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Parallels Desktop for Mac
Parallels today offered a final version of its Desktop for Mac update, bringing support for Intel-based Macs with any memory configuration. Previously, users were limited and required users to run a utility to obtain compatiblity with Mac with memory configurations larger than 2GB. The new update, available previously as a release candidate in final testing, offers compatibility with Apple's Mac Pros with up to 16GB of RAM, and the full line of Core 2 Duo iMacs as well as brings a new virtual disk cache policy option for optimizing either Mac OS X or the guest operating system . It also brings support for Windows Vista as a guest OS, support for the yet-to-be-released Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" as a primary OS, and better USB support, including support for isynchronous devices and Windows Mobile 5 devices.
Cingular 8525 Smartphone
The arrival of HTC's Dash at T-Mobile was noticed by many, but since then word has been received that another phone from the prolific smartphone builder will arrive at a US carrier soon. The TyTN, a phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, is now set to ship to with the simple name of the Cingular 8525. This Windows Mobile device is expected to be especially feature-filled and compares well against the MDA and similar offerings from T-Mobile. A 2.1-megapixel camera, 802.11g wireless, as well as the option of multiple mobile Internet standards (EDGE, HSDPA, and UMTS) will all be present.
Appropriately for such a high-end system, online sources have confirmed that the price of the 8525 will mirror its role as a miniature multimedia computer. One of Cingular's future handhelds will cost $475 with a two-year contract before rebates; this may limit its accessibility, but those who absolutely depend on its online abilities may consider it a small sacrifice. Click through for a more detailed profile of the phone in its TyTN (originally codenamed "Hermes") guise.
launch2net 1.4.9 (€75) brings support for the Novatel Merlin XU870 wireless ExpressCard modem to the software that establishes mobile internet connections automatically on-the-go. The newly supported ExpressCard allows mobile internet connections with up to 3.6Mbps in all HSPDA networks around the world, as well as 3G UMTS, EDGE and GPRS connections.
[Download - 10.2MB]
KidsServer 1.7.1 ($180 for 5-user 1-year license) updates the proxy server with advanced Web filtering capabilities, offering a real-time clients monitor to monitor what all clients are doing online. The update brings better RSS filtering, an improved filtering engine for Russian sites, and better KFS compatibility. [Download - 4.2MB]
iBiz 3 beta ($50) is a new version of the time-billing and invoicing application for Mac OS X 10.4. The update improves reporting as well as invoicing, and adds iCal synchronization as well as AppleScript support. iBiz 3 beta also offers document monitoring, quick timers, and a new billing section. [Download - 15MB]
Kenbushi 6.2 ($15 for standard, $25 for pro) is a fast file sharing, data backup, and remote media player application. Kenbushi 6.2 allows users to remotely control media playback using any PDA with Wi-Fi capability, and offers wireless PDA slideshows alongside a simple integrated Web server. The update also includes media bookmarks, a Skipmark system, and new playlist mute/shuffle/loop controls. [Download - 24.8MB]
Booxter 1.9 ($20) helps users easily manage bookmark collections by gathering book information from various sources on the internet. The software allows users to edit, sort, categorize, export, and print books of interest. Version 1.9 offers German localization, adds label printing, and includes various bug fixes as well as interface enhancements. [Download - 3.6MB]
Speed Download 4.1.4 ($25) updates the application designed to help users avoid unreliable file downloads while adding the ability to resume unfinished transfers. Speed Download 4.1.4 adds more "tweaks" for Mac OS X 10.4.8, addresses a preference interface glitch that would cause the text to overlap when resized, and fixes a cookie handling issue that would cause SD to quit for some users. [Download - [not yet updated]]
LANrev, Soulver, iCalamus
LANrev 3.1.2 (inquiry required) brings significant performance enhancements to the client management software for heterogeneous networks. The software is designed to standardize life cycle management for networks of diverse clients and infrastructure. LANrev 3.1.2 also correctly identifies Mac Intel Core 2 Duo processors, as well as the new iMac computers introduced by Apple in September.
[Download - [form]]
Soulver 1.4 ($14) is the latest version of the calculator that provides a word processor style interface for doing math on a Mac, adding the ability to calculate numbers from English expressions. Soulver 1.4 also includes constants, functions, statistics, and "equal-less" calculations. [Download - 1.1MB]
iCalamus 1.01 (€100) brings important bug fixes and new features to the publishing software for Mac OS X. iCalamus offers OpenType support, as well as enhanced image, PDF, and text handling. Version 1.01 also no longer swaps horizontal or vertical values, ensures gradient styles are no longer copied virtually, and resolves a tiny path bug in the N-Corner shape. [Download - 17.6MB]
Stock Investment Guide 1.7.5 ($40) updates the tool for performing comprehensive fundamental analysis of publicly traded stocks, offering native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The application provides users with easy-to-use tools that retrieve historical stock data for a company, analyze historical growth trends, project earnings, and determine Buy, Hold, and Sell price zones. [Download - 4.5MB]
HelpLogic 1.0 ($100) is a help authoring solution for cross-platform developers designed to easily create help systems for software and websites from a single source. The application features an integrated Workshop, Visual TOC (Table Of Contents) Builder, HTML Editor, and Link Manager to generate Web-based Help, Apple Help, Microsoft HTML Help, UniHelp, and PDF documents. [Download - 6.9MB]
ifrogz unveils Tadpole
Ifrogz today unveiled Tadpole, its new case for Apple's video iPod made specifically for children ages one and up. Constructed from the same dust-repellent silicone as other ifrogz customizable iPod cases, the Tadpole gives busy parents a way to entertain their children on-the-go with two large handle that offer a solid grip as well as protection for the portable media player. Tadpole measures 5.5-inches wide, 4.25-inches high, and 0.75-inches thick. The case weighs only 2.7 ounces, adding improved protection without significant bulk. The Tadpole is due to ship on November 1st in various colors for $25. [updated]
Goldtouch Keyboard for Mac
Key Ovation today unveiled one of the few true ergonomic keyboards designed specifically for Mac users. The Goldtouch for Mac splits the keyboard layout into two distinct halves that can change their angle by 30 degrees in either direction to get a comfortable fit. All features specific to Mac keyboards are present, including Command and Option keys, an eject key, and volume controls. Key Ovation boasts that the quality of the keyboard is such that Apple itself has used the earlier, generalized version of the keyboard for its workers. "That was tremendous validation for the keyboard," says Key Ovation General Manager Stephanie Gilbert. The Goldtouch for Mac is now available for $140 and can be accompanied by a stand-alone keyboard, wrist rest, or vertically-oriented mouse.
Xbox Live Pipeline
Want to know what's popping up on the Xbox Live Marketplace without starting up your 360? Microsoft has launched Pipeline, a Flash-based site that lets you preview the sections normally found on Marketplace (Demos and Game Videos, Themes and Gamer Pics, etc.) plus an "Editor's Choice" section dedicated to promoting specific products. The actual samples are rather limited, but ironically, it's easier to use than the 360's Dashboard interface. The real question is if Microsoft will remain committed to updating Pipeline in a timely manner.
Excel Software has announced its new QuickLicense system to manage the secure, flexible licensing of Windows and Macintosh software. QuickLicense is used to configure "hacker-proof" evaluation, lease or full licenses, then manage each license and customer data. The QuickLicense application can be used to configure a highly flexible licensing strategy with data stored in an encrypted ticket file. The data and runtime executable are protected from disassembly by data and logic firewalls, according to Excel. The royalty-free system can be applied to any consumer, business or shareware application developed in any programming language to implement trial editions, software leases, controlled feature editions or full licenses.
Goldtouch for Mac ships
Key Ovation today began shipping Goldtouch for Mac, its first Apple-compatible keyboard. The Goldtouch for Mac is an adjustable ergonomic keyboard allowing users to adjust the two alphanumeric sections both horizontally and vertically (from zero to 30 degrees) to suit individual body requirements. The keyboard features USB connectivity, a locking ball and socket latch mechanism, a small footprint, and an editing key layout for left-right work distribution. The Goldtouch for Mac also offers large spacebars for easy thumb use, full-sized tactile feedback keys with soft end-stop, and low noise key actuation. The keyboard provides a standard alphanumeric key layout (QWERTY) with an Apple control key, right and left Apple/option keys, a CD eject key, and mute as well as volume control. The Goldtouch for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is priced at $140. [image]
ViewSonic ships ViewDock
ViewSonic says it has begun shipping ViewDock, boasting the title of the world's first display made with iPods in mind. The company's display features an iPod dock built directly into the stand, capable of playing audio directly from any supported iPod through integrated stereo speakers and a subwoofer. Four USB 2.0 ports and an 8-in-1 card reader allow the ViewDock to function as a hub for input or storage devices, and the display features a new microphone for voice chat or audio input to play outside sources through the existing speakers. The premium VX2245wm is a 22-inch display with a 1680x1050 native resolution, while the 19-inch VX1945wm reduces the resolution to 1440x900 without sacrificing features, according to Electronista. ViewSonic is shipping both screens today at $300 for the 19-inch model and $450 for the 22-inch version.
Glass Bead's SnapMail 5.0
Glass Bead has released a major update to its secure office communication software: SnapMail 5.0 offers a new centralized administration interface, allowing authorized personnel to send lists, settings and standardized messages to groups of users. It also adds new message body display that greatly increasing ease of use and user efficiency as well as new buttons and menus to improve access to message handling functions, including: folders, status, and templates. The software also now allows users to single click on URLs to automatically open them in the default browser. Glass Bead's secure email and file transfer software, SnapMail 5.0, runs cross-platform on networked PC and Macintosh computers. It runs either with or without a server and can connect remote offices. The software sells for $32 per user with educational, non-profit and volume discounts available.
Phantasy Star beta delay
The official Website informs us that the Phantasy Star Universe beta will not launch today. "We apologize," it says, "but the BETA release dates have changed. The release date will no longer be Oct 11th, but should see release very soon after. Please watch this page, as well as our Official Phantasy Star Universe forums for more information. Thank you for your patience, we look forward to seeing everyone online very soon!" PSU is based on Sega's legendary series of RPGs.
Every business traveler is concerned about safeguarding private business data when away from work; not every removable drive is capacious or secure enough to be trusted with that information. Kingston addressed both problems today by releasing two new DataTraveler USB flash drive lines. The DataTraveler Secure adds password protection with 256-bit AES encryption to any files stored on a special section of the drive. This security method is strict enough to also prevent brute-force cracking: if ten successive failed passwords are entered, the DataTraveler Secure locks the information outright. An upcoming Privacy Edition of the drive will be even tougher to break, using hardware encryption instead of software and protecting data with a more complex password routine. All models are waterproof to four feet and will work with Windows Vista's ReadyBoost to serve as a temporary cache for the future OS. Ordinary DataTraveler Secure models are shipping now with prices ranging from $33 for 512MB to $244 for 4GB. The Privacy Edition will arrive in January at the same capacities for an unspecified price.
Universal 3D components
Spatial today announced its entire portfolio of 3D software development components, which includes the 3D ACIS Modeler, 3D ACIS Extensions, and 3D InterOp Translators, now supports Apple's Intel-based Macs. Shipping today, Spatial is the first company to offer 3D software components to developers creating Universal versions of their 3D applications. "By extending our Mac OS X support to Universal applications, we ensure a clean migration path for Mac users that rely on applications developed by our partners, allowing them to take advantage of the high performance and optimum productivity of the latest Intel-based Macs," said Keith Mountain, CEO of Spatial. "The increase in performance is remarkable and we are excited to be leading the modeling industry in the support of this high- performance platform." Pricing varies depending on product success.
GearBox Plugin bundles
Line 6 is now shipping its new GearBox Plugin Silver and Gold bundles. Designed for the computer-based musician who records guitar, bass and vocals, GearBox Plug-in bundles deliver legendary Line 6 studio-standard tone from POD XT, and classic must-have vintage effects in a flexible software plug-in format. Both packages include Mac AU and PC VST plug-in support and a USB guitar interface for Line 6 ToneDirect monitoring while recording. GearBox offers the option to use Line 6's exclusive ToneDirect monitoring while recording. GearBox Plug-in Silver and Gold bundles include an extensive collection of professionally programmed presets.
B. Vista licenses Oblivion
Buena Vista Games has announced the licensing of both the engine and toolkit used to make The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, GamesIndustry says. Developed by Emergent, the Gamebryo technology will be put to use in a number of BVG titles, scattered across different genres and produced for both the PS3 and Xbox 360. BVG is owned by Disney and has published games such as Cars, Tron 2.0, and Kingdom Hearts II. Upcoming Buena Vista games include Lumines II, Every Extend Extra, and Meteos: Disney Edition.
Nokia and Orb MyCasting
Cellphone owners who like to carry files and media with them often reach the storage limitations of their handhelds quickly. A typical microSD card holds no more than 2GB of information at any one time. This is particularly noticeable for owners of Nokia's N80 Internet Edition, who may have bought the phone specifically as a mobile substitute for their computers. This is why Nokia today said that the N80 would be the first phone to be integrated with Orb's MyCasting service: instead of transferring information to a memory card, users can simply stream any media stored remotely on their computer and play it from the phone. Orb's software even records TV and can give remote access to the resulting video clips. No charge is expected for the feature aside from data charges that stem from the owner's cellphone plan. The feature should accompany the N80 Internet Edition phones when they ship to North America in November.
Finale NotePad 2007
MakeMusic today released Finale NotePad 2007, the latest version of its popular freeware application. Based on its commercial sibling Finale music notation software, NotePad now includes native support for both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs as well as improved performance and redraw enhancements for all users. The cross-platform NotePad also brings full support for Finale 2007; it delivers powerful and timesaving features for music educators, students and hobbyists, including compatibility with Finale 2007 files. According to the company, the software is popular with educators, allowing them to create assignments in Finale and share these creations with their students via NotePad. Like Finale, NotePad includes more than 128 professional-grade sounds from the SmartMusic practice system - these sounds ensure that playback is consistent between users of NotePad and Finale.
Nintendo: Sun concerns
Responding to concerns that the Wii's sensor bar can be disrupted by sunlight, Nintendo has told 1UP that "Our testing thus far shows no great risk of light interference when playing a game that relies on the pointer and sensor bar." Of course, this directly contradicts the anecdotal evidence from Nintendo World. Another disappointment may be waiting for those few Japanese gamers holding on to their GameCubes - IGN says that the GC version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will only be sold there through Nintendo's Website. The Wii title will still be out in stores. To clarify, the situation is unchanged in North America, with the Wii game coming November 19th and the GC version December 11th.
Eudora goes open-source
Qualcomm and the Mozilla Foundation today announced it will end commercial development of its Eudora email client and announced that future versions of Eudora will be based upon the same technology platform as the open-source Mozilla Thunderbird email program. Future versions of Eudora will be free and open source, while retaining Eudora's "uniquely rich feature set and productivity enhancements," the company said. The open-source version of Eudora is expected to be released in the first half of calendar year 2007 and once released, the company will cease to sell Eudora commercially. In the interim, Qualcomm said it will continue commercial sales at a reduced price of $20 (including a six-month period of technical support); however, existing technical support commitments will be honored in their entirety. Eudora 6.2.4 for Mac OS X features a new Mail.app import to easily import mail from Apple's bundled email client and features updated spamWatch definitions
Norton Confidential ships
Symantec today released Norton Confidential for Mac, an online transaction security solution designed to protect users when banking or shopping online from "phishing" attacks. "Norton Confidential for Macintosh protects users against fraudulent websites that may be 'phishing' to steal users' identities when they're logging in, making a purchase, registering for a service, or otherwise sharing confidential data online. Looking for known threats and suspicious behavior, Norton Confidential for Macintosh inspects websites before users interact with them and automatically blocks private information from attack." The software features built-in vulnerability protection to prevent identity thieves from exploiting newly discovered application and operating system vulnerabilities, allowing users to lock down personally important files on their Mac to prevent deletion or tampering. Norton Confidential for Mac is available for $35, and includes a one-year subscription to Symantec's protection updates via LiveUpdate.
Onset unveils HOBO Pro v2
Onset Computer has announced the HOBO Pro v2 Series of four Mac-compatible weatherproof data loggers designed for use in a broad range of outdoor temperature and humidity monitoring applications. Slightly larger than a pocket-sized flashlight, the HOBO Pro v2 loggers address the need among professional researchers for a portable data logger capable of withstanding harsh outdoor and condensing environments such as field site evaluations, ecology studies, and microclimate monitoring. Key features of the HOBO Pro v2 include a robust and replaceable RH sensor that provides superior recovery from condensing conditions, as well as fast data offload via a high-speed optic-USB interface. HOBO Pro v2 Series loggers are available from Onset for $129. The optic-USB base station, HOBO Waterproof Shuttle, protective boots, and HOBOware software are available separately. [image]
HTC's new challenger to the Motorola Q has had a long development history: known initially as the Excalibur, the new smartphone has long since been suggested as a prime candidate for T-Mobile USA's emphasis on data-savvy models. The speculation and doubts have been put to rest on Wednesday by the official release of the T-Mobile Dash, a provider-branded version of HTC's design. The Dash is designed with Internet use in mind and has a touchstrip along the side for scrolling through e-mail or websites; it also includes EDGE support and WiFi for connecting to the Internet either through the cellular network or a local hotspot. A 1.3-megapixel camera gives the Dash an extra advantage over Motorola's handset.
Specific to T-Mobile is support for the company's myFaves feature that lets subscribers have unlimited calling to any of five friends or family, regardless of the carriers they use. T-Mobile will start shipping the Dash on October 25th for prices ranging from $350 without a contract to $199 with a two-year plan. See a full photo after the jump.
ViewDock iPod Displays
Previewed at Apple Expo 2006 in Paris, ViewSonic has formally released in the US what it says are the world's first displays made with iPods in mind. The ViewDock line sports an iPod dock built directly into the display stand and can play audio directly from any supported iPod through integrated stereo speakers and a subwoofer. Four USB 2.0 ports and an 8-in-1 card reader to use the ViewDock as a hub for input or storage devices. New in today's announcement are the presence of a microphone for voice chat as well as audio input to play outside sources through the existing speakers.
Two models are being introduced today: the premium VX2245wm is a 22-inch display with a 1680x1050 native resolution, while the 19-inch VX1945wm reduces the resolution to 1440x900 without sacrificing features. ViewSonic is shipping both screens today at $299 for the 19-inch model and $449 for the 22-inch version.
Seagate raises storage cap
Seagate today announced that it will ship higher capacity models of its Maxtor Shared Storage II and Maxtor OneTouch III storage systems. Seagate's Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition is available with up to 1.5TB of storage, while its Maxtor OneTouch III single-drive desktop model is available with a maximum capacity of 750GB. The Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition offers 160GB of storage for users on-the-go, and the company now offers its Maxtor Shared Storage II as a single-drive solution with 320GB or 500GB of space to centralize as well as share content on a home or small business network. Both the Maxtor OneTouch III and Maxtor Shared Storage II families include sophisticated, easy-to-use software that makes protecting valuable files easier via automatic backup directly from PCs and Macs. The Maxtor OneTouch III external storage family ranges from $150 (160GB) to $500 (750GB). The Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition portable storage solution is priced from $120 (60GB) to $200 (160GB). The Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition storage solution is available from $550 (1TB) to $800 (1.5TB).
FileMaker Workgroup Bundle
FileMaker today released the FileMaker Workgroup Bundle, a limited-time promotion designed to ease the process of small teams ramping up productivity while reaping the benefits of traditional volume licensing programs at discounted rates. The FileMaker Workgroup Bundle consists of 10 licenses of FileMaker Pro 8.5 and one license of FileMaker Server 8 for $3,000 (for new users) -- nearly 50 percent less than the company's current standard pricing. Upgraders receive further discounts on the bundle at $1,900. "FileMaker Pro 8.5 is deployed by organizations of all sizes, so we felt it was important to give smaller teams the volume licensing benefits larger customers enjoy," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker. "Even the smallest teams can immediately benefit from this bundle. And because FileMaker Server 8 is included for free, customers can share databases with high performance server software for significantly increased performance versus peer to peer sharing."
Though announced at the same time as the US-oriented Z550a, the Sony-Ericsson Z558i as originally released was intended mainly for Europeans. The cellphone maker inadvertently revealed today trhough an FCC filing that the more exotic Z558i will arrive in the US soon. Though otherwise an average flip-phone with Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel camera, the Z558 is unique for including a touchscreen and stylus for handwriting recognition as well as simplifying other functions that would normally be handled through buttons. While pricing and the choice of providers are still well away from being known, an FCC appearance usually means that a formal launch will take place within the next several weeks. A regular photo of the Z558i is available after the jump.
PS3: Kiosks being refitted
As some Sony fans have probably discovered, it's now impossible to pre-order a PS3 from GameStop or EB Games. MCV observes that both chains have completely allocated their in-store pre-order stock, which only became available earlier this week. If you're determined you may still be able to make a purchase whenever online pre-orders are opened. The date for that has yet to be announced. Don't bother hunting for pre-orders on eBay, though; MaxConsole reports that the company is cracking down hard on PS3 sellers, some of whom have been charging as much as $3,000 or more US.
Dig Dug on XBL Arcade
Namco's classic Dig Dug is available for 400 Microsoft points on the Xbox Live Arcade. In case you've been missing in action for 25 years, players drill underground tunnels as they try to crush or pop a series of monsters. New features for the 360 include online leaderboards, HDTV support (480p and 720p), and 12 Xbox Live Achievements. Dig Dug was originally released to arcades in 1981 and has since been ported to every platform imaginable, from the Atari 2600 to the DS and cellphones.
MetaCommunications announced that it will showcase its new Workgroups 2006 software suite at this year's Graph Expo show (booth #5131) from October 15-18th in Chicago. Workgroups 2006 is the first all-in-one process and productivity management suite designed for creative, publishing, and prepress professionals, according to the company. The latest iteration includes Job manager 4.0Virtual Ticket 7.0, Digital Storage Manager 2.0, and Approval Manager 1.0. Designed for ease of use, Workgroups 2006 offers full integration with industry standard page layout and graphic tools to facilitate collaboration, automate processes, centralize information, manage workflows, track files, and measure key financial as well as productivity metrics. Workgroups 2006 is a scalable server-based solution capable of accommodating groups from a few users to thousands across multiple locations. The software is simple to deploy, with client access from both Mac OS X and Windows systems. The suite is available with multi-user bundles starting from $5,000.
Novatel HSDPA ExpressCard
Users of more recent laptops with ExpressCard slots who would like to subscribe to the latest mobile broadband from Cingular or T-Mobile no longer need to resort to a USB adapter. Novatel, one of the main suppliers of mobile broadband cards, said today that it had begun shipping its new Merlin XU870 ExpressCard/34 adapter to carriers. The device supports both the 3.6Mbps maximum speed of HSDPA and also supports earlier or less common connections such as UMTS (soon to be used by T-Mobile USA), EDGE, and GPRS. The XU870 works with MacBook Pros through a downloadable driver as well as Linux and Windows PCs; Novatel says it should make its way to relevant carriers by the end of the year.
Copenhagen store opening
In brief: One MacNN reader has posted photos of Apple's largest retail store in Scandinavia opening in Copenhagen; the first 50 people were already in line at 10:00 p.m. the night before the opening.... A new report from an Italian publication suggests that Apple and Nike are set to debut Nike+iPod in Europe on October 17th.... Y-E Data has unveiled a new wireless hub (site not updated) featuring Wisair's UWB technology, designed to replace any wireline USB connection with a wireless one.... Ergonis Software and Take Control Books today announced that Mac users purchasing a copy of PopChar X 3.0 will receive a 30 percent discount on Sharon Zardetto Aker's "Take Control of Fonts in Mac OS X" and "Take Control of Font Problems in Mac OS X".... The Portland FilmMakers User Group has announced that Apple will host a presentation at their next meeting, with an expert speaking on the topic and demonstrating the product.... The Iconfactory has announced its 2006 haunted Halloween makeover, and has released a new icon set titled "The Bride of Macabre."
Altec-Lansing Zune Dock
With notable exceptions, most speaker docks are built explicitly for the iPod. Few music players beyond Apple's models have enough clout to justify the support. Microsoft's impending Zune is one of those influential players, according to Zune team member Bill Wittress. One of the first accessories set to arrive with the player will be an Altec-Lansing speaker dock named the M604, pictured at right. The dock is largely a reworking of the existing M602 made for iPods, but gains a darker shade to suit the black and brown colors of some Zune models. Notably, this demonstrates that the Zune has been designed to work with accessories in much the same way as the iPod, playing music through its data port while charging at the same time. Accessories such as these are expected to closely follow the Zune's arrival on November 14th and may give Microsoft's jukebox an early advantage over lesser-known rivals. Click through for a larger photo.
Logitech surround system
Logitech today debuted its X-540 speaker system, a surround-sound system designed for gamers. The X-540 system features matrix surround-sound technology, and accommodates flat panel monitor users by providing an integrated center-channel clip to secure the center speaker to the top of an LCD screen to save desk space. The speaker system includes a center channel with acoustically matched front and rear satellites to produce balanced surround sound, utilizing Logitech's Frequency Directed Dual Driver technology to help produce richer sounds with two drivers in each satellite speaker. The new technology also overcomes high-frequency overlap that leads to uneven sound, according to the company. Logitech's X-540 speaker system is expected to ship in November for $100 in the U.S. and Europe. [image]
Sony Altus Headphones
Noise-canceling earphones in the past have either sat directly in the ear canal, blocking ambient sounds without any choice, or else have required an active system that generates a counter sound -- and requires a battery to function. The Altus headphones from Sony, just announced today, draw on the advantages of both while having the weaknesses of neither. The over-the-ear headphones block outside noise by controlling diaphragms inside each cup through a single, passive switch. The Altus can either allow the diaphragms to move easily, allowing ambient noise into the headset when a lack of awareness might be dangerous, or fix them in place to block everything but the intended source. As the system doesn't draw power, noise cancellation is always an option regardless of how long the headphones are used.
The Altus headphones also improve the frequency to 80KHz; this gives a level of accuracy that wasn't possible in earlier portable headphones, says Sony. Though large, the headphones can be folded to be more portable and are shipped with a pouch for traveling. Expect to see the Altus available in stores by November for $150.
Apple stock probe issues
A new report calls into question Apple's own audit of stock option irregularities, saying two members may have been invovled themselves with awarding problematic grants. Apple's special board committee who investigated the stock option irregularities included one board member who had been involved with awarding Apple options to executives and another whose former company is scrutinizing option grants made while he was its chief executive. Raising questions about conflicts of interest, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple Board member Jerome York, responsible for awarding some of the option grant under review, recused himself from the three-member special committee's examination of awards granted during the period he considered himself directly involved in compensation matters. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined Apple's Board in late August and declined options offered by the company, worked at Novell between 1997 and 2001, part of a period that is the subject of an internal probe of possible options backdating issues. The third member of the special committee was former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who became an Apple director after the Apple options under question were granted, according to the report.
Belkin unveils TuneCast 3
Belkin today unveiled TuneCast 3 (site not updated), a universal FM transmitter that lets users listen to music and movies through any FM stereo receiver. A status indicator informs users when memory presets are saved, when the device is processing a request, and when it is powering on or off. The TuneCast 3 streams audio from any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, such as Apple's iPod or any laptop system. TuneCast 3 features 20 hours of battery life, cable management, and a sleek new design. The device transmits on FM channels 88.1MHz to 107.9MHz with 2 memory presets, and includes a power cord for battery-free operation. TuneCast 3 will ship with a mounting clip in November in North America for $50, with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow, according to Belkin.
Flood of Wii info from Jpn
Although the Wii won't be out in the country until December 2nd, Nintendo has just launched a substantial Japanese marketing campaign complete with billboards and TV ads, IGN reports. You can watch a couple of them (including a five-minute gameplay montage) after the jump. In the meantime, there's plenty of news on accessories. If you go here you can find a list of Japanese prices for basic gear, like video cables and Wiimotes. Of note is the USB LAN adapter, priced at 2,800 yen ($23.40 US), and a Wii-branded 512 MB SD card, priced at 3,800 yen ($31.75). Speaking of SD, an official interview mentions that the Wii can play MP3s alongside slideshows, if you have some on a card. There's no separate Music Channel. Finally, Vooks writes that if Japanese gamers buy 5,000 Wii points for 5,000 yen ($41.78), they'll automatically receive a Classic Controller. The Classic will be mandatory for most Virtual Console titles.
Belkin TuneStage II
The original Belkin TuneStage gave iPod owners a simple way to play their music through a home stereo without having to dock the iPod itself. Belkin today refreshed the streaming device by announcing the TuneStage II, a new model that reflects the advances in technology made since the original appeared in the summer of 2005. Its most significant addition is a volume control function for video-capable iPods and both iPod nano generations: these newer music players can control the volume of the TuneStage II itself, turning the iPod into the "ultimate remote control," according to Belkin. The TuneStage II can also charge an iPod through a USB cable and has upgraded to the more recent Bluetooth 2.0 standard for wireless transmitting, improving the connection speed and reducing both interference as well as power consumption. A 60GB iPod with video can play music through the system for seven continuous hours, according to the company's claims. The updated TuneStage will ship in late November for $150.
TuneStage II for iPod
Belkin today announced the Belkin TuneStage II for iPod, a new iPod accessory system that turns an iPod into the ultimate remote control and allows users toplay the music from an iPod through a home stereo wirelessly via Bluetooth technology. Users can navigate playlists, search for artists or individual songs, and adjust the volume using the iPod click-wheel--from over 30 feet away. Offering a wireless Bluetooth transmitter (connected to the iPod) and a receiver unit wired to the home stereo system, TuneStage II offers reliable, high-quality sound without the clutter of cables. The TuneStage II Transmitter, which uses Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR and draws minimal power from the iPod, also lets users wirelessly connect an iPod to stereo headphones or car stereos equipped with stereo Bluetooth technology. The company said a typical fifth-generation iPod can be used with the transmitter for up to 7 hours of playback. In addition, the receiver can link an MP3 phone enabled with Bluetooth technology, or computer to a home stereo. TuneStage II will be ship in late November for $150, with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow.
Sequencher 4.7 released
Gene Codes has announced a new version of Sequencher, its DNA sequence assembly and analysis program. Version 4.7 further refines its DNA sequence analysis capabilities: the Variance Table, introduced in 4.6, has been enhanced to allow editing of the data with table cells, with those changes automatically updated to the samples sequence and chromatograms. It also features improved Reference Sequence numbering and improved Sequence Editing functions; other improvements include enhanced GenBank feature handling, fully updated HTML help, the ability to save projects as Templates to speed repetitive analysis, and expanded file import/export capabilities. The company also said that the update represents a significant update to the forensic capabilities of Sequencher for Forensic Scientists working with mtDNA samples for victim ID and forensic casework. The application, not yet available as a Universal Binary, is compatible with Rosetta emulation environment and requires Mac OS 10.2.8. A demo offers all the functions except for printing and saving.
Prey: 1.2 patch, Triton
Accompanying the Prey update for the 360 is a 1.2 patch for the PC version. The 40 MB file contains a series of bug fixes, as well as the extra multiplayer content just added to the 360. The list again:
Becky - Multiplayer characterPatch mirrors can be found here and here. If you downloaded your copy of the game through Triton, here's the situation: 3D Realms says that 2K Games will automatically mail you a boxed copy to your credit card address. No further action is necessary.
Elhuit - Multiplayer character
Elite - Multiplayer character
Hunter - Multiplayer character
Jen - Multiplayer character
Gravity Lab - Multiplayer map
Space Oddity - Multiplayer map
Topillogical - Multiplayer map
Tunnel Rat - Multiplayer map
Cineon/DPX PRO QT v2.0
Glue Tools today announced version 2.0 of its Cineon/DPX PRO QuickTime Components for Mac OS X. This new release includes Timecode, Spotlight and User Customizable Header support. These new Cineon and DPX PRO QuickTime components, currently available for QuickTime 7.1, have now been re-written to include support for reading and writing of timecode data in the DPX header. This release also includes a new Spotlight Plugin for systems with Mac OS X 10.4. Users can now index and search all of their film frames, allowing FCP editors to search for frames with certain keycodes. In addition, users can now input project information and image descriptions into the Cineon or DPX headers for later use. The company said that reel information can be set during import from the DPX or Cineon preferences and that applications no longer see each Cineon or DPX frame as a separate clip, but rather as a complete movie. In addition, the video editing applications can now export new timecode data back into their DPX files. Cineon DPX QuickTime Components are available for $90.
Logitech X-540 Speakers
Music listeners and game players know that surround sound speakers are frequently underused; stereo sources effectively strip a 5.1 system of its advantages, and many spaces leave little room for the extra satellites. Logitech's announcement on Wednesday of its new X-540 speakers acknowledge this reality and present new options for the budget audiophile. A button on the main controller can toggle a matrix mode that simulates a 5.1 surround signal from any stereo output, putting the rear channels to better use. The satellites themselves are also more flexible than average and can be ceiling- or wall-mounted as well as stood upright. Logitech has also taken into consideration the common problem of placing the center speaker near an LCD display: a clip ships with the X-540 to mount the speaker on top of most flat-panel systems. Logitech says its new surround system delivers 70W of sustained power and should be available in November for $100. Click through for a photo of the clip mechanism.
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