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News Archive for 06/12/20

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Apple comes clean with South Park Season 10

12/20, 7:20pm

iTunes customers appeased

Apple is doing the right thing for iTunes customers who cried foul after purchasing a South Park, Season 10 Season Pass in mid-November, only to discover that the pass was good for half the season. Apple explained to one MacNN reader that Comedy Central had decided to 'split' the season into two halves for $11.99 each, confusing many customers who thought they were purchasing the entire South Park season. Additionally, Apple quietly changed the name of the South Park, Season 10 Season Pass to Season 10A, adding Season 10B as the second half of the episodes available to customers after initially posting the season pass without any indication that it would eventually split into two parts. After numerous email exchanges with Apple, Apple is allowing that MacNN reader and all other iTunes customers who purchased South Park Season 10A Season Pass from the iTunes Music Store to download South Park Season 10B for free.

docXConverter offers 'docx' compatibility

12/20, 7:00pm

Mac 'docx' compatibility

Panergy today released docXConverter, an application that makes Macs compatible with the new Word 2007 'docx' format. "Some Mac and Windows programs are not able to read the new docx default file format that was introduced in the new Word 2007 [format]," said Panergy. "DocXConverter allows users of Mac OS X 10.2 to 10.4 to open a docx document and continue working with it exactly as if they had received a traditional Word document." The software works by reading a docx file and converting it to a format easily read by popular Mac software. Setup is automatic, according to the company, and the process is seamlessly completed in the background with no intervention required. DocXConverter is available for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

Gefen ships DVI FM Extender for HD content

12/20, 6:50pm

DVI FM Extender ships

Gefen today unveiled its new DVI FM Extender, a device that delivers long-distance high resolution and high definition video sources to locations up to 2000 feet from the source. The DVI FM Extender supports visual resolutions up to 1080p or 1920x1200 over a single, multi-mode fiber optic cable. "The DVI FM Extender's plug and play capabilities combined with its high quality output make it an ideal system for digital signage, entertainment, medical, worship and government industries where attention to detail is pivotal," says Gefen. Fiber optics cabling ensures the uninterrupted delivery of uncompressed, high definition video with full HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection) compliance. The DVI FM Extender includes small sender and receiver modules each measuring 3.5 x 1.5-inches, as well as a Gefen DVI Detective and a DVI connector cable with a power supply to support the system. Gefen's DVI FM Extender is available for $600.

Apps: Dobry Backuper, ReelBean, CardRaider

12/20, 6:45pm

Dobry Backuper, ReelBean

    Dobry Backuper 1.5.2 ($30) is backup software designed to easily automate the backup process in Mac OS X. The latest release adds a multi-volume option for incremental backups, and improves compatibility with Intel-based Macs. The update also includes better error handling of tar errors/warnings, and optimizes memory usage. [Download - 888KB]
    ReelBean 2.5 ($15) enhances the movie player and converter by adding an audio levels panel that is accessible via the toolbar. The new panel provides visual indication of the left and right channel audio levels. ReelBean 2.5 plays more than 50 formats of video and audio, optionally extracting individual video or audio tracks into new files. [Download - 4.7MB]
    CardRaider 1.0 ($20) is digital photo recovery software designed to discover photos accidentally erased from a digital camera. The application features an easy-to-use interface, single-click scanning, and recovery directly to iPhoto. CardRaider is also usable to recover corrupted memory cards or permanently deleted photos, according to the developing company. [Download - 1.9MB]
    Pickup Words 2.0 ($20) is the sequel to the original Pickup Words 3D word puzzle game. Players are challenged to form words from letter-tiles that fall through 3D space, landing to form a pile. The latest version is faster, features OpenGL 3D graphics, and includes a dictionary with more than 35,000 English words. [Download - 24.4MB]
    RWThemeBrowser 1.0 ($15) is a RapidWeaver theme editing assistant, enabling users to edit or replace any element in any RapidWeaver theme. RWThemeMiner provides an interface between the contents of RapidWeaver themes and selected image and text editor applications. The software reveals any selected item in the Finder, renames any item, and replaces rather than edits images. [Download - 3MB]
    Wx Add-ons ($price) introduces two new add-ons for pilots titled 'ADDS' and 'Winds Aloft.' ADDS loads METARs and TAFs for multiple airports, while the Winds Aloft add-on loads forecast winds (direction and speed) as well as temperatures aloft. Both new add-ons tie into the National Weather Service Aviation Weather Center. [Download - ADDS 3KB, Winds Aloft 104KB]

Mariner releases Montage 1.1 Beta 2

12/20, 6:20pm

Montage 1.1 Beta 2

Marine Software has released Montage 1.1 Beta 2, a new revision of its screenwriting software for Mac OS X. Montage is the only screenwriting software designed specifically for the Mac that offers pre-formatted templates for film, TV, and the theater, according to Marine Software. The update includes .Mac integration, production-style scene numbering, and better support for importing scripts in text as well as Final Draft formats. Montage 1.1 full ($140) is expected to launch at Macworld in San Francisco, although users who purchase the full version now are eligible for a free upgrade. The software is a universal binary requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher.

Apple website sees 21% visitor increase

12/20, 5:50pm

Apple website visitors up

Apple's website last month received more visitors than any other computer electronics company or personal computer manufacturer, and saw a 21 percent increase in visitors over the same period last year. The Cupertino-based firm landed at no. 13 on a comScore list of the Web's top 50 properties, displaying its homepage to more than 33.7 million unique visitors. This compares to December of 2005 when Apple ranked 17th on comScore's list, displaying its home page to more than 27.5 million unique visitors. Yahoo claimed the no. 1 spot this year with nearly 130 million unique visitors, followed by Time Warner Network which received 119.6 million unique hits.

DEVONthink Professional, Office betas released

12/20, 5:15pm

DEVONthink betas released

DEVONtechnologies has released new public betas of DEVONthink Professional and Professional Office 1.3, updating the file management database with a feature called the 'Intelligent Assistant' to help users more efficiently find and organize documents. The updates include an enhanced search tool popup menu, as well as new global scripts for OmniWeb, Firefox and Camino. The latest release also offers a new Automator workflow for recompressing scanned PDF documents. The new betas are available for download from the DEVON website alongside restricted free versions. Users trying DEVONthink Professional must register the software after the first 150 hours, while Professional Office is free only during the beta period. DEVONthink Professional Office 1.3 beta places limitations on ORC documents (20) and email imports (200 per day). Both programs require Mac OS X 10.3.9, with the registered version of Professional priced at $80 and Professional Office available for $140 during the beta.

Clovertown to debut alongside MWSF keynote

12/20, 4:55pm

Clovertown, MWSF keynote

Intel is planning to launch its quad-core processor codenamed 'Clovertown' on January 9th of the new year, which coincides with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' planned keynote speech at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The announcement will likely fuel rumors that Apple will incorporate the new quad-core technology in a revamped version of its Mac Pro workstation following Intel's rollout. Intel said it will launch the Core 2 Quad chip for high-end desktop computers during the International CES trade show in Las Vegas during the week of January 8th, and that the company plans to target its new chip at a broader segment of mainstream users, according to IDG News.

Snooper Syrius ships with continent-wide speed alerts

12/20, 4:55pm

Snooper Syrius GPS

Rivaling the newly introduced Road Angel GPS unit, Snooper is now offering the Syrius. The company hopes to trump its challengers by tapping into an advanced database for speed cameras and other speed traps. Known as Enigma, the database covers the majority of Europe and is intelligent enough to provide warnings dynamically based on distance and speed. When driving safely at or under an impending limit, the system only resorts to visual notices; exceeding the limit, however, triggers a vocal warning and does so earlier than normal if the vehicle is already in a high-speed zone.

Beyond its speed-focused software, the Syrius uses a 4-inch touchscreen and has a lithium-ion battery for handheld use. Battery life isn't currently available. Snooper's GPS system retails for as little as 280 ($545). [Via NaviGadget]

Convincing Apple phone 'leak' surfaces

12/20, 4:25pm

Convincing Apple Phone

Another illustration of Apple's greatly anticipated phone may show signs of legitimacy, according to an alleged leaked photo obtained by enthusiast site aMobileMe. The image, while far from confirmed, is remarkable for its consistency with Apple's current and projected interfaces. Notably, the design recalls previous patents issued to the computer company that are closely associated with the upcoming handset: the photo shares the rounded, aluminum body as well as a February 2nd patent for a square touchpad with gesture-based commands. The on-screen visuals also reflect Apple's fifth-generation iPod interface and would adapt the search function to text messaging.

More details and full images of the apparent leak can be found after the jump.

BeLight releases Art Text

12/20, 4:15pm

BeLight releases Art Text

BeLight Software today released Art Text, a new software to create high-quality headings, logos, icons, banners and more. The program features pre-designed styles, shapes, icon art images, shading materials, other advanced visual effects for users to make text works look "catchy," according to the developer. User can modify any text and vector shapes into a fancy graphic and use it with iWork, Microsoft Office, BeLight products and other applications. Art Text includes 50+ pre-designed styles, about 300 text and artwork pictograms, advanced shading features, the ability to fill/outline with gradients/fills/textures, combine text with a background image, and bend text using 20 adjustable vector transformation shapes or Bezier splines. The software can export into a file or clipboard in TIFF, JPEG, PDF, PNG, and other formats. It is available for $30 or as a fully-functional 30-day demo.

SkySpring SP-770 approved by FCC

12/20, 4:05pm

SkySpring SP-770 phone

A new Korean phone, the SkySpring SP-770, has recently been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It's a GSM phone capable of GPRS Internet, but notably, it's missing support for any 3G technologies, including WCDMA. What it does have is a three megapixel camera with side-mounted controls, and a microSD slot which is automatically detected as a USB drive when you use the included cable. Little else is known about the phone -- including prices or release dates -- but it should weigh just 2.7 ounces and measure 0.8 inches thick. [Via MobileWhack]

Firebox sells inexpensive VoIP phone

12/20, 3:35pm

Firebox VoIP Cyberphone

Firebox on Wednesday started sales of a new version of the VoIP Cyberphone. The handset replicates a conventional corded phone, including the cradle rarely included with most VoIP handsets, but is meant solely for Skype and other Internet-based telephone programs. It reduces cost by eliminating the LCD screen sometimes used by rivals but simultaneously uses its digital nature to its advantage by using voice prompts. Unlike with the first edition, inbound calls can be screened using customized WAV ringtones or voice notifications of caller ID; outbound calls can also be dialed by using the numeric equvialent to a recipient's name or by voice recognition. The third version of the Cyberphone further builds in a speakerphone for hands-free sessions. Firebox expects new stock of the phone early next year, when it will ship for $59. [Via CrunchGear]

Sling opens SlingPlayer software to BlackJack, Dash

12/20, 3:10pm

SlingPlayer for BlackJack

Sling Media today expanded its SlingPlayer Mobile software for two of the most recent smartphones available in the US. Both the Samsung BlackJack available at Cingular and the HTC-made T-Mobile Dash can now run Sling's video streaming program, which lets cellphone users watch and schedule recording for TVs connected to one of the company's Slingbox Internet tuners. The updated version also lets owners of either phone run the program in full-screen to make the greatest use of the phones' smaller screens. The software is currently available as a free trial and can be unlocked for $30.

HTC Athena photos leaked

12/20, 2:50pm

HTC Athena Photos

Further evidence of of HTC's Athena smartphone has come to light, according to the Polish website PDAClub. Photos since removed from the site's news page confirm key features of the Windows Mobile-based device, including its signature detachable keyboard and 3.5-inch touchscreen. The imagery also reveals a unique aspect of the Athena's crossover design. The keyboard connects to the main body while resting at an angle, allowing HTC to produce a leather case that folds completely flat when closed but can be used to rest the display at a comfortable angle for typing. Additional photos can be found after the jump.

NI releases "Universal" B4 II virtual organ

12/20, 2:25pm

NI updates B4 II v2.03

Native Instruments has released B4 II v2.03, a new Universal Binary version of its virtual organ software. The B4 II emulates the legendary Hammond B3, used by many jazz and blues bands, as well as organs like the Farfisa, the Vox Continental, and the Indian Harmonium. Users can also digitally age the B3, making it sound distinct from an original organ straight from the factory. It features an authentic software version of the legendary tonewheel organ and rotary speaker; plays and sounds exactly like its real-world role model; can play in stand-alone mode or use in the studio as a plug-in; and more. The 2.0.3 update is free to any B4 II users registered after September 12th, while those registered prior to that date must pay $30/25. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.x, and a 733MHz G4 with 256MB of RAM. A demo is available; the full version costs $230 (upgrades from v1 are $100).

Quartics develops USB secondary display adapter

12/20, 2:20pm

USB Display Adapter

Seeking to provide extra screen area for computers with few choices for external displays, Quantics has just produced a USB Display Extension. The external adapter combines a multi-port USB hub with hardware that can output a secondary image, reducing the necessity of a DVI or VGA port on the laptop itself. A second-generation processor lets the adapter display at a 1600x1200 resolution in 32-bit color; even with the relative limitations of the USB 2.0 bus, this performance is strong enough for DVD playback at full speed, the company claims. Quartics is offering the extension as a foundation for other companies and hasn't revealed immediate partners for finished devices.

Cingular carries Option GT Max HSDPA PC Card

12/20, 1:50pm

Cingular Option GT Max

Wireless carrier Cingular today made the Option GT Max 3.6 an option for subscribers to its mobile broadband plans. The PC Card adapter is capable of the full 3.6Mbps theoretical download speed on Cingular's HSDPA network. It also works as a true global Internet device, Cingular says: the receiver is a tri-band device that works with internetional HSDPA and UMTS access as well as legacy support for EDGE networks with Cingular and abroad. Seldom seen amongst its kind is a retractable antenna that slides into the card itself, improving reception without leaving the card exposed during travel. Cingular retails the GT Max for $350 but lowers its price to $50 when linked to a two-year contract.

Movon Mini Forte headset with music, phone controls

12/20, 1:45pm

Movon Mini Forte headset

Korean company Movon has announced the Mini Forte, a Bluetooth headset with separate music and phone controls, AVING reports. The phone controls sit on the left earpiece, while the music controls -- including jog buttons -- sit on the right. To connect to audio devices without Bluetooth, a separate stereo dongle is provided. The headset mutes your music automatically when a phone call is detected. A2DP and AVRCP are supported. Talk time is measured at 10 hours, but this drops to eight hours listening to music. Uninterrupted standby time is 300 hours (12.5 days). The Mini Forte will go on sale in January at an unknown price.

Vigor ships quad-core AMD gaming system

12/20, 1:30pm

Vigor Quad-Core AMD System

Vigor Gaming today claimed a position as one of the first to launch a pre-built system using AMD's four-core Quad FX platform. The Force Recon QX4 uses two of AMD's Athlon 64 FX-70 series chips and is built to run games at full speed even when multiple programs are running in the background, Vigor claims. In stock configuration, the QX4 is designed as an extreme high-end system with 2GB of RAM, a GeForce 8800 GTX video card, and dual 250GB hard drives. All models share a special Thermaltake case with a 1100W power supply, both of which are tested to handle the cooling and power demands of the main system components. The default model ships today from Vigor for $3,150 but can be had for as little as $2,600 through custom assembly. [Via CrunchGear]

Buffalo intros 802.11n router with gigabit Ethernet

12/20, 1:00pm

Buffalo NFINITI Giga

Buffalo today introduced the NFINITI Giga, a new wireless router that adds a four-port gigabit Ethernet switch to the draft 802.11n Wi-Fi access revealed earlier this year. The 1,000Mbps wired connection allows systems physically attached to the router to send or receive data as quickly as nearby wireless devices can process it. Buffalo promises that the 802.11n at the heart of the router is quick in real-world instances: while the closest devices manage 80Mbps, even those at the opposite side of an obstacle-laden building manage 32Mbps, the company says.

Security is bolstered by a built-in firewall, and the switch is heavily optimized for faster transfers in frequently hardware-limited FTP and PPPoE connections. The NFINITI Giga sells in Japan today for $250 and should be available in the US soon.

International computer sales beat U.S.

12/20, 12:50pm

Computer sales overseas

U.S. computer sales this year were virtually stagnant despite international success and Apple's 30 percent jump year-over-year last quarter, according to research firm IDC. While Europe and other regions saw a jump of over 10 percent in sales compared to 2005, the U.S. saw only a third of that growth at 3.5 percent. IDC quickly put to rest fears that delays to Windows Vista, which have triggered coupon programs to maintain holiday sales, are the primary factor in the slowdown. The business market -- where buyers rarely adopt new software the moment it becomes available -- proved the hardest-hit segment, which IDC says is due to slower update cycles with system builders and generally poor performance by those companies. Apple is poised to set an all-time record for the company by the end of 2006, according to Electronista.

Onkyo VR-1000J records for PSP, mobile phones

12/20, 12:50pm

Onkyo SD/MS video recorder

Onkyo has begun sales of the VR-1000J, a pyramid-shaped video recorder that formats for mobile devices. Resulting files are copied to SD cards and Memory Sticks, which can in turn be used with gadgets such as mobile phones, the Sony PSP, and the Nintendo DS, although the DS requires a special adapter. Users can select one of three different quality settings: Normal (176x144, 15fps), Fine (320x240, 15fps) and Super-Fine (320x240, 30fps). The MPEG-4 codec is used for images, while audio is recorded in AAC/G.726/AMR. The 1000J is currently available to Japan for 19,800 yen ($168).

Realviz releases Stitcher Unlimited 5.5.2

12/20, 12:40pm

Stitcher Unlimited 5.5.2

Realviz today released the latest update for Stitcher Unlimited, including Flash panoramas and improved fish-eye stitching. Stitcher is software designed to create panoramas from horizontally and vertically stitched photos, with the latest revision enabling users to export Flash 9 and Java using Immervision's PURE Player. Realviz in November also released Stitcher Unlimited 5.5 DS, offering the new 'double shot' extension with support for 2-shot fisheye stitching, allowing users to automatically stitch together 2-shot IPIX style fisheyes. Stitcher Unlimited 5.5.2 is available for $580, while Stitcher 5.5 Unlimited DS is priced at $800. Both applications are available in English and French (system requirements were unavailable).

Meetro for Mac gains iTunes integration

12/20, 12:20pm

Meetro, iTunes integration

Meetro has released a new version of the Meetro client for Mac, offering iTunes integration for notifications of song changes via Growl. The 'location-aware social messenger' software enables users to search for people or invite friends via the enhanced Dashboard, and Meetro notifications notify users instantly when a user leaves a profile comment or a note. 'Shake it Up!' offers per-window notification for users without Growl, and dock notification ensures dock icons change to reflect waiting messages. The update also offers clickable URL support, saves window sizes, multi-display capability, and expanded help under the Mac OS X Help menu.

LG/Prada phone revealed?

12/20, 11:55am

LG/Prada phone revealed?

Though the announcement of the LG/Prada collaboration was only made last week, Dial-a-Phone claims to have already acquired information and pictures (click below). It's reportedly based on the Korean KE850, which uses a touchscreen system to control all functions, displaying different interfaces as users navigate menus. The Prada version renders these interfaces in black-and-white, and actually strips the LG branding entirely in favor of the Prada name. The same applies to the candybar shell and the custom leather case. In spite of these luxury elements, the phone should still be priced in a reasonable range, nowhere near as expensive as the Dolce and Gabbana MOTORAZR. Dial estimates a cost closer to the Nokia N80 or the Sony Ericsson W950i. The product should initially ship to five European countries, starting in late March or early April.

IDC: PC sales saw virtually "no growth" in the US

12/20, 11:30am

PC Sales Stagnant in US

Despite excellent sales internationally, US computer sales were virtually stagnant in the US, according to a new IDC report. While Europe and other regions saw a jump of over 10% in sales compared to 2005, the US saw only a third of that growth at 3.5%. The analyst group is quick to counter allegations that delays to Windows Vista, which have triggered coupon programs to shore up holiday sales, are the primary factor in the slowdown: the hardest-hit segment was the business market, an area where buyers rarely adopt new software the moment it becomes available. IDC instead points to slower update cycles with system builders and generally poor performance by these companies.

The news comes in the face of recent success by Apple, whose Mac sales jumped 30% year-over-year last quarter and are poised to set an all-time record for the company by the end of calendar 2006. The company has seen one of its most aggressive series of new computer launches this year, with its entire line having seen at least one major revision.

Road Angel debuts GPS unit with Bluetooth updating

12/20, 10:55am

Road Angel Navigator 7000

European mapping company Road Angel this morning unveiled the Navigator 7000. The handheld can receive its updates wirelessly through Bluetooth, according to NaviGadget, and thus saves the trouble of plugging in a USB cable or copying files to an SD card. Its portable nature is also a specialty: in addition to a size scarcely larger than its 3.5-inch touchscreen, the Navigator 7000 runs for up to 8 hours on a lithium-ion battery and is waterproof against heavy splashes.

Built for Britain and Europe, the 7000 can search for primary schools, warn of speed cameras, and notify the driver of the congestion toll areas found in London. MP3 and photo playback are also part of the system. Road Angel offers its latest nav unit for 300 ($584) after taxes.

'Month of Apple Bugs' to begin January 1st

12/20, 10:50am

'Month of Apple Bugs'

The anonymous security researcher who identifies himself only by his online alias of 'LMH' has vowed to begin a 'Month of Apple Bugs' following his 'Month of Kernel Bugs,' which took place last month. Beginning January 1st, 2007 the researcher and his partner Kevin Finisterre -- another security expert who has reported several Mac OS X security holes to Apple -- will publish one security flaw per day in Mac OS X or in Apple's own applications for the month of January, according to one Washington Post blogger. The anonymous researcher refused to provide affected vendors advance notice prior to posting the kernel bugs on his website in November, and has vowed to do the same during the month of Apple bugs. "Right now, many OS X users still think their system is bulletproof," LMH said in an interview via instant message. "Some people are interested on making it look that way."

Creative SE2300 Wireless Headphones

12/20, 10:50am

Creative wireless 'phones

Creative's new SE2300 headphones have an absolute minimum of cords and connections, even eliminating the headband. They communicate wirelessly with any Bluetooth 1.2 receiver, whether it be a PC, a PDA, or the bundled audio-jack adapter. The phones support A2DP stereo as well as AVRCP remote control, though one of the earpieces has a built-in volume knob, and a beeping sound identifies when they're low on power. The battery is a polymer-ion unit with an eight hour supply, which can be replenished with an AC adapter or a USB connection. The phones power down when no Bluetooth points are in range. Creative is selling the SE2300s for $130.

Tangle intros bendable, iPod-friendly DNA speakers

12/20, 10:30am

Tangle DNA iPod Speakers

TangleToys has just launched its DNA Speaker for iPods and other digital audio players. Both satellites are attached to the base by the toy company's signature "tangle" connectors that can twist the speakers in most any angle or position, either improving the sound and stereo separation or simply providing entertainment for younger listeners. The DNA accepts input from either a USB port or a standard line-in jack and can be powered by a wall outlet or batteries. TangleToys' online store carries the DNA for $63.

Briefly: holiday 'Get a Mac' ad; ad spoof

12/20, 10:25am

Holiday 'Get a Mac' ad

In brief: Apple has released a new holiday TV ad with actors Justin Long and John Hodgman, depicting the Mac and PC guys wearing Santa hats as they put aside their differences in the spirit of the holidays.... Yet another spoof of Apple's 'Get a Mac' ad campaign has surfaced on YouTube, introducing the company's 'black' MacBook with a bigger hard drive that runs faster.... Apple's vice president of education and the director of the original Lisa project John Couch is scheduled to hold TechEd's opening keynote on March 26th.... Speck Products is holding a 40 percent off sale on select items such as the Nano Canvas Sport, Moto q Executive & Lady, 15-inch MacBook Canvas Sport, and more until December 21st.... The developers of TypeIt4Me -- an application that automatically fills in text edit fields with pre-defined shorcuts -- are offering any single user license for $20 or academic license for $10, alongside two free email coupons to register for a free entry at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.... Advenio today issued a plea to users and other interested parties to vote with their dollars and save the long-standing crossword client MacXword, which has failed to run on Intel-based Macs since early 2006 due to a bug on behalf of Apple.

Buffalo ships silent mouse

12/20, 10:05am

Buffalo Silent Mouse

Buffalo today introduced its minimalist BOMU-SL silent mouse. The company claims to have tuned the mouse button mechanism to completely eliminate the distinctive clicking sound, making the SL an ideal mouse for those who want to use their computers when someone nearby is asleep. Its shape is also completely symmetric and works just as well for left- and right-handed users, Buffalo writes. Attached through USB, the mouse has the increasingly prevalent 800DPI optical sensor for high precision and works without drivers on Macs and Windows PCs. Black and silver models of the SL ship now for $28.

Nokia auctions Brian Eno-edition 8800 for charity

12/20, 9:35am

Nokia 8800 Brian Eno

Nokia on Wednesday announced a special version of its 8800 Sirocco designer phone that will be available only through a charity auction. The Brian Eno Signature Edition features a unique ambient music ringtone composed specifically by Eno for the phone. The music is meant to be calming and notifies the owner of a call without drawing excessive attention, Eno says. The special Nokia handset also has the musician's engraved signature and is individually numbered.

Only ten of the phones will be produced for the auction, whose proceeds will be split between the Keiskamma AIDS Treatment Program for South Africa as well as the World Land Trust conservation group. The auction will begin on January 8th and ends February 12th. Click through for a full photo of the phone in silver.

Helio taps into Obopay

12/20, 9:15am

Helio Taps Into Obopay

Virtual cellular network operator Helio today said that its subscribers can now use Obopay, a mobile payment system created by MasterCard. The system revolves around a prepaid credit card account that can send or receive money directly from the phone itself without the immediate necessity of the physical card itself. Obopay on Helio's network is effectively a peer-to-peer system, the carrier says: money can be sent to anyone with a cellphone, and the phone owner's contact list can be integrated with Obopay to send or receive money through recognizeable names instead of numbers. Ringtones can be personalized to identify when particular friends or family call in with a payment. Signing up for the Obopay service is currently free; MasterCard says it makes money through the service by charging 10 cents when sending money.

Iomega ups storage on Mac-friendly external drives

12/20, 8:50am

Iomega 1TB UltraMax Mac

Iomega today revamped its external hard drives pre-formatted with HFS+ for Mac users. The 1TB UltraMax desktop drive (pictured) is a major upgrade from the 640GB limit of the original that retains many of the same key features. Set to a single, 1TB RAID 0 stripe by default, the newer UltraMax can also be switched to a 500GB RAID 1 mirror or even a "simple" mode that shows the two 500GB drives by themselves. A triple-interface drive with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0, Iomega's range-topping Mac drive is bundled with EMC's Retrospect Express backup software and is shipping immediately for $500.

Also revealed today is the 120GB Black portable hard drive. The simple-shaped hard disk is built with Apple's notebooks in mind and has its own Drop Shock technology to prevent damage to the drive platters during a fall. The Black is also completely bus-powered over either FireWire 400 or USB 2.0, Iomega says. It too ships with Retrospect Express and is ready today for $190.

MojoPlay launches Xbox 360 travel display

12/20, 8:15am

MojoPlay Xbox 360 Display

MojoPlay early Wednesday shipped its MP-920XB screen for the Xbox 360. The 9.2-inch, 800x480 widescreen is tailored for entertainment during visits to friends and relatives where attaching Microsoft's console to the TV may not be viable, the company says. Stereo speakers are built in for audio, but dual headphone jacks are also present so that even a two-person game can be played without intruding into conversations. The folding display mounts on top of the Xbox 360 but is carefully designed to avoid blocking the cooling vents, according to MojoPlay. The MP-920XB is ready today for $170, and should be followed by PlayStation 3 and Wii equivalents early next year.


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