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Universal VersaCAD 2006
Archway Systems late last month began shipping a Universal Binary version of VersaCAD 2006 for Macintosh, its versatile, practical and economical design/drafting software for the Mac-based architect, designer, engineer or drafter. In addition to support for Intel-based Macs, it includes the latest DWG/DXF translation engine from Open Design Alliance and additional fonts and new features such as: building a group by chain, build a group by duplicate objects, an external modifiable color table, object snap to the midpoint of an arc and more. VersaCAD is available as an Unlimited Corporate License or for $800 per single-seat. Site licenses start at $1,000 per year for up to 10 users, $1,500 up to 20 users, $2,000 up to 50 users. Academic pricing is $200 per copy or $500 for an unlimited campus license.
Student Mac purchases grow
Macs are becoming more popular at Princeton University, according to a new report. The number of students who have chosen Macs at the prominent Ivy league institution has tripled in the past three years. The Daily Princetonian reports that 45 percent of computers purchased this year were Macs, more than in any previous year. In 2003, the report notes, just 15 percent of them chose Macs: the number has been steadily rising as nearly 25 percent purchased Macs in 2004 and almost 40 percent in 2005. The article cites security issues, Apple's growing retail presence, and the "iPod halo effect" as possible reasons for Apple's growing influence on campus. Faculty have also been buying more Macs. "'A relatively high percentage of faculty use Macs,' said Steven Sather of OIT. 'And that percentage has also increased over the past couple years.' Many faculty members in the Engineering School have adopted Macs despite the fact that some engineering software programs only run on Windows."
Fireworks beta, trademark
In brief: Adobe is inviting existing and prospective members of the Fireworks community to submit a request to participate in a private beta for the upcoming release of Adobe Fireworks, the popular Web graphics--acquired from Macromedia--that will be integrated with its forthcoming Creative Suite 3 (due early next year).... Hong Kong's trademark office today officially published Apple's registered trademark status for Photocast, which differs from U.S. filings by covering additional International Classes over Apple's U.S. published filings.... Google today began a soliciting Mac users in its new Google Mac Blog, requesting feedback on the company's Mac products and services.... Former Cobb County Schools superintendent Joe Redden, who resigned last year after an audit revealed that he manipulated a notebook contract in favor of Apple, failed to appear before a grand jury charged with investigating the program.... One user has created a Web-based video iPod resolution calaculator, allowing users to calculate source video resolution for MPEG-4 as well as H.264 in relation to the video iPod.... Stockicons.com today began offering half off the purchase price of any Basic or Basic EPS stock icon collection.
Video straight to Google
Pure Digital Technologies is planning a digital camcorder which will upload directly to video-sharing Websites, MacWorld writes. The nameless product will come with built-in software ready to send to sites like Grouper and Google Video. Since it's designed to be pocket-sized, the camera will have 2x digital zoom and a 1.4-inch display screen. A $129 version will hold 30 minutes of video while the $169 version will hold an hour. It should be compatible with Macs and PCs via USB connection. No release date has been stated.
Universal iPod Dock
Audio Cubes has begun offering the IS201 Universal iPod Dock in the U.S., an accessory enabling users to connect their iPod to several devices at once. Users can connect to TVs and home theater systems with Phono, S-Video, RC-5, IR-Flasher, and RS-232C connections. IR-Flasher allows the dock to control -- or be controlled by -- an A/V receiver, while RS-232 enables PC control, according to Electronista. The company announced that the system comes bundled with a remote, and offers works with as well as charges any third-generation or newer iPod. The IS201 Universal iPod Dock is priced at $170.
Conectiv, Torq ship
M-Audio today began shipping its Conectiv 4 x 4 USB DJ audio interface, as well as its Torq DJ performance/production software. Conectiv is usable as a self-contained digital system, a multi-effects processor, or a slave from control CDs/vinyl. The device features a 4 x 4 USB 1.1 audio interface with 16-bit/48KHz fidelity, four RCA inputs configurable for line-level or phono signals, and four RCA outputs with a +10dBV peak output level. Two mix knobs allow users to blend audio inputs as well as USB output, and every Synchroscience device ships with Torq -- the company's DJ software. Torq enables users to cue, beat-match, and mix MP3, AIFF, WAV, WMA, and AAC files. The DJ software is designed to work seamlessly with Conectiv, and supports optional third-party effects. Conectiv is available for $350 with control CD/Vinyl, or $300 without.
Saishin Retsu Watch
Reading the time is seldom an interesting activity, especially in low light areas where even a backlight may be inadequate. The watch designer Saishin has just released a new model that it claims can address both problems at once. Dubbed the Retsu, the new design uses a single strip of LED lights to display the time in serial fashion, displaying the hour and minutes digit by digit in a way viewable even in total darkness. Saishin's brushed metal design also saves considerable weight: at 40 grams, the Retsu is considerably more comfortable and discrete than other LED watches, according to the company. The Japan-based importer TokyoFlash can ship the watch to North America for the equivalent of $125 US.
BenQ X720 7 MP camera
BenQ is putting out the X720, a seven megapixel point-and-shoot camera that's just 0.49 inches thick. Other highlights include an SD card reader, a 2.5-inch LCD display, 3x optical zoom, PictBridge printing support, and a "Super Shake-Free" technology which will supposedly produce "brighter, clear and natural color." The real point of interest however may be its ISO (light sensitivity) range, which extends from 100 all the way to 4,000 - higher than many professional DSLR cameras. Of course, it should be noted that the amount of noise in point-and-shoots can be substantially worse at high ISOs. It is always preferable to shoot at low ISOs when the light allows.
FlashPoint MP3 SharePlayer
Although numerous music players can plug directly into the USB port of a computer to double as a flash storage drive, FlashPoint today announced a jukebox it says is more useful to owners who transfer files on a day-to-day basis. The SharePlayer has both male and female USB ports, allowing a user to copy files directly to or from any USB mass storage, including the iPod and other music devices, without the need for a computer during the exchange. For its own music purposes, the SharePlayer is also capable of FM radio and recording and supports audiobooks. FlashPoint is selling the SharePlayer now at capacities ranging from 128MB ($60) to 4GB ($160).
Apple buys Silicon Color
Apple has acquired Silicon Color, the company responsible for producing FinalTouch color correction software. Apple will continue to honor maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers until they expire, according to the company, and gains rights to all Silicon Color technology as well as its intellectual property. The announcement reads: "We are pleased to announce that all Silicon Color technology and intellectual property, including FinalTouch color correction software, was recently sold to Apple. Maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers will be honored by Apple until they expire." Financial details about the acquisition were unavailable. Silicon Color caters to video professionals via its FinalTouch 2K, FinalTouch HD, and FinalTouch SD packages.
Many concered about disposing of old CDs and DVDs will simply break them in two, but those who need a more secure and safer way of erasing data now have the option of Plextor's new PlexEraser drive. "Physically breaking the discs means the organic dye can escape, which can damage the environment," says Plextor's Michael Arbisi, and the PlexEraser follows suit by using a laser to damage only the microscopic pits on a disc that manage data, rendering the storage unreadable without changing the integrity of the disc itself. All current CD and DVD formats except for DVD-RAM can be erased, according to Plextor, and this can include both full-size discs as well as the 8cm discs sometimes used by camcorders. The process takes approximately three minutes per single-layer disc and six minutes for dual-layer DVDs. The drive will be ready to ship in November for $250.
Linksys WRT350N router
Coincidental to the Lenovo announcement, Linksys has announced the WRT350N, a combination wireless/gigabit Ethernet router that will support the draft version of 802.11n. In addition to its speed, the router will boast a USB 2.0 Storage Link for connecting hard drives and media players to your network, and UPnP support for instant detection of the content in Windows XP. MIMO technology should increase the range, coverage and reliability of wireless signals. Users worried about kicking other networks offline may be glad to see a "good neighbor" mode, which restricts the radio band of the router when other wireless devices are detected. No date or price for the hardware has been set.
Apple has officially filed for the "iPhone" trademark, which all but confirms rumors that the Cupertino-based company will launch its own mobile handset in the near future. Discovered in a Southeast Asian trademark filing dated September 15th, the trademark uses the name in direct reference to a device which is listed both under the category of "MP3 and other digital audio players" as well as handsets capable of "sending and receiving telephone calls," according to AppleInsider. The filing also covers the role of a "stand-alone video game machine," suggesting that the new phone will allow users to play games -- such as those recently released via the iTunes Music Store for $4.99 each -- which currently work with Apple's video iPod models. Apple has previously filed for related patents in the U.S. but hasn't committed itself to specific descriptions or names until now. [updated]
Apple iPhone Trademark
Apple has all but confirmed that its upcoming music phone will be called the iPhone, according to AppleInsider. Discovered in a southeast Asian trademark filing dated September 15th, the trademark uses the name in direct reference to a device which is listed both under the category of "MP3 and other digital audio players" as well as handsets capable of "sending and receiving telephone calls." Also covered in the application is the role of a "stand-alone video game machine," raising the possibility that the iPod-influenced phone will be able to play games such as those recently introduced with the new video-capable iPods. Apple has previously filed for related patents in the US but until now hasn't committed itself to specific descriptions and names.
UPDATE: Two different iPhone models are likely to appear, reports AppleInsider. Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora refers to anonymous sources that claim the new phone will be available in two distinct versions: a slim, basic version will play only music while a deluxe variant will include WiFi, video support, and a dedicated keyboard for messaging. No specific timeframe was given for when the phone will appear, though analysts such as Gene Munster have speculated that MacWorld 2007 is a likely venue for the introduction.
Sony CyberShot Phone Leak
Sony-Ericsson's CyberShot-labeled phones have commonly targeted more dedicated phone buyers, but this should soon change with a new model in development, according to a member of the Sony-Ericsson Central online community. The forum contributor recently posted photos (since removed from the site) that show an early version of the as-yet unnamed phone that reveal a move towards more less expensive equipment while still offering better performance than many recent cameraphones. In contrast to the 3.2-megapixel K790, the upcoming device uses only a 2-megapixel sensor; nevertheless, it maintains an auto-focusing optical zoom that should keep subjects focused without losing quality. Also exposed in the photos are dedicated CyberShot buttons very similar to the Walkman buttons of the W810i, providing quicker access to the camera functions than would be possible through the menu system. The Sony-Ericsson phone is most likely to ship in early 2007; the remaining photos are available after the jump.
Kameleon Gen 3 Remote
Although Logitech is often seen as the forerunner in universal remotes with its Harmony line, One For All has announced an alternative that can be more easily justified for most home theaters. The Kameleon Generation 3 remote controls many common devices, including DVD players, home lighting systems, and satellite receivers -- but rather than use a small and expensive LCD, the Generation 3 uses a dynamic display that covers virtually the entire front face and selectively highlights the number pad or other buttons and information depending on which device is being controlled. The remote can also combine its functions in a single action, such as turning down lights when playing a DVD. Pricing in the UK will begin at £70 ($130 US), making it one of the least expensive universal remotes available. Availability in the UK or for North America has not yet been established.
Click through for a full-size photo.
TuffWrap for 2G Nano
XtremeMac today unveiled its new TuffWrap silicone case designed for Apple's second-generation iPod nano. TuffWrap is a rugged silicone case designed to protect the iPod nano from scratches and dings while offering complete access to the player's functionality. The case features ridged sides for a sturdy grip, as well as removable clickwheel and screen protectors. Sculpted from thin, soft silicone, the clickwheel protector is a form-fitting insert that offers tactile identification of the clickwheel and center button. The screen protector is a hard plastic insert edged with soft rubber to prevent direct contact or scratching of the screen, and the TuffWrap case includes a detachable belt clip that rotates as well as locks in a variety of positions, securing excess earbud cord length. Each TuffWrap comes with a special universal dock insert, allowing the Nano to dock without removing the case. TuffWrap cases are offered in several translucent as well as opaque colors, and are available for pre-order for $30 via the XtremeMac website.
X-Session Pro ships
M-Audio today began shipping its X-Session Pro USB MIDI controller, a unit designed to bring traditional DJ-style control to the world of computer DJing and live performance. The X-Session Pro combines the standard controls of a two-channel DJ mixer with the transport and pitch controls of a turntable or DJ CD player, enabling users to control DJ and performance applications from a single interface. The mixer controls allow users to perform smooth crossfades as well as adjust level, cueing, and EQ, while the integrated transport and pitch controls allow starting, stopping, and beat-matching digital files within programs such as Ableton Live, Traktor DJ Studio, and other DJ/performance applications. X-Session Pro is shipping for $130.
Lenovo adopts 802.11n
Before the standard has even been ratified, Lenovo has gone ahead and announced 802.11n support for its T, R, X and Z lines of ThinkPad notebooks. At 540 Mbit/s, the wireless LAN standard may be as much as 10 times faster than 802.11g, but is still being evaluated by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). The new ThinkPads should be compatible with 802.11a/b/g. Lenovo's networking announcement comes with mention of a separate ThinkPad, equipped with biometric scanning - in tandem with Utimaco's SafeGuard Easy software, a fingerprint reader should be able to encrypt an entire hard drive. SafeGuard has earned FIPS 140-2 certification from the US government. Lenovo will also be integrating Intel's 64-bit Core 2 Duo processors into the same product lines as 802.11n.
AddressX, Studiometry, Ch
AddressX 1.53 ($20) retrieves all of the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses f the people in an Exchange Global Address List (GAL), separated into their own group in Mac OS X's Address Book. The update adds a "Contact Information" field allowing users to add specified content into the "Note" field when updating GAL entries into the Address Book, and adds preferences to set the timeout for both the initial networking connection and for subsequent communications.
[Download - [form]]
Studiometry 4.0.2 ($170) is a free update to the client and project data management application, bringing native support to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The update fixes a possible issue with backup size limitations, remedies problems with alignment of rows in Invoice Template data columns when the first row is blank, fixes an issue that could occur by attempting to view a project image in a separate window, and features a newly redone "Update Available" window. [Download - 21.8MB]
Typinator 1.5 ($20) enhances the system-wide faster typing and typo auto-correction utility for Mac OS X, offering German localization. The application allows users to create shorthand typing sets that dynamically change into longer words, phrases, or images. Typinator speeds repetitive typing tasks, eliminating manually-introduced errors within the text it replaces. [Download - 1MB]
Ch 5.5 (free, $200 for Pro) is a C/C++ interpreter for cross-platform scripting, shell programming, numerical computing, plotting, and embedded scripting. The update primarily adds Embedded Ch function callback features, more C99 options, and new plotting capabilities. Ch Professional Edition is supported in QNX, and the latest release fixes numerous reported bugs. [Download - 8MB]
Cocktail 3.7.3 ($15) addresses a bug that caused high CPU usage on Intel-based Macs, and adds compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.8. Cocktail is a general-purpose utility for Mac OS X designed as a digital toolset with a variety of maintenance features and tweaks to help users get the most out of their computers. The software offers adjustments to five basic categories which include disks, system, files, network, and interface. [Download - 1.8MB]
iVeZeen 2.2 ($15) updates the video blogging tool that offers a number of unique ways to start and stop recording, including voice command and motion detection. The update runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and fixes a minor issue with the built-in iSights that are part of most shipping Macs as well as a rare crashing but on dual-processor computers. [Download - 688KB]
Quark Print Collection
Quark today announced its new Quark Print Collection, a comprehensive set of prepress tools for QuarkXPress 7 and Adobe Acrobat 7. Quark Print Collection enables the creation of fully imposed, press-ready files. It includes Quark Imposer for QuarkXPress, Quark Imposer for Adobe Acrobat, Quark MarkIt, and Quark Item Marks. Based on technology originally developed by A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP, previously acquired by Quark), the tools can create fully imposed press-ready files. The Quark Print Collection enables users to preview imposed pages to ensure quality and prevent waste and save imposition and registration settings as reusable styles (for sharing with other users). Users can impose native QuarkXPress layouts using QuarkXPress 7 or PDF files using Adobe Acrobat 7: pages can be imposed in 2-up, 4-up, 6-up, and 8-up layouts and users can choose from among a variety of binding and imposition types and control settings for bleed, creep, and crossover. The company says that the original source files are never affected. It will be available by the end of the month for $300 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and QuarkXpress 7.01 and/or Acrobat 7.
QuarkXPress Server 7
Quark today launched QuarkXPress Server 7, a dynamic publishing solution that combines QuarkXPress with server-based performance. Leveraging a a Web-based, template-driven process, the technology enables users to preview communications online, customize design and content, and print locally or remotely. Users can develop and deploy data-driven applications to automate production, eliminate redundant steps, and publish to multiple channels. Quark said that the solution can be easily integrated with existing infrastructures and data sources and is typically offered as part of a packaged solution from a Quark system integrator or OEM partner. QuarkXPress Server incorporates the new features of QuarkXPress 7, granting users access to productivity-enhancing functionality, such as layout-independent spaces and Job Jackets technology for collaboration, and enhancements for variable-data printing, including Personalized Print Markup Language (PPML) and optimized PDF output support.
MOTORAZR Amp'd Edition
The young cellphone carrier Amp'd today said it would soon have its own version of Motorola's iconic RAZR phone to differentiate itself from rivals. Called the MOTORAZR Amp'd Edition, the updated model is tightly linked to the provider's focus on pop culture music and videos. Instead of a standard media browser, the Amp'd RAZR has a custom interface that taps directly into the company's EVDO broadband for live radio, TV, and direct downloads. Appropriately, the phone ships with an in-ear headset for private listening and a 256MB MicroSD card for more permanent copies of clips found through the network. Amp'd says it will sell its RAZR starting tomorrow for $99 with a monthly plan or $199 for prepaid service. The company is a mobile virtual network operator in the style of Helio, using existing cellphone networks rather than building its own.
Motorola Q Pro phone
Motorola is expected to ship a "Pro" verison of their Q phone in the first quarter of 2007, says phone retailer buywindowsmobile. The new version of the smartphone should have features aimed at a corporate demographic, such as upgraded hardware and a series of security measures. One of them is a software package called the MOTOPRO Mobility Suite, which can be used to manage applications and remote devices, or disable the camera. The phone itself should be equipped with a firewall, intrusion detection, data encryption, and VPN connectivity and authentication. The form factor will be the same as the basic Q setup. No price information is currently available.
Ainol V1000 Media Player
The Chinese electronics maker Ainol has introduced a new media player that should provide better justifcation for video capabilities in a pocket-sized handheld. The V1000 is capable of playing AVI and MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second, but its signature feature is built-in emulation of Nintendo Entertainment System games: ROM files from a computer can be loaded into as much as 1GB of built-in flash storage or removable SD cards. The V1000 is also one of the few music players capable of playing the lossless FLAC standard alongside MP3 and WMA. Pricing and availability have not been set, but Ainol's NES support will likely preclude all but imports for interested North American buyers.
Punch! Home Design Studio
Punch! Software has released Punch! Home Design Studio for Mac OS X, an application for designing custom homes with realistic lighting effects, plant growth, and 3D views offering a controllable sun angle and shadows. Unique PowerTools allow design as well as editing from within the application, and logically-presented toolsets keep users' workspace free of clutter while working. Key Punch! Home design Studio features include a "Cabinet Assistant" to customize cabinet designs; "Landscape Tools" for property lines, paths, pools, slopes, fencing, and growth; a "Roofing Assistant" to automatically create roofing with pitch, soffit, and trim; and "Deck Design" allowing users to plan a new custom deck. Punch! Home Design Studio requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available for $150 as a digital download.
McDonalds recalls players
In a decidedly odd situation, McDonalds Japan has had to issue a recall on audio players given away in a contest, The Register reports. As many as 10,000 restaurant customers were awarded a Flash MP3 player, which came loaded with ten songs and an unwanted guest - a variant of the QQpass spyware Trojan. When a player was connected to a Windows PC, QQpass would then scour a system for Web passwords and other data, promptly transmitting it back to hackers. The suspected source of the contamination is the machine used for pre-loading songs. McDonalds has set up a helpline for the recall, and is offering free replacements as well as advice on disinfecting your computer.
iMojo ships Nano Sweats
iMojo has begun shipping Nano Sweats, an armband for the first- and second-generation iPod nano made from absorbent, machine-washable cotton. Nano Sweats are based on iMojo Shuffle Sweats, both of which offer full access to player functionality while providing protection from the elements. The armband is made with high-quality absorbent terry-cloth, protecting the iPod with a rubber cradle covered in clear vinyl. The new armband is machine-washable, while an iMojo silicone cleat wraps up excess headphone cabling. Nano Sweats are available in black or white in two-packs for $25 in a one-size fits most or an XL for forearms with a circumference larger than 12-inches.
Mac Pro memory upgrades
Other World Computing (OWC) today introduced its 512MB x 2 memory upgrade kits for Apple's Quad Intel Xeon-based Mac Pro workstation. The Apple-qualified fully buffered DIMM 667MHz DDR2 72-bit ECC memory upgrade is designed for Mac Pro owners who want to add matched sets of memory in 1GB increments. "OWC Mac Pro Quad Xeon upgrade kits are comprised of matched pairs of FB-DIMM modules manufactured to Apple's stringent Mac Pro specifications, far exceeding standard JEDEC specifications. All OWC modules for Apple Mac Pro towers utilize the best components including true Apple-qualified heat spreaders, ensuring maximum performance and long-term reliability." All OWC modules are backed by a lifetime replacement warranty, and OWC 1GB Apple-qualified FB-DIMM kits for the Mac Pro are available from $250.
xBack, Snippet Monkey
xBack 3.6.5 ($10) is a utility allowing users to replace the desktop picture with a screensaver, effectively bringing the desktop to life. xBack can quickly start/stop the desktop screensaver, allows users to easily change the running screensaver, offers previews of screensavers without opening System Preferences, and offers menu-based usage with no wasted space in the dock. The update fixes a bug where "Stop when running on battery" would deselect upon waking from sleep.
[Download - 927KB]
Snippet Monkey 1.0 ($18) creates shortcuts for phrases frequently typed, which are dubbed snippets. Snippet Monkey allows users to create new snippets from the clipboard, or alternatively via an easy-to-use snippet editor. Snippets support text, images, date and time in a chosen format, and additional nested snippets. [Download - 762KB]
Fan Control 1.1 (free) adjusts the minimum fan speed of MacBook Pro laptops depending on the current CPU temperature. The utility leaves the original automatic fan speed control intact for safety, and allows users to configure upper as well as lower fan speed thresholds. [Download - 2.5MB]
TinyBooks 4.0.1 ($50) is a simple, flexible, non-bloated, single-entry bookkeeping and accounting system designed for home users and small businesses. TinyBooks handles invoices as well as taxes, handling transactions to track income sources as well as expenses. The update revises the help information, simplifies various dialogs, and improves the Reports window. [Download - 227KB]
TanManager 2.2 (free) helps users track transaction numbers (TANs) used by many online backing services. The software logs each transaction with a date, copying the next available TAN to the clipboard ensuring it is ready to paste into a Web browser. TanManager 2.2 adds a shortcut to open a browser to online banking pages, fixes automatic comment entry with multiple accounts, and adds an import function from TanManager 2.0 or later. [Download - 3MB]
TimeCache 6.1.5 ($50) updates the time expense tracking software for Mac, offering better support for invoicing. Users enter time and expenses on billable projects in a daily log that serves as an electronic timesheet. TimeCache 6.1.5 also supports easier data entry, more ways to custmize what as well as how to track time/expenses, more report options, and spell checking. [Download - 4.7MB]
RAZR MAXX To Reach Verizon
Motorola is known for launching phones officially for one cellphone network while later producing an alternate model for another. News has arrived today that this will be the case for its new RAZR MAXX handset. Originally planned to ship only for GSM cellphone carriers, the new phone will be available soon through the CDMA-based Verizon, online sources have learned. Unlike the recently introduced KRZR K1m, the MAXX is more a direct successor to the original RAZR in design. It adds an upgraded 2-megapixel camera, external music controls with a large external display, and 50MB of internal memory to complement the existing microSD card slot. Expect the Verizon MAXX to support EVDO mobile broadband as well. As the phone has not been officially announced, no pricing is available; the existence of professional photography of the new model, however, indicates a release within the next few weeks.
Maxfield's MAX-TRACK GPS
German outfit Maxfield has today announced its first GPS receiver, the MAX-TRACK. Running on Windows CE 5.0 with a 400 MHz Samsung processor, Maxfield claims it has the "world's fastest sat nav system." More interesting may be the accompanying features. The receiver comes with Maxfield's MAX-Navigator 5 software, covering the whole of Western Europe and allowing most of that to be loaded at any given time. Route plotting can be customized by setting preferred routes and/or blocking specific streets, which may come in handy if you know that the Champs-Élysées is going to be jammed. Maxfield is probably best known for its audio players, such as the G-FLASH and the BLACKline. The MAX-TRACK comes out in November.
Bang and Olufsen BV9
Luxury home theater equipment maker Bang & Olufsen has long been known for producing exotic audio and video systems, but is only now taking its first steps into the media center market with its upcoming BV9. Though few details are known about its features, the 50-inch plasma TV is expected to incorporate a media center function in the vein of HP's MediaSmart display, which gives access to music, photos, and videos from a host PC without having to attach separate streaming hardware. Appropriately for the company's high-end focus, the BV9 should also include four HDMI ports (double the industry standard) for full HD video and the ability to control multiple complete speaker systems. Pricing and availability have not yet been determined.
Review, FYQ4 webcast
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the iHiFi ($100, shown at right) from Zoom Technologies, a transmitter that plugs into an iPod or other MP3 player to send music to a receiver across the room wirelessly via Bluetooth technology.... Apple has officially announced its fiscal year 2006 fourth quarter results conference call, which will be held Wednesday, October 18th at 2:00 p.m. PDT and broadcast via a live audio webcast.... Yazsoft today announced its Apple iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition giveaway, where the company will select a winner at random from contestants who send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.... MobiBLU has released the Cube 2, which it claims is the world's smallest MP3 player featuring a full-color OLED display with support for common image formats such as JPEG and PNG as well as videos transcoded to the MSV format.... Hewlett-Packard has announced that Intel's first quad-core processors will launch on November 13th in a new line of HP workstations, which are expected to use the Xeon 5300 processor.... After heavily promoting its FM radio recording feature as an advantage over Apple's iPod line, Creative has been forced to disable the feature in its Zen Vision:M music players, according to owners.
Gigabit ExpressCard debuts
Small Tree Communications today debuted the first Gigabit Ethernet 34mm ExpressCard for the Apple's MacBook Pro. The PEG34m provides throughput and connectivity at speeds up to 100 times faster than the original Ethernet, according to the company. It has a unique foldable RJ-45 connector and is the thinnest ExpressCard on the market today. "The PEG34m provides MacBook Pro owners with a second fully functional Gigabit network for applications such as large file transfer and sharing," the company said. "Working in conjunction with the computer's built-in Gigabit Ethernet port the PEG34m supports 802.3ad link aggregation and Jumbo frames up to 9000MTU." The Small Tree PEG34m offers high-performance Gigabit connectivity for $80 and is specifically designed to plug into a MacBook Pro (as well as other Windows desktop or laptop systems) equipped with an ExpressCard 34mm slot.
USB 2.0 hub for Mac Mini
Macessity today announced its Stack On Mi, an aluminum color self-powered USB 2.0 Hub for customers using Apple's Mac Mini. Stack On Mi was designed for user who wants to show off their Mac Mini on their desk--with or without other Mac Mini enclosures--according to Macessity. "Four-port front access, self powered USB2.0 hub with the design and color to match your Mac Mini and other popular Mac Mini enclosures, Stack On Mi allows you to stack and organize your desk top like no other hub. So, go ahead and show off your Mac Mini, Stack On Mi will take it to a new level, literally." The hub is one-inch in height and offers an open top and bottom to allow better air flow for the Mac Mini. It is available now for $30 and includes a 12-inch USB 2.0 cable (and power adapter).
Marantz IS201 iPod Dock
Electronics importer Audio Cubes has just made the IS201 Universal iPod Dock available to American buyers. The $169 product enables users to connect their iPod to several devices at once, including TV and home theatre systems. Phono, S-Video, RC-5, IR-Flasher and RS-232C connections are supported. IR-Flasher allows the dock to control (or be controlled by) an AV receiver, while RS-232 enables PC control. A remote control is bundled with the system. Audio Cubes further claims the IS201 will accept any iPod from the third generation onwards, charging players while in use. Of special note is the actual connection point for inputs and outputs: since it's separate from the dock itself, you can prevent your desktop from becoming a cluttered mess of cables.
Sound ID Bluetooth Headset
Sound ID announced on Monday two new wireless headsets that it says help with the common problems of phone conversations. The flagship SoundFlavors is a combination headset and external microphone that includes an adaptive sound system that can focus on the caller's voice while blocking out wind and other ambient noise which is often caught by regular earpieces. While adaptive technology has existed in the past, what makes Sound ID's system different is the ability to prioritize it through different modes: a Phone Mode exists for the most common uses, but an Amplification Mode can deliberately bias the audio towards background sounds and a CompanionLink Mode shifts attention to the external microphone for interviews. A One2One Mode is also available for two owners of Sound ID's headsets that takes advantage of their noise isolation. The SoundFlavors system includes a charging cradle and ships now for $699.
For those who only need the technology in a simple headset, the SoundMate (pictured) supports all but the Amplification Mode (which requires a microphone placed away from the main source) and is also shipping now for $250.
2W wireless Transceiver
QuickerTek has announced a 2,000 milliwatt (2 Watt) Transceiver, expanding QuickerTek's line of Point-to-Point long distance wireless networking systems. "Mounted inside or outside, this 2W Transceiver performs equally well. Most often used when wireless must reach across hundreds of yards of line-of-site distances, users have found that building-to-building wireless is easily within reach." The high-power transceiver, however, cannot penetrate solid objects such as mountains and hills, several downtown office buildings or other dense obstructions that occlude line-of-sight, according to the company. The new Transceiver works with all 802.11/b/g WiFi equipment including Apple's AirPort and AirPort Extreme and is compatible with all AirPort-supported Mac OS versions; it requires no software drivers. The device is $600 and includes a one-year warranty (parts and labor).
VeriLook 3.0 SDK for OS X
Neurotechnologija today announced VeriLook 3.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) for the development of fast, reliable and cost-effective biometric facial recognition systems on Mac OS X platform (as well as Windows and Linux). Using a standard Webcam or security camera, the VeriLook 3.0 algorithm can match 100,000 faces per second with high reliability and can detect multiple faces in a single frame and process all of them simultaneously, according to the company. VeriLook 3.0 works with any database and any user interface, providing hardware manufacturers, biometric systems developers and security system integrators with powerful facial recognition technology that can be used in a wide array of security systems. The VeriLook library ensure high reliability of the face identification, 1:1 and 1:N matching modes, and simultaneous multiple face detection. VeriLook 3.0 SDK is available now with several licensing options; it runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and requires QuickTime 6 or later.
TeraCard eSATA Express34
WiebeTech has introduced a new TeraCard eSATA Express34 host card that allows users to add eSATA ports to the latest notebook computers with ExpressCard slots, such as MacBook Pro. "This addition to our TeraCard lineup of host cards allows users to take advantage of the high speed eSATA interface and fast SATA drives," said James Wiebe, president/CEO of WiebeTech LLC. The card supports SATA 2 drives with transfer speeds of up to 3.0Gbps and is fully backwards compatible with SATA 1. It includes drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 2K/XP/Server 2003, two hot swappable eSATA ports with two independent Serial ATA channels, and supports FIS-based switching with Port Multipliers. The card offers two LEDs indicate drive access. The TeraCard eSATA Express34 host card retails for $120 and is shipping now.
Apple COO Tim Cook
Apple's second in command, chief operating officer Tim Cook, is the story behind the the story--the story of Apple's resurgence and success--according to one Silicon Valley executive. A new Wall Street Journal profile of the Apple executive offers a few insights: "Cook's low public profile notwithstanding, his contributions at Apple have earned him enough notice within technology circles that he is routinely solicited for CEO jobs, though the 45-year-old has voiced no near-term plans to leave Apple.... While Mr. Jobs is known to have a mercurial temper and a sharp tongue, Mr. Cook has the courtly demeanor of a Southern gentleman. People who work with him say his quiet manner and slow drawl have a disarming effect in a fast-paced environment like Apple, filled with its share of table-pounders.... Mr. Cook appears more than happy to stay off the stage that seems to be Mr. Jobs's natural habitat." [paid registration required]
Adobe Print Engine 1.1
Adobe today announced version 1.1 of Adobe PDF Print Engine software technology, a comprehensive design-to-print solution that leverages Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and Job Definition Format (JDF) to deliver control, consistency and efficiency throughout the entire print workflow. The new version leverages common PDF technology across the Adobe Creative Suite and Acrobat to allow creative and print professionals to efficiently create, collaborate on, and automate the output of Adobe PDF files. New features include support for Mac OS X, PDF 1.7, PDF layer-management and enhanced color management.
Gamer Scan on hiatus
We regret to inform that for the time being, Gamer Scan is being put on hiatus. Editorial efforts are instead being shifted behind Electronista. The Scan may resume updating at some point in the future, but if so, it will most likely be with different contributors. We'd like to thank each and every one of you who has become a regular reader, and please be sure to visit Electronista for updates on gaming-related hardware.
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