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It's gonna take some time for us to deal with some of the issues around the AOL brand. "The phone call" made me and my team crazy--as well as the public. It was horrible and it's something that no one wants to be associated with, but we are. From what I understand we take hundreds of thousands a calls a month and this is not the average experience. I'm not involved in the access business at all, so I can't really speak to the details to be honest.
AMD ThinkCentre A60
Intel's new Core 2 Duo chipsets aren't the only game in town, and while Dell still manages to be a notable holdout, Lenovo has been spreading a bit of AMD Athlon within their product line. Their new ThinkCentre A60 features those snazzy Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors in the high end, along with options for Athlon 64 and Sempron chips for the budget conscious. The systems are targeted at medium to large businesses, and carry all the necessary network niceties for managing, upgrading and accessing the workstations. The integrated nVidia GF 6100 graphics aren't anything special, but a PCI Express slot should ease your visual woes. Dual SATA HDD slots, DDR2 memory and six USB 2.0 ports are all available, and there are options to fill those slots accordingly. Lenovo should be shipping these soon, with base models starting at around $800
MMTrack offered for free
Realviz today announced that it has partnered with Autodesk to offer 3D Studio Max (3ds Max) and Maya users its MMTrack automatic 3D tracking plug-in software for free for a limited time. The plug-ins integrate with the workflows of 3D Studio Max and Maya users, according to Realviz, and combine new automatic tracking technology that enables users to access the product with one click. The offer, which will launch next week at the SIGGRAPH Convention in Boston, will run through August 1st, 2007. MMTrack enables integration of computer-generated elements into live action footage by computing the 3D motion of the camera or the scene from the footage itself, feeding it directly into 3D Studio Max or Maya.
French DRM bill redux
The French Constitutional Council has declared portions of the recently approved DRM law unconstitutional, diluting some of the controversial aspects of the bill. "Apple's lawyers might want to drink a glass of French Champagne today, but not a whole bottle," Dominique Ménard said, a partner at the Lovells law firm who specializes in intellectual property. "The Constitutional Council has highlighted fundamental protections for intellectual property in such a way as to put iTunes a little further from risk of the French law." The 12-page document references the 1789 Declaration on Human Rights, concluding that the new law violates the constitutional protections of property, according to the New York Times.
Apple clarifies iPod life
Apple today said that company spokeswoman Natalie Kerris was misquoted in a report on iPod lifespan published by the Chicago Tribune earlier this week. The report quoted Kerris as saying that Apple's iPod is designed to last "four years," but Kerris said she told the reporter that the iPod was designed to last "for years." The original report asked whether portable media players are built well enough to withstand everyday wear and tear, citing Apple's acknowledgement of various issues in the recent past. While some problems with iPods remain, the report notes that it is virtually impossible to determine how widespread they actually are due to Apple's retention of statistical information on the issues.
Merom laptops due in Aug.
During yesterday's launch of the next-generation Core 2 Duo processors, the company said that it expects its new Merom mobile chips in laptops by the end of August, despite an announcement that it has already begun shipping final silicon to its partners, as noted by AppleInsider. The new Core 2 Duo chips sport a larger 4MB L2 cache and boast 64-bit processing for improved performance, while boosting efficiency--they require the same power at similar clock-speeds to previous-generation chips. In addition, the Core 2 Duo is pin-compatible with current generation motherboards, allowing manufacturers to easily update and integrate the new chips into their systems. Conroe, the desktop variant of the new chips, has already been shown to work in Apple's current-generation systems, as hackers have been able to install early versions of the new Core 2 Duo chips in Apple's Mac mini.
PortalPlayer CEO to resign
Chip-supplier PortalPlayer has announced that company president, director and CEO Gary Johnson plans to resign by the end of the year to pursue pre-IPO opportunities. The company had supplied chips for Apple's iPod line in the past, deriving 90 percent of its sales from iPod production, but was notified by Apple earlier this year that the follow-on to its PP5021 media processor chip was not selected by the iPod-maker for use in its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods. One analyst in early May, however, said he believes PortalPlayer is still the favorite to win Apple's contract for at least some of the company's future iPod line. PortalPlayer said it has already begun searching for a replacement CEO. [updated]
iMac in Mercedes CLS
MacNN's Leftlane News has an interesting look at a customized Mercedes-Benz CLS with an integrated iMac personal computer. Created by car customizer Mattes Interieurtechnik, the car has a completely reupholstered interior, wither color-matched leather covering the iMac. The iMac's compact all-in-one design lends itself to such an installation, and a wireless mouse and keyboard mean there are no exposed wires to contend with.
Tascam audio devices
Tascam has launched two new USB 2-based Audio/MIDI interfaces. Designed with portability as a focal point, the US-122L and US-144 offer a bus powered solution for users on-the-go, featuring enclosures made from the same metal as Apple's MacBook Pro and Power Mac G5. "Musicians have been traveling with their Tascam PortaStudios for years, and these interfaces bring the PortaStudio philosophy into the laptop age," explained Johnny DeLeon, Computer Products Channel Manager for Tascam. The new input devices both feature two XLR mic inputs with phantom power, a single MIDI input, one MIDI output, zero-latency monitoring, and are pre-packaged with Cubase LE 48-track recording software as well as GigaStudio 3 LE 64-voice sampler. The US-144 offers advantages with a S/PDIF input and output with separate output levels/controls for headphones. The US-122L and US-144 are available for $200 and $270, respectively.
iRecordMusic 1.5 released
Bitcartel today released iRecordMusic 1.5, bringing real-time AAC encoding and native support for Intel Macs to the sound recording application as a Universal Binary. The update enables users to record audio in real-time to MP3 and AAC formats, but halts support for Mac OS X 10.2.8. Users can record internet music, as well as broadcasts in RealAudio, Windows Media, or QuickTime file formats as MP3, AAC, OGG, FLAC, 3GPP, or AIFF files for playback. The application supports scheduled recordings with iCal, fixes a bug related to the 3gpp encoder configuration window, and repairs an issue related to the recognition of different versions of LAME MP3 encoder. iRecordMusic 1.5 is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Review, Leopard contest
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Voltic Backpack, featuring solar panels for gathering energy and a laptop pouch for 13- to 15-inch notebooks.... iTunes is bigger than just music, and may just be the 'Trojan Horse' Apple needs to invade the home market from the living room out, according to one report.... After a two week contest challenging participants to produce fake screenshots of Mac OS X "Leopard" concluded, the winners were declared "better than the real thing" -- with a $1,000 prize pack going to the top contender.... Adobe has launched new eSeminars available via Adobe On Demand, offering courses that focus on helping designers learn tricks as well as design tips.... Early Bird pricing for the FlashForward conference and film festival ends today, with prices ranging from $50 to $1,200.
Mastering Live ships
MacProVideo.com has released Ableton Live 101: Mastering Live, a program spanning more than six hours with 159 separate tutorial videos. The real-time screen captures enable users to both see and hear how songs are constructed using Live. The program is designed and shot by UK technical author and Ableton educator Martin Delaney covering Live 5, and new customers are eligible for a free upgrade to Ableton Live 101: Mastering Live 6, which is currently in production. Ableton Live 101: Mastering Live is available via download for $36 or on a DVD for $40. MacProVideo.com has also released 55 minutes of free Logic Pro tutorials, as well as 45 minutes of free Final Cut tutorials for site members.
VirtualSafari 1.0 released
An avid Mac developer has released VirtualSafari 1.0, a Web-based front-end for Apple's WebKit HTML rendering engine. The software enables users to host a website which looks like the Safari Web browser, allowing visitors to load pages rendered with the WebKit engine as if they were using Safari on their own computer. The author has released the VirtualSafari source code and application under the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License, requiring Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later with WebKit.
Refurb Mac minis, iBooks
Apple is selling refurbished Mac mini 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo systems with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, built-in AirPort Extreme/Bluetooth 2.0 and an Apple Remote for $699 ($100 off). The company is offering refurbished Power Mac G5 systems which include the Dual 2.3GHz model with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,149 (a $350 discount); as well as the Quad 2.5GHz model with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,799 (a $500 savings). The company is also offering its 12-inch 1.33GHz G4 iBook with 512MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, and built-in AirPort Extreme/Bluetooth 2.0+EDR for $799 ($200 off); as well as its 14-inch 1.42GHz G4 iBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and built-in AirPort Extreme/Bluetooth 2.0+EDR for $999 (a $300 savings). All Apple Certified Refurbished products are pre-owned Apple products that undergo Apple's refurbishment process prior to going on sale, and include free shipping alongside Apple's one-year limited warranty.
Free Icons, KORE tour
In brief: MacNN has posted a review of App Zapper, a utility designed to help uninstall unwanted applications without the need to hunt down stray files manually.... After starring in the Apple Switch campaign, Ellen Feiss disappeared from the public eye; FLUX Radio has interviewed Feiss hoping to find out where she's been.... Icon Kits has released 20 new free "icons" as part of a set for use with blogs, forums, comments, and more.... Scripting Matters on August 9th and 10th will offer two free AppleScript seminars, both focusing on Adobe CS2 automation with AppleScript.... Native Instruments plans to put Native Lab: Kore on a three-city tour, in an effort to show off its power and uses as the first Universal sound platform.
Universal WMV player ships
Telestream has released an update to Flip4Mac WMV Player, allowing the software to run natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. WMV Player originally was introduced near the final days of Microsoft's Windows Media Player for Mac, successfully offerring integration of Windows Media (WM) formats into Apple's QuickTime Player. Since Microsoft cancelled support for Mac OS X, Flip4Mac has stepped into the scene as the sole provider of WMV-, WM-HD- and WM- embedded playback for Mac OS X users. Version 2.1 adds optimizations for both PowerPC and Intel Macs (improving speeds on PPCs by up to 6x), multi-language support in WMA player, overlay when importing WMV content when in trial mode, support to allow Web authors to disable "save as..." command in web plug-in, and improved support for live, MMS, and streamed content. QuickTime 6.5 or later running on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later is required. [Download - 5.8MB]
Runesoft's Cold War demo
Macgamefiles.com has posted a demo of Cold War, the Mac conversion created by German Mac and Linux game publisher RuneSoft: "Cold War follows the story of a freelance journalist who finds himself in the midst of an international conspiracy that aims to control the U.S.S.R. Twelve hours after arriving in Moscow for a routine story, he has been stripped of all possessions, beaten unconscious and thrown into the KGB's political prison. Using only recovered weapons and improvised gadgets, he must now evade or overcome elite Soviet forces and defeat the conspiracy before he is sent to a Siberian prison camp or killed." Due to the size of the demo (445MB), it is only available as a bittorrent link. The game requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a G4/G5- or Intel-based Mac running at 1.6GHz or faster. (The demo is not a Universal Binary, but will run under Apple's Rosetta emulation environment.)
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