Ambrosia has released Redline, a new racing game for Mac OS X that features an advanced 3D rendering engine and a physics engine that ensures each car has a distinct feel: "Redline also shows that running someone off of the road isn't just cathartic, it's downright fun. Gun the throttle, light up the tires, and hurtle down the track in any of the three racing modes Redline offers: the realistic Simulation mode, an aggressive Arcade mode, or kick it into high gear in the insanely intense Turbo Arcade mode. No matter what your pleasure, take your pick from numerous cars, tracks, and jump into a racing game that delivers adrenaline via digital injection." Redline supports up to 12 people in a network race, either on a local network, or over the Internet.
Apple's iTV media streaming device -- which was introduced on September 12th at the company's special event in San Francisco -- might use a new value chip from Intel which is set to launch within the same timeframe, according to Electronista. Walt Disney CEO Bog Iger recently confirmed the presence of a hard drive in the small wireless relay device, which would likely require a CPU powerful enough to decode H.264 high definition video using at least the 640 x 480 resolution of videos purchased from its own iTunes Music Store. The new Intel chip, currently codenamed "Pentium E1000," is a stripped-down version of the Core 2 desktop platform that uses only a single core and 1MB of L2 cache. This reduction lowers the costs and power requirements such that a device like Apple's iTV could make use of an E1000 variant without compromising Apple's desired $299 price tag.
Apple has quietly updated its iPod U2 Special Edition and lowered its price. The update brings it in line with the current “enhanced” fifth-generation (5G) iPod and reduces price of the U2 iPod—from $329 to $279, just $30 more than the new 5G 30GB iPod ($249)--the new 5G pricing is about $50 lower than the previous generation iPods, according to iLounge. Apple has cut the The iPod U2 Special Edition also comes with an exclusive iTunes Store coupon you can redeem for a 30-minute video of music videos and band interviews. The report notes that new iPod not simply an upgraded-firmware iPod, but sports specs similar to that of the newer 5G iPods introduced earlier this month with a “new, brighter screen" and 14-hour battery life. The iPod U2 Special Edition, which Apple says is "as distinctive as the band it salutes," features a red click wheel and black metal back engraved with the band’s signatures; it was recently updated to the 5G platform this past June.
Apple has once again updated its refurbished offers with its 12-inch 1.5GHz G4 PowerBook ($1,199) featuring 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive; 15-inch 1.67GHz G4 PowerBook ($1,349) with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive; 17-inch 1.67GHz G4 PowerBook ($1,799) with 512MB of memory and a 100GB hard drive; and its 17-inch 1.67GHz G4 PowerBook ($1,899) featuring 512MB of memory and a 120GB hard drive with Bluetooth 2.0. Additional refurbished G4 notebooks currently include the 12-inch 1.33GHz iBook ($799) with 512MB of memory and a 40GB hard drive; as well as the 14-inch 1.42GHz iBook ($999) with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive. Apple refurbished Power Mac G5 systems currently only include the Dual 2.3GHz ($1,999) with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive, as well as the Quad 2.5GHz ($2,699) with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive.
Toon Boom Animation today released Toon Boom Studio v3.5, an update to its animation software. Based on customer feature requests, this latest release provides significant improvements to animation creation and color palette management as well as the addition of new special effects. Version 3.5 also offers a more user-friendly interface with an interactive welcome screen, help wizard, and timeline improvements. In addition, it offers OpenGL anti-aliasing functions to preview animation in real-time. It is available for $400 ($100 upgrade from v2.5 or v3.x) with a special $100 of coupon (TBS350823) good through the end of September. It is available in both English and French. Toon Boom is also available as a 30-day trial.
If this news is accurate, Gran Turismo HD may actually be a step down from GT4. A translation of Famitsu by a member of the Beyond 3D forums suggests that GTHD will come in two editions, Classic and Premium. Premium is described as a "GT5 prologue" that will start with two new courses and 30 cars. That number can double - but only if you pay. The 20-player Classic edition will come with nothing at all, requiring players to spend 50 to 100 yen ($0.43-0.85 US) per car and 200 to 500 yen ($1.71-4.26) per course. With there being an optional 50-plus tracks and 750-plus cars, IGN estimates that a gamer could spend as much as $500 to $845 to acquire all the content. Can GT multiplayer possibly be worth a fraction of that price?
Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the presence of a hard drive in Apple's future iTV streaming media relay. Although useful, the revelation that the iTV could play locally stored content introduced the question of a central processor; the iTV will need processing power strong enough to decode H.264 video using at least the 640x480 resolution of videos bought through the iTunes Store. The solution may be a new Intel value chip set to be introduced in the same timeframe as iTV, reports Ars Technica. Though given the Pentium E1000 name, the new line will be a stripped-down version of the Core 2 desktop platform that (as with the mobile Celeron M 500) uses only a single core and 1MB of L2 cache. This reduction lowers the costs and power requirements to a point where a variant of the E1000 may be suitable for decoding most videos without compromising the $299 price Apple expects for its new hub. The use of the processor would also help Intel showcase its home theater PC initiatives, writes Ars' Jon Stokes.
Namco Bandai has announced Eternal Sonata, a new RPG for the Xbox 360. The game's plot is set in the reveries of a dying composer, who sees in his visions the story of a young boy trying to save a girl from a doomed existence. The outcome of the boy's struggle will determine the fate of the world. In terms of gameplay, Namco is touting features such as "a unique monster morphing system" and "a hybrid of a turn-based and action battle system with a special attack feature dependent on light and shadow." The game will ship to North America sometime in 2007.
Apple today released an AirPort update and Mac OS X Security Update 2006-005 for both Panther and Tiger (Tiger PPC-only also available) systems. Both the AirPort and Mac OS X security update address a reliability problem that occurs on a limited number of MacBook Pro systems as well as address security issues for two separate stack buffer overflows in the AirPort wireless driver that affects Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, a heap buffer overflow that affects Mac OS X 10.4.7 PPC in the AirPort wireless driver, and an integer overflow that affects Mac OS X 10.4.6 Universal in the AirPort wireless driver's API for third-party wireless software. Potential effects of malicious users abusing these security issues range from system crashes to arbitrary code execution. Users can retrieve the update using Apple's built-in Software Update feature, or via Apple's website. [updated]
Live audio recording is a very common feature of digital music players, but is considered an afterthought just as regularly. Few if any players let the owner adjust the recording settings or replace the microphone to improve the final result. Audio engineers, journalists, and others who record digital audio regularly outside of a studio may prefer the iKEY Plus as a more focused device. The small recorder requires an external microphone or RCA audio source, but can record 320Kbps MP3 or uncompressed WAV to any attached USB mass storage, including iPods. Pro-oriented features extend to a microphone input with phantom power, a phono pre-amp for turntables, and a 6-bar VU meter to help balance the overall volume. Manufacturer iKEY-Audio says the enhanced model will arrive in October for $239.
Allume Systems today released StuffIt Deluxe 11, the latest version of its data compression, access, and management tool for Mac OS X. Version 11, now a Universal Binary, features an Archive Manager for quick, convenient easy access to all archives and the ability to automatically group related files with a single click using (StuffIt Collections). In addition, it offers new search tools, including support for Spotlight, allowing users to search through archives located on CDs, DVDs, networks, external hard drives or other “offline” locations. StuffIt also bring support for Strong Encrypted Zip Support (256-bit AES), improved preview image thumbnails, better Mac OS X integration (Automator support) and improved performance, including multiple processor/core support and 20% faster compression.
Members of the official Xbox forums have learned that Microsoft is offering free, extended one-year warranties to all 360's made prior to January 1st, 2006. This means that those consoles are now eligible for free repairs. If Microsoft made you pay for repairs under a shorter warranty, the company will send you a reimbursement via mail. This comes as many gamers continue to complain about 360's displaying the "red rings of death" - lights that indicate total system failure. It's likely that at least some of the failing 360's were produced after December.
Improving physics is quickly becoming a priority for hardware manufacturers and game developers. As games improve in visual accuracy, the expectations of object behavior increase at the same time. Initial experiments with dedicated hardware, however, have been mixed. The Ageia PhysX pioneered the technology but has often been criticized for slowing performance. ATI recently announced that it would address this problem by letting users repurpose Radeon X1600 cards as physics processors; today, news has surfaced that its opponent NVIDIA will build a dedicated physics card that may outperform either solution. In announcing its new P5N32-SLI Premium mainboard for Core 2 Duo systems, ASUS accidentally included mention of "NVIDIA's upcoming Physics card," writes The Register. The leak occurred in ASUS' description of the board's unique third PCI Express X16 slot, indicating that NVIDIA is planning an adapter that would take advantage of the full bandwidth available to the peripheral format. Both Ageia and ATI limit their own physics processing to the much more limited X1 speed. Little else was disclosed in the announcement, but the information is likely intended to accompany a physics card launch in the near future.
JVC today unveiled four iPod-ready sound systems (site not updated) which include its ultra-compact desktop audio system, CD micro system, low-profile boombox with clock radio functions, and full-size CD boombox. The NX-PS1 desktop audio system plays music files from portable players via three diminutive cubes -- a center unit and two matching speakers -- each measuring roughly 4-inches on all sides. A 9-inch cube subwoofer includes a 16cm driver for bass, and an iPod connection charges the player while offering basic playback functionality such as play, stop, skip, and volume control. The device features a USB Host to play files from flash-based audio players, and connects directly to a computer using JVC's USB Audio function for playback of music files through the system. Power output is rated at 10 watts per channel for the main system, while a 30-watt amplifier powers the subwoofer. JVC's NX-PS1 is due to ship this month for $250, and will include an iPod stand as well as a remote control.
We're certainly getting a lot of news out of TGS before it's even begun! Famitsu says that Square-Enix will be resurrecting Front Mission 1st, its 2003 mech strategy game, and porting it to the Nintendo DS. The game will come to Japan this winter with new mechs and an added character from Front Mission 5. Also on Square's plate is Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, a FFXII side-story being helmed by Motome Torishima (FFX-2, FFXIII). Providing new information, Torishima describes it as a somewhat simplified DS game for newcomers to the FF series. Players control an 18-year-old Vaan as he and Panelo first become air pirates. The game will be controlled mainly through the touchpad, and some of the more complex battle options will be stripped out. On the plus side, gamers will be able to traverse the map from the moment Wings starts.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed EyeTV 2 software ($80) from Elgato, which allows users to record and rewind live digital TV.... MacNN has also reviewed Videator 2.0 ($50, shown at right) from Stone Design, its video editing software that uses Quartz Extreme, Core Image, and Core Video technologies found in Mac OS X Tiger.... An updated set of release notes for Microsoft's Windows Media Player (WMP) 11 has revealed that the company is quickly reducing the usage rights for copy-protected Windows Media files.... APC Magazine has reviewed two add-ons -- Saft ($6) and Safari Extender ($10) -- for Apple's Safari Web browser that add a host of new features and options, and slammed computer makers -- including Apple -- over restrictive warranty policies.... WorldSync today announced that its SyncDeK technology played a crucial role in providing asynchronous data replication for a custom FileMaker-based solution for Canon Professional Services (CPS).
GPS units almost always demand that the user choose a destination before plotting its course, but the well-known mapmaker Rand McNally today introduced a system that can suggest its own tours. While the GPS Navigator shares the standard ability to program destinations or find hotels and restaurants, its preloaded North American atlas also includes more than two dozen different suggested trips, each of which not only takes the driver to scenic locations (such as the Maine coast) but also recommends specific food, rest, and shopping at the destination points. The GPS Navigator further offers features above and beyond more basic units: a Detour button automatically finds an alternative path if the route is slow, and the Go Home button immediately calculates the return trip regardless of where the user may be. An MP3 player is also part of the software for the GPS Navigator, which starts shipping on Friday for $500.
Transmitting audio across a home without dedicated cables almost always depends upon wireless adapters, which are frequently prone to dropped signals or compression that affects the resulting quality. Pioneer has developed a new stereo system that avoids wireless broadcasting altogether: its new MT-01 Power Line Sound System uses the same lines that supply its electricity to transmit audio to remote speakers placed around the home. A central base station accepts input from multiple RCA and USB audio sources and then streams it to nearby compatible speakers; a 50W stereo speaker set is included as the primary listening source in addition to a single 5W speaker to project the sound into a nearby room (as many as six speakers are possible). Pioneer has also built in multi-source support that allows different base stations to transmit their audio to different speakers. A remote is standard with the MT-01, which has yet to receive a price or shipping date.
In a bizarre twist, The Ant Commandos have launched a counter-suit against RedOctane, who just recently sued them over their third-party Guitar Hero controllers. The Commandos accuse Octane (and parent company Activision) of breaking federal anti-trust laws, specifically as they relate to customers having to buy both Guitar Hero and the Octane controller at the same time. What's more, the Commandos say that one of their owners, the Topway Electrical Appliance Company, is the real source of the design behind Octane's guitar. Topway used to produce a PS1 device called the Magical Guitar; the Commandos argue that Octane management toured the Topway plant on several occasions, even asking about MG design features. In another incident, Octane once bought up several hundred Magical Guitars. Gamasutra reports that the Commandos have asked for a preliminary injunction against the Octane controller until the lawsuit is resolved.
AMD CEO Hector Ruiz has suggested that Apple will eventually use AMD processors in some of its future systems, so as not to be held "hostage" to exclusive pricing deals from Intel. At a late dinner in San Francisco the executive criticized Intel for reducing competition to a matter of price through its earlier monopoly of computer architecture, and cited previous examples of exclusive pricing deals with Dell as well as other manufacturers. Dell's recent decision to use AMD processors marks the latest in a series of defections that are breaking Intel's once unshakable grip on mainstream computer manufacturers, according to Electronista. [updated]
Jumsoft today released Keynote Animations 4.0, a one-of-a-kind collection of 150 animated objects with transparent backgrounds designed to add pizazz to Apple Keynote presentations and Pages documents. The company says it is the third major revitalization of a Keynote add-on program in the past months--earlier releases included Keynote Stills 3.0 and Keynote Photos 2.0. Jumsoft’s revised animations package contains 50 new movie clips for layering over or under Keynote theme layouts or electronic text files generated in Pages. Within Apple’s Keynote, these animations can be changed in size, rotated, increased or decreased in opacity, fitted with shadows or even overlapped with one another to create extra-special special effects. The full collection of 150 now includes animated illustrations applicable to the fields of business, science, education, engineering, law and many more. Keynote Animations 4.0 requires any version of Apple Keynote or Pages and is available as a download for $45 (upgrades from v3.x are $25).
It's just a minute thirty of the promised six minutes, but for now, it will do. It appears to have been recorded by someone who snuck into TGS in advance of tomorrow's opening. When the full version is available, Gamer Scan will let you know.
Apple continues to distance itself from competitors with a slew of "small but pleasing" improvements, according to one columnist. "For now, fans can take solace in the fact that the creme de la creme of portable media devices has only gotten richer," wrote Edward C. Baig of USA Today. Apple's new iPod offerings, combined with its revamped iTunes software -- which has recently seen widespread criticism from both Mac as well as Windows users -- combine to place the market-leading Cupertino-based company further ahead of competitors struggling to seize some of its share. While Apple did not fulfill every desire on the wishlist of many industry watchers, most agree that the company delivered a satisfactory helping of product announcements and software revisions, coupled with its surprise iTV debut -- a device that wirelessly streams content from a computer to a TV.
Apple's 24-inch iMac, announced earlier this month, is getting rave reviews from the press. Following PC Magazine's review posted earlier today, Computerworld talks about a wow factor in its hands-on review of a full-loaded 24-inch iMac, which offers 30 percent screen space than the 20-inch model: "But you can forget all about the inner workings when it comes to pulling this particular all-in-one desktop computer out of the box. The only thing you're going to notice right away will be the screen. As it tugged it out of the box, two or three other online editors popped up to oooh and aaah, and one of Computerworld's graphics gurus -- who has a year-old G5-based iMac -- admitted flat out that he was 'drooling.' And he wasn't talking about the fast Core 2 Duo processor." The review notes that the Core 2 Duo is between 30 percent and 50 percent faster than the previous generation Core Duo processors, but that that full-loaded iMac ($2,749 from BTO) may be a bit of an overkill for most users.
Extensis today released Portfolio 8.1.1, its Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution for creative professionals. The update brings improved stability and performance, updated Raw camera support, added InDesign CS2 support, and a QuarkXPress 7 Drag-and-Drop support filter. Portfolio 8.1.1 for Mac now includes the InDesign CS2 Filter for extracting embedded previews from Adobe InDesign CS2 files as well as the Raw Filter v3.1 update to include support for Canon EOS 30D. The Windows update also includes Raw camera support for Panasonic Lx1/Fz30 and Fuji s3 cameras. The new update also includes support for QX-Drag-and-Drop XTension for QuarkXPress 7 as well as Intel-based Macs. Registered owners of Portfolio 8 are eligible to receive the free upgrades; a single-user license of Portfolio 8 is $200. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today began shipping its Universal Action Jacket (site not updated), a sport-ready armband case for portable MP3 players such as Apple's iPod. The new case is designed to offer users a means of safely listening to music while running or working out via a built-in adjustable armband, and features a storage pocket for earbuds or keys. DLO's new case provides access to the player's front buttons, screen, and clickwheel without requiring users to remove the player. The case also features a clear front window to protect the iPod's delicate LCD screen from scratches. The Universal Action Jacket is priced at $30, and works with Apple's new iPod nano.
Microsoft has in the past touted the choice of stores that use the Windows Media music format, which is not tied to any particular service. Buyers unhappy with the usage rights at one store could choose another without switching programs or portable music players. However, an updated set of release notes for Windows Media Player 11, the next iteration of Microsoft's jukebox designed for both Windows XP and Vista, reveals that the company is quickly reducing the usage rights for copy-protected Windows Media files. The document states that users of the new version can no longer backup the rights data that permits playback of purchased songs and videos - effectively preventing purchasers from legitimately copying DRM-protected music to other computers unless they receive permission to download new licenses for each computer every time content is bought. Problems also arise if users copy-protect their own media: if license rights are lost, users will have only a limited number of opportunities to restore their usage rights through the Internet even if the music was transferred from a CD. Microsoft's use of independent license files contrasts sharply against Apple's, whose iTunes Store embeds licenses in the files themselves and requires only that users authorize a particular computer once to play songs or videos for a given account, regardless of how the file was transferred to the computer.
Following the launch of probes into more than 100 US companies, including Activision, THQ, and Take-Two, GamesIndustry says that the next target for the Securities and Exchange Commission is EA. The SEC wants to know if EA has been backdating executive stock options - that is, picking a date for issued stocks that's more favourable than when they were actually granted to an executive. This tends to enrich executive staff while depriving the company as a whole. According to EA, the SEC has requested company records going back to 1997.
Google Maps Plugin 2.6 (free) provides Google Maps functionality in Apple's Address Book application. The software enables users to hover the cursor over an address label, allowing selection of a Google Map menu item after clicking on the label next to the address. Google Map menu items include obtaining Google directions, bringing up a Google Map for the current address, and opening Google Maps Preferences. [Download - 288KB] ForgEdit 1.0b2 (unknown) is a programmers text editor for Mac OS X offering customization via user-definable key bindings and modes. ForgEdit boasts tabbed editing, a find feature with support for regular expressions, and more. [Download - 1.9MB] Number Press ($50) is numbering software designed to produce number forms, slips, raffle tickets, and more. The software can import PDFs or other graphic formats to set as a background to print as well as number in a single pass, while an interactive preview displays how the document will print as live numbers change from page to page. Number Press also includes a numbering assistant that guides users through properly setting up the numbering settings. [Download - 4.3MB] iPDA 3.1 ($20) updates the iPod personal information synchronization software with the ability to download Google calendars directly to an iPod, improving RSS feed organization on the portable player, and adding Atom feed support. iPDA enables users to transfer information from Entourage, Stickies, Mail, Address Book, and iCal onto an iPod for easy reading on-the-go. [Download - 744KB] Album Cover Finder 4.2 ($9) adds a faster, entirely new engine for adding artwork to music files to the album cover art discovery software. The latest iteration enables the Artist's Catalog to locate up to 64 album covers with track listings and reviews for each artist search. Album Cover Finder 4.2 also adds the ability to automatically add artwork to music files based on artist, playlist, or the entire library, and a new 'various artists' option improves results for compilations as well as soundtracks. [Download - 4.2MB] iDictionary 1.2 ($7) is a dictionary and thesaurus tailored for Apple's iPod. The update enables users to choose the file type for the dictionary creation, and adds an option to choose an "iPod Contacts" file type. iDictionary 1.2 also includes an update to Sparkle 1.1, and fixes a bug where some licenses would validate and provide no user feedback. [Download - 1.1MB]
Regular smartphone users dissuaded by the larger size of BlackBerries or concerned about the availability of Zenum's Opus Operis in North America should soon have the option of a new model from Samsung. The SGH-i600, revealed today in an FCC filing, uses a 2.3-inch screen that slims the profile of the Windows Mobile-based phone without sacrificing the 320x240 resolution or full keyboard common to many recent, larger smartphones. Samsung has also added a significant number of features that are rare in these devices: cameras on the front and back exist for video calls as well as standard photos and videos, WiFi connects the phone to local networks, and HSDPA mobile broadband (with EDGE legacy support) is present for faster online access. The timing of the FCC document points to a likely release of the i600 in the US before the end of the year.
It's day two of Microsoft's tradeshow uploads, and while there's still nothing spectacular - what with TGS not being underway yet - these may keep you busy while you wait for the good stuff. Vista game montage Fusion Frenzy 2 trailer Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom trailer Team Fortress 2 trailer Table Tennis trailer (Japan only) Theme: Tokyo Game Show It appears that yesterday, Japanese gamers also got to grab a demo of Tenchu Senran for the 360. The full game will be out in Japan on October 5th; strangely, there's no word whatsoever on when or even if the game will ship to Europe or North America. Virtually every Tenchu game has been translated up until this point.
Since not all of us have Xbox Live, or especially access to the Japanese branch of the service, here are some trailers for Blue Dragon, Lost Planet, and Lost Odyssey, all for the 360.
Though Dell's decision to use AMD processors marks the latest in a series of defections that are breaking Intel's once unshakable grip on mainstream computer builders, much attention has been drawn to Apple's exclusive use of Intel chips in its Mac lineup. Comments by AMD's CEO Hector Ruiz at a San Francisco dinner late Wednesday now suggest that Apple will eventually use AMD processors in future systems, according to Bloomberg. Presenting to the event's guests, Ruiz observed that Apple will ultimately use AMD's platform for some models as it does not want to be a 'hostage' to exclusive pricing deals from Intel, as Dell and other manufacturers have been. The CEO also criticized Intel for reducing competition to a matter of price through its earlier monopoly of computer architecture.
Caphyon today released Advanced Link Manager 3.1, updating the tool designed to help manage incoming links to websites. Most major search engines rank Web pages based on the number of links that point to that page. Advanced Link Manager helps monitor these links, informing users about where the links come from and what their content is. The update adds the ability to generate link pages and upload them to a website, as well as support for retrieving referrer meta keywords and descriptions. Advanced Link Manager 3.1 shows reciprocal link details, adds custom notes for each referrer, and includes a category filter to the Domains Information report. The latest version also adds a link category filter to the Unverified Referrers report, and allows users to specify a proxy server for each project. Advanced Link Manager 3.1 is priced at $150 for the professional edition or $60 for the standard version, each requiring Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Electric Butterfly today released its free, open-source version of the RBGarage.com IDE Script for REALbasic 2006. The script enables users to easily search RBGarage.com for related matches to selected Events or code in REALbasic's code editor. RBGarage.com lays claim to the largest independent online resource for REALbasic software developers, featuring more than 1,100 links to plug-ins, classes, modules, examples, tutorials, services, tools, and consultants. REALbasic is a graphical integrated development environment enabling programmers to easily design and implement software concepts without the need to handle low-level tasks -- such as memory allocation -- which consume large amounts of time.
As the most common form of high technology on Earth, cellphones pose an especially acute danger in terms of pollution: the handhelds require much more power than landlines and are thrown away by the millions each year, often leaking toxic chemicals. An initiative to curb the waste generated by these phones was launched on Thursday, says Reuters. Proposed by Nokia, the plan would have multiple cellphone makers (including US-based Motorola), carriers such as Vodafone, and the World Wildlife Fund all cooperating to reduce the pollution created by mobile phones at every step of their useful lifespans. Models released in 2007 should use fewer toxins and less overall power, says Nokia, and will have alerts that tell users to unplug wall chargers when a phone's battery is full. Similarly, carriers have pledged a greater emphasis on recycling and take-back programs and the WWF will educate cellphone owners on environmentally-friendly use.
In brief: Phill Ryu today announced that voting is live for his My Dream App contest which launched three weeks ago, and that he is offering voters free Mac and Windows licenses of Pzizz relaxation software.... Microsoft today encountered further opposition from American software developers such as Adobe and Symantec, which are lobbying European Commission (EC) officials regarding built-in features of Windows Vista that will hurt smaller companies' ability to compete in the market.... After updating iTunes 7, one MacNN reader made several purchases from Apple's iTunes Music Store, but was left guessing about the status of his purchases; the user has posted screen shots of the entire process to document the event.... Northern Softworks today released its updated Alaska Desktop Photo collection, offering users scenic Alaskan photos edited for use as Mac OS desktop pictures.... Dejal is celebrating its 15th anniversary by offering all its products -- including Simon, Time Out!, Caboodle, BlogAssist, and more -- at discounted rates until September 30th.... One MacNN reader has reported strange occurrences of .Mac bouncing legitimate incoming emails, and discovered upon visiting .Mac mail forums that he is not alone.
Speaking with Famitsu, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has said that MGS4 is at least a full year away from completion. Since this is supposed to be Kojima's last Metal Gear, one wouldn't be surprised if it slipped into 2008. In the meantime however we will get to see a six-minute trailer at the Tokyo Game Show, this one comprised entirely of gameplay footage. Details from Famitsu reveal that we'll see Snake using his new optic camouflage, dubbed the Octocam, to hide from his enemies in plain sight. In shadows, the Octocam will render Snake practically invisible. The little robot controlled by Otacon will have defensive capabilities such as an electroshock wire. Lastly, Kojima says that stealth will be entirely optional in the game. You'll be able to depend on it if you want to, but the objectives will not require it. The point is to reach your targets by any means available.
The Core 2 Duo has already captured the high-end of mobile computing, appearing in systems ranging from portable media centers to slim-profile desktops such as Apple's iMac. Intel is now set to address the increasingly important entry-level with a new line of Celeron M chips based on the Core 2 architecture, writes DailyTech. A roadmap obtained by the site notes that two low-cost processors based on the improved chip design are expected to make their debut in the first quarter of 2007 as the first models in the new Celeron M 500 series. The new models will reduce costs by disabling one of the cores of the existing Core 2 Duo design and reducing the level 2 cache to 1MB. Clock speeds for the two versions will reach 1.6GHz and 1.73GHz respectively and communicate with the rest of the system on a 533MHz bus. The base model is expected to sell for $134 each when bought in bulk by stores and system builders, opening the possibility of truly inexpensive 64-bit laptops.
In his latest column, technology columnist David Pogue looks at where Apple has come in the past 10 years, digging up 10-year old predictions from major publications and industry analysts about Apple's pending demise: "Nowadays, Apple is a media darling. The critics like the company’s direction, and so does Wall Street. But it wasn’t always so. This summer marked the tenth anniversary of Apple’s lowest point–a time in 1996 when the company’s profits and products were hitting bottom. (Steve Jobs’s return to the company he founded was still a year away.) Not only was Apple NOT a media darling, it was the dog the media loved to kick. The analysts and columnists were amazingly confident that Apple would not live out the year, let alone the decade." Pogues includes quotes from TIME, Wired, BusinessWeek, Fortune, The Economist, and other industry leading publications.
SRS Labs today announced its SRS iWOW iTunes plug-in designed specifically to bring a richer, more powerful and brilliant audio experience when listening to music, movies, videos and podcasts on iTunes. iWOW, created using several patented SRS Labs audio technologies, was designed to provide immersive, 3D audio playing over headphones, desktop, laptop or monitor speakers: it delivers fully immersive stereo with cleaner sound, deeper bass and the ability for each user to personalize their acoustic preferences, according to the company. The software offers functions for 3D stereo enhancement, center control, bass maximization, speaker output optimization, and improved audio definition. In addition, users of the SRS iWOW plug-in can customize their audio experience with the option to select the preferred SRS Labs patented technology based upon an array of music presets in the toolbox (i.e. rock, classical, jazz, blues, country etc.). The SRS iWOW plug-in comes with a free trial period and is available for $20. It requires iTunes 6 (or later) and Mac OS X 10.2.
Perhaps Ubisoft should've spoken with Gabe Newell about the consequences of weak network security. CVG and British Gaming Blog claim that a whopping 2 GB of images from upcoming Ubi games have made their way to the Internet, many of them from previously undisclosed titles. We can't show them to you, but thankfully, we can describe what's in them. One of the games is Splinter Cell 5 - a.k.a. Splinter Cell Conviction. At least part of it seems to be set in Washington DC. A new Prince of Persia is in development, as are Rocky and Far Cry games for the PSP. Speaking of Far Cry, the biggest news has to be Far Cry 2, which will see you joining a team of soldiers in urban, jungle and desert environments. Destructible weapons may also play a part in gameplay.
Norco Technologies, a manufacturer of server and storage products, has began shipping its NORCO-4618, a PCI-X/PCI SATA host adapter. The adapter offers four external SATA II ports at up to 3Gbps each, enabling users to setup individual drives, RAID 0/1/5/0+1 or JBOD RAID arrays for high performance storage systems. The card is fully compatible with Mac and PC systems. The latest firmware and driver included with the card allow Mac users to connect individual drives and subsystems with SATA port multiplier simultaneously. It is available now for $80.
Already under pressure from the European Commission for alleged antitrust violations and its threatening a delay of its upcoming OS launch on the continent, Microsoft today encountered further opposition from American software developers lobbying EC officials, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both creative suite designer Adobe and security firm Symantec have told European regulators that built-in features of Windows Vista will hurt the smaller companies' ability to compete in the market. Microsoft's inclusion of PDF creation and viewing support should be removed, says Adobe, whose Acrobat software is the origin of the format. In turn, Symantec objects to the integration of anti-spyware tools and other protections in Vista that will dissuade users from buying third-party security software such as Norton Internet Security. The EC has already brought up doubts about the fairness of bundling security software with the OS.
PC Magazine has given the new 24-inch iMac a 4.5 rating out of 5, saying that the performance of Intel's Core 2 duo CPU ship is worth the added cost: "If you've been waiting to upgrade a G4- or G5-powered iMac, or even if you're looking to replace a G4 or single-processor G5 Power Mac, the new 24-inch Apple iMac ($2,794 direct) should be at the top of your list. Powered by Intel's zippy Core 2 Duo processor, it's a system that photo, video, and music enthusiasts—even graphics professionals—could love.... The screen is about as bright as that of the standalone 23-inch and 30-inch Apple Cinema displays, so the iMac could easily work for a layout editor or other midlevel graphics pro. And since it's so powerful, it could also be a good system for the Adobe Photoshop interns in your art studio."
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX