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FCP, WebObjects updated
Apple today updated its Final Cut Pro real-time editing software for DV, SD, HD, and film as well as its WebObjects Web development application. Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 provides several important bug fixes, and is recommended for all Final Cut Pro 5.1, 5.1.1, and 5.1.2 license holders. Render files created on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs now work properly on either type of computer, and the update adds several commands to the default keyboard layout that were missing in the previous version. Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 resolves cases in which cross dissolves did not work as expected in nested sequences containing still images with adjusted motion parameters, and addresses effects compatibility issues as well as video format compatibility. The latest revision also resolves long-standing issues with video scope performance and audio output.
Apple updates DST, Java
Apple today updated the way Mac OS X handles Daylight Saving Time for Tiger (and DST for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther) and updated Java for Mac OS X 10.4 (and Java for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther) to add support for those same changes. The Daylight Saving Time update reflects changes in several countries and regions that will alter the dates on which they observe Daylight Saving Time, while the Java for Mac OS X 10.4 Release 5 adds support for the latest Daylight Saving Time changes and time zone information. The Java update also provides improved reliability and compatibility for Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 5.0 and Java 1.4 on Mac OS X 10.4.8 and later. The release updates J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_07 and Java 1.4 to version 1.4.2_12, improving reliability of the SWT_AWT bridge implementation first released in the SWT Compatibility Libraries for Release 4. The improvement is installed as a standard part of J2SE 5.0, according to Apple.
Apple Security Update
Apple today released Security Update 2007-002 to fix several vulnerabilities affecting the Mac OS X Finder, iChat, and the UserNotificationCenter process. One vulnerability could cause an application to crash or result in arbitrary code execution, resuming the user is enticed into opening a specially-crafted disk image resulting in a buffer overflow in Finder's handling of volume names. Two iChat-related security concerns are fixed in the update, preventing attackers on the local network from causing iChat to crash and foiling potential attempts by malicious websites to cause applications to crash or execute arbitrary code. The UserNotificationCenter process runs with elevated privileges in the context of local users, potentially allowing a malicious local user to overwrite or modify system files prior to the update. The update is available for download from Apple's website, as well as via the "Software Update" feature in Mac OS X located under the Apple menu.
OWC Superdrive upgrades
Other World Computing today announced today Superdrive optical drive upgrades for all Mac computers, including Mac Pro, 15-inch PowerBook G4 Titanium ($70), all versions of the "Aluminum" PowerBook G4 (12-, 15-, and 17-inch models, $70); iBook G4 ($80), PowerMac G3, G4, G5; iMac G4; iMac G5 ($120), Mac Mini ($100) G4 Cube ($160) and eMac. OWC says it offers the newest, fastest, and quietest SuperDrive technology from Pioneer, including 16X DL SuperDrive DVR 111D to read and write DVDs, CDs, and Dual-Layer DVDs with an up to 8.5GB capacity per DVD Dual Layer disc at speeds of 8X; Up to 4.7GB capacity per DVD at 16X; and CDs of up to 700MB at 40X. The upgrades, the company says, are compatible with Apple iLife, Roxio Toast, NTI Dragonburn, and other CD/DVD authoring applications. In addition, OWC offers professional installation services for internal installation. The Superdrives are available immediately from OWC priced starting at $30 (drive-only) or as part of a variety of software and media bundles.
Flip4Mac XDCAM 2.1
Telestream today released Flip4Mac XDCAM 2.1, updating the import component that allows editors to ingest MXF content directly from Sony's XDCAM Professional Disc production system into Apple's Final Cut Pro 5 software for editing. The latest revision adds the ability to also export IMX 30/40/50 media across the entire XDCAM family. The component expands Final Cut Pro workflows to enable greater functionality for video professionals using Sony's XDCAM system, and allows users to access file-based XDCAM content either as low-resolution proxy or at full bandwidth in SD or HD formats. The software also supports moving MXF media between Apple's Final Cut Pro real-time editing software and XDCAM devices to enhance workflow options. Flip4Mac XDCAM Component 2.1 is priced at $500, runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Apple challenges Exchange
Apple is set to challenge Microsoft's dominance in the enterprise market currently dominated by Microsoft Exchange Server, according to RoughlyDrafted.com. The Cupertino-based company has historically struggled in the corporate IT environment, but is aiming to change that fact with the help of open-source developers. Apple's Calendar Server is set to debut this year with Mac OS X Leopard Server, and will provide an alternative to IT departments looking to finally abandon Microsoft Exchange. Exchange Server is the reason many businesses utilize Windows-exclusive plans, according to the report, suggesting that Apple's new offering could result in massive market share gains for the company. Apple is good at producing click product-oriented commercially developed software, and open-source software is widely known for producing strong server deployments. Apple together with open-source developers could wrest dominance from Microsoft Exchange, resulting in more Mac sales to enterprise customers.
Sony Davenport Phone
Sony-Ericsson's recently launched W880 Walkman phone may have been just the tip of the spear in the company's new design philosophy, according to an anonymous source. Where the current phone was codenamed after Japanese tennis champ Ai Sugiyama, a new model has been given the nickname "Lindsay" based on the American player Lindsay Davenport. The new model would exchange the candybar form of the W880 for a slider design while keeping the 2-megapixel camera and a body registering at an uncharacteristically thin 14mm (0.55 inches). Lights along the side and designer colors (including green) would stress its exotic design.
Flash memory price fixing?
An American lawfirm alleges that US shoppers may be paying more than is legal for flash memory. Organized by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a firm specializing in class action suits, a newly-begun legal investigation accuses numerous companies of conspiring to "fix, raise, maintain and stabilize" flash memory prices. The primary target of the firm seems to be Micron's Crucial Technologies division, but other major corporations have been implicated as well, including Hynix, Samsung and Toshiba -- the major suppliers of memory to Apple, which uses the chips in its popular nano and shuffle iPods. The implication may be that the cost of iPods is artificially high, although not as a result of Apple's intentions. HBSS is encouraging members of the public to get in touch via phone or e-mail if they know anything that could add to the investigation.
LG Shine-Inspired Phones
Recognizing the success of its recent Shine slider phone in Europe and Korea, LG at 3GSM has introduced a pair of new phones to appeal to those who prefer different shapes. Both the bar-shaped KE770 and clamshell SV490 are directly influenced by their pioneering cousin and are dominated by brushed metal, separating them from the plainer metal and plastic surfaces of most other phones.
Curiously, however, LG has not publicly released details the devices' abilities, leaving their features to speculation; both phones are likely to share the same 2-megapixel camera and Kreuznach-Schneider lens of the original Shine and should also have a dedicated music player. Both devices should receive a full unveiling before their initial release in Korea, which will be followed by international launches elsewhere. Photos follow after the break. [via AVING]
small-scale device maker Netac recently launched its A200 music player for frequent drivers. Key to the new jukebox is an internal FM transmitter: the A200 can switch to any of 21 preset frequencies to stream its music through a car stereo or most any nearby radio, altogether bypassing the need for an external adapter. A car charger is bundled with the device to ensure the music player will last for a complete drive, the company said. An FM tuner is supplied for receiving broadcasts when the 2GB of internal MP3, WMA, or WAV music fails to satisfy. Voice recording is also standard.
A 1.8-inch color OLED also gives a visual element rarely seen for the price: the full-color screen supports BMP and JPEG photo viewing as well as a more pleasant space for eBook reading. Battery life is rated at a healthy 12 to 15 hours according to Netac, which exports the A200 through Advanced MP3 Players for £69 ($135). [via Tech Digest]
iCalGTD widget, challenge
In brief: CS Odessa today launched its first ConceptDraw Lab project combining a corporate blog, a new products marketplace, and a discussion forum. The company is planning periodic releases of freeware utilities, with the first free download coming in the form of a dashboard widget; iCalGTD widget partially implements the "Getting Things Done" time management system to help users put ideas, tasks, and other assorted pieces of information into a selected iCal calendar to serve as an inbox.... PhotoshopCAFE has announced its 7th annual design challenge offering the largest prize pool to date, offering more than $12,000 worth of prizes from sponsors such as Adobe, Wacom, and Logitech. The contest is designed to echo a real-world design challenge, requiring participants with creating a billboard ad for Photoshop in the past or future.... MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Intuit's TurboTax 2006 software ($20) enabling users to do almost anything in TurboTax normally possible using the keyboard or menu shortcuts.
Windows Sales Plummet
Microsoft's intensive promo campaign for Windows Vista may have inadvertently backfired in terms of motivating upgrades, according to the latest NPD report. First-week sales of retail copies of the OS fell a staggering 59 percent compared to the Windows XP launch of 2001, suggesting a distinct lack of interest in updating existing systems to the new software. NPD's Chris Swenson said on Thursday that the drop was due to the steeper requirements of Vista, which encouraged a 67 percent boost in PC sales but likely cannibalized boxed sales as a result.
"Consumers are getting the message that they need a more robust system to take advantage of some of the new features," the analyst said.
GGT Enterprises today released DocumentWallet, a document management application for Mac OS X enabling users to scan as well as manage and archive documents. DocumentWallet leverages many of the features found in ReceiptWallet including "smart collections," scanner integration, and archiving to CDs or DVDs to simplify the process of cataloging as well as searching for documents. Designed to organize documents of all types the way Apple's iPhoto software organizes photographs, DocumentWallet features familiar interface elements to ease the the learning curve for new users. The software can import documents spanning multiple pages directly from TWAIN-compatible scanners with the push of a button, and imports electronic documents -- including Web-based files converted to PDF format -- when users drag them onto the DocumentWallet window. DocumentWallet is priced at $30 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
1,200W power supply
Thermaltake has launched two new power supplies in its Toughpower line, one of which is said the world's first 1,200W supply for desktop computers. Power is becoming an increasingly important issue for high-end users, since even non-professional processors and videocards can consume tremendous amounts of electricity. Both the 1,200 and 1,000W models support the ATX 12V 2.2 standard, and are recommended for quad-core systems such as AMD's Quad FX. The supplies also come with three six- and three eight-pin PCI-E connectors, the latter of which are useful for the latest cards from ATI and Nvidia, while remaining backwards-compatible using a converter. SATA and Molex connectors are present as well. Cooling comes from a built-in 5.5-inch fan that spools up only when excess heat is detected. No prices or release dates have been mentioned, but the new Toughpowers should soon be on sale from sites like Newegg.
Lexar microSD & miniSDHC
Coming in April are two new mobile SD cards from Lexar. The preeminent one is a 4GB miniSDHC card, marking the first time the company has ventured into that format. The size should be enough to hold roughly 1,000 songs, 100 hours of video, or over 4,000 photos. While support for miniSDHC is still rare in devices like cellphones, it should increase with subsequent generations. For more conventional storage the company is producing a 2GB microSD card, which will be useable in a vast majority of phones that rely on external media. Lexar has yet to suggest prices for either of the upcoming products.
Pomfort has released SilverStack, a unique software tool for inspecting, managing, and previewing high-resolution image sequences. An included Pomfort "Cinemator" render queue enables users to create batches of customized QuickTime movies for use in production workflows. Users can browse sequence-based and timecode-oriented files with an info-timeline that shows SMPTE timecode, frame numbers, or a timecode calculated from file names. The software can open movie-typical file types such as DPX, Cineon, and TIF documents in nearly any resolution (PAL, HD, 2k, 4k, and 6k). Users can view color-channels, inspect color with a selective RGB histogram, inspect pixels with a dynamic range color picker, and use a genuine pixel ruler for complete access to image data. SilverStack offers movie export, accommodates accurate image viewing, and features sequence management. The application is priced at $400 for the full edition or $190 for a reduced video version. Pomfort SilverStack 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
CLC bio today unveiled the CLC Bioinformatics Cell, enabling users to transform ordinary Intel- or AMD-based workstations into "super-computing" units. The company claims tasks that previously took two hours can be computed in one minute without hassle. "This product can potentially help pharma and biotech corporations move faster through the phases of drug discovery, and thereby help the pharma industry to develop products faster to meet the healthcare challenges of today," said Nordic director at Intel JŲrgen Forsberg. The CLC Bioinformatics Cell is designed to accelerate bioinformatics algorithms such as Smith-Waterman and ClustalW up to 110 times faster than modern desktop systems. The device works by plugging into the USB port of any Intel- or AMD-based computer running Mac OS X, Linux, or Microsoft Windows (pricing is dependent upon the number of CPUs and cores that it can work on in parallel).
Action Jacket for shuffles
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) has released a new case in its Action Jacket workout line, this time in white for the second-generation iPod shuffle. Most of the player is surrounded in soft neoprene to help guard against rain and sweat, while the control buttons are shielded with a clear vinyl window. The armband is adjustable for virtually any arm size and is made from a "vinyl-like" material which is machine washable. Users can wash the case with a damp cloth, and DLO is already shipping the white Jacket for $20.
Thanko bone conductors
Thanko has released a new pair of bone-conduction headphones, the Vonia EZ-4200Ps. While shaped like conventional sets, the 4200Ps don't actually rest on the ears, but rather the nearby areas of the skull. This stimulates the auditory nerves directly, providing equivalent sound without risking damage to the eardrums. Users should also be better able to hear surrounding ambient noise, which can be important in environments such as traffic or a subway. Each channel produces 30mW of power. Sales of the 4200Ps begin today, at a price of 9,800 yen ($81).
TracVision Satellite HDTV
KVH today introduced a trio of satellite receivers in its TracVision range tailored primarily for smaller boats. In contrast to most satellite domes that need to be used with larger ships, each of the new versions measures only 14 inches across: letting smaller fishing boats and yachts tune even sensitive HDTV signal from their masts. The M3 DX is the company's flagship model for boats that regularly change satellite networks: a multi-format receiver can switch between Western networks such as DirecTV or DISH, and will also tune Canada's ExpressVu or Sky Mexico. A European version receives broadcasts from its home continent as well as many Asian networks. The DX is able to capture TV at full speed and as far as 200 miles offshore, KVH brags.
Two variants have also been released for captains with less demands. The M3 ST specializes in DirecTV coverage and adds a custom remote as well as all the local and national programming, while the simplified M2 is there for boaters who want DirecTV only when anchored at home or a favorite spot. Exact availability isn't known, though prices should start at $2,995.
EmailCRX ($30) is an e-mail filter and spam reporting utility that uses a ratings engine to help sort incoming messages. Users can block items based on various criteria including national origin or the choice of a wrong proper name. Users can also create a Friends list to ensure desired mail comes through.
[Download - 9.32MB]
Meander 1.5 ($20) plots points, routes, and distances using any map, including Web maps and scanned copies. Version 1.5 allows users to add journals as well as image attachments to routes, and offers better export support as either a JPEG or a ZIP file for e-mails. The program is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.2. [Download - 1.6MB]
AudioLobe 1.1 ($20) separately alters the pitch rate and playback speed of audio files, making it easier to discern complex music sequences. Bass, treble, and balance are controllable at the same time. Supported audio formats include AAC, MP3, WAV, CD audio and AIFC/AIFF. AudioLobe 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.5MB]
Slife 1.0 (free) measures computer use by noting which applications have been used, what files have been viewed, and for how long these events occurred. The results are displayed in visualizations, and users can choose to share the results via Slifeshare. The application is a Universal Binary running on Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 914KB]
Google Calendar Dashboard Widget 2.0 (donationware) displays upcoming events without requiring users to login to Calendar. The second edition enables users to scan several days into the future, and should resolve bugs that surfaced when dealing with time zones. The widget requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 104KB]
OmniWeb, OmniGraffle, and OmniPlan ($15, $80, $150) are updated business applications by the Omni Group. OmniWeb 5.5.4 fixes the browser's download window, while OmniGraffle 4.2 Beta 1 introduces the Document Settings Inspector. OmniPlan 1.1 Beta 2 improves several components such as importing and exporting. All three programs are Universal Binaries that require Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 10.1MB, 14.9MB, 10.4MB]
Gear4 HouseParty III
Britain's Gear4 has unveiled the HouseParty III, a unique approach to iPod speakers. The 30-watt system is meant to be as unintrusive as possible, blending in with its environment. A retractable dock stows away when not connected to one of Apple's music players; even the LCD for the integrated FM radio is hidden behind the speaker grille to avoid standing out, Gear4 said.
The stereo charges, plays, and synchronizes almost every dockable iPod from the fourth-generation or later; a minijack input provides a basic audio link for iPod shuffles and other devices without Apple's special connector. The HouseParty III is packed with a wireless remote and is available first in the UK for £80 ($157).
InPhase Holo Storage
InPhase has started shipping its new Tapestry holographic disks. Representing the first real-world use of the technology, each disk is not much larger than a DVD at 1.5mm thick but stores 300GB of information, making them ideal for archives where the sheer amount of storage would overwhelm the physical space limits of even hard drives. Though currently only a write-once format, its holographic nature makes it resilient against flaws that would normally ruin hard disks or tapes: Tapestry is immune to magnetic interference or other subtle influences and lasts for up to 50 years, InPhase claims.
The host drive works with everyday PCs by simulating a conventional drive and sells at $18,000 -- an expensive price that the firm believes can compete well against high-end backup drives. Individual Tapestry disks ship for $180 in 300GB versions. The company promises individual disks as large as 1.6TB by 2010. [via The Register]
Ubuntu axes PPC support
The Ubuntu Technical Board has reclassified the PowerPC edition of Ubuntu Linux as unofficial, but said the PowerPC software itself and supporting infrastructure will continue to be available and supported by a community team. The demotion of Ubuntu's PowerPC edition signals the end of official support for the operating system edition, leaving further progress and support in the hands of the community. OSnews reports that the major blow to the PowerPC architecture translates to "Ubuntu PPC can shake hands with the dodo." Apple utilized the PowerPC architecture in its legacy Macs prior to the company's transition to Intel chips in 2006, making systems as recent as its G5 Macs officially unsupported by Ubuntu. PowerPC Ubuntu Linux users faced with unofficial support can turn to Yellow Dog Linux as an alternative, which still offers official support for its Linux distribution alongside 64-bit support.
LG L1982U Computer LCD
LG on Thursday added to its Flatron computer LCDs with the L1982U. The 19-inch screen boasts the highest ever contrast ratio found in a computer display, by the company's estimates: by adding the first dedicated image-enhancing chip, known as the f-ENGINE, the screen roughly triples the average contrast ratio to 3,000:1. The display also builds in an ambient light sensor that auto-dims the picture in darker conditions.
Portability and speed are just as important, LG says. Dual hinges in the stand allow the panel to fold down almost completely flat for carrying, while an average 2ms pixel response time is said to virtually eliminate ghosting. LG's iconic L1900J "Jar" display and the ultra-slim L1970HR will also receive the contrast boost, the Korean firm said. The L1982U is making its way to international stores today, though North American release details are unavailable. [via PC Launches]
Apple file info patent
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published four of Apple's continuation patent applications titled " Method for providing stand-in objects," "Auto stacking of time related images," "Management of files in a personal communication device," and "Method and apparatus for implementing a sleep proxy for services on a network." Apple discusses a cellular phone application in its management of files in a personal communications device patent, potentially adding the iPhone as an invention making use of the technology. Another Apple patent surfaced today depicting a new docking device capable of horizontal as well as vertical orientations that hints at a tablet device.
15.4-inch MacBooks, review
In brief: Apple may be preparing to introduce 15.4-inch MacBooks in the second quarter of 2007, according to Taiwan sources cited by DigiTimes. The revised consumer laptop is expected to bolster the company's MacBook shipments, which could reach 700,000 units in the first quarter of 2007. Current 13.3-inch MacBooks are manufactured by Asustek Computer, but the reprty claims that the new 15.4-inch models will be produced by Quanta Computer -- the manufacturer of Apple's 15.4- and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks.... MacNN has reviewed the FlipSkin case for Apple's video iPod ($35, shown at right) from Speck Products, featuring a built-in stand protecting the device with a silicone cover. The case features a grey and black rubber finish making it easy to grip, and comes with a removable screen protector made from hard clear plastic.
Alpine has introduced the iDA-X001, a new in-car headend receiver custom-designed with an influence by Apple. While not unique in its ability to control the music of a fifth-generation iPod while the device is attached through a USB cable, the X001 incorporates a 2.2-inch LCD which replicates the music player's menus and displays complex track information -- including album art, Alpine noted. The port also accepts almost any USB storage device and will play their MP3 and WMA songs.
Wireless support is also broad. Bluetooth is built-in for hands-free calling; the head unit further supports satellite radio through Sirius and XM receivers and is ready for HD Radio through AM and FM. Alpine plans to ship the deck in April for a price of $450. [via CrunchGear]
Apple's dock patent
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published Apple's patent application titled " Methods and apparatuses for docking a portable electronic device that has a planar like configuration and that operates in multiple orientations." The patent relates to docking stations for portable electronic devices that can operate horizontally or vertically. The patent depicts a "picture frame" styled dock capable of displaying the portable device as such, and details a rounded base with a swing-arm similar to Apple's older G4 iMac. Additionally, the Cupertino-based company introduces a locking mechanism for security purposes alongside improved techniques for transferring data and/or power between portable devices and the docking stations.
OCZ Equalizer Gaming Mouse
OCZ this morning branched away from its emphasis on memory with the Equalizer. The firm's introductory gaming mouse has one of the highest-sensitivity laser sensors at 2500DPI, for extra precision in sniping and other first-person action tasks; a button switches the DPI ratio between any of six different levels. An extra button, known as the Triple Threat, is also designed for rapid firing by treating a single click as equivalent to as many as three. Any control on the mouse can be customized through pre-supplied software.
The Equalizer is shipping in two sizes, one each for desktop and notebook users with features otherwise identical. OCZ should be delivering the mouse now but hasn't provided a price.
Bullet Candy 2 released
Charlie's Games has released Bullet Candy 2, a major update to the fast-paced arcade shooter game for Mac OS X. Viewed from a top-down perspective, Bullet Candy allows for a true 360-degree "shoot-em-up" experience with all enemies in view at all times. Bullet Candy 2 features a new menu system, additional keyboard controls, and includes a fix for an infinite points exploit. The latest release also adds a variety of new effects, fixes an extend mode crash bug, and fixes a variety of issues behind-the-scenes. Bullet Candy 2 is available from Macgamestore.com for $10, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
NEC on Thursday unveiled what it says is the world's thinnest and most unique flip-phone. The n703iμ measures only 11.4mm (0.45 inches) thick while closed, ensuring that it will fit in most any pocket. Just as rare is the outer cover, NEC said. Instead of a stereotypical external LCD, the handset uses a 49-point LED grid that lights up in a wide variety of patterns for alarms, calls, and e-mail; the user can also pick out individual patterns that will display for specific users. A privacy screen mode also prevents passers-by from seeing the phone's internal LCD from wider angles.
Click through ror more details and a gallery.
15-inch MacBooks Enroute
Making a bold claim, DigiTimes today said that Apple would produce a 15.4-inch widescreen consumer MacBook. The system would specifically exist to bridge the divide between the basic 13.3-inch model and the MacBook Pro line. Despite the larger screen size, the systems are expected to receive very competitive pricing relative to their smaller counterparts due to the low costs associated with 15.4-inch screens, the Taiwanese publication's sources said.
While details of the future systems themselves remain unknown, contacts speaking with the publication claim that local manufacturer Quanta -- which builds the premium but lower-volume MacBook Pro -- has won the contract, despite the portables' likely closer similarity to the 13.3-inch MacBooks currently made by ASUStek. The 15.4-inch editions would allegedly be released sometime during the second quarter of 2007, roughly a year after the Intel-based line was first introduced.
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