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Steve Jobs' health good
Apple today tried to dispel rumors that Apple CEO Steve Jobs' health is deteriorating by emphasizing that he was in good health. Rumors first began to surface following Jobs' public appearance on stage at Apple's developer conference last week in San Francisco--where many agreed appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight. Although headlined by Jobs, the keynote, touted as the public appearance of Apple's next-generation "Leopard" operating system, was delivered by a number of Apple execs and marking one of the first times Apple's own keynote announcement touted the entire executive team. Longtime Apple spokesperson Katie Cotton attempted to curtail rumors and concerns over Jobs' health. "Steve's health is robust and we have no idea where these rumors are coming from," she told InformationWeek. Two years ago, Jobs underwent a surgical procedure to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer and told employees that the treatment was successful and that he will not be required to undergo post-operative treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. Jobs returned to full-time work in October of 2004.
Revolution 2.7.3 released
Runtime Revolution has released an update to Revolution featuring development for the U3 smart drive computing platform. Runtime Revolution is a versatile integrated development environment for Mac OS (Classic and X), Unix, and Windows computers which supports cross-platform database access, advanced multimedia, virtual reality, and a range of other features. Included in version 2.7.3 is Zip file management allowing file compression, listing archive contents and adding or extracting files in archives; application instancing allowing developers to control whether multiple or single instances of Revolution-based applications can run on Windows; improved Revolution Player-based distribution enabling support for long file names; and, several minor fixes were made to players. Revolution runtime costs between $65 and $400 depending on version purchased. Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later is required for application development, a Mac OS Classic version is also available.
AOL buys Userplane, IE
In brief: America Online (AOL) today announced its acquisition of Userplane, a provider of Web-based chat and instant messaging services.... Group Logic today announced that CGS Publishing Technologies is licensing ExtremeZ-IP with its ORIS Color TunerT systems.... Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser has lost more market share this year, with browsers such as Firefox and Safari battling for most of the remaining share.... Newer Technology has lowered pricing $124.99 on its miniStack V2 FireWire and USB 2.0 combo external hard drive storage solutions.... Virtual Programming has released Victoria 1.04, fixing numerous bugs and adding numerous new features.
Apple ranks No. 10
Apple.com was the tenth most-visited website during June, while Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, eBay, and Time Warner, the parent company of AOL, were among the top five, according to a new report. comScore World Metrix on Monday released a report that found that Microsoft's sites were the most-visited global property in June of 2006 with approximately 500 million global visitors, followed by Yahoo! (481 million visitors), and Google (454 million visitors). Yahoo! Sites led all global properties with 116 billion page views during June, followed by Google (84 billion), and Microsoft (75 billion). Apple, with over 92 million unique visitors, was also behind Amazon (129 million), Wikipedia (128 million), Ask Network (112 million), and Adobe (96 million). It was ahead of Lycos, CNET, Monster, Real.com, and MySpace.
NewsFire 1.4 v68 ($20) is a RSS news feed fetcher that features animated warnings when a new feed arrives, along with smart folder support. This new version adds official support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard; one of the first applications to add support for Apple's unreleased next generation OS. Also added is better support for prefix or suffix string rules alongside several minor bug fixes. This version required Mac OS X 10.4 or later; there is an older version available for Mac OS X 10.3.
[Download - 747KB]
Xbench 1.3 (free) provides users with a range of benchmark tests made for Mac OS X computers including CPU and graphics tests. This version was built with Xcode 2.4 and corrects a mistake that caused the altivec test to be turned off on PowerPC machines, disables coalesced graphics updates for all platforms on Mac OS 10.4.4 and higher, switches compiler to GCC 4.0 on PowerPC, new support to automatically sync with Xbench database, enhances graphics support under Tiger, adds partial Leopard support, and revises the machine database to include the MacBook, Intel iMac and several other models. This version requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 288KB]
Googalyzer 2.0 (free) allows users to search the internet using multiple Google services for optimal results while offering support for Web, image, video, blog, book, news, and many more searches with a single search. Version 2.0 adds the ability to save bookmarks for later reference, a streamlined UI, new Growl notification when adding a bookmark, options to view the cache of the current page, view similar sites, view sites that link to the current site, view other pages from the current site, enter Fullscreen mode, new documentation, and a new integrated word processor. Googalyzer requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later. [Download - 828KB]
TubeSock 1.0 ($15) grabs YouTube videos from the web and copies them to the user's video iPod, Mac, or PlayStation Portable. TubeSock is capable of converting the retrieved video using the codecs and bitrates best for each device. TubeSock also supports grabbing videos and depositing them into iTunes for later viewing (in iTunes or FrontRow) or syncing with iPods. To operate TubeSock, all users must do is copy & paste the YouTube URL, and TubeSock will play the video for and give the option to save the video to your computer or iPod. TubeSock requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later with iTunes 6.0 or later for full integration. [Download - 3.4MB]
PodTube 1.0 (free) allows users to encode any YouTube video for their iPod with Video by downloading the file, encoding it for the device, and then adding the video to the user's iPod library. Also allows users to retrieve YouTube videos from Safari with a single click. PodTube requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and for iTunes integration, iTunes 6.0 or later. [Download - 3.7MB]
AU teachers fight for Macs
The president of the Australian Mac Users Group has begun a public campaign to publicize an effort by The New South Wales Department of Education and Training (DET) to leave Australian teachers who rely on Apple systems in limbo. The DET has "declared war on Macs," according to the president of the Australian Mac Users Group, after the DET and Apple were unable to come to an agreement to renew the "Laptops For Teachers" program which began a number of years ago. That program offered teachers a choice to select their preferred computing platform, including Mac systems, which totaled just over 8,000 according to the last ICT census. "The fact is both Apple and the DET are responsible but it is the teachers and students who will suffer."
120GB 1.8" HDDs in 2006
Seagate is expected to unveil 60GB and 120GB 1.8-inch hard drives in the final quarter of 2006, and referenced Apple as a likely customer for such drives. Apple's current hard drive-based iPod line includes the fifth-generation iPod with video, offering 30GB and 60GB storage capacities. Some industry watchers say those storage limitations are fast becoming obsolete as competing players surpass Apple's storage capacities in a race to offer consumers more room for full-length video content on-the-go. Even at the iPod's relatively modest 320 x 240 resolution, a music video can amount to dozens of megabytes, according to Electronista. The one full-length movie currently available on the U.S. iTunes Music Store, High School Musical, totals almost half a gigabyte. Apple's iTunes Music Store is rumored to be in talks with Hollywood studios to offer full-length feature films, though no deals have yet surfaced.
Dragon Web Surveys preview
FM::Nexus today began conducting hands-on demonstrations of Dragon Web Surveys, allowing Web developers to build surveys into their Web-based solutions. The tool is designed to provide a flexible and easy way for any Web developer to achieve an organization's data collection goals; it provides unlimited surveys, questions and responses and leverages CSS (cascading style sheets) to easily offer custom, multiple styles; Dragon can also build surveys with multiple data validation options--in one or multiple languages. The solution supports multiple simultaneous users, complex branching logic that appears simple to each end-user, authentication features only allow once response to be submitted per person, and elegant reporting options. Developers can also preview surveys using the new Web Viewer capability in FileMaker version 8.5. Dragon Web Surveys is not yet available publicly, but is being previewed exclusively for attendees of the FileMaker Developers Conference 2006.
FM::Nexus Inspector 1.5
FM::Nexus today released Inspector 1.5, native Intel version of its diagnostic, debugging, and documenting tool for FileMaker developers. The company also released Version 1.5 delivers higher performance on all hardware, including a dramatic four-fold increase on all Intel-based Macs. In addition, Inspector 1.5 also provides integrated support for all new features recently introduced in FileMaker 8.5, new reporting options and other enhancements, plus fixes to reported issues. The developer solution now supports the new Web Viewer layout objects in FileMaker 8.5, display of script steps and new functions, and a new report that provides a single-view of accounts and their respective privileges. Version 1.5 also extends problem detection to include errors of non-matching field types in a relationship and supports the ability to run on FileMaker Server for team license and site license holders. Inspector 1.5 is available today for $400 (2 €225) for single-users, and for $1000 for a five-user team license. It requires FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced.
Storage solutions unveiled
FireWire Depot today unveiled new products for FireWire and SATA users, expanding the company's storage offering with six new models. The NSA-Pro6 is a Network Attached Storage Server based on Linux software and Intel hardware technologies that supports up to six hot swap SATA drives configurable as RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, or JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Drives). The FWBU2-IDE11-FWB is a bridgeboard for removable-media drives that connects IDE drives to a FireWire serial bus in a plug-and-play fashion. FireWire Depot also launched the SOHOTANK U7 dual-drive SATA enclosure, featuring a stackable design for easy expansion and various 5.25-inch IDE devices. The NSA-Pro6 is available now for $3,300, the FWB-IDE11-FWB ($80) is due to ship in the near future, and the SOHOTANK U7 is available for $150.
Galaxy Studio released
Runtime Revolution on Monday released Galaxy Studio, a high-productivity complete scripting IDE for the Revolution development environment. Galaxy Studio is a complete replacement for the IDE and designed to maximize screen real estate, --especially helpful if you develop on a laptop, according to the company. The solution features Galaxy Scripts, which includes a tabbed script editor that supports up to ten open editors in a single window. Galaxy Scripts also lets you perform live searches on scripts while you script.In addition, the solution, features a reference and lookup system that can be easily accessed via a right-click to automatically call up a definition or script reference. Galaxy Studio also features a space-saving toolbar and other "intelligent" tools, auto-complete, comments, visual preferences, debuging and tracing, and a Galaxy IDE Component Framework to allow third-party vendors of Revolution tools make their tools recognized by Galaxy. It is available for Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs for $100 (upgrades from Constellation are $50).
HTC 2006 Smartphones
HTC quickly developed a following in the smartphone market as a feature-laden alternative to Palm and other mainstays. It's for that reason many users now follow the company's future models closely: a new model for some users could easily be the ultimate phone. Thanks to a recent leak, these fans will have no trouble deciding what to buy this year: the entire 2006 HTC roadmap has surfaced on the Web. While details of the sought-after Excalibur phone were previously revealed, the new roadmap lists several new HTC phones on the horizon for the Fall and Winter. Many of them share features in common such as Bluetooth, EDGE, and WiFi, there are highlights. The Artemis (pictured, left) and Trinity (right) both feature built-in GPS for maps; the Melody in turn has 4 GB of flash memory and a music-friendly interface. See a picture of the Melody after the jump.
Zimbra launches ZCS 4.0
Zimbra today launched the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) 4.0, along with Zimbra Documents. Zimbra Documents is a Web 2.0 application for securely creating, sharing and publishing documents, spreadsheets and folders. ZCS 4.0 offers "over the air" synchronization for a wide range of mobile devices; the ability to customize or "re-skin" the Zimbra user interface with a personalized look and feel; and easier management of large-scale enterprise, service provider, academic or government deployments. Key ZCS 4.0 features include Zimbra Mobile, delegated access, sharing of address books in the Web client as well as Outlook; unified Voice Over IP (VOIP) support; and auto-complete of addresses from the Global Address list (GAL) even if the GAL is in an external directory. The ZCS 4.0 open-source edition is free, while the commercially supported network edition is priced from $25 per mailbox per year.
Silicon Knights dumps UE3
In spite of Epic's Mark Rein and Cliff Blezinski saying that developers love Unreal Engine 3, 1UP.com says that they've verified rumours that Silicon Knights is abandoning the engine, which was to be used in its vapourware game Too Human. They simply couldn't get the engine to produce the graphics they wanted on the 360, so they've begun work on an in-house renderer instead. The move will probably push Too Human past its Q2 2007 release date.
WorldSync showcase at FMDC
WorldSync today began conducting hands-on demonstrations of three new technologies that enhance its SyncDeK bi-directional asynchronous data replication technology at the FileMaker Developers Conference (FMDC). The company is showcasing a new Universal version of SyncDeK that runs natively on Intel-based Macs using FileMaker Pro 8.5, which takes particular advantage of the latest Web Viewer feature. Also on display is an unreleased beta version of SyncDweK's upcoming increased SQL support, allowing SynkDeK to replicate FileMaker data with any combination of SQL-compliant data sources. The company is showcasing a beta version of a new plug-in codenamed FMAuditTrail, offering audit trail and data recovery features with near plug-and-play implementation.
iPods and 120 GB Drives
A key obstacle to portable video players is space: one factor in Apple's decision to focus on music videos and TV shows has been the dramatic increase in file size. Even at the iPod's relatively modest 320x240 resolution, a music video can amount to dozens of megabytes. The one full-length movie currently available on the US iTunes Music Store, High School Musical, is nearly half a gigabyte large. As such, the pressure is on for Apple to make room for longer-running clips. Just such a change is looming as soon as this year, according to Seagate's CEO William Watkins. He says that the company should have 60GB and 120GB 1.8-inch drives in the last quarter of 2006 and references Apple as a likely customer for them. These would provide exactly double the 30GB and 60GB capacities of Apple's existing models. While no definitive link was made by the CEO, there is little doubt that Apple is under pressure to surpass the 60 GB ceiling it reached in 2004 with the iPod photo and has held ever since.
360's HD-DVD price leaked?
Since there are no sources quoted take this with a grain of salt, but Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.com is saying that the external HD-DVD drive for the 360 will retail at $200 US. This is mentioned casually in relation to Taiwanese companies applauding the choice to go external. Meanwhile, the same companies supposedly complain about Sony's decision to include a Blu-Ray drive in every machine.
Satnav vs Cab Drivers
Navigation systems in cars have been heralded as saviors for drivers forced to travel unfamiliar territory: with the exception of the occasional miscalulation or user mistake, satnav units should in theory replace the combination of good memory and a map. This isn't the case for London cab drivers. Despite availability this year, all but 4-5% of London cabs have a system installed. Officials from the London Taxi Drivers' Association attribute this in large part to the extremely demanding testing all London cab drivers must go through to drive in the city: they have to understand not only all routes within a 6-mile radius of the city center, but also the subjective aspects of city life that a navigation system can't offer. Drivers have to be aware of shortcuts or traffic problems that would never register on a current satnav system. Moreover, many drivers feel that satnav adds too much of a delay to a process that often involves snap judgments. Technology is catching up, but it may be a long time before precision mapping replaces intuition.
Verizon DVR Technology
Compared to most Internet users in North America, customers of Verizon's FIOS fiber-optic Internet access have a surplus of bandwidth - so much so that the company can place IP-based TV on the same line without much strain. The challenge for Verizon has been to convince users they should subscribe to both services; Internet users frequently stay with their existing TV providers. The goal may have just been met in the form of Verizon's new Home Media DVR service. Starting Wednesday, subscribers to IPTV will be able to record up to two HD-quality channels at once and play them back on as many as three receivers at the same time. The technology streams data through co-axial cable in the house and can also accept streaming of photos and music from PCs. The additional $20 per month for DVR services could well be worthwhile for HDTV supporters who want more flexibility in their viewing than they've had in the past.
A "trusted person" from the IGN Insider forums has hinted that the Wii will not only have voice communication through a wireless headset, like the Xbox, it will also make use of a proprietary Nintendo feature called "voice-to-text communication." This would read the tone, pitch and volume of a user's words and display them on another player's end in appropriate colours and font sizes. Shouting "I win," for example, might display the words in large red text. This same technology would permit easy censorship of voice chat.
Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview
IOSpirit today released Remote Buddy 1.0 Preview 6, an update to the remote control solution for Mac OS X. The latest iteration of Remote Buddy offers modernized menus that include user interface elements relevant to the respectively active application. The new menus allow users to control volume or the rating of songs, terminate as well as hide the active application, and directly open the files that were recently used with it. The software provides detailed information on recordings as well as songs directly in the menu, including available previews and coverart. The update supports switching between Front Row, Media Central 2, and the full screen menu mode of EyeTV 2.3. The preview release also includes new AppleScript behaviors for iPhoto, Safari, GraphicConverter, Media Central 2, netTunes, FireFox, Camino, and the Mac OS X Accessibility tools. Remote Buddy 1.0 is priced at $13, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later.
27+ Wii titles at launch
Nintendo has yet to publicize its official launch list, but Nwizard has done a little homework and realized that there could be 27 (or more) games ready for the Wii's launch, compared to the 18 that were out for the 360 and the 15 currently acknowledged for the PS3. Big-name titles for the Wii should include Red Steel, Call of Duty 3, Metroid Prime 3, and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Click below for the full Nwizard list.
General Dynamics Laptop
Soldiers posted to stations in the Middle East and other harsh climates know all too well the headaches associated with bringing a laptop overseas. Even in the safest conditions, desert dust and tropical moisture can creep into computers - and if the system breaks due to corrosion or a drop, service simply isn't an option. Panasonic's Toughbook has been the main choice for these soldiers and anyone else at high risk of losing a computer to damage, but now there is an alternative from an unusual source: General Dynamics. GD is best-known for the F-16 fighter and other large-scale military electronics, so it comes as a surprise that the company just announced the GoBook XR-1, which is meant for both those in uniform and the private sector. It meets official US military standards for dust and water resistance, altitude, shocks and more. The XR-1 is also unique for its built-in GPS tracking. The price is very much in line with military pricing, however: at $4330 for a 1.83 GHz Core Duo and 12.1-inch screen when it ships in September, the XR-1's main clients will be those who absolutely must rely on their laptop in the field. See a full picture after the jump.
Fox takes on iTunes
Fox is planning to offer TV programs like 24 and Prison Break, as well as feature-length films such as X-Men 3 through the Direct2Drive service run by its IGN affiliate. The move would compete with Apple's likely push for full-length movie downloads through iTunes, as the music store's dominance could limit video sales of other services, according to Electronista. Official details of the launch, however, suggest that Fox copy-protection may be much more restrictive than Apple's service. Pricing for movies may also prove prohibitive at $20, which is similar to a physical DVD. There is also no word yet on whether Fox will copy Apple's season discounts.
VisiStat 4.0 debuts
VisiStat today added performance enhancements and new at-a-glance activity reports to VisiStat 4.0, its graphical website tracking service. The latest iteration of VisiStat features WorldMaps, a veritable GPS for website monitoring that allows users to see the source and volume of visits to a website from any country around the globe. VisiStat 4.0 also offers LinkTracker, a new feature that displays the number of document downloads and other clickable actions available on every page of a website. The application expands on its StatCaster real-time tracking technology, and features domain filtering which utilizes data authentication to prevent "spoofing." VisiStat 4.0 packages start from $20 per month.
Troi Text Plug-in 3.0
Troi Automatisering has released Troi Text Plug-in 3.0 for FileMaker Pro 8.5, an update to its cross platform software that runs natively on Intel-based Macs. The plug-in allows users to parse out incoming XML data in FileMaker Pro and concatenate all text from a field in a related file. Troi Text Plug-in 3.0 is compatible with FileMaker Pro 8.5, updates the User Guide for version 3.0, and improves the links in the table of contents. The software allows users to combine sets from two text fields, retrieve all matching or differing lines, and can retrieve unique lines to sort words as well as strings of text. Troi Text Plug-in 3.0 is priced at $40 per user, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later.
Faxlink goes Universal
Fusion Plugins today released two new versions of its Faxlink Mac Plug-in for FileMaker Pro. Faxlink Mac 1.5.0 is a Universal Binary that runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, offering a new feature that allows users to retrieve information about a computer's fax queue. Faxlink Mac Pro 1.5.0 supports using another Mac on a network to handle sending faxes. Faxlink Mac can send multiple faxes at once by combining a list of recipients, fax numbers and other data from FileMaker Pro databases to produce personalized faxes for each recipient. Faxlink Mac 1.5.0 and Faxlink Mac Pro 1.5.0 are available from $50 per seat. Faxlink Mac 1.5.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later with FileMaker Pro 7.0 or newer.
Osk 3.9 released
Studlar Software today released Osk 3.9, an update to the genealogy application for Mac OS X and Windows XP. Osk allows users to keep track of relations such as friends, family, celebrities, or others. The software can create family trees in an easy-to-read manner, export them as JPEG or PNG pictures, and export information as a Web page. The update is available in English, Russian, and Icelandic with improved Gedcom import. Osk 3.9 features fast information searching, is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
XBL on your PC
A gaming strategist at Microsoft has confirmed the existence of "Panorama," which is the apparent codename for the bridging of Xbox Live with Windows. He refuses to say if anything from a recent Shacknews article is true though, and that's where the interesting details lie. The Shack quotes "reputable sources" as saying that Panorama will be integrated with Windows Vista, allowing Windows users to access Xbox Live features including the Arcade. Moreover, if the Shack is right, PC players will be able to play Arcade games with 360 owners. The facts of Panorama may be revealed this week at Microsoft's Gamefest in Seattle.
3Com VoIP Phone
For many of us, the 3Com name is inseparable from networking equipment. They rarely come to mind for hardware outside of computer cases and server rooms. The company is clearly eager to branch out to the more public (and rapidly expanding) market of VoIP phones. As exposed by the FCC, the 3Com 3108 is a pseudo-cellphone that relies on an 802.11b/g WiFi connection to handle calls, regardless of whether the other participant is on a conventional phone or not. Not much else is known about the phone: we do know that it will have a 1.8-inch screen, e-mail, and wireless firmware updates. Its range is limited to between 20 and 50 meters from the WiFi access point, but this may make it an ideal home phone for people used to both cellphones and VoIP services such as Skype.
Fox to Sell Shows Itself
Not content with offering its shows through the iTunes Music Store, Fox has taken the extra step of releasing TV programs such as 24 and Prison Break, as well as feature-length films like X-Men 3, through the Direct2Drive service run by its IGN affiliate. This may well be an attempt to subvert Apple's likely push for full-length movie downloads through iTunes, as the company may feel that iTunes' dominance could be a limiting factor for video sales. Official details of the launch, however, suggest that Fox copy-protection may be much more restrictive than Apple's service: the Fox service only works with Windows computers and limits purchased video to two computers and one portable player. Apple allows TV shows bought through iTunes to be used on as many as five computers and an unlimited number of iPods. Pricing for movies may also be prohibitive at $20, which is similar to a physical DVD. There is also no word on whether or not Fox will mirror Apple's season discounts. How buyers react will be determined when the Fox service is ready in October.
Second Life forums closed
A number of gamers are upset over Linden Labs' recent announcement that the official forums for Second Life will begin closing down in a month, starting with sections like General Topics and the Bulletin Board. News and feedback will be centralized in a blog format. Officially, this is because the cost of maintaining them is too high when there are so many unofficial sites; there is wide suspicion in the blog comments however that the company may be trying to diminish public criticism, which is rampant. All parties seem to agree that much of the posting in the forums has been out of control.
ASUS p525 Phone in US
Whenever the FCC posts documents for unreleased hardware, you can be sure that it will not only show up in the US, but very soon as well. That means that ASUS' p525 phone, which appeared in Taiwan just two months ago, is bound to appear in the US before long - a fact significant in no small part due to ASUS' effective absence in the US as a phone maker. The phone is fairly typical of higher-end phones with quad-band GSM and GPRS, a 2 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth 2.0, although the lack of EDGE or other mobile broadband is surprising What makes the p525 stand out are the 802.11b wireless and the use of Windows Mobile 5.0 on a phone with a traditional number pad: most phones that use such a full-featured OS are smartphones with larger keyboards (such as the Treo 700w). See full-size photos after the jump.
Apple's real target
As Apple expands and uses its momentum from the success of the iPod to power to help drive sales spurred by the Intel transition, some question who Apple's real target should be. According to Rob Enderle, Apple is not at war with Mircosoft, but is really at war with Dell. Electronista.com reports that despite the general thinking that Apple is in a struggle against the 95 percent of Windows PCs, often used as a measuring stick for Apple's success, it is indeed a battle to draw customers into buying hardware. As such, the conclusion is drawn that Apple's tactic (during this era of Intel-based Macs) is not to overthrow Windows, but to offer a software advantage over companies who bundle third-party software due to their deficiencies -- and example of which is Dell. Apple often challenges Microsoft publicly at events like WWDC and in general PR, but the columnist believes this is simply a means to the ends of getting an advantage. In 1998, Apple's CEO declared that "For Apple to win, Microsoft doesn't have to lose," -- though that first attempt at a mutually beneficial relationship arguably failed, it would appear Apple is closer to this thinking than ever.
FileMaker today announced strong support from database developers worldwide for FileMaker Pro 8.5 (FMP) at the FileMaker Developer Conference (FMDC). New offerings supporting FileMaker Pro 8.5 include ICE from iSolutions; Web Service Plugin from FMNexus, as well as updated versions of Inspector, Account Manager, and Dragon Web Survey; FmPro Layout Diff from .Com Solutions; SyncDeK Universal from World Sync; and Web service plug-ins from Digital Fusion. New publications covering FileMaker Pro 8.5 also surfaced at the conference, expanding developer options with in-depth discussions about the database solution. Such publications include Learn FileMaker Pro 8.5 as well as FileMaker Pro Business Applications from Wordware Publishing, and FileMaker 8.5 from O'Reilly Publishing.
Users of the most recent BlackBerry phones have had access to mobile broadband for months, but so far the choice has been limited to certain phones and certain networks: an 8700-series owner in North America has to use EDGE, while EVDO users are generally limited to the more cellphone-like 7100 models. That should change this week: the 8707g is about to launch with the ability to connect to UMTS networks, which would let users on Cingular get online at speeds of up to 1.9 Mbps (though practical speeds are said to average at 384 Kbps). Hardware features are otherwise unchanged: 64 MB of internal RAM, Bluetooth, and the ability to work as a modem are as they were on the original 8700. You can also expect similar pricing.
Wii countdown clocks?
Supposedly, a number of Virgin UK stores will be contacted today regarding the installation of Wii Countdown Clocks, if this forum post is to be believed. The post includes a photocopied memo to that effect, listing the targeted outlets as Piccadilly, Bluewater, Liverpool, Cribbs Causeway, Kings Road, Bournemouth, Leeds, Meadowhall, Birmingham, and "Megastore." No date is given for the actual delivery of the clocks. Click below to see an image of the memo. Update: SPOnG reports that the clocks should arrive at 10 Megastores this week, but will not be turned on until Nintendo makes the Wii release date official.
Logitech EasyCall Desktop
Internet telephony certainly has its advantages in cost and flexibility, but convenient hardware is not always one of them - especially not if you intend to continue working at the computer while you take calls. Logitech's EasyCall Desktop focuses less on the media functions of most keyboard and mouse combination sets and more on Internet calling. The set includes both a headset and speakerphone, so users can make their calls as public or private as they want. There are controls on both the keyboard and speakerphone to start or end a call, and the keyboard has both a quick launch button for Skype as well as the ability to use the F9 through F12 keys for speed dialing in the program. Users can also take advantage of the hardware for AIM and other instant messaging clients with audio and video chat built in. A $130 purchase gets you the whole set when it debuts in mid-September.
Asus Lamborghini Notebook
Acer has had a monopoly on equating performance cars with laptops to date through its Ferrari line, but it will soon have a rival in the form of Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS. The latter is set to officially launch the Lamborghini VX1 on August 18th at the most appropriate venue possible: the Concorso Italiano, a car exhibition that celebrates Italian exotics in California. The design is notable for more than just the option of an attention-getting yellow shell: though ASUS' claims of "top performance" are stretched, the VX1 is a good blend between size and speed. It uses a 2 GHz Core Duo and a unique version of nVidia's GeForce Go 7400 video chip, the VX Special Edition. The addition of 2 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive as standard also mean that a trip to the store for memory upgrades won't be necessary. Lastly, ASUS clearly wanted to buck the trend of widescreen notebooks by shipping a 15-inch, 1400x1050 screen with a 4:3 ratio. Pricing is set at a relatively high $2799, though it could be a trivial price for anyone who dreams of a Gallardo in their garage.
Leopard, Intel transition
One analyst today offered praise to Apple following tests of a developers-only copy of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. "We believe Leopard will be seen as superior to Windows Vista and boost Apple's growing market share," Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster said. "After a week of testing the Leopard preview, we are impressed with the next generation operating system." The firm tested the most significant new features such as Time Machine, a comprehensive file backup interface; Spaces, which virtualizes multiple desktop spaces; Mail 3.0; and Safari 3.0. Munster also believes that the way in which Apple chooses to integrate Boot Camp into Leopard will significantly change the impact of Boot Camp on the company's ability to capture market share from Windows users. "As Boot Camp moves from beta to an official version in Leopard and the Windows installation becomes more user-friendly, increasing numbers of Windows users will switch to a Mac."
Write your own Xbox games
Microsoft has unveiled a simplified application which will allow home users to program games for Windows and/or the Xbox 360. XNA Game Studio Express will be available as a free download, whether in the beta to be premiered this month or as the final product for the holiday season. The professional XNA program was released in March 2005. Aside from reduced features, the catch with the Express version is that until the spring of 2007, users will have to pay $99 to belong to a "Creators' Club" (not the final name) if they intend to share their games with others. In spring Microsoft will allow Express games to be sold through Xbox Live Arcade, though the company will vet each title and take a cut of revenue. The system may open up completely within three to five years. Somewhat subversively, MS has also persuaded 10 universities to start using Express in their curricula.
Spanish, Hangman Pro
iUnit 3.3 ($20) is a measurement unit conversion utility for Mac OS X which features over 1500 measurement units ranging from distance to weight to currency. This tool is designed for use by engineers, students, and scientists who need quick and accurate unit conversion. Version 3.3 features a new built-in calculator for converting basis weight or thickness, angular acceleration, and object density. iUnit requires Mac OS X (any version) with a version for Mac OS 9 also available. [Download - 1.3MB]
1Passwd 1.4 ($30) allows users to better manage their passwords with features such as the use the built-in Mac OS X Keychain technology for maximum security, browser extensions for direct password access, and automatic protection from keyloggers and phishing. The update adds a notes field to each saved entry, new identity fields, improved FireFox and Flock support, enhanced credit card types, new AutoFill logic, and several minor bug fixes. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required with a supported browser (Safari 2, Camino 1.0, Firefox 1.4, or Flock 0.7 or later). [Download - 2.7MB]
Real Capture Canvas 1.0 ($100) an audio and video capture control for REALbasic. The new application features video and audio preview, video still capture, and compilers for PEF Carbon, MachO Carbon, and MachO Carbon for Rosetta. Also featured is video capture to Quicktime (Mov format), Audio capture with or without video, analog video setting adjustment, remove control of DV devices with AVC. Real Capture Canvas requires QuickTime 7 or later and REALbasic 2006r3 or new running under any version of Mac OS X. [Download - 1.3MB]
Amigos Spanish 2.0 ($25) is a learning program for those who want to learn Spanish verb conjugation designed for all levels of experience with the language. The program features color coded conjugation tables and various test formats, as well as crosswords, word search puzzles and other word games to practice verb conjugation in a fun and intuitive environment. Any version of Mac OS X is required to run Amigos Spanish. [Download - 2.2MB]
Hangman Pro 2.0.8 ($25) is a version of classic hangman which expands on the concept to include many words categories and settings. The game features a colorful, educational, non-violent environment, with dozens of built-in categories of words, unlimited custom word lists, hinting, digitized sounds, speech, and timed games. The update improves the quality of specific categories and fixes minor bugs. Hangman Pro requires a PowerPC-based Mac running any version of Mac OS 9/X. [Download - 1.4MB]
Nintendo scores money
Nintendo's revenues for the second quarter are up 85 percent, with a "tolerable" 10 percent EPS increase, says TheStreet. Additionally, the company's stock price has grown from $17 to $23 in the last six months. TheStreet attributes this primarily to the success of the DS Lite, especially in Japan, and thinks that even better may be on the way in light of the projected cost of the Wii (less than $250) versus the PS3 ($500-600). In fact, they're bold enough to say that a global recession would be "just the ticket" for Nintendo.
Archos 404 and 604
Early news has surfaced about Archos' next generation of media players. The company, which was one of the first to release portable video players, is set to launch a new line of players in September. An early look at both models shows some common traits: both have a 30 GB hard drive, 15 hours of battery life (4 for video), and support for MP3/WMA/WAV audio formats as well as DivX/MPEG-4/WMV/XviD video. Curiously, Archos plans to offer support for AAC, MPEG-2, VOB and more for an additional price. Read about the differences and see full photos after the jump.
Rondo 2.0 MIDI player
FracturedSoftware has released Rondo 2.0, an update to its MIDI Player for OS X. This latest version of Rondo now includes several larger pianos and a MIDI library with playlists to help users store, organize and play MIDI files. The company says that Rondo is unique among MIDI players as it has been designed specifically to "help users follow the music as it plays. Its vertical piano roll with horizontal keyboard located directly over the scrolling notes makes it very easy to see what notes are about to sound. And features such as looping, tempo control and separate audio and visual track filtering help you focus on just a part of the melody so that you can play along. Rondo keeps things simple and uncluttered making it an excellent practice aid for both professional and aspiring non-score reading musicians." Rondo 2.0, a free upgrade, is priced at $25.
Segway i2 and x2
As predicted earlier by FCC document releases, Segway today unvelied the latest in its personal transports, the i2 and x2. They both feature a new (if still familiar) design that promises better features and performance. One of these is LeanSteer, which lets you tilt the frame and handlebar while turning as a more natural way of changing direction. More important given the city-dweller segment is the InfoKey system: in addition to giving drivers a convenient way of locking their Segways when they step inside, the key fob also lets you keep track of battery life, performance, and security whether it's attached to the Segway or not. The i2 is the standard commuter model and retails for a not insignificant $4995; if you need off-road tires, you can get the x2 model for $500 more. There are also additional packages if you need cargo space or other features.
Macessity Keyboard Shields
Macessity has released a new line of silicone keyboard protectors for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro product lines. Currently, the new guard will be available only in a frosted clear finish, which matches the majority of Apple's line of white plastic or light metal cases, while complimenting the Black MacBook's matte finish. The new Keyboard Shield for the MacBook is designed to cover most of the keyboard and areas including the palm rest and mouse click button. Much like the MacBook's Keyboard Shield variant, the MacBook Pro version covers the keyboard, but does not cover the palm rest or mouse button. Both shields are made with a soft silicone which leaves the keys visible while offering protection from any grift or liquid dropped upon the keyboard. Macessity is shipping two models today; both cost $20. [images included
No PSP price cut
Responding to a report by CNNMoney.com that the PSP's price might drop in "the second half of the year," a Sony UK representative has declared that there are "no plans to cut the price of the PSP at this time." GamesIndustry.biz speculates that Sony is instead stockpiling the PS2, preparing to offer it at an extremely low price point - in the UK, less than 100 British pounds. Some UK retailers are already selling below that price.
ConvertIt v3 released
Tigsoft has released an update to its advanced unit conversion program for Mac OS X. The program features over 2800 different conversions, including an up-to-date currency converter and also offers a scientific calculator, tabbed windows, unit highlighting, and online definitions. The application also features 10,000 significant digits of accuracy for the mathematical professionals and the ability to access almost every unit type. Version 3.0 has been completely rewritten (a Universal Binary is "coming soon"). The program costs $25 dollars for a single-user license and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later running on a PowerPC processor. [Download - 2.5MB]
Mac Mini Macessity systems
Macessity has announced two new mounting systems for the Mac Mini. The first is a stand called Stand By Mi ($45) which allows users to place their displays over the Mac mini while providing users with a four-port USB 2.0 hub. The USB port faces forward allowing users to have access to powered USB 2.0 ports without reaching behind the Mac Mini. Stand By Mi is designed to match the look of the Mac mini and accommodate many displays on its 9-inch by 11-inch top surface. The second mounting system, the Hang With Mi ($40), allows users to attach their Mac mini to the underside of a desk or other work surface. Like Stand By Mi, the mounting device allows users access to four front-facing powered USB 2.0 ports and is designed to match the Mac Mini. Each device can be ordered now and will ship in the first week of September. [images included]
17" MacBook Pro WiFi aid
QuickerTek has released a new wireless transceiver for Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro, which it says doubles the WiFi performance and potential range of the laptop's integrated wireless connectivity. The new transceiver is fully compatible with all common 802.11b/g wireless networking hardware including Apple's AirPort Base Stations as well as those from other parties such as D-Link, Linksys, and Belkin. Featuring 500 milliwatts of RF power or about ten times more than a standard laptop, the new transceiver allows between 50 percent and 100 percent better performance--according to the company--as measured by range and signal strength. In addition, it supports the use of the MacBook Pro's internal antenna and Bluetooth. The new transceiver clips to the top of the the case without using velcro or any other substance that could damage the finish of the laptop. QuickerTek's transceiver for the 17-inch MacBook Pro is available now for $200 and comes with a one-year warranty.
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