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Intel "Tulsa" Xeon CPU
Intel is trying to regain marketshare from rival AMD with higher-performance Xeon chips, although the new chips are not quite as power-efficient as its AMD rival's Opteron or as its previous-generation "Woodcrest" chips used in Apple's recently announced Mac Pro workstations. Introduced last week, the eight new dual-core Intel Xeon 7100 series processors are specifically designed for performance-oriented multi-processor servers, although the line does include a lower-power, 95 watt options that can reduce associated energy costs. Intel says the Dual-Core Intel Xeon 7100 processor series offers up to twice (2x) the performance and nearly three times (3x) better performance per watt over previous Intel Xeon MP processors--in part because of its large 16MB Level-3 cache. Intel said that servers based on the Dual-Core Xeon 7100 series processors are expected to be available from more than 40 system manufacturers worldwide now; however, Apple previously announced that its new Intel-based Xserve server platform, due in October, will use the 64-bit "Woodcrest" Xeon processor.
Korean Air bans laptops
Korean Air has forbidden the use of Dell and Apple laptops during flight due to the risk of battery explosion, according to The Korean Times. The Korean national flag carrier said yesterday that the ban was put in place on Aug. 30, after the both U.S. computer manufacturers announced the recall of Sony-manufactured batteries used in some of the companies' laptop models. "Due to the risk of onboard fire, we are not allowing passengers to use certain brands of laptops on the plane. Safety always comes first for us," a Korean Air spokesperson told the publication; the airline said it was unsure when the ban would be lifted; however, a similar ban was instituted last month by Australia’s Quantas. While both airlines prohibit all models of Dell laptops and Apple’s Powerbook and iBook series, users can still carry-on laptops if they separate the batteries into checked baggage, according to the report.
HK iPod stereo debuts
Harmon Kardon (HK) has announced its Go + Play stereo, featuring a near-horizontal iPod dock layout that keeps an iPod safe while in transit. The device includes a stainless steel handle that enables owners to carry the system with one hand, and an S-video port provides the option of playing video on a TV. Inside the system boasts bi-amp digital amplification as well as a DSP chip for enhanced quality, according to Electronista. The Go + Play is powered either by an AC adapter or eight D-cell batteries, which provide up to 18 hours of battery life. The Go + Play system is due to ship in Europe in November for €350, while an American version is expected in the near future for $350.
New "Get a Mac" ads
Apple is still producing new "Get a Mac" TV commercials as part of a concerted effort to take advantage of its resurgent influence in technology. One blogger notes that Apple has begun showing new ads in the campaign at its stores ahead of potential internet or TV appearances as the three new segments continue the company's earlier approach. One new commercial is said to feature model Gisele Blumchen and likely focuses on Apple's computer design, while a second sees the main actors in business suits and a third presents them in psychotherapy, according to Electronista. The commercials' introduction may be timed to coincide with Apple's special event later this month.
RadTech's new Portectorz
RadTech today released Portectorz for Apple's Intel-based based notebooks. RadTech Portectorz provide positive protection for an electronic device’s power, audio, video and data ports. Constructed from high-polymer Silicone to eliminate tackiness and uni-die molded for a smooth, mold-line free appearance that can endure thousands of insertion and removal cycles. Portectorz are molded to exacting specifications to ensure a perfectly sealed and secure fit, and now features MagSeal for positively sealing Apple Computer’s innovative break-away magnetic power port. Portectorz low-profile design ensures compatibility with all sleeves, bags, cases and packs; however, users have the option to use the entire Portectorz panel or easily custom cut the strip to create protection for any of the ports or combinations desired. In addition, MacBook Portectorz are now available in black to match the notebook’s case color. Portectorz start at $6.
Logitech Harmony 785
Logitech's Harmony line of remotes is indispensable for owners of complex home theaters: they can control most audio and video systems, and in some cases can even trigger basic functions in consoles such as the Xbox 360. At the IFA expo, Logitech demonstrated a new model which adds even more functionality to the range. The company's upcoming Harmony 785 is not only compatible with over 150,000 possible devices (with more through compatibility upgrades), but can also receive Internet updates for news, sports, weather and other information. No launch details are available, though its model name and feature set place it at the higher end of the Harmony product line. Closeup photos of the remote are available after the jump.
Merlin S720 EVDO for Macs
EVDOinfo.com today announced that it has released free directions to allow Sprint's newly-announced Merlin S720 EVDO Revision A PCMCIA Card to work with 15- or 17-inch PowerBooks. Last week Sprint was the first carrier to deliver EVDO Revision A Cards; however, these cards are not currently supported by Apple's Mac OS 10.4.7, nor does Sprint provide software or drivers for Mac OS X. The site has posted free directions to allow any 15- or 17-inch PowerBook running Mac OS X 10.4.7 to use the new Merlin S720 EVDO Rev A card. The directions require some technical knowledge and familiarity with the Terminal application; however, a detailed, step-by-step keystroke-by-keystroke eBook is included when ordering the Merlin S720 EVDO card and Sprint service from EVDOinfo's sister site, Booster-Antenna.com.
Curt Schilling's new firm
Schilling may be most famous as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but his inner nerd seems to be shining through. Aside from playing Everquest II and owning a paper-gaming company (Multi-Man Publishing), he's just decided to found a videogame outfit called Green Monster Games. This might be incidental news except for who he's managed to recruit: the lead artist will be Todd "Spawn" McFarlane, and the creative director will be R.A. Salvatore, the writer popular for his novels set in the Forgotten Realms universe. It's further suggested that Monster may be using the GameBryo engine, which can be seen in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Not a bad way to launch a business.
Hitachi HDD/DVD Camcorders
Tapeless DV cameras regularly fall into two categories: hard drive-based models that store large amounts of data but require a computer for any DVD authoring, and DVD-based models that streamline the process but hold limited amounts of video and rewrite slowly (if at all). Two new camcorders from Hitachi will offer both features at once, giving the option of recording to either an 8GB hard drive or to 30-minute rewritable mini DVDs. The DZ-HS301 will feature 15X optical zoom, a 2.7-inch LCD, and the ability to take 1-megapixel still shots. At the higher end is the pictured DZ-HS303, whose optical zoom is reduced to 10X in exchange for a larger sensor, 3-megapixel stills, and double the battery life. Either variant connects to Macs or PCs via USB 2 and will be available in Europe as of November for $900 (HS301) and $1279 (HS303) in US dollars. North American equivalents will be announced soon.
New Get a Mac Ads
Though its ads are frequently polarizing, Apple continues to produce new "Get a Mac" commercials as part of a concerted effort to take advantage of its resurgent influence in technology. Word has arrived from blogger Nick Starr that Apple has begun showing new ads in the campaign at its stores ahead of potential Internet or television appearances. The three new segments continue the earlier approach. One of these (pictured) is said to feature model Gisele Bündchen and likely focuses on Apple's computer design, while a second sees the main actors in business suits and a third presents them in psychotherapy. The commercials' introduction may be timed to coincide with Apple's special event later this month. See photos of the other two ads after the jump.
A dedicated AI processor?
We already have sound cards, video cards, and Ageia's PhysX processor. As if there weren't enough to buy, a company called AIseek is promoting the Intia, a processor devoted entirely to AI subroutines. In theory the chip should accelerate pathfinding some 100 to 200 times, enabling not only increased accuracy but the ability to respond dynamically to changing terrain. The company also promises pixel-perfect line-of-sight calculations. Regardless, don't look for any games with Intia support in the near future; the most AIseek has to show is a series of videos with simulated gameplay conditions.
SanDisk Sansa Base Station
As most accessory manufacturers for portable audio still develop with the iPod primarily in mind, rivals are left to create their own hardware ecosystems to encourage new buyers. SanDisk is the most prominent of these challengers and, accordingly, announced today a dock made just for its new Sansa c200 and e200 players. The new Base Station serves as a multi-purpose hub for the flash-based players, connecting to a computer through USB to ease the sync process or to a set of speakers for direct music playback. SanDisk also ventures beyond Apple's current iPod dock by including an IR remote with the Base Station to let Sansa owners control music wirelessly without an extra purchase. The dock ships in October for $69.
MAMPStack 5.5 released
BitRock today released MAMPStack 5.5, a distribution of the Apache Web server designed for easy installation that features PostgreSQL, PHP, Python, and supporting libraries for Mac OS X. The installer allows users to quickly install and configure MAMPStack on Mac OS X systems. MAMPStack is licensed under the terms of the Apache License 2.0, and available for free via download. MAMPStack 5.5 features an integrated package usable by both commercial and open-source projects for rapid deployments in both development and production environments (system requirements were unavailable).
Harman Kardon Go and Play
The relative abundance of iPod-ready speakers has left many manufacturers scrambling to offer a unique approach that will garner attention. Harman Kardon's new Go + Play stereo, introduced at the IFA expo in Berlin, stands out courtesy of several atypical features. Its stainless steel handle lets owners carry the system with one hand, and a near-horizontal iPod dock layout keeps the digital audio player safe while in transit. An S-video port gives users the option of playing video on a television. Inside, the sound system is above-average and sports bi-amp digital amplification as well as a DSP chip for improved quality. The Go + Play is powered either through an AC adapter or eight D-cell batteries, the latter of which provides up to 18 hours of battery life. Harmon Kardon is pricing the Go + Play at €349 for its European release in November; American pricing is not yet available but is expected to be $349. Click through for a profile photo.
MySpace online music store
The popular social networking site MySpace says it will be the latest to open a direct-download music store which will compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store. The web-based service, an offshoot of MySpace Music, hopes that its access to 106 million existing MySpace users will give it an early advantage and offer a serious challenge to Apple, according to Electronista. "Everyone we've spoken to definitely wants an alternative to iTunes and the iPod. MySpace could be that alternative," said MySpace's Chris DeWolfe. Unlike most other services' attempts to compete in the digital music arena, MySpace promises flexibility by selling songs either through the main portal or on the user pages of artists and fans alike. MySpace will not dictate pricing but rather charge a distribution fee and leave the remaining pricing up to artists on MySpace, most of whom are independents currently unsigned to labels. Songs will be available in an unrestricted MP3 format that ensures compatibility with the iPod and other music players.
Warning labels on iPods?
The Royal National Institute for Deaf (RNID) in the UK is requesting that iPods and other MP3 players include health warnings for excessive use at high volumes. The organization is asking portable music player manufacturers such as Apple to warn customers that using such devices for extended periods at high volumes could damage hearing, according to Macworld UK, and is asking for labels stating that fact on packaging or even on the devices themselves. "We know that young people are at risk from losing their hearing prematurely by listening to loud music for too long on MP3 players," said RNID chief executive Dr. John Low. "MP3 player manufacturers have a responsibility to make their customers aware of the risks and the need to listen at sensible levels and we urge them to incorporate prominent warnings into the packaging of their products."
Faces of War MP demo
If Company of Heroes doesn't sate your obsession with World War II, there's always the demo for Best Way's Faces of War, an RTS title with a narrower, squad-level focus. The download is 293.4 MB and comes with two maps and three mulitplayer modes. It's spread fairly quickly, so you can already find it here, here, here, here and here. Coincidentally, the full version is due on September 12th - two days before Company of Heroes.
Sharp Aquos PC-AX
Japanese electronics maker Sharp is famous for the LCD televisions on which the company now depends, but until now it has never seen fit to join Sony and others in using its advantage in the television business to make home theater PCs. The company's first steps into the field begin with its new Aquos PC-AX sets. Each model has a 20-inch, 1366x768 LCD screen and a slim-profile computer controlled with a keyboard/trackball board and remote. The base PC-AX50M is modest, driven by a 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, and an analog-only TV tuner for recording to its 250GB drive. At the higher end is the PC-AX100M, which receives a 1.66GHz Core Duo, 1GB of RAM, a digital TV tuner and an ample 500GB hard drive. Both versions ship in late September for equivalent prices of $2075 and $2940 US respectively. It remains to be seen whether Sharp will follow Sony's practices and introduce the PC-AX to North America.
Mystery Case Files sequel
One of the best-selling casual game on the PC market is now available for the Macintosh: Big Fish Games' Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects is the long-awaited sequel to Mystery Case Files: Huntsville: "The Queen¹s Hope Diamond has been stolen! It¹s up to you to search for clues throughout 22 levels, find the offending culprit, and recover the stolen gem. Expand your investigations through the game¹s 29 unique locations by finding items that will unlock subsequent levels. Thousands of clues are cleverly hidden within the beautiful illustrations, creating a new game experience each time you step into this masterpiece of visual indulgences!" Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects is available for $20.
Company of Heroes demo
Though the PC Gamer beta demo has been circulating the Web for weeks, Relic has decided to go ahead and release a second, official demo for their World War II RTS. This one is an incredible 1.8 GB and features a tutorial, two single-player missions, and an AI Skirmish mode which lets you fight as either the Allies or the Nazis. Download mirrors are plentiful: try here, here, here, here, or here. The full game is scheduled to ship on September 14th.
Kenwood units control iPod
Kenwood recently announced six new head units each equipped with a USB port that scan the storage systems of any device attached via USB. The stereo manufacturer also said it will offer an iPod adapter to fully control Apple's digital media player. The stereo decks support common music formats such as AAC, MP3, and WMA files on any USB-enabled storage device, though no pricing or shipping dates were available. Kenwood did note, however, that there will be both single- and double-DIN stereos to accommodate different cars and listener needs, according to Electronista.
Nintendo DS MP3 Player
The cartridge-based format of the Nintendo DS is very conducive to functions beyond gaming. The handheld console is already capable of Web browsing in some regions; according to Gamer Scan, Nintendo will also add music playback through an add-on. Simply called the Nintendo MP3 Player in a catalog from the Leipzig Games Convention, the adapter will plug into the GameBoy Advance slot on a DS (or an actual GameBoy Advance) and play music from user-provided SD cards. Track information and user-chosen interface skins will appear on the main system display. Nintendo also lists a secondary headphone jack. Little else is known: a European launch on October 8th for 30 Euros has been reported but not yet confirmed.
LocationFree Base Stations
Sony today unveiled two LocationFree Base Stations -- the LF-B10 as well as the LF-B20 -- and its LocationFree TV Box designed to easily enable wireless streaming of TV programs and movies to a variety of devices such as Mac notebooks or PlayStation Portable units. Featuring a black paneled slim design which users can position either vertically or horizontally, the LocationFree Base Stations are designed to integrate into any home entertainment center while working with a variety of compatible viewing devices. The new Base Station units also incorporate an Advanced Video Coding codec, enabling consumers to experience smoother video at less then optimal bit rates. Sony's LF-B10 and LF-B20 LocataionFree Base Stations are expected to ship in October for $200 and $250, respectively. The LocationFree TV Box will also ship in October for about $230.
"Random" MacBook shutdowns
An IT engineer in Munich, Germany claims to have solved the problem of random shutdowns experienced by some MacBook owners. The issue apparently stems from the cable between the heat sensor and the CPU's heat sink, which is reportedly too short. The notebook's heat sink expands during operation, according to the engineer, and comes in contact with the sensor cable melting through the cable's insulation. Once the protective outer layers of the cable melt away, the cable touches the heat sink which causes a short circuit, resulting in an immediate shutdown. As the heat sink cools it contracts and loses contact with the cable, allowing users to once again boot their MacBooks until the processor heats up again. MacBook owners may not have to exchange the motherboard or memory if the discovered phenomenon proves to be the issue causing the random shutdowns.
360 gets own HDMI cable
Perhaps as a compliment to the HD-DVD add-on, GameStop will start stocking a 360-ready HDMI cable as of December 1st. Only HD games and movies might take advantage of the cable, since the differences between component and HDMI input are only noticeable above 480p. Standard DVD movies should be unaffected. For contrast, the PS3 will depend on generic HDMI cables when it ships in November, and the $499 version will not support HDMI at all.
Apple confirms event in SF
Apple today confirmed that it will hold a special event on September 12th to introduce new products and services. The company issued an invitation with the words "It's Showtime" with Hollywood movie premiere spotlights crisscrossing over and around the white Apple logo on a dark blue background. The event is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local time at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, California. Apple is expected to launch its new digital media strategy at the special event with a new 23-inch iMac, a widescreen video iPod, an iTunes Movie offering, and "one more thing," according to AppleInsider.
Sept. 12 Event Official
Confirming news previously revealed first on the Web by Electronista, Apple has formally announced a special event set to take place on September 12th. The announcement graphic, which features a dark blue background and spotlight beams crossing the Apple logo, simply announces that "It's Showtime." The presentation begins 10 AM Pacific Time at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, located in the same facility as the Moscone Center. Multiple movie-related announcements are expected, including a 23-inch iMac, an iTunes movie store, and a video-capable Airport Express base station. Click through for an image of the invitation, courtesy of AppleInsider.
Many current digital cameras and cellphones pack some degree of internal storage to save the user the trouble of bringing a flash card with them when they travel. These are almost always exercises in compromise: they often hold well under 100MB of data, making them poor substitutes for the expanded storage rarely included in the box. A new technology may turn this backup-only format into a complete replacement for storage cards altogether. Samsung's moviNAND embeds both an I/O interface and flash memory into a single chip, drastically improving the amount of storage that can fit into a truly small device. The Korean electronics firm announced today that it was shipping as much as 2GB of flash memory on a single chip, which is several times the capacity of current technology. A 4GB chip is also slated for release by the end of the year. No specific products were announced as using moviNAND, though these should become public shortly.
Apple iPhone a reality
Apple has worked the kinks out of its new cellular handset, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu, and the phone is ready for production. "Handsets are a tricky and competitive business, but an enormous opportunity for Apple," the analyst wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "We believe the new Apple handset will be a major player and competitor set to disrupt yet another industry." Wu admits that Apple's "go to market" strategy for the new phone is yet unknown, but is confident the company will time its launch opportunistically and that the new handset is positioned to gain significant traction. "This new market could easily represent an incremental $2 billion annual revenue run-rate revenue opportunity in 2007."
Canon EOS-40D Information
Canon refreshed much of its mainstream camera lineup last month, bringing a number of older models up to 7 or 10 megapixels while addding new features. The EOS-400D, better known as the Digital Rebel XTi in North America, was an especially significant update as it introduced features to an entry-level DSLR that were not even present in the company's otherwise superior EOS-30D. Today, information surfaced courtesy of Swedish site Fosfor Gadgets that reveals an imminent upgrade to the mid-range professional camera. The EOS-40D receives the 10.1-megapixel sensor of the Rebel XTi as well as the self-cleaning sensor that reduces dust artifacts. Many other aspects of the new camera will remain unchanged over the 30D, but logic dictates that the 40D should receive its less expensive counterpart's enhanced processing as well. Its price should match the $1300 of the existing unit when it reaches the market soon.
iSlicker for iPod
KMK Plus has unveiled the Slicker, a new decorative case for iPod digital media players. iSlickers are made from thick urethane to protect against bumps as well as scratches, and are re-usable with an adhesive back. The cases come with a clickwheel cover for iPod models featuring a clickwheel, and come with a clear protective screen guard. iSlickers are available for iPod nano, iPod mini, iPod with clickwheel, and iPod video in a variety of designs for $13.
xTime Project 4 released
App4Mac has released xTime Project 4, an update to the application designed to facilitate project management via the realization of production planning. Users can follow project evolution step by step in time by creating one or several projects, and allows users to organize time while consulting projects. xTime Project 4 boasts more than 100 new features, as well as a new user interface. The software promotes viewing as well as understanding resource utilization, and includes drag-and-drop functionality. xTime Project 4 is priced at $100, requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is available as a free upgrade to registered users of xTime Project 3.x.
Kenwood USB Car Stereos
Auxiliary input jacks are increasingly prevalent options for car stereo head units, but they limit playback only to devices that already have minijacks for sound output. This forces sound to pass through typically weak amplifiers in digital audio players, potentially hurting the quality of the sound as it reaches the car stereo. Kenwood recently announced six new head units that solve this problem through the introduction of new head units that all include a USB port. The new stereos scan the storage systems of any device attached via USB, allowing the stereo to use any USB storage - including digital audio players and hard drives - as a source for music. Common audio formats such as AAC, MP3, and WMA are supported. The stereo manufacturer also indicated that there will be an iPod adapter to fully control Apple's ubiquitous music player. No prices or shipping dates were given, though Kenwood noted that there would be both single- and double-DIN stereos to accommodate different cars and listener needs.
TiVo Gets CBS Show Early
Television networks habitually see TiVo and other PVR systems as enemies: commercial skipping and timeshifting skew the networks' assumptions about ad revenues and ratings. CBS will be the first such network to take a step towards embracing PVRs instead of shunning them: the provider announced Tuesday that it would give TiVo subscribers the premiere episode of "The Class," a new comedy for the Fall season, a full week ahead of its official debut. Moreover, CBS will also be providing previews of the shows "Jericho," "Shark," and "Smith" at the same time, and will give TiVo subscribers a chance to automatically record all four shows through one season pass. There is no word on how CBS will handle ads for the advance release.
MP3's on Nint. handhelds
Nintendo is opening non-Japanese markets to its MP3 player, beginning with Europe. Gizmodo cites a date of October 8th and a price of 29.99 Euros; it should be noted, however, that official sources hold these details as unconfirmed. What is known is that the player is effectively an SD card reader, capable of plugging into any Nintendo handheld more recent than (and possibly including) the original GBA. Songs are loaded onto an SD card and inserted into the player - turn the handheld on, and the software will display track info and customizable skins. The player should feature a second headphone jack and support any size of SD card. No US release info is available.
Apple's movie strategy
Rumors that Apple will introduce a 23-inch iMac on September 12th may be part of a larger strategy for the company to create a movie-friendly product ecosystem. The introduction of a 23-inch iMac will almost certainly be accompanied by iPod and iTunes updates, in keeping with historical Apple introductions. The Cupertino-based company rolled out the iMac with its built-in iSight camera in 2005 as a companion to the first video-capable iPod and video purchases through iTunes 6. Industry watchers suspect Apple will launch an iTunes Movie Store at the same time as a new 23-inch iMac, which would allow consumers to view full-length movies purchased from the new store at home or on-the-go via a new widescreen video iPod. Confirmation of this lineup is still far from definite, but is becoming increasingly likely ahead of the Apple press event, according to Electronista.
Miglia's Dialog Phone
Miglia today announced the release of the Dialog Phone, a wire-free phone that offers Skype and iChat AV integration: “Dialog Phone takes internet telephony on your Mac to the next level thanks to its fully featured software application. The wire-free aspect of the phone finally breaks free of all USB cables to complete the true 'telephone experience,'" the company said. "Dialog does away with traditional and redundant gimmicks, such as unnecessary LCD screens and number buttons. The beauty of Dialog is that it leverages all the advantages of your computer to take phone communication to the next level." Dialog features a call button and a volume control key, which can also be used to scroll through the list of contacts. The $80 device requires Mac OS X 10.4 and a USB 2.0 port (and a G4/G5- or Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4).
Sony LocationFree Stations
The Slingbox has been generally unchallenged as a means of streaming television both throughout a house as well as to mobile users: while Sony's LocationFree technology is widespread, its flexibility is relatively limited in the current version. This changes courtesy of newly announced additions to the LocationFree line: Sony's two new base stations and completely new TV Box promise better and farther-ranging access to source videos. Resembling the slim PlayStation 2, the LF-B10 uses Ethernet to stream video from a nearby TV to almost any device with an Internet connection - including MacOS X and Windows computers, the PlayStation Portable, and Windows Mobile smartphones. It also uses the AVC (H.264) codec to improve video quality on relatively low-bandwidth signals. Similar in design, the LF-B20 uses 802.11g wireless networking to eliminate the need for Ethernet cables. Finally, the TV Box is an expansion of the line that acts as a receiver for LocationFree signals rather than a transmitter. It connects to an existing base station and can output that video to a remote TV, whether in another room or in a completely separate location. The LF-B10 starts at $200, while the wireless feature of the B20 raises the price to $250. A TV Box unit will retail for $230. All the new LocationFree sets display either NTSC or PAL and are shipping in October. Click through for full photos of the LF-B20 and TV Box.
Apple pays for trademark
Apple will reportedly pay a New Jersey woman to stop using the word "pod" in the name of a protective case she designed for laptop computers, according to The China Post. Terry Wilson, 53, who sells the "TightPod" over the Internet, said Apple contacted her after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said she would soon receive a trademark for the product. The woman wouldn't say how much Apple agreed to pay toward costs of the name change; however, Apple was seeking to keep her trademark from diluting the iPod brand and also protect its own trademarks: "I'm going to be changing the name," Wilson, of Medford Lakes, New Jersey, said yesterday in a phone interview with the publication. "I know that sounds like I'm a sell-out, but I don't have the resources to litigate a trademark case." Apple spokesman Steve Dowling wouldn't comment, according to the report.
Battlefield 2 1.4 patch
After several delays, it seems that EA and DICE are finally ready to put out the 1.4 patch at 4 PM GMT (11 AM Eastern). The patch will deal mainly with fixes to Co-Op mode, but will also add support for multiple game modes on a single server maplist, as well as changes to the Commander's Vehicle Drop function. DICE has tried to minimize exploits such as using the Drop to block vehicles, or destroy enemy targets. UPDATE: It's out, and mirrors can be found here, here, here, here and here.
Apple, broadband video
Apple's expected entry into broadband video distribution will likely bring new life to the business, and could serve as a catalyst for broadband-enabled home movie delivery. Online movie services such as CinemaNow and Movielink continue to wither due to a narrow customer base and overly restrictive usage policies, even as Hollywood expresses interest in downloadable full-length movies, according to Electronic News. "Given Apple's success in music and video downloads, extending this model to include full-length movies makes sense," said Michael Greeson, founder of The Diffusion Group. "However, simply including full-length movie downloads for PC viewing is not the primary goal of this service. While it may very well start out that way, there is no doubt that Apple is aiming for the living room - the promised land of video consumption and the epicenter of home entertainment."
Apple Store down
In Brief: The Apple Store is off-line this morning with the message "We are busy updating and will be back within the hour.".... AppleCore Solutions has released The Complete Book of Mac OS X shortcuts: Desktop Reference Guide ($25), an eBook contains over 1,500 Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts for 16 Mac OS X applications and has a comprehensive list of operating system shortcuts and a table that fully clarifies Mac keyboard symbols and their meaning.... In an attempt to change the idea that Macs are expensive to run in schools, a MacNN reader has put together a site to help teachers introduce Macs as cheaply as possible--including a free textbook.... shadowClipboard 3, the next update to the clipboard management utiliyt, is now available for pre-oder for $5, more than 60 percent off the anticipated price of $15.... SendStation is giving away 20,000 songs on the iTunes Music Store: customers who purchase a smartCharge car charger for iPod ($25) or a PocketDock Combo USB/FireWire adapter for iPod ($23) will receive 20 free songs on iTunes for each of these items bought.
Square-Enix being sued
Square-Enix is being sued for $3.78 million US by a Taiwanese publisher, Soft-World International. The suit alleges violation of a 2004 contract for distributing a MMORPG in Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Specifically, Soft-World claims that Square hasn't provided them with the necessary source code, making distribution that much harder. The money demanded is a return of a royalty payment. Soft-World is the biggest software publisher in the Chinese market, and already handles localized MMO titles such as RF Online and World of Warcraft.
Image Tricks, AppZapper
Image Tricks 2.3 (free) updates the company's image-editing and image-generating tool. The new version features four new image filters and interface changes that allow users to hide filter effect while working with an image. The filter Shaded Materials allows users to make photos look as if imprinted on a chocolate, stone, water and other surfaces. Other tools such as Flip image vertically or horizontally options were added (Edit menu) were added. A Pro version is $15. It requires Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 2.8MB]
AppZapper 1.7 ($13) allows you to uninstall virtually any application, widget, preference pane and plugin as easily as it was installed: the utility intelligently finds leftover support files and allows users to put them in the trash with a single click. Version 1.7 can export apps and their related files, for storage and transport on USB keys and other portable devices. It also brings iPod updater support in QuickZap, PDF Service finding, an updated Polish localization, and numerous other tweaks and fixes. [Download - 1.6MB]
Synergy Classic 3.0 (5€) updates the powerful iTunes accessory that puts three buttons to control iTunes in the menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause. It also provides visual feedback about the currently playing tune and can automatically download and display the cover of the currently playing album. Version 3.0 offers a new icon, better visual feedback, and dozens of bug fixes. The company is working on Synergy Advance, a complete rewrite of the iTunes accessory as well. [Download - 1.4MB]
FTPKit v1.4 ($30/$75) updates the set of REALBasic classes that implement the FTP protocol. FTPKit adds a full-featured FTP socket class to REALBasic. The package automatically parses FTP listings, allows for directory downloads and uploads, changing file permissions, custom commands, and features a powerful queue system. This version adds the ability to automatically choose between binary and text transfer modes, features more robust file listing parsing routines, and includes many important bug fixes. [Download - 348KB]
PhotoReviewer 2.1 ($15) is a photo management tool for Mac OS X that can quickly flip though photos, choosing which ones are "keepers" and which aren't, sorting them into different folders, and renaming them. Users can compare images side-by-side, use a histogram tool to analyze the exposure and contrast, and examine them with the magnifier tool to check their sharpness and focus. Version 2.1 is largely a maintenance release, fixing bugs and improving the user interface. It requires Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 1.1MB]
LaCie SAFE Hard Drives
LaCie today announced it has expanded its range of LaCie SAFE Hard Drives to include a desktop edition with enhanced security features. The new secure desktop range complements its mobile hard drives with biometric access control designed to protect confidential data from unauthorized use. The new LaCie SAFE Hard Drive comes in capacities of 160GB ($180), 320GB ($220) or 500GB ($370) with a universal Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface for use on PC and/or Mac. Enhanced security features include an internal drive lock and an external port for attaching an optional chain lock. In addition to biometric access control via a simple fingerprint swipe, LaCie SAFE Desktop & Mobile Hard Drives now come with internal firmware called “Drive Lock” that prevents data from being accessed if removed from the case and plugged in to another machine. In addition, the drives ship with LaCie 1-Click Backup Software for PC/Mac and full-featured LaCie SilverKeeper Backup Software for Mac OS X. The drives are now available.
HP iPAQ rx4000
The recent introduction of the Sony Mylo has helped trigger a new interest in WiFi-based communicators - an interest which will be very beneficial to HP as it introduces its new iPAQ rx4000 Mobile Media Companion. Unlike previous iPAQ versions, the rx4000 is not a PDA or smartphone: it instead shares the Mylo's emphasis on Internet access and media playback. The rx4000 relies on a 2.8-inch touchscreen for controlling its Windows Mobile 5 interface, providing easier playback of music and videos in either landscape or portrait mode (a scroll wheel exists to speed up some tasks). WiFi is naturally the cornerstone of the design and can be used to browse the Web, download files, and communicate with others through VoIP software such as Skype. Bluetooth is also present for connecting devices such as cellphones or headsets. Some details are absent in the current announcement, such as internal storage or pricing; however, a Fall release near the estimated $350 price of the Mylo is entirely possible depending on the amount of included storage.
Two new Apple Stores
Apple today announced it will open two new retail stores this week: the Apple Store MacArthur Center will open in Norfolk, VA on Saturday, September 9, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The fifth retail store in Virgina is located at 300 Monticello Ave (Space #276). The company also announced the grand opening of its 12th store in New York: the Apple Store Smith Haven will open to the public on Saturday, September 9, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. EDT in Lake Grove, New York. It is located at 313 Smith Haven Mall (Space #E084), which offers more than 140 stores.
Epson XGA projectors
Epson on Tuesday launched four XGA resolution ultraportable projectors: the Epson PowerLite 1700c and 1710c feature the company's most advanced and ideal combinations of weight and brightness at 3.5 pounds with up to 2,200 and 2,700 ANSI lumens of brightness (respectively), while the new Epson PowerLite 1705c and PowerLite 1715c (3.7 pounds each) are step-up models that offer the same respective brightness ratings but also feature a larger variety of connectivity options. The PowerLite 1705c and 1715c allow users to take full advantage of 802.11a/b/g wireless technology, offering the projection of full-screen, full-motion (30fps) MPEG2 video with audio. The Epson PowerLite 1700c and 1710c are priced respectively at $1,300 and $1,800 and the PowerLite 1705c and 1715c are respectively priced at $1,500 and $1,600.
Acer 3290 and 9520
Acer is targeting both business and entertainment at once with its introduction of new laptops using Core 2 Duo processors. On the conservative side is the TravelMate 3290, a 14-inch system oriented towards business users who need a portable but still flexible computer for the road. A DVD writer, 5-in-1 card reader, and a 128MB Mobility Radeon X1600 make the 3290 one of the more full-featured systems of its size. More interesting is the media-focused Aspire 9520, a 17-inch desktop replacement clearly intended as a media hub. Beyond faster GeForce Go 7600 or 7900 GS graphics that make it suitable for gaming, the new Aspire model (pictured) adds a hybrid analog/digital TV tuner for watching video locally and an HDMI output for relaying sound and video to a nearby flat-panel TV. Both the Aspire and TravelMate share some unique Acer technologies: QuicCharge can get as much as 80% of the battery charge back in one hour, while SignalUp can boost the WiFi signal to reach hotspots at the edge of normal wireless range. Each model should be available soon, though no official pricing has been set.
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