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Apple "a niche player"
A niche market will mark the extent of Apple's clout with regard to big business, according to senior research analyst Carmi Levy of Info-Tech. "The reality is, long term, Apple will always be a niche player," Levy said. "Even with the switch to Intel, Apple is not threatening the hegemony of the Intel-based Windows PC." Levy also believes Apple's traditional enterprise niches -- including graphics, advertising, and creative departments -- have weakened in recent years, according to a report from Computer World Canada.
Geo-Calc goes Universal
BaldGeeks today released Geo-Calc 2.0, a major update to its comprehensive geometry calculator for Mac OS X that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The software is designed to ease the calculation of common problems such as estimating the quantity of carpet, paint, or tiles required to complete a construction job. Geo-Calc works out the measurements for area, perimeter, sides, and angles of common geometric shapes. Geo-Calc shows a scaled drawing of each calculated shape with a graph paper background in one drawer, while another shows a history of previous calculations. The application also provides a definition of each shape and the different ways to perform the calculations. Geo-Calc supports the ellipse, rectangle, triangle, trapezium, parallelogram, polygon, prism, cylinder, cone, pyramid and sphere shapes. Geo-Calc 2.0 is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Refurb iPods, iMacs
Apple is selling refurbished 1GB iPod nanos in white and black for $109; refurbished 2GB iPod nanos in white and black for $129; and refurbished 4GB iPod nanos in white only for $169. The company is also offering refurbished fifth-generation iPods with video capability in white as well as black with 30GB and 60GB capacities for $199 and $299, respectively. Refurbished iMacs currently include the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $1,099; as well as the 20-inch 2GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $1,399. Refurbished 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo Mac mini systems are available with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive for $519, while Apple's 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac mini is available with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $699. The Apple Store Canada is also offering deals on refurbished equipment, including the MacBook Pro (as low as $1,749), the PowerBook G4 17-inch (as low as $2,219), the Intel-based iMac (as low as $1,299), and Power Mac G5 systems (as low as $1,899).
Cortex HDC-1000 USB Mixer
DJs are frequently protective of their music collections and will often go to great lengths to transport the music they need for sets or studio work. Laptops and digital mixing systems such as Final Scratch have helped DJs keep stacks of vinyl records at home, but most of these still require that the DJ use fragile media. A viable alternative may be the HDC-1000 controller just released by Cortex. Instead of CDs or laptop hard drives, the HDC-1000 can index and mix music on up to four separate USB storage devices at the same time - eight if the owner has a USB hub. Though it can only accept MP3, WAV, and CD audio formats, it can load them from multiple file systems, including the HFS+ system used by Macs. It can be rackmounted and currently sells for $500.
DAZ offers Bryce 5 free
DAZ Productions today announced that it is offering its Bryce 5 3D landscaping and animation software for free until September 6th. Following the installation, Bryce 5 prompts users to register the copy at the DAZ website, after which users receive a free Bryce 5 serial number and are able to download the Bryce 5 presets. Bryce 5.0, however, does not work with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Bryce 5.5 -- the latest version -- is optimized for greater speed with support for the DAZ|Studio character plug-in, enhanced OpenGL display modes, and a re-designed network renderer. The DAZ|Studio Character plug-in enables users to easily load, edit, and import any object model. The plug-in features faster load times, increased stability, and more logical grouping when compared to the previous Turbo Import solution. Bryce 5.0 requires Mac OS 8 or later, but is incompatible with Mac OS X 10.4. [corrected]
Resistance to occupy 22 GB
A reminder of the perks of HD storage: Insomniac Games' Ryan Schneider says that their PS3 launch title will swallow up a colossal 22 gigabytes on its Blu-Ray disc, making it one of the largest (if not the largest) games ever made. By contrast, the DVD's used for the 360 can hold just 8 GB. Even an HD-DVD disc tops out at 15 GB. The reason for Resistance's girth is said to be its graphics, level, and programming resources, with music and voice content filling up a mere 1 GB. If nothing else, the PS3 should see plenty of games with high-resolution textures.
60GB Zen Vision M and W
Introduced at the start of the year, the Zen Vision:M has remained one of the few viable challengers to the iPod in a particularly crowded field. Even so, the Vision:M has remained at 30GB ever since its launch despite pressure to increase its capacity to match the 60GB ceiling of its Apple rival. An imminent change is set to take place at the end of the month, according to recent revelations. Besides an informal announcement of a 60GB model by Creative president Craig McHugh during the latest quaterly report call, the news was revealed by readers of Maxim magazine who found an ad (pictured) in the latest issue which publicizes the new capacity. Other sources indicate that Creative is likely to release a 60GB version of the original, widescreen Zen Vision under the Vision:W name.
Samsung 931C LCD
By far the primary concern for LCD owners is color. Until recently, LCD manufacturers were focused almost exclusively on pixel response times and the elimination of the ghosting artifacts that appear on slower panels. The reduction has often been at the expense of the color gamut: many LCD screens sacrifice a portion of their color range and even larger portions of their accuracy to draw images as quickly as possible. Samsung's new 931C display is very different: though the company still claims a very fast 2ms response time, the 19-inch screen also displays the NTSC color range with near-perfect accuracy and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. For $299 each, the 931C should be equally valuable to game players finally looking to replace old CRTs as well as photo and video editors looking for a good reference monitor. Samsung is previewing the display at the World Cyber Games in October and will release it soon after.
Battlefield: Bad Company
EA and DICE have announced Bad Company, a story-centered spinoff of their traditionally multiplayer-oriented Battlefield series. Players will control a squad of soldiers who exploit war to fulfill ambitions of gold and revenge. In addition to being a cinematic single-player experience "loaded with adventure and dark humor," multiplayer modes will take advantage of the game's "90 percent destructible" terrain. The game as a whole is intended to retain some of the "sandbox" feeling EA attributes to Battlefield. Some news from DICE is that the game will ship in 2007 for four platforms: PC, 360, PS3 and PSP.
LCD Television Sales
The eventual death of the CRT in televisions is accelerating, according to a report by analyst firm DisplaySearch from yesterday. Sales of LCD televisions have blossomed over the past year, expanding to over 9.4 million sets in Spring 2006. This is a massive jump of 135 percent over the same period in 2005, and LCDs now account for over a fifth of all televisions sold throughout the world. DisplaySearch attributes much of this to a combination of design and falling prices: buyers are not only eager to replace their ungainly CRT sets with flat-panel screens, but are taking advantage of reduced prices to do so. Sony can verify this fact through its own experience: the company finally began turning a profit this Spring after years of losses and has credited the rampant success of its Bravia LCD sets as a major factor in the turnaround.
Dell concedes defeat again
Dell has apparently conceded defeat in the MP3 player market, as reports indicate that the company is no longer selling any of its MP3 players and has removed most referencs to its DJ Ditty MP3 player from the Dell website. Electronista notes that the Texas-based Dell originally entered the digital audio player market in late 2003 to capitalize on the rapidly expanding popularity of Apple's iPod; however, despite attempts to compete with Apple on features and price, Dell has consistently struggled to find significant marketshare. Earlier this year, Dell discontinued all its hard drive-based players in favor of the lower-end DJ Ditty flash player. "As of today, Dell has quietly admitted its long-term failure in the market by removing the DJ Ditty and most references to it from the company website. Users of Dell's DJ forums have also reported that no Dell-branded players remain in the monthly catalog and that the DJ Ditty had been discounted earlier in the month," the report said.
XtremeMac iPod accessories
XtremeMac today announced the availability of two new portable power solutions for iPod: InCharge Traveler (below) global charging kit and MicroPack portable battery and media dock (right). Designed with travelers in mind, the new products provide multiple functions and sleek designs that match the iPod aesthetic. The InCharge Traveler is a global charging kit designed to keep the iPod charged in virtually any country. The comprehensive kit includes four wall adapters that automatically switch between 120V and 240V outlets, as well as a 12V car adapter and an empower adapter for use on commercial airliners. The components included with InCharge Traveler are compatible with all dock connector iPod models (4G and later) and ship bundled in a convenient travel pouch. InCharge Traveler will begin shipping this week $80.
No PS3 play at Leipzig
For people eager to try the PS3, there will be no interactive kiosks at tomorrow's Leipzig Games Convention, Eurogamer has discovered. Complete with photographic proof, they made an advance tour of the Sony area only to find no kiosks or controllers in sight. EG further claims that Sony has said there will be no public hands-on with the PS3 until the Tokyo Game Show in September. Will North Americans have any opportunity to play the PS3 before it ships in November?
With Research in Motion prepared to release its first media-centric BlackBerry, researchers are concerned that its existing focus on push e-mail is triggering addictive qualities in frequent users. A recent study by Rutgers University warns employers not to rely too heavily on the constant e-mail and phone communication allowed by BlackBerries as it might promote compulsive use of the devices. The fast-paced nature of work in that kind of environment can overstimulate workers and become addictive, says Rutgers associate professor and researcher Gayle Porter. This finding contradicts a recent study by YouGov commissioned through T-Mobile suggests that over 90 percent of UK BlackBerry owners claim to save themselves business-related stress by using their devices to respond more quickly to time-sensitive problems at the office.
1.5TB enclosure ships
Fantom Drives today debuted the G-Force MegaDisk combo FireWire 800, 400, and USB 2.0 drive boasting a 1.5TB storage capacity. The enclosure features a rugged aluminum design, utilizing the Oxford OXF924DSB chipset for FireWire 80 speeds of 80MB/sec and native drive striping. The external drive also features complete operating system independence with no software installation required for Mac OS X or Windows XP installations. The G-Force MegaDisk is available in 500GB ($270), 800GB ($500), 1TB ($600), and 1.5TB ($1,000) storage capacities.
YouTube Video Advertising
A victim of its own increasing success, YouTube has seen its maintenance costs spiral as it serves over 100 million videos per day. Having previously introduced static advertising to the site, the young company today announced that it would integrate video advertising into different aspects of the site. Its most conspicuous introduction is that of Brand Channels, which are video collections focused on a specific company's products. The first example is Warner Music Group's ParisHilton channel currently promoting Paris Hilton's new album in a conspicuous position on the YouTube main page. Individual users can also use the Participatory Video Ad program to include interesting advertising as part of their YouTube profile pages. Additional advertising methods are set to arrive over the course of the next year.
Joint Task Force SP demo
If Company of Heroes isn't enough for you, Most Wanted has put out a single-player demo for their modern-world RTS, Joint Task Force. It's a 450 MB download with two missions, one set in a Somalian port and another against a drug cartel in the Columbian jungle. Players use real military hardware to crush opposition to the West around the world. One of the highlights of JTF is the role of the media, which will cover your battles in real-time and influence your funding through public opinion. Kill too many civilians in one battle, and you may find yourself financially deprived during the next. Mirrors for the demo can be found here, here and here.
Portable 1.5TB RAID ships
Other World Computing today began shipping its new Mercury Elite-AL Pro FW800/400+USB2 RAID external hard drive array, offering from 320GB to 1.5TB of storage capacity. The drive array features FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connectivity along with the latest SATA II 3G hard drive functionality. The new Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID Solutions provide two FireWire 800 ports, one FireWire 400 port, and one USB 2.0 port. Each unit ships with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB cables, EMC Retrospect Backup software, and Intech HD Speedtools. The storage arrays are backed by a two-year OWC warranty, while internal mechanisms are guaranteed by an additional three-year manufacturer's warranty. OWC's Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID array is priced from $280.
Dell Concedes Defeat
Texas-based Dell originally entered the digital audio player market in late 2003 in what many saw as a calculated move to capitalize on the rapidly expanding popularity of Apple's iPod in North America. Despite attempts to compete with Apple on features and price, however, Dell has consistently struggled to find significant marketshare for its players. Evidence of resignation in the company's approach began in February of this year when it discontinued all its hard drive-based players in favor of the lower-end DJ Ditty flash player. As of today, Dell has quietly admitted its long-term failure in the market by removing the DJ Ditty and most references to it from the company website. Users of Dell's DJ forums have also reported that no Dell-branded players remain in the monthly catalog and that the DJ Ditty had been discounted earlier in the month.
Medal an EA UE3 game?
After EA's recent multi-game license to use Unreal Engine 3, speculation began on what titles EA might have in mind for the tech. Chris Morris of CNNMoney reports that while EA will only say they're action games, two of the titles may be Medal of Honor: Airborne (delayed to 2007) and an unannounced first-person shooter called Dead Space. Some skepticism is in order though, as Morris' source is the same analyst (P.J. McNealy) who predicted a PSP price drop. EA has declined to say anything on the matter.
Universal FM tuner ships
iStuff has released a new 'universal' FM transmitter that works with all minijack output devices, including Apple's iPod digital media players. The accessory enables users to transmit on any radio frequency, plug into a car cigarette lighter on-the-go, and lasts up to 18 hours when running off a single AAA alkaline battery. The device boasts 199 available broadcasting frequencies and a backlit LCD screen for easy operation. Electronista reports that the new device is perfectly suited for "those uncomfortable with linking their ability to transmit audio to a proprietary accessory." The iCast is shipping internationally from the UK store iWorld for £30 ($60 US). [image included]
iHome iH25 speakers debut
iHome has unveiled a new iPod speaker system boasting a two-to-one configuration. Electronista reports that many new speaker systems blur the line between portable iPod speaker sets and deluxe bookshelf units meant to double as a home stereo, but the new product joins the latter options. The iH25 features a central iPod Dock, AM/FM radio tuning, audio/video input/output, and a 3-line display used for both radio tuning and iPod track information. The new speakers output a total of 32W sustained power, are priced at $200, and are expected to be available in both black and silver.
Apple on "walk of shame"
Apple Ireland has responded to a Dublin man after he announced plans last week to perform a "walk of shame" with his broken iMac. Last Friday afternoon the man received a phone call from the head of Apple's corporate affairs in Ireland who introduced herself, apologized on behalf of Apple Ireland, and said she would take the matter into her own hands to resolve any outstanding issues. The Dublin man says he had a new replacement 2GHz iMac Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory sitting on his desk roughly 90 minutes later, and the company has sent additional memory to match the broken iMac, which had 2GB installed.
Digital Deck PVR ships
Digital Deck has released a network capable personal video recorder designed to expand the network abilities of older PVRs. The new Digital Deck connects to computers on the network, and play songs from an iTunes music library acting as a hub to the entertainment system. The PVR can also streaming photos from Flickr accounts, and allows users to view content from TiVos on the same network. Electronista states that despite TiVos success, its "most glaring limitation in its current hardware is the lack of widespread networking abilities." The new Digital Deck is available for $500, and includes a remote alongside access to the Digital Deck online program guide updates.
Griffin iPod Hi-Fi case
Griffin Technology has unveiled a new carrying case for the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system called the Hi-Way. The new case enables iPod Hi-Fi owners to carry the system around safely, playing songs without loosing sound quality. The Hi-Way is designed to keep out dirt as well as sand, and protects against bumps with ballistic Nylon material coupled with a soft, padded inner lining to prevent scuffing or scratching. The case also features numerous pockets for accessories or other storage, as well as an adjustable padded shoulder strap. Griffin's Hi-Way is available for $50. [images included]
CirculationPro 3.4 ships
MediaSpan today launched CirculationPro 3.4, the latest version of its tools designed to help publishers manage subscriptions and process real-time credit card payments over the Web. The software also enables users to handle traffic as well as dispatch complaints, and import demographic information. CirculationPro 3.4 integrates Satori add-on tools to help determine return on investment. Complaint dispatching in CirculationPro 3.4 can determine the correct redelivery driver based on the day of the week, the current time, and the specific complaint. Additionally, users can dispatch complaints using traditional methods such as e-mail or via text messaging (system requirements and pricing were unavailable).
Oppo 20-inch LCD TV
LCD televisions follow a standard aesthetic of hard edges in black or silver, with few exceptions to the rule. One such exception, the Oppo Digital LT-2007 is notable not just for its white, rounded shell but the clear inspiration from earlier Apple hardware designs. The new LCD and DVD player all-in-one unit features a display bezel and back shell reminiscent of Apple's portrait-style Cinema Display line discontinued in 2004. In terms of functionality, the LT-2007 is built as a personal television intended chiefly for the kitchen or other small spaces. It has a 20-inch, 800x600 screen and a DVD system capable of playing regular movies in addition to DivX, XviD, and photo CDs. An integrated 5-in-1 card reader handles photos from digital cameras. Oppo's television is on sale now for $599; click through for photos of the back and side.
Polk Ships iSonic Stereo
Most bookshelf stereo systems are deliberately unambitious in their abilities; auxiliary input alone is still quite rare in a class that is often considered entry-level by stereo manufacturers. Just the opposite can be said of Polk's new iSonic unit. While its extremely ambitious design had introduced a significant delay in its arrival, even now the iSonic is very appealing to audiophiles. It's effectively designed to replace several systems at once: it has the CD, clock, and AM/FM radio functions common to many such players, but can also play DVD movies through its RCA or S-video outputs, tune HD terrestrial radio, and accept XM Satellite Radio through external adapters. Appropriately, the Polk stereo also has an auxiliary input jack for iPods or other outside audio connections. Newly shipping, this four-speaker ultimate stereo is shipping for $599.
Company of Heroes SP demo
The single-player demo for Relic's World War II RTS, Company of Heroes, has been released to the Web. Not much information is available except that it's a massive 1.5 GB. If its contents are at all similar to the exclusive PC Gamer demo, it should include several tutorial levels as well as two full campaign missions, one during the D-Day landings and another defending a French town from imminent assault by the Nazi SS. Company of Heroes features independent soldier AI and fully destructible terrain. Update: Rumour has it that an opening at Relic's Vancouver studio is related to ports of the game for the 360, Wii, and PS3. Update 2: This is in fact the PC Gamer demo.
Garmin Nuvi 660 Revealed
Garmin's previously released Nuvi 360 (pictured) is a fairly feature-rich car GPS navigation unit with a media player, compatibility with receivers that provide live traffic information, and Bluetooth for using the touchscreen to make and receive phone calls from a nearby cellphone. Its successor, the Nuvi 660, was informally announced when the FCC made test results available on its website today. The 660 is a modest but significant update to the 360 model that will use a widescreen 480x272 display (similar to that of the PSP) and contain an FM transmitter that can broadcast directions or other audio to the car stereo. It should ship by the end of September for an unspecified price.
Take-Two protest planned
The convoluted story of Jack Thompson has taken another turn, this time with his news that a protest is planned for Take-Two's Manhattan headquarters on Friday. The publisher of Rockstar's Bully is being chastized by (quoting Thompson) "a group of children protesting Take-Two's targeting of kids with their adult entertainment." The circumstances of this protest are extremely dubious; aside from the fact that most children won't voluntarily protest anything, let alone games, it just so happens that Thompson CC'd his e-mail to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, whose office is running a grand jury investigation into Take-Two. Clearly, Thompson is attempting to sway Morgenthau's opinion of the company.
iCast FM Transmitter
FM transmitters are typically made for specific devices, such as the iPod or PSP. For those uncomfortable with linking their ability to transmit audio to a proprietary accessory, the new iCast adapter from iStuff will plug into any common minijack output and broadcast sound to nearby radios on a user-selectable frequency. The iCast is also independent of a car or wall power source: it lasts for up to 18 hours on a AAA battery. Shipping today, the iCast is available internationally from the UK store iWorld for £30 ($57 US).
Apple granted four patents
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) today published Apple's granted patents, which number four and solidify the company's right to use those technologies. The patents granted include "DC connector assembly," "Self aligning foot assembly," "a method and apparatus for accelerating detection of serial bus device speed signals," and a granted design patent for an electronic device holder. Apple's self aligning foot assembly (Patent #7,095,610) includes a foot with a snap and a first alignment feature, the snap and the alignment feature are coupled to a base, and the first alignment feature extends a greater distance from the base than an engagement of the snap. The Electronic Device Holder (Design Patent D526,777) claims the ornamental design for an electronic device holder, which depicts an armband holding an iPod shuffle.
Intel demand spikes, iTMS
In brief: A sudden rise in PC demand has created a shortage of Intel chipsets, which could revive an issue that some believe caused the company to lose market share to arch-rival AMD.... Discussion forums on Apple's website as well as Orange Broadband are alive with users complaining about their inability to access iTunes.... Big Nerd Ranch today announced its PostgreSQL Bootcamp in Europe, scheduled for November 13-17th, offering five days of intensive instruction on PostgreSQL 8.1 as a database solution for professional applications.... One website has posted a screenshot that appears to depict Mac OS 7.5 running on Nintendo DS using MiniVMacDS.... Maureen Govern, CTO at AOL, resigned from the company on August 21st following a disclosure that AOL accidentally released keyword search data for roughly 658,000 anonymous users.
PS3 console count
Correcting a statement from their own Kaz Hirai, a spokesperson at Sony Computer Entertainment America has informed the press that there should be two million PS3 units ready for November 17th, with another two million coming before the end of 2006. Hirai told GameSpot yesterday that production of the console had yet to start, which may have created the impression that Sony would be unprepared for launch; that might still be the case, but the production schedule is technically on-track.
Apple shareholder lawsuit
Apple shareholders have filed yet another lawsuit against the company in state as well as U.S. courts, claiming that many high-level management employees -- including CEO Steve Jobs -- backdated option-grants to reap "millions of dollars in unlawful profits." The suit also charges that Apple executives filed "false and misleading statements" with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, manipulating options grants to sell more than $1 billion in company stock, according to Bloomberg. The case follows a string of earlier lawsuits filed throughout July and into August, naming top executives and alleging that defendants breached their fiduciary duties and colluded with one another to improperly backdate grants of Apple stock options to various executives in violation of the company's shareholder-approved stock option plans, among other claims.
iHome iH52 iPod Speakers
There is often a fine balance between the more portable iPod speaker sets and deluxe bookshelf units meant to double as a home stereo. The upcoming iH52 audio system from iHome is balanced more towards the latter end of the spectrum but is more affordable and compact than its immediate competitors. At a retail price of $200, the iH52's central iPod dock features AM/FM radio, AV input and output for video or alternate music sources, and a large 3-line display used for both radio and viewing iPod track information from a distance. The speakers themselves are a 2.1 arrangement which outputs a total 32W of sustained power. A firm release date has not been set, though the iH52 should be available soon in either black or silver.
Guitar Hero II: Nov. 7th
The sequel to RedOctane's phenomenally popular music game will ship to American (and probably many Canadian) stores on November 7th, with a European release following later in the month, SPOnG reports. Given the launch of the PS3 on November 17th, SPOnG speculates that the European ship date will be November 24th. The game will be available in two versions: one with the Gibson SG controller and one without, intended for people who already own GH1. A lot is riding on the success of GH2, as Activision paid almost $100 million to acquire RedOctane earlier this year.
MacBook update, fans
Apple's recent update to its MacBook line of Intel-based laptops, which the company said was to adjust "fan behavior," has resulted in fans that run endlessly to cool the device. Apple's own discussion forums reveal that the MacBook fans run continuously at a low speed, ramping up when necessary to move more air through the enclosure, according to InformationWeek. Apple in early June admitted that an oversight during its laptop production may have caused some of its new MacBooks to overheat, saying that some users experiencing warmer-than-usual running temperatures should check for the presence of a clear plastic covering which was inadvertently left in place over the rear vent.
Sony-Ericsson Z610 Phone
More Sony news arrives today in the way of a cellphone announcement. Though the company has taken advantage of its partnership with Ericsson to create a line of Walkman phones, its design influence is extending to more modest phones today with the unveiling of the Sony-Ericsson Z610. It borrows the reflective surface from Sony's A1200 digital audio players, including the 'stealth' external OLED screen. As a phone it gives UMTS mobile broadband, a sizeable 2 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth. Storage is relatively small at 16MB of internal memory and a Memory Stick slot (a 64MB stick is included), but music is not the primary focus here. The main obstacle to the Z610 is its likelihood of arriving in North America soon. In the form set to arrive in Europe by the end of this quarter, the phone connects to tri-band GSM phone networks but not the 850MHz band used by American GSM carriers. Since many Sony-Ericsson phones do receive slight upgrades that enable broader network support, it's entirely possible a variant of the Z610 will appear here before long.
Sony VAIO LS1 TV-PC
Students heading to college who are looking for more performance than Westinghouse's laptop and TV bundle certainly have their options. The latest is Sony's LS1, the most recent entry into the company's expanding line of home theater PCs. Though it still uses integrated Intel graphics, the LS1 offers a much faster 1.83GHz Core Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and 250GB of hard drive space that give it considerably more power for video and multitasking. Its 19-inch screen also uses a sharp 1680x1050 resolution that makes it genuinely useful for high-resolution content. As a TV, the LS1 lacks the component video input needed for HDTV (RCA and S-video are included) but makes up for this by integrating an NTSC tuner into the computer that lets the Sony PC act as a PVR through Windows Media Center. Its $2100 asking price is in keeping with the extra television functions and performance; it's set to arrive just after school begins in mid-September.
Web Site Maestro 5.2 ($40) helps users create and optimize HTML and other web coding in an effort to improve load times on created websites and offers a built in FTP-client to put the site on the web from within the optimization app. Version 5.2 adds support for FTP remote synchronization, improved control over what uploads, improved filename support, better support for non-standard sever layouts, enhanced website optimization for sites containing many empty lines, and support for TextWrangler.v in the Creator Code pop up. Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later is requires to run Web Site Maestro.
[Download - 4.5]
Snippet Monkey 1.0b ($10) is the first public beta of a new utility which allows users to save time by automating the process of creating shortcuts for phrases used frequently. These phrases are "snippets" which can contain a combination of text, images, and/or date and time information. Users create snippets by copying the target and dumping the clipboard into the snippet editor. Users can disable this functionality on a per application basis, edit the appearance of snippets, and request new features during this beta stage. This initial public beta requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later; the current price is not the final release price, but a license purchased now will work with the final release. [Download - 1.3MB]
ComicBookLover 1.1 ($25) allows users to view, collect and organize digital comics while finding comics by browsing cover art, creating smart lists, editing information quickly with auto-completion, and supporting CBZ, CBR, and PDF comic archives. Version 1.1 adds native support for PDF files, new comic view modes, support for common keybaord shortcuts, enhancements to the toolbar, and corrects several minor bugs and performance problems. ComicBookLover is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 3.0MB]
pearPortVPN 0.1 (free) allows users to automatically establish VPN connections whenever a wireless network becomes available, also automatically disconnecting any open connections before the Mac falls asleep; thus avoiding an error message about timed out connections upon awakening. The tool is designed to help those whose ISP requires them to establish a VPN connection. This initial release of PearPortVPN is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 91.4KB]
GlowWorm FW Lite 1.0.7 (free) is a rule-based network security and monitoring application which allows one to define acceptable network activity on an address, port and application basis. Any number of rules can be created. An authorization dialog alerts one regarding unauthorized network activity. Version 1.0.7 fixes the version number splash screen, adds registration, improves version expiration, and a new user interface. GlowWorm FW Lite 1.0.7 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 651KB]
Activision PSP retro pack
Don't call it shovelware - Activision has announced a new compilation for the PSP called Activision Hits Remixed. The disc will gather over 40 Atari 2600 games, such as Pitfall, Kaboom, Stampede, Chopper Command, and Keystone Kapers. Distinguishing features should include full manuals, a "modernised front-end," "a host of retro unlockables," and a "rockin' '80s themed soundtrack." Can't beat marketing speak. Gamers will also be able to play two-player wireless with one UMD. The compilation is due for an American release in the fall.
PhotoReviewer 5.0 released
Stick Software has released a major update to PhotoReviewer 5.0, its photo management solution for Mac OS X. Boasting "very quick" performance, the application allows users to flip through photos and select which they wish to keep. PhotoReviewer will then organize them in a folder system, allow image comparison, and adjust key levels such as contrast, exposure, and sharpness. PhotoReviewer is not an iPhoto replacement, but, according to the developer, acts as a middleman to get only the photos users want into their iPhoto library. New in version 2.0 is a thumbnail view, EXIF support, histograms, a magnifier, direct import from digital cameras, side-by-side image viewing, full-screen mode, and several stability and performance improvements. Available now for $15, PhotoReviewer requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.1MB]
FileSalvage 5.0 released
SubRosaSoft has released FileSalvage 5.0, a utility for finding and recovering deleted files from a drive or volume. FileSalvage is capable of recovering accidentally deleted files, files which have become unreadable, and files which existed on a drive prior to re-initialization or formatting. Other uses include the recovery of iTunes or iPhoto libraries; offering compadibility with Mac hard drives, USB keys, PC disks, Linux disks, FAT32 disks, FLASH cards, scratched CDs, Digital Cameras, iPods, and several other media types. Version 5.0 includes a overhauled user interface, a new auto rename function, improved support for Intel-based Macs, better file management, and improved performance. The new version is available in several formats; a download ($80), a PowerPC booting CD ($90), an Intel booting CD ($90), or an Intel and PowerPC booting CD for ($100) -- prior users can upgrade for $30 (download), or $40 (CD). FileSalvage requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, but is designed for Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 5.4MB]
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Snugg's Distressed Brown Leather Case was something of a pleasant surprise when I reviewed it last year. I didn't expect much at fi ...
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