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News Archive for 06/09/25

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Intel's quad-core Xeon CPU roadmap

09/25, 9:10pm

Quad-core Intel Xeons

Intel is planning new quad-core Kentsfield- and Clovertown-based chips for the lucrative server market, according to a new report that discusses Intel's Xeon processor roadmap. The company will release quad-core Kentsfield-based Xeon 3000 series processors for servers in early 2007--after the consumer-based Kentsfield Core 2 Quadro (November), according to Dailytech. The new Xeon X3220 and X3210 processors will be identical to the Core 2 Quadro processors, the report said, and will share the same Kentsfield core: there will be no architectural or socket differences between desktop Core 2 Quadro for desktops and Xeon X3000 series for servers; however, the Santa Clara-based chip giant will use product placement and marketing to help differentiate the prodcts.

Marware ships 2G iPod nano cases

09/25, 8:25pm

Marware 2G Nano cases ship

Marware today began shipping its Sport Grip silicone and Sportsuit Basic neoprene cases, the latest additions to its second-generation iPod nano enclosures. The Sport Grip comes in four translucent colors as well as a clear design, coordinated to match the new iPod nano. The Sport Grip also offers easy access to the hold switch as well as other ports, and features a tapered edge for the clickwheel. The SportSuit Basic is designed with 2mm neoprene, a soft-lined interior, and a play-thru vinyl protector for the clickwheel as well as the screen. A bottom flap and custom hold switch opening provide protection for the second-generation iPod nano while offering easy access to all ports. The Sportsuit Basic also features a low-profile mini clip as part of Marware's "MultiAdapt" interchangeable clip system. The Sport Grip is priced at $10, while the Sportsuit Basic is available for $20 from Dr. Bott. [image]

Indiana board rejects school Mac deal

09/25, 8:05pm

Indiana board rejects Macs

The East Gibson board in Oakland, Indiana has voted to reject a proposal for the purchase of around 200 Apple computers that were headed to a local school, voicing concern about methods used by Apple and some EGSC administrators to facilitate the deal. The proposal had not received final approval from the board, but more than 100 Macs had already shipped to Wood Memorial Junior High School by the time the board convened to discuss the matter. At least two board members and several patrons proceeded to question one superintendent and the board president about the proposal, according to the Princeton Daily Clarion. After a lengthy debate, the board voted by a 3-2 vote to reject Apple's proposal and start "from the ground up."

Adobe Acrobat 8 to be Universal Binary

09/25, 7:05pm

Acrobat 8 to be Universal

Adobe has confirmed that Acrobat 8, announced last week, will be a Universal Binary, making it the fourth application the company has released with native support for both Intel-based Macs and legacy PowerPC-based Macs. The Universal Acrobat 8 will be available as part of an upgrade to its suite of applications for creative professionals, Creative Suite 2.3, which was announced last week and is expected to ship in November. Acrobat, however, will be the only application that supports Intel-based Macs natively, according to the company. "Acrobat 8 is currently the only product in Creative Suite 2.3 that is Universal Binary," an Adobe representative told MacNN. "The next release of the Creative Suite and its point products, including Dreamweaver, will support Universal Binary. We have made it clear recently that Dreamweaver will be replacing GoLive in future versions of Creative Suite and that GoLive will continue development as a standalone product." [updated]

Gefen unveils 4x4 HDMI Matrix switch

09/25, 6:40pm

Gefen 4x4 HDMI switch

Gefen today unveiled its new 4x4 HDMI Matrix switch, a rack mountable unit supporting multiple display sources with plug-and-play capabilities that features a black enclosure. Gefen's 4x4 HDMI Matrix is designed to provide a simple solution for studios, entertainment venues, theaters, conference centers, educational facilities, and any environment that sends multiple HDMI sources to multiple HDMI displays or projectors. The back side is lined with four HDMI inputs, four HDMI outputs, and an RS-232 interface. Matrix switching is controlled by IR remote or RTS-232 serial communications systems. The 4x4 Matrix Switcher ($2,000) includes a RMT-16IR, four 6-foot DVI cables, one 24-volt power supply, a user's manual, and rack ears. [corrected, updated]

Briefly: "Get a Mac" ads; Virgin ban

09/25, 6:10pm

Get a Mac ads, Virgin ban

In brief: One avid Mac user has posted photos of Apple's latest "Get a Mac" commercials, which are currently showing exclusively in Apple stores.... Virgin Atlantic Airways has lifted its ban on in-flight use of Apple and Dell laptop batteries that was originally enacted after numerous reports surfaced of the Sony notebook cells overheating and, in some cases, bursting into open flames.... A Lenovo laptop computer that burst into flames at Los Angeles International Airport this last weekend was likely the result of a defective Sony battery, according to one Lenovo spokesman.... Apple has announced that the version of Flash that ships in its QuickTime software is older than the version available from Adobe, noting that it will still ship Flash with QuickTime but that the feature will come disabled by default.... Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) problems could persist, according to recent tests of Windows Vista, and are occurring near the end of the development cycle.... One Mac advocate has blogged a request for computer manufacturers to bundle OpenOffice.org with every new computer they sell.

PCMag gives Editor's Choice to new iPod

09/25, 5:30pm

80GB iPod, Editors' Choice

PC Magazine has reviewed Apple's 80GB video iPod, rating the device a 4.5 of 5 and bestowing its Editor's Choice award upon the recently-refreshed portable media player. Apple's latest and highest-capacity iPod boasts enhancements over the previous model such as longer video battery life, game support, search capability, a brighter screen, and greater storage capacity. With a lower price, the highest capacity video iPod could use longer battery life for audio playback, as well as a built-in FM tuner and recording capabilities. Additionally, Apple could broaden the device's video-format support. Despite these shortcomings, Apple's 80GB iPod earned PC Magazine's Editor's Choice award for three reasons: the device features "very good music player features;" it integrates seamlessly with iTunes; and it offers "an elegant and simple design."

QuickTime vulnerability surfaces

09/25, 4:55pm

QuickTime vulnerability

SecurityFocus has warned of an arbitrary-script-execution weakness in Apple's QuickTime plug-in when executing QuickTime Media Link files. Attackers can exploit the issue to execute arbitrary script code -- which is limited to the context of the affected application -- and load local content in a user's Web browser, which could lead to further security issues. QuickTime 7.1.3 is known to be vulnerable, while other versions of QuickTime may also be at risk. Apple has yet to issue patches for the vulnerability, and two proof-of-concept QuickTime Media Link files are already available using the .mp3 file extension.

No online play for Virtua Tennis 3?

09/25, 4:45pm

No online in V. Tennis 3?

Sony giveth and Sony taketh away. GamersReports cites Pelaaja, a Finnish Website, as saying that the PS3 version of the game will have no online play when it ships in 2007. Pelaaja quotes Sega producer Mie Kumagai, who explains that Sony has yet to provide the network information needed for coding. The PC and 360 games should remain unaffected. A note: while this story is unconfirmed, it does bear resemblance to solid news about Tony Hawk's Project 8. Will other PS3 games soon be feature-stripped? At this rate, the 360 may be the only reasonable console choice for multiplayer. No third-party Wii games will have online play until 2007. UPDATE: GamesIndustry has confirmed the story with Sega Europe.

Epson ships 80GB color-accurate photo storage viewer

09/25, 4:40pm

Epson P5000 Photo Viewer

Pro digital photographers regularly offload their images to a hard drive, whether in a laptop or a dedicated photo viewer. Neither of these is typically an ideal option for those that travel light: a laptop is usually large and heavy, while a compact photo viewer's basic LCD often hides colors that are present in the actual shot. Epson believes its new P-3000 (storing 40GB) and P-5000 (80GB) photo storage viewers solve this latter problem by introducing a LCD with a four-color filter that increases the color gamut to 16.7 million, bringing the picture quality up to 88% of the Adobe RGB standard used by many photographers and illustrators. Both viewers support JPEG and specific RAW formats. Epson also notes that the new devices double as media players and can play AAC or MP3 video as well as DivX, MPEG-4, or Motion JPEG video on a 4-inch LCD. These updates to the P-series should ship in October at $499 for the P-3000 model and $699 for the range-topping P-5000. Click through for a full-size photo.

Aspyr offers Sid Meier's Civ IV demo

09/25, 4:10pm

Sid Meier's Civ IV demo

Aspyr Media has released a free demo for Sid Meier's Civilization IV for Macintosh. "With Sid Meier's Civilization IV, history as you know it, is history. Rule throughout time and create your own legacy as you guide your civilization from the dawn of man through the space age and beyond. Implement new technologies, conduct diplomacy or wage war to grow your society and become the most powerful leader the world has ever known." The demo offers a tutorial and allows you the opportunity to play up to 100 turns of the full game. Civilization IV is a Universal Mac title, running natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. The game is rated "E" for "Everyone 10+" by the ESRB. Civilization IV is available now for $50.

Windows Genuine Advantage plagues early Vista release

09/25, 3:55pm

Vista WGA Plague

Introduced late into Windows XP's lifecycle, Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was intended by Microsoft as a means of allowing security updates for all users while preventing illegal copies from sharing the feature improvements and general fixes that legitimate owners could enjoy. In practice, a significant number of paying users have been barred from valuable downloads through error or unscrupulous vendors. Recent test versions of Windows Vista show that this problem may well persist, according to ZDNet's Ed Bott. Despite a legitimate download and product key, the release candidate copy of Vista that Bott and other beta testers have received has periodically refused to download updates, inaccurately stating that the affected copies are illegal. The return of Microsoft's controversial anti-piracy scheme is not only a relatively late discovery for Vista users, writes Bott, but in its current state is likely to cause more errors than Microsoft would claim. While they may still be fixed for the final release candidate, these WGA problems are occurring near the end of the development cycle and may affect the final version. Beta versions of Office 2007 are also said to experience the problem.

Misc. news: Xbox Live content, Dolby for Wii, PS3

09/25, 3:40pm

XBL; Dolby for Wii, PS3

Even though TGS is over, Microsoft continues to post new Xbox Live content in advance of X06, scheduled for September 27th. The big news for today is a demo of the 360 port of FEAR, Monolith's horror-themed FPS game. Here's the full list of XBL downloads:

FEAR 360 demo
Battlestations Midway trailer
Eragon trailer
Import Tuner Challenge trailer
Need for Speed Carbon trailer
The Darkness trailer
Mass Effect picture pack
Battlestar Galactica picture pack
TGS Showfloor video #3
Elsewhere on the Web, Dolby Labs has announced that the Wii will support Pro Logic II sound, while the PS3 will use Digital 5.1 for games and Digital 7.1 (with TrueHD) for Blu-ray movies. Wealthy audiophiles take note! Of course, anyone who can afford a 5.1 surround setup can probably afford his choice of consoles.

Apple approaches major catalysts

09/25, 3:25pm

Apple approaches catalysts

ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes today said that "significant catalysts" coupled with strengthening demand for core Mac systems will boost Apple's revenue trajectory, earnings power, and price valuation in the near term. The analyst raised his price target on Apple shares from $90 to $100, and noted the potential for profits up to $400 million from Mac OS X Leopard in the year following its release. The analyst points to Apple's strong back-to-school season, new product as well as software launches -- which will include Mac OS X Leopard, a new version of iLife, and iTV's launch -- and success in the enterprise market later in 2007. Additionally, Apple will benefit from pent-up demand in European markets, even as Apple retail stores appear ready to deliver solid September and December quarters, according to Barron's. "Never in the history of the PC has a company been better positioned than Apple is at this time to both gain share and improve profitability... Apple's software holds the key to additional share gains and margin expansion."

Nokia N83 smartphone with 5 MP camera, hard disk

09/25, 3:20pm

Nokia N83

Rumors of its existence have persisted since May, but until now the Nokia N83 has persisted as little more than a mysterious high-end companion to the N80. Photos inadvertently published by Hong Kong vendor Brando help clarify that mystery and suggest an imminent release given the complete state of the handheld. The N83 will become a defining model for Nokia as it has features rarely seen together in a smartphone: a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (with VGA in front), an FM radio, and a 4GB hard drive for AAC and MP3 songs are all part of the slider design. Other luxury features such as Bluetooth 2.0 and WiFi are equally present. Without a formal announcement by Nokia, potential owners can only expect the N83 to have a relatively high price and to ship before the end of the year.

Metal Gear Solid 4 shots in 1080p?

09/25, 3:10pm

MGS4 screenshots in 1080p

A Japanese Website, Ruliweb, claims to have screenshots of MGS4 running in 1080p resolution. We have one of them on the front page, and two more can be seen after the jump. This would make MGS a fifth title in Sony's tiny "full HD" portfolio - other games are supposed to include NBA 07, Virtua Tennis 3, Gran Turismo HD, and Resistance: Fall of Man.

Briefly: "iWoz" in stores; CenterStage

09/25, 3:00pm

"iWoz" in stores

In brief: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's book titled "iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple and Had Fun Doing It" has hit store shelves.... CenterStage has launched a recruitment drive with a "Developers wanted" section on the main site to help push its project along.... Group Logic today announced that Lampeter-Strasburg School District in Lampeter, PA, has installed ExtremeZ-IP for file and print sharing between 1,300 Mac desktops and Windows servers.... Memorex today introduced its Inkjet Printable media with AquaGuard technology, offering a smear- and water-resistant surface.... Evo Networks today launched its Express Partner Program allowing Mac VARs as well as Mac Technical and Business Consultants the opportunity to offer Evo Networks' Express Platforms to their Apple clients.... The next meeting of the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group (lafcpug) will feature "How did you do that?" night for creative artists to display their work while enabling participants to learn from it.

Netgear Digital Entertainer streams movies and music

09/25, 2:40pm

Netgear EVA700

Although Apple's iTV may be the first media hub to let users purchase online movies and view them directly on a TV, the company is already facing stiff competition from networking specialist Netgear. Its new Digital Entertainer is both the first streaming device of its kind from the company and the first to be certified for Intel's Viiv home theater platform. The latter step ensures that nearby Viiv-certified PCs can connect to and share music, photos, and videos with the new set-top box. Any system using Windows Media Connect or Universal Plug and Play can also supply content to the device. The Digital Entertainer includes a front-mounted USB port to connect to any external mass storage, including iPods. Output is similarly broad-featured: music can be heard through minijack or stereo connectors, while video is possible through RCA, S-Video, and component ports. Netgear says it is shipping the Digital Entertainer now for $269.

iTunes movies to hurt Apple, Disney?

09/25, 2:40pm

iTunes movies questioned

Apple's recent deal with Walt Disney to offer full-length films as digital downloads via the iTunes Music Store could prove ill for both companies if other Hollywood studios view the deal as a competitive move, rather than an opportunity. A new report from the Los Angeles Times highlights the fact that Apple has only Disney on board offering full-length movies downloads -- a total of 75 films -- and that the Cupertino-based company's movie pricing currently undercuts major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Rival studios may also view the deal as a close-knit partnership between Apple and Disney, flagging the duo as a major competitor in the entertainment industry. Regardless, other studios are reluctant to come on board with Apple due to fears of alienating brick-and-mortar retailers, which account for half of Hollywood's revenue via DVD sales and rentals. "The other studios want to wait and see how it goes," said independent media industry analyst Harold Vogel. [corrected]

New Rockstar title announced

09/25, 2:35pm

New Rockstar game

Rockstar has released a teaser for L.A. Noire, a next-gen action-adventure by Australian newcomers Team Bondi. Company founder Brendan McNamara was previously the director of the PS2 game The Getaway. Kotaku notes that the game will be set in a film noir rendition of Los Angeles, where the player will use detective skills in order to solve a string of vicious murders. A lengthier trailer is planned for an October 5th premiere.

Microsoft, Nintendo plan big ad campaigns

09/25, 2:00pm

MS, Nintendo ad campaigns

In the ever-expanding war for the public mind, Microsoft and Nintendo have announced new European campaigns to support their latest consoles. Microsoft is pushing a TV and cinema spot dubbed "Cops and Robbers," the highlight of which is parkour master Cyril Raffaelli (star of District B13). Nintendo, meanwhile, is preparing a campaign worth 10 to 11 million Euros ($12-14 million US) that will spread via TV, samples, and the Internet. Thanks MCV. The "Wii Move You" campaign will be particularly dominant online, effectively taking over Websites run by Lycos, Yahoo and MSN as the Wii's European launch date (December 8th) draws closer. Teasers will begin in October.

Sysgration hybrid mouse and Skype phone

09/25, 1:50pm

Sysgration ASG-142

If Skype is one's preferred form of communication but desk space precludes either a dedicated handset or a desktop speakerphone, Sysgration has developed a particularly well-integrated combination of mouse and VoIP phone. Users of the ASG-142 can treat it as a standard three-button scrolling USB mouse in most circumstances. When they want to place phone calls, the top flips open to transform the mouse into a Skype phone complete with number pad, volume control, and a display for caller ID. The device currently requires Windows for Skype functions but should be shipping soon. No price has yet been finalized.

Tokyo Game Show: Heroes trailer

09/25, 1:35pm

TGS: Heroes trailer

The first trailer is online for Heroes, the new project from Killer 7 creators Grasshopper Manufacture. Like its predecessor, Heroes seems to use cel-shaded aesthetics and a storyline that revolves around assassins. The player controls an assassin who wants to be number one worldwide; to get there, though, he's going to have to eliminate the competition with his high-tech sword.

Samsung's slim C417 world phone arrives at Cingular

09/25, 1:30pm

Samsung C417 at Cingular

Samsung has gained a greater foothold in North America through its A900 designer phone. Nevertheless, many potential buyers have been dissuaded by the relatively upscale pricing on the Korean maker's flagship. US carrier Cingular made Samsung's design more accessible today by carrying the C417, a low-cost phone that still carries many of the features of a more advanced model. At 0.65 inches thick when closed, the handset is still relatively thin compared to many budget phones. It sports a quad-band GSM radio that adds roaming support for some Asian and European networks. Bluetooth and a VGA camera are also standard. Cingular is asking $80 for the C417 with a two-year contract and before special discounts - a price within considerably easier reach than that of the premium A900.

Speck to ship 2G Nano cases

09/25, 12:50pm

Speck to ship 2G cases

Speck Products today announced that its new cases for Apple's second-generation iPod nano will ship just 15 days after the new iPods debuted on September 12th. New Nano cases include the ToughSkin (shown at right) -- a shock-absorbing case with rubberized bumpers and tear-resistant plastic; Canvas Sport -- a sneaker-inspired design made from durable canvas and rubber; and Active Sport -- a case designed for users in training boasting Nike+iPod Sport Kit compatibility made from breathable mesh material with an adjustable Velcro armband and a sewn-in screen protector. Speck's ToughSkin ($30) and Canvas Sport ($30) will ship in colors coordinating with Apple's second-generation iPod nano, while the Active Sport ($35) features a reflective material for safety at night. [images]

Mac OS X threat exposure increases

09/25, 12:35pm

Mac OS X threat exposure

As Apple's Mac OS X operating system increases in popularity, so does its exposure to internet-related security threats. Security firm Symantec has published its latest Internet Security Threat Report, revealing that the number of vulnerabilities identified in Apple's Safari Web browser doubled over the first half of 2006, and that the amount of time Safari users were vulnerable to exploits before Apple released a security fix increased from zero days to five. During the first six months of 2006 malicious users discovered 12 bugs in Safari, 47 bugs in Mozilla Firefox, and 38 bugs in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Mozilla on average fixed its bugs within one day of exploits surfacing, Apple within five days, Microsoft within nine days, and Opera two days.

Mvox Duo headset with voice dial, VoIP, speakerphone

09/25, 12:00pm

Mvox Duo Communicator

Despite their cost, most phone headsets are single-purpose devices that only save the trouble of bringing the cellphone to one's ear. Mvox used its presence at the 2006 DEMOfall Expo to improve on the existing formula with its Duo Communicator earpiece. In addition to the standard role of a Bluetooth headset that privatizes incoming calls, the Duo can be used for voice-activated dialing at near-100% accuracy. A small array microphone is said to eliminate the background noise and other problems that would normally plague voice recognition. Mvox has also opened support to VoIP calling with the Duo and includes a speakerphone function for group calls. Owners can expect roughly 7 hours of battery life in normal mode. The Duo will be available in November for $199.

Kodak debuts EasyShare Z710

09/25, 11:55am

New Kodak EasyShare Z710

Kodak has released a new prosumer camera that the company says is a balance between image quality and features. Electronista reports that the "new EasyShare Z710 has the same 7.1-megapixel resolution as many more expensive compact cameras but uses a much larger Schneider-Kreuznach lens with 10X optical zoom. Kodak promises full manual control for veteran photographers while still giving access to 19 preset modes and the EasyShare function to quickly share photos with computers or printers." The camera also features a 5x digital zoom (50x total zoom), SD/MMC card support, 32MB of internal memory, and many picture editing and enhancement features, such as multiple scene mode, a live histogram display, five color modes, continuous video (VGA 640  480 at 10.5 fps or QVGA 320  240 at 20fps), and burst mode to capture images in succession. Kodak says it expects the Z710 to ship in October for 280 (about $530US, however, US pricing will likely be less).

Commuter folio case for iPod ships

09/25, 11:40am

Commuter folio case ships

Pacific Rim Marketing has begun shipping the latest Commuter folio case for video iPod owners that includes a clear PVC envelope style pocket on the front inside cover designed to hold a subway pass, bus pass, or photo ID. The iPod is held in place with a reinforced leather pocket that provides complete access to all ports and controls. Users can charge the portable player without removing it from the case, and the reverse side of the sleeve features three pockets for credit cards. Another envelope-style pocket facing the credit card pockets stores cash, and is held securely by a leather strap that slides into a belt loop. A zippered compartment on the back side of the leather envelope offers ample space for earbud storage and management with metal posts for quick wrapping of earbud cords. The Commuter case ($60) works with 30GB, 60GB, and 80GB video iPod models.

Apple debuts Aperture 1.5 at Photokina

09/25, 11:30am

Apple debuts Aperture 1.5

Ahead of the Photokina tradeshow in Germany, Apple has announced a new version of Aperture, its professional digital photography workflow solution. Aperture 1.5 is a major update to the all-in-one post production tool for photographers that delivers enhancements across each phase of the entire workflow. Aperture 1.5 delivers a powerful new open library, seamless iLife '06 and iWork '06 integration, XMP metadata support, powerful new adjustment tools and an export API that makes it easy to extend the Aperture workflow to third party applications and services. "Aperture has given photographers around the globe the confidence to work in exciting new ways," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "Now with Aperture 1.5, we've opened the library and extended the workflow to provide a solution that is as flexible as it is powerful." Aperture 1.5 is available this week in English, French, German and Japanese as a free Software Update to current Aperture 1.0 customers. The full version is $300 from the Apple Store.

Epson announces Stylus Pro 3800

09/25, 11:25am

Epson Stylus Pro 3800

Epson today launched the Stylus Pro 3800, its new professional photography, graphic design and prepress proofing printing solution. It features a new compact, 17-inch wide printer design, a new "breakthrough" screening algorithm and Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink technology as well as a new auto-sharing black ink technology that allows for automatic switching between photo and matte black ink modes to maximize image quality on a wide variety of media types. Epson's UltraChrome K3 Ink technology leverages eight individual cartridges that use high-density color pigments for overall color gamut and fidelity along with a high-gloss Microcrystal Encapsulation resin chemistry to create prints with greater scratch resistance and reduced gloss differential. In addition, the technology uses a three-Level black ink system that simultaneously uses black, light black and light-light black inks to produce professional quality black-and-white prints, which it says rival traditional silver halide. (The company has a page dedicated to Intel-based Mac support.)

Kodak introduces EasyShare Z710

09/25, 11:25am

Kodak EasyShare Z710

The American company Kodak is known best for its compact point-and-shoot cameras. In advance of the Photokina show tomorrow, however, it has released a new prosumer camera that the company says is a balance between image quality and features. The EasyShare Z710 has the same 7.1-megapixel resolution as many more expensive compact cameras but uses a much larger Schneider-Kreuznach lens with 10X optical zoom. Kodak promises full manual control for veteran photographers while still giving access to 19 preset modes and the EasyShare function to quickly share photos with computers or printers. Kodak expects the Z710 to ship in October for 279 ($530 US) in Britain including tax; the American price should be less. Click through for profile photos of the new design.

Tremendous cost for Japanese PS3 games?

09/25, 11:25am

Jpn.'s high-cost PS3 games

You might want to think twice about importing PS3 games from Japan. Translated by IGN, a Japanese site called Impress Watch writes that prices for PS3 games may average around 8,800 to 9,800 yen - that's $75 to $84 US. For reference, PS2 games normally sell for about 6,800 yen (about $58), but might occasionally hit the 8,800 mark for blockbusters like Final Fantasy. Blame is laid on the intense development costs of PS3 titles, compounded by the scrapping of reduced third-party royalty charges. The idea was for official third-party games to compete with royalty-free indie products on an open network - but since network development has stalled, Sony may revert to selling a low-cost PS3 while profiting on the software. It's suggested that the company may try to minimize the importance of the $599 PS3 in favour of the $499 model.

Briefly: review; Apple Store Columbia

09/25, 10:55am

Review, Columbia store

In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Miglia TVMini ($100, shown at right), enabling users to watch, pause, record, and rewind free-to-air digital TV on a Mac.... One user has posted photos of the Apple Store Columbia's grand opening, describing a line farther than the eye can see as well as a marriage proposal.... Delkin Devices has unveiled the eFilm ExpressCard/34, a Compact Flash adapter that fits ExpressCard/34 or /54 slots and can transfer data from a Type I or II card as quickly as 20MB/sec.... Storynory is beginning a serialization of the classic story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, offering the audio version as a free podcast.... Bluelounge has unveiled cool feet, its removable and portable laptop feet for Apple notebooks designed to facilitate the escape of heat trapped beneath the unit.... Corsair has debuted its 8GB Flash Voyager drive which uses a dual-channel interface to nearly double the practical transfer rate.

Mercora M service streams music from PCs to phones

09/25, 10:50am

Mercora M Service

Since few cellphones have access to satellite radio, music services built for the handhelds usually require a complete download from a separate source before the music can play. Mercora has today launched a service that not only saves subcribers from having to preload music, but gives them access to a much larger potential collection of music than modern storage would allow. Instead of asking the user to buy songs and transfer them from a computer or a provider's network, the M service streams the user's computer music library to a compatible cellphone on request, giving access to the entire computer's catalog. M is also capable of sharing music from others, according to the company. Subscribers have access to thousands of Internet radio stations and will eventually be able to stream music from the libraries of five other M subscribers without legal restrictions. The service currently requires a Windows PC and a Windows Mobile 5 smartphone but is also a relatively inexpensive alternative to microSD cards: it is offering subscriptions now for $50 per year and says initial subscribers will have free service until the end of October.

VersionTracker Pro comes to Intel Macs

09/25, 10:15am

VersionTracker Pro 4.2

TechTracker today released VersionTracker Pro 4.2 for Mac, enabling users to securely keep their software up to date. The application incorporates a central database of updates coupled with peer feedback to help users choose the right update for each software title. VersionTracker Pro 4.2 allows users to filter updates by operating system, scan UNIX volumes for every Mac OS X file type or format, enhances support for external drives as well as partitions, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. VersionTracker Pro scans local, external, and networked drives to map all of the existing applications as well as updates to ensure users are automatically kept current through customized alerts based on installed applications. VersionTracker Mac 4.2 Pro is available as a three-license version for $50, or $80 for a 10-license cross-platform version (Mac system requirements were unavailable).

Yoggie Gatekeeper: dedicated anti-malware for laptops

09/25, 10:15am

Yoggie Gatekeeper

Security for workers with laptops is important, but is often hard to manage and a serious drain on system performance as programs constantly monitor even the slightest changes in the system. A new startup company named Yoggie Security Systems has developed a much simpler alternative named the Gatekeeper. Instead of loading software on the user's system or storing it on a U3 flash drive, the Gatekeeper is a self-contained security computer. The Linux-based device handles anti-spyware, anti-virus, firewall, and VPN functions itself without asking the user to install any programs that might consume CPU power. It automatically adapts its security based on incoming threats, taking some of the burden away from IT administrators, and can even manage traffic for as many as 5 systems by itself. Yoggie has targeted the initial device at Windows XP users and hopes to ship in November.

Jack Thompson's new lawsuit

09/25, 10:15am

New Take-Two lawsuit

Videogame violence crusader Jack Thompson is set to announce another lawsuit today, this time against Sony and Take-Two. Posting to comments in an article by Game Politics, Thompson says we should expect "what will likely prove to be hugely significant wrongful death action" against the two companies. Presumably the lawsuit will involve the Grand Theft Auto series, since Manhunt has been largely ignored and Bully has yet to ship. Thompson also attempts to attack the gaming industry while drawing sympathy. "One thing Thompson will talk about at the news conference," he writes, "are the ways in which the industry has targeted him and his family for harm in retaliation for his appearance on 60 Minutes..." Specifically, he accuses Take-Two of using the lawfirm Blank Rome to lobby against his efforts on Capitol Hill. He further describes the recent shootings at Dawson College as an "entertainment copycat killing."

Wal-Mart denies iTunes retaliation plan

09/25, 9:55am

Wal-Mart denies threats

Wal-Mart Stores has disputed a New York Post report from Friday saying it was trying to dissuade movie studios from working with other forms of distribution, including Apple's iTunes. On Friday, The Post reported that the world's largest retailer had warned Hollywood studios it may retaliate for selling movies on iTunes amid concerns that Wal-Mart's DVD sales will suffer. Earlier this month, Disney and its sister studios became the first companies to offer full length movies on Apple's iTunes: Walt Disney reported it had already sold 125,000 movies in the first week and expected annual revenue of $50 million through iTunes. Reuters reports that Wal-Mart said it was not pressuring movie studios into shunning online delivery: "Customers want to watch movies and they want to be able to make the choice when and how they want to view them," a Wal-Mart spokeswoman told the publication. "While we recognize there are various current and potential providers of this service, we are not dissuading studios from conducting business with other providers."

ATI readies Mobility Radeon X1700, X1450, X1350

09/25, 9:45am

ATI Mobility Radeon X1700

While graphics in desktop replacement laptops have seen performance upgrades and even two-chip SLI variants in 2006, the mid-range graphics that thinner, more portable systems depend upon have remained largely unchanged since late 2005. NVIDIA began the series of much-anticipated upgrades earlier in September through the introduction of the GeForce Go 7700; on Monday, ATI announced a sweeping update of its laptop graphics line that improves performance without increasing the power draw. The Mobility Radeon X1700 is a refinement of the mid-range X1600 made on a new strained silicon process that improves performance by a relatively modest amount but should extend battery life. In turn, the X1450 and X1350 are being marketed as alternatives to integrated graphics for laptop builders who need improved 3D performance for Windows Vista. Both share the architecture of the earlier X1400 and X1300 versions and use the strained silicon technique to reduce the heat and power that would otherwise keep them out of ultra-portable systems. ASUS is expected to be the first company to use all three new Mobility Radeons in its laptop line and should announce the new computers soon.

Epic Games outsources work to China

09/25, 9:35am

Epic outsources to China

Continuing a worrisome trend for North American workers, Epic Games has decided to found a studio called Epic Games China, GamesIndustry reports. The new outfit will help produce assets for Epic titles, and will reputedly be staffed by employees who have worked on Ubisoft series such as Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six. Not too coincidentally, Ubisoft has its own Chinese studio in Shanghai, which is where EGC will be based. The financial advantages of China are considerable - Epic's Jay Wilbur notes that while the costs per man month in North America are about $9,000, they're equivalent to just $4,000 US in China. This is attributable mainly to exchange rates and lower labour standards.

Fujifilm debuts FinePix F31fd, S5 Pro

09/25, 9:30am

Fujifilm FinePix cameras

Fujifilm today introduced two new digital cameras designed for casual photographers as well as professionals. The FinePix F31fd (pictured at right), due in November, is an update to the 6.3-megapixel F30 that adds an advanced face recognition system: Fujifilm says its technology can find as many as ten faces in a scene and optimize exposure, flash, and focus to improve the accuracy of portrait shots. It also adds an IR-based wireless transfer system that can share photos between cameras and other similarly-equipped hardware. The company also debuted its FinePix S5 Pro, a significant improvement to the company's earlier S3 DSLR model, offering an effective image resolution of 12.34 megapixels using a dual-image sensors The new S5, due early next year, also adds intelligent flash as well as ISO 3200 light sensitivity as well as improved auto-focus and metering, according to Electronista. In addition, the S5 offers three new variations of the original film simulation mode for improved reproduction of natural skin tones.

Briefly: Nano review, Army goes Dell

09/25, 9:20am

Nano review, Army & Dell

In Brief: Giving the new iPod nano four out of four stars, the Boston Herald says that the aluminum body of the lighter and thinner player resolves the previous-generation's susceptibility to scratching and that in some cases the battery may last longer than the 24 hours touted by Apple..... The iKEY Plus, due in October for $240, is a 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.... The early bird fee for Big Nerd Ranch Europe's PostgreSQL Bootcamp, scheduled for mid-November in Germany, is available through September 29.... Dell, who received a NASDAQ delisting notice last week, got the go-ahead last week on a big Army supply contract in which the Defense Department agreed to buy computers, displays, printers and peripherals from Dell and others--that could be worth $5 billion over 10 years.

Nintendo: One million Wiis for North American launch

09/25, 9:05am

1 mil. Wiis for N. America

Nintendo of Canada VP and general manager Ron Bertram has told Mackenzie Financial that there should be one million Wiis across the continent on November 19th. Next-Gen quotes Bertram as saying, "We're looking at a million for North America at launch. If we get what we're supposed to get, this will be our most plentiful launch in the 15 years I've been at Nintendo. All signs are actually extremely positive." Conversely, Sony expects only 400,000 PS3's by November 17th. This is similar to the amount of 360s Microsoft had ready in 2005.

Fujifilm reveals F31fd, S5 Pro cameras

09/25, 9:00am

Fujifilm F31fd and S5 Pro

With the Photokina tradeshow set to officially begin tomorrow, camera manufacturers are quickly stepping up the frequency of announcements that began earlier in the month. Monday marks the introduction of two new models from Fujifilm that serve casual photographers as well as professionals. First is the FinePix F31fd, an update to the 6.3-megapixel F30 that adds an advanced face recognition system: Fujifilm says its technology can find as many as ten faces in a scene and optimize exposure, flash, and focus to improve the accuracy of portrait shots. Also new is an IR-based wireless transfer system that can share photos between cameras and other similarly-equipped hardware. The F31fd should ship in November for an as yet undetermined price. Click through for details and photos of this new model as well as the 12.34-megapixel S5 Pro.

Iogear's Germ Free Wireless Laser Mouse

09/25, 8:55am

"Germ Free" Laser Mouse

Iogear today introduced its Germ Free Wireless Laser Mouse, which automatically protects users from germs and bacteria by leveraging a unique auto-disinfecting surface. It is designed for use in highly-trafficked public areas, such as offices, libraries and schools and is able to inhibit a wide range of antibodies, viruses and algae. The company said that a recent survey from the University of Arizona found that an average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. The outer shell is covered in nanocoating, consisting of titanium oxide and silver nanoparticles that can prevent or deactivate bacteria with 99% efficiency, according to the company. The new mouse, which provdes a 2 meter/6ft wireless range and features laser technology for advanced tracking at 1600 dpi, is available now for $40 and comes with a three-year warranty, carry case, and USB receiver.

Adobe ships Photoshop Lightroom beta 4

09/25, 8:35am

Photoshop Lightroom beta 4

Adobe today announced an update to the public beta of its Lightroom photography software at the Photokina tradeshow in Cologne, Germany. Now called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the fourth beta of the product unites the product feature set for Windows and Macintosh platforms, offering professional photographers a new way to import, manage and showcase large volumes of digital photographs. To date, Adobe said more than 325,000 people used Lightroom, since its launch earlier this year. The final release of the software is expected in early 2007; however, the company did not offer details on pricing. Beta 4.0 offers improved digital photography workflow tools, including a precision white balance selection option and a more streamlined and elegant user interface experience with customizable controls. An intuitive new tone curve adjustment feature provides powerful image correction capabilities, allowing users to visually obtain excellent midtone, shadow and highlight adjustments.

New wireless transceiver for MacBooks

09/25, 8:20am

MacBook wireless extender

QuickerTek today introduced a new wireless transceiver for MacBook owners. The 27dBm Transceiver for MacBooks works with common 802.11b/g networking hardware including Apple's AirPort and AirPort Express Base Stations. Doubling the laptop's wireless range and speed, the new transceiver provides increased range as well as a stronger signal at greater distances. According to the developer, MacBooks can be used further away from network access points such as Base Stations, maintain high speed connections and connect to an increased number of available networks by delvering 500 miiliwatts of RF power -- ten times that found in the stock MacBook. The transceiver, which does not require any additional steps or drivers to alter normal wireless networking, clips onto the top of the MacBook case without velcro and "won't disturb the finish in any way." The MacBook transceiver attaches internally and a thin cable exits out of the case to the external antenna through the AirPort Express port on the MacBook. It is available now for $200 with a one-year warranty.

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