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The first company that usually comes to mind when thinking of fashion phones in the US is Motorola; the company has undoubtedly been the champion of aesthetics for the past few years, focusing on minimalism at a time when competitors were obsessed with features alone. Whether due to the ripple effect or just a straightforward attempt to differentiate itself, Alcatel has decided to team up with ELLE Magazine to produce the GlamPhone, which directly targets those women who see their phone as equal tool and status symbol. The internal specifications are unremarkable at best; what makes this phone is its design. More information and photos after the jump.
Parallels is looking to improve graphic peformance and make other improvements in its virtualization solution, Parallels Desktop for Mac. On the heels of the new beta that brings improved USB support among other features, the company told Macworld that it will continue to make improvements, such as 3D graphics support to continue to build on the only currently shipping virtualization solution for Mac OS X. While Microsoft announced that it would discontinue development of Virtual PC (and not deliver a Universal version), VMWare this week announced that it was set to deliver a beta of its own virtualization solution in the fall (with the final release is expected early next year). Parallels told the publication that it was looking to offer "a groundbreaking new user interface that will make running Windows on a Mac easier and more productive than ever before" as well as new security and management tools and the ability to burn CDs and DVDs inside virtual machines.
Although not yet Universal, Adobe recently posted an update to flagship desktop publishing application. Adobe InDesign CS2 4.0.4 provides key fixes in the areas of indexing, launch issues, transparency, shortcuts, text and fonts, scripting, inline graphics, InDesign Interchange (INX) files, German hyphenation, XML, library files, performance, QuickTime 7.x support, printing, SING glyphlets, EPS export, text import, and others. Adobe also said that the update removes a change that was included as part of the InDesign CS2 4.0.3 public update to address two changes that were made in the previous update, but caused problems for users. The update is available as a 41MB download. The company has noted that Mac users must wait for Adobe InDesign CS3, due out early next year, for Universal support, despite the recent Universal QuarkXpress 7.01 release by its publishing rival.
Dauger Research and Advanced Cluster Systems have announced the PoochMPI Toolkit for Mathematica, enabling Wolfram Research's Mathematica to be combined with the easy-to-use, supercomputer-compatible Pooch clustering technology of Dauger Research. This new technology extends the power of clusters: "Pooch has long provided users with fastest and easiest path to parallel computing", said Dr. Dean Dauger, President of Dauger Research, Inc. "Today we've truly run Mathematica in parallel, enabling its power to be combined with Pooch's ease of use and reliability. This creates one of the most powerful cluster solutions ever and a milestone for which we're proud." Inspired by the supercomputing-standard Message-Passing Interface (MPI), the PoochMPI Toolkit creates a standardized way for Mathematica kernels to communicate with each other directly. It is scheduled to be available by the end of September.
iEmulator.com today released a low-cost upgrade path for Microsoft Virtual PC (VPC) owners "abandoned" by Microsoft. The software giant today announced that it is halting development on the Universal version of Virtual PC, but said it would support current customers moving forward. iEmulator -- a solution for users wanting to emulate a PC inside a Mac -- is available to Virtual PC owners for $20. The upgrade path includes the full iEmulator application, documentation, a version of DOS, unlimited no-charge updates to iEmulator, and technical support. iEmulator offers users the ability to assign up to 1GB of memory to each emulated PC, fast state saving/loading, full-screen as well as windowed modes, and printing support.
Gen Con is expanding to accomodate more video game content in 2007, Gear Live reports. Both the Anaheim and Indianapolis shows will be affected, with the Anaheim venue shifting to the Los Angeles Convention Center (former home of E3), and Indianapolis gaining an additional 43,000 square feet. Gen Con has traditionally focused on tabletop games, with computer and video games being a secondary concern.
Unlike recent moves by other vendors, Roxio is taking steps to make DVD burning of movies both functional and legal. The software developer today announced Roxio Venue, a program made for recording downloaded movies to DVD while copy-protecting them in such a way that they can be read by regular DVD players. Venue can record using the Content Scrambling System, or CSS - the controversial encryption method used to discourage copying of most DVD movies today. Use of the software is currently limited to online movie providers who need to verify its success rate with their own content, but Roxio says that it will ship Venue to the public at large before the end of the year.
Parallels at WWDC announced that it has released a beta update of Parallels Desktop for Mac, the first solution that enables users to run Windows and other OSes at the same time as OS X on any Intel-powered Mac without rebooting. The free update delivers USB improvements, including USB support for Windows Mobile 5, web cameras, and a much broader list of supported devices. In addition, the Mac hard disk cache can be now switched off for a virtual machine, which can substantially improve OS X performance while using Parallels Desktop. The update also brings improved graphic performance; complete keyboard support, including the "eject CD" button and right & left shift mapping for non-English layouts; Unicode path support lets users name files and paths in any language; and improved shared folders performance. The company said that the final release of the update is expected in the next few weeks. A free 15-day trial of the $80 product is available online.
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced a new 160GB 2.5-inch SATA drive upgrade and backup solution for dramatically improving storage capacity for the Intel MacBook and MacBookPro and providing advanced backup protection. The Upgrade and Backup Solution is introductory priced at $290 and features a new perpendicular technology-based 160GB 2.5-inch Seagate Momentus 5400.3 SATA hard drive mechanism, which debuted earlier this week along with EMC Retrospect Backup software, full installation video support, a 5-year mechanism warranty, and a 30-day DOA replacement warranty. Factory hard drives being replaced with the new OWC Upgrade Solution qualify for a trade-in cash rebate of up to $75. Or, factory drives can be paired with an OWC Mercury On-The-Go SATA enclosure for $90 to create a pocket-sized, impact resistant external storage solution. Additional OWC HD Upgrade Solutions for Intel Macs are available in 100GB, 7200RPM and 120GB, 5400RPM capacities starting at $150.
The declaration that EVDO is mobile broadband doesn't always ring true in practice. In theory, current EVDO allows for up to 2.4 Mbps downstream. Most users won't ever reach that speed in practice; Sprint Nextel says users on its network average between 400 and 700 Kbps. This ultimately limits current EVDO to "good enough" broadband that clearly outperforms dial-up, yet which can't truly compare to what land-line users know. Sprint's announcement that it would use Intel's WiMax for its upcoming 4G service is thus particularly welcome. The phone carrier said that the 2007 rollout should give customers much better real-world service than EVDO can offer, delivering between 2 and 4 Mbps depending on signal strength. It should also be less expensive to maintain, which hopefully means lower service rates as well.
News about the clothing first arrived in January, but today a photo surfaced of the iPod-compatible Levi's jeans set to be released in the Fall. Called the RedWire DLX, the set of pants is specifically designed for Apple's digital audio players. One of the side pockets has a slot to hold the iPod and a strap for the player that connects to a set of simple controls on the coin pocket. From there, you can plug in an included set of earbuds and change tracks without having to remove the iPod from your pocket. If you do need to remove the iPod for more advanced functions, the strap keeps the iPod from dropping to the ground. No official pricing has been set.
It turns out that all the hype for Gears of War's "Emergence Day" may be pointless. Epic's Cliff Blezinski has let slip that the game will actually be shipping on November 7th, and since every retailer will "be able to sell it the minute they get it," and "some of those stores will have the game well before the 12th," Emergence Day is really just a firm date by which all North Americans can have the game.
Digidesign has announced that ICON, Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered systems will soon be compatible with the new Mac Pro introduced yesterday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Digidesign says it is expecting to release an Intel-based Mac-compatible update to its Pro Tools HD 7.2 software in September 2006. This free update for all owners of Pro Tools HD 7.2 software will allow ICON and Pro Tools|HD users to build their Digidesign system around the new Mac Pro. Within a similar timeframe, the company expects to release compatible versions of its range of Digidesign and Digidesign-distributed TDM plug-ins, while working very closely with third-party manufacturers to help them port their plug-ins and compatible applications to the Intel-based Mac platform.
To build publicity for the FEAR franchise, Sierra has announced that the PC's multiplayer component will become a free download as of August 17th. Called "FEAR Combat," the download will be a separate program that nevertheless includes all the official modes and updates of the original. Combat users will also be able to play with owners of the retail version. For a full feature list, read on.
Apple has officially confirmed that Ruby on Rails (RoR) will ship with Mac OS X Leopard, and a developer seed was distributed at WWDC containing Ruby 1.8.4 as well as Rails 1.1.2. "We fully expect to have Rails 1.2.x along with Mongrel, SQLite bindings, and lots of other Ruby goodies on the final gold master when it goes out in spring," wrote one Ruby on Rails team member. "It's been no secret that Apple is held in very high regard by the Rails community. Every single Rails Core contributor is running on Apple and the vast majority of Rails developers are too. To see Apple acknowledge this and return the favor is very rewarding."
Airlines are usually skittish about letting passengers use anything that might transmit to the outside world during a flight. That's increasingly at odds with a society that sees a few hours of silence as time wasted. Virgin Atlantic is offering at least a partial solution: in the near future, it will let people onboard its flights send text messages through terminals in the seat backs to ask questions of an answer service on the ground. You'll be able to ask for advice on what entertainment you'll find at your destination, for example. The intent, says Virgin, is to give passengers more to do on their flights than they're used to, and thus more reasons to choose the same airline for the next flight.
Otter Products has released a new laptop case for computers with displays up to 17-inches. The new case, the OtterBox 70x0 series, comes in three sizes to match tradition laptop screen sizes: the 7020 for specifically for 13-inch or smaller screens; the 7030 designed for up to 15-inch screens; and the 7040 designed specifically for 17-inch or smaller laptops. The cases feature easy open mechanisms; protection from dust, water, and drop; locking latches; shock resistance; and customizable internal configurations. The case is made out of a hard material which is able to withstand a 250 pound person jumping on it and a full bottle of water poured directly upon it. The Otterbox 7030 is available now for $170 with the 7020 and 7040 models available upon customer request (price not listed).
Some companies aren't willing to wait for RIM's new 8100 Stealth before they turn the Blackberry into a media-friendly smartphone. SonaMobile today released a beta of bbTV, a video news download service just for Blackberries. In the current incarnation of the service, users can download 1-2 minute news and sports clips to certain Blackberry 7100 and 8700 models. bbTV is currently oriented towards Canadian customers (specifically those using Rogers or Telus), though the operators know there's an interest outside of the core market.
Day 1 Studios has signed on to help LucasArts create their "first entirely new property specifically for next-generation consoles," according to a press release quote from Denny Thorley, Day 1's president. The release also quotes a statement from LucasArts' VP of Product Development, Peter Hirschmann: "The phenomenal technology created by Day 1 directly affects gameplay in extremely innovative ways - and it perfectly complements the engaging story and intriguing characters you’d expect of a LucasArts title." Day 1 is currently known for the Xbox game MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf.
Progeniq today announced a Universal version of its third-generation BioBoost v3.0 bioinformatics data processing accelerator for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger". BioBoost can leverage the new Intel-based Macs to make commonly used bioinformatics applications, such as Pairwise and Multiple Sequence Alignment, up to 10x-50x faster than a typical processor, according to the company. BioBoost accelerators provide hardware processing for the most computationally intensive applications. By utilizing Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology, the processor is able to 'rewire' itself on the fly according to the application that needs to be accelerated. This allows a single hardware accelerator to speed up any number of supported applications. The Universal version of BioBoost allows applications to run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Adding BioBoost removes computational bottlenecks and optimizes the entire workflow providing final results faster. [pricing not available]
Casio on Tuesday unveiled three new cameras in its ultra-slim Exilim line, according to Electronista. All three mdoels offer 7.2 megapixels resolution and feature a unique eBay mode tailored to small photos. The EX-Z70 offers a 2.5-inch LCD and 'Easy Mode' for $250, while the EX-Z700 features a 2.7-inch LCD and auto-framing of moving subjects; and finally the EX-S770 offers a 2.8-inch LCD, wide-aspect video recording, and a document conversion feature that lets you see text and other formats as photos for mobile viewing. All three models are expected to ship in September.
Pentax on Tuesday debuted the Optio W20 camera, a successor in its water-proof digital camera line. Like its predecessor the W10, the W20 is meant for trips to the beach or pool where it would be too dangerous to risk dropping most other cameras in the water. The W20 will keep its internals dry as deep as 1.5 meters and can be used continuously underwater for about 30 min. It also sports improved 7 megapixel resolution and a blur reduction mode that auto-adjusts ISO levels for low light and multiple auto-focus modes for action shots and portraits. There is no official word yet on pricing or availability, according to Electronista.
Just recently, it was reported that AMD was going to abandon the ATI name, as official AMD sources had apparently claimed that there was more reason to keep the product names than the brand behind them. Further investigations, however, show the opposite to be true. According to this most recent news, AMD has clarified its position and said that while it intends to keep the AMD brand intact, this doesn't mean that the ATI brand will disappear. The two names will remain distinct for the foreseeable future, and AMD in fact claims that there's a distinct advantage to the ATI name.
In brief: The DarwinPorts project today announced its intention to accept hosting for its efforts through the new Mac OS Forge (MOF) facility being set up by Apple.... New Apple Mac Pro systems which debuted yesterday at WWDC have an estimated shipment time of 2-4 weeks.... Disgruntled PC owners in Poland are crying out for Apple Poland to reduce pricing and increase competition with the one alleged distributor of Apple services.... Gefen today announced that its video signal extenders are the first to achieve Nvidia certification for optimal signal quality over long distances.... D-Link today announced a back-to-school promotion offering cash-back on a wide range of its connectivity products for students and families gearing up for the new school year.... PodShop today is celebrating Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a sale price on iDrops, its cleaning, polishing, and scratch-removal product.
Nintendo of America's PR Manager, Matt Atwood, says that "anything is possible" regarding the inclusion of Super Mario Galaxy in the unannounced Wii launch lineup. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto had previously said that Galaxy would "definitely be there within the first six months" of the Wii rollout. In the same news piece, Atwood notes that there will again be no Space World this year, despite hopes to the contrary.
News about the player surfaced a few weeks ago, but today Sony officially announced and opened pre-orders for their S2 Sports line of Walkman digital audio players. Following shortly after Apple's Nike+iPod Sport Kit, the S2 also tracks the stats of your runs and uses music to keep you motivated. What makes it unique is that there's no separate receiver needed. The S2 has a built-in sensor that detects your speed and can actually choose from playlists you've made depending on how fast you're moving. You won't have as much control or feedback due to the one-line OLED, though the small tube-shaped design will certainly make it easier to carry. Format support includes Sony's usual bevy of AAC, ATRAC3, MP3 and WMA audio files. If you're interested, Sony will ship both 1GB ($120) and 2GB ($150) versions in September.
Quark today announced that GA Communications has upgraded to the Universal version of QuarkXPress 7 on Apple's Intel-based Macs. "As a dedicated QuarkXPress user for more than 15 years, GA Communications was an early adopter of QuarkXPress 7 and has been using the software in production since May of this year," said Quark. "After testing the beta software, GA communications decided to upgrade to QuarkXPress 7 based on the new product features and the availability of the native Universal version of QuarkXPress 7, which runs natively as a Universal application on the new Intel Core Duo processor-based Macintosh computers." GA Communications has already migrated 100 percent of its Mac hardware at its Pittsburgh office, and has plans to complete the QuarkXPress 7 Universal implementation by the end of 2006.
Wide-angle shots are often difficult with point-and-shoot cameras. Their small lenses virtually dictate that shots have a narrow focus. Kodak claims that its new 7 megapixel V705 is capable of ultra-wide-angle shots with a 23mm fixed lens that accompanies the regular 39-117mm zoom lens on the unit. Beyond this, the V705 also reflects Kodak's typical emphasis on features: it has anti-blur (image stabilization) technology, on-camera image correction and red-eye reduction, and EasyShare for marking photos you want to e-mail or print later. Pricing hasn't been listed yet, but Kodak expects the camera to be ready in September. A photo of the back is available after the jump.
Rounding off at a massive 1.4 GB, the single-player demo for Arkane Studios' Dark Messiah of Might and Magic has been released. The demo includes a tutorial and a portion of the first mission. Dark Messiah is a first-person action RPG that uses Valve's Source engine, and focuses on close combat where the environment itself is a weapon. Other mirrors for the demo include FilePlanet, 3D Gamers and FileFront.
Griffin Technology today unveiled the TuneFlex for iPod, a dock and charger designed for ease of use in automobiles. TuneFlex grips the iPod in a secure cradle, holding the device on an adjustable and flexible steel neck. The cradle rotates independently to keep the iPod upright while plugging into the car's 12-volt cigarette lighter to power as well as charge the iPod on-the-go. TuneFlex's charging circuitry features a replaceable fuse to protect the player from power spikes or surges while charging, and a light at the base of the neck changes color to indicate charging status. A built-in 1/8-inch stereo line-out jack eases connectivity to stereos, while a low/high audio output switch ensures sound without distortion. TuneFlex also ships with a cassette tape adapter, and a free limited edition version of Griffin's exclusive iFill software. The TuneFlex for iPod ($50) works with fourth-generation and newer full-size iPods.
Will FEAR be included on the demo disc for next month's Official Xbox Magazine? A Cheap Ass Gamer poster claims to have spotted a friend playing the 360 version online, and the friend has responded by saying he received the demo early through his workplace. This is not an uncommon event, so there is some chance the CAG posters are correct. The full port of Monolith's first-person, horror-themed shooter is due this fall.
Apple has publicly announced its membership in The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, as well as an open-source implementation of its calendaring server. "Apple has been a significant contributor to the development of CalDAV and other calendaring standards, and to the work of the Consortium," said Dave Thewlis, executive director of the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium. "Apple's release of its new iCal calendaring server to the open-source community demonstrates a solid commitment to open standards and to interoperable calendaring and scheduling, which are keystones of CalConnect's mission." Apple is also planned serve as host for the Seventh Roundtable of The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, together with a CalConnect Interoperability Test Event (C.I.T.E.) on September 26-29th, 2006.
Lately we've seen a gradually building momentum in the cellphone industry: more and more companies are convinced that an entire music ecosystem can be built around cellphones, one in which you never have to touch a computer (or digital audio player) to get and play back the music you want. The most recent company to throw its hat into the ring is Nokia. This morning, the Finnish brand said it would buy Loudeye, best-known for the OD2 subsidiary that handles the behind-the-scenes infrastructure behind many music stores outside of North America (including the former MyCokeMusic). The obvious conclusion is that Nokia wants to setup its own online store to sell music to cellphone users. This may prove difficult: while phones like the N-series can certainly handle music, the direct-download stores that exist are usually linked to service providers rather than phone brands. Nokia may have to open its stores to non-Nokia phones if it wants maximum exposure, since it's doubtful that carriers like Verizon will allow Nokia's store and their own to coexist on the same phone.
Apple is offering refurbished MacBooks and MacBook Pros, its low- and high-end notebooks with a standard one-year warranty and free shipping. Refurbished MacBooks include the White 1.83GHz model with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive DVD-ROM CD-RW for $949, a $150 savings; the White 2.0GHz model with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW for $1,099, a $200 discount; and the Black 2.0GHz model with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW for $1,299, or $200 off. Apple's refurbished 15-inch MacBook Pros include the 1.83GHz (512MB of memory, 80GB hard drive) model for $1,549; the 2.0GHz (512MB of memory, 80GB hard drive) model for $1,699; the Glossy 2.0GHz (512MB of memory, 80GB hard drive) model for $1,699; the 2.0GHz (1GB of memory, 100GB hard drive) model for $1,949; and the 2.16GHz (1GB of memory, 100GB hard drive) model for $2,149 in both standard and Glossy editions.
Namco has published an official list of upcoming 2006 release dates. Noteworthy titles in the mix are Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra, on the PS2 August 29th; Mobile Suit Gundam, still due for the PS3 in "2006"; Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, coming for the PC in October; and finally Hellgate: London, which has no date to speak of. Click on "read more" to see the list in its entirety.
The notion of streaming music wirelessly to audio systems throughout the house isn't new, but it typically comes with strings attached: you're often tied to one particular jukebox program and the formats associated with it, or else you need to buy complete additional models if there's more than one audio system involved. Logitech's $250 Wireless DJ for PCs promises better: while the custom software needed is Windows-only, it isn't jukebox in itself; instead, it aggregates the music libraries of several different apps (including iTunes, Musicmatch, and Windows Media Player) and streams all of them regardless of format. If you need to expand, you only need an add-on receiver for $80. We'll see the Wireless DJ in stores late in September.
Insider Software today released FontAgent Pro Server 1.2 and FontAgent Pro 3.3, updating its font management and repair software. The latest iterations of the Font utilities offer increased speed and native support for Apple's new Intel-based systems. FontAgent Pro 3.3 features an auto-activation plug-in for Adobe InCopyCS2; a Universal Binary auto-activation XTension for QuarkXPress 7 as well as QuarkXPress 7 for Intel Macs; and updates to French, German, and Italian localized versions. FontAgent Pro Server 1.2 enables automatic font distribution and synchronization while supporting the newest hardware from Apple. FontAgent Pro ($100) and FontAgent Pro Server ($1,500) maintain backwards compatibility with Power PC G4 and G5 machines, continuing its support for Classic Mac installations. The software requires Mac S X 10.3 or later.
TechRestore today began offering a 160GB SATA overnight upgrade for laptops featuring a Serial ATA interface such as Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro, as well as newer PC laptop models. The new upgrade offers installation of the new drive and data transfer from the old hard drive onto the new storage device. TechRestore transfers a clone of the old hard drive, ensuring that the new drive is ready for immediate use when the laptop is returned via an overnight courier. The 160GB overnight upgrade is available for $330 including the hard drive, installation, and data transfer along with a one-year warranty from TechRestore and a 5-year warranty on the hard drive from the manufacturer.
Nokia is planning to purchase Loudeye -- a digital music distributor -- for $60 million in a move that would bring Nokia closer to developing its own music download service to compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store, according to Macworld UK. "Music is a key experience for Nokia and Nokia Nseries multimedia computers. People should be able to access all the music they want, anywhere, anytime and at a reasonable cost," said Anssi Vanjoki, European vice president and general manager of multimedia at Nokia. Loudeye stockholders will receive $4.50 per share in cash for each share of Loudeye common stock under the agreement terms, which is expected to complete by the end of 2006.
The camera news continues today with the announcement of the Optio W20 camera from Pentax. Like its predecessor the W10, the W20 is meant for trips to the beach or pool where it would be too dangerous to risk dropping most other cameras in the water. To that end, the W20 will keep its internals dry as deep as 1.5 meters and can be used continuously underwater for half an hour. It's better on land as well: the sensor has sharpened up from 6 megapixels to 7. The camera has a raft of features to help novices take better pictures, such as a blur reduction mode that auto-adjusts ISO levels for low light and multiple auto-focus modes for action shots and portraits. There's no official word on pricing or availabilty, but it should roughly match the $300 price of the W10. See larger photos of the front and back after the jump.
If Nintendo's Satoru Iwata has his way, your Wii and your DS could be intimately linked - beyond Zelda that is. The latest Nintendo Magazine quotes Iwata as saying Wi-Fi should make connecting the two systems very easy, and as a result, there should be many applications. The Wii may be used to fetch demos for the DS for instance, while the DS may be used as a controller for Wii games where touch is useful. One real-world application is coming in the form of Pokémon Battle Revolution, set to release in Japan later this year. Players will be able to use a DS loaded with Pokémon Diamond or Pearl as a controller for the Wii game.
AJA Video has announced support for Apple's new Mac Pro Intel-based professional desktop systems. AJA's Io, IoLA and IoLD provide uncompressed video over FireWire for Apple's Final Cut Studio with Universal Binary support to work with any of the Mac Pro configurations. New version 3 software for the PCIe based KONA video cards from AJA, including the KONA 3, KONA LHe and KONA LSe, will be available by the end of the month, according to AJA. The company also said it will continue to support previous generation Power Mac G5 systems. "We've been working on Universal Binary support for over a year and we're pleased to ship our KONA version 3 software right on the heels of Apple's first customer shipment of the Mac Pro," said Nick Rashby, director of sales and marketing for AJA Video Systems.
Anyone who's interested in ultra-slim cameras probably knows Casio's Exilim series: the Exilim helped make it cool to keep a camera in your pocket "just in case." The camera maker today launched a full assault on the market with three new models in the line. All three have 7.2-megapixel sensors and feature anti-shake compensation as well as a special eBay Mode - presumably a preset for small but sharp pictures. The entry-level model is the EX-Z70, which gives users a 2.5" LCD and an Easy Mode (automatic settings) for $250. The EX-Z700 at $300 steps it up a notch with a 2.7" LCD, auto-framing to keep moving subjects the center of the photo, and a layout mode that lets you mix photos together that share the same background. Lastly, the $380 ultimate EX-S770 model (pictured) gives you a still-larger 2.8" LCD, the ability to shoot wide-aspect MPEG-4 video clips, and lets you convert text and other documents to JPEG in case you want to see them away from home. All three models are expected to arrive here in September. See a photo of the S770's back (including the document conversion feature) after the jump.
National Instruments today released NI LabVIEW 8.20, the 20th anniversary edition of the LabVIEW graphical system design platform for test, control and embedded system development. The LabVIEW anniversary edition introduces general compatibility with MATLAB software, new FPGA-based custom hardware design wizards for building industrial controllers, and updates to the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW allowing engineers to develop models to simulate communications systems and evaluate parameter as well as design decisions. LabVIEW is priced at $1,200 for a base edition, $2,400 for a full installation, $4,100 for the professional version, and $4,300 for the NI Developer Suite. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
PlayFirst has released two new Mac games, adding to its expanding library of Mac compatible games. The first, Diner Dash 2: Restaurant Rescue ($20) is developed internally by PlayFirst and follows returning character, Flo, trying to save four friends from the Mr. Big Corp. Players must manage several new customer types including the Family, Bookworm, Fitness Fanatic, and Cell Phone Addict. Diner Dash 2 also introduces new obstacles on the restaurant floor and options to customize the decor of each restaurant. The second game, Egg vs. Chicken ($20) developed by Gamelab is a combination strategy and action puzzle game focused on a small team of runaway eggs taking on a mighty army of "marauding" chickens as it travels through time to resolve the riddle, "Which came first?" With a traditional slide puzzle layout, players must slip their eggs into position, and then launch attacks against "ruthless roosters" and "harrowing hens." Both games require a G4/G5/Intel processor running at 850MHz or faster and Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. A free download allowing 60 minutes of gameplay is available for online. [Download - DinerDash 2, Egg vs. Chicken]
THQ is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, making it the third such game publisher to be targeted for its stock option policies. Prior to this investigations had already been started on Activision and Take-Two, this following concerns that stocks issued to executives were being backdated, helping out the executives while harming the companies as a whole. THQ has stated that while it already has its own internal audit committee (manned by "independent" directors of the board), it will aid and comply fully with the SEC's efforts.
ATTO Technology on Tuesday announced support for the Apple's Intel-based Mac architecture, saying that it now offers native support for the new machines with its complete line of SCSI, Fibre Channel and SAS Host and RAID adapters. "ATTO ExpressPCI SCSI adapters, Celerity Fibre Channel adapters, and ExpressSAS RAID adapters are the only PCI Express (PCIe) adapters available today that support Mac OS X on the Intel platform," the company said. "As members of the Intel Storage Community and Managed Developers Program, ATTO worked closely with Intel to design our host adapters to take advantage of the innovative performance of the 64-bit dual-core Intel Xeon Processor and achieve immediate market delivery."
Apple has released buildable Darwin/Mac OS X kernel source code for Mac OS X 10.4.7, following rumors that the company was shying away from the open-source movement. "As of today, we are posting buildable kernel sources for Intel-based Macs alongside the usual PowerPC (and other Intel) sources, starting with Mac OS X 10.4.7," said Ernest Prabhakar, open-source product manager for Apple. "We regret the delay in readying the new kernel for release, and thank you for your patience." the Cupertino-based company has also launched Mac OS Forge -- a new community site to support WebKit and other open-source projects focused on Mac OS X -- specifically aimed at those looking to transition from Opendarwin.org, which closed down in late July.
It used to be that a bracelet or a card in your wallet was the only real way to let paramedics know about important medical problems, like asthma or diabetes. But what if your history was more complex, or you needed more information than what a few words on metal or plastic could say? Enter the ICER-2-GO ("In Case of Emergency" Record). It's a simple USB flash drive at heart; what makes it special is the software that accompanies it. You can setup an ICER-2-GO to contain a set of crucial emergency info which is immediately accessible when the drive is plugged in: allergies, blood type, contacts, and medicine histories will be there for anyone with a USB port. It's also a handy drive for equally important but more sensitive data, like business or financial records: the same software can put 256-bit encryption and password protection on anything you'd rather not give out to a stranger. An ICER-2-GO is yours for $150 for both the hardware and software; it's for Windows users only, but it could prevent a potentially serious complication in the emergency room.
The official release date for Splinter Cell: Double Agent is October 19th, says Ubisoft Frag Doll/community manager Rhoulette in this forum post. There is no word on whether this date is universal or just for North America. Multiplayer demos are confirmed for both PC and 360, but only the PC will be getting a single-player demo, and unlike Chaos Theory there will be no public beta of the Versus Mode. IGN has learned that no demo will arrive before September 19th.
Sony has previously tried to attack the iPod's dominance head-on: arguably, much of the current Network Walkman lineup is inspired by the concept that a simple, stylish player is the ticket to the digital audio player market. Today, Sony decided to make an end-run around Apple altogether by striking at the weak spot of many teens and college students: social networking. The Mylo is still very much a media player if you want it to be, since it can handle multiple audio and photo formats as well as MPEG-4 video. There's 1 GB of built-in flash storage and (of course) a Memory Stick Duo slot if you need more. But the Mylo's real selling point is the ability to chat with your friends anywhere you have an 802.11b access point: you can send text messages through Google Talk and Yahoo, make phone calls with Skype, and browse the web through a portable version of Opera (presumably to check your friends' MySpace pages). There's a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that Sony hopes will lure people away from their cellphones and Danger Sidekicks. You'll be able to pick one up in September for about $350 - expensive, but potentially worthwhile if you don't want to be tied to a laptop just to listen to music and send IMs at the same time. See a complete photo after the jump.
If you're hunting for a high-end video card a few months from now, don't bother searching for ATI; the name has effectively ceased to be. Eager to display their total absorption and control of ATI, AMD has announced that any future video cards from the division will bear the AMD brand. This ends 21 years of the ATI name, the company having been founded in Markham, Ontario, Canada in 1985. Update: ArsTechnica notes that contrary to earlier reports, an AMD PR rep insists they will keep the ATI name for video cards. "AMD has no plans to drop the ATi brand name or ATi's product brands. The ATi name will live on at AMD as our leading consumer brand, and so will the Radeon brand and other ATi product brands. AMD's executive management knows very well the power and value of branding, and ATi's branding is some of the most valued in the global technology industry."
Apple and Columbia Records on Tuesday announced that the new album “Modern Times” by Bob Dylan will be offered through an exclusive pre-order on the iTunes Music Store. Apple also announced iTunes customers who pre-order “Modern Times” from iTunes for $13.99 will also be offered the opportunity to participate in an exclusive Ticketmaster pre-sale for concert tickets to select dates on Bob Dylan’s upcoming fall tour. An exclusive Bob Dylan digital box set called “The Collection” includes all of Bob Dylan’s albums -- nearly 800 tracks from his career. The Bob Dylan digital box set will be available for purchase and download with just one click for $199, exclusively from iTunes beginning August 29. Apple CEO Steve Jobs state that, “Bob Dylan is one of the most respected poets and musicians of our time, and he is a personal hero of mine [...] being able to offer his new album and the exclusive box set of his works on iTunes is a real thrill for us.”
Following the release of The Mouse Bluetooth II, MacMice has announced an updated version of its USB input device, The Mouse. The new corded mouse, officially known as The Mouse II, features a new laser tracking engine capable of 1600 dpi precision. The new mouse features a 'classic' look maintaining a thick, clear gloss over the surface of the mouse similar to the Apple Pro Mouse. The Mouse II also includes two 'true' buttons with a clickable scroll wheel, a five-foot long USB cable, and plug-and-play compatibility with either Mac OS X or Win XP systems. The new mouse is targeted for uses such as image or video work, drawing or graphics projects, and detailed document creation tasks. The new mouse costs $30 and is now shipping to United States customers only.
Belkin has reportedly canceled its plans to bring its TunesStage for the iPod nano to market, but has plans to offer a second-generation product for iPod nano users next month. TuneStage allows users to stream music from their iPod to a stereo system using a Bluetooth transmitter connected to the iPod paired with a receiver connected to any sound system. Early last month, the company announced its new TuneStage for iPod nano; however, plans to ship the device were delayed and now several reports have surfaced that indicate that it has been cancelled entirely. BlueTomorrow.com reports receiving a message confirming the rumors that the TuneStage for iPod nano has indeed been canceled, but that the company is working a new second-generation product: "We will, however, be coming out with a TuneStage II that will be compatible with the Nano and iPod with video. That's due out in late September." The company has posted little information on TuneStage since its initial announcement, has not posted a ship date, and is not taking pre-orders, but the it remains listed on the company website.
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Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ