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EFF on DRM
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a report that look at some of the shortcomings of digital rights management (DRM) schemes, which are used to sell music online by companies such as Apple. According to the advocacy group, online stores like iTunes actually give music buyers less for their money than traditional CDs. For example, if music owners want to make more copies of an album (for personal) use than the DRM allows, they may have to turn to various "hacks." Unfortunately, "breaking the DRM or distributing the tools to break DRM may expose you to liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) even if you're not making any illegal uses." The article also points out that Apple reserves the right to change at any time what users can do with the music they purchase at the iTunes Music Store. In April 2004, Apple decided to "modify the DRM so people could burn the same playlist only 7 times, down from 10."
Softpress Freeway 4 Pro
Softpress today released a preview of version of Freeway 4 Pro, the flagship for the next generation of the company's website development tool. Freeway 4 Pro offers a website design environment along with powerful tools for the creation and assembly of Web content. Version 4 extends the CSS layout capability—with support for absolute, relative and fixed positioning as well as fully hierarchical page layouts. The tool also features support for fully compliant XHTML output—-both Strict and Transitional; Unicode support for multi-lingual sites; improved transparency/opacity handling; a wide range of new built-in graphical and type effects; and support for Apple's Spotlight technology. Freeway 4 Pro Preview is a fully functional trial expiring on the 16th of October, 2005; the full version will be available at the end of September for $280 ($250 download). Upgrades from Express will be $120, while other upgrades will be $190.
Forums roundup: A dissatisfied iMac owner shares his disappointment with the machine, following severe problems.... Speculation continues about the forthcoming Intel-based PowerBooks -- this time about possible enclosures.... Users discuss the age-old debate of shutting down a computer versus leaving it on when not in use.... A potential iBook owner looks for feedback from current users about the latest machines.... One member asks: do you miss Mac OS 9?... The latest Windows Vista discussion centers around Microsoft's new WinFS file system.
This week brought more details on the upcoming Motorola "Rokr" mobile phone with iTunes support, first with rumors and then with expectations of the debut September 7th. Despite some fear the phone will be a disappointment due to its presumed low storage capacity, Motorola reportedly completed shooting for a ROKR iTunes phone television ad yesterday starring Madonna, Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, Sum 41, Mya, Lil' Jon, The Pussycat Dolls, The White Stripes, and Billie Joe from Green Day.
Verizon music phones
Verizon Wireless will reportedly start selling three mobile phones capable of playing digital music next week. The phones from Motorola, UTStarcom, and LG Electronics will have detachable storage that allows users to download music from computers, according to the report from Reuters. The phones will work on Verizon's high-speed wireless network, but will not support wireless music downloading immediately, according to the report. The new LG 8100 and CDM 8940 from UTstarcom are set to debut, while the Motorola E815 (which is already available) is expected to gain added music playing and storage functionality.
European iTunes support
European mobile phone operators are aiming to provide iTunes music store support in the near future, with Germany's T-Mobile stating that it plans to sell a mobile phone by Motorola that can access iTunes in time for the holidays in Germany. O2 Plc also hopes to announce a deal to "sign up to software that powers the iconic iPod music jukebox" as soon as next week, according to the report from Reuters Canada. Apple will reportedly hold a news conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 7th, and Motorola has scheduled an event in New York for the same day.
Apple, \"Rokr\", FileMaker
This week Apple' CEO Steve Jobs seized the 26th spot on FastCompany Magazine's list of greatest business leaders of the 20th century, based on a survey of 7,000 executives by Harvard Business School. In light of recent video iPod rumors, one columnist at TheStreet.com predicts that the market isn't ready for the devices, and that Apple is wise to postpone the device, as it did with the iPod. On Monday, Apple released updated versions of its Safari Web browser for both Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) and Panther (10.3), improving website compatibility and application stability. Tuesday Apple started a new promotion enabling customers to "test drive" the Mac mini for 30 days with no risk, and cancelled the promotion less than 24 hours later for undisclosed reasons.
Artwizz HangPhones Shuffle
Artwizz today announced its HangPhones for the iPod shuffle, offering a solution to messy cabling problems by allowing the Shuffle to be worn around the neck. This eliminates long, hanging cables while providing stereo earphones which are integrated into the neck strap. The lanyard cords run alongside the Shuffle, while the bottom cap integrates with the earphone jack, and is contoured to fit snugly to the rounded corners of the Shuffle. The stereo earphones feature a 15mm driver unit, frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz and a sensitivity of 100db at 1KHz. Offered in black, white, and "silikon", HangPhones are available for £18.
Napster vs. iTunes
A BusinessWeek report looks at the evolution of Napster from a illegal peer-to-peer music service in 1999 to a legimate music service that aims to compete with industry leader iTunes. "Napster is back. And it's hungry for a bite of Apple. In little over a year, the music sharing application has resurfaced to become iTunes' closest contender for the music download crown. But there's a twist in this cat's tale. Napster was bought back to life-from a bankruptcy auction." After transforming itself into a subscription-based music service, the report concludes "the legitimate music download market seems to be a two horse race between iTunes and Napster, with Apple enjoying the greater lead by far."
Garage Band drums
Bandmateloops.com and Beta Monkey Music are offering a "straight-ahead collection of truly powerful hard rock rhythms for rock purists anywhere." Hardline Vol. 1 Drums features simple and effective “Hat” and “Ride” patterns designed for serious rock construction. The companies are also offering Rock-Out Drums, an "extremely versatile collection of acoustic groove rhythms that will Rock Out most any groove with style." Patterns feature simple “Hat” and “Ride” motifs for maximum flexibility. "Rock Out Drums serves as the ideal foundation for most cross-genre rock/pop, hip-hop and jazz applications." Each collection is $14.
All new iTrip
Griffin Technology announced today a fully redesigned version of its iTrip FM transmitter for the iPod.... In addition to Apple's support of Katrina victims via iTunes, Balooba Software is offering a free registration of one of its products (Safari Prairiefire, BubbleGym, Babylooba, and the Mirror Widget) with any $30 or more donation to the Red Cross, while Brainwave is donating 50% of all sales from pzizz 1.5/1.6, their revolutionary power napping software.... The Taiwanese company that manufacturers much of Apple's iPod supply said its revenue more than doubled in the first half of this year.... The creators of "Dora" -- a Mac mini-based autonomous car -- have invited the Mac community get a closer look at how it works on September 10th, at Herman Cook Volkswagen in So California.... MacJams.com has announced the availability of a fifth collection of free Apple loops, which contains over 20MB of professional quality sound loops for use with GarageBand, Logic, or any other Mac audio program.
Contour offers MiniPRO 2
Contour Design this week introduced the MiniPRO 2, the next evolution in travel mouse technology. Upgraded to an ultra-accurate 800 DPI, the MiniPRO 2's new optical sensor provides cursor control twice as precise as the original MiniPRO. Incorporating the revolutionary "Lift & Click" technology, just a small tilt of the mouse turns it instantly and effectively into a four button mouse. The lifting/tilt switches the mouse buttons' primary functions to their secondary settings. All four buttons of the MiniPRO 2 come optimized for use with Mac OS X's Expose and Dashboard and can be programmed by each user to suit their individual needs. The compact device ships with a protective Pack-N-Go case and also features a molded rubber coating for superior grip. It is available now for $33 (£17 in the UK and €25 in Europe).
New Griffin iTrip
Griffin Technology announced Friday redesigned version of its iTrip FM transmitter for the iPod. The new version adds a backlit LCD display, a dial to adjust broadcast frequency, and selectable LX or DX modes. According to the accessory maker, the DX mode delivers a noise level "below that of a cassette tape adapter, allowing the music to punch through cleanly." Additionally, the new device allows users to choose between "US" or "International" modes. International mode enables users to select all available frequencies, rather than the standard United States frequency set. A new auto-volume feature helps prevent distortion by adjusting the volume accordingly. The iTrip is immediately available for $50.
The Taiwanese company that manufacturers much of Apple's iPod supply said its revenue more than doubled in the first half of this year, according to Infoworld. Revenue rose to NT$47.9 billion (US$1.47 billion) during the six-month period ending June 30, from NT$22.3 billion during the same time last year. Inventec Appliances' net income rose to NT$1.4 billion (US$42.9 million) from NT$913 million. "About 80 percent to 90 percent of first-half sales were in contract manufacturing," said a company representative. The company's revenue increased largely thanks to growing iPod sales, said Frank Lee, an industry analyst at Deutsche Bank in Taipei.
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