Adobe Launches Director 11

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE)announced Adobe® Director® 11 software, a major upgrade to the company’s powerful multimedia authoring tool for building interactive applications and rich content. The latest release contains a flexible and easy-to-use authoring environment enabling multimedia authors, animators and developers to create powerful interactive applications, games, e-learning and simulation products.
With Director 11 or a combination of Director 11 and the Adobe Shockwave® Player, users can author once and publish content for the Web, CDs/DVDs and the desktop simultaneously. This robust environment complements Adobe’s ecosystem of creative products, enabling users to add Adobe Flash® SWF files to Director projects, play them in Director and Shockwave, and easily edit them with Adobe Flash CS3 Professional. In addition, Director 11 supports a wide variety of third-party add-ons creating the most extensible authoring environment possible. Director 11 also enables content creators to localize applications through Unicode, create new levels of lifelike motion in games and simulations with the Ageia™ PhysX™ physics engine, and deliver more engaging experiences with enhanced text and native 3D rendering.
“With the new Director 11, users can unleash their creative capabilities and broaden their market reach with less effort, producing more engaging multimedia applications in less time,” said Naresh Gupta, senior vice president, Print and Publishing at Adobe. “This milestone release provides a strong and flexible authoring environment that perfectly complements Adobe’s broad suite of authoring products, extending our customers’ creative reach to interactive 3D animations and games.”

Apple Announces New 2GB iPod shuffle For Just $69

Apple announced that its iPod® shuffle, the world’s most wearable music player, is now even more affordably priced at $49 and that it is introducing a new 2GB model of the iPod shuffle for $69. The popular iPod shuffle is just half a cubic inch in volume, weighs just half an ounce, features an aluminum design with a built-in clip and comes in five colors—silver, blue, green, purple and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition.
“At just $49, the iPod shuffle is the most affordable iPod ever,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “The new 2GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle.”
The 2GB iPod shuffle won’t be available till later this month!

Microsoft To Announce WorldWide Telescope On February 27

A source close to Microsoft says the company will launch new desktop software called WorldWide Telescope on February 27 at the TED Conference in Monterey, California. Our guess is that this is what Robert Scoble was talking about last week when he said he saw a new Microsoft project that brought him to tears.

The service will be accessed through a downloadable application – Windows only for now is what we hear. Users will be able to pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble telescope as well as ten or so earth bound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views, such as infrared and non-visible light.

Dan Farber posted his own educated guess that the project might be WorldWide Telescope, based on the fact that Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay were involved, and he’s right. Last year Fay gave a presentation called “”The WorldWide Telescope, bringing the Universe to a PC near you.” In 1993, Wong started a project called “John Dobson’s Universe,” a virtual sky tour on a CD-ROM, narrated by John Dobson. The two began working together at Microsoft in 2005.

From what we hear, WorldWide Telescope will be significantly better than Google Sky, which launched last August as part of Google Earth, and the open source Stellarium (which is hugely better than Google Sky already). The key is the user interface, which is seamless as you move around the sky and zoom in and out. Much of the Photosynth technology is said to have been used for the project. And the sheer amount of data Microsoft is accessing, said to be measured in the terabits, gives that great user interface something to show off.

Look for an announcement at TED, and more at Microsoft’s upcoming TechFest in early March.

iPhone firmware 1.1.4 imminent?

Faithful Macenstein reader max found something interesting on Tiny Code’s website, namely the first official mention of iPhone firmware 1.1.4:

Tiny Code no longer produces fixes or applications for firmware 1.1.3.
We can’t say much, but we are working with Apple and with their SDK for the next firmware release and SDK applications and we shouldn’t be missed for long. We will no longer update our Installer.app repo for legality reasons and you should see us soon on iTunes.

iphone_firmware_1_1_4

But what’s really interesting is they mention on the far left of their site “Now targeting fw 1.1.4 Alpha2“. Looks like the apps made with the new iPhone SDK will require yet another firmware revision to run, obviously giving the jailbreaking folks (who had some trouble with 1.1.3) more homework. One thing we’re a little worried about is we’re not sure that “1.1.4 Alpha 2″ sounds like it ready for primetime. With the rumored iPhone SDK kit allegedly being released in a week or two, we’d have thought any new firmware should be beta by now, but what do we know?. Odds are Apple has all 1000 of its code monkeys typing away at keyboards right now, so perhaps the development is progressing more rapidly than we know.

And if those code monkey are taking requests, by any chance, here’s hoping 1.1.4 adds support for the SDK AND copy/paste.
)

[UPDATE: Faithful Macenstein reader phelim alerts us that Tiny-Code is now down. Not sure what to make of that.]

What’s Microsoft Offering Open Source On February 27?

First Scoble writes about something so amazing from Microsoft it makes him cry and will be world changing. Then Long Zheng spots the above page via an email pitch linking to opensourcehero that redirects here.

What open source something will Microsoft forge on February 27 that will be world changing and make Scoble cry? I read Scoble’s post again (either I didn’t read it all the first time, or he has since added to it) and pulled out some more clues:

  • Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay both work on the Next Media team at Microsoft. The team does the following:

    Microsoft Next Media Research group focuses on exploring what new consumer media experiences are possible with the growth in computing power, connectivity and storage in a compelling, elegant and transparent way in the 3 to 10 year timeframe. The group envisions consumer information and entertainment experiences not available today and builds or combines technologies from other Microsoft Research groups and crafts intuitive user interfaces and compelling scenarios to deliver that experience. Rather than focus on old media or new media, the group attempts to develop working prototypes of the Next forms of media possible from new convergent technologies, hence the name.

  • Scoble said there isn’t a business model with what ever this is, supporting the tie in with the open source announcement the same day
  • Scoble again: “Could they have done this at a Silicon Valley startup? I doubt it. Venture Capitalists won’t see enough business value in what they are doing.” Which means it’s not a product that will sell, more likely an interface or way of doing something, and again, likely to be released open source
  • Scoble: “If I told you today what they were doing, without showing you the video we’ll have up on March 3, you’d tell me “that’s lame Scoble.” It’s 100% involved visually, and likely interface related.
  • Scoble: “Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, was the first to tell me about,” ActiveWords knows about it, and is an interface improvement provider.
  • Scoble: “In Wong and Fey’s work you’ll see techniques that lots of startups are using and, even, that the Google Map team is using,” got to be visual, possibly 3D.
  • commenter on Scoble’s blog:

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with what Robert is talking about, but its interesting to note Wong and Fay worked on this:

    The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) project is designed to be an extensible learning and exploration environment which integrates hyperlinked rich media narrative with a seamless multiple survey virtual sky to enable guided and unguided exploration of the universe.

In my earlier post on Scoble crying I guessed Silverlight or online Office. It might be something powered by Silverlight, but I’m now changing my predictions. It’s either an amazing online astronomy program, or it’s heavily interface related to I don’t know what. Guesses given where Fey and Curtis work: media management in images, audio and video.

Windows Vista Aero Is Old News, Introducing the Cairo Windows Shell Alternative

home Page screens

Cairo is a Windows Shell alternative designed to run on both Windows Vista and Windows XP. The project is currently in the pre-alpha stage, and scheduled to go public next week. At this point in time, Cairo is served only to the users that sign up in the Milestone 1 testing phase of the project. The brainchild of Michael Ciarlo, Cairo Designer/Developer, the Windows Shell alternative comes with the stated goal of redefining the desktop experience. In fact, the slogan that accompanies the Cairo brand is “welcome to the revolution.”
“Throughout the development process we will be releasing milestones, alphas, betas, and release candidates—milestones marking the furthest from completion and release candidate the closest. The UI in [the] image [toward the bottom] represents a Milestone 1 UI, meaning that we have begun taking all of our UI work and consolidating it towards a final interface. Like Microsoft or Apple, this UI may evolve substantially over the course of its development. The alpha available soon will be a Milestone 1 release, meaning it will mark the first leap towards getting Cairo out into the world. The UI milestones are not necessarily going to coincide with the release milestones,” said Cairo Team.

In the end, Cairo, from the perspective of an alternative Windows Shell, comes to the table as a new approach to offering a graphical user interface to Microsoft’s proprietary operating system. One thing that Cairo developers and designers need to keep focus on, in this context, is the balance between functionality, eye candy and resource consumption. By all means, this equilibrium is not achieved with Windows Aero. Cairo will feature a Start-Bar, Multi-Desktop capabilities, File Explorer, File and Application Grouping, Launcher, and Dynamic Desktop.
“With Cairo you can transform your desktop from the dated Windows user-interface to a brand new system that will change the way you use your computer forever. Taking advantage of proven functionality, and with stability and performance in mind, the Cairo Desktop system aims to give users a productive and easy to use shell that advances current technology standards. Welcome to the Revolution,” reads a message on the official Cairo website.

Yahoo Confirms Rejection Letter to Microsoft

YAHOO! BOARD OF DIRECTORS SAYS MICROSOFT’S PROPOSAL SUBSTANTIALLY UNDERVALUES YAHOO!

Sunnyvale, Calif., February 11, 2008 — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today said the Yahoo! Board of Directors has carefully reviewed Microsoft’s unsolicited proposal with Yahoo!’s management team and financial and legal advisors and has unanimously concluded that the proposal is not in the best interests of Yahoo! and our stockholders.

After careful evaluation, the Board believes that Microsoft’s proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo! including our global brand, large worldwide audience, significant recent investments in advertising platforms and future growth prospects, free cash flow and earnings potential, as well as our substantial unconsolidated investments. The Board of Directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options in the context of the rapidly evolving industry environment and we remain committed to pursuing initiatives that maximize value for all stockholders.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Lehman Brothers and Moelis & Company are acting as financial advisors to Yahoo!. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as legal advisor to Yahoo!, and Munger Tolles & Olson LLP is acting as counsel to the outside directors of Yahoo!.

Now it’s Microsoft’s move. Let the shareholder lobbying begin.