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News Archive for 06/08/10

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CinePlayer PDP100: ultra-stylish DVD player

08/10, 8:15pm

CinePlayer PDP100 Player

While the major players in digital entertainment are shifting the brunt of their efforts to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, there are companies who still care about perfecting an existing (and more stable) DVD medium. NuTech is one such example. The CinePlayer PDP100 boasts an Apple-like obsession with efficient and sleek design. Its chrome metal shell is barely larger than the DVD drive inside: it's 0.7 inches thin and 5.9 inches tall. This is also more than a stripped-down generic player, as it has component and S-video out as well as support for DivX and MPEG-4 video. There are certainly higher-end DVD players available, though at $167 it's both less expensive than those high-end models and a better visual companion for a new HDTV.

Mac Pro up to 62% faster than quad-G5

08/10, 7:50pm

Mac Pro real-world results

Announced earlier this week, users are already receiving their Mac Pro systems and offering some "real-world" insight to the performance. Barefeats.com has completed a series of benchmarks to show the performance of the new system. The test system is the 'base' Mac Pro featuring two dual-core Xeon processors running at 2.66GHz with 1GB of RAM priced at $2499 (new), while the test G5 system is a Quad PowerMac G5 system running at 2.5GHz--also with 1GB of RAM with a higher price of $3299 (new). The test covers both Universal and non-Universal tests of Applications including Final Cut Pro 5, Photoshop CS2, and CineBench 9.5. In the non-Universal Binary tests, the G5 was 20-37 percent faster than the Xeon system; however, when tested with Intel-compatible applications, the Mac Pro took a significant lead of between 35 and 62 percent in "real-world" tests and a 15 percent higher Cinebench CPU score. "We are impressed with the Mac Pro's performance. We'll be even more impressed when Adobe's Universal Binary apps appear in 'second quarter of 2007,'" the report said. [Graph included].

Additional Leopard features surface

08/10, 7:15pm

More Leopard features

Several more unannounced Leopard features have surfaced on the internet following Apple's release of the preview version. New Leopard features include resolution independence; a new QuickTime framework; full screen mode; more on timeline; possible Carbon improvements; an improved version of Image Kit; grammar checking; multiple clipboards; an iCal overhaul; a new Automator user interface; RSS support; and more, according to a report with additional details on a developer forum post. Apple's website released some minor features earlier this week after the keynote. [Details included]

Briefly: Leopard "Teams"; Swift

08/10, 6:30pm

Leopard "Teams", Swift

In brief: Apple's Mac OS Forge site contains a Wiki describing a "Teams" feature of Mac OS X Leopard which includes a Web-based calendar client that works with the Calendar server.... The Czech Apple Store recently launched an alternative advertising approach (site down) to sell iPods (shown at right).... One blogger has pointed out that a wide price gap was traditionally responsible for the commercial success of PCs over Macs, and notes that the difference is no longer a factor for consumers.... The Iconfactory has released Vinyl Database ($130), a set of 52 add-ons extending the original collection with icons covering tables, scripts, records, and more.... Verizon's EVDO ExpressCard For MacBook Pro is easy to install, according to one user, but the "unlimited" high-speed access is actually false advertisement according to another.... Getwebkit.org has released Swift, a Web browser for Windows based on the Apple WebKit rendering engine. [updated]

iCal, iChat to challenge groupware

08/10, 5:25pm

Apple challenges groupware

Apple may be challenging communications software from Microsoft and WebEx with its new versions of iCal and iChat, which is scheduled to ship with Mac OS X Leopard in the spring of 2007. The company has revealed "stealth groupware" that could represent Apple's biggest move against enterprise products such as WebEx Communications and Microsoft NetMeeting, according to eWeek.com. The new version of iCal supports collective group calendars, while Leopard Server will feature iCal Server. Apple executives highlighted the fact that iCal Server has no per-user license, enabling any number of users to access the system at no additional cost.

The end of applications?

08/10, 5:10pm

End of Apps

Ever since the Internet became a practical reality for computer users, analysts and other technology luminaries have been predicting the end of software development as we know it. At first the belief centered around the concept of "thin clients:" users would onnly need to connect to a main server on a network and run their programs remotely. In recent years Web 2.0 concepts like blogs and wikis have lead some to believe that software as we know it is dead and that we should focus on making the hardware less expensive and easier to manage. Some people disagree, reports ZDNet. Fewer gains in computer speed may limit what new software can do, but it might be artificially limiting to say that no more real development is possible. The next few years may determine the ultimate fate of dedicated programs.

iTunes to allow DVD burning?

08/10, 4:50pm

iTunes, DVD burning?

The DVD Copy Control Association is soon expected to finalize changes that could allow iTunes customers to burn video downloads onto DVDs. The forthcoming technical and policy changes involve the association's proprietary technology called the "Content Scramble System," or CSS. The group licenses the encryption technology to makers of DVD players and other electronics firms, applying it to movies on DVDs to restrict illegal copying, according to a report from the Associated Press. The association said it will expand that licensing to digitally distributed movies on demand or a la carte in the near future, and is cooperating with disc makers to create CSS-compatible blank DVDs.

New Bonk game on the way to the Wii?

08/10, 4:50pm

Bonk on the way to Wii?

A Hudson employee has posted a "taste of things to come" in the company's forums, depicting concept art for the long-neglected platform hero Bonk. Bonk was the effective mascot for the TurboGrafx 16, but while reasonably popular, the character hasn't been seen on any console in years. Could a new Bonk game be in the works for Wii? Concept art would certainly suggest so, and he's already set to appear on the system's Virtual Console. Click on "read more" to see the full-sized image.

Memorex FlashDisc: the floppy disk replacement?

08/10, 4:35pm

Memorex FlashDisc

Sometimes advantages in flash storage are about more than just larger capacities. Making that storage more affordable is equally valuable, especially for students who can easily lose a flash drive that they might not have the money to replace. The Memorex FlashDisc confronts all these factors at once. A donut-shaped and brightly-colored design make for drives that are harder to forget and easier to hold in a busy classroom. More impressive is that the consequences of losing one are relatively trivial. $15 at the store will get a three-pack, guaranteeing that there will almost always be a spare ready to go. You would be forgiven for disbelieving the claim by Memorex that the FlashDisc is the definitive replacement for the old 1.44 MB floppy disk, however; at a $5 effective price for 16 MB of storage per drive, the FlashDisc is more expensive than an old 3.5" disk and not quite as useful as much more capacious (if also higher-priced) traditional flash drives.

UK bans iPods, laptops in-flight

08/10, 4:35pm

UK bans iPods in-flight

Authorities in the U.K. today forbid airline passengers from taking electronic items such as iPods or laptops as hand baggage on flights. The ban follows the arrests of 21 people in connection with an alleged plot to demolish an aircraft in mid-flight while en route to the U.S, according to Macworld UK. Authorities also banned other items such as liquids and food, with a few exceptions. The rules pertain to all flights leaving or transferring through the U.K., according to the British government.

GameStop managers file lawsuit

08/10, 4:00pm

GameStop managers sue

Six GameStop store managers in Louisiana have filed suit against the company, charging that they've been denied pay owed to them under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The managers complain that in some instances they were working more than 50 to 60 hours a week without proper compensation. The FLSA does exempt employers from paying overtime to workers "employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity," but the managers insist that they were really just grunts with no authority to make decisions, to the point that a district manager was required to hire or fire someone. Other managers who feel they've been shafted by GameStop may have a chance to join the collective-action lawsuit.

Microsoft, OEMs using coupons to move Vista?

08/10, 3:50pm

Microsoft Vista Coupons

Many large computer OEMs were disappointed by the news that Windows Vista would not be ready for volume shipments of home-oriented PCs by the end of the year. Operating system upgrades are often strong incentives for users looking to replace their old computers, and manufacturers such as Dell and HP were hoping to capitalize on the intended Fall release of Vista as a way to boost their holiday season sales. Without Vista as a selling point, manufacturers and Microsoft have resorted to offering buyers coupons for free upgrades to the new operating system, says DigiTimes. Customers who buy from certain vendors later in the year will be eligible for a free copy of Vista in January 2007, when the software is expected to ship in bulk. Although OEMs stand to gain the most from the sales drive, Microsoft's contribution indicates that it is worried slow adoption of Vista will seriously damage its long-term prospects.

Supertooth II Bluetooth speakerphone

08/10, 2:50pm

Supertooth II Speakerphone

If you have a Bluetooth-equipped cellphone and you need to take a call while driving and your phone's speakerphone features are less than adequate, you now have an option that will let you answer without strewing wires across your car. Blue Ant, a company that focuses exclusively on Bluetooth hardware, is selling the Supertooth II, a wireless speakerphone that has an adjustable, noise-cancelling microphone and a speaker much larger than any phone can muster. It lasts for 20 hours of talk time or 800 hours of standby on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. The Supertooth II has an official price of $130, though you can find it for $100 on the street.

New Zune details: $299, large screen, limited WiFi

08/10, 2:40pm

Zune Details August 10th

With the Zune player's Fall launch timeframe rapidly approaching, retail stores need to know what they can sell and what to promote when the hardware is finally ready. This is why sources in retail now have additional information beyond what little Microsoft has made public. First is the price: despite claims that the Zune would ship for $399 due to its features, the most recent update puts the price on par with Apple's current 30 GB iPod, which sells for $299. This may well be impressive given that the production player should have a bigger screen than the iPod. There will also be three colors, though what those will be isn't public yet. Lastly, the WiFi features are relatively limited on the initial Zune model. Users will be able to bookmark tracks shared through WiFi to remind you to buy them later, but it won't be possible to buy songs directly from the Zune itself.

coconutBattery 2.5 features widget

08/10, 2:15pm

coconutBattery 2.5

Coconut-flavour.com has released coconutBattery 2.5, an entirely rewritten application with a preferences menu and a dashboard widget. The beta widget offers coconutBattery functionality from the dashboard with the same "coconut-flavor" as the standalone application, and the software natively supports Intel Macs as a Universal Binary. The latest version is compatible with MacBook and MacBook Pro, producing warnings when run on unsupported systems. CoconutBattery is a tool that displays the current charge of a notebook battery, as well as the current maximum capacity of the battery in relation to the original capacity the battery had as it left the factory. The utility also offers information about battery-loadcycles, the current charger, and the age of the Mac. CoconutBattery 2.5 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.

Battlestar Galactica promo on Xbox Live

08/10, 2:15pm

Galactica promo on XBL

A fluff piece promoting the third season of Battlestar Galactica will be one of the first "long-form" programs available on Xbox Live. Called The Story So Far, the special will be a free download in mid-September and recap the stories of the show's miniseries and first two seasons. Consumers will also be exposed to the promo on most stations owned by NBC Universal, including Bravo, USA, and west-coast NBC affiliates.

Nokia on collision course with Apple

08/10, 2:10pm

Nokia takes on Apple

Nokia is on a collision course with Apple's iTunes, following the company recent purchase of Loudeye, a company focused helping others distribute and sell digital music. A new report says that the $60 million purchase is the first step to a showdown, according to the report that says that the company may be seeking to go "after none other than the 800-pound gorilla of the digital music world." According to the report, Apple has sold 22.5 million iPod players in its fiscal year 2005 and could approach 50 million units by the end of 2006; however, Nokia sold over 265 million units in its most recent fiscal year, 40 million of which were capable of playing music. Although many music enthusiasts prefer an iPod, the distinction is blurring quickly as more and more phones gain larger storage capacity, a better interface, and more features.

OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 for Intel Macs

08/10, 2:05pm

OpenOffice.org 2.0.3

OpenOffice.org has released OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 for Mac OS X Intel (X11), updating the Office suite with new system integration. OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 features "Fondu," a set of programs to interconvert between Mac font formats and pfb, ttf, otf and bdf files on UNIX. The update offers support for Microsoft file format when sending documents as emails, corrects help id for the xslt filter dialog basic tab page, and adds online update functionality. Users can control slide shows while utilizing additional features of the PDF Export dialog, and crash recovery immediately restarts the software. OpenOffice.org requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available for free.

Forerunner 305 Foot Pod: GPS for exercise

08/10, 1:55pm

Forerunner 305 Foot Pod

For awhile, Garmin has given runners a way of tracking their exercise progress through GPS. The Forerunner 305 works by tracking your distance and speed using GPS to measure the effectiveness of your exercise. However, even Garmin knows that GPS isn't uniformly reliable: urban obstacles and unusual geography can block the GPS signal occasionally. The solution comes in the form of the Foot Pod (a clear reference to its main rival), a newly announced wireless transmitter that mounts to any shoe and sends info such as distance and speed to the Forerunner as you run. It runs on a AAA battery and can last for 70 hours on a full charge. It won't be for everyone when it ships in October for $100; the focus is primarily on accuracy over motivating the runner.

Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 PLUS

08/10, 1:25pm

Neuros MPEG4 Recorder

Converting any live video to a format ready for the iPod, the PSP, or other small video players is usually a multi-step process that requires massive amounts of hard drive space: you have to find a way of getting the video feed to your PC, record it, and then encode it into the format you originally wanted. Neuros' MPEG4 Recorder 2 PLUS is meant to eliminate at least one step. Any video source that can output to RCA can be sent through the recorder and encoded into one of several pre-defined formats as the video plays. You can save the resulting video to a CompactFlash, SD, or Memory Stick Duo card. Neuros' hardware is available immediately for $160.

Quiz Press expands interoperability

08/10, 1:20pm

Quiz Press 1.5 released

Sol Robots today released Quiz Press 1.5, an application for making online and print tests featuring multimedia integration with improved application interoperability. The update allows users to add images, sounds, music, movies and interactive media to online quizzes. Multimedia content is usable with every Quiz Press question type -- which includes Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blanks, Short Answer, True or False, and Cloze -- and the software features copy & paste as well as drag-and-drop support with numerous multimedia applications. Quiz Press 1.5 is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.

Synk 6 takes on Time Machine

08/10, 12:55pm

Synk 6 vs Time Machine

Decimus Software has unveiled Synk 6, boasting the same functionality as Apple's recently-announced Time Machine backup software. The public beta uses the same technology as Apple's Time Machine to track changes, according to Decimus, and can schedule backups automatically at any frequency desired. Synk 6 also maintains old versions of all files, allowing users to selectively restore any version from any point in time. "The only thing we're missing is a space-themed restore interface, as we don't exactly have Apple's budget for graphic artists," said Decimus. Synk 6 does not require dedication of the entire volume, or that the volume use the HFS+ file system. Additionally, backup copies are bootable with Synk 6 because the data is not stored in a custom format. Synk 6 beta is available now, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

MTV buys Atom for $200 million

08/10, 12:45pm

MTV buys Atom for $200M

Take that, Activision. In an attempt to further penetrate the market of gamers, MTV Networks (a division of Viacom) has decided to buy Atom Entertainment for a colossal $200 million. This will grant access to Shockwave.com and Addicting Games, Websites hosting simple yet popular Flash- and Java-based minigames. The logic of this might be questionable, until you realize that MTV estimates a potential audience of 50 million gamers. Viacom already owns Xfire, NeoPets, and GameTrailers.com.

Mac OS X Server quietly goes Universal

08/10, 12:15pm

OS X Server goes Universal

Apple quietly updated Mac OS X Server to version 10.4.7, bringing native compatibility to Intel-based Mac servers as a Universal Binary. The Cupertino-based company likely remained silent about the update as it came just weeks before the debut of its new Intel-based Xserve system, according to Macworld UK. Apple released the Universal update in late June, and announced its new Intel Xserve system at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this week. Accompanying Universal status, the update repairs several issues while offers improvements to AFP server usage.

Movie studios to allow general copy-protected DVDs

08/10, 12:10pm

Studios Allow DVD Copies

The blossoming of online movie download services has forced the major Hollywood studios to rethink its sometimes harsh attitudes towards DVD copying. Previously, the DVD Copy Control Association (which is run by the same studios) forbid DVD copying for any reason, which angered advocates of fair use backups and those who wanted to watch out-of-print movies on their DVD players. While the terms have yet to be finalized, the DCCA is ready to permit copying of movies downloaded from legal sources to copy-protected DVD discs that would work on any standard player, reports the Associated Press. Buyers could visit a terminal at a store and burn a copy of a movie no longer released in stores, or make permanent copies of movies they downloaded online. Blank DVDs ready for copy protection are also a part of the plan.

Apps: GraffitiButton, VuMan, Lux Delux

08/10, 12:00pm

GraffitiButton, VuMan

    GraffitiButton 3.0 ($50) enhances the button class for the REALbasic integrated development environment, offering 30 custom and standard button styles in REALbasic applications. Version 3.0 boasts performance increases, improved stability, a global registration system, additional styles, and REALbasic 2006R3+ compliance. The update requires REALbasic 2006R3 or later running on any R3-compatible version of Mac OS X. [Download - 149KB]
    VuMan 1.0 ($20) is a page viewer for Mac OS X designed to be user-friendly and versatile. The application allows users to link a number of UNIX command-line tools together to make searching, reading, and printing man page documentation a simple task. Version 1.0 is a Universal Binary offering native performance on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, as well as improved portability running as both a native Aqua application and as a Unix-style X11 application. The Unix/X11 version is available for free. [Download - Aqua Form, Free X11 ]
    Lux Delux 5.4 ($25) is a game of strategy and domination inspired by the board game Risk, placing players in control of armies to conquer and hold strategic countries to take over the world. Version 5.4 adds an improved plug-in manager, improved networked games support, a new info button on the map window, and offers a fix for saving games. Lux Delux 5.4 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 8.3MB]
    Encryptor 2.5b ($80) allows users to secure FileMaker data, share medical data over the internet, and verify the correctness of important text. The software also supports compression of large texts, encrypts text or container fields, verifies data integrity as well as sources, and make documents readable only by user selection. The Universal plug-in runs natively on PowerPC as well as Intel Macs, features compatibility with FileMaker Pro 8.5, and updates the User Guide for version 2.5. [Download - 1.5MB]
    RAW Developer 1.5.2 ($price) is a RAW image conversion application designed specifically for advanced photographers using Mac OS X. Version 1.5.2 adds support for more than 10 new camera models including the Nikon D2Xs, Sony Alpha DSLR-A100, Pentax K100D and K110D; and expanded support for digital backs from Leaf, Sinar, Hasselblad/Imacon and Phase One. The software also offers direct use of embedded ICC profiles from RAW files; support for export of 16 bits/channel and EXIF metadata for Photoshop file format export; and improved performance of TIFF files. RAW Developer 1.5.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 4.3MB]

Genesis games coming to Sony systems

08/10, 12:00pm

Genesis games on Sony

Don't shelve your Sony consoles just yet; Sega has announced that the Sega Genesis Collection will be coming to the PS2 and PSP this fall. For a time in the 90's, the Genesis was able to steal Nintendo's thunder, and with good reason - some of the 30 games in the Collection include Sonic, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star, and Shinobi III. The PSP disc will even allow wireless multiplayer, though presumably that means local play and not via the Internet.

BitTorrent-friendly wireless router

08/10, 11:20am

bitTorrent Wireless Router

Though some Internet users would be loathe to admit it, BitTorrent is a driving force of the Internet. In numerous cases, torrents actually make up the majority of traffic on some Internet providers and network backbones. Asus' new WL-700gE router is designed expressly for those BitTorrent enthusiasts who download so often that they need more than just a computer left on overnight. In addition to four Ethernet ports and 802.11g wireless, the 700gE has its own BitTorrent client that can not only download as many as seven torrents to its built-in 160GB hard drive while your computer is off, but can also be accessed remotely to either queue new torrents or download files through the built-in FTP server. A USB 2 port makes sure you can add additional drive space. At $500 it's an expensive but ultimately more efficient alternative to a dedicated download computer.

Atari PR admits that Driv3r was "half-baked"

08/10, 11:20am

Driv3r was "half-baked"

Here's the sort honesty desperately missing in marketing, public relations, and the corporate world in general: Atari's vice president of sales and marketing, Nique Fajors, has confessed that the much-hyped Driv3r was "a half-baked product that was pushed out the door for revenue reasons." Easy to say when the franchise is now in Ubisoft's hands perhaps, but during his speech at Atari's annual press event, Fajors also said that steps would be taken to fix quality control at the company. The plan is to hire teams embodying "disgust with losing and disgust with being mediocre."

Briefly: Mac Pro internal photos

08/10, 11:20am

Mac Pro internal photos

In brief: One user has posted numerous photos of a disassembled Mac Pro which include the case (front, back, and side), drive bays, motherboard, Intel Xeon processors, memory, graphics card, heat sinks, drive sleds, stock drives, PCI slots, and more.... Fastforward Software is seeking more developers to publish its applications, offering exclusive services to independent developers looking to increase sales with the advantages of a publisher.... Photoshop Elements Techniques has announced 11 winners of its 2006 Scrappy Awards, the first Photoshop Elements design competition for digital scrapbookers.... Equinux has acknowledged Apple's Design Award for "Best Mac OS X User Experience" for its iSale auctioning solution.... One blogger who works for a Mac-oriented co-location service has posted about "the cage," an area of the data center full of Mac minis.

True VGA display for cameras (UPDATED)

08/10, 10:25am

First VGA Camera Display

One reason why professionals still insist on optical viewfinders in higher-end cameras is the sharpness of the image: the only detail lost is through the slight distortion of the lens. LCDs on digital cameras are often very low-resolution; they're good enough to assist with framing and spotting obvious problems, but it's impossible to spot some color and focus problems at a glance. Samsung has developed a new display that might solve a lot of the problems associated with previewing photos on cameras. While even the larger LCDs on cameras stop at a 320x240 resolution, Samsung has found a way to produce a 3-inch LCD that manages a dramatically improved 640x480. This is large enough for some point-and-shoot camera models, and it could display some smaller shots without any lost detail. The new design can display 260,000 colors and maintain a good 350:1 contrast ratio. Set to be previewed in Korea on August 23rd, we'll see these displays in production cameras during the first half of 2007. UPDATE: see a photo of the LCD after the jump.

A Jukebox for the iPod Generation

08/10, 10:20am

Jukebox for iPods

There are plenty of audiophiles who cling to older music equipment. Some will say it sounds better; others just miss the days when the hardware was treated less as cold technology and more as a work of art. Doubtlessly, though, many of these music traditionalists will privately admit that older isn't necessarily better. A classic jukebox could only hold a few dozen songs at best. Pacific Rim Technologies is betting that at least a few of these conflicted music lovers will be interested in merging the old and new into one unit, the Jukebox Station. While Wurlitzer was the first to release an iPod-ready jukebox, Pacific Rim's new system is more advanced. In addition to letting users play music from the iPod (or CDs, or FM radio), the Jukebox Station also has RCA and S-Video output to let you see photos and videos on newer iPod models. The $700 price should be easily manageable for anyone who wants a stereo that doubles as a focal point of the room. It starts shipping in early October. See a complete photo after the jump.

Back-to-school iPod accessories

08/10, 10:05am

XtremeMac iPod accessories

XtremeMac is offering back-to-school iPod accessories as parents and students prepare for their return to dorms and classrooms. The company is shipping its MicroMemo (shown at right), a digital recorder, and Tango, an iPod speaker system with audio/video line out, both of which are designed to turn an iPod into a useful study tool. MicroMemo takes advantage of the video iPod's high-fidelity audio capabilities to record and play back verbal notes, interviews, podcasts or lectures. The accessory can also record language lessons to help reinforce proper pronunciation and accent or for recording oral homework. MicroMemo supports line-in recording directly from instruments or digital mixers to aid music students, and is priced at $60 (pricing and availability for the Tango speaker system were unavailable).

Marware ships complete Sportfolio line

08/10, 9:50am

Sportfolio cases released

Marware has released the Sportfolio and Sportfolio sleeve cases for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. The Sportfolio case is available in three sizes to accommodate the 13-inch MacBook alongside the 15- or 17-inch MacBook Pro. Designed to be thin, yet tough, the Sportfolio case offers plastic side inserts for re-enforcement and neoprene-lined zippers for protection against scratches. Designed for use either over the over-the-shoulder or carrying hand, the case is versatile--featuring three storage pockets for files and laptop accessories. The Sportfolio Sleeve is also constructed with 'rugged' neoprene and can be used with the 13-inch MacBook, the 15- or 17-inch MacBook Pro either as a standalone case or placed inside a briefcase or backpack. The Sleeve features a fully-lined interior, plastic side inserts, and a convenient ultra-soft 'Orca skin' front pocket to hold pens, sunglasses, or an iPod. The Sportfolio Laptop Case ($40-50) and Sportfolio Sleeve ($30-40) are available now. Earlier this week, the company debuted the Sportfolio Deluxe

CRYPTO-Server 6.4 supports Intel Macs

08/10, 9:45am

CRYPTO-Server 6.4 released

Mac authentication technology developer CRYPTOCard has announced a Universal version of its CRYPTO-Server 6.4 for two-factor authentication. The solution provides seamless integration with Apple's PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs and protects LAN, VPN, web-based (Apache and II S), and desktop access for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger." Version 6.4 also brings a new machine-to-machine architecture which provides a much faster, smaller footprint solution that improves user and administrator experience and support for a new software token for BlackBerry handsets from Research In Motion (RIM) which will enable remote users logging into the corporate network from a desktop or laptop via a VPN to use their BlackBerry handset to generate the necessary credentials for two-factor authentication. It also features new client-based 'Disconnected Authentication' to ensure a mobile user's laptop is protected even when connection to the CRYPTO-Server is not possible and USB Dongle support for Intel-based Macs.

Nokia 8800 Scirocco Edition?

08/10, 9:40am

Nokia 8800 Scirocco

The Nokia 8800 series (including the 8801 in the US) is stylish and technologically capable, if not necessarily the best value for money. It seems as though the phone maker plans to remedy this soon with a special edition of the 8800, the Scirocco Edition. The existing phone will receive a visual upgrade with this design and come in either glossy black or silver trims. The keys will also get a revision at the same time. As for improved specifications, these are uncertain. One German site offering pre-orders claims that there will be a 2 megapixel camera (which would be very logical for a late-2006 phone), while another says otherwise. Expect to pay a premium when it arrives. The pre-order price of about $1069 (equivalent) in Germany may have been spurred by anticipated demand in an expensive country, but when the updated version arrives here it won't be a trivial purchase.

Xbox Live Gold card on the cheap

08/10, 9:40am

Xbox Live Gold card cheap

Internet access can be expensive enough without paying for extra monthly services. If you're concerned about saving a few dollars, Amazon is selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards for more than $14 less than the average cost. Gold cards are effectively necessary for Xbox Live, since the Silver level doesn't let you use the matchmaking services needed for most games' multiplayer modes. Silver users also forego a number of Marketplace downloads.

MLB Gameday Audio on Sprint

08/10, 9:35am

MLB Gameday Audio

Keeping track of a baseball game can be very tough: games often run long enough that there's a good chance you won't be within range of a TV or radio at least some of the time. And if you are, you would have to be very dedicated to get a TV or satellite radio package that includes out-of-town games. Sprint is counting on enough of us wanting a cure for these occasional frustrations through its new deal with Major League Baseball. For $6 a month beyond your regular plan, you can listen to every MLB game on your phone through the WAP site on mlb.com, regardless of whether the game is local or not. You can even choose whether you listen to the home or away team's coverage. While it's unfortunate that fans are locked into a specific carrier, a baseball fan might consider the cost a worthwhile sacrifice.

Mariner ships Montage 1.0.1 update

08/10, 9:15am

Mariner Montage 1.0.1

Mariner Software has released Montage 1.0.1, a free update to its professional screenwriting software exclusively developed for Mac OS X. As a follow up version to last month's 1.0 release, Montage 1.0.1 addresses several speed enhancements, feature additions, and bug fixes. Version 1.01 improves performance by five times for the Scenes view, adds further refinements to more and cont'd/keep with next, adds a preference to disable automatic scene splitting, and more. Several pre-formatted templates, including film, television, and theater, automatically format the user's script to industry standards. Montage Smart Views allow writers to visually filter the script to the desired content, based on criteria. In addition, Montage includes the ability to create, submit, and track query letters, a script synopsis, and script submissions to hundreds of included industry contacts. Montage also imports Final Draft, text, and RTF documents. Montage, available in English, is $140 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.

Jack Thompson on Attack of the Show

08/10, 9:10am

Thompson on AotS

Having long spearheaded an (ineffective) campaign against the evils of violent videogames, lawyer Jack Thompson will be appearing on G4TV's Attack of the Show tonight at 7 PM EST. GamePolitics speculates that given the recent reappearance of Bully in the news, he will probably be continuing his crusade against the Rockstar game. It should be interesting to see how Thompson reacts to an interviewer from a network devoted to gaming.

Griffin PowerBlock Travel package

08/10, 8:55am

New international AC kit

Griffin Technology has released a package designed to simplify charging USB devices, such as the iPod, while travelling. The package is based around the PowerBlock, which is an AC adapter for devices that charge through USB ports. This new version, known as the PowerBlock Travel, adds plug adapters for international travel and is able to handle voltages between 100 and 240 AC -- converting the power input to the voltage that the USB devices require. The PowerBlock Travel package includes a Griffin dock connector cable for an iPod, an accessory pouch, and three plug adapters for use in Continental Europe, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States. This new package costs $35 and is available now through Griffin's web store and retail partners.

Intel Xserve may be good for business

08/10, 8:35am

Better business Xserve

Apple's recently-released Intel-based Xserve is set to attract more business customers, according to one report. The new Apple server system is better for cluster applications because it can run more operating systems and receives more predictable performance upgrades, offering better performance per-dollar. IT managers in past years were beholden to PowerPC's intermittent performance updates and running PowerPC-based versions of even standard Linux software, according to Electronista. That 'drawback,' however, was abolished when the company unveiled its Intel-based Xserve system. Apple may see improved Xserve sales moving forward as more companies select the slim server hardware for various installations. [updated]

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