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New .Mac email UI coming
Apple has posted a preview of its upcoming .Mac interface overhaul, which will make the paid web service look like its propietary email application built for Mac OS X: Mail.app is bundled free with every Mac and offers users the ability to download, sort, and organize both POP and IMAP-based email on the desktop. The overhaul will apparently bring the Mail.app UI to the Web, offering an indentical look along with similar functionality, such as drag & drop functions for single and multiple email, a three-pane interface to preview messages without leaving the window, section-based refreshes to reduce complete page loads, quick-reply functions to easily respond without leaving the window, a built-in, fully integrated Address Book, message flagging, and keyboard shortcuts.
Sony Portable Reader
eBook readers have rarely surfaced in North America, lending extra importance to the introduction of even a single model. Sony's introduction on Tuesday of its first mainstream eBook device, dubbed simply the Personal Reader System, certainly carries with it the potential to affect North American attitudes towards digital reading. The new design uses electronic paper to display still text and images using a minimum of battery power, changing the display only when needed. Sony claims up to 7500 virtual pages before the lithium-ion battery inside needs to be recharged, giving enough opportunity to read several large novels. Its 64MB of internal memory is capable of holding roughly 80 books and can be expanded dramatically through either Memory Sticks or SD cards. Lastly, Sony has not restricted the Personal Reader System to text or embedded images: audio is possible using AAC or MP3 files, and image support is present for popular formats like JPEG or PNG. The relatively long wait for Sony's reader is expected to come to an end when the company ships the new model by the end of October for $350.
Forums September 26
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the value of a new iMac in comparison to the Mac Pro line of workstations.... Other users discuss the lack of an IR port on the Mac Pro, explaining that professionals like to relax with Front Row too.... Another user puts forth some cost efficient ways to invisibly protect an iPod.... One member looks for answers as to just how upgradeable the iMac actually is.... Meanwhile, another user shares their experiences with a dead-on-arrival MacBook.
Refurb iMacs, eMacs, LCDs
Apple has updated its refurbished iMac, eMac, and Cinema Display offerings. The apple store is currently offering its refurbished 17-inch iMac 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo ($949) with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive; and its 20-inch iMac 2GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. Refurbished eMacs include the 1.25GHz model ($569) with a CD-ROM, 256MB of memory, and a 40GB hard drive; the 1.42GHz model ($639) with a Combo Drive DVD-ROM/CD burner, 256MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive; and the 1.42GHz model ($799) with a SuperDrive DVD/CD burner, 512MB of memory, and a 160GB hard drive. The company's refurbished Cinema Display flat panel monitors with aluminum enclosures include the 20-inch display featuring an optimal resolution of 1680x1050 for $599; the 23-inch HD display boasting a 1920x1200 optimal resolution for $849; and the 30-inch HD display with a whopping 2560x1600 optimal resolution for $1,699.
Apple patents, HDV seminar
In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's newly granted patents which include a "computing device with dynamic ornamental appearance;" a "method and apparatus for forming and dispatching instruction groups based on priority comparisons;" "Depopulation of a ball grid array to allow via placement;" and two design patents for a "Media device" as well as an "Icon for a portion of a display screen".... Video 4 Musicians is joining Apple and Lowel Lighting to present a free HDV-focused seminar that will teach users the tools and techniques required to create live performance footage, music videos, and behind-the-scenes content.... RingCube claims its new MojoPac software allows users to convert free space on a removable drive -- even an iPod -- into a fully functional Windows XP environment when plugged into another XP system.... TECSoft is set to offer its "no-tears, hands-on" introductory AppleScript training for users with no prior programming experience starting this fall.... Quark today announced that the Metro International newspaper has chosen to adopt QuarkXPress 7 across its entire global network to produce free daily newspapers.
StuffIt Standard v11 ships
Smith Micro Software today released StuffIt Standard Edition 11.0, a Universal Binary release of the bundled compression solution that provides native support for Intel-based Macs, and features a number of improvements to its core compression engine. The improvements deliver faster compression and decompression speeds--especially on dual-processor or dual-core Macs--according to the company. Version 11 expands the Zip format support in the Finder, supports the creation of encrypted Zip archives and provides Mac users with the ability to open "strong encrypted" Windows Zip archives that originated on a PC. StuffIt's improved Zip compression technology permits users to create Zip archives that are smaller than those created by the Finder, while retaining full compatibility with all existing Zip applications on both Macs and Windows-based computers. StuffIt Standard Edition 11.0 is $50. Registered users can upgrade to StuffIt Deluxe for $30, or upgrade to StuffIt Standard Edition v11 for $15 (through March 31, 2007).
Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 update
Apple today released Final Cut Pro 5.1.2, an update to the company's professional video editing application. The Universal update, available as a 28MB download provides important bug fixes and compatibility updates for certain Canon, Sony, JVC and Panasonic devices as well as "addresses effects compatibility issues and video format compatibility, and resolves long-standing issues with video scope performance and audio output." The company also released Pro Applications Update 2006-02, which addresses several issues with underlying frameworks and shared components for Apple's professional applications and is strongly recommended for all users of: Final Cut Studio 5.1, Final Cut Pro 5.1, Motion 2.1, Soundtrack Pro 1.1, DVD Studio Pro 4.1, LiveType 2.1, Compressor 2.1, Apple Qmaster 2.1, and Final Cut Express HD 3.5.
CalDigit, Mac Pro support
CalDigit today announced that it is shipping its PCI-e controller cards and SATA II RAID products with Mac Pro support. The company's FASTA-4e PCI Express card works reliably in Apple's new Intel-based Mac Pro systems, and its FASTA-4e SATA card supports any port multiplier -- up to 20 drives -- or SATA Dumb boxes. "We know many Mac Pro users have been waiting for such a SATA solution," said Jon Schilling of CalDigit. Any CalDigit customer requiring Mac Pro support that purchased a FASTA-4e card/S2VR storage system can download the latest driver for free.
Centrify today announced Active Directory integration for Oracle, DB2, Sybase, and Informix databases as well as SAP R/3- and NetWeaver-based applications running on UNIX and Linux systems. The company's Centrify DirectControl allows organizations using Microsoft Active Directory to centrally manage user authentication across a wide range of heterogeneous systems and Web-based applications while also controlling access to popular databases and packaged applications such as Oracle and SAP R/3. Users gain single sign-on to all key systems, applications, and databases they require access to, regardless of the organization's underlying IT infrastructure. Centrify DirectControl is available on more than 80 operating system versions and Web applications, and is available now as a beta release. The final release is due to ship in December of this year. Pricing will be announced when final versions are shipped.
Intel offers $1m challenge
At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Intel CEO Paul Otellini today offered a $1 million reward to the first computer manufacturer to develop a small, style-oriented PC using both Intel's Core chip and Viiv home theater technology. Otellini discussed the advancements in case design made possible by the lower power consumption of his company's Core processor, saying that smaller and more stylish PCs are needed to advance beyond the current standards of design. Although the Intel executive did not explicitly name Apple's Mac mini desktop system when announcing the competition, the design closely matches most of Otellini's criteria. He notably allowed Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller to make an unprecedented guest appearance before the competition announcement to explain how the Core architecture has helped Apple's design process, according to Electronista.
Intel on quad-core, 45nm
At his keynote at the Intel Developer Forum, company CEO Otellini discussed new details around the company's plan for delivering the industry's first quad-core processors for PCs and high-volume servers. As reported previously, the first processor, targeted at gamers and content creators, will be ship in November and be called the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor, instead of the previously anticipated "Intel Core 2 Quadro." The quad-core chip will feature a dramatic 70 percent performance improvement over today's Intel Core 2 Extreme processor, according to the company. In addition, Intel's CEO touted a Core 2 Duo challenge and was joined on stage by Apple exec Phil Schiller, who talked about innovating using Intel's Core-based line of processors.
Otellini keynote at IDF
Apple exec Phill Schiller jointed Intel CEO Paul Otellini on stage at Intel's Developer Forum in San Francisco, where he discussed how Apple has been able to innovate with sleek form factors and leverage the Intel Core family of processors across their entire computing product line. It was the first ever appearance of an Apple executive at IDF. Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, touted Intel's Core architecture and performance of the new Core-based chips and explained how the Core architecture has helped Apple's design process, following Intel's $1 million Mac mini design challenge. Schiller said it was "just the beginning of the things that Intel and Apple can do together to bring to market the best computers that consumers and professionals have ever seen," according to one report. Otellini also looked ahead to Intel's next-generation 45nm technology, which he said was on track for production in the second half of 2007. Otellini disclosed, for the first time, that the company has 45nm products already in development across desktop, mobile, and enterprise segments. In addition the chip giant's CEO, struggling to fight off AMD's growing marketshare, touted power efficiency and said it would ship the first quad-core processors for desktop PCs and high-volume servers in November.
X06: Colossal rumours
Be wary of the source, but a guest poster at Neoseeker claims to have secrets from tomorrow's Microsoft press conference. It's a mouthful: Halo 3 will purportedly be the first 360 game in native 1080p, and the title's multiplayer modes may support up to 64 players. Rare will supposedly show off a new Killer Instinct game, complete with a four-player tag mode and a demo playable on the showfloor. The option of a black 360 will be announced for Christmas. If you've got Xbox Live, there's supposed to be an avalanche of content headed your way between the 27th and 29th. Here's the suggested list:
Demos:Stay tuned to Gamer Scan to see if any of these rumours are confirmed.
Splinter Cell Double Agent multiplayer
Forza Motorsport 2
Sonic the Hedgehog
Need for Speed Carbon
Call of Duty 3
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Gears of War single-player and multiplayer
Halo 3 trailer
Picture Packs and Themes:
Call of Duty 3
Intel Reward to Beat Mini
At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today, Intel CEO Paul Otellini discussed the advancements in case design made possible by the lower power consumption of his company's Core processor. Smaller, more stylish PCs are needed to advance beyond the current standards of design, Otellini said. Notably, the Intel executive cited Apple's Mac product line as an example, allowing Apple senior VP Phil Schiller to make an unprecedented guest appearance during the Developer Forum keynote speech to explain how the Core architecture has helped Apple's design process. Otellini subsequently issued a challenge to other manufacturers: his company will offer a reward of $1 million to any manufacturer who develops a small, style-oriented PC using both Intel's Core chip and Viiv home theater technology. As described, the competition effectively asks system builders to compete against the compact, media-focused Mac mini, whose relatively unique construction already fits almost all the requirements of the contest except for the use of Windows XP Media Center. Companies have until the next Intel Developer Forum in March to create their finished designs, which will be judged by a group of computer and style experts based on the system's features and visual appeal.
Pro Studio RAID solutions
EZQuest has introduced a new line of Pro Studio Raid SATA storage solutions, which includes three models: Dual Multi-Lane, Single Multi-Lane PCI-Express and PCI-X. Designed for content creation professionals who have outgrown their current array of external FireWire drives, the storage solutions are available in Single-Channel 1.28TB, 2.0TB, 3.0TB, and Dual-Channel 2.56TB, 4.0TB, 6.0TB versions. Featuring four (4) or eight (8) hot-swappable 3Gb SATA II drives, the new solutions support complex and intensive 28/96 multi-track audio projects, by using innovative Multi-Lane technology. Dual-Channel is capable of delivering over 560MB/s sustained data throughput, while PCI-Express offers over 240MB/s and PCI-X delivers over 200MB/s sustained data throughput. All systems support 24-bit, 96kHz audio, DV25/DV50 and 720P HD and RAID 0/1/5/10/50 or JBOD as well as include a 3-year limited warranty. The Pro Studio Raid storage solutions are available now: Single-Channel systems are: $2,000 for 1.28TB capacity; $2,800 for 2.0TB capacity; and $3,750 for 3.0TB capacity. Dual-Channel systems are: $3,000 for 2.56TB capacity; $4,770 for 4.0TB capacity; and $6,630 for 6.0TB capacity.
SanDisk Extreme III 16GB
Professional photographers quickly find the limitations of flash memory. Cards that would normally store hundreds of photos in JPEG format may only store a few dozen in the uncompressed RAW formats used by most higher-end SLR cameras, making only the largest cards useful for wedding photographers and others who need uninterrupted shooting. SanDisk knows this and today introduced one of the largest flash capacities to date: its new 16GB Extreme III CompactFlash card stores more than virtually any other card in the industry, according to the company. Also, the new 16GB model is capable of a minimum 20MB per second in reading or writing data, allowing them to be used for relatively fast recording such as burst photography and video. SanDisk is shipping the new high-capacity card in December for $1050 alongside a lesser 12GB version, which will retail for $780. An improved CompactFlash card reader optimized for the Extreme III will be released in November for $25.
Wallop social network
Microsoft today launched Wallop, its unique approach to social networking websites that offers an innovative graphical-interface to personalization tools and interactive elements as well as traditional social networking features such as groups, network affiliations, blogs, music, photo galleries, messaging, profiles, etc. Launched as an invitation-only network, Wallop uses personalization features along with its graphical Flash-based interface to begin a new genre of ad-free social networking--driven only by the sale of personalization tools from its marketplace. "Central to Wallop's business model will be Adobe Flash developers and designers who will sell their personal creations on Wallop's marketplace," the company said. "Now Flash experts, who have been responsible for many of the most innovative Web concepts, can make money doing what they love without any of the business hassle."
Sony's PS3 kiosk campaign
Sony will have five times as many playable kiosks for the PS3 as it did for the PS2, say the finance reporters at Bloomberg. The company is investing $30 million US to spread 15,000 kiosks throughout stores in Canada and the United States. By contrast, Sony had a "mere" 3,000 kiosks for the PS2 launch in 2000. SCEA COO Jack Tretton describes the escalation an attempt to prove the worth of the new console. "Once the consumers get their hands on a PS3 and understand what's under the hood, I think price will not be a factor in the decision-making process," he says. The kiosks should also serve as a handy means of stealing attention away from the Wii and Xbox 360.
MojoPac PC Profiles
Previously, storing personal settings and programs on a portable device required explicit hardware support. The most common format for this is the U3 flash drive that can be set to automatically load when used with a computer. Software developer RingCube says its new MojoPac program makes this possible for the iPod as well as most any USB storage hardware. Users can convert free space on a removable drive into a fully functional Windows XP environment when plugged into another XP system, complete with personalized settings for the OS and individual programs; anything installed when using MojoPac is copied only to the USB drive and not the host PC. RingCube suggests that the software is ideal for business users who may have very specific work settings or gamers who want to keep their custom game profiles when playing at friends' homes or LAN parties. MojoPac can be downloaded now for $30; a free trial version is also available.
Flash media at Photokina
Both SanDisk and Kingston today announced high-capacity 4GB Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) cards. SanDisk's announcement came from the Photokina trade show, boasting write speeds of 9MB/sec and read speeds of 10MB/sec for the new portable storage card. Sandisk said the cards target digital photography enthusiasts with 5 megapixel or higher resolution digital cameras, and promised to bundle its MicroMate USB 2.0 card reader with the cards ($220) when they ship in October. Kingston announced that it will begin producing its new SDHC Class 2 card ($200), and enhance the functionality of its existing 15-in-1 Reader to support growing storage demands. Kingston will back its new card with a lifetime warranty, promising transfer speeds up to 480Mbps.
Square-Enix dodging PS3?
It's widely known that Final Fantasy XIII will be a PS3 game, but what about the rest of the Square stable? "We don't want PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them," says Michihiro Sasaki, a Square VP speaking with the Wall Street Journal. "But we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much." As a result, the Journal says that series like Kingdom Hearts may wander to competing platforms. Square has yet to decide which console will get Kingdom Hearts 3. The Wii may be the logical destination, since the 360 is terribly unpopular in Square's home country of Japan.
Microsoft has been criticized in the past for its slowness in acknowledging the success of web-based services that aren't under its control: Windows Live Spaces has done little to usurp MySpace's hold on social networks, while YouTube rival Soapbox is still in a public testing stage. A sign that Microsoft is willing to take a more aggressive approach was revealed today by its introduction of a second, more advanced social networking site. Named Wallop, the new site is the offspring of Microsoft's research labs and promises a more experimental format than any of its challengers. A relatively new addition is live chat: users can socialize with each other live in the web browser. Page owners can similarly change the layout of their sites visually without having to use the code sometimes required on other networks. More radical still is the business model. Instead of the advertising that dominates MySpace, Wallop asks users to buy some of the animation and music elements that customize their homepages for between $1 and $4 each. The company hopes that the more competitive socialites will be willing to occasionally pay for the privilege of a more individualized space. Access is currently limited to e-mail requests and invitations from the company and other members, resembling the format once used by the college-only Facebook.
Revolution 2.7.4 released
Runtime Revolution today released Revolution 2.7.4, updating Revolution Media, Revolution Studio, and Revolution Enterprise. The release includes 49 features and improvements, including a hover icon that allows users to highlight objects when moving the mouse over them. Other new features include proportional resizing, multi-line tooltips, the ability to insert data into the middle of an XML document, and the ability to add a cancel button to a progress bar when zipping or unzipping items using the built-in revzip feature. Runtime Revolution is offering a free three month trial of its one-year update program, as well as a 50 percent savings for purchasing customers. Revolution Media is available for $50, Revolution Studio for $300, and Revolution Enterprise for $900 (system requirements were unavailable).
X06; Lego SW II demo
Microsoft plans to shed a considerable amount of light on some previously closeted games, says CVG. At X06, starting tomorrow in Barcelona, MS should be should be showing "MORE than just another trailer" for Fable 2, Gears of War, Viva Pinata, and Forza Motorsport 2. Assassin's Creed will have a major presence, as will the new Alone in the Dark game. A Windows Vista showcase should feature Alan Wake, Bioshock, Shadowrun, The Darkness, and Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. While you're waiting though, Microsoft's Bringing it Home campaign continues on Xbox Live. Today's special is a demo of Lego Star Wars II, weighing in at a little over 500 MB. The sum of new content is listed below.
Lego Star Wars II demo
Forza 2 "Physics & Damage" trailer
NBA 2K7 trailer
Sonic the Hedgehog trailer
Shrek 3 trailer
Just Cause trailer
NHL 2K7 trailer
The Darkness trailer
Cha-Ching Beta released
Three Mac developers have released Cha-Ching Beta, a new money management application that provides a simple overview of money coming in and out. Users can tag each transaction with keywords such as "bill," "food," "impulse buy," and more. The Universal software also tracks pending transactions such as IOU's, bills, and invoices. Apple iSight integration allows users to photograph items for insurance or tax purposes, and the application integrates with iCal as well as Address Book. Cha-Ching supports custom "Smart Drawers" to filter through the transaction library by title, keywords, amount, and more. Cha-Ching Beta is available for $15, though the price will rise to $25 when the application is officially released in non-beta form (system requirements were unavailable).
Sirius, FuzzySharp, ATI
In brief: Sirius has introduced the Stiletto 100 (pictured at right), its first live portable satellite radio with Wi-Fi capability.... FuzzySharp Technologies has licensed patents covering advanced 3D graphics invented by Dr. Hong Lip Lim during his research in Australia for his PhD thesis from ATI Technologies.... Sigma today released two new camera models that take advantage of the 14 megapixel digital SLR unveiled today by Foveon.... Speck today announced that it will begin shipping its new cases for Apple's second-generation iPod nano on September 27th.... Nokia has released a suite of N-series media phones, some of which are capable of playing music.
FormRouter adds support
FormRouter today announced new support for non-Windows environments including Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Unix. FormRouter's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution enables non-technical subscribers to deploy intelligent PDF, HTML, Flash and other form formats in minutes with no servers and no programming. Upon submission, completed forms, optional attachments and entered data are routed securely to an electronic data store located on the form owner's desktop in near real-time. The FormRouter Client Tool enables one-click, secure download of form- collected data directly to popular database formats or text files. The Mono Project provides the necessary software to develop and run .NET client and server applications on Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, Windows, and Unix.
Sony TX EVDO Rev A
Sony's TX laptop line has always stressed portability over performance. This is certainly reflected in a significant update to the TX introduced today that shifts attention primarily towards the laptops' networking than raw speed. The TXN10 is one of the first laptop models to receive built-in support for EVDO Revision A mobile broadband, which will first be launched by Sprint later this year. The 11.1-inch computer has an external antenna to help reach the 800Kbps maximum of Sprint's new network. Sony is also upgrading the performance of the systems by replacing the current Pentium M processors with low-voltage Core Solos that should still maintain an impressive 5 to 11 hours of battery life. The TXN10 will be available later this week for $2300 when built with the EVDO option.
d2 SATA II 3Gbits drive
LaCie today unveiled its d2 SATA II 3Gbits Hard Drive Series, new desktop hard drives with interface speeds up to 3Gbit/s--twice as fast as LaCie's first-generation SATA I 1.5Gbits drives. LaCie d2 SATA II 3Gbits Hard Drives Series offer up to 500GB on one disk and utilize the newest SATA drives with Native Command Queuing and a 16MB of cache for increased performance. In addition, the 500GB drive has a smart fan that shuts off when not in use, according to the company. The sleek and compact d2 case can stand vertically to save desktop space, be laid horizontally to stack multiple drives, or rack-mounted to fit into an audio/video setup. LaCie d2 SATA II 3Gbits Hard Drives are available immediately from LaCie direct and will be widely available via LaCie's specialized dealer network later this month. The drives, which include LaCie Backup Software, are available in capacities of 250GB ($150), 320GB ($180), and 500GB ($280).
Logitech wireless headset
Logitech today introduced its FreePulse Wireless headphones, its stylish second-generation cordless headphones for Apple's iPod and MP3 players. The new headphones "deliver the complete freedom of experiencing digital music with no strings attached," according to the compay. The FreePulse Wireless headphones are half the weight (only 2.1 ounces/60 grams) and size of Logitech's first-generation product and are more flexible and durable, thanks to the high-carbon spring-steel headband. The new version delivers twice the performance as well as enhanced bass with its special bass boost feature and improved wireless performance with Bluetooth 2.0 Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) wireless technology. The FreePulse Wireless headphones are expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in October for $100. [image after jump]
TOLIS ships BRU LE 1.3
TOLIS Group has released BRU LE 1.3, an upgrade to the company's backup and restore solution for Mac OS X. Version 1.3.0 delivers improved functionality, ease-of-use, and performance as well as native support for Intel-based Macs. Version 1.3 includes a new "QuickBackup" mode, multi-threaded design, enhanced disk to disk (D2D) file management support, support for sending task mail through an intermediate mail server, dramatically improved tape I/O performance for newer tape technologies such as SDLT, LTO-3, and SAIT, improved administrative authentication, and Universal Binary support. The QuickBackup mode simplifies immediate backup needs by allowing users to drag and drop files, folders, or complete disk volumes from the desktop, select the backup media, and click the "Start Backup" button; while enhanced disk archive management provides automatic date and time stamping within the archive. Current LE technical support customers will be upgraded for free and will be provided new licenses. Upgrades for non-support customers are $70. Pricing starts at $700 (server + 2 clients). Additional clients start at $50.
Wii tops Toys 'R' Us list
The Wii has become not just the first game console on Toys 'R' Us' holiday "hot toy" list, but also the first console to reach number one. Reuters reports this as extremely significant, since the company insists that any toy on the list be available in plentiful quantities. The PS3, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found, in what appears to be a snub to Sony. Toys 'R' Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh explains. "The PlayStation 3 is really geared to a savvy gaming enthusiast," she says. "The Wii system appeals to young kids as well as adults." Other toys on the hot list include Fisher-Price's T.M.X. Elmo and Lego's Mindstorms NXT.
Scandinavian iTunes talks
Negotiations between Apple and Scandinavian governments over iTunes restrictions have made "surprising progress," according to Norway's official consumer advocate. "Our meeting was much more constructive than I expected it would be," said Bjorn Erik Thon, director of the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman's office. "We argued and did not agree on a lot, but we discussed all issues." A final resolution to the dispute may require Apple to change its iTunes business model in Norway as well as several other Scandinavian countries, according to the International Herald Tribune. Representatives from Sweden, Denmark, and Finland attended the meeting, all of which have laws similar to Norway to protect consumers, and all have agreed to follow Norway's lead.
Ruggedized laptops are relatively commonplace. General Dynamics, Panasonic, and Twinhead already ship portables capable of surviving extremely harsh conditions. Even so, none of these system builders have adapted this durability to the newer ultra-mobile PC format - a design arguably better suited to soldiers in the field or workers in hazardous conditions. Specialist electronics company Black Diamond has took it upon themselves to release the first rugged UMPC, named the SwitchBack. Its computing features are modest by ruggedized and UMPC standards with only a 1GHz Celeron, a 40GB hard drive, and a 5.6-inch touchscreen as standard. Where it excels is its suitability in areas where accessories or repairs may be impractical. Alongside a shockproof case, the SwitchBack has a replaceable hard drive and can also mount attachments that add backups or extra features: examples given by the company include a breathalyzer, a two-way satellite radio, or even an entire second system that can run a separate operating system such as Linux or Windows CE. Pricing for the SwitchBack is handled on a case-by-case basis, according to Black Diamond, but models running Windows XP will ship by the end of 2006 with others arriving in spring 2007.
Toshiba Satellite C2D
Toshiba used the initial unveiling of the mobile Core 2 Duo processor to update its HD DVD-equipped Qosmio line. The computer maker is now using the wider availability of these chips to upgrade the performance of its less expensive Satellite line. Most prominent is the gaming-oriented Satellite P105, a 17-inch laptop which starts with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo and can be upgraded to a 2GHz model with 2GB of RAM and a GeForce Go 7900 GS video chipset. Similarly improved is the Satellite R25 convertible tablet PC with a 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 100GB hard drive. Lastly, Toshiba revised the 15.4-inch Satellite A105 and has given its top model a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, and 200GB of hard drive space. The new Satellites are shipping now and vary on price depending on configuration; the range-leading P105 model sells for $1999.
Foveon unveils X3 DSLR
Foveon today announced the release of its 14.1 megapixel X3 DSLR image sensor, the highest resolution X3 sensor available, according to the company. The new sensor -- which provides a 40 percent increase in pixel count over the previous X3 DSLR sensor and will ship in the Sigma SD14 camera -- incorporates design as well as process enhancements that improve performance at long exposures and high ISO speeds. Foveon claims that its proprietary X3 technology is the only image sensor technology that stacks red, green and blue pixels vertically, increasing the information density of the recorded image while simultaneously eliminating the color sampling artifacts found with other image sensors.
Gran Turismo HD info
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi has let a bit more information out to Eurogamer and IGN. While many of the basic facts about the game have been correct, the physical software for the Classic edition should ship at an extremely low price, possibly as little as the cost of the disc and manual. The number of digital downloads for Classic may be a bit higher than anticipated; Yamauchi mentions a target of 770 cars, 51 tracks, and 4,500 "items." For GT fans though, the most exciting announcement has to be the overdue addition of car damage. It won't be integrated right away, but Yamauchi figures it should be introduced by 2007. Within a few months of that, we should also expect to see new AI routines. In the long run there are plans for a PS2 game nicknamed "Gran Turismo for Boys," and Yamauchi says he hopes to connect Gran Turismo PSP with the PS3 series.
Nokia N95 N75 and More
Nokia believes that its premium N-series smartphones are so relatively advanced that it refers to them as multimedia computers. After a slew of phone updates today as part of the company's Open Studio 2006 in New York, this description may well be accurate. At the forefront of the new lineup is the N95 (pictured), which has enough features to replace multiple other devices by itself. It includes a 5-megapixel camera for photo and video recording as well as built-in GPS mapping functions. Appropriately given its map emphasis, the N95 can additionally connect to either GSM or WCDMA networks abroad and includes EDGE broadband support for browsing the Internet. Storage is also plentiful with 160MB of internal storage and an included 128MB miniSD card (up to 2GB of miniSD storage is optional). Users are encouraged to take advantage of this by means of a two-part slider design: while one slider holds the standard number pad for dialing, another at the top of the phone reveals dedicated music controls for AAC, MP3, and WMA songs. Nokia has not officially determined a launch date or price for the new model. Click through for extra photos and details of the N75 as well as the new Music Editions in the N series.
Beatsuite.com today launched its "New Music Podcast" showcasing royalty-free music from its online library. The New Music Podcast features tracks from various styles as well as genres which include gentle moods, classical music, dance music, hip hop, and business tunes. The company will debut a new episode each month, allowing users to listen and link directly to files on the Beatsuite.com website minutes afterward. The podcast also sends out recommendations as well as Beatsuite.com's personal favorites, providing users with some ideas of the selection available.
FileMaker K-12 resources
FileMaker today announced two new resources designed to improve school productivity as well as performance for K-12 administrators, teachers, and technology coordinators. The FileMaker School is an online resource that showcases many innovative examples of how actual schools are using FileMaker Pro solutions that impact school operations, student performance, and professional development. FileMaker School solutions are grouped into six major categories which include student information; teacher desktop; curriculum management; personnel and professional development; school operations; and special education. A second resource, the FileMaker K-12 Advocates program, provides avid FileMaker K-12 users with a live online forum available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for networking with colleagues and helping advance best solution practices within the K-12 field.
Price of US PS3 games
Whereas some people had believed that Japanese game prices would carry over to North America, publicly available information begs to differ. By simply browsing the SonyStyle Website, one can see that the US price of PS3 games is holding at $60, which is exactly what Sony has been saying for months. There's always the possibility this could change, but it would be monumentally unwise to alter the costs of pre-orders after the fact. $60 is also considerably high for the North American market as-is.
New Mini mount debuts
H-Squared today announced that it has spun out its mount business into a new company, and unveiled a new Mini mount for Apple's Mac mini systems. The new bracket allows users to mount the Mac mini in nearly any orientation -- on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. The latest design is stronger than previous models, but features a lower profile when looking at the Mac head-on. Optional backlighting is once again available, featuring a single LED with an on/off switch inserted into the mount while drawing power via USB. A channel behind the mount provides ample room for cables to drop behind the mount when mounted on a wall, and provides ample clearance for a shelf-mount application. The new Mini mount allows full access to all ports regardless of how the Mac mini is mounted, and features 1/4-inch acrylic with a new round-over edge. The latest Mini mount ships for $55 with backlighting or $40 without, and is available in clear only.
Sirius Stiletto 100
Sirius has finally delivered its response to XM's current dominance of 'true' portable live radios several weeks after a formal announcement. Bringing flexibility to Sirius subscribers is the newly announced Stiletto 100, whose features are expressly designed for traveling listeners. Beyond the key feature of listening to live Sirius broadcasts without a car kit or home receiver, the Stiletto can record 6-hour blocks of any programming for later playback or 10 hours of individual songs from music stations. Up to 100 hours of total Sirius content can be stored on the radio's 2GB of internal flash storage. The Stiletto also features tight integration with Yahoo! Music: songs bookmarked during a live radio broadcast can be purchased later as WMA files when the user returns to a Windows PC and even transferred back to the player as permanent copies. Unprotected MP3 and WMA songs are also supported. Lastly, Sirius has incorporated WiFi to give the player access to the network's Internet radio services at any access point, keeping the user connected even if the satellite signal is blocked. The Stiletto 100 should ship by the end of this month for $349 (the product page currently lists an incorrect $379).
Reason tutorials offered
MacProVideo.com has released "Reason 203: REX & FX," a Propellerhead tutorial video program demonstrating how to create REX files and add Reason's built-in DSP effects. More than just a quick tour, the tutorial demonstrates the "how" and "why" of using Reason's DSP effects. Users learn how dynamic range compression works, and see why it is best applied to beats, guitar, and other sounds to make them cut through the mix. The video also offers in-depth coverage of vocoding, phasing, flanging, delay, and reverb. Reason 203: REX & FX is available via direct download as well as DVD for $40 (coupon code for 10 percent off: reason103-pmnn).
Res. Evil 5 exclusivity?
Thankfully for Resident Evil fans, this is a story that seems to have come and gone. Earlier in the day, British site GamesIndustry was reporting that Microsoft had secured one-year 360 exclusivity for Resident Evil 5. This was based on speculation about the game's absence from the Tokyo Game Show, and practically validated when Xbox Japan head Takashi Sensui refused to deny claims. CVG has been told by a Capcom spokesperson, however, that the reason the game wasn't at TGS is because it's still too early into development. The plan remains to release the game for both the PS3 and 360.
TextExpander tool released
SmileOnMyMac has released a free autocorrection snippet file for use with TextExpander, the customizable typing timesaver tool. TextExpander lets users define abbreviations for frequently-used text strings and images. The autocorrection file contains over 100 common typos and misspelled words. An incorrect spelling functions as a trigger, and is replaced with the correction when typed. TextExpander features the ability to insert standard greetings, text, and signatures including formatted text and pictures as well as can save keystrokes by typing simple abbreviations to get long snippets. In addition, users can insert the current date and time in any format you prefer, type special characters without launching the special characters palette, position the cursor wherever you want in your expanded snippet, and more. It is available in English, German, French, Japanese and Italian for $30 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
iStockphoto for Aperture
iStockphoto, a community-powered marketplace for stock photography, illustrations and videos, today announced a new plug-in for Aperture 1.5, the latest version of Apple's post-production tool for photographers. This tool allows iStockphoto artists to use Aperture to manage and tag their images, and batch-upload them directly to iStockphoto.com. The plug-in automatically pulls keyword and metadata information from Aperture, streamlining photographers' workflow and saves them time, the company said. "iStockphoto is home to more than 25,000 photographers and we think Aperture is the perfect image workflow production tool for these artists," said Bruce Livingstone, CEO of iStockphoto. "By using our new plug-in for Aperture, our photographers have the ability to batch-upload their images directly to our site with all the right tags in place, greatly simplifying and streamlining the entire process." The iStockphoto plug-in takes advantage of Aperture 1.5's new plug-in API, and can be downloaded for free.
Sigma DP1 and SD14
Well-known for both its cameras and its lenses, Sigma on Tuesday released two new models that take advantage of its expertise in both areas. First introduced is the SD14, a 14-megapixel digital SLR which uses the unique Foveon sensor technology that overlaps three different color-specific sensors to improve image quality. Sigma also notes that the long-anticipated camera has a new viewfinder with 98% coverage of the final image and a sensor with a dust removal system. More unique is the new DP1 (pictured), which may well be the most full-featured point-and-shoot camera available. Though considerably more compact than the SD14, the DP1 shares the same 14-megapixel sensor as its more professional counterpart, clearly exceeding the 10-megapixel ceiling of this camera class. The camera also includes a 16.6mm F4 wide-angle lens and an improved image processing engine that can capture RAW as well as the more common JPEG format. Sigma is shipping the SD14 now for £1100 ($2090); the DP1 has not yet received formal launch details. Click through for photos of both models.
Thompson lawsuit details
As promised, the Florida lawyer has publicized the details of his new lawsuit. A wrongful death claim was filed yesterday at the District Court of Albuquerque, and its targets are Sony, Take-Two, and Cody Posey - Posey being a teen who killed his father, stepmother and stepsister in 2004. Thompson and the remaining Posey family blame the distributors of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, saying that the game made murder "pleasurable and attractive" to Cody. Thompson goes so far as to say that Vice City trained Cody to kill, teaching him how to fire a gun and making him an "extraordinarily effective" murderer. As noted by the Albuquerque Tribune though, the one comfort for gamers in this debacle is that most of Thompson's efforts have been rejected by the courts. The judges tend to argue that games are protected under the First Amendment, and furthermore, they say that manufacturers can't predict violent outcomes for their games.
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