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News Archive for 06/11/29

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Apps: Billings, DiskLibrary, iPod Notes

11/29, 7:25pm

Billings, DiskLibrary

    Billings 2 beta ($60) is the latest public test of the application designed to track time, create expense entries, and send invoices in a minimal amount of time. The update offers idle time monitoring, the ability to input time to slips via the keyboard to increase usage speed, and functionality to create dynamic user-specified filenames for invoices as well as estimates. Billings 2 beta also adds a feature to preserve key workspace positioning and selections. [Download - 10MB]
    DiskLibrary 1.0 ($30) is a remote media cataloging application for Mac OS X 10.4 and later. The software catalogs the full file structure from CD-ROm, DVD-ROM, remote hard drives, zip drives, USB sticks, and more. DiskLibrary also features batch importing, as well as the ability to gather meta-data and use smart-catalog folders to store search results. [Download - 1.5MB]
    iPod Notes 1.0 (freeware) manages and syncs notes on Apple's iPod player. The software enables users to organize any note by pasting in text, dragging text from other applications, dropping information from the Finder, or typing in text manually. iPod Notes 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and any dockable iPod. [Download - 5.3MB]
    MacBreakZ 4.0 ($30) is a personal ergonomic assistant designed to promote healthy and productive computer use. The latest release is a re-design implemented entirely in Mac OS X's native Cocoa environment. MacBreakZ 4.0 is aimed at making the program less disruptive to offer a smoother transition from current work habits to a healthier daily routine. [Download - 2.4MB]
    CoLocalzier Pro 2 ($450) upgrades the scientific software for quantitative colocalization analysis of images obtained using confocal microscopes. CoLocalizer Pro 2 adds the ability to reveal colocalized and selected pixels. The upgrade is free to all registered users, and the software requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 7.2MB]
    Corripio 0.6 (free) is an open-source album artwork gathering application that searches the iTunes Store, Coveralia, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart. The update allows users to view the song lyrics added to songs, and fixes several bugs relating to skipping as well as memory leaks and spelling errors. [Download - 1.7MB]

Geneforge 4: Rebellion now available

11/29, 6:35pm

Geneforge 4: Rebellion

Spiderweb Software has released Geneforge 4: Rebellion, the next chapter in their fantasy epic. "Once again, return to the world of the Shapers, where you will explore a vast world, choose what side you will fight for, and create and mold your own army of strange, powerful monsters. The Shapers have the ability to create life, in any form they choose. They can make plants to grow in harsh wastelands, living tools that obey their commands, and powerful monsters to crush any who oppose them. They jealously guard their powers and destroy any who question their will." Geneforge 4: Rebellion has an open storyline, allowing users to choose among several sides--each with its own beliefs, fortresses, and quests; it features dozens of different endings. Prior experience with the Geneforge series is completely unnecessary, according to the developer. It is available for $28, or $35 with a hint book and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later; it runs natively on Intel-based Macs.

U.S. may ban iPod sales to North Korea

11/29, 6:10pm

iPods, North Korea

The U.S. government is proposing trade sanctions against North Korea that would forbid the sale of iPods, plasma televisions, cigarettes, and other luxury goods to that country in an effort to personally aggravate North Korean leader Kim Jong II, according to one report. The move would mark the first time the U.S. government has imposed sanctions on a foreign country to specifically upset that country's leader, according to the Associated Press. The ban specifically targets items believed to be favored by Jong or that are presented by him to loyalist families who run the communist government in North Korea. U.S. officials acknowledged, however, that enforcing the sanctions on black-market trading would be difficult.

Survey: 35 percent see Zune as an upgrade

11/29, 5:50pm

Survey: Zune an upgrade

A survey conducted by Reuters indicates that of people expressing interest in the Zune, 35 percent see it as an upgrade to an existing player. This contrasts with a figure of 18 percent for those looking at an iPod. Notably, however, 80 percent of respondents picked an iPod as their first choice of player, with 70 percent saying so without having to be prompted. Only seven percent of the survey group chose the Zune. Less than a month ago, ABI Reasearch was predicting that as many as 58 percent of current iPod owners would defect, as well as 59 percent of the rest of the market. This may take a while to happen though if it does at all, since the iPod is still dominating with 63 percent of unit sales compared to the Zune's nine.

ifrogz launches Custom Screen Creator

11/29, 5:40pm

Custom iPod 'Screenz'

iPod accessory maker ifrogz today officially launched the beta version of its Custom ifrogz Screen Creator, enabling users to create custom 'Screenz' to further enhance iPod individuality. Customers can upload any image or graphic to create a decal that covers an iPod's clickwheel on the Screenz component of the ifrogz three-piece case. The interface allows users to resize, flip, and preview the uploaded file while scaling down or moving oversized images to focus on the desired portion of the graphic. Custom Screenz are available for $15 and take from 2-3 weeks to arrive. The entire shipment includes three Nano-size Screenz, three large-size Screenz, three clear plastic iPod screen protectors, one cleaning cloth, and one soft card to remove bubbles during application.

Philips produces easel-like portable DVD player

11/29, 5:05pm

Philips PET830 DVD Player

Differentiating its design from the laptop-style shape of the past, Philips today launched the PET830, a new portable DVD player that relies on a portrait-like stand to sit the device upright when viewed on a flat surface, providing a comfortable viewing angle in these situations while reducing the size of the device when carried on the road. Its resemblance to hard drive-based digital media players is echoed in its playback support for DivX and MPEG-4 video files as well as MP3 and WMA songs. Philips has not mentioned price or availability but considers the PET830 a premium model.

Briefly: calendar templates; Scrabble

11/29, 5:05pm

Templates, Scrabble

In brief: Human Software has released 2007 calendar templates for Microsoft's PowerPoint, enabling users to customize a 2007 calendar with images.... BigStockPhoto.com today announced that its photo library now exceeds 700,000 royalty free stock images, and that 80,000 images are added on a monthly basis.... Macgamestore.com today began offering Scrabble for Mac ($20), the classic word spelling game with the ability to play against computer or human opponents.... The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) today announced its call for entries to the second annual Photoshop User Awards -- a worldwide competition exclusively for Adobe Photoshop users.... Primera Technology today announced discounts of up to 21 percent on TuffCoat with WaterShield CD and DVD media, its water- and smear-resistant media with a glossy photo-quality surface.... Russia has agreed with U.S. demands to close down several pirate websites including Allofmp3.com, which served as a hotbed for illegal music traders.

Samsung announces 50-inch plasma with built-in HDD

11/29, 4:40pm

50-inch plasma w/HDD

The forthcoming HP-T5064 (pictured) will have what Samsung is calling its Multi Media Center (MMC), a hard drive that can store broadcasts as well as media transferred from a PC. While the size of the drive has yet to be revealed, it will be attached to a WiFi receiver for extra convenience. Samsung plans to demo the 50-inch set at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, which has already listed the T5064 has an Innovations Honoree. Another Honoree is the MMC-less T5054, which nevertheless shares some qualities with its sibling. Both displays will be the same size, and should boast high contrast displays as well as automatic wall-mount adjustments. CES 2007 is scheduled for January 8th to the 11th in Las Vegas.

Averatec launches 1500-series ultraportable

11/29, 4:30pm

Averatec 1500 Notebook

Averatec today launched its 1500-series notebook, the company's newest lightweight portable, through its Korean parent company Trigem. Built as an ultraportable in the vein of Sony's VAIO TX, the 1500 is designed for efficiency, according to Averatec. Taking advantage of the reduced dimensions of its 11.1-inch widescreen, the 1500 weighs only 3.4 pounds and is 1.2 inches thick despite the limits of its smaller frame. It also conserves power through use of an ultra-low voltage 1.06GHz Core Solo and 1GB of RAM. A 100GB hard drive is also part of the stock configuration. The Averatec 1500 will be available in Korea soon for $1,973; a North American release is seen as very likely but has not been confirmed. Read more for a photo of the open system courtesy of Akihabara.

Compact Pantech C3 camera phone available at Cingular

11/29, 3:40pm

Pantech C3 at Cingular

Cingular and Pantech together announced today the availability of the Pantech C3, an updated version of the company's popular C300. The newer handset is still the world's smallest clamshell camera phone, according to Pantech, measuring only 2.7 inches long and 1.7 inches wide when closed. The new edition adds audio and video messaging that was previously impossible with the C300 model. This latest update also continues to incorporate a VGA camera, GPRS Internet access, and support for mobile e-mail through AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo. Cingular is also offering colored faceplates to personalize the fashion-oriented phone. Already on offer today, the phone retails by itself for $190 but can be purchased for $40 with a two-year service plan.

Zune ranks No. 2 behind iPod

11/29, 3:35pm

Zune zooms to No. 2

Despite recent negative press about Microsoft's new media player, it is now ranked No. 2 behind rival Apple's iPod, according to statistics released by the NPD Group today. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Zune has "supplanted SanDisk's Sansa for the distant No. 2 spot, claiming nine percent of unit sales and 13 percent of the total dollar share during its first week on store shelves. (Note: The dollar share is higher because the Zune sells for $250 each, compared with other MP3 players, which sell for less). The iPod remains No. 1 with 63 percent of unit sales and 72.5 percent of the dollar share." Earlier this week, another blog post said that the Zune reinforced Microsoft's dorky image, saying that the company made mistakes in marketing, feature planning, and pricing, while another analyst noted that 75 percent of retail clerks recommend the iPod and only 8 percent recommend the Zune (and others have never heard of it).

iHome reveals compact speaker systems

11/29, 3:30pm

iHome speaker systems

iHome has revealed three compact speaker systems scheduled to ship in January of next year which include the iH85 portable iPod system designed specifically for cyclists. The tube-shaped iH85 houses the iPod in a secure shell to prevent it from slipping out during harsh rides, and the system is water-resistant with an external remote to control songs while riding at speed. The second device, dubbed the iHome Mobile, is the company's first speaker system with support for devices beyond iPods. The Bluetooth-based unit pairs with any equally supportive Bluetooth cellular phone or similar wireless device to broadcast audio. A built-in alarm clock optionally wakes users to their cellular phone as well as to an internal radio. Owners can also synchronize the iHome Mobile with a Bluetooth-equipped computer or use it as a speakerphone, according to Electronista. The iHome Mobile includes a cradle for handheld devices, though iHome has yet to reveal whether the slot will supply power.

Cingular previews in-house BlackBerry Pearl

11/29, 3:20pm

Cingular Previews Pearl

Cingular today launched a pre-launch page for its own edition of Research In Motion's BlackBerry Pearl. Confirming earlier reports, the Cingular-specific version will add a push-to-talk feature and should feature an interface customized to reflect the American provider's services. Features such as the 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth support remain similar to the version available at T-Mobile and other carriers. Pricing for the phone is expected to begin at $580 without obligations or $180 with a two-year contract. An official launch date is still unknown.

Marware unveils Sportsuit Runabout

11/29, 2:45pm

Sportsuit Runabout debuts

Marware today announced the Sportsuit Runabout, a new addition to its iPod wristbands dedicated to the sports enthusiast for the second-generation iPod shuffle. Sportsuit Runabout's patented design for Apple's new Shuffle is designed as a comfortable, light-weight sport case that lets users wear the iPod like a watch or use the included extension piece to convert the accessory into an armband. The armband is made with Marware's signature Orca Skin neoprene -- a soft material designed for comfort -- and the wrist strap offers easy removal via a Velcro closure. The new shuffle clips easily and securely onto the Sportsuit Runabout, providing quick access to the shuffle's headphone port and hold switch. Marware's Sportsuit Runabout for the second-generation iPod shuffle comes in a blue/black combination color or entirely black for $15, and is already available for pre-order.

New standard Vista Media Center remote?

11/29, 2:45pm

Vista Media Center Remote

Microsoft has developed a new, simpler remote in tandem with the impending launch of Windows Vista, according to an updated version of the company's Vista Product Guide. In contrast with the reference design for the XP edition of the controller, which has received criticism in the past for its complexity, the Vista edition (listed on page 159 of the Microsoft document) has only one, clearly identifiable circle of buttons for basic controls and conspicuous navigation keys above the standard number pad.

While the company does not indicate any plans to produce the remote itself, the device will likely form the basis for system builders' own remotes and could significantly improve the usability of Windows-based home theater PCs when Vista makes its official debut on January 30th. A full-sized image can be found after the jump.

Nano Contour Sleeve Collection ships

11/29, 2:40pm

Nano Contour Sleeves

Pacific Design today announced the retail availability of its Nano Contour Sleeve Collection: a unique case for protecting and styling Apple's second-generation ("2G") iPod Nano. The Nano 2G Contour Sleeve features unique stitching details on the side beams and utilizes GE LEXAN, commonly used in the aerospace industry, for a see-through view, while dramatically reducing glare. The sleeve is constructed of a molded leather interior core with a polyurethane (PU) material on the outside, giving the case a soft feel and sleek look, without sacrificing durability, according to the company. It is available in striking color combinations including the currently available black/grey and pink/white. In spring 2007, new colors for the Nano Contour Sleeve will be available in black/red, green/white, blue/aqua, and grey/orange. The company also said that it would introduce the iPod Video/5G (Fifth Generation) Contour Sleeve in early January. It is available now for $20.

Revolabs Solo TableTop wireless microphone

11/29, 2:30pm

Solo TableTop wireless mic

Revolabs' new Solo TableTop Wireless Boundary Microphone is designed primarily for conference calls, but will allow any small group of speakers to share a single unit. One or more TableTops are simply laid flat while they transmit to a receiver, which can be located as far as 100 feet away. Mics are charged individually in the Solo Desktop Charging Tray or up to eight at a time in the Executive Charging Tray. A full charge of a TableTop requires two hours and should last about eight. To guard against interception, Revo has equipped each mic with 128-bit encryption. The corporate nature of Revo's sales means you'll have to contact them directly to inquire about orders.

Bear Stearns ups AAPL target to $100

11/29, 2:30pm

Bear Stearns on Apple

Apple shares rose above $92 today in early trading after Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff raised his 12-month price target on Apple to $100 from $94. The analyst said he is "optimistic about Apple's continued innovation and twin drivers" of iPods and Intel-based Macs, according to MarketWatch. The analyst decided to raise his price target despite a lack of new financial updates from Apple after a meeting with the Cupertino-based company's CFO Peter Oppenheimer. Customer checks, however, show continued and strong demand for Macs and iPods, according to the report.

DLO reveals Zune accessories

11/29, 2:15pm

DLO Zune Accessories

DLO today launched multiple new accessories today to charge, play, and protect Microsoft's recently launched Zune media player. Of these, the company touts its new TransDock micro for its innovative design. Rather than opt for a conventional design that fixes the player to the bottom, DLO's FM transmitter attaches through a cable that frees the Zune to be more easily controlled or hidden away. Plugging into a car's 12-volt port, the TransDock micro charges and powers the Zune while connecting to a user-chosen FM station. The TransDock is available today for $70.

Launched simultaneously with the new adapter is the Power Pack ($40), a bundle that includes an AC adapter, car charger, and a USB cable; the Action Jacket neoprene exercise case with an armband and belt clip ($30); the Jam Jacket silicone shell ($20); and the Leather flip case ($35). All these accessories are also expected to ship today.

pdf-Office 5.5 enhances image import

11/29, 2:00pm

pdf-Office 5.5 ships

Universe Software has released pdf-Office Professional 5.5, the latest revision of its software package for creating as well as working with PDF forms and documents. The update offers significant improvements in image processing that correct most errors in imported graphics, according to Universe. The improvements mainly affect imported image data already existing in another format, allowing users to resize graphically as well as numerically and position by XY coordinates at the press of a button. The software produces PDF-compatible documents with text, number as well as calculation entries, selection boxes, list boxes, ands a variety of other controls. Users can also create forms from scratch as with Microsoft Word using text, images, and fields or templates that can import various image file formats. pdf-Office Professional 5.5 is priced at $155, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later.

Martian ships LifeBoat backup app

11/29, 1:55pm

LifeBoat backup app

Martian Technology has released Martian LifeBoat, an application that makes keeping up-to-date backups as simple as plugging in a USB Flash Drive. Martian LifeBoat allows users to define "LifeBoats", sets of files and folders that get backed up each time a particular removable media device (USB Flash Drive or External Hard Disk) is connected to their computer. The instant the specified device is plugged into the Mac, Martian LifeBoat automatically begins the backup process. "Users can then disconnect their updated LifeBoats and store them away for safekeeping. Keeping the backups up-to-date just requires plugging the device back into the Mac. Martian LifeBoat takes over from there, quickly updating the external device with a fresh copy of the users' most important data." LifeBoat is available as a freely downloadable demo that is limited to updating a single removable media device. Users can purchase a license for $14 to remove this restriction. LifeBoat requires Mac OS X 10.4 and higher, and is available as a Universal Binary.

Sony-Ericsson K620 cellphone in development

11/29, 1:45pm

Sony-Ericsson K620

Sony-Ericsson is working on an updated version of its K610 handset, according to a report by Hungarian site Terminal. Called the K620, the ostensibly mid-range cellphone will receive features more reminiscent of the company's high-end devices. Similar to the K790, the K620 wlll ship with a 3.2-megapixel camera useful for taking full-quality still photos without cropping. Sony-Ericsson will also upgrade memory dramatically to accommodate the larger image sizes, increasing built-in storage from 33MB to a full 100MB. Other notable features, such as a forward-facing VGA camera for video calls as well as UMTS broadband support, remain intact from the K610. No launch details have been revealed, though in its initial K620i incarnation the phone will ship primarily to Europe and will require changes for a possible North American release.

Mvix Wireless HD Media Player now shipping

11/29, 1:40pm

Mvix Wireless HD Player

Mvix is now shipping the Wireless Hi-Definition Media Player, an aggregrate box which serves network content to your TV. Computer content is pulled via Ethernet or 802.11b/g/pre-N wireless; alternately, users can hook up an external USB drive, or any 3.5-inch internal IDE drive. The latter two must be bought separately. Video is sent to a TV through DVI, component, S-Video and composite connections, and audio is passed through stereo or 5.1 RCA cables. Many different file formats are supported: a partial list includes AAC, AVI, MPEG, MP3, MP4, VOB/IFO, WMV, DivX, and XviD. Video resolutions can scale as high as 1080p. Mvix is selling the device for $329 as of December 1st, but those willing to wait can have one from ThinkGeek for $300.

Studios pressure Apple for stricter DRM

11/29, 1:15pm

Hollywood pressures Apple

Hollywood movie studios are pressuring Apple to change the way iTunes restricts the usage full-length movies available online, fearing digital piracy might cut into profits. FT.com reports that Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Warner Bros are in talks with Apple about adding films to the iTunes Music Store for digital download, and that the studios are demanding Apple limit the number of devices that can use a movie downloaded from iTunes. One studio executive said Apple needs to enact a new model for film content delivery, as movie studios have more to lose than the music business -- which is still reeling from illegal digital piracy -- with blockbuster films costing $100 million on average to produce. Universal also said it would try to secure a share of Apple's iPod profits during the next round of negotiations in early 2007, following Microsoft's agreement to pay the record label for each Zune player sold. Universal in mid-November accused non-Zune owners of stealing music, saying that the record label should share in any business built on the bedrock of music.

Seagrand intros X-REX player with one-week battery

11/29, 1:15pm

Seagrand X-REX Player

Claiming a record-setting level of battery performance, Seagrand today unveiled its XR003 X-REX flash player. Central to the claim is a 1620mAh lithium-ion battery, which provides a full 168 hours -- one week -- of continuous playback. Despite this, the battery takes only four hours to recharge completely, according to Seagrand. The X-REX also brings with it a suite of audio recording methods, including FM radio, line-in, and voice. Playback support extends to MP3 and WMA songs. Seagrand plans to ship both 1GB and 2GB versions of the player on December 1st in Japan for the equivalents of $153 and $196 respectively.

Axion iPTV Anywhere Box/Wireless Monitor

11/29, 12:50pm

Axion iPTV portable TV

Relying on a concept similar to LocationFree or the Slingbox, Axion's iPTV Anywhere allows owners to watch programs away from their TV sets. CrunchGear reports that the product consists of two components: the Anywhere Box, which captures content from a broadband Internet connection, and the Wireless Monitor, which displays the video on a 7-inch widescreen. Should you want to browse media beyond TV, content (namely MP4 files) can be transferred to the Monitor through an SD card or USB. Information on pricing and availability is presently undisclosed.

Aspyr to ship Prey FPS for Mac

11/29, 12:20pm

Aspyr to ship Prey for Mac

Aspyr Media today announced plans to release Prey for Mac, a first-person shooter that offers new gameplay features and next-generation graphics. Prey introduces innovative gameplay elements including wall-walking, portals, spirit-walking, and gravity flipping for enhanced eight-player deathmatches. "Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation and going nowhere. His life changes when an otherworldly crisis forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and ultimately his planet." Aspyr plans to ship Prey in January of 2007.

AMD to announce Quad FX four-core platform today

11/29, 12:05pm

AMD Quad FX Platform

Chip developer AMD will announce its Quad FX platform and related processors today, according to a report by Japan's Impress. Previously known as 4X4, the architecture uses a variant of NVIDIA's nForce 680 chipset to allow both two dual-core processors and as many as four NVIDIA-based graphics cards in a single system. The former was an option previously limited only to more expensive, workstation-grade Opteron systems and promises an extreme level of parallelism dubbed "mega tasking," according to NVIDIA. In a demonstration to the Japanese press, a quad-core, quad-GPU testbed was able to process two 3D games and two HD video streams simultaneously.

AMD will accordingly launch a new line of flagship gaming CPUs today, Impress writes. Ranging from 2.6GHz to 3GHz, the new dual-core processors are based on Opteron designs but will be much less costly to run for home gamers, requiring only standard DDR2 memory and a relatively inexpensive nForce 680a mainboard. AMD is expected to price the chips themselves well below its own Opterons, with prices set at $599 (2.6GHz), $799 (2.8GHz), and $999 (3GHz) versus the $1,099 price of a 2.8GHz Opteron 2200. Availability has not been confirmed.

BitTorrent signs more movie studios, TV networks

11/29, 11:45am

More studios on BitTorrent

BitTorrent, the creators of the peer-to-peer technology often blamed for Internet piracy, have today announced a deal in which it will legally distribute movies and TV shows from an increased number of providers. Fox, G4, Kadokawa Pictures, Palm Pictures, Lions Gate, MTV Networks and Paramount have all agreed to publish media on the BitTorrent website. This comes in addition to earlier deals with Warner Brothers, Egami Media, Hart Sharp, Koch Entertainment, and The Orchard. Movies will generally be released the same day as their DVDs, with the exception Palm, which intends to release at least some films to BitTorrent before their theatrical debuts. All movies will be released on either a Download-to-Own (DTO) and/or a Video-on-Demand (VOD) basis. TV shows will be DTO only. Initial titles set to release through the new deal include "24," "13 Tzameti," "Ghost in the Shell," "South Park," and "Spongebob Squarepants." BitTorrent's online marketplace will go active in February 2007.

Hitachi readies i.'s player with 70-hour recording

11/29, 11:25am

Hitachi i.'s Music Player

Hitachi this morning revealed the latest entry in its i.'s digital audio players, the G1. Though the small, 1GB unit can play MP3, WAV, or WMA music for an industry-standard 12 hours, it can also record as much as 70 hours of WAV audio. This makes it ideal for music listeners who frequently attend long business meetings, the company claims. Also seeking to add an element of style to the normally basic flash player market, Hitachi conceals an OLED display within the shell and conceals most non-essential controls. Available in Japan beginning December 8th for an open price, the player will ship with three preloaded songs from the Japanese pop group Bonn.

300K MacBooks to ship in November?

11/29, 11:10am

300K MacBooks in November?

Apple may be shipping higher than expected numbers of its recently released Core 2 Duo-based MacBooks, according to a report from the Chinese-language Commercial Times, and will likely sell 300,000 of the consumer-oriented laptops this month alone. The Cupertino-based company's 13-inch notebook orders to its Taiwanese manufacturing partner Asustek are expected to reach 300,000 units in the month of November, and Asustek is expected to ship 700,000 laptops in total this month including its own branded models, according to AppleInsider. Shipments of laptops from the manufacturer faltered in October as a result of Apple's decision to upgrade its MacBook to faster Intel processors. Apple will easily ship 1 million notebooks during its current quarter if December sales stack up to those seen in November, and after tallying sales of its MacBook Pro systems.

NEC updates XR-series plasma TVs

11/29, 10:50am

NEC XR-Series Plasmas

The entertainment division of NEC on Wednesday updated its XR line of high-end home theater plasma displays. The 42-inch 42XR5, 50-inch 50XR6, and 60-inch 60XR6 all feature substantially improved power consumption, minimizing a common complaint about the devices; owners can expect 22% less power use, NEC says.

Other changes are minor to the already high-end sets, which sport NEC's own AMX Cafe Duet programmable interface for linking the sets with automated home theaters. All three systems also share a bonded color filter to reduce the effects of glare and an automatic gamma correction system to maintain contrast ratios in brighter rooms. Dual HDMI inputs as well as VGA are also standard. The company has not yet revealed availability or pricing.

JVC's DLA-RS1 projector provides extreme contrast

11/29, 10:50am

JVC DLA-RS1 projector

JVC has announced the DLA-RS1, a D-ILA home theater projector capable of 1080p and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. This may be an Americanized version of the DLA-HD1. The RS1 is nevertheless notable for achieving its contrast natively, eschewing technologies such a dynamic iris, and instead working to concentrate as much light as possible into the viewing area. JVC's three-panel LCOS technology is further designed to reduce "rainbow" effects in images by eliminating the color separation wheel. A 2x zoom lens should enable the RS1 to fill screens ranging from 60 to 200 inches. Two HDMI inputs (PC and HDTV HDCP) are provided, and component, composite, and S-Video connections are supported as well. An RS-232 port lets the projector function with standard automation systems. The RS1 should go on sale for $6,295 in the first quarter of 2007.

NewerTech drops miniStack V2 pricing

11/29, 10:40am

miniStack V2 price drop

NewerTech today lowered the price of its miniStack V2 Mac mini look-alike hard drive storage units to attract holiday shoppers, offering the enclosure for as little as $75. The miniStack V2 is designed for audio and video users with the ability to boot from USB as well as FireWire. The device adds three USB ports and two FireWire ports to the host system with up to 750GB of storage capacity in a compact 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.5-inch enclosure. The NewerTech miniStack V2 ships as a driveless 'add your own HD kit' with no software for $75 or with FireWire as well as USB cables, Intech HD Speedtools, EMC Retrospect backup software, thermal sensor controlled auto-cooling, a 2.0Amp UL listed power supply, and a 2-year NewerTech warranty with an extended manufacturer's hard drive warranty. Capacities are priced at $115 (80GB), $130 (160GB), $150 (250GB), $180 (320GB), $240 (400GB), $260 (500GB), $500 (750GB).

FW Depot launches CalDigit FireWireVR

11/29, 10:20am

FireWireVR RAID storage

FireWire Depot has launched the CalDigit FireWireVR, a new addition to the company's storage devices allowing universal connectivity of FireWire 400, 800, and USB 2.0 without the need for additional cards. The FireWireVR features two SATA 3Gb/s hard drives with support for RAID 0 (Span), 1 (Mirroring), and JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) while listing the control for different RAID settings on the external enclosure via a simple switch on the rear. The new RAID solution utilizes SATA 3Gbps drives -- each boasting 16MB of cache -- with support for uncompressed 8 bit/10 bit SD or three streams of 8-bit uncompressed SD data in performance mode for editing and storing photo libraries. FireWireVR is also designed to store large photo libraries with the option to provide hardware RAID protection. The FireWireVR is available in three capacities for $500 (500GB), $1,000 (1TB), and $1,300 (1.5TB).

iHome intros bathroom, bicycle, cellphone speakers

11/29, 10:10am

iHome Bicycle Speakers

Portable audio experts iHome will release three compact speaker systems this January, according to a second pre-release announcement of CES 2007 honorees. Highlighted amongst these is the iH85 (pictured), a portable iPod system that iHome says is designed especially for cyclists. While exact details have not been published, the tube-shaped stereo houses the iPod in a secure shell, preventing it from slipping out during harsher rides. The system is also water-resistant and is bundled with an external remote to control songs while at speed.

Details of the other speaker systems and complete photos are available after the jump.

Briefly: review; Panic spinner shirt

11/29, 10:00am

Review, panic T-shirt

In brief: MacNN has reviewed the See-Thru Hard Shell Case ($40, shown at right) from Speck Products [review updated], its shiny holiday red polycarbonate plastic shell-type case for Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro.... Panic Goods is selling its Panic Spinner shirt ($15) for Mac addicts, a T-shirt featuring Apple's Mac spinner icon emblazoned on its front.... ScottEVest is showcasing its SeV Performance T-Shirt as consumers hit the stores during the busy holiday shopping season, touting the Technology-Enabled Clothing (TEC) that integrates Apple's iPod right directly into the apparel.... Apple is scheduled to attend the upcoming Government Video and Technology Conference & Expo (GVExpo) along with companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Avid, Adobe, Canon, and Grass valley.... MacSpeech today released a new ScriptPak for MacJournal 4, adding more than 200 commands to iListen that allows users to execute most keyboard shortcuts and menu commands via voice control.

MPIO ships wearable music player

11/29, 9:20am

MPIO Wearable Music Player

Long-time music jukebox maker MPIO has recently launched a 2GB version of its exotic FY700 player. The device centers around a modular bottom connector that allows the player to be worn in any one of multiple combinations through accessories: attachments exist to wear the player on an arm or wrist, as a carabiner on a bag, or around the neck through a lanyard.

The FY700 also differentiates itself through the use of smart recording, MPIO says. Instead of requiring a button press, the player can record FM radio or voice based on volume, saving memory. Audio support is provided for MP3 and WMA music, which can be loaded by either Macs or Windows PCs and played for up to 20 continuous hours on a single AAA battery. The player ships now from Advanced MP3 Players for 79 ($154); a North American release is likely but has not been confirmed. A full photo is available after the jump.

Universal looks to share iPod profits

11/29, 9:00am

Universal looks to iPod

The enormous success of Apple's iPod is now the eye of much of the industry, including those who hope to gain a share of the profits produced by the popular media player. Music industry heavyweight Universal said it would try to negotiate a share of the profits during the next round of negotiations in early 2007, according to Reuters. Universal Music Group Chief Executive Doug Morris said on Tuesday he may try to secure an iPod royalty fee with Apple Computer Inc. in the next round of negotiations in early 2007. Universal, the world's largest music company, already receives a fee for every Zune player sold and was the first major record label to strike an agreement with Microsoft. "It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far. I don't see why we wouldn't do that... but maybe not in the same way," he told the Reuters Media Summit, when asked if Universal would negotiate a royalty fee for the iPod that would be similar to Microsoft's Zune.

AKVIS Decorator Photoshop plugin updated

11/29, 8:55am

AKVIS Decorator 1.1 plugin

AKVIS has released Decorator v1.1, an update to its Photoshop plug-in that allows applying a new texture/color to an object while preserving its shape/volume. "The new color or texture looks absolutely natural. The programs can be of help to designers and all those who like experiments. Have you ever seen a car made of brick? A statue dressed in fine clothes? With AKVIS Decorator you can create things that were unimaginable even to Mother Nature." The company says the Decorator plug-in allows users to change the surface of an object in a realistic manner, following the underlying features of the object to make it look natural. The AKVIS Decorator Plug-in is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter, Corel Photo-Paint, Paint Shop Pro and Ulead PhotoImpact. It is available for $54 (one license key allows activation of the software on two computers).

Smart Scroll X v2.0 improves scrolling

11/29, 8:45am

Smart Scroll X v2.0 ships

Marc Moini today released Smart Scroll X v2.0, an update to the system utility that offers scrolling enhancements for Mac OS X. Smart Scroll X brings new scrolling options, including Super Wheel described by the developer as "a smoother, faster, more comfortable scroll wheel action." In addition, it is a Universal Binary for native performance on Intel-based Macs, adds Grab Scroll, a "hand" tool to easily move any window's contents and Universal Scroll Keys, which offer fast and dependable scrolling, without reaching for the mouse. It also brings live scrolling and scroll wheel support to FileMaker Pro and AppleWorks. Smart Scroll X is shareware and is available for $30. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer. (The software includes Rosetta TuneUp 2.0, a utility for preventing Rosetta-related crashes on Intel-based Macs.)

ResearchWare ships HyperRESEARCH 2.7

11/29, 8:40am

HyperRESEARCH 2.7 ships

ResearchWare today released HyperRESEARCH 2.7, a multi-platform software package for qualitative analysis research. The new version offers enhanced display of coded segments of text, automatic backups of data files, significant performance improvements, an enhanced GUI, support for latest QuickTime formats, and a completely revised integrated concept mapping tool. HyperRESEARCH is used by researchers in social science research, psychology, usability, and corporate marketing to identify and analyze patterns and trends among qualitative data from a variety of media file types, including text, images, audio and video. Version 2.7 supports Code Stripes, a graphical enhancement making it easy to identify coded segments of text at a glance; includes a completely revised Code Map, an integrated tool for creating simple concept maps, now supports multiple code maps which can include memos and imported images, and more. It is available for $370 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. (It is comptible with Apple's Rosetta technology; however, a Universal Binary version is in development and expected to ship in the coming weeks as a free update.)

Samsung YP-K3 photo, details leaked

11/29, 8:30am

Samsung YP-K3 leaked

Samsung is developing a sleeker counterpart to its unique speaker-equipped YP-K5 music player, according to an unintentional revelation today by the organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show. The CES 2007 honorees site has inadvertently published information about the YP-K3, an as-yet unannounced flash music device from the Korean company.

While many details remain unknown, the information reveals that the K3 model will be extremely slim where its similarly-styled K5 predecessor's speaker adds thickness. The K3 is also confirmed to have an atypically large 1.8-inch OLED display, a JPEG photo viewer, and an FM radio. A release date is likely to follow shortly after the player's January introduction. Click through for a full photo.

Unity 1.6 updates game development tool

11/29, 8:30am

Unity 1.6 game development

Unity 1.6 is a new version of the 3D-web and standalone game development tool, bringing increased power, better usability, and more integration possibilities. The Unity Web Player browser plugin can now fully interact with DHTML web pages in which it is embedded: Unity supports Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape and Camino on Mac OS X and Windows. Version 1.6 also adds new collaboration tools, support for Windows Vista, searchable docs, video tutorials (online or on an iPod), new pitch and doppler audio FX, loader screens in the web browser, drop-in support for .NET libraries, and the ability to paint textures. Unity Indie is $250, while Unity Pro is $1,500. The Pro version adds the ability to publish to PC (in addition to Mac OS X), full screen graphics effects, render-to-texture effect, secured deployment, direct access to OpenGL, and C/C++ plug-in support.

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