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Free Zune re-downloads
Microsoft has announced that to a certain extent, files from the Zune Marketplace will be re-downloadable at no extra cost. Gizmodo notes that songs and videos will be downloadable up to five times past the initial point of purchase. This should ensure that if an initial download fails, or an existing copy is lost, users will still to able to receive their content. This has been one of the key complaints about the iTunes Music Store, which (with rare exceptions) only allows one-time downloads. Past customers have had to speak to Apple technical support in order to secure second copies. The Zune and the Zune Marketplace launch on November 14th.
Championship Manager 2006
Virtual Programming on Friday made the Mac edition of Championship Manager 2006 available for purchase as a direct download. The game allows players to manage every aspect of an international football club, ranging from tactics and training to player transfers. New features in the 2006 version include a Gameplan 3D mode offering players the option of watching matches with broadcast-style visuals while still providing control over squad tactics, as well as a more complex transfer system and the ability to coach individual players to inspire their performance. The new Championship Manager requires an Intel- or PowerPC-based Mac with 256MB of memory, a GeForce 2 MX or Radeon 8500 video card, 400MB of hard disk space, and Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The game is available for download from Virtual Programming for $40 and will ship to retail stores in the next 7-10 days.
Brain Boosters released
Gogii Games today released Brain Boosters, the company's first game for the Mac designed to challenge brain power. "Brain Boosters will evaluate your academic prowess with a series of eight tests. Depending on your results, you will know if you have the brain to get in the University or elementary school. Your tutor Edmund will help you along the way, giving tips and hints to perform better." The game features eight challenging sub-games, each offering increasing degrees of difficulty. Players can test logical skills as well as mathematics and linguistic intelligence. Three modes of play includes 'Ranking quiz,' 'Practice quiz,' and 'quick game.' The title also records progress, keeping a tally of each play session. Brain Boosters is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
RCA Laptop Teleceiver
RCA's MPC4000 is a forthcoming portable antenna system that will serve several functions, writes SCI FI Tech. Its main purpose will be to receive over-the-air HD signals and display them on a PC, feeding them through a USB port. But the antenna will also be able to catch standard-definition signals, and broadcasts of both qualities will be organized into a program guide. Bundled software will enable a hard disk to become a DVR unit, with features such as scheduled recordings and pausing live TV. The 4000 is not due for some time, however: it will debut in April for the price of $199. Clip-on and tabletop antennas will be included out of the box.
Archos Helmet Camcorder
Archos today said it has developed a unique attachment to extend the usefulness of its newest x04 media players. The newly-added Helmet Camcorder plugs into any Archos 404, 504, or 604 media player and records video in 640x480 MPEG-4 video directly to a given player's internal hard drive, allowing the wearer to create hour-long clips from the resulting footage. The combination of an included headband and a wired remote make it ideal for sports or other circumstances where conventional cameras would be too dangerous, Archos writes. A high-sensitivity CCD lets the camera record even in near-total darkness; slow-motion capture as precise as 1/8th time is possible for preserving highlights. Video is transferrable to any computer through USB. Available this month, the Helmet Camcorder sells for $150.
Forums November 10
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the new Core 2 Duo version of Apple's MacBook laptops and how they differ from their predecessor, the Core Duo-based model.... Some users are expressing concern over the safety of Norton Anti-Virus solutions after one iMac owner -- who is one in a long line of users -- experienced numerous problems while using the product.... Another user shares an experience with the new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, discovering that the new version runs far cooler, sparking debate as to how Apple reduced the temperature of its newest model.... Another member questions why the matte MacBook Pro screen appears so 'grainy', and whether it is a defect or 'standard'.... Meanwhile, one user looks for help finding a fanless Dual-link DVI graphics card for a PowerMac G5 workstation.
Brando 55-in-1 Card Reader
USB device maker Brando today presented its latest generation of flash storage readers. The WorkShop 55-in-1 card reader boasts support for virtually every major format, Brando claims, including those that normally require special support. Cellphone users can plug miniSD, Memory Stick Micro, and T-flash cards into the reader without the need for an adapter, while the next-generation SDHC standard can also be read natively. This comes without a sacrifice in speed, according to Brando: the 55-in-1 reader can transfer data as quickly as a SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash card, copying 100MB of data in as little as 6 seconds. The new reader is being prepared for a late November release at a price of $28.
MacBook backpacks ship
Everki today unveiled its new Fling sling backpack for 'subnotebooks' and ultra-light laptops, such as Apple's MacBook. The bag is made from high-durable nylon, designed as a compact and sleek means to carry small notebooks in style. Everki bags feature a cushioned computer 'nest,' inner accessory storage, a front compartment with various pockets, and a pocket specifically designed for an iPod or other portable media player. "The Fling is the only high performance bag on the market that is designed specifically for the ultra mobile computing lifestyle," said Everki CEO Kevin Luong. "The reason consumers buy small notebooks is to avoid carrying around heavy, bulky equipment. Why carry around an over-sized bag when you can carry a streamlined pack designed to fit everything important? The Fling helps protect your notebook while still carrying everything you need while on the go in a highly organized fashion." The Fling is available in three colors which include ivory, blue, and flax for $40.
Creative TravelSound ZEN V
Creative today announced a new set of portable speakers for its iPod nano-rivaling ZEN V and ZEN V Plus flash music players. The simply-titled TravelSound ZEN V cradles the player securely between two 4-watt speakers, but also adds a unique, extractable radio antenna for boosting the reception of the more advanced ZEN V Plus' built-in FM tuner. Creative also promises rarer expansion options such as a subwoofer input to bolster low-end frequency response and 25 hours of playback time when powered using disposable batteries. With support for both third-party audio through a minijack plug and synchronization through USB, the TravelSound is set to launch in late November for $108 US for Creative's home of Singapore and should be available in North America soon afterwards.
iSale 3.3 released
Equinux today released iSale 3.3, integrating eBay Express into the eBay auction software. The update includes a total of 95 unique templates for various listings, and signals the unification of the company's pricing structure to offer multi-pack licenses. The latest Template Pack 9 includes 10 designs for eBay's Home & Garden category, while an overview of all templates is available via the Equinux website. Beginning with version 3.3, iSale is available in three different 'Personal Packs' which include Single, Pro, and Jumbo. The basic 'Personal Pack Single' allows usage on a single Mac, while the 'Personal Pack Pro' and 'Personal Pack Jumbo' are designed for advanced users looking to manage auctions from multiple Macs. iSale 3.3 is available for $40 for the 'Personal Pack Single,' or $50 for 'Personal Pack Pro' allowing usage on up to three Macs. The 'Jumbo' pack allows five Macs to use the software and is priced at $70. All versions require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Ricoh Caplio RR730
Ricoh's newest camera is the RR730, a 7.1MP compact. It has 3x optical zoom with 4x digital, for a possible combined factor of 12x. Maximum apertures range from f/2.8 in wide-angle to 4.8 in telephoto. In addition to using SD cards as external memory, the 730 has 32MB of internal memory, which is twice as much as its predecessor and can be useful in cases of overflow or for taking brief snapshots. The camera also records video, and images are displayed on a 2.5-inch LCD. The whole unit runs on two AA batteries. The RR730 is not available in North America at present, but since you can find the RR630, expect it to appear in the near future.
ASUS P5N32-E SLI Board
As a complement to its GeForce 8800 graphics chip announcement, NVIDIA this week also unveiled its nForce 600-series mainboards for systems using Intel's Core 2-based processors. One of the initial companies to take advantage of this new platform is ASUS, which has just unveiled its new P5N32-E SLI gaming-oriented mainboard. The new design uses the high-end nForce 680i chipset to provide a third, full-speed X16 PCI Express slot that can be used with a video card supporting NVIDIA's CUDA technology to process AI, physics, and other general code, alleviating the load of the main system processor. The slot can alternately serve as a standard graphics slot for as many as two separate displays, even when the main video cards are paired in SLI for extra performance. ASUS also emphasizes a fanless, heatpipe-cooled chipset that ensures quiet, a dedicated SupremeFX sound card that replaces Intel's built-in audio hardware, as well as an option to automatically overclock the system when it's sufficiently cool. Though board pricing varies by area, ASUS is already shipping the P5N32-E SLI to NewEgg and other computer resellers for $300.
YouTube client debuts
Twisted Ninja Software today debuted Tubular, its YouTube client for Mac OS X designed to offer easy access to videos on YouTube. The software allows users to browse, search, and watch videos without the need to open a Web browser, and supports conversions of any video into a format that will play on Apple's fifth-generation video iPod. The software also supports copying as well as sending a YouTube URL for any video to friends. Tubular is available for pre-order for $13 until the software is released, which Twisted Ninja says is some time before the end of 2006. Pricing for Tubular will rise after the official release, according to the company (system requirements were unavailable).
PowerBook Pismo battery
FastMac today began shipping its high capacity extended life battery upgrade for Apple's PowerBook Pismo. The new 84 watt/hour battery uses lithium-ion cells with integrated charge indicator LEDs that utilize TruePower technology to provide upto 68 percent more capacity than the original Apple battery, according to FastMac. The company's TruePower line of battery upgrades replace the computer's original battery with a larger capacity and longer lasting advanced power cell battery that utilizes TruePower technology to incorporate sensors in the integrated circuit within the battery that detect undesirable levels of swelling or a short circuit, powering off the battery in certain extreme conditions. The TruePower battery for the PowerBook Pismo is available for an introductory price of $140, and users can bundle the battery with a G4 550MHz processor upgrade for $350 -- a $50 savings. Each battery carries a 1-year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.
TA 454 Video Player
Online store Gadget Universe says its newly-offered TA 454 Digital Video Player is one of the smallest video-capable players available. Its dimensions more closely resemble that of a car's wireless key fob, the company claims. Regardless of its size, the 454 is said to make very efficient use of its available space, sporting a 1.5-inch LCD and support for videos transcoded into the rarer SMV format, eBooks, JPEG photos, and music in MP3 or WMA. Voice recording and a built-in speaker allow for sharing audio. Storage is handled via 256MB of built-in flash memory; for more demanding content, the player can accept SD cards for additional space. Gadget Universe ships the TA 454 for $80.
iPod with streaming video?
The next generation of iPod -- anticipated at this January's Macworld conference -- could well have some form of streaming video support, T3 reports. A Disney filing at the US Patent Office suggests that the company would like to stream video from ESPN direct to wireless devices, among them the iPod, which is listed as a potential target. Select ESPN shows are already on sale at the iTunes Music Store, but the patent refers to game results and other real-time content. Disney owns ESPN and has formed strong ties with Apple, as Disney movies have recently premiered on iTunes, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs sits on Disney's board of directors.
The Burning Crusade
Blizzard Entertainment has announced that World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade will be in stores on January 16th in North America and in Europe. The expansion to the world's leading subscription-based multiplayer online role-playing game will allow players to advance characters up to level 70, add two new playable races -- the Blood Elves and the Draenei -- as well as flying mounts and new talents & abilities to all character classes. The update includes a new jewelcrafting profession, new magical weapons and armor, and numerous player-versus-player enhancements. Lead veteran players are taken through the fabled Dark Portal and into Outland, the former homeworld of the Orcs and site of a series of cataclysmic events that helped shape the history of the Warcraft universe. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is priced at $40, offering compatibility to Mac as well as Windows systems (specific system requirements were unavailable).
QM Motion Speaker
Question Mark Entertainment announced on Friday the release of its new Motion Speaker. The single-piece audio system avoids traditional dials in favor of motion-sensitive controls: listeners change the volume or tune different radio stations by passing a hand in front of the relevant sensor. An auto-scanning FM receiver saves the user an element of effort, Question Mark says. Designed as a fashion piece, the Motion Speaker also has a built-in ambient lighting system and is meant to be used with virtually any power source: it can be powered through traditional AC power, four AA batteries, or a computer's USB port. The speaker works as an audio device for any Mac, Windows PC, or portable audio player with a minijack connection and will ship next week to Europe for €80 ($103).
Hed Kandi MP3 player
Ministry of Sound has released another MP3 player, this time the Hed Kandi. Named after the Ministry's house-oriented sublabel, the player's main attractions are its candybar design and the five pre-loaded tracks from artists such as Tennishero and Shaolin Master. It can record voice, play MP3, WMA and WMA-DRM files for up to 12 hours, and comes with a mini-USB cable, in-ear headphones, and a hidden OLED display. Pink and white versions will go on sale mid-November for £70 ($133) from the Ministry website.
DigiDesign Mbox 2 Mini
DigiDesign has unveiled the Mbox 2 Mini, a Pro Tools LE system designed with a small form factor as an affordable alternative for singers and songwriters. The Mbox 2 Mini includes creation tools for composing, recording, and mixing music as well as audio. The device comes with Pro Tools LE software, and is usable in any Pro Tools-equipped studio like its siblings, the Mbox 2 and Mbox 2 Pro. Mbox 2 Mini features professional sound quality at up to 24-bit/48kHz; offers two simultaneous analog inputs and outputs with one XLR analog input and two 1.25-inch line-/instrument-level (DI) analog inputs; and zero-latency monitoring. DigiDesign's latest audio unit enclosure features a compact and rugged metal enclosure, and draws power from the host computer's USB bus. A front-panel volume control and monitor mute switch adorn the device, and a stereo headphone output sits alongside a Kensington Security Lock. The Mbox 2 Mini ships for $320, and works with all modern Mac systems.
Motorola Q Pro Coming
Motorola is planning a new version of its popular Q smartphone, as revealed by photos and early details obtained by Hungarian website Terminal. Though since removed from the original website, the information points to a likely enhancement that would cater both to the professional and entertainment audiences. Larger, flat keys are expected to speed typing while the device also gains faster HSDPA and UMTS Internet access. A 2-megapixel camera also represents an improvement over the intiial model's 1.3-megapixel images. Few other hardware specifications were unveiled about the Q Pro, which continues to use Windows Mobile for software; the phone is set to debut in Europe with Vodafone's GSM-based service, opening the possibility of a release for Cingular or other similar carriers in North America. Click through for additional photos.
Smart Loops, Apple Loops
Smart Loops has released its Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars libraries in Apple Loops format, both of which were previously available only in ACID format. The updated libraries allow musicians and producers to create realistic backing guitar and bass tracks using any Mac or PC music software, including GarageBand, Logic Express, Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools, SONAR, Project5, Cakewalk Home Studio, Guitar Tracks Pro, Digital Performer, ACID, and other compatible applications. Smart Loops Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars libraries each include 950 instrument loops, with support for interchangeable mixing and matching to create thousands of unique tracks. Smart Loops Bass Guitars and Electric Guitars libraries are ideal for Rock, Pop, Funk, and other styles of music, according to Smart Loops, while the Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars loops are designed to work seamlessly with other Smart Loops libraries, including Dry Studio Kit and Percussion Kit. Smart Loops Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars are available for $30 each.
Silex announces wiDock
Silex Technology today announced details of its wiDock, a device that allows users to synchronize an iPod and iTunes without the need to physically plug the device into a Mac. The wiDock has five built-in iPod adapters that offer compatibility with the video iPod, iPod nano, and iPod mini. A connection is established via an 802.11b/g wireless network, negating the need to move the iPod back to the computer for each transfer of new songs or videos. Data is encrypted via WEP, WPA, or WPA2, and the device charges the iPod battery while allowing users to control the iPod playback using the Apple Remote. The wiDock is compatible with both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later or Windows 2000/XP, according to Electronista. The wiDock is scheduled to ship in December for $150.
MagicBox Online Radio
Seeking to streamline Internet radio for those who prefer not to use their PC, Reciva is now shipping its Magicbox IMP online radio. Instead of manually entering site addresses, listeners press buttons on the radio itself to access an international directory of Internet radio stations broadcasting in most streaming formats, including MP3, RealAudio, and Windows Media. Browsing is possible by country as well as by genre. Receiving the stream is handled through a WiFi receiver that connects to any standard wireless network, including those with WEP encryption. An option also exists to navigate and stream content directly from a host PC, which expands format support to AAC, Audible, and other standards. Reciva currently sells the MagicBox for £149 ($284) and can export to the US.
Apple gift wrap
In brief: Apple is offering a gift wrapping service for any iPod orders purchased as Christmas gifts, delivering items in a unique white box with red stripes for a small fee.... The commitment of Loughborough University to the Apple platform is profiled in a recent article on the Apple UK website, detailing the equipment that the Leicestershire-based campus has invested in.... MacPractice has added Canadian EClaims capability to MacPractice DDS, which is a first for Mac OS X, according to the company.... Gateway has unveiled new 24-inch and 22-inch high-definition widescreen LCDs that stand to compete with Apple's high-definition Cinema displays.... Big Nerd Ranch has announced its five-day intensive Fast-Track Linux Administration Bootcamp with LPI Certification, which is scheduled for February 19-23rd, 2007 in a retreat setting outside Atlanta, GA.... Luxology has announced "The Power of Two" promotion, offering modo 202 at a discounted price of $700 to users of LightWave 3D, Softimage|XSI, 3ds Max, and Maya.
Silex Technology wiDock
Silex Technology claims that the wiDock is first iPod dock to sync files wirelessly. Once a computer is configured with the installation disc, users can dock their iPod anywhere in range to begin charging and copying files from iTunes. The wiDock connects through 802.11b/g, or as backup, a direct Ethernet cable. RCA and S-Video jacks let you feed audio and video to a TV. The product comes with five adapters for regular, Nano and Mini iPods, and is compatible with Windows 2000/XP, or OS X 10.2.7 and greater. Data is encrypted via WEP, WPA, or WPA2. The wiDock will go on sale in December for the price of $149.
P.pod MP3 Player
Online retailer I Want One of Those today began carrying the diminutive P.pod MP3 player. Measured at three inches in length and one inch wide, the player consumes very little space compared to most players in its class, the store says. In spite of its size, the design is toughened with a rubberized protective layer and keeps many of the features of current audio players, including MP3 and WMA playback, a built-in microphone for voice recording, and support for both lyrics and general file storage. The player can connect directly to a PC through USB 2 and is powered by a single AAA battery. Crucially, the player is available for only $27 while storing 256MB of music.
Apple settles display suit
Apple has settled a class-action lawsuit regarding its 17-inch LCD Studio Displays, which was filed after numerous customers experienced backlight outages related to the DC-AC inverters that shipped with the units. U.S. residents who purchased a new 17-inch LCD Studio Display and who have already paid or will pay in the future for a repair covered by the settlement may be entitled to benefits under the lawsuit. Display owners must file claims for repairs made on or before November 13th, 2006 by the deadline of February 12th, 2007. For all repairs completed after November 13th, 2006, owners must submit claims within the earlier of 90 days after the repair or by August 31st, 2007. The lawsuit website provides display owners with instructions for filing claims, as well as copies or legal documents related to the suit. [updated]
Monster Theater Controller
Monster Cable's home automation division Monster Central has just unveiled its Home Theater and Lighting Controller 300, describing it as a "whole-home" remote that can be used to control most complex electronics in a home. The 300 can be configured through online updates to manage not only common home theater equipment, such as DVD players, stereos, and televisions, but also computer music and videos, basic game console functions, iPod docking systems, and Monster-compatible systems. Interference and line-of-sight issues with the remote are avoided through the controller's support for OmniLink bridge, Monster says: a bundled RF-to-IR bridge transmits the remote's commands as long as it stays within range, regardless of walls or other barriers. Built-in memory further ensures that the 300 is always aware of devices' activities, and it can store presets that can trigger several devices at once for movie viewing or other common tasks. Monster ships its premium controller for $600.
IGN Evadeo Trail GPS
The French organization Institut Geograpique National is now shipping its unique Evadeo GPS tracker for both drivers and pedestrians. The Evadeo is one of the first GPS units to provide route information beyond roads, says the institution, and ships with two 1GB SD cards that combined store not only vehicle routes but also IGN maps of park paths, main trails, and small village roads for all of France. Owners living in urban areas can also switch the Evadeo to a special pedestrian mode that clearly labels street names and shows walking-oriented street directions. The 3.5-inch touchscreen handheld also has a built-in location search tool that can find both human and natural landmarks. IGN ships the device for €449 ($576 US).
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