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Blackberry 8100 Pearl
Earlier, we received word of a new Blackberry that was allegedly known as the Stealth. At the time, there wasn't much to know abou the phone other than that it was equipped with EDGE, a camera, and a media player. What appears to be the same source for the earlier story, however, has all but made an official announcement. The earlier information was correct; we now also know that the real name of the phone is the 8100 Pearl (undoubtedly due to its glossy black shell) and that it packs a 240x260 screen, Bluetooth, and 64 MB of internal memory (plus the now-ubiquitous MicroSD slot). Instead of RIM's signature scroll wheel, users scroll through data with a trackball, which is certainly more useful when checking more than e-mail. The best news of all is that the phone will be distinctly affordable compared to some multimedia phones: T-Mobile will offer the Pearl for $199 on its September 18th launch date. Even if this price comes attached to a contract, it could mean early success for RIM's first experiments with music and photos.
Guitar Hero worth $100M?
An interesting fact has come to light through the Securities and Exchange Commission probe into Activision. Guitar Hero developer RedOctane must be full of geniuses, because it seems that Activision paid nearly $100 million to acquire the company. That's $30 million in common stock, $30.9 million in direct payment, and another $39 million's worth of stock promised "within two years of the closing date." Some past RedOctane shareholders may grab a total of $51 million in Activision stock if games like Guitar Hero II do well. Can it possibly do enough business to justify the acquisition?
Pac-Man on Xbox Live
Namco's classic arcade game is now available on Xbox Live for 400 Microsoft points. This updated version has HD graphics, 250 levels, original sound effects and music, and support for achievements and leaderboards. Pac-Man has been around in one form or another for 27 years, making it one of the oldest and most popular videogames of all time. The game first hit US shores 26 years ago. At the height of its American popularity, there was even a top 40 pop album/single called "Pac-Man Fever," by Buckner and Garcia.
Bullet Candy 1.5 updated
Charlie's Games and Macgamestore.com have announced the release of Bullet Candy 1.5, a major update to the fast-paced arcade shooter for Mac OS X that adds game pad support and much more. "Viewed from a top-down perspective, Bullet Candy allows for a true 360-degree shoot-em-up experience. With all of your enemies in view at all times it's easy to see and, more importantly, shoot them into tiny little pieces," according to the developer. Version 1.5 adds support for digital game pads, splits the main screen into two sections: Arcade and Extend, makes changes to the bonus menu, adjusts the difficulty with some levels, and fixes a bug in which levels with lots of generators and green homing bullets would crash if you get the laser shot. The game requires a 1GHz G4-based Mac or later is available as $20 digital download.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Window Seat by Julieanne Kost ($40), a book offering a different approach to the photographic process.... Nexus today announced that it will highlight Inspector in a new session during the FileMaker Developer Conference this year.... iLifeStuff has released three new iWeb templates entitled Chocolate, Redmodern, and Juice featuring numerous page layouts.... Inventive has announced that it has won the Apple Design Award for "Best Mac OS X Dashboard Widget" at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.... Brokenpod.com is offering free shipping on iPods shipped (up to $10) to the company.
iSN console for Mac
Cloverleaf Communications today unveiled its Intelligent Storage Networking (iSN) management console for Mac OS X Tiger, and announced that it has completed interoperability testing with Apple Xserve RAID. "Our compatibility with Mac OS X and Xserve and Xserve RAID enables Cloverleaf to expand into important new markets such as rich media where our unique capabilities can enable data centers to simplify management, eliminate downtime, and cut storage costs," said Richard Bauer, president of Cloverleaf. "The iSN will ultimately deliver to Apple's customers' real operational efficiency, technology benefits and business value, allowing them to run their businesses smarter, faster, and more cost effectively." The iSN's CMS for Apple Xserve RAID and Mac OS X is slated for shipment at the end of August.
Intel Xserve Business
The Xserve was often regarded as a wise step by Apple into the business-oriented world of servers. NASA, the US Navy, Virginia Tech and transaction operator xTech were high-profile clients who used the rackmount servers as an energy-efficient and sometimes more powerful alternative to Opterons and Xeons. However, there was always a disclaimer attached to the purchase: because Xserves used PowerPC processors, IT managers were beholden to PowerPC's intermittent performance updates and running PowerPC-based versions of even standard Linux software. ITJungle's Timothy Morgan notes that the advent of Intel-based Xserves should offer a dramatic change: Xserves might be able to run more operating systems (including more Linux distributions), receive more predictable performance upgrades similar to Windows counterparts, and even offer better performance for the price.
In-depth look at Leopard
Apple announced ten Mac OS X Leopard features earlier this week during the company's keynote address that kicked off the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco. While several of Leopard's "big secrets" are still under wraps to prevent Microsoft from "starting its photocopiers" too early, the company did promise 64-bit processing, new core technologies, an enhanced version of iChat and Mail, and more. Mac OS X Leopard is slated for shipment in the spring of 2007, just after Microsoft's scheduled launch of its Windows Vista operating system. [images]
Mac Pro security update
Apple has released a security update for its new professional Mac Pro systems, which debuted on August 7th at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Security Update 2006-004 for Mac Pro includes all of the fixes featured in a previous security update released on August 1st, along with two vulnerability fixes relating to ImageIO and OpenSSH. The fixes for those issues were not fully tested in time for the manufacturing of the Mac Pro, according to Apple, and are provided via the new security update. "This update is a proper subset of the full Security Update 2006-004 released on August 1st. Existing systems that have already applied Security Update 2006-004 (August 1st release) do not need to install this update." Fixes pertain only to systems running Mac OS X 10.4.7 Build 8K1079 or Mac OS X Server 10.4.7 Build 8K1079.
Halo director announced
Continuing Microsoft announcements, the company says that the director of the Halo movie will be Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp is a virgin feature director, with most of his work having been in 3D animation for television. He will have help however, since the producers will be Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, best known for their collaboration on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson's Weta Workshop and Weta Digital will contribute to the special effects for the movie, set to debut in the summer of 2008.
Lieberman Ousted by Net
A cynical view of American politics sees elections solely as the products of momentum. An existing reputation, a large amount of money, and support from the status quo is often seen as enough to win the ballot; genuine consensus is virtually a non-factor. Yesterday, Joe Lieberman learned the hard way that politicians now ignore the Internet at their peril. In Connecticut, Lieberman's campaign to represent the Democrats in the Senate was given a startling upset by a relatively unknown candidate, Ned Lamont. Despite the blessing of major elements within the Democratic Party, Lieberman suffered in no small part due to the activist campaigning of the high-profile Internet site MoveOn.org. More after the jump.
360 HD-DVD player cheap
In his most recent podcast, Xbox insider Major Nelson interviewed MS' Director of Global Product Marketing, Albert Penello, about the 360's HD-DVD add-on drive. The most interesting piece of info to come from this is that Penello says the drive will be "the cheapest HD-DVD player you can buy." As 1UP muses however, there's no telling whether this will include the price of the 360 itself or if he's referring to the cost of the add-on alone.
K618 Blog Phone
In many senses, the K618 reflects the current wave of feature-rich Sony-Ericsson phones. It has a 2 megapixel camera with video recording, which is appreciated but no longer unique. Bluetooth EDR will be increasingly common in phones towards the end of this year. A 1.7" LCD is comfortable but not unheard of. What differentiates the K618 from most other phones is its software: it includes a program called Mobile Blogger that lets users post photos directly to their blogs. While the concept of a moblog (mobile phone blog) isn't new, most companies are more interested in music and are perhaps ignoring the MySpace generation's continued emphasis on blogs. You should be able to buy one with an included 256 MB Memory Stick Duo by the end of the month in "select markets." Full photo after the jump.
Mac Pro dev note, Levis
In brief: Apple has posted an "Introduction to Mac Pro Developer Note" offering a technical description of the Mac Pro including internal design, input-output features, and expansion capabilities.... A photo has surfaced of Levi's RedWire DLX jeans, pants specifically designed for Apple's iPod.... The MacXprts Network has announced a discount offer on all of its products for individuals working for any state's Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign or for any Democratic nominee for the US House or US Senate.... REAL Software has begun shipping new Chinese language versions of REALbasic Release 3.... One user has launched an iWeb site as a guide to teaching GCSE ICT (CCEA Syllabus) using Mac systems.... Macgamestore.com has announced a new distribution partnership with Virtual Programming to offer boxed and digital download titles.
Z620 and Joy Details
Motorola's primary opponent in the race to produce the slimmest phones is, by all accounts, Samsung. Its A990 is second only to the RAZR when it comes to slim flip phone designs. The Korean electronics firm knows this, and its next salvos in the field (revealed on the Internet today) should arrive just in time to compete with Motorola's imminent KRZR K1 and RIZR phones. The Z620 has some impressive specifications to support its thin shape: it has a sharp 2 megapixel camera and a very ample 138 MB of internal storage for music, plus a MicroSD slot and 3G video telephony. The Joy is a slider that boosts internal storage to 150 MB and adds video recording. Not much else is known about the phones, but the images provided indicate that both the Z620 and Joy should be ready by the end of the year. See the available photos of both phones after the jump.
McGee's new projects
American McGee carries word in his blog that he is building a new development studio in Shanghai, which will be working on "an episodic game set in a dark, fairy tale universe" - which sounds much like Alice or the aborted Oz project. He can say little else except that he's searching for game developers from all fields, and that Ken Wong is producing some early concept art (pictured at right and in the full article). Could the little man be a leprechaun?
Maxis' evolution/civilization/exploration game Spore has been pushed to the second half of 2007, Will Wright explains in a new interview. While all of the different game modes are in place (microbe, city, space, etc.), there's plenty of polishing and content creation left to do. The one reassuring piece of news is that the game will be publicly playable at the upcoming Leipzig Games Convention (Aug. 24-27), with the creature editor among the elements on display.
Apple execs seek counsel
Apple executives are seeking legal counsel in the face of a backdating probe which the company launched in late June. Apple has hired George Riley, a partner with O'Melveny & Myers, to represent the company in connection with the government investigation, which launched in mid-July. Meanwhile the company's long-time general counsel Nancy Heinen, who left the company in May of 2006, has hired East Bay defense lawyers Cristina Arguedas and Miles Ehrlich to represent her before the government, according to The Recorder. The probe has already produced investor lawsuits charging Apple executives and directors with manipulating the option grant dates of specific stock options to maximize personal profits.
Flight Sim X demo
The demo for Microsoft's Flight Simulator X is scheduled to premiere at 8 PM EST. Included in the download will be two airports and three missions, all located on the tiny island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean; among the aircraft will be a glider and a Beaver float plane. Though it was meant to be a showcase for Windows Vista, FSX is releasing October 6th, and is just the latest in a series of games that reach back to 1977, when it was first developed by subLOGIC.
Radeon X1950 XTX Leaked
ATI has remained largely silent since nVidia released the GeForce 7950GX2 and made quad SLI possible. Now, though, there are signs that ATI is ready to fire a parting shot in the battle between current-generation video cards. A major leak today revealed not only the specifications of the X1950 XTX, but also early benchmarks that show the tremendous leap in performance the X1950 can deliver in CrossFire mode. In most of the tests, the X1950 was dramatically faster than quad SLI - in the case of Half-Life 2, almost twice as fast. Both the XTX and CrossFire editions will ship with a 650 MHz core and an effective 2 GHz GDDR4 memory clock. This is very good news for Core 2 Duo owners, as CrossFire is currently the only option for multi-card graphics with Intel's latest mainboards.
Apple Design Awards 2006
Apple has announced the winners of its Apple Design Awards 2006, recognizing technical excellence and outstanding achievement on Mac OS X. Winning developers receive prizes, and their winnings are showcased at WWDC 2006, Macworld 2007, and the Apple website. This year's winners include TextMate 1.5.2 as the best Developer Tool; modo 201 as the best use of graphics; iClip lite 2.0 as the best Dashboard Widget; Build Real Estate Catalog/Ultimate Productivity Action Pack 1.0 as the best Automator Workflow; iSale 3.1 as the best user experience; The Sims 2 1.0 Rev E as the best game; EnzymeX 3.1 as the best scientific computing solution; and Lineform 1.1 as the best student product.
FEAR on the PS3?
Monolith's FPS title is already being ported from the PC to the 360, but CVG is shouting that "sources" have told them the game will show up on the PS3 at some indeterminate point in the future. They speculate that the PS3 version may make use of Sony's online network, as well as the PS3 gamepad's motion sensor, which could be used to control melee combat. None of the information in CVG's news item is confirmed.
Apple limits Darwin access
Apple is stonewalling open-source developers despite the company's recent release of much of the Mac OS X Tiger kernel source code, according to Proclus, administrator of the GNU-Darwin Distribution. "In order to have a free and open source (FOSS) [operating] system, two things are necessary. First, all the necessary source code must be obtainable by anyone, and second the system must obviously be bootable in order to use it," Proclus told MacNN. "Darwin OS is not bootable without the AppleACPIPlatform driver, which is closed source [and proprietary] at this time."
Strata 3D demo released
Strata has released a free demo of Strata 3D CX 5, its 3D design application featuring the ability to render layers as well as Strata Live 3D content. The software allows users to render 3D layered Photoshop files to separate every component of the image. Strata 3D CX 5 features an improved SDS Modeler, as well as a completely revamped geometry deforming Skeleton System. Users can script with the Lua Scripting language, while a History palette offers support for fully quad-based polygon objects boasting improved Boolean operations, stacking, docking, and other palette management options. The full version of Strata 3D CX 5 is priced at $700, requiring Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Age of Empires III for Mac
MacSoft today unveiled Age of Empires III for Mac, a Universal Binary version of the real-time strategy game. "'Age of Empires III' picks up where 'Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings' left off, as players become one of eight European powers exploring, colonizing, and conquering the New World. Featuring amazing 3D graphics, remarkable Ageia PhysX technology, and an innovative Home City feature that lets players 'level-up' their evolving home city to strengthen their economy, technology, and military, 'Age of Empires III' for Macintosh sets many new standards for real-time strategy games." Players command rifled infantry to scatter soldiers and blast buildings with cannon fire, directing cavalry through plains while navigating naval fleets to hold strategic waterways. The title is scheduled to ship in late September (pricing was unavailable).
No Oblivion expansions?
As far as expanding the game goes, fans of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion may have to make do with incremental downloads and unofficial mods. Forum posts by a Bethesda employee, "mburg," indicate that the company has no current plans for an expansion pack. This stands in contrast to the two official packs (Tribunal and Bloodmoon) released for Morrowind. Thankfully, Oblivion is such a large and freeform RPG already that there should always be something new to try.
Uptown Clutch wallet ships
Pacific Design today began shipping the Uptown Clutch, a wallet designed to carry and protect Apple's iPod nano as well as other daily items. The case provides access to the iPod from either the wallet interior or by way of an exterior flap, allowing users to manage music on-the-go without opening the enclosure. The wallet features room for four ID cards, earbud/cord mesh storage, and a billfold area. The Uptown Clutch is available for $30 in two styles which offer a full brown or black leather exterior with cross-hatched stitching over a quilted inset; or Italian-sourced faux leather with perforated inset available in red, blue, and pink. Each wallet also ships with a removable wrist strap.
AOL Free E-mail Domains
The latest move in AOL's large-scale transition from Internet access provider to ad-supported content host was announced today. In addition to previous news that AOL would give away free aol.com e-mail addresses, the company said its new AOL My eAddress would let users register an available .com or .net domain for up to 100 e-mail accounts on a given domain. Furthermore, these same e-mail addresses have 2 GB of storage each and can be used for AIM and any other AOL services. The one caveat is that the domains can't be used outside for websites or other Internet content while they remain registered at AOL. My eAddress is officially available in September.
QuarkXPress 7 30-day demo
Quark today announced a free 30-day evaluation of QuarkXPress 7 for Mac and Windows users. The demo enables designers and publishers to explore the features of QuarkXPress 7 as fully functioning software, which runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. QuarkXPress 7 is the latest version of the design and publishing software designed to transform creative communications by enabling customers to achieve design, production, and collaboration goals. The upgrade combines more design features with job-driven production capabilities in a collaborative environment in an effort to deliver faster creative development and print production. QuarkXPress 7 is available for $750, with upgrades priced at $250 for existing license holders.
DirecTV HD-DVR by August
One of the common complaints about HDTV is the lack of real DVR options. TiVo continues to work on its Series 3 player, but satellite viewers who either can't or would prefer not to choose a third-party DVR have something to look forward to in the near future. Briefly mentioned as part of DirecTV's quarterly results is the news that the television provider plans to release an HD-DVR unit of its own this quarter. Though nothing is known about the DVR beyond its existence, DirecTV says the DVR will launch in Los Angeles by the end of August. A full national release will follow within the next few weeks.
Trauma Center and Wii
It appears that at least one game is confirmed for the Wii launch, and that's Trauma Center: Second Opinion. Atlus' sequel will be largely similar to their DS game Under the Knife, but should feature improved graphics and the twist of having to use the Wii-mote instead of a stylus. Under the Knife is a surgery-themed puzzler that's sold so well in the United States that Atlus will be re-issuing it in the near future.
Online Mac backup service
Clunk Click has launched an online data backup service for Mac OS X users to provide a simple, safe, and affordable means to protect data. OnLine Pro automatically backs up data to secure offsite data centers over the internet every day, according to Clunk Clink. "Mac users have been frustrated by the lack of choice in protecting their data," said Paul Roberts, managing director of Clunk Clink. "We now offer a secure service that will simplify the backup process, giving mirrored offsite backup and storage without the need for additional hardware or backup media. This presents a huge advantage for Mac users over current methods." OnLine Pro backup pricing was unavailable.
FairCom goes Universal
FairCom has announced Universal Binary support across its product range for Mac OS X 10.4 at WWDC, including its complete line of database technology. The company has converted c-tree Plus database SDK, c-treeSQL Server technology, and c-tree ISAM Server technology. "Using Apple's superb developer tools the effort required to create Universal versions of our products was much less than we originally anticipated," said Randal Hoff, FairCom's director of business development. "For example, the team was able to complete the c-tree port in under a week so start to finish, from receipt of the hardware to the completion of all of our QA processes, was less than a month end to end. That's impressive."
People may often ignore those license agreements preceding software installations, but a reader of Dubious Quality reminds us that it can be important to read them. If you want to play Electronic Arts games though Xbox Live, it appears that virtually any information you share with Microsoft must be turned over to EA if they want it. This includes phone numbers, credit card data, and a number of demographical statistics, such as gender, click paths and feature usage. The topper is this phrase at the end of the agreement: "We may combine demographic information with personal information." This gives EA unfettered access to your information for purposes of marketing and market research.
Apple Keynote disappoints
Two more analysts agree that Apple's announcements during the company's keynote speech at the WWDC brought no big surprises, resulting in slight disappointment. "We believe the product announcements were in line to slightly less impactful versus market expectations," wrote Richard Farmer, a research analyst with Merrill Lynch in a research note obtained by MacNN. "New high end desktops with Intel processors were widely expected." American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu agreed: "We believe there may be slight investor disappointment that Leopard will not ship until spring 2007 and that Apple did not make more announcements like speedbumps to Core 2 Duo processors on existing Intel Macs." Wu noted, however, that Apple's decision to delay Leopard's release may well be related to Microsoft's attempts to clone Mac OS X for its new Vista operating system. Shaw Wu maintained a "buy" rating and a $75 price target on Apple shares.
The daily ritual for most consumer electronics involves recharging almost anything used for a significant amount of time. While most of us would attribute this to battery life, the amount of running time isn't the only factor in our constant need to recharge. The time spent recharging is at least as important; when a battery may take two to four hours to reach full capacity, forgetting to charge an iPod or laptop in advance could render it useless the next day. Researchers at MIT may have a solution in nanotube batteries. Traditional batteries, such as those made with nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion, depend on a chemcial reaction to produce electricity; there can only be so many reactions before the chemicals are effectively inert and the battery needs to be tossed aside. The MIT design takes a very different approach. It uses capacitors covered in millions of nanotubes each. This gives the capacitors much more surface area to store energy than was previously possible and avoids the inherently limited lifespan of chemical batteries. Read on for the very positive consequences.
Forums Roundup August 9
Forums roundup: Members discuss what Apple is still guarding as the unknown "Top Secret" features of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard..... One user who already ordered his 3GHz Mac Pro asks fellow users whether he made the right decision in purchasing the top end model.... Other users discuss the lack of other product announcements at WWDC regarding the Core 2 Duo laptop and desktop processor recently released by Intel.... With the Mac Pro shipping, users are looking for some answers to their questions before they order the new Macs; with one user specifically wondering how quiet the new system actually is.... Meanwhile, another user looks for buying advice comparing a Mac Mini with a Cinema display to a 20" 2.0GHz iMac..
Bully ready for October?
Rockstar is saying that Bully will finally be out this October, according to News.com. The original release date was October of last year. The CNET article also makes mention of some previously unknown gameplay features, namely weapons like stink bombs, marbles for tripping up pursuers, and baseball bats that break after several swings. There will also be no blood or death in the game, unlike many other violent Rockstar titles.
Xcode adds 64-bit support
Apple has released Xcode Tools 2.4, adding support for 64-bit Intel development along with the ability to create four-architecture Universal applications. Xcode Tools 2.4 supports development for Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger as well as the ability to produce Universal Binaries on Mac OS X 10.4 using Mac OS X SDK support. Xcode Tools 2.4 features selected fixes to the Xcode IDE, cctools, debugger, and compiler. The update also fixes bugs and enhances performance in several areas over Xcode 2.3, according to Apple. "Most notably, stepping behavior when debugging DWARF binaries has been made more precise, and Dedicated Network Builds (DNB) has received several usability fixes." Apple updated the 10.4u SDK (Software Development Kit) for development with Mac OS X 10.4.7, and updated CHUD to version 4.4.0.
LG L600V Music Phone
LG isn't the most recognized name in music phones; that honor is typically awarded to Motorola or Sony-Ericsson. This may be about to change with the FCC approval of LG's L600V music phone. As is quickly becoming the standard, the L600V has both a fairly large external screen and accompanying dedicated music controls, which lets you control the music without having to flip the phone open first (though this is less advanced than the upcomingSamsung A720). There's a MicroSD slot for storage and Bluetooth for data sync and peripherals. Little else is known, including price and availability, but public FCC approval typically signifies that a launch is due soon. See a full photo after the jump.
Sportfolio Deluxe case
Marware has unveiled the Sportfolio Deluxe, a case for 13-inch MacBook and 15- or 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks. The case is designed as a sleek and sporty enclosure to protect the laptop from damage on-the-go. The Sportfolio Deluxe features a "fully-functional" interior with pockets for a power adapter, an extra battery, and custom pockets for the Apple Remote as well as an iPod. An included padded shoulder strap allows users to carry the case either as a folio or in the traditional briefcase style. The new case also features headphone access, 'Orca skin' soft pockets, and a dual-lined zipper sealing. The Sportfolio Deluxe case is available for $80 (MacBook) or $90 (MacBook Pro).
Photo Booth, Sharing
Apple has updated XCode 3.0 and iCal features for Mac OS X Leopard, as well as the description of its new "Photo Booth" feature. A new sidebar item on the Leopard main page reads: "Photo Booth is the easy way to take fun self portraits. Just choose an effect, pick a backdrop, and mug for the camera." Apple quietly added the backdrop feature earlier this week following the company's keynote address by CEO Steve Jobs. Apple's website also confirmed plans for iChat-based screen sharing, Mail RSS, number of rows and column in spaces customization, Boolean logic in Spotlight searches, and support for multiple VoiceOver languages.
Sudden Motion Sensor game
Balooba has released a new version of its Sudden Motion Sensor-controlled tilt game, Bubblegym. This version adds support for new Macs with Sudden Motion Sensor technology including the new MacBook and MacBook Pro (in addition to the 12-, 15-, and 17- Powerbook G4s previously supported). The Bubblegym game itself is quite simple in that users must roll around the virtual marble to smash fruits before time runs out. According to the developer, this is the first game using the the laptop's Sudden Motion Sensor as a control device. The game requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later and will work with any Mac notebook equipped with the Apple Sudden Motion Sensor. [Download - 2.2MB]
Dave Perry's MMORPG
Infamous gaming icon and former Shiny designer Dave Perry (known for Earthworm Jim, MDK, and Enter the Matrix) is now working with Acclaim on a free MMORPG called 2Moons. Free? There must be a catch of course, and that comes from penalties to bonuses and experience if a player chooses to disable the interface-based advertising. "It will be like on television, you get to see a pay-per-view Mike Tyson fight that would normally cost you forty bucks, but you turn on a single image in the bottom right hand corner you get to watch it for free."
ATA over Ethernet for OS X
Coraid today announced that 2-degree Frost Software has released an AoE driver for Mac OS X. This new AoE (ATA over Ethernet) driver enables a significant breakthrough in cost and scalability of storage for the Apple's Mac platform and have released a commercial version of AoE for that delivers virtually limitless storage for Mac OS X users. EtherDrive Storage products use the AoE (ATA-over-Ethernet) storage protocol, a simple alternative to iSCSI or Fibre Channel. AoE enables disks to be shared on the network creating a highly scalable storage system at the lowest possible price, according to the companies. "High capacity disks and low-cost networking means massively scalable storage networks are now economically feasible for many of today's data hungry applications," the companies said in a press release. "EtherDrive Storage can scale one disk at a time to multi-PetaBytes of storage capacity, providing virtually limitless storage." The 2şFrost AoE Driver for Mac OS X is available today for both Intel- and PowerPC-based systems as a Universal Binary; it is available for $160 for the Client edition and $320 for the Server edition as an introductory offer.
BioWare licenses engine
BioWare has licensed Simutronics' "HeroEngine" for a new MMO title, a game which will also be the first project for BioWare Austin. Nothing else is known about the MMO, but Simutronics' press release claims that the company has "spent the past five years developing this new platform, and has recently begun making HeroEngine available to developers to create their own massively multiplayer online games." BioWare Austin's Gordon Walton is quoted as saying, "Our team wanted a great rapid prototyping environment and to work with experienced MMO developers. The HeroEngine from Simutronics is a perfect fit for BioWare Austin's requirements."
A&E shows on iTunes
A&E Television Networks and Apple today announced that television programming from A&E Network, The Biography and History Channels is now available for purchase and download on the iTunes Music Store and that now over 200 shows are now available on iTunes. The new content features popular series such as "Criss Angel: Mindfreak," "Driving Force" and "Inked" from A&E Network, "The Revolution" and "Modern Marvels" from The History Channel, and selections from the Emmy Award-winning "Biography" (Notorious, Great Inventors and Explorers, and Great Leaders) series from The Biography Channel. "Teaming up with iTunes is a great opportunity for us to both reach our growing fan base and expand our reach to new viewers wherever they are," said Steve Ronson, senior vice president, Enterprises, A&E Television Network. "iTunes is the leader in TV show downloads, and we are very happy that A&E Television Network brands and programming will now be available to consumers on their iPod or computer."
25U XRackPro2 server rack
GizMac Accessories this week previewed its soon-to-be-released 25U XRackPro2 server rack with Apple's new Xserve line at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). GizMac's 25U noise reduction server rack was chosen by Apple to house, display and silence the new Xserve product line that is being shown at the WWDC this week. Several clusters of the newest Apple Xserve servers were unveiled to the developer community through the use of the XRackPro 25U server rack from GizMac. The server rack is a unique solution for rackmount Apple Xserve servers and Xserve RAID storage, offering support for tape and disk backup, networking, battery backup and other rackmount systems as well as some vertically standing non-rackmount equipment. By reducing noise levels of Apple's Xserve solutions, the 25U XRackPro2 rackmount enclosure allows Xserve servers and RAID systems to be placed in areas that require low noise. Pricing is $2,200.
Mac Office security update
Microsoft has released new security updates for its Mac Office products: Office 2004 for Mac 11.2.6 Update and Office v. X for Mac Security Update (2006-08-08) both fix product vulnerabilities in that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. The update applies to Office v. X, Microsoft Word X for Mac, Microsoft Excel X for Mac, Microsoft PowerPoint X for Mac, Microsoft Entourage X for Mac as well as the current Office 2004 products, including the Standard Edition, Student and Teacher Edition, Professional Edition, Word 2004 for Mac, Excel 2004 for Mac, PowerPoint 2004 for Mac, and Entourage 2004 for Mac. Earlier this week, the company promised Universal versions of Office for Mac and Messenger, but said that it would discontinue Virtual PC and Visual Basic for Mac.
Nikon Unleashes the D80
A clock on Nikon's international sites had been counting down over the past few weeks, promising a very special new camera. The company would only hint that the camera had a 10.2 megapixel sensor and that it was a digital SLR. Yet it was enough for many people to make educated guesses, many of which were proven right today: Nikon today finally unveiled the D80, a successor to the now-classic D70. Besides the dramatically increased sensor resolution (up from 6), the D80 also has better image processing, a 2.5" LCD, and on-camera image editing for issues like red-eye. Prices are about the same as they were when the D70 was new: the body alone sells for $999, while the kit version sells for $1299. The kit lens is a substantially improved 18-135mm model, replacing the old but venerated 18-70. Full press release and photo of the back after the jump.
WeibeTech 4 external HDD
WiebeTech has added a new four-bay enclosure to its SilverSATA product line. The SilverSATA IV holds four 3.5-inch SATA drives, allowing up to 750GB per drive for a total of 3TB of total storage (unformatted). The drive trays feature removability, a dedicated connection to an eSATA host controller, and compatibility with other SilverSATA models. According to the company, the new enclosure--when using a software RAID utility--can be configured to achieve speeds of over 200MB/s with eSATA. The user-configurable four-bay unit is $450, or is sold pre-configured with four 250GB drives ($1000), four 500GB drives ($1800), or four 750GB drives ($3200). The enclosure requires eSATA connectivity--which WeibeTech sells PCI cards ($100) to provide most 'workstation' Macs with the required connectivity.
Apple's summer of music
Apple has launched the "Summer of Music" in Japan with free music from iTunes Music Store, collectible iTunes Cards, and exclusive live performances at Apple Retail Stores. Music fans at Summer Sonic will receive collectible iTunes Cards with free music downloads on August 12 in Tokyo and on August 13 in Osaka. For the remainder of the summer, iTunes is offering free music or music videos and collectible iTunes Cards featuring free downloads from the hottest artists in Japan, including Ken Ishii, Simon Le Bon, Hifana, and the premiere of a new video from Beck. Apple's seven Retail Stores in Japan are holding in-store performances with favorite local and international artists, including upcoming performances by PE'Z and She Wants Revenge. The Summer Sonic iTunes Cards give three free songs of the user's choice from the iTunes Music Store, and also feature free downloads from Spank Rock, PE'Z, Amusement Park on Fire and Maximum The Hormone. "Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We're thrilled to launch the 'Summer of Music' in Japan with free music from iTunes, Japan's number one online music store, and exclusive Apple Retail Store performances."
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