Macworld UK's news editor Jonny Evans has sat down and assembled a short list of independently-developed software highlights for this week.
Taking Apple's lead to transform its digital hub vision into software that transforms iLife into "the Microsoft office for the rest of your life", developers continue to discover new ways to extend those applications.
Lemke Software however this week introduced GraphicConverter 5.0.1, the newest version of its seminal imaging utility – an essential for many Mac users. Built for Mac OS X GraphicConverter will open and save images in just about any graphics format and also delivers a series of image manipulation tools; it will also export images in a variety of file formats.
Additional features include support for Photoshop-compatible plug-ins, batch-conversion capabilities, a slide show window and more. Version 5.0.1 fixes a few bugs and adds new features, such as a browser search feature and the capacity to convert to CMYK. The application is free to try, $30 to buy.
Moving to video, T-Squared Software this week released an updated version of FootTrack (1.6), introducing new features. FootTrack is a Mac OS X application that lets users capture, catalogue and search through digital video assets. The developer describes it as "iPhoto for your digital video."
The software will compress footage so its users can keep video on their hard drive for viewing; it will catalogue that footage through an iPhoto/iMovie-like UI, and offers a search facility. It even hosts a Smart groups facility, which will assemble all footage taken in January, for example. A demo is available here, it costs $39.95.
GarageBand does not import MIDI files, so Dent du Midi arrived this week. It allows users to convert MIDI files into GarageBand files. It does this by taking standard MIDI files and generates separate files for each track which contains the MIDI note data. The generated files are suitable for dropping into GarageBand application for use as loops or entire tracks. While the developer warns it won't work with every MIDI file, the product widens the possibilities available to iLife 04 users.
Runtime Revolution - developers of the popular Runtime Revolution development environment – has released Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor 3, a new version of its touch type tuition application for Windows, Mac and Linux. It's aimed at first time typers as well as those hoping to extend their skills. This version offers a completely redesigned interface and is described as "everything you need to learn how to type." It costs $25.95, a demo is available here.
Inferiis software has released KeepAnEye, it's multipurpose monitoring and notification utility. It watches a variety of information sources, organizing these into stickies-like files which can be placed wherever you wish on the screen. It will monitor and display such information as: RSS feeds, eBay auctions, pictures, Web pages, software updates, disk usage, IP addresses. Each data source is handled by its own plug-in. A demo of the $12 utililty is available for download.
For 4D databases, 4D has released the 4D JDBC Driver, a free driver designed to provide a standard way for developers working with the Java programming language to access 4D databases. Developers can use the driver to exchange data between any Java-based application with JDBC connectivity and a 4D Server 2003 database.
If you are a Mac developer, OTAG Technologies has released beta software that may help you. Called MacPADEdit this is a Mac OS X application to create and edit Portable Application Description (PAD) files. This file format is defined by the Association of Shareware Professionals, and it allows software writers to provide product descriptions and specifications to online sources in a standard way, using a standard database format.