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You Control 1.4 released
You Software has released a Universal Binary version of You Control which runs natively on Intel- and Power-PC based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). You Control 1.4, a free update to registered owners, is a collection of powerful, yet flexible menu utilities that allow you to create custom menus that extend the functionality and usability of a Mac. Users can place user-created menus in a variety of locations, including the Menu Bar, any corner of the monitor screen, or can pop your custom menus up anywhere on the screen using key commands you specify. You Control offers time-saving tools that make working with Mac OS X better, faster and easier, according to the company. In addition to taking control of iTunes, users can create custom menus that allow them easy and instant access to Address Book Contacts, iCal events, news, stocks, weather and any file or folder on your Mac. The latest release also includes a number of user-requested improvements. You Control 1.4 is available for $30. Last month, the company also released a Universal version of You Control: Desktops 1.2, its system utility for managing multiple "desktops" workspaces.
Contour notebook cases
Kensington has expanded its popular line of Contour Notebook Carrying Cases with four new computer cases specifically designed for distinct mobile consumer sub-segments. The four new cases (Contour Traveler, Contour Terrain, Contour Cargo and Contour Balance) extend Contour Notebook Case lines introduced last June and are available now. The Contour Traveler Notebook Backpack (SKU 62432, $70) features a Travel-Optimized Organization System with Purpose-Built pockets and a unique Organizer Grid to keep power cords, adapters, mice and more within easy reach; it also offers Contour lumbar support for superior comfort and features DropShield notebook protection.
Appligent's Redax 4.5
Appligent today announced Redax 4.5, a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat that permanently and securely removes information from PDF files. Redax enables redaction with Acrobat 6, 7 and the recently announced Acrobat 8. Redax 4.5 adds enhanced full page redaction and search capabilities as well as more user options. Categories can be assigned to words, phrases and images to allow one work document to be repurposed for multiple recipients, based on the recipients level of security clearance or privledges. Redax 4.5 requires Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional versions 7 or later. Redax 4.5 will begin shipping in October and is compatible with Acrobat 8 that was recently announced by Adobe. Redax also offer functions to removes text, vector graphics and bitmap images; pattern matching to automatically mark up Social Security numbers, ZIP codes and phone numbers; full-page and multi-page redaction with page consolidation; and the ability to remove document metadata.
Adobe previews PS CS3
Adobe offered a preview of its Photoshop CS3 software that runs natively on Intel-based Macs at the Photoshop World conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster attended the event -- which saw the largest turnout ever with around 3,000 attendees -- and spoke with 52 Adobe customers about various topics. "While the presentation did not reveal any of the CS3 features, it provided evidence that the company has already successfully moved this core application to the Intel-Mac platform," the analyst wrote. Photoshop CS3 is part of a new software suite that will combine existing technologies with those from Macromedia, which was acquired by Adobe last year.
Best Buy NS-DVxG
Korean-made media players only occasionally reach North America. One of their key conduits is Best Buy: the large retailer regularly imports budget electronics under its Insignia house brand, giving smaller Korean manufacturers a chance to reach a much wider audience. An example of this is the imminent NS-DVxG player, reports AVING. The small handheld is capable of running MPEG-4 video and JPEG photos on its 2.2-inch screen as well as playing the ubiquitous MP3, OGG, and WMA audio formats. No mention is made of built-in storage; the company is primarily relying on microSD cards to store files. Best Buy should begin carrying the NS-DVxG by late October, while a game download service similar to that for the new iPod is set to follow in November.
XBL: Tradeshows, Prey
A couple of stories about Xbox Live to round out your day. First, Microsoft has announced the specifics of XBL content that will coincide with the Tokyo Game Show (September 22nd) and X06 (the 27th). Most of the content will come in the form of videos, such as clips and trailers for Call of Duty 3, Forza 2, Kane & Lynch, Project Sylpheed, Viva Pinata, and Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom. There will also be some undisclosed game demos, and the uncovering of a "major franchise" on Xbox Live Arcade. That may be Vivendi's Battlestar Galactica game. Moving on, 3D Realms says that all Prey add-ons will be free, on the PC or the 360. The developer intends to publish extra maps and characters for multiplayer.
Knox Nano case debuts
Mophie today released Knox, an iPod protector and wallet combo created from aircraft aluminum. Knox is designed to hold credit cards, cash, and an iPod nano while maintaining access to portable player's ports. Users can slide the iPod in or out of the enclosure, as the Knox protector comes with a Radura case, which made its debut earlier this week. Knox is available for $45, and works with Apple's new second-generation iPod nano.
The Time Portal ships
Zhang Games has released The Time Portal, a new quest adventure game that offers hidden clues (as well hints). In the darkest corner of your attic you find a letter from your long lost uncle. He explains to you that he has been kidnapped by a jealous scientist because he succeeded in inventing a time-machine. Your uncle has left you photos with hidden clues that show you the way to the time-machine. It is your task to reveal the clues, find the machine and rescue your uncle. The photos he gave you have mistakes. Find the mistakes in the photos to see which letters on their back are leading to the code. Complete the code to find the next place to go to. Visit spooky places and reveal all the clues to find the time-portal and save your uncle!" It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and is available for $20; a limited trial is available (registration unlocks additional levels and features).
Digital music stalls
iPod owners in Europe are more likely to buy digital music than owners of other music devices; however, only one in five owners regularly buys songs online. About 83 percent of European iPod owners do no regularly buy digital music, according to new research from Jupiter Research cited by Reuters. Europe's digital music market is expected to double to 385 million euros ($487.1 million) in 2006 from a year ago. Despite the almost 200 million songs sold in Europe to-date, iPod owners on average buy only 20 tracks a year from Apple's iTunes store: "The model isn't broken, there's just lots of room for improvement," Jupiter analyst Mark Mulligan told the publication. "Digital music is really underperforming its potential." In addition, the study found that 30 percent of iPod owners illegally swap songs using file-sharing networks and another 23 percent listen to Web-based audio files for free legally. Jupiter surveyed 4,000 consumers across Europe and found iPod owners much more likely to buy CDs online than they were to buy downloads.
DigiMate III Card Reader
Card readers are most often built solely as passive devices that seldom do more than pass information to a central computer. Professional photographers and others who regularly spend time away from computers will often find these adapters lacking, which is why the DigiMate III card reader could be indispensable. In addition to supporting several different memory types including CF, Memory Stick, and SD cards, the DigiMate III can be opened to install a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive that stores photos or other data directly transferred from the smaller storage formats. A touchscreen interface simplifies file transfers and helps monitor the current status. This independence also extends to more than its freedom from computers, as a built-in lithium-ion battery will keep the reader in use for two hours of activity when away from AC power. The DigiMate III connects to Macs or Windows PCs through USB 2.0 and is shipping now for $49.
Dawson: Postal implicated
Aside from Super Columbine Massacre, another game Kimveer Gill claims to have played is Postal 2. "Postal Dude [the character] kicks ass," the National Post snips from Gill's blog. "If anyone out there hasn't played Postal... I suggest you do. And do it right now." Both Postals encourage players to go on a rampage through a small town. The founder of Running With Scissors, Vince Desiderio, defends his company's work: "People need to learn that there's a difference between entertainment and acting out in reality. I know that people will say that, 'Violent games caused this,' but millions of people play these games around the world and the good news is that only rarely do one or two people go berserk like this." Other games the Post attaches to Gill are Blood, Manhunt, and the Grand Theft Auto series. The paper further observes that Gill's "life is like a video game" quote was originally from Devin Moore, an 18-year-old accused of imitating Vice City when he shot two policemen and a dispatcher.
Cisco Worries Over Vista
Microsoft currently touts the overhauled security of Windows Vista as a benefit that prevents malware from damaging the operating system without the user's consent. This assumed security is being called into question by security experts, reports CNET. Cisco security technology CTO Bob Gleichauf says that certain aspects of Vista have him "scared" from a security standpoint and that such a major change in architecture is likely to introduce its own share of security problems. Doubts have also been expressed by businesses whose existing layers of security are now being found as part of Vista. These organizations are hesitant to take on the risks associated with integrating Vista's security into their networks or replacing older defenses outright, according to the Gartner analyst group's Eric Ouellet. The uncertainty caused by Microsoft's frequent changes to Vista is preventing companies from depending on its feature set. The upcoming operating system, due to ship en masse in January, has previously alarmed security expert Steve Gibson because of its 'virgin' network stack that may be subject to attacks that were originally patched as part of Windows 95 updates.
GDC 2007 to double space
The organizers of the Game Developers Conference say that due to "voluminous requests" following the shrinking of E3, they will be doubling the amount of space available at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. GDC 2007 is scheduled for March 5th. FiringSquad highlights an interesting PR quote that suggests the conference will put on more of a show than attendees are used to: "'As GDC enters its 20th year, it emerges as the event with the largest gravitational pull of any other game industry-only event,' said Jamil Moledina, executive director of the GDC. 'While it remains our primary goal to serve the game development community and ensure that the session-based half of GDC remains unchanged, we also believe it is time to dramatically upgrade the range of expo opportunities. The result of our expansion is that GDC becomes the natural choice for all companies in the game industry ecosystem to exhibit and conduct business.'" Could that mean the public will have access to GDC for the first time in 2007? At the least, it sounds like GDC could become a bazaar for companies peddling to each other.
Colored Stereo Orbs
mStation Audio today announced that its 2.1 Stereo Orb will ship in silver, green, pink, blue, black, and white to complement Apple's new iPod nano player. The mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb features high-fidelity speakers designed for iPod owners that integrate a dedicated subwoofer, and ships with a 10-key remote control that supports basic iPod functionality as well as treble, bass, and volume adjustments. The Stereo Orb includes an iPod dock connector, a USB mini B port, a 3.5mm stereo mini jack, and a FireWire port. The Stereo Orb is available for $150 with a one-year warranty, and the company is already taking pre-orders for the new colored models.
YouTube Warner Videos
Many thought YouTube ambitious when it declared that it would catalog every music video ever made in its massive collection. Nevertheless, the video host's efforts have borne fruit today by means of a deal signed with Warner Music. The agreement will see videos by major artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear legally on the site; the music label intends to take advantage of the deal by using it to distribute interviews and original content. User-submitted content, often cited as the key to YouTube's success, will be able to use Warner artists' music legally without fees or common legal barriers. The move is likely to pave the way for similar developments in the near future.
Toys R Us bundle guarantee
A poster on Digg says that while speaking with an employee of Toys 'R Us Canada, he was told that anyone who signs up for the retailer's bundle will be guaranteed to get their Wii on November 19th. The offer is supposed to include the console, two games, and "2 controllers," though it's unknown whether that refers to one Wiimote/nunchuck set or two. Interested gamers can put down a $50 CDN deposit - as long as they're shipping to a Canadian address. Unfortunately, the bundle does not seem to be advertised at the UK or US Toys 'R Us Websites.
iPod-ready stereos debut
Cambridge SoundWorks today unveiled four new systems that include an auxiliary input for portable music players, such as Apple's iPod. Two of the new systems show the immediate result of a recent legal settlement between Apple and Creative by including an external iPod dock that relays music to the stereo's speakers, according to Elecetronista. A wireless remote can control basic iPod functions, and both models share many common features. The new stereos follow Apple's recent announcement that 70 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. feature built-in iPod connectivity as an option.
iPod sales ahead of revamp
New NPD data for July and August suggests slower than expected iPod sales within the first two months of the quarter, prior to Apple unveiling its new refreshed iPod models. The data for the September quarter thus far suggests sales of 7.4 million, but does not account for the new models with larger capacities and longer battery life currently shipping to customers. Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster predicts iPod sales totaling 8.6 million in the September quarter, and believes Apple can still come close to Wall Street estimates. "Given the new iPods that were just announced, we believe iPod units will end the quarter close to Street expectations," Munster wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN.
YouTube, Warner ink deal
YouTube today signed a deal with Warner Music Group to offer music videos online, stepping up the competition for Apple's iTunes Music Store. Music videos from artists such as Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sean Paul will be legally available to consumers on YouTube, which boasts more than 100 million video viewings each day, according to PC Magazine. Warner Music said the deal will help the company distribute artist interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and original programming. As part of the deal, YouTube users can incorporate music from Warner's catalog into home-made videos, and can upload those creations to the video sharing website.
Amazon Wii pre-orders gone
It's a good thing Nintendo anticipates four million Wiis by year's end. For a brief period on September 15th, it appears that Amazon.com was accepting pre-orders for the Wii. By noon Eastern time however, all of those systems were gone. Some customers claim to have bought two or more units. Gamers will likely have to wait several weeks before Amazon can reopen pre-orders, if it does at all. It may be safer to buy from a local retail outlet - they, at least, will be inaccessible to people from other countries.
OLED Solar Power Cells
Batteries are more and more the primary limiting factors in portable devices, and researchers have recently shifted attention towards transforming the devices' own bodies into power sources. The latest in these studies recently completed at Cornell University, according to a study published in the journal Science. Scientists at the university have discovered a way to add a conducting film on top of a two-layer OLED display that would let the screen itself draw in negative ions from sunlight, charging the screen and the device attached to it. Already energy-efficient, the organic screens could theoretically be used to largely eliminate the modest power draw of an OLED and may even allow the display to charge the main battery while the system is shut down or on standby. The Cornell invention is likely to need several years before it can be used commercially, as is often the case with scientific research.
Nintendo talks S&M
Hopefully you'll remember Telltale Games' recent plea, in which they asked gamers to convey their interest in a Wii port of the upcoming Sam & Max game. It seems to have paid off, because Gamasutra reports that Nintendo has been overwhelmed by e-mails, and is in fact discussing possibilities with Telltale. That's good news for fans of adventure games, who have had very little to play away from the PC, or even on it. The last Sam & Max game was released by LucasArts in 1993.
Four Cambridge Stereos
The sea change in stereo systems brought about by digital audio is becoming apparent through new stereos announced by Creative's affiliate company Cambridge SoundWorks today. Of the four new systems that are part of the launch, only one of them includes the once-commonplace CD player. All of them, however, include an auxiliary input for portable music players. Two models show the immediate result of the legal settlement between Apple and Creative: the Radio 735 ($300) and Radio CD 745 ($400, pictured) include an external iPod dock that relays music to the stereo's speakers. A wireless remote can control basic iPod functions. Both models are similar with the exception of the 745's CD player with MP3 playback support. Cambridge is also shipping two radio-focused systems in the form of the Radio 820HD ($300) and Radio 705 ($120). The former is the company's first stereo to support the new HD Radio terrestrial broadcast format and doubles as an AM/FM clock radio. The latter is a retro-style AM/FM radio with a rotary dial in place of an LCD. Both Radio CD models are shipping in October; the radio-only models are reserved for November. Click through for photos of the 705 and 820HD.
Apple vs. Dell support
Apple is dealing with angry users who are lashing out at the company amidst a flurry of heat issues surrounding its MacBook portable computers, as well as random shutdowns and other problems that surfaced since the new notebook's debut. This is due in part because customers have come to expect prime service as well as support, and the Cupertino-based company is still trying to uphold its reputation of taking care of its customers, according to David Morgenstern of eWeek.com. Dell, on the other hand, might be happy to have Apple's current support-related problems, as well as some of its good reputation rather than its current situation. Dell customers are complaining about poor support and a lack of innovation, with numerous websites citing past problems related to Dell's hardware as well as customer service. Dell is reportedly planning to funnel millions into its support program in the near future, and is admitting its poor support issues.
The American branch of cellphone carrier T-Mobile has been aggressively expanding its smartphone lineup with designs such as the coveted BlackBerry Pearl. Another desirable phone is set to make its North American debut with the provider, say MoDaCo forum sources. The HTC Excalibur - recently christened the S620 in Europe - will arrive first for customers of T-Mobile with the simple name of Dash. HTC's Dash will directly oppose the Motorola Q with a similar 320x240 screen, keyboard, and mobile broadband support, but replaces the conventional jog dial with a touch strip for scrolling through data. Nothing regarding an official release date was confirmed, though the October European release date should closely parallel that for American subscribers.
Firefox holes, Nano review
In brief: New vulnerabilities discovered for Mozilla Firefox could allow malicious users to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks, spoofing, cross-site scripting, denial of service attacks, and potentially compromise a user's system; though these issues were fixed in the latest Firefox 1.5.07 build, which was released this past weekend.... Ars Technica has reviewed Apple's new second-generation iPod nano with its multicolored aluminum case, longer battery life, and higher storage capacity.... Trans International today began offering 1GB and 2GB memory upgrades for Apple's new iMac Intel Core 2 Duo systems in 2GB ($250) and 3GB ($800) kits.... Advanced Computer Innovations has expanded its internet-based "instant online conversion" service, adding support for Microsoft Office 2003 XML and several other new file formats.... BeachWare and Macgamestore.com are offering Vegas Jackpot Gold as a digital download, enabling users to play 21 different Poker games in the same tournament against 12 different opponents.... Experiments conducted by scientists using a polymer-tipped plastic film have resulted in a hybrid battery that can both recharge and supply power over a long period of time, revealing 100 times the power of an alkaline battery in testing. [updated]
Minox DMP 4
Portable media players that can record video are rare but steadily increasing in number: Archos' new line as well as the Doghouse RoverTv already capture video from outside sources to play later on the go. However useful they may be, though, most of these recorders have large screens that limit their portability. The German company Minox is now offering a more balanced player in the form of the Minox DMP 4. At roughly half the size of its competitors, the DMP 4 is still capable of recording DVD, television, or other analog sources through its AV input and encoding them into 480p MPEG-4 clips. It can also record audio in MP3 format. Storage is small at 2GB of internal flash memory, but an SD card slot is included to expand the available space as well as ease transferring recorded media to a computer (a mini-USB port is built-in). Minox has not set a formal launch date or price as of yet.
Office coming to Mactels
APC Magazine has offered details on Office 2007 for Mac following an interview with the group product manager of Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU). The latest version -- currently codenamed "Office 12" -- boasts a revised interface as well as new versions of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word that will adopt the native XML file formats of other Windows products. The update will run natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and has already reached the halfway point in its development. "Typically we release about 6-8 months after Windows Office, and they've announced general availability in the January timeframe, so we would be 6-8 months after that," said Mary Starman, group product manager of Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit.
EA goes back to Skating
Electronic Arts has announced Skate, an upcoming skateboarding title for the PS3. Next-Gen reports that the game is under development at EA Vancouver, and should ship sometime (read: late) in 2007. Little else is known except that EA has licensed 14 pro skateboarders. The company has long been absent from the skating genre, with its last major release being Skate or Die in 1987. Skate also faces an uphill battle from the Tony Hawk series, which hasn't had serious competition since its debut in 1999. UPDATE: EA says the game will come to the 360 as well.
ezSkin nano G2 cases
ezGear today introduced its ezSkin nano G2 cases for the new second-generation iPod nano. The new ezSkin are made of high-quality silicon for a perfect fit and a special silky smooth coating to repel dirt and a great feel. The ezSkin nano G2 has openings on the top for access to the hold switch as well as an opening on the bottom for access to the iPod dock connector and earphone jack; it is thin to allow accessories to be connected while the iPod is in the case. Each ezSkin comes with a neck strap, an integrated removable belt clip, and a clear ezShade screen protector. The skin is strong, but thin to add protection without adding bulk. The belt clip is made of high-impact plastic and is removable so users can use the case without it. The company's included ezSkin click wheel protector keeps dirt out and protects the Nano, while offering the full click-wheel sensitivity.
Cowon iAudio F2
Once well-known as one of the first companies to ship video-capable portable audio players in the form of the iAudio X5, Cowon has been quiet in terms of releases. The Korean manufacturer reversed this trend Monday by announcing the iAudio F2. The small 2GB flash-based player stands out for its cellphone-like design and has a fairly large amount of format support: FLAC, MP3, OGG, and WMA audio are possible alongside photo and FM radio support. FM radio and direct audio recording are similarly standard features. Cowon claims 22 hours of battery life and is shipping the player to South Korea first on September 22nd for an equivalent price of $185 US. A North American launch has not yet been mentioned.
If you want the experience of a classic arcade machine, you could probably do worse than Xgaming's new X-Arcade Tankstick, a two-player behemoth that costs $199 US. Coming in at 20 pounds and 30 inches in length, it features a trackball, two start buttons, two analog sticks, and eight action buttons per player. The controller connects to a PC or Mac via USB, at which point players can load regular games or any number of MAME-emulated classic titles. Xgaming offers a choice of 18 bundled MAME games, plus support for miscellaneous titles on GameTap's download service. Some of the featured MAME classics are Joust, Gauntlet, Rampage, and Ms. Pac-Man.
Nano Sweats armband
iMojo today unveiled its LNano Sweats, an armband for the first- and second-generation iPod nano designed for use on the forearm. The Nano Sweats is made from absorbent, machine-washable cotton while offering full access to the player. The iMojo Nano sweats protects the iPod against the elements, and will ship in early October with two sizes available in black or white for $25.
TRITTON AX360 Headphones
Game players who want private listening environments are familiar with compromise. Voice chat in games is best served by microphone headsets, but these sets either treat voice as a separate channel or else strip the audio of its better qualities, especially surround sound. TRITTON says its new AX360 headphones are perfect for listeners who would prefer not to sacrifice sound for conversation. Four speakers in each ear cup position sound dynamically in front or behind of the listener without requiring special support; the new headphones are Dolby 2.1 and 5.1 certified and use Dolby Pro Logic for sources that virtualize their surround sound. At the same time, the AX360 also includes a detachable microphone boom that works with Xbox Live's voice feature as well as voice chat in most Mac and Windows software. The only special requirement is a digital co-ax or optical audio jack on consoles; computer sound cards with 5.1 connections are also supported. The new design is shipping now for $150.
Apple seeks higher margins
Apple's recent refresh of its iPod digital media players reveals that the company is seeking higher profit margins, rather than gaining market share. Gartner Research says that Apple's lack of aggressive pricing is the primary sign that the company is working toward higher margins, which could give the Cupertino-based company's competitors breathing room to catch up to the market leader, according to Macworld UK. "Apple is in a secure position atop the portable media player market and has decided to strategically focus on its margin this time," said Joseph Unsworth and Jon Erensen of Gartner Research. The new iPod shuffle is estimated to cost around $30 to build, as one example, but sells for $79.
Fission audio editor ships
Rogue Amoeba Software today launched Fission, a new audio editor described as "the first and only editor on Mac OS X to provide lossless editing of MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, and AIFF audio files." Using Fission, users can trim, split, and fade audio files, then save the result without any quality loss, according to thd developer. Fission can losslessly edit MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless and AIFF files, easily split long recordings into multiple files, archive audio for later listening, by removing unwanted audio such as commercials, fade audio in/out, create MP3 and AAC ringtones for any cell phone, and more. "There's no overhead in Fission, enabling users to tackle common editing tasks without spending hours, or even days, learning. And Fission's not just easy to understand, it's easy to afford. Aimed at the consumer market," the developer said. Fission costs $32 and is available for Mac OS X 10.4 or later as Universal Binary. A free trial version limits audio quality. [Download - 2.4MB]
Res. Evil: Umb. Chronicles
More information has surfaced on Umbrella Chronicles, the first Resident Evil title for the Wii. Thanks SPOnG. The game will essentially be a retrospective, dropping players into scenarios from the first four "numbered" Resident Evil games. Jill and Chris will fight their way through the mansion in RE1; Claire and Leon will work through RE2's Raccoon PD; Jill and Carlos will patrol Raccoon City in RE3, and Leon and Ada will be stuck in the village from RE4. Capcom Japan promises that the title will be very large and open-ended. Other gameplay features should include the in-game cutscenes and over-the-shoulder controls seen in RE4, as well as the new ability to dual-wield weapons.
Real Rhapsody DNA
SanDisk is enjoying relative success in the digital audio player market with nearly ten percent of users opting for its music player deal that sees Real's new Rhapsody DNA platform become a staple feature of SanDisk's e200 line. A special version of the Sansa e280 8GB player will come bundled with 32 hours of music that not only provides free listening material but also serves as the basis for a music blueprint: Rhapsody DNA is a subscription service that will automatically download new music on the computer based on a user's listening history and purchases, which are updated each time the Sansa is plugged in. Real hopes that simplifying the process of discovering new music will encourage Sansa owners to use Rhapsody as an alternative to other Windows Media-based stores. The e280 and other players bundled with Rhapsody DNA support are expected to ship in the fall.
iTunes leaks Jets album
Apple's iTunes Music Store over the weekend accidentally leaked the new Jet album "Shine On" to customers in the UK, allowing them to purchase the work prior to its scheduled release on October 3rd. It is believed that Apple failed to place the setting to "Pre-Order" mode, according to Gigwise.com, allowing consumers to actually purchase the tracks. Apple has already corrected the issue, returning the album to its expected "Pre-Order" status.
1Passwd v1.5 released
Agile Web Solutions today released 1Passwd v1.5, an update to the password manager and automatic form-filler for Mac OS X. 1Passwd leverages the built-in Mac OS X Keychain and provides extensions for all popular Mac OS X browsers, alowing users to store and access their information directly from their favorite browsers and keep all their browser passwords synchronized. 1Passwd also offers automatic form filler technology and effective protection from keyloggers and phishing attacks. In addition to the completely redesigned user interface, the new version of 1Passwd simplifies the complex installation procedure to a single drag-n-drop operation and adds an automatic update feature. 1Passwd requires Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and is available for $30. A fully functional trial version is limited to one autofill identity and twelve saved Web forms.
SoftCare K2 publishing
SoftCare GmbH today announced SoftCare K2, an editorial system that is designed for small publishing houses, agencies and companies. Expected to launch at IfraExpo 2006 in early October, the InDesign-based solution is completely integrated within Adobe InDesign and Adobe InCopy and features the same basic technical features as its the company's flagship SoftCare K4 solution. Classical workflow sequences are already preconfigured by SoftCare K2 solution; however, users also have the option to create custom and or modify workflows for specialized environments. In addition, it offers functions for administration of layouts and article templates, rights categories, users/group/category administration, versioning, intelligent database queries, and more. SoftCare K2 is configured for up to 25 users and allows growing business to easily upgrade to SoftCare K4--without much difficulty and at little expense, according to the developer. (Pricing and availability not available.)
Myvu Made for iPod debuts
MicroOptical today introduced the myvu Made for iPod edition, a personal media viewer that works with 30GB, 60GB, and 80GB video iPods. Myvu includes lightweight eyewear with built-in video viewing and audio systems, using a thin battery pack for up to six hours of viewing time with a small pendant offering access to all controls. The myvu resembles a pair of dark sunglasses, offering a viewing experience comparable to a 27-inch screen from six feet away, according to MicroOptical. Myvu allows users to see above as well as below the video screens to maintain awareness of surroundings, and includes noise-reducing earbuds. The device ships with a travel case with room to store an iPod, two power charging options for wall outlets as well as car adapters, and two extra earbud/nose pads in two sizes. Myvu Made for iPod is slated for shipment in late fall of 2006 for $400.
Real partners with SanDisk
RealNetworks is partnering with SanDisk to release a portable music player that more closely integrates with RealNetworks' Rhapsody online music service. The move follows announcements last week that integrated Rhapsody into Sonos digital media players and is seen as another attempt to take on Apple's industry-leading iPod and iTunes ecosystem as well as Microsoft's recently announced Zune player and music service, according to the Associated Press: "Microsoft has been providing the technology that allowed services such as Rhapsody to transfer songs to portable music players without compromising the digital rights of that content. But many say they think Microsoft's plans to release the Zune service and a player made by Toshiba could make the software giant a significant competitor." The companies play to release the Sansa Rhapsody, a portable music player based on SanDisk's e200, before the holidays, but declined to reveal pricing. The report says that the player will come preloaded with "hundreds of songs" as part of a free trial of RealNetworks' Rhapsody To Go subscription service.
Apple in talks with Google
Apple is in talks with Google to offer access Google online video content from within Apple's next-generation living room media hub, according to a new report. After previewing iTV video media hub last week, the company is reportedly looking to integrate the online video video service into its software to allow users to easily browse the growing number of user-contributed Google videos and content, according to Newsweek: "Last week Jobs showed only a menu item that pulls in movie trailers, but when you open up your iTunes library, you can also listen to bits of new music recommended by the iTunes store. Is it possible that when iTV ships next year, you may also be able to choose a menu item called Google Video, and then zip through the best of the thousands of user-submitted videos on the search giant's service? Google's consumer product chief, Marissa Mayer, tells me that indeed, the two companies are engaged in talks." Apple's media hub, currently called iTV, is expected to early next year for $299. Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was elected to Apple's Board.
Sony, Sega offer 1080p
At a press event in Tokyo late last week, Sega revealed that it has Virtua Tennis 3 running at 1080p on the PS3. 1UP was there to snap photos. This may not sound terribly important at first, but "full HD" has been one of Sony's most heavily promoted features for the PS3, despite a minority of games being announced as supported. The only other game confirmed for 1080p is Gran Turismo HD. At this point, Sony can simply hope that NBA 07 and Resistance: Fall of Man will have support by the time they're released on November 17th. Virtua Tennis is due in the second quarter of 2007.
Google iTV Talks
Last week's early unveiling of the Apple iTV media hub included news that the device would be able to stream content directly from the Internet, such as trailers from Apple's own movie trailer website. Word has been received today that the computer company is currently in talks with Google to gain access to its online video library, according to Newsweek. In a column for the latest issue of the magazine, writer Steven Levy reports that Google consumer product chief Marissa Mayer has confirmed her firm was negotiating with Apple to bring the Google Video library to the new device. Though exact details of potential plans are unavailable, Google would likely give iTV users access to at least the more popular user-submitted videos, Levy says. No mention has been made of paid content; the search-based company also operates its own direct-download online video store but has so far struggled in sales relative to the iTunes Store, which has sold millions of videos since it first offered them in October 2005.
Adobe Acrobat 8
Adobe today introduced Acrobat 8, its professional software PDF workflow application that adds realtime collaboration options. Acrobat 8 offers a refined interface to allows user to easily access various features, including combining, signing and protecting PDF files, interacting with PDF forms, reviewing and collaborating on documents. In addition, Acrobat 8 and Adobe Reader 8 provide one-button access to Acrobat Connect software (formerly Macromedia Breeze), an easy-to-use, hosted software service for US users that provides immediate access to a personal meeting room for realtime Web conferencing. Along with Acrobat Connect, Acrobat 8 further extends the family beyond simple PDF creation and now enables users to choose the most appropriate means for engaging others, through electronic documents or in realtime over the Web. Acrobat 8 will ship in November 2006 in English, French, German, and Japanese versions. Acrobat 8 Professional will be priced at $450, while registered users of qualifying earlier versions of Acrobat can upgrade for $160. Acrobat 8 Standard will be $300 ($100 upgrade). Update: Acrobat 8 will be available as a Universal Binary application, according to the company.
Creative Suite 2.3 Premium
Adobe today announced Creative Suite 2.3 Premium, the next version of its professional bundle of Adobe applications. Version 2.3 will include its Universal Acrobat 8 Professional software, the newly released version of its PDF workflow software. In addition to supporting industry-standard PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 files, Acrobat 8 Professional now outputs PDF/X-4 for native transparency support, as well as PDF/A for long-term archiving. Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 Premium also bundles Dreamweaver 8, the Web design and development tool acquired from Macromedia. Adobe expects to ship Creative Suite 2.3 plus Dreamweaver 8 (in English, French, German, and Japanese) in the fourth quarter 2006. Estimated street prices will be $1200 for the full version of Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 Premium, $160 for an upgrade from Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium, and $550 for an upgrade from Creative Suite 1.x Premium and Standard. (The Universal version of Creative Suite is expected to ship early next year.)
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