Scans, converts documents into numerous formats
ABBYY has released FineReader Pro, an OCR tool for the Mac. The software pulls images from cameras and dedicated scanners and converts the content into text files. During the import process, FineReader can apply pre-processing options to fix distortions; an Image Editor lets users manually correct elements like contrast, noise, motion blur, and split pages.
Archives of e-mails, messages, appointments downloadable from Google
Google has finally allowed Gmail and Google Calendar users to download a copy of all data on the services. E-mails and messages from Gmail, along with appointments and other notices within Google Calendar, can now be requested and pulled from Google servers by users, providing an offline backup of their data as well as allowing it to be imported into other apps and services.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Natural-media software works with photo-editing apps or as standalone
Photo-manipulation software maker Alien Skin has debuted a new version of its natural-media tool Snap Art, now at version 4.0. The update features a redesigned user interface and significant improvements in speed, and now requires OS X Mountain Lion or later for Mac and Windows 7 or newer for Windows users. The program, which can turn photographs into drawings or paintings emulating human artists in a wide variety of styles and media, is available as a stand-alone application or as a photo-editor plug-in.
Pioneer release includes specialized SuperHero, Frontier variants
Following up on the release of flagship xStream and Infinite editions, e-on Software has shipped the Esprit, Studio, Complete, and Pioneer versions of Vue 2014, its scenery rendering software. As its name implies, Complete is intended to be a completely self-contained scenery tool. Studio is focused on vegetation, while Esprit is more basic still. Pioneer is a free, feature-limited edition of the software, meant to introduce people to concepts and the platform; images it produces include logos and watermarks.
Visa takes on PayPal, Google Wallet with online payments system
Visa has launched its online digital wallet in parts of Europe, one it initially announced in April last year, as the company tries to take on PayPal and Google Wallet. V.me by Visa is able to store payment details for multiple cards, which can then be used to make payments with retailers online instead of providing debit or credit card details.
Incoming YouTube updates to fight against bad links, impersonation, ASCII art
Google will be making its first major changes to YouTube comments since the company connected the system to Google+. An apparent increase in spam comments on the video streaming service is pushing Google into altering its spam detection system, with the proposed changes likely to affect current protests on YouTube about the Google+ changes.
New look for iOS 7, streamlined gallery, improved performance, more
One of the most well-regarded illustration apps for the iPad, Procreate, has now been upgraded to version 2.0 with a new iOS 7-inspired UI redesign and GPU-accelerated filters and adjustments as the primary new features. The program, which offers realistic digital pencils, inks and brushes, offers layer compositing and a work environment as similar as possible to the traditional paper-based drawing workflows. It utilizes a "4K" canvas size (4096x4096 on the iPad 3 and higher) and 1080p video capture.
AKVIS Magnifier 7.0 launched, a free upgrade for registered users
Image processing developer, Akvis, has announced its release of version 7 of Magnifier. Available for Windows and Mac operating systems, Magnifier provides tools to resize digital images without losing quality, and is able to not only reduce an image's resolution, but increase it by dozens of times with no halos or artifacts. Intended to be easily configurable, Magnifier can be used with its preset tools or have its parameters adjusted to one's preference. Version 7 of Magnifier includes new tools as well as native support for 64-bit for Windows.
Tool redesigned for more simplicity
Quark has released a new version of App Studio, a tool for converting InDesign and QuarkXPress layouts into web and mobile apps, including digital newspapers and magazines. The latest release has been redesigned with iOS 7 in mind, for instance incorporating a theming feature that controls colors throughout an app. It also integrates with iOS 7's native sharing functions for Facebook, Twitter, and email.
Adobe's Photoshop Photography Program available to all until December 2
Initially launched in September, Adobe's Photoshop Photography Program -- aimed to support the workflow needs of photographers who use Creative Suite 3 or later and helping them transition to the Creative Cloud system - has been extended. Adobe has announced a limited-time extension of its program to the general public, and a longer extension to previous-version Adobe owners. Offering access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, 20 GB of cloud storage and Behance ProSite, users can access the software content through Adobe Creative Cloud for $10 per month, based on an annual subscription. This extended offer began today, and is running until December 2, 2013 at 11:59 PST, with non-Adobe customers and users alike qualifying for the deal. Upon expiration of the public offer, the Photoshop Photography Program will continue to be available to those who own a previous version of Photoshop, Photoshop Extended, or Creative Suite 3 or later until December 31.
Shorter UK domain names to cost the same as existing registrations
Nominet, the domain registrar of the United Kingdom, will soon start offering shorter .uk suffixes to websites. The new address ending, set to become available from the summer of 2014, will bring the UK in line with other country-based suffixes, such as .fr for websites serving France, .de for Germany, and .ca for Canada.
Feature removed without comment by microblogging service
Twitter has backtracked on a design decision that allowed users to receive direct messages from followers without the need to follow them back. The feature, introduced last month and consisted of an opt-in checkbox inside the account settings page, has now been removed with Twitter providing little in the way of explanation.
Extensis extends font management software integration to Creative Cloud
Extensis has revealed two font-related updates for both Suitcase Fusion 5 and Universal Type Client 4. The changes introduce direct integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, allowing designers and developers to bring Typekit fonts directly into their font management workflow, along with compatibility with OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
Tools, search query blocks follow after British Prime Minister speech
Google and Microsoft have been working together to block requests for indecent images and video of children from their search engines, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has announced. Blocks on specific requests as well as new tools have been created in response to a request for help from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Adobe Muse CC now includes community design exchange, social media integration
Adobe has announced an update for Adobe Muse CC, its software that allows users to create HTML websites without writing code. Designers can now access the new Adobe Muse Exchange, which provides a space to download over 100 design elements that have been submitted by the Adobe Muse community. These elements include starter templates, prototyping tools, interactive widgets and more. Additionally, users can collect reusable design elements, such as icons, buttons, headers and footers, and more using the new Library panel.
Influential treasuries of daily strip not Google Play books yet
According to the iBooks Twitter feed, the first e-book collections of the deeply beloved comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" are now available on the iBookstore (as well as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's bookstores). This marks the first time the influential comic strip, which originally ran from 1985 to 1995, has been available to purchase in e-book form. Three of the original book collections of the strips are now available, priced at $13.
Attachments can be saved directly to Google Drive from Gmail
Google has added two more features to Gmail, linking the e-mail service to a number of others. A new option allows attachments on incoming messages to be saved to Google Drive directly, while new "quick action buttons" provide quicker access to other relevant services based on the contents of the e-mail messages themselves.
Also fixes problems with PDFs, performance
Quark has released a major update for QuarkXPress, v10.0.1. The patch chiefly improves compatibility with OS X Mavericks, including multi-monitor support. It also improves text input and layout performance, however, and solves a range of PDF bugs involving elements like Native Transparency, outlined text, OpenType font rendering, and Adobe Illustrator PDFs with transparent objects.
Adobe announces release candidates that bring support for new digital cameras
Adobe's Camera Raw 8.3 and Lightroom 5.3 have been announced as new release candidates on Adobe Labs. Each bring support for new digital cameras, such as the Nikon D610, Fujifilm X-E2 and Sony Alpha a7, in addition to numerous bug fixes. Though tested internally, Adobe is inviting community testing to be executed prior to full distribution. Lightroom 5.3 is available as a free download for current users of Lightroom 5, while new customers can purchase for $150, or upgrade an older version for $80. The Camera Raw 8.3 plug-in update is free, and available for Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6.
OPPO N1 smartphone released as special edition with CyanogenMod operating system
OPPO, an international technology brand, announced yesterday its plan to sell a limited edition of its latest flagship smartphone device, the OPPO N1, in December, with the inclusion of CyanogenMod OS out of the box and additional accessories.
Apps share similar functions
The new iOS 7 version of iPhoto appears to have stolen icon art from a third-party app, Pic Stitch, users note. The icon for iPhoto's "Web Journal" option (located under the Share menu) appears to be virtually identical to the Pic Stitch app icon except that it's rotated and the colors are swapped. The developer of Pic Stitch, Big Blue Clip, has yet to respond to inquiries.
Profile outage follows similar incident on October 21st
A large number of Facebook users have reported that profiles and pages on the service had a few hours of downtime earlier today. The issue, affecting profiles from approximately 10:30am Eastern Standard Time until 1pm, prevented page content from loading, and instead showed the error "Sorry, but this page didn't load properly. Please try again."
Standalone, integrated editions on sale
e-on Software has released the xStream and Infinite versions of Vue 2014, its flagship scenery rendering software. The 2014 suite makes a host of improvements, most notably adding a photometric sunlight model that simulates sun and atmospheric light intensities. Tone mapping filters, meanwhile, can now be used to control how raw HDR colors are transformed, and a Natural Grain mode should produce more natural color variations in terrain. Similarly, EcoSystem Clumping ensures that plants tend to grow in patches, rather than in an unnaturally even pattern.
Bug bounty offers up to $5,000 for vulnerabilities in server software
Microsoft is teaming up with Facebook to offer more bounties for bugs and flaws in software used to by a vast majority of websites. The Internet bug bounty, HackerOne, sees the two companies paying cash prizes of between $300 and $5,000 in exchange for details for vulnerabilities in server-based software and frameworks such as PHP, Ruby, Rails, OpenSSL, and Apache httpd.
Hangout-based support charged per minute, per hangout
Google has opened up its Hangouts-based video support service to the general public. Google Helpouts, a service that was accepting applications by experts to offer their advice to others in late August, is now allowing users to search for and pay for a video conference with an expert to help them with a specific task or for general advice.
Livesurface's Context introduces photorealistic previewing into Adobe Illustrator
Livesurface, a design development company, has launched its full version of Context. The program is an integrative app that allows users of Adobe Illustrator to display projects on a wide variety of real-world objects and scenes. While working, users can preview designs in Context without leaving Illustrator, and see 3D renderings to help better predict a finished, implemented product. Featuring photorealistic 'inks' for adding printing effects to a project, surfaces to select for previewing, and access to direct tools that allow for quick visual implementations, Context can create professional, high-resolution output renderings. Context can be downloaded as a free test version for access to low-resolution surfaces, and as a $10 monthly subscription or $90 annual subscription, providing full access to high-resolution content. Software requirements include Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, and Adobe Illustrator CS4 through CC.
Multiple filters, image effects include fine level of user control
Android 4.4 will ship with a non-destructive photo editor, as part of its gallery. The new editor will allow devices running KitKat to make a number of adjustments to an image taken by the device, including a number of effects and filters typically associated with desktop image editing software or editing apps, without making any permanent changes to the original image.
Large Samsung tablet appears at FCC, 12-inch display estimated
A new FCC filing shows Samsung is planning to release a large tablet. The listing for the SM-P905 is believed by Engadget to have a display measuring somewhere in the region of 12 inches and a resolution of 2,560x1,600. Aside from its Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, it is believed to form part of the Galaxy Note family of devices thanks to the presence of a pen slot.
Redesigned calendar app offers reminders, new week view
Flexibits' latest app, Fantastical 2, has been released for iOS today. An overall revamping of Fantastical, an iOS and Mac calendar app, Fantastical 2 offers a more intuitive user experience and several additional features also added to its predecessor. New parser features, such as alert and reminder creations, can be executed with succinct key terms at the start of a sentence such as 'reminder', 'todo', or 'alert'. Maps are now included with event details, showing locations. Other updates to Fantastical 2 include a new week view, a dictation function for creating new events or reminders, background app updating, and more. Available for $3 on iTunes, Fantastical 2 requires iOS 7 or later.
Customers can nominate charity to receive Amazon donation
Amazon has launched a program that will allow customers to donate money to charity using Amazon orders. AmazonSmile lets customers name a charity of their choice that will receive 0.5 percent of the price of their total Amazon purchase as a monetary donation, with the retailer advising that there is no cap on the amount that can be donated.
All social network users to gain vanity URLs in the next week
Google is slowly expanding the availability of custom addresses for Google+ accounts, after initially rolling it out to prominent users and businesses in August. The change, which will allow normal users to use a shorter vanity URL, will be gradually introduced to the rest of the social network's population over the next week.
Boosts MacBook graphics 40 to 65 percent faster than previous generation
Benchmarking tests on the latest Apple MacBook Pro models have revealed that the new Iris integrated graphics systems from Intel is considerably faster than the previous generation -- up to 65 percent faster, in fact. Two different test suites (Cinebench r15's OpenGL and Unigen's Heaven) showed improvements between 40 and 65 percent on the graphics performance compared to a similarly-specced early 2013 MacBook Pro.
MacFamilyTree 7.1 released offering new web export
Synium's MacFamilyTree 7 software has received a major update, released today. Version 7.1 of the family tree creation software is optimized for OS X Mavericks, and features improved performance as well as support for Mavericks' AppNap. MacFamilyTree has also gained the ability to export websites directly from the program, which can be shared with whomever the user chooses. Chart backdrops have also been included, allowing users to add a family crest or any other image desired for their family tree chart. Based on the new Apple Maps component of OS X Mavericks, MacFamilyTree 7.1 features statistical maps that display ancestors' demographics and life data on a map visualization. Other noteworthy new inclusions are improved privacy settings, search workflow, UI and more.
Could limit key attack vector
Flash is now a sandboxed plugin in OS X Mavericks, according to an Adobe blog post. Using the OS' App Sandbox feature, Adobe says it has been able to limit Flash's file read/write access and what assets the plugin can find in the first place. It can no longer reach local connections to device resources and IPC (interprocess communications) channels, for instance, and network privileges are restricted such that Flash-based malware can't communicate with servers set up by hackers.
Southwest complains over lack of approval for Microsoft-made app
A move by Microsoft to repackage popular mobile websites as apps for Windows Phone devices has hit some turbulence. A number of the Microsoft Web Apps under the initiative have been pulled from the service, with at least one company complaining about their web content being republished by Microsoft without its permission.
Multi-touch drawing tablet includes four ExpressKeys
Wacom has introduced a new drawing tablet package for Windows and Mac that is designed to appeal to artists and cartoonists. The Intuos Manga Pen and Touch tablet follows on from similar earlier bundles from the tablet producer, combining one of its refreshed entry-level tablets with drawing applications from Smith Micro.
Initiative to keep smaller activist sites active during attacks
Google has announced it will help website owners protect their sites from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Project Shield hopes to keep smaller sites running during DDoS attacks, with the project's initial focus being to protect under-resourced sites serving "media, elections, and human rights related content."
Digital greeting card software features over 5100 graphics
Chronos today announced its release of its greeting card creation software, Greeting Card Shop. The program allows users to create, mail and digitally share cards and invitations on OS X. Greeting Card Shop's features include support for double-sided cards and invitations; single, double and tri-folding compatibility; and support for multiple cards or invitations per page. Panels can be edited singularly, or as multiples -- which assists with editing graphics that traverse more than one panel.
iStopMotion for iPad and Mac OS X adds support for saving 200 frame sequences
Boinx Software has released its latest updates to iStopMotion for iPad and OS X, featuring GIF creation of up to 200 frames. With iStopMotion for iPad 2.2, users can export the first 200 frames of their animation as a GIF file and send it by email or iMessage, or upload it to DropBox. The Mac version, iStopMotion for Mac, allows users to save their 200-frame GIF animation directly to a hard drive. The software is intended for animators who wish to share portions of their work quickly. Sale pricing for both iPad and Mac OS versions of iStopMotion is available until October 20 at $5 for iPad at the App Store, and $40 at Boinx and the Mac App Store for its Mac OS version.
LG G Pad 8.3 heading to retail in the UK and Ireland
LG is launching its G Pad 8.3 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in time for the holiday shopping rush. The tablet, with an 8.3-inch 1080p display, a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM, 5MP and 1.3MP cameras, 4,600mAh battery and 16GB of storage, will cost £260 ($415) when it goes on sale.
Classic programs re-created in HTML5 for web play
In unrelated developments, two recent "recreations" of former Mac and Nintendo classics have made their way into "web app" versions, bringing back familiar software for those of a certain age, providing a "living" demonstration of "old-school" programs and games and at the same time offering a showcase for the growing flexibility of web technologies. The year-old "CloudPaint," a tribute to the Macintosh's original graphics program MacPaint, has recently been updated with five levels of "undo" -- and another site offers a fully-playable HTML5 version of Super Mario. Both are available for use free of charge.
Snap Art 4 provides naturalizing art effects for photography
Alien Skin Software today announced its upcoming release of Snap Art 4, an artistic natural media application for photographers. Featuring a redesigned UI and improved speed, Snap Art 4 can render hundreds of styles and media, such as oil paint, pencil sketch, et cetera, to mimic the technique of human artists on a photo image. Emulating brush strokes and drawing lines, its masking tool can bring out extra detail in a photo. Snap Art is compatible for integration with many popular photography editing software tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Apple Aperature, and can also be launched as a standalone application. Available in November 2013, Snap Art 4 will be priced at $100, with upgrading pricing at $70. Free upgrades will be automatically sent to those who purchased Snap Art 3 from Alien Skin Software in August 2013 or later.
New font rights features let clients pick authorized fonts
Extensis has released Universal Type Server 4, an upgrade to its font activation backend for publishing and illustration businesses. The new version includes plugins for the CC versions of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InCopy. It also carries over the QuickComp feature from Suitcase Fusion 5, which lets people preview and compare multiple fonts simultaneously using templates for different publication types.
Google refines Drive apps with new icons, smaller toolbars
Google has updated its Google Drive online apps with a refreshed user interface. Google Docs, Drawings, Sheets, Slides, and Forms now include a colorful icon that returns users to Drive itself, while the toolbar section at the top has been made smaller, allowing more of the screen to be taken up by the files being worked on, and seemingly brings it closer in visual style to installable office suites.
Cards can be used as Mail signatures
Chronos has released Business Card Shop 5, an upgrade to its card creation utility for the Mac. One of the key changes is the addition of a Template Chooser, which lets people preview templates or skip to creating a card from scratch. Custom cards can now be saved as templates; Chronos has meanwhile added 50 new templates of its own, including 36 double-sided cards, 10 signature cards, and 4 folding/tent cards.
Speculation of web version of Maps, broader projects all possibilities
A new job listing on Apple's web site looks to hire a Maps Web User Interface Designer for, as quoted directly from the ad, "a new secret project." While Apple often advertises online positions for jobs that will result in eventual new products or services, this is the first time in memory the company has used such direct language regarding the fact that the job is related to future projects. The job will involve designing, developing and maintaining complex front-end code" related to Apple's Maps.
BBC releases new iPlayer Downloads app for Mac, PC without Adobe Air
The BBC has released a new version of its iPlayer Desktop for Mac and PC that offers improved downloads of BBC television programs. BBC iPlayer Downloads, which now no longer uses Adobe AIR nor offers Windows Media files for security and cost reasons, will let users download shows from the on-demand service for later viewing, with users able to cue a download of a show in the client using links on the iPlayer website itself. Existing BBC iPlayer downloads will continue to work until their scheduled expiry dates.
Mac App Store users still waiting for access
Omni Group has released OmniGraffle 6, an update of its graphing and diagramming software for the Mac. New in this version are integrated Inspector and Stencil windows with improved tools and steppers, and a dedicated Resource Browser, which collects stencils and templates. Shapes and text can now be scaled, and a resolution-independent Display Scale can be set for an Apple point, PostScript point, or pixel.