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News Archive for 06/10/27

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Apps: CutX Content Filter, Isadora

10/27, 9:35pm

CutX Content Filter

    CutX Content Filter 3 ($50) is an extended site blocking plug-in designed for Apple's Safari Web browser. The update offers better performance via a new engine, a new user interface, and an option to use the app4mac online list. CutX Content Filter 3 also allows users to disable downloading, includes new password management, and is compatible with all user accounts. [Download - 3.5MB]
    Isadora 1.2 ($350) updates the interactive graphical programming environment designed to offer users control over digital media. The software places special emphasis on the real-time manipulation of digital video, creating an Isadora program by linking graphically represented building blocks together. [Download - 14.4MB]
    Meander 1.3 ($20) helps users plot points, plan routes, measure distances, and use maps. The update includes waypoints in routes, route statistics, and text labels on maps. Users can also save, load, export, and print routes. Version 1.3 is a free upgrade for existing license-holders, requiring Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 1.1MB]
    YemuZip 2.0 ($40) is a simple application for making zip files. Users can drag-and-drop files onto the window to produce a zipped version of the file. The latest revision runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and features an improved user-interface. [Download - 850KB]
    MBS plug-in 6.4 (40) updates the collection of REALbasic plug-ins that extend REALbasic's built-in functionality, adding more than 500 classes and three controls featuring over 11,000 documented functions. MBS plug-in 5.4 improves compatibility with REALbasic 2006r4, adds PNG save functions, includes a Mac HID class for USB communication, and enhances Cocoa classes with spellchecking, colorpanel, and status items.

Apple slashes refurb MacBook Pro prices

10/27, 7:00pm

Refurb MBP prices slashed

Apple has slashed its refurbished MacBook Pro prices following a refresh of the entire notebook line on Tuesday, offering the professional laptops for as little as $1,399 and free shipping. The refurbished 15-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive is priced at just $1,399, while the company's 15-inch 2.0GHz model with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive is available for $1,449 with a standard or glossy display. Refurbished 15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pros boasting 1GB of memory and a 100GB hard drive are available for $1,499, while 15-inch 2.16GHz notebooks featuring 1GB of memory and a 100GB hard drive are priced at $1,599 with standard as well as glossy displays. Apple's reconditioned 17-inch models include the 2.16GHz version with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $2,199 with a standard or glossy display; as well as the 2.16GHz model with 1GB of memory and a slightly smaller (100GB) hard drive spinning at a higher rpm for $2,199. The Apple Store Canada also lowered its refurbished MacBook Pro pricing, offering similar models with free shipping.

FairGame strips iTunes DRM with iMovie

10/27, 6:10pm

FairGame strips iTunes DRM

Seidai Software has released FairGame, an application designed to convert songs purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store to an unprotected format. FairGame uses iTunes' default encoder, keeping all the original metadata, lyrics, and artwork intact. The process takes 2 minutes and 42 seconds to convert a 4-minute song to AAC on a MacBook Pro 2.16GHz, according to Seidai. Users must enable "Access for assistive devices" in the "Universal Access" system preference and select "Place clip in Movie Timeline" in the "Import" preference of iMovie HD. Following those two steps users can select songs in iTunes, click on the "Process songs" button, and wait for FairGame to complete its tasks. FairGame is available for free as a digital download, and is known to work on Mac OS X 10.4.8 with iMovie HD 6.0.3, and iTunes 7.0.1 installed.

Acer: Home Premium is the real Vista

10/27, 5:50pm

Acer on Windows Vista

Acer senior corporate vice president Jim Wong has openly challenged Microsoft's pricing for the Home editions of Windows Vista, noting that many of the most frequently promoted features of Vista, such as the Aero Glass 3D-accelerated interface and Media Center software, are absent from the Home Basic edition, pushing buyers towards the more expensive Home Premium version. "Right at the beginning they started talking about the experience of [Vista Home] Premium. Premium is the real Vista," said Wong. Critics have already attacked Microsoft for raising the effective price, but Wong says there will be a tangible impact for system builders who have to absorb the cost into their system prices, according to Electronista. "We have to pay more but users are not going to pay more," Wong said, citing a 10 percent increase in the license price which translates to a 1-2 percent rise in the system price. British PC maker Evesham and others have echoed these remarks and don't plan to ship any systems with Vista Home Basic.

Forums: MacBook firmware, Product Red

10/27, 5:35pm

Forums October 27

Forums roundup: Members are discussing the recent fix released by Apple for MacBooks that randomly shutting down, which received mixed reviews from onlookers.... MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo buyers are taking part in a continuing thread by sharing stories of 'new arrivals' while offering reviews of the new laptop.... Another user asks for opinions on whether Apple should extend Product Red branding and support to its MacBook line of computers.... Another member looks for help in deciding between a 128MB or 256MB MacBook Pro graphics card, asking users of both models for their opinions.... Meanwhile, other users are taking part in an ongoing debate pitting core numbers against core frequency in processor advancement.

Dot.Tunes 3.0 offers flash playback

10/27, 5:20pm

Dot.Tunes 3.0 unveiled

Dot-Tunes has released Dot.Tunes 3.0 Beta 2, a major new release of the Web-based iTunes music sharing service. The update features a new logo with a revamped Web and application design, as well as a revised Web interface. Two skinnable flash players built into Dot.Tunes ensure members' websites, blogs, and MySpace pages can play tracks from their iTunes Music libraries. Users can publish artists, albums, playlists, or their entire music library with one click, according to the company, and can share music securely with usernames and passwords. The upgraded service also features the ability to publish audio as well as video podcasts, and serves as a remote control via iTunes/AirTunes setup. Dot.Tunes requires any modern Web browser such as Safari or Firefox, with registration priced at $30.

mobiBLU brings DAH-2100, US2 to North America

10/27, 4:50pm

New mobiBLU players in US

Fresh from exporting the Cube 2 to North America, Korean outfit mobiBLU is now exporting the DAH-2100 and the US2 (pictured). The 2100 comes in 1 and 2GB models, displays photos and videos, and plays FM, MP3, Ogg, and WMA audio. Files can be sped up or down with tempo control, while voice and radio can be recorded. Information is somewhat hazier on the US2; features are generally similar to the 2100, except that the US2 has a RAZR-like appearance, an additional 4GB version, and SRS WOW HD sound enhancement. The 2100 variants sell for $90 and $100 respectively, and a 2GB US2 can be found at Amazon for $130, though stock of new units is presently out.

Canon PIXMA MP960 multi-function printer

10/27, 4:50pm

Canon PIXMA MP960

Arriving just weeks after several budget color printers, Canon's higher-end PIXMA MP960 all-in-one has been unveiled. Distinguishing itself from the other models, the MP960 has a full seven ink tanks that achieve quality rivaling that of photo labs, Canon boasts. A full-quality 4 x 6-inch photo can be completed in approximately 35 seconds. This multi-function printer also sports a flatbed scanner that achieves a sharp 4800 x 4800 DPI while minimizing light distortion, and as a copier includes auto exposure correction to prevent the transparency effect in thin pages. Unifying all three roles is the previously introduced scroll wheel interface that controls the visual menu system on the MP960's built-in 3.5-inch LCD. Canon is shipping this newest PIXMA for $400.

Scoble: Zune lacks essential "killer features"

10/27, 4:15pm

Robert Scoble on Zune

While Microsoft is heavily promoting the Zune as a revolutionary device, former Microsoft technology evangelist and now podcasting expert Robert Scoble has criticized the player today in his blog, pointing to the media player's lack of appeal to the technology-driven early adopters that often determine new electronics' long-term success.

"As an edge case, IE, someone who tries all the latest stuff and gets excited about a lot of it, the Zune abjectly fails [for me]. It does not have a killer feature. Sorry, Microsoft, sharing songs is not it," he says.

In particular, Scoble cites the Zune's lack of easy integration with podcasts as a critical flaw, describing it as out of step with iPod owners' more advanced listening habits. "Apple gets this trend, Microsoft doesn't," he writes. While defending the Zune against unfair criticism of its design, Scoble notes that the player's initial form is often merely adequate relative to the iPod and doesn't provide the necessary motivation to convert potential buyers.

Motorola upgrades SLVR to L7e

10/27, 3:45pm

Motorola SLVR L7e

Coincidental to the American release of a SLVR L7 rival, Motorola has announced the L7e, a revision of the popular cellphone. This edition adds a glossy blue veneer to the keypad and a software interface that mirrors the KRZR. Also new to the L7e are push-to-talk and push-to-view functions, the latter working with new streaming video capabilities. Other hardware upgrades include stereo Bluetooth 2, a 1.3MP camera with 8x zoom, and GPRS/EDGE Class 10 Internet connectivity. The Media Editor software will allow you to make minor alterations to photos, which (like your music) can be stored on MicroSD cards as big as 2GB. Motorola expects the L7e to be available sometime in the remainder of 2006.

Harbro football helmet MP3 player

10/27, 3:20pm

Harbro Football MP3 Player

Catering to football enthusiasts who enjoy putting their affiliations on public display, Harbro has recently released its Helmet MP3 Player. The 1GB flash player is available with custom shells that represent the logos of most major college and university football team in the US, including the military teams. Aside from their distinctive design, all models can receive FM radio as well as play MP3 and WMA files; music is managed on a two-color OLED display and is transferred through a hybrid headphone/USB jack. The player is supported by both MacOS X and Windows PCs courtesy of its drag-and-drop music loading, Harbro says, and is available for pre-order now at a $99 price. The firm anticipates shipping its first orders on November 27th.

Day two at MacExpo in London

10/27, 3:10pm

Day two at MacExpo

The second day of MacExpo in London brought many more visitors to the show, and retailers appeared much busier as new Mac users shared their increased enthusiasm with the crowd. The Nike + iPod stand has trainers on-hand, with plenty of iPod nanos and Nike Sport Kits on display as energetic music played for attendees. The Intego stand is easily spotted by its lime green color, showcasing the company's full suite of software with hands-on booths and a chance to ask the programmer questions. While Intego does not have any new releases for MacExpo, it did reveal that new versions of VirusBarrier and Mail Gateway are due to ship in mid-November. Greenpeace returned to the Expo as promised after being forced out on the first day, keeping a low profile as activists offered free organic green apples to visitors.

Harvard Mac sales surge 30 percent

10/27, 2:55pm

Harvard Mac sales up 30%

Macs are continuing to see a resurgence on college campuses, solidifying the company's foothold in the education section. In the September, Apple executives told investors that the company experienced its most successful back-to-school quarter ever for its higher education business, noting that shipments of Mac portables increased 49 percent year over year due the popularity of the MacBook a successful free iPod nano back-to-school promotion. According to The Harvard Crimson, personal purchases of Macs at Harvard are up 30 percent from last year, while sales of IBM Lenovo machines have more or less flat-lined. Harvard, one of Apple's largest educational re-sellers, has seen a rebound in Mac sales from several years ago. The same trend was seen at another Ivy league university Princeton, where Mac purchases have tripled in the past three years.

ThinkGeek USB Skype phone

10/27, 2:45pm

ThinkGeek USB Skype Phone

ThinkGeek has begun carrying the single-purposed USB Skype Phone in its online store. The handset is designed with the sole function of interfacing with Skype on a PC to streamline the process of making VoIP calls, the company says, but includes multiple features that other devices lack such as support for custom ringtones, noise-canceling microphone hardware, and a bottom-half design that allows the USB cord to move freely during a call. The LCD display is capable of displaying both immediate call information as well as the contact list and the previous call history. ThinkGeek is shipping its phone now for $25.

Apple to stay listed on Nasdaq

10/27, 2:30pm

Apple to stay listed

The Nasdaq will continue to list Apple despite the company's failure to file its financial statements for the June quarter of 2006 on time. A report from details Apple's filing of an 8-K form with the Securities and Exchange Commission today disclosing that the Nasdaq listings qualification panel has granted the company's request to remain listed. Apple must file its 10-Q form for the June quarter along with any restatements by December 29th of this year as part of the extension, however. Apple has said it will restate some past financial statements due to its stock option backdating issues, but said that it will file for an extension if it cannot file the quarterly report by the late December deadline.

New iPod shuffle slips to November?

10/27, 2:20pm

iPod shuffle in November

Despite promises that its second-generation iPod shuffle would ship by the end of October, the diminutive flash-based player is now likely to arrive only in mid-November, CNET reports. A discussion with an employee at San Francisco's flagship Apple retail store revealed that the store doesn't expect to receive stock for at least "a couple more weeks," as quoted by CNET's James Kim. Apple hasn't provided an official explanation for the unusual two-month delay between announcement and release, though CNET and other industry experts have suggested factory delays and possible shortages of the device's 1GB flash memory chips as holiday demand increases.

Cowon iAudio F2 media player

10/27, 2:00pm

Cowon iAudio F2 player

Cowon's iAudio F2 is an unusual compact media player shaped like a cellphone. The 2GB device can display text or JPEG photos, run video at 128x160, or play MP3, ASF, FLAC, Ogg, WAV and WMA music files. It can also be used as a pure storage drive with computers running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. An FM radio lets you listen live or record a broadcast for future playback, using the F2's alarm clock function to set timing. Sound output is a relatively powerful 60mW, which is further enhanced by a five-band EQ and 3D virtualization. You can find the player for $125-130 at various online retailers including Newegg and B&H.

Briefly: review; 15.4-inch MacBook?

10/27, 2:00pm

Review, 15.4-inch MacBook?

In brief: MacNN has reviewed Pinnacle Podcast Factory UK edition ($180, shown at right), a podcast creation device with controls for input level, mix control, and output volume.... Foxconn Electronics -- a well known manufacturer of Apple products -- is planning to produce a 15.4-inch MacBook for Apple that will ship in May of 2007, according to one report.... today announced the launch of its website, a free online Web desktop that runs Apple dashboard widgets on any computer without the need for Mac OS X.... The CD is 'dead' according EMI Music chairman and chief executive Alain, who added that music companies will no longer able to sell CDs without offering "value-added" material.... Mungai Mirrors, the creators of the "Huckleberry" MacBook gadget, have signed up UK TV celebrity Robert Llewellyn to promote their product.

Trust USB mouse with multicolor LED

10/27, 2:00pm

Trust Multicolor Mouse

The peripheral designer Trust has produced a mouse it hopes is ideal for computer users who want an easy to find, visually interesting controller. The company's USB MultiColour Mouse has an LED trim that cycles between seven different colors while plugged into an active computer. Tracking is handled by an optical sensor with a comparatively high 800 DPI sensitivity. Although a standard three-button scrollwheel mouse, the symmetric design is ambidextrous, according to Trust. It works with Macs and Windows PCs and is ready to ship for $15.

MediaCentral 2.4 improves TV module

10/27, 1:40pm

MediaCentral 2.4 released

Equinux today released MediaCentral 2.4, an update to its theater application offering customizable user interface themes, an improved TV Module, and enhanced .Mac integration. MediaCentral is designed to turn a Mac into a home theater system with support for numerous audio, video, TV, and multimedia formats. The new customizable interface themes allow users to personalize the look of MediaCentral by choosing from a list of color schemes or, alternatively, creating a custom scheme. The update simplifies usability via a new Onscreen Display menu included in the TV Module, combining a set of TV feature controls and configuration options such as a concise channel list and additional information about running programs.

JBL 610 Bluetooth iPod headphones at FCC

10/27, 1:30pm

JBL 610 iPod Headphones

JBL is planning its own set of Bluetooth headphones for iPods, an FCC approval filing revealed today. The test results show the JBL 610, a set of over-the-ear headphones designed with the same style as the company's Creature desktop speakers. The set is designed with the iPod in mind and includes a transmitter that will attach to the Dock Connector on fourth-generation and newer iPods. While the 610s are expected to share features with other Bluetooth headphones, like music controls built into one of the earpieces and 8-10 hours of playback time, JBL adds that the headphones are made for travelers and will be bundled with a dual-format airline power adapter and a port for traditional line-in audio when the batteries expire. Availability hasn't been set but is likely by early next year. Click through for a gallery of additional photos.

Fabrix offers new laptop sleeve designs

10/27, 1:10pm

New laptop sleeve designs

Fabrix has launched three new designs to compliment its current laptop sleeve collection. Known for its fashionable and contemporary cases, the company today debuted Black Angus and Red Fury--new red and black inspired design--as well as Black Flora, a limited printed design. Each fabrix laptop sleeve is internally cushioned with soft paddings so as to provide optimum protection for laptops. Each sleeve comes with a velcro flap so as to secure the laptop in place within the sleeve and can be purchased in either horizontal or vertical orientations (for loading the laptop into the sleeve). Add-on options for handles are available for $10 (short fabric) or $12 (long fabric or short leather). The new cases are shipping immediately for with prices starting at $33.

Mac Expo officials on Greenpeace

10/27, 12:55pm

MacExpo on Greenpeace

Mac Expo management and security staff who forced the Greenpeace organization out of the Expo on the first day have explained the decision. Greenpeace activists reportedly gathered outside the show entrance to hand out flyers depicting Apple as one of the worst computer manufacturers for including harmful materials in its products to attendees entering the event. "We want people to be cool and calm as they enter the show," said Bob Denton, the event director. Denton explained that two activists could stand by the stairs inside the show to hand out flyers, but that the management would not allow gathering outside the main door, according to a report from Macworld UK. Following the initial gathering at the doors, four visitors and five exhibitors reportedly complained that Greenpeace attendees were 'invading' other stands for mock photo shoots and replacing other exhibitors' promotional material with their own. One woman even complained that activists were taking photographs of her child without her permission.

High-capacity PowerBook "Pismo" battery

10/27, 12:55pm

PowerBook "Pismo" battery

Fastmac today announced the highest capacity, extended life battery upgrade for Apple's PowerBook "Pismo" laptpos. The new 84Whr TruePower battery uses Lithium-Ion cells (with integrated charge indicator LEDs) that are manufactured to the highest quality standards and utilizes TruePower technology to provide upto 68 percent more capacity than the original Apple battery. Fastmac's TruePower line utilizes TruePower technology, which incorporates sensors in the integrated circuit inside the battery that detect undesirable levels of swelling or a short circuit that will power off the battery in certain extreme conditions. TruePower batteries do not contain or use any Sony cells that are subject to the recent series of recalls issued by major computer manufacturers. The battery is scheduled to ship within 10 days and is available for pre-order for $140. Each battery carries a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.

Niro virtual surround speakers

10/27, 12:55pm

Niro v. surround speakers

Niro's newest line of virtual speakers has arrived in the US, providing simulated surround sound for listeners who can't justify the cost or space of a full setup. Each package deal comes with a subwoofer, a single speaker bar, and an amplifier loaded with Niro's virtualization firmware. The new Niro speakers are touted as having an "expanded soundstage and enhanced surround effects, thanks in part to new digital filtering software and the extra wide speaker cabinet." The highest-end model (the 1000) also comes with a secondary amp for the subwoofer. Owners of earlier Niro setups can upgrade to the new technology for less simply by buying a new speaker separately, and using a bundled memory card to update the old amplifier's firmware. The Niro packages are available in four different grades: the 420 ($580), 620 ($780), 800 ($990), and 1000 ($1,390).

MGM adds more shows to iTunes

10/27, 12:10pm

MGM adds shows to iTunes

MGM today added more programming to Apple's iTunes Music Store, including 22 half-hour episodes from the first season of "The Addams Family." Other popular classics include 32 one-hour episodes from the first season of the original science fiction series "The Outer Limits," while 32 half-hour episodes of the animated "Pink Panther" TV series are scheduled for addition to Apple's store in the coming days. "We are excited to launch more of MGM's premium and classic television programming through the iTunes Store," said Doug Lee, MGM's executive vice president of its new media division. "We have over 10,000 hours of television programming so making MGM hit series available to the iTunes community is a great way for us to continue our expansion in the new media world."

Instant FM Music identifies, timeshifts radio songs

10/27, 12:10pm

Instant FM Music

Believing that many radio listeners seek a closer link between FM and their music players, ADSTech recently began shipping its Instant FM Music USB tuner. The small adapter plugs into a host computer and identifies each song played as broadcast through the device, creating a playlist that reflects actual track information. Users can also record shows and create separate files for each song, easing the process of transferring music to a CD or portable music player afterwards. The Instant FM can also recognize the RDS information embedded in many radio signals and can also record Internet-based stations, ADSTech says. Bundled with an external antenna and a traveling pouch, the Instant FM is immediately available for $49.

Latte Slim11b muscles into SLVR territory

10/27, 11:50am

Latte Slim11b vs. SLVR

Latte has released the Slim11b, a phone directly aimed at Motorola's SLVR L7. The phone is promoted as smaller than the L7 at 4.2x1.7x0.4 inches, and it boasts a 1.3MP camera that can be used for stills or recording video. Its screen is a 1.9" LCD with 260,000 colours, and for storage, it has 64MB of built-in NAND memory plus a T-Flash expansion slot for the likes of MP3 audio and MP4 video. SMS, MMS, and WAP are also incorporated. In terms of software the Slim has three games, an organizer, world clocks, a stopwatch, and more. The phone is on sale now for $250 and can be used with any GSM carrier in the Americas, such as Cingular or T-Mobile.

15-inch consumer MacBook shipping in May: analyst

10/27, 11:35am

15-Inch Consumer MacBook

Apple is planning to produce a mainstream 15-inch MacBook, according to a financial analyst speaking to the Chinese trade paper Commercial Times. As reported by the paper, Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia analyst Vincent Chen claims that he has confirmed the production of a 15.4-inch system that would become available in May. Taiwan-based contractor and long-time Apple supplier Foxconn will assemble the laptops, Chen says. While these reports are periodically inaccurate, the design will mark a radical departure for Apple if true. The company has until now differentiated its portable lines by size as well as by features, with even the recent MacBook and MacBook Pro lines continuing to use different-size screens despite an increased similarity in features. The move may reflect an attempt by Apple to capitalize on the recent success of MacBooks as key factors in its resurgence.

Navicast adds Windows Media support

10/27, 11:20am

Navicast 3.3 released

Barsark today released Navicast 3.3, an update to the internet video and Web-TV system for Mac users. The revision adds Windows Media support, allowing users to automatically compress, publish, distribute, and present movies in QuickTime, MPEG-4, 3gp, and Windows Media formats. The software is usable for Web-TV services, mobile phone video services, in-shop TV solutions, and podcast/vodcast services. Navicast 3.3 adds pay-per-view and subscription functionality for both Web and mobile phones, as well as categorization functionality within channels. The new feature allows users to easily organize Movies within a channel into categories, according to Barsark. The update also offers an improved user interface, and fixes numerous bugs alongside some interface quirks (pricing available by quote only, system requirements were unavailable).

Dcube M-Vision HD DivX player

10/27, 11:05am

Dcube M-Vision DivX player

If you can't be bothered with fishing out discs every time, or you have an ample supply of "backup" video files, a company called Dcube is manufacturing a hard drive-based player called the M-Vision. AVING notes that the player can not only play AVI and MPEG files encoded with DivX or XviD, but also ISO, VIB and IFO files, normally associated with DVD rips. ASF and WMV videos are supported as well. Resolution scales to 1080i, and DVI, component, composite and S-Video inputs are available. Supported audio formats include AAC, MP3, Ogg, PCM, AC3, and DTS. External storage can be added by hooking up a USB 2.0 hard drive, or else connecting to a PC via Ethernet or wireless 802.11b/g. An add-on DVD drive is optional. No pricing or localization information has been published.

eOrdering 3.5.0 comes to Intel Macs

10/27, 10:50am

eOrdering goes Universal

LAJ Design today released eOrdering 3.5.0, bringing native compatibility for Intel-based Macs to the CompleteGold, and Professional editions of its cross-platform applications that create eCommerce websites. The Complete edition is designed for products with single cost options, while Gold adds support for several cost options per product. The Professional edition enables users to split a site into categories, offering other pro options designed for small businesses and event photographers. eOrdering Complete is priced at $65, while eOrdering Gold and eOrdering Professional are available for $75 and $450, respectively. All versions of the software require Mac OS X 10.0 or later, and QuickTime is required for use of less common image formats.

Lapworks Ergo Laptop Riser

10/27, 10:45am

Lapworks Ergo Laptop Riser

Lapworks has recently introduced its Ergo Laptop Riser. The Riser uses a portrait-style support that can adjust to angles of 15, 25, or 35 degrees. This allows the stand to quickly switch between shallow angles, for using the laptop on a tall desk or with its built-in keyboard, and steeper levels for the desktop replacement role. The stand can also fold completely flat for travel, Lapworks writes. Rubber pads prevent the laptop from slipping out of position, and concavities on either side provide room for heat to escape underneath. The Ergo Laptop Riser is designed for 15-inch and smaller laptops and ships now for $20.

My Dream App contest declares winners

10/27, 10:35am

My Dream App winners

My Dream App -- Phill Ryu's contest searching for 'the next killer app' announced its three winners after a close race to the finish. Three ideas won the most support from the public: Atmostphere, a dynamic desktop representing the weather by Cameron Westland; Portal, a file synchronization utility with wormhole visualizations by Farzad Sadjadi; and Cookbook, a full featured recipe and meal management application by Michael Yuan. The three winners will have their ideas realized as Macintosh shareware applications, receive a free MacBook, and earn royalties on future sales. The My Dream App team is set to begin development on the winning ideas. Contest judges included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, This Week in Tech host Leo Laporte, and Microsoft executive J Allard.

Day one at MacExpo in London

10/27, 10:20am

Day one at MacExpo

MacExpo in London yesterday kicked off with major product announcements from Quark in the Apex Suite, followed by a flood of enthusiastic visitors onto the show floor itself. Apple revealed a strong presence at the event as expected, presenting visitors with a row of MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and 24-inch iMacs. The Cupertino-based company also offered Mac Pros running various professional applications alongside a theater showcasing numerous Apple products -- such as Apple Cinema displays -- throughout the day. Many attendees looking at MacBooks said they were new to the Mac and came to the show specifically to ask questions, adding that they were impressed as they revealed plans to purchase Apple hardware either at the show or when they returned home.

New Kenwood Music Keg flash music players

10/27, 10:15am

Kenwood Music Keg Players

Kenwood today updated its Music Keg line for Japanese listeners. The new M1G and M2G players emphasize sound quality over the number of features. An updated digital amplifier dramatically improves the signal-to-noise ratio, Kenwood claims, ensuring cleaner sound without the need for better earphones. The company also notes that, as is increasingly common in Japan, the new Music Keg models can use an adapter to import music directly from a CD, MiniDisc, or other audio source, removing the necessity of a PC for loading songs. Both player versions can play back MP3, WAV, and WMA songs, tune into and record FM radio, and are primarily separated only by capacity: the M1G holds 1GB of flash memory, while the M2G doubles that figure. Both should be available in a suite of metallic colors beginning in early November for the equivalent of $168 US for the M1G. A North American launch hasn't been planned, though Kenwood notes that the player supports English menus.

Acer: Vista forces Windows price hike

10/27, 9:30am

Acer and Vista Price Hike

Acer senior corporate VP Jim Wong has openly challenged Microsoft's pricing for the Home editions of Windows Vista, according to a report by PCPro. The executive notes that many of the most frequently promoted features of Vista, such as the Aero Glass 3D-accelerated interface and Media Center software, are conspicuously absent from Home Basic, pushing buyers towards the more expensive -- and for Microsoft, more lucrative -- Home Premium.

"Right at the beginning they started talking about the experience of [Vista Home] Premium. Premium is the real Vista," Wong says.

Splasm ships Audiobook Builder 1.0

10/27, 9:30am

Audiobook Builder 1.0

Splasm Software has released Audiobook Builder 1.0, an easy way to combine your Audiobook CDs into a single iPod-friendly Audiobook file. "Now you can take data directly from audio CDs, iTunes and/or QuickTime-compatible audio files and creates files that your iPod accepts as actual Audiobooks, visible in the Audiobooks menu. Tag your Audiobooks with a title, author and cover art. Set up enhanced chapter stops with custom artwork that you'll see while you listen to your color-capable iPod." The company notes that each Audiobook is bookmarkable -- both iTunes and your iPod remember the place when you take a break and resume listening later. Audiobook Builder is US $10 for single users and $15 for families. The Universal Binary application requires Mac OS X 10.4 and QuickTime 7.

MacForensicsLab 1.6 goes Universal

10/27, 9:20am

MacForensicsLab 1.6 today released MacForensicsLab 1.6, a new Universal version of the suite of forensics and analysis tools. The all-in-one forensics software suite sports better performance, a much-requested user audit feature, and a dual-bootable CD which supports the latest machines. Version 1.6 of MacForensicsLab represents SubRosaSoft's first fully Universal Binary application, allowing it to run natively on either PowerPC- or Intel-based Macs. "Combined with code optimization on the user interface module of the software, MacForensicsLab 1.6 runs a lot faster than its predecessors, the company said. Version 1.6 offers new tool for auditing user-specific information, enabling discovery of information regarding user preferences, internet browsing habits, and most of the user-inputted information such as addresses, caches and various log information. The software features auto report generation, detailed logs, disk imaging for analysis, keyword searches, file salvage/recovery, and more. The full version is available for $1000 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

FxFactory offers custom FCP plugins

10/27, 9:15am

FxFactory 1.0 ships

Noise Industries has released FxFactory, an expandable effects package for Final Cut Studio. The visual effects package includes over 100 GPU-accelerated plug-ins based on the FxPlug architecture for the highest performance inside Apple's Final Cut Pro and Motion applications for video editing. The effects, based on OpenGL, Core Image and Quartz Composer, offer unlimited expandability. The Pro version enables "zero-coding plug-in development" so users can their own FxPlug effects for Final Cut Studio without writing any code using Apple's FxPlug architecture. FxFactory Motion Pack, which includes 34 plugins designed for compositing tasks, is $100, while FxFactory Editing Pack offers 33 plugins for editing tasks for $100. FxFactory Pro Pack bundles both as well as 46 additional customizable plugins and is available for $400. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.7, Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 (or later), Motion 2.1.2 (or later), and either a PowerPC- or Intel-based Mac.

iMONO SD To Go SIM Card Reader

10/27, 8:40am

iMONO SIM Card Reader

Online importer Brando is now carrying a USB card reader built for cellphone users. The iMONO SD To Go SIM Card Reader not only accepts card formats typically used by cellphones for music, including microSD and miniSD, but also the SIM cards that store a given phone's account information. This helps cellphone owners not only transfer files to and from a host computer, but to back up their account information in case the SIM card is lost, Brando says. To that extent, the iMONO reader includes SIM card editing software that can edit the address book and other freely-accessible information on the card. The reader works with both Macs and Windows PCs and is shipping from Brando for $16.


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