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|MacUpdate Weekend Sale||:This weekend MacUpdate has slashed prices on Painter 12 and Painter Lite. Painter 12 retails for $429, but has been reduced by 54% to $199. Painter Lite has seen a 58% price cut from $69 to $29. Hurry, because these deals are only available until May 19th 2013.|
App Stop, iWisdom, ...
App Stop 2.0 ($15) is a system utility that allows users to control the applications running on their computer by pausing & resuming, setting processor priority, and force quitting. Version 2.0 brings Intel-Mac compatibility and also improves application efficiency. App Stop 2.0 is 2-5x faster and uses considerably less CPU power. Upgrades are $10 for registered users for the first two weeks. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 700KB]
iWisdom 1.1 (freeware) is a Java-based program that manages a collection of quotations or other brief insights, including author, source, year of publication, title and category. Version 1.1 can now import XML files (including those at www.PortableWisdom.org. In addition, it can now import data in QML (Quotation Markup Language) and QEL (Quotation Exchange Language) formats. It can also publish a wisdom collection in HTML using a series of included XSL templates and CSS. It requires Java 1.4.2 and Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 3.2MB]
SQLite3ProfessionalPlugin 2.0 ($100) updates the database engine plugin for REALbasic that offers low level access to the SQLite 3 database. It fully supports all the RB database API and a lot more sqlite 3 specific methods. The plugin offers a nearly 1-to-1 map to the sqlite3 C api, allowing access to virtually every sqlite3 routine inside the REALbasic environment. Version 2.0 is a Universal Binary, uses the latest sqlite library v3.3.8, adds a RB database API, adds the FST1 module in order to support full-text search, and more. It requires RB 2005. [Download - 1.4MB]
PhoneDirector 1.2.1 (€30) is software application for managing Nokia mobile phones,including the 6230, 6230i, 6233, 6234, 7280, 7380, 8800. It offersPhonebook, SMS, Gallery and Calendar management, including Phonebook editing, uploading, deleting, backup, and export (including extended phonebook with more numbers and texts). Users can also SMS directly from their computer, manage video/sounds files, edit their calendar, upload Java applications, connect via Bluetooth, set radio channels, upload Safari bookmarks, and more. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 18MB]
HoudahSpot 1.3 ($15) is a file Spotlight-based search tool that enables users to quickly create and store powerful search queries. Version 1.3 adds a customizable result listing, a German localization, new default templates, improved wording and search queries, an improved interface, persistent window sizing, and new help documentation in English, German and French. HoudahSpot can also now automatically check for and install updates. It is a Universal Binary application and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8. [Download - 2.5MB]
BandAid 2 ($28) is a database tool to track activity of bands and musicians. Users can track gigs, songs, and finances, view contact information, keep promo shots, and print lyrics and setlists. It offers an intuitive point-and-click interface; allows users to log as many acts as necessary with contact info, promo shot, etc.; can log concerts, repertoire and gig payments; can track income and expenses and print reports; manages and prints song lyrics and setlists, and offers context sensitive online documentation. [Download - options]
Firmware, X11, Camera RAW
Apple today released several firmware updates for its Intel-based Macs to address several Boot Camp, startup, and wake-from-sleep issues. The company posted Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.1, iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.1, MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.2, MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.0, and Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.1. Apple also posted X11 Update 2006 1.1.3, which addresses several issues in the X11 for Mac OS X package, enabling it to better handle GLX stereo visuals and offscreen rendering to GLX Pbuffers and Pixmaps. Apple says that to take advantage of stereo visuals users must enter "$ defaults write com.apple.x11 enable_stereo -bool true" at the command line. The X11 update also addresses font issues present in X11 1.1.2, and is recommended for all users.
RbApp 2.0 for REALbasic
Excel Software has released RbApp 2.0, a collection of reusable classes for writing Mac and Windows software with the REALbasic. Version 2.0 adds the new RbGrid, RbChart and RbQuickLicense components plus enhancements to the current RbEdit, RbView, RbCommand, RbPalette, RbStringList, RbXML, RbHelp and RbLibrary. It supports the latest REALbasic 2006R4 for Universal Binaries. RbGrid provides a flexible, scaleable grid control with cells arranged into rows and columns, while RbChart provides line graphs, bar charts, area charts, tables, pie charts and other presentation options with minimal programming. RbQuickLicense can be used to integrate any REALbasic application with Excel Software's QuickLicense system for software protection, license management and Trialware creation. RbApp 2.0 is $300 for a single-user license that supports both Mac and Windows development. It includes sample applications, source code examples, a printed and PDF Developer's Guide and royalty-free distribution of RbApp code compiled into applications.
FieldsKit 2.0 plugins
RE:Vision Effects' new FieldsKit 2.0 is a set of plugins that provide smarter deinterlacing and better workflow options for interlacing and pulldown. FieldsKit 2 now includes the powerful motion estimation found in Twixtor and ReelSmart Motion Blur. Other new features include a Deinterlacer mode that uses motion estimation in order to deinterlace and a reinterlacer mode that uses motion estimation to create interlaced material from progressive material. It also offers floating point image support for After Effects 7.0 and adds a render-only licensing option. FieldsKit 2.0 is priced at $90, while upgrades are $30. Render-only licenses are $18. It is compatible with Adobe's After Effects 5.0 and later, Adobe Premiere Pro 1.0, Apple's Final Cut Pro 4.0, and Autodesk’s combustion 2.1. FieldsKit 2.0 and other of RE:Vision Effects products will be showcased at DV Expo (booth 819), which runs from November 15-17 in Los Angeles.
Freeverse expansion pack
Freeverse today has released Cult of Mithras, an expansion pack to Legion Arena, the strategy game of Roman warfare. Cult of Mithras continues where the Roman Campaign of Legion Arena leaves off, adding a fun new supernatural element to the historically inspired wargame. "Terrifying armies of Fire Demons and Shadow Warriors will challenge your battle-tested legions, pitting the fires of hell against cold, hard steel," the company said. Cult of Mithras features 35 new battles across seven campaigns, seven new unit types including Fire Demons, Shadow Warriors and Ghost Legions as well as an enhanced storyline. The game also introduces "linked battles" that prevent healing up between and add a new layer of strategy. In addition, the expansion pack features intense new graphical effects as well as new and powerful special equipment. Cult of Mithras is $15 and requires Legion Arena ($40) and Mac OS X 10.3.9.
360 HD-DVD works w/PC
For the price of $200 and some custom configuration, PC owners may be able to buy an inexpensive HD-DVD drive, writes UNEASYsilence. Microsoft's HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 can apparently be installed to a PC with little effort. After connecting the player to a Windows XP machine via USB, users need only download these drivers to make it work in programs like WinDVD. Mac computers can detect the hardware, meanwhile, but can't play movies due to a lack of software support. Native HD-DVD drives for computers often cost several hundred dollars more than Microsoft's player.
Minox DC 1011 Carat
Wealthy amateur photographers may be interested in the Minox DC 1011 Carat. Not only is the body of the camera covered in 24-carat gold, the lens is surrounded by ten, 0.02-carat diamonds, each measuring 0.08 inches. In practical terms the 1011 has image stabilization, a 10.1MP sensor, and a 2.5-inch LCD screen. Photos and video can be stored in 32MB of internal memory, or else a maximum 2GB of external memory through an SD card. Videos are recorded in VGA resolution. Binoculars.com is selling the camera for $1,699, which comes shipped in its own wooden case with accessories like a lithium-ion battery.
iPod Dynamic speakers ship
Diasonic today announced that it hopes to address the common lack of flexibility found in most iPod audio systems with its new iPod Dynamic Speakers. The stereo system remains in one piece on-the-go to conserve space, but both of the 3-watt satellites detach from the base to deliver improved stereo separation, according to Electronista. The Dynamic Speakers also include a button to toggle an enhanced stereo effect, while a bass boost feature improves low-end frequency response. In its portable mode, the speakers can play for up to eight hours using four AA batteries. Plugging the system into an AC power outlet saves batteries and charges the connected iPod. The latest system works with all dockable iPods through a universal adapter, and ships in black or white trim for $70.
Non-Zune owners thieves?
Universal today accused all owners of non-Zune music players of stealing music, according to a report from Billboard Magazine. The major record label last week revealed that it had struck a deal with Microsoft to collect royalties on each Zune player sold. "We felt that any business that's built on the bedrock of music we should share in," Universal CEO Doug Morris said. Today Universal's chief revealed that the label refused to license its content to Microsoft's Zune Marketplace online store without royalties, arguing that his company requires compensation above and beyond direct music sales, regardless of whether Universal artists' music is ever copied to a Zune. "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it." Morris' statement in effect suggests that players without such licensing schemes -- such as Apple's iPod -- are used primarily to listen to illegally copied songs.
Dual XDVD8182 In-Car
Dual today released its XDVD8182 an in-car head unit designed explicitly with iPod support in mind. It occupies only one standard DIN slot but is capable of playing CDs, DVDs, and iPod content courtesy of a retractable 7-inch touchscreen. The unit supports virtually all functions of dockable iPods attached via a bundled link cable, including music, photos, and videos. It can similarly display all relevant track information, Dual says. The device also includes MP3 and WMA disc support and can connect to 5.1 surround sound speakers, external displays, or rear-view cameras for larger cars. Dual has made the XDVD8182 available today for $699.
Zune holiday difficulty
Microsoft's Zune player is expected to hit store shelves tomorrow, marking the most legitimate competitor to Apple's dominance in the digital music industry so far. Senior analyst Gene Munster of research firm Piper Jaffray believes Microsoft has a lot of work to do before significantly impacting Apple's market share, however. "In the near term, we expect very little impact on Apple's holiday season iPod sales from Zune, given relatively low public awareness at this point," Munster wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. Microsoft's launch of the Zune player and its music service tomorrow will have limited near-term impact on the iPod due to the initial limited usefulness of Zune's most touted feature -- the ability for Zune users to wirelessly share amongst each other. "If, at some point, there are millions of Zunes in the market, the wireless sharing capability may prove to be a more compelling feature," the analyst wrote.
Universal on non-Zunes
Confirming earlier indications that the company is compensating for perceived losses to its music business, Universal on Monday accused all owners of music players beyond Microsoft's Zune of stealing music, according to Billboard. Universal CEO Doug Morris made the public revelation that the music label refused to license its content to Microsoft's online store without royalties, arguing controversially that his company required compensation outside of direct music sales regardless of whether or not Universal artists' music is ever copied to the player. More details follow after the jump.
Tabletop MP3 Jukebox
X-Treme Geek is selling the JukeMaster 100, which, as the name suggests, is designed to operate like a miniaturized '50s-era jukebox. Owners insert a standard or MP3 CD into the back, and use the letter and number buttons on the front to queue up a particular song. Lights and record-player samples are triggered as the songs load. A holder for index cards lets you browse titles, though the only included cards are for the bundled album, "100 Hits From the '50s & '60s." Music is fed through headphones, integrated speakers, or a line-out jack connected to an external system. The JukeMaster 100 costs $249 and is available now.
Jensen iPod Clock
A third iPod speaker system unveiling was made today by Jensen, which demonstrated its new JiMS-200 iPod alarm clock. The system is unique for its concessions made to owners of smaller iPods. In contrast to most docks, the JiMS-200's Dock Connector can slide to the left to let iPod nanos dock with the stereo while remaining centered, Jensen notes. The JiMS-200 further adds a dedicated USB port away from the main dock which is meant to play audio directly from a first-generation iPod shuffle. Other uncommon addtions include an external FM antenna for improved reception and a retractable headphone cable to plug the system into external audio hardware. Jensen retails the unit for $80. A basic version without the USB port and fewer radio presets, the JiMS-190, is also available for $60. Click through for a photo of the clock in its optional black.
iLuv portable video player
iLuv today began shipping the i1055 portable video player, a unique handheld device that plays both conventional DVD discs as well as video from any fifth-generation video iPod. A 7-inch screen on the front is connected to both a DVD drive and an iPod dock on the back, allowing the i1055 to play videos from either format in a single device. The gadget plays VCDs and audio CDs from the disc drive, or music and photos from the iPod. The system is completely portable, according to iLuv, and plays video for up to 2.5 continuous hours through its built-in NiMH battery. The device comes bundled with an AC power cable as well as a 12-volt car adapter, and the power cable recharges an iPod even during video playback, according to Electronista. iLuv has launched the i1055 in black and white editions for $230.
PTHPasteboard 4 released
PTH Consulting today released PTHPasteboard 4, a multiple pasteboard program for Mac OS X, maintaining copies of items copied to the pasteboard. PTHPasteboard 4 controls settings via a Preference Pane in System Preferences, offers a search field on all Pasteboard windows, and offers access to information on Pasteboard items by right/control clicking on any item. The update also supports pasting formatted text as unformatted by middle/command clicking on any item, improves HotKeys support, and fully integrates Mac OS X Help. The latest revision adds dozens of menu bar icons, and offers the ability to choose menu bar icons for custom Pasteboard windows. The software is available for free, with a Pro version priced at $20. Both versions require Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Beatles online "soon"
Recordings of the Beatles will soon make their way online for the first time, according to EMI Group vice chairman David Munns. The executive made the announcement at a San Francisco-based music industry conference over the weekend, saying that the Beatle's content will be available online for download "soon." Apple Corps -- the Beatles' record label -- and EMI are readying the launch of the first Beatles official online merchandise store, according to Yahoo Music. Apple expressed interest in offering Beatles tracks via the iTunes Music Store in May of this year, voicing hopes that the Cupertino-based company and Apple Corps could reach some sort of agreement. Apple Computer made the announcement just two days after winning a lawsuit against Apple Corps, allowing the computer-maker to use the Apple logo and brand in conjunction with iTunes. The EMI executive failed to reveal where the classic tracks would be sold online, however.
Toshiba Gigabeat P-Series
Known in North America primarily for its hard drive-based Gigabeat models that form the foundation of Microsoft's Zune music player, Toshiba today unveiled newer versions of its P-series players aimed at beginning music listeners. The new 1GB (P10K) and 2GB (P20K) models improve controls over their larger counterparts by including a separate selection button below the company's signature touch-sensitive directional pad, reducing the need for side buttons. Users also have the choice of alternate faceplates for each model, as with cellphones: the Gigabeat can swap between green, pink, or white covers to personalize the look. Both versions build in a rare line-in recording feature that captures audio directly from a microphone or stereo without the need for a computer, according to Toshiba. The P10K and P20K are expected to sell for $120 and $150 US respectively in their native country as of December; a North American launch isn't planned but is possible due to English-language menus.
'Mac guy' still making ads
Apple's 'Mac guy' Justin Long who stars in the company's "Get a Mac" television ads has denied claims made by one publication last week that he would stop making Apple commercials. "As for the Mac commercials, I don't know where that report came from that said I wasn't going to do anymore," Long wrote in his blog residing on his official website. "I [am] literally setting my alarm right now to wake up for a Mac shoot tomorrow - if I'm not doing [it] anymore I guess I can sleep in on my day off - that'd be nice." The report, which originated from Radar Online, claimed a representative for Long had confirmed that he would no longer participate in Apple's ad campaign. Long said in his official blog that he is shooting some humorous holiday spots, but said he's surprised Apple hasn't ended the ads on its own.
Diasonic iPod Speakers
Japanese electronics maker Diasonic said today that it hopes to address the common lack of flexibility found in most iPod audio systems with its newly announced iPod Dynamic Speakers. While the stereo can remain in one piece for travel or a better use of space, both of the 3-watt satellites can detach from the base to deliver better stereo separation. Accordingly, the Dynamic Speakers also include a button to toggle an enhanced stereo effect. A bass boost feature also improves the low-end frequency response. In portable mode, the speakers can play for up to 8 hours using four AA batteries; plugging the system into an AC power outlet saves battery and can charge the iPod. Diasonic's latest system is compatible with all dockable iPods through a universal adapter and ships in black or white trim for $68 US. Click through for an image of the detached setup.
LG Chocolate at Rogers
While most phones offered in Canada are direct counterparts to American equivalents, Rogers Wireless today said it now carries an uncommon variant of the Chocolate named the TG800. Unlike the previous VX8500 model carried by Verizon and Canada's Telus, the TG800 more closely follows the original Korean design and abandons the circular control pad for a larger, subtler scheme built directly into the slider phone's outer casing. It also retains the signature checkerboard number pad that had been removed for the initial North American edition. Importantly, the phone gains a world phone functionality not present in virtually any other model: a quad-band radio lets the TG800 connect to any GSM network while roaming across the globe, a feature partially absent from the CDMA-based VX8500. Rogers offers the new Chocolate for $150 CDN with a three-year contract and $320 as a stand-alone handset.
ic502 on Sprint, Nextel
Sprint is now selling Motorola's ic502. Though mostly a standard walkie-talkie phone, the product has the unique advantage of supporting both iDEN and CDMA frequencies, allowing it to function on Sprint, Nextel, and even Verizon networks. The walkie-talkie mode can also be used off-network within a specific range. Sprint further touts the phone's toughness, noting that it complies with the US military's 810F standard for resistance to dust, shock, and other environmental factors. The ic502 is selling for $50 after rebate and a two-year contract.
GalleryPlayer for HDTV
GalleryPlayer on Monday said it had launched a unique new TV network designed to let HDTV owners use their sets as artistic backgrounds. Comcast subscribers now have the option of viewing GalleryPlayer On Demand, a collection of user-selectable art programming. Viewers can pick from themed slideshows taken from several major art galleries and photography experts, including the Museum of Modern Art and National Geographic. Each slideshow is accompanied by music and is intended to use the high resolution provided by HDTV sets to showcase paintings and other artwork that would otherwise be inaccessible, GalleryPlayer says. Themes will often focus on specific artists such as Da Vinci or subjects like space photography. Comcast is offering the programming free to subscribers of its On Demand digital cable service.
Cingular adopts BlackJack
Cingular has formally announced its deployment of the BlackJack smartphone by Samsung. The 3G device will run Windows Mobile 5, and make use of EDGE broadband to deliver content through Cingular's BroadbandConnect service. Aside from video clips and Web browsing, Cingular will be offering what claims is the first subscription music service for US cellphones, including downloads from eMusic, Napster, and Yahoo. Owners will also be able to receive 25 XM radio channels through XM Radio Mobile. Other features of the phone will include a 1.3MP camera, stereo Bluetooth 2.0, and a QWERTY keyboard. The BlackJack should ship November 16th for as little as $200, but only after signing for a $100 rebate, a two-year contract, and specific voice and data plans.
Evesham Light Book Laptop
Evesham in the UK today claimed that it has produced the lightest and smallest complete laptop on the market. The new Light Book weighs only 2.6 pounds despite including an internal DVD rewriter and has a surface area only slightly larger than its 12.1-inch screen. Although this is heavier than the recently introduced, 2.2-pound Sony VAIO G, the casing holds space for more features such as fingerprint security and a four-in-one card reader. Its size also doesn't preclude ample battery life, according to Evesham. A low-voltage Core Solo helps the Light Book last for as much as 5 hours on battery power. Evesham will sell the Light Book soon for £999 ($1900) with 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive.
iPod accessory maker Griffin Technology has unveiled its new Amplifi iPod speaker range, a 2.1 sound system designed for Apple's iPod that features an acoustically tuned wooden enclosure. The device comes with six iPod adapters that accommodate all dockable iPods, as well as a 3.5mm stereo input jack to support other digital media players. Sound is delivered through two 2.75-inch neodyme front firing high/midrange drivers and a 5-inch woofer with a bass reflex port. A large volume control knob is situated on the front of the unit surrounded by a blue glow, and a six function slim remote allows users to control the unit from a distance. Griffin says the Amplifi will be available next year for $150.
17" Core 2 Duo MBP ships
In brief: One MacNN reader has already received shipment confirmation from Apple for his new 17-inch Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, which the company unveiled on November 6th ahead of refreshed consumer-oriented MacBooks.... Nova Media has released phone plugins 3.3.3, offering iSync compatibility for eight new Nokia phones including the Nokia 8800 Sirocco, 6288, 6151, 6133, 6131, 6126, 5300 and 5200 models.... Adobe Systems has donated source code for its ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation, where it was immediately converted into the Tamarin project.... Freeverse today began its "Big Week" of new software announcements, vowing to release a new title, give away a free Mac game, or make an announcement -- such as a contest with a $1,000 grand prize -- each day.... 24U Software has published new examples for FileMaker Pro in the Tips & Tricks section of its website, offering information on streaming data directly to FileMaker Pro as well as controlling an installation from within a Web Viewer object.... Creative Cow's Graham Jones is offering users a method for using After Effects 7 on Intel Macs, hoping to aid those who have experienced trouble getting the software to run.
A-DATA Info SD card
Another Honoree for the Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Awards is the Info SD card, by Taiwanese company A-DATA. Solving a perennial problem of flash memory, the Info will be the first SD card with an integrated, bi-stable display, indicating exactly how much memory is left at any given time. "Bi-stable" simply refers to the fact that the display will always active, needing no electricity once the card is removed. The Info SD should premiere in January at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Motorola W550 Surfaces
Motorola is planning a stylish budget phone that may undercut KRZR or even the RAZR in price, according to photos and early details uncovered by Hungarian site Terminal. Dubbed the W550, the flip-phone is a cross between the slim, metallic design of the RAZR with the more practical design of the W220 recently launched in the Middle East. Features are substantially upgraded, however, as the W550 includes a 1.3-megapixel camera that can record video as well as still images. Also replaced is the basic, icon-driven external display of the W220 for a true LCD screen. A microSD slot is built in for file storage. Terminal hasn't obtained pricing or launch details. Full photos are available after the jump.
BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth heads
BlueAnt will be releasing the Z9 Bluetooth headset in early 2007, says SlashPhone. It was recently declared an Honoree for the International CES Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Awards. The product will have a slate of notable features such as echo suppression, noise cancellation, dual microphones, and the ability to switch instantly between multiple pairings. It should come with a tie clip for attaching to clothing when not in use, and it will produce different ringtones for contacts and unidentified callers. The battery should support up to seven hours of talk time or 180 hours of standby. Pricing has yet to be determined.
iLuv iPod Video Player
iLuv is today shipping the i1055 portable video player, a unique handheld that can play both conventional DVD discs as well as video from any fifth-generation iPod. A 7-inch screen on the front is connected to both a DVD drive and an iPod dock on the back, allowing the i1055 to play videos from either format in a single device. Other functions are supported as well, such as playing VCDs and audio CDs from the disc drive or music and photos from the iPod. The system is completely portable, according to iLuv, and can play video for as much as 2.5 continuous hours through its built-in NiMH battery. An AC power cable and a 12-volt car adapter are also packed with the handheld, and the former can recharge an iPod even during video playback. iLuv has launched the i1055 in black and white editions for $230, though it can now be found at Buy.com for $180 before shipping.
An Apple software developer has released LabMathX, a Cocoa-based application for scientific analysis, calculations, and visualization of laboratory data as well as theories. The software is written in Objective C and compiled as a Universal Binary to offer native compatibility with Intel-based Macs. LabMathX offers drag-and-drop support for entering equations as well as program calculations, displaying data tables or labels, and entering simple commands or definitions. The application comes with a complete user manual, 'QuickStart' guide, and examples. Users can clear previous values in code, specify initial conditions or parameters, specify a custom step size, write usual dynamical equations in a second text sub-window, and more. LabMathX is available for $70 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Zune Marketplace vs. iTMS
Microsoft has announced that users will be able to re-download files from the Zune Marketplace -- its online store for digital media content -- to a certain extent at no extra cost. Users can download songs and videos up to five times past the initial point of purchase, according to Electronista, which should ensure that users are able to receive desired content in the event of a download failure or loss of an existing copy. Microsoft is addressing one of the key complaints customers have with Apple's iTunes Music Store, which allows one-time downloads with a few rare exceptions. Apple customers have historically resorted to speaking with Apple technical support to secure second copies of purchased content from iTunes, and Microsoft is hoping to gain ground on Apple by improving on this aspect of digital purchases.
TCM in new Macs unused
Computer researcher and Google technical staff member Amit Sing has discovered that recently manufactured Intel-based Macs feature a trusted computing module or 'TCM' chip, but that Mac OS X does not make use of the controversial technology. Trusted computing has seen widespread criticism as a result of efforts by Microsoft to use the technology to prevent software piracy. Singh, who revealed earlier this month that Apple is encrypting certain binary portions of Mac OS X to guard against easy modification, has documented the existence of the TCM chip in his recently released book entitled 'Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach.' "The TPM is an opt-in feature," Singh said. "Apple can't just turn it on-nobody can, other than the user." The TPM chip consists of a small memory chip, a true random number generator, a low-power processor, and several other components, according to eWeek.com.
Samsung M500 at Sprint
Sprint today began carrying Samsung's newer M500 clamshell phone. Serving as a replacement for the earlier A920, the M500 sheds nearly a third of the thickness of the 0.95-inch outgoing model at 0.68 inches while still improving features. The new handset also incorporates 50MB of internal memory to accompany its microSD card slot and sees an upgrade to Bluetooth 2.0, improving speed during file transfers or using the phone's EVDO broadband in conjunction with a PC. A 1.3-megapixel camera and GPS route finding have been carried over from the A920. The M500 supports all of Sprint's recent music and video download services and can be had from the carrier today for $80 with a two-year agreement or $280 by itself.
SpotDJ for iTunes
SpotDJ today announced the launch of its new internet-based social service that enhances the experience of listening to digital music by intelligently adding interesting audio spots between songs. SpotDJ enables people to record and share audio commentary about music through media players such as iTunes, bringing context and community to a user's music experience. The free service (requires registration) works with iTunes and plays short audio tidbits, or spots, about a user's favorite songs and artists while they listen to music. SpotDJ scours its database of unique audio content, and when the song ends SpotDJ plays the most interesting and relevant audio spot based on user preferences and listening habits, the company said. "Users hear background on the artist or band, the story or meaning behind a song, or announcement of an upcoming album or concert tour directly from artists and other music fans," SpotDJ said. "They can also become a SpotDJ by recording comments for others to hear." It requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and a microphone.
NAS, SAN RAID Tower ships
FireWire Depot has begun shipping its new tNASi RAID 5 NAS/SAN Tower, a browser-based network storage distribution center offering NAS/SAN with Gigabit Ethernet featuring RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6. Designed to deliver file-based Network Attached Storage (NAS) and block-based Storage Area Networking (SAN), the single unit offers support for 1.3U rack mount enclosures as well as more than 2TB of storage capacity. Fully hot-swappable disk mechanisms allow for up to eight SATA drives with extended modules, and the device ships with a three-year manufacturers warranty. The tNASi RAID 5 NAS/SAN Tower with four SATA drives and Gigabit Ethernet is available from $1,550 to $3,250, with extended modules optionally adding 4x SATA functionality with a SATA II host controller ($320) or dual Gigabit Ethernet ports ($400).
MiniPC LS800 Compact PC
Japanese firm MiniPC on Monday released one of its fastest small form factor PCs, the LS800. It resolves one of the most common problems of its size class, a lack of internal storage, by mounting the main system cooling fan to the side. This allows two desktop hard drives to be mounted while still providing room for a full, X16 PCI Express graphics card slot. The design also stays cool through the use of mobile processors and can be built using chips varying from the budget Celeron M to the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, according to MiniPC. The company ships the LS800 in late November for $579 in a barebones configuration.
Vacuum tube stereo debuts
VUUM Audio has unveiled a vacuum tube amplifier stereo system with speakers, an iPod docking station, and a remote control. The new system is designed to provide audiophile quality sound in a hi-fi stereo system that works with iPods as well as other MP3 players and audio sources. The system includes a vacuum tube amplifier (two 15W) with dual inputs, as well as an adjustable iPod docking station that allows users to charge an iPod. Video output connects a video iPod to a nearby TV, and a pair of speakers in a "piano finish" cabinet the 27 key full-function remote control. The vacuum tube amplifier stereo system also comes bundled with a dust brush and glove cleaning kit, RCA cables, and a pair of speaker cables with "banana" connectors (pricing and availability were unavailable).
iH26 iPod alarm clock
iHome today introduced its new, compact iH26 iPod alarm clock. Designed as a portable system for travelers seeking both an alarm clock and iPod playback in their hotel rooms, the iH26 has a low-profile design that can fit in a small carrying case. The new model features a built-in dock for the first- generation iPod shuffle, allowing it to play music directly from the iPod shuffle and charge it as well as a Dock Connector-based iPod at the same time, according to Electronista. The system can also wake to any audio device plugged into the auxiliary input jack. Users can also use a sleep timer with its own separate volume level. Versions of the iH26 ship in black, white, and silver from iHome for $100. It includes a protective carrying case with handle and full function remote control.
Apple hires IBM legal exec
Apple today announced that Donald J. Rosenberg, senior vice president and general counsel of IBM, will join the company as its senior vice president and general counsel, reporting to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We're thrilled to welcome such a seasoned professional to our executive team," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Don has a broad range of experience that includes litigation, securities, intellectual property and antitrust, and he will be responsible for overseeing all legal matters and government affairs for Apple." Former VP general counsel Nancy Heinen, who joined the company in September of 1997 after the acquisition of NeXT Software, served as Apple's primary legal officer responsible for overseeing all legal matters, but abruptly left the company before Apple announced its options backdating probe and later hired East Bay defense attorneys Cristina Arguedas and Miles Ehrlich to represent her in the Options Backdating probe.
Halloween "Goblin" Theme
DVDthemePAK.com today released its first Book Theme for Apple's iPhoto 6.0 software. The new Halloween "Goblin" Theme includes medium, large and hard cover book styles, including 42 different page styles, made up of two main backgrounds, seven frame designs, and 25 different decorative artistic elements. The new halloween theme design offers a much needed addition to the variety of choices offered currently for iPhoto 6. "The themes that come with iPhoto are limiting and customers have expressed a desire for greater selections in styles and designs so this is just the start of many more designs to come for iPhoto books, cards and calendars," the company said. "All our themes are simple to install and work easily from within iPhoto. End users access the themes from the same menu as the pre-installed themes." The new theme has been print tested through Apples Book printing service as well as MyPublisher.com's print service. iPhoto Goblin Theme is priced at $20; it requires iPhoto 6.0.
Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M
Fujitsu today introduced an enhanced model of its ScanSnap scanning solution: the S500M offers with 20 percent faster scanning speeds, improved automatic paper size detection and a new design that complements the design of Mac computers, according to the company. The single-pass duplex ADF scanner offers a 50-sheet auto-document feeder along with a space saving compact design (only 6.2x11.2x6.2 inches), which is smaller than a laptop computer or keyboard. The USB 2.0 scanner offers dual 600dpi color CCD optical array for scanning both sides of a page as well as automatic color detection and automatic blank page detection and deletion. Additionally, Fujitsu is offering customers the ability to incorporate optical character recognition (OCR) and business card reader functionality into their ScanSnap S500M applications with a mail-in rebate to receive free copies of Readiris Pro v11 software and Cardiris 3.5 software from I.R.I.S. Group ($250 value).
iHome Portable iPod Clock
iHome today introduced its new, compact iH26 iPod alarm clock. Designed as a portable system for travelers seeking both an alarm clock and iPod playback in their hotel rooms, the iH26 has a low-profile design that can fit in a small carrying case. Unique to this model versus the earlier iH5 is a built-in dock for the first-generation iPod shuffle: the new alarm clock can play music directly from the iPod shuffle and charge it as well as a Dock Connector-based iPod at the same time, iHome says. The system can also wake to any audio device plugged into the auxiliary input jack. Listeners can also use a sleep timer with its own separate volume level. Versions of the iH26 ship in black, white, and silver from iHome for $100.
M-Audio debuts NRV10
M-Audio has announced its new NRV10 analog mixer with an integrated FireWire interface. The computer recognizes NRV10 as a 10x10 FireWire digital interface, delivering digital production with analog control. With the included NRV10 interFX application, users can turn the NRV10 into a Mac or Windows machine into a robust live digital mixer with support for third-party VST effects. The NRV10 boasts a professional-quality 8x2 analog mixer with a built-in 10x10 24-bit/96kHz FireWire digital audio interface. The four mono channels and two stereo channels of the NRV10 allow users to keep all their favorite instruments, microphones, and other gear connected while working, according to the company. Each channel can easily and discretely record to individual tracks in audio applications such as Pro Tools M-Powered and Ableton Live 6.
DVD-Capable Wii for 2007
Nintendo plans to ship a version of its forthcoming Wii console with DVD movie playback later in 2007, according to an announcement today by software developer Sonic. Although Nintendo has previously confirmed that it intends to produce a DVD-capable console for the Japanese market, the company has until now declined to commit to any particular timeframe. The move further reinforces Nintendo's narrow focus on gaming, as the company's revelation of the late addition of DVD playback accompanies the imminent release of next-generation movie disc players such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD player as well as the PlayStation 3.
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