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Insignia NS-DVxG Arrives
As much as Best Buy may be a focal point of music player sales, few would expect the company's in-house Insignia brand to offer features that more established companies would miss. However, as hinted at by AVING, the large American retailer is now offering its unique NS-DVxG jukebox for pre-order. Already known to include Bluetooth for a wireless connection to headphones, additional surprises were revealed in the posting. The Insignia player is OS-independent and works with Macs as well as Windows PCs, and includes a significant amount of built-in storage despite its low cost: the range-topping 4GB model ships for $150 and still includes a microSD card slot for an additional 2GB. A less expensive 2GB version retails for $120. Both models should be in stock within the next two weeks and could be a meaningful alternative to the iPod nano for those who prize features over design.
Refurb MacBooks, iPods
Apple has reduced its refurbished low end notebook deals to its White 1.83GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive for $949; its White 2.0GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,099; and its Black 2.0GHz MacBook with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,299. The company's supply of refurbished 4GB iPod minis has also shrunk, consisting of just Silver, Blue, and Green models for $99 each. Apple's refurbished 6GB iPod mini is only available in Silver or Blue for $129 each. The Canada Apple Store is offering its refurbished 15-inch 1.67GHz G4 PowerBook (512MB of memory, 80GB hard drive) for $1,549, as well as 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBooks with 512MB of memory and a 100GB or 120GB hard drive for $2,219 or $2,299, respectively.
Forums October 10
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the rumored release of MacBook updates featuring Core 2 Duo with a possible release date in November..... Others users discuss odd iSight problems occurring with iMac Core 2 Duos alongside reports of similar problems with Apple's lower end MacBooks.... Another user looks to members for advice when comparing two possible purchases: one a Black MacBook with a 24-inch iMac, the other a MacBook Pro with a 30-inch Cinema Display.... A disgruntled member shares his experience with a faulty iMac Core 2 Duo and his attempts to get AppleCare to replace it.... Meanwhile, another looks for help figuring out the erratic CPU overuse of his 15-inch PowerBook G4.
Office, Messenger updates
Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) today released updates to Office 2004 as well as Messenger for Mac, bringing enhanced security and stability. Macworld reports that The 11.3.0 update for Office 2004 for Mac contains fixes for vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to overwrite the contents of a vulnerable Mac's memory with malicious code. The Messenger 6.0.1 update fixes a sign-in issue. The updates are freely available via download from Microsoft's Mac business site. Microsoft earlier today also confirmed a previous report claiming that it doesn't expect to ship Mac Office 2007 until the second half of 2007, saying that the next version of its flagship office suite will bring an enhanced look and feel to match Mac OS X's interface evolution, as well as native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Gear4 unveils BlueEye
Gear4 today unveiled the BluEye, a device that attaches to the dock connector found on most iPods and synchronizes key calling features of Bluetooth-equipped cellular phones with Apple's music player. The gadget allows users to pause music during calls and displays caller ID information through the iPod, but also adds the ability to dial the most recent number through the iPod itself -- a feature useful to owners who miss an important call while the BluEye is connected. Gear4's device also serves as an alternative to Apple's Radio Remote, offering both an FM tuner with 15 presets and basic music controls for pausing as well as skipping tracks, according to Electronista. The company plans to ship the BluEye in early November for £50.
AD 80 Solar Radio
Avid music listeners who believe Apple's iPod recycling program is still not environmentally friendly can now listen to a similarly-styled player that reduces almost all the waste normally caused by these devices. French online store Singulier is listing the AD 80 Solar Radio, a silver-and-white AM/FM receiver that uses a large solar panel to recharge its internal battery while in sunlight. As a fallback, the AD 80 can also use a single AAA battery for power at night or indoors. No digital storage is included, though for 29 Euros this radio is inexpensive enough to import to North America as a demonstration of social conscience.
Studios may join iTunes
Major Hollywood studios have been reluctant to follow Disney in offering full-length feature films via Apple's iTunes Music Store, but will likely serve up such movies within the next six months following the holiday shopping season. Such hesitation likely stems from fears of retaliation by major DVD retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, both of which recently warned key Hollywood players about offering movies at lower prices than DVDs sold at brick-and-mortar outlets. Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster believes that copy protection may be contributing studio fears, as well as their desire to obtain a more flexible pricing model over Apple's standard pricing. "A couple of the studios indicated that they expect to have content on iTunes within six months, but it may require some tweaks to Apple's pricing guidelines to get them there," Munster said. "We would not expect additional studios to sign on with iTunes before the holidays, however, as most studios recognize that this change could disrupt their holiday business at retailers."
Wii pre-orders on Thurs.?
GameStop and EB Games will be taking Wii pre-orders on Thursday, GayGamer says. The information is said to come from "very reliable" inside sources. This rumour might be ignored, but it is telling that PS3 pre-orders were formally announced last night. The main obstacle to believing GayGamer is the notoriously spotty record of GameStop sources - apparently, even GayGamer's contacts were caught off-guard by the PS3 announcement. If they had no idea that was coming, Wii pre-orders could begin tomorrow or two weeks from now.
Helios H4000 DVD Player
Those unafraid of persisting with DVD now have the option of a player capable of playing back virtually any common format without hurting its image quality. NeoDigits' Helios H4000 has a wide range of scaling support and can upscale its output to the native 1080p resolution of the most recent HDTVs, whether they accept NTSC or PAL signals. The H4000 can similarly adapt to smaller resolutions or even disable scaling altogether for external receivers that already upsample the picture. NeoDigits doesn't limit the scaling to particular connections and has incorporated component, HDMI, and VGA output.
Just as striking about the DVD player is the sheer number of file types it can play. In addition to the typical secondary role of an MP3/WMA CD player, the H4000 can display raw video files encoded in DivX, XviD, and MPEG-1 through 4. The VCDs and SVCD discs popular in southeast Asia also play natively. NeoDigits is taking pre-orders now for the Helios H4000 at $169 and should deliver it to customers on October 17th.
Gear4 BluEye iPod Remote
Bluetooth adapters for iPods are nearly ubiquitous, but the British firm Gear4 believes its latest iPod accessory has features that set it apart from other models. The just announced BluEye attaches to the dock connector found on most iPods and synchronizes key calling features of Bluetooth-equipped cellphones with Apple's music player. Common features such as pausing music during calls and displaying caller ID through the iPod are supported, but the BluEye adds the ability to dial the most recent number through the iPod itself -- a feature useful to owners who miss an important call while the BluEye is connected.
Gear4's device also serves as an alternative to Apple's Radio Remote, containing both an FM tuner with 15 presets as well as basic music controls for pausing and skipping tracks. The company anticipates shipping the BluEye in early November for £50 ($93 US).
New game announcements
A trio of interesting games have been announced for different platforms. Sega is bringing its classic After Burner series to the PSP in the form of Black Falcon, which Rewiredmind says is set for a spring 2007 release. The new game will introduce multiplayer, 19 customizable real-world jets, and a "story-rich" single-player game. On the PC, Ubisoft has uncovered sequels to IL-2 Sturmovik and The Settlers. IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 should ship in November, including all the content of the original game plus nine new campaigns and 32 more fighters and bombers. CVG says The Settlers VI is being planned for 2007, and supposedly, this title will feature the most accessible graphics and gameplay in the RTS series' history.
Arasor Laser TV
With Canon's SED technology still looming as a replacement for current flat-panel displays, a young Australian company named Arasor is preparing a standard that could both replace plasma and challenge SED on its own merits. Arasor's laser TV, made in partnership with the American firm Novalux, eliminates many of the flaws that plague flat panels, according to Australia's News.com.au. Even the best plasma displays can only present 35% of the color gamut visible to the human eye, says Novalux executive Jean-Michel Pelaprat. Using three optoelectronics chips dedicated to each primary color, however, laser TV can represent up to 90% of that same spectrum and create a much more natural picture.
Arasor also observes that its optics reduce the power and size requirements that often limit the relative usefulness of plasma. The company estimates that laser TVs consume only a quarter of the energy and can shed half the depth of the earlier screens, cutting the weight of the resulting TV by a similar amount. As with SED, the technology shown by Arasor is still in its prototype stage; laser TV is expected to arrive sooner, though, with shipping models arriving in late 2007 through larger electronics companies such as Mitsubishi and Samsung.
C. of Duty 3 PS3 is online
With Sony being blamed for missing Internet play in games like Project 8 and Virtua Tennis 3, it might be rational to fear that a whole host of PS3 games could end up the same way. You'd be wrong about Call of Duty 3, at least. GameDaily had a chance to preview the PS3 port, and Treyarch claims it will have the same 24-player support as the 360 game. Where the 360 title may be superior is in terms of speed. That version is running at 60 frames per second, whereas the PS3 game is "only" doing 30 frames. Performance is expected to improve in the polishing time before the game ships on November 17th.
Samsung 305T Display
Apple and Dell are receiving a new competitor in the still small 30-inch display arena courtesy of long-time monitor producer Samsung. The new SyncMaster 305T is the company's first high-resolution computer display larger than 24 inches, and shares the same sharp 2560x1600 resolution of earlier rivals. Samsung promises a 1000:1 contrast ratio superior to that of Apple's 30-inch Cinema HD Display (which nets 700:1), a similar 400 cd/m² brightness, and a 6ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. Connections are kept minimal on the new display with one dual-link DVI port for video input and four free USB 2.0 ports to attach peripherals. The 305T is expected to ship in November for $1999. [Image courtesy of flatpanels.dk]
Album Cover Finder 5.0
Amphonic Designs today Album Cover Finder 5.0, adding a new search engine for finding artwork, artist, and album information-based on song titles. The update ensures that artist and album names are no longer needed to produce accurate search results, and each song title search returns up to four albums matching the artist as well as the song title. Every album comes with the artist name, album name, track listing, record label, and release date to ensure positive results. Users select the correct album allowing Album Cover Finder to add the artist, album, and artwork to the matching music files. The application is available for $9, and requires Mac OS X.
NME VMD Movie Player
Even as Blu-Ray and HD DVD continue to battle for leadership in next-generation disc formats, New Medium Enterprises has announced that it will add still another format to the competition. The company has introduced its new HD VMD format and player. HD VMD (or High-Definition Versatile Media Disc) avoids many of the problems inherent to the other formats, says NME. Instead of relying on blue lasers, HD VMD can store as much as 40GB on a dual-layer disc read using more traditional red beams. This carries with it the benefits both of easy support for CDs and DVDs as well as lowering the cost of producing each disc. The initial player can play all three discs and is available now from the company for $175 with a choice of ten movies at launch, including titles such as "Hostage" and "Sleepy Hollow."
NME also said that it would use its presence at the CES expo in January to demonstrate a newer player that the company claims will support Blu-Ray and HD DVD alongside HD VMD discs.
Elecom unveils iPod dock
Elecom today unveiled the ASP-WR8, a new iPod speaker dock that features a real wooden cabinet. The wood design is meant to improve audio quality as well as aesthetic appeal with three different finishes. Speaker functions include two 5.5-watt satellites driven by any dockable iPod or the audio from an auxiliary input jack, according to Electronista. The ASP-WR8 includes an infrared remote, and is shipping in Japan for $135.
ProScope HR launches
Bodelin Technologies has begun shipping its ProScope HR, a new high-resolution version of its ProScope hand-held microscope. The new device offers a 1.3 mega-pixel image and new included software for Mac as well as Windows to captures stills, video, and time-lapse imagery with a single click. Users can load the free software that comes bundled with the ProScope HR, negating the need to deal with a separate driver. Users can adjust resolution from 320x240 to 640x480 for live presentations, or 1280x1024 to capture high-resolution stills. The new microscope works with previous ProScope lenses, enabling current customers to simply upgrade to a new base. Bodelin also introduced a 400x lens to accompany the launch of its ProScope HR. The ProScope HR Base Unit is available for $240 without a lens, or with a 50x lens for $350. The new 400x lens is priced at $250.
World of Where 3.7
Acqualia today released World of Where 3.7, an update to the geography learning software that adds native compatibility for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, as well as the Cantons of Switzerland. World of Where is designed to teach the countries, cities, flags and physical features of the world. Users can quiz themselves with a built-in test, offering a map cleared of all location identities. Skipping a country or capital city whilst testing will reveal the country's position, highlighted in clear red. The software features fully integrated testing on North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceana, and the Solar System. Tests also cover the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, China, and Switzerland. World of Where is available for $12, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
EB Games starts downloads
EB Games has started a new range of downloads for PC titles $29.99 US or less. Most of what's on offer isn't especially good, but there are a few gems - BloodRayne for example, or IL-2 Sturmovik, Myst III: Exile, and Thief: Deadly Shadows. A number of full- or mid-priced downloads were already available. Note that BloodRayne is also on Steam for $9.95. We don't endorse any particular vendor, we just want you to know where options exist for hard-to-find games.
Elecom Wooden iPod Dock
Choosing an added sense of style over complexity, the Japanese firm Elecom today announced a new iPod speaker dock that can fit into even more conservative homes. Its ASP-WR8 series is one of the few stereos with a true wood cabinet, which Elecom says should improve audio quality as well as appearance. Three different finishes are available, including walnut (pictured). Speaker functions are straightforward with two 5.5-watt satellites being driven by any dockable iPod or the audio from an auxiliary input jack. An infrared remote is included. Elecom is shipping the ASP-WR8 in Japan for the equivalent of $135 US. Click through for photos of the additional finishes.
Note: we apologize for earlier issues with links. These should now be resolved.
PDFpen 3.0 released
SmileOnMyMac has released PDFpen 3.0, the latest revision of its PDF editing tool for Mac users. The update enables users to modify original text using automatically generated text blocks. PDFpen 3.0 also features new image editing capabilities allowing users to move, resize, copy, and delete from the original PDF document. Other enhancements include increased speed and multiple column selection. The company also released PDFpenPro 3.0, adding all of the previously mentioned features as well as the ability to create fillable PDF forms and embed links. PDFpen is priced at $50, while PDFpenPro is available for $100. Upgrades from earlier versions of either application are available for $25, and are free to users who purchased their license after July 1st, 2006. Both versions require Mac OS X 10.2.5 or later.
Belkin Notebook Dock
Attempting to use a laptop as the heart of a desktop system can be frustrating. Traveling with the computer often involves unplugging cables for displays, input, networking, and sound before you can leave. Docking stations have existing in the past, but eripheral maker Belkin has found a particularly elegant way to solve this problem with its Notebook Expansion Dock. Rather than plug into each individual port of the computer, the dock plugs only into a single ExpressCard slot. The 2Gbps bandwidth provided by the newer card format is enough to handle all the common add-ons for a laptop, according to Belkin. Five USB ports, analog and optical audio, Ethernet, and even a 1600x1200 DVI or VGA display can all be run at the same time without devices affecting each other's performance. The Notebook Expansion Dock is shipping in late November for $199 and currently requires Windows Vista or XP; a Mac equivalent has yet to be announced.
Overflow 2.0 released
Stunt Software today released Overflow 2.0, an update to the launcher utility for Mac OS X that introduces categories as well as full keyboard control. Overflow is an application designed to quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders while keeping the size of the dock at a minimum. Users can bind a hotkey to bring up the main window, and can use the application entirely without the mouse. Overflow 2.0 enables users to open documents by dragging them onto stored applications or by moving items into folders stored in Overflow, and a new dock menu provides access to all items stored in Overflow. The interface is resizable and fully customizable, enabling users to create separate categories for dock items. The application is available for $15 to new users, and the update is free for existing license holders. Overflow 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Phantasy Star 360 beta
On Wednesday and Thursday only, 360 owners with Gold subscriptions will get to download a free multiplayer beta of Phantasy Star Universe. FiringSquad notes that people who grab the beta will be able to play the game until October 18th. The full version of Sega's online RPG comes out on the 24th. In addition to online play, the retail game will come with a single-player adventure starring Ethan Waber, a rebellious teenager who has to defend his sister from an alien invasion. The aliens turn out to have a connection with ruins of an ancient civilization.
Red Giant updates plug-ins
Red Giant Software today released free updates to its Magic Bullet Editors and Knoll Light Factory plug-ins for Final Cut Pro and Avid AVX software. Both plug-ins are compatible with PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs, providing compatibility for Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 and Media Composer 2 customers using Mac OS X. The Avid updates are only for PowerPC-based systems, however, and a new update it scheduled when Avid releases new versions that offer compatibility with Intel-based Macs, according to Red Giant. Magic Bullet Editors is designed to provide video professionals with simple tools to transform the soap-opera look of video to the softer, more "organic" look of film. Knoll Light Factory digitally simulates light effects called flares -- which simulate reflections from a very bright light source as seen in a camera lens. Magic Bullet Editors 2.0 is available for $350, while Knoll Light Factory is available for $400.
Canon Anniversary SD900
Canon was not the first to embrace digital photography, releasing its first home cameras in 1996; however, the Digital ELPH line was one of the few at the time to focus on size and style instead of raw features. The company has clearly been successful since then, and has announced today that it would commemorate the tenth anniversary with a special edition of its 10-megapixel SD900 camera. Designed by NYC Peach, the anniversary model will have jewels placed around the lens ring and will be particularly exclusive: only fifteen examples are being made, ten of which will go to winners of a contest on Canon USA's PowerShot website that begins in late October while the remaining five will be auctioned off in early January. The announcement is rare for Canon, which generally refrains from launching special editions of its cameras.
XBL: Tiger Woods demo
Continuing the spate of EA demo releases (after FIFA 07 and Need for Speed Carbon), there's now a sampler of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 on Xbox Live. The file is 918 MB. Human Head and 3D Realms, meanwhile, have released the promised multiplayer content for Prey. Here it is:
Becky - Multiplayer characterKeep an eye out for a demo of Tony Hawk's Project 8 within a week or so.
Elhuit - Multiplayer character
Elite - Multiplayer character
Hunter - Multiplayer character
Jen - Multiplayer character
Gravity Labs - Multiplayer map
Space Oddity - Multiplayer map
Topillogical - Multiplayer map
Tunnel Rat - Multiplayer map
Reviews, Apple patents
In brief: MacNN has reviewed FileBrowse ($25) from R Green Blue, offering users a new way to browse the contents of folders and files.... MacNN has also reviewed Lexar's Professional 2GB 133X SD Card ($150, shown at right), a memory card designed for digital cameras offering increased speed and greater storage capacity.... The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published Apple's newly granted patents which include a "Method and apparatus rendering user accounts portable" and a "Cursor control device having an integral top member".... Apple has posted three new commercials as part of its "Get a Mac" ad campaign featuring "Counselor," "Better Results," and "Self Pity".... Despite Microsoft's hopes to ship Windows Vista to manufacturing customers by its scheduled October 25th date, the near final release is "not there yet," with users experiencing performance as well as visual problems coupled with a lack of SoundMAX integrated audio drivers.... Samsung has begun shipping its YP-T9 flash-based digital audio player in the U.S., but without Bluetooth functionality.
Samsung 10-Megapixel Phone
Point-and-shoot cameras are only now reaching the 10-megapixel mark in higher-end models, but Samsung today has already set the bar equally high for cellphones. The B600 is the only phone to have a 10-megapixel camera sensor, giving it the same sharpness as even the best compact cameras. It also refuses to sacrifice zoom quality, as is almost always the case with cellphone lenses: the B600 has a 3X optical zoom that can focus properly on a distant subject. The new handset's 2.2-inch LCD is also one of the few displays of its kind to display a full 16.7 million colors -- making this phone's image previews more accurate than even some professional cameras.
Samsung has not ignored the other features of the phone in the process. For its native Korean market, the B600 has built-in mobile TV support for watching live video. Bluetooth, EVDO broadband, and AAC/MP3 music playback are also standard features. The only limitation to the phone is its availability. Targeted at Korea, the current form of the B600 is currently shipping to that country alone. Nonetheless, those who can justify the $900 US equivalent price will have one of the most feature-rich phones of any country. Click through for additional photos.
Creative Manager Pro 8.37
Creative Manager today announced that it will soon release Creative Manager Pro 8.37, updating its ad agency software and project management groupware for design firms. The upcoming released includes specific enhancements requested by large agency clients, such as the ability to automatically mass email AR invoices to customers with an option for the client to pay via credit card directly from the invoice, eliminating the need to hand mail invoices. Improvements to the Transaction Preference function enable users to sync vendor invoices from Strata and SmartPlus as "approved" or "not approved." Additionally, new upgrades offer logic to determine the outstanding open amount on a vendor invoice being applied to pre-billed orders when importing form Strata or SmartPlus. As always, the update is free for existing Creative Project Manager and Creative Manager Pro users, requiring no installation or conversion (system requirements were unavailable).
Final Wii/PS3 launch games
The PS3 should have 24 games while the Wii will get 30, say Wedbush Morgan Securities, quoted through CVG. Wedbush has published a list of "anticipated" launch titles for the two consoles, on which one can also find expected sell-in figures where available. The one glaring problem is the Prince of Persia game for the Wii - it's pegged as a launch product, but we know it won't be coming until March 2007 at the earliest. See the PS3 launch list below, with the full Wii assortment after the jump.
Resistance: Fall of Man - Sony
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom - Sony
Genji: Days of the Blade - Sony
Gran Turismo HD - Sony
NBA 07 - Sony
Call of Duty 3 - Activision (600,000)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - Activision (310,000)
Tony Hawk's Project 8 - Activision (300,000)
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Bethesda Softworks
Fight Night 3 - Electronic Arts (400,000)
Madden NFL 07 - Electronic Arts (700,000)
NBA Live 07 - Electronic Arts (500,000)
Need for Speed Carbon - Electronic Arts (800,000)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 - Electronic Arts (400,000)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Target In Sight - Namco Bandai
Ninja Gaiden Sigma - Namco Bandai
Ridge Racer 7 - Namco Bandai
Full Auto 2: Battlelines - Sega
Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega
NBA 2K7 - Take-Two Interactive (400,000)
NHL 2K7 - Take-Two Interactive (200,000)
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII - Ubisoft
Rainbow Six: Vegas - Ubisoft
F.E.A.R. - Vivendi
GeForce 8800 Launch at LAN
Even though its GeForce 7950 GT has only been available for a month, NVIDIA is preparing a dramatic overhaul of its graphics card line very soon. The company said today that it would launch its next-generation gaming platform -- "GPU and MCP together" -- at the upcoming GeForce LAN 3 on November 7th. The news effectively confirms that the GeForce 8800, seen previously in prototype form, will receive an official launch at that time and is likely to be accompanied by the new nForce 6-series mainboards for Core 2 Duo processors.
The new graphics chipset is expected to be the first to use a unified shader model, where instead of specialized per-pixel and vertex (3D point) units the entire pipeline can adapt depending on the work at hand, substantially improving theoretical performance. Two models are expected to ship at the November 7th launch: the flagship 8800 GTX with a 575MHz core and 768MB of RAM, as well as a scaled-down 8800 GTS with 500MHz core and 640MB of RAM. Both will have dual-link DVI for extra-large displays as well as HDCP encryption support for next-generation movies.
iMage USB Webcam for Mac
Ecamm Network and Pico Instruments Tuesday announced the new iMage USB Webcam for Mac. The lightweight, portable webcam delivers high-quality video to any popular Mac video application, including iChat AV, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype and Photo Booth. Employing USB video standards, the iMage webcam requires no device drivers to be installed prior to use with Mac OS X or Windows XP. Ecamm includes special iMage Plugin software to provide complete iChat compatibility. iMage requires no special fittings or attachments to be mounted above a notebook screen, sit on a desktop, attach magnetically or mount on a standard camera tripod, according to the company. The iMage USB Webcam is $60; for a limited time, Ecamm is including its Conference Recorder for iChat and Call Recorder for Skype software and is offering free shipping within the United States.
Google launches Mac Blog
Google has gone public with its commitment to the Mac platform. The company today launched a new Google Mac Blog that outlines its continued support of the Mac platform. The internet giant, which yesterday acquired You Tube for $1.65 billion and continues to strike video content deals, said that it strongly supports the Mac platform with a variety of products and services as a part of its mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The first blog posting notes that the company currently offers a variety of Dashboard widgets for checking Gmail, posting to a blog, and checking user's search history as well as two ways to upload photos from your Mac to Picasa Web Albums. In addition, the blog points to the Google Notifier tool that alerts users to new Gmail messages and upcoming Google Calendar events--something available only to Mac users.
Toshiba Satellite m115
Having updated its HD DVD-playing Qosmio laptop as well as its larger Satellites with the faster Core 2 Duo, Toshiba is ready to update one of its smaller models. Its Satellite M115-S3144 is its first 14-inch laptop to use the Core 2 Duo and also contains a few pleasant additions for its class. The CPU is only a basic 1.6GHz model, but the system ships with a surprising 2GB of RAM and 120GB of hard drive storage. Toshiba also gives this latest Satellite a significant multimedia component through harmon/kardon stereo speakers and dedicated media controls that can play CDs and DVDs without booting the system. The new model ships within one to two weeks for $1249.
Dartware InterMapper 4.5
Dartware has released InterMapper 4.5, an update to its network monitoring and alerting software that helps network managers proactively maintain uptime, plan network expansion, troubleshoot problems, and document elements and connections. In addition to maps and charts, version 4.5 can track network performance status with a new List/Icon/Notifier view, color-based status badges, new device Info and network info windows, and a map slideshow. In addition, the release adds several new probes to its set of nearly 100 SNMP and server probes, including one for LDAP and LDAP-SSL, DNS, host resources (disk usage, etc.), the Subversion code system, and more wireless devices. InterMapper 4.5 also supports syslog, XML import, CSV export, enhanced trap processing, autosave, and more polling behaviors. Pricing starts at $500 for 25 devices, while RemoteAccess is an additional $300 and the Wireless Probe Pack is $175.
Medieval II demo released
A demo is out for the historical RTS game by Creative Assembly. At 487.56 MB, the file includes a tutorial at the Battle of Hastings (Normans vs. Saxons), as well as full-scale scenarios at Pavia (Hapsburgs vs. French) and Agincourt (English vs. French). Absent is the full game's turn-based grand strategy mode. You can find mirrors for the demo here, here, here and here. A warning: according to Shacknews, a CPU with SSE2 support is required. This leaves out owners of Athlon or Athlon XP processors (Athlon 64 is supported).
PBS content on iTunes
PBS today announced the launch of PBS content on the iTunes Store, offering documentary specials and episodes from popular PBS primetime and children's programming. The rebranded iTunes Store (previously iTunes Music Store) ships about one million video per week, according to the latest release. PBS Episodes will be priced from $1.99 each and immediately available for the following shows. The company said the lineup will include primetime shows such as Anitiques Roadshow; Nova; Now; and Scientific American Frontiers as well as PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go! shows such as: Arthur; Cyberchase; and Fetch!
Mac Office 2007 delayed
Microsoft doesn't expect to ship the next version of its flagship suite Office for the Mac until the second of half of 2007, confirming a report from last month. Code-named Office 12, the next version of its flagship office suite will bring an enhanced look and feel to match Mac OS X's interface evolution, and enhanced features as well as Universal Binary support for native performance on Intel-based Macs; however, Reuters reports that the company does not expect to ship the much-anticipated Universal update until eight months after the release of its Windows counterpart. Microsoft currently expects to ship the next version of Office 2007 for Windows in January, which could mean that Mac users would wait about three and half years since the last major update. Office 2004 for Mac was released in January of 2004.
Logitech Harmony 670
Although most of Logitech's recent efforts to improve the Harmony line have focused on luxury models, the company showed its commitment to more modest home theaters on Tuesday by releasing an update of an existing model. The Harmony 670 is a revised version of one of the earliest Harmony remotes, the 659. While many buttons have been slightly adjusted, the most significant change is around the center directional pad. Most Harmony users own DVRs, according to Logitech, so all the related buttons (such as Advance, Pause, and Skip) have been arranged in a circle around the directional pad.
The company also says that the 670 is the first Harmony remote to ship with version 7 software, which simplifies the process of setting up an online account (necessary to update the remote's device support) to as little as four steps. The Harmony 670 is shipping today for $150. See a full photo after the jump.
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