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iTaf 2.0 (free) allows users to to set reminders, countdowns, and alarms within iTunes with a simple one-purpose interface. Version 2.0 features a complete application rewrite adding the ability to create countdowns, wake or start the computer upon alarm, enhanced alarm options, iTunes specific options such as repeat and shuffle settings integration, and improved International localizations. iTaf 2.0 is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later -- an older version for Mac OS X 10.2 or 10.3 is available on the iTaf project site.
[Download - 1.2MB]
DFG/1394-1 Driver 3.0 ($50) is a device driver to add QuickTime support in Mac OS X for the DFG/1394-1 uncompressed analog to digital video converter hardware. This driver features low CPU utilization and multi threading allows Video conferencing and Video Broadcast applications, embedded Time Code information, based on initial start time of digitization, and pre digitalization access to image controls for adjusting the Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast and Sharpness. Version 3.0 adds native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary and fixes several minor bugs. Mac OS X 10.4 or later with QuickTime 7.0 or newer and an Imaging Source DFG/1394-1 Video to Firewire adapter. [Download - 514KB]
SEEdit 4.9.1 ($30) is an editor for HTML, RSS, CSS, and XHTML featuring syntax checking, link checker, RSS 2.0 new feed integration, syntax coloring, and live preview. Version 4.9.1 adds support for a easier to use customizable desktop layout, an enhanced CCS 'quick insert' windows, improved default window layouts, a CSS classes list box, and several minor bug fixes. SEEdit 4.9.1 is available now and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. Documentation is available for download on the SEEdit site. [Download - 3.9MB]
RSS DreamFeeder 1.5 ($50) allows users of Adobe's Dreamweaver to publish RSS Feed into a Dreamweaver created site through integration directly into the application. The tool allows users of Adobe's (Macromedia) Dreamweaver to publish RSS feeds without any XML or RSS knowledge or need to edit such documents. RSS DreamFeeder is capable of directly integrating into Dreamweaver MX, MX 2004, and 8 providing users with services helping to get their content republished on large portal sites. Mac OS X 10.2 or later and compatible version of Dreamweaver is required. [Download - size]
24U SimpleTalk 1.1 ($50) allows FileMaker Pro to communicate with user, another FileMaker Pro, and other applications via TCP/IP to triggers scripts or evaluate calculations in remote FileMaker Pro clients. Version 1.1 adds native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary; support for FileMaker 7.0, 8.0, and 8.5; opening/closing of a connection and data arrival is handled separately; improved behaviour of default values; connection and server identifiers are now unique; now handlers are not triggered unexpectedly; and several more enhancements, bug fixes, and new features. 24U SimpleTalk 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later running on a PowerMac G3 or later with FileMaker 7.0, 8.0, and 8.5. [Download - 2.8MB]
Intel-Xserve cluster node
Apple plans on shipping a Xeon-based Xserve cluster node variation of its Xserve server line along with the previously announced Xeon-based Xserve, according to a new report. It is expected to ship in October--alongside the Intel-based Xserve, which was introduced earlier this month at Apple's developer conference. The cluster node variation of the Xserve, which has been used in variety of top 500 supercomputer projects, does not have all of the standard computing parts such as an optical drive and video ports to conserve costs. CNET News.com reports that "the 1.75-inch-thick cluster system is designed to be used in high-performance computing applications that are farmed out across a group of computers. They therefore lack features such as video ports and DVD drives that business server customers prefer and that are in regular Xserve models." All of the Xserve's will use the "Woodcrest" Xeon chip, which was introduced by Intel in June and ships in Apple's professional Mac Pro systems.
Apple's 'Display Actuator'
A new patent filing reveals that Apple is working to streamline the interface on its products and make them more intuitive for users, while shrinking the device itself and maximizing the space available for visual output. The invention allows the company display visual information on the surface of a device, while using the same area or visual out display to act as an input device. On August 16, the European Patent Office published Apple's patent applications titled "Display actuator" under application number EP 1691263 - 05255454.0 and "A Movable Display for Generating Input Signals," under application GB2423135 - 0518098.9. The two patent applications share a common set of patent illustrations yet cover differing aspects of the same invention that combines the input and output of devices. The company says such an invention could be used within virtually any electronic device such as a mobile phone, laptop, or other electronic device.
Apple CEO among top 49 men
In brief: Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Dell CEO Michael Dell are both listed among the top 49 men of 2006, with Jobs currently holding an average of nine out of a possible 10.... Developers are working to release an Arabic version of Mac OS X, according posts in a forum on EmiratesMac.com.... Lynda.com has released Motion 2 Essential Training, a guide for digital video editors that explains "secrets and shortcuts" of Motion 2.... Big Nerd Ranch today announced Python Bootcamp scheduled for November 13-17th, a five-day class providing comprehensive instruction to Python coding.... Zykloid Software today announced the start of a semi-public beta program for its new and upcoming 'Life Poster' composing application, Posterino.... Architosh met with NewTek to talk about the new LightWave 3D version 9, which debuted at the show and supports both Windows and Mac 32/64-bit systems.
Avid for Mac Pro by Dec.
Avid Technology today announced its plans to expand the wide range of video and audio content creation solutions that will be available for Intel-based Mac systems, including the new Mac Pro workstation introduced last week at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The Avid Video division expects to deliver new versions of its Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer systems for all Intel-based Macs by December. As noted previously, Avid's Audio Division, Digidesign, expects to release a Mac Pro compatible update to its Pro Tools│HD 7.2 software in September. Full qualification for the existing Intel-based Mac versions of Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered on the new Mac Pro workstation is also expected in December--although the company said that preliminary testing indicates that both applications will run without problems.
Zoom ships iHiFi for iPod
Zoom Technologies today began shipping its new iHiFi wireless transmitters and receivers for playing a stereo remotely from an iPod or other sound device. The company is offering a Bluetooth receiver that attaches to a stereo or powered speakers, a line of Bluetooth transmitters for iPods as well as other audio devices, and "combo" products that pair the iHiFi receiver with an iHiFi transmitter to create a remote listening experience. iHiFi transmitters are available for various iPods, and a Universal transmitter works with any iPod or audio source with a headphone jack. The complete Combo solution is priced at $100.
Caesar IV demo out
The demo for Tilted Mill's city- and civilization-building PC strategy game has been released. It measures in at 446 MB, and features a tutorial plus a scenario level. The game's goal is to earn enough prestige to become Caesar, which is done by building and defending your part of the Roman Empire until you eventually make your way to Rome. New features include high-end 3D graphics, expanded economics, and more control over combat.
Universal power management
MGE UPS Systems today released Network Shutdown Module 2.5, the first Universal power management software for Mac OS X, offering native support to both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The software observes an entire system including battery level and the UPS connection via USB, and activates an orderly shutdown sequence when UPS levels are low. The software complements the built-in power management driver in Mac OS X, adding capabilities as well as user control, according to the company. A "Personal Solution Pac" consisting of a power control module and a simple system preference panel is designed to achieve local power management. The software is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Maingear Prysma Pyramid PC
The PC enthusiast crowd is arguably hunting for an iconic computer: one that so clearly escapes the mundane box shape that others simply have to notice. Its design may not have universal appeal, but the Maingear Prysma PC can certainly promise a unique design. The pyramid-shaped case includes a TV tuner and a Media Center remote, both of which will let owners use the Prysma as the hub of a particularly exotic home theater. The distinctive shape does carry a price: $1958 is the minimum barrier for entry and nets the buyer a dual-core Pentium 4, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and the aforementioned tuner in either a black or silver case. Brighter colors such as the red pictured are available at an extra cost.
Jane Jensen returns
PC gamers may remember Sierra's Gabriel Knight trilogy, designed by Jane Jensen. The series was a pioneer in bringing mature writing to computer gaming, and the original title, Sins of the Fathers, was one of the first successful CD-ROM games. Today, Jensen and publisher dtp have announced that a new Jensen adventure called Gray Matter will debut August 24th at the Leipzig Games Convention. While nothing is known about gameplay, another tidbit is that the game should ship in Q4 2007.
LG KG320 Phone
Phone customers are used to cellphone manufacturers touting the thinness of their phones. LG has taken a slightly different approach: their new KG320 cellphone is still quite thin at just over 0.4 inches, the company can also contend that the phone also makes very efficient use of the available space. A 1.8-inch screen occupies most of the upper half while the keypad at the bottom runs from edge to edge. Its features are complete if no longer advanced, with 128 MB of onboard memory, Bluetooth, and AAC/MP3 music playback. The KG320 is available now in Europe for the equivalent of $400 US without a contract. North American carriers haven't announced their intent to offer the phone, though LG's recent success with the Chocolate in the US could be very influential.
Mac mini patent granted
Apple this week was granted three new patents from the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for its sub-desktop Mac mini computer, fluid cooling, and improved image compression techniques. The patent could help provide Apple with an advantage in diminutive desktop computing market, where competitors have traditionally looked to Apple for case designs. On August 15th, 2006, the USPTO published the titles of multiple patents which were granted to Apple, including a design patent for "Computing device [Mac mini]," "Cooling system for electronic devices utilizing fluid flow and agitation," and "System and method using edge processing to remove blocking artifacts from decompressed images." Apple was granted Patent Design No. D526,648 for a computing device that resembles the company's Mac mini. The patent, originally filed in December 2005, was for the the "ornamental design for a computing device, substantially as shown and described," while Patent no. 7,092,254 was for a cooling system. [updated]
360 games using HD-DVD?
Microsoft has long insisted that the upcoming HD-DVD drive is intended for movies, but an excerpt from Warren News' Consumer Electronics Daily leaves open the possibility of games for the drive: "Microsoft hasn't determined yet whether to do Xbox 360 games in blue-laser HD DVD, but has ruled it out for 'this holiday' when it ships its HD DVD drive for movie playback through the Xbox 360, said Dave Luehmann, gen. mgr. - Microsoft Games Studios. 'Speed of loading' is Microsoft's big concern about HD DVD games on the Xbox 360, Luehmann said." Indeed, the speed of first-generation drives will probably deter game development. One wonders though if an internal, game-worthy drive might not be coming a few years down the road, when Microsoft will be more threatened by the PS3's Blu-Ray support. Update: John Porcaro, an MS employee in global marketing, says that "the answer is no" for games on the external HD drive.
Universal Halo released
Destineer's MacSoft unit on Wednesday announced that the Universal version of Halo for Macintosh has been released, running natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Halo for Macintosh, originally released in 2003, is an extensive rewrite of the original Halo code, according to the company. MacSoft said that will not be releasing a patch; however, owners of the original Mac version of Halo can either obtain the full Universal version on CD or via the internet: MacSoft will send out a new Halo disc to registered owners for $10 (shipping & handling, registration number required). The game is available for free on CD to those who purchased Halo for Macintosh after January 1st, 2006. A digital download is also available online from the MacGameStore. The download, which contains an entire CD worth of data, requires users to burn the image to CD media in order to play. Owners must supply their registration number and pay $5 for the download. The Universal version requires an 800MHz or faster G4/G5/Intel processor, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher, and a 32MB AGP video card (GeForce 2MX/ATI 7500 or better).
Falcom SAMBA 75
Users who need to connect to the Internet through EDGE now have their own USB adapter to complement the one recently made available for EVDO customers. German manufacturer Falcom has recently produced the SAMBA 75 USB adapter, which gives users a data connection through EDGE as well as GSM or GPRS when available. The SIM card slot lets users with existing cellphone EDGE connections carry over their settings with a minimum of effort. There is no word on whether Macs are supported, but the included drivers are for Windows only. Pricing and availablity are not listed.
3.0GHz Mac Pro benchmarks
Following recent earlier benchmarks comparing the new dual-dual (4 processing cores) 2.66GHz Mac Pro to the previous-generation Power Mac G5 Quad 2.5GHz, Barefeats has received a new dual-dual 3.0GHz Mac Pro system and began testing it against the dual-dual 2.66GHz Mac Pro and PowerMac Quad G5. The new 3.0GHz Mac Pro (when shipped with the same 1GB of RAM as the G5 had) costs the same $3,299 --or $800 more than the dual-dual 2.66GHz Mac Pro. For the tests, Barefeats added 2GB more RAM. The results show that performacne for non-universal apps was surprisingly close between the dual-dual 3.0GHz Mac Pro and the Power Mac Quad G5--separated only by a seconds. In one test, the Mac Pro outperformed the Power Mac G5, despite running non-native software. When running native Intel-based software, the Mac Pro took a decisive lead, completing some benchmarks in just over half the time it the Power Mac G5. "The 3.0GHz Mac Pro's 20 percent faster clock speed, larger L2 cache, and faster system bus enables it to muscle through these two non-optimized apps," according to the website. [sample graph included]
Louisiana law takes effect
A law banning the sale of sexually explicit games to minors has gone into effect in Louisiana. The legislation was sponsored by State Sen. James Cain and signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Its effects are largely redundant however, since it covers legal territory already defined by earlier anti-obscenity laws. Virtually no games sold in North America could be brought to court through the new regulations.
myKeyO Keyboard Organizer
It can be hard to use a computer regularly without at least a few items close at hand: notes and pens may be as important as their on-screen equivalents. Their necessity can often crowd out a desk environment, especially when space is already tight. This is why even a simple accessory such as a hybrid keyboard organizer can be so appreciated. The latest myKeyO keyboard lifts up to reveal a tray large enough for CDs and other similarly-sized objects. It's USB-based and should thus work with both Macs and PCs, and includes dedicated playback controls as well as a scroll wheel. Wired and wireless versions of the new version ship in the Fall for $35 and $50 respectively.
Prey 2 in development
At once shocking and not is Scott Miller's revelation that a Prey 2 is already in progress. In his interview with Next-Gen, the 3D Realms honcho says that they (and Human Head, presumably) will be "addressing concerns about combat, as well as adding in more gameplay innovations." This is all the information Miller could offer, but widespread complaints about weapon punch and variety in Prey 1 are probably a strong indication of where the sequel will go.
Mac Pro and home PCs
Recent comparisons from industry watchers as well as Apple have demonstrated that Mac Pro pricing beats out workstations from competing manufacturers such as Dell, and even fares well against home-built PCs with identical hardware. In addition to a detailed comparison of the new system compared to its G5-based predecessor, a custom-assembled system (which avoids assembly and software costs) using equivalent parts is more expensive than Apple's systems. The Cupertino-based company's primary challenge moving forward is to offer a system beneath the Mac Pro which includes high-end features without the added cost of quad Xeons or expensive memory, according to Electronista.
Symphony driver updated
Apogee Electronics has released a new PCI-Express driver for its "Symphony" 32-channel PCI-Express card. The Universal Binary driver is designed to take special advantage of the power and technology in Apple's new Intel-based Mac Pro to achieve performance levels previously unattainable in native audio. The driver, in combination with Intel processors in the Mac Pro, lowers the latency of the Symphony PCI-Express card by over 50 percent into the 2ms range, according to the company. Apple's new Mac Pro supports up to 192 simultaneous channels of audio using the Symphony PCI Express card.
Refurb MacBook Pros
Apple has updated its refurbished product offerings, adding MacBook Pro laptops to its listing while removing some PowerBook G4 notebooks. Remaining refurbished PowerBook G4s include the 15-inch 1.67GHz model with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $1,349; the 17-inch 1.67GHz model with 512MB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive for $1,799; and the 17-inch 1.67GHz with 512MB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive for $1,899. Apple's refurbished MacBook Pro notebooks include the 15-inch 1.83GHz model with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $1,549; the 15-inch 2.0GHz model with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $1,699; the 15-inch Glossy 2.0GHz model with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $1,699; the 15-inch 2.0GHz model with 1GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive for $1,949. Canadian readers can find refurb products at the Apple Store Canada, which offers refurb MacBook Pros for $1749 (1.83GHz/512MB/80GB), $1,899 (2.0GHz/512MB/80GB -- either glossy or standard LCD), $2,249 (2GHz/1GB/100GB), or $2,399 (2.16GHz/1GB/100GB).
Mac Pro vs Home-Built PCs
During the interval preceding the Mac Pro announcement, the question was immediately raised as to whether or not Apple would compete aggressively on price. The company is known for characteristically high professional system pricing and was about to enter a market where prices were already higher than those of the Power Mac line. Recent comparisons (including those from Apple) have demonstrated that Mac Pro pricing undercuts workstations from large manufacturers such as Dell. What is more surprising is the new revelation that Mac Pro pricing also fares well against home-built PCs with identical hardware, says AnandTech. In addition to a detailed comparison of the new system against its G5-based predecessor, Anand finds that even a custom-assembled system (which avoids factory assembly and software costs) using equivalent parts is more expensive than Apple pricing. Apple's main challenge now, according to the author, is to offer a system beneath the Mac Pro that offers its advantages without the added cost of quad Xeons or expensive memory.
EyeTV Hybrid unveiled
Elgato today unveiled its EyeTV Hybrid, delivering free over-the-air digital TV to a Mac via antenna as well as analog TV via antenna and standard cable. The analog/digital TV receiver supports browsing EyeTV menus in full screen mode; rewind, fast forward, and pause functionality for digital TV; the ability to record hours of TV shows directly onto the hard drive and edit out unwanted content; locate TV shows using the built-in program guide; export clips as well as entire episodes to a fifth-generation iPod with video; and connect game consoles to experience zero-latency game play. EyeTV Hybrid is priced at $150, and includes a break-out cable for composite video as well as S-Video.
MS Gamefest: consumables
A couple of interesting details have come out of Microsoft's Gamefest in Seattle, which ended yesterday. The first is that the Xbox Live Vision camera, shipping in September, will be including a 360 game called TotemBall. Using arm gestures, players will guide a wheeled totem pole to an exit while collecting items and beating a time limit. The game is being developed by the UK companies Strange Flavour and Freeverse. Meanwhile, Microsoft is pushing an online concept called "consumables." These would be game items you could (or would have to) buy multiple times using real money, somewhat like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion's official downloads. MS would also like to enable such purchases in-game, but the company says that players may initially have to finalize their payments in Marketplace.
Phantom shifts form
For years, the Phantom game console has been just that - an illusion, and one that's given the company considerable financial trouble. Today Phantom seems to have finally conceded defeat by announcing the Phantom Game Service, software which promises "to be the first end-to-end, on-demand game service delivering online games directly to your living room or any comfortable setting in your home or workplace. Delivered over broadband, the Phantom Game Service is designed to offer casual and avid gamers a broad library of titles, available anytime, day or night." The problem with this is that it will only run on a computer with Windows XP, and in that regard, it was actually GameTap that did it first.
iGroove Panty for Nano
TheSexySociety.com has launched iGroove Panty for iPod nano, its black lace panty featuring a pocket to hold an iPod nano. "[The panties are] perfect for those of us who love to lounge around in sexy undies all day and have our music!" The underwear can hold money or other small personal items, and feature a pink ribbon attached to the waistline. iGroove Panties for iPod nano are priced at $13 each with free shipping, and come giftboxed in just one size.
Rumors of Wi-Fi iPod
A new report suggests that Apple will soon launch an iPod boasting wireless capabilities to compete with Microsoft's Zune player, which is expected to launch by years' end. The Cupertino-based company has begun dispatching its staff to its major markets in Asia in an effort to teach local sales employees how to demonstrate the new product, according to DigiTimes. Apple Taiwan denied the claims, however. The report follows suggestions by industry observers that the iPod-maker should debut a Wi-Fi-capable portable media player with increased storage capacity and further platform compatibility to compete with rival players. Earlier this year, Microsoft was rumored to be contemplating wireless connectivity for its forthcoming Zune player; however, a recent report suggests it will have limited WiFi functionality and require a PC for music purchase.
Call Recorder for Skype
Call Recorder for Skype 1.0.4 ($15) is a utility allowing users to record calls or podcasts over Skype with support for MP3, MOV, and AAC formats. Version 1.0.4 adds support for uncompressed encoding, improved support for voicemail recording, more International language localizations, improved USB support, better multi-channel audio capability, and several minor bug fixes. Call Recorder requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and Skype for Mac 1.4 or newer.
[Download - 892KB]
Export Address Book 1.3 ($20) exports Address Book data to a file usable as a data source for a Microsoft Word Merge, or to synchronize a FileMaker database. Users can also export files in TSV, CSV, HTML table and vCard formats. Version 1.3 adds the ability to export selected parts of the vCard to maintain privacy, as well as the ability to export address groups. Export Address Book is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 298KB]
DeskLamp 0.1 ($20) allows users to search a system with Spotlight technology while searching Web history with a customizable view layout. Release 0.10 features a new address book style info view integrated into the search window; adds the ability to choose any attributes to display in the list and outline view; offers improved editing of keywords directly in the list or outline view; boasts a simplified user interface; and features full previews for jpeg, text, emlx, xml and folders in the info view. The pre-release requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 400KB]
wiPod 1.0 (free) uses the "notes" functionality of the iPod operating system to store a database of free hotspots that includes more than 10,000 locations in over 2,400 cities across the U.S. and around the globe. Users can visit the AnchorFree website to download a full list of local or destination hotspots, enabling the application to then sort and place them onto the iPod for access via the notes feature. System requirements were unavailable. [Download - Register]
24U SimpleFile 1.0.1 ($50) is a file management plug-in for FileMaker Pro enabling users to create, delete, copy, move, rename, read, and edit files and folders directly from databases. The update is designed to run natively on both PowerPC as well as Intel based Macs with FileMaker 7.0, 8.0 and 8.5. 24U SimpleFile 1.0.1 is free to all registered users of version 2.0 or later, requiring Mac OS X with FileMaker Pro 5.5 or newer. [Download - 2.2MB]
YouTube Music Videos
YouTube has earned a decidedly mixed reputation based on its largely neutral approach to user-submitted videos. As a home for amateur video, few would doubt its claim as the unquestioned champion: the company pride itself on the knowledge that 60% of Internet videos are now seen through YouTube. The ease of uploading videos, however, has virtually ensured that pirated material appears on the company's pages despite almost constant cooperation with providers who want their ads and shows removed. This may change soon, says YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. Negotiations are currently underway with major labels to provide as many music videos as possible legitimately and for free to all users - with the ultimate goal of cataloging all music videos ever made. The deal will ideally take between 6 to 18 months to complete and should establish YouTube as a rival not just to Google Video, but also music TV stations such as MTV.
Aus. PS3 pre-orders
At Australian Toys 'R Us outlets, PS3 advertising is being taken down and pre-orders for the system are being refused, claims Gamer Within. Reasons for the withdrawl of PS3 support are unknown at the moment, but GW suggests the plausible theory that Sony may be unable to fill the quota for its nebulous Australian release date. General supply problems have already been predicted in other countries. Conversely, Wii orders in Australia's Toys 'R Us stores are supposedly increasing.
VirtualPC's end, OWC
In brief: Questions remain about why Microsoft ceased development of its VirtualPC software for Mac amidst the turf war between Parallels and Apple.... Other World Computing (OWC) has reached an agreement to be the sole provider of Digital Technology Storage Solutions for the feature film "Yesterday Was a Lie...." Font Diner has launched the Font Bros Typography Supply Company, offering hand-picked works by independent font designers from around the globe.... Sony has begun shipping the first dual-layer 50GB Blu-Ray discs in the U.S. as write-once media that burn at a maximum speed of 2X.... Iconkits.com has released Office Button Kit, a new free stock icon set with 32 button icons for use with application and website development.
Cellphone software development is usually done under the close supervision of either a major OS developer or the cellphone manufacturer itself. Corporate reasoning usually claims that this is for the sake of integration, but the Norwegian software developer TROLLTECH believes that an open development environment will improve even the most basic aspects of phone software. As part of its claim, the company unveiled the Qtopia Greenphone, a cellphone which is as much as a test platform for new software as it is functional hardware. Running the Linux-based Qtopia operating system, the Greenphone can load new software written for it through an open-source developer kit or use preloaded code to work without any further effort. As a phone, the device is fairly capable: it runs on GSM networks and features Bluetooth, 128MB of built-in flash (with a miniSD slot for more), and a camera. Developers and those who are simply interested in the phone itself can get one from the company in mid-September for a tentative price of $700 through the Qtopia mailing list. See the full phone after the jump.
Uru Live lives
Gamers can now sign up for a new beta of Cyan's massively-multiplayer Myst sequel, Uru Live. When it's finished, the second incarnation of Uru will be made available through GameTap.com. Cyan had initially intended for Uru Live to follow quickly on the heels of the single-player Uru, released in 2003, but continuing technical problems kept the service from ever launching commercially. The intent of Uru Live is to let players continue the story and puzzles of Uru while interacting with gamers from around the world.
MS to pre-load Zune
Microsoft's new Zune media player will ship pre-loaded with both music and video content to lure consumers away from Apple's iPod. Microsoft will derive content from groups such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Cansei de Ser Sexy, and Hot Chip. In many cases, audio and video will both be available for a given artist, according to Electronista. The software giant's move also indicates that its software will allow users to transfer music from the player to the computer, a feature music labels have historically refused to support on the grounds that it would encourage piracy. Past rumors suggested that Apple would pre-load special editions of its iPods with songs and video, but those claims have thus far proven false.
Sony 50GB Blu-Ray Discs
Just a day after Memorex began shipping the first recordable HD DVD discs to stores, Sony has countered with an increase in the capacity of Blu-Ray media. The company announced today that it has begun shipping the very first dual-layer, 50GB Blu-Ray discs in the US. While they are write-once discs and can burn at a maximum 2X speed, the capacity allows for massive quantities of data: Sony claims that 4 hours of HD video will fit on a single disc. Pricing is in line with the costly earlier releases of single-layer 25GB media by Sony and other manufacturers: expect to pay roughly $1 per gigabyte, or about $48 for an individual 50GB disc.
AOL buys GameDaily
America Online (part of Time Warner) has bought GameDaily.com, "the independent voice of gaming," Reuters is reporting. AOL will keep the brand as it sweeps it under its AOL Games division and adds to editorial staff. GameDaily's audience represents a lucrative target for AOL, as the largest portion of it is the fabled 18-to-34-year-old male. The company has recently been looking to profit off of growth in Web advertising - not the least because the company's Internet subscriptions have been declining in the past few years.
Apple restatement risks
Analyst firm Merrill Lynch has concluded that Apple's restatement and delisting risks appear contained, following an assessment of risks related to stock option irregularities at Apple as well as Pixar. The firm further suggests that there are not yet enough facts to form a conclusion as to whether key executives may have been involved in creating options irregularities at Apple or Pixar, and assumes that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is not likely to have been involved. Analyst Richard Farmer warns, however, that a review of Pixar disclosures does not rule out the possibility that Jobs was involved in options backdating for that company during his role as CEO. "Jobs was a member of the board that made options decisions, and our analysis suggests these may contain irregularities," Farmer said. Merrill Lynch maintains its "buy" rating for Apple shares with a price target of $72.
London trade show nixed
This year's Games Market Europe show, scheduled for September 6th and 7th in north London, has been cancelled due to weak exhibitor interest. The event was launched just last year, and at the time was attended by Nintendo, Ubisoft, Vivendi, Codemasters, and Buena Vista. MCV suggests that the 2006 cancellation is attributable in part to fights between tradeshow groups. The irony is that the death of E3 could have given the GME a sizable shot in the arm, but it may be that the Leipzig Games Convention has already filled Europe's needs. Update: GamesIndustry.biz informs us that the show may come back in a revised format in 2007.
Penn State SMS News
Venturing to a class only to find that it was cancelled is a frequent (if bittersweet) occurrence for college and university students - but if Penn State's new text message service thrives, those students with cellphones may save valuable time when weather or other problems affect their schedules. Called PSUTXT, the service launched for the new school year sends phone users SMS text messages about concerts, emergencies, and sports depending on their subscription choices at the PSU Live site. Penn State has been known as a technically adept university for the past several years, offering some of the first e-mail mailing lists and official school podcasts.
Hold 'Em free for 48 hours
If you like card games but aren't interested enough to pay for them, here's your chance. Starting on the morning of August 23rd, the full version of Texas Hold 'Em will be a free download on Xbox Live Arcade for the following 48 hours; after that, it will cost 800 Microsoft Points. A potentially controversial gameplay element is what MS calls "persistent bankroll." If you lose all your chips in a match, this factors into your gamertag's virtual bankroll, preventing you from playing in the "big" games until you have a new chip stack to work with.
Free aged film FCP plug-in
Cgm-online.com has released CGM Aged Film LE, a free Final Cut Pro/Express (FCP) plug-in designed to make video look more like film. CGM Aged Film LE simulates 35mm film as well as aged film with shaking, jumping, scratches, dirt, hair, gamma, brightness flickering, and more. The plug-in features a "Variation" slider which selects various default settings for the filter, while "Stripes" allows users to define the frequency and amount of striping inherent to damaged film. "Grain" changes the size and visibility of film grain with two modes to simulate duplicated, converted film as well as video scanned directly from film. A "Trapped Hair" slider simulates old, dirty film while a "Tint" option allows users to simulate the age or mood of film. CGM Aged Film LE is available for free, and requires Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express.
Zune Preloaded With Videos
Rumors in the past have frequently suggested that Apple would preload special editions of its iPods with songs and videos. Those claims never bore fruit, but a developer for Microsoft's upcoming Zune player has confirmed that the device will, in fact, ship preloaded with both music and video as a way of spurring sales. Content will come from groups such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Cansei de Ser Sexy, and Hot Chip. In many cases, audio and video will both be available for a given artist. This also indicates that Microsoft's software will allow users to transfer music from the player to the computer, a feature music labels have historically refused on the grounds that it would encourage piracy.
iPod docking keyboard
Razer has ventured into a new market reportedly in an effort to break out of their gaming and mice niche and into the professional end market. Today, the company has debuted a new keyboard that will be both Mac and PC compatible featuring an iPod dock. Electronista reports that, "Though its functionality is similar to other high-end keyboards, including dedicated media buttons and 10 programmable keys, what distinguishes this model is its centerpiece iPod dock." The dock will be capable of sync and charging the iPod while playing music through the line out jack. Electronista believes that the new "Pro|Solutions" brand will be boosted by this product and more like it in the future. Pricing and availability has not been released. [image included]
"Activist" Take-Two shares
In a related story, billionaire and professional investor Carl Icahn has bought 800,000 shares of Take-Two stock, giving him a 1.1% ownership of the publisher. News of the buy-in raised the stock's price from $10.82 to $11.56 US. Icahn has a reputation for using his monetary muscle to force changes at a company, or else reclaim his investment at a profit. The timing of his buy-in therefore raises some interesting questions, as Take-Two is coping with lawsuits and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
Samsung Wireless HDTV
Anyone with the opportunity to own a large flat-panel TV has felt the pressure to make the rest of their home theater just as streamlined as the display at its center. Samsung wants to facilitate this through a new 50-inch plasma display just introduced by the company in Korea. The SPD-50P7HDT's primary feature is a wireless connection that lets you connect DVD players or other peripherals without having to run cables directly to the set. There's no information on whether or not this set will arrive in North America, but Samsung does frequently export its native TV designs here. The Korean price of the translates to a steep $4972 US. See a full photo after the jump to decide whether or not a cable-free display is worth the price.
Razer ProType iPod Dock
Razer is most commonly associated with gaming mice and other hardware focused on the PC enthusiast crowd. The company recently launched its Pro|Solutions line as a way of overcoming its reputation as a niche manufacturer. A sigificant new addition to the lineup arrives soon with the introduction of the Pro|Type multimedia keyboard. Though its functionality is similar to other high-end keyboards, including dedicated media buttons and 10 programmable keys, what distinguishes this model is its centerpiece iPod dock. Users can not only charge and sync their iPod through the keyboard, but also play its music through a line-out jack. The keyboard is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems; there is no word on either pricing or availability.
Thompson's Bully lawsuit
Regardless of the fact that the game isn't finished, lawyer Jack Thompson has threatened Take-Two and Wal-Mart with a lawsuit if they fail to "forthwith provide me with a copy of Bully so that I and others can analyze it to determine whether it still poses a threat of copycat violence in our schools," according to a fax obtained by Bit-Tech. He argues that several school shootings have involved "training" from videogames, going so far as to say this is "well known." No ruling or academic body has ever agreed with this. Thompson's letter continues with a tirade of accusations, wandering from calling Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas a "murder simulator," to charging the ESRB with "illicit collaboration" with Take-Two.
Path Finder 4.5 ($35) is a file browser and manager with powerful tools to make users more productive in Mac OS X. Version 4.5 adds numerous features including undo support, multiple shelves, a label editor, a reload button, improved compression features, a new "Superuser" mode, enhanced slideshow support, improved email account support, the ability to change permissions, an improved 'streamlined' user interface, and more. Path Finder 4.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
[Download - 19.5MB]
Type2Tracker 1.2 ($15) helps users with Type 2 Diabetes track and graph their blood glucose tests as well as weight on a day-to-day basis. Version 1.2 adds target zone highlighting on graphs, consistent blood glucose scale on graphs, support forum link to Help menu, export menu item to the File menu enabling exporting of data in comma or tab delimited format, a fix for printing problems, buttons to allow the ability to 'Select All' or 'Deselect All', and better handing of day column view. Any version of Mac OS X is capable of running Type2Tracker. [Download - 2.2MB]
Cocktail 3.6 [Panther Ed.] ($15) helps users maintain their Macs by taking advantage of complex UNIX features through a simple user interface which ensures that most users are capable of performing the tasks. Version 3.6 [Panther] adds better support for Launch Services database, improves communication between Cocktail and the system during Virtual Memory deletion, improvements to 'Pilot', and fixes several minor bugs. This version is only for Mac OS X 10.3 to 10.3.9 (Panther); there are also versions for Tiger and Jaguar. [Download - 1.4MB]
dotDefender 2.1-8 (Undisclosed) is a software-based firewall activated as a webserver plug-in to identify and stop attacks that attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in web applications (to commit crimes such as fraud or possibly gain access to confidential information). DotDefender features protection from attacks such as denial of service, SQL injection, session hijacking, spammer bots, proxy takeovers, and cross-site scripting. The update adds support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, alongside minor bug fixes and improvements. DotDefender requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later , Apache 1.3x or 2.0x, and Perl interpreter. [Download - Form]
24U SimpleDialog 2.8.1 ($50) is a plug-in for FileMaker Pro 7/8/8.5, which allows users to display progress bars and dialog boxes combining items such as text, passwords, check boxes, radio buttons, and pop-up menus. Version 2.8.1 improves compatibility by adding support for Intel-based Macs natively along wit the latest versions of FileMaker. Simple Dialog requires a Power Mac G3 or better with Mac OS X, and FileMaker Pro 5.5 or newer. [Download - 3.2MB]
ProSATA SS8 UltraSCSI RAID
WiebeTech has introduced the ProSATA SS8, a portable UltraSCSI RAID with large storage capacity. The ProSATA SS8 has eight drive trays filled with high-performance SATA II drives and holds up to 6TB of data (unformatted). It features a built-in RAID controller that supports every kind of RAID and an UltraSCSI 320 interface which boasts sustained data transfer rates of more than 250MB/sec. Featuring Intel-based RAID management hardware and firmware, it offers a Web-based graphical user interface that allows users to deploy and manage the disk array from virtually anywhere. A "Quick Install" wizard allows administrators to get the system up and running in minutes: the system can be used as JBOD or RAID for email archives, data protection, disk to disk backup (D2D), digital video recording (DVR), digital surveillance (security), digital audio recording, desktop publishing, video editing (DV, SD, HD), SCSI SAN or virtual tape. It is available for $2,700 (case-only) or for $3763 (2TB), $5,400 (4TB), and $8,020 (6TB). [images included]
Clean Text v4.0 released
Apimac has released Clean Text 4.0, an update to its text editing tool for webmasters, graphic designers, and magazine editors. Clean Text has the ability to eliminate all text formatting, remove empty lines, delete unwanted spaces, erase tab characters, and covert items such as quotes, tabs, and returns. The new version includes a variety of code and user interface improvements as well as adds new features, such as a new way for performing actions on the 'text to' process using a convenient sidebar, a new "Quick Clean" action allowing single-click cleaning of most problems in email messages, and improvements to document and webpage creation. Also included in this update are several bug fixes and performance enhancements. Clean Text is available now for $25 and requires Mac OS X 10.2. [Download - 3.6MB]
Yet another Apple trademark filing has surfaced, but this time related to its iTunes digital music service. The company has filed a new 'multi-pass' trademark, which apparently references the ability to easily purchase a bundle of television shows or other content at a discount. Earlier this year, Apple launched and subsequently expanded its multi-pass options at its iTunes Music Store. The company filed for the "Multi-Pass" trademark in Europe, following its original filing of application 36949 originated in Trinidad and Tobago earlier in February 2006. The formal list of Classifications the trademark applies to include advertising and business services (No. 35), Communication services/telecom (No. 38) and Education and entertainment services (No. 41).
MBP logic boards updated
Apple is quietly replacing logic boards in MacBook Pros that have undergone repair by Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP) and has told its providers that the new logic board require an upgradeded version of Mac OS X. Users who have experienced problems and have had their MacBook Pros repaired may receive MacBook Pros with an upgraded logic board, according to MacNN sources. Apple told its sevice partners that some MacBook Pro computers may require Mac OS X 10.4.6 after having the main logic board replaced: "When a MacBook Pro goes in for repair, some computers may receive a different version of the main logic board (MLB) than others. The alternate MLB provides equal functionality to the one it replaces. It does not add any new functionality. It is important to note, however, that the new MLB requires a later version of the Mac OS X operating system to be installed."
There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bring ...Kenu Airframe Plus
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