Grubby Games has released its new independent game, Fizzball. Based on the classic "brick-busting" style, Fizzball offers something for all ages: "Bounce bubbles, rescue hungry animals, and solve a mystery, all at the same time! Something strange has been scaring the animals that inhabit the forests on a group of islands. Itís up to Professor Fizzwizzle, and his bubble-like Fizzball to whisk them away to safety at the animal sanctuary. Watch as the Fizzball starts off small and then grows enormous enough to envelop large animals like cows and horses." Fizzball features 180 levels, 40 bonus levels, 60 animal species, a special kidsí mode, and numerous trophies to unlock. The game offers "frustration-free, brick-busting gameplay," a global high scoring competition, and a 60-day money-back guarantee. The full version is $20 and it runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later (on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs).
iLocalize 3.3 ($40) is an intuitive application designed to help developers localize their applications. It handles multiple languages in the same project, offers custom glossaries and has features to help incremental localization. This new version is now Universal and add several new features such as inconsistency checking for nib and strings files, import/export localized resources and many bug fixes. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 6.5MB] Dock-It v2.5 ($10) is a multifunctional launcher and Finder enhancer for Mac OS X. Users can create more than one dock; store files, folders, applications, scripts, etc.; use the Dock-It shelf space for moving/copying files as well as storing text clippings/URLs; place mounted drives in the dock; navigate folder contents without opening a single finder window; create customized docks with custom colors or background images and transparency; and more. It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 2.3MB] ImageBuddy v3.5 ($20) updates the photo printing program, adding Universal Binary support for Intel- and PPC-based computers. The release also includes new Crop and Scale controls for Page Layouts and Doubles the number of images that can be loaded to 2048. Imagebuddy is a digital image layout program that offers Drag & Drop support from iPhoto allowing users to greatly expand on iPhoto's limited printing options. [Download - 12MB] ProjectForum 5.2 (starting at $50) is an professional and easy- to-use wiki collaboration software. The commercially supported, high quality wiki software offers full version control, group project support, multiple authentication options, image and file management, page templates, SSL, full branding support, multiple forums, and much more. Version 5.2 delivers enhanced page editing, offering quick previews, an easy/quick formatting toolbar, a resizable editing area, and a comprehensive new help facility. [Download - 1.8MB] Kids GoGoGo 11.3 ($30) brings a new interface for better multi-user support as well as support for Firefox 2.0, better password protection, better application control, and improved memory usage. The application allows parents (and other administrators) to restrict application access and also prevent users from surfing adult-oriented sites on the internet, including blogs, podcasts, etc. It can be used at home or at schools/universities and offers realtime monitoring support. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 8.3MB] Posterino 1.0b6 ($25) its 'Life Poster' composing application that allows uses to easily create life posters, postcards, greeting cards and contact sheets from digital pictures. The software supports auto-placement of photos, export of posters or postcards, custom template creation, and various image manipulation routines such as cropping and rotation. The latest update fixes several bugs and updates the documentation. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4 or later and is available with a $5 discount during an introductory offer. [Download - N/A]
In brief: UK-based online retailer play.com has posted what appears to be new Core 2 Duo-based MacBooks ahead of Apple's anticipated launch date; the notebooks boast 2GHz processors, but play.com's description and specifications remain the same as Apple's current MacBooks with the exception of CPU speed.... Interest in developing plug-ins for Aperture has exceeded Apple's expectations following the company's decision to allow third-party developers to extend the application.... Microsoft's 2007 Office suite has gone gold, and company officials noted today that the worldwide business availability of the 2007 Office suite, Vista, and Exchange Server 2007 is still scheduled for November 30th.... eWEEK labs has tested pre-RTM code for Office 2007, revealing some significant changes in the software that creates a big decision for IT managers.... GelaSkins has added an entirely new line of skins for Apple's second-generation iPod nano, and is recruiting numerous new artists.... iPodMods will soon offer transparent shells for iPods called iVue Crystal Cases ($20-35), which will come in several shades and expose the internal circuitry of fourth- and fifth-generation iPods, as well as the iPod nano.
WindowShade X 4.1 ($10) is a free update that brings native compatibility for Intel-based Macs to the window management utility for Mac OS X as a Universal Binary. WindowShade X offers windowshade functionality, the ability to minimize-in-place, custom shadow control, and more. The free revision includes numerous bug fixes, as well as improvements to the WindowShade X interface. [Download - 2.9MB] C4 Game engine 129 ($200 per seat) updates the 3D game engine for software developers, offering improvements to the engine's netcode. C4 Game engine 129 features a new horizon mapping feature that allows for self shadowing bump maps, improves the 'Collada' File Format importer, and provides animation blending support. [Download - 35.3MB] DetoxDiskz 1.0u ($10) is a fast removable media stripping, cleaning, and protection utility for Mac OS X that runs natively on Intel-based Macs. The software features drag-and-drop functionality, and strips away non-essential resource forks from cross-platform files. The update also deletes non-essential invisible files such as ".DS_Store." [Download - 1.8MB] RPGMapMaker 5.0.0 ($40) is a tool enabling users to draw maps with polygonal grids like those commonly used in role-playing games. The update only works with Mac OS X and improves the user interface -- including sheet windows, drawers, the Terrain and Maze Generator, clipboard window, and preferences. Version 5.0.0 also offers Layer scripting and improved Grid scripting. [Download - 9.2MB] Yasu 2.0.4 ($4) is a quick first line of defense for solving Mac OS X related issues. The latest revision of Yasu corrects an issue that would cause an error when the application tried to close the main window while still attempting to write to user preferences. The Cocoa application wrapper built with AppleScript Studio allows users to run various system level Unix shells cripts to perform maintenance routines and clear various cache files used by Mac OS X. [Download - 2.6MB] Liquid Ledger Personal Finance 1.5.3 ($70) incorporates a dozen bug fixes and improvements, including a new Toggle Cleared Status command to mark several transactions as cleared. Liquid Ledger Personal Finance 1.5.3 is a free update to the personal finance software for Mac OS X that incorporates compatibility improvements with QIF import as well as export, a new feature to warn users when entering a duplicate check number, and more.
In brief: E.R.S "Pleasant software for the people" has announced the final retail price of ‹bercaster ($80), its complete podcast production suite.... MacAppADay is giving away 5,000 copies of more than 30 applications through December as a Christmas present to the Mac community.... Canon has begun shipping its PIXMA Pro9000 photo inkjet printer with an 8-color ink system to dealers.... Sillysoft Games' Luxtoberfest 3 contest is over, and the company has announced this year's winners with a full recap of events.... One MacNN reader is warning businesses considering a transition from the PC version of QuickBooks Pro to the Mac edition, stating that the two platform versions differ dramatically.... Final Cut experts are planning to gather in southern California for the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group, which will host numerous events and a raffle for prizes totaling more than $10,000.
iSkin today unveiled its second-issue tokidoki iSkin Vibes in eight styles, designed to protect and visually enhance Apple's 30GB video iPod. The newest Vibes cases display some of the latest illustrations by Simone Legno, tokidoki co-founder and designer. "With his playful interpretation of anime, floating worlds and sultry-fun, the Japanese- inspired, Italian-born and Los Angeles-based Legno teamed with iSkin, a leading provider of iPod accessories, to bring forth a sophisticated way to add fun and flair to portable music," said iSkin. The cases feature a dual-layer protective design that consists of an iSkin Si ('silicone inside') layer combined with a solid outer layer, fitting snugly inside a light-weight, scratch and shock-resistant capsule. Each iSkin Vibe case ships with a low profile rotating RevoClip belt-clip for $30.
TimesForFun.de has released FastCut 2.5 RT for Mac OS X, offering video editing capability in real-time. FastCut uses the graphic processing unit (GPU) of video cards to accelerate graphical calculations, and the update extends support for high-definition (HD) video. The software is a full-featured video editor, according to TimeForFun.de, offering 3D motion and effects animation functionality alongside masking and keying. FastCut features video transition, filter effects, and an integrated ATSUI live title editor. The RT-engine is based on OpenGL to benefit from hardware acceleration, and uses Mac OS X's CoreImage technology for filter effects. FastCut 2.5 RT requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and is available for Ä20.
MacMice today unveiled its new miniature Danger Dongle USB Bluetooth adapter, a white color stick-style USB Bluetooth adapter that works with all Mac OS X or Windows XP systems. The device provides fast connection speeds with USB 2.0 connectivity and BT 2.0 EDDR connection protocols, according to MacMice. "Bluetooth dongles struggle with bandwidth, how much data can be piped through the connection at what speed. It only makes sense to have the fastest, highest bandwidth dongle available. That dongle is the Danger Dongle," MacMice wrote. The Danger Dongle is available for $30.
Disney today announced plans to add the No. 1 animated film of the year, Cars, and the No. 1 film of the year, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to Apple's iTunes Store as digital downloads. "Cars, the high octane, comedy-adventure box office favorite about a hotshot rookie race car who with a fun cast of car-acters goes on the ride of his life. Starring Owen Wilson ('Wedding Crashers'), the legendary Paul Newman (Oscar winner Best Actor 'The Color of Money' 1986) and an all-star cast, Cars takes audiences of all ages on an incredible adventure that blends a heartfelt story, great music and breathtaking animation." The film is scheduled for availability via iTunes store beginning November 7th. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest stars Johnny Depp as a mischievous, heroic rogue named Captain Jack Sparrow. The film is due for availability on DVD starting December 5th. [corrected]
Functioning as a Windows equivalent to Delicious Library for the Mac, Flic Scanner is now offering its Media Organizer as a simpler way to catalog and track extensive collections of books, movies, and music. By reading barcodes with the bundled USB laser scanner, Flic's software automatically obtains complete data for most items; CDs and DVDs in particular receive extensive information that the company says can be useful for difficult searches, such as individual track listings for CDs and the main cast for most movies. Owners can track borrowed copies and can export their libraries in HTML, XML, or raw text values for other programs to use. Flic says the scanner and organizing software ship together for $200.
Telus has become the first Canadian service provider to issue an LG Chocolate phone. Their version is a variant on the LG 8500, which has features like a wheel for browsing music and a 1.3MP camera. MicroSD cards can store music, photos and videos. Wireless Internet access is provided through 1x EVDO. Telus' enhancements include direct music downloads, as well as TV streamed in real-time. Users can also opt to buy the "Hot Chocolate SPARK Music Box Limited Edition," which costs $70 CDN and bundles a transparent carrying case, a Plantronics Bluetooth headset, and a 1GB microSD card. Until November 29th, the base Chocolate can be had for $130 under a three-year contract, or $180 for two years. One-year and zero-contract options are permanently priced at higher amounts.
Verizon has opted to include the Black Sapphire flip-phone in its near future lineup, online sources report. Best-known as a clamshell equivalent to the LG Chocolate which has already proven popular with Verizon subscribers, the Black Sapphire will switch from GSM to Verizon's CDMA networks, bringing with it the option of connecting to EVDO for Internet access. The design primarily improves on the Chocolate by including separate music controls on the outer shell. Expected to ship for Verizon subscribers on November 15th, the Sapphire will be priced at $250 without a contract, or as little as $180 with a two-year plan.
Following the recent release of a Fisher-Price jukebox, toymaker Hasbro has launched its own player for older children. Meant for ages 8 and up, the Massively Mini Media gives more control while still addressing a younger audience. A completely touch-sensitive control pad is said to prevent buttons from breaking, while two headphone jacks are built in so friends can listen using their own earbuds. The bundled earbuds also discourage accidents by doubling as a lanyard, hanging safely from a child's neck. Support is provided for MP3 and WMA audio as well as short AVI and WMV video clips on its built-in 128MB of flash storage; FM radio tuning and recording are equally possible, says Hasbro. The player ships immediately in green, pink, or silver trim for $69.
ExpressDigital today announced support for an Aperture 1.5 plug-in that allows users to upload photos directly to PhotoReflect.com, an internet-based virtual storefront for professional photographers. PhotoReflect.com offers photographers the tools to sell prints as well as photo-related products online; generate proactive e-mail marketing campaigns to customers; design custom storefronts to match the look and feel of a business; and manage all ordering as well as payment directly from the site. The site also enables users to offer unique photo options such as album pages, 'memory mates,' collages, and trading cards. The plug-in supports uploading photos to PhotoReflect.com without leaving Aperture, and runs on Apple's full line of Macs (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Although information about the release surfaced in advance of the launch, Wal-Mart today began shipping to stores its budget laptop aimed at capturing holiday sales in advance of Thanksgiving. As confirmed previously, the 15.4-inch Presario V5305WM lowers its price to an unprecedented $398 by using a low-cost 2GHz AMD Sempron processor, 512MB of RAM, and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. The new system should be available at retail as of today. However, this may not be the lowest-priced portable available as of this month, according to NPD TechWorld analyst Stephen Baker. "We're probably going to see a $199 notebook on Black Friday," he says. Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, is often regarded as the single largest day of shopping in the US and often features heavy discounts by retailers to draw in as many customers as possible.
AMD today began shipping the ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac edition of its next-generation graphics card designed to combine workstation-class creative productivity and cutting-edge 3D game performance. The card offers Power Mac G5 owners a high-performance PCI Express graphics upgrade option previously available only to Mac Pro buyers configuring new systems from Apple. The ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac Edition features 36 pixel shader processors with 256MB of video memory, delivering more than 37GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The card includes two DVI ports capable of supporting two 30-inch Apple Cinema Displays, and is priced at $350.
Japanese firm Pegaso recently updated its AUDIOBONE headphone line with the new MGD-04. As with the company's earlier models, the MGD-04 relies on bone conduction instead of speakers, broadcasting audio through bones near the ear canal rather than covering the ear itself. This both eliminates the need for a strong amplifier and lets the hard of hearing listen to music at higher quality, Pegaso writes. It also minimizes the effect of wind and other outside sources on the final output. The entire design, including a street-style headband, is designed to be compact and weighs only 60 grams. No release details for the new AUDIOBONE model are currently available.
LG has revealed the BD100, its first production Blu-ray player, says Pocket-lint. The 100 should play dual- and single-layer Blu-ray discs, as well as standard CD and DVD formats. Audio inputs will support 5.1 surround and digital optical out, while video inputs will include HDMI, component, composite and coaxial. Resolutions will be upsamplable to as high as 1080p. This is not LG's first attempt at a Blu-ray player -- the initial model was intended to be the BD199, but deployment of the unit was cancelled. The 100 should ship in the first quarter of 2007 at a "competitive" price.
Online retailer Firebox has just released its USB Drum Kit, a compact drum set made solely for PCs. The instrument uses the same principles behind electronic drum sets to provide backing percussion for audio recordings or just to replicate the sound of a full drum through a computer's headphones or speakers, Firebox says. The bundled software can produce any of 233 different drum sounds and over 50 rhythm patterns to use as reference points while playing. All the cymbals and drums are velocity-sensitive, allowing both dramatic and subtle taps; similarly, any pad can be choked to deaden the sustain from each note. The Drum Kit can be imported from Firebox for $248 US.
UK company Vadim Computers has designed a custom gaming system with extremely high-end specifications. Coming in a neon-lit Lian-Li case, the computer has an Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme processor, with each core running at 2.66GHz. Its twin GeForce 8800GTX cards supply video acceleration, and an Ageia PhysX accelerator boosts game physics. System RAM starts at 2GB of DDR2 but can be upgraded to 8GB. Likewise, the stock hard drives are two 150GB Raptors, but they can be swapped to create a RAID setup with up to four 500GB drives. Other noteworthy features include CD-RW and DVD-RW drives, as well as two FireWire ports and six USB ports. The base machine costs £4,622 ($8,786) before VAT.
Belkin revealed today that it will help the fledgling Zune accessory market by launching several new accessories for protecting and listening to the new Microsoft player. Five new cases will make their debut in time for the Zune's November 14th launch, including the Folio Kickstand (pictured, $30)), a leather case that can rest upright in landscape mode for videos. Other releases include the clear Acrylic Case ($30), the microfiber Holster Case ($30), a neoprene Sports Armband ($30), and the basic Sports Jacket ($20). Additionally, Belkin has announced two travel accessories: the TuneBase FM is a car-mounted FM transmitter that can charge the Zune as well as play its audio through a nearby stereo, while the TunePower external battery pack adds as much as 6 hours of playback time and serves as a kickstand when watching videos. These two devices are expected to ship in late November for $80 and $60 respectively. Click through for a photo of the Acrylic Case.
An image from Flickr suggests that Cingular is importing Palm's Treo 750, a smartphone previously limited to Europe. The 750 incorporates features not seen in the 680, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and a 1.3MP camera. The 750 also runs Windows Mobile 5.0 instead of Palm OS. Most notable however may be the $100 rebate Cingular is offering for the Treos, as well as the option of cameraless models for security-minded corporations. All rebate deals will end on December 30th. Another phone subject to the offer will be the Samsung Blackjack, a North American GSM version of the i320, says CrunchGear.
PodsPlus has unveiled its Aluminum N2 case for Apple's second-generation iPod nano. The N2 case is the only aluminum case to offer both screen and clickwheel protection, according to PodsPlus, and is available in six color combinations. Clickwheel protection is provided by a silicone cover with no loss of sensitivity, while top and bottom cutouts offer access to all ports and functionality. The LCD cutout features a clear plastic screen permanently fixed to the case, and the interior is lined with neoprene for extra protection. The Aluminum N2 is scheduled to ship in mid-November for $30 with an optional neck strap.
MacRabbit today released CSSEdit 2, a Style Sheet editor designed to make styling blogs as well as dynamic Web pages easy. The software features intuitive visual controls with real-time styling capability, and allows pros to tweak source code with a source environment boasting intelligent 'CodeSense' technology. CSSEdit 2 enables users to debug visual effects and page layouts via 'X-ray,' offering an overlay to display all the details about a selected element. The application offers one-click validation with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), 'Milestones' to save work in progress, and groups to organize style sheets. CSSEdit 2 is available for $30, with upgrades priced at $15. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Available in an earlier form for certain parts of Europe, an updated version of Samsung's Q40 was introduced on Monday in the company's native Korea. In contrast to the recently unveiled Sony VAIO G, the newer Q40 trades some of its built-in storage for its role as a bridge between laptops and portable media players. While the DVD rewriter bundled with the system is external, this current Q40 model adds support for the DMB mobile TV standard common in Korea and other parts of southeast Asia, and can connect to mobile broadband through either HSDPA or less common WiBro networks. This lets owners watch their favorite shows or browse the Web before they arrive home, according to Samsung. Despite its comparatively large 12-inch screen, the system is 0.93 inches thick and weighs only 2.4 pounds. A 1.1GHz Core Solo, 1GB of RAM, and a 60GB hard disk help the system outperform the portable media centers which are increasingly popular in Korea. Samsung hopes to ship the new model for $2,287 US in its home country. A close-up photo is available after the jump, courtesy of Akihabara News.
Elenco is selling a product called Snap Circuits, a series of circuit boards meant to teach kids electronics. The units come with pre-made parts such as batteries and conductors, which can be assembled into as many as 750 or more different devices, including burglar alarms, FM radios, and digital voice recorders. Each part is individually colored and numbered for easier recognition. The number of possible projects depends on the model; the SC-100 is limited to 100, and correspondingly, the highest-end model is the SC-750. The boards are available from several different sources, such as Elenco or Speedydog.
Chip maker NVIDIA today announced that it will acquire PortalPlayer, the pioneer of its system-on-chip (SoC) technology which powers many digital media players -- including some of Apple's iPod models -- for $357 million. A teardown of Apple's 4GB iPod nano in September revealed that Samsung won out over PortalPlayer to supply the main microprocessor in the small device, which followed rumors in late June that new versions of Apple's iPod nano might see delays of up to six months as a result of the supplier switch. Nearly a month later, PortalPlayer CEO Gary Johnson announced plans to resign by the end of the year to pursue pre-IPO opportunities.
System builder Medion has released a limited-edition laptop designed for style-conscious women. The Swarovski Notebook features over 300 clear and pink Swarovski crystals, highlighting the logo and a floral pattern on the outer lid. The body is also encased in a pale pink shell. Performance hasn't been neglected at the expense of design, Medion says: the 12-inch widescreen system sports a 1.73GHz Core Duo, 100GB hard drive, and a DVD rewriter. A full 1GB of memory, Bluetooth, and an SD card reader are also standard. The Swarovski model is available from Medion today for £1,000 ($1,896 US).
Apple co-founder Steve 'Woz' Wozniak and three Apple I team members gathered on Saturday at the Computer History Museum in front of several hundred attendees for a discussion called 'Apple in the Garage' to celebrate Apple's 30th anniversary. Steve Wozniak, Randy Wigginton (Apple employee No. 6), Chris Espinosa (Apple employee No. 8), and original Macintosh team member Daniel Kottke came together for an afternoon of reminiscing about the earliest days of Apple and its computers. "We thought it would be a shame if we didn't have a birthday party for Apple with a cake," said Bruce Damer, founder of the DigiBarn computer museum in California's Santa Cruz Mountains. The museum owner brought a birthday cake decorated with a digital print of Apple's original logo, according to a report from News.com. The four recalled much of Apple's early days, recounting their experiences as they helped to shape technology in its early stages.
Cingular will soon introduce the 8525 Pocket PC, what the company claims will be the first PDA in North America with HSDPA (and UMTS) broadband. The product is being aimed at business customers, but is also being sold for its entertainment capabilities, such as games, music, a 2MP camera, and video through MobiTV. It will go online through Cingular's BroadbandConnect service, which is currently ready in 134 US markets and has an average download speed of 400-700Kbps. Users who wander outside broadband service areas will be automatically switched to the Cingular EDGE network. The 8525 will go on sale November 16th for $400, and should be available at every Cingular sales outlet.
With the recent introduction of Nikon's D80 already targeting a larger portion of the mid-range DSLR camera market, the company is now planning to introduce a camera that will target the most basic of DSLR users, according to a product posting listed and since removed by German retailer Neckermann. If accurate, the information reveals that the upcoming D40 would potentially undercut Canon's Digital Rebel XTi as one of the least expensive DSLRs available. The projected specifications would lower the price by limiting the D40 to a 6-megapixel sensor and 3-point focusing as well as strip away the built-in auto-focus motors and dedicated status displays of higher-end models. The compact size of the camera is also expected to dictate the use of SD cards. No launch information was provided by Neckelmann. Full photos of the camera are available after the jump.
NVIDIA announced on Monday that it would be acquiring chip designer PortalPlayer for $357 million. The acquisition is described by NVIDIA as an extension of the company's experience with graphics into the realm of handhelds, such as portable media players and smartphones. "We intend to drive the next digital revolution, where the mobile device becomes our most personal computer," NVIDIA's president Jen-Hsun Huang says. While NVIDIA has experience developing for handhelds with its GoForce video chipset, the company has never had its own complete devices. The move will see PortalPlayer, who is well-known for producing some of the processors that drive the iPod and other media players, integrate its own technology with NVIDIA to create a platform for future handhelds. Neither company has formally announced new hardware or a timetable for the first product of the merger.
Apple's second-generation iPod shuffle is likely the bearer of a Samsung processor, rather than the expected SigmaTel chip which has adorned Apple's Shuffle since its inception in January of 2005. Analyst Craig Berger reviewed a teardown of Apple's smallest iPod, according to AppleInsider, concluding that the device processor resembles a Samsung chip recently identified as the primary component in Apple's second-generation iPod nano. "The processor is an Apple logo-stamped ARM chip (#337S3300 844A), similarly named to the Apple logo-stamped ARM chip found in the new iPod nano (#337S3291) that is known to be a Samsung chip," Berger said. A Samsung executive in late May revealed details about a forthcoming iPod before Apple authorized such discussions, which was said to have cost the semiconductor company a contract with Apple to produce chips in its iPod portable media players. Conversely, SigmaTel announced in mid-February that it hoped to win bigger contracts from Apple in the second half of 2007, despite at least one analyst's doubt that the company could even hold its existing business.
Sprint has announced that its version of Motorola's KRZR K1m is now shipping both to stores and through its own website. The Sprint edition of the music phone successor to the RAZR comes in a completely black, glossy finish and is compatible with the majority of Sprint's more advanced services, including EVDO broadband, downloadable movies and TV clips, and direct purchases from the Sprint music store. Features remain otherwise unchanged. Sprint retails the phone for $399 without a contract or $200 with a one-year agreement.
TeleSpial has just released an upgraded version of its TrackStick GPS mapping device. The TrackStick Pro is intended for long-distance drivers and includes four times the memory of the original, providing several weeks or more of tracking at regular intervals that can range between 5 seconds and 60 minutes, TeleSpial says. The Pro model ships with both a 12-volt car charger and a car mount to keep the tracker powered and in a safe position for extended travel. Unlike the more basic version, the Pro can remain plugged into a computer through USB for live updating, improving its usefulness for frequent laptop users. The company has also tamper-proofed the Pro version by including a silent alarm that records whenever the power is cut, preventing thieves or unscrupulous company drivers from abusing the device without the owner's knowledge. The TrackStick Pro currently sells from TrackStick.ca for $300 CDN ($266 US) but should be available in its home United States as well.
FastMac today began shipping its plug-and-play internal Bluetooth upgrade kit for PowerPC-based Mac Mini systems. The upgrade adds Bluetooth functionality to the Mac mini without the need to add an AirPort card, boasting an operating range of up to 32 feet with transfer rates of up to 721Kbps. The upgrade is user-installable with instructions included, connecting directly to the main logic board of the Mac to free up port space. FastMac's Bluetooth upgrade kit is available from $50 with a 1-year warranty, and works with all versions of Mac OS X -- including Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard." The company is also offering a 24-hour installation service for an additional $50, picking up the Mac mini to install the upgrade kit and provide a thorough checkup as well as a light cleaning before shipping the unit back within 24 hours.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl