for all iPhoto 5 album types and is now compatible with more image formats. It also enables users to place titles in slides, insert a blank slide, resize images and titles by dragging handles on their corners and more. Added performance enhancements include easier export to QuickTime or a DVD, the retention of the last Options panel settings as default values for all new slides and more. This is a free update for existing users; the full software is US$79. Mac OS X v10.3, an 800MHz G4 processor and "a fairly recent graphics card with a lot of VRAM (64MB would be best)" are required.
Alien Apparatus Co. Inc. has released version 2.0 of Solo Performer Show Controller, a system for musicians that controls background music, lyrics displays, MIDI effects and light shows. The hardware side consists of a six-button foot controller that connects via USB, with software that runs on Windows or Macintosh. This upgrade adds more MIDI control functionality, including sending MIDI files to external devices and automatically changing MIDI effects settings. It can also send hotkey commands that control other applications and redefine button functions on the foot controller. Pricing for the full system is US$395, but Alien Apparatus doesn't note upgrade pricing for the software. System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.2, a G3 500MHz processor, 128MB RAM, 120MB free hard drive space and an audio output jack.