Happy Independence day! Yeah, you know what time of year it is - time for fireworks. Unfortunately with so many cities cracking down on firecrackers, more stringent laws each summer, droughts and brush fires… Not to mention smelling nothing but sulfur for the next couple days and the chance you’ll blow your hand off somehow! This year, why not celebrate by having a HUGE pyrotechnic display - on display of your Macintosh! Just in time for the Fourth of July, this sweet freeware app burst onto the apple site’s downloads section. It features the ability to drag different kinds of fireworks all over the screen and then set them off. The graphics are pretty good, and for a fairly useless but really fun little app, this is a great pick.
If you are on the Windows side of things, be sure to check here for an abundance of similar software.
Read More and Download | Apple.com
The last few days have certainly been big news for the iPod and iTunes. Apple dropped the new iPod color to its stores, and released iTunes 4.9 to the public. This has sent a surprising number of ripples through the music and Apple communities. iPodLounge has surprised us and given a coveted “A” review rating to the new line of iPods and has a very exhaustive review of the new color players. With the new iTunes comes easy iPod support of podcasts, and the world agrees that aside from a few minor glitches its the one of the coolest things to happen to iTunes since, well, iTunes. Apple has also extended the RSS/XML format a little bit to enable chapters and other metadata to be included in the XML file to describe the podcast. Apple has of course also announced plans to give iPods away to qualifying students - what a great way to help grow their brand in what will become the influential market of tomorrow. Finally there are rumors floating around that the iPod shuffle is about to get a bump to 2GB and 4GB sizes, and the mini is going to get one of Hitachi’s new 8GB drives. All of this kind of ticks off this one Gear Live writer who just bought a (now suddenly out of date) 4th generation iPod not two weeks ago.
| Free iPod with Mac purchase for students
| iPodLounge reviews the iPod Color
| Apple extends RSS for podcasting
| New shuffles and mini’s on the way
Amongst yesterday’s iTunes 4.9 excitement, we failed to mention that Apple also released a new iPod update as well:
iPod Updater 2005-06-26 includes new iPod Software 1.2 for iPod with color display, new iPod software 3.1 for iPod with Click Wheel and new iPod software 1.4 for iPod mini. iPod Updater 2005-06-26 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-03-23 for all other iPod models. Download and install the iPod Updater then connect your iPod shuffle, iPod or iPod mini to your computer. The iPod Updater will automatically determine if an update is required. What’s New in iPod Updater 2005-06-26. Integration with iTunes 4.9 for downloading and listening to podcasts.
Read More | iPod Downloads
Gear Live downloaded Apples updated new version of iTunes with its much lauded support for podcasts and is impressed (to a point) so far. The install went smoothly (as most installs and upgrades do on OSX) and in minutes I was up and running with iTunes 4.9. Immediately upon opening the updated application of course we went to check out the preferences panel for the configuration options of the new podcast features. The preferences panel lets a user select how often to check for new podcasts, and how long to keep each episode for.
Apple announced a new line of iPods this morning: the iPod Color. The new generation of the iPods replaces the iPod Photo and brings a color screen to the black U2 edition of the iPod. The new iPods are available in 20GB and 60GB models and feature the same 15 hours of battery life that the old iPod Photos featured. Apple also dropped the price of their 1GB iPod Shuffle to $129, and dropped the new iTunes (4.9) for OS X on the masses. We are very interested in the podcasting capabilities of the new version of iTunes and will be checking it out shortly. Hopefully Apple will have pulled off the right blend of usability and customization to meet our demanding podcast needs. One thing I am not feeling is you can’t just add any podcast you would like to subscribe to - it has to be one Apple has in their catalog. Lame.
Read More | iTunes Podcasts
I am now back from Gnomedex, ready to rock and roll as always. I know a bunch of you missed me, but how about dropping me some email next time letting me know how the lack of my presence affects your
life? Nonetheless, one tidbit that I brought back with me is that iTunes 4.9 is likely going to launch tomorrow, June 28. I heard this talking to Adam Curry, and Dave Winer also mentioned it on Scripting News making mention of its support of RSS enclosures. What does this mean? Well, aside from being able to have a major one-stop podcasting client, it also means that whateven Apple has going on July 7 has nothing to do with the iTunes 4.9 launch. You may now proceed to scratch your chin.
Microsoft announced Friday that its next version of the Windows operating platform would include built-in support for Internet data feeds. Even though RSS isn’t currently in widespread use, Microsoft believes that in the future this increasingly popular way to get news will become a mainstay. Of course, we reported our take on this a few minutes after the Gnomedex announcement.
In the long-delayed Windows upgrade, code-named Longhorn and expected to be released late next year, an RSS icon will appear in the Internet Explorer Web browser to make it easy for people to find, much like Apple Computer Inc. has done with its Safari browser. Longhorn will store all data downloaded to a computer via RSS in a single place. It will maintain a central list of all of a computer user’s RSS subscriptions, from Web log entries to photos pulled from an online family picture gallery.
Read More | USA Today
Read More | ZDNet
Okay, I just snapped these pictures while sitting here at GnomeDex 5.0. Check this out, what you see above is Internet Explorer 7 running on a very new Longhorn build. When you visit a website that has an RSS feed, an orange and white RSS button will appear in the toolbar. If clicked, you will then be brought to the screen you see above. You can increase and/or decrease the size of each post, as well as subscribe to the feed. IE 7’s visual implementation of RSS is what I would call extremely similar to Tiger’s Safari 2.0. That being said, I am really happy about the fact that Longhorn will be featuring a central feed location. In layman’s terms, any feed subscribed to will be stored in a central location within the OS. The beauty of this is that any application can be written to access this feed with your permission. As an example, Dean Hachamovitch showed how the Longhorn screen saver displaying a slide show of images downloaded from an RSS feeds enclosures. When showing the images, there was a caption on the bottom right which consisted of the first paragraph or so of the blog post in which the images were sent in. Read more at my post on Venturus. Here is an image of the Longhorn screen saver using RSS:
Microsoft is once again offering a block utility for one of their service packs. Just like its Windows XP SP2 block they offered last year, this one blocks SP1 for Windows Server 2003 until March 30, 2006. This will give companies plenty of time to prepare and test their systems for company wide deployment of the service pack. While this utility blocks SP1 it does not block the rest of Microsoft’s security updates. The utility is available for download from the Microsoft website.
Read More | Windows Server 2003 SP1 Block Utility