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News Archive for 06/12/18

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Briefly: FM Conference 2007; CS3 resources

12/18, 6:35pm

FM 2007; PS CAFE on CS3

In brief: The francophone FM Conference 2007 is scheduled for March 23-25th in Lyon, France, and will cover a range of topics on the FileMaker database program.... Following in the wake of recent tutorials, PhotoshopCAFE has launched its own resource site for Photoshop CS3.... A new promotion has surfaced titled MacSanta, which gives a 20 percent discount on products from the likes of Bare Bones, Potion Factory, and Rogue Amoeba.... Intego plans to unveil its newest security software at January's Macworld San Francisco.... Linotype has created new type system called Generis, allowing users to combine four base fonts to create a number of permutations.... LightScribe has announced the U.S. availability of printable discs in red, blue, orange, yellow and green.

United offers seat with iPod plug, XM radio

12/18, 6:35pm

United seats w/iPod plugs

United Airlines is pampering its wealthy clients with an updated First Suite designed to provide maximum digital entertainment. Electronista writes that the enclosure will feature a 15.4-inch LCD, on-demand music, games as well as video, and 50 channels of XM Radio content in the form of 3,000+ pre-supplied tracks. Users can plug laptops into a 110-volt universal power port, and iPods are chargeable using a built-in iPod connector that allows passengers to keep listening with a pair of noise-canceling headphones. The airline will install the new First Suite only on wide-bodied planes making international flights, such as the Boeing 747 and 777.

QM debuts thin 2G iPod nano speakers

12/18, 5:35pm

QM debuts 2G Nano speakers

QM-Entertainment is developing a set of speakers exclusively for Apple's second-generation iPod nano that resemble the company's existing speakers for the first-generation model. The new speakers are no thicker than two CD jewel cases, according to Electronista, but now offer colors matching all of Apple's newest music players. The as yet unnamed stereo is powered either by a USB cable, which also synchronizes the iPod, or four AAA batteries. A line-in jack is provided for third-party players. QM-Entertainment has yet to reveal battery life and other details for its latest audio hardware, which is expected to launch in January for 30 Euros ($40).

SageTV takes on EyeTV2, Slingbox

12/18, 5:15pm

SageTV takes on EyeTV2

SageTV today released the Mac version of SageTV Placeshifter, a portable media extender that allows Mac users to access live or recorded TV, music, and photos from SageTV Media Center software installed on a Windows or Linux system. The updated version of the software is designed to eliminate the need for subscriptions to monthly PVR services as well as purchases of new Windows XP MCE PCs or a Windows XP MCE operating system to obtain PVR/media center capabilities. "Now family members can access their home TV and personal digital media library on any Mac or Windows machine in the home or even away, whether at the office, a hotel, the airport or a Wi-Fi cafe, with the same SageTV Media Center interface," said SageTV. The media extender is already shipping for $110, and includes a wireless remote control as well as an Ethernet cable.

Zune at 9% of hard drive player market

12/18, 5:00pm

Zune back at nine percent

Microsoft's Zune player is holding at second place in the hard drive-based player market, according to one report. The change equates to a share of nine percent, calculated by NPD using the first month of sales since the Zune's debut, while Apple's iPod's share tallies roughly 82.7 percent. The situation is less pleasant for Microsoft in the overall market, where the Zune ranks at fourth place with 1.9 percent share, according to Electronista. Despite products from Apple, Creative and SanDisk ranking ahead of the Zune, Microsoft's increase in market share represents progress from the Zune's once fifth place title. Apple's overall dominance has dropped from 63 percent in 2005 to 62.2 percent this month, according to the report, and command of the hard drive-based player market fell from 86.8 percent in the same time period.

United offers first-class suite with iPod plugs, XM

12/18, 4:45pm

United First Suite With XM

United Airlines today launched a major revision of its United First Suite to reflect digital reality of its passengers. While it keeps a seat that converts into a perfectly flat bed, the new suite is surrounded by electronics. At the front of the occupant is a 15.4-inch widescreen LCD that provides on-demand music, video, and games; amongst the programming be 50 channels of pre-supplied XM radio content with over 3,000 songs available, according to United.

Flyers who bring their own equipment onboard are expected to receive similar treatment. An iPod connector will keep the Apple device charged during long-haul flights while listened to with a pair of noise-cancelling headsets. Laptop owners can also plug their systems in during the flight using a 110-volt universal power port. As with the existing suite, the airline will only make the refreshed United First Suite available to international travelers on wide-body planes such as the Boeing 747 or 777. A different angle of the suite is available after the jump. [Via Orbitcast]

Dual-mode Samsung phone gets FCC nod

12/18, 4:15pm

Samsung W531 World Phone

Samsung is set to launch the W531 (PDF) cellphone for Americans traveling abroad, according to a recently discovered FCC filing. The phone add a GSM radio, giving subscribers to CDMA phone networks in the US the opportunity to roam in Europe and other areas where the opposing standard is more common. Its design also promises much-needed modernization to US carriers' dual-mode lineups and revolves around a 1.3-megapixel camera, MP3 playback, and extensive support for Office documents and most photo formats. Launch details for the US remain an official secret, but the phone is slated to appear first with Sprint. Complete photos can be found after the jump.

Sharp launches dictionary with voice feedback, MP3

12/18, 3:50pm

Sharp MP3 Dictionary

Sharp on Monday started delivering its RD-CX100 electronic dictionary. Intended for travelers in or to southeast Asia, the folding handheld translates between English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and other local languages using an extremely large 63-volume word library. Importantly, translations can be spoken to the user through Sharp's Voxware voice feedback system for use in conversations. An eBook reader is built-in for normal text.

As a secondary element, the dictionary can play audiobooks and other files in MP3 format. An FM radio provides music when storage is unavailable. The CX100 should be available today in Korea for $334.

QM preps ultra-thin iPod nano 2nd-generation speakers

12/18, 3:10pm

QM iPod nano 2G Speakers

Dutch manufacturer QM-Entertainment is developing a speaker set exclusively for the second-generation iPod nano. Similar to the company's existing speakers for the first-generation model, the new speakers are no thicker than two CD jewel cases but now have colors matching all of Apple's newest music players. The as yet unnamed stereo is powered either by a USB cable, which also synchronizes the iPod, or four AAA batteries. A line-in jack is provided for third-party players. Battery life and other details haven't been revealed for QM's latest audio hardware, which is expected to launch in January for 30 Euros ($39). [Thank you, Jeroen]

Brando adds real zoom to Nokia, Sony-Ericsson phones

12/18, 2:50pm

Brando Cellphone Telescope

Removing the key limitiation on most camera phones, Brando today shipped its telescope attachment for Nokia and Sony-Ericsson handsets. Both models strap on to the back of specific phone models from around the world and provide 6X optical zoom. This adds true long-distance photography to cellphones, Brando says, since most such devices are hampered in range by a virtual zoom effect. The large size relative to dedicated point-and-shoot cameras allows for a wide-angle lens and eliminates the distortion effects common with smaller optics. Brando exports either telescope model today for $19.

Orange broadband plan comes with MacBook

12/18, 2:45pm

Broadband and a MacBook

Worldwide internet provider Orange is set to provide a free, entry-level MacBook for its French customers alongside a specific broadband subscription plan. The company hopes to entice younger customers who might otherwise shun computers or high-speed internet. Vnunet writes that the basic plan costs EUR60 ($80) per month for 1Mbps, but has an 8Mbps upgrade option for an extra 5 ($7). Apple will receive 35 ($46) of the bill to cover the price of the MacBook, and customers can initially lease the laptop for a period of up to three years but may choose a lease-to-own program after six months. Both companies say they hope to deliver 1,000 MacBooks within the initial six months of the plan's existence. Consumers can subscribe via the Orange website or at 12 France Telecom stores until January 17th.

PhotoTessel supports all 17 symmetries

12/18, 2:35pm

PhotoTessel plug-in ships

Human Software today released PhotoTessel, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements, and Corel that enables users to create various types of symmetries. PhotoTessel supports professional pattern design, according to the company, enabling users to select an image to produce new customizable patterns. Key features include support for all 17 symmetry types, interlock design element support, fast Kaleidoscope creation, support for unlimited adjustments as well as modifications, and an advanced mode that enables users to layer multiple patterns together for alternative visual effects. PhotoTessel comes with more than 100 pattern generic effects for $130.

NetForce Navi blends GPS, 3.5G wireless, mobile TV

12/18, 2:30pm

i-Station NetForce Navi

i-Station has officially unveiled the peak of its NetForce media player line. The NetForce Navi adds to the company's basic NetForce player by supporting GPS mapping in 2D and 3D moves. This comes without sacrificing any of the existing media features and makes the Navi an ideal in-car entertainment system, i-Station says. Other wireless reception is crucial to the design as well. HSDPA mobile broadband is included for web browsing while driving; likewise, a digital tuner is integrated into the Navi for both T-DMB mobile TV broadcasts as well as DAB radio. The Windows CE-based player can also play stand-alone media files and includes viewers for Microsoft Office documents and even camera RAW photos. No availability has yet been published. [Via NaviGadget]

Briefly: MacBook handles; Jesus vs. Santa

12/18, 2:25pm

MacBook handles, spoof ads

In brief: QuickerTek has unveiled new carry handles ($50) for Apple's MacBook portables, offering a sturdy means of transporting an Apple notebook on-the-go.... Sermonspice.com has posted several spoof ads depicting Jesus vs. Santa set to a simple melody designed to mimic Apple's 'Get a Mac' TV commercials.... O'Reilly Media has released four new books in the 'Missing Manual' series to help users of every skill level with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint 2007.... One MacNN reader is taking a poll to see how many Mac OS X Server users would prefer some competition to Apple's upcoming Spotlight server, referencing OmniFind -- a joint effort by IBM and Yahoo to offer a local search engine for small to medium-sized companies.... Sling Media has released an updated client (build .128) that improves the user interface while fixing numerous bugs.... Nova media has introduced support for the latest PC datacard AC 875 by Sierra Wireless in launch2net 1.5.1.

Cingular stores begin receiving Treo 750 demo units

12/18, 1:55pm

Cingular Treo 750 Demos

Although Cingular has not made any official announcements, the cell service provider is already shipping demo units for the Treo 750 smartphone, according to the Boy Genius Report. Photos snapped of the device clearly reveal its Cingular branding, corroborating previous online leaks that signaled the company's intent to be the Treo's first US carrier. The Treo 750 is already available in Europe through Vodafone and is the company's flagship, carrying a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Unofficial Cingular plans have indicated that the carrier will ship the Treo 750 before the end of 2006, suggesting an imminent release.

Opera 9.1 browser adds anti-phishing tools

12/18, 1:35pm

Opera 9.1 browser released

Opera Software today launched real-time Fraud Protection in its free Opera 9.1 browser. Fraud Protection includes technology from GeoTrust, the leading digital certificate provider, and PhishTank, a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet. "The key to an effective phishing defense is speed and responsiveness," said security expert Bruce Schneier, CTO of BT Counterpane and an Opera user. "Opera's Fraud Protection delivers both by providing the user with real-time anti-phishing detection, augmented with nearly immediate identification of suspected phishing sites." Phishing, a form of online fraud that tries to trick users into entering sensitive information, is a fast growing internet problem with over 9,500 unique attacks in the month of November, according to the company. PhishTank, operated by OpenDNS and community members, enables anyone to submit, verify, track and openly share phishing data.

Oracom promises compact Rainbow S2 player

12/18, 1:30pm

Oracom Rainbow S2 Player

Oracom is planning a much more compact portable media player to challenge the rapidly expanding list of small media player rivals. Dubbed the Rainbow S2, the player counters the trend of expanding players by streamlining the company's existing UB-890: controls are now placed on the side instead of the front. Exact details of the as yet unannounced player are unknown, but early photos reveal FM radio and text reading in addition to a built-in microphone jack for line-in recording. At least 2GB of flash storage will be onboard, and file transfers will be handled through a standard USB cable instead of the UB-890's proprietary adapter. No launch date or prices have followed news of the Rainbow S2, which Oracom is expected to officially announce soon. [Via DAPReview]

Verizon announces first EVDO Rev. A wireless card

12/18, 1:25pm

Verizon EVDO Rev. A card

Verizon has begun unofficial support of EVDO Revision A with the AirCard 595, produced by Sierra Wireless. The card plugs into a Type II PC card slot, and allows enhanced data rates without a local connection, with an average speed of 400-700Kbps and a maximum of 2Mbps. A computer with Windows 2000, XP or Vista is required. Standard EVDO and CDMA networks are also supported. Sprint was previously the only American phone carrier to support Revision A, and the company is still working to expand its services. Verizon has yet to formally deploy a single Revision A subnet. The AirCard 595 currently costs $100 online with a two-year contract.

Evesham ships iPlayer digital TV recorder

12/18, 1:05pm

Evesham Ships iPlayer

Evesham has just begun shipping its multi-role iPlayer media center. Based on a Freeview digital tuner, the iPlayer plays and records over-the-air digital broadcasts on an 80GB hard drive that can store as much as 70 hours of video. The hub is also future-proof and can play IPTV obtained through a built-in web browser alongside external USB storage or nearby Windows Media Connect hosts. All content is automatically formatted to the TV, Evesham says: a built-in upscaler converts all video to as high as 1080i in standard or widescreen ratios, and an HDMI output connects the recorder directly to newer HDTVs. Evesham delivers the iPlayer as of today for 300 ($583).

Softbank adds kid-friendly Toshiba 812T

12/18, 12:50pm

Kid-friendly Toshiba 812T

Japanese carrier Softbank is now supporting the Toshiba 812T, a cellphone designed specifically for children, writes Mobile Magazine. The clamshell phone comes in blue or pink, and has the notable feature of an emergency tab, which (when pulled) will automatically notify specific contacts of a child's location, relying on a built-in GPS receiver. A buzzing sound is meant to deter potential threats. The phone is also described as 3G, permitting features such as WCDMA video calls, and comes equipped with a microSD slot as well as a three megapixel camera. Softbank has yet to share information on prices and possible distribution points outside Japan.

Sony preparing movie downloads for the PSP

12/18, 12:00pm

Movie downloads on the PSP

Sony is preparing to start movie downloads to the Playstation Portable in the first quarter of 2007, says the Financial Times. Users will buy a movie on a PC, and from there transfer it to a PSP, much as videos bought on iTunes are synched with an iPod. Only transfers to Sony devices will be permitted, possibly even one per movie. Sony will not be creating its own online store however; the company is instead talking with sites such as Amazon, Movielink, and CinemaNow about supporting the PSP initiative. Videos downloaded from iTunes will not be compatible, as Apple uses its own proprietary formatting.

The announcement of the movie service follows not long after news of the Memory Stick PRO-HG, which is being deliberately designed with video in mind. Sizes of the PRO-HG will range from 4GB to 32GB, and transfer speeds should more than double those of the Memory Sticks currently used by the PSP. Sony estimates that a 4GB stick will be able to hold 10 feature films at the PSP's compressed size.

NPD: Zune at 9% of hard drive player share

12/18, 11:40am

Zune at 9 Percent Share

Microsoft's oft-maligned Zune player may not have fared as poorly as expected in its first month of sales, according to an NPD study reported by Mercury News. Despite observations of the Zune's quick descent in store rankings and in overall popularity after its initial launch, the new digital player commanded 9% of the hard drive player market, claiming second place next to Apple's ubiquitous iPod. Microsoft's share of the overall market was a considerably smaller 1.9%, placing it in fourth behind Apple, Creative, and SanDisk.

Although the Redmond-based company's share is small and may face an uncertain future, Mercury's Troy Wolverton says, the iPod has lost a slight portion of the market in the face of more aggressive competition. Apple's share of the hard drive player market has fallen from from 86.8% at the end of 2005 to 82.7% in mid-December, while its overall command dipped slightly from 63% to 62.2%. The change may signal at least partial success for the Zune, whose impact was widely expected to steal marketshare from existing Windows Media-based rivals rather than Apple.

22Moo ships new video glasses

12/18, 11:20am

22Moo video glasses ship

22Moo today introduced its ultra-light i-Vision video eyewear for Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii, Apple's video iPod, and Microsoft's Zune in two different models. The i-Vision 230 features a virtual display size of 35-inches from 2 meters away, boasting a resolution of 320 x 240 and weighing 72 grams. The i-Vision 922 (shown at right) features a virtual display size of 48-inches from 2 meters away with a resolution of 640 x 480 and weighing 84 grams. 22Moo also introduced its Argo+PC VGA video glasses with two high resolution 640 x 480 LCDs, generating a virtual display size of 43-inches for any device that supports AV or VGA output. The Argo+PC comes with a detachable light shield, earphones, and a separate rechargeable battery. Both i-Vision models ship in white, red, or silver with the i-Vision 230 priced at $250 and the i-Vision 922 available for $350. The Argo+PC is priced at $400.

Samsung readying YP-T9 player in 8GB trim

12/18, 11:15am

Samsung YP-T9 8GB

Following the trend of recent high-end flash players, Samsung today said it would boost the capacity of its YP-T9 jukebox to 8GB, making the device one of the largest-capacity flash handhelds capable of playing video. The extra storage allows for as many as 16 movies to be stored at 500MB each, Samsung says. Although the features are largely unchanged and range from MPEG-4 video to FM radio and MP3/WMA audio, the Korean edition of the YP-T9 will continue to sport Bluetooth for streaming audio to wireless headphones and speakers. Playback time is rated at 30 hours for audio and 6 hours for video, down slightly from the 7 hours of video claimed for the American 2GB and 4GB models. No pricing has been announced, but it will likely fall in line with that of rivals at roughly $250 US. A launch in North America is anticipated without the Bluetooth feature.

Hauppauge releases "triple-tuner" TV card

12/18, 11:00am

"Triple-tuner" TV card

Where many TV cards only receive analog cable signals, Hauppauge's new WinTV HVR-3000 further enables users to watch and record digital satellite (DVB-S) broadcasts, as well as the Freeview over-the-air HD service, available in the United Kingdom. The card fits into a PCI slot and also accepts inputs from composite, stereo and S-Video sources. Radio can be piped in via FM or DVB-S/DVB-T digital. Recording is handled with SoftPVR, which allows TiVo-like scheduling and storage, in qualities ranging from MPEG-1 VCD to MPEG-2 DVD. A 1.5GHz computer with Windows XP or Vista is required. Amazon.co.uk is selling the HVR-3000 for 85 ($166).

FireWire Depot ships three new enclosures

12/18, 10:55am

New FW Depot enclosures

FireWire Depot has unveiled three new storage solutions which include the FireXpress Quad 4-in-1 FireWire 1394a 1394b USB2 SATA drive 3.5 inch enclosure (shown at right), FireXpress Triplet 3-in-1 FireWire USB to SATA dual drive enclosure, and the MB722 SATA removable hard drive tray system. The FireXpress Quad 4-in-1 SATA drive enclosure converts a single SATA hard drive into portable USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, or eSATA drives. Boasting a slim and stylish aluminum enclosure as well as the Oxford 924 chipset, the case enables users to choose whether to use eSATA, FireWire 1294b, FireWire 1394a, or USB 2.0 connectivity. The FireXpress Quad 4-in-1 is priced at $150, while the FireXpress Triplet 3-in-1 enclosure is available for $160. The 2.5-inch inch SpeedzterIIs FireWire USB to SATA enclosure ships for $110.

Maxell intros pocket-sized speakers

12/18, 10:50am

Maxell Pocket Speakers

Maxell has just released the MXSP-100P stereo speaker pack. Fabric is used instead of hard plastic or metal for the speakers' body, rendering it safe and small enough to fit in a pocket while still managing 2.4W through two satellites. The speakers are meant as companions to handheld devices such as a cellphone or iPod, and accept input from any 3.5mm plug. Transport is made easier courtesy of a belt loop that connects the 100P to clothing or a backpack. Power when away from home is supplied through four AA batteries for roughly 20 hours. The speakers are carried by Maxell in black and white colors for $20 each.

Activists 'green' Apple's 5th Ave NYC store

12/18, 10:35am

Greenpeace at 5th Ave

More than 60 Greenpeace activists on Friday gathered around New York's Fifth Avenue Apple Store to protest the company's use of toxic chemicals in its hardware products. Activists shined green lights throughout the glass cube, lighting up the structure with a green glow in front of thousands of busy shoppers. "Our holiday wish list is simple. All we want from Steve Jobs is a green Apple," the organization said. "This holiday season, Mr. Jobs has the chance to play Santa and answer the wishes of children all over the world: deliver them an organic green Apple." Greenpeace activists protested Apple's use of toxic chemicals at the recent Apple Expo in London where it handed out organic green apples and flyers about the company's manufacturing policies. Apple also scored lowest in the organization's recently updated 'Guide to Greener Electronics,' which graded large tech companies on their use of toxic chemicals and harmful substances.

Agere previews Bluetooth, Wi-Fi media streaming hub

12/18, 10:25am

Agere BluOnyx Media Hub

Agere this morning provided an early glance at the BluOnyx, a credit card-sized portable server that hosts media for virtually any device. Storing as little as 1GB or as much as 40GB of data, the hub is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to stream music, video, and other content wirelessly around a room, regardless of the device type: owners will even have the choice of a "digital campfire," according to Agere, that can share the same songs or video clips with multiple users. The BluOnyx further doubles as a backup for the content and sports SD card as well as USB connections for copying files without the need for a computer. The server is lastly useful as an Internet gateway for cellphones or other hardware that can connect to the Internet but doesn't have its own service, Agere says. Prices will vary between $99 and $250 depending on storage, but will depend largely on third-party adoption: as a core component maker, Agere plans to license the BluOnyx to other companies for a release in early 2007.

KeynotePro releases KeyStation 2

12/18, 10:10am

KeyStation 2 released

KeynotePro has released KeyStation 2, a major update to its KeyStation theme for Apple's Keynote presentation software that features a Web-inspired presenter/kiosk-mode hybrid theme designed to ease the process of creating interactive presentations and Keynote-powered kiosks. "The KeyStation themes were designed from the ground up to be a truly flexible platform for both traditional projector-driven presentations and Interactive/Kiosk-mode presentation options available in iWork '06 or Keynote 2," said KeynotePro. KeyStation 2 includes up to 58 Master Slides (Pro/HD versions) with a wide range of text and photo-oriented layouts in both standard and kiosk-oriented designs. The update retouches color throughout the theme, offering a deeper-hued backing blue with softer contrasting color chart fills. KeyStation 2 is available for $30, and includes KeyStation 2 HD. The updated theme requires Apple Keynote 3.0 or later. Bundle pricing is also available.

MacWireless ships 11g USB Stick

12/18, 9:55am

11g USB Stick ships

MacWireless has unveiled its 11g USB Stick, offering wireless internet connectivity for any Mac with a USB port. The low cost alternative to Apple's original AirPort card is fully compatible with Apple AirPort cards and base stations, as well as all 802.11b, 802.11g, and pre-n networks. The 11g USB Stick also supports WEP and WPA encryption for secure network connectivity. Offering a range of 100-300 feet indoors or 300-900 feet outdoors, the device provides up to 54Mbps of bandwidth when compatible networks are available and the accessory is plugged into a USB 2.0 port. The 11g USB Stick is priced at $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

LG to launch PC/TV hybrid

12/18, 9:55am

LG TVPC Hybrid

Taking its integration of TVs beyond DVD players, LG today unveiled the TVPC, an LCD screen that merges the entire computer within the back of a 26-inch widescreen television's housing. The system is bundled with a remote that lets the system easily switch between its full TV and computer roles. LG adds that the TVPC can even link the two halves together, providing web-based content relating to a TV show. A wireless keyboard that also ships with the hybrid can control both the mouse pointer and key commands without a separate peripheral. Similarly, the system avoids further cabling by connecting the computer to its Internet access through Wi-Fi.

The launch edition of the TVPC is intended primarily for light viewing, according to the company's published hardware details. A 1.73GHz Celeron M, 1GB of RAM, and 160GB of storage are standard in the base system, which launches today for $2,005 in Korea. Upgraded systems capable of DVR functions and better overall performance are slated for release by the end of this month.

Sillysoft releases Ancient Empires Lux

12/18, 9:40am

Ancient Empires Lux ships

Sillysoft Games today released its new strategy game entitled Ancient Empires Lux for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. The game allows players to take control of the greatest early civilizations of mankind, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Ancient Empires marks the third Lux game developed by Sillysoft, utilizing a Risk inspired turn-based strategy gameplay. The new release boasts bigger maps, more statistics, and the ability to play as any of the nations vying for control of each empire. The game features a total of 58 different starting positions, and each empire comes as a map containing the real geographic layout marking the important cities and regions of the time. Background information is also available on each empire, along with links to full histories. Ancient Empires of Lux is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

Cingular to add MySpace to phones

12/18, 9:25am

Cingular Adds MySpace

Cellular network provider Cingular today said it would integrate the vast majority of its cellphones with MySpace. Similar to the functions of the virtual operator Helio, the Cingular tie-in will let MySpace users submit blog entries and photos to their personal pages through their phones, and also lets those users e-mail, search for, and view their MySpace friends. The MySpace interaction depends on a Java program downloaded to a compatible cellphone; 30 phones will support the feature immediately, MySpace says, while another 20 should have the option within the next few weeks. Video playback and submission is anticipated as a feature sometime next year. Cingular's plan adds $3 per month and is launching today.

Griffin debuts 5-in-1 ExpressCard reader

12/18, 9:05am

5-in-1 ExpressCard reader

Griffin Technology today announced a new versatile multimedia card reader for notebooks: the company's new 5-in-1 Card Reader for ExpressCard Slot allows notebooks with the expansion slot to read/write to a variety of flash-memory formats, including the Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC), and xD-Picture Card. Using a card adapter, it also supports the Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Micro, miniSD, microSD, RS-MMC, MMCplus, and MMCmobile formats. Griffin's 5-in-1 works with the ExpressCard/34 or /54 slot found in Apple's MacBook Pro and many recent Windows laptops andis comparable to or better than USB 2.0 High-Speed (up to 480 Mbps), according to the company. The card does not require drivers or software installation and is available now for $30.

Dirac launches silent, colorful Noah mini PCs

12/18, 9:05am

Dirac Noah Mini PCs

Dirac on Monday launched the Noah, a barebones PC kit for silence- and space-conscious computer users who still value desktop storage. The casing includes a single, quiet 80mm fan to cool its internal components, which themselves are low-powered courtesy of more efficient Core Solo, Core Duo, or Core 2 Duo processors. The system emits a virtually inaudible 13.8dB of noise, Dirac claims. Personalization is just as important to the company: in addition to stock black, silver, and white front skinks, the Noah is customizable with bolder colors such as blue, red, or green.

Expansion is consciously limited in the design but provides room for a desktop-sized hard disk and optical drive as storage. Peripheral expansion is supplied through either a PCI Express x1 slot or a mini-PCI slot for Wi-Fi adapters and other communication devices. The system is certified for Intel's Viiv media center initiative and can sit vertically with a statnd. Dirac ships its platform now for an unlisted price.

Red Giant ships Magic Bullet Colorista

12/18, 8:55am

Magic Bullet Colorista

Red Giant Software has released Magic Bullet Colorista, a new color correction plug-in for a variety of video editing applications. "Under the hood is the next generation Magic Bullet engine with real-time processing for quick review and rendering of SD and HD media. Colorista is ready for action with industry-standard color wheels for precise color control. Tweak the image further with saturation and exposure to make it balanced. ." It sports the familiar Lift, Gamma, Gain color wheels for easy adjustment of color balance and luminance as well as saturation and exposure options to help make flesh tones look natural. It supports 10-bit color, SD/HD (720p) playback, and powerful masking options. Magic Bullet Colorista ships as a native plug-in for all major host applications including Final Cut Pro (FX Plug), Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Avid AVX compatible systems. It is available now for $200.

Sony preps online movie download service

12/18, 8:50am

Sony movie downloads

Sony is readying its online video challenge to the industry-leading Apple iTunes store, according to a new report. Looking to enhance its own Sony Connect music store offerings, The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony is prepping an upgrade to its online media service that will include the ability to purchase movies online and watch them on Sony's PlayStation Portable. Expected in early 2007, it will include movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment at inception, but is expected to include movies from other studios as well. Sony is also readying a video-downloading service that will allow consumers to bypass their personal computers and send new video content directly to their hand-held devices, the report said; however, the final release plans for the direct-to-handheld service is still unknown.

Linksys launches "iPhone" telephony line

12/18, 8:40am

"iPhone" telephony line

Linksys, the owner of the US "iPhone" trademark, today is launching handsets with the iPhone model name, including the WIP320 iPhone, a Wi-Fi Skype handset that replicates all the core functions of Skype's VoIP software on the device itself, including paid SkypeOut calls and an address book. Electronista reports that the WIP320 phone, available today for $200, is unique for its quick access to internet connections, as it can locate hotspots even before the phone has completely initialized and connect to them by the time the phone is ready for use. The company also launched its dual-mode CIT400 Internet telephony kit, which bundles a cordless phone with a receiving base station that can plugin into an internet connection and a conventional telephone line, allowing users the choice of using one service or the other for outbound calls as well as the option of receiving incoming calls from both sources. It is available today for $180, according to the report.

Linksys releases new iPhone-branded Skype handsets

12/18, 8:15am

Linksys iPhone Handsets

Putting to rest the speculation, Gizmodo today revealed that Linksys, not Apple, is launching handsets with the iPhone model name. The networking company this morning announced the WIP320 iPhone, a Wi-Fi Skype handset that replicates all the core functions of Skype's VoIP software on the device itself, including paid SkypeOut calls and an address book. The phone is unique for its quick access to Internet connections, Linksys says: the Wi-Fi receiver can locate hotspots even before the phone has completely initialized, connecting by the time the phone is ready for use. The WIP320 is available today for $200.

Click through for details of the company's additional dual-mode iPhone and photos of both products.

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