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Feral ships Imperial Glory
Feral Interactive today began shipping Imperial Glory, the Pyro Studios game challenging players to dominate Napoleonic Europe through violent conquest, scientific progress, and economic stranglehold. Battles are fought in real-time 3D, while more strategic maneuvers are played out in a turn-based mode. Imperial Glory is available for $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. The company also announced the manufacture of The Movies, Lionhead's movie-making simulation game where players cast and produce their own short films while attempting to grow their studio from a small start-up into a corporate behemoth. Finished films can have lip-synched voice recordings and are uploadable to the official Movies website. The Mac version will allow iPod and HD resolution exports, as well as integration with iApps such as iTunes, iMovie, and Garage Band. The Movies is available for pre-order for $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Forums December 1
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the latest version of Parallels Desktop for Mac which allows users to boot their BootCamp partition in Parallels Desktop.... One prospective MacBook Pro user is looking to clarify whether or not a 5200 RPM hard drive is fast enough for professional audio uses.... Another user asks what, if any, external monitor is a fit for a 20- or 24-inch iMac.... Another member is looking for help to figure out why their MacBook refuses to boot, trapping valuable information on the unresponsive computer.... Meanwhile, several posters are discussing the ensuring release of 'Leopard' and whether or not buyers should wait until shipping computers have the new OS pre-installed.
Refurb Power Mac G5
Apple's Power Mac G5 Dual 2GHz system has returned to the Apple Store as a refurbished offering after disappearing from the company's listings with the introduction of the Intel Xeon-based Mac Pro. The Power Mac G5 Dual 2GHz system includes 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, a 16X double-layer SuperDrive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE (128MB) graphics card for $1,599. Refurbished Mac Pros are still available at discounted prices as well, with the 2.66GHz Mac Pro Quad Intel Xeon system featuring 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,199; as well as the 3.0GHz Mac Pro Quad Intel Xeon system with 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $3,299. Apple's refurbished 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo Mac mini is available for $699 with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive alongside its less expensive 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mac mini is priced at $649 with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive. The Cupertino-based company is still offering numerous Intel-based iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros with free shipping and a one-year Apple warranty.
myNotes, Diet Sleuth
myNotes 1.4 ($18) is a free update to the note manager software that delivers numerous improvements and fixes. MyNotes organizes notes as well as clippings, allowing users to print notes using customizable themes. The latest release also adds support for Apple's new iPod models with Italian, Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean localizations.
[Download - 5MB]
OnScreen Particle Physics 1.3.3 ($135) brings native Intel-Mac compatibility to the modern physics teaching software as a Universal Binary. Version 1.3.3 fixes a printing problem countered running the previous version on Intel Macs. The software is designed to provide an entry into the relativistic quantum world through its simulated particle detection chamber.
Diet Sleuth version 4.7.0 ($35) enhances the nutritional database and personal health logbook, adding additional information to the generated reports and fixing several bugs. Users tracks what foods users eat each day along with their nutritional values, and the application automatically calculates caloric intake as well as fat grams and carbohydrates. [Download - 2.7MB]
Path Finder 4.6 ($35) brings various improvements and bug fixes to the file browsing software. Version 4.6 includes a new feature called "Tab Sets," numerous tab-related enhancements, and more. Tab Sets provide users with the ability to capture Path Finder file browser window settings as well as opened tabs, offering support for multiple restorable workspaces. [Download - 19.5MB]
Spinnn 1.1 ($20) is a game challenging players to spin falling game pieces to create horizontal lines in any of the more than 40 different sub-games. The update includes a new font, an added option to toggle the pop-up help, and improved compatibility with Microsoft Windows. [Download - 2MB]
Astro IIDC 3.01.00 ($75) is a free update to the Mac OS X Astronomy, microscopy, and high-speed image acquisition processing software. The latest revision adds support for Format 7 cameras, user-definable Region of Interest (ROI), and improved guiding capabilities. Astro IIDC 3.01.00 also features support for more camera models, increased low light sensitivity, and improved throughput for FireWire 800 cameras. [Download - 2.8MB]
Samsung's gaming phone
Coming out in Korea this month is the Samsung SCH-B550, a gaming cellphone with attributes to match. It has a joypad, TV output, a 3D graphics processor, and support for Korea's GXG gaming service. For the average user the phone will have MP3 playback, a two megapixel camera, and DMB TV broadcasts delivered by satellite. Gaming phones have traditionally not done as well in the United States, with the Nokia N-Gage being the only device with any longevity.
CamelBak MULE SC10 Pack
Electronics maker Skullcandy have teamed with CamelBak to introduce the latter's M.U.L.E. SC10, a backpack for urban travelers. The bag incorporates controls for both cellphones and iPods into the right shoulder strap and allows the wearer to control either device while they remain safely hidden in pouches. The SC10 also contains stereo speakers and serves as a combination music stereo and speakerphone, CamelBak says. A liquid container mounted on the pack provides drinks for longer or more arduous trips. The partnership hopes to release its new M.U.L.E. pack in time for spring of next year and has not revealed a final price.
The Goalkeeper released
Winter Wolves Studio today released The Goalkeeper as a Universal Binary to run natively on Intel-based Macs. Players are charged with managing a full career goalkeeper starting in any of the top six European leagues which include Italy, Spain, England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Goalkeeper features more than 150 teams, enabling players to relax and play strategy mode by selecting each shot or challenge reflexes by trying to catch the ball with the mouse in arcade mode. The Goalkeeper is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Motorola W315 at Verizon
Verizon Wireless today began carrying the Motorola W315 as one of its basic phones. The handset is meant to bring the aesthetic of the PEBL to a simpler model. The phone eschews a camera, Bluetooth, and many of the other features that add to the cost of most phones and is notable mainly for its relatively rich network abilities, maintaining instant messaging as well as basic Web browsing. Verizon offers the W315 for only $30 when paired with a two-year service plan.
Razer DeathAdder Mouse
Gaming input device builder Razer has today launched the DeathAdder. The high-performance mouse achieves the performance of a laser mouse with a less expensive optical system, reaching 1800 DPI sensitivity through a third-generation infrared sensor. The mouse also cuts down on perceived lag through a 1GHz polling rate and a 16-bit data path to the PC, according to Razer. Designed for right-handed owners, the DeathAdder has five programmable buttons and teflon feet for smoother movement. Razer anticipates shipping the mouse before Christmas for $60.
RUN'A Disney Music Players
RUN'A on Friday introduced its OTO for SD Card music players. Made for children, each has a Disney character as its central theme: the blue model features the small alien Stitch, while the pink model showcases Minnie Mouse. The two use an iPod shuffle-style control system which is both simple and childproof, according to the company. Also similar is the OTO's transfer method, which saves size and weight by merging audio and data transfer into the headphone jack.
In contrast to the Apple design, however, the new player uses removable SD cards alone for storage: as little as 256MB or as much as 1GB can be stored at any given time. The device supports MP3 and WMA music and is shipping in Japan for $26 without an SD card.
FastMac expands "crack"
FastMac has expanded its "just say no to crack" program, which offers same-day LCD replacements for Apple's iPod digital media players. Where the company had previously limited replacements to video iPods and iPod nanos, it now supports the older screens of fourth-generation iPods. FastMac uses only original Apple parts for its service to ensure fit and quality. Customers can pay $30 to receive a Do It Yourself kit, or $70 for FastMac to repair, clean, and optionally upgrade an iPod within 24 hours of receiving the unit. All screens have a one-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. FastMac initially launched the 'just say no to crack' iPod 'rehab' program in early November.
Ceiva Digital Photo Frames
Ceiva has released two digital picture frames tailored for novices to printing and displaying digital photography. Both the 7-inch and 8-inch models can be subscribed to the company's PicturePlan service, which automatically downloads photos sent to the owner's account. The system is ideal for seniors, Ceiva claims, as the service by default connects to the service overnight with its own dial-up modem; no technical knowledge is required to receive images.
Photos can also be loaded to the device through more advanced methods. A built-in card reader copies photos directly from CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD, and other formats. Optional Ethernet ($25) and WiFi ($35) adapters can also be attached to not only speed the service but also create copies that are stored in online albums for others to access. The 7-inch frame is available now for $150 with 3 months of PicturePlan service, and $200 for a full year; 8-inch frames ship with similar options for an additional $50.
ASUS Skype Mainboards
ASUS today launched two computer mainboards that the company says will convert any telephone into a VoIP-capable device. Both the M2N/TeleSky for AM2-based Athlon 64 processors and the P5B TeleSky for Intel Core 2 systems share a plug-in telephone adapter that links a home phone with the Skype software of a PC, switching the phone between conventional and Internet calls. The adapter also gives the choice of using a standard phone for Skype-specific functions ranging from SkypeOut calls to real-world numbers as well as multi-user Skype Conference conversations. Owners can even customize the ringtone when receiving calls from different numbers or users, ASUS says. Both the M2N and P2B variants ship today, though pricing remains unavailable.
Philips DCM270 DAP dock
The DCM270 Docking Entertainment System is an unusual stereo dock being prepared by Philips. Wheareas most docks are built to fit on a shelf or desktop, the 270 is in fact a tower speaker with added CD and radio functions. Moreover, the dock supports not just iPods, but Philips' own GoGear digital audio players. The company has not specified when and at what price the DCM270 will ship; it is known however that the product will be making its premiere at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, scheduled for next month in Las Vegas.
Traktor 3.2 goes Universal
Native Instruments today released Traktor 3.2, an update to its DJ software that brings a wide range of functional enhancements along with native compatibility for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. TRAKTOR 3.2 offers DJs improved creative functionality, reliability and ease of use across the board, according to Native Instruments, with synchronized track mirroring between decks and seamless Hot Cueing as well as stripe navigation. Traktor 3.2 also features optimized tempo detection, new WAV tag writing, an enhanced External Mixer mode, extended MIDI controller integration, an extended user manual, and a large number of optimizations/fixes. The update is available for free to registered users of Traktor 3, and costs $30 for new users.
Triple-format Blu-ray burn
Taiwanese company Lite-On is rolling out the LH-2B1S, a SATA triple-format Blu-ray writer. It can write to BD-R/RE discs at 2x speeds, DVD-R/RW discs at up to 12x, and CD-R/RW discs at 32x. As it's a Blu-ray drive, it requires Windows XP SP2, 2000 SP4, or greater. The product comes bundled with PowerDVD for video playback, and Power Producer and Power2Go for authoring. It should be available soon in the United States, but at the moment the only firm release date is December 6th in Japan for 69,800 yen ($604).
Rayner Software today released ScreenSend, a screenshot tool for Mac OS X with a unique Web upload feature that instantly posts screenshots to a website. ScreenSend eliminates many of the steps normally required to show a screenshot to a friend or colleague over the internet, and negates the need to send the pictures as email attachments. Users select an area of the screen and enter a URL, after which ScreenSend immediately proceeds to upload the screenshot on a dedicated server at a data center, accessible from anywhere on the internet. The application is available for free, with the Web hosting service available as a subscription for $3 per month or $30 per year. The hosting service comes with a one-week free trial, offers 100MB of server space, and allows 'unlimited' traffic.
TaxCut for Mac released
H&R Block has re-released TaxCut, the Mac edition of its do-it-yourself tax preparation software. The company discontinued its Mac version last year due to 'small participation from Mac users,' but says the new release includes many of the missing features that the older version lacked. TaxCut is available in three editions which include TaxCut Premium Federal, TaxCut Premium Federal+State, and TaxCut Premium Federal+State+e-file. TaxCut Premium Federal offers personal tax guidance from form 1040EZ to Schedule C, while TaxCut Premium Federal+State offers the same tax aid but factors in State taxes as well as Federal. TaxCut Premium Federal+State+e-file encompases tax aid for both Federal and State taxes, and helps users eligible for e-filing to reduce paperwork and receive refunds at an accelerated rate. TaxCut Premium Federal is priced at $20, while TaxCut Premium Federal+State is available for $30. TaxCut Premium Federal+State+e-file is priced at $60. All versions require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
MusiQ rivals iPod shuffle
BenQ today unveiled the MusiQ, a screen-less flash player aimed directly at the increasingly popular iPod shuffle. The player resembles a military dog tag and is built out of brushed aluminum and magnesium, and attaches easily through a chain to a keychain or necklace, according to Electronista. The base players contain only 512MB or 1GB of flash memory depending on the model; however, a built-in microSD card slot can more than double the song capacity. Both will ship with a his or hers matching decorative tag, BenQ says: a "steel wings" logo will be etched on one side of the tag for men, while a "magic beans" floral design exists for women. The player includes a metal earphone chain and will launch first in China on December 15th. The 512MB version will retail for $88 US; 1GB pricing has not been released.
BenQ MusiQ Player
BenQ today unveiled the MusiQ, a screenless flash player aimed directly at the increasingly popular iPod shuffle. The player resembles a military dog tag and is built out of brushed aluminum and magnesium, and attaches easily through a chain to a keychain or necklace. Its small size is not an obstacle to storage, BenQ notes. Even though the base players contain only 512MB or 1GB of flash memory depending on the model, a microSD card slot is built in that can more than double the song capacity. Either capacity will ship with a his or hers matching decorative tag, BenQ says: a "steel wings" logo will be etched on one side of the tag for men, while a "magic beans" floral design exists for women. Both versions come with a metal earphone chain and are expected to launch first in China on December 15th. The 512MB version will retail for $88 US; 1GB pricing has not been released. A profile photo is available after the jump.
Upscaling, 1080p on PS3
Some of Sony's Playstation 3 developers have indicated that the console should be receiving audio-visual upgrades in the near future, writes Japanese site Impress Watch. Key among these is 1080p/24 support; while the console supports other 1080p modes, it has been unable to work with video rendered at 24fps (theatrical film speed). Likewise, the PS3 should eventually have DVD upscaling, which can drastically improve rendering for the high-end TVs that Sony wants PS3 users to own. The console should also permit users to select between RGB and YCrCb color modes. Finally, audio has not been left out of the equation, with the developers promising better software support for Super Audio CDs. An exact timeframe for implenting these upgrades has not been publicized.
Patent, 'I'm a Mac' shirt
In brief: The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's patent application titled 'Accessories for teleconference component,' relating to teleconferencing systems.... Insanely Great Tees is holding a contest, allowing visitors to cast their votes on favorite T-shirt designs such as the "I'm a Mac" shirt.... Apple has secured a seventh Printed Circuit Board supplier -- Gold Circuit Electronics -- in Taiwan for its iPod digital media players.... Dracosoft has released Christmas Sudoku for Mac OS X, an iconic twist on the standard Sudoku number game styled after the holidays.... Smart Loops has released its 'Phat to Phreaky' Hip-Hop loop library ($30) in Apple Loops and REX2 formats.... Mac users are experiencing problems after upgrading the Linksys WRT54G wireless router to firmware v1.00.10 due to a bug in the way the router issues DHCP addresses to wireless clients.
JVC KD-S100 Car Audio
JVC and design partner Bongiovi said today that they are producing the first car stereo head unit that can significantly upgrade audio quality by itself. Called the KD-S100, the device uses Bongiovi's Digital Power Station processor to tune the audio properties to a car's existing speakers and audio environment, improving sound quality to near-studio levels without having to improve the speakers themselves. The new chip can independently adjust four channels and uses Digital Subwoofer to create a virtual bass unit, obviating the need for the real thing, according to Bongiovi. The audio system is capable of supporting up to 200 watts of power and includes a front-mounted USB port for playing MP3 or WMA songs from flash drives; connectors for an iPod interface and Sirius radio tuning are optional. The KD-S100 is now available through a network of US car dealerships as an aftermarket part.
LaCie Huby USB hub
USB hubs are frequently utilitarian; not so the new LaCie Huby, which has an orb-like design created by the Ora-Ito studio. The top half is normally removed, revealing eight LED lights for each of the cables that can be connected. If space is at a premium though, it can be attached again to thread all the cables together. The Huby adds four USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire 400 ports. It ships with eight connection cables, a USB fan, a USB light, and two extension cords. LaCie is selling the hub for $79.
Dell 27-inch Display
Samsung executives have signed an agreement with Dell to produce a 27-inch LCD, DigiTimes reports. Referring to a statement found in the Korea-based Electronic Times, the Taiwanese publication says that Dell has entered into a long-term contract that would see it using the LTM270M1, a 1920x1200 screen with an exceptionally high 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a 6ms response time, and 500cd/m2 brightness.
The exact use of the panel in Dell's display line remains unclear, however. While the Samsung LCD can form the core of a TV, the Electronic Times says, the pixel resolution is unusually high for the TV class and would mark one of the first 1080p-capable sets. As a computer display, it would also closely match Dell's existing 2407WFP and similar displays in terms of features and resolution despite its larger image. An official answer to concerns will be made in January 2007 when both Dell and Samsung release displays at the new size.
Parallels beta released
Parallels today posted an early beta release of Parallels Desktop, enabling Intel-based Mac owners to install and use Microsoft Windows without the need to reboot the system. The update brings support for booting Windows XP on a Boot Camp partition directly in Parallels Desktop, as well as the ability to use an Apple Boot Camp partition with Windows XP installed as a virtual hard drive. The beta allows users to drag-and-drop files as well as folders from Windows to Mac OS X and vice versa, and features one-click Virtual Machine aliases to automatically start Virtual Machines. The newly released beta is available for free, and Parallels is offering a special holiday deal where customers who purchase Parallels products receive one year of free upgrades. Parallels Desktop for Mac is priced at $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later. [updated]
London Apple store largest
Apple today re-opened the boarded-up sections of its Regent Street store in London, reclaiming the area which was previously used for storage and adding more than 9,500 square-feet of selling space. The re-opening is timed to coincide with Apple's one-day sale event in the UK, and makes the London-based store the largest Apple retail location, according to Macworld UK. The revamped Regent Street Store features a glass elevator inspired by the company's Fifth Avenue New York location, and incorporates 50 percent more CPU test points as well as 75 percent more in-store product than before. The re-opening also marks the addition of an iPod Bar to complement the 'Genius Bar,' which now only deals with computer-based inquiries.
Metallic iPod speakers
Intempo on Friday began shipping its IDS-01b iPod speaker dock. As a contrast to normally conservative speaker colors, the new systems ship in metallic colors that match the brighter spectrum of the second-generation iPod nano, according to Electronista. While intended for Apple's flash-based iPods players, the designs work with any dockable iPod as well as any device that can plug into a minijack input, such as the iPod shuffle. The 12-watt stereo system has a 3D bass audio enhancer and can also synchronize iPods by plugging into a Mac or Windows PC's USB port. Advanced MP3 Players is now selling the IDS-01b for £35 ($70)
Intempo IDS-01b Speakers
Intempo on Friday began shipping its IDS-01b iPod speaker dock. As a contrast to normally conservative speaker colors, the new systems ship in metallic colors that match the brighter spectrum of the second-generation iPod nano. While intended for these flash players, however, the designs work with any dockable iPod as well as any device that can plug into a minijack input, such as the iPod shuffle. The 12-watt stereo system has a 3D bass audio enhancer and can also synchronize iPods by plugging into a Mac or Windows PC's USB port. Advanced MP3 Players is now selling the IDS-01b for £35 ($69).
"World's fastest" 19" LCD
BenQ today released the FP93G X+, an upgraded version of the company's existing FP93G X 19-inch LCD. The company claims that the display has "the fastest response times of its kind" maintaining the 2ms gray-to-gray time of its predecessor, according to Electronista. It uses its own Advanced Motion Accelerator to optimize the performance of the panel in the mid-level colors and is an ideal replacement for a CRT by gamers or avid movie viewers, BenQ says. The primary upgrade to the screen is an improved contrast ratio, which increases from 700:1 to 800:1; it also features a brightness of 300 cd/m2 and the thin 13mm (0.5-inch) bezel. The FP93G X+ offers both DVI and VGA ports and will be available later this month for an unspecified price.
SketchFighter 4000 ships
Ambrosia today released SketchFighter 4000 Alpha, an a new action/arcade game for Mac OS X. "SketchFighter 4000 Alpha redefines 'retro' by bringing together the imaginative pen and paper sketches from your youth with a killer resolution independent OpenGL graphics engine. SketchFighter also boasts a unique synthesis of exploration and action game play, which has you alternately blasting cute little lady bugs into oblivion and then puzzling your way through the hand-drawn challenges presented to you. With a notebook stuffed full of killer challenges awaiting you, and a unique two-player gaming mode that's unlike anything you've ever seen, SketchFighter 4000 Alpha brings the fantasies of your youth to life in an absurd yet utterly wonderful gaming experience." SketchFighter features a level editor and is available for $20.
HighDesign 1.7 ships
Ilexsoft today released HighDesign 1.7, a major update to its professional CAD application for architects, engineers, designers and home owners. The 2D CAD and illustration program features advanced vector tools, a clean user interface and many special tools. HighDesign 1.7 is now a Universal Binary application compatible with both PowerPC- and Intel- based Macs. This new version is up to four times faster than any previous release, according to the developer. The design and edit tools have been enhanced by the addition of the Object Info inspector that simplifies numerical editing, the new Construction Lines and Measure tools, seamless symbol editing, dozens of new symbols. For professional designers, HighDesign Professional Edition offers significant improvements and extends the workflow with the enhancements to Project Views, which now take a snapshot of the current view and store the visibility of layers and sheets.
BenQ FP93G X+ Display
BenQ today released the FP93G X+, an upgraded version of the company's existing FP93G X 19-inch LCD. The company maintains its claim that the display has the fastest response times of its kind, maintaining the 2ms gray-to-gray time of its predecessor. Use of the company's own Advanced Motion Accelerator to optimize the performance of the panel in the mid-level colors, where most users are likely to notice ghosting or other artifacts. This response time makes the X+ version an ideal replacement for a CRT by gamers or avid movie viewers, BenQ says. The primary upgrade to the screen is an improved contrast ratio, which increases from 700:1 to 800:1. A brightness of 300 cd/m2 and the thin 13mm (0.5-inch) bezel carry over from the previous design. The FP93G X+ offers both DVI and VGA ports and will be available later this month for an unspecified price.
Sirius Live Video in 2007
Mel Karmazin, CEO of satellite radio provider Sirius, said today that his company expects to offer live video over its network by the end of 2007, according to Reuters. Speaking at a presentation held by the press agency, Karmazin indicated that Sirius was "very close" to finalizing three content deals that could be ready as soon as the CES 2007 show in January, allowing the network to offer video at a later date. The service will primarily be targeted at children in the back seat watching headrest-mounted displays, the CEO said, and should be integrated in 2008 model year cars that will be released later in 2007. Pricing is expected to climb above the $13 per month set by radio-only service but has not been officially determined.
XM Satellite Radio also hopes to implement video broadcasts, but is waiting to see a significant audience for the content before investing in the technology.
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