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In Brief: EVDO cards for high-speed direct internet access for MacBook Pros are coming, as one site is reporting that Verizon will launch and begin taking orders for the the Novatel V640 ExpressCard on Thursday, August 3, 2006.... One tutorial shows how to run a G4-based Mac mini using Li-ion/polymer batteries for just under two hours.... Following reports of the high-profile Coke-Tunes partnership, the companies have officially launched their new website, promoting a launch date of "09.08.06".... CNET has posted a video of the MacBook wireless driver hack in which two security researchers show that they can break into a laptop by exploiting a vulnerability in Wi-Fi drivers.... The Iconfactory is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the launch of all-new versions of Iconfactory.com and Stockicons.com, which are now hosted on Apple's xServe platform.
Google has released Picasa Web Albums Uploaders beta for Mac OS X, designed to ease the process of sharing photos with friends and family. The update comes with two tools for uploading photos which include a plug-in for uploading pictures within iPhoto and a standalone application to upload photos via drag-and-drop on the desktop. The software offers one-click Web upload directly from Picasa while supporting scroll, rotation, and zoom functionality.
MOTU today announced that Digital Performer 5.1 is available as a free update to all registered DP5 users, offering native support for Power PC and Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The update to the digital audio workstation software also offers numerous code enhancements and optimizations for both Mac platforms. Digital Performer allows users to organize track lists, and show or hide tracks. The software monitors all inputs, outputs, and busses with long-throw meters. Digital Performer 5 added four audio editing tools, automatic audio voice allocation, new film scoring features, custom click patterns, new input monitoring modes, MIDI keys, support for Pro Tools 7, and more. Digital Performer is priced at $800 (system requirements were unavailable).
Lego Group today released its Lego Mindstorms NXT with support for Mac OS X, a robotics toolset offering hobbyists the ability to build and program robots. The heart of the system is the NXT brick, a programmable, autonomous 32-bit LEGO microprocessor (shown at right). Users can download programs to inventions using Bluetooth or USB 2.0, and can optionally control robots using wireless devices such as PDAs or cell phones. The Lego Mindstorms NXT kit includes the NXT brick; three interactive servo motors with inbuilt rotation sensors; an ultrasonic sensor allowing robots to respond to movement; a sound sensor that enables robots to react to sound commands, including tone recognition; an improved light sensor that detects different colors as well as intensity; an enhanced touch sensor that reacts to touch or release; and 571 hand-selected, stylized elements from the Lego Technic building system. The Lego Mindstorms NXT is priced at $250, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Seiko Instruments today unveiled the SLP 440, a Smart Label Printer (SLP) with a small footprint offering simple setup with 300dpi thermal printing capability. The device supports 2D barcoding, enhanced networking, and graphics. The SmartCapture feature automatically recognizes information from specific Mac and PC applications, inserting it directly into the SLP software. Users can highlight and "grab" text from standard desktop computing applications, such as ACT, Goldmine, Word, and Outlook for easy output on a label via SmartCapture. The SLP 440 also includes new software that runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The SLP 440 is expected to ship this month for $160, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
A new study suggests that two-thirds of all adult car owners who own a digital audio player -- such as Apple's iPod -- also use the device in their car. Additionally, 14 percent of all adult car owners are looking for some kind of digital audio player integration in their next car purchase, and would vastly prefer stereos with direct interfaces to commonly used cassette adapters and FM tuners, according to electronista. The study by Harris Interactive concludes that car and stereo manufacturers need to focus on better integration to make buyers truly happy.
In brief: One blogger has reviewed Apple's Bluetooth Mighty Mouse, and suggests consumers head to their nearest Apple Store to investigate the device for themselves.... One avid Mac user claims to have received an engineering sample of a 2.16GHz Merom T7400 processor, which he apparently transplanted into a 20-inch iMac to realize 45 percent speed increase, according to one benchmark test.... iStrap.co.uk has launched the iStrap (£3), allowing consumers to use the Nike+iPod kit with any running shoe.... California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gifted Prime Minister Tony Blair with a black 60GB video iPod, pre-loaded with songs about California with a black leather case.... Miglia Technology has reduced the price of its HarmonyAudio sound recorder, offering the device for $150.
According to Nintendo, some DS Lites - 0.02 percent by their estimation - have developed cracks in the plastic on the left-hand side of the hinge, by the power connector. GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that Lite owners in both Europe and North America can contact Nintendo for free repair if they discover such damage, since their systems should still be under the one-year warranty. This is not the first time that the DS has had technical problems, since some units in the original shipment suffered from dead pixels. Buyers were able to get free replacement units in that case.
iWin has released Jewel Quest for Mac, a casual game challenging players to explore ancient ruins of the Mayan civilization while discovering hidden treasures and priceless artifacts. The game plays as a classic-style matching game, as players rearrange valuable relics to turn sand tiles into gold. Increasingly difficult puzzles contain secret twists, cursed items, and buried artifacts as players venture deeper into the jungle. Jewel Quest for Mac includes 180 puzzles, as well as special hints to help in the battle against time. Jewel Quest is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Monster House's recent debut showed that the popularity of 3D movies has survived well past the days of B-movies at the drive-in. On average, screens showing a special 3D version of the movie took in twice as much income as those showing the regular print. Convincing movie theater owners to equip their screens for 3D has been difficult, however. Common 3D projection systems either need silver screens (such as those for Monster House) or battery-powered glasses to boost the amount of light visible to the audience - and either solution can be prohibitively expensive. Dolby Labs has announced a potential cure: in working with the technology of German company Infitec, the company is developing a 3D projection design that can use standard white screens and cheap polarized glasses to produce the right effect. We may be wearing silly glasses for movies after Spring 2007, when Dolby expects the technique will be ready for widespread use.
With the Fall college semester imminent, a lot of students are learning about what they shouldn't do while on campus, such as drugs or plagiarism. But there's something new to the litany of warnings this year: social networking sites. The immense popularity of sites such as Facebook and MySpace has many institutions educating students about the inherent dangers of posting unrestricted photos and writings on public sites. Many students aren't aware of how easily others can find this info, and the consequences can include anything from school discipline to online stalkers. Readers of this site will likely know better already, but the advice is simple: don't post content in public that someone could abuse at your own expense.
This may be a sad day for long-time PC gamers, because Ziff Davis has officially announced the closure of print magazine Computer Gaming World. The magazine had been around in one form or another since 1981, and in that time borne witness to incredible changes in the industry, from the rise of the IBM PC to the explosion of the Internet. The latter is probably partly responsible for CGW's demise - with access to free news and review sites, many print magazines have become redundant. The other reason is that Microsoft has entered into an agreement with Ziff Davis, which will now publish a Games for Windows magazine staffed by many of the same people who worked at CGW. GfW will begin publishing in the fall.
Digidesign today began shipping Pro Tools HD 7.2, offering an enhanced feature set that includes a comprehensive automation package and extended video capabilities. Pro Tools HD 7.2 features new workflows with multi-channel field recorders, built-in dubber/stem recorder functionality, and the new SignalTools DigiRack metering plug-ins. Pro Tools HD 7.2 is an essential upgrade for Pro Tools|HD and ICON users working in music or post, according to Digidesign. Upgrades are priced at $200.
Techspansion has released VisualHub 1.1, an update to the universal video conversion application that offers conversion directly from VIDEO_TS folders, as well as new MPEG output formats. The latest version also supports using TiVoDesktop for Mac to transfer videos to a TiVo. VisualHub allows users to convert nearly all formats of video to formats for playback on iPods, PSPs, DV camcorders, and DVDs. Based on the iSquint interface, VisualHub offers drag-and-drop conversion to nine different video formats including MPEG, MP4, WMV, and Flash video. Users can burn up to 18 hours of video on a single DVD, which is playable in standalone DVD players. VisualHub offers Xgrid support, and is priced at $24.
Avid Technology today announced that it has acquired Sibelius for approximately $23 million in cash. The London-based Sibelius is a leading music applications software company with products for professionals, educators, and students who want to use computers to write, teach or learn music. The agreement expands Avid's portfolio of digital content creation tools with leading software for music notation and composition, coursework, testing, playback, publishing, authoring, and e-commerce. The company sais that Sibelius will function as unit of its Digidesign audio division and that it will continue to develop and market its own line of software, including exclusive and targeted product offerings that combine a range of tools, including Sibelius software, Digidesign Pro Tools Academic software, and M-Audio keyboards, microphones, and other audio peripherals.
The FCC is known for unintentionally providing technology fans with advance information on new hardware, and today is no exception. The latest device to receive this treatment is the Samsung A720, an upcoming music phone for Sprint. By far he most conspicuous element of this phone is its set of dedicated music controls on the outside, which will let owners select and play music without having to open the phone at all. Other features (as indicated by the early manual also made public) include Bluetooth and PictBridge photo printing. See larger shots of the open and closed phone after the jump.
Rockstar UK is claiming that Bully, their oft-delayed game of reform-school survival, will be out by Christmas of this year. It was originally scheduled to ship in October 2005. In their conversation with SPOnG, they also revealed that the Xbox port has been dropped, and that the title will appear for the PS2 alone. Bully has been the centre of controversy since it was announced. Groups as diverse as politicians, the British press and Bullying Online have attacked it, seeing it as an invitation to school violence. This is despite a lack of playable content so far.
Logitec has unveiled its LBD-A2FU2/LBD-A2U2 drives, the first Blu-ray disk drives to support Mac OS X. The new drives can play, read, and record single-layer (25GB) or double-layer (50GB) Blu-ray disks; read, play, record, and re-write DVD+R/-R/+RW at 8X, DVD-RW at 6X, DVD+R/-R DL at 4X, and DVD-RAM at 5X speeds; and can play as well as burn CD-Rs at 24X or CD-RWs at 16X. The devices feature an 8MB buffer that allows burning without interruption, with the LBD-A2FU2 offering both USB 2.0 as well as FireWire connectivity. The LBD-A2U2, conversely, only offers USB 2.0 connectivity. The A2U2 and A2FU2 are priced at $1,100 and $1,200, respectively. [corrected]
XM radio might be popular, but there's no question that the company needs more revenue to stay competitive. The satellite radio company has been bleeding money ever since its inception, and few media outlets enjoy surviving solely on the peaks and valleys of a subscriber base. This is made all the more complicated by the troubles with advertising on satellite radio: while ads aren't unheard of, listeners subscribe precisely to avoid the ad-heavy universe of FM networks. Enter today's deal between XM and Google: the latter will let AdWords customers produce radio ads that can be automatically inserted into news and talk channels on the XM network. The deal will let XM get fresh ads cheaply and easily, which in turn should help the company turn a profit sooner. Whether you prefer Sirius or XM, there's little doubt that keeping choices open for satellite radio is beneficial for all of us.
Like SNK perhaps, Atari CEO Bruno Bonnell says he's leery about jumping into the PS3 waters. "It's just that we're lacking information about the PS3 at this stage, because we have basically a rough release date and a high retail price point." The company will support Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft "fairly equally" he says, but there will be no PS3 games from Atari before 2007. Interestingly, the company is accelerating development for the Wii because the technology is "so close to the GameCube" that teams can switch to the platform with ease.
Two hackers today are planning to take complete control of a MacBook at a Black Hat presentation. Jon "Johnny Cache" Ellch and David Maynor have targeted a specific security flaw in the MacBook's wireless device driver, according to a one blogger, and while the security flaw is not Mac-specific, Maynor said the hackers decided to demonstrate the exploit on a Mac due to a "Mac user base aura of smugness on security." "We're not picking specifically on Macs here, but if you watch those 'Get a Mac' commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something," Maynor said. "The main problem here is that device drivers are a funny mix of stuff put together by hardware and software developers, and these guys are often under the gun to produce the code that will power products that the manufacturer is often in a hurry to get to market."
"We’re looking at all the platforms for Spore, because we’re thinking about Spore as a franchise, not as a PC game," Will Wright has said in a recent interview. "It will probably take very different forms depending on the platforms." He muses that while the Wii's remote could allow "creative opportunities for the editors," the game will have to be sharply altered if it appears on systems like the 360 or the DS. "We might even pull out parts of the game – so you might be playing part of the game on a handheld platform, you might be playing the entire game but maybe more avatar-based on a console."
Kingston has long been known for its memory card and RAM products, but today the company decided to follow SanDisk and other memory manufacturers by offering its own line of digital audio players. Called the K-PEX, it's a flash-based player with either 1GB or 2GB of memory with the option of adding more storage thorough a miniSD card slot. The features are fairly common for the current wave of flash players, including video, though the K-PEX distinguishes itself by providing OGG audio support and a relatively large 2-inch screen. The one apparent caveat to the player is its video format support. All video must be transcoded to the MPX format before it can be copied over. Even so, at $129 for 1GB and $179 for 2GB, it's a reasonably competitive first entry into the market.
The creators of MacNN and Leftlane News are proud to announce the launch of two new websites today. The first -- Electronista -- tracks the latest and greatest news in technology, including cameras, cell phones, computer hardware and software, digital audio players, and HDTV. The site also tracks the tech industry, and the events and personalities that shape it. The second -- Gamer Scan -- is a gaming news website for those who embrace computer and console gaming not only as a hobby, but also a way of life. Both sites will be continually updated throughout the day with the latest news in each respective industry -- as it happens. In addition, Leftlane News has a new look to match MacNN and the new sister sites. In the coming days, MacNN will also inherit a new "wide" format option (see toolbox), improved search, better comment integration with our forums, and more features. If there is something you want to see, please feel free to contact us.
The primary advantage of iPods and other digital audio players is choice: carrying hours of music with you means that you can escape the monotony of FM radio or play exactly what you want to hear during a road trip. A recent study by Harris Interactive Reports shows that many of us recognize that choice. According to Harris, two-thirds of all adult car owners who also own a DAP also use the device in their car. Moreover, 14% of all adult car owners are looking for some kind of DAP integration in their next car and would vastly prefer stereos with direct interfaces to what they typically use now, such as cassette adapters and FM tuners. Harris reaches the conclusion that car and stereo manufacturers need to focus on better integration before buyers will truly be happy.
Kingston Technology today entered the personal media player market as it unveiled the K-PEX 100 personal media player that offers support for audio, video, photo viewing, multi-region FM radio, and video games. The new players stand to compete with Apple's video-capable fifth-generation iPod, which also plays audio and video but cannot play video games or FM radio. The new Kingston player features 1GB and 2GB capacities with a miniSD slot for easy transfer of video, music, and photos from digital cameras and other peripherals. The device ships with a USB 2.0 cable, USB host cable, line-in cable, earphones, a transcoder software CD, a protective cover, a lanyard, a user manual, and a quick-start guide for $130 (1GB) or $180 (2GB).
AOL is clearly in the middle of a massive transition forced upon it by the explosion of Internet content that rendered its old business model obsolete. It lost almost a million users of its Internet provider service in Spring of this year, while at the same time its ad revenue spiked by a full 40%. It should be no surprise, then, that the company no longer sees the need to limit a lot of its services to paying subscribers. As of Wednesday, AOL.com e-mail addresses are already free, while a large number of its other services will be made free by September. Of particular interest is its planned Internet phone service: site users will be able to get a free local phone number with unlimited incoming calls.
Rambus' reputation a few years ago was less than stellar. At the start of the 2000s, virtually anyone who bought an Intel-based computer had to use Rambus' RDRAM memory due to an agreement, even when it became clear that RDRAM was holding Intel's performance back: tests of then-new DDR memory showed that it was much faster. AMD's Athlon quickly gained the upper-hand for performance-minded users. It turns out that lower game performance wasn't Rambus' only fault. Today, the Federal Trade Commission found that Rambus was guilty of antitrust violations during that period. Essentially, Rambus maintained a deceptive facade: while it helped set common standards for RAM through JEDEC (an organization for electronic device makers), it was secretly establishing patents based on some of these standards - patents which the company in turn used to sue others for infringement. No punishment was determined in the initial ruling.
Apago has unveiled PDF Appraiser, the first application of its kind to support both validation and automatic correction of documents in accordance with PDF/A, the new international standard for long-term archiving of digital documents, according to the company. "PDF/A is the much-anticipated standard for long-term archiving of digital documents, and it is expected to become the preferred archival method for governments and industry segments, including corporations, legal, libraries, regulated industries, and others," said Apago. When a file fails verification, PDF Appraiser generates a report outlining which problems must be corrected. Auto-Fixer, an automatic repair feature, enables the application to quickly fix most problems to produce a document that is compliant with PDF/A. Server and API versions of PDF Appraiser are expected in Q3 of 2006 for Mac OS X (pricing was unavailable).
From today through to August 7th, Tripwire Interactive's Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 is free to play for those downloading it from Valve's Steam service. The game is a team-based FPS set on the Eastern Front of World War II, where the Third Reich squared off with the Soviet Union. Aside from a unique setting, Red Orchestra's gameplay is distinguished by an increased focus on realism, with features like projectile drop, stamina effects, and one-shot kills. Load up Steam or visit the Steam Website to get started.
Altec Lansing today introduced the M602 (site not updated), its new high-end home speaker system for use with Apple's iPod. The M602 is "Made for iPod" certified, and features a universal MP3 cradle that creates a stage-like docking system to accommodate multiple brands of players. The accessory is roughly the size of a laptop, and features composite video output that allows users to watch iPod videos on a connected TV. A control panel supports easy adjustment of treble and bass, while LED indicator lights behind the grille provide instant visual feedback of these levels coupled with master volume. The device ships with a wireless remote that offers play/pause and forward/backward capability. The M602 is priced at $200, and works with any universal dock-compatible iPod. Altec Lansing is also offering a free wall mount kit via its website.
You may recall earlier news about the Burton Audex jacket, which was a collaboration between Motorola and Burton that let skiers and snowboarders listen to music or take phone calls through a Bluetooth wireless link between your phone and speakers built into the hood. Today, the two companies partnered up with R.E.D. to expand the Audex lineup with a beanie hat and helmet, both of which have Bluetooth and stereo speakers built-in so you can tune in without cables (or spending more money on the jacket). Instead of buttons on a sleeve, you use rotary controls on the side of the headwear to managel your music or phone calls. Though the official prices aren't listed on the product page, you can find the padded hat for $126 (normally $180) and the helmet for $150 (normally $250).
This story has a lesson: if you're going to plagiarize someone else's intellectual property, do it with subtlety. A Singapore company called Ozura Mobile has produced a cellphone game called Lava Kroft, starring a protagonist who is remarkably similar to Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. Not only do they share similar names, but the Ozura Website describes Lava as a "new age woman with exceptional thirst for adventure" that "has discovered some of the most intriguing and mystical treasures in the world." Even details of the characters' histories are the same: "After the death of her father, she [Lava] inherited his estates and turned to a life of treasure hunting." According to GamesIndustry.biz, Eidos is contemplating legal action against Ozura for breach of copyright. Whether or not a lawsuit will be filed remains to be seen.
Apple is selling refurbished 13.3-inch MacBooks which include the White 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a Combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW, and a built-in iSight camera for $949, a 14 percent discount; the White 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,099, a 16 percent savings; and the Black 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,299, 14 percent off. Apple is also selling its 20-inch iMac G5 2.0GHz with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a 56K internal modem for $1,249, 31 percent off the list price; as well as its 17-inch 1.42GHz eMac with 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and an 8X double-layer SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW for $799, a 21 percent discount. All refurbished Apple products come with free shipping and a standard one-year warranty, which is extendable up to three years through the AppleCare plan.
Battlefront has released an update to DropTeam, its real-time tactical strategy game that takes place in humanity's distant future. The update adds a new unit, infantry, and new squad types to accommodate the new soldier. The game features a combat system that allows users to deploy and manage highly scalable battles on varying planets. Game developers attempt to remove the "simplifications" found in many other sci-fi games such as "hit points," short range weapons, and a limited field of view. Last month a multiplayer demo was released and is still available for download, while the full version is available now for $35. DropTeam requires a Geforce4 or Radeon 9600 graphics card or better with 64MB of video memory and Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later.
SNK Playmore's Overseas Marketing Manager, Yoshihito Koyama, says that the Playstation 3 is too expensive and will have too few units at launch to make it worth the company's time. In his interview with Kotaku, Koyama further proposes that "We [SNK] need to wait three or four years. Maybe 2009-2010 is a good time to release a game for the PS3." For the time being, he says, it's safer to stick with the Playstation 2. In the meantime, a Metal Slug compilation is intended to be one of the launch titles for the Wii.
Many homes now have three or four digital cameras, says Sony. To that end, the company is positioning its new DSC-T10 as a "fashion accessory." It certainly looks the part: in addition to the thin and minimalist shape, you'll be able to buy the T10 in black, white, pink, or silver. There's also substance beyond the surface, as the T10 has the features of a high-end point-and-shoot. While the 7 MP sensor and 3X optical zoom aren't unique features these days, the T10 does have the advantage of image stabilization and a relatively high ISO 1000 rating, both of which will help for low-light and otherwise bad shot conditions. Pre-orders start on the 4th, and you can pick one up later this month for $400. Check out the full photo after the jump.
Following Electronic Arts' claim that Wii games would sell for an average of $50, GamesIndustry.biz confirms that Nintendo's first-party Wii games will be priced at that level, though third-party publishers will be free to price titles higher or lower. This will put the cost of many Wii games at a minimum of $10 less than games on the 360. Combined with the lower projected cost of the actual Wii console ($250 US), Nintendo may be able to draw a number of users based simply on money saved.
Q101 has partnered with Apple's iTunes, offering free tracks to people on the streets of Chicago sporting iPod digital media players. Q101 will be dispatching "iTunes spotters" throughout the city who will give away iTunes gift cards featuring more than 20 Lollapalooza bands. "If you're spotted around town with your white earbuds and your iPod, you'll get free a Lollapalooza music card from Q101 and iTunes." iTunes will also feature exclusive live recordings from this year's Lollapalooza artists, according to Q101. Lollapalooza is a music festival featuring alternative rock, rap, and punk bands coupled with dance and comedy performances.
Not content with the previously announced Zen V and V Plus digital audio players, Creative announced on Wednesday the Zen Neeon 2 line. The Neeon 2 comes in what are now fairly commonplace models for flash-based players: 1,2, and 4 GB capacities are available in as many as five colors for the 1 and 2 GB versions (though colors only apply to the backplate). FM radio and recording are also present. The main distinguishing feature is its video playback: while the V Plus can already play video, Creative boasts of 8 hours of AVI video playback on the Neeon 2 (albeit on a 1.5" screen). The North American release date and pricing hasn't been set, but Singapore pricing translates to US prices of $125, $170, and $195 for the 1, 2, and 4GB models respectively. See the full product shot after the jump.
As if the Saints Row demo weren't enough, Microsoft has put Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting up on Xbox Live. Players can try a feature-limited demo at the Arcade or splurge for the whole game at the Marketplace. While the full version has all the features of past ports of the game (Arcade Mode, Vs. Mode, etc.), the real attraction is the online multiplayer mode, which through Xbox Live will finally let players find opponents day or night. A special feature of Live play is the Quarter Match - two spectators can watch two players and jump in the moment one of them leaves.
Paradigma Software has released Valentina 2.4, including Valentina Office Server for Mac OS X Universal Binary edition and updated Universal versions of its developer tools for Mac OS X and Windows. Valentina 2's next generation, object-relational database model builds on the traditional relational database model to excel "at ultra-fast management of millions of records." Valentina 2 Application Developer Kits provide software developers with a robust Valentina 2 database engine for royalty-free incorporation into their desktop applications. Valentina technology includes support for Valentina XML import/export, Valentina SQL (SQL 92 + extensions), native Unicode UTF-16 support, simultaneous data exchange, transparent file formats, and more. Version 2.4 features a new database format, Universal support, new Adobe Director example projects, performance improvements, and a new packet-based protocol that allows better separation of commands, data-compression and more.
Apple today announced that it has sold over 200 million songs from its European iTunes Music Stores in just over two years, and the iTunes music catalog now includes more than three million songs from major music companies and over 1,000 independent record labels. Launched in the UK, France and Germany in June 2004, the iTunes Music Store now operates in 17 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Apple notes that all of its localized iTunes Music Stores offer the "same innovative features, breakthrough pricing and seamless integration with iPod that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world."
For proof that the game industry is in the big leagues, look no further than EA, which posted a 13 percent increase in net revenues this quarter over the same quarter last year, for a total of $413 million. Gross profits were up 14 percent to $245 million. They won't get to keep it all however, because net losses also increased to $81 million, and trailing twelve-month operating cash flow went down to $589 million from $669 million. In the same report, EA CEO Larry Probst promises greater support for Nintendo formats and a healthy launch lineup for Sony's PS3, which is expected to ship this Fall.
While Sony has been boasting about its HDV cameras and generally leading the charge with increasingly more affordable gear, the company has had a dirty secret: all their mainstream cameras record at 1440x1080, not the 1920x1080 you need for widescreen 1080i or 1080p. What good is your monster 60" TV when your camera's sharpest resolution uses a 4:3 ratio? Canon believes it has the cure, as today it announced the iVIS HV100, which uses the DIGIC DV II processor from the XL H1 pro camera to achieve its full HD resolution. It uses a 1/2.7 CMOS capable of 2.96 megapixels. Though the announcement is for Japan, the announced price of about 1000 Euros ($1278 US) suggests that it's only a matter of time before North Americans are boring their families to tears with vacation footage in HD quality.
WiebeTech has released a new version of its ToughTech drive enclosures. The updated ToughTech series features the new ToughTech XE, which is now available with four ports -- eSATA, dual FireWire 800/400, and USB 2.0. The updates drives feature the new Oxford 924 bridge (replacing the Oxford 922) for improved data speed. The metal enclosure features a anti-shock system for the 3.5-inch hard drives connected via either SATA-1 or SATA-2. The ToughTech XE is compatible wit any Mac or PC using and is available now for $120; it also can be purchased with a bundled 250GB ($255), 500GB ($460), or 750GB ($800) hard drive.
Toon Boom Animation today announced Toon Boom Studio V3.5, an update to its 2D animation software. Version 3.5 features significant improvements to animation techniques, special effects creation and color palette management as well as a more user-friendly interface with a welcome screen and help wizards and timeline improvements. Users can now use animated elements to quickly animate drawings and utilize real-time Drop Shadow effect to create rich-looking animation. The software also features Improved tools such as Select Scene Operator, Contour Editor, Color Transform as well as Texture and Gradient Mapping to facilitate the animation process. In addition, it features improved interoperability with other software with PDF export and a simplified User Interface. Toon Boom Studio V3.5 is available at the pre-launch special of $300 (Promo Code:TBS350823) and wil ship in September. Upon customer release, the V3.5 upgrade will cost $100 for v3 and v2.5 customers (and free to all new purchases of v3.0 after August 1st).
Sonnet has upgraded its dual-processor G4 CPU upgrade line with the addition of a new Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.6GHz, which features faster performance using the latest PowerPC G4 (7447A) processor available. The chip features 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache and requires Mac OS 9.2/Mac OS X 10.3.5 and higher (with full support for Mac OS X 10.4.x). The Encore/ST G4 Duet is compatible with the the Power Mac G4 AGP, Gigabit, Digital Audio, and QuickSilver models. The chips are plug-and-play without the need for jumpers or switches and carry a three-year warranty including free tech support. Available now, the upgrade joins the dual-1.8GHz G4 ($600) as the Encore/ST G4 Duet line for $500.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k