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News Archive for 06/08/25

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Apricorn debuts new storage devices

08/25, 7:20pm

Apricorn New Ext Hard Disk

Apricorn today announced two external storage devices aimed at Mac users. The Ageis Mini, a device aimed at notebook users, includes an integrated FireWire cable and is avaliable in 30GB and 60GB sizes, while the Aegis Portable is designed as an external backup solution--bundled with an integrated FireWire cable--and offers extensive shock proofing; it weighs just 5.5 ounces. This device comes in sizes from 40GB to 160GB. Included with both products is the Apricorn Data Protection Suite, which includes the backup solution SuperDuper!, Synchronize! X and the Apricorn Encryption Utility. The Aegis Mini and Aegis Portable retail from $170 and $120, respectively and are now available.

Refurbished Power Macs, video iPods

08/25, 6:00pm

Refurb Power Mac, 5G iPod

Apple is selling refurbished Power Mac G5 systems as well as video iPods with its standard one-year warranty and free shipping. Refurbished Power Macs include the Dual 2GHz with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $1,899; the Dual 2.3GHz with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,399; and the Quad 2.5GHz with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $3,199. All Power Mac G5 systems 1MB of L2 cache per processor core and a 16X double-layer SuperDrive DVD/CD burner. Refurbished video iPods include the 30GB model available in either black or white which stores up to 7,500 songs for $229; and the 60GB model available in either black or white which stores up to 15,000 songs for $345. Apple's video iPods feature a 2.5-inch color display and ship with APple earphones as well as a USB 2.0 cable. Apple's Canada Store is offering 20-inch Cinema displays for $799, 23-inch Cinema HD displays for $1,099, and 30-inch Cinema HD displays for $2,299.

Video of the Take-Two protest

08/25, 5:45pm

Video of Take-Two protest

"The Software Pirate" managed to record some video of the protest today at Take-Two's Manhattan HQ, which turned out to be a production organized by the anti-violence group Peaceoholics. The group was nominally upset about Bully selling before it has an ESRB rating; however, the protestors at the event seemed disturbingly ignorant of the facts. One of them confused the ESRB with the FCC, and thought that it was actually illegal to be selling Bully to minors. It's also worth noting that the Peaceoholics have often aligned themselves with Jack Thompson, the lawyer who is currently suing Take-Two and Wal-Mart over the dangers of Bully.

Spinnn 3D strategy game released

08/25, 5:30pm

Spinnn 1.0 released

An independent software developer has released Spinnn 1.0, a 3D strategy game challenging players to create horizontal lines. Players move and spin falling pieces in any of 30 different sub-games, each of which is divided into four sets with its own style and special rules. Classic games focus on the basic puzzle, while "Disposable Things" games feature objects such as trees or pyramids that form part of a line. "Built To Last" games contain objects that can form part of a line, but are not removed by any other means than special tools such as drills and bombs. Spinnn is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

Microsoft to offer iDisk-like storage

08/25, 5:10pm

MS to offer online storage

Microsoft announced an online storage service as part of its recent Windows Live focus during the Australian Tech.Ed 2006 conference. Displaying a strong resemblance to Apple's iDisk included with its .Mac service, Microsoft's Live Drive will offer 2GB of storage accessible to any computer via a Web browser or as a virtual drive in Windows Vista, according to Electronista. Microsoft also plans to offer subscribers the option of extra storage at an additional price. Whether or not auto-synchronization or application-specific integration will also be features has not yet been revealed.

jLab ships MiniBlaster for iPod nano

08/25, 5:00pm

MiniBlaster for Nano ships

jLab has unveiled the MiniBlaster for iPod nano, a cradle that places a small 1-watt pair of stereo speakers directly behind the ipod. Owners can carry the media player and the speakers in a single handheld unit, and playback lasts for up to 10 hours at maximum volume using four AAA batteries. The MiniBlaster ships with a power adapter for plugging into a wall outlet, and an auxiliary input jack supports other audio sources, according to Electronista. The accessory also comes with a silicone skin to protect the iPod from scratches and small bumps. jLab's MiniBlaster for iPod nano is priced at $50.

FW Depot unveils three SATA subsystems

08/25, 4:45pm

FW Depot SATA subsystems

FireWire Depot today unveiled three new SATA subsystem modules featuring aluminum cooling bodies and removable, hot swappable fans. The MB453 is constructed to fit three SATA I or II drives within a two 5.25-inch bay fitting, while the MB454 fits four SATA I or II drives within a three 5.25-inch bay fitting. FireWire Depot's MB455 fits four SATA I or II drives within a five 5.25-inch bay fitting. All subsystems require no tools or special wiring to remove the replaceable hot swappable fan. The MB453, MB454, and MB455 SATA subsystems are available for $120, $150, and $180, respectively.

Microsoft to offer iDisk-like online storage

08/25, 4:45pm

Microsoft Live Drive

In addition to prior news that 32-bit versions of Windows Vista would be unable to play protected Blu-Ray or HD DVD natively, the Australian Tech.Ed 2006 conference also marked Microsoft's announcement of an online storage service as part of its recent Windows Live focus, says ZDNet. Bearing a strong similarity to Apple's iDisk included with .Mac, Microsoft's Live Drive will offer 2GB of storage accessible to any computer through a web browser or as a virtual drive in Windows Vista. Subscribers will have the option of extra storage at an additional price. Whether or not auto-synchronization or application-specific integration will also be features has not yet been revealed.

More evidence of an Oct. 2nd Wii launch?

08/25, 4:45pm

More Wii date evidence

It looks like a site called GamersReports might have acquired some Wii release dates produced by GameStop. According to the scanned images, Avatar, Elebits, Rayman and Spongebob Squarepants are all scheduled for October 2nd - a Wii launch date that's been tossed around pretty frequently. Post-launch titles are listed as soon as October 24th. Now, game retailers are notorious for picking dates at random, but assuming the documents are genuine, it's suspicious that GameStop would agree with such a widely-suspected launch window.

Complete New Yorker Portable Hard Drive

08/25, 4:20pm

New Yorker Hard Drive

Electronic catalogs of periodicals are rarely successful in the same way that encyclopedias can be, simply through the inherent limitations of the storage format: periodicals rarely stop publication after a collection is released, leaving buyers of CD and DVD archives with a catalog already outdated before it arrived at the door. The famous New Yorker has chosen the much more pragmatic route of an external hard drive. Connecting through USB 2, the 80GB drive currently stores every New Yorker issue from February 1925 through to April 2006, images included. Importantly, that data is not static - owners can receive updates that add more recent issues to the drive and take advantage of free storage space. Complete New Yorker drives work with both MacOS X and Windows 2000/XP and are shipping today for $299.

LG Philips produces 14-inch eBook paper

08/25, 3:55pm

LG Philips 14-inch eBook

A mass migration to eBooks has generally been impractical with current technology. Novels and other forms of writing that rarely change are less expensive to publish in traditional form; newspapers and journals, which change often, need larger digital paper sizes than current technology can deliver. LG Philips has helped remove one of those barriers with the announcement that it can now produce 14-inch eBook sheets. Capable of a WXGA resolution (approximately 1280x800), these flexible sheets would be large enough to display enough text at once that electronic newspapers would become an option. The response time is still too slow to allow for video, but when LG Philips' design leaves the prototype phase it may signal a genuine shift in how we read away from the computer.

And now, Folding@Home on your PS3

08/25, 3:25pm

Folding@Home on PS3

Distributed computing projects have been around for several years, using personal computers worldwide to process data that would be too time-consuming for a single institution. Stanford University is running Folding@Home, a project devoted to simulating protein folding in cells - a concept that's initially boring until you learn how many killer diseases are linked to bad folds. Recently, it was announced that Stanford and Sony are working on a Folding@Home client for the PS3. Not only will the PS3 push the project into the petaflop processing range, it will be the first instance of @Home offering real-time visualization of the folding at an atomic level. Click below for a full-size screenshot.

MiniBlaster for iPod nano

08/25, 3:10pm

MiniBlaster iPod Speakers

iPod nano owners who need a truly portable speaker system now have an option that is almost as viable as integrating the speakers into the player itself. The new jLab MiniBlaster for iPod nano is a cradle that places a small 1-watt pair of stereo speakers directly behind the nano, giving owners the ability to carry both the iPod and the speakers in a single handheld unit. Playback lasts for up to 10 hours at maximum volume using four AAA batteries; a power adapter is also included for plugging into a wall outlet. An auxiliary input jack is present for other audio sources, as is a silicone skin to protect the iPod from scratches or the weather. The MiniBlaster is available from the company website for $50.

Smallest external DVD burner debuts

08/25, 2:55pm

Smallest DVD burner

Plextor has unveiled its PX-608CU, the world's smallest external DVD burner, measuring just 0.6-inches thick and weighting 8.8 ounces. The new writer is compact enough stow alongside a notebook without consuming much more space. The burner is powered entirely through the USB 2 interface, making it ideal for laptop owners on-the-go without access to power outlets. Plextor's PX-608CU drive can burn dual-layer DVDs, and boasts a maximum single-layer recording speed of 8X, according to Electronista. The new drive is slated for shipment in October, though pricing is still undetermined.

IK ships three bundle collections

08/25, 2:45pm

IK ships three bundles

IK Multimedia today began shipping three new bundle collections of its music production tools. "Total Studio Bundle," "Total Effects Bundle," and "Total Workstation Bundle" are designed to offer a comprehensive collection of instruments, samples, and effects suitable for musicians at any level of expertise. The Total Workstation Bundle offers all of IK's software virtual instrument workstations in one complete package, designed to provide sounds for every genre and style of music. The Total Effects Bundle includes four different plug-in signal processing suites, constituting a complete signal processing package. IK's Total Studio Bundle features IK's entire collection of effects and instruments plug-ins. Registered users can upgrade to the Total Studio Bundle for $1,000.

Texas Hold 'Em folds a hand

08/25, 2:45pm

Texas Hold 'Em folds

Oops. Xbox Live's Texas Hold 'Em may not be ready to deal, if user complaints are as common as they appear to be. At the heart of the matter is tournament play, because it's currently possible to do an instant quit from a match that nevertheless rewards the player as if he won. Further issues include duplicate cards, graphics bugs, long loading times, and sporadic crashing. The worst aspect of this for Microsoft is that the game will probably arrive in this state with their Arcade Unplugged compilation.

Plextor releases world's smallest external DVD writer

08/25, 2:30pm

Plextor PX-608CU Writer

The considerable bulk of external disc burners limits their usefuless to laptop users, often turning the drives into extensions of a home setup rather than portable tools. This may change with a new optical drive from Plextor. The PX-608CU drive will be the world's smallest DVD writer, according to its manufacturer. At 0.6 inches high and 8.8 ounces in weight, the new writer is compact enough to be carried alongside a laptop without consuming significantly more space. It is powered completely through the USB 2 interface, obviating the need for a separate power cable, and can burn dual-layer DVDs in addition to a maximum 8X single-layer recording speed. Shipments of the PX-608CU begin in October for an undetermined price.

Fatal Fury Special coming to Xbox Live

08/25, 2:20pm

Fatal Fury Special on XBLA

Though it's unknown whether this will apply elsewhere, it seems that at least Japan will soon be downloading Fatal Fury Special through Xbox Live Arcade. The fighting game is being demoed as part of SNK's Fatal Fury 15th anniversary section at the Tokyo Game Show, scheduled for late September. Special was originally released to arcades in 1993 but later appeared on systems like the Neo-Geo, Game Gear, and Super Nintendo.

FCC filings shed light on Zune rumors

08/25, 2:10pm

Zune details revealed

Recent FCC filings have revealed previously rumored features of Microsoft's upcoming Zune player. The Zune player will use a 30GB hard drive as rumored, support 802.11g wireless as well as FM radio, and will stream music to nearby Zune players in addition to letting users bookmark songs they would like to purchase later. Microsoft has not assumed responsibility for manufacturing the Zune as it has for its Xbox consoles, however: the FCC documentation describes the Zune as the "Toshiba 1089 Portable Media Player," indicating that Microsoft sought the expertise of the Gigabeat series creator for the final product, rather than control the entire process itself, according to Electronista.

Pioneer: Bluetooth iPod adapter coming

08/25, 2:00pm

Bluetooth iPod adapter?

Apple is due to release a Bluetooth adapter for its iPod portable media player, according to a representative of stereo manufacturer Pioneer. Pioneer's new DEH head unit, which includes a Bluetooth transmitter, is reported as not only connecting to cellphones for hands-free calling but also as supporting audio streaming from iPods. Apple will in turn release a Bluetooth adapter of its own to make this possible, according to Pioneer's Michael Broadhurst. Such pre-announcements, however, have been historically inaccurate. In February 2005, a Motorola project manager incorrectly told Radio France about a Bluetooth-enabled iPod that never materialized, according to Electronista.

iPod prompts bomb scare in airport

08/25, 1:55pm

iPod prompts bomb scare

Police canine and bomb-disposal units on Tuesday rushed to a Canadian airport to investigate a "suspicious" package found in the bathroom of an aircraft inbound from Chicago. Following the plane's safe landing and isolation from the terminal, passengers were unloaded and questioned by police as experts investigated the suspicious "package," according to the Ottawa Citizen. Authorities discovered that the package -- which was discovered by an aircraft crew member at roughly 4:00 p.m. -- was in fact an Apple iPod. The airport was not closed during the three-hour incident, according to the report.

NetRestore clones NTFS volumes

08/25, 1:40pm

NetRestore clones NTFS

Bombich Software has released NetRestore 3.3, offering support for cloning NTFS volumes while natively supporting Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. NetRestore can restore a disk image to a hard drive via block-level or file-level copying, supports Mac OS X as well as Windows XP deployment, works locally or over a network, and offers pre- as well as post-restore customization tools to set computer specific information. The application offers full automation, easy configuration, customization, and a helper tool for easily creating master disk images as well as NetInstall-Restore image sets for use with a NetBoot server. NetRestore 3.3 is free open-source software, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Pioneer claims Apple plans a Bluetooth iPod adapter

08/25, 1:40pm

Pioneer and iPod Bluetooth

Though few other details have been mentioned, a Pioneer representative claims that Apple will release a Bluetooth adapter for the iPod, according to a story in CarsGuide. The stereo manufacturer's new DEH head unit, which includes a Bluetooth transmitter, is reported in the article as not only connecting to cellphones for hands-free calling but also as supporting audio streaming from iPods. Apple will in turn release a Bluetooth adapter of its own to make this possible, says Pioneer's Michael Broadhurst. While the source is apparently legitimate, it should be noted that such pre-announcements have been historically inaccurate. In February 2005, a Motorola project manager incorrectly told Radio France about a Bluetooth-enabled iPod that never materialized.

Gabe and Tycho: game designers?

08/25, 1:40pm

Penny Arcade videogames

Clearly dissatisfied with having a Webcomic, books, and a gaming expo, it seems that the duo at Penny Arcade are branching out into videogames with the help of developer Hothead Games. A series of cross-platform titles based on characters from the strip will be released episodically; the first of these is to be Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. Hothead was formed in March of this year by developers from projects like The Simpsons: Hit and Run and The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

FastMac offers new DL Superdrive

08/25, 1:35pm

DL Superdrive upgrade

FastMac today began shipping a new internal 16X Dual Layer SuperDrive upgrade compatible with Mac Pro as well as G3, G4, and G5 Power Macs, eMacs, and iMacs. The new drive offers read and write support for DVD-RAM and 48x CD-R burning -- two times faster than Apple's top-of-the-line Mac Pro. The burner is the fastest dual-layer SuperDrive currently available for the Mac, capable of writing CDs at up to 48X and able to burn single layer as well as dual-layer DVDs at 16X. The drive writes DVD-RAM at 12X, and is available for an introductory price of $80 (regularly $90) including a one-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee. [image included]

Apple scores low in Greenpeace report

08/25, 1:20pm

Apple scores low in report

Greenpeace has released a new environmental report card for technology companies, detailing the use of toxic chemicals, recycling, and quality of take-back programs. Nokia, Dell, HP, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung were the only companies to pass the 50 percent or greater mark, while Apple, Sony, LGE, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu-Siemens, Acer, Motorola, and Lenovo all failed. Apple earned only 27 percent (2.7 out of 10) with low scores in almost all criteria, finishing ahead of Acer, Motorola, and Lenovo. Greenpeace also took into account the companies potential to move forward and their timeline for cleanup as well as product safety. [chart, details included]

Apps: Pandora, starQuiz, RSS Replay

08/25, 1:00pm

FileXaminer, Troi URL

    Pandora 2.0 ($20) gathers images and other Web content via URL "spidering" or by keyword searches. The update features an entirely new search engine that bolsters performance and improves user control. Version 2.0 offers support for finding and fetching any file type; the ability to work with any website or search engine, as well as support for authentication; hundreds of minor bug fixes; feature improvements; and performance tweaks. Pandora 2.0 is a Universal Binary requiring Mac OS 10.4 or later. [Download - 2.3MB]
    starQuiz 3.2 ($40) allows users to run computerized tests for Mac systems, enabling teachers to create online tests that are automatically graded by the computer. Version 3.2 introduces a survey question type, the ability to connect to LDAP servers for student authentication, and fixes several minor bugs. All tests created with starQuiz are securely graded, cheat-proof, and easy to set up allowing teachers to spend more time elsewhere, according to the company. Star Quiz 3.2 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 9.6MB]
    RSS Replay 1.1 ($30) places content from RSS feeds into webpage layouts using AJAX, ASP or PHP. Version 1.1 includes improvements to proxy implementation, enhancements to browser compatibility, better content control, improved RSS format support (RSS 0.9-2.0, Atom 0.3-1.0), customizable presentation control, and several minor bug fixes as well as numerous performance tweaks. The extension works on any Mac running Dreamweaver MX, Dreamweaver MX2004 or Dreamweaver Version 8. [Download - 286KB]
    FileXaminer 2.5.7 ($10) enables users to get info on items in Mac OS X, and modify file/folder attributes that the Finder cannot. The software supports Path Finder, Mac OS X labels, and Image Buddy. Version 2.5.7 adds more application support and tie-ins alongside an improved Image Buddy interface, enhanced image previewing capability, removal of textures from some windows, and added support for 'Copy Path CM for the HFS' command. The update also fixes a batch get info command crash, and improves size calculations for packaged applications. FileXaminer is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 2.4MB]
    Troi URL Plug-in 2.0.1 ($60) helps fill in forms on the internet, and retrieves data from any URL such as stock quotes or weather reports. The update adds compatibility with FileMaker 8.5 alongside native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Troi URL Plug-in 2.0.1 also offers improved data return checking, enhanced image properties checks, better error recovery, additional sanity checks to the TURL_Get and TURL_Post functions, and several minor bug fixes. Troi URL Plug-in requires FileMaker 7, 8, or 8.5 running on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher. [Download - 1.7MB]

NCAA Football 07 PSP discs recalled

08/25, 12:45pm

NCAA Football 07 recall

A glitch in some copies of EA's sports game can cause dodged tackles to later be reversed, undoing all of a player's intervening gains. EA has acknowledge this problem and is offering to replace affected UMD discs with a new copy, plus a $15 (and shipping) coupon for the EA Store. Just include your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number when you send the old UMD to:

EA Customer Warranty
Attn: NCAA PSP
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065
EA estimates a maximum of 10 days before your new disc should arrive.

Asus R2H adds GPS mapping to the UMPC formula

08/25, 12:30pm

Asus R2H UMPC

Microsoft originally positioned the Ultra Mobile PC as a full computer that would still be useful at those times when neither a laptop nor a smartphone would be very convenient. In practice, the UMPC systems which first launched (such as the Samsung Q1) were disappointments because that roving ability was limited; without a nearby WiFi access point or the option of an EDGE/EVDO adapter, a UMPC was effectively stranded. Asus' first UMPC, the R2H, still goes without mobile broadband but may be very useful thanks to the addition of a GPS receiver in the design, letting users map their progress even in the remotest locations. The performance of the R2H is modest at best - it features a 900MHz Celeron M ULV, 256MB of RAM, and 20-60GB of hard drive space - but it could easily become an essential car navigation tool. Release information is not yet available.

Briefly: Best Buy; Jedi Academy

08/25, 12:25pm

Best Buy, Jedi Academy

In brief: Retail giant Best Buy has sold out of all its iMac and Mac mini systems.... Aspyr Media has released a free Universal patch for Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, adding Universal Binary support to run natively on Intel Macs.... Luxology's modo -- the company's 3D content creation software -- was used by Massive Entertainment to create most of the models for its "World in Conflict" strategy game.... MacProVideo.com today released iMovie 101: Mastering iMovie ($30), a program designed to provide tips and tricks for capturing, editing, and outputting video using Apple's iMovie software.... Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 7 RC1, a new test build of its Web browser available as a public download.... OmniPilot Software has wrapped up the FileMaker Developer Conference with an extension to its FileMaker Developer Conference special offer until the end of August.

OLPC becomes Children's Machine, increases price

08/25, 12:00pm

Children Machine CM1

The One Laptop Per Child system, which will begin testing in Thailand soon, is rapidly solidifying - though at the customers' expense. Now christened the Children's Machine or CM1, it will be powered by a 400MHz AMD Geode processor and support mesh networking between nearby computers and support voice over IP. However, its technology will initially cost substantially more than MIT had planned: the first models will sell for $140, easily exceeding the $100 target set at the project's beginning. Prices are expected to drop once more units are in circulation and new technologies help lower manufacturing costs.

Leipzig: Videos of Spore, Kane & Lynch, Crysis

08/25, 11:55am

Leipzig: Spore, K&L

Because the Episode Two videos proved very popular, the Scan has located a few more videos from the ongoing Leipzig Games Convention. Enjoy!

Spore (PC) - A new demonstration of Maxis' game of evolution, civilization and exploration. UPDATE: More Spore!

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (PC, 360) - Some of the first footage of Io Interactive's (Hitman, Freedom Fighters) third-person co-op action game.

Unreal Tournament 2007 (PC, PS3) - A new HD trailer.

Forza Motorsport 2 (360) - The 360 sequel to the Xbox's answer to Gran Turismo.

Crysis (PC) - Footage of trucks and landing boats being driven around a massive tropical environment in multiplayer.

New Samsung ultra-rich, ultra-sharp mobile displays

08/25, 11:45am

Samsung Mobile Displays

Portable displays are rarely given the same attention as computer monitors or televisions. Ghosting, low resolution, and poor color are still realities for most of us who would try to play games or watch video on these screens. Such limitations may soon come to an end if Samsung's two recent demonstrations in Korea bear fruit. First of these is a 2.4-inch display using AMOLED technology (shown here). As with most OLED displays, the AMOLED eliminates almost all of the drawbacks commonly associated with LCDs. Instead of the 262,000 colors found on most small displays, the AMOLED shows a full 16.7 million. It also has a 10000:1 contrast ratio better than any LCD in existence and eliminates ghosting entirely. If detail is more important, Samsung also unveiled a 2-inch LCD (not shown) with an astounding 640x480 resolution at 16.7 million colors - making it capable of standard NTSC video with no loss in quality. Both new screens are likely to appear in cellphones and portable media players sometime next year.

Qantas may restrict Apple notebooks

08/25, 11:45am

Qantas, Apple laptops

Qantas Airways is considering placing restrictions on the use of Mac laptops in its aircraft following Apple's recall of 1.8 million lithium-ion batteries. The airline is speaking with Apple, requesting further information on the actual risks that recalled batteries pose and whether those risks are similar to Dell's recently recalled notebook batteries. "We have put limitations on Dell computers and at this stage we are awaiting further information from Apple," said a Quantas spokesman. Owners of Dell notebooks can currently use their laptops in Qantas aircraft on battery power only, or with the battery removed and the unit plugged into the power outlet in first or business class, according to apc. Apple announced its own recall yesterday following Dell's recall of 4.1 million portable batteries. The faulty cells were manufactured by Sony, which pose a risk of overheating and, one at least two separate occasions, actually burst into flame.

360 price cut in United Kingdom

08/25, 11:30am

360 price cut in UK

The price of the Core version of the 360 has dropped from 209.99 to 199.99 across the UK, "a spokesperson for a leading entertainment retailer" has told GamesIndustry. The Premium version is still 279.99. Earlier this week Microsoft was denying any involvement with a cut, but GI claims there's been verification from multiple retail sources (including said spokesperson) that the cut was a direct instruction on Microsoft's part.

xmCHART 3.1 comes to Intel Macs

08/25, 11:25am

xmCHART goes Universal

X2max Software has released xmCHART 3.1 for FileMaker Pro 8.5, bringing native compatibility for Intel-based Macs to the charting and drawing plug-in that supports all basic chart types as a Universal Binary. The plug-in handles bars, lines, areas, scatters, pies, bubbles, high-lows, radar, and Gantt charts. xmCHART 3.1 includes a set of more than 150 functions allowing users to customize nearly every part of charts such as scalings, axes, and grids. The update offers improves date/time support, relative file path support, a new AddPath() function, an enhanced AreaChart2D() function, and pie charts with vertical explode offsets. X2max 3.1 also features notched Box&Whisker plots, Get-Mouse support, completely updated documentation, several new chart examples, and numerous bug fixes. The software is available for $130 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Humble Daisy ships ProfCast 2.0

08/25, 11:25am

ProfCast 2.0 ships

Humble Daisy has released ProfCast 2.0, the latest upgrade to its flagship lecture recording and podcast creation software. ProfCast is a versatile, powerful, yet very simple to use tool for recording lectures including PowerPoint and/or Keynote slides for creating enhanced podcasts. ProfCast provides a low-cost solution for recording and distributing lectures, special events, and presentations as podcasts. ProfCast offers an integrated workflow that makes creating, recording, and publishing podcasts easy. It features a new Podcast Mangaer completely rearchitected as offers the ability to import already published podcasts and rss feeds from internet, drag and drop files to add episodes to podcast in Podcast Manager, and new podcast media file preview functionality. In addition, it adss support for iTunes U Class meta data, saves a local copy of all podcasts (ProfCast Vault), supports ID3 Tags on files, supports Creative Commons Licensing, and more. It is available for a lower price of $30 and upgrades are free.

GoldenRAM releases UpgradeDetect

08/25, 11:20am

UpgradeDetect for Mac

GoldenRAM has announced its UpgradeDetect service for Mac, scanning the computer and matching it with potential upgrades from an expanding database. Running the application launches the profile to the GoldenRAM site, where users are presented with a list of recommended and compatible upgrades. The new Mac version is compatible with Mac OS 8, 9, and X. Purchases are available at 30-40 percent off when compared to retail prices, according to the company, and users can request on-site installation by qualified technicians. [Download - Free]

Samsung T719 becomes first BlackBerry flip-phone

08/25, 11:15am

Samsung T719 BlackBerry

Without exception, every BlackBerry phone to date (including ones yet to be released) has adhered to the candybar format of most smartphones. The new Samsung T719 (pictured) will mark the first time any BlackBerry-capable phone has adopted the flip design so frequently used for cellphones. Though not made by Research In Motion, the T719 can handle BlackBerry "push" e-mail and uses the SureType keypad layout from RIM's own 7100 models, according to Phone Arena. As a phone, Samsung's new entry is quad-band GSM capable and includes Bluetooth, EDGE, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. US customers can already find a preview page for the new phone on T-Mobile's website, where it will go on sale for $300 in the near future.

TuneTalk Stereo ships for video iPod

08/25, 11:10am

TuneTalk Stereo ships

Belkin today began shipping its TuneTalk Stereo, a new microphone for Apple's fifth generation iPod in early June. The TuneTalk allows users to make high-quality recordings using a dual microphone input method alongside a line-in port for other audio sources. The system can record memos, notes, interviews, and music. An extended dock supports most standard cases while using the TuneTalk without the need to remove the protective enclosures. TuneTalk Stereo includes software that enables the iPod to change input levels, features a clipping indicator, and supports CD quality recordings. TuneTalk Stereo records at 44.1 kHz stereo or 22.05 kHz mono and includes a mini USB-to-USB cable for charging or syncing, a microphone adapter, and a hands-free stand. The TuneTalk is available for $70. [image included]

Transintl.com debuts Mac Pro memory

08/25, 11:05am

Transintl to ship Mac RAM

Another memory supplier has begun offering RAM designed for Apple's Mac Pro. Transintl.com announced that it is taking orders for 667Mhz DDR2 ECC fully-buffered DIMMs to match the demanding requirements of the new Xeon-based system from Apple. The new RAM chips ship with heat sinks designed to dissipate enough heat to keep the Mac Pro's fans running slow to maintain the quiet noise-level. The heat sinks meet Apple's requirements which, Transintl.com notes, many manufacturers of Mac Pro 'compatible' RAM do not. The new RAM is priced between 2GB (2 x 1GB FB-DIMMs) for $500 and 16GB (8 x 2GB FB-DIMMs) for $4,000 and will begin shipping on August 28th. [image included]

Briefly: review; Vista Blu-Ray support

08/25, 10:55am

Review, Vista, Blue-Ray

In brief: MacNN has reviewed PDF Shrink from Apago ($35), an application designed to reduce the size of PDF files created by Mac OS X, iWork, iLife, and Adobe products.... Microsoft -- in its rush to complete Windows Vista in time for its scheduled October release to enterprise customers -- has removed full Blu-Ray and HD DVD movie playback support in the 32-bit version of Vista.... The Iconfactory has released three new icon sets based on its Satin, Harmony, and Radiant Basic families.... CS Odessa has announced that its ConceptDraw applications will begin natively supporting Intel Macs as Universal Binaries starting this fall.... Extensis announced that it is launching a new online forum discussion site on all things related to font and digital asset management.... Barefeats.com has posted several reviews of Apple's Mac Pro desktop systems, offering incite and opinions on the latest Intel-based hardware.

Zune: confirmed features, Toshiba manufacturing

08/25, 10:50am

Zune Features and Toshiba

Multiple previously rumored features of Microsoft's upcoming Zune player have been revealed, courtesy of recent FCC filings. According to the completed test reports, the Zune player will indeed use a 30GB hard drive, support 802.11g wireless and FM radio, and will stream music to nearby Zune players in addition to letting users bookmark songs they would like to buy later. More surprising, though not completely unexpected, is that Microsoft has not assumed responsibility for manufacturing the Zune as it has for its Xbox consoles: the FCC documentation describes the Zune as the "Toshiba 1089 Portable Media Player," indicating that Microsoft sought the expertise of the Gigabeat series creator for the final product rather than control the entire process itself.

Judge offers injunction against Louisiana law

08/25, 10:40am

Injuction against LA law

Federal District Court Judge James Brady has signed a ruling supporting the Entertainment Software (ESA) and Entertainment Merchants (EMA) Associations' request for an injunction against a recent state law, one makes the sale of violent games to minors illegal. Brady argues in his ruling that the law ignores cases where videogames were declared free speech, and also the "tenuous and speculative" nature of evidence for games harming minors. The bad news for the game industry is that Attorney General Charles Foti has been dismissed as a defendant, and the industry apparently failed to list local district attorneys as a class of defendants. So for the moment, the ruling only applies to one particular parish.

Plasma sales soar, but LCD extends its lead

08/25, 10:25am

Plasma Sales Soar

Television manufacturers had further reason to celebrate today as news was received that plasma television sales have jumped 95 percent over the same time a year ago to a record 2.2 million sets. Panasonic led sales with 28 percent of those sales, followed by LG, Samsung, and Philips. While good news for the companies involved, the report masks the longer-term dangers to the format. A report earlier in the week saw LCD sales expand faster at 135 percent to a much higher 9.4 million units, clearly outpacing plasma. This is in part due to LCD's ability to cater to a wider customer range: plasma technology requires a much larger minimum panel size than does LCD, eliminating plasma as a choice for smaller rooms or price-conscious buyers.

AudioSwitch for Skype released

08/25, 10:15am

AudioSwitch for Skype

Nhandz has released AudioSwitch for Skype, a freeware application that enables users to switch Skype audio settings with keyboard shortcuts. The software is designed to free users from their Macs while using the Skype Voice over IP (VoIP) service, as Skype users must ordinarily undergo a slow multi-step manual process to switch from a speakerphone to a wireless headset. AudioSwitch for Skype enables users to switch between headset, speakerphone, or any other audio device using either hotkeys or voice command. AudioSwitch for Skype requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is available for free.

Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1

08/25, 10:15am

Xbox Live Unplugged Vol. 1

Microsoft has announced a new 360 compilation that will make several Arcade titles playable without a download. Arcade Unplugged, shipping worldwide on September 5th, will include Hardwood Backgammon, Outpost Kaloki X, and Wik: Fable of Souls. Most importantly, it will come with Texas Hold 'Em, Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, and Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. The compilation will also come stuffed with a one-month Xbox Live Gold subscription and downloadable demos of Uno, Feeding Frenzy and Marble Blast Ultra.

No Internet play for any third-party Wii launch games

08/25, 9:25am

Wii third-party Internet

This would explain Call of Duty 3, assuming it's true: in an IGN preview for Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, it's casually mentioned that "...IGN has separately learned from multiple development sources that Nintendo will not release Wii Wi-Fi Connection libraries to third parties until early 2007, which means that no third party launch title will have an online mode." Is Nintendo so insecure that it's willing to restrict Internet play to titles under its direct control? Microsoft has fought tooth-and-nail to earn third-party support for Xbox Live; why not the same for WiiConnect 24?

Vertu Constellation: an 'affordable' luxury phone

08/25, 9:05am

Vertu Constellation Phone

Nokia launched the luxury Vertu label with the intent of catering to the most affluent cellphone users possible: those whose phones are as much status symbols as they are hotbeds of technology. To date, the Vertu models have used materials as exotic as diamonds, ruling out all but the wealthiest customers. That will change soon with the introduction of the Constellation line, pictures and details of which have appeared in advance of the official announcement. The Constellation will be Vertu's entry-level phone with a (relatively) subdued level of luxury. Depending on budget and tastes, buyers will have their choice of either gold or steel for the outer shell and multiple choices of leather for the back. One concession to the truly exotic is a screen with a sapphire crystal scratchproof layer. Click through for the phone capabilities themselves and profile photos.

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