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Tinderbox line updated
Toolfarm today announced the availability of completely re-engineered versions of Tinderbox products, including a new product called Tinderbox 4. Tinderbox is a collection of 2D visual effects plug-ins, delivering unlimited creative possibilities for artists involved in producing digital images for film and video. It offers a vast array of fast, organic effects, several every day tools and a host of blurs, generators and warpers--with hundreds of presets and a multitude of adjustable parameters. The updated Tinderbox 1, 2, and 3 supports 32 bpc and the After Effects camera and lights, as well as provides speed enhancements. The updated Tinderbox products, which are available for After Effects 7 only for both Mac OS X and Windows, are available now, while the boxed versions are expected to ship in late October.
Forums October 4th
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the possible signs of an upcoming MacBook Pro revision.... Other users discuss the recently released iPod nano 'remastered', investigating build quality and new improvements.... Another user looks for some insight into why his Mac Pro never uses its fans.... One member looks for advice on the current value of a Titanium PowerBook and whether it is worth the quoted price.... Meanwhile, another user shares an experience of switching from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X in the modern era of operating systems.
PGP expands Mac support
PGP today released new versions of its PGP Whole Disk Encryption as well as PGP Desktop Home software for Mac OS X. PGP Whole Disk Encryption provides non-stop disk encryption for quick, cost-effective data protection. The update is the first official support for Mac OS X, but is limited to non-startup volumes. PGP Desktop Personal is an easy-to-use desktop encryption application that secures confidential data with automatic email encryption, as well as the ability to lock down files in automatically expanding virtual drives or shared archives. The update brings native support to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. PHP Whole Disk Encryption and PGP Desktop software require Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and run natively as Universal Binaries on Intel-based Macs as well as PowerPC-based systems (pricing was unavailable).
Jobs apologizes for issues
Apple today announced that its current CEO Steve Jobs knew about some of the stock option irregularities that has drawn much attention from the media (as well as investor lawsuits), but said it found no evidence of misconduct of the current management team; however, Jobs did offer a formal apology for the accounting irregularities "under his watch and the company did announce the resignation of former CFO Fred Anderson from Apple's Board of Directors: "I apologize to Apple's shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch. They are completely out of character for Apple," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again." Anderson, who served as Apple's CFO from 1996 until 2004, said that he believed that it is in Apple's best interests that he resign from the board at this time.
Haier Black Pearl Phone
Designer cellphones tend to originate from a few key companies: with the exception of Canada's BlackBerry Pearl, the best-known style phones originate from the US, Scandinavian countries, or Korea. This makes the Chinese-made Haier Black Pearl a truly unique entry. Sharing the BlackBerry's affinity for glossy black, the Haier model could be an attention-getting handset without the accompanying high price. Its FM tuner, MP3 music playback, and Bluetooth are increasingly commonplace, but it does have an OLED display -- an unusual but useful component that can save power versus the more typical LCD. Haier has yet to formally announce a price or a launch date, although it says that the phone will soon be sold unlocked (and thus independently from carriers) in the US.
Apple offers findings
Apple today announced that the special committee of its board of directors has reported its findings after a three month investigation into Apple's stock option practices. The special committee of outside directors, together with independent counsel and accountants, examined more than 650,000 emails and documents, and conducted interviews with more than 40 current and former employees, directors and advisors. Apple initiated this voluntary independent investigation after a management review discovered irregularities in past stock option grants. The investigation found no misconduct by any member of Apple's current management team and that the most recent evidence of irregularities relates to a January 2002 grant.
The Knack sues Apple
The Knack -- the rock band that created "My Sharona" -- is suing Apple and several other online music distributors including Amazon and Yahoo for copyright infringement. The band claims those sites distributed copies of Run DMC's 1986 hit song "It's Tricky," which allegedly contains an unauthorized sample of The Knack's "My Sharona." While the statute of limitations for copyright infringement is set at three years, band front man Doug Fieger and lead guitarist Berton Averre claim that they had never heard of Run DMC's song -- which is one of the most famous rap songs of all time -- until August of 2005, according to eWeek.com. Amazon, Apple, and Yahoo are targeted in the lawsuit for distributing "It's Tricky" via their websites, along with other online music retailers such as Napster and RealNetworks. Band members are targeting $150,000 for each infringement of their work. Brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart, however, were not named in the complaint.
Crazy GameStop rumours
What will you have to do to get a launch-day PS3 from GameStop? According to a Kotaku tipster, the answer may be to buy, buy, buy. A manager supposedly says that each GameStop outlet will get an average of six PS3s - more or less depending on the size of the market. From there one or two may go to employees, and the rest will go to select regular customers. This could, needless to say, result in extreme frustration for those not considered "loyal" enough. On a similiar note, gamers wanting to try out a Wii at GameStop may need a credit card as collateral. Another Kotaku tip hints that since the Wiimote is wireless, the company is concerned about theft.
Cowon iAudio P5
Those who find the new iAudio N2 too ungainly as a multi-role media player will soon have the choice of a more portable system. Photos have appeared on the company's official forums that confirm the existence of the unannounced iAudio P5. In contrast to the almost excessively large N2, the P5 has a more reasonable 5-inch touchscreen but loses very few of the flagship model's features. Southeast Asians can watch mobile TV on the handheld thanks to a built-in DMB receiver; GPS navigation is also built-in for the player's likely role as car navigator. Not mentioned for the earlier model is the P5's support for HSDPA broadband, an important feature for busy Koreans who may need to browse the Internet as well as watch TV during their commutes home. A Korean release for the holidays is very likely.
PocketMac for BlackBerry
The PocketMac Team has released PocketMac 4.0 for BlackBerry, revealing a change in the user interface that looks more like Apple's iSync software. PocketMac for BlackBerry offers Mac users an easy way to safely sync their BlackBerry handheld devices, supporting many of the popular Mac applications that track or maintain important information. The updated PocketMac software can sync entire Entourage Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, and emails as well as Apple's iCal, Address Book, and Mail Apps. PocketMac 4.0 also syncs DayLite, Meeting Maker, and more. Research In Motion is offering PocketMac 4.0 as a free 24.3MB download, as well as the accompanying documentation via a 6.9MB PDF download.
In-canal earbuds debut
Ultimate Ears has unveiled its triple.fi 10 Pro in-canal earbuds for portable music audiophiles. The earphones are based on the company's custom-fit UE 10 design used for concert and studio reference listening, and share the same triple-driver output that separates high and low frequencies from each other. Two of these drivers are dedicated to bass reproduction -- important for the low amplification inherent to iPods and other portable players -- while treble is handled by the remaining driver and merged into the final output by a passive crossover, according to Electronista. The triple.fi is expected to ship in late October for $399, and the first 1,000 units will come with two special metallic travel cases; models sold afterward will include only a single hard cover case.
Wolverine 120GB Player
Regardless of the exact demands of users, many companies deliberately limit the storage of their portable media players to keep the price low. This can be frustrating for those who like to play back or record large amounts of video. Thankfully, Wolverine Data's ESP line is available with a startlingly diverse set of features. The most conspicuous difference between the ESP and others is its hard drive storage: up to a 120GB hard disk is built-in, providing far more storage than most other players. There is also a 7-in-1 card reader to transfer files to or from other devices.
Wolverine has also seen fit to give the player its own recording abilities: it can connect to either an NTSC or PAL video source with an optional cradle and capture hours of extra video. FM radio recording is also possible, and professional photographers will appreciate the ability to store and view RAW files from common DSLR cameras. The ESP is already shipping, with prices varying between $430 for 80GB and $530 for the range-topping 120GB model.
Adobe CS3 due in May '07?
Adobe's next product refresh cycle could mean significant growth for the company, but Mac users may have wait until May of next year until the release of Creative Suite 3, the much-anticipated Universal version of professional graphics suite. While the "Universal" Acrobat 8 version is expected to ship in November, one analyst says that next major version of the company's flaghship Creative Suite, expected in first half of 2007, may not be ready until the latter part of that period: May 1st. Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital says that Adobe executives are guiding analysts lower in their financial targets for the firm ahead of the CS3 launch. The report says Adobe shares, now at $36.75, have been rising ahead of the new Acrobat and Creative Suite releases, up 39 percent since late July, but is 10 percent off its 52-week high.
Two new 360 controllers?
The producer of Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series claims he's received a pair of new 360 controllers from Microsoft. Speaking with CVG, Shingo Takatsuka says he was given the controllers in order to test remapped button configurations for PES. In the past, the series has supposedly played better with Sony's Dual Shock controllers. Could one of Takatsuka's controllers be the rumoured FPS gamepad? It's possible, but it's also doubtful that streamlined FPS controls would mesh well with the isometric gameplay of PES. It could be that both or neither of the new controllers will see the light of day. PES 6 (a.k.a. Winning Eleven 2007) should ship in January.
Samsung i607 Phone Details
The Samsung i320 made a significant impact on the smartphone market by bringing the Korean electronics maker's newfound appreciation for slim phones to the data-thirsty earlier this year. Samsung may repeat its success soon, sources have discovered. Discovered in an FCC filing, the i607 is a successor that should improve the earlier design significantly. Its primary advantages are its greatly increased connection options. Previously, the i320 was a tri-band GSM phone meant only for areas such as Europe and its native Korea. The i607 adds the fourth band necessary for some North American providers and also gains HSDPA support for 3.5G mobile Internet. Bluetooth, a camera, and a microSD slot are also standard.
Yet more convincing information about the phone has also surfaced courtesy of photos by a member of HowardForums. As taken, the new images confirm that the i607 has not only been approved by the FCC but will also ship first to Cingular subscribers and will be powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5. Finalized launch details should appear within the next few weeks.
Review, free FM Themes
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid ($150, shown at right), offering users full access to analog and digital transmissions over-the-air.... FileMaker is offering users who purchase and register FileMaker Pro 8.5 a free FileMaker Themes Pack from now until December 22nd.... Apple has posted directions to correct an issue where after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4.8, some Intel-based Macs may not auto-connect to remembered networks that use WPA2 security.... Apple has also posted correctional steps for MacBook and MacBook Pro users experiencing an issue where running Microsoft Windows XP using Apple's Boot Camp Beta software results in failure to turn off the notebook's built-in display when the lid is closed and an external display is connected.... Apple also admitted that its Boot Camp Beta software will not run on Macs with hard drives partitioned into two or more volumes using a disk partitioning utility other than Boot Camp Beta, and offered directions for users with previously-partitioned disks to take before installing Boot Camp Beta.
Eidos' Chili Con Carnage
As the fourth "Latin-flavoured" action game after Total Overdose, Just Cause, and El Matador, we may be seeing a trend. SPOnG notes Eidos' announcement of Chili Con Carnage, a PSP title being developed by Total Overdose makers Deadline Games. Chili should feature the same sort of acrobatic gunplay that characterized its predecessor, which in turn took after games like Max Payne and movies like Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The story will have your character going "loco" in the criminal underworld of Los Toros, where your father was murdered by a drug kingpin. GameSpot suggests a Q2 2007 release window.
Cinema 4D R10 debuts
Maxon today announced Cinema 4D Release 10, an update to its flagship 3D modeling, animation and rendering software that bring additional ease-of-use enhancements along with several workflow improvements, interface improvements, and new functionality to aid in character animation. Release 10 features enhanced object and animation managers, which have been optimized for quicker workflow. The company said that objects can now be easily filtered, searched, bookmarked and arranged in layers to aid in dealing with large scenes. It also features a completely rewritten timeline that can be organized in the same way as the Object Manager, and now offers ripple and region editing tools as well as improved automatic and manual controls over keyframe interpolation. The company did not provide details on the release date or pricing.
FW Depot SATA storage
FireWire Depot today unveiled its PCI-X SeriTek/1VE2+2 2-port internal/2-port external SATA adapter, as well as its MB561 series 4-bay SATA removable hard drive enclosure. The PCI-X SeriTek/1VE2+2 adapter features two external Serial ATA ports and two internal Serial ATA ports, each boasting a 1.5Gbps transfer rate. The adapter is compatible with PCI-X, supporting Power Mac G5 users while offering backward compatibility with older Power Macs. The MB561 (shown at right) combines hot-swap functionality with support for up to four SATA I/II hard drives. The enclosure features interchangeable trays, an interchangeable fan, and lightweight construction with solid aluminum and a mirrored finish. FireWire Depot's PCI-X SeriTek/1VE2+2 is priced at $140, while the MB561 is available for $320.
Ultimate Ears triple.fi
Although most portable music listeners are content to rely on the default earbuds that shipped with their players or else a slightly upgraded pair of their own, a small but vocal class of audiophile insists on earbuds that mirror the original recording quality as faithfully as possible. This group should be satisfied with the triple.fi 10 Pro, says earphone maker Ultimate Ears. The new in-canal earbuds are based on the company's far costlier, custom-fit UE 10 design used for concert and studio reference listening and share the same triple-driver output that separates high and low frequencies from each other. Two of these drivers are dedicated to bass reproduction -- important for the low amplification inherent to iPods and other portable players -- while treble is handled by the remaining driver and merged into the final output by a passive crossover. The triple.fi is expected to ship in late October for $399, but only the first 1,000 units will come with two special metallic travel cases; models sold after that will have only a single hard cover case.
Modesitt Software has released BackTrack 3.0, an application designed to bring Mac users a new level of safety by logging all text typed from all applications. Logged information includes the application name, window name, date as well as time, and how long the window was active as the front window. "Suppose you're working on a Microsoft Word document, you haven't saved the document for awhile, and Word crashes. Normally you would have lost all the text you typed since your last save, however, since the text is also in the BackTrack file, the text you typed has been saved. Simply copy the text from BackTrack to the clipboard, and paste it onto your Word document," says Modesitt Software. BackTrack 3.0 is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
AoE III: Warchiefs demo
Ensemble and Microsoft have released the PC demo for the Age of Empires III expansion, The Warchiefs. The file is 516.54 MB and contains two single-player missions, allowing you to play as the Germans or the Iroquois Confederation. You can find download mirrors here, here or here. The full expansion ships October 17th and deals with the core game's conspicuously missing Indian factions. While Indians were present in small numbers in the original game, they were not a separate, playable entity.
Troi Serial Plug-in
Troi Serial Plug-in 3.0b1 beta for FileMaker Pro 8.5 ($1,100) offers access to one or more of the computer's serial ports, allowing users to read from and write to those ports directly from FileMaker Pro. The update is compatible with FileMaker Pro 8.5, and runs natively on PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
[Download - 1.1MB]
Lineform 1.2.2 ($80) updates the drawing and illustration program for Mac OS X, adding new transform and layout palettes. Lineform 1.2.2 includes new filters for reflection as well as drop shadows, retains styles in palettes after deselection, improves the outline view, and fixes problems for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 4.1MB]
Nutrition and Diet Manager 4.0 ($45) is a $6 upgrade for registered users of the health and weight loss application for Mac OS X, bringing native compatibility to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The CalorieKing.com proprietary food database stores more than 50,000 foods offering constant access to various facts about those foods. [Download - 18.6MB]
FlexoStep plug-in for Illustrator CS2 ($300) brings the act of stepping, repeating, and distorting label as well as packaging work to Adobe Illustrator CS2 on Mac OS X systems. Users can create custom die configurations and completely automate the task of stepping, repeating, distorting, and adding printer's marks as well as job info. [Download - 639KB]
DV Monitor 1.1 ($150) serves as a field monitor without the need to carry an actual device along during shoots. The software is designed to improve shot quality by viewing video at full resolution, and features "Over and Under" exposure zebra's, image flipping magnification up to 250 percent, and computer screen calibration. [Download - 1.6MB]
EasyTask Manager 1.7.0 ($20) is a task management application designed to increase productivity. The update offers online sync for multiple Macs, and allows users to delete, complete, or edit multiple tasks simultaneously. The update also adds a project page. [Download - 561KB]
Bluetrek M2 Headset
Cellphones regularly have options for customizable faceplates that let owners change the style of their phone without replacing it. Headset maker Bluetrek believes the same should apply to the Bluetooth headsets that many callers use. Their latest model, the M2 (pictured at right), can wear one of two solid colors (blue and red) or two chrome colors (black and champagne). The earpieces also last a long time at 9 hours of continuous talk time or 11 hours when idle. Bluetrek says the M2 is shipping in Britain now for £39 ($73); the company also sells its headsets in North America and should make them available for that continent soon.
SoundFlavor DJ for iTunes
Soundflavor today released Soundflavor DJ iTunes Edition, its digital music companion for Apple's iTunes software. Powered by the company's Music Recommendation Engine, Soundflavor DJ's song recommendations are based on more than six years of research that includes the analysis of hundreds of thousands of songs, spanning nearly every genre of music. Users play a few songs in iTunes, which immediately appear in the application's PlayStream. The software then takes over and begins showing album artwork for upcoming songs. Users can adjust the "Flavorizer" knob to control how often the utility makes song recommendations to enhance the playlist. Set to "Mild Flavor," the option attempts to refresh an existing playlist, while "Full Flavor" lets Soundflavor DJ take over to play tracks by itself. The application works as a companion to iTunes and is available for free to Windows XP users. A Mac version, as well as support for additional digital music software such as Windows Media Player, is planned.
eSATA ExpressCard adapter
Sonnet today began shipping its Tempo SATA Express 34 host adapter for MacBook Pro owners or users of laptops with ExpressCard slots, according to Electronista. The card features two 3Gbps external SATA (eSATA) ports that can be used to connect hard drives that use the high-speed interface. When two drives are connected in a RAID 0 stripe the sustained transfer rate is better than any USB 2 or FireWire setup -- it can write at 100MB per second, according to Sonnet. The new Tempo card can additionally support up to 10 drives if each port is connected to an external enclosure with a built-in port multiplier. The card includes drive activity LEDs. The Tempo SATA Express 34 now for $130. It is with MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch) and any Windows notebook with an ExpressCard (54) or ExpressCard 34 slot.
Vista Activation and WGA
Microsoft unveiled its new Software Protection Platform today, which reveals how Windows Vista and other new software from the company will handle copy protection, according to CNET. Significant amongst these is the use of the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage technology first introduced with later Windows XP updates. Microsoft says that new Vista installations must be activated within the first 30 days or it will be restricted to a new Reduced Functionality Mode that severely limits the use of the operating system.
"We will let you use your browser for periods of up to an hour before we log you off," says Microsoft's Thomas Lindeman.
While this compares favorably to Windows XP, which locks users out entirely until they activate the software, journalists are criticizing Microsoft for a newly-implemented feature that will use WGA to periodically check the authenticity of Vista. If it determines that the installed copy is pirated, reports CNET, the 30-day activation period returns and the user loses access to the advanced Aero interface, Defender anti-spyware tools, and ReadyBoost memory functions. Click through for more.
Sony heat issue, downloads
Despite first-person accounts to the contrary, Sony is rejecting claims that there were troubles with the PS3 at the Tokyo Game Show. "SCE can categorically deny that there's any problems with PS3 units overheating," a representative tells GamesIndustry. "As could be seen on the TGS floor by the tens of thousands of media and public attendees, both the hardware and software worked flawlessly." In another instance of Sony cynicism, MCV reports that Worldwide Studios VP Michael Denny calls downloads a "big weapon" in preventing trade-ins. "Downloadable content is where we can extend the life of a product," he told the London Games Summit. By tying games and downloads together, customers may be less inclined to exchange a product, knowing they'll lose out on future additions if they do. A trade-in may also render their current downloads useless.
Sonnet eSATA ExpressCard
MacBook Pro owners have relatively limited options for high-speed external hard drives, especially if they need to connect to multi-drive storage units. Sonnet's now shipping Tempo SATA Express 34 gives them, and any other users of laptops with ExpressCard slots, two 3Gbps external SATA (eSATA) ports that can be used to connect hard drives that use the high-speed interface. When two drives are connected in a RAID 0 stripe the sustained transfer rate is better than any USB 2 or FireWire setup -- it can write at 100MB per second, according to Sonnet. The new Tempo card can additionally support up to 10 drives if each port is connected to an external enclosure with a built-in port multiplier. Mac and Windows users alike can purchase the Tempo SATA Express 34 now for $130.
DICE Canada shuts down
Following Monday's acquisition of DICE by Electronic Arts, Blue's News shares the sad story that satellite studio DICE Canada is being shut down. The group helped produce some of DICE's lesser-known work, specifically Battlefield Vietnam and the Battlefield 2 expansion Special Forces. There were 28 employees at the company. Whether these workers have been fired outright or absorbed into the rest of EA is unknown.
Helio 3G Wireless Card
Since mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) never operate the cellphone networks themselves, they are seldom able to make decisions about the services they offer without careful consideration. This helps to explain the relatively late but welcome addition of a new 3G wireless card as an option for the young virtual carrier Helio. The Hybrid is the first 3G card offered by an MVNO and lets users of computers with PC Card slots connect to Helio's EVDO mobile broadband at rates between 400 and 700Kbps. Hinted at in the adapter's name is the extra ability to connect to WiFi hotspots as needed. If the user installs the (Windows-only) Helio software, the card will automatically switch between EVDO and WiFi to get the best connection speed. Helio says the card is available for free if subscribers choose an $85 per month data and phone service plan.
Google CEO on Apple
Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed his views on Apple in a recent interview with Time Magazine, noting his personal commitment to the Cupertino-based company. "Apple is engaged in probably the most remarkable second act ever seen in technology. Its resurgence is simply phenomenal and extremely impressive," said Schmidt. Despite the fact that Schmidt sits on Apple's board of directors, coupled with Apple and Google's existing partnership, the executive confirmed his desire to see more partnering between the two tech giants. Schmidt also commented on Microsoft's competitive stance, saying that "Microsoft continues to claim to enter the market, but we really haven't seen them yet, they're just getting started. I'm sure eventually Microsoft will be a competitor."
Vertu Constellation Review
Outside reviews are not often covered at Electronista, but an exception can be made for the Vertu Constellation due to its rarity: few will ever have the privilege of using a Vertu phone. Luxury technology site Sybarites recently had the rare opportunity to test the new model from Nokia's high-end brand and has positive findings. The overall quality is very high, writes the reviewer. Unlike most cellphones, the Constellation is hand-assembled and includes features one would expect from a phone likely to be used by the world elite. A notable highlight is the concierge button that automatically connects with a unique agent who can reserve boats, restaurants, or other special requests. The review further mentions that the use of satin steel, a sapphire screen and other premium materials do add to the perceived quality. The Constellation is currently available only through direct contact with Vertu or its special retail stores.
Wii Ethernet Kit
One of the great features of the Wii is suppposed to be its wireless support - for controllers, handhelds, and your Internet access. But what will your choices be if your home doesn't have a wireless router? There won't be built-in Ethernet on the console, so thankfully, CVG has learned that Nintendo is putting out something called the Wii Ethernet Kit. This should enable direct wired access to the Internet via a USB port. Alternately, the Nintendo WiFi Connector, currently intended for the DS, will also be compatible with the Wii. Money should be the only major obstacle to getting online.
Greece cries out
In brief: Greek Apple owners are crying out to the Cupertino-based company for fair treatment, pointing to free iPod engraving for other Europeans and the Applecare Protection Plan -- also not available to Greek customers.... Apple has issued a note revealing that PowerPC G3-based Macs do not support Mac OS X Server 10.4.7 (Universal), but adds that Mac OS X Server 10.4 (non-Universal) updated to version 10.4.7 does offer support to PowerPC G3-based Macs.... The My Dream App contest is beginning its third round of voting, offering free Musicast licenses to voters as contestant elimination continues.... Nova Media today released Nova Media Phone plug-in 3.3.1 with iSync compatibility for the Nokia E62 as well as the Sony Ericsson K790i, W710i, and W850i mobile phones.... Iconfactory has released a new freeware icon set inspired by Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) featuring brightly colored skulls, hard drives, folders, and more.... Graphicxtras.com has released a new update to its "starburst" plug-in (vol 22.2.5) for Adobe Illustrator CS2, 12, 11, CS1, and 10 for Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows.
D-Link V-CLICK Phone
T-Mobile and other companies have discussed the prospect of launching a dual-mode cellphone service that would let subscribers switch to Internet calling to save roaming costs. The phones to enable this have been slow to arrive until today's introduction of D-Link's V-CLICK handset. The new device is effectively a flexible platform: the standard model will ship unlocked, allowing users to turn on tri-band GSM access to a local phone carrier, but also has a special button that instantly switches to WiFi if the user would rather use a VoIP service or browse the Web through the included Opera Mobile browser. The V-CLICK is also built to recognize specific WiFi profiles and can automatically connect to different secure networks depending on the user's location. Talk time can vary between 5 hours for GSM mode and 2 hours for WiFi mode. Expect D-Link's new phone to ship in early 2007 for $600.
Hog Bay releases Mori 1.4
Hog Bay has released Mori 1.4, a digital notebook that makes it easy to record and organize notes. It features a built-in search engine as well as Spotlight support and uses a familiar Mail.app-style interface. Version 1.4 has more powerful smart folders and an improved user interface. Smart folders now have more flexible date queries, can be limited to certain folders, can be nested to form more complex queries, and can now quickly query against the entire text content of entries. In addition, the interface has been modernized with new icons and a cleaner Mail.app-style look, the company said. The company provides access to the source code and offers a user-powered development scheme that allows users to vote on and choose the upcoming features. The $40 application requires Mac OS X 10.4.
Pokemon Learning League
Pokemon USA, Inc. has launched the Pokemon Learning League, a Web-based educational suite of animated, interactive lessons in language arts, math, science, and life skills for children ages 8 through 12. "Parents can now embrace their children's enthusiasm for animation and interactive technology while motivating them to learn academic concepts and problem-solving skills." Pokemon USA is offering the program as a free trial to families, as well as educators, through December 31. The Flash-based site enables both Mac and Windows users to take advantage of the online program based on the current education research. A yearly subscription rate of $95.00 per household will begin in January 2007, while education subscription rates will be $145 per classroom and $1000 per school building.
Arcadrome for Mac OS X
Polyex has released Arcadrome, a new game for Mac OS X: "The Aliens have settled over Earth and are now in orbit. In response Earthlings quickly build an armed spaceship and equip an expedition to give battle. It becomes known that the alien energy is contained in crystals scattered all around the Arcadrome (their vehicle launching site). The only way to neutralize their hordes is to capture all crystals and to leave the enemy without energy.... Your goal is to pickup all the crystals scattered over the field. When you are finished you get to go up the next level. There are many monsters in Arcadrome, each one has its own tactics to prevent you from completing your noble work." The game features 100 levels and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later (as well as a 64MB OpenGL-enabled GPU and 1GHz G4 processor). A limited demo of the $18 application offers nag screens, limited levels, and other restrictions.
NfS Carbon demo, TotemBall
Here's a bit of 360 news to start your day. First, EA has released a demo for Need for Speed Carbon, the racer sequel that concentrates on Project Gotham-like drifting. It's 1.06 GB however, so make sure you've cleared any unwanted files before installing. A much more reasonable download is the 40 MB TotemBall, which was supposed to be released with the (required) Vision camera, but has only just been made available on Live Arcade. Players use gestures to guide Pterry the Pturtel to musical totems. Meanwhile, the developers at Strange Flavour have told Eurogamer that two more Vision games are in the works. One of them will use gestures like TotemBall's, but the other will be played more conventionally. The former game should be out in early 2007. To tide us over, map packs and other downloadable content for TotemBall should come at an indefinite point in the future.
Imation D20 Disc Publisher
Imation today announced a complete solution for optical disc publishing: the Imation D20 Disc Publisher is an all-in-one CD and DVD publishing system that automates the copying of up to 20 discs at once. About the size of a standard inkjet printer, the Imation D20 Disc Publisher automates the entire disc duplication process. The solution delivers full-color, high resolution prints at 4800 dpi in up to 16.7 million colors using a single ink cartridge and includes DVD/CD burning and printing software for use with PC and Mac systems, an integrated Pioneer DVD/CD Recorder with recording speeds of up to 16X for DVD+R/-R, up to 8X for DVD+/-R DL, and up to 40X for CD-R, and a USB 2.0 interface. It is available for $1,500 and includes a package of 10 Imation Inkjet Printable CDs with AquaGuard surface, image creation software and ink. Imation Inkjet Printable Media with AquaGuard surface is available in 45-pack spindles for a MSRP of $50 for 52x CD-Rs, and $60 for 8x DVD-Rs or 8x DVD+Rs.
Hagiwara Easy Recorder 2
Portable video recorders that write to flash memory are usually media players, such as those from Archos or Doghouse. If there's no immediate need to play the video on the recorder itself, a simpler device in the vein of Hagiwara's Easy Recorder 2 should work equally well. Its sole function is to record video from an RCA connection to a Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo for later use. As this video is recorded to MPEG-4, the company encourages users to transfer recorded clips to portable devices: video from the Easy Recorder 2 can either be played directly from the PSP or transferred to a computer through USB, where it can then be synchronized with an iPod. The option also exists to adjust the recording quality if the length of the video exceeds the amount of free space. Hagiwara estimates that a 1GB card can hold 4 hours of video at normal quality. The recorder is now shipping to the US for $140 without a Memory Stick.
REALbasic 2006 R4 ships
REAL Software today announced that REALbasic 2006 Release 4 is now shipping. The software development solution enables REALbasic users to build Universal Binaries for Mac OS X for native application execution on both Intel-based Macs as well as legacy PowerPC-based Macs. In addition, REALbasic itself is now a Universal Binary, delivering much greater performance on Intel-based Macs: in most cases, it compiles more than twice as fast than the previous release when running on an Intel-based Mac, according to REAL. Release 4 also includes cross-platform toolbars, large file support (removes the 2GB limit), can now check for errors without building an application, adds a new currency datatype, offers extended 64-bit integer support, and includes over 100 fixes and improvements to existing features. REALbasic Professional Edition also now supports database encryption using AES 256-bit ciphers and improves SSL Sockets. It is a free upgrade to existing customers with support plans. Upgrades start at $50, while the full version starts at $100.
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