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News Archive for 06/10/20

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Adesso unveils iLamp for iPod

10/20, 6:30pm

Adesso unveils iLamp

Adesso has introduced iLamp, an iPod speaker system that blends directly into home decor. The device features an iPod cradle built into the base of a desk lamp that plays music from any dockable iPod through stereo speakers, while an auxiliary input jack allows the lamp to play audio from alternative sources, according to Electronista. Varying versions are available in black or white reflecting particular aesthetic tastes or features, including the Architect with storage containers, the Tunes with a snake-style adjustable neck, or the Boom Box with higher-power speakers and an LED light. All models are shipping now from Adesso for $89.

Briefly: new Camino browser; PCMag

10/20, 6:20pm

New Camino browser

In brief: MacNN blogger Dave Cryer notes that Camino 1.1 is on its way, and though the software is still in the Alpha stage, it boasts many new features such as Feed handoff capability and built-in spell-checking.... PC Magazine has rated Apple's iMac and Mac Pro computers no. 2 and no. 3 within its Top 10 Desktops.... Keynote Adventurer is giving away five Flash files that run for a specific amount of time, displaying a progress bar to signify breaks in a presentation.... Uneasysilence has released ToasterClone, a screensaver depicting the classic flying toasters recompiled and redistributed for personal use.... Microsoft today said that it will take its first steps into chip design, and that it will launch a new division within the company to research as well as produce its own processors for its hardware.

Apple updates refurbished iMacs, iBooks

10/20, 6:00pm

Refurb iMacs, iBooks

Apple has updated its available refurbished iMacs, adding more discounted Intel-based models and removing iMac G5s entirely. These iMacs include the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ($899) with 512MB of memory, a 24x Combo drive, and a 160GB hard drive; the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo ($949) with 512MB of memory, a slot-loading 4x double-layer SuperDrive, and a 160GB hard drive; the 17-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ($1,099) with 1GB of memory, a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and a 160GB hard drive; and the 20-inch 2GHz Intel Core Duo ($1,199) with 512MB of memory, a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and a 250GB hard drive. The company is also offering its 12-inch 1.33GHz G4 iBook ($799) with 512MB of memory and a 40GB hard drive; as well as its 14-inch 1.42GHz G4 iBook ($999) with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive.

Sale of LocationFree TV boxes delayed

10/20, 5:50pm

LocationFree box delay

Sony will be delaying the launch of its LocationFree TV boxes, writes the Associated Press. The company claims it needs more tests to adapt its remote control to third-party devices. The boxes are meant to be range extenders for Sony's LocationFree base stations, units that transmit TV output to devices with Internet access. The Japanese release date has been pushed from October 27th to November 17th, while US shipments should arrive at an undefined point in October. Base station deliveries should remain unaffected.

The Sims 2 Pets goes live

10/20, 5:35pm

The Sims 2 Pets goes live

Aspyr Media today announced that The Sims 2 Pets is live on its Website, and that the fourth expansion pack for The Sims 2 is scheduled to ship for Mac in November just following the Windows release. The Sims 2 Pets allows users to create the perfect pet for their Sims to train, play with, and love as their own. Players can teach their pet new tricks, take them for a walk around the park, outfit them with new pet accessories, and even give them a job. As in real life, the Sims pet requires care and training. "A neglected cat with an urge to scratch might claw up your new couch if you aren't careful, and leaving your dog unattended near a freshly planted flower bed probably isn't wise!" The Sims 2 Pets for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (pricing was unavailable).

Forums: Sleep-working MacBook Pros

10/20, 5:30pm

Forums October 20

Forums roundup: Members are discussing the ongoing anticipation of a MacBook Pro update, as Apple has yet to show any signs of furthering its Core 2 Duo offerings after the company updated its iMac.... Others MacBook Pro owners are investigating some somnambulistic behavior of their sleeping MacBook Pros after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4.8.... Another user looks for help configuring a Mac to play DVDs from other regions, receiving several solutions from helpful members.... Another member shares experiences with a Mac Pro rejecting memory and crashing with certain third-party memory chips.... Meanwhile, users share information regarding uncapping their Intel-Integrated graphics included with MacBooks and Mac Minis.

Apps: ChronoSync, BackityMac, JournalX

10/20, 5:20pm

ChronoSync, BackityMac

    ChronoSync 3.3.3 ($30) brings native compatibility to Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, allowing owners of Apple's latest Mac systems to manage data by efficiently synchronizing files and folders from one disk location to another. Users can identify a group of files, specify a destination, and schedule the action to occur as often as necessary. ChronoSync uses Relative State Monitoring to detect file changes. [Download - 4.9MB]
    BackityMac 1.2 ($10) is a utility to perform specific backups of supported applications. iPhoto as well as iTunes Libraries, and iCal calendars. Version 1.2 corrects the progress bar problem, and includes numerous code-base tweaks. BackityMac 1.2 backs up and restores Apple Mail files, MS Entourage files, iCal calendars, Address Book databases, Web browser bookmarks, iPhoto as well as iTunes Libraries, iWeb website files, and the Home documents folder. [Download - 798KB]
    JournalX 2.2 (€20) archives and manages numerous types of documents. The latest revision can search select, copy, and manipulate PDF documents. Version 2.2 also adds a new database menu, and ensures entries are created as aliases when a specific key combination is pressed while importing a new subject via drag-and-drop. [Download - 1.3MB]
    Posterino 1.0b5 ($20, $25 upon final release) enhances the "Life Poster" composing application, adding support for image import from file system folders. Posterino enables users to create life posters, postcards, greeting cards, and contact sheets from digital pictures. The update also adds the first version of an online help system. [Download - 5.2MB]
    On-Target Reports OpenBase Edition 4.2.3 (free for OpenBase Solo users, $100 for other versions) generates reports from most popular databases, including FrontBase, MySQL, OpenBase, Oracle, postgreSQL, PrimeBase, REALDatabase, REALDatabase - 5.5, SQLite, SQLite Server, Sybase ASE, and Valentina. On-Target Reports 4.1 provides numerous bug fixes, and supports SQLite Server as a data source. [Download - 12.1MB]
    You Control: Tunes 1.4.1 (free) brings Universal Binary status to the utility offering users complete control over iTunes from the Mac OS X menu bar. The software supports functionality such as next track, previous track, volume adjustment, play/pause, and stop. Users can specify hotkeys to produce a desired effect, and the You Control: Tunes can display the current track information in multiple locations. [Download - 3MB]

Eclipse Nova Solar Camera Bag

10/20, 5:05pm

Eclipse Nova Solar bag

Amateur photographers who need their batteries kept fresh might be interested in the Nova Solar Camera Bag, an Eclipse product with a solar panel mounted on the lid. Users connect the panel to a third-party 12V auto adapter, and from there to devices like battery chargers and cellphones. The panel remains active as you walk around. The inside of the bag has room for an SLR body, three lenses, and small accessories. Removable dividers let you customize space to your needs. The bag is being sold at Eclipse's website for $150.

Adesso launches iLamp iPod speaker dock

10/20, 4:50pm

iLamp iPod Speaker Dock

Lighting company Adesso has introduced an iPod speaker system that blends directly into home decor. Its new iLamp range builds a cradle into the base of a desk lamp that can play music from any dockable iPod through stereo speakers. An auxiliary input jack is also present for other devices. Different versions are available in black or white that reflect particular aesthetic tastes or features, including the Architect (pictured) with storage containers, the Tunes with a snake-style adjustable neck, or the Boom Box with higher-power speakers and an LED light. All models are shipping now from Adesso for $89.

Zune battery life can be pushed to 14 hours

10/20, 4:25pm

Zune battery can hit 14hrs

Microsoft employee Cesar "LoveFoxxx" Menendez is saying that the Zune's battery can last as long as 13 hours, or even 14 hours with wireless turned off. This is roughly equivalent to the current 30GB iPod, but is perhaps more impressive because of the Zune's three-inch screen. Strict measures were needed to reach 14 hours, however: the test Zune was set to loop 128Kbps WMA files the entire time, and power-saving tactics included shutting off the EQ and avoiding menus or pictures. Battery life can drop as low as four hours when viewing video or pictures, Menendez admits.

Microsoft to produce its own chip designs

10/20, 4:20pm

Microsoft Produces Chips

Microsoft said today that it will take its first steps into chip design, reports the New York Times. The software developer announced that it will launch a new division within the company, initially named the Computer Architecture Group, to research and produce its own processors for its hardware. One key reason is the next Xbox, says the head of the new division, Charles Thacker. The game console currently relies exclusively upon outside hardware such as graphics from ATI and a CPU from IBM. The company is interested in voice recognition and other technologies where hardware and software are closely linked. Key to this change in Microsoft is a new process introduced by the University of California that can test entire computer designs virtually, rather than requiring physical prototypes. This will allow Microsoft to study the impact of a new concept immediately, says the Times' John Markoff.

The move is cited as further evidence of consolidation between Microsoft's hardware and software development, which began with the introduction of the original Xbox and was recently underscored by the unveiling of the Zune music player.

Sonic Integrity Tube Pod iPod dock

10/20, 3:35pm

Sonic Integrity Tube Pod

Sonic Integrity is selling the Tube Pod, a luxury iPod dock that comes with an amplifier. The dock's name stems from the vacuum tubes used in the amplifier, which some audiophiles say produce better sound than transistors. Power output is 13Wx2 and frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20KHz. Other features include banana plug speaker cables, an auxiliary audio cable for connecting devices like a CD player, and a video cable to display images on a TV. Sonic is offering the dock for the price of $1,000.

Meizu M6 SP portable media player

10/20, 3:15pm

Meizu M6 SP Media Player

The Chinese media player designer Meizu has said today that it will release a new, lower-cost version of its M6. The M6 SP is largely unchanged from the original, which shows the clear influence of the iPod's chrome, gray, and white styling in a video-oriented format. Both the original M6 and its update are capable of playing XviD-encoded film clips, photos, and most common audio formats (including FLAC and OGG) on its 2.4-inch screen. The SP edition drops prices across the entire range of capacities, starting at the equivalent of $88 US for 1GB and culminating at $164 US for a 4GB model. Meizu has already said it plans to release the M6 in North America, though pricing for the SP remains unknown. [Photo courtesy of DAPReview]

PCIe-to-PCI/PCI-X chassis ship

10/20, 2:40pm

PCI-E to PCI, PCI-X

Mobility Electronics today unveiled a new series of PCI Express to PCI Expansion chassis, allowing users to easily add PCI cards to PCI Express-based computers through any PCI Express slot. The chassis offer plug-and-play installation, allowing the bios to automatically configure the expansion system. The PCI backplane supports 5-volt-only, universal, and 3.3-volt PCI and PCI-X cards. The devices are designed to match the throughput of most cards currently available, and are available in 4U as well as 2U rack-mount enclosures. The expansion chassis ship from $1,400 (4-slot rack-mount) to $2,800 (13-slot rugged rack-mount) with support for Mac OS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows systems.

NetForce media player with mobile broadband, TV

10/20, 2:30pm

NetForce Media Player

Korean electronics maker Digital Cube used a press conference on Friday to introduce two new media players noteworthy for the sheer variety of features. First to be introduced was a new version of the i-Station NetForce, a portable device meant as much to connect to the Internet as for watching videos. In addition to playing back the user's own MPEG-4 videos and mobile TV using Korea's T-DMB standard, the NetForce can also connect to the Internet either through local WiFi hotspots or 3.5G cellular networks through HSDPA. The access gives users the option of transferring music from a local computer or browsing the web on a large, 800x480 display.

A smaller, more compact player known as the i-Station Mini was also announced. Though it only has a 2.4-inch 320x240 screen and drops HSDPA support, Digital Cube says the Mini maintains its T-DMB receiver. Official launch information isn't available. A gallery is available after the jump courtesy of AVING.

Kult - Heretic Kingdoms released

10/20, 2:30pm

Kult Heretic Kingdoms

Virtual Programming today released Kult - Heretic Kingdoms, a role-playing game combining 3D graphics with the intuitive environment of an isometric game. Set in the world of the Heretic Kingdoms where god is dead and religion is heresy, players are cast as a young female inquisitor working to stamp out the last remnants of religion. Charged to destroy a relic which the Inquisition considers a significant threat, players are drawn into a war between two secret societies. One -- a conspiracy of mages whose goal is true power -- and a shadowy cult that seeks to resurrect the dead god. Kult - Heretic Kingdoms is available as a digital download for $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

Mesa comes to Intel-based Macs

10/20, 2:15pm

Mesa goes Universal

The MacDev workshop has announced the latest release of Mesa spreadsheet software as a Universal Binary, offering native compatibility to PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs. Mesa is built exclusively for Mac OS X, providing a traditional spreadsheet that combines an easy-to-use icon-based interface with standard features and compatibility with Microsoft Excel. The software features multiple worksheets with advanced functions and charting capability, allowing users to set up headers as well as footers with numerous options via a "ReportWriter" function. A Formula Builder helps set up formulas, and allows users to read about functions as they are used. Mesa is available for $35, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

kSpectra Toolkit 2.4 released

10/20, 2:00pm

kSpectra Toolkit 2.4

SpectraWorks today released kSpectra Toolkit 2.4, updating its set of tools for advanced spectral analysis of univariate or multivariate time series. The toolkit contains procedures for estimating the spectrum of a time series; decomposing the time series into trends, oscillatory components, and noise; reconstruction and prediction of the contributions of selected components of the time series; and a gap-filling procedure for treating missing observations or uneven sampling. Key features include multithreading for essential computations, the ability to adopt the latest Mac OS X technologies such as Automator or Spotlight, an integrated help system, and drag-and-drop installation. kSpectra Toolkit also offers built-in plotting with EPS as well as PDF output, intuitive object-based data management, and optimization for both PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs.

VidaBox Dual HD Media Center PCs

10/20, 1:55pm

VidaBox Dual HD PCs

VidaBox has announced a pair of new Windows Media Center PCs designed to handle Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs on the same machine. The LUX and MAX are both equipped with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD drives, as well as HDCP outputs and twin HDTV tuners, allowing users to record up to four TV shows at once and play video back at 1080p. The MAX ($4,399 and up) can support up to 3TB of storage, while the LUX ($3,499 and up) can reach 3.75TB. Each computer comes with a TiVo DVR and the ability to rip regular DVDs directly to a hard drive. At present, you can only order directly from the VidaBox website.

Sony 007 Edition VAIO TX laptop

10/20, 1:45pm

Sony 007 Edition Laptop

Having already announced James Bond Edition K790 and K800 phones in conjunction with the upcoming movie Casino Royale, Sony has seen fit to announce a special version of its TX-series ultraportable. The 007 Edition VAIO TX provides multiple useful accessories that tie into the theme of espionage. While the 11.1-inch laptop itself is largely unchanged with a 1.2GHz low-voltage Core Solo, 1GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive, a privacy screen attachment prevents others from reading the display from a distance or off-angle. Appropriately, the custom edition ships with a black, 7.2-megapixel CyberShot DSC-T50B camera embossed with the 007 logo. The most unique element of Sony's bundle is a 007-themed attaché case with inserts to hold the camera, portable, and their accessories. Expectedly costly for this combination of devices, the collection is available through Sony Canada for $4299 CDN ($3821 US); a US version hasn't yet been revealed.

Apple Stores to open in Denver, Chicago

10/20, 1:45pm

Denver, Chicago stores

Apple is planning to expand its presence to the Denver and Chicago regions with future retail stores in the suburbs of Littleton and Orland Park. The Park Meadows Mall has 160 shops and restaurants south of Denver, Colorado, and will become the fifth store in the area, according to ifoAppleStore. The Orland Park Mall in Illinois has 150 stores on two separate levels, boasting the largest and most-upscale mall on Chicago's south side. Apple has selected the Orlando Park Mall as the sixth store in that region, according to the report. Both stores are scheduled to open in the late summer of 2007. The Cupertino-based company also received approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to build a state-of-the-art 21,350-square-foot three-story Apple Store (pictured at right) at 815 Boylston St, according to a separate report from the Boston Business Journal.

As iPod turns 5, stock is up 9-fold

10/20, 1:40pm

iPod turns 5 on Monday

As Apple's iPod celebrates its fifth birthday Monday, CNN/Money talks about the milestone for the music player that not only reinvigorated the "other" computer maker but revolutionized the way people buy and listen to music. "When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod on Oct. 23, 2001, he said: 'With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.' After dominating music downloads, Apple is moving into movies now. Apple's stock has skyrocketed in the last 5 years, largely due to its dominance in the portable music player market. Indeed, the iPod and Apple's iTunes music store have transformed the music business, sparking a new way for users to legally download music - and spurring a stunning rise in Apple stock. Apple shares, which traded around $9 five years ago, have risen nearly nine-fold since then."

Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 released

10/20, 1:35pm

Lightroom Beta 4.1

Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1, an update to its software created for professional photographers as an efficient way to import, select, develop, and showcase large volumes of digital images. Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 includes new general, Filmstrip, Import, Export, Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Web features. The latest revision also includes 10 bug fixes addressing issues with the original Beta 4 build. Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 is available for download from Adobe.com, and will expire on February 28th, 2007. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.

LG extending Chocolate branding to projector?

10/20, 12:50pm

LG Chocolate projector?

Based on photos taken by AVING at the Korean Electronics Show, it seems that LG is extending its Chocolate brand into the world of projectors. An unnamed LED projector is being displayed at KES in both solid black and solid white colors, and on top of each sits a control panel resembling the buttons on a Chocolate phone. Further inspection of the device appears to show support for VGA and HDMI inputs - making this LG's second foray into the world of HD projectors after the AN110 wall-mount system. The new model is considerably smaller than the 110. Click below for more photos.

Apps: Lilt, iUnit, Amazed, imeem

10/20, 12:30pm

Lilt, iUnit, Amazed, imeem

    Lilt 1.0pr6 ($5) utilizes the ambient light and sudden motion sensors of Apple's new notebook computers to launch applications, files, or scripts. Users can wave their hands over the light sensors located under the speaker grills to play the next iTunes track, or tilt the computer back to hear the time spoken aloud. The update adds an option to flip the left and right sensors for machines where those readings were incorrectly swapped, and adds more script action examples. [Download - 960KB]
    Application Wizard 2.0 ($18) allows users to open, quit, show, and hide single applications or groups of applications. The software also supports opening applications automatically on startup, forcing applications to open using Apple's Rosetta technology or Classic environment, and can quit background-only applications. Version 2.0 adds icons to open menu items, and revises the Menus pane. [Download - 2.6MB]
    iUnit 3.4.0 ($20) updates the measurement unit conversion program, adding native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. iUnit converts between 1580 different units of measurements in 51 categories, including distance, mass, volume, velocity, density, currency, and other types of measurements. The software is designed for students, engineers, and scientists containing 80 commonly used constants. [Download - 1.3MB]
    Amazed 1.3 ($5) is a new Universal Binary version of Amazed with a special Halloween theme. The update includes cobwebs, as well as "dark and scary" dungeons. Amazed 1.3 also features a variety of costumed characters ranging from the grim reaper to a caveman. Amazed is a maze game for Mac OS X featuring six different level themes and 96 different characters. [Download - 2.9MB]
    StoryGrinder 1.0RC1 (free) is a tool designed for Web writers who find themselves needing to refer to reference material while writing. StoryGrinder includes an editor with support for HTML, BBCode as well as custom tags, Perl based scripting, and story preview capability. The update uses administrator mode rather than root mode, removes time restrictions making the application freeware, and offers fixes to the Spotlight importer. [Download - 1.5MB]
    imeem for Mac 1.35 (free) is a new online service available as a desktop application designed to combine the best features of social networking, media sharing, and instant messaging. The software supports instant messenging services, and providing automatic notifications when new content is added to a network. The latest version improves stability and resource usage, fxing numerous bugs and allowing users to edit as well as delete "meems." [Download - 10.1MB]

Nokia Wireless Image Headset

10/20, 12:10pm

Nokia Wireless Image

Nokia has recently introduced a Bluetooth headset for dedicated cellphone users. The Wireless Image Headset is intended not for music, but as an extension of the calling functions on most Bluetooth-enabled phones. Nokia's device hangs from the neck by a lanyard and relays call information to a 128x128 screen, saving the trouble of retrieving the phone itself from a pocket. A built-in joystick can be used to navigate and even edit contact information remotely. Hands-free calling is also possible through a combination of earbuds and voice-activated dialing.

A subtle but important feature of the Wireless Image Headset is its picture function, says Nokia. Since the device oocupies a conspicuous position when worn, the screen can display the owner's choice of images as either a wallpaper when idle or a photo slideshow for friends. The headset is shipping now for $300.

Sony exposes more details on PS3, Playstation Network

10/20, 11:35am

Sony Playstation Network

At a press event yesterday, Sony demonstrated some facets of online support for its upcoming Playstation 3 console, Reuters reports. The Playstation Network will be a free service with an interface similar to Sony's PSP handheld, only now with expanded functionality such as chat, storing photos and video, greater multiplayer capabilites, and a download area called the Playstation Store. Gamers will be able to buy music, videos, extra game content and more. Some complete games (mainly older Playstation titles) will be downloadable for $15 or less. A new revelation was that to showcase the PS3's Blu-Ray movie support, Sony will be bundling the first 500,000 PS3s with copies of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." A $499 model will come with a 20GB hard drive, whereas the $599 model will include a 60GB drive, WiFi, and slots for Memory Sticks, SD cards, and CompactFlash cards.

[Updated for games and accessories] According to Pocket-lint, an extra Sixaxis gamepad (the wireless controller included with the PS3) will cost $50, and a TV-style remote for movies will cost $25. An official HDMI cable will also be priced at $50. There should be 21 game titles at the November 17th launch, with an average price point of $60.

MiniPC provides Core 2 Duo without excess heat

10/20, 11:20am

MiniPC Core 2 Duo

MiniPC has just unveiled two new small form factor PCs made for performance-minded users. Of these, the LF870 series innovates by mounting a cooling fan at the top of the case. The design lets the system run quietly compared to many compact systems, says MiniPC, and keeps the interior cool enough to be reduced in size while still including a PCI Express X16 slot for dedicated graphics. The cooling also permits a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a 250GB desktop-class hard drive in the base model. MiniPC is shipping this preassembled system in Japan for the equivalent of $1153 US.

Those less concerned with graphics performance also have the choice of the VT870, which exchanges dedicated graphics and a desktop hard drive for a smaller case and even quieter acoustics. With Intel graphics and a 40GB laptop-class hard drive, the VT870 debuts at $1082 US for a complete system. Click through for large photos of both MiniPC models.

Eton FR350 emergency-ready radio

10/20, 10:40am

Eton FR350 emerg. radio

A radio can be an essential device in an emergency. Broadcasts will often tell listeners when a disaster is over, for instance, or where to go for supplies. Eton's FR350 may be the ultimate in emergency radios: not only does it receive AM, FM, and shortwave broadcasts, it comes with a built-in siren and flashlight. Also, while normally powered by NiMH batteries, a hand-crank can supply energy when all else fails. The body is water-resistant, and if you need to make a phone call, you can use the radio to recharge a cellphone. You can buy black or silver models for £40 at Nevada, or an American Red Cross-branded model for $60 US at Amazon.

Briefly: Apple patents; QuickerTek

10/20, 10:25am

Apple patents, QuickerTek

In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published a patent application titled "Selective reencoding for GOP conformity," which doesn't officially list Apple as the assignee but does list well known Apple inventors such as Gregory Kent Wallace and Jian Lu.... The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today also published Apple's patent application titled "Single pass constrained constant bit-rate encoding," which was originally filed in April of 2005.... Apple had more than eight team members to present six scientific solutions on Mac Pros connected to 30-inch monitors at Neuroscience 2006 in Atlanta, GA this week.... QuickerTek has updated its QuickerTek Connect software, offering fully automated setup and diagnosis for use with the company's wireless antenna that does not require opening the computer case for installation.... O'Reilly Press has begun shipping Digital Photography Expert Techniques, Second Edition ($45), a reference guide for new digital SLR owners looking for the technical knowledge necessary to get the most out of their new equipment and software.... MacForce is hosting a special event with Apple's Jim Kantor -- an Apple certified trainer for Aperture -- for photography enthusiasts who have mastered iPhoto and are wondering about Apple's Aperture software.

ASUS readying gaming-oriented laptops

10/20, 10:20am

ASUS Gaming Laptops

The next few months will see ASUS introduce a completely new line of laptops made just for avid game players, says the head of the US reseller ProPortable. A recent forum update from the company leader has revealed early information about the G1P and G2P series of portables. Both models are known to use extensive amounts of carbon fiber, which should reduce their weight without affecting their strength. ASUS has also highlighted the W, A, S, and D keys so frequently used for first-person shooters and has a glowing jewel below the trackpad. The G1P and G2P are primarily separated by color and size: the former is a 15.4-inch system dominated by black carbon fiber and green accents, while the 17-inch G2P adds silver elements and red accents. The colors may indicate the use of NVIDIA (green) or ATI (red) graphics chipsets.

Exact specifications aren't known at this time, but ProPortable suggests the laptops may not appear until Intel's Santa Rosa mainboard chipset appears in early 2007, which will raise the system bus speed to 800MHz and improve overall performance. A backpack, a Logitech-made gaming mouse, and a webcam will also be standard. Photos of both models are available after the jump.

Cooliris launches PicLens plug-in

10/20, 10:00am

PicLens plug-in launches

Cooliris today launched PicLens Beta 1 for Mac, a Web browser plug-in designed to transform the browser window into an immersive cinematic experience for viewing Web images. "Compared to the traditional, sluggish way of viewing of images of the web, the PicLens viewing experience is vivid and lightning fast. With just one click, PicLens instantly makes images, albums, and even thumbnails come to life through its full-screen browser window. Its slick user interface even lets you channel between images with your Apple remote control." The plug-in is currently enabled for Flickr, Facebook, and Photobucket, as well as image searches for Google, Yahoo!, and Ask.com. PicLens is available for free to Safari users as a beta release, and a Windows version is on the way, according to Cooliris.

Munchkin ships iCrib iPod dock

10/20, 9:45am

iCrib iPod dock ships

Munchkin has begun shipping the iCrib Sound System, its audio player dock that mounts on the railings of most baby cribs to lull babies to sleep. The dock enables parents to play custom tracks for children, and features a volume limiter to avoid waking babies. iCrib also includes a nightlight that changes colors, as well as a timer that parents can set to 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals. "The iCrib is a compact crib sound system that lets you choose the music that soothes your baby to sleep - because some kids are a little bit country, and others a little bit of rock 'n roll." The iCrib is priced at $30, and ships from online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Motorola ROKR E6 spotted at FCC

10/20, 9:30am

Motorola ROKR E6 Spotted

A dramatic upgrade to Motorola's often-maligned ROKR phone line is in the works, according to discoveries made in the FCC's online system. A recent application reveals that the ROKR E6 will eliminate many of the flaws that plagued the original while also sporting a more unique design. The E6 abandons the traditional keypad for a touchscreen and a stylus, features not seen on most music phones. Rarer still is the inclusion of a conventional SD card slot, which will both improve the maximum storage for music as well as the overall responsiveness. Other features have received equal treatment, as the 2-megapixel camera is capable of macro focus and an FM transmitter has been built-in. Click through for more details and a full photo.

Hauppage PCI dual-tuner TV card

10/20, 8:50am

Hauppage NOVA-T Tuner

TV tuner add-in cards are commonplace in home theater PCs, but Hauppage says it has released a new PCI adapter which is truly the ideal for these systems. In releasing its WinTV NOVA-T 500 card, the company claims to have produced the first expansion card that has dual digital TV tuners. Designed for Europe's DVB-T over-the-air video format, the 500 is capable of displaying one show while recording another and uses only a single antenna to receive both broadcasts. Although designed to integrate with Windows XP Media Center (and eventually Windows Vista), Hauppage's adapter comes bundled with a free program scheduler and WingSE, a software tool that can convert recorded shows to iPod or PSP format. This most recent NOVA-T model ships now for £100 ($188 US) including tax. Hauppage hasn't yet announced an equivalent that would use the North American ATSC digital broadcast standard.

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