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|MacUpdate Weekend Sale||:This weekend MacUpdate has slashed prices on Painter 12 and Painter Lite. Painter 12 retails for $429, but has been reduced by 54% to $199. Painter Lite has seen a 58% price cut from $69 to $29. Hurry, because these deals are only available until May 19th 2013.|
Parallels for Mac Pro
Parallels on Tuesday said that it will soon be releasing a Mac Pro-compatible version of its Parallels Desktop application. Released earlier this summer, the Parallels Desktop virtualization solution allows users to run a variety of alternate operating systems--including Windows, Linux, Unix, etc. --from within a separate window in Mac OS X. The company's application provides a shared work environment with Mac OS X, in contrast to Apple's Bootcamp, which requires users to boot into one operating system--prevent the user from working with both simultaneously. The company said that the new Mac Pros "have a different CPU model, and work with a specifically optimized OS X kernel." Though the company claims it is not difficult to make Parallels compatible with either of these, it said it would take a bit of time.
Google iPod wrap, iTunes
In Brief: Google is offering an easy-to-move vinyl iPod 5th Generation Wrap adorned with its four-color Google logo for $1.75 from the Google store.... "Hacking the Cable Modem" (No Starch Press, $30, September 2006) goes inside the traditional internet cable modem, revealing secrets of many popular cable modems, including products from Motorola, RCA, WebSTAR, D-Link and more.... Former Apple Vice President of iLife Applications Todd Basche has joined Riptopia's team to fulfill a core mission of building the first national CD processing service to support the ever-growing array of digital media centers, music services and portable media players--the Apple Authorized Re-seller offers the latest iPods that come with your entire music collection pre-loaded..... The freeware Conference Call OMNI v1.4 provides a centralized source of schedule and scoring data for a variety of sports, including college basketball (men's and women's), college/professional football,and professional baseball, hockey, men's soccer, and auto-racing.... In addition to its "coming soon" page, iTunes lists many full albums for under $7 as well as those nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards, which take place on August 31.
MacBook wait times
Forums roundup: Members are discussing just how long it will take for users to receive their MacBooks during this 'Back-to-School' rush..... Other users discuss the possibility of a Mac mini update soon as Intel rolls out Merom in the price slot of the previous Yonah Core processors.... One user looks for advice as to whether the Mac Pro is capable of decoding eight full screen videos on eight displays simultaneously; the Apple Store refused to test this for the user.... Another user looks for the best scratch protection for his new MacBook Pro and what the possibilities look like.... Meanwhile, another user wonders if a 17-inch laptop is simply too large for practical use.
iBooks for Iowa students
Dick Dovenberg, North Winneshiek Technology Coordinator is hoping to provide an iBook to every fifth to eighth grade middle school student in North Winneshiek, Iowa. Currently there are over 70 iBooks in use by students in the school, and Dick Dovenberg hopes to lease another 58 from Apple, costing a total of $70,000. The money used to purchase these computers was raised by the District's local sales tax refund: at the end of the three year lease, the District will be given the opportunity to purchase the laptops. "When I started to research this possibility in the spring, we were one of only three schools in Iowa planning to offer this to our students," Dick Dovenberg said. Last week, MacNN noted that the Ringling School of Art and Design is loaning a MacBook to every freshmen enrolled in the first year of their Core Studio Program.
Vegas Jackpot Gold ships
BeachWare and Macgamestore.com are now offering Vegas Jackpot Gold as a digital download. Previously only available on CD, Vegas Jackpot Gold lets users play over 50 casino games and 200 distinct slot machines--making it the largest collection of computer casino games in the world, according to the companies. "Gamble your virtual cash on Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, Keno, Roulette, Money Wheel, Poker, Bingo, and even the Lottery. Customize your slot winnings by choosing betting amounts from a nickel to $1000. That's 1,800 different ways to play!... Wander into the interactive Bar and order up a drink, select your dream come true at the Wedding Chapel or visit Guido's Easy Loans when money gets tight. Take a break and play Moon Lander at the Arcade. Browse the Gift Shop and spend your virtual winnings on real casino wallpapers, screen savers or lucky charms that really work!" Vegas Jackpot Gold, a 400MB download, is available online for $25.
imageSynth for Photoshop
Luxology today announced it is now offering its unique imageSynth plug-in for Adobe Photoshop (both CS/CS2). Luxology's imageSynth features advanced technology that allows Photoshop users to quickly and easily create seamless textures, synthetic images, backgrounds, and generate high-resolution images from low-resolution sources. Previously available exclusively to modo users, the imageSynth plug-in is based on proprietary technology licensed from Allegorithmic SAS; it lets designers create high-quality, tiling images based on simple seed images that are fed to the plug-in from within Photoshop. imageSynth quickly processes the images and generates new images that are unique and will tile together seamlessly, making them ideal for use as backgrounds, brushes or texture maps. It offers manual as well as automatic image creation tools and can create a new single image that originally came from separate image sources. It is available now for $100.
Google CEO on Apple Board
Apple today announced that Dr. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, was elected to Apple’s board of directors at their meeting today. Schmidt also sits on Google’s board of directors and Princeton University’s board of trustees. “Eric is obviously doing a terrific job as CEO of Google, and we look forward to his contributions as a member of Apple’s board of directors,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “Like Apple, Google is very focused on innovation and we think Eric’s insights and experience will be very valuable in helping to guide Apple in the years ahead.”
Motorola ROKR E2
Motorola's initial foray into music phones met with a lukewarm reception based on its underwhelming features and performance. Understandably, the company has been more cautious with its more recent music-capable phonesa, preferring the appeal of the RAZR and SLVR names to the negative stigma associated with the ROKR name in North America. No such reservation exists for Singapore, where Motorola unveiled the ROKR E2 Thursday. It replaces the custom Apple and Motorola software with a Linux-based interface that supports up to 2GB of songs on a microSD card or radio through a built-in FM tuner. The phone itself is modest but capable with Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, and a sharp 240x320 screen. Motorola says the phone will retail in Singapore for the equivalent of $354 US without a contract. It may appear in North America at a later date.
XPower PowerSource Mobile
Extended travel usually requires a unique charger for every device whose battery would never last the entire trip. This can be particularly irritating for business travellers, who often want to pack as lightly as possible and might not have enough power outlets to charge everything simultaneously. An easy workaround is to include a multi-device charger such as the XPower PowerSource Mobile 100 from Xantrex. It can power two USB devices (including iPods) and one standard AC device at the same time, regardless of their individual power requirements. Furthermore, no wall outlet is necessary: the charger converts power from 12-volt car sockets as well as the DC connections in some aircraft, and includes a lithium-ion battery for those instances when no other power source is an option. The company claims that a standard laptop will last for 2 hours on the included battery while an iPod nano can last as long as 72. The PowerSource Mobile 100 has just begun shipping in North America for $130.
WotC's "The Goblin Game"
Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast has announced a new Web game for late 2006, temporarily nicknamed "The Goblin Game." Players will pay a flat fee to join a two- to three-month-long match with 10 to 100 people, where the goal will be to grow a goblin tribe until it can join a Faction, at which point the player will help the Faction accomplish its unique agenda. A given example is to hatch and raise a dragon that won't eat goblins. Like old play-by-mail titles, the Goblin Game will limited to one turn per day. Art will be provided by the in-house staff at Wizards, famous for their work on products like Magic and Dungeons & Dragons.
TrendNet ClearSky Phone
Skype has been heralded as a flexible and inexpensive way to make phone calls, but its dependence on software frequently ties callers to their computers even if the hardware simplifies use. Likewise, phones exist that eliminate the need for a computer but are often expensive as replacements for home phones. TrendNet has struck a balance between the two with its ClearSky Bluetooth handset. It uses a proprietary Bluetooth adapter that synchronizes with Skype on a host Windows PC, making an Internet phone call as straightforward as with a conventional handset. The ClearSky can handle 6 hours of talk time or 60 hours of standby and includes an earphone jack for a headset or microphone. TrendNet's $110 asking price is expensive relative to a conventional cordless phone, but much more affordable when compared to a wholly independent Skype unit.
Microsound for iPod nano
Miglia today released its Microsound stereo speakers, which the company says are small enough to be placed in a pocket while still attached to the iPod itself. A stereo minijack on the top of the unit lets owners dock an iPod nano or Shuffle in a safe position while stationary, while power--up to 12 hours--is provided by a single AAA battery. "Microsound may well be tiny in size but it's far from tiny in terms of the possibilities it provides. It is presented within a compact ultra-slim case that fits neatly and discreetly within your pocket." The Microsound is available in black or white and ships today for $30, according to Electronista.com: "iPod nano owners looking for the smallest possible speakers to convert their players into portable stereos now have an option smaller than the already compact jLab MiniBlaster system." [image included]
Cineon, DPX QT components
Glue Tools today announced that its Cineon and DPX QuickTime Components have been updated to version v1.14. The Cineon and DPX QuickTime components, currently available for QuickTime 7.1 enabled applications, have now been updated to version 1.14. This update includes support for Linear RGB images files and includes files that are identified as a "Print Density" type in the DPX header. Also, this release includes support for image thumbnails in Finder, making it easier to see what the dpx or cineon file looks like, before opening the file. Metadata support has also been expanded to allow application developers to write detailed information into the Cineon or DPX headers. The Cineon and DPX digital film file formats are feature film industry standards for visual effects production, while DPX files are also used extensively for High Definition production, in the broadcast television industry. The latest version Cineon DPX QuickTime Components are available for $30 or as free updates for existing license holders.
Dark Crusade demo Friday
FilePlanet will be one of the first sites to host the demo for Dark Crusade, the second expansion to Relic's PC RTS Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. The demo's contents are a mystery, but the full game will feature a non-linear campaign and two more factions from the 40K tabletop game, the Tau and the Necrons. All previous factions will be playable in the campaign though gamers will need Winter Assault to play as the Imperial Guard. The Guard should be present as enemies regardless.
July iPod sales slow?
Apple may be facing slowing iPod sales--if it does not introduce a new iPod--as July data released by market researcher NPD shows that Apple may fall short of analysts' iPod unit estimates for the September quarter. Analyst firm Piper Jaffray, which still expects Apple to introduce an updated or new iPod nano by the end of the quarter, today said that iPod sales during the first month of the September quarter--July--were slower than anticipated. Based on numbers from NPD, the Senior Research Analyst Gene Munster said that his analysis of iPod unit data points indicate a slight downside to Piper's estimates of 8.6 million for the quarter--unless the company revises its iPod lineup or experiences a change iPod sales trends. Munster said that the July NPD data indicate sales of about 8.0 million units for the entire quarter: "The number is based on various assumptions and is an extrapolation of one month of data, so we believe investors should supplement this data point with other information."
SF2: HF patched
Complaints about the Xbox Live game's network performance have finally been addressed with an auto-updating patch. Sign into SF2 with Xbox Live in order to get the patch going. Specifically, the patch is meant to fix "connection and time out issues that have been reported by players." Microsoft will also reset the leaderboards to undo rankings earned by cheaters, who have been using intentional disconnects to avoid taking losses.
Miglia Microsound Speakers
iPod nano owners looking for the smallest possible speakers to convert their players into portable stereos now have an option smaller than the already compact jLab MiniBlaster system. Miglia today released its Microsound stereo speakers, which the company says are small enough to be placed in a pocket while still attached to the iPod itself. A stereo minijack on the top of the unit lets owners dock an iPod nano or shuffle in a safe position while stationary. Power is provided by a single AAA battery for up to 12 hours; unlike the MiniBlaster, no AC adapter is included. The Microsound is available in black or white and ships today for $30.
Assassin's Creed on PC
Bringing joy to the hearts of stealth-action fans everywhere, the next issue of PC Gamer UK reveals that Assassin's Creed will be coming to the PC at an unspecified date. The PC port defeats worries that the game would be a PS3 exclusive (expected in early 2007) and adds weight to rumours that a 360 version is in development. The game is centered around Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, where the player uses murder and subterfuge to prevent a larger war between Christians and Muslims. It's under development by Ubisoft Montreal and is loosely based on exploits of the real-life Hashshashin.
WiFi Draft to be Certified
The upcoming 802.11n wireless standard has seen multiple delays as competing chipset makers have sought to use their hardware as the reference platform for the new networking method. Officially, the supervising WiFi Alliance has said that 802.11n would not be finalized until 2008 - leaving many laptop and network adapter manufacturers frustrated as they decide between using safe but slower 802.11g or adopting the early 802.11n format and risking incompatibility with the final standard. A compromise was achieved today when the WiFi Alliance announced that it would certify the second draft of the 802.11n standard in March 2007. The gesture will ensure that wireless adapters and routers from different companies will work together regardless of the included chipset. Many electronics manufacturers are looking forward to 802.11n, as the improved range and speed will allow for wireless high-definision video streaming and other previously impractical features.
Adobe Photoshop technology
Adobe is expected to give a sneak peek of new Photoshop technology at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, which takes place from September 7-9 in Las Vegas and is produced by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. John Loiacono, senior vice president of Adobe’s Creative Solutions Business, will keynote the largest Photoshop World Conference and offer a sneak peek at some of the new Photoshop technology being developed by Adobe. Loiacono has responsibility for the development, delivery and marketing of Adobe's entire creative software portfolio. "It's always thrilling when Adobe gives our attendees a glimpse of what's to come. It's one of the highlights of the conference, and really an exciting way to kick off this year's ground-breaking event," according to NAPP officials. Registration for Photoshop World Conference, featuring more than 75 classes taught by 36 industry experts in 11 training tracks, is available online.
Tenon Transition Package
Tenon today announced a Tenon Transition Package to move all production web sites on any WebSTAR server to a Mac OS X-based platform for only $550 per machine. Tenon will move WebSTAR customers on either Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X to iTools on either PowerPC- or Intel-based Mac OS X platforms. The transition package includes a single iTools license. Tenon's iTools 8.2.2, an eighth-generation commercial web-based GUI for configuration and management, includes Apache 2.2.2, the latest Apache version. According to the company, Apple will not deliver the v2.2.2 until Mac OS X Leopard ships next spring, despite the nearly 50 percent performance improvement over Apple's current Apache bundle, according to Tenon. "WebSTAR sites will be significantly faster on Apache, and if WebSTAR users opt for a new Intel processor in the transition process, they will experience an even greater performance boost," Tenon representatives said.
Call of Juarez PC MP demo
Techland's Western-themed first-person shooter has a multiplayer demo out at several locations, including here, here, here, here and here. The 377.66 MB download comes with one skirmish map, one robbery map, and two character classes. The game has attracted a fair bit of attention for its graphics engine, not to mention the rarity of (fun) Western games on the market. The two best were probably Sierra's Freddy Pharkas and LucasArts' Outlaws, both of which are at least nine years old.
Adobe 10yr Flash history
In brief: Apple has lowered the price of the yet-to-be-released ATI X1900XT Mac edition from $350 to $250 when ordering it with a new Mac Pro.... Adobe is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Flash technology by launching new interactive webpages looking at the history of Flash.... Omni Pilot has extended its FileMaker Special Promotion on Lasso through the end of the month, after a warm reception to the product at FileMaker Developers Conference.... Flexity's PowerSquid surge protectors--featuring flexible 'power strip' cords for easier connectivity--are now available at retail Apple Stores.... Helios has released server solutions compatible with Intel-based Macs including PDF generation, PDF 'preflight', PDF printing, and PDF-native OPI for InDesign users.
pdf-FormServer 4.0 ships
Universe has announced pdf-FormServer 4, a software solution for saving completed PDF forms. It allows PDF form users to print out and save any kind of PDF form--complete with data entered by the user--for further processing. Adobe Reader only allows PDF forms to be filled out on the screen and printed: pdf-FormServer allows users save PDF forms together with content, which can be reopened, altered and saved again at any time. The form fields remain interactive, enabling the content to be edited at a later point. Forms can be saved as a PDF, FDF, or X/FDF (structured XML). The software is available in three versions -- single workstation, intranet server or web version for unrestricted use on the Web. A free demo is available; the single-workstation version costs €45. pdf-FormServer requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later with Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.x to 7.x. [Download - Form]
Evesham MiniPC Core 2 Duo
Though Apple is widely rumored to use the Core 2 Duo in its Mac mini systems after Labor Day, it will not be the first system builder to announce an ultra-compact PC using the new processors. Currently available using the original Core Duo processor, the Evesham MiniPC is set to use the new chip in a design very similar to the Mac mini in shape and size. The small media hub will be powered by a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and a digital TV tuner that can accept over-the-air HDTV broadcasts. A DVD-RW drive, Firewire, and S-video output are also included. Evesham's system is expected to ship to Britain in mid-September for £799 ($1500 US) including tax. See full photos of the front and back after the jump.
Jedi Knight II Universal
Aspyr Media has released a free Universal patch for Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. This patch was discussed in a recent Aspyr media newsletter along with several more expected announcements. This new update (1.03/1.04c) fixes several other items including visual glitch correction in the About Box, 'carb' resource for GameRanger, improved stability, and support uses Apple's version of OpenAL, which allows for true 3D audio. In Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, players assume the role of Kyle as they employ a unique mix of weapons, Force powers and their lightsaber in both single- and multiplayer modes. To download this patch, visit Aspyr's support section of the Jedi Knight II mini-site.
Reservoir Dogs Xbox recall
The Xbox version of the game has been recalled in the UK due to a printing error, an Eidos spokesperson says. The PC and PS2 versions remain available. Eidos will not say exactly what the printing error was, but sources including GamesIndustry suggest that the 18+ logo was accidentally left off the discs, a slip-up which would not have endeared the publisher with parents. It's unknown when the Xbox version will be back on UK shelves. The North American versions of the game, for the same platforms, are due to ship October 24th.
NewerTech CPU upgrades
Newer Technology has introduced new single- and dual-G4 CPU upgrades for Power Mac G4 Sawtooth, Gigabit, Ethernet, Digital Audio, and Quicksilver Models. The new line of processor upgrades features the Freescale/Motorola G4 7447 architecture and offer a variety of speeds, including a single-2.0GHz, dual-1.6GHz, dual-1.7GHz, and the new high-end dual-1.8GHz. Engineered with "Plug and Play" technology, NewerTech claims to effectively double or even triple the speed of an older Power Macintosh by adding a MAXPower G4 Upgrade. MAXPower Upgrades make use of higher speed Mototrola/FreeScale PowerPC G4 processors that feature uniquely improved technology and added cache capacity over standard original G4 CPUs. The upgrades are compatible with Mac OS 9.2.2 or Mac OS X 10.3.5 and later, including all versions of Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” (and Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” upon its release). The upgrades cost $400 (single-2.0GHz), $450 (dual-1.6GHz), $530 (dual-1.7GHz), and $600 (dual-1.8GHz). [image included]
Native Mac OpenOffice
Mac users will soon see a working native Mac OS X version of the free multiplatform and multilingual office suite, OpenOffice. Since its original introduction on the Mac platform, the open-source OpenOffice project has been using the traditional X11 windowing system for compatibility with Mac OS X. Apple's own X11 implementation of the window system provides a standard toolkit and protocol for graphical user interfaces (GUI) for non-native Mac applications to run on Mac OS X. Though this has worked well functionally, some users have considered the appearance to be disappointing. Recently, OpenOffice announced that the new "Aqua"-based Mac native version (that does not use X11) is progressing well. The lead develper Eric B., has announced plans to demonstrate a working beta at Apple Expo in Paris, which takes place from September 12-16th. The current progress of the development can be followed via Eric B's blog or the project wiki. The current timeline released by OpenOffice.org, however, does not show the expected launch date of the Mac native version. Included is a screen shot of a recent native Mac build.
Universal Free Music
Legal music download services such as iTunes are still on the rise, but music labels are still aware of the disproportionate amount of illegal traffic: every one legitimate download is countered by as many as forty copies on file sharing services, according to a recent study by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. This is a likely root cause for Universal Music Group's decision today to make its entire catalog available for free through an online service partnership with new company SpiralFrog, reports the BBC. Instead of paying a flat rate or purchasing albums and songs individually, the site will use targeted advertising to maintain the service as well as pay the artists and labels. The two companies have done research suggesting that advertising is an acceptable alternative for listeners who would otherwise flock towards file-sharing networks. Universal is home to a number of high-profile musicians that could help launch the new site, including the Black Eyed Peas and U2.
Burnout 5 for 360, PS3
Criterion's Alex Ward says that the new Burnout will be "a complete re-invention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360." Shipping sometime in 2007, the game will be set in the new locale of Paradise City, and feature "the ultimate seamless racing battleground" - presumably, a hint towards some sort of freeform or large-scale variety of gameplay. The current 360 game, Burnout Revenge, is an upgrade of earlier Xbox and PS2 versions.
Toshiba 4GB U3 Flash Drive
The rapid increase in flash capacity has changed the role of USB flash drives. Previously used only for data, the format is now large enough to hold entire program suites that can run without first being copied to a hard drive. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Toshiba's new line of TransMemory U3 smart drives. They feature the now standard U3 program launcher that automatically appears when the drive is inserted, and have a surprisingly large amount of room for the programs themselves: the high-end TransMemory U3 drive will hold 4GB of data. There will also be 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB versions of Toshiba's new drives when the company ships them in late November for an unspecified price.
Civilization IV: Warlords
Aspyr Media announced today it will publish Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords, planned for release in November 2006. Civilization IV: Warlords is licensed by 2K Games and is being developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios. Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords is the first expansion pack for Firaxis Games' award-winning title, Civilization IV. Paying homage to some of history's greatest military leaders, the expansion delivers eight unique and interesting scenarios, giving players the chance to change the course of history with the help of their new powerful "warlord" unit. Civilization IV: Warlords includes new civilizations, leaders, units, and wonders that offer even more fun and exciting ways for players to expand their civilization's military power as they strive for world domination. Warlords adds support for a new game type, warlords, which focuses on a Warlord character. Vassal states are also now support, along with new scenarios, and additions of unique units and new wonders. Users will require the original Civilization 4 release to play this expansion. Product site is currently not available, nor is pricing or system requirements.
4-Sight FAX Version 7
Soft Solutions announced 4-Sight FAX Version 7, along with the general availability of its latest beta release. This release represents a large update to its fax server solution. 4-Sight FAX has been expanded to run natively on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macintosh servers, including the upcoming and current generation Xserve platform. It also add support for a wider variety of internal modems -- further expanding implementation options for this cross-platform enterprise faxing solution. "Extending the 4-Sight Fax Server to support the latest Intel-based server and Xserve environments really opens the doors for customers to take advantage of a wider variety of implementation options," explained Tim Haratine, president of Soft Solutions.
Dark Messiah MP beta Wed.
Gamers wanting to try out the multiplayer portion of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic will have the chance tomorrow at noon EST, when the open beta is scheduled to become available to 5,000 GameSpot subscribers. While the beta will have just one map, all classes, skills, spells and weapons will be included. If you missed the single-player demo of the game, that can be found here.
LG Super Multi Blue
An obstacle to Blu-Ray's adoption for computers is its write speed. A single-layer, 25GB disc holds approximately two hours of video at its base data rate - meaning that even recent BD-R drives can take over an hour to record a full disc at their ideal 2X speed. LG has helped alleviate the problem by its introduction today of its Super Multi Blue 4X drive for computers. In addition to reducing the time spent recording write-once Blu-Ray discs to half an hour, the drive can also burn rewriteable Blu-Ray discs at 2X speed and can read and write the earlier CD and DVD formats. The comany plans to deliver the Super Multi Blue to the European and Korean markets later this year for an undetermined price, with a North American launch to follow.
Gran Turismo HD is not GT5
Polyphony Digital's Kazunori Yamauchi has clarified major points about the next GT game while speaking with Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly. The PS3's Gran Turismo HD will not be Gran Turismo 5, but rather a graphically enhanced version of GT4. The game will have polished textures and polygon counts, and run at 60 frames per second in 1920x1080p, but there will be no new cars or tracks. A proper GT5 is in the works for the distant future.
Sprint EVDO Rev A Cards
Upstream bandwidth is a major limiting factor on most broadband connections. This is doubly true for mobile broadband services, as their relatively low speeds make them especially sensitive to latency or anything which depends upon consistent connection speed, such as video conferencing. Subscribers to Sprint's EVDO service should therefore appreciate the provider's newly announced upgrade to EVDO Rev. A on its network. While download speeds have only seen a relatively modest increase to as much as 800 Kbps on average, Rev. A brings the upload speeds to a level more closely associated with cable and DSL, averaging between 300 and 400 Kbps. Over 40 million people will be within range of the enhanced service by the end of 2006, says Sprint, and the entire network is expected to see the upgrade by Summer 2007. The carrier further announced its first card for the new service, the Novatel Merlin S720 PC Card adapter, which should be released this Fall. ExpressCard and USB adapters for more recent computers will arrive by January 2007.
MagSafe melts, mini DVD
In brief: Electronista has posted a comparison between the upcoming VAIO LS1 and the iMac Core Duo which concludes that, in the future, Sony's integrated TV tuner may be a hindrance.... Samsung's new phone, the Z610, has a very iPod-like appearance according to leaked FCC documents showing off the new player -- the phone is expected by the end of the year [image below].... A few days after Apple released its new "MagSafe" TV ad, at least one user on the Apple discussion forums reports that his MagSafe power adapter melted (video/photos available).... Memorex has released a new type of Mini DVD-R media which doubles the recording capacity offering up to 2.8GB of storage.... PAD is a software download library current hosting over 35000 XML titles; now with only 700 of those titles being Mac compatible they are reaching out to Mac developers to join in the XML movement.
AOL expands Music Now
AOL today introduced a its own direct-download music store as an expansion of its portal website. Called AOL Music Now, the new Windows-only digital music/video service is subscription-based, offering users unlimited access to songs and music videos for between $10 and $15 per month. The new store represents yet another player in the digital music industry: other include Real Networks (Rhapsody), MSN Music, Yahoo! Music, Napster, MTV (Urge), and many others, including a new "free" (ad-sponsored) SpiralFrog music service from Universal. According to Electronista, AOL Music Now subscribers can transfer that same content to any portable audio player that supports copy-protected Windows Media audio and video. Additionally, the publication reports that a large amount of the content is available to listen to or watch for free through the main portal, including AOL Radio Featuring XM. The company can afford to open up its service this way because its exisiting online presence is large enough not to need extensive marketing, says AOL Music Now president Amit Shafrir.
No 360 HD drive in Asia
The 360's external HD-DVD drive will not go on sale in Asia this fall as it will in other parts of the world, says Microsoft Taiwan. It's not because of piracy fears either, as you might imagine; Microsoft claims that the supply of movies in Asia is simply too small to make the drive profitable. This could give the PS3 an initial advantage in the region, assuming there's enough interest in HD to attract customers to the first console it comes with.
Universal: free music play
Universal Music, the world's largest music company, is backing a start-up that will allow consumers to download songs for free, according to The Financial Times. The SpiralFrog service will rely on advertising for its revenues, challenging Apple's industry-leading iTunes, which offers a pay-per-song model. "The move reflects music companies’ willingness to experiment as they try to capture some profit from the boom in digital distribution still dominated by illegal file-sharing networks," the report says. Napster has already moved an ad-sponsored music model, but Apple's iTunes continues to dominate with over 80 percent of the market for legally downloaded music. In addition to SpiralFrog--which will launch in December--established companies are getting ready to flex their muscles, according to the report: Microsoft is to launch Zune, which will offer music players and a music download store, while MTV has launched Urge, its own subscription-based music service.
Sigma To Unveil SD14
Camera equipment manufacturer Sigma announced today that it would reveal its new SD14 digital SLR on September 26th, the opening day of the Photokina expo in Cologne, Germany. Few details are available through the SD14 teaser page, but the company indicates that the new camera model has a Full Color Capture Direct Image Sensor, also known as a Foveon processor. Already present in an earlier form through the current SD10 model, a Foveon sensor differs from most digital camera sensors by having layered photoreceptors that make every spot on the sensor grid sensitive to every color, rather than relying on interpolated results.
Wacom tablet for Mac
Wacom Technology has released a new Intuos graphics tablet model designed for photographers, designers, artists working on widescreen displays. The new Intuos3 4x6 joins Wacom's Intuos3 6x11 and 12x19 models to form a complete range of professional pen tablets that feature active areas matched to the screen aspect ratio of widescreens and dual monitors. The latest Intuos tablet offers 20 percent more active area than the model it has replaced (Intuos3 4x5) offering support for over 100 applications. The tablet features a touch pad (scroll or zoom support) and four programmable buttons. Also included with the tablet is a battery-free Grip Pen which features 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity for improved control and precision. The new tablet supports Mac OS X and is available immediately for $230. [image included]
Campus Productivity Kit
FileMaker today announced its free Campus Productivity Kit designed to help students easily manage contacts; organize searchable research and lecture notes; track all kinds of assignments and projects; manage and coordinate events and "all those extra To-Dos that go along with being a college student." Leveraging the live data technology introduced with FileMaker 8.5, the Kit includes the new FileMaker Pro 8.5 Web Viewer in the Lecture Notes module that brings back related information from Wikipedia for the selected topic automatically -- without having to go to a separate internet browser. The FileMaker Campus Productivity Kit is available for free in a "runtime" format; It does not require the purchase of FileMaker Pro 8.5 and will run on Mac OS X 10.3.9 for PowerPC- based Macs or Mac OS X 10.4.5 for Intel-based Macs, Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or Windows XP with Service Pack 2. Data from the Campus Productivity Kit can also be stored on an iPod or any other flash memory USB device for access on any computer.
AOL Music Store
Taking advantage of its shift towards online content sales, AOL today introduced a direct-download music store as an expansion of its portal website. Called AOL Music Now, the new store is a subscription-based service in the vein of Napster To Go that gives users unlimited access to songs and music videos for between $10 and $15 per month. Subscribers can transfer that same content to any portable audio player that supports copy-protected Windows Media audio and video. Additionally, a large amount of the content is available to listen to or watch for free through the main portal, including AOL Radio Featuring XM. The company can afford to open up its service this way because its exisiting online presence is large enough not to need extensive marketing, says AOL Music Now president Amit Shafrir.
Third Canada Apple store
Apple today announced the opening of its third branded retail store in Canada and its third in the city of Toronto. The company plans to open its Apple Store Sherway Gardens in Toronto on Saturday, September 2nd. The store is located at 25 The West Mall in Toronto, Ontario: "To celebrate our Grand Opening, we’re featuring a week of exciting events. In our store, we’ll have a variety of unique and educational presentations, demonstrations and workshops — all free of charge.....The first 1000 people to visit the Apple store receive a free Apple T-shirt." In addition, the company will hold the Grand Opening Sweepstakes to win a Digital Lifestyle Collection valued at $2,616.90.
Xbox 1 titles on 360
Microsoft has updated the list of original Xbox games that will work on the 360. A total of 39 more games have been added, with support for nine games being improved. Among the "new" titles on the list are Burnout 3, Dead to Rights, The Suffering, and Fatal Frame 2 (the Director's Cut). Click below for all the added/updated titles. Some noticeable gaps remain however, such as Psychonauts, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Chronicles of Riddick, and the Prince of Persia games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. UPDATE: A Microsoft employee says that Psychonauts compatibility is close to completion.
Merom benchmark results
The first benchmarks of Intel's new Core 2 Duo chips, code-named Merom, show gains of up to 40 percent. ExtremeTech has several interesting numbers in their test between a Yonah-based Core Duo and a Merom-based Core 2 Duo. The test CPUs were the 2.16GHz (T2600) Yonah and the 2.33GHz (T7600) Merom -- a clock speed difference of approximately 9 percent. Some tests revealed gains of up to 40 percent; more notable tests include Lightwave rendering (gains of 25%), 3ds Max (gains of 15%), After Effects (gains of 15%), Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (gains of 20% [same GPU]), and PC Mark Memory performance tests showing gains of 42 percent despite Yonah and Merom using the same speed memory. The 64-bit enabled Merom began shipping yesterday, although systems with thew chip are not expected until later; industry watchers believe that Apple will ship systems with new chips within the next month. The tests also showed Merom Core 2 Duo chips using roughly the same power per clock GHz, despite earlier reports suggesting the chips would consume "much" less power. [Example chart included]
Linkin Park on iTunes
Linkin Park and Apple today announced the availability of the entire Linkin Park catalog on Apple's iTunes Music Store, offering users the ability to download their favorite Linkin Park songs for just 99 cents per song, or the band's albums with new, exclusive digital booklets. The band's albums "Meteora," "Hybrid Theory" and "Reanimation" include two bonus tracks along with a track that is exclusive to the albums on iTunes. iTunes will also offer both audio and video downloads of the concerts that are currently available as the "Live in Texas" and "Collision Course" CD and DVD releases. "We were really excited when iTunes told us that we were one of their most requested acts," said Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park. "We will never ignore our fans and the timing seemed right to make our music available, with some special additions."
Mac laptop fire in Japan
Authorities in Japan have reported a Mac laptop fire involving the defective Sony batteries and have asked Apple to investigate. The Associated Press reports that a Mac laptop overheated and caught fire in April, which caused minor burns to the user after the computer caught fire. According to the report, Apple has received nine reports in the United States of the Sony-built lithium-ion batteries battery packs overheating, including two consumers who received minor burns after handling overheated computers. In addition, the report says that Apple has also received reports of minor property damage (but no serious injuries). Following similar demands to both Dell and Sony, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered Apple Japan to report on its findings and measures to prevent future troubles by Sept. 5 or it could face a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,570) under Japan's consumer safety laws. Apple, however, declined detail the extent of the recall in Japan: in the US, Apple recalled nearly 1.1 million batteries and another 700,000 worldwide.
Mapwing Creator 1.0
Redbug Technologies has released Mapwing Creator 1.0 along with an update to Mapwing Creator Pro. Mapwing Creator is an application designed to make it easy for users to create, share, and view virtual reality tours. The tours can be created using existing (or new) digital photographs: the application takes the input data and creates a Web-based tour using Adobe's Flash technology (can be distributed over the internet, CD, etc.) Mapwing Creator 1.0 has a capacity of 20 points per tour, a limited map resolution of 1024 x 1024, a limited view resolution of 800 x 600, and a limited map area of 500 feet by 500 feet; In addition, it can only export tours to a Flash format. Mapwing Creator Pro features up to 1000 points per tour, export to multiple formats (Flash, flyp, flys), and the ability to create branded or interactive tours, and list visual assets.
Musicast 1.0 released
Musicast.org has launched a new application enabling users to share their iTunes playlists with friends and family. The Musicast application allows users to broadcast select playlists in a manner accessible by any ordinary browser. Users can browse the Musicast and subscribe to it as they would a podcast. The Musicast broadcaster allows the broadcasting user to view statistics on what's most popular with their user base and other listening statistics. "I'm pretty excited about Musicast and what it will bring to the Mac community. We worked pretty hard on the design and polish of the application, and I hope many Mac users will see it," the creator of Library and original co-creator of Delicious Library, Andrew Kazmierski, said. Musicast 1.0 is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and costs $20 to purchase. The demo allows for two shared playlists only. [Download - Demo]
Forensic SATADock ships
WiebeTech has launched its fourth generation Forensic SATADock (v4) with improved write-block technology designed to allow investigators to image suspect drives with either SATA, USB or FireWire interfaces. The new release features more LED indicators to easily check the status of write-block and progress by looking at the unit. "We're offering forensic examiners more versatility by offering write-blocked access through USB as well as FireWire," explained James Wiebe, president of WiebeTech. "[...] and because the new Forensic SATADock v4 is based on the Oxford 924 chip, FireWire transfer rates are really fast." The Forensic SATADock v4 can be attached to any SATA drive and powered via an included +12V adapter or with standard disk drive 4-pin molex power source. The new unit also includes an on/off guarded-switch to prevent power drain. It is available for $400 or $500 (with SATA connector). [image included]
Foxconn sues reporters
Apple's iPod manufacturing partner has filed a lawsuit against two reporters for their story on poor working conditions at an iPod manufacturing facility in China. Foxconn has sued the reporter and the managing editor for 30 million yuan or $3.77 million, alleging that the report was false and that it damaged the Foxconn's reputation. The story on substandard working conditions was run in the China Business News about four days after Britain's Daily Mail ran a similar story alleging poor working conditions in Foxconn's mainland factories. It prompted an investigation by Apple as well as made headlines around the industry. In reponse to the Foxconn lawsuit, the Shanghai Daily reports that a Chinese court has frozen the personal assets of the reporter and an editor at the Shanghai newspaper, including their apartments, a car and bank accounts.
Investor lawsuits continue
Yet another shareholder lawsuit was filed last week against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Filed by the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman and its co-counsel, the lawsuit claims to be filed on behalf of "shareholders who purchased securities and/or sold put options of Apple" and seeks certification as a "class action." As with many of the previous lawsuits, it charges that Apple and certain of its officers and directors violated Sections 10(b), 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10-b(5) and 14a-9 promulgated thereunder as well as alleges that defendants made false and misleading statements and omissions concerning Apple's improper and undisclosed practice of backdating options granted to executives.
Snippet Monkey, HoudahSpot
Snapz Pro X 2.0.3 ($30-70) is a video capture application that allow users to capture full motion video of anything on their screen at a blistering pace, with digital audio, and an optional microphone voiceover. Version 2.0.3 features improved support for Intel-based Macs (but is not a Universal Binary) and also includes improved performance on single-processor machines, enhanced support for cursor modes in Tiger, and several bug fixes (including those for Intel-Mac compatibility). Snapz Pro X requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 14.2MB]
Hardware Monitor 3.8 ($10) allows users the ability to read all accessible hardware sensors in Macs, offering support for more than 100 different Macintosh hardware sensors and more than 200 hard drive temperature sensors. Version 3.8 adds support for the new Mac Pro, Growl notifications, support for up to 8 status displays, improved preference panes, enhanced history support, better support for Intel-based Macs, and includes several minor bug fixes and performance tweaks. Hardware Monitor 3.8 requires Mac OS X 10.2.5 or later and is a Universal Binary. [Download - 3.0MB]
Snippet Monkey 1.0b2 ($10) allows users to save time by automating the process of creating shortcuts for frequently used phrases. Saved as "snippets," they 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. This second beta release adds support for embedding snippets in snippets, enhanced status menu support, integration with TexMate.app, improved preference panes, and several minor bug fixes and performance tweaks. This public beta requires Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later (pricing may change on release). [Download - 1.3MB]
HoudahSpot 1.2.4 ($15) brings powerful and flexible Spotlight searches to Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" while adding a unique way of browsing search results, one-click file previews, a detailed inspector, and drag-and-drop "find by example" searches. HoudahSpot features a highly customizable interface to allow improvements to the default spotlight interface. Version 1.2.4 is a maintenance update which fixes several minor bugs and offers performance updates. HoudahSpot 1.2.4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later with Spotlight enabled. [Download - 3.3MB]
iWebMore 1.0 (free) allows users of Apple's iWeb (iLife 2006) to embed HTML into their iWeb pages and included features such as Flash/SWF animations, Applets and Google ads on the created website. iWeb does not support plug-in code thus, instead of altering how iWeb works, iWebMore is run after publishing the site locally (to an internal drive) or .Mac: it will make the needed modifications to the target website. iWebMore requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with Apple iWeb (as part of iLife 2006). [Download - 10.5MB]
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