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C64 games on the Wii
Everyone's favourite defunct computer, the Commodore 64, will see some of its games come to the Wii's Virtual Console. Individual games aren't mentioned at the moment, but Nintendo Power reports that a host of Epyx titles will be among those emulated. Likely candidates include Impossible Mission and the "Games" series - Winter, World, Summer and California. Gamasutra notes that while Epyx's assets are presently owned by System 3, S3 games like The Last Ninja or International Karate are not known to be headed to the VC.
Parallels Desktop update
Parallels has released Update Release Candidate 2 (RC2) for Parallels Desktop for Mac, its virtualization solution that enables users to run Windows and other operating systems at the same time as Mac OS X on any Intel-powered Mac (without re-booting). The Update RC2, which is free for all Parallels Desktop users, improves support for the recently released quad-processor Mac Pro towers and Core 2 Duo iMacs by enabling users working with these machines to use Parallels Desktop with any RAM configuration, including Mac Pro towers equipped with up to 16GB of RAM, without modifying their systems. Previous versions required a free (bundled) utility that helped users configure Mac Pro towers and Core 2 Duo Macs with more than for 2GB of RAM. Upgrading will not require a re-install of any guest operating systems or any applications; however, users should also re-install Parallels Tools after upgrading to the Update Release Candidate 2, the company said. The final release of the Update is expected in the next few weeks. A 15-day trial of the $80 application is available online.
Ableton ships Live 6
Ableton today released Live 6, an update to its music creation, production and performance platform as well as released Sampler, its advanced sound-design instrument. Version 6 adds QuickTime video support, a professional multisample library, and customizable racks of instruments and effects. Live 6 also satisfies frequent user requests by delivering multicore support, enhanced project management tools, and improved MIDI control. Live also brings multicore and multiprocessor support, Deep Freeze editing functionality with frozen tracks, new Project Management Tools, and several new/improved devices such as EQ Eight (replacing EQ Four) with improvements turning it into both a sound-shaping and mastering tool and Dynamic Tube for subtle coloration or drastic sonic manipulation. Live 6 is available for $600/550 or $500/470 for an electronic version (without the Essential Instrument Collection). Upgrades from Live 5 are $120/100 and $180/150 for others ($100/80 more for boxed version).
Shrapnel ships Dominions 3
Shrapnel Games today began shipping Dominions 3: The Awakening, the fantasy-based strategy game succeeding Dominions II: The Ascension Wars. The turn-based game challenges players to conquer opponents in a fantasy world spanning three ages and encompassing 50 playable nations. The basic, unmodded game includes more than 1,500 combat units, 600 spells, and 300 magic items. Dominions 3 supports single as well as multiplayer modes, allowing up to 25 live or artificial-intelligent players in a single game with simultaneous handling of turns. The game ships with a 299-page manual, as well as a revamped interface and streamlined mechanics. Dominions 3: The Awakening is available for $55, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
Mac OS X Server 10.4.8
Apple's release of Mac OS X Server 10.4.8 (PowerPC version)brings a slew of improvements over the previous iteration of its Tiger operating system, including all the fixes described in the Client version as well as a few Server-only fixes: (1) avoiding AFP server deadlocks and thread starvation; (2) streaming movies to localized versions of the QuickTime Player; (3) preventing panics when operating with Xsan and other memory intensive kernel extensions; (4) vnode allocation on systems with at least 2GB of RAM; (5) handling TCP Selective Acknowledgments in congested networks; and (6) better compatibility with third party applications and devices. The update also security fixes from Apple's new Security Update 2006-006 for Panther (already included in Mac OS X 10.4.8). Users can update to Mac OS X Server 10.4.8 via the Mac OS X Software Update feature, or by downloading the update from Apple's website. [updated]
Nokia E62 Cingular
Already available in Canada, the Nokia E62 is now being launched in its primary US market. The chosen carrier for the smartphone in the country is Cingular, who began offering the phone on its website today. The E62 is crucial as one of the few phones available on GSM-based cellular networks that compares to Motorola's slim Q, which only works with CDMA. Both have 320x240 widescreens, Bluetooth, and a full QWERTY keyboard for composing e-mail and text messages; however, the E62 uses the Symbian OS common to multiple cellphone companies as its interface, making it a genuine alternative for those who would prefer not to use the Motorola Q's choice of Windows Mobile. Cingular is selling the E62 for $150 with a two-year contract.
Aperture 1.5 released
Following its debut earlier this week, Apple today released Aperture 1.5, adding more than 20 new and enhanced features to the post-production software for professional photographers. Apple officially announced Aperture 1.5 at the Photokina event in Germany on September 25th, detailing the update as a major enhancement across each phase of the application's entire workflow. New Aperture features include improved file management, metadata handling, and image adjustment. The update also addresses numerous issues related to overall reliability, performance, and compatibility, according to Apple. The Aperture 1.5 update is available as a free download from Apple's website or via the Software Update feature in Mac OS X, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later. Aperture 1.5 licenses are priced at $300.
GeForce 8800 Photos
Revisions of ATI's Radeon and NVIDIA's GeForce graphics cards this year have been limited to slight improvements on an existing design. True overhauls of their graphics technology are only now beginning to materialize through early leaks. The first to be shown is NVIDIA's GeForce 8800, photos of which have appeared courtesy of Chinese website PCOnline. The images reveal a card which requires extraordinary amounts of cooling and power to run at full speed. Multiple photos show attachments for watercooling pipes as well as dual power connectors, confirming earlier claims that the future NVIDIA card will be much more complex than the current GeForce 7950 and draw much more power: earlier reports have suggested as much as a 300W power draw under load. The leak also appears to confirm that the new GeForce will have 768MB of video memory and a correspondingly larger 384-bit memory interface. Expect the GeForce 8800 to be made official within the next few months.
Click through for a selection of additional photos of the prototype card with notes.
JVC 1080i Everio Camera
Sony has largely held the leadership of HD-capable video cameras. JVC would like to challenge that supremacy with its new Everio model announced today in Japan, which promises to outperform Sony's Handycam models in image quality. Despite claims of supporting 1080i resolution, most Handycams manage the resolution only at a standard aspect ratio of 1440x1080; widescreen usually requires lowering the recording quality. The new Everio model uses a pixel shifting technique to interpolate a higher-quality image from its 3-CCD sensor and get a true, 1920x1080 widescreen interlaced picture. JVC adds that the new camera is also the first to use the company's FUJINON 10X optical zoom lens, which has until now been reserved for professional cameras, and stores its video on hard drive. A prototype of the Everio is expected at Japan's CEATEC convention next week, suggesting that a final version will ship early next year.
Gears and the movies
Visitors to X06 were able to play it, but since there will be no online demo for Gears of War, your only chance to sample the game may be coming up next Wednesday. After a sneak preview of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, gamers in LA, New York, Chicago and San Francisco will be invited to play the game in advance of its November 7th release date. Interested parties have to sign up for passes at the promotional Website. Microsoft makes further mention of two more events, but details are sketchy. UPDATE: On an incidental note, the last of Microsoft's Bringing it Home content is on Xbox Live. Sorry, no demos of any kind.
X06 Arcade montage
Blitz the League trailer
X06 picture pack
Saints Row "Mayhem" video strategy (720p)
Saints Row "Insurance Fraud" video strategy (720p)
Saints Row "Hitman" video strategy (720p)
Mac OS X security update
Apple today issued Security Update 2006-006, improving security for Mac OS X 10.3.9 through Mac OS X 10.4.7. The update addresses issues for both Mac OS X Client and Mac OS X Server regarding CFNetwork, Cyrus SASL, the Flash Player plug-in, QuickDraw, and WebKit. Individual fixes apply to CFNetwork; Flash Player; ImageIO; the Mac OS X kernel; LoginWindow; Preferences; QuickDraw Manager; SASL; WebCore; and Workgroup Manager. Apple's newly released Mac OS X 10.4.8 already contains the security fixes in its 2006-006 update, and installs on Mac OS X 10.4 or later, as well as Mac OS X Server 10.4 or later systems. Users can update via the Mac OS X Software Update feature, or by downloading the update from Apple's website.
Philips' digital player lineup is so far limited to music and depends heavily on style to distinguish itself from other players. Its first venture into portable media players will be different. The Portable Media Center 7230 is not just a music player with a larger (3.5-inch) screen, according to CNET. The vertical shape and built-in stand make it ideal for watching videos on a long flight or at a desk, removing the necessity of holding the player upright or craning one's neck at an uncomfortable angle. The PMC7230 also includes the ability to record video directly from analog sources such as standard TV or unprotected DVDs up to the player's maximum 30GB capacity. MP3 and WMA audio are supported in addition to JPEG photos and MPEG-4 video. Philips is expected to ship its new handheld shortly for $350.
Mac OS X 10.4.8 released
Apple today released Mac OS X 10.4.8, an update to its Tiger operating system that brings many bug fixes as well as several security fixes, which are also available for Mac OS X 10.3 (Client, Server). Mac OS X 10.4.8, available for both PowerPC (Client/Server) as well as Intel-based Macs (Client/Server), improves support for printing, Finder, applications, networking as well as modem connectivity, third-party software, and other miscellaneous items including Rosetta and system security. Mac OS X Server 10.4.8 for PowerPC systems addresses Apple File Service, NetBoot/Netinstall, NFS, Password Server, networking, Windows File Service, and miscellaneous items. Mac OS X Server 10.4.8 Universal improves AFP Server, Filesystem NetBoot/Netinstall, networking, NFS, QuickTime Streaming Server, and Xsan support.
Wii control compatibility
We've known for a while that you'd be able to use GameCube pads with the Wii, but the exact conditions of that ability were shrouded in confusion. Today, Nintendo has revealed some of the specifics to fansite Nintendojo. Regular GameCube and wireless WaveBird controllers will be compatible with all Cube titles, and some Wii games, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Game director Masahiro Sakurai has even said that Brawl may play better with a Cube pad than the Wiimote. Regarding the WaveBird however, Nintendo says gamers will need their original receivers in spite of the Wii's built-in wireless support. It's also unknown whether or not older controllers will work with Virtual Console titles. For those, it may be safer to stick with the "classic" Wii controller (pictured).
JVC Wall-Mount Projection
Rear projection televisions are typically less expensive than direct-view sets and are often the only way for many viewers to afford a set large enough to be comfortably viewable from the opposite end of the living room. Their primary obstacle is bulk: almost every projection TV is much thicker than a direct-view LCD or plasma display. These sets are also impossible to wall-mount and usually require large floor stands. JVC in Japan has developed a new slim projection technology that will resolve these lingering drawbacks of projection systems. Using a concave mirror to bounce light instead of the typical convex shape, the projector in JVC's prototype can reach a much wider angle than traditional sets while also using a smaller optics set -- reducing not just the thickness necessary to fill the screen but the weight of the system as well. JVC has already produced a 60-inch example set (pictured) which is only 10.6 inches thick and is light enough to be wall-mounted. The concave mirror system also has the side benefit of improving the contrast ratio by blocking out unwanted light. Better still is news that the breakthrough is not simply a theoretical demonstration but a practical reality; JVC says the technique will be incorporated into production TV models by spring 2007.
Creative debuts Muvo
Creative today announced an upgrade to the storage capacity of its music players, and introduced a new inexpensive entry model that will compete with Apple's iPod nano. The 8GB Zen V Plus doubles the capacity of the earlier model and shares the same features, including MP3 and WMA music playback, video support, and FM radio. Battery life for the 8GB Zen V Plus is rated at 15 hours, and as with Apple's iPod nano, the color options for 8GB are reduced to a single black model, according to Electronista. The updated player is slated for shipment first to Singapore in October for $270. The company also unveiled the Muvo V100, a simple but roomy player that plugs directly into a USB port. The Muvo V100 allows users to drag Audible, MP3, or WMA files to the device from the desktop. The player can display lyrics on-screen as songs play, and supports up to 18 hours of playback time via one AAA battery. The Muvo is available for $100 in Singapore for a 2GB model that supports voice recording, and is expected to launch in North America in the near future.
ATI Stream Computing
Many computers have fast graphics processors, but when these chips aren't being used for 3D images, much of their potential power goes unused. ATI sees these free processor cycles as an opportunity to accomplish more; the graphics card maker today announced that it has developed a concept called Stream Computing to use these spare resources for better purposes. Since most recent graphics cards are generalized and can do more than just render images, Stream Computing can dynamically assign calculations to recent ATI cards, such as the Radeon X1950, that would normally be handled by the often busy main system processor. The result is that some operations can be dramatically accelerated, especially when they are well-optimized to the massively parallel nature of video hardware. An upcoming version of Stanford University's Folding@Home distributed computing software will calculate as much as 40 times faster when Stream Computing is being used, according to ATI. Physics in games and other simulations will also stand to benefit. ATI ultimately has plans to allow systems with multiple graphics cards to devote even more resources to these tasks and could optionally split processing work equally between graphics and general problem-solving.
Fans of nuclear war rejoice! Introversion has sent out the demo for DEFCON, its newly-released RTS game that takes a cue from the 1983 film WarGames. Gamers take control of a continent's armed forces, preparing for the inevitable nuclear holocaust when the game ticks down to DEFCON 1. The objective is lose a few million less people than your opponents. The PC demo is measly 58.52 MB in size, and includes a tutorial, rolling demo, and two-player multiplay. Mirrors can be found here, here and here. The full game is available on Steam for $14.95 US.
4-in-1 iPod Car Kit ships
Brando Workshop has unveiled its 4-in-1 iPod Car Kit, offering users the functionality of an FM transmitter, car charger, car holder, and remote together in one device. The kit plugs into the vehicle's 12-volt accessory socket to charge the iPod, can broadcast on four FM frequencies, and features RadioPlay to pipe radio stations through the iPod. Each unit ships with an adjustable clip that ranges from 38mm to 95mm, as well as an adjustable arm that bends from 0 to 180-degrees. The 4-in-1 iPod Car Kit ($30) works with third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation iPods as well as iPod mini, iPod nano (first- and second-generation), and iPod photo models.
Zune pricing, MS partners
Microsoft's recent announcement that it would price it's Zune portable media player at $250 to compete with Apple's video iPod will likely place increased competitive pressure on Microsoft's Windows Media partners, according to American Technology Research. The research firm believes Microsoft was caught off guard by Apple's aggressive video iPod pricing, and was forced to match the Cupertino-based company's pricing to remain competitive. "We believe Microsoft not pricing lower demonstrates Apple's under-appreciated supply chain strength where Microsoft will lose money," said American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. The analyst estimates Microsoft will take a loss of around $50 per Zune player vs. Apple's industry-leading iPod profitability.
The next SW: Battlefront
The next game in LucasArts' reasonably popular Star Wars: Battlefront series will be developed by Free Radical, CVG reports. This is the result of a deal signed in late August. Or so it would seem - Free Radical refuses to confirm CVG's info. "I'm not currently able to elaborate on the details of our recently-announced deal with LucasArts," says Radical director Steve Ellis. Whatever the case, a Battlefront game is probably not the major Star Wars franchise the Wall Street Journal has written about. The potential for new toys and storylines would be severely limited. Free Radical's other games have included TimeSplitters, Second Sight, and the forthcoming Haze.
Intel is working with Apple on several key technologies and the companies are enjoying the fruits of their recent partnership, according to an Intel senior executive. In an interview with InformationWeek, the exec said that Intel's relationship is growing and that the companies are engaged in several on-going projects, causing some concern for Microsoft -- Intel's long-time partner. Responding to a question about the future of the Apple-Intel partnership, Pat Gelsinger, senior VP and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel, said the companies are continuing to move forward on several fronts, including several "secretive" projects.
Free Module Maker ships
Created Equal today announced the release of Module Maker, a companion application to its recently introduced tutorial software, TeachMac. Module Maker is a free application that allows users to compile video, graphics and text into modules playable in TeachMac and TeachIT (the upcoming windows version). A module is a series of text and video or graphic based lessons on a stated topic, such as "Intro to the Mac" or "Tiger for Teachers". Individual lessons can be recombined and saved as custom modules by the users. All modules work on Mac and Windows systems within their respective applications. TeachMac is a free, while modules range in price from free to $15; a $50 annual subscription grants access to all modules. Module Maker is available for download.
HP External HD DVD Drive
The final hardware updates made today by HP include two new USB 2.0 drives for avid video enthusiasts. Most important of these is the HD100 (PDF), an external HD DVD drive that can read the newer discs at 2.4X as well as DVDs at 5X and CDs at 14X. The drive is completely powered by the USB bus and includes a special version of CyberLink's PowerDVD that plays HD DVD movies. HP says that a minimum of a single-core 3.2GHz Pentium 4 and a GeForce 7600 or Radeon X1600 video card to play movies at their native 1080p. The HD100 will be available soon but hasn't received a price.
Lastly, HP began shipping its new Pocket Media Drive, which is designed as a convenient way of backing up music, photos, and videos on a regular basis. It uses a 2.5-inch laptop hard drive to store either 80GB or 120GB of data in a portable form. Certain HP Pavilion desktops can actually mount the drive in a dedicated slot instead of connecting through a USB cable. A copy of Sonic's Back Up My PC is included and helps owners automate media backups as well as password-protect stored files. HP says the new drive is shipping immediately at prices of $150 (80GB) and $220 (120GB).
Pangea Arcade released
Pangea Software today released Pangea Arcade, its latest Mac-only collection of three games which include "Nucleus," "Warheads," and "Firefall." The games are based on classic arcade themes, but feature modern effects and visuals. Nucleus is a space-based game challenging players to build atoms by collecting electrons and attaching them to the interstellar nuclei. Accomplishing this task involves navigating around space debris, comet fields, and black holes. Warheads challenges players to protect nuclear reactors and power stations from incoming missile bombardments. Firefall is a more abstract arcade game allowing players to shoot through barriers and falling objects to take out advancing worms. All three games are viewable in stereo 3D using red-cyan anaglyph glasses, and are available for $20 as a bundle. Pangea Arcade requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
iTunes Library Manager v5
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes has released iTunes Library Manager v5.0, an application that makes backup copies of the iTunes Music Library database file and iTunes Preferences, allowing users to easily save multiple iTunes Library and Preferences configurations that can be retrieved and loaded at any time. It can also maintain two or more libraries each with its own associated Preferences settings. Version 5 is now an AppleScript Studio application that can stay active as long as users need it available and is compatible with the recently released iTunes 7. In addition, the main window displays names and modification dates of backed up libraries and displays the name of the current library; users can also create new libraries, based on the current iTunes Preferences or from "scratch" using the iTunes Setup Assistant as wel easily delete backed up libraries and zoom to display a mini floating window that just displays the current library. The $10 shareware requires Mac OS X 10.3 and iTunes 4.9 or later. [corrected]
Fujitsu and Toshiba Recall
News that Sony will initiate a global recall of certain laptop battery models, regardless of the computer manufacturers using them, is already sending reverberations throughout the industry. Japanese firms Fujitsu and Toshiba have both announced that they will recall particular Sony-made batteries that can potentially short-circuit and overheat, according to Reuters. Though Fujitsu has not yet announced how many of its LifeBook models are affected, Toshiba has said that 830,000 of its systems will qualify for the replacement. The company says that its batteries likely pose no threat of overheating but will be swapped anyways to alleviate users' potential concerns. This latest exchange program increases the total number of recalled Sony batteries to over 7 million after programs initiated by Apple, Dell, and Lenovo. Dell recently increased its recall figure by 100,000 to 4.2 million.
Wal-Mart, Apple talk
A new report says that Wal-Mart may be looking to Apple to gain a piece of the digital movie industry profits, while at the same giving Apple access to movies titles from every major studio. Wal-Mart is reportedly negotiating with Apple to offer iTunes coupons/gift cards that would allow it to collect a small amount of revenue from iTunes video sales, according to Variety. The talks come following industry reports of threats by Wal-Mart to the major Hollywood studios--many of which were flatly denied by the world's largest retailer; however, Wal-Mart did say that it expects to be a major player in the evolution of the digital marketplace, and that studios mustn't undercut the price of DVDs in its stores, according to the report.
Wal-Mart iTunes Coupons
Earlier this month, allegations had been made that Wal-Mart was threatening Apple because it feared full-length movie downloads on iTunes might undercut its discount DVD sales. While Wal-Mart has flatly denied these claims, Variety is reporting today that the large retailer is actively negotiating with Apple to obtain a share of profits from movie downloads. The solution may involve Wal-Mart offering virtual iTunes coupons that would allow the company to collect a small amount of revenue from video sales, according to insiders referenced in the article. While a deal may only be tentative, says Variety, it would be mutually beneficial as it would help to eliminate resistance against iTunes from major movie studios outside of the Disney network. Many of these studios have reportedly been loathe to anger Wal-Mart by supporting movie sales that would significantly undercut Wal-Mart in price and potentially close off a major distribution channel. The retailer is prepared to accept losses and match Apple's prices for key movie releases such as the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel in order to maintain its customer base, according to the article.
Video Game Decency Act
In July of 2005, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) asked Congress to approve a Federal Trade Commission probe into the "Hot Coffee" scandal surrounding Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He succeeded, but the FTC hasn't produced the results he wanted. "I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have," Upton said this June. "I'm not at all happy... In essence there are no consequences. None... I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country." In reponse, Upton has proposed the Video Game Decency Act - a law which would make it illegal to hide content that might earn a higher ESRB rating. It should be noted, though, that as the ESRB is a private and voluntary ratings system, it may be difficult for Upton's law to surive Constitutional challenges.
TopSkin for 2G Nano ships
PodPlus has begun shipping its TopSkin for second-generation iPod nanos, designed to provide full scratch protection without hindering usage. The skins are precision molded from silicone to fit Apple's latest Nano snugly, while a special coating repels dust from the player. Each TopSkin includes a hard plastic screen protector and a lanyard neck strap. TopSkins are available for $12 each in five colors to match Apple's recently refreshed iPod nano line. The company is also offering its original TopSkins for Apple's first-generation iPod nano offering the same features and protection as its new TopSkins.
Tiger Cache Cleaner 3.2b
Northern Softworks today released Tiger Cache Cleaner 3.2 Public Beta, its utility designed to provide easy access to numerous Mac OS X maintenance and utility options. Tiger Cache Cleaner helps simplify system maintenance with a point-and-click interface, and can improve system performance by tuning internet as well as file caching settings. The software can create RAM disks, eliminate duplicate or orphaned Login items, and clean as well as rebuild Spotlight metadata. Users can repair system as well as disk permissions, rebuild application library prebindings, execute Mac OS X maintenance scripts, rebuild the LaunchServices database, and more. Tiger Cache Cleaner 3.2 Public Beta requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and will expire on November 30th, 2006.
Decimus releases Synk 6
Decimus Software today released Synk 6, the latest iteration of its synchronization and backup software for Mac OS X designed to provide the benefits of Leopard's "Time Machine." Synk 6 features a new technology called ZeroScan designed to make incremental backups up to 100 times faster than previous versions of Synk, according to the company. The software doesn't require an entire dedicated volume to store backup information, and works with HFS+ as well as networked servers of numerous varieties -- such as Windows, Linux, and WebDAV (iDisk). Synk can automatically execute operations on a schedule, and provides extensive rule-based exclusion support to enhance configuration flexibility. Synk 6 consists of Synk Backup ($25), Synk Standard ($35), and Synk Professional ($45). All Synk 6 applications require Mac OS X 10.4 or later, while Synk 5 is still available for Mac OS X 10.3.9 users.
HP acquires Voodoo PC
As mentioned on sister site Electronista, Hewlett-Packard is finalizing a deal to acquire PC manufacturer Voodoo PC. Voodoo is a Canadian outfit specializing in custom-built gaming rigs. The company will continue to persist as a unique organization, but heads Rahul and Ravi Sood will migrate to a new gaming division within HP. The move echoes a similar one several months ago, when Dell bought gaming specialists Alienware yet allowed them to continue functioning as an independent entity.
HP dv9000 With HD DVD
More announcements from HP have arrived today with the launch of a new desktop replacement laptop that marks a number of firsts for the company. While other system builders have shipped laptops with next-generation disc drives inside, HP is releasing its first portable equipped this way in the form of the 17-inch dv9000. Though it ships standard with an 8X DVD rewriter, the new system can be configured with an optional HD DVD drive that can play (but not record) movies and data stored in the new format as well as read and write CDs or DVDs. An HDMI output is built-in -- a crucial new feature needed for some movies to play at 1080p resolution on an HDTV. The dv9000t also represents HP's fastest desktop replacement to date: it can ship with as much as a 512MB GeForce Go 7600 graphics chipset and processors ranging up to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo or 2GHz Turion 64 X2. Pricing starts at $1099 for a base model with an AMD Sempron, 512MB of RAM, and integrated graphics. An Intel-based version with an HD DVD drive and dedicated graphics is $1749.
Sonic Reality Style Paks
Sonic Reality has begun shipping 17 new Style Paks based on different genres of music with 24-bit Rex2, Apple Loops, and Acidized Waves. The R.A.W. Style Paks offer drag-and-drop support with Stylus RMX and easy integration with all DAW and samlers such as Reason, Live, Apple Soundtrack, Garageband, Logic, Cubase, Project 5, and Kontakt. The company is also offering its R.A.W. Universal Groove Kit with more than 15,000 loops in Rex, Apple Loops, and Wave formats on four DVDs with thousands of groove elements not available in the R.A.W. Paks. A R.A.W. Gold Bundle includes the R.A.W. Universal Groove Kit and all 15 R.A.W. Style Paks, amounting to more than 43,000 loops on 19 DVDs. Sonic Reality R.A.W. Style Paks are $100 each, while the Universal Groove Kit is priced at $249. The Gold Bundle is available for $750.
8GB Zen V and Muvo V100
In the wake of new 8GB flash players from Apple and SanDisk, Creative today announced an upgrade to the higher capacity in its music players as well as an inexpensive new entry model. The 8GB Zen V Plus (pictured at far right) doubles the capacity of the earlier model and shares the same features, including MP3 and WMA music playback, video support, and FM radio. Battery life is rated at 15 hours. As with Apple's iPod nano, the color options for 8GB are reduced to a single black model. It ships first to Singapore in October for the equipvalent of $270 US.
Creative has also unveiled the Muvo V100, a relatively simple but capacious player. The V100 plugs directly into a USB port and is very easy to manage: users only have to drag Audible, MP3 ,or WMA songs to the device in the OS to transfer their music. Lyrics display and voice recording are also supported for the 18 hours of playback time possible through a single AAA battery. Significantly, the new Muvo costs only $94 US for 2GB in its native Singapore and is shipping now. A North American launch is likely in the near future.
Assassin: 360's AI better?
The producer of Assassin's Creed, Jade Raymond, tells IGN that the 360 version of the game will be superior to the PS3 version in at least one area: crowd AI. The reason is that the 360's CPU supposedly allows for better threading, which may be extremely important when tracking a dozen or more characters at a time. Creed's gameplay is heavily dependent on crowds - they form the heart of what Ubisoft refers to as "social stealth," or the blending in of a player with the characters around him. What's surprising is that the PS3's eight-core Cell processor would have more trouble than the three-core processor in the 360. Notably, of course, the PS3 game will probably have better graphics.
Microsoft upgrades 360 CPU
Microsoft's current 90 nanometre chip will be replaced, says Vnunet. Beginning in the first quarter of 2007, Chartered Semiconductor of Singapore will upgrade the 360's CPU to a 65 nm design, said to be the leading edge in commercial chip manufacturing. While the upgrade won't result in a speed increase, what it will do is make the manufacturing process more cost-effective, and - most importantly to gamers - reduce power consumption. Lower power requirements mean less heat, which may mean the 360 will finally be as reliable as it should've been back in 2005. Overheating is the most likely cause of the system failures that produce the "Red Rings of Death."
HP rx5915 Launches
The PDA market has been rapidly eroding as smartphones and other multi-role devices quickly take over. This may be the motivation for a radically new direction in HP's iPAQ line, which was previously leaked but becomes official today with the formal announcement of the rx5915 Travel Companion. As anticipated, the new HP handheld is a hybrid GPS navigator and media player. TomTom's NAVIGATOR 6 software is preloaded and is accompanied by software that monitors traffic and weather. In its most common form, the rx5915 will come with 2GB of built-in flash plus an SD card slot to store maps, music, and videos. HP has also made Internet access a priority. Browsing the Web is relatively straightforward from the 3.5-inch touchscreen, as the device can either connect to a nearby WiFi hotspot or use its Bluetooth receiver to use mobile access from a cellphone. The rx5915 is available for $600 but hasn't been given an official release date.
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