Archive for the ‘Press Announcements’ Category

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Last week several of my iPod touch apps were updated, including SkySafari Pro and SkySafari – both were version 3.0.1. I contacted Southern Stars and they sent me a list of fixes/enhancements that are current for the 3.x release – click here to see them. I installed the updates and had no problems or glitches.

I’m a member of the Starry Night Yahoo group and have seen several posts that some are confused about the name of the vendor that produces SkySafari. There is a page on their site that explains why the company – click here to read the post.

We are working on some reviews of Southern Stars products, so stay tuned.

Mike

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

May 31, 2011

I needed a new laptop, so I bought a Macbook on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the US) in 2009. I wanted to use Mac and Windows applications on it for my classes, so a low end Mac laptop was a better choice than a Wintel unit. It was great when I started using it but I noticed that the rubber on the bottom of the case started started separating in the summer of 2010, and it looked like an overheated battery was causing the problem.

I wanted to take the laptop in but I had to wait until the end of the UST Spring semester (the middle of May), so you can guess I was pleased to read the May 31st newsletter from ZDNet, as it had a short piece announcing that Apple was launching a program to replace the bottom of Macbook laptops bought between October 2009 and April 2011.

There are 3 options for qualified Macbook owners: take the laptop to an Apple store, contact an authorized Apple repair facility, or order the part and replace it yourself. I chose the third option and since I had an Apple ID and the laptop serial number (found by using ‘About this Mac’), the process was quick and relatively painless. Apple sent a followup email 10 minutes after I ordered the replacement part, confirming that it would ship and providing a repair ID.

I’ve found Apple to be responsive to equipment issues in the past – my iMac had a bad power supply and they replaced the power supply and main board for free, even though the unit was well out of warranty. I do wish they responded faster if people have seen this issue since October of 2009, but I’m glad they did respond and they gave us several options to address the issue.

I hope the new part arrives this week and will update this article with the details about replacing the part as soon as possible.

UPDATE 6/1/2011

Talk about responsive! The part arrived this morning, in less than 24 hours from the time I initially contacted Apple on May 31st. It was sent priority overnight and the box has the parts plus a return shipping tag. I am impressed. Big time kudos, Apple.

The box (part no. 661-5975) had a new cover, decent instructions on to replace the cover, a small screw driver, and 10 replacement screws. The only tricky part was getting the bottom cover off – I nicked a finger while pulling up on the back of the cover, but otherwise everything went well.

IMPORTANT: Be sure and read the instructions if you replace your own cover, because you need to write the serial number from the old cover on the new bottom plate.

NOTE: Apple includes a pre-printed return label, so all you need to do is repackage the old part and drop it off at a FedEx office. Kudos for making this so simple.

It took me a total of 10 minutes to replace the cover and restart my Macbook – very simple if you can use a screw driver. It is nice to have this fixed, as it drew a few comments when I did take it to school.

Thanks to Apple for addressing this issue for older laptops, for making multiple replacement options available to your customers, and for sending the part so fast. And yes, I did keep that free screw driver.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I know it seems like yesterday when Wolfram released Mathematica 8.0, but they just released an update: version 8.0.1. This version is not an incremental update, so the entire application must be downloaded and installed. This update is free for owners of Mathematica 8.0, and it can be installed over or in addition to version 8.0.

8.0.1 Enhancements

The list of updates from version 8.0 to 8.0.1 (courtesy of Wolfram’s site) are:

  • Many new automatic simplifications for derived distributions, including affine transformations, sums of variables, parameter mixtures, and censored and truncated distributions
  • Improved results for Dot with large (> 1,000,000 elements) lists of integers
  • Improved stability under Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs by including a new version of the Intel Math Kernel Library
  • Performance and robustness improvements for many graph and network operations
  • Improved startup time of the front end
  • Improved the creation of MathLink TCPIP connections under certain special network conditions
  • Improved export of Real and “Real32” images to TIFF, to be compatible with more external TIFF image viewers
  • Improved functionality and stability of Home Edition by including more 64-bit components

Click here for a complete list of changes/enhancements to Mathematica, going all the way back to version 1.0.

5-18-2011 Update

Last weekend I downloaded and installed the 8.0.1 release. It is not an incremental update, so it took awhile to download the >2 GB file. The installation of 8.0.1 in parallel with versions 7.0 and 8.0 still on my laptop was nearly flawless, but I had to exit and restart the program to get the application to run without any warning messages (something about an initialization that failed to complete). After the restart there were no more problems (or warnings) and my initial tests with the product have been fine. I did not use a stop watch to time it, but it did seem to start noticeably faster than version 8.0.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I had a couple of press releases from Adobe today, and was very happy to see they are releasing an SDK (Software Development Kit) for Photoshop CS5. I appreciate when product vendors give developers a way to interface with their products, which isn’t new, but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I use Adobe products extensively and already downloaded the SDK and developer guide and intend to dig into them this afternoon.

I’d like to invite other developers that use this SDK to add comments to this post. Tips, code samples, solutions for real-world problems, or just general impressions would be good for new or experienced developers.

The body of Adobe’s announcement is below:

========================================================

Hi,

I thought you would like to know that Adobe Systems Inc. today announced the Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit (SDK) and tablet applications that interact with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software, uniting the fun and interactive experience of touch devices with the power and precision of Photoshop. Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices.

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK today for Windows and Mac OS platforms on the Adobe Application Manager at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Photoshop CS5 customers can experience the value of the connection to devices by downloading and installing a free patch available on www.adobe.com or via the Adobe Application Manager, beginning May 3, 2011.

The Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav applications for Photoshop are also expected to be available in early May 2011, ranging in price from US$1.99-$4.99, on the iTunes App Store. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the apps become available for purchase, visit www.photoshop.com.

The complete press release follows below, or you can find it online at the following link: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/201104/041111AdobeCS5.5PhotoshopTouchSDK.html. Customer and partner quotes are available at: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressmaterials/pdfs/041111AdobePhotoshopTouchSDKQuoteSheet.pdf.

Join the social media community on Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Photoshop
Twitter: @Photoshop

********************

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Integrates Tablets into Creative Workflows

New Touch SDK Kick-Starts the Development of Interactive Tablet Apps that Communicate Directly with Photoshop CS5

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 11, 2011 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Photoshop® Touch Software Development Kit (SDK) inviting developers worldwide to create mobile and tablet applications that interact with Adobe® Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software, uniting the fun and interactive experience of touch devices with the power and precision of Photoshop. The Photoshop Touch SDK and a new scripting engine in Photoshop CS5 now opens the door for Android™, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS apps to drive and interact with Photoshop on the desktop. Adobe today also launched Creative Suite® 5.5, a significant mid-cycle release to the industry-leading design and development software for virtually every creative workflow across print, video, mobile and online media (see separate press releases).

Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices.

“Our research shows that creatives are adopting tablets faster than any other group and we heard loud and clear that they want to use their devices to interact with Photoshop, the tool they depend on most of all,” said John Loiacono, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media Solutions, Adobe. “The apps that we announced today show some of the creative ways tablets can work with Photoshop and over the next few months Photoshop’s vibrant developer community is going to dazzle us with innovative apps that further integrate tablet devices into creative workflows.”

Photoshop SDK Encourages Creative Development Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop Touch apps: Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav. Adobe Color Lava, allows creative professionals to use their fingertips to mix colors on the iPad, creating custom color swatches and themes to transfer back into Photoshop. Adobe Eazel, which takes advantage of cutting-edge painting technology, lets digital artists create rich realistic paintings with their fingertips and introduces a new kind of interaction between “wet” and “dry” paints. These paintings can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for compositing or for taking the artwork further. Lastly, Adobe Nav increases workflow efficiency by letting users select and control Photoshop tools using the iPad as the input surface, customize the toolbar, browse and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop files or easily create new files. All three applications take advantage of the iPad tablet’s touch screen for a truly immersive, tactile, on-the-go experience. While the first applications available are for the Apple iPad and the iOS, the Photoshop Touch SDK makes development possible on other devices, including Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Utilizing the Touch SDK, developers will have wide access to Photoshop functionality with the freedom to innovate and create new apps or add capabilities to existing ones. Adobe has already engaged with a number of developers across the industry to incorporate tablets and other devices into creative workflows that empower Photoshop users in new and groundbreaking ways.

Pricing and Availability

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK today for Windows and Mac OS platforms on the Adobe Application Manager at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Photoshop CS5 customers can experience the value of the connection to devices by downloading and installing a free patch available on www.adobe.com or via the Adobe Application Manager, beginning May 3, 2011. The Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav applications for Photoshop are also expected to be available in early May 2011, ranging in price from US$1.99-$4.99, on the iTunes App Store. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the apps become available for purchase, visit www.photoshop.com.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are available through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store and Adobe Direct Sales. Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is US$699 and US$999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

Today, with the launch of Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 product family, Adobe also announced a new flexible subscription-based pricing plan. With subscription pricing customers can use Adobe Photoshop for as little as US$35 per month. For more information about Subscription Editions, visit www.adobe.com/go/cssubscription.

Education pricing for students, faculty and staff in K-12 and higher education is available from Adobe Authorized Education Resellers and the Adobe Education Store at www.adobe.com/education/purchasing/education_pricing.html. More information regarding education volume licensing for higher education and K-12 institutions can be viewed at www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/volumelicensing/education.

For more detailed information about features, OS support, upgrade policies, pricing and international versions please visit: www.adobe.com/go/photoshop. Join the Photoshop community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/photoshop) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/photoshop).

Adobe Photoshop Family

Building upon the history of Photoshop innovation and leadership, Adobe offers a line of Photoshop solutions for every level of user. Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software are at the heart of the Photoshop family, providing unrivaled power and editing freedom. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® addresses the workflow needs of serious, amateur and professional photographers, helping them find, manage, enhance and showcase images in powerful ways. Adobe Photoshop Elements software provides accessible tools and sharing options for photo enthusiasts. Snap-shooters can quickly and easily share and edit photos with simple gestures using the free Adobe Photoshop Express mobile application on their iPhone or Android devices. Photoshop.com completes the Photoshop line providing easy access to learning resources, product information and online Photoshop Express tools.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

###

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

A new update for Starry Night Pro and Starry Night Pro Plus is available today. Use the ‘Help/Check for Updates’ menu option to download and install the update. I updated Starry Night Pro Plus and did not see any glitches during the update nor after restarting SNPP.

I emailed Starry Night Support for a list of fixes in this update and they responded:

“There was only one bug fixed between 6.4.2 and 6.4.3, but it was deemed critical for several of our education customers.”

  • Planet shadow cones drawing errors were fixed.

=======================================

1/30/2011
Recently I’ve read that some Starry Night users discussing the ‘LiveSky/Show Photographic Image…’ menu option. This option is ghosted (not available) unless you zoom in on a deep space object. Below is a screen shot I took in Starry Night Pro Plus – I was checking out Saturn and noticed M16 (I typically spec the Messier object labels on), so I went there and zoomed in and the included photo (very nice detail) was displayed:

Very cool. I’ve also seen posts where there were questions about the inclusion of the SDSS in SNP. I asked Starry Night’s Support and this is what they said:

“We have not yet included support for the SDSS III (Sloan Digitized Sky Survey 3) because after doing some testing, we found that their download service was not yet reliable enough for us to consider adding it as a feature into SN.”

Good news, and hopefully the download service will improve soon.

==============================================

1/31/2011

For a bit of space-related humor (Mars rover attitude issues), check this out.

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2/16/2011

Tips regarding using Celestron telescopes and SNP 6.4 from Bob, who had this issue:

Problem: Go to the configure screen, selected Celestron, then tried to go to properties and all he saw was a message, “Failed To Load Driver : Cannot create ActiveX component”. He has a CG-5 which connects just fine to The Sky (using the same computer and cables).

Brenda from Starry Night solved the problem for Bob:
“Make sure you have the latest version of the ASCOM telescope driver platform and Celestron drivers. You can get them here:
http://www.ascom-standards.org

==============================================

2/18/2011

Tip to address an unusual SNP bug known to affect Mac OSX users, courtesy of Kevin Schultz from StarryNight@yahoogroups.com. Kevin recommended this approach to Konstantin, who confirmed it addressed the problem.

Problem: To address an unusual bug in SNP (know to affect Mac OSX users): When updating from inside the SNP program, the Program does not require the administrative rights in order to update the program in the Application folder. SNP tries to download the installer and notices that it can install and then gives you the message you see which is actually not happening!!

To update, try this first.

  1. Start SNP
  2. Check for Updates
  3. Choose just download
  4. Wait for the download to complete (that downloading is in progress in upper right corner of the window)
  5. Quit SNP
  6. Open the SNP folder in the Applications folder(Program) !
  7. Open the folder Standalone updaters
  8. Double-Click on the latest Updater

==============================================

2/22/2011

The azimuth in the HUD is read in hours, not degrees. How is that changed? Per Stan Glaser from StarryNight@yahoogroups.com:

Preferences > Number Formats > Azimuth (hh or ddd° in one of the variations presented)

– Mike

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Starry Night version 6.4.2 is available as of today. I downloaded and installed it for Starry Night Pro Plus and had no errors during or after the update.

Per an email I received from Starry Night Support on 1/19/2011, this update has the following bug fixes:

  • Crash when printing on OS X.
  • Graph View problems (OpenGL Init problem. OS X.)
  • Calculation of Delta-T for years -500 to 500 was incorrect.
  • FOV indicators now update/draw in the sky if time flow is off.
  • Image Editor “Background Reduction” slider added. Fixes background reduction not working.
  • Constellation Stick Figures not drawing correctly in 3D space when a single constellation is selected.
  • Removed confusing application update message on startup when no data updates requested.

Click here to see our information on the next release (6.4.3) of Starry Night.

On a separate note, I really enjoy reading the Starry Night Times, which is their monthly newsletter. Click here to subscribe to it.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

This post contains information about Starry Night version 6.4.1. Click here to read our post on release version 6.4.2, which was available for downloading the morning of January 18, 2011.

Version 6.4.0 to 6.4.1 Update

January 12, 2011

I contacted Starry Night Support for a list of specific fixes/enhancements for versions 6.4.0 and 6.4.1, and they sent me this information on 12/28/2010. The support center informed me that users experiencing problems starting Starry Night after updating can manually delete their preferences file, which should allow them to start the software. They also believe they found the source of the 6.4.1 bug and intend fix it in the next update.

December 25, 2010

I fired up Starry Night Pro to write a quick post about Uranus this morning and saw there was a new version available: 6.4.1. I installed the update (previously at version 6.3.9) and used it immediately. No errors during installation, although I had to manually restart Starry Night after the update completed.

New features from version 6.4.0 to 6.4.1:

  • address some issues that arose with some OS X users and our new usage of OpenGL.

Note: Everything looks much the same in version 6.4.1 as in version 6.3.9, but I did have one problem. While going through the program features, Starry Night did unexpectedly terminate – can’t recall exactly what I was doing, but it gave an OpenGL error message before quitting.

Note 2: I believe the added Apollo missions (only available for the Pro and Pro Plus versions of Starry Night) were part of the Starry Night Apollo application, which is still listed (12-27-2010) as a free-standing product in the Starry Night store.

====================

Version 6.3.9 to 6.4.0 Update

December 25, 2010

New features from version 6.3.9 to 6.4.0:

  • A number of bug fixes, performance improvements, under the hood stuff.
  • Advanced Particle Galaxy Rendering
  • Hour Angle Lines
  • SkyView Link (Image Editor)
  • Argo Navis Support (OS X)
  • Up to 14 new panoramas (Pro Plus gets 14, Pro 9, enthusiast 5)
  • Minor updates to some db’s like meteor showers

================================================

Preferences Files Locations

March 29, 2011

The preference file problem for Starry Night Pro users running Windows 7 has been repeatedly addressed since January, however Mr Bill of the Yahoo SN forum recently responded why a good solution to fix this issue is to use the Run as Admin solution:

“W7 defaults to running everything in NON-ADMIN mode even if you are the admin. All that is needed – if you are the administrator, which most people who have a single login are, is to right clk the file you want to run and select COMPATIBILITY then select RUN THIS PROGRAM AS ADMINISTRATOR. If it is an older version on SNP also select RUN THIS PROGRAM IN COMPATIBILITY MODE and set it for XP SP3 or whatever runs.”

Thank you for the clear details why this approach is needed, Mr. Bill.

January 17, 2011

If I ran Vista, I’d probably look for a .txt file in the “C:\Program Files\Starry Night <version>\” directory.

The support center informed me that the Preferences file locations for Windows are in different locations, depending on the version of Windows. They prefer that people needing help with the SN Preferences files for Windows contact them at www.starrynightsupport.com.

===========

January 7, 2011

I’ve received a couple of questions about the Preferences file location for Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus. I contacted their support center and this was their reply:

The Mac OSX Preferences are located at:

/Users/<Your Username>/Library/Preferences/Imaginova Canada/Prefs/

The “User State Prefs.txt” file is located in either the Pro or “Pro Plus” folder depending on which version you have.

IMPORTANT! If you can’t find the Prefs file, remember there are 3 potential Library directories:

  • ~/Library – for a specific user
  • /Library – for all users of the computer
  • /System/Library – for system-wide use

================================================

Historical Data on All Version 6.x New Features:

December 25, 2010

All of the newest features in Starry Night version 6.x are:

  • Hour Angle Lines and Vernal Equinox Hour Angle Guide.
  • SkyView Link in Image Editor Downloads Thousands of New Images.
  • Advanced Particle Galaxy Rendering.
  • New minor planets and their moons have been added and updated.
  • Apollo Space Missions: trajectories of the Apollo spacecraft, full models and guided tours.
  • Distance Spheres can now be added to any solar system body with any radius and color.
  • Shadow Cones can be displayed to show the shadows of orbiting bodies.
  • The precessional path of the celestial poles can now be displayed.
  • The circumpolar region, based on your latitude, can now be displayed.
  • Event Finder: Appulse event searching alerts you when the Moon or the Pleiades is near bright planets.
  • Added up to 24 new horizon panoramas.
  • New update technology built directly into Starry Night. Will check for updates automatically if registered.
  • Animated trips between planets now use more visually appealing planet avoidance.
  • Tully database improved to allow for more galaxy types.
  • Saturn’s rings and ring shadows now draw even more precisely.
  • Universal Time can now be displayed and edited in the toolbar.
  • The value of DeltaT has been improved and can now be overridden by the user.
  • All planets now draw with softer edges.
  • Updated LiveSky links and images.
  • Thicker lines on high-DPI displays maintain visibility.
  • More Customer Support Features
  • Spaceship responsiveness dramatically improved.
  • Improved Space Mission rendering speeds.
  • Improved Find feature for multiple objects of same name.
  • Updated mythological descriptions for all 88 classical constellations

OS-specific improvements:

  • Argo Navis support for Mac OS X.
  • Smooth window fading (Win XP and Vista)
  • Transparent floating windows (Vista only)

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

I bought a first gen Apple TV when they were released. My unit has a 32 GB drive and I’ve enjoyed using it from the very start. I keep my favorite movies and songs on the unit itself, streaming other content as desired. In truth I am now far more likely to buy a movie if it comes with a digital copy, because the AppleTV is so convenient to use. If I have any negative, it is the problem trying to fast forward streamed content – I can easily do this with content stored on the Apple TV hard drive, but it doesn’t work well on streaming content. I’m sure the problem is that I use a 100 MB connection speed instead of a 1 GB connection, so I can’t really blame Apple for this shortcoming.

Overall I am very happy with the Apple TV and am considering buying one of the new second gen units for a different TV and stereo. I do wish the first gen USB port would allow me to attach an external drive, but that isn’t going to happen, based on the second gen of this product. The new Apple TV has a lot less local storage and instead it replies on streaming content from other sources.

Why talk about this now? Yesterday Apple released a press announcement that it expects Apple TV sales to top 1,000,000 units this week. That, in and of itself, is impressive as the first gen unit didn’t do well and some analysts predicted Apple would completely drop the product line.  I hope they have as much success with the Apple TV as they are with the iPad. I like mine and hope they are around a long time.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

SpaceX achieved a huge milestone in their pursuit of private industry space travel. This morning they launched their Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, which carried the Dragon spacecraft into a near earth orbit. The impressive fact about this accomplishment is not launching a rocket, but actually recovering the launched vehicle. SpaceX is the first commercial company to recover their payload, which splashed down in the ocean.

Click here to read the SpaceX company press release about today’s mission.

SpaceX hopes to use their rocket and spacecraft to provide supplies and personnel to the ISS after the NASA shuttles are retired. SpaceX is not alone in this venture – Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company has developed a spacecraft that potentially could access the ISS, although the main intent of the company seems more in line with providing rides for tourists.

Personally, I wish both companies nothing but success in their efforts. Both companies can offer low earth orbit services, freeing up NASA’s budget to go to other planets and asteroids, as well as undertake other long range unmanned exploration missions.

I received this press release and wanted to share it since we’ve reviewed their products in the past. Mike

======================================================

We’re Southern Stars – formerly the mobile products division of Carina Software. As a Carina customer, you’re receiving this notice regarding our mobile astronomy products and plans for the holiday season.

SkySafari is a universal app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

SkyVoyager is now SkySafari

Our award-winning SkyVoyager iPhone app has been renamed – SkySafari 2.0 is only a month old, and it’s our highest-rated version ever! SkySafari adds a gorgeous new Milky Way display, fast OpenGL graphics, support for new telescope types, and a host of new features that you’ve requested. For more information, click here.

SkySafari 2.0 is a free update for owners of SkyVoyager. If you’re not yet a SkySafari owner, or have a friend or child with a budding interest in the night sky, there isn’t an easier – or more affordable – way to get started in astronomy. SkySafari puts 2.5 million stars, hundreds of astronomical images, and an astronomy field guide written by experts, into your pocket for the price of a pizza – or a cup of coffee:

SkySafari Lite Intro version $2.99
SkySafari Pro version with telescope control $14.99
SkySafari Expansion Pack Adds 2.5 million stars to SkySafari $2.99 (regularly $4.99)

All prices are in US dollars. From now until the end of 2010, the SkySafari Expansion Pack is on sale at 40% off! Click here to purchase from the iTunes Store. And while you’re there, check out…

S&T SkyWeek

Sky and Telescope magazine chose Southern Stars, and SkySafari’s engine, to power its SkyWeek app! Check out S&T SkyWeek on the iTunes Store. It’s an interactive, mobile version of S&T’s weekly “Sky at a Glance” column, and the simplest way to stay informed about the changing events in the night sky.

SkyWire is an Apple-approved accessory.
Requires iOS 4 or later.

SkySafari, meet SkyWire!

SkyWire, our brand-new “Made for iPod” accessory, works with SkySafari to turn your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch into a 21st-century telescope controller. It’s the simplest and most affordable telescope control solution available for any Apple mobile device! Plug one end into your iPhone, and the other into your telescope controller’s serial port. Voila! You’re ready to drive your telescope anywhere in the night sky.

SkyWire requires zero configuration, and unlike other “iPhone serial cables” advertised on the internet, you don’t have to jailbreak your device to use it. SkyWire ships in mid-December, 2010. You can reserve one today at special pre-release pricing of $79 (USD), along with free shipping or a free telescope serial cable. Click here to do so.

In fact, Southern Stars offers two different telescope control solutions for your iPhone, iPad, or Pod Touch! SkyFi, our award-winning wireless telescope controller, is still available, but selling out quickly. To order, click here.

The Moon gets its holiday colors four days before Christmas this year.

Enjoy December’s Night Sky

As the holidays approach, keep your eye on the crisp, clear winter skies. This is a great time to catch the fading Andromeda Galaxy, the sparkling Pleiades, or the wispy Orion Nebula.

And mark your viewing calendar for the night of December 20th – 21st. This year’s winter solstice features a total lunar eclipse – a holiday spectacle ideally timed for hundreds of millions of viewers across North America. A “christmas eclipse” this good won’t happen again for many years – don’t miss it!

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

I just saw a presentation on version 8 of Mathematica, the newest update to this powerful product used in a wide variety of industries, and I am impressed. There are a ton of enhancements and I will be covering the new release here and for Software Latest. For now, check out the official Wolfram press release:

=============================================================================

Wolfram Research Introduces Unique Concept of Linguistically Controlled Computing

New Mathematica 8 Integrates Wolfram|Alpha – One of More Than 500 New Features

November 15, 2010—Wolfram Research today announced the release of Mathematica 8, the latest version of its flagship computation, development, and deployment platform that introduces the breakthrough concept of linguistically controlled computing. Integrating technology of Wolfram|Alpha, the Mathematica-powered computational knowledge engine, makes it possible to enter math or data calculations in plain English and get immediate answers or start an extensive analysis.

“Traditionally, getting computers to perform tasks requires speaking their language or using point-and-click interfaces. One requires learning syntax, the other limits scope of accessible functions,” said Stephen Wolfram, CEO and Founder of Wolfram Research. “Free-form linguistics understands human language and translates it into syntax—a breakthrough in usability. Mathematica 8 is the start of this initiative, but already it is making a real difference to user productivity.”

Free-form input is a new entry point into the Mathematica idea-to-deployment workflow, but Mathematica 8 adds a major new endpoint too: generation of C code and standalone executables. Using Mathematica, organizations no longer have to rely on separate tools for prototyping and deployment, but can complete the entire workflow with one integrated tool.

“It’s amazing that you can start with free-form linguistic input, model or prototype, and end up with a high-performance standalone program or library…all within Mathematica 8’s comprehensive workflow,” said Tom Wickham-Jones, Director of Kernel Technology at Wolfram Research.

Even with these major enhancements at either end of the workflow, the most significant additions in Mathematica 8 are the more than 500 new functions in many new and extended application areas, including:

  • Probability and statistics: largest collection of statistical distributions and automatic high-level solvers including parameter estimation
  • Software development: built-in GPU support, automatic code generation and linking, multicore parallelism, and standalone code deployment.
  • Engineering: integrated control systems and wavelet analysis
  • Graphs and networks: extensive built-in support for the new science of networks
  • Finance: built-in option pricing solvers, financial indicators, and charts
  • Image processing: enhanced image analysis capabilities, such as feature detection

“In all of these domains, you will find dramatic depth of coverage,” stated Roger Germundsson, Director of Research & Development at Wolfram Research. “The functions are designed to work together seamlessly across different domains which allows combining them in new and innovative ways.”

“Rather than build individual spikes of functionality provided by traditional specialist tools, Mathematica‘s concept is based on building up the complete mountain range,” said Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic Development at Wolfram Research. “It’s this broad functionality across a wide area that enabled us to build state-of-the-art application areas such as statistics and probability so quickly for Mathematica 8.”

Availability

Mathematica 8 is available immediately for Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X, Linux x86, and compatible systems. More product details are available on the Mathematica website: http://www.wolfram.com/mathematica

=============================================================================

Notes:

1. I reformatted the content of the release for this site, but did not modify any of the material.
2. Not all Mathematica products are being updated today. The Home and Student editions will be updated soon – stay tuned here for more information.
3. I am writing an ongoing review of Mathematica, also available on this site, which covers new and interesting existing aspects of this software. Please check back from time-to-time as this will be one of my larger and more in-depth reviews.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

The Java Developer Mailing list has been buzzing about Apple’s recent announcement to deprecate Java. Apple even statied it would not include Java in the next version of OS X (Lion, due the middle or end of next year). Bad news for Java developers, educators, students, and businesses that rely of Java and prefer to use the Mac.

Fortunately we had some good news today. Apple and Oracle announced the OpenJDK project of OS X. Click here to read Apple’s press release on their site. Weigh in with your opinions as to this news.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

IntelliJ IDEA (http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/)

Introduction

I’ve been using IntelliJ IDEA since version 9.0.0 and really like this IDE. I wrote a review about the 9.0.2 CE (click here to see it) and  IntelliJ was kind enough to let me evaluate the Ultimate Edition for 3 months. I used it and Eclipse (www.eclipse.org) at the same time on my last undergrad project of using Java to write a C compiler. I liked using the J2EE-enabled functionality, the C programming functionality (which was present in 9.0.0 CE but no longer in versions 9.0.1 CE and 9.0.2 CE), and the overall speed (startup, execution, and shutdown) of the IDE.

I felt it was much easier to use Ant in IDEA 9.0.2 UE than in Eclipse, and the overall startup and execution speed was also better in IDEA than Eclipse. I really appreciate how IntelliJ organizes the options in all four borders of the IDE – very easy to become familiar with the organization. I also have to give IntelliJ kudos for their tech support and sales support – they really listen to their customers.

Don’t get me wrong; I love using Eclipse. I just find IDEA Ultimate Edition (the commercial one) to be more fun and easier to use when coding than Eclipse. I don’t feel that way about the Community Edition (the free one), because so much functionality I need (web, C) is disabled. I do like that JetBrains gives educational discounts – I’m a student and like whenever companies realize that and help us cash-strapped folk. Another kudos to JetBrains.

I understand IntelliJ’s business decision to provide more functionality in their commercial product, but do web development for a living and I can’t ignore the cost and wide-spread preference at most of my clients for Eclipse. I also should point out it was much easier for me to find Eclipse plug-ins than IntelliJ, which was a shame.

IDEA 10 Coming Soon

Good news for IntelliJ IDEA IDE users – version 10 is coming soon and there are nice features for both editions of this powerful development environment. I received an email about the pending release and wanted to share some of that content with you, our readers, since our IDEA 9.0.2 CE review is in our top ten most commonly-read reviews since it was posted in July of 2010, so I wanted to post some of the new release information I recently received from JetBrains:

==============================================================================

IntelliJ IDEA v10 will feature a faster environment and improved performance, as well as new GitHub integration and XML completion features. More details on the next version are available here:
http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/nextversion

For our free Community Edition users, we are pleased to introduce the addition of the Android development plug-in beginning with version 10. More information on this is available on the IntelliJ IDEA blog here:
http://blogs.jetbrains.com/idea/2010/10/intellij-idea-10-free-ide-for-android-development/

==============================================================================

I want to encourage the programmers that follow our blog to download version 10 upon release. I think the XML completion support in the UE (commercial) edition and the Android support in the CE (free) edition are excellent enhancements. A lot of developers on the Mac OSX Java Dev List like and use IDEA, and their comments are what prompted me to give it a try and it was absolutely worth taking the time to use it.

My recommendation: Download the CE, try it out, and if you like it better than your current IDE then you can see if your company will pay for UE licenses. It might be worth the effort to contact JetBrains and ask for a time-limited eval of IDEA UE to demo to your employer – I can’t say JetBrains will or won’t provide one, but it is still worth the effort to ask if you like the CE version.

Basilisk Games Announces the development of “The Secret of Fathamurk”, an extended adventure for Eschalon: Book II

Indianapolis, IN – September 3, 2010 – Basilisk Games, Inc. today announced the development of an add-on adventure for Eschalon: Book II called “The Secret of Fathamurk”.

“This expansion for Eschalon: Book II will add 5-10 hours of new gameplay for fans of the game,” said Thomas Riegsecker, Lead Developer of the Eschalon series. “Better yet, we’re not charging players a dime for it. If you own Eschalon: Book II you will have access to this new content free-of-charge with the 1.05 update.”

Eschalon: Book II is available now for Windows, Macintosh and Linux based computers. “The Secret of Fathamurk” expansion will be included in the 1.05 update coming this October. Current owners need only to download the updated game to have access to this new content. The final release date for this update will be announced on the Basilisk Games website. Visit http://basiliskgames.com for more information.

About Eschalon: Book II

Eschalon: Book II is the sequel to 2007’s hit independent role-playing game, Eschalon: Book I. Continue your journey across massive outdoor environments and deep into twisted dungeons as you seek to uncover the mystery of your past and who is behind the menace that threatens all of Eschalon. No experience with the first game is needed to enjoy this second chapter in the Eschalon trilogy. More information on the game and links to the demo and video trailer can be found online at: http://basiliskgames.com/eschalon_book_ii

About Basilisk Games

Founded in 2005, Basilisk Games is an independent game developer located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company’s mission is to produce compelling old-school computer role-playing games for gamers who still remember what great computer RPGs used to be about: “Single-player. Turn-based. Stat heavy. Story driven.” Visit Basilisk Games online at: http://basiliskgames.com

Contact Info
For press inquires and review copy requests, contact us at: info@basiliskgames.com

NOTE: I added this press release, even though it was sent last month, because I reviewed this game in July and a lot of people come here to check it out. This RPG game is a lot of fun, is well-written, and is a bargain when downloaded.

The FAQs about the enhancement are here.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Sir Richard Branson is the CEO of Virgin Galactic Airlines, a company dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of people wanting to take a suborbital commercial space flight. On July 19, I posted this short piece about SpaceShipTwo. October is a month of important milestones for Virgin Galactic.

October 10th – WhiteKnightTwo (the mothership of VSS Enterprise) launched VSS Enterprise at an altitude of 45000 ft, and it made a safe landing at the Mohave Desert runway. It was an 11 minute unpowered flight, but it was successful. I believe the engine was not tested, but expect that in the near future. Sir Richard was kind enough to post a YouTube video of the October 10th flight VSS Enterprise flight – check it out.

October 18/24/25, 2010 – A National Geographic documentary is run on Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan. Click here to see a promotional video about this documentary.

October 25, 2010 – Virgin Galactic opened Spaceport America in Upham, New Mexico. The sole runway is 2 miles long and the surface is 3 1/2 feet think, so it was intended to handle any current spacecraft flying right now. This is huge, as it gives government spacecraft a viable alternative in the event that other landing areas are unavailable due to bad weather. Spaceport America’s primary tenant is Virgin Galactic. Go here to see the official press release.

Sir Richard’s company marches into the history books with milestone after milestone successfully met. The airlines is expected to start regular commercial in 2012. I don’t know about the rest of you readers, but I certainly know where my next “extra” $200,000 is going. Wow!

For more information on Virgin Galactic Airlines, go to their website.
For information on Spaceport America, go to their website.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

One of the first computers I owned was a Commodore 64. It was far less expensive and vastly superior graphics over DOS-based computers, and it had a lot of games. While those C64 games are primitive compared to modern ones, they were better than any other platform offered at the time. I started my writing career covering Commodore Amiga products, and had a great time covering many new and innovative applications for home computer users. I no longer have a C64, but I do own a Amiga 2000, which I need to turn on every now and then to make sure it still works.

Why is this article in the Environmental Posts area of our site? Because it refers to the computing environment.  A company (www.commodoreusa.net) has announced that they are releasing an updated PC64 this year. The picture to the right is from the company’s site and the system configuration is more than reasonable for a computer running a flavor of Linux (it is). The company is retaining the old mechanical keyboard which will only appeal to old fans of the machine like myself. I hope they decide to offer more modern keyboards like the ones on Macbooks. The exact shipping date and product price was not listed as of today, but we will be keeping our eyes on this site to see how this Commodore compares in price to the original one. I would suspect that this computer will come with a C64 (and perhaps even an Amiga) emulator for old fans to be able to play their old favorites – it wouldn’t cost much and it would be more fun that running a C64 emulator on a HP or Toshiba laptop.

Did you own a C64, C128 or Amiga computer? What did you like/dislike about it, and when did you move to a different platform? What platform are you now using: Windows or Mac OS X or Linux?

The big question: What is the most you would pay for the new PC64? I don’t think we’re going to see it offered at $199, so your two cents on what you’re willing to spend for this replica of a bit of the computing world past.

BTW: In case you’re interested, it is easy to find C64 and Amiga emulators on the internet. Check out this site if you want to order a a C64 or Amiga software emulator.

by Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Apple announced new products today. Their updated their iPod line of the Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iTouch. They also released a new version of iTunes (version 10) which incorporates some social networking aspects. The final new product is a new and inexpensive version of the Apple TV.

I bought the first generation of the Apple TV with a 40 GB drive – too small, so I do a lot of streaming. I do like the Apple TV and now I’ll buy one for the TV in the basement, so I have access to the same movies and music that I have upstairs. Apple dropped the price down to $99, which is a bargain and I imagine they’ll sell a lot of these this coming holiday season.

For more information, go to here.

I received this press release this morning and wanted to share it with our readers.

=========================================================

I thought you would like to know that Adobe today announced the Lightroom 3.2 and Camera Raw 6.2 updates are available for immediate download on Adobe.com. The updates, originally posted as release candidates on Adobe Labs, extend raw file support to 16 new popular camera models including the Canon EOS 60D and Sony Alpha NEX-5, and improve on several of the lens correction profiles provided in the Lightroom 3.0 release. These latest updates also add over 120 new lens profiles to help photographers automatically correct for undesirable distortion and aberration effects. A full list of the newly added raw camera support and the new and improved lens profiles can be found on the Lightroom Journal: http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal.

With Lightroom 3.2, photographers can now also publish their photos directly to the popular social networking site Facebook and the online photo sharing service SmugMug from directly within the application. Thanks to detailed feedback from the community on the Lightroom 3.0 release, this update also addresses a number of issues reported by customers, bringing improvements to the Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web modules.

Lightroom is the essential digital photography workflow solution, helping serious amateur and professional photographers quickly import, manage, enhance and showcase all their images from one application. The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in provides fast and easy access within Photoshop to the raw image formats produced by many leading digital cameras.

Pricing and Availability
The Lightroom 3.2 update is available as a free download for Lightroom 3 customers, and the Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 Photoshop plug-in is available as a free download for Photoshop CS5 customers, Photoshop Elements 8 (Win/Mac) and Premiere Elements 8 customers. For more information and to download the updates visit http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/.

*You can also connect with the Lightroom team directly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lightroom) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/lightroom).

Newly Supported Camera Models
Canon EOS 60D, Fuji FinePix HS10, Panasonic DMC-FZ100, Panasonic DMC-FZ40 (FZ45), Panasonic DMC-LX5, Pentax 645D, Samsung NX10, Samsung TL500 (EX1), Sony A290, Sony A390, Sony Alpha NEX-3, Sony Alpha NEX-5, Sony SLT-A33, Sony SLT-A55V

This update also improves the color and noise profiles for Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 (DNG) and Leica S2 (DNG) utilizing the DNG raw format already supported in previous versions of Lightroom and Camera Raw.

by Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

I’ve been working with Adobe’s CS5 suite the past few months and I am impressed. The three applications I’ve used the most in the past few weeks are InDesign, Fireworks, and DreamWeaver, and they are nice! The best thing about InDesign CS5? The ability to generate PDFs, ePubs, and Flash content without the need of another program. I love using Flash to make catalogs with pages that flip (see the weekly ad at http://www.target.com), and it is simplicity itself to does this in InDesign CS5.

To see my reviews of these and other CS5 applications, check out Software Latest. The reviews should start posting this week.

– Mike

If you ever in your life had any interest in space and space travel, you have got to check this out -> click here.

============================================================================

The actual JPL Press release is:

Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Spacecraft Camera Yields Most Accurate Mars Map Ever
Close View of Valles Marineris
Close View of Valles Marineris
This image shows a 90-mile-wide portion of the giant Valles Marineris canyon system. Landslide debris and gullies in the canyon walls on Mars can be seen at 100 meters (330 feet) per pixel.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

PASADENA, Calif. – A camera aboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most accurate global Martian map ever. Researchers and the public can access the map via several websites and explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet.

The map was constructed using nearly 21,000 images from the Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS, a multi-band infrared camera on Odyssey. Researchers at Arizona State University’s Mars Space Flight Facility in Tempe, in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have been compiling the map since THEMIS observations began eight years ago.

The pictures have been smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled to make a giant mosaic. Users can pan around images and zoom into them. At full zoom, the smallest surface details are 100 meters (330 feet) wide. While portions of Mars have been mapped at higher resolution, this map provides the most accurate view so far of the entire planet.

The new map is available at: http://www.mars.asu.edu/maps/?layer=thm_dayir_100m_v11.

Advanced users with large bandwidth, powerful computers and software capable of handling images in the gigabyte range can download the full-resolution map in sections at: http://www.mars.asu.edu/data/thm_dir_100m.

“We’ve tied the images to the cartographic control grid provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, which also modeled the THEMIS camera’s optics,” said Philip Christensen, principal investigator for THEMIS and director of the Mars Space Flight Facility. “This approach lets us remove all instrument distortion, so features on the ground are correctly located to within a few pixels and provide the best global map of Mars to date.”

Working with THEMIS images from the new map, the public can contribute to Mars exploration by aligning the images to within a pixel’s accuracy at NASA’s “Be a Martian” website, which was developed in cooperation with Microsoft Corp. Users can visit the site at: http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/maproom#/MapMars.

“The Mars Odyssey THEMIS team has assembled a spectacular product that will be the base map for Mars researchers for many years to come,” said Jeffrey Plaut, Odyssey project scientist at JPL. “The map lays the framework for global studies of properties such as the mineral composition and physical nature of the surface materials.”

Other sites build upon the base map. At Mars Image Explorer, which includes images from every Mars orbital mission since the mid-1970s, users can search for images using a map of Mars at: http://themis.asu.edu/maps.

“The broad purpose underlying all these sites is to make Mars exploration easy and engaging for everyone,” Christensen said. “We are trying to create a user-friendly interface between the public and NASA’s Planetary Data System, which does a terrific job of collecting, validating and archiving data.”

Mars Odyssey was launched in April 2001 and reached the Red Planet in October 2001. Science operations began in February 2002. The mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. NASA’s Planetary Data System, sponsored by the Science Mission Directorate, archives and distributes scientific data from the agency’s planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements.

For more information about NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Jia-Rui Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Jia-rui.c.cook@jpl.nasa.gov

J.D. Harrington 202-358-5241
NASA Headquarters, Washington
j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

Robert Burnham 480-458-8207
Arizona State University, Tempe
Robert.burnham@asu.edu

I came across this article at MacWorld UK and must admit I’m disappointed. While Windows 7 is a huge upgrade over Vista, Ubuntu is one of the finer Linux implementations and Dell had listed PCs with Ubuntu for 2 years. For more information, click here.

A late announcement of the newest version of eclipse (Helios) to be released, but still worthwhile news for us fans of the IDE.

==============================================================================

OTTAWA, CANADA – June 23, 2010 – Today the Eclipse community delivers its annual release train, a coordinated release of the major Eclipse projects. For the seventh year in a row, the 2010 release train, code named Helios, arrives on time and is now available for download.

The Helios release is the largest release train produced by the Eclipse community, including 39 different project teams, over 33 million lines of code are released and the work of 490 committers. The release train makes it easier for users and adopters of Eclipse technology to adopt new versions of the different Eclipse projects. The Eclipse community also makes available 12 different Eclipse packages that target different types of developer usage, including Java EE developers, PHP developers, C/C++ developers and many more.

“The Helios release is another fantastic effort by the Eclipse committer community”, explains Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Besides the feat of coordinating such a large development effort, Helios introduces important innovations in areas such as Git support, Linux development and JavaScript support. Congratulations to everyone for another great release”

The Helios release including many new features and projects updates. Some of the highlights include:

  • A new Linux IDE package makes it easier for Linux developers to use an integrated tool chain for building C/C++ applications for the Linux operating system. This package includes the new Linux Tools project which includes Eclipse integrations of popular Linux utilities such as GNU Autotools, Valgrind, OProfile, RPM, SystemTap, GCov, GProf, and LTTng. A recent Eclipse Community Survey has shown increased use of Linux by developers. It is expected this package will help further accelerate Eclipse adoption in the Linux community.
  • Eclipse Marketplace Client provides developers an ‘app-store’ experience to easily discover and install new Eclipse plug-ins. Eclipse Marketplace is a catalog of Eclipse based solutions. Over 100 of these will be available from the new Marketplace Client, making it significantly easier to find and install Eclipse solutions.
  • Support for Git, a popular distributed version control (DVCS), is provided by the new Eclipse EGit and JGit projects. The new EGit 0.8 release includes a new Git repositories view and support for fast forward merging and tagging. JGit 0.8 – which EGit uses under the covers to talk to Git repositories – benefited from performance enhancements of up to 50% when working with large repositories.
  • The Web Tools Platform project has introduced support for creating, running, and debugging applications written for the latest Java EE Specifications (Java EE 6) including, Servlet 3.0, JPA 2.0, JSF 2.0, and EJB 3.1.
  • Improved support in the JavaScript Development Tools project (JSDT) for JavaScript developers, including a JavaScript debug framework that allows for integration of JavaScript debuggers, such as Rhino and Firebug. A new JavaScript IDE package has also been created to make it easier for JavaScript developers to find, install and use an Eclipse-based IDE.
  • Eclipse Xtext 1.0, a popular framework for creating domain specific languages (DSL), introduces 80 new features, including improved performance and scalability by up to 30 times previous versions. A new in-memory indexing feature makes it possible to develop more sophisticated DSL’s in Xtext.
  • A new release of Acceleo 3.0 implements the OMG Model-to-text (MTL) specification and provides the features required for a code generator IDE. This release also provides unique tools around example-base design of code generators.

More information about the Helios release can be found at www.eclipse.org/helios. The Helios packages can be downloaded now at www.eclipse.org/downloads.

About the Eclipse Foundation

Eclipse is an open source community, whose projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle. A large, vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors, innovative start-ups, universities and research institutions and individuals extend, complement and support the Eclipse Platform.

The Eclipse Foundation is a not-for-profit, member supported corporation that hosts the Eclipse projects. Full details of Eclipse and the Eclipse Foundation are available at eclipse.org

CUPERTINO, California—July 27, 2010—Apple® today unveiled a new Mac® Pro line with up to 12 processing cores and up to 50 percent greater performance than the previous generation.* Featuring the latest quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors, all-new ATI graphics and the option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD), the new Mac Pro continues to deliver amazing performance and expandability for the most demanding consumers and professionals.

“The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and configurable Mac we’ve ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With up to 12 cores, the new Mac Pro outperforms our previous top-of-the-line system by up to 50 percent, and with over a billion possible configurations, our customers can create exactly the system they want.”

At the heart of the new Mac Pro’s performance are next generation quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 3.33 GHz. These multi-core processors use a single die design so each core can share up to 12MB L3 cache to improve efficiency while increasing processing speed. These systems feature an integrated memory controller for faster memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically boost processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory and customers can configure-to-order the even faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

For the first time, Mac Pro customers have the option to order a 512GB SSD for the ultimate in reliability and lightning fast performance. With the ability to install up to four SSD drives in the system’s internal drive bays, the new Mac Pro can provide ultra high-speed disk bandwidth and random disk performance, two times faster than the average performance of a standard disk drive.** Mac Pro also now features two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port. The additional Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter and the dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays up to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Every Mac Pro comes with Apple’s innovative Magic Mouse and customers can also order Apple’s new Magic Trackpad as an option. The Magic Trackpad brings the intuitive Multi-Touch™ gestures of Mac notebook trackpads to the desktop. With its glass surface, the wireless Magic Trackpad allows users to scroll smoothly up and down a page with inertial scrolling, pinch to zoom in and out, rotate an image with their fingertips and swipe three fingers to flip through a collection of web pages or photos. The Magic Trackpad can be configured to support single button or two button commands and supports tap-to-click as well as a physical click. Magic Trackpad is available separately for $69.

Continuing Apple’s commitment to the environment, Apple’s desktop lineup is a leader in green design. The Mac Pro meets stringent Energy Star 5.0 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status.*** The Mac Pro enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and the interior is designed to be more material-efficient. The Mac Pro uses PVC-free internal cables and components and contains no brominated flame retardants. The new Apple Battery Charger provides a convenient and environmentally friendly way to always have a fresh set of batteries for your Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse and Wireless Keyboard. The Apple Battery Charger is available as an option for $29 and comes with six long shelf life rechargeable batteries.

Every Mac also comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for managing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange. iLife features iPhoto®, with breakthrough ways to organize and manage your photos by who appears in them and where they were taken; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use features such as Precision Editor, video stabilization and advanced drag and drop; and GarageBand® which offers a whole new way to help you learn to play piano and guitar.

Optional Apple professional applications include Aperture®, Final Cut® Express, Final Cut Studio®, Logic® Express and Logic Studio®.

Pricing & Availability
The new Mac Pro will be available in August through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:

  • one 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
  • 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire® 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme® 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $3,499 (US), includes:

  • two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 processors with 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
  • 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include:

  • one 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • one 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • one ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the quad-core Mac Pro;
  • up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the 8-core Mac Pro;
  • up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
  • up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
  • Mac Pro RAID card;
  • dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
  • up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.

Accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wireless Apple Keyboard, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, the AppleCare® Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server; iWork®, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3. Complete options and accessories are available at www.apple.com/macpro.

*Testing conducted by Apple in July 2010 using preproduction Mac Pro 12-core 2.93 GHz units and shipping Mac Pro 8-core 2.93 GHz units, all configured with 6GB of RAM. Based on render performance of Maxwell Render 2.0.3 using Benchwell’s sculpture.mxs. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Mac Pro.

**Testing conducted by Apple in July 2010 using preproduction Mac Pro 12-core 2.93 GHz units configured with 6GB of RAM, 1TB 7200-rpm hard disk drive and 512GB solid-state drive. Testing conducted using Iometer 2006.07.27 with a 30-second ramp-up, 5-minute run duration, 128KB request size, 8 outstanding IOs, and 150GB test file. Average rotational media performance calculated by creating the test file on the outer, middle and inner sectors of the drive and averaging the results from all three measurements. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Mac Pro.

***EPEAT is an independent organization that helps customers compare the environmental performance of notebooks and desktops. Products meeting all of the 23 required criteria and at least 75 percent of the optional criteria are recognized as EPEAT Gold products. The EPEAT program was conceived by the US EPA and is based on IEEE 1680 standard for Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products. For more information visit www.epeat.net.

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  • BULLET 3
  • BULLET 4 etc…

–>Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Microsoft Biology Foundation 1.0 ships

Posted: July 26, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Press Announcements
by Peter Galli on July 15, 2010 05:59PM

<!– –>Version 1.0 of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF), which is  licensed under the OSI-approved Microsoft Public License, has shipped.

MBF is a language-neutral bioinformatics toolkit built as an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework, initially aimed at the area of Genomics research.

Currently, it implements a range of parsers for common bioinformatics file formats; a range of algorithms for manipulating DNA, RNA, and protein sequences; and a set of connectors to biological web services such as NCBI BLAST.

The MBF executables, source code, demo applications, and documentation are freely downloadable. The source code and development of MBF is managed on this CodePlex site, but all downloads are hosted on the Microsoft Research site here.

===================================================================

I posted this because Bioinformatics is one of the areas of focus I want to pursue while in grad school. Cool stuff.

Press Release – SWF Protector (July 12, 2010)

Posted: July 12, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Press Announcements

© Copyright 2000-2009 DCoM Soft. All Rights Reserved.

Nice, France: DcomSoft has released absolutely new powerful SWF Protector, that works on Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5. This very simple to use, yet very profound tool helps you protect your SWF files in very reliable way. From now on nobody will be able to steal ActionScripts from your SWF file and will never be able to use them for their own purposes.
Did it happen to you to have created an amazing SWF file using all your skills and knowledge and then find out that somebody has reverse engineered your brainchild and uses it for their own purposes? We don’t think it is suitable, so DComSoft has developed the application that will help you preserve your Flash animations from unauthorized usage.

Welcome totally new DComSoft SWF Protector for Mac! With this tool it is so easy to protect your SWF file ActionScripts in such a way that nobody will be able to restore them, because SWF Protector for Mac makes source code of SWF file completely inaccessible for SWF decompilers.

Versatile settings allow you to customize your protection in different ways.

DComSoft SWF Protector for Mac offers its users two protection modes: simple and advanced. Simple mode allows processing many SWF files at a time and SWF Protector chooses the protection mechanism based on peculiarities of the files. In Advanced mode one can process one file at a time, and the settings can be selected very specifically for each object.

Various protection algorithms of SWF Protector for Mac provide you with the most profound encryption of the scripts in your file.

SWF Protector Main Features:

  • Four reliable protection algorithms
  • Full support of AS 2.0 and AS 3.0
  • Two protection modes: Simple and Advanced
  • Choice of protection method and its intensity in Advanced mode
  • Batch files protection in Simple mode
  • Possibility to get full internal file information

Pricing and Availability:

  • Personal License: $39.95
  • Business License for One User: $59.95
  • Company License: $299.95

SWF Protector 2.0
Download SWF Protector
Purchase SWF Protector
Screenshot
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DCoM Soft, Inc. is a software development company with over ten years of experience in developing software solutions for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. We try to make our solutions dependable, fail-safe and easy to use.

JetBrains TeamCity 5.1.2 (June 9, 2010)

Posted: June 9, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Press Announcements
Greetings from JetBrains,

We are pleased to announce the availability of TeamCity 5.1.2!

TeamCity is a continuous integration server featuring quick setup and out of the box continuous unit testing, code quality analysis, and early reporting on build problems. TeamCity offers a gentle learning curve, so you can quickly improve your release management practices by gradually adopting its advanced features and capabilities.

This release brings many usability improvements, simplified build grid administration, as well increases overall TeamCity stability and performance.

Version 5.1 keeps in pace with .NET innovations, providing support for .NET 4.0, Visual Studio 2010 and TFS 2010, as well as numerous other .NET goodies. TeamCity 5.1.2 adds many bugfixes and stability improvements.

Last but not least, JFrog and JetBrains are excited to announce the immediate availability of the new Artifactory Plugin for TeamCity. JFrog and JetBrains development teams joined efforts to provide Maven users with seamless integration between Artifactory and TeamCity, which allows TeamCity users to manage fully traceable and reproducible build artifacts. Read more about JFrog Artifactory repository manager at http://www.jfrog.org/products.php?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=teamcity512.

You will find more information about new features and fixes of TeamCity 5.1.2 release at:
http://www.jetbrains.com/teamcity/whatsnew/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=teamcity512

Complete product information about JetBrains TeamCity is available at
http://www.jetbrains.com/teamcity/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=teamcity512

TeamCity 5.1 Professional is available for FREE for all small- and middle-sized development teams. TeamCity 5.1 Enterprise is available for a 60-day free trial. You can download TeamCity now at http://www.jetbrains.com/teamcity/download/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=teamcity512

Basilisk Games Announces the Availability of Eschalon: Book II for Macintosh and Linux

Indianapolis, IN – May 26, 2010 – Basilisk Games, Inc. today announced that Eschalon: Book II for Macintosh and Linux based computers is now available.

“Macintosh and Linux users can finally return to the land of Eschalon once again” said Thomas Riegsecker, Lead Developer of the Eschalon series. “We are very pleased to be able to offer Book II on multiple platforms. Players only need one Registration Code to have access to all three versions. Once you purchase a Registration Code, the game is yours to play on any computer you own.”

Eschalon: Book II is available now for Windows, Macintosh and Linux based computers. A Registration Code capible of unlocking all three versions is available directly from the Basilisk Games website. Most major digital distribution services will be offering Eschalon: Book II in the next two weeks.

About Eschalon: Book II

Eschalon: Book II is the sequel to 2007’s hit independent role-playing game, Eschalon: Book I. Continue your journey across massive outdoor environments and deep into twisted dungeons as you seek to uncover the mystery of your past and who is behind the menace that threatens all of Eschalon. No experience with the first game is needed to enjoy this second chapter in the Eschalon trilogy. More information on the game and links to the demo and video trailer can be found online at: http://basiliskgames.com/eschalon_book_ii

About Basilisk Games

Founded in 2005, Basilisk Games is an independent game developer located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company’s mission is to produce compelling old-school computer role-playing games for gamers who still remember what great computer RPGs used to be about: “Single-player. Turn-based. Stat heavy. Story driven.” Visit Basilisk Games online at: http://basiliskgames.com

Contact Info
For press inquires and review copy requests, contact us at: info@basiliskgames.com

I thought you would like to know that Adobe today announced the immediate availability of the Photoshop Camera Raw 6.1 plug-in on Adobe.com. Originally posted on Adobe Labs for community testing, the final release of Camera Raw 6.1 brings new lens correction functionality and adds raw file support for 10 new popular camera models for Photoshop CS5 customers.

New lens correction features allow photographers to automatically apply profiles that correct for geometric distortions, chromatic aberration and lens vignette effects as well as manually make vertical and horizontal perspective transforms. Customized lens profiles can also be created with the newly released Lens Profile Creator, available now on Adobe Labs.

Newly Supported Camera Models
Canon EOS 550D (Digital Rebel T2i/ EOS Kiss X4 Digital); Kodak Z981; Leaf Aptus-II 8; Leaf Aptus-II 10R; Mamiya DM40; Olympus E-PL1; Olympus E-600; Panasonic G2; Panasonic G10; Sony A450

Availability
Photoshop Camera Raw 6.1 is available as a free download for Photoshop CS5, Photoshop Elements 8 (Win/Mac) and Premiere Elements 8 customers. For more information and to download the updates visit: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/. The Adobe Lens Profile Creator is available on Adobe Labs: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lensprofile_creator/.