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Forums January 5
Forums roundup: Members are looking to Macworld with some high expectations for a possible upgrade to the iMac, this time discussing the possibility of Blu-ray reader inclusion..... Continuing the feeling of anticipation for MacWorld is one member's question asking who will buy a MacPro following the Keynote, where new models are expected to be unveiled.... Another user is looking for advice on what graphics card to buy to upgrade their PowerMac G5, weighing performance against price.... Other members are discussing the experiences of one user as they return to the Mac platform, after leaving disappointed after Mac OS 8.... Meanwhile, one member is wondering whether the MacBook Pro is a viable desktop replacement and how it can improve.
StuffIt Deluxe, YummySoup!
StuffIt Deluxe 11.0.2 ($60) is a file compression suite offering support for packing and unpacking archives as well as 512-bit encryption. The application enables users to compress photos by up to 30 percent without artifacting, according to developer, and is available as a universal binary to run natively on Intel-based Macs. StuffIt Deluxe 11.0.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
[Download - Size Unknown]
YummySoup! ($20) is a tool for sharing and managing recipes that utilizes a graphical, email-like browsing interface. The software features shopping lists, smart grouping of recipes, and access to an online library for users to submit and download new creations. The application is a universal binary that runs natively on Intel-based Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or greater. [Download - 781KB]
xTime Project 4.1.1 ($100) is a project management program that tracks time, costs, and to-do lists for work and school. Tasks are broken down into trees, between which users optionally create conditional links. The latest revision includes a German version and fixes a bug with currency format in the Spanish edition. [Download - 13.9MB]
KidsBrowser 3.7 ($50) restricts children's access to the Web by allowing them to surf only to approved sites, and by controlling options like downloads and the Mac OS X Finder. Users can delete cookies and cache files automatically, and the update features an improved user interface with easier favorites management, as well as a slew of bug fixes. [Download - 8.9MB]
Virtual TimeClock Pro 5.4 ($200) is a punchclock application for businesses to keep track of shifts and overtime. Version 5.4 boasts a simpler user interface, records modifications to timecards, and supports entries as well as closing payroll periods. Data is backed up automatically when performing an upgrade, according to the company. [Download - 5MB]
ecOrganizer 2.2 ($100) is designed to operate with FileMaker Pro to manage diaries, contacts, and projects. Changes to the latest revision involve a number of general improvements and bug fixes, but the patch only applies to the "1-user" and "multi-user" licenses. The update also addresses the last updates for FileMaker Pro 5 and 6. [Download - 1.6MB (Update)]
Mac, iPod accessory sale
Apple is offering refurbished Mac and iPod accessories through the clearance page of its online store. Current refurbished iPod accessory offerings include Belkin's Folio Case for iPod nano (black) for $14.95, Belkin's Kickstand Case for iPod (pink) for $19.95, and Altec Lansing's inMotion iM4 Portable Audio System for $79.95. Refurbished Mac accessories consist of Kensington's PilotBoard Laser Wireless Desktop Set for $69.95; Kensington's PocketLink 4-in-1 Cable for $21.95; Brenthaven's Fusion MB Messenger Bag (black) for $59.95; Nikon's Coolpix L2 digital camera for $199.95; Canon's CanoScan 9950F color image scanner for $349.95; and Nikon's Coolpix S6 digital camera for $249.95. Apple is also still offering refurbished MacBook Pros from $1,349, as well as reconditioned consumer-oriented MacBooks for as low as $799.
MWSF keynote bingo
In brief: Some Mac advocates are hosting Macworld Expo 2007 keynote bingo, enabling visitors to play bingo after turning in to see Steve Jobs keynote speech using cards that are randomized out of a pool of 50 more or less likely keynote events.... The PandaWare Company is seeking beta testers for Simple Help Editor 2.0, its help authoring application for Macintosh and Windows developers.... MacAffiliatePrograms.com has issued a call to all developers of Mac software and related products who offer affiliate programs to submit their program for review.... Graphicxtras.com has released its new vector collection entitled 'shapes 25,' consisting of 1,050 royalty-free shape designs for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.... The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) today launched Darkroom, a how-to magazine for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom users.... Ableton has established a U.S. sales and distribution office to handle all of its product distribution, and to support U.S. sales as well as U.S. marketing efforts.
ASUS CES 2007 Announcement
Computer maker ASUS today made a large series of new device announcements in the run-up to CES 2007. Leading the introductions is the W5Fe (pictured), the company's hotly-anticipated ultraportable. The 12-inch widescreen PC is the first to support Microsoft's Windows SideShow for viewing the computer's data without powering the main system. In its finished form, the SideShow display syncrhonizes with its host PC's startup or shut down phases and provides quick access to contacts, e-mail, and music; it even serves as a navigation display, ASUS says. The base system ships with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 80GB hard disk, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. The system will launch soon after Vista's own debut in late January, with pricing varying by region.
Details of the XG Station video card for notebooks and the AiGuru S2 VoIP phone can be found after the jump.
New Lexar JumpDrives
Lexar has upgraded its JumpDrive series of USB flash drives. New to the lineup is the JumpDrive 360, which the company describes as being "capless" -- that is, it uses a rotating metal jacket to eliminate the need for a cap on the USB port. The drive will come with Lexar's PowerToGo program for secure mobile computing, and the Secure II software, which now enables quick, 256-bit AES encryption (and decryption) using a drag-and-drop folder system. A "File Shredder" function wipes traces normally left behind when deleting files, according to Electronista. Lexar has also upgraded its JumpDrive Firefly, doubling capacity from 4GB (pictured) to 8GB, and will be doing the same for the Secure II drive, not to be confused with its namesake application. The new Firefly and Secure II products should be ready in March; no date has been set for the 360.
OWC, NewerTech at Macworld
Other World Computing (OWC) today announced that it will highlight NewerTech's TrafficJamz FM Transmitter and iPod charger at the 2007 Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. TrafficJamz offers users plug-and-play functionality, broadcasting tunes from any dockable iPod to a car stereo while simultaneously charging the player's battery. The accessory is available in black or white, allowing users to broadcast over any available FM frequency with push-button programming for up to four personalized favorite frequences. The device ships with a 27-inch dock connector cable, and can be paired with NewerTech's 120V-12V Power Adapter ($7) to utilize household power while broadcasting iPod tracks over home stereo equipment. TrafficJamz is priced at $35, and is fully compatible with Apple's first- and second-generation iPods as well as third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation iPods.
Kodak EasyShare C653
Kodak today made a late entry into the pre-CES announcements with its EasyShare C653 point-and-shoot camera. Geared to basic users, the 6.1-megapixel camera uses its namesake EasyShare button to streamline transferring photos to a computer or printer, and can simulate image stabilization through a digital anti-blur mode. The camera's sensor is paired with a 3X optical lens and 2.4-inch LCD, and can achieve a relatively high ISO 1250 sensitivity, according to Kodak. A panorama stitch mode assists in creating wide-angle shots. The C653 is powered by AA batteries and ships today for $130.
MSI Media Live HTPC
MSI Computer on Friday afternoon previewed its new Media Live home theater PC. The system builder hopes to break away from the conventional focus on analog TV for media center PCs by incorporating an HDMI output, guaranteeing 1080p playback for future encrypted movies. A combination of support for dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors with built-in NVIDIA graphics will help drive both 3D games and HD video, MSI claims. The computer is capable of 7.1-channel surround and includes a hidden 12-in-1 card reader for directly loading and viewing photos. Pricing is unavailable, though MSI should offer Media Live as a barebones model with power supply and mainboard soon.
Click through for details and photos of the company's crystalized notebooks.
R2-D2 cam/toy/Skype phone
The R2-D2 Communication System by Nikko is much more than a toy robot for Star Wars fans. Not only can owners move R2 using software or the lightsaber remote, he has a 628x582 webcam, and the remote doubles as a USB Skype phone, complete with dialing buttons. The dialpad is revealed by twisting the handle. A stand for the lightsaber doubles as the wireless link between R2 and the PC. This latter fact is particularly important, because users can control the robot from anywhere in the world so long as they have Internet access, and the installed application. Sound effects are played as R2 moves or encounters surface endings. Nikko has yet to say when and at what price their product will appear, but interested customers can contact the company for details.
Jon's Phone Tool, iGlasses
Jon's Phone Tool 3.7 ($23) is a versatile phone dialer for Mac systems that can dial a Bluetooth mobile phone or regular land line through the Mac's modem or speakers. The software also makes calls via Vonage, CallVantage, Skype, Ovolab Phlink, Parliant's PhoneValet, Asterisk PBX servers, IP Phones from Cisco, and others. Jon's Phone Tool 3.7 also supports dialing through numerous VoIP (Voice over IP) services by integrating with softphones from the Gizmo Project, CounterPath, JackenIAX, LoudHush, and ohphoneX.
[Download - 3.6MB]
Computer Glasses 1.0 (free) magnifies a portion of the screen, enabling users to more easily read fine print or view a blown-up portion of an image. The software produces a red circle that users can click-and-drag across the screen, presenting crosshairs to signal the center of the magnification area. Computer Glasses requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 2.9MB]
Server Scout build 0.9.8/28 ($price) enhances the graphical network monitoring solution for Mac OS X, adding a 'MySQL explorer' to quickly inspect a MySQL database, as well as an optimized graphical user interface and a log-file database. The application monitors TCP latency for IPs as well as fully qualified domain names, HTTP as specified by URLs, Apache Web server status, and generic Web-servers. [Download - 7.6MB]
Universal Translation Dictionaries ($price) bring Apimac's English-Italian, English-Spanish, and English-German shareware translation dictionaries to versions 9.0, 6.0, and 5.0 respectively. The Apimac Dictionaries are tools designed for students or enthusiasts interested in foreign languages, with the latest updates primarily adding support for Intel-based Macs. [Download - size]
Diet Sleuth 4.8.0 ($35) adds the printout of a daily summary of foods eaten to the nutritional database and personal health logbook software. Version 4.8.0 also includes a pie chart showing carbs, fat, and protein while incorporating some general improvements to the user interface. The update also includes several bug fixes. [Download - 2.7MB]
iGlasses 1.4 ($8) allows iSight or iMage users to adjust video settings from within popular video applications such as iChat AV, Skype, and iMovie. The latest revision adds support for applying iGlasses enhancements in Comic Life, Delicious Library, Camfrog, jmeeting, WebcamTweaker, CamSpinner, Funny Photographer, CamGrabber, and more. iGlasses 1.4 also allows users to control settings using AppleScript. [Download - 3.2MB]
New LG desktop LCDs
In addition to their LCD TVs, LG has just revealed five new LCD computer monitors. These are the L196WTQ-WF, L206WTQ-WF, L226WTQ-WF, L226WA-WF, and the L246WP, coming in 19-, 20-, 22- and 24-inch sizes, respectively. The L226WA-WF is distinguished from its brother by including a variety of unspecified AV inputs. It is known however that all the monitors will have HDCP and DVI inputs, and the L246WP will support component input and resolutions up to 1920x1200. The performance of the 246 is otherwise degraded from the other monitors, having 1,000:1 contrast and 8ms response versus figures of 3,000:1 and 2ms. Like most of LG's TVs, nothing has been said about cost or exact release dates.
Sony VAIO Updates
Sony on Friday announced a series of refreshes to its VAIO portables to coincide with the upcoming launch of Windows Vista. While the company has not yet made a complete announcement, it has revealed changes both cosmetic and technical to its new line. The company is first to add a new color to the company's style-focused C-series: called Rediscovery Blue (shown), the tint is meant to evoke self-awareness and stimulation. More substantial is the update to the mainstream N-series, says Sony: to be called the N20, the new range will add Core 2 Duo processors and should have enhanced graphics performance to handle the 3D-accelerated glass interface of Vista Home Premium. The entry-level FE-series notebooks will gain dual backlight lamps and a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor.
A final known introduction scheduled for the event will be Sony's LA2, a successor to the existing LA1. Once sold in the US as the LS1, the all-in-one desktop computer and TV hybrid will retain its 19-inch widescreen and 300GB hard drive but will come preloaded with 2GB of memory for improved performance. All three refreshed VAIO models should ship by Spring.
Vizio 60-inch plasma TV
Television specialists Vizio on Friday released the VM60P, the company's largest-ever plasma TV at 60 inches. Although capable only of a 720p native resolution, the new display accepts 1080p input and ships with four HDMI ports built-in -- an unprecedented figure that allows connecting several HD-ready devices at once without resorting to analog connections. The set also distinguishes itself through a unique, bronze-like bezel that the company hopes will draw attention away from the black and silver hues that dominate other sets. An ATSC digital TV tuner as well as component and RCA inputs are also expected.
As with yesterday's announcement of the 47-inch GV47L LCD, Vizio says it will challenge other manufacturers in part through pricing: the 60-inch plasma is due to ship soon for $2,999. [via Crave]
New OptiBay drive ships
MCE Technologies today began shipping a new version of its OptiBay Hard Drive designed specifically for Apple's 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro systems. The MCE OptiBay optical bay hard drive is a second internal hard drive for MacBook Pro, MacBook, and PowerBook G4 systems that takes the place of the laptop's internal optical drive (SuperDrive or Combo Drive). Drives are available in capacities up to 160GB, allowing a total storage capacity of 360GB in Apple's new notebooks or 320GB in PowerBook G4 systems. The drive has the same physical dimensions and data-connectivity as a standard internal optical drive, but is recognized by the machine as a standard hard drive. All initialization, partitioning, and RAID setup is managed by Apple's Disk Utility program. Users can set up high performance raid (RAID 0) or mirroring (RAID 1) configurations using on-board hard drives. MCE's Optibay Hard Drive is available in 80GB ($330), 100GB ($360 or $460 for 5,400/7,200RPM), 120GB ($410), and 160GB ($480).
Westinghouse 2K HDTV
American electronics maker Westinghouse today said that it will unveil what it says is the world's first 2160p LCD screen. Measuring 56 inches, the widescreen panel will display an unprecedented 3840x2160 resolution, commonly referred to as 2K. The increased depth -- dubbed Quad Full HD by the company -- offers four times the resolution of today's current 1080p maximum for HDTV. Other details of the LCD have not yet been released, though the enhanced resolution is likely to require a dual-link DVI or HDMI connector.
Also planned for the debut of CES are a series of basic 19- to 42- inch LCD televisions, 1080p-capable sets between 42 and 52 inches, a 24-inch computer LCD and a slew of digital picture frames. [via Gadgetell]
New LG plasmas, LCDs
In advance of CES, LG has announced its 2007 range of HDTVs, in both plasma and LCD varieties. There will be three new lines of plasma sets, including the PC5D (42 and 50 inches), PB4D (42, 50 and 60 inches), and PY3D (50 and 60 inches). Remaining in production is the PY1M (see photo), which consists of a single, 71-inch 1080p display. The PB4D sets will have built-in digital video recorders, and like the PY1M, the PY3D screens will have full 1080p resolution. The PY3D will also boast three HDMI inputs and the USB Media Host function for streaming photos and music. LG is not sharing prices for any of the plasmas except the PY1M, which has been discounted by 80 percent to sell at $15,000.
There will be five lines of LCDs this year: the LS7D (20 and 23 inches), LC7 (26 to 47 inches), LB4D (32 to 47 inches), LB5D (37 to 52 inches), and the LY3D (47, 52 and 57 inches). The latter two will all have 1080p, and the LB4D and LY3D series will feature USB Media Hosting. The LB4D and LB5D models have three HDMI inputs, and the LS7D displays will have built-in tuners for ATSC, NTSC and QAM signals. No prices have been published for any of the LCD products.
Xbox 360 with HDMI
A second revision of the Xbox 360 will see a major upgrade to the console's media features, according to a photo obtained by Engadget. The update, codenamed "Zephyr," should bring the crucial addition of an HDMI output, a connector necessary to ensure that later copy-protected HD DVD movies can display at their full resolution on newer HDTV sets. The system will also see its first increase in storage, according to the report: the new model will ship with a 120GB hard drive, there in part to provide additional storage for Microsoft's recently opened Xbox Live movie store. This extra capacity may be optional, the site notes.
While no release date has been given as part of the leak, Microsoft has already confirmed that it will ship refreshed Xbox 360s in mid-2007 using a cooler, 65-nanometer version of the three-core CPU at the heart of the system. Sources suggest that all three improvements may be scheduled to appear simultaneously.
Six new Canon camcorders
Canon today introduced six new camcorders which include the Mini-DV ZR800, ZR830 and ZR850 models, and the DVR-R/RW based DC210, DC220 and DC230. Both lines offer a 16:9 ratio, 35x optical zoom, 1,000x digital zoom, and a 'Quick Start' mode which puts the camera into a 30-minute standby mode which requires less than a second to power on. The DC220 and 230 offer miniSD slots for transfer of stills, while the ZR830 and 850 read full-size SD cards -- including High Capacity cards able to hold anywhere between 4GB and 32GB. The ZR cameras use Canon's older DIGIC DV processor rather than the DCs' modern DIGIC DV II, according to Electronista. The ZRs will ship in January for $280, $300 and $330; the DCs are slated for release in March for $400, $450 and $500.
1TB hard drive unveiled
Hitachi today introduced the Deskstar 7K1000, the world's first 1TB hard drive for desktop systems. The 3.5-inch 7200RPM drive, which was originally slated for 2006, uses the company's own perpendicular magnetic recording technology to store five platters of 200GB each. The drive sets a new record for density, according to Electronista, and the added size does not detract from performance. The 7K1000 is one of the only drives to feature 32MB of cache over the industry-standard 16MB on serial ATA models, and boasts a rapid 8.5ms average seek time. Shipments are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of the year for $400, while a version optimized for media streaming and quiet operation -- dubbed the CinemaStar 7K1000 -- is due in the second quarter.
Second iPod Film Festival
The Flux today announced that it will hold its 2007 iPod Film Festival geared films specifically formatted for playback on Apple's iPod. The second year of the festival promises free entry, and the company expects a greater response due to an increased number of iPod owners. "We learned a lot from last year's groundbreaking festival, including the fact that people don't like to pay to submit their film," said Flux founder Ryan Ritchey. "Thanks to Small Dog, we've eliminated the entry fee. There are so many new iPod owners since the last festival, that we expect a great response from people looking for fresh, fun films to watch on the iPod" This year's festival includes a podcast feed of all films, as well as a new voting system combining viewer voting and judging by a professional panel. The Flux is accepting entries through March 18th in three categories which include Student Film, Independent Film, and 'The Kitchen Sink.'
New Toshiba SDHC cards
Three new SD cards are in the works from Toshiba, one among them being the fastest of its type, the company claims. Its forthcoming 4GB miniSDHC card will be the first at the Class 4 level, having a sustained write speed of 4MB/s. The miniSD format is used primarily in devices like PDAs and cellphones. Toshiba is also working on a 4GB, general SDHC card, which will have a minimum sustained speed of 6MB/s, and a peak performance of 20MB/s. Rounding out the new lineup is a microSD card, filling in the 2GB gap in Toshiba's offerings. The SDHC and miniSDHC cards will be out in March of 2007, with the microSD product following in April.
Hitachi 1TB Hard Drive
Hitachi today introduced the Deskstar 7K1000, the first 1TB hard drive ever to reach the desktop. The 3.5-inch, 7200RPM drive, originally slated for 2006, uses the company's own perpendicular magnetic recording technology to store five platters of 200GB each, setting a new record for density. The added size does not detract from performance, Hitachi says. The 7K1000 is one of the only drives to sport 32MB of cache (versus the industry-standard 16MB) on serial ATA models and has a quick 8.5ms average seek time. Shipments will start in the first quarter of the year at a price of $399 each. A version optimized for media streaming and quiet operation, the CinemaStar 7K1000, is due in the second quarter.
Scientific Paper manager
Mek & Tosj today released Papers, a new application designed to revolutionize the way scientists deal with scientific papers. Users can search for papers using PubMed, directly retrieve and archive PDF documents, and read as well as study all material from within Papers. The software offers tabbed as well a s full screen reading of papers, organization of papers in 'Smart' folders, and the ability to download PDF files directly from a publisher's website using built-in WebKit functionality. Papers was developed by Alexander Griekspoor (Mek) and Tom Groothuis (Tosj), both of whom acquired their PhDs in the Neefix laboratories doing biomedical research at the cellular level. The public preview version of Papers is available for free (system requirements were unavailable).
Nokia E65 in development?
Slovakian site MobilMania claims to have acquired photos of the Nokia E65, an upcoming mobile aimed at business users. It appears to be a slider phone, 0.5 inches thick, with buttons suggesting possible VoIP functions. Specifications indicate that it's a GSM quadband unit, with further support for EDGE broadband and 2,100MHz WCDMA. Local connectivity is made possible through Bluetooth, infrared, 802.11b/g and a POP port, which can accept USB 2.0 signals only through a Nokia connector. The camera is a two-megapixel model, and the screen sports an impressive 16 million colors at 352x416. Files are stored on 52MB of internal memory or a removable microSD card. Initial reports peg the phone for the second half of 2007, selling at a price of €340 ($445). Click through to see larger photos.
FotoMagico 2 enters beta
Boinx Software today announced that its FotoMagico 2 software has entered the public beta testing phase. The new release introduces high resolution, standalone slideshow players that users can share with others who don't have a license for FotoMagico. The standalone player offers the same playback quality as the full version of FotoMagico, and standalone slideshows play as soon as they are opened. Users can also ensure the slideshows expire after a certain period of time or after they are played a specfied number of times. The latest release also allows users to export slideshows as screensavers, and offers support for watermarking sliedshows. FotoMagico 2 public beta is available for free, and Boinx is planning a final release in March of 2007. FotoMagico 2 public beta requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
New Microtek 1080p sets
Compounding on plasma announcements earlier in the week (pictured), Microtek has just introduced two new 42-inch LCDs, the CL42HA and the L42CX2A. Unlike the plasma models, these sets have full 1080p support, with scaling options for resolutions down to 480i. Brightness for each is rated at 500cd/m2, with a contrast ratio of 1,200:1 and a viewing angle of 176 degrees. Each set also has HDMI, VGA, component, composite and S-video inputs, as well as ports for NTSC and ATSC (HD) antennas. The actual differences between the models are minimal, with the L42CX2A having factory calibration and a one-year warranty, and the CL42HA having a two-year warranty and "middle-ground" calibration for tweaking by home theater enthusiasts. The former should be on sale now for $1,900; the CL42HA is coming soon for $2,000.
BCSIcom 1.0 released
Black Cat Systems today released BCSIcom 1.0, a new application that controls various models of Icom brand ham radios. BCSIcom enables users to set frequency, operating mode, and read back. The application supports testing USB CI-V links by polling the radio to display the frequency and mode while allowing users to set these values. BCSIcom utilizes Black Cat Systems' USB CI-V Icom Interface, which plugs into the USB port of a computer to provide connectivity for an Icom or other CI-V interface radio. An attached 6-foot USB cable plugs into a standard USB port on the computer, and one standard 1/8-inch cable connects to a radio's CI-V port to offer software-based control over the device. BCSIcom 1.0 is available for free, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The software requires Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X.
Review, Macworld events
In brief: MacNN has reviewed GelaSkins ($15, shown at right), a series of iPod covers from Gelaskins that features unique art to protect the portable player.... Emory University's leading experts on high availability, Nickolas Tong and Brian Pitts, are planning to headline a conference session at Macworld Expo 2007 in San Francisco entitled High Availability Administration and System Design.... The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is celebrating its 10th year touring the U.S. as it provides free workshops to students, offering a book signing with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir on Tuesday, January 9th for the newly published Come Together: The Official John Lennon educational Tour Bus Guide to Music and Video.... MacSpeech has released new ScriptPaks for TopXNotes and TopXNotes iPod, adding nearly 150 commands to iListen.... Small Dog Electronics is planning to broadcast live from Macworld over its website, offering customers and viewers an inside look into the Expo.... LightWork Design has begun offering building materials from the major Japanese manufacturers, Tostem, Matsushita Electric Works and Kubota Matsushitadenko Exterior Works (KMEW) in LWA digital material format.
New Lexar JumpDrives
The JumpDrive series of USB flash drives has been upgraded and expanded, says Lexar. New to the lineup is the JumpDrive 360, which the company describes as being "capless" -- that is, it uses a rotating metal jacket to eliminate the need for a cap on the USB port. The drive will come with Lexar's PowerToGo program for secure mobile computing, and the Secure II software, which now enables quick, 256-bit AES encryption (and decryption) using a drag-and-drop folder system. A "File Shredder" function wipes traces normally left behind when deleting files. Lexar has also upgraded its JumpDrive Firefly, doubling capacity from 4GB (pictured) to 8GB, and will be doing the same for the Secure II drive, not to be confused with its namesake application. The new Firefly and Secure II products should be ready in March; no date has been set for the 360.
Dejal Simon 2.2 released
Dejal has released Dejal Simon 2.2, a major update to the site monitoring tool for Mac OS X that checks Web pages, FTP, and DNS servers as well as local or remote ports for changes or failures. The software notifies users via email, sound, speech, or HTML reports of any detected issues. Dejal Simon 2.2 adds a new script service, as well as a MySQL service/notifier. The update also includes specific DNS service, a Growl notifier, and support for https parameters as well as cookies and several other improvements. Simon can track sites, alert users when an important server goes down or recovers, check on Samba SMB status, and take periodic screenshots of the system. The application also optionally tracks posts as well as new comments on specified blogs, checks for Web mail, ensures a key application is running, receives notifications of updates to chosen news/entertainment websites, and monitors auctions. Dejal Simon 2.2 is available in Basic ($30), Standard ($60), and Enterprise ($200) editions. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Boris Red goes Universal
Boris FX has released Boris Red 4.1 for Intel-based Macs. The latest revision includes a Universal Binary plug-in for Apple's Final Cut Pro software, as well as a Universal Binary standalone Render Engine. Boris Red serves as an integrated 3D compositing, titling, and effects application designed to maintain backward compatibility with 'qualified' PowerPC-based Mac systems. Boris Red 4.1 takes full advantage of the improved OpenGL graphics hardware found in Apple's Mac Pro and MacBook Pro systems, according to Boris FX, and is available as a free update for existing Boris Red 4.0 customers moving to the Intel-based Mac platform. Boris Red 4.1 is priced at $1,000 for new users.
New Canon camcorders
New from Canon are six new camcorders: the Mini-DV ZR800, ZR830 and ZR850 models, and the DVR-R/RW based DC210, DC220 and DC230. Both lines offer a 16:9 ratio, 35x optical zoom, 1,000x digital zoom, and a Quick Start mode which puts a camera into a 30-minute standby mode, which takes less than a second to power on from. The DC220 and 230 (pictured) feature miniSD slots for transfer of stills, while the ZR830 and 850 read full-size SD cards, including High Capacity cards able to hold anywhere between 4GB and 32GB. Worth noting, however, is that the ZR cameras use Canon's older DIGIC DV processor, versus the DCs' modern DIGIC DV II. The ZRs will go on sale in January for $279, $299 and $329; the DCs are being released in March for $399, $449 and $499.
Toshiba's desktop HD DVD
A new internal HD DVD drive for desktop computers has been announced by Toshiba, the standard's founder. The SD-H903A is a SATA drive that can read single- and dual-layer HD DVD discs, as well as most major rewritable formats, including DVD-R, DVD-R HD, DVD-RAM, CD-R and CD-RW. The drive can also burn all of the above formats with the notable exception of DVD-R HD, which is representative of most of the consumer HD DVD market. No pricing or distribution plans for the H903A have been revealed, but Toshiba has said that the first demonstration models will go out this month, and it will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.
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