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News Archive for 06/12/19

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US Modular ships flash-based 'Handy Drive'

12/19, 6:10pm

'Handy Drive' flash drive

US Modular has unveiled its Handy Drive, a small enclosure that houses a USB flash drive, a flashlight, and a small pen or pencil holder in the same shell. The USB connector is retractable to protect it from damage, and because no special drivers are required to detect the Handy, the drive is readable by Mac, Linux and Windows systems. A 128MB version of the Handy is priced at $20, with larger versions spanning up to 4GB (pricing for larger models was unavailable).

iPhone product name still available?

12/19, 6:10pm

iPhone name still open?

Despite this week's introduction of the Linksys product, the "iPhone" name may be still be accessible to Apple, notes Electronista. There are actually four iPhone trademarks filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and of those, only one has been granted to Linksys and its parent company Cisco. Two others have initially been refused, and a fourth (by Ocean Telecom) has yet to formally enter the approval process.

Digital Foci ships new 'Image Moments' frame

12/19, 5:55pm

New 'Image Moments' frame

Digital Foci today began shipping its new 'Image Moments' digital photo album frame. "The perfect gift, Image Moments lets you display and share photos directly from digital camera memory cards at home or at the office on a selection of beautiful interchangeable picture frames," said Digital Foci. "Just insert any digital camera card into Image Moments and memories will instantly come to life in sharp, vibrant color on its big 8-inch high-resolution digital LCD screen." The latest model features a unique interchangeable frame design and an easel leg for alternating between landscape and portrait positioning. Image Moments owners can also create custom frames with the company's proprietary adapter ring design. The frame ships for $230 with built-in memory card readers to directly download and display photos from digital cameras. Additional frame choices are priced at $20 each.

Apps: FlickrBooth, FMOD Ex Audio Classes

12/19, 5:45pm

FlickrBooth, BeComposed

    FlickrBooth 1.1 (donationware) is an Apple Photo Booth plug-in that allows users to post photos online to the Flickr image service. Changes in version 1.1 include a tokenfield for tag input fields, an about box in the file menu, and preferences that are accessible via cmd. The latest revision also includes a Growl auto-installer. [Download - 2.6MB]
    FMOD Ex Audio Classes 0.5b (free) are open source classes for the REALbasic IDE that hook into the cross-platform FMOD Ex audio library, providing support a wide range of audio formats with advanced playback options such as physically correct 3D positional audio. Version 0.5b requires FMOD Ex 4.06 or later, adding a FMEx.ErrorLogger property as well as FMExErrorLogger interface to forward error messages and offering more efficient sample/stream loading. [Download - 1.2MB]
    BeComposed 1.5 (free) updates the iTunes visualization software. The latest revision features a new Christmas Mode depicting snowflakes falling around the album cover against a dark background. BeComposed 1.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and iVisualize software. [Download - 4.4MB]
    DayliteABMenu 1.0 ($10) allows Marketcircle users to access their Daylite address book through a system-wide menu. The software provides quick access to contact phone numbers, email, postal addresses, and URLs. Selecting a menu item triggers an action such as displaying the content in large type, copying it to the clipboard, or creating a new email. [Download - 940KB]
    TimeNet 3.5 ($40) tracks time spent on projects. The software enables users to create tax reports, view outstanding bills, track payments, and visually track workflow month by month. The update marks the first version of TimeNet that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and fixes some existing bugs. [Download - 8.6MB]
    xTime Project 4.1 ($100) is a tool for tracing time spent, related expenses, and to-do items for daily tasks as well as projects. The latest revision features copy/paste functionality for tasks, milestones, and processes. xTime Project 4.1 also offers a new option in the print dialog to print a project on only one page, as well as an updated user interface. [Download - 13.5MB]

iPhone name still available?

12/19, 5:05pm

iPhone Name Available

Linksys' recent announcement of its iPhone voice-over-Internet handsets may not mark an absolute end to Apple's attempts to use the name for its own devices, according to research conducted by ZDNet's Russell Shaw. The journalist notes that of the four currently active "iPhone" trademarks held at the US Patent and Trademark Office, only one -- serial number 75076573 -- has been granted to Linksys' parent company Cisco. The remaining trademarks are owned by other companies and are hotly contested, Shaw adds, with two (78581563 and 78590673) having seen initial refusal by the office and a third by Ocean Telecom (77007808) having yet to receive any formal inspection.

Significantly, only the Ocean Telecom patent addresses music, referring to "MP3 and other digital format audio players" as well as telephone services. Cisco's patent only covers "integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks," according to the USPTO entry. In tandem with the previous conflicts between other "iPhone" filings, the limited Cisco trademark may not claim absolute authority over Apple's future attempts to use the "iPhone" name for its widely anticipated music phone.

Adobe to use Apple's WebKit for Apollo

12/19, 4:45pm

Adobe Apollo uses WebKit

Adobe's forthcoming Apollo project is making use of Apple's WebKit technology, says Adobe engineer Chris Brichford. Apollo is a runtime designed to simplify the development of desktop RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) that uses WebKit to implement HTML rendering. WebKit itself is an open-source browser engine used in Mac OS X applications such as Mail, Dashboard and Safari. Apollo 1.0 is due in the first half of 2007; once the project is complete, Brichford hopes that he and two of his associates will be able to return code improvements to the general WebKit community. Adobe in late May provided preliminary details of Apollo following its acquisition of Macromedia. [updated]

Sony BMG settles CD rootkit case

12/19, 4:30pm

Sony BMG Settles CD Case

Major music label Sony BMG today agreed to settle a lawsuit over its contentious anti-piracy software. The company said it would pay $750,000 in direct damages and court costs, and should pay a similar amount in another lawsuit alleging false advertising and illegal computer intrusion. Refunds are also being supplied to California residents who can describe any effect the CDs have had on their computers.

The settlement represents a possible end to a succession of bad press for the music company, which began in the fall of 2005 when customers discovered that certain Sony BMG music CDs contained a copy-protection program that effectively served as a rootkit for potential hackers. The code created new security vulnerabilities on Windows PCs that could not be closed and which were deliberately hidden from users without using special removal tools.

Apple security update fixes QuickTime flaw

12/19, 4:15pm

Security Update 2006-008

Apple today released Security Update 2006-008, which provides a fix for security issue in QuickTime for Java and Quartz Composer, an underlying graphics display software component of Apple's Mac OS X. The update, available now via the Software Update and the Web, is available for Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger systems only (both client and Server). The company said that the flaw could malicious websites to access private information without the users' consent or knowledge: "Java applets may use QuickTime for Java to obtain the images rendered on screen by embedded QuickTime objects and upload them to the originating web site. When this facility is used in conjunction with Quartz Composer, it becomes possible to capture images that may contain local information," Apple wrote in its security update. The update addresses the issue by disallowing Quartz Composer compositions in unsigned Java applets, but allow Quartz Composer compositions continue to function locally. The company said that applications and signed Java applets that utilize QuickTime and QuickTime for Java are unaffected. The same Mac OS X Tiger security update for PowerPC-based Macs is also separately available.

VTech previews i8300 InfoPhone

12/19, 3:50pm

VTech i8300 InfoPhone

VTech late Tuesday provided an early glance at its i8300 InfoPhone. The company is bucking the trend of VoIP cordless phones by offering a conventional handset with access to more popular Internet text functions. Owners will have access to their instant messaging contact list, e-mail, news, and other live updates through a Wi-Fi connection to a base station. The system is completely independent of a host computer and can plug directly into a modem or router through Ethernet. Voice calling itself has been improved, VTech claims: using DECT frequency-hopping, the phone can maintain a strong signal even when it has to compete with other wireless devices. The i8300 should be ready by March at a price of $130.

ModeLabs unveils 'green' cellphone concepts

12/19, 3:25pm

ModeLabs Green Cellphones

French designers ModeLabs this afternoon said it had developed three of the first truly energy- and environment-friendly cellphone concepts. All the concepts rely on the inherent movement of their users to automatically regenerate power and signal the possibility of using smaller batteries or even eliminating them entirely. The most advanced model is the YoYo (pictured), ModeLabs says. Worn about the neck, the prototype recycles the bounces and swings created by its owner and also draws power from built-in solar cells.

Alongside this flagship model, the company has also revealed the U-Turn, a business phone which can draw energy from opening and closing its keyboard, and the Runaway, a wrist-mounted phone for athletes that takes advantage of the faster movement of exercise as its main power source. ModeLabs has not said whether or not its concepts will reach production but hopes to market its custom designs to cellphone makers soon. Photos of all three phones can be seen after the jump.

Checkout 1.0 supports instant searches

12/19, 3:10pm

Checkout 1.0 released

Madebysofa today released Checkout 1.0, its new point of sale application offering retailers a user friendly way to run their stores. The software, which has been in public beta since October of this year, features a clear interface and instant search capability. Checkout provides automatic bookkeeping, a customizable invoice layout in HTML as well as CSS, and barcode scanning of products as well as serial numbers. A cost matching fixed value bookkeeping engine allows for GAAP-compliant accounting, and bookkeeping reports are exportable in various file formats including Excel, CSV, and TSV. The software ships with an example store for quick setup, and boasts high accessibility via a wide range of keyboard shortcuts. Checkout 1.0 is priced at $430, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later.

US Modular intros flash drive with pen, flashlight

12/19, 2:45pm

US Modular Handy Drive

Storage maker US Modular today catered to practical computer owners with its newly-unveiled Handy Drive. The flash-based USB jump drive incorporates both a flashlight and a pen, ensuring that travelers who frequently carry their computer storage in a briefcase or on a keychain are never without two essential tools close at hand. The USB connector for the memory also retracts safely into the body. No drivers are needed for most computers to recognize the Handy Drive, which works with Linux, Macs, and Windows PCs. US Modular says its latest drive should be available in stores today at $20 for the base 128MB version. Larger versions that store as much as 4GB are also available but have no officially listed prices.

Mac Office 2004 v11.3.2 officially released

12/19, 2:30pm

Mac Office 11.3.2 update

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) today released the Mac Office 2004 v11.3.2 update that it referenced in its latest Mac Mojo blog post after accidentally releasing several binaries which were not ready for release. "The new download is for both Office X and 2004 and contains all of the stability improvements that were ready to go live, and removes the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time code that was accidentally released last week," said the MacBU. The company instructed users to uninstall the patch after the updates were accidentally made live, but gave no clear indication on how to uninstall the questionable updates.

Ford using Mac minis in assembly lines

12/19, 2:25pm

Mac minis in Ford assembly

Automaker Ford has integrated Mac minis into its assembly lines, ordering 14 Core Solo systems for two of its Indiana plants. The computers currently run an automated sequencing program called PickIT controlled by plant workers through a touchscreen interface, according to Electronista. The minis themselves sit in a protective wall-mount box along with power supplies and a barcode scanner, which guards the Macs from theft or tampering. "We did a lot of research and determined they were the best deal," says Information's Jonathan Schalliol. Aside from having sufficient power, the size of the Mac mini enables it to fit into Ford's production areas, where space can often be at a premium. IiP notes that the Ford deal has been so successful that many of its employees have switched to Macs, and that it is planning to expand its supply deals in 2007.

ConceptDraw adds landscape, garden tools

12/19, 2:25pm

ConceptDraw 6.2 released

CS Odessa last week released ConceptDraw 6.2. a new version of its business and technical diagramming software that now includes landscape and garden design libraries. The company said the update includes shapes for displaying bridges, stairs, roofs, roads and junctions on the landscape layout; pools, ponds, water textures and other water-related objects; a plumbing library; and entertainment and garden furniture drawings. The second half of the new library additions includes new trees/shrubs and flowers/grass libraries that contain a number of shapes representing landscape elements and new textures allow users to build custom nature shapes. The update also brings Smart Objects for measuring and displaying an object's dimensions on a design document. Version 6.2 has now the ability to open a template in standard (US) units or metric measurement units. It is a free update to v6.0 owners, while upgrades from previous versions are $150 (Pro) and $80 (Standard). Full version pricing starts at $150. ConceptDraw VI is available in English, German, French and Spanish.

Comcast offers VOD movies same day as DVDs

12/19, 1:50pm

Comcast VOD Same as DVD

Comcast has taken the potentially controversial step of carrying movies through its on-demand service at the same time as DVDs for the same titles reach the stores, according to the New York Times. The pilot project will initially see Denver and Pittsburgh cable subscribers given the choice of watching new releases at a price of $4 per showing, roughly matching the price of a new rental at video stores but avoiding the weeks-long gap between DVD and VOD releases that normally discourages widespread use of on-demand video.

The trial run may be an essential move for Comcast and other media giants, which hope to encourage the idea of paid on-demand movies as Internet-based TV threatens the longstanding concept of TV channels. Blockbuster and other retail stores are understandably hesitant, the Times' Geraldine Fabrikant writes. "[Comcast] will be very cautious in introducing any new less profitable service that could be cannibalistic," a Blockbuster spokesman said.

Phantasia II for Mac released

12/19, 1:45pm

Phantasia II released

Rake in the Grass has released Phantasia II, the sequel to its arcade game Phantasia for Mac. The game offers three game modes that include classic, arkanoid, and 'bust-a-move.' Each game mode offers 30 original levels, and each level specifically challenges players to change tactics in order to succeed. Players use 12 different bonuses to save the dwarves, and collect coins as well as gems to raise their high score. Phantasia II also features colorful hand drawn graphics, original music, and gamepad support. Phantasia II is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Ruckus MediaFlex streams hiccup-free video

12/19, 1:40pm

Ruckus MediaFlex Router

As a counterpoint to D-Link's MediaLounge, Ruckus is offering its uniquely-shaped MediaFlex router. Rather than connect computers to TVs and other offline electronics, Ruckus' network switch is built to ensure that video and other media files sensitive to interference can reach Internet-connected devices without trouble. The characteristic U shape is is more than cosmetic, according to the company: the rounded design points six high-gain Wi-Fi antennas in different directions and intelligently adapts its reception to nearby devices. The technology not only prevents collisions between multiple streams but can boost range by as much as 300%. An optimization routine named SmartCast also gives top priority to media traffic over regular Internet access. While primarily sold to cable companies and other large-scale providers, the router is also available through MobilePlanet and other stores for $105. [Via Gearlog]

Iomega debuts desktop, portable drives

12/19, 1:35pm

Iomega expands drive lines

Iomega today announced new versions of two of its storage products: the high-end UltraMax Desktop Hard Drive with an expanded capacity of 1 terabyte (TB) and a new stylishly black small form-factor Iomega dual interface Portable Hard Drive with 120GB of storage capacity. Designed for Mac OS X users, Iomega's UltraMax Desktop Hard Drives deliver secure, high-capacity storage in a rugged enclosure that complements Apple's Mac Pro and Power Mac series of computers. The device offers RAID support as well as a built-in FireWire/Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) hub and FireWire 800 connectivity. In addition to the default mode of RAID 0, which stripes data across the UltraMax drive's two 7200-RPM SATA hard drives, other drive settings include RAID 1, 'spanned' (both hard drives are treated as a single volume), and 'simple' (each hard drive is treated as its own drive letter).

Pure Legato II records over a day of DAB radio

12/19, 1:25pm

Legato II: 30+ hrs. of DAB

Coming in January, Pure Digital's Legato II stereo can record up to 30 hours of DAB radio, following a seven-day program guide set by the user. Tracks are stored on SD cards, but the stereo has additional onboard memory to pause and rewind live broadcasts, and can transfer files to a computer through a USB cable. Owners can also use the system to play FM radio, standard audio CDs, and CDs and SD cards loaded with MP3s. Twenty different sounds are available for the stereo's alarm. The satellites produces 30W of power each. The Legato II will be sold in maple and cherry finishes for £350 ($681), or piano black for £379 ($737).

Apple adds Sudoku, Royal Solitaire to iTMS

12/19, 1:25pm

Apple adds games to iTunes

Apple today made two new iPod games available via its iTunes Music Store. The games -- Sudoku and Royal Solitaire -- are part of the company's Tuesday morning updates to the online storefront. Sudoku is a portable version of the Japanese logic-based puzzle game that features five levels of various difficulty. Players choose regular grid mode, or alternatively enter a puzzle from a favorite publication under newspaper mode. Royal Solitaire includes 10 versions of Solitaire, challenging players to test their skills with the "classic Canfield, the popular Klondike, or the easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master Pyramid," according to Apple. "Crisp graphics and simple, intuitive controls translate into hours of playing fun." Both games work with fifth-generation video iPods, and are priced at $4.99 each from the iTunes Music Store.

Ministry of Sound unveils Mi-Sound iPod Case

12/19, 1:05pm

Mi-Sound iPod Case debuts

Ministry of Sound has unveiled its new Mi-Sound iPod Case, which serves to protect Apple's player against scratches and dings while acting as a portable speaker system. The device produces 0.6W from a unit in a separate compartment, which also contains a pouch for storing earbuds and other small objects. The flap for the iPod section folds over backwards to create a makeshift stand, and the Mi-Sound iPod case is powered by two AAA batteries. The case fits full-sized iPods as large as the 60GB fourth-generation models, according to Electronista. The Mi-Sound is shipping for $50 from the Ministry of Sound website.

SplitFish sends EdgeFX PlayStation 2 mouse to stores

12/19, 12:55pm

EdgeFX PlayStation 2 Mouse

Peripheral designer SplitFish today announced that its EdgeFX gaming mouse is reaching stores. First-person shooters and similar action games are best controlled with a mouse, according to the company; the EdgeFX gives this option to PlayStation 2 owners without trading away the gamepad buttons that most games depend upon. The mouse itself includes the four face buttons from Sony's original Dual Shock controller and uses typical mouse buttons. A secondary left-hand controller contains the left-side analog and directional pads needed for movement. Force feedback and all the other controls games expect are included, SplitFish says. The EdgeFX can be found now at GameStop for $70. Xbox and PlayStation 3 editions are promised for next year.

Briefly: MacNN review; Apple pulls iSight

12/19, 12:55pm

Review, Apple pulls iSight

In brief: MacNN has reviewed the CoverCase Sports Case ($20, shown at right), a sport iPod case with an armband for Apple's video iPod.... Apple has quietly removed the iSight camera from its online store, offering only its iSight Accessory Kit and Griffin's SightLight FireWire light accessory.... Small Tree Communications has partnered with 2°Frost Data Solutions, and has agreed to deliver its multiport Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) cards and switches for use with the company's Mac ATA-over-Ethernet storage technology.... Subband's OSS 3D real-time sound enhancer 2.x was found to contain a bug which caused one MacNN readers' Mac to utilize more than 50 percent of its CPU capacity when idling.... Accessory maker IOGear conducted an online poll to discover whether unsanitary PC accessories and co-workers can cause users to get sick, revealing that employees often fail to clean their computer peripherals and that 13 percent of the 203 respondents admitted to not always washing their hands after visiting the restroom.

Apps: PGP Desktop, MediaCentral

12/19, 12:35pm

PGP Desktop, MediaCentral

    PGP Desktop 9.5.2 ($100) enhances the security tool that uses encryption to protect both local data and data in transit. PGP Desktop features include PGP Whole Disk Encryption, resizable virtual disks, native Intel-based Mac support, and a unified window interface. The latest release fixes numerous minor issues. [Download - [form]]
    MediaCentral 2.5 ($30) is a free update to registered users of the media center software, bringing support for Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The update also includes a new DVD Options menu, boasts enhanced performance, and is available in 13 languages.
    DiskLibrary 1.1.1 ($30) updates the remote media cataloging software for Mac OS X, adding CDFinder import capability with support for renaming catalogs while importing. DiskLibrary 1.1.1 also offers advanced searches with filtering, and incorporates numerous bug fixes. [Download - 1.6MB]
    Barcode Producer 4.1.5 ($150) is a barcode creation application suite offering tools for vector EPS barcode generation, asset tags, and more. The latest release offers vector EPS compatibility with Photoshop CS3's rasterizer, adds Photoshop CS3 support for 'send To Photoshop' menu options, and includes Instant Barcode Transfer to Photoshop CS3. [Download - 11.4MB]
    Jotz 1.3.52u ($18) enhances the zero-learning-curve notepad/lightweight database for Mac OS X, offering native compatibility with Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Version 1.3.52u also offers Leopard compatibility, a new preference option, and stability changes. [Download - 2.7MB]
    CDRevolution 1.00 ($20) is a drag-and-drop CD copying tool for both audio and data CDs. The upgrade burns CDs from dmg, cdr, iso, and cue formats, displaying the capacity of the CD required for a burn in the main window. CDRevolution 1.00 also offers automatic update checking for registered users. [Download - 953KB]

Wii web browser to arrive on December 22nd

12/19, 12:25pm

Wii browser on Dec. 22nd

The long-promised web browser for the Nintendo Wii will be available December 22nd, the company has announced. Initially disappointing some gamers, the Wii did not come with Opera - or several other Internet components - when the console launched on November 19th. The Wii version of Opera will finally be ready this week, a free download from the Wii Shop Channel until June, when it will cost 500 Wii Points. Also going live soon (tomorrow, in fact) is the Forecast Channel, which will provide weather information from around the world by browsing list of cities, or scrolling around a 3D globe. Notably, however, the Wii will still be missing the News Channel, which is expected January 27th.

IntelliDOT CAREt marketed as "medical iPod"

12/19, 11:40am

IntelliDOT "medical iPod"

Banking on the popularity of the iPod, IntelliDOT is describing its new CAREt Handheld as the medical equivalent. In reality it's actually used to keep track of medication, ensuring its safe administration without having to tote around a clipboard full of paperwork. Doctors and nurses simply scan a patient's wristband, then use the Handheld's keypad to process the documentation. The unit in turn communicates with a CAREt Server via 802.11b/g wireless. Battery life on the Handheld is 14 hours, which should be enough to last an extended shift. The basic Handheld is currently available to interested medical offices; a Specimen Collection module will be ready soon, and coming in the second half of 2007 will be a Blood Administration module.

Mac minis used in Ford assembly lines

12/19, 11:25am

Mac minis in Ford Assembly

Apple's diminutive Mac mini is finding its way into Ford's car manufacturing process, according to a report by MacCentral's Jim Dalrymple. Beginning in early November, the company has been using 14 of the Core Solo versions released early this year to automate sequencing at two of its Indiana plants, where parts must be ordered correctly for line workers to complete assembly quickly.

Ford's supplier of the Mac minis, Information in Place, says it chose the Mac mini for cost and reliability. "We did a lot of research and determined they were the best deal," the company's Jonathan Schalliol said. The squarish computer also fits easily into the production line, sitting in a wall-mounted protective box along with its power supply, a separate uninterruptible supply, and a barcode scanner for secure access. Factory workers use a touchscreen to control the Mac's PickIT sequencing program. Information in Place says that the success of the Ford deal has led most of its workers to use Macs and that it plans to introduce similar installations in other companies next year. [Photo courtesy of MacCentral]

Sony-Ericsson planning Bravia phone for Europe?

12/19, 10:50am

Sony-Ericsson Bravia Phone

Sony-Ericsson is hoping to expand its range of Bravia-titled phones into Europe, according to a source at the Esato forums. While the poster has consciously avoided posting many specific details to protect himself, he reveals that the phone will be the first from the Japanese and Swedish partnership to support DVB-H, the mobile digital TV standard for Europe. To reflect this, the currently unnamed device will be the first in the continent to use Sony's Bravia engine for improved video quality and should have a large, 240x432 widescreen that slides to reveal the keypad. No launch details have been given.

Bravia phones have already enjoyed success in Sony's native Japan, where both the SO903i and W44S have already used the Bravia engine. A version of the latter is rumored for a European launch next year.

Mi-Sound iPod Case doubles as portable speaker

12/19, 10:40am

iPod case/portable speaker

The new Mi-Sound iPod Case from the Ministry of Sound does protect against scratching, but further serves as a portable speaker system, producing 0.6W from a unit in an separate compartment. That compartment also contains a pouch for storing earbuds and other small objects. The flap for the iPod section can fold over backwards to create a makeshift stand. Power comes from two AAA batteries, and the case fits full-sized iPods as big as the 60GB fourth-gen models. The Ministry is selling the Mi-Sound for £25 ($49) from its website.

'Get a Mac' actors win ad age 'Bobby' award

12/19, 10:25am

'Get a Mac' actors

'Get a Mac' actors Justin Long and John Hodgman have been dubbed the best male actors in a television ad campaign, and have won the Garfield 'Bobby' advertising award by Advertising Age. "The hands-down winners this year are Justin Long and John Hodgman, better known to you as Mac and PC in the campaign for Apple Computer (TBWA/Chiat/Day.) Hodgman is a PC, earnest and uptight, and Long is a Mac, casually cool. Yes, PC is a doofus, but what so distinguishes these performances is how the two interact -- affably and respectfully, in spite of the central premise. Long is cool not because he's ultrahip but because he's laid-back and confident, minus any trace of condescension."

Samsung debuts Vista-ready widescreen LCDs

12/19, 10:15am

Samsung Vista LCDs

In addition to its V960 phone, Samsung today launched two displays that capitalize on the imminent release of Windows Vista. The 20-inch CX206BW (pictured) and the 22-inch CX226BW are both certified for Microsoft's future OS and have HDCP support for encrypted videos. Both panels also have superior performance for movies and games: Samsung claims an impressive 3,000:1 contrast ratio and a 2ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. Pricing and launch details have not been revealed, though both displays are expected to appear before Vista's launch in January.

MacBU explains Office update mishap

12/19, 10:05am

MacBU explains accident

The development lead for Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) sustained engineering meta-team has offered an explanation for the company's recent accidental release of some Mac Office updates via the team blog. The slip occurred last Tuesday, December 12th, when Microsoft mistakenly posted pre-release binaries of an Office 11.3.1 update that were staged internally as part of the company's testing for a forthcoming release. "Things were a little crazy here on Wednesday and Thursday working out what happened and how we should resolve the problem," the blog post read. "We need to test the actual download process to make sure we've got the right URLs in place, that the right bits are up on the server, etc. On Tuesday, while testing that download process for an upcoming Office patch, we accidentally released the bits to the live servers." The blog notes that the patch included some normal stability issues as well as prepatory work for an upcoming security release. The Redmond-based company has posted detailed instructions on how to uninstall the un-released code, and is working on a utility to automatically remove the patches.

Samsung intros cellphone with 'optical joystick'

12/19, 9:45am

Samsung V960 Optical Phone

The mobile division of Samsung on Tuesday said it had developed what could be a revolution in the way cellphone owners control their devices. The V960 replaces the by now everyday four-way joystick with an optical sensor that tracks movement as the finger glides across the surface. As with an optical mouse at a PC, the system is sensitive to movement in 360 degrees. This provides an opportunity to refine the steadily aging control system on most phones, Samsung says: an on-screen pointer replaces button highlights or a costly touchscreen, replicating the quicker control of a computer's mouse without the added size.

The V960 is also rare for its use of an illumination sensor that controls the brightness of the main display and key backlighting. A 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and a microSD slot for music and video complete the package. Samsung hopes to launch the V960 in Korea by the end of this month, but is likely to introduce the CDMA-based handset in other regions next year.

SintraWorks releases PDFClerk 2.3

12/19, 9:25am

PDFClerk 2.3 now available

SintraWorks has released PDFClerk 2.3.1, PDF manipulation tool that allows you to join multiple PDF documents together, rearrange the page order, delete individual pages, impose multiple pages onto a sheet of paper and rotate pages on imposed sheets (to create books, booklets and magazines). Users can create custom PDFs; create prints for languages that read from right to left like Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew; overlay graphics and text boxes, print crop, bleed and registration marks and color and grayscale bars; relabel/renumber pages and sort pages on label or source name. Version 2.3 can Export to PDF (including splitting even/odd pages, exploding into sets of one or more pages), resize PDF display boxes, improves object rotation, supports object transparency and more. PDFClerk is a Universal Binary and costs $32/€25; a non-expiring demo mode allows access to all features. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Sydnt launches Volvox jump drive, webcam hybrid

12/19, 9:20am

Sydnt Volvox Webcam

Korean camera sensor experts Sydnt have revealed their Volvox (Korean PDF) camera and storage hybrid. The developer says its cameras are now small enough that it can now incorporate a webcam into a USB jump drive without adding significant bulk: sharing the same USB connector, the Volvox can hold as much as 2GB of flash memory while still providing a 1.3-megapixel camera that supports a full 30 frames per second in video mode. It can plug directly into the side of a computer for storage purposes but also ships with an adjustable neck attachment that places the camera at the user's eye level. No pricing is available, but the Volvox can be had in black or silver trim in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB versions.

CLC offers custom bioinformatics SDK

12/19, 9:15am

Custom bioinformatics SDK

CLC bio today announced the release of a new Software Developer Kit (SDK) for its bioinformatics software products. The CLC Developer Kit enables the more than 26,000 worldwide users of CLC bio's software to customize their bioinformatics workbenches to their specific needs. Users can download software modules (plug-ins) developed by third parties or create their own plug-ins. The company also released CLC Workbench 3.2, its flagship software analysis solution, to support the new plugin architecture, which can be used to integrate with local or even proprietary databases, proprietary bioinformatics algorithms, and support custom workflows. Plug-ins are programmed in Java, and can be integrated with modules programmed in other languages, such as C/C++ and Python. Six different plugins are now available, including one that integrates five different alignments (ClustalW, K-Align, MUSCLE, MAFFT, and T-Coffee) with CLC bio's graphical framework.

WiebeTech storage carry case for drive trays

12/19, 9:00am

WiebeTech drive tray case

WiebeTech has introduced a new attractive Storage Carrying Case for ProSATA or SilverSATA Drive Trays. The soft-grain leatherette case is inscribed with the WiebeTech logo and has a clear pocket window on the front for a business card or other labeling. A velcro flap keeps the drive and contents snug, and the case protects the drive electronics from dust. The case is included for no charge with purchase of a ProSATA or SilverSATA tray with a pre-installed and pre-configured hard drive. Cases sell separately for $20 (CASE-TRAY) and are in stock and ready to ship. The SilverSATA Series offers a choice of enclosures with 1, 2, 4 or 5 bays that work with fast SATA drives with capacities up to 750GB. Removable trays work in any of the SilverSATA enclosures, making the drives fully interchangeable. A variety of interface options are available (eSATA, FireWire, USB, SCSI Ultra320, etc.) The ProSATA SS8 delivers up to 6TB (unformatted) storage in a compact, transportable enclosure with eight SATA drive trays. Its built-in RAID controller supports most RAIDs, while a SCSI Ultra320 interface provides fast data access.

CrystalMaker 7.2 ships as Universal Binary

12/19, 8:55am

CrystalMaker 7.2 ships

CrystalMaker Software has released CrystalMaker 7.2 for Mac OS X, an update to its Mac program for crystal/molecular structures visualization that features real-time photo-realistic graphics and "out-of-the-screen" 3D display. CrystalMaker 7.2 is available as a Universal Binary application, which runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. The company said the software solution has been extensively tuned to provide seamless file compatibility between the two Mac architectures. In addition, version 7.2 features the ability to control global bonding specifications, while preserving customized structural views. It also features new flexible model options, with the ability to combine aspects of ball-and-stick, stick, wireframe and polyhedra representations within the same plot. Other changes include improvements to window tiling/stacking and the saving of "notebook" information using Rich Text Formatting. CrystalMaker 7.2 is available for $429/£230 (single-user academic version) or as a free update to v7 users.

Azureus strikes BBC deal for broadband TV in US

12/19, 8:45am

Azureus Gets BBC Deal

BitTorrent client developer Azureus today revealed that it had landed a major deal with the BBC to carry some of the British network's programming on its new Zudeo service. The first ever such deal for the BBC, the agreement will see some of the most popular classic and recent British TV shows, amongst them Doctor Who, Little Britain, and Red Dwarf, reach a peer-to-peer network legally for the first time. Though formal details were not revealed, much of the content is expected to be freely available as neither company has to incur bandwidth costs.

The BBC has historically resisted attempts to view its content online without explicit approval and has repeatedly shut down BitTorrent sites as well as YouTube video links that pointed to episodes of recent shows. The station's negotiation with Zudeo marks a conscious break with this practice. ""We want to ensure that our most popular content - as well as programs that have rarely been seen in the territory - are part of the latest dynamic entertainment environment and can reach the largest audience possible," says the BBC's Beth Clearfield.

D-Link ships MediaLounge HD media hub

12/19, 8:15am

D-Link MediaLounge Ships

D-Link this morning rolled out its DSM-510 MediaLounge hub. The media player is one of the first truly HD-capable ways of streaming content to a TV, the company claims: plugging into either an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection, the DSM-510 can supply video as sharp as 1080i from end to end by using an HDMI connector at the TV. Tight integration with Intel's Viiv media center technology is also a relatively new feature. Owners can stream media from any readily accessible Windows XP Media Center PC (though this is not required, the company says); however, the hub can also reach Intel's Viiv Zone to play on-demand content -- such as music, news, or TV shows -- without depending on a host PC. A front-mounted USB port provides storage space for content on the MediaLounge device itself. D-Link sells the DSM-510 for $240.

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