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ArtRage, R, WiLMa
Atomic Mac 6.6.0 ($25) updates the periodic table of the elements and nuclear database for Mac users, running natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The Atomic Mac contains a wealth of nuclear information on each isotope, including half life, decay mode, and daughter products. X-ray data (fluorescence and binding energies) is also available, and a molecular weight calculator makes it easy to find the molecular weight of compounds.
[Download - 3MB]
WiLMa 1.2 ($20) is a wireless network location management utility that can open as well as close applications, change the desktop background, set iChat status, and more based on location. The update allows users to "opt in" for features or install and upgrade, and the trial version is fully featured. The latest version also offers network location switching, and includes various "behind the scenes" fixes. [Download - 900KB]
Transmit 3.5.5 ($18) update the FTP software, fixing potential crashes when failing SFTP logins or listing files on a VMS server. Transmit 3.5.5 improves reliability of queue's duplicate behavior, and repairs and issue in which the "Collections" list was not always scrollable. The update also adds "htaccess" to the default ASCII mode extensions list. [Download - 5.8MB]
ArtRage 2.2 ($20) adds significant new features to the painting package that allows users to paint with oils, sketch with pencils, sprinkle glitter, and more. The update runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and offers improved memory management as well as Photoshop layer blend modes. Additional new features include automatic update capability, oil thinners, metallic value control, and more. [Download - 3.5MB]
R 2.4.0 (free) is a software environment for statistical computing and graphics. R provides an integrated editor for managing R code, and features the ability to execute code directly from the editor. Additional features include syntax highlighting, brace-matching, code completion, and function indexing. The application update offers native compatibility for PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 93MB]
Contactizer Pro 3.0.2 ($120) updates the solution for managing, sharing, and organizing personal as well as business information. The latest revision includes speed enhancements to the event browser, and provides better Spotlight support in Mac OS X 10.4. The update is free for all current users, and includes numerous bug fixes to all levels of the application. [Download - 19MB]
iTV remote patent
In brief: MacNN blogger Neo has posted a follow-up report on our initial coverage of Apple's new iTV universal remote control patent, discussing the possibilities of one unique cross marketing method that the remote will implement along with a peek of at least one of the possible embodiments of the forthcoming device.... Quark today announced that it is sponsoring the AIGA Business and Design Conference in New York City taking place October 26-28th at the Roosevelt Hotel Grand Ballroom.... Apple is preparing to release another iWork '07 component code-named Lasso, which will compete against Microsoft's Excel software for consumer and small office customers.... Slim Devices and Ruckus Wireless today announced a marketing partnership under which the companies will offer the first in-home wireless digital music system that eliminates audio artifacts, extends range, and increases reliability of digital music distribution within the home.
User Refresh Mac 1.0
Faronics has released User Refresh Mac 1.0, a utility that safeguards standard user accounts from any and all tampering and changes while offering a non-restrictive environment for users. The software provides a simple method of maintaining the consistency of standard user accounts, thus reducing software technical support. It limits changes to a standard user's Home directory, including installation of new software, removal of programs, renaming or deleting files and folders, downloads, and desktop changes. It automatically restores each account to its original configuration either after log out, after a selected time interval, or at a selected time. User Refresh can also restore user accounts to a Mac OS X baseline user account and integrates with Apple Remote Desktop (ARD), allowing administrators to deploy a customized User Refresh configuration package to a single or multiple computers. A single-user license is $30 with volume discounts available (as well as government and education discounts).
OWC external "SuperDrive"
Other World Computing has released its OWC Mercury Pro Pioneer Dual DVR-111 DL DVD-/+R/RW external optical drive solution that comes packaged with the professional software and media necessary for "Plug-and-Play" use with either Apple or PC desktops The OWC Mercury Pro is equipped with both FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports, providing compatibility with virtually any Mac authoring application including Apple iLife suite, Roxio Taost, Apple iTunes, Apple iDVD, CharisMac Discribe, and NTI DragonBurn. The drive features BURN-proof buffer underrun technology and includes NTI DragonBurn, EMC Retrospect Express, FireWire and USB cables, 25 pieces of 52x-rated CD-R media, and 5 pieces of 8x DVD-R general-use media. It is available for $125. (OWC offers internal upgrade models capable of high speed 16x DVD burning, 40x CD burning, and 8.5GB dual layer burning for prices starting at $33.)
Activision on Steam
Ever since Valve opened Steam to third-party developers, companies have been in a rush to sign their games to the network, which is a relatively simple way for back catalog and indie titles to get distribution that would otherwise be impossible. One of the biggest leaps, however, was today's news that Activision would deliver an initial batch of its own games to Valve's network. The first games to arrive on Steam will be the three current games from Infinity Ward's Call of Duty series as well as Neversoft's cowboy action title GUN. Call of Duty, its expansion pack, and GUN will all be available for $20 when they become available later this month; as a newer game, Call of Duty 2 will sell for $40. Other games weren't mentioned as part of Activision's announcement, though they will likely follow if the early launch proves a success.
Judge Blocks Oklahoma Law
Laws banning the sale of games to some or all of the public are not a new occurrence: we've seen nine such laws turned down by the US government. Thank Federal Court District Judge Robin Cauthron for adding a tenth to that list. The lawmaker today made an initial ruling that would block a recently-enacted Oklahoma video game law that would have taken effect on November 1st. Named Bill HB30004, if enabled it would have prevented any game with "inappropriate violence" - that is, gore without artistic, political, or scientific commentary attached - from being sold without being hidden from younger shoppers. Numerous groups, including the Entertainment Merchants Association, were up in arms regarding the law as they said it violated the First Amendment and effectively ignored the ESRB ratings system. The ruling is likely the precedent to declaring the law unconstitutional, so avid Oklahoman gamers can now breathe a (tentative) sigh of relief.
Transmeta sues Intel
Transmeta has filed a lawsuit against Intel, threatening to prevent shipments of its Core and Core 2 processors, both of which currently power Apple's various Mac systems. Apple is expected to roll out refreshed versions of its portable notebooks by early 2007 featuring Intel's faster Core 2 Duo processors, gradually phasing out the previous generation of Core chips from its Mac systems. The suit -- which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on Wednesday, October 11th -- alleges that Intel is violating 10 separate patents covering processor design as well as power efficiency techniques, according to IDG News. Transmeta is demanding damages, royalty payments, and an injunction to prevent Intel from selling its "infringing" products which include the Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core, and Core 2 central processing units. [headline updated]
Trust Mobile Phone Dock
Speaker docks for music phones carry an inherent risk that limits their appeal: as they are often tied to particular phone models, the commonplace act of replacing one's cellphone usually renders the speakers obsolete as well. A more future-proof means of broadcasting phone music is Trust's new Mobile Phone Sound Station. While explicitly compatible only with certain Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony-Ericsson phones, the Sound Station is capable of docking any of those handsets and is not just limited to playing audio. As with an iPod dock, it can recharge the battery of the attached phone and even synchronize data with a host PC. An auxiliary input jack is present for dedicated music players and other audio devices. Trust is shipping the speaker set now; pricing is unavailable.
MEMRI angers Muslims
A recent report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) claiming that some Muslims dubbed Apple's Fifth Avenue Store in New York blasphemous has angered numerous Muslims, who are actively criticizing the media firm for selectively publishing the most extreme statements from the Muslim world. An unnamed, anonymous website allegedly posted an entry stating that Apple's NYC store is a "blatant insult to Islam" because it resembles the Ka'ba -- a sacred building in Mecca open 24 hours with a cube-like shape -- and urged Muslims to spread the word and "stop the project," according to MEMRI. Apple responded to the claims, saying that the entrance to the Apple Store is not meant to resemble the holy structure and that the company has never referred to the store as "Mecca," as some bloggers recently had, according to TechWeb Technology News.
Windows Vista Licensing
Click through for news of potential problems that may also affect the use of virtualization with Vista.
EB Can. pre-orders Oct. 16
Since we don't want to leave Canada out of the loop, an e-mail from EB Games confirms that Wii and PS3 pre-orders will start there on Monday, October 16th. Like the US' Wii scheme, Canada will take pre-orders on a first-come-first-served basis with one console per household. The primary difference is that to make a reservation, you'll need $50 in trade-ins or $200 in cash or credit. You are not guaranteed to get your console on launch day, "as we [EB] cannot control production and shipping issues" that might happen to Nintendo.
Jobs should give back $85m
Apple CEO Steve Jobs should return about $85 million he earned from stock option grant to stockholders, because it was an indirect benefit of option backdating, according to one columnist. The company, which said that Jobs knew of some favorable stock grants but did not know the implications, has closed its internal investigation regarding the stock option backdating by simply implicating two former execs, despite a recent report that indicated that some of the special committee members may have conflicts and other industry reports that say Jobs may still be involved. Bloomberg's Graef Crystal believes that Apple's statement about the stock "irregularities" from Jobs--who apologized for the accounting scandal, but said he did not benefit--is a bit disingenuous and that Apple should require that Jobs give back the money he indirectly earned because of favorable stock option backdating.
FON La Fonera WiFi Router
The fledgling Internet service provider FON has caught the notice of many by promoting a uniquely egalitarian access method. Instead of establishing its own infrastructure, FON encourages users of existing Internet connections to open their access to others by purchasing a public WiFi access point from the company. The latest element of that strategy was announced today in the form of the La Fonera wireless router. A replacement for an earlier model, the access point differentiates itself by separating the Internet connection into public and private arenas: two different wireless network IDs are broadcast, with one reserved only for the WiFi host and another available to customers. This improves security, says FON, and also lets the owner customize the bandwidth available to outsiders.
This dual environment is also the key to FON's pricing and its impact on WiFi adoption. While the general public must pay $3 per day to access the connection, purchasing a La Fonera router for $5 gives free access to other members' access points -- spurring users to offer their own access instead of simply relying on others. The La Fonera is available now and will be demonstrated in New York and San Francisco later this month.
Wii does react to sun?
Reversing what they said to 1UP, Nintendo tells Kikizo that direct sunlight can indeed confuse the sensor bar needed to track the Wiimote. A representative likens the problem to being unable to watch your TV in full glare. Of course, the trouble here is that the sensor bar represents a much smaller target than a TV. Some gamers may be forced to reposition displays to use the console. Worse, it doesn't seem like Nintendo could easily improve a sensor with such unique functions.
Palm Treo 680 Smartphone
In a highly-anticipated press conference on Thursday, Palm released its first Treo handset targeted at the rapidly growing base of mainstream smartphone users. The Treo 680 occupies a space between the now-inexpensive 650 and the newer 700/750 models, but should also have appreciated new design elements. Conspiciously, the 680 sheds a considerable amount of the bulk of the 650 and 700, dropping slightly in overall size and internalizing the antenna. The PalmOS-based phone has also been modernized with EDGE broadband support on GSM-equipped models, a faster web browser, and Internet radio streaming.
To liven the phone and appeal to buyers outside Palm's normal business sphere, the company says it will ship the Treo 680 in four colors: crimson, graphite, orange, and silver. Pricing and availability have yet to be determined and will vary by carrier, but a key indicator of its likely cost is the reduction of the camera to VGA (0.3-megapixel) resolution from the 1.3 megapixels of the 700. The 680 will be the lowest-priced Treo ever, says Palm. Click through for a gallery of the four available colors.
More XBLA games from id
More id Software games could be coming to the Xbox Live Arcade, FiringSquad says. With Doom having come to the Arcade in late September, it seems only natural that other id titles such as Quake, Commander Keen, and Wolfenstein 3D might be considered. id CEO Todd Hollenshead has this to say: "We're looking at bringing some of the other games to XLA, but a lot is going to depend on the response to DOOM. From what MS tells us, its been fantastic so far, which bodes well for other id 'classics' to be released there. But there's nothing concrete. Making the surprise announcement at X06 for DOOM worked out great, so I'll be tight lipped about anything specific for now." Speaking of Quake, John Romero has released cleaned-up source code for the game's maps. You can download it here. Previously, the only (easy) way of replicating Quake's maps was by imitation.
iSlayer releases 7 widgets
iSlayer today released seven new mini widgets, as well as iStat 2.0. The new widgets include iStat cpu to monitor CPU usage; iStat memory to monitor memory usage; iStat disks to monitor disk usage; iStat network to monitor bandwidth, data totals, IP addresses, and the user's public IP address; iStat battery to monitor battery usage on laptops; iStat wireless to monitor a wireless connection's signal strength; and iStat sensors to monitor a Mac's temperatures and fan speeds. iStat cpu, iStat memory, iStat disks, and iStat battery feature two different skins. Each widget features a side tray with more details that animates open when the dial's center is clicked, and all are available as free downloads. iStat 2.0 is also available for free via download, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [images]
Red RAZR and iPod nano
[Updated with real photo] Friday will mark the introduction of multiple handheld devices colored red in support of PRODUCT RED, a charity initiated by DATA chairman Bobby Shriver and U2 singer Bono to promote the fight against AIDS in Africa. One of these will be a red version of Motorola's RAZR, the by now omnipresent slim flip-phone. The US carrier Sprint is expected to sell the special color handset to its subscribers for $289 without a contract, with a portion of the profits earmarked for the charity. Features will otherwise be unchanged from Sprint's version of the same device. Shipments will begin in November.
Also slated to appear tomorrow is a red iPod nano, according to AppleInsider. Though Apple seldom produces charity-related products, the company has agreed to donate $10 for every 4GB iPod given the special color without changing the existing $199 price. The new version is expected to debut on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of a Bono guest appearance. Click through for a real photo of the iPod as well as the RAZR.
Wii Compact Software
In a conference held by the Japanese division, Nintendo has announced the creation of line of products called Wii Compact Software, The Wiire reports. As opposed to the mostly "classic games" lineup of the Virtual Console, Compact Software will consist of original games that are nevertheless small enough to be downloaded. Pricing and titles remain a mystery; it is known, however, that the first WCS games should be ready for spring of 2007. In the same conference, Shigeru Miyamoto made reference to a Wii title called Health Pack - could this be the first WCS product?
Sportsuit Sprinter debuts
Marware has unveiled its Sportsuit Sprinter, the latest addition to its second-generation iPod nano case dedicated to sports enthusiasts. Sportsuit Sprinter is designed for runners, active walkers, or any user who requires a comfortable and convenient way to hold as well as control a new second-generation iPod nano. The case includes an adjustable hand strap with a Velcro closure, and boasts a durable 2mm neoprene outer construction. The case features a soft lined interior, a play-through vinyl screen/clickwheel protector, and ships with a mini clip that part of Marware's signature Multiadapt interchangeable clip system, offering numerous ways of carrying and wearing the case. Marware is accepting pre-orders of its Sportsuit Sprinter for $25. [images]
Red iPod nano for AIDS
On Friday, Rockstar Bono and celebrity Oprah Winfrey are expected to launch the long-rumored red-colored iPod as part of the Product Red AIDS charity initiative. Project Red, founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of DATA, is designed to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund by teaming up with the world's most iconic brands to produce (PRODUCT) RED branded products. AppleInsider reports that Friday's edition of the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will publicly unveil the iPod nano Red, a special edition of Apple's popular flash player. It will be available in a single 4GB model for $199--the same price as the other 4GB models--and will be sold by Apple alongside its other iPod models. Like all participating merchants, Apple will reportedly donate a portion of its sales--about $10, according to the report--from each sale directly to The Global Fund, which helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. [photo credit: Chicago Tribune]
RealCADD 4.0 now Universal
RealCADD 4.0 is a major update to the 2D Computer Assisted Drawing program, bringing native support for Intel-based Macs and dozens of other fixes. The vector-based application works like the traditional "MacDraw" application, but offers advanced functions such as import/export of DXF files, image import a higher degree of accuracy, tools for quotation, the ability to create your own tools, layer management and configuration of layers, PostScript export, and much more. In addition to Universal Binary support, it offers rulers with a movable origin and a grid, a new option to have a large reticle with drawing tools, a new tool for quotation of the angles, a library of drawings, improved "Find and replace text" functions, and more. The Standard version is $95, while the Professional version is $135.
P. Star beta this weekend
Sega is saying that the free Phantasy Star Universe beta, delayed from its original date of October 11th, will now be available on Xbox Live "this weekend." The unfortunate news is that despite the postponement, sign-ups will still last two days and the beta will still end October 18th. The retail version of the game will launch October 24th for the PC, 360 and PS2, and at that point will cost a subscription fee for online play. A single-player adventure will be playable without extra cost.
BBEdit 8.5.1 update
Bare Bones Software today released BBEdit 8.5.1, a free maintenance release that fixes reported issues and adds minor refinements to its HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. Specifically designed for Web authors and software developers, the text editor provides features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text, including grep pattern matching, search and replace across multiple files, function navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages, FTP and SFTP open and save, AppleScript and Unix scripting support, glossary support, intra-application automation, and a complete set of HTML tools. Version 8.5 brought a major interface overhaul, streamlined navigation, and an intelligent Clippings system. BBEdit 8.5 is a Universal application that runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The full version is $125; upgrades from previous versions are $30.
DLO Care Kit for iPod
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today began shipping its new Care Kit for iPod, a 3-tiered cleaning solution for daily upkeep, scratch removal, and heavy blemish repair. The Care Kit comes with three different cleaning solutions: one for frequent application to gently clean and shine; one for the removal of blemishes as well as fine scratches; and one solution for removing heavy scratches and abrasions. The kit also contains four heavy-cleaning cloths, and one microfiber cloth for a final shine in the process or for daily cleaning. The DLO Care Kit for iPod is available for $30. [image]
Dell 20" widescreen ships
Dell today unveiled a low-cost 20-inch widescreen LCD for budget-oriented consumers. Dell's E207WFP is a stripped-down version of the existing 2007WFP that sacrifices the USB hub and all but a single DVI input (with HDCP encryption support) for a lower absolute price. The company is already shipping the E207 for $290 versus the $400 official price of the higher-end model, according to Electronista. The company also showcased its 3207C and 3707C 32- and 37-inch LCD televisions with improved image quality designed to help with fast-action scenes in movies as well as games. The company is shipping both models for $1,200 (32-inch) and $1,700 (37-inch) respectively.
GeForce Go 7950 GTX Video
NVIDIA is devoting its presence at DigitalLife to releasing a new video chipset aimed directly at desktop replacement laptops. The GeForce Go 7950 GTX is an enhancement of the 7900 that boosts the core clock speed from 500 to 575MHz and the memory from 600 to 700MHz. Features have remained the same, but the improved frequencies make it the fastest mobile video chipset anywhere, according to NVIDIA: pixel and vertex fill rates are about 15% higher compared to the earlier GeForce Go chip. Two 7950 chips can operate in SLI mode to improve performance even further compared to the 7900 (which also had an SLI option).
Dell shared the spotlight in the announcement as the first company to use the GeForce Go 7950 GTX in its laptops. The 17-inch XPS M1710 laptop now has the option of NVIDIA's latest hardware for an additional $499. Systems are also expected to be available from gaming-oriented laptop makers such as Falcon Northwest, Sager, and Voodoo PC.
Apple to rise on Mac sales
Senior analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray today told investors to expect a slight upside on Apple shares for the September quarter as a result of strong Mac sales offsetting light iPod numbers. Munster's beliefs coincide with UBS analyst Ben Reitzes, who also sees a possible rise in Apple shares due to strong Mac sales. Munster believes Apple will report slightly above Wall Street's consensus of $0.50 on $4.67 billion, with iPod units likely shy of the 8.6 million expected by investors. "We believe continued Mac market share gains in the September and December quarters will be positive for Apple shares," Munster said. Apple is due to report its quarterly earnings on Wednesday, October 18th after the market closes. "Based on our checks with Apple specialist stores and our dissection of NPD iPod data, we expect the company will report slight upside for September." Wall Street consensus for September is $0.50 on $4.67 billion, and Apple's September guidance is $0.49-$0.51 on $4.50 billion to $4.60 billion. Munster also expects Apple to guide in line for December, with Street consensus amounting to $0.77 on $6.46 billion.
Dell HDTVs and 20-inch LCD
The DigitalLife Expo served as a venue for another series of launches today for Dell, which took the opportunity to improve its computer and HDTV displays. The 3207C (pictured) and 3707C are 32- and 37-inch LCD televisions with improved image quality that should help with fast-action scenes in movies and games. The leading 3707C has both analog and digital tuners, dual HDMI ports, and stand-alone 30W speakers with virtual surround support. Buyers of the simpler 3207C get most of the same features save for a single HDMI input and built-in 30W speakers. Both models are shipping today for $1,199 (32-inch) and $1,699 (37-inch) respectively.
For computer users, Dell also extended its LCD displays to include a new budget model, the E207WFP. The new widescreen is a stripped-down version of the existing 2007WFP that sacrifices the USB hub and all but a single DVI input (with HDCP encryption support) for a lower absolute price: the E207 is shipping today for $289 versus the $399 official price of the higher-end model. Click through for photos of all three displays.
Viewtiful Joe dev. closing
In a shocking turn of events, Capcom has decided to close Clover Studio, the development team reponsible for critically-acclaimed titles like Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and God Hand, which was just released in North America this Tuesday. "Clover Studio Co., Ltd. has met the goal of developing unique and creative original home video game software," Capcom tells CVG. However, "in view of promoting a business strategy that concentrates management resources on a selected business to enhance the efficiency of the development power of the entire Capcom group, the dissolution of Clover Studio Co., Ltd. has been raised and passed at a Board of Directors' meeting." The closure takes effect in March of 2007. UPDATE: A Wired source says the Clover team is considering forming an independent studio. In fact, this may be the real reason for the split.
James Bond Sony Phones
With the impending release of Casino Royale, Sony is hoping to draw attention to its more recent camera phones by releasing them in exclusive editions that reflect the handset used by James Bond in the movie. The K790 and Europe-oriented K800 will be available for only three months in silver, and as might be expected, will come preloaded with related content such as wallpapers, ringtones, and the complete movie trailer. The phones themselves already fit the espionage theme by including a 3.2-megapixel camera and support for either EDGE (K790) or UMTS (K800) broadband. Both phones will be available worldwide by the end of the year; expect the K790 version to appear in North America. A full photo is available after the jump.
Bluetooth headset, Altec
In brief: Jabra today launched its Jabra BT125 lightweight Bluetooth headset ($40), enabling cellular phone owners to use the devices hands-free.... MacPractice has agreed to collaborate with MedAvant Healthcare Solutions to tightly integrate their solutions in an effort to provide MacPractice customers with a seamless user experience.... MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Montage ($15), Mariner Software's screenwriting program that adds more than 150 commands to iListen, allowing users to do virtually anything normally possible with keyboard shortcuts or menus.... Iomega today announced the global availability of its new Iomega REV Loader 560 ($1,800), its second-generation desktop autoloader based on hard drive technology that delivers 560GB of automated and removable backup storage.... Altec Lansing is preparing to launch a speaker dock for Zune -- Microsoft's new portable media player -- which is largely a reworking of the company's existing iPod dock, according to Electronista.... Novatel has begun shipping its new Merlin XU870 ExpressCard/34 adapter to carriers, supporting both the 3.6Mbps maximum speed of HSDPA and earlier, less common connections such as UMTS.
iStyles ships Autumn skins
iStyles has launched its new Autumn Designer Skins Collection for the video iPod, as well as first- and second-generation iPod nano. The new skins feature refreshed designs, and include bonus skins printed and cut in the screen area of the vinyl that users can stick to other gadgets to complement the iPod. The skins are designed to offer protection from everyday scratches "in style" without adding bulk. Designed by honeyspy, the new skins are priced at $7 for first- and second-generation iPod nanos, or $8 for video iPod models.
No comp. cables with PS3?
For such an expensive console, Sony is being extremely stingy. First it was learned that the PS3 wouldn't ship with an HDMI cable. In response to the furor, Sony replied by saying it wasn't a big deal. HDMI wouldn't be required for 1080p. They went ahead and added HDMI support to the $499 PS3 anyway, but now Famitsu is saying that in Japan, at least, neither model of PS3 will come with so much as a component cable. Gamers will instead get a standard, HD-less composite connection. To experience HD, you'll have to buy your own component or HDMI cables elsewhere. Sony has yet to say if this development will carry over to North America.
PNY U3-based Attaché Drive
At the DigitalLife Expo in New York, peripheral maker PNY said it would be the latest company to produce flash drives with U3 support built-in. New versions of PNY's Attaché and Mini Attaché will rely on U3's smart drive technology, which can run web browsers and other programs directly from the drive on a Windows PC without having to install any files on a host computer. The drives will ship in 1GB (Mini Attaché) and 2GB (Attaché) capacities by early 2007 for an as-yet undetermined price.
When PNY's new storage ships, it should also take advantage of a collaboration between the online store eMusic with music software developer Inmatrix. U3 drive owners who buy the latter's Zoom Player Mobile can not only play most common music formats -- including protected Windows Media -- but also receive 50 free MP3 songs from eMusic's online store. The player itself is compact at 2MB and thus leaves even smaller drives free to both play and store a listener's music. The software is available for $36 and is also available as a trial version.
New Apple patent, review
In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's patent application titled "Apparatus and method to facilitate universal remote control," which relates to an apparatus and a method to facilitate a just-in-time universal remote control for controlling multiple appliances.... MacNN has reviewed the Macessity BookCase Pro 15 ($25), a laptop case designed to protect all sizes of Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.... Apple Expo Paris this year saw a decline in attendance this year, attracting 46,210 visitors compared to 56,545 visitors in 2005.... eMailman.com has added a Eudora-Penelope newsgroup, offering users a place to discuss the Penelope project.... Markzware and Gradual Software have announced a partnership allowing Markzware pre-flight tools to integrate with Gradual's SWITCH product line.... Kingston has unveiled two new DataTraveler USB flash drives, offering password protection with 256-bit AES encryption and the ability to lock information outright.
Parrot Hands-Free Kit
Bluetooth systems for cars are no longer rare. Even so, most are single-purpose and only handle phone calls: other Bluetooth audio devices are largely wasted. Wireless specialist Parrot has realized this and developed its new MK6000 hands-free kit to give all the mobile devices in a car an opportunity to use the speaker system. It still performs the traditional task of routing calls through a vehicle's speakers and includes a dual-microphone adapter to ensure voice accuracy, but can also pair with a music-capable cellphone, a dedicated music player with a Bluetooth transmitter, or any audio source that fits the A2DP profile to stream music. To reflect this role, the MK6000 has basic music controls and will automatically pause music while a call is in progress. Parrot promises to ship the kit in early 2007 for $240.
For those who only require a conventional speakerphone, Parrot also recently announced its MINIKIT mobile device. A one-piece microphone and speaker, the MINIKIT not only relays calls from Bluetooth cellphones but relies on voice recognition to make it a true hands-free system. Up to five different phones' contact lists can be given 150 voice tags each, making it possible to dial any number through speaking a keyword. The MINIKIT should be available later this month for $125. Click through for a photo.
Mac demand may bump AAPL
Consumers continue to show strong demand for Mac systems which could bump Apple's fourth quarter earnings, offsetting a deceleration in iPod sales, according to research firm UBS. "We believe Mac momentum should continue into year-end given new products and helped in part by the delay of [Windows] Vista," said UBS analyst Ben Reitzes. The firm lowered its sales estimates for Apple, but maintained earnings-per-share expectations due to high margins. The analyst holds fourth quarter estimates of $0.50 -- in line with Wall Street expectations -- reflecting 26 percent year-over-year revenue growth (six percent quarter-over-quarter) to $4.62 billion (previously $4.65 billion) vs. consensus estimates of $4.67 billion due to lower iPod units (8.12 million vs. 8.52 million). UBS holds a price target of $92 on Apple shares, reiterating its "buy" rating.
Wii pre-orders on Friday
Close but no cigar, GayGamer. Go Nintendo managed to obtain a confirmation e-mail which says that Wii pre-orders will begin with regular store hours on Friday. The letter also notes that while managers won't be able to force bundles on customers, orders must be taken in person on a first-come-first-served basis. No mention is made of a deposit requirement. On a tangential note, Scan readers living in New York City may be extremely lucky. Kotaku writes that Nintendo World has been silently taking pre-orders since last week, and moreover, a $50 deposit will guarantee a Wii on launch day without waiting in a lineup. The store has already assigned over 1,000 Wiis. UPDATE: An e-mail from EB/GameStop offers info on pre-order requirements. You'll have to put down a $50 deposit in the form cash, credit, or trade-ins. Specific trade-ins (namely PS2, PSP, Xbox and GameCube games) will earn additional money towards reservation or purchase. Call your local retailer for details and availability.
The Pixel Farm updates
The Pixel Farm has released Universal updates to its applications, including PFTrack 3.5 for advanced camera tracking and motion analysis software, PFClean 2.1 for automatic image clean-up, and PFMatch 2.1 for embedding tracking in Apple's Shake digital compositing system. PDFTrack 3.5 features a new, more sophisticated camera solver, segmented shot solving, improved geometry tracking and extensive UI and workflow improvements as well as Universal Binary support for native operation on Intel-based Macs and full 64-bit implementation. The company said that the new camera solver in version 3.5 can now produce better results, with greater speed and on a wider range of shots--up to 400 percent faster than the current version.
New Sony Walkman Players
[Updated with American launch details] Sony used a press conference in Japan on Thursday to launch an aggressive update of its Network Walkman flash players. Briefly leaked by a British retailer, the new S600 and S700 players are a cross between the company's basic E500-series players and the more advanced A-series. While the new Walkmen continue to use the rotary controls that keep the E500 small, they include color OLED screens that can display album art and can store up to 4GB of music in the S700 model, placing Sony's players in direct competition with the iPod nano for the first time.
Unique to both lines is the ability to transfer music directly from a CD or MiniDisc -- an essential feature in the players' native country, where home PCs are less common. The S600 and S700 are chiefly separated by their earbuds, as the S700 (pictured) ships with Sony's NC22 active noise-cancelling earbuds while the S600 ships with more conventional designs. The S700 arrives first in Japan on October 21st at $243 US for the 4GB model; the S600 will arrive November 18th. US customers can pre-order the S700 series now at $169 for a 1GB version and $199 for a 2GB black model. Click through for brief news of Sony's video player strategy.
Sophos Security Suite
Sophos today announced its new integrated security solution for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Sophos Security Suite provides an all-in-one defense against threats on Windows and Mac computers, laptops and servers. The software has been designed specifically for smaller organizations that lack technical expertise, combining protection against viruses, spyware, adware, spam and unauthorized intrusion -- in one easy to install package. In addition, it requires no user intervention to keep up-to-date as frequently as every ten minutes, and for the first time it integrates the benefits of an host intrusion prevention system (HIPS) and also provides a centralized dashboard, offering an at-a-glance view of the security status. Pricing starts at $362 for a five-user license and 1-year of support/updates.
Bully to make court visit
A judge in Florida's Third District Court of Appeal, Ronald Friedman, has asked Take-Two to produce a copy of Bully before the end of Thursday, GamePolitics reports. Friedman intends to review the game for as much as 100 hours to determine whether it could be the "public nuisance" described by plaintiff lawyer Jack Thompson. Thompson filed a lawsuit back in August, demanding to see the game personally so that "I and others can analyze it to determine whether it still poses a threat of copycat violence in our schools." In an odd statement, Friedman says he hopes Wal-Mart will reconsider selling Bully to minors if he decides the game deserves a Mature rating. It's set to be rated Teen by the ESRB - a private industry organization. The courts can only ban the game or permit sales as usual.
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