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SubRosaSoft today shipped FileSalvage 5.1, a Universal Binary version of its application for data recovery. The software offers tools designed to restore files that have been accidentally deleted, have become unreadable due to media faults, or were stored on a drive before it was re-initialized or formatted. FileSalvage is device- and file system- independent, allowing the users to recover files from a normal Mac OS hard drive, USB key, Linux disk, Windows drive, Mac/Windows BootCamp drive, FLASH card, scratched CD, and almost any other media or file system that can be recognized in Mac OS X. In addition, FileSalvage is now available on a dual-boot CD, allowing users to boot both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs (ranging from G4s to the latest Mac Pro). It is available for $80 ($10 more for CD) and runs on Mac OS X 10.3.5 or later. Upgrades are $30. The company also released updated versions of PodSalvage 5.1, CameraSalvage 5.1, and OfficeSalvage 5.1 for native performance on Intel-based Macs. All three utilities are $40 ($10 more for CD) each or are available as a $15 upgrade to previous owners.
Creative Suite 2.3 ships
Adobe has begun shipping Creative Suite 2.3, an enhanced version of the professional application suite that now includes Dreamweaver 8 (acquired from Macromedia) and Acrobat Professional 8, the new Universal version of its PDF application for creating PDFs and managing communication that began shipping earlier this month. Acrobat 8 offers a refined interface to allows user to easily access various features, including combining, signing and protecting PDF files, interacting with PDF forms, reviewing and collaborating on documents as well as integration of Acrobat Connect software (formerly Macromedia Breeze), a hosted software service for realtime Web conferencing and collaboration.
RocketBowl Plus at MGS
Macgamestore.com is now shipping Large Animal's RocketBowl Plus, a new game for Mac OS X. "RocketBowl Plus puts a futuristic twist on the traditional bowling experience. Bowl across the rolling contours of the RocketBowl Dome at the 1958 Kalamazoo World's Fair. Use special rocket-powered bowling balls to curve, boost, and hop your way over hills, around water traps, across bridges, and through winding chutes, all at a fun and relaxing pace. Knock over special 'dollar pins', collect bonus coins, and wager on matches against local pros to fatten your wallet and buy more advanced RocketBowl balls." The game offers 10 courses, all-new whimsical characters, and a myriad unique bowling balls as well as a fully interactive soundtrack that adjusts the intensity of the music to match users' performance in the game. The Universal Binary runs on any version of Mac OS X. A free demo is available.
Q2ID v2.0 InDesign plugin
Markzware has released Q2ID v2.0, an update to its Adobe InDesign plugin that allows users to quickly and easily convert QuarkXPress content into a new Adobe InDesign document. The new update enables QuarkXPress files from version 3.3 to 7.0 to be converted for use with InDesign CS or CS2. According to the company, Q2ID (v2) is a one-stop solution that simply imports the majority of the original QuarkXPress features and settings intact into a InDesign file. Users can convert documents with a single-click and the company says that a majority of the intricate details of the document are instantly re-created within InDesign, including page positioning, color models, fonts and styles, images, and text attributes as well as tables, layers, blends, runarounds, linked text boxes & anchored boxes, pantone colors and other color models. Markzware notes that "conversion isn't perfect" due to the different methods of text rendering. The full version is $200, while upgrades are $100. It runs on Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Fantom Network Disk debuts
Fantom Drives has announced the Fantom Network Disk, providing up to 750GB of shared storage for home networking and SOHO markets. The Fantom Drives Network Disk is an advanced Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, allowing shared network access through Ethernet or as an external hard drive through USB 2.0 connection. The drive can be added to a network in minutes, and requires no networking experience: users simply plug in an Ethernet cable and all setup and permissions are administered via a simple and familiar web user interface to share content across Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. The slick, durable, and compact design provides safety and security and boasts maximum sustained transfer rates of up to 40MB/sec. over USB 2.0 connection, according to the company. It is available in three capacities: 250GB for $150, 500GB for $280 and a 750GB model for $650. Fantom Drives Network Disk products ship with a standard one-year limited warranty.
Fox movies on iTunes?
News Corp., which owns Fox movie studio today announced that it is in talks with Apple to add its full-length films to the iTunes Music Store. News Corp.'s president and COO Peter Chernin disclosed the details during a conference call with analysts and reporters, according to a report from CNNMoney.com. Chernin refused to provide a time frame for when Fox movies might appear on iTunes, if ever, but said News Corp. and Apple are holding "positive talks" with several details still in the works. News Corp. currently offers several TV shows on Apple's iTunes Music Store, but has yet to follow in Disney's footsteps by offering full-length movies. Brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target have been applying pressure to big-name Hollywood studios, fearing a potential dip in holiday DVD sales due to cheaper content offered by Apple's iTunes store. [updated]
Infiniband Multilane tower
Addonics Technologies today unveiled a compact storage enclosure with Infiniband Multilane support. The company claims the tower can provide "hacker-proof" key-based hardware encryption for the hard drives when configured with its Jupiter Cipher Mobile Rack. The enclosure side panels are removable for additional access to storage devices, and the tower includes a hinged front panel for easy drive access. Varying back panels support multiple operating systems and drive interfaces, depending on the selected panel. A Multilane bridge panel connects up to four SATA or SATA II hard drives to a system via one 1.5-meter long Infiniband Multilane cable, offering support for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows systems. Further back panels include a SATA Port Multiplier, JBOD USB to connect up to four IDE hard drives, and four individual eSATA ports. Addonics Mini Storage Towers each ship in white or black with a low noise cooling fan, and are priced from $120-200.
"Mac guy" leaves Apple ads
A new report claims that ads from Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign will no longer feature the "Mac guy," actor Justin Long. Despite Apple's efforts to prepare a new batch of commercials, Long -- who starred in Dodgeball and Herbie: Fully Loaded -- is no longer taking part in the commercials, according to Radar Online, which confirmed the fact with a representative for the actor. "Every ad you see Justin in is for that previous time period only," the representative said. "There's no long-term deal with him. Justin's a movie star, not a commercial guy." Apple's other participants -- Phil Morrison and John Hodgman -- are returning to shoot more spots, as reportedly confirmed by Hodgman's representative.
Refurb MacBook price cuts
Apple today significantly reduced the prices of its refurbished consumer-oriented MacBooks, following the company's launch of its new Core 2 Duo-based models. Every first-generation MacBook includes an Intel Core Duo processor with a 13.3-inch widescreen display, as well as a built-in iSight camera. Apple's least expensive refurbished MacBook is the white 1.83GHz model, featuring 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW for $899. The white 2.0GHz model also includes 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive, but comes with a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW for $999. The black 2.0GHz model includes 512MB of memory, but boasts an 80GB hard drive as well as a SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW for $1,099. All refurbished products from Apple ship for free and come with a standard one-year warranty.
Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd
Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix Z5fd, the third camera (after the F31fd and the S6500fd) to use the company's Face Detection technology. When shooting a portrait, an FD camera prioritizes faces while judging autofocus and exposure. Up to ten faces are considered at a time. Going into Playback mode, the camera then zooms in to faces automatically, trimming off what it considers to be extraneous edges. The Z5fd is a 6.3MP camera with 3x optical zoom and a 2.5-inch LCD. Aside from Face Detection, the camera also offers movie capture, ISO 1600 sensitivity, and IR data transfer to devices like phones and printers. It uses xD cards for storage. The camera is presently confirmed to ship in Japan and the United Kingdom.
Windows Vista goes gold
Microsoft today released Windows Vista to manufacturing, signaling the first official release of the company's next-generation operating system that will compete with Mac OS X. The announcement comes one day earlier than anticipated, and is touted by the software giant as the most heavily tested operating system ever. "Release to manufacturing signifies the completion of our development work and the start of the next phase for Windows Vista," said Sven Hallauer, release manager and director of program management at Microsoft. "Windows Vista is the highest-quality version of Windows that we've ever produced. We've had more people test more builds than previous development cycles, and the result is that we received more feedback than ever before." Industry watchers repeatedly questioned the reliability of Vista and the Microsoft's marketing strategies as Vista progressed through its development cycle. Apple, meanwhile, is scheduled to release Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' in early January alongside numerous other products.
BFG Water-Cooled GF8800
A further product announcement relating to today's GeForce 8800 launch was made today by board manufacturer BFG Tech. In contrast to the dual-slot, fan-cooled reference design, the GeForce 8800 GTX Water Cooled Edition uses a hand-fitted, custom liquid cooling system produced by Danger Den to dramatically reduce the heat output of the chipset. The improved efficiency is such that the card is halved in size, freeing a nearby PCI Express slot for peripherals, BFG says. A large fan central to the reference board has also been eliminated, quieting the card during gaming and other situations that can stress the chipset. BFG sells the Water Cooled Edition of its new card for $799. A normal, dual-slot equivalent is also available for $599.
2G Shuffle makes waves
Apple today revealed that it has seen "tremendous" interest in its new second-generation iPod shuffle, and that the company is "really excited" about the holiday sales period. Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, told Reuters in a phone interview that "response has been tremendous" for the new Shuffle, and that "the early response and reviews have been phenomenal." Schiller expressed excitement when asked how he viewed the fast-approaching holiday shopping season: "We're really excited about the holiday period." The second-generation iPod shuffle, which Apple claims is the smallest MP3 player in the world, only began shipping in late October.
Nvidia's new GPU tech
On top of their GeForce 8800 announcement, NVIDIA has revealed CUDA, a new architecture that underlies the product. By delegating tasks more evenly across hundreds of small-scale processors, such as the shader units of the new GeForce card, programs may run up to 100 times faster than when running solely on a system's main CPUs, according to the company's claims. CUDA requires both development support due to its NVIDIA-specific nature as well as an intermediary driver that communicates with DirectX and OpenGL. However, the company adds that it will release a C-compiler to smooth adoption. While the introduction of CUDA is accompanied only by the GeForce 8800 at present, it will also be used in future versions of the workstation-oriented Quadro card as a way of speeding the calculations of 3D animators, scientists, and other professionals.
Skype 3 Beta
VoIP pioneer Skype unveiled a public test version of Skype 3 that the company heralds as a major improvement for group conversations. A new feature named Skypecast promises to simplify the conference calls that are frequently essential for business and podcasting by offering large-scale, moderated calls of up to 100 users each. Moderators can now eject, mute, or otherwise streamline calls. A similar feature, titled Public Chats, provides an equivalent for IRC-style text conversations. Skype also says that the version 3 beta adds a crucial web integration feature: websites can now embed Skype directly into their pages, including links that place calls to real-world phone numbers. The Skype 3 test is currently available for Windows only, but should continue to integrate with Skype devices such as the USB Skype Phone from Think Geek.
LG KB1800 Phone With TV
LG today revealed its new KB1800 phone, a model tailor-made for viewing the mobile TV broadcasts that are increasingly popular in the company's native Korea as well as abroad. In contrast to most such phones, the KB1800 will have a PC output, allowing an attached computer to play and even record live shows. LG says it has also made viewability a top priority with the new model and has incorporated a new screen that can be easily seen in real-world conditions, whether in broad daylight or at a sharp angle. The handset also has a fully adjustable external antenna that can pivot to improve reception regardless of the exact viewing position. A Mobile XD graphics engine is also said to improve the quality of the final image. LG hopes to ship the KB1800 soon under its Cyon label in Korea.
Nano PRODUCT RED cases
Marware has unveiled two new versions of its Sportsuit Sprinter and SportGrip cases designed to complement Apple's iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition player. The Sportsuit Sprinter features a black neoprene body with color-coordinated red graphics, an adjustable hand strap with a secure Velcro closure, and a removable mini clip that works with Marware's Multidapt interchangeable clip system. The Sport Grip features a red translucent color, also coordinated to match the new Nano, and offers an easy-to-grip specially treated exterior to help prevent dust collection. The Sport Grip provides a silky texture, according to Marware, and offers easy access to iPod functionality alongside a tapered edge for the clickwheel. Marware's Sportsuit Sprinter for iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition is priced at $25, while the new Sport Grip is priced at $10. Both cases are available for pre-order.
5-hour Final Cut video
In brief: MacProVideo.com has released a 5-hour video tutorial program called "Final Cut 101: Video Editing Essentials" produced by Michael Wohl, the Apple Pro Training Series author.... The author of MacTracker has updated the software to include data on Apple's new Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro laptops.... Ifrogz has begun shipping its Tadpole video iPod case for children, which is specifically designed to help parents entertain children on-the-go.... Telligent has launched BlogMailr.com, a new service enabling anyone to publish a blog using any email software from any device.... MacForce has unveiled its new website, marking a sweeping overhaul of the site designed to make it more relevant and useful to visitors.
OpenBase SQL 10.0 ships
OpenBase International today began shipping OpenBase SQL 10.0, the latest revision of its fault-tolerant database engine. OpenBase 10 offers significantly enhanced performance, development and deployment capabilities, including: bundled OpenBase Forms and Form Designer software simplifying database input form design; new SQL features; an AppleScript interface; REALbasic Connectivity Module; advanced WebObjects plug-in; Universal Binary support; Ruby on Rails support; new PHP5 module; and new APIs (Application Program Interfaces). The company also released OpenBase SQL Solo, a new free single-server license local access version of OpenBase SQL 10. OpenBase SQL licenses start from $500, and upgrades are available to existing license holders.
Gateway NX570 Laptop
Gateway on Wednesday said it would replace its existing NX560 with a newer model that updates the ergonomics as well as performance. The NX570 series makes strategic use of different case materials to reduce weight without compromising strength, using lighter aluminum for the palm rest area and metal edges while using composites for the more vulnerable outer shell. Gateway's basic NX570X model will start with a basic 1.6GHz Core Duo, 80GB of storage, and Intel graphics; a fully-equipped XL variant is also available with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, a 120GB hard disk, and Mobility Radeon X1400 video. Prices begin at $900 for the entry-level model and the systems will see an official release within the next few days.
Vista completed tomorrow?
Microsoft is widely expected to announce the manufacturing release of Windows Vista tomorrow, according to various online sources. The software giant officially scheduled a conference call with company executive Jim Allchin for 11:00 a.m. PT, which Microsoft has linked directly to the future operating system, according to Electronista. The move will closely precede the official November 23rd availability of Vista for businesses and other large-volume customers, despite the operating system's mid-development rewrite and frequent delays. Widescale availability of Windows Vista to the general public is expected at the end of January next year.
Panasonic HDC-SD1 cam
Panasonic's HDC-SD1 is the first camcorder to record to SD cards in the AVCHD format. Based on H.264, the format was developed by Panasonic and Sony, and promises HD in smaller file sizes than those found on HDV and MiniDV cameras. Because the camera uses flash memory instead of discs, the SD1 also eliminates seek times associated with fast-forwarding and rewinding. A 3CCD sensor can record images up to 1080i in resolution, and a set of five microphones can record 5.1 surround sound, adjusting their pickup as the user zooms in and out. The Leica Dicomar lens has 12x optical zoom and a maximum aperture range of f/1.8 to 2.8. The camera will go on sale December 1st in Japan for the price of 180,000 yen ($1,530). A 4GB SD card will come standard.
Vista Complete Tomorrow
Microsoft is widely expected to announce tomorrow that Windows Vista has been released to manufacturing, according to multiple online sources. The company has officially scheduled a conference call with Microsoft executive Jim Allchin for 11AM Pacific which the company has linked directly to the future operating system. The move is timed to closely precede the official November 23rd availability of Vista for businesses and other large-volume customers. Vista has been plagued both by a mid-development rewrite and frequent delays, its most recent being a last-minute delay to correct key remaining flaws. Widescale availability for the general public is expected at the end of January.
New ConnectPort WAN VPN
Digi International today debuted a Rev A version of its ConnectPort WAN VPN, which it claims is the first commercial-grade EVDO Rev A Wireless WAN (WWAN) router. The ConnectPort WAN VPN is designed to provide a secure, high-speed cellular connection for reliable network connectivity to remote sites and devices. The device features an integrated Sierra Wireless MC5725 EV-DO Rev A embedded module to provide download speeds as high as 2.5Mbps with averages between 450-850Kbps and upload speeds averaging between 300-400Kbps. The ConnectPort WAN VPN integrates a Sierra Wireless MC5725 PCI Express Mini Card embedded module, enabling users to utilize Rev A EVDO networks and upgrade to next generation networks when they become available by replacing the wireless module. The EVDO Rev A version of the ConnectPort WAN VPN is currently in certification testing with Sprint, and completion is expected in fourth quarter 2006. The base product has been available since April of 2006.
Samsung X520 Phone
Although Samsung's most recent efforts emphasize premium designs such as the 10-megapixel B600, the company is preparing to bring its aesthetic to less expensive handsets, according to Slashphone. The upcoming X520 will bring the thin and narrow profiles of high-end models to a more affordable level. While specifications are anticipated as modest with an 0.3-megapixel camera, FM radio, and MP3 ringtone support as the phone's primary features, its signature two-tone design is widely expected to challenge the normally conservative design of other budget phones. Samsung is gearing the X520's as yet unspecified pricing towards prepaid cellular carriers such as Virgin Mobile and will release the phone before Christmas this year. Complete photos can be found after the jump.
Ramos V100 media player
The Ramos V100 is a Chinese media player that can handle a multitude of formats. It can play FLAC, Ogg, MP3, WAV and WMA audio files, and in terms of video, it can play RM/RMVB and MPEG-4 (DivX/XviD). SRT subtitles are supported. Where the player becomes more unusual is in its ability to play Flash games and animations, or run NES and SNES games through emulation. It can also perform voice and FM radio recording. There are two headphone jacks, for which the company has supplied a pair of Sennheiser MX500 earbuds. An SD slot provides up to 2GB of extra memory on top of built-in storage. The V100 comes in 512MB and 1GB models, which sell for 700 and 800 yuan ($89 and $102) respectively.
Patents, MS Vista tool
In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's newly granted patents for a 'Method and apparatus for dynamic performance evaluation of data storage systems,' and a 'Display device'.... Microsoft has announced new technology designed to help developers build applications for Windows Vista, which is slated for release to manufacturing partners in the near future.... A new Apple Authorized Retailer has opened in Xi'an, Mid-Western China, which is larger than the newest store in Beijing, according to one report.... XtraLean Software has launched "ShutterBug Land," a website for ShutterBug users to browse and download from a selection of 28 free new themes.... Popular Science magazine has recognized Belkin's Cable-Free USB Hub for its innovation in the Computing category, using the WisAir chipset to maintain wireless access to USB devices from anywhere in a room.... Take Control Books is offering 50 percent off on all its Take Control eBooks (Electronic Books) through November 13th, 2006.
Panasonic 1080p Projector
Panasonic took part in a CES press preview event today which marked the introduction of the company's first full HD projector. Owners of the new PT-AE1000U can display video at 1080p, matching the native resolution of Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies. The image quality itself is also improved, Panasonic says. A specially-tuned, aspherical lens system is claimed to provide 1,110 lumens of brightness as well as improved contrast. In combination with vertically aligned LCD pixels and improved iris control, the AE1000U can achieve a high 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Color accuracy is also a distinguishing trait of the new projector. A 14-bit color gamma correction system helps ensure accuracy automatically, but enthusiasts can now view the waveform for an incoming signal and adjust individual colors in response -- a feature previously left to professional calibration tools, Panasonic says. Two HDMI ports allow the device to connect to two different HD sources and an RS-232C connector can merge the AE1000U with home and theater automation systems. Panasonic plans to release the projector later this month for $5,999.
DJ Bear for iPod ships
Janlynn has introduced its DJ Bear Personal Speaker System, a bear that connects to an iPod or other portable audio player via a universal plug-and-play front pocket to create a personal sound system. The bear measures 6 x 7.5-inches wearing denim overalls, featuring two speakers hidden in the feet. Users press the paw to start and stop the music, and each DJ Bear Personal Speaker System includes a 9-inch cord. The bear requires four AAA batteries (not included), and is available for $40 with free shipping within the continental U.S. Sharper Image recently unveiled a similar sound system called the Children's iPulse Bear for iPod, featuring a belly pouch with a hidden minijack cable designed to plug into an iPod or other small music player.
Samsung 1GB SIM card
Samsung is showing off a 1GB SIM card at the Cartes 2006 expo, which finishes tomorrow in Paris. SIM cards are used to identify users on GSM phone networks; in most cases, however, the cards aren't large enough to hold more than identification and a small amount of content. Samsung's card (not pictured) should be able to hold a substantial amount of content, including music, photos, videos, and multimedia messages. Samsung is additionally advertising the card as having better encryption, as well as faster transfer rates through MMC and USB interfaces. The company has yet to say when the first 1GB SIMs will make it into mobile devices.
Thanko Space Mouse Lite
As part of the unveiling of its new online store, Thanko today highlighted its recent Wireless Space Mouse and announced a Lite version designed for portables. Both mice connect to an RF base station and support a unique dual-mode feature: when lifted off a desk and inverted, the Space Mouse automatically converts to a wireless remote for presentations, adjusting the controls so that the owner can steer the mouse by passing a finger over the sensor. A single button on the underside also lets users left-click without flipping the mouse over again, Thanko says. The company says its updated Lite version now has a more compact charging cradle and has a USB port to plug the mouse in for use while its battery is restored. The regular Space Mouse ships for $33; no pricing or availability has been set for the Space Mouse Lite.
Case-mate 2G Nano cases
Case-mate has unveiled its Signature and Luxe leather cases for Apple's second-generation iPod nano. The Signature case is constructed from genuine Napa leather, and comes with a belt clip that can swivel 360-degrees for easy access on-the-go. The Signature case ships with protection for the iPod's screen and clickwheel to guard against scratching. Case-mate's Luxe case is also made from Napa leather, and is designed to accent the material with genuine Swarovski crystals beneath the clickwheel. The Signature cases are available for $25, while the Luxe cases are slated for shipment in the near future for $30.
Oregon ATC2K Action Cam
Oregon Scientific has just revealed the latest version of its unique helmet camera. The ATC2K is intended for capturing video in high-intensity sports and is deliberately toughened against hostile conditions: the mountable camera can stay immersed in up to 10 feet of water for its entire battery life and will even survive the shocks of a cyclist's or snowboarder's fall, Oregon says. Video is recorded in DV format to either 32MB of built-in flash storage or an SD card, preventing the video from skipping in rough movement. The resulting footage can either be relayed directly to a TV through a bundled RCA cable as well as transferred to a Mac or PC through USB. Oregon now sells the ATC2K for $130 (helmet not included).
Core 2 Duo Mac mini?
A conspicuous Intel Core Duo graphic on the left side of Apple's Mac mini specifications page hints that the company's low end desktop system may soon receive Intel Core 2 Duo processors to replace the current Core Duo chips. The small graphic was discovered around the same time that Apple announced revised versions of its consumer-oriented MacBooks, according to AppleInsider, which now feature Intel Core 2 Duo processors. The image directs visitors to a non-existant Mac mini Core 2 Duo product page. Apple has thus far updated its iMac, MacBook Pro, and MacBook systems to Intel's faster Core 2 Duo processor, leaving only the Mac mini still making use of the older Core Duo chip. While the graphic may prove to be a simple mistake, industry watchers continue to look for signs of an updated Mac mini model.
Sharp 12MP camera sensor
Sharp has announced the creation of a new 12MP CCD sensor, designed to fit inside compact digital cameras. By contrast, today's most powerful compacts (such as Canon's PowerShot G7) are limited to 10MP. Many digital SLR cameras have less than 10MP. Measuring a mere 1/1.7-inches, Sharp's sensor shrinks each photosite down to 1.88 microns. This has caused worry at websites such as Digital Photography Review, which notes that the push for more megapixels may actually decrease sensitivity, increase noise, and put too much demand on the lower-grade lenses used in compacts. Sharp should start mass-producing the sensor in January. No specific camera models have been announced, either by Sharp or third parties.
Sanyo Easy Street GPS
Sanyo today announced the launch of its newest GPS unit, the Easy Street Portable GPS. The new navigation system adds features not often seen in its class, including a built-in Bluetooth receiver for using the device as a speakerphone while driving. Also unlike many other competitors, the Easy Street can store as many as 500 phone contacts in its own memory; this lets owners dial most contacts without ever having to retrieve the phone itself, according to Sanyo. The GPS unit is capable of MP3, WAV, and WMA song playback and is also portable, lasting up to 3.5 hours on its lithium-ion battery. A bundled 1GB SD card is preloaded with complete map data for the continental US (a DVD backup with Canadian information is also included). Sanyo says the Easy Street is available today for $400. Click through for a detailed photo.
Dell takes on Mac Pro
Dell today introduced its Precision computer, marking the first professional workstation to use quad-core Intel processors -- a significant jump ahead of Apple's dual-core Intel Xeon-powered Mac Pro systems. The new workstations drive up to two Intel Xeon 5300-series quad-core processors to offer as many as eight cores, and a fully-configured Precision 690 system performs up to 54 percent faster than a similar four-core model, according to Dell. Electronista reports that the new 490 and 690 models ship with double the number of available memory channels, allowing for as much as 32GB of memory in the 490 and 64GB in the flagship 690. The 690 further adds an SLI option for dual NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics cards, similar to Apple's Mac Pro systems, and Dell systems equipped with quad-core processors are available for pre-order from $2,250. [updated]
GeForce 8800 Announced
Although an official announcement is still pending, NVIDIA will today officially launch its next-generation video chipset, the GeForce 8800 series. The new architecture is the first to truly support the unified shader model of Microsoft's DirectX 10 software and an upcoming version of OpenGL, preventing the separation of pixel and vertex shaders that ultimately limited performance in earlier video cards. Performance is better than previously expected, according to DailyTech. The top-end GeForce 8800 GTX will feature 128 shader units supported by a 575MHz core processor, as anticipated, but will see its unprecedented 768MB of video memory clocked to a effective 1.8GHz, up significantly from the original 1.5GHz. A more mainstream part, the GeForce 8800 GTS, is also being released and will reduce costs by trimming the available shader units to 96, lowering the total memory to 640MB at a 1.6GHz effective clock speed, and introducing a 500MHz core. Features and shipping details are available after the jump.
Nielsen on Apple study
Web usability expert Jakob Nielson of Nielsen Norman Group has dubbed an Apple-sponsored study on large monitors and productivity meaningless. "A study of the benefits of big monitors fails on two accounts: it didn't test realistic tasks, and it didn't test realistic use," Nielsen wrote in his blog. "Productivity is a key argument for workplace usability, but you must measure it carefully." Nielsen says even if the method could be trusted, Pfieffer's figures were incorrect: "Reducing task time from 42.6 seconds to 20.7 seconds is actually a productivity gain of 105 percent, not 51 percent." Additionally, Apple's study focused at the wrong level of work -- pasting spreadsheet cells is not a user task, according to Nielsen, but an operation at a low interaction level. Nielsen also points to the fact that researchers tested rote memory operations which were practiced prior to the study, resulting in an unrealistic representation of how users operate, according to WebProNews.
Dell Quad-Core Workstation
Dell on Wednesday introduced the very first professional workstations to use quad-core Intel processors, according to the company. Its updated Precision line adds the choice of a single-socket, quad-core Core 2 Extreme at 2.66GHz for the Precision 390 model or as many as two of Intel's new Xeon 5300-series quad-core processors, providing as many as eight cores in a single system. A fully-configured, eight-core Precision 690 can improve performance as much as 54% over a similar four-core model, Dell claims. The new 490 and 690 models further ship with double the number of available memory channels, allowing for as much as 32GB of RAM to be installed in the 490 and 64GB in the flagship 690. The 690 further adds an SLI option for dual NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics cards. Prices for systems equipped with quad-core processors start at $2,223 for the Precision 390; all models ship today.
MacBook Core 2 Duo
Apple today upgraded its MacBook line of consumer laptops to add Intel's newer Core 2 Duo mobile processor. The new computing architecture promises as much as a 25% increase in performance over the previous models, according to Apple VP Philip Schiller. The new lineup consists of two white models sporting 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo chips respectively, as well as a single, 2.0GHz black model. All 2.0GHz models now feature 1GB of memory, 80 or 120GB of hard disk storage (upgradeable to 200GB), and 6X, dual-layer Superdrives for recording DVDs. The new models begin at $1,099 and are available immediately from the online Apple Store.
Core 2 Duo MacBooks
Apple today unveiled its new MacBook featuring Intel Core 2 Duo processors and offering double the memory as well as greater storage capacity than the previous generation. The one-inch thin laptops are up to 25 percent faster than the previous generation, according to Apple, and maintain the built-in iSight video camera for on-the-go video conferencing alongside a double-layer SuperDrive for burning DVDs. The new notebooks also retain Apple's MagSafe Power Adapter that safely disconnects when under strain, and iLife '06, Apple's suite of digital lifestyle applications. The updated MacBooks start at $1,099 and include three models: white 1.83GHz and 2GHz MacBooks, as well as the black 2GHz MacBook. [updated]
Apple Store goes down
Apple has brought down its online store for updates ahead of expected new product additions. The company is displaying its usual 'We'll be back soon' note alongside text that reads 'We are busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly.' Apple historically takes down its online store just prior to unveiling revamped products. Widespread speculation among industry watchers suggests that Apple is preparing to ship new MacBooks featuring Intel's new Core 2 Duo processors. An online retail website earlier this week appeared to have mistakenly published a product page containing Core 2 Duo-based MacBooks, which boasted the same specs as the previous revision with the exception of the new processor.
Sirius InV Receiver
Sirius hopes to replace its entry-level Sirius One receiver soon, according to a report by Orbitcast. The new iNV SV2-TK1 model would exchange the small, overhead design of the One for a dash-mountable receiver similar to Sirius' current lineup that provides greater information and control. A larger, three-line LCD will provide simultaneous channel, artist, and song information. Similarly, the extra physical space will allow for quicker access to commands, parental controls, and a Jump button for quick access to a favorite channel. Unlike newer full-size receivers, however, owners will need to plug in more conventional wires instead of using the more recent, universal Sirius plug-and-play connector. The new model is expected to go on sale in the near future for $60. Click through for a full photo.
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