Evening tech news: Samsung is planning the European launch of a camera phone capable of taking pictures with a resolution of 2 million pixels; Time Warner says that it talks to Microsoft about some things but that a published report about a possible sale of America Online "is just not true;" Britain's National Archives posted more than 1 million wills, spanning five centuries, on the Internet; and PC Magazine says while the technology is still superior, cost-driven market forces will kill TiVo as OEMs develop cheaper alternatives.
Microsoft is among the potential buyers for Time Warner's America Online division: "Time Warner executives have held discussions in recent months with Microsoft about a potential sale of AOL, The New York Post has learned. In addition, Time Warner lawyers have begun analyzing any potential antitrust issues from such a deal, and to date their conclusion is that there would be few roadblocks to a Microsoft acquisition of AOL, according to sources familiar with the matter."
The Grateful Dead is finalizing a deal with Apple to make every live note they've ever recorded available for download, according to Rocky Mountain News: "'The band has recorded all of its live shows since the late '60s, at first 'just so we could listen back, see what it sounded like and make any changes.'...And compared to most music at iTunes, the Dead's jams are a bargain, he says with a laugh. 'At 99 cents a tune, it's a pretty decent price, because most of our tunes are pretty long.'"
Linux Journal says that PowerBooks are the gold standard among laptops and quotes Borland's CTO as saying "OS X is my favorite Linux distribution". The article says that "PowerBooks now are common as cameras in geek circles. For the past two years at O'Reilly's two big conferences, eTech and OSCon, PowerBooks have comprised about half the laptop population. At ApacheCon last Fall, they were in the majority. Witness this picture, taken at the hackathon that opened the show. There's no doubt that OS X PowerBooks are filling a gap left open by the lack of Linux laptops from major vendors. Most techies I know who use PowerBooks on the road have Linux servers at home."
MacNN readers report that iPhoto photo and album printing are now available to most European countries, although the service apparently requires iPhoto 4, part of iLife '04, and is not supported by iPhoto 2. At Macworld San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised European customers that this feature would be available by March and appologized for the delay in implementing it. Previously, only iPhoto users in the U.S., Canada, and Japan could use the printing features.
Pangea Software today released Otto Mattic 2.0 and announced that Bugdom 2 2.0 will be available in a week or two. Both 2.0 releases add support for 3D anaglyph glasses, based on the code from Nanosaur II. The 3D red-cyan 3D glasses ship with copies of Nanosaur 2 or can be purchased separately for $5.00 from the manufacturer. Additionally, Pangea Software announced that it has started shipping the CD version of Nanosaur II, which sells for $35. The game can also be downloaded for $25.
PodWorks 2.8 ($8) is the latest version of the application for transferring songs from an iPod to a Mac. Version 2.8 adds star rating and composer columns, improved type-ahead search performance, several bug fixes, and more. VirtualKeyboard X 2.2 ($12) is an on-screen keyboard that offers point-and-click typing using pointing devices. The software is designed primarily for disabled person but it can be used also to teach children to write, to prepare kiosk environments, and more. Version 2.2 adds the ability to make the keyboard transparent, make it disappear when not in use, and other features. PhotoReviewer 1.2 ($10) is a photo and image management utility designed for people who work with a lot of photos. The software allows users to quickly scan through a folder of photos and decide whether to keep or remove a particular photo. Version 1.2 adds support for fast display of raw images from digital cameras, a revamped preferences window, and more. PhotoShow 1.6.0 ($15) adds a new export feature to the digital photo album software. The export feature allows slide shows to be deployed as linked HTML files for Web publishing.
E-on Software has started shipping Mover 5, a new version of its software for importing Curious Labs Poser content into the company's Vue d'Esprit 4 and Vue 4 Professional 3D software. Mover 5 allows for the inclusion of fully animated digital characters, enhanced, new motion effects, and network rendering; it also includes over $200 worth of Poser models from Daz Productions, Dedicated Digital, and Trilium36. Mover 5 is available now for $100 and requires Poser 4 or 5. Owners of Mover 4 can receive a free upgrade to version 5.
Logitech today announced the Notebook Optical Mouse Plus, a compact mouse designed for travellers that features a retractable USB cable. The mouse also features two buttons and a scroll wheel and will go on sale in April for $30.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R