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News Archive for 06/08/11

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Refurb Power Macs, Cinema Displays

08/11, 6:40pm

Refurb Power Macs, LCDs

Apple is offering refurbished Power Mac systems which include the G5 Dual 2GHz with 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a 16X double-layer DVD-RW/CD-RW SuperDrive for $1,699 (a 16 percent savings); the G5 Dual 2.7GHz with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a 16X double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive for $2,149 (a discount of 29 percent); the G5 Dual 2.3GHz dual-core with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a 16X double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive for $2,149 (a 15 percent savings); and the G5 Quad 2.5GHz with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a 16X double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive for $2,799 (16 percent off). The company is also selling its refurbished 20-inch Cinema Display for $599 (54 percent off), its 23-inch Cinema HD Display for $849 (58 percent off), and its 30-inch Cinema HD Display for $1,699 (49 percent off). All Apple-certified refurbished comes with free shipping and a standard one-year warranty.

Forums: Mac Pro Boot Camp, Prosumer Mac?

08/11, 5:45pm

Mac Pro Boot Camp

Forums roundup: Members are discussing the possibilities and pricing of a "prosumer" tower -- a "headless" computer between the iMac and Mac Pro.... Users discuss their experiences with Boot Camp on their Mac Pros and the limitations of 32-bit Windows while using a 64-bit processor.... Some are beginning to doubt the so-called "impending" release of Core 2 Duo-based Macs as WWDC came and went without any word from Apple.... A member looks for advice as to what Mac Pro to buy for his professional audio and graphical work, as well as the value actual of the extra 0.34GHz of the top end Mac Pro.... Meanwhile, members continue a debate on the topic of integrated graphics, discussing how to enhance them along with their possible future in Macs.

NASDAQ notifies AAPL of non-compliance

08/11, 5:40pm

AAPL incompliant with NSDQ

Apple today received a letter from NASDAQ (NSDQ) notifying the company that it is incompliant with the tech stock exchange rules, and has requested a hearing before the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel in response. "As anticipated, the letter was issued in accordance with NASDAQ procedures due to the delayed filing of the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended July 1, 2006," Apple wrote. "Pending a decision by the Panel, Apple shares will remain listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market."

No right to an attorney

08/11, 5:05pm

No right to an attorney

If you're looking to get your hands on the popular DS game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, now's the time to start scouring local stores, because Amazon.com has already sold out of what it received in the recent Capcom re-issue. You'll have to wait until the 29th to get anything more from them. This does not mean that the re-issue itself is sold out, but again, it may be smart to track down local sources while you can. Ace Attorney is the first game from Capcom's long-running series to be released outside of Japan.

TEAC ultra-flat, iPod-ready hi-fi

08/11, 4:50pm

TEAC Ultra-Flat Hi-Fi

The recently announced Soloist media dock might be useful as a small set of iPod speakers, but its size by definition rules it out as a dedicated stereo: a small single-piece stereo will always have limited effective stereo separation or bass response. Appropriately, TEAC is offering a pair of new bookshelf hi-fi units that keep the iPod dock and NXT flat-panel speaker technology while adding much more power to the sound. The CD-X10i (pictured) is a tall, narrow stereo with a detachable iPod dock alongside a CD player, AM/FM tuner, and a minijack for accepting other audio sources. Its brother the MC-DX22i is shorter, wider, and has an integrated dock. No information has been given yet about the sound output of each set, but the price differences between the $249 CD-X10i and $299 MC-DX22i suggests that there is more than just the cosmetic difference of an integrated dock. The former model ships this month, while buyers looking for the latter can expect it in September. A photo of the MC-DX22i is available in the full article.

PSP price cut before the holidays?

08/11, 4:20pm

PSP price cut before Xmas?

Sony has been stockpiling unidentified gaming hardware - could this be a sign that the cost of the PSP is about to drop? That's what P.J. McNealy, analyst at American Technology Research tells Chris Morris of CNNMoney.com. "There is a price cut coming in the second half of the year," McNealy says. "[The PSP] has lost momentum. Nintendo has had a great run since it launched the DS Lite and Sony needs to regain some ground." He figures that the price of the PSP will drop $50 to $149 US, and that the system might then include a bundled game or two. That would be quite a deal compared to the $129 DS.

Flip remote: using cellphone design to help TVs

08/11, 4:05pm

Flip Remote Control

Choices in remote controls for a TV are often binary. Buyers can opt either for the complex, powerful remote that can be a hindrance when they just want to change channels, or else they can use the overly simplified remote that will typically fall short of expectations. Geisen Design decided that the best balance between these extremes could be reached by borrowing from cellphone ergonomics: their Flip remote control resembles many modern flip phones and takes advantage of the shape to split the controls based on your intentions. If you only need basic functions, the closed remote has easy buttons on the outside; if you need more advanced options, swinging the Flip open gives access to a vast suite of options. The Flip is currently just a design study but is clearly ready to be translated into a production unit without much trouble. Click "read more" for a photo from another angle.

Intel asks for ATI subpoena

08/11, 3:35pm

Intel wants ATI subpoena

Intel has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware permission to serve ATI a subpoena, which the company hopes will bolster its antitrust case against rival AMD. Retrieving the documents may reveal how AMD's planned acquisition of ATI will affect Intel's ability to compete in the processor market, according to IDG News. The case began in June of 2005 when AMD filed an antitrust suit against Intel, alleging that the chip giant discouraged PC manufacturers as well as retailers from purchasing AMD chips with its dominance of the x86 microprocessor market.

HP MediaSmart HDTV

08/11, 3:30pm

HP MediaSmart HDTV

Current talk of media hubs revolves around home theater PCs. These can be exercises in frustration for newcomers who might not know or care about the work involved in setting up a PC as a media hub for the living room. HP believes that some people would rather bypass the PC element altogether and stream content from their existing computer. The 37-inch MediaSmart LCD TV is identical to its cousin the LC3760N in other specifications save for the addition of a media player, but it's this player that makes the difference. Through either 802.11a/b/g or Ethernet, you can stream several different audio, photo, and video formats (including Live365 and Rhapsody radio streams) through the TV without requiring a second system or outside box. Streaming is handled on the computer through UPnP or Windows Media Connect and generally favors Windows PCs through support. Cost is the main obstacle: at $2700, the MediaSmart is $1000 more expensive than its ordinary counterpart. Still, it's more elegant and simple than most alternatives.

New Prey fixes, content coming soon

08/11, 3:15pm

New Prey content coming

There are no release dates offered (surprise), but in the latest Prey update at 3D Realms' Website, Chris Rhinehart has let us know that patches are in the works for the PC and 360 versions of the game. The PC's 1.1 patch will mostly fix various crashes and browser issues while the 360 patch will attempt to remedy problems with network lag. In a separate release, each platform will also get new multiplayer maps and characters.

Buslink MC512: a music player with a dock included

08/11, 2:50pm

Buslink MC512 Player

By now, one of the iPod's key advantages is not just its design or interface: momentum has made it hard for any digital audio player but the iPod to have a meaningful collection of accessories. One company found a rather simple workaround for this dilemma: it included the accessory in the box. If you buy a Buslink MC512 for $99, your player comes with its own custom-designed speaker dock. As the model name suggests, this is a fairly standard 512MB flash player with MP3, WMA, and WAV support alongside an FM tuner and recording. For the money it could be the easiest way to get a portable stereo for home or the office. It's available immediately and works with Macs and Windows PCs. See a full photo after the jump.

Briefly: ExpressCard update; W3C draft

08/11, 2:50pm

ExpressCard update, W3C

In brief: Apple has released ExpressCard Update 1.0, resolving an issue that prevented the system from sleeping when some cards were inserted in the ExpressCard/34 slot.... The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published a draft of an updated graphics standard designed to allow mobile devices to display the same graphics as desktop systems.... MCE Technologies today announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Digiana to offer its iTube-201 FM Transmitter, Auto Charger, and Flexible Dock for the video iPod and iPod nano in the U.S., Japan, and Latin America.... Mobile.feisar.com has released nine new phone plug-ins for iSync 2.3 that enable synchronization of calendars as well as contacts with the Sony Ericsson K510, K610, K790, K800, V630, W300, W700, Z525 and Z550 mobile phones.... KRCS Leeds is planning to re-open its Merrion Street store as a new Apple Premium reseller on Saturday August 19th after a complete overhaul.

Just Cause demo on August 24th

08/11, 2:45pm

Just Cause demo Aug. 24th

Avalanche Studios' upcoming action title for the PC and 360, Just Cause, will have its demo premiere for both systems on August 24th. The game puts the players in the shoes of a CIA agent assigned to undermine a South American dictatorship that's been building weapons of mass destruction. There will be 250,000 acres of roamable terrain in the game, and the action will concentrate on stunts like parasailing or shooting grenades out of the air.

Automatic anti-malware in a flash drive

08/11, 2:20pm

Anti-Malware Flash Drive

Computer veterans are all too familiar with requests from family and friends asking for yet another house call to fix spyware and viruses that compromised their system. A CD preloaded with anti-malware tools is often the solution, but burning a CD every time definitions or software versions change isn't very convenient. ParetoLogic's XOFTspy software just might be the key. It takes advantage of U3-based flash drives made by companies like SanDisk to run programs directly from the drive without first being copied to the computer: plug a U3 drive loaded with the software into a Windows system's USB port and it automatically scans and cleans the system of any malware it can find. This could be especially useful for corporate systems and ultraportables that might not have an optical drive built-in. You can get XOFTspy online for $15 without a U3 drive.

Gaming industry's business model "does not work"

08/11, 2:05pm

Business models flawed

LucasArts president Jim Ward says that in his view, the growth of the game industry has been crippled becuase of "a business model that does not work. This industry has been flat for the past six years; we've been selling games to the same people. Our revenue model is based on one shot at retail - we have no back-end revenue streams like a movie might in terms of DVD, TV, that type of thing." He sees the solution as being services like Xbox Live, which generate extra revenue through subscriptions and small transactions. But do we really need to commercialize every aspect of gaming in order to turn a profit, or is Ward being greedy? Regarding the PS3 he says, "I hope that price point [$500-600] won't be prohibitive." It sounds like he would rather just shift the time and place of the expense.

Rake In Grass releases Phantasia

08/11, 2:00pm

Phantasia for Mac

Rake In Grass today released Phantasia for Mac, an arcade game featuring arcanoid-style action. "The cruel wizard used all his power and imprisoned all of the dwarves from a wonderful forest called Phantasia, in his strange tower in the abandoned mountains. You are the only one who can rescue all of the dwarves from the wizard's tower." The game features 30 unique levels, different bonuses for saving dwarves, coins that raise the score, colorful hand-drawn graphics, and original music. Phantasia requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and is available via Macgamestore.com for $20.

Steve Wozniak to drive to South Pole

08/11, 1:05pm

Wozniak to head south

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is planning to drive a Hummer H1 powered by hydrogen fuel cells from the McMurdo Station in Ross Island, Antarctica, to the South Pole. 'Woz' made the announcement at Stanford's AlwaysOn Conference in late July, according to leftlanenews. Wozniak's vehicle will be co-piloted by Buzz Aldrin, the former astronaut who walked on the moon in 1969, and the trip will be part of a research expedition slated for December of 2007. The expedition is to be filmed in 3D for the director James Cameorn.

Ars reviews Mac Pro, scores 9 of 10

08/11, 12:55pm

Mac Pro scores 9 of 10

Ars Technica has received its 'base' model Mac Pro (2.66GHz/1GB RAM), and has posted a comprehensive review of the system. Despite the case exterior's similarity to the Power Mac G5, inside it's "downright spacious in there." Ars removed parts from the system that wouldn't void the warranty, showing off the technology inside the Mac Pro as well as the user-replaceable Xeon processor. The review also offers some interesting benchmarks which include Adobe Photoshop and a Windows vs. Mac test. Overall, the Mac Pro received a 9 out of 10 with problems limited to the 'underpowered' graphics card, a poor software bundle, lack of Bluetooth, and its "large and heavy" enclosure.

Warning issued for Windows flaw

08/11, 12:45pm

New Windows vulnerability

Despite a recent patch to Windows, some experts still believe a vulnerability exists that could cause "massive damage" to insecure systems. According to Electronista, the vulnerability exists in every version of Windows from 2000 through to Server 2003, and could allow major denial-of-service attacks as well as other damage if users fail to patch their systems and use a firewall. The issue is serious enough for the Department of Homeland Security to issue a warning, saying that a worm could potentially hurt business and government infrastructure.

Battlefield 2142 beta release in the works

08/11, 12:45pm

Battlefield 2142 beta soon

EA and Dice are preparing a Battlefield 2142 beta that will debut as a subscribers-only download on FilePlanet. Currently, there is no suggestion that the beta will open up to the public. The exact release date of the beta is also unknown, but seeing as the full version of the game is due on October 10th, it will probably premiere before September. The Battlefield 2 sequel is set in a distant future Earth, where a new ice age has forced Darwinian struggle for the planet's few remaining resources.

LG's KV2400 slider phone

08/11, 12:40pm

LG KV2400 Slider Phone

With all the apparent success behind LG's Chocolate slider phone and its arrival in the US, readers might be interested in the Korean company's latest phone in the same vein: the KV2400. Currently only available under the Cyon brand in LG's home territory of Korea, the KV2400 could be a viable alternative to those who want a different interface and style than the Chocolate. The specifications are very similar: it too focuses heavily on music playback and has a 1.3 megapixel camera with video functions. A lack of Korea-specific features like T-DMB for mobile TV might disappoint users on its native soil, but that makes it a prime candidate for North American cellphone carriers who want to match Verizon's offerings.

iPod software offers PDA functionality

08/11, 12:35pm

PDA functionality on iPod

ZappTek has released a new iPod software bundle allowing users to view files, listen to music, and present slideshows or other media. iPresent converts PowerPoint, Keynote, and PDF presentations into slideshows which are synced with an iPod. iSpeak It converts any document or RSS feed into an MP3/AAC track in iTunes using the Mac's built-in text-to-speech capabilities. The iPDA software allows users to sync PIM data such as Word, RTF, or text documents as well as Web content including RSS feeds, weather forecasts, and news headlines. The complete bundle is available for $45.

OWC ships Mac Pro memory kits

08/11, 12:25pm

Mac Pro memory kits ship

Other World Computing has begun shipping its new fully buffered DIMM (FB-DIMM) 667MHz DDR2 72-bit ECC (error correcting) memory upgrade kits for Mac Pro. The kits include matched pairs of FB-DIMM modules that comply with Apple's specifications, which are more demanding than standard JEDEC requirements and include the use of Apple Qualified heat spreaders. The kits start at $560 for two 1GB modules and up to $4,800 for eight 2GB modules. The 1GB modules feature same day shipping, while 2GB modules ship in six days. As with other OWC memory, the new kits include a 30-day money-back guarantee and OWC's "Lifetime" advance replacement warranty. [Image included]

Apps: myNotes, Yasu, Password Generator

08/11, 12:10pm

SQLiteManager, LANrev

    myNotes 1.3 ($20) allows users to create, organize, share notes, and more. The update adds an automatic updater, improved printing options allowing users to edit or print notes without reformatting them, improved performance, and several minor bug fixes. MyNotes requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 3.3MB]
    Yasu 1.3.9 (free) performs specific group maintenance tasks with a few clicks, rather than typing shell script commands into the Terminal. Version 1.3.9 fixes a bug on Intel machines that prevented certain PowerPC-based applications from launching after running Yasu. The update also adds Danish localization, fixes links in the help files, and includes several minor bug fixes. Yasu 1.3.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with the default BSD subsystems installed. [Download - 940KB]
    Mac Password Generator 1.0 (free) is designed to improve user security by generating strong passwords with simple options and fixed lengths. The application generates dictionary-based passwords (which are less secure but easier to remember) as well as random passwords. Generated passwords allow letters, numbers, dashes, spaces, underscores, and letters. Version 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 243KB]
    SQLiteManager 2.1.4 ($40) allows users to manage SQLite databases with a "next generation" user interface that includes 'Instal Query' searching as well as full SQLite2 and SQLite3 support. Version 2.1.4 fixes a bug that occurred when trying to set a column to NULL, improves CSV as well as Custom imports, and enhances the ALTER TABLE command. SQLiteManager 2.1.4 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 5.5MB]
    LANrev 3.1.1 (unknown) is a LAN manager that collects and reports details about user systems and software. The application monitors software licenses, manages distribution as well as installation of applications, updates and patches installed software; and enables administrators to remotely configure all managed systems. The update corrects dual-core Intel Xeon processor recognition to correctly identify new Mac Pro systems, and introduces several minor bug fixes. LANrev requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - Form]

Is "The Big One" attacking Windows soon?

08/11, 12:10pm

Big One Attacking Windows

Security experts have often talked about the possibility of a "Big One" striking Windows: a worm which spreads so quickly and destructively through the Internet that large numbers of connected computers are rendered almost unusable by the infection, not having had the time to patch the vulnerability. The chances of such an attack are fairly low, since truly damaging worms either hurt their own ability to spread or else are quickly contained through updates. Our closest brush with a "Big One" was the Blaster worm, which bombarded networks with traffic and crippled Windows XP systems without a firewall or the right patch. A newly discovered Windows vulnerability, however, has experts scrambling to warn users lest their worst fears come true. More about the problem and reactions to it after the jump.

CES organizers consider new gaming show

08/11, 12:10pm

New gaming show from CEA?

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) says it's considering founding an entirely new show to replace E3, GamesIndustry.biz reports. CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro explains it this way: "Since ESA decided to eliminate the E3 event in its known format, we have been deluged with inquiries on whether we could fill the tradeshow needs of smaller video entertainment companies. Our executive board met yesterday and unanimously asked staff to explore ways that we can help the gaming community." Prior to the birth of E3, the CEA's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the gaming industry's biggest venue. For a new show the CEA would be considering either Los Angeles or Las Vegas as the host city.

Ridge Racer 6 is 360's first bargain title

08/11, 11:35am

360's first bargain title

Since many 360 games retail for $60 US, it may be welcome news that the price of Ridge Racer 6 has dropped to $20, making it the platform's first title to be permanently fixed at that level. Rockstar's Table Tennis was the previous holder of the low-cost crown at an average price of $40. The discount on RR6 is probably not a generous one, however; the Ridge Racer series has been declining in popularity for several years, and on the 360 it has to compete with Project Gotham Racing 3.

Analyst: Apple SEC filing is routine

08/11, 11:30am

Apple SEC filing explained

Apple's announcement that its July earnings were significantly different from the year-ago quarter will not likely result in changes to revenues just reported, according to UBS analyst Ben Reitzes. "We just spoke to Apple about this confusing statement, which was an answer to a year-over-year comparison question required by the SEC - this comment refers to 3Q06 versus 3Q05," Reitzes said. "However, we believe there will be a 'tug-of-war' for shares near-term as investors balance solid fundamentals for upcoming products with concerns over options backdating, restatements and the potential impact on Steve Jobs." The filing reference to the July quarter (FY3Q) is required by the SEC because of significant changes in revenue and earnings from the year-ago quarter.

Adobe releases Universal Flash Player 9

08/11, 11:25am

Universal Flash Player 9

Adobe today released a final version of Adobe Flash Player 9, its next generation of the high-performance, lightweight client for Apple's Intel-based Macs. The company claims Flash Player 9 achieves up to 10 times faster performance, displaying content created with Adobe's Macromedia Flash authoring tool including high-impact Website user interfaces, Flash videos and animations, and rich internet applications created using Adobe Flex 2. Flash is installed on over 600 million internet-connected personal computers and mobile devices worldwide, according to the company. Flash Player 9 features ActionScript 3.0, an object-oriented ECMAScript-compliant programming language, as well as a new ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) featuring a Just In Time (JIT) compiler that translates ActionScript bytecode to native machine code for maximum execution speed. Until today, the company has offered a beta version for Intel-based Macs. Adobe Flash Player 9 for Apple's Intel-based Macs is available immediately as a free download.

BBC staying alive through clip-on digital radio

08/11, 11:10am

BBC Clip-On Digital Radio

Exact information about availability or features is still far from ready, but the BBC plans to release a "clip-on" digital radio add-on for digital audio players in the near future. The British news organization cites studies showing that a fifth of Americans over 12 years old own at least one player as its main reason for entering the market. As a radio broadcaster, the BBC has a vested interest in keeping radio alive during a time when more and more people listen only to their private music collections. The device will not be limited to the BBC's own content, and players will likely also be made for cars and cellphones. In the article posted to the company's Internet news portal, a BBC representative says that stories of Apple's involvement is "pure speculation" - though the iPod's dominance of the market will clearly require that the BBC at least consider iPod support for the digital radio add-on.

Torque Game Builder 1.1.1 released

08/11, 11:05am

Torque Game Builder 1.1.1

GarageGames has released Torque Game Builder 1.1.1, an update to the easy-to-use game editor for Mac OS X. Torque Game Builder features animated sprites, flexible tiles, a special effects system, state-of-the-art collision, real world physics, and hardware-accelerated 2D rendering. Major changes in version 1.1.1 include tile layer editing in the level builder, editor add-on support, layer Y-sorting support for isometric games, and user interface workflow improvements. The update adds default config datablocks to image maps as well as animations, offers managed brushes, adds design resolution to t2dSceneGraph quick edit, and more. Torque Game Builder Pro is priced at $1,250, or $250 for Indie developers, while Torque Game Builder is priced at $500, or $100 for Indies and hobbyists (system requirements were unavailable).

Armored Core 4 ready for PS3 launch

08/11, 11:00am

Armored Core 4 & PS3 debut

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu is saying that FROM Software's Armored Core 4 will be ready for the PS3 launch in November. There's no confirmation that the game will be released outside of Japan at the same time, but it seems likely given the popularity of the mech series in the US, not to mention Sony's desire to prove itself in the face of criticism. CVG is also rumouring that an Xbox 360 port of the game has been cancelled.

MS Zune to have limited WiFi at $299

08/11, 10:55am

Limited WiFi in Zune

Offering more details the forthcoming Microsoft media player, Electronista.com reports that its Zune player will have limited WiFi capabitilities, allowing users to bookmark songs through shared wireless connectivity; however, purchasing a song will require a connection to a PC. In addition, the publication reports that the player will ship in three colors and the "iPod killer" will be aggressively price around $300 to compete with Apple's 30GB iPod video, although it will likely sport a larger color screen: "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."

Samsung ups flash production for AAPL

08/11, 10:50am

Samsung ups flash for AAPL

Samsung has reportedly begun converting roughly 4 percent of its current 12-inch wafer production capacity from DRAM to NAND flash memory to prepare for Apple's memory needs. The company began enacting the changes last month, according to DigiTimes, converting an estimated 8,000 wafers per month. The transition signals a 1 percent drop in global DRAM supply as Samsung prepares to fill Apple orders, which may lead to further DRAM price increases. Sources also expect Samsung to continue capacity transition in the future, according to the report.

BBC plans clip-on digital radio

08/11, 10:50am

BBC clip-on digital radio

The BBC is planning on releasing a clip-on digital radio popular digital players, which may include the iPod. Citing studies showing that one-fifth of Americans over 12 years old own at least one player, the BBC has a vested interest in keeping radio alive during a time when more and more people listen only to their private music collections, according to Electronista.com: "The device will not be limited to the BBC's own content, and players will likely also be made for cars and cellphones." Although stories of Apple's involvement are "pure speculation," the report notes that the iPod's dominance of the digital player market "will clearly require that the BBC at least consider iPod support for the digital radio add-on."

tribalmedia aquires iShell software app

08/11, 10:40am

tribalmedia aquires iShell

tribalmedia today announced that it has acquired the media software suite iShell from Tribeworks, and will immediately begin marketing, selling, and supporting iShell. iShell is a software tool for Windows and Mac OS X that allows developers to rapidly create secure, interactive, multiplatform CD and DVD-ROMs. The product is also used to create other types of multimedia applications such as kiosks, digital signage, and standalone Internet applications. Matt Veenstra, president and head engineer of tribalmediam, has served as head engineer of Tribeworks for the past five years. According to Veenstra, Tribeworks' current support and engineering teams will make up tribalmedia's core team. "This is a great move for everyone involved," Veenstra said. "iShell is the primary authoring tool for many developers all over the world, and now iShell is supported by a company that intimately understands and cares about the needs of the iShell user base."

Sony's first Blu-Ray writer: no copy-protected movies

08/11, 10:30am

Sony Blu-Ray Writer Movies

The news of Sony's first Blu-Ray drive for computers, the BWU-100A, was eagerly anticipated. Unlike the first drives in the market, Sony's model shipping next week can read and write a full three formats (BD, DVD, and CD) and is considerably less expensive at $750. Recently, however, Sony announced a major complication: the new drive can't play copy-protected Blu-Ray movies. Sony's Vincent Bautista explained to journalists that the limitations are due to a lack of supporting hardware and software. While the AR-series notebooks have an HDMI interface and a bundled special edition of InterVideo's WinDVD that can handle copy-protected Blu-Ray movies, there are very few desktop video cards with the appropriate decryption and no stand-alone copies of WinDVD or similar programs to provide software support. The problem is mitigated by the lack of such protection requirements on current Blu-Ray movies, but early adopters of Sony's PC drive may need to buy future hardware and software before they can have guaranteed support for future content.

Sierra and Spark Unlimited's next-gen game

08/11, 10:15am

Spark's next-gen game

Precious little is known about it at the moment, but Spark Unlimited and Sierra Entertainment have announced the creation of "an action game for next-generation consoles," according to their press release. Spark is probably best known for Call of Duty: Finest Hour - which sold well, despite mixed reviews - and for their legal disputes with publisher Activision in 2005. The release goes on to say that the new game will be "venturing into a modern setting," and should ship sometime in 2007.

Apple CEO discusses iPhone

08/11, 10:05am

Jobs discusses iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly been discussing his "iPhone" -- which is believed by many to be under development by the tight-lipped company. One person familiar with Jobs' excited discussions believes he has approved the release of prototype cell phones to at least two potential OEM manufacturing partners in recent months, according to AppleInsider. The phone designs are believed to conform to Apple's integrated model, according to the source, leveraging the company's tight-knit digital media franchises. A second informant spoke of increasing excitement surrounding the phone. The informant, who has religiously proved reliable about predicting Apple's future in the Music industry, said the device will debut earlier than expected in the form of a "big bang" introduction that will surprise even insiders, according to the report.

Curon QCOX: camera-style media player

08/11, 9:50am

Curon QCOX Media Player

Portable media players tend to follow a fairly specific formula: a 4-inch or larger screen, a hard drive, and support for multiple audio and video formats. Curon, a Korea-based electronics maker, is following that prescription with a slight twist. The QCOX media player has a 4.3-inch screen and a 30 GB hard drive. Though the company isn't specific on which formats the player will support, the use of Windows CE probably means that MP3, WMA, AVI, and WMV are likely choices. Where the QCOX truly stands out is its interface: it uses a dial similar to that on a camera to let you change between different media modes. As befits a Korean player, there is also T-DMB support for mobile TV broadcasts. This player might not reach our shores in its current form if at all, but even at the Korean price of $520 it could be a more distinct and sleek alternative to Archos.

Halo director hints at film's content

08/11, 9:50am

Hints of Halo film content

Fresh off of being put in the spotlight, Neill Blomkamp has had a few things to say about where the Halo movie will be headed. The Master Chief, for example, will be more than a CG shell. "Well, the film has to have a feeling of reality, and so that means that I want to keep him real as much as I can, there is a necessity for him to become CG in sequences where a guy in a suit would just not work, but for the most part I am aiming for real." Will we see the Chief's face? "You'll have to wait and see." A more concrete statement came in talk of the Flood. "I absolutely love the Flood, more importantly I love infected humans and Covenant, so that will absolutely have its place in the film. Halo is a perfect project for me, because it contains so many different things that fascinate me, one of which is the idea of biological evolution, and the Flood is essentially a virus, it is a near perfect organism in terms of how resilient it is against natural threats, this feeling of evolution and why organisms evolve a certain way ties into the Covenant and even the humans. And then of course on a pure thrill ride basis having the audience run into the Flood in a narrow dark hallway is awesome." For more comments by Blomkamp, follow the link.

Koss Cobalt Bluetooth headphones

08/11, 9:20am

Koss Cobalt Headphones

Bluetooth headphones are no longer a new concept, but we have yet to find a perfectly executed set. A particular sore point is the battery. Quite a few Bluetooth headphones require that you use disposable batteries that add bulk or else continually drain money every few months (if not weeks). That's one area in which Koss' new Cobalt headphones improve substantially. In place of a set of AA batteries, the Cobalt uses a built-in lithium-ion battery: just charge it through a USB cable and you have about 8 hours of use. It can pair with almost anything that supports Bluetooth audio and includes both a USB dongle for computers as well as a minijack transmitter for digital audio players. You can get the Cobalt now for $180.

EA exec: Sony must rescue the PSP

08/11, 9:10am

Sony must rescue PSP

Executive VP and COO of worldwide studios David Gardner has told British publication MCV that Sony is failing to support the PSP, at least in face of the stiff competion represented by the Nintendo DS. "I don't think Sony can afford to sit back," Gardner says. "I think they still have things they can do with the price and performance of the machine - things that they need to address." As the Scan has reported the PSP is actually doing quite well financially, but the DS may be on the cusp of overtaking the PSP in both software and hardware sales. The popularity of the DS has forced EA to reevaluate its priorities. Gardner continues, "There's no doubt that EA has historically bet more on PSP. I think we were excited by the technology, but the consumers have proven that actually what they want is fun. We must never forget that what we need to focus on is fun and so EA is putting more effort behind DS games - and creative ones that really take advantage of the hardware."

Character iPod skins for Nano, 5G iPod

08/11, 8:35am

Characters for 5G and nano

iStyles has announced an update to its collection of skins for the iPod Video and iPod nano. The skins are based off of based on character themes ranging from cute Pacman-like ghosts, Frankenstein, and Mr Balloon, to the beautiful Fire Bird. The skins features an high resolution full-color design that is printed on 'premium grade' adhesive-backed cast vinyl. Each skin is covered with a clear protective layer for improved durability. iStyles uses a patented repositionable and removable adhesive backing on all of its skin products for fast, easy and accurate installation along with "goo-free" removal. Available now for both the iPod Video (up to $8 each) and iPod Nano ($7 each). [image included]

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