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News Archive for 06/09/01

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No HDMI cable to be included with PS3

09/01, 8:35pm

No HDMI cable with PS3

Somewhat defeating the purpose of having a Blu-Ray drive, the official PS3 site is now saying that no HDMI cables will come with the console - the $499 or $599 versions. Gamers will be forced to buy a separate cable after the already expensive machine. Worse, Sony's decision may well cause a rush on the supplies of major electronics stores, preventing PS3 owners (or regular moviegoers) from having access to HDMI. The input format is necessary for viewing HD at full quality.

Apple's brand hurts IT, edu markets

09/01, 6:30pm

Apple brand hurts IT, Edu

Apple's powerful brand--which has helped the company boost its profits and marketshare--is hurting the company when it comes to enterprise and education markets. A new column says that while Apple currently putting significant effort into gaining major penetration of the education market in the UK, it is facing major hurdles: "Unfortunately, Apple is still perceived from its brand as 'specialist IT' and 'consumerist.' with its computers being favored by the media industry, and its impressive recent fortunes being delivered on the back of iPods and iTunes. This does not just apply in the education market but also in mainstream business, where I have often been told by Butler Group subscribers that they would not consider the 1u rack-mounted Xserve as a replacement for their Dell or IBM server, because Apple 'are best at iPods and design' and 'are not a real computing company.'"

Windows Vista reaches Release Candidate

09/01, 6:15pm

Windows Vista RC1 released

Microsoft's next-generation operating system Windows Vista has reached Release Candidate stage. Although the company has often been maligned for its frequent delays to Windows Vista, fears of further delays have been partially addressed by the completion of Vista Release Candidate 1, which as announced today by Microsoft executive Jim Allchin in the official development team blog. Vista RC1 will initially seed to developers and hardware manufacturers: though a public release is also scheduled, it has not been formally announced. Electronista.com reports that "response to the quality of recent builds has been much more positive than for Beta 2, which invited criticism even from long-term Microsoft supporters for its poor performance and unnecessarily strict User Account Control feature." Yesterday, Microsoft accidently leaked pricing on its website, which revealed that it plans to charge $199 for a Windows Vista Home Basic license, with additional licenses fetching $179.

Sakura ships Scary forest arcade game

09/01, 6:10pm

Sakura ships Scary forest

Sakura Games today released a new arcade game called Scary Forest, a breakout-style game with a fun horror movie theme, according to the developer: "You'll be able to play through 50 levels of various difficulty, or challenge your friend in a head to head 2 players mode.The fullversion also features a level editor so users can even create new levels themselves. The available level types are 3: normal game, monsters level and timed level. In all playing modes, you win if you manage to clear the board from all the bricks. The first mode plays like a normal breakout game with bonuses, etc. In the second mode, you also have to face some scary ghosts (maybe not so scary) that will try to stop you from clearing the level, but you'll be able to hit them and push them away from the board." A demo of the $10 game is available online.

Firefox 2.0 beta adds new feaures

09/01, 6:05pm

Second Firefox 2.0 beta

Mozilla has released Beta 2 of its upcoming Firefox 2 browser for developer review, which it said is being made available for testing purposes only. According to the developers, the release contains a number of new features, as well as some enhancements to look and feel, according to eWEEK: "Firefox 2 Beta 2 is intended for Web application developers and our testing community. Current users of Firefox 1.x should not use Firefox 2 Beta 2 and expect all of their extensions and plugins to work properly." The report notes that the final Firefox 2.0 is expected to be completed in early 2007; but it does expect to release future beta versions are expected to be released this fall and winter. Beta two includes an updated GUI to improve usability, buit-in phishing protection, and enhanced search capabilities.

Philips offers iPod-style music player

09/01, 6:00pm

Philips debuts GoGear SA92

Philips today announced its own iPod nano-style digital music player: GoGear SA9200 is a mid-range flash-based music player today that "shows the clear influence of the iPod nano in its slim design," according to Electronista.com. Measuring 0.35 inches thick, the SA9200 places both a data connector and a headphone jack at the bottom of the device to save space. Its screen is a more conventional 1.7-inch LCD in place of the OLED from the SA13335; it also adds photo support, a 14-hour battery life, and a fast-scrolling touchpad interface. Drag-and-drop file transfers have also been replaced with synchronization through Windows Media Player. The 2GB player is expected to ship by the "end of summer" for $200.

Koingo releases Data Guardian 1.0

09/01, 5:55pm

Koingo's Data Guardian 1.0

Koingo Software today released its new cross-platform shareware product: Data Guardian 1.0. Data Guardian is a secure, Universal Binary, database application for storing passwords, credit card numbers, adressses, notes, customer databases, and more. It features up to 448-bits of encryption, and integration with Keychain for auto-form-filling. Data Guardian is the merger and sucessor of two of Koingo Software's previous products: Contact Keeper and Password Retriever. "With the power of both of these products combined, you now have the flexibility of importing a wide range of data, dialing phone numbers, composing e-mails, launching web URLs, auto-fillig forms in Safari, inserting pictures into records, and printing records in an easy to read graphical format," the developer said in its press release. It is available now for $20.

Google CEO declines Apple options grant

09/01, 5:40pm

Schmidt declines options

Apple said in a filing on Friday that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has declined stock options offered to new directors and will instead buy shares on the open market. The company said that Schmidt turned down the automatic stock option grant to purchase 30,000 shares, to which new directors are entitled to under a company stock option plan. Instead, Schmidt intends to purchase 10,000 shares of Apple stock on the open market.

23-inch iMac on Sept. 12 as part of larger strategy?

09/01, 5:30pm

23-inch iMac on Sept 12

Since news first broke of a September 12th Apple press event on Wednesday, speculation has been feverish about Macs and iPods that may be introduced at the event alongside a likely iTunes Movie Store. News followed courtesy of MacBidouille that iMac and MacBook Pro supplies are low in Europe, pointing towards computer updates. The latest information is that one of the products to be introduced at the special event will be a 23-inch iMac, according to AppleInsider. Featuring a mobile Core 2 Duo processor, the new model would feature a 1920x1200 resolution - making it ideal for 1080p video and general movie viewing. Click through for insights from Electronista experience with Apple product launches.

PSP usable as "virtual" PS3?

09/01, 5:30pm

PSP usable as virtual PS3?

A Sony Computer Entertainment executive, Izumi Kawanishi, has told Nikkei BP that links between the PSP and PS3 may go well beyond downloads and extra gameplay functions. "It's possible to have distribution of video imagery from the PS3 to PSP," Kawanishi says. "In other words, images that are rendered on the PS3 will be sent to the PSP via wireless LAN. If the PS3 is something like a home server that's placed in the center of your home, the PSP is an information terminal that you carry with you." BP interprets this as the transfer of 3D images - could we soon be playing PS3-rendered games on our PSP's? Lag might be a significant concern, as might development headaches and the PSP's simplified control scheme. Still, the prospect of playing Assassin's Creed on a PSP is extremely tempting.

Forums: Safari 3, 23-inch iMac

09/01, 4:55pm

Forums Roundup Sept. 1

Forums roundup: Members are discussing a video which surfaced on YouTube showing revised tabbed browsing in Safari 3.0 beta, the final version of which will ship with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.... Other users discuss the possibility of Apple releasing a 23-inch iMac following rumors that it may surface on the 12th of September.... A user looks to the forum members to see if there are still problems with MacBooks after production week 30 -- after which no major problems have been reported yet.... Others are discussing hard drive update possibilities for laptops, comparing high-speed to standard-speed drives--investigating the pitfalls of both.... Meanwhile, other users look at the reduced price of the ATI Radeon X1900XT and the tempting value of the card.

Sony SZ laptop receives Core 2 Duo upgrade

09/01, 4:50pm

Sony SZ Core 2 Duo

Some computer manufacturers were quick to announce immediate upgrades to the Core 2 Duo processor in their laptop models, such as Dell and Toshiba. Others, however, have taken a more conservative approach and announced new systems closer to immediate availability. An example is Sony, which introduced the VAIO SZ3 laptop in Japan on Friday. Similar in most respects to the SZ2 version still on sale in the US, the 13.3-inch SZ3 receives increased performance through the Core 2 Duo in higher-end models. Memory and hard drive space are still relatively basic at 512MB and 80GB for the base configuration, but models can be configured with as much as 2GB of RAM and 160GB of storage. A mid-range model with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, a 100GB hard drive, DVD writer, and a 3.1-megapixel camera will sell in Japan for the equivalent of $2047 US. American pricing is expected to be significantly less when announced in the near future.

DS games control Japanese top 10

09/01, 4:40pm

DS games control Japan

There's no question of where Japan's loyalties lie: they love Nintendo. Or at least the DS - in a rare feat, DS games have completely dominated the country's latest sales charts. The remake of Final Fantasy III sits at the number one position, with 503,051 copies sold in one week. Gamasutra reports this as 90 percent of the game's first shipment. Sales of New Super Mario Bros. have dropped sharply to put it at number two, while a Harvest Moon spinoff called Rune Factory: Shin Bokujou Monogatari has debuted at number three.

Windows Vista reaches Release Candidate stage

09/01, 4:10pm

Vista Reaches RC1

Microsoft has often been maligned for its frequent delays to Windows Vista, which have prompted some computer manufacturers to offer coupons during the holidays to drive sales after the most recent delay to January 2007. Fears of further delays have been partially addressed by the completion of Vista Release Candidate 1, announced today by Microsoft executive Jim Allchin in the official development team blog. It will initially seed to developers and hardware manufacturers; a public release is also scheduled but has not been formally announced. Response to the quality of recent builds has been much more positive than for Beta 2, which invited criticism even from long-term Microsoft supporters for its poor performance and unnecessarily strict User Account Control feature.

Saints Row patch inbound

09/01, 4:00pm

Saints Row patch inbound

Volition is already preparing a patch for Saints Row, their newly released Grand Theft Auto clone for the 360. The patch will mainly address multiplayer issues, such as improving lag, streamlining matchmaking, and adjusting connection ratings so that more large-scale games are possible. Single-player fixes are on the menu as well. No release date for the patch is currently available.

Philips introduces iPod nano-style GoGear SA9200

09/01, 3:25pm

Philips GoGear SA9200

In contrast to the more basic GoGear SA13335 announced earlier this month, Philips announced a mid-range flash player today that shows the clear influence of the iPod nano in its slim design. Measuring 0.35 inches thick, the SA9200 places both a data connector and a headphone jack at the bottom of the device to save space. Its screen is a more conventional 1.7-inch LCD in place of the OLED from the SA13335, but the new player gains photo support, a 14-hour battery life, and a fast-scrolling touchpad interface. Drag-and-drop file transfers have also been replaced with synchronization through Windows Media Player. The 2GB player ships by the end of summer for $199.

Yakuza sequel, Miike film adaptation

09/01, 3:05pm

Yakuza sequel, movie

With the original Yakuza (a.k.a. Ryu ga Gotoku) arriving Stateside just next week, Japan has learned they'll be receiving a PS2 sequel to the crime game on December 7th. The new one will expand its story to include the city of Osaka. Some good news for fans of Japanese cinema is that Takashi Miike will be helming a movie adaptation of the first game. Miike is famous for several underworld-themed movies, notably Dead or Alive and Ichi the Killer. You can watch his promotional short for the first game here.

Toshiba introduces next-generation HD DVD in Europe

09/01, 2:50pm

Toshiba Europe HD DVD

While movie viewers in North America still have no replacement in sight for the Toshiba HD-A1 as their sole HD DVD player for televisions, European enthusiasts will soon have a second-generation unit that addresses many of the complaints about the initial model. Both the HD-E1 (pictured) and HD-XE1 are considerably slimmer than the box-like American original. More important are the features of the high-end XE1: unlike the A1, it supports the native 1080p output of the disc format and includes HDMI 1.3 with deep color support for an accurate picture. The base E1 version more closely resembles the A1 in terms of features, matching the 1080i output and standard HDMI of the original player. Toshiba did not mention whether disc load times had been improved in these new models. The HD-E1 will be the first to arrive in November for €599 ($769 US), while the XE1 should appear the following month for €899 ($1154 US). A North American equivalent is likely, but remains unannounced.

Dawn of War: Dark Crusade demo out

09/01, 2:40pm

Dark Crusade demo out

As promised, the demo is out for Relic's second expansion to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. The download is 309 MB and includes a tutorial level plus two single-player missions. Mirrors for the demo can be found here, here, here, here and here. The full game will feature a non-linear campaign playable with any of Dawn of War's previous five factions, as well as two new ones, the Tau and the Necrons. Relic's RTS series is based on the Games Workshop tabletop strategy game.

Samsung produces 'clear' plasma TV

09/01, 2:25pm

Samsung Clear Plasma TV

Plasma televisions often suffer in typical daytime lighting: a bright window can wash out the picture and hurt the otherwise excellent image quality typical of such screens. A final Samsung display announcement from the IFA expo marked the introduction of the new PS42/50H plasma television that solves the problem of over-bright ambient lighting through a special screen filter. Instead of adding a traditional coating to the screen, Samsung added a filter to the front glass that amplifies the internal light. This keeps the display bright and gives viewers a clearer picture: Samsung claims a 10000:1 contrast ratio and 1300 cd/m2 brightness. A processor in the display also corrects jittering and outline artifacts in images to help with fast-moving images. As with the earlier television announcement, this particular plasma television is likely intended for Europe but should be matched by a North American version soon.

Sony dismisses talk of PSP revision for March

09/01, 2:10pm

Sony balks at PSP revision

Although Playstation Magazine published an article discussing a revision as if it were certain, Sony is denying any truth behind the magazine's words. "We currently have no plans to release another version of the PSP," a Sony spokesperson says. The article also mentioned features like twin analog sticks and 8 GB of built-in flash memory; for sake of reference, those features were considered either tentative or speculative. PSM's sources did say that the new PSP would be out in Japan as soon as March.

TeachMac tutorial software now Universal

09/01, 1:10pm

TeachMac Universl released

Created Equal today released a major update to its TeachMac tutorial software. With a growing library of free and low cost multimedia modules (tutorial files), TeachMac provides computer training solution for home, school, and business. TeachMac v3 is now a Universal application running natively on PowerPC- and Intel-Macs. It also features improved video quality, a search feature, a kiosk mode, and faster downloads. Also included in the is a new tutorial creation application beta called Module maker. "Anyone who can do a screen capture and use iMovie can make a module," says Created Equal CEO Byron Turner. Vesion 3.0 of TeachMac also adds compatibility with the newly released Windows counterpart, TeachIT. Both TeachMac and TeachIT are free, but offer $50/year subscription packages which run modules for all users on host machine, run modules on any machine the user owns, and enable download and use with no purchase dialogue interruption. TeachMac requires any Mac with a PowerPC G3 or better running Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher with QuickTime 7 or later. [Download - 3.8MB]

Commodore introduces portable media player with WiFi

09/01, 12:50pm

Commodore Gravel in Pocket

Most people still associate the Commodore name with early personal computers, but its recent revival is quickly establishing a presence in portable electronics. Its most significant introduction to date will be the Gravel in Pocket, a small portable media player designed in the style of its namesake. A 2.8-inch screen dominates the front face of the player with controls hidden around the sides. While its media support includes standard audio, photo, and video formats (including DivX and Windows Media), the player is relatively unique through its inclusion of WiFi for downloading networked content. Storage on the player itself is flash-based with either 1GB or 2GB of memory plus an SD card slot for expansion. Buyers can expect to see the player in November and will have access to the upcoming CommodoreWorld website at the same time to download new music and videos. A full photo of the Gravel in Pocket is available after the jump.

Circuit City scamming 360 buyers

09/01, 12:35pm

Circuit City 360 scam

The big boxes are notorious for pushing setup fees and extended warranties, but this story really takes the cake. At least one Circuit City is charging an installation fee for Xbox 1 compatibility on the 360. Such a service isn't illegal, but it is totally unnecessary - enabling compatibility can be done with a simple software update on Xbox Live. Moreover, players without Internet access can still have the software sent by mail. Warn friends and family not to be taken in by manufactured problems like this!

NPR to launch digital music service for public radio

09/01, 12:30pm

NPR Digital Music Service

NPR is considered one of the most forward-thinking public networks in the global radio landscape, with virtually all of its nationally syndicated programming available as audio podcasts or otherwise accessible online. However, much of the regional content is isolated or radio-only. This will change soon with the announcement of a new NPR digital music service, reports Advertising Age. Though the network has not yet established a concrete business model, the site will focus on aggregating podcasts, streaming video of performances, and other content that should be available to listeners at no cost. "There are a lot of places to buy stuff. This is a place to learn," says NPR's Ken Stern. To that end, the network intends to make its music service a central location for those curious about exploring new and different musical influences.

Square-Enix's Tokyo Game Show list

09/01, 12:15pm

Square-Enix TGS list

Square-Enix has published the list of their games that will appear at the Tokyo Game Show, starting September 22nd. Since there are no particularly revelatory announcements, here's what we can expect to see:

Playable Demos
    Chocobo no Mahou Ehon (DS) Dragon Quest Monsters (Mobile) Dragon Quest Monsters Joker (DS) Dragon Quest: Fushigi na Dungeon (Mobile) Final Fantasy III (DS) Final Fantasy XI (PS2, X360) Front Mission 2089 (Mobile) Pokemate (Mobile) Project Sylpheed (X360) Seiken Densetsu IV (PS2) Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden (Mobile)

Non-Playable (Video Only)

    Fabula Nova Crystallis - Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3) Fabula Nova Crystallis - Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) Final Fantasy V Advance (GBA) Final Fantasy VI Advance (GBA) Final Fantasy VIII: Crisis Core (PSP)

Samsung 971P display sports unique design, no clutter

09/01, 11:45am

Samsung 971P display

As a complement to its television announcements, Samsung unveiled a style-oriented computer display for the global market. The SyncMaster 971P achieves its "geometric beauty," according to the company, by floating the display on a thin, S-shaped stand that hides cabling from the viewer's sight. All the menu and power buttons have moved away from the front to present a minimalist look and feel. The display itself is a capable though standard 19-inch, 1280x1024 resolution panel with a full 16.7-million color output, 1500:1 contrast ratio, and 6ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. DVI and VGA input are standard alongside a USB 2.0 hub for cameras and other devices. Pricing was not set during the announcement, but availability is imminent for the 971P in both American and European markets.

Lost Planet a definite 360 exclusive

09/01, 11:30am

Lost Planet 360 exclusive

Reversing previous statements, Lost Planet producer Jun Takeuchi confirms that the game will remain a 360 exclusive for the forseeable future. "Typically when the [Capcom] development team sets out to create a game," he says, "we focus development of the title on a single platform and for Lost Planet that platform is the Xbox 360. We have no plans at this time of porting to or developing for another console as this would potentially dilute the final product." He also has thoughts regarding the Microsoft-resistant Japanese market. "Of course we wish there was a larger installed user base domestically in Japan, as do all Japanese developers and publishers. But the success of Dead Rising in America is proof that a Japanese developer/publisher can succeed globally with an Xbox 360 title."

Apple settles iTunes lawsuit

09/01, 11:25am

iTunes lawsuit settled

Apple has settled a lawsuit that claims it used designs from another company for its iTunes application. David Contois, owner of Contois Music & Technology, was seeking an injunction against the iTunes Music Store along with unspecified damages and legal fees, saying that Apple took the design of iTunes from his own software. Contois claims he received his patent in 1999, two years before Apple's popular iTunes Music Store launched to the masses. Contois alleged that Apple's "current or future employees" viewed his patented software at the several trade shows, and later duplicated it. Contois formally notified Apple of the patent in September of 2004, but says that Apple knew about the patent as early as January 2003. He filed his lawsuit in June of 2005; in June, both sides were arguing over terminology.

Pioneer to ship hybrid Blu-Ray/HD DVD drive in 2007

09/01, 11:15am

Pioneer Hybrid BR/HDDVD

The ongoing format war between Blu-Ray and HD DVD has left many computer users reluctant to adopt drives and computers that only support a single next-generation format. Pioneer today announced an option that should satisfy buyers interested in future-proof storage. The upcoming BDR-103 drive will support playback and recording of both Blu-Ray and HD DVD media, the company announced today at the IFA expo. Though specifications are not yet ready, the drive should be available in the middle of 2007. An interim update to its existing Blu-Ray drive, to be named the BDR-102, will ship in 2007 and feature both dual-layer Blu-Ray recording as well as add legacy support for CD-R and CD-RW discs.

MacMice launches black Danger Mouse

09/01, 10:55am

Black Danger Mouse debuts

MacMice today launched a new version of its 'flagship' laser mouse: the Danger Mouse USB is now available in a matte black to match the MacBook line. "Since Apple released its black iPod models, and then a black version of the MacBook, more of our customers have been asking for black versions of our MacMice products," CEO M.H. Peng said. The mouse features a matte black design with two buttons, and a clicking scroll wheel. Danger Mouse's laser tracking has a 1600 DPI resolution, which not only helps accuracy, but also allows the mouse to be used on a greater variety of surfaces. Like other MacMice, the Danger Mouse features the MicroScroll notchless mini scroll wheel along with a five foot USB cable; it works with the standard mouse drivers included in either Mac OS X or Windows. The Danger Mouse BLK will be shipping in September to US customers only, and can be pre-ordered now for $30. [image included]

Assassin's Creed confirmed for Xbox 360

09/01, 10:55am

Assassin's Creed on 360

Ubisoft has at last stopped the denials and admitted to the 360 version of Assassin's Creed, already headed to the PC and PS3. For a while the PS3 was the exclusive platform for the title. Though the release date for the PC version is unknown, it is acknowledged that the 360 and PS3 games should ship simultaneously in early 2007. To summarize the game once more: the story 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.

SWF Movie Player 2 comes to Mac

09/01, 10:50am

SWF Movie Player Mac

Eltima Software has introduced a new standalone SWF Movie Player for Mac OS X. Unlike the regular Macromedia Flash Player, the player offers features which allow control of Flash movies. These controls allow users to pause, fast forward and rewind the movie using flexible controls and sliders, while also allow users to create and manipulate playlists, zoom in and out any area of the movie, set playback quality, preview FLV files, and watch the movie in a full screen mode. All of the advanced features presented in SWF Movie Player combine are available within a 'clean' user-friendly interface to match the Mac OS X experience, according to the developer. The Pro version allows users to save currently played Flash movie to the hard drive no matter whether it is loaded from the web site or locally, switch to full-screen viewing mode, fully preview and manage FLV files. The basic version is free of charge while a 'Pro' version is available for $20. Both applications are Universal Binaries (detailed system requirements not available).

Samsung announces LED-based LCD, more at IFA

09/01, 10:45am

Samsung LED-based LCD

The IFA expo in Berlin has seen a number of significant hardware introductions, such as the first computer-free Skype phone from Philips. Today marked the introduction of a raft of new displays from Samsung that take advantage of multiple new advances in technology. Its first model is the LE40M91, a 40-inch LCD television with an LED backlight. The lighting technique provides much more even illumination and improved color accuracy: Samsung claims a 10000:1 contrast ratio and 146% color gamut when using dynamic contrast. Samsung's new set also has double the refresh rate of standard sets. In Europe, the television will update its 720p native resolution at 100Hz and effectively do away with motion blur in fast scenes. The company also announced 40-inch and 46-inch 1080p sets using more conventional technology. No specific details were given about pricing or availability, though all three televisions should be available soon with North American equivalents to follow.

Foxconn ordered to allow worker unions

09/01, 10:35am

Foxconn workers unionize

The Chinese government has ordered a Chinese supplier of Apple's iPod to let its more than 200,000 workers set up a trade union, according to the Associated Press. "Hongfujin Precision Industry Co., which operates Foxconn, is on a list of companies in the southern city of Shenzhen that have been ordered to set up such a union. The new union would be affiliated to the government's All-China Federation of Trade Unions, according to the report. While China does not allow independent labor organizing, it has recently been pushing companies with foreign investors to allow the state-sanctioned labor groups. Many other foreign companies have already allowed such unions to be set up in their China operations, the report says. Earlier this summer, Foxconn was accused of unfair labor practices in its iPod factories; however, an Apple investigation only revealed a few violations of its Code of Conduct for suppliers. Following the investigation, Foxconn's owner filed a defamation lawsuit against two journalists for their followup report on the iPod labor abuses, but later reduced the damages it was seeking.

Vivendi: New Battlestar Galactica, Double Fine games

09/01, 9:55am

New Battlestar Galactica

Through a report presented to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vivendi has accidentally leaked the existence of some previously unknown games in development. Most conspicuous among these is a Battlestar Galactica game, set for PC and Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. The publisher also seems to be resurrecting Sierra's Red Baron and Incredible Machine franchises for the same platforms. In another portion of the document, we learn that Vivendi has signed a deal with Double Fine Productions, the creators of Psychonauts.

10-bit uncompressed HD eSATA for Mac

09/01, 9:50am

10bit HD eSATA for Mac

CalDigit has released the S2VR high speed SATA 3Gb/s interface which makes it possible to support over 230MB/s 10 bit HD capture and playback. The new external RAID solution has five hard drive trays and is able to run in three different modes; performance, protected, or JBOD. In performance mode, the S2VR HD utilizes five SATA drives for maximum performance to serve 10-bit uncompressed HD formats as well as 8-bit uncompressed HD, 10-bit uncompressed SD, 8-bit uncompressed SD, DVCPRO HD, HDV, and DV realtime video playback. The CalDigit S2VR costs $2000 and requires no additional items. Included in this package is a PCIe or PCI-x HBA (FASTA-4e or FASTA-4x) card and eSATA cable; CalDigit offers single vendor support for all the products, eliminating incompatibility concerns. The S2VR HD is compatible with Windows and the latest Mac OS X G5 computers; it available for $2000. [images, charts included]

SanDisk Sansa c200 targets 1GB iPod nano

09/01, 9:45am

SanDisk Sansa c200

As the second-largest digital audio player manufacturer in the US with 9.7% of the market, SanDisk is best positioned to challenge the longstanding supremacy of the iPod. Just days ago, the company announced an 8GB e200 model that doubles the current capacity of the high-end iPod nano while equaling it in price. The flash memory manufacturer began its challenge to Apple's lower end models today by introducing the Sansa c200 series of players, which competes directly with the 1GB iPod nano. SanDisk's new music and photo player includes a 1.4-inch color screen, FM radio and recording, and a microSD slot for extra storage. Crucially, SanDisk has priced its new model aggressively compared to Apple offerings: the higher-end 2GB c250 sells for $100, a full $49 less than the 1GB iPod nano and equal to the price of the screenless 1GB iPod shuffle. A 1GB c240 model will also be available for $80 when the c200 series ships to stores in October.

Pretec launches first 8GB SD card

09/01, 9:15am

Pretec 8GB SD Card

One of the most significant advantages of CompactFlash, storage capacity, is quickly eroding in light of rapidly improving memory production. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the announcement of a new 8GB SD card from Pretec. Using the new SD 2.0 standard (also known as SDHC), the new card offers double the capacity of the original SD card format, which is limited to a maximum of 4GB by design. SD 2.0 is not backwards compatible with earlier hardware, though Pretec plans to introduce a tool named SD-Tuner to help users make the transition. The 8GB card is sampling now and will be available in the last quarter of the year for $299.

Bully renamed!

09/01, 9:10am

Bully renamed!

In a surprising move, Rockstar has officially retitled Bully to "Canis Canem Edit," the Latin for "Dog Eat Dog." A name change wouldn't normally be a big deal; such an awkward choice suggests, however, that Rockstar is reacting to criticism, whether it's coming from activists, politicians, or lawyers like Jack Thompson. The idea may be to defuse it by discouraging a direct link between bullying and gameplay. In any case, Rockstar does not expect the new name to delay the October release. UPDATE: The change will only apply to the European version of the game. Do that many Europeans remember their Latin?

Nucleo Pro introduces render as you work

09/01, 9:05am

Render as you work

GridIron software announced the immediate availability of GridIron Nucleo Pro, a productivity enhancement tool which optimizes the workflow for visual effects artists working in Adobe After Effects on multi-processor and multi-core computers. Originally, Nucleo was released for After Effects users to allow the program to utilize all CPUs in a computer for faster rendering -- Nucleo Pro takes these tasks further by attempting to make the After Effects workflow more streamlined. Nucleo Pro features the ability to render while you work with Spec Preview and Spec Render, detecting changes and regenerating the frames or appropriates the files as the render continues. It also offers the ability to send renders to the background using the new Background Render Queue and continue working in After Effect alongside the ability to commit certain layers to disk to have Nucleo Pro render only the specified layers. Nucleo Pro costs $500 and is available for both Mac OS X and Windows. Nucleo Pro is a Universal Binary and requires Adobe Acrobat 7 or later running on a multi-processor or multi-core system with a minimum of 2GB of RAM.

Customer receives updated Mac mini

09/01, 8:30am

Mac mini update looms

According to a forum post on MacBidouille, one Apple customer reports receiving an upgraded Mac mini when they purchased a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac mini. The computer they received 1.66GHz Core Duo model which included a 100GB hard drive (higher than the 60GB drie expected) and a SuperDrive (opposed to Combo drive anticipated). AppleInsider reports that this would not be the first time that Apple has silently upgraded a computer, allegedly in an attempt to clear inventory of old products. In fact, the last PowerPC revision to the Mac mini line occurred this very way when Apple began shipping 1.33GHZ G4s in place of 1.25GHz G4s and 1.5GHz G4s in place of 1.42GHz models within the same retail boxes. Previous reports indicated that Apple may be allowing the Mac mini inventory to drain as it has been refusing bulk orders -- historically a sign of a product update soon.

Sonnet launches iPod USB car charger

09/01, 8:20am

iPod USB car charger ships

Sonnet Technologies today announced a new car charging kit. The new device is compatible with all iPods capable of being charged through USB. A coiled dock connector-to-USB cable adapter is included with the car charging kit, allowing for a flexible cable that can stow away easily. The adapter works with both 12V and 24V (truck) lighter/accessory jacks and features a LED indicator to show when the iPod is charged. Also included in the USB Car Charger is a user-replaceable fuse and power filtering system to protect the iPod. Designed to match as many interiors as possible, Sonnet's new USB Car Charger is a glossy black. Available immediately from Sonnet resellers and Sonnet's online store, the adapter costs $20. [image included]

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