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News Archive for 06/11/03

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Apple offers refurb 3.0GHz Mac Pro

11/03, 7:55pm

Refurb 3.0GHz Mac Pro

Apple has expanded its offering of refurbished Mac Pro systems to include a second model -- the Mac Pro Quad 3.0GHz Intel Xeon system with 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an ATI Radeon X1900 XT graphics card with a whopping 512MB of video memory. The Cupertino-based company is also still selling its 2.66GHz Intel Xeon-based Mac Pro with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics card with 256MB of video memory for $2,199. Refurbished Power Mac G5 Quad 2.5GHz systems are still available, boasting 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 graphics card with 256MB of memory for $2,699. The Apple Store Canada has no currently listed refurbished Mac Pro systems, but offers a variety of other Intel-based Macs including MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and iMacs priced from $1079, $1649, and $1079, respectively.

Apps: PGP Desktop, Osk, MacSQL

11/03, 7:40pm

PGP Desktop, Osk, MacSQL

    PGP Desktop 9.5.1 (varies) brings international character set encoding improvements and numerous bug fixes to the Mac-compatible encryption software. PGP Desktop is designed as an easy-to-use desktop encryption application to secure valuable and confidential information. The software uses the same mature PGP encryption technology to automatically encrypt email with the installed desktop email application and lock down files in automatically expanding virtual drives or shared archives. [Download - [form]]
    Osk 4.0 ($40) updates the genealogy application, bringing native compatibility for Intel-based Macs as well as major speed improvements for all major operations. The update features better text reports, improved Gedcom 5.5 import capability, better tracing of relatives, faster family trees, and the ability to organize as well as display desired in all family trees. [Download - 5.6MB]
    NetworkLocation 1.0 ($15) is a new application designed to ease the process of using Mac OS X network locations. NetworkLocation uses the existing network locations in Mac OS X, allowing users to set some of the most frequently changed settings when moving computers with one mouse click. The application features five different themes, actions to automatically perform various tasks, and the ability to run scripts. [Download - 2MB]
    MacSQL 3.1 Preview Release ($250, $100 for lite version) updates the fully scriptable solution for database management on Macs. Version 3.1 is a significant upgrade that includes a Job Manager to schedule unattended database backups, support for generating E-R Diagrams, and updated support for the latest versions of MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and OpenBase. [Download - 33.7MB]
    AirStatz 1.2.1u (free) enhances the utility that combines a visual tool for evaluating an AirPort connection with optional in-depth technical information. The latest revision provides Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' compatibility, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 1.1MB]
    Freak Show (free or $13) is a Photo Booth-like application available in both free and paid editions. The paid version offers nine additional effects which include the option to save QuickTime movies and watch video in full-screen mode. The software does not require Quartz Extreme or any particular video card to run, but does require Mac OS X 10.4 or later, according to the developer. [Download - 4.5MB]

Briefly: JobOrder; OWC; SpotDJ

11/03, 7:10pm

JobOrder, OWC, SpotDJ

In brief: Management Software today began offering its JobOrder Digital Asset Management software module for free, when ordered with new JobOrder licenses.... "The Ultimate Mac Buyer's Guide" published by MacAddict magazine has named Other World Computing (OWC) storage devices its top value recommendation in both the Desktop Drives and Portable Drives categories.... SpotDJ has released a new application that inserts 'spots' between iTunes tracks, providing information about artists and tracks contributed by other SpotDJ users.... Microsoft has agreed to support Novell's open-source Linux software in an effort to form a technological 'truce' between the competing rivals.... MacSpeech has released its schedule of road shows for the month of November, inviting anyone interested in speech recognition to attend the informative presentations.

Seapine releases TestTrack Pro 7.6

11/03, 6:50pm

TestTrack Pro 7.6 released

Seapine Software has released TestTrack Pro 7.6, and announced that TestTrack Pro SDK and Seapine SoloSubmit are bundled with the application. TestTrack Pro is a scalable client/server solution with cross-platform clients that allows teams to access projects and manage issues from remote locations. The application integrates with TestTrack TCM to streamline interaction between quality assurance and development teams, and includes tighter integration with Seapone Surround SCM to offer developers access to changelists from within TestTrack Pro, as well as the ability to view all defect data from within Surround SCM. TestTrack Pro 7.6 also includes multiple selection custom fields, single sign-on support, integration with Subversion, MySQL support for backend databases, and additional usability enhancements.

Snom VoIP phones support blue4S

11/03, 6:30pm

Snom phones support blue4S

Snom Technology today announced its interoperability between snom phones and the forthcoming blue4S from 4S newcom. The blue4S is designed to turn the Mac mini into the world's "slickest" telephone, data, and video switching system, also known as a PBX (Private Branch Exchange). "snom's interoperability provides us with the opportunity to partner with companies like 4S newcom and reach an expanded customer base," said Michael Knieling, CFO and vice president of snom. "Mac users have a keen sense of technology, aesthetics, and security. Together snom and 4S newcom are able to reach the Mac users and provide them with an overall VoIP solution." The Mac mini is booted from an iPod shuffle that is engineered to host the complete system for use as an IP PBX. Once booted, the Mac mini serves up to 250 users and 30 parallel calls, as well as five snom300 VoIP phones. The blue4S entry level system is available for 3,000.

XtremeMac launches AirPlay Boost

11/03, 6:15pm

AirPlay Boost launched

XtremeMac today began taking pre-orders for its new AirPlay Boost, a wireless solution for playing music from an iPod through a home, car, or portable stereo. Users can tune the transmitter as well as an FM stereo to the same frequency, allowing the AirPlay Boost to act as a miniature radio station to transmit songs from an iPod to the stereo. The on-screen tuning menu also features three programmable station pre-sets, according to XtremeMac. The AirPlay Boost is available in black or white for Apple's video iPod, or in black and silver anodized aluminum for the second-generation iPod nano. Both models are priced at $70, and are slated for shipment on November 20th.

Forums: iPod Shuffle, cool Macbooks

11/03, 6:00pm

Forums November 3

Forums roundup: Members are sharing experiences of receiving new iPod Shuffles which began arriving on Wednesday, ahead of today's scheduled launch.... Some users discuss options to keep their MacBooks cool, including one utility that lowers CPU power to reduce both temperature and speed.... Another user looks for opinions regarding the battle of Mac browsers, pitting Safari against Firefox.... One member shares a problem with his MacBook refusing to acknowledge the presence of a battery, despite his installation of one such battery -- several possible solutions were offered.... Meanwhile, one user looks for input on choosing between a refurbished MacBook Pro and a new MacBook Pro.

ATP SD Trio Professional Plus multi-format SD card

11/03, 6:00pm

ATP SD Trio Pro Plus card

ATP has rolled out the SD Trio Professional Plus (not pictured), a flash card which supports all three SD formats: microSD, miniSD, and standard SD. The smaller SD formats, used on devices like cellphones, often require people to buy extra SD cards on top of ones they might have for a computer or digital camera. ATP's system involves two SD adapters and a USB reader, the latter being used mainly for PC connections. The card is further said to be fully waterproof and resistant to extreme temperatures. It should be on sale today from retailers such as Best Buy and Target, but sizes and prices are unknown.

FastMac launches 'just say no to crack'

11/03, 5:50pm

'Just say no to crack'

FastMac today launched its "just say no to crack" iPod "rehab" program, offering same day LCD replacements for video iPods and iPod nanos. The new program offers repair and replacement of scratched or cracked iPod LCD screens, either as a Do It Yourself kit with tools and instructional videos or via a same day mail order service provided by FastMac directly. The company's LCD rehab program replaces the iPod's original display with a matching Apple original part, including all the necessary tools and instructions required to open the iPod for $40. FastMac also offers 24-hour installation services for an additional $40, and each screen carries a 1-year warranty with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Aigo F029 wristwatch player

11/03, 5:35pm

Aigo F029 wristwatch playe

Early this month Aigo will be launching the F029, a multimedia wristwatch player. It will support photos, TXT e-books and AVI/MP4 video, as well as MP3, Ogg and WMA audio. Users can even record voice into WAV format or treat the watch as a simple flash drive. Aigo claims that the player's lithium ion battery can provide up to 2.5 hours of video playback, or as much as 4.5 hours of music. The watch will come in 512MB and 1GB sizes, and according to The Register, sell for 79 and 99 ($151 and $189) respectively. Online retailers carrying the product should include Argos, Amazon.co.uk, and Komplett.

Briefly: OmniWeb price cut; PoC virus

11/03, 5:25pm

OmniWeb price cut, virus

In brief: The Omni Group is offering the OmniWeb Web browser for Mac OS X for $10 during the month of November.... Symantec today detailed a new proof of concept virus that infects files in the current folder on a compromised system.... One MacNN reader notes that 20-inch iMac G5 users who purchased the computer between May and October of 2005 and who experience intermittent shutdowns or an inability to turn on the system may be eligible for Apple's 3-year repair program, or a refund.... Cocoa Dev Central today launched "Cocoa Graphics with Quartz," a new beginner-level tutorial that introduces basic drawing concepts to Cocoa programmers.... The makers of "Made-for-Macs" Yellow Dog Linux today issued a plea to Mac users everywhere in an effort to gain support for Flash on PowerPC systems running Yellow Dog.

FWDepot ships ExpressCard adapter

11/03, 5:00pm

FWDepot ExpressCard eSATA

FireWire Depot today began shipping the CalDigit Express Card for MacBook Pro. The ExpressCard/34 adapter enables owners to capture, develop, edit, and create content in almost any environment when using Apple's new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebook computers as well as Windows notebooks with an ExpressCard 34 or 54 slot. The CalDigit SATA Express 34 achieves maximum transfer rates of 3Gbps, typically sustaining disk write and read speeds of 100 and 110 MB/sec, respectively. This performance is approximately three times as fast as USB 2.0 or FireWire connections to the same drive setup, according to FireWire Depot. The new adapter ships for $120.

PDFClerk 2.2 improves trim, art boxes

11/03, 4:50pm

PDFClerk 2.2 released

SintraWorks today released PDFClerk 2.2, updating the software designed to join two or more PDF documents together. The application optionally rearranges page order, deletes individual pages, imposes multiple pages onto a sheet of paper, and rotates pages on imposed sheets. PDFClerk 2.2 enhances crop, bleed, and registration marks, as well as color and grayscale bars. The update improves imposition groups with gutters, display bleed, trim as well as art boxes of PDF pages, and text import capability. Copy/paste functionality for pages as well as page objects is enhanced, and the latest revision of PDFClerk offers easier text boxes for form-like pages. PDFClerk 2.2 is priced at $32, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

ASUS Lamborghini VX1-5E004P notebook

11/03, 4:45pm

ASUS Lamborghini notebook

ASUS has partnered with Lamborghini to produce the VX1-5E004P, a new notebook in its series modelled after the latter company's exotic sport cars. An angular frame bears a bright yellow color and the famous Lamborghini badging. Inside, the computer runs a 2GHz Core Duo processor and has 2GB of RAM, expandable to four. The videocard is a GeForce Go 7400 VX with 128MB of RAM. Inputs on the system include IR, Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports, and built-in Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g wireless. As opposed to some competing "luxury" notebooks, the VX1's screen is 4:3 instead of widescreen, but it is 15.4 inches and can handle SXGA resolution (up to 1280x768). The laptop can be found for as little as $2,800 at TigerDirect. Ferrari fans may want to consider Acer's recent notebooks.

OS X found using encrypted binaries

11/03, 4:25pm

OS X Encrypted Binaries

Apple has encrypted core elements of its Mac OS X architecture, according to published research cited by eWEEK. Google researcher Amit Singh -- author of the recently released book Mac OS X Internals -- reports that certain binary portions of the operating system which include the Finder, Dock, and parts of Rosetta are protected by Apple, guarding the software against easy modification. Examination of the code reveals an overt anti-piracy effort, with Singh finding both a special "dsmos_page_transform" command and a "Don't Steal Mac OS X.kext" extension file inside the system. Singh and other experts believe the effort is aimed primarily at blocking non-Apple systems from running Mac OS X: "Probably what [the encryption is] used for here is as anti-reverse engineering," said Counterpace Internet Security CTO Bruce Schneier. The executive notes, however, that savvey users may still circumvent the code, and that there is nothing malicious about it. "There's nothing sinister here," he said.

AmpliTube 2 Live ships with StealthPlug

11/03, 4:20pm

AmpliTube 2 Live

IK Multimedia today released AmpliTube 2 Live, an introductory version of its guitar and bass amps/effects modeling software. Based on AmpliTube 2, the Live version is available as part of a bundle with IK's new StealthPlug. AmpliTube 2 Live is available both as a plug-in for the most popular sequencers (supporting VST, RTAS and Audio Unit plug-in format) as well as a standalone application. The standalone version includes also the new SpeedTrainer, an integrated audio player with independent pitch and speed control for playing with or learning favorite songs. SpeedTrainer allows users to drag any WAV or MP3 from the hard disk, set loop points for playing over and tracking preferred riffs. The included metronome (set by BPM or Tap) is usable for studying and practicing guitar. AmpliTube 2 Live is available with the StealthPlug USB audio interface cable as part of a bundle for $130, requiring Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

MSN Music shifts focus to Zune

11/03, 2:35pm

MSN Music shifts focus

Microsoft today announced that it no longer intends to run its MSN Music service as a self-contained music store. Beginning November 14th, Microsoft will direct customers who attempt to purchase songs from its website site to either Real's Rhapsody Web-based store or the Zune Marketplace. Microsoft will remake its MSN Music site to focus on live concerts, artist interviews, and free access to the existing MSN Radio service, according to Electronista. Microsoft first opened its MSN Music in September 2004 as a response to the iTunes Store and touted the wider range of compatible music players. The recent announcement of the Zune and its proprietary online store is regarded by many as evidence of frustration on Microsoft's part with its earlier, open-ended model and its lack of success relative to the closed system of the iPod and iTunes.

IK ships StealthPlug USB cable

11/03, 2:15pm

IK ships StealthPlug cable

IK Multimedia today began shipping StealthPlug, a compact .25-inch jack to USB audio interface cable for guitar and bass players. The cable comes bundled with six software and sound packages: a guitar/bass amps and effects standalone and plug-in processor; a full recording studio; and two effects/instrument plug-ins as well as numerous ready-to-use sounds and loops. The StealthPlug is the first audio interface for guitar and b ass integrated into a simple miniaturized .25-inch jack to USB cable with full input/output processing capability, according to IK Multimedia. The device includes IK's new AmpliTube 2 Live standalone and plug-in recording software, featuring a fully MIDI-controllable interface with 15 buitar and bass amp combinations. The StealthPlug also comes bundled with four additional software packages which include Tracktion 2.1, T-RackS, SampleTank 2 SE, and 500MB of Sonic Reality sound loops. StealthPlug is available for $130, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Samsung W579 world phone

11/03, 1:35pm

Samsung W579 World Phone

Normally most concerned with its native Korea and the West, Samsung is introducing a world phone made for the often complex Chinese market. The combination of dual-band CDMA and tri-band GSM gives cellphone subscribers the ability to use networks in other countries without buying another handset. This clamshell design also caters to its Chinese target audience by including a 240x320 touchscreen and stylus to allow text messaging in the users' own tongues. A 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and built-in music playback are expected to complete the W579's feature set. No official release information has been listed, but Samsung promises to deliver the phone soon. A full photo is available after the jump courtesy of IT-168.

ASUS launches ultra high-range WiFi access points

11/03, 1:05pm

WL-320 WiFi Access Points

ASUS on Friday revealed its WL-320 line of WiFi access points for users seeking greater range without resorting to more expensive 802.11n hardware. Both the WL-320gE (bottom left) and WL-320gP (upper right) feature a 20dBm signal amplifier that can maintain a connection as far as 850m away when unobstructed, according to ASUS' claims. Either access point can alternatively serve as a bridge for Ethernet-only devices or repeat the signal from a host router. The gE variant is a basic model with a single 5dBm antenna; the gP adds a second antenna for better signal strength as well as support for power-over-Ethernet when a dedicated power source isn't available. Pricing and release details weren't mentioned as part of the announcement.

Sanyo Xacti S50 digital camera

11/03, 1:05pm

Sanyo Xacti S50 camera

Sanyo has announced the Xacti S50, a 5MP compact camera that will begin its sales in Germany. Its lens will have 2x optical zoom and a substantial aperture range of f/2.8 in wide to f/4 in telephoto. The preview LCD will be a standard 2.5 inches, but Sanyo's LTPS technology should reduce power consumption, and an Auto-Adjust function will scale brightness based on ambient light. Users will be able to create on-camera slideshows with special effects such as background music and post-processing. Users who take self-portraits will note a tiny mirror by the lens barrel. An unusual feature for a compact camera is a manual focus mode, allowing better precision in difficult lighting situations. The S50 will premiere at Ringfoto in November for the cost of 99 ($65) including VAT.

Briefly: Apple X11 update; MacNN review

11/03, 1:05pm

Apple X11 update, review

In brief: Apple has released an updated X11 for Mac OS X package, which the company says enables it to better handle GLX stereo visuals and off-screen rendering to GLX Pbuffers and Pixmaps.... MacNN has reviewed the Epson Perfection V100 Photo scanner ($100, shown at right), a flatbed unit boasting a slim device capable of scanning directly to print, email, or PDF files.... The European Patent Office has published several older Apple patents that were recently filed in Korea and Australia.... Texas A&M University has added an ad for iTunes U the front page of its website, as well as top-level links next to its campus map and directory.... ATI has begun offering its X1900 XT graphics card to G5 owners for purchase and upgrade, which was previously only available as a build-to-order option for Mac Pro customers.... Smart Loops has released MIDI Drum Loops Volume 2 ($20), featuring more than 200 unique loops offering over 600 measures of live drum grooves and fills.

Hammacher Schlemmer Bicycle MP3 Player

11/03, 12:30pm

Bicycle MP3 Player

Hammacher Schlemmer today launched a digital audio player made explicitly for cyclists. The Bicycle MP3 Player mounts to the 1-inch tube frame standard on most bicycles and gives riders a way to easily control and play their music while moving. The unit includes built-in stereo speakers to let the cyclist listen to music without the potentially dangerous isolation of headphones. Built-in storage is limited to 1GB of flash memory, but MMC and SD cards can be used to add to that capacity. The player is also independent of its mount and can be connected through USB to transfer music from a Mac or Windows PC. Hammacher plans to release the Bicycle MP3 Player on November 30th for $130.

ZScanner 700 portable 3D laser scanner

11/03, 12:00pm

ZScanner 700 3D Scanner

Z Corporation says it hopes to change the accessibility of laser scanning with its recently launched ZScanner 700. While most 3D scanners must sit upright or even remain stationary to generate the final image, the ZScanner is handheld and can automatically detect its relative position. This completely eliminates the need for a fixed mount or for stitching together a final 3D object, the company says. The scanner connects to any computer through FireWire and can be used as a simple way to generate 3D models for artwork, games, or industrial designs. Z Corporation currently sells the device to professionals for $39,900.

MS takes on iPod via indie music

11/03, 11:55am

MS vs. iPod, indie music

Microsoft is turning to indie music fans as a potential means of dethroning Apple's iPod in the digital music industry. The company is preparing to ship its Zune portable media player on November 14th, and hopes to gain a large following from indie music lovers prior to that date. Bloomberg reports that the Redmond-based company recently invited six well-known individuals from the indie music scene to test drive its forthcoming Zune player, but responses from indie bloggers likely fell short of Microsoft's expectations. "It's really not anything that impressive," said blogger Craig Lile, an Indianapolis-based Web developer who was invited to Microsoft's preview of the Zune player. "They're going to do terribly, at least in the demographic that cares about indie music. Apple is so entrenched in the indie music community.'" Microsoft hopes to break Apple's digital music dominance by appealing to key Web reviewers like Lile, and by sponsoring band tours to attract indie music fans.

Wal-Mart selling laptop for $398

11/03, 11:55am

Wal-Mart $398 laptop

A forum poster at Black Friday has observed that from November 5th to the 11th, Wal-Mart will be selling Compaq's Presario V5305WM for just $398. There should be 15 per store, but a limit of one per customer with no rainchecks. The 5305 has 512MB of RAM, a 2GHz Sempron processor, and a 128MB Radeon Xpress videocard. Other notable features are a 24x DVD/CD-RW drive as well as 802.11b/g wireless being built-in. Note that despite the timing (and the website), this is not a "Black Friday" deal. This year's Black Friday falls on November 24th.

Hannspree HANNSlounge LCD TV

11/03, 11:05am

HANNSlounge LCD TV

Hannspree, a company mostly known for making TVs aimed at children, has begun producing a more "mature" LCD line called HANNSlounge. Sets should soon be available in 26-, 32-, and 37-inch sizes. Each model is surrounded by a false mahogany frame, at the sides of which are chrome-finish supports that eliminate the need to hang or otherwise anchor the TV. Each display is also capable of resolutions up to 1080i, but only the 32- and 37-inch sets have 1200:1 contrast, 8ms response times, and six-in-one card slots that support CF, SD, Memory Sticks and more. The 26-inch model has 16ms response and 600:1 contrast. Pricing and release dates for the HANNSlounge line have yet to be announced.

SolidAlliance releases gold USB flash drive

11/03, 11:05am

Mottainai Gold USB Drive

SolidAlliance, a company known for producing USB flash drives in exotic formats, today unveiled a special model designed in dedication to traditional Japanese craftmakers. Called the MOTTAINAI, the 2GB drive's body is made of bronze but is gold-plated to emphasize its luxury appeal. The memory chips themselves are sheltered by crystals from the well-known Japanese glassworkers Statsuma Kiriko. Users may also have the choice to upgrade the memory later, SolidAlliance notes: as the less modernized construction requires screws to hold the case together, the design raises the possibility of replacing the existing drive with a higher-capacity model in the future. The company is preparing to launch its MOTTAINAI luxury drive in mid-November for approximately $767 US.

No Thirst releases Debt Quencher 1.0

11/03, 11:00am

Debt Quencher 1.0

No Thirst Software today released Debt Quencher 1.0, a utility designed to help users overcome credit card debt problems. The software displays precisely how much money is saved using projections based on minimum and planned payment amounts, offering a one-button method to make payments as well as update the current balances for all accounts listed. The NoThirst.com website also offers companion articles on debt management and improving personal cash flow as part of a larger initiative. "I want to deliver excellent software, but I also want to provide articles and information that--in combination with the software -- empower people to redirect their lives in a healthier direction," said No Thirst Software founder Kevin Hoctor. "This company is designed to make a positive dent in the universe." Debt Quencher is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Magellan eXplorist XL for hikers

11/03, 10:30am

Magellan eXplorist XL

Following yesterday's announcement of the multifunction CrossoverGPS, Magellan has also revealed its eXplorist XL for outdoor travellers. Unlike the earlier device, the eXplorist XL is vertically-oriented for handheld use by hikers and is further toughened against drops and shocks through its rubber shell. The 3.5-inch screen is readable even in direct sunlight and is the largest of its kind for any dedicated GPS handheld, Magellan says. The company adds that its receiver is geotagging-friendly and bundles a management program that can share marked locations between the eXplorist and its host computer. Basic maps of North America are built into the system's memory, Magellan says, but owners can buy and transfer more detailed marine, sea, and trail maps via SD card to specialize its role. Magellan sells the XL today for $400.

Altec Lansing ships 5.1-channel system

11/03, 10:20am

Altec ships new speakers

Altec Lansing has launched its VS3251 5.1 PC speaker system, featuring five 2.5-inch full-range drivers with a 5-inch subwoofer. The system boasts 70 watts total RMS, and includes removable speaker stands as well as wall mounting capability to free desktops of clutter. A full-function wireless remote includes controls for system volume, bass as well as treble levels, stereo/surround modes, and a toggle switch to select an MP3 player or computer. A headphone jack supports private listening, while a secondary input jack enables users to connect different audio sources. The VS2351 feature six channels of audio from any source, built-in controls on the subwoofer for power as well as master volume, and an internal power supply to conserve space. Altec Lansing's VS3251 speaker system is available for $80.

MSN Music shuttered in light of iPod, Zune

11/03, 9:45am

MSN Music Shuttered

Microsoft no longer intends to run its MSN Music service as a self-contained music store, the company announced today. Beginning November 14th, customers who attempt to buy songs from the Microsoft site will instead be directed either to Real's Rhapsody web-based store or the Zune Marketplace. The site itself will be remade to focus on live concerts, artist interviews, and free access to the existing MSN Radio service. Microsoft first opened MSN Music in September 2004 as a response to the iTunes Store and trumpeted the wider range of compatible music players. The recent announcement of the Zune and its proprietary online store has been regarded by many as evidence of frustration on Microsoft's part with its earlier, open-ended model and its lack of success relative to the closed system of the iPod and iTunes.

IME debuts IME Dock for iPod, Zune

11/03, 9:20am

IME Dock for iPod, Zune

Integrated Mobile Electronics has revealed what it claims is the first true universal music player dock for cars as part of the official launch of Microsoft's Zune.net site -- which promotes the upcoming music player. The company's IME Dock is designed to connect numerous media players -- such as Apple's iPod, the Sansa e200, and Microsoft's Zune -- directly to a vehicle's entertainment system to plays its audio or video regardless of the device or file format. Connected players also charge through the station and play content even on systems with multiple LCDs. A remote control function is also expected, according to Elecetronista. No pricing has been announced, though the company said it will start shipping the IME Dock in February.

Creative intros 2400 DPI gaming mouse, keyboard

11/03, 9:00am

Creative Gaming Mouse

Creative has launched two new controllers made specifically for high-end gamers. The Mouse Gamer HD7600L stands out for its ultra-high precision, 2400 DPI laser sensor that Creative says can provide an edge in response times for fast action games. The sensitivity can also be adjusted to 400, 800, or 1600 DPI in real-time via a switch for those instances when slower movement is necessary. Owners can also program all five buttons as well as the DPI switch, and can customize the mouse itself with replaceable, chameleon-tinted faceplates. The HD7600L is already available in Singapore for $57 US and should appear in North America soon. Details of Creative's new gaming keyboard follow after the jump.

Apple ships 8GB "RED" iPod nano

11/03, 8:50am

8GB iPod nano PRODUCT RED

Apple today unveiled an 8GB iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition portable media player, which the company says is due to "outstanding customer demand." The new 8GB iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition holds up to 2,000 songs, joining the 4GB model priced at $199. Both models come in a red aluminum enclosure, offer 24 hours of battery life, and feature Apple's modern thin and light design. Apple said it will contribute $10 from the sale of each iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED to the Global Fund to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The new 8GB iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED ships for $249, and will be available in Apple's retail stores this weekend. All iPod nano models include redesigned earbud headphones to offer enhanced comfort, fit, and sound quality, as well as a USB 2.0 cable.

Apple refers to "touch-screen" iPod

11/03, 8:40am

Apple, touch-screen iPod

Apple has referred to an iPod with a 'touch-screen' interface in a recently revised PDF document, according to one report. The reference came in a tutorial on interfacing with the iPod's text-based 'Notes' feature, but was removed promptly after reports discovered a probable misprint: "Linking to photos and videos is supported only for 5th generation iPods running iPod Software version 1.2 or later. All other Notes feature capabilities described in this document are supported for iPod models with display screens, beginning with the touch-screen models." Many believe that the passage refers to Apple's third-generation iPods featuring a touch-sensitive clickwheel interface, according to AppleInsider, but some industry watchers point to recent patent filings as a sign that the Cupertino-based company will soon debut a new video iPod based on touch-screen technology.

Apple adds iPod nano 8GB (Product) RED

11/03, 8:05am

8GB iPod nano Product RED

Apple has quietly added an 8GB model of its iPod nano (Product) RED to its online and retail stores. As with the earlier 4GB edition, the 8GB nano is functionally identical to its regular equivalent and adds only a red aluminum shell as well as the (Product) RED logo on the reverse side. Pricing remains the same as for the $249 black model, though Apple hasn't yet indicated whether it will donate more than its previous $10 per sale to the Global Fund against AIDS in Africa. The new model ships in 1-2 business days from the online Apple Store.

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