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Zune Gets More Music
It has been well established this week that the Zune will arrive preloaded with music from multiple artists. Most media outlets have reported the few that have been made public. That list is not yet complete, says Zune developer Cesar Menendez. There will be further announcements in the weeks leading up to the official Zune launch, indicating that Microsoft plans to give its music samples as more than just a demonstration of the hardware; it intends to use the music itself an incentive for tentative buyers.
Refurb iBooks, Intel iMacs
Apple is offering refurbished 14-inch 1.42GHz G4 iBook laptops for $999 featuring 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, built-in wireless connectivity, and Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor technology. The company is also selling refurbished 20-inch 2GHz Intel iMac desktop systems for $1,399 with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and built-in wireless connectivity. Refurbished AirPort Extreme cards to add wireless connectivity to Apple systems are priced at $39 each, while AirPort Express Base Stations with "AirTunes" functionality are available for $99 each. The company's 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo Mac mini desktop system is available for $519 with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and an Apple Remote; while refurbished AirPort Extreme Base Station wireless access points are available for $149.
Markzware ships ID2Q7
Markzware has released an update to its InDesign-To-QuarkXPress conversion utility: ID2Q7 is an XTension that easily and effectively converts Adobe InDesign files (v1.5 through 4.x) into QuarkXPress v6.x or 7 documents with a single click. The conversion process includes elements of the documents such as object positions, colors, fonts, text attributes, images, etc. Additionally, ID2Q also converts between cross-platform files, i.e., converting PC InDesign files to Mac QuarkXPress and vice-versa. "ID2Q solves a giant problem for many design studios. Being able to open an InDesign document in QuarkXPress makes it possible for those who tried InDesign but prefer QuarkXPress to salvage the projects they created in InDesign. It vastly increases page layout options for the entire industry," according the company. ID2Q7 is $200 and currently available for Mac users only (a Windows version is in development).
Wi-Fi MacBook hack
Security researchers who appeared to demonstrate vulnerabilities in wireless device drivers earlier this month using a MacBook now admit that the laptop was in fact exploited using a third-party wireless device driver, not Apple's own default software. "This video presentation at Black Hat demonstrates vulnerabilities found in wireless device drivers," reads a disclaimer on the SecureWorks website. "Although an Apple MacBook was used as the demo platform, it was exploited through a third-party wireless device driver -- not the original wireless device driver that ships with the MacBook. As part of a responsible disclosure policy, we are not disclosing the name of the third-party wireless device driver until a patch is available." A responsible demonstration policy forbids the installation of flawed drivers to make a point, according to InformationWeek.
Sandler donates to Israel
Jewish actor and comedian Adam Sandler has donated $100,000 - as well as 400 Playstations - to Israeli children who lost their homes in the recent rocket attacks by Hezbollah. It's a somewhat strange move on Sandler's part, as one would think that homeless children would prefer more money, and there are certainly Lebanese families who were affected by Israel's retaliation. One wonders if Natalie Portman will try to outdo him with 500 Xbox 360's.
Aigo A215 2GB Player
Sometimes there can be a simple pleasure in having a digital audio player with a large amount of storage for the money. The A215 from Aigo fits that bill quite well. Its design is fundamentally similar to that of many small players, with a basic button information and a small screen; where Aigo saves its money is clear. Regardless, it offers 2 GB of storage, protected WMA, and voice recording for an uncharacteristically low price of £70 including taxes, or roughly $130. Players such as these occasionally arrive in North America, so it may be worthwhile to search your local electronics store for one when the opportunity arises.
G4 upgrade price cut
FastMac today announced that it has lowered pricing on its G4 processor upgrades (for AGP-based Power Macs) by 30 percent, and unveiled a new "SuperGrade" bundle featuring a 16X double-layer SuperDrive coupled with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Each G4 processor upgrade includes 256KB of 1-to-1 L2 cache on chip, 2MB of L3 cache, and an integrated heat sink. The upgrades are designed to work with Apple PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics (Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, and Quicksilver models. The "G4 AGP processor upgrades", which range from 1.4GHz to 1.5GHz, are priced from $250, while the "SuperGrade" bundle is available for $100. All FastMac processor upgrades ship with a three-year warranty.
Wiimote control problems?
One of the dilemmas Nintendo has faced with the Wii is the need to make games accessible to the tired or physically uncoordinated. It's a videogame system after all, not a physical trainer. Nintendo's solution seems to have been exaggerating the motions of the Wiimote, but as MTV discovered at a party hosted by THQ, there may have been unintended consequences to that decision:
"This kind of leeway could be good thing. However, one person's variety is another person's game-breaker. At Dylan's, the THQ Wii game 'Barnyard' primarily featured third-person (third-animal, really) character-based gameplay. It also offered some bonus games. One was darts, which is supposed to be played with the Wii remote held and flicked like a dart -- just not released -- at the dartboard on the TV screen. The THQ producer showing the game advocated aiming with the Wii remote's laser pointer and then flicking the wrist. But a move from the elbow worked too. So did a move from the shoulder. And so did a flick in reverse, away from the dartboard, a sign of the Wii remote's limitations when it comes to distinguishing different types of motions."Not every action can be spoofed, but MTV found this problem in more than one game, and it's certainly not what Nintendo has been advertising. Are these just software glitches or will this be a recurring problem with the Wii?
UK Cabinet Office YouTube
An Internet service such as YouTube, which claims to distribute more than half of all online videos, will indisputably have a far-reaching effect on viewers' exposure to news. The Cabinet Office of the British government agrees strongly enough that it recently began uploading new public service announcements to YouTube as a way of adapting the spread of government information to an increasingly Internet-dependent society. The current PSAs, which can be found by searching for the user "publicservice" on YouTube, are currently narrow in scope but may expand as the British government updates its ministries to reflect its new attitude towards technology.
Sirius Conductor Photo
When Sirius announced its new systems yesterday, there was a general dearth of imagery for the Conductor remote/receiver combination that would let listeners stream satellite radio to any stereo in their home. An initial photo of the remote sheds light on the hardware and its abilities: as seen in the supplied photo, the Conductor is much closer in appearance to a television remote than the radios Sirius is known for. This limits the screen size, but it also gives a large amount of control to the user - including over other home theater hardware. The Conductor can hold up to 30 preset stations and doubles as a remote for up to six other pieces of audio or video equipment, which should help reduce the sheer volume of remotes that accumulate in many living rooms. We can learn how well this concept works in practice when the remote ships in November for $150.
Grids vs. Geometry
If you're aware of the Xbox Live shooter Geometry Wars, you may also be aware of the free (and unofficial) PC clone Grid Wars. The company behind Geometry, Bizarre Creations, persuaded Grid author Mark Incitti to stop distributing his clone earlier this month. Earlier this week, Bizarre issued a letter threatening to enforce copyright against anyone else plagiarizing their title. Incitti has since told GamesIndustry that proposed concessions to Bizarre were rejected, among them giving credit to the company, changing Grid Wars' name and gameplay, or even including in-game links and disclaimers. Incitti maintains that both Grid and Geometry are really derivative of earlier games - likely meaning Asteroids and Robotron. Neither Bizarre nor Microsoft have filed lawsuits.
15-drive enclosure ships
FireWire Depot today launched the RM15_S2P (shown at right), a 15-drive 4U rack mount enclosure supporting SATA 3.5-inch swappable hard drives. The RM15_S2P -- which offers up to 6TB of expandable storage space -- plugs all 15 drive bays directly into a backplane, reducing the number of interconnections to boost system reliability. The company also began shipping its USB eBOX-U, an enclosure supporting up to eight 3.5-inch hard drives that measures 5.25 x 13.45 inches. The eBOX-U connects the IDE or SATA hard drives via a single USB 2.0 host, and is programmable via a dip switch to support a variety of drive configurations. The RM15_S2P is priced at $1,500, while the USB eBOX-U is available for $270.
Shuttle Car PC Prototype
Connecting cars to the Internet has been feasible since the introduction of mobile Internet access, but in most cases the connection is limited to a single user with a laptop. At the CarTronics show in Taiwan, small form factor PC manufacturer Shuttle demonstrated a prototype of a PC that fully integrates 3G wireless Internet access into the car for all users, not just the front passenger. A variant of the SN21G5 design includes a 3G modem and lets anyone sitting in front of one of the three LCDs placed in the Mercedes S-Class test vehicle browse the web, make VoIP phone calls, play audio, or plan car trips via GPS. Shuttle's concept relies on a special power supply compatible with the 12-volt port on many cars to power the system. The prototype would eventually use WiMax to provide an even faster connection. There was no word from the computer manufacturer regarding when a production model would appear.
Apple "walk of shame"
Following a week of waiting for Apple to arrange for the pickup of a malfunctioning iMac G5, a Dublin says he has decided to prove that he can walk to Cork -- the location of the nearest Apple repair center -- faster than Apple can arrange for the pickup of his broken Mac. "I think there comes a time when the only thing that works with these companies is to show them up publicly and shame them into taking you seriously," said Karl Hayden, who is frustrated after repeated efforts to resolve the issue with Apple customer care. Hayden says his 10-month-old iMac crashed on the 14th of July, after which he received two replacement logic boards, a power supply unit, and a back casing which failed to fix the problem. The Dublin man claims Apple finally agreed to replace the computer on August 14th following a long phone conversation, but has failed to pickup the old system prior to shipping his new iMac.
Sega's online arcade in US
Recently put into operation in the States is Sega's ALL.Net, an online network linking arcade cabinets for the purposes of ranking and multiplayer tournaments. The first title to make use of the network is Extreme Hunting 2, which premieres with the Deer and Shotgun Tournament, offering prizes like an Xbox 360 or a plasma TV. Arcade networks are much more prevalent in Japan, where arcades are doing better financially. Over there, ALL.Net has been supporting games like Tekken 5 and Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned since 2004.
USB, FireWire 800 adapter
NitroAV has begun shipping its FireWire (FW) 800/1394b and USB 2.0/1.1 Combo PCIe host adapter, expanding the company's ExpressWay series of devices. The host adapter boasts seven ports which include two FireWire 800 external ports, three USB 2.0/1.1 external ports, one FireWire 800 internal port, and one USB internal port. The PCIe (PCI Express) FireWire 800/1394b and USB 2.0/1.1 Combo card is compatible with the latest iteration of Apple's Pro desktop systems, the Mac Pro, as well as older Power Mac G5 systems featuring PCIe expansion slots. Each card requires only one PCIe lane (X1), freeing up other lanes for future expansion options. The card ships for $100, offering compatibility with Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. [image included]
WOLF KING Warrior
Game players who regularly bring their desktop computers to network parties have seen the displays and systems they use shrink in recent years, but often the keyboard remains the same. Action game players in particular may ask why they need a full-size keyboard when most of the other keys will just consume extra space. For those users, the new WOLF KING Warrior may be a better option. It takes the subset of keys that most computer action games use (particularly first-person shooters) and arranges them in a circle for easier reach. The Warrior does not require a full-size keyboard, though a model is available with a regular keyboard attached. You can currently find the new input device for $35 online.
iSkin keyboard protectors
iSkin has unveiled a new version of its ProTouch Keyboard Protectors for Apple's new MacBook and MacBook Pro portable notebooks. ProTouch Keyboard Protectors are designed to cover and protect the keyboard while preserving the ability to type normally with a clear view of the keyboard. The covers are molded to form fit each key, preventing sliding or movement while in use, while a special coating provides smoother, quicker typing. ProTouch for MacBook and MacBook Pro are constructed with high-grade silicone to protect against key wear, spills, food, and other particles. ProTouch keyboard protectors are washable and are designed to reduce dirt build-up, as well as the spread of germs. The keyboard protectors ship in three colors for the MacBook ($25) or two colors for MacBook Pro ($25). [images included]
RouteBuddy 1.1 ($100, $50 for additional maps) natively supports Garmin GPS devices on Mac OS X systems, allowing users to manage and display GPS data in high precision vector-based road maps. RouteBuddy 1.1 adds support for road-level routing, automatic speed selection for any NMEA GPS device, several minor bug fixes, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. RouteBuddy 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
[Download - 20.4MB]
FlexTime 1.0 ($20) is a timer utility designed to manage time dedicated to various activity. The software can cue users by playing an arbitrary system sound, displaying a text message, or speaking a text message using the built-in Mac OS X speech synthesizer. FlexTime also supports scripts to perform any number of various tasks, such as launching an application. FlexTime requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.8MB]
xTime Project 4.0b ($100) is a project and task management tool designed to help team members effectively communicate information while working jointly on projects. The update boasts improved task management (both daily and hourly), better process management, enhanced resource management, and a reformed user interface. Further changes to Time Project include improved print functionality, report creation, and XML import. [Download - 18MB]
Navicat 6.3.2 for MySQL ($100) provides a graphical environment to manage and develop PostgreSQL databases with Navicat, including: a visual query builder; SSH/HTTP tunneling for remote database connectivity; server-to-server database transfers; and data as well as structure synchronization. Version 6.3.2 supports HTTP tunneling to access the PostgreSQL Server via the HTTP protocol, and adds Foreign Key Data Selection. Navicat for MySQL 6.3.2 requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. [Download - 6.0MB]
TCPdirect 2.0 ($50) is a FileMaker plug-in allowing databases to interact directly with a large variety of internet-based services. TCPdirect 2.0 introduces single-step fetching of Web pages as well as other data using the HTTP protocol, and includes 'across-the-board' support for SSL encryption of any TCP session (including HTTPS). The plug-in requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later with FileMaker Pro 7 or newer. [Download - 523KB]
Foxconn report criticized
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has criticized Apple's recent report on possible labor abuse because it was not independently verified. The Cupertino-based company launched the investigation following reports of sweatshop-like conditions in iPod manufacturing facilities in China managed by Foxconn. "We are not impressed either by the report or by the findings of Apple," said Janek Kuczkiewicz, director of human and trade union rights at the ICFTU. Apple's team interviewed 100 workers at an iPod manufacturing plant in China, but the facility employs an estimated 30,000 workers devoted to iPod production. Apple said it also cross-checked staff logs, and visited factory floors as well as dormitories, according to the BBC. "We do not know the conditions in which the interviews were held. We have serious reservations about the report," Kuczkiewicz said.
Epyx games resurrected
"Epyx" is a name that should inspire equal measures of terror and nostalgia in a gamer. Releasing most of their games in the 80's, the company produced a series of hits (Impossible Mission, Summer Games, etc.) that were as famous for their joystick-smashing difficulty as they were for their capacity to please. Now System 3 has announced acquisition of the Epyx back catalogue, which will result in remakes of some of the most popular Epyx titles. Impossible Mission will come to the DS and PSP in January, while May will see the arrival of California Games for the same systems. Both games will eventually show up on the Wii. On a related note, System 3 is also remaking the non-Epyx (though just as frustrating) Last Ninja trilogy for portable release in April.
Amazon Unbox Video Store
Amazon has been shifting increasing amounts of attention to its video features: the company now regularly features video interviews and its Fishbowl Internet video show. Today, Internet users investigating the company's publically accessible browse nodes - the identifiers associated with every Amazon feature or product - and found pages confirming the existence of Unbox Video, the name of an upcoming direct-download video store from the Internet retailer. The service is still unfinished and could change, but the discovery reveals that Amazon's service should be both reasonably-priced and complete. Television programs will be available for $2 per episode, while movies will sell for approximately $10 each. Crucially, the early design tells users that they can watch their videos on both portable players and TV sets, which until now has been unheard of in the video download market. The likelihood of this service working fully with iTunes and the iPod is slim as the copy protection would very likely depend on the Windows Media Video format, which iPods currently cannot play.
Amapi Pro 7.51 released
e-frontier has released Amapi Pro 7.51, an update to the advanced NURBS modeler featuring a streamlined interface. The application has a loyal following among product and industrial designers in France as well as North America, according to Architosh, and features a dynamic geometry palette enabling users to revisit, edit, or change previous steps used to make basic components of complex modeling assemblies. Amapi supports several popular CAD file formats including IGES, SAT, STEP, openNURBS, VDAFS, STL, and DWG. The software also generates "watertight" STL files to create plastic models of design ideas for fast prototyping to facilitate the tooling process, according to the report. Amapi 7.51 is priced at $750, with upgrades available for $250. The software requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
PSP Model Refresh Strategy
As reported by Gamer Scan, the publication PlayStation Magazine claims to have news of a PSP refresh for March 2007 that would see the portable game system follow Apple's own strategy of constant hardware upgrades with stable pricing. Previously, consoles have largely remained the same after their introductions and dropped in price as components became less expensive over time. If the new report is accurate, Sony will keep the PSP at its current price but upgrade the features dramatically to include 8GB of internal flash memory, a camera, and a smaller design. More storage has been a frequent request for the PSP as owners have generally spurned UMD discs for movies in favor of downloads from their home PCs.
DQ9 existence leaked
On August 11th, Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama conducted the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in a performance of music from the first eight Dragon Quest games. In an interview prior to the concert, Sugiyama let slip that "[Dragon Quest producer] Yuji Horii is really busy at the moment on Dragon Quest IX, and I'm really looking forward to what kind of game he's making this time, as a gamer." No formal annoucement of that title has been made. The Dragon Quest games are extremely popular in Japan, with each release having the sort of furor (and merchandising) that accompanies a major Hollywood movie sequel. Comparatively, Western reception of the series has been lukewarm.
Samsung X830 Music Phone
Music-capable phones in ultra-thin forms are extremely common this summer, but ultimately most of their designs follow the same concepts from before. Most of Samsung's own lineup this year follows this trend. A notable exception is the new X830. Currently available in Europe and Korea, the X830's interface and shape should make it easier to hold and use as a music player. The phone abandons the standard three-key-wide layout for a narrower slider shape that you can grip more completely with one hand. On the outside, a scroll wheel lets users manage beyond the usual pause and track skipping features. The phone also includes 1GB of built-in memory and a card slot for more. There is no news on details of a possible North American release. Click through for a full-size photo.
Palm New Treo in September
Palm has seen itself losing marketshare in recent months to smartphones from challengers such as HTC. The company knows that reversing its fortunes will require newer and more capable phones; to that end, a new Treo phone is set to be announced in London on September 12th, the company announced today. While details are scarce, Palm says the new Treo will ship before the end of the year. Comparisons to rival smartphones indicate that the most likely new features will be built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connections, which so far have only been possible on the Treo 700 series through add-in cards. A greater emphasis on music and videos is also possible given new entries in the market from BlackBerry and others.
No Jobs Keynote in Paris
Reed Expositions -- the organizing company for Apple Expo in Paris -- today announced that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will not speak at this year's event. Until recently, Jobs was a mainstay of the yearly event which usually takes place at the end of summer. Steve Jobs has often used Apple Expo in the past to showcase new products from Apple that were set to launch for the holidays. The CEO's presence as the keynote speaker is often a sign that a major product announcement is expected, making this year's absence suggestive that the Cupertino-based company will offer only minor updates at best.
PSP "2" next year?
Scans from an issue of Playstation Magazine (not to be confused with the Official Playstation Magazine) indicate that an upgraded PSP may be ready in Japan as early as March 2007. It would not be called the PSP 2; PSM says that Sony is "instead eyeing a page [?] from Apple's iPod strategy and upgrading the existing PSP's specifications while keeping the retail price the same." The current PSP would be discontinued, while he new one would have a camera, a smaller size, 8 GB of flash memory, and a modified UMD slot. Naturally, the article cannot say when the upgrade would make its way outside of Japan.
PowerQuote 12 released
PowerQuote software has released version 12 of PowerQuote, its printing estimating software for digital and offset printing. It features built-in rates to adjust and accurate cost based calculations along with a modular system, and integration with MyOrderDesk. Version 12 adds compatibility with the PowerQuote Windows release allowing cross platform networking; enhanced methods to sort and search jobs, quotes, and customers; a new modular expandable system for offset or high speed on-demand digital printing; all new input windows and formulas especially for digital printing; both offset and digital modules have improved user interface; and new file handling and pre-press charges are now calculated. PowerQuote requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later and costs $1600 per user license. Interested parties can contact PowerQuote and schedule a phone demonstration.
No Jobs Keynote Paris 2006
Until recently, Steve Jobs was a mainstay of the yearly Apple Expo in Paris. The event, which usually takes place at the end of summer, has often been used by Jobs to showcase new products from Apple that were set to launch for the holidays. His presence as the keynote speaker is often a sign that a major product announcement is expected. The likelihood of such news has been mitigated for Apple Expo 2006, which begins September 12th; Jobs will not speak at this year's event, the organizing company Reed Expositions said today. While this does not rule out the use of Apple Expo as publicity for new products from Apple, the computer and iPod maker has historically turned down keynote offers when updates are minor at best.
RoverTV takes on 5G iPod
Doghouse Electronics has launched RoverTV, a digital video recorder and media player that stands to compete with Apple's video iPod. The device can record as well as play live video, and features a timer to schedule recording sessions, according to Electronista. The RoverTV captures live FM radio, supports digital audio playback, and enables users to view photos much like Apple's video iPod. Content is stored on SD cards, and a 2GB card is included with the device. Two distinct models offer a 3.5-inch standard ratio screen ($300) or 4-inch wide-screen playback ($350). Both devices are compatible with Macs as well as Windows systems.
iPod-ready Levis reviewed
The BostonHearld has posted a review of Levi's recently announced iPod-ready jeans, which are expected to ship next month. The new jeans feature iPod design traits and controls for the media player integrated into the jeans themselves. The review calls some of these traits "a bit gaudy" but states, "The Levi's design team is unlikely to take insult at this fashion critique from a 41-year-old who is a few decades beyond the age of the targeted consumer." As we have learned from information releases on these jeans, they include a dock, a connector, a RedWire conductive ribbon (which is reportedly blue on men's jeans), the joystick and earbuds. The 'joystick' is sewn to a piece of denim which attaches inside the pocket of the jeans. moves in four directions to adjust volume, track, and pause and play with a click. The review names flaws in the included earbuds being uncomfortable and the overall ($250) price of the jeans -- the jeans received 3 out of stars. [image included]
Native Matlab, Woz
In brief: Mathorks is reportedly planning to launch an Intel-native version of Matlab this fall, and is encouraging feedback regarding prioritization of third-party toolbox ports.... MacGroup-Detroit this weekend will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with special guest Steve "Woz" Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.... Sirius today launched another strategic assault against its rival XM with five new satellite tuners, four new radios, and a new unit that taps into existing home stereos.... Boeing today announced that it will shut down Connexion, which provides internet access for notebook users on long-haul trips arriving in or departing from major U.S. airports.... Grass Valley is giving away four REV PRO drives via one free drawing each day at this year's WEVA Expo, which takes place August 21-24th at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.... X2 Studios has announced that its checkBox Server software is on sale for $2 (regularly $300) until midnight of August 31st, 2006.
Sennheiser MX90VC Earbuds
A key reason why many prefer over-the-ear headphones to earbuds is the problem of obtaining a stable fit. Unless the earbuds match a listener's ear canal very well, they can slip out or affect sound quality. Sennheiser just recently introduced a novel solution to the problem: its new MX90VC earbuds have a Twist-to-Fit function that uses a second bud to press against your earlobe and keep the main speakers directly in front of the ear canal. The MX90VC set also focuses on a greater sense of style through the rectangular shape of the casing. You can find them in stores right now for $80.
PS3 announcements coming
Sony is about to become a lot more vocal concerning the PS3, starting with the Leipzig Games Convention next week. That's when the first of series of major announcements is set to be made. If SPOnG is to be believed, the Leipzig announcement may be also "coming from way out of leftfield," and bring smiles to the faces of jaded gamers. Their article further hints that Sony may actually be responding to the critcisms they've received since E3. A very optimistic appraisal, but surely Sony knows as much as anyone what's at stake in the upcoming console wars.
Dell Using AMD in Desktops
Dell first surprised the public in May when it said it would begin using AMD's Opteron in servers. The company has been one of Intel's strongest supporters, using nothing but Pentium and Xeon processors in its computers even when it was clear that the Athlon and Opteron were dominating the performance landscape. Though the Core 2 Duo and Xeon 5100 series are just now breaking AMD's performance records, September will bring the first AMD-based Dimension desktops, Dell announced today in its quarterly report. Where AMD will fit in the Dimension line is unclear, but recent Athlon 64 price cuts and the budget focus of the Sempron suggest that Dell will use AMD to improve its lower-end systems, which sometimes struggle against less expensive models from companies like HP.
PGP Desktop beta released
PGP today released PGP Desktop 9.5 Public Beta 2, bringing native support to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary along with an improved user interface. PGP Desktop is designed to provide protection from identity theft and fraud by offering simple, robust encryption for email and files. The latest beta release features the ability to encrypt an entire non-boot volume hard drive with multi-user support, dynamically resizable virtual disks, and numerous new messaging policies in the policy editor. PGP Desktop 9.5 Public Beta 2 also offers comprehensive status as well as control for outbound messages via Notifier, along with full S/MIME support for Outlook MAPI and Lotus Notes messaging components. The public beta is available for free via download, delivering German as well as Japanese localization (system requirements were unavailable).
Maxfield MAX-SIN TOUCH
Sometimes a digital audio player can be more than just the technical features. The Maxfield MAX-SIN TOUCH is evidence of this in action. As a player, its features are thoroughly average: MP3, OGG, and WMA can be played during 12 hours of battery life from 1GB of flash memory. What distinguishes the MAX-SIN TOUCH is its extremely minimalist style that could very well trump the iPod nano. The front face is entirely flat, controls and all; even the screen is an OLED display that blents in with the case. The player itself is barely any larger than the nano as well, which makes it a useful alternative for those who want an exceptionally thin player with support for rarer audio formats. No pricing or ship dates have been made available yet, though the player is set to be formally introduced at the IFA expo in Berlin next month. Click through for the full photo.
Replying to yesterday's controversy, a Wal-Mart spokesman insists that the removal of Bully from pre-order lists was just coincidental to Jack Thompson's lawsuit, and really a part of a larger initiative to stop all pre-orders on games without ESRB ratings. As others have observed however, Bully is about the only game on Wal-Mart's Website that has been blocked. Other "Ratings Pending" games still available include Crackdown and Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. It could be that Wal-Mart is being slow in the removal process, but it seems more likely that the company is trying to hold on to the best of both worlds.
New laser mouse debuts
MacMice has launched a new company 'flagship' laser mouse, the Danger Mouse USB. According to CEO M.H. Peng, this mouse has been in design and development for over a year and, "Like Apple, we were seeking the simplest, cleanest design that would perform well and look great on the desktop." The mouse features a glossy white design with two buttons and a clicking scroll wheel. Danger Mouse's laser tracking has a 1600 DPI resolution, which not only helps accuracy, but also allows the mouse to be used on a greater variety of surfaces. Like other products from MacMice, the Danger Mouse features the MicroScroll notchless mini scroll wheel along with a 5ft foot USB cable and works with the standard mouse drivers included in either Mac OS X or Windows. This mouse will ship on August 22nd and can be pre-ordered now for $30. [images included]
ezView stnading iPod case
EzGear has launched a new case for the iPod 5G (Video) and a version for Creative Zen Vision M players. The new case, dubbed the ezView, is designed to make viewing videos on digital media players easier by avoiding the need to hold them for extended periods during viewing. The ezView features leather construction with 'high-grade' materials, an integrated stand, clear screen cover, and direct click wheel access. Also featured in this new case is a 'light-touch' magnetic closing flip cover, credit card storage slots, clear access to top and bottom controls or ports, Velcro latching for sturdy protection, and rubber feet to keep the iPod in place when in stand mode. Versions of the ezView are available for both the 30 and 60 GB versions of both the iPod 5G and Zen Vision M. The ezView Leather Case will be available by the end of August and cost $40. [images included]
S2VR Duo SATA II ships
CalDigit is now shipping its S2VR Duo SATA II RAID storage solution. The S2VR Duo is designed for multi-stream uncompressed 10-bit SD editing. The S2VR Duo is a hardware RAID solution that can be configured for Performance, Protected, or JBOD; it features a cool-running, ball bearing fan-cooled mechanism along with two SATA hard drives capable of data transfers of up to 3Gb/s. In addition, it features CalDigit's unique technology to support multi-streams of uncompressed SD, DVCPRO, HDV and DV non-linear video editing systems. The company claims that CalDigit S2VR Duo is the "fastest dual-drive SATA 3Gb/s subsystem in the world," achieving speeds of up to 148MB/s--for editing up to three streams of 10-bit uncompressed SD video. Three different capacities are available (500GB, 1TB, or 1.5TB) starting at $550 (w/ controller card). It also includes support for password protection, e-mail notification, HBA controller card, (PCI-e or PCI-x), driver CD, and an eSATA cable.
PDF2Office Personal v3.0
Recosoft has announced PDF2Office Personal v3.0 for Mac OS X, a major upgrade to the PDF-to-Word conversion plug-in with over 250 new features and enhancements. Based on a new technology infrastructure in converting PDF files to Microsoft Word X/2004 formats, PDF2Office Personal v3.0 utilizes modern client-server technology and will be available as Universal Binary. PDF2Office recreates the original construction and layout of the document, including forming paragraphs; applying styles; regrouping independent graphic elements; extracting images; creating tables; and processing headers/footers, endnotes/footnotes and columns/sections, all automatically--without any manual intervention. It now supports conversion of password-protected documents, dramatic improvements to the layout reconstruction engine, and more. New versions are $60, while upgrades are $30. It is expected to ship in September.
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Despite being very familiar with Blue Microphones' lower-end products -- we've long recommended the company's Snowball line of mics ...ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector
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