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In-flight iPods for rent
A Mexican airline is renting iPods to passengers aboard its flights as part of a marketing promo to differentiate itself from its competitors. Reuters reports that Mexican flight attendants aboard Volaris now serve fistfuls of salted snacks, carbonated drinks and, for about $5, iPods. "By renting the iconic music and video device to passengers, low-cost airline Volaris has got the jump on U.S giants, such Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, who have been talking for months about offering iPod seat connections," the report says. Apple last fall announced it was teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to deliver seamless integration between iPods and their in-flight entertainment systems; however, a few days later a few airlines said the announcement was premature.
Dock Extender debuts
SendStation Systems on Friday announced the SendStation Dock Extender for iPod, which enables iPod & iPhone users to dock and connect their device with iPod speaker systems and docking stations, as well as FM transmitters and voice recorders, without prior removal of its protective case. The Dock Extender is designed to work with all iPod cases with a dock connector opening. A matching Universal Dock insert for easy and secure docking is included for compatibility with virtually all dockable iPods. SendStation's Dock Extender is scheduled to ship in March 2007; however, pricing is not yet determined. SendStation's Dock Extender will be available directly from SendStation Systems and from authorized dealers worldwide.
Jobs, Dell share stage
Last week it was the music labels, this week it was teacher unions. Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs on Friday spared no words in criticizing the state of public schools and the teacher unions, saying that schools were never likely to improve until principals could fire bad teachers. The Associated Press notes that Jobs shared the stage with rival CEO Michael Dell to deliver their vision of technology in classrooms. Jobs, who is known to be quite intolerant of what he calls incompetence at his own company, touted a text-book free classroom, but reiterated that no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.
Sony iPod killer, DST news
Briefly: Apple has posted news about the DST changes in Mac OS X, while Sony is close to announcing its first direct competitor to the iPod nano and Panasonic is working on the "world's smallest" digital camcorder at just 4.5 inches long and 1.2 inches thick.... Apple has outlined the DST changes in its latest Mac OS X update, noting that the daylight savings time changes for US users have been available since Mac OS X v10.4.5, but that the most recent update added worldwide information as of January 8, 2007. The update, highly recommended for all users, includes rule changes (as of January, 2007) for Australia, Brazil, the province of Alberta, Canada and several other regions as well as new start and end dates for DST in the province of Alberta, Canada.
Apple today withdrew a discount voucher for its online store a single day after it was issued, offering no reason for the withdrawal at first. In an email titled "Welcome Back" and signed by "The Apple Store Team," the company said that its exclusive online eCoupon promotion had been withdrawn and that users who received the coupon would not be able to obtain a discount from its online store. The discount, which initially read as valid on orders over £56 including VAT, would have provided a near 100 percent discount on any product costing at least £56.01, according to MacUser. Apple issued a follow-up email saying that the mix-up resulted from the discount description, which should have offered a £56 discount on a purchase of £560.
Panasonic SDHC camcorder
Newly announced by Panasonic is the SDR-S10, which the company claims will be the "world's smallest" digital camcorder at just 4.5 inches long and 1.2 inches thick. By building to these dimensions, Panasonic hopes that users will treat the S10 as an everyday convenience, much like a compact still camera. Moreover, the camcorder will support the burgeoning SDHC format, which is capable of card sizes ranging from four to 32GB. A bundled 2GB standard SD card will be able to record up to 50 minutes of MPEG-2 video. Other features should include a USB 2.0 port, a 2.7-inch LCD, and 10x optical zoom. The SDR-S10 will first arrive in Europe in May.
Luxor 2 released
MumboJumbo has released Luxor 2, the sequel to the no. 1 casual game of 2005. The action puzzle game takes players on a voyage through the land of ancient Egypt, offering 88 new levels set amongst pyramids and temples that time period. Players use a mystical winged scarab to shoot and destroy the approaching magical spheres before they reach the pyramids at the end of their path. To help users shoot down enemy spheres, Luxor 2 features additional explosive power-ups. Luxor 2 is available via Macgamestore.com for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Komodo Edit 4.0 released
Fidelity sells Apple stock
In brief: Target appears to have begun selling pre-owned iPods at discounted rates. The store's offerings include 1GB ($89.99), 2GB ($109.99), and 4GB ($149.99) first-generation iPod nanos alongside pre-owned 30GB ($219.99), 60GB ($269.99), and 80GB ($319.99) video iPods. Target is also offering pre-owned second-generation iPod nanos in 2GB ($129.99), 4GB ($169.99), and 8GB ($219.99) capacities.... MacEnterprise.org -- a community project consisting of IT professionals sharing information as well as solutions to support Macs in an enterprise -- will present a webcast titled "Using SAP with Mac OS X" on Tuesday, February 20th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Participants will discuss SAP topics of current deployments, support, and a future roadmap.
SanDisk hit by layoffs
Citing a 50 percent drop in NAND memory prices, caused by excess supply, SanDisk has announced a variety of severe cost-cutting measures. The harshest among these is the layoff of 10 percent of its employees, or roughly 250 people. The bulk of the terminations will happen in March, and should primarily target the company's "private label" USB business, which has not been as profitable as the SanDisk brand. All other employees will have their salaries frozen, except for the executive staff, who will take pay cuts ranging from 10 percent for the average vice president up to 20 percent for the CEO. Total savings are expected to be $30-35 million. Shoppers will benefit in the short term, as prices may drop by as much as 30 to 40 percent during the first quarter of 2007.
Robert Adler Dies
TV maker Zenith today announced that electronics inventor Dr. Robert Adler died yesterday of heart failure at age 93. Along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley, Adler was responsible in 1956 for creating the TV remote control, a now ubiquitous device in most households and a technology that has ultimately influenced electronic devices ever since. The prolific scientist was also responsible for early research into touchscreens and optical video disc players, the latter of which ultimately developed into today's DVD formats. A memorial service is planned for Spring.
As a technology news site whose very being was almost certainly influenced by Adler's work, Electronista extends its sympathy to his wife Ingrid and hopes that his contributions will be remembered for a long time to come.
Sony iPod nano Killer
Sony is close to announcing its first direct competitor to the iPod nano, details and photos leaked to the Internet have revealed. Though the company's only official acknowledgement is a teaser page with a timer set to elapse on March 1st, sources have indicated that the mystery device known as the A800 will effectively be sold as a video-capable alternative to Apple's flash-based player, sporting a profile just as thin as the 0.26-inch nano while carrying a larger screen for viewing movies titled on its side. The use of flash and Sony's custom battery work would let videos run for as much as 8-10 hours.
More details and a gallery follow after the break.
Three new Navman GPS units
Navman has announced three new GPS units for the European market, all in the company's F series. The F50 represents the top of the line, with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a SiRFStar III receiver, 32MB of internal memory, and an Intel PXA processor. Bluetooth 2.0 is enabled with an accompanying cradle, and SD cards can be used to load new maps. Traffic information is updated in real-time. The F40 is differed mainly by dropping traffic functions; these are restored in the F30, but the trade-off is a lack of Bluetooth. The F30 should be shipping for £199 ($391), while the F40 and F50 are priced at £229 and £249 ($449 and $489). [via Navigadget]
Samsung A303 for Helio
Customers of the media-savvy virtual carrier Helio are about to get the option of a second Samsung phone, according to leaked images provided to Phone Arena. Characterized as a challenger to LG's ever-present Chocolate, the new handset known to date as the SPH-A303 (pictured) would share both the basic slider design as well as the Chocolate's trick of hiding touch-sensitive buttons in a glossy black shell, making them visible only through a backlight. It should also be music-ready, the source claims, with 140MB of built-in storage.
The mystery cellphone should be placed into Helio's lineup as a step below the other Samsung device at Helio, the GPS-equipped Drift, by using a lower-resolution 1.3-megapixel camera. EVDO broadband will stay intact, however. A ship date and price for the carrier's fourth phone are currently unknown.
Specialty online retailer Hammacher-Schlemmer today announced the O'hEocha Audiophile's Speakers. The two-piece set is created by ex-BMW designer Aonghus O'hEocha with the intention of creating an ideal soundstage for music and does so by separating each frequency range. The 11-inch subwoofer in each satellite faces downwards to maximize its power and avoid transfering too much distortion to the ground; in turn, the mid-range drivers are lifted above the subwoofers to cut back on resonance, as are the one-inch tweeters that sit in isolated pods at the very top of the satellites. The entire shell of the speaker set is made of aluminum and steel that stiffens the body and reduces vibration, O'hEocha explains.
Hammacher has officially released the Irish-made speakers today at a price of $8,995, though the online store notes that the speakers' popularity has already forced them out of stock. [via Crave]
GraphicConverter 5.9.5 ($30) adds vnt import support to the graphical conversion utility. The latest revision of GraphicConverter includes a context menu entry to delete the maker of notes, and adds a dcf export to export submenu in the context menu. The update also enables users to import JPEG files from PowerPoint documents.
[Download - 17.9MB]
SecuritySpy 1.4 ($50) enhances the multi-camera video surveillance application for Mac owners, offering motion detection to capture footage only when activity as detected. The update adds a new Groups feature to set up custom video windows displaying specified cameras, an option to display cameras in sequence in a group window, and MPEG-4 network video streaming from one copy of SecuritySpy to another. [Download - 2.2MB]
Morse Mania 3.3.0 ($20) improves the morse code tutor for Mac with an improved user interface, as well as several bug fixes. The software is designed to help users learn morse code at speeds ranging from 5-40 words per minute, and is ideal for amateur (ham) radio operators, according to Black Cat Systems. The tutor software plays generated morse code through the computer speakers, drilling users on the various characters while providing for "real life" practice by converting complete text files to morse code. [Download - 404KB]
SOAP Client for Mac OS X (free) is a Cocoa-based developer tool for Mac OS X Tiger allowing users to access and debug WSDL and SOAP-based Web services from the desktop. The latest edition adds a "View WSDL Source" option accessible under the View menu or with a command-option-U keyboard command. The update also opens a small Preferences window with a setting for wrapped vs. non-wrapped text in all raw source text views. [Download - 244KB]
GlowWorm FW 1.5.2 (Lite is free, Statistics is $10, FW is $30) is a network security, intrusion detection and monitoring application for Mac OS X. The latest release enables users to control listener as well as incoming connections, define up to 1,000 rules, and allows users to limit the scope of a rule by specifying various conditions such as up to 10 TCP local or remote endpoints per rule. The update also supports defining rules based on relative network names such as localhost, localnet, and remotenet. [Download - 3MB]
Dell Tackles Sales Slump
Dell revealed on Friday that it was forming a new division that would handle all of its mainstream computer hardware. Called Global Consumer, the group is tasked with revitalizing Dell's designs and adapting the business to the developing world, where many are using computers for the first time. The move is likely due to underwhelming performance, as the company has recently suffered at the hands of its rival Hewlett-Packard, which stole share from the system builder over the past year and trigged a downfall that ultimately resulted in the return of Michael Dell to the lead of his own company.
Surprisingly, the new section will be headed by Motorola's mobile device head Ron Garriques, who today announced that he would leave the phone maker for Dell. The leader was perhaps best known for overseeing the company's attempt to capitalize on the success of the RAZR, and earned a minor amount of notoriety for an unintentional presentation leak that revealed Motorola's 2007 phones ahead of the 3GSM expo.
G-Smart q60 smartphone
A newer competitor in the smartphone arena is Giga-Byte, who unveiled their G-Smart q60 at this week's 3GSM World Congress. Features should be competitive with any modern phone, since the q60 uses a 520MHz XScale processor, and supports wireless technologies such as 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and digital radio and TV tuning. Two cameras are included as well, those being a 2.1-megapixel still model, and a VGA camera on the front for video calls. EDGE and UMTS broadband are supported, but the phone is unlikely to come to North America in its current state -- calls are sent through tri-band GSM. It will first arrive in Taiwan this summer, with a European deployment to follow.
iPodResQ changes name
iPodResQ today announced that it has changed its name to iResQ to simplify the recognition of its repair programs while providing room for growth into further markets, and took on a new look while offering additional next-day services as well as a cleaner website design. PodResQ has performed next-day iPod repairs since immediately after the delivery of the first iPod in 2001, handling pickup as well as delivery of customer iPods. The company is now offering a three-teir service where once it offered iPodResQ with a $29 service that included 3-way overnight shipping. Moving forward, iResQ will continue that same level of service at the same price and add two additional service levels at $19 and $9.
Thanko USB Allergy Mask
In an especially unusual move, Thanko on Friday revealed the USB Mask. The device is made just for regular computer users whose desks and offices are prone to dust, pollen, and other allergy-inducing materials in the air. It uses a free USB port on any Mac or Windows PC to power an active filter that cycles out harmful particles. The mask is made out of silicone to provide a comfortable fit and help wearers concentrate on their work.
The Japanese firm currently sells its unconventional face guard for $20; a separate AC adapter for using the mask away from a computer sells for an extra $11. [via New Launches]
FastMac Bluetooth upgrade
FastMac today began shipping a plug-and-play internal Bluetooth upgrade for all Mac Pro systems. The upgrade adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity between the Mac Pro and a growing number of Bluetooth-enabled personal digital assistance (PDAs), cellular phones, cameras, printers, headsets, keyboards, and mice. The module fits directly into the system's main logic board and attaches to the built-in Apple antenna, requiring no driver software to operate. FastMac's internal Bluetooth upgrade boasts an effective range of up to 32 feet, can trasfer data at up to 721Kbps, and is fully compatible with all versions of Mac OS X -- including version 10.4 Tiger. The upgrade is available for an introductory price of $26, comes with a one-year warranty, and includes a video as well as PDF installation instructions.
BBEdit; Text Wrangler
BBEdit 8.6.1 ($125) is popular text and HTML editor, with features particularly geared towards professionals. Version 8.6.1 is primarily a maintenance release addressing dozens of bugs, such as hanging when JSP files were detected by the HTML scanner; the update does however highlight the ".strings" format in syntax coloring, and supports the LaTeX command "verb". Mac OS X 10.4 is required.
[Download - 14MB]
TextWrangler 2.2.1 (free) is a lighter version of BBEdit (without web authoring and software development tools and a few other features). The v2.2.1 update is purely devoted to fixes, coping with many of the same issues solved in the BBEdit update. Mac OS X 10.4 is required, though users of 10.3 can still run v2.1.3. [Download - 9.7MB]
What ToDo 1.0 ($30) is a task management program based on the book Getting Things Done, but can be used for other schemes if so desired. The Shelf stores overall projects, while sub-projects can be used to organize tasks hierarchically. The app is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.8. [Download - 1.58MB]
Collaba 5.3 ($200/yr.) is a multimedia collaboration tool for businesses, featuring chat, forum and workflow tools, among others. New to v5.3 is built-in server backup, and a pair of APIs for expanding service and integrating external applications. To try out the program, users must either sign up for a regular demo account, or the lighter Collaba VL. [Download - Size Unknown]
eDeveloper v10 ($280) aids in the development of web-based business applications. Version 10 is able to design web, client/server and SOA-enabled applications, on either a basic or an enterprise level. Like Collaba, users must register to try out a demo version. [Download - Size Unknown]
ImageSwapper 18.104.22.168 ($200) replaces low-resolution, for-placement-only (FPO) images in Adobe InDesign CS/CS2 with their high-resolution counterparts. Users compare both sets of pictures, with the new ones being scaled and rotated automatically based on reference points. Control can be overriden for increased accuracy. [Download - Size Unknown]
Portable IM for kids
For parents whose children are constantly using instant messaging, the newly-revealed IM-Me by Mattel should offer some relief. Using an RF dongle that plugs into a PC's USB port, kids can take their messaging to virtually anywhere in a home, with the full benefits of a QWERTY keyboard and a widescreen LCD display. The IM-Me also offers additional security, since the only people who can send messages to the device are those pre-approved from the PC. Unfortunately for those seeking "masculine" colors, the model showing at this week's Toy Fair in New York comes only in purple. It's expected to debut sometime this summer for $65. [via Wired]
Telestra on iPhone
Australian-based telco Telstra has offered a word of warning about Apple's iPhone, and is likely to bring some significant operational challenges when it makes its Australian debut some time next year. "There's an old saying - stick to your knitting - and Apple is not a mobile phone manufacturer, that's not their knitting," said Greg Winn, a big product decision maker for Telstra. "You can pretty much be assured that Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ZTE and others will be coming out with devices that have similar functionality." Winn also believes that the iPhone's touch-screen technology does not make the device truly revolutionary, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "I think people overreacted to it - there was not a lot of tremendously new stuff if you think about it," Winn said of the iPhone. "It was maybe kind of cool on the touchscreen technology but touchscreen technology is another domain, so it's only a matter of time before it went to the device."
SMSTech M300 Phone Watch
Australia's SMS Technology today announced final details for its new M300 wristwatch. Originally planned for a release late last year, the multi-role device encountered delays due to its integration of several disparate technologies. A GSM phone is built-in for making phone calls, complete with GPRS Internet access and SMS texting; the device also has MP3 playback for entertainment and a Bluetooth 2.0 transmitter for transferring contacts, files, and songs to the onboard 64MB flash memory. The small size doesn't diminish battery life, according to the creator, as the watch will last for 200 minutes of continuous phone use.
The finished watch will be ready for an introduction in its home territory by April 25th, when it will sell for $510. A European launch is due later this year. The firm also anticipates a gold- and titanium-clad luxury model dubbed the M501 to appear in June, and an M700 business model with Office document synchronization. [via Tech Digest]
Sigma high-precision mouse
The new Zoffy may appear to be a standard USB mouse, but its infrared optical sensor is capable of gaming-level precision, reaching 1,600dpi and a framerate of 6,700fps. Also, while there are just three buttons, the wheel is capable of scrolling horizontally as well as vertically. Windows Vista certification means no drivers have to be installed to get full functionality in the operating system. The mouse will be offered in four different colors (red, black, blue and silver) as of late February.
Apple 11th in Top 50
Apple in January of 2007 was ranked no. 11 in comScore Media Metrix' list of Top 50 properties, garnering 38.6 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone since the same time last year. The company's traffic declined by 1 percent from December to January -- in line with with other slight post-holiday declines seen at retail as well as consumer-oriented Web properties. Apple Inc. in its entirety received 27.1 million unique visitors in January of 2006, jumping 42 percent year-over-year to 38.6 million unique visitors in January of 2007. Apple.com saw nearly 19.8 million unique visitors in January of last year, but received 28.1 million unique visits the same time this year for a jump of 42 percent year-over-year. iTunes performed similarly, with 8.6 million unique visitors last year vs. 11.3 million this past January for a 31 percent gain. The Apple Store, meanwhile, jumped 38 percent year-over-year with 5.2 million unique visits this year vs. 3.8 million a year ago. [corrected]
Cool GeCube X1950 card
Third-party manufacturer GeCube has released a new videocard based on ATI's X1950 chipset. The new X1950XTX may only be an AGP 8x card with 256MB of DDR3 RAM, but thanks to an onboard X-Turbo fan, it should be capable of much greater performance. The fan dominates most of the card's surface, and uses thermal sensors to keep heat under constant control, even when overclocked. Whereas other XTX cards are normally clocked at 648MHz, this variant can reach at least 675MHz while still maintaining temperatures between 158 and 176F. Tweaking is done with ATI's own Overdrive control panel. The card is not available in the US just yet, but should soon be carried by Newegg and TigerDirect.
MacBooks for $949
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Gecko Pro-sleeve13 ($50, shown at right), a sleeve for Apple's 13-inch MacBook that functions as a standalone case or as a sleeve to place in another bag. The case is made from ballistic nylon used in military uniforms and harnesses, and features firm edges that maintain the mold even under stress.... Apple has replenished its stock of refurbished MacBooks, offering models priced from $949 alongside Mac minis priced from $649. The Canada Apple Store is also offering refurbished MacBooks from CAD1,029, as well as iMacs from CAD939.... Apple's UK series of 'Get a Mac' ads may have backfired, with Robert Webb playing the 'Mac' portraying Mac users as a little too smug. A MediaWeek report examining YouGov's BrandIndex revealed that UK consumer buzz around Apple has fallen from +8 to +4 since the ads were screened. YouGov's BrandIndex estimates perception of consumer brands via direct interviews with 2,000 people each day.
iRiver X20 Launched
iRiver began its weekend today by releasing the X20. It serves as a bridge between the company's small Clix 2 and its hard disk-based players, dropping the screen edge buttons of the Clix and S10 in favor of a scroll wheel with edge buttons. The X20 is also unusual for the Korean jukebox maker in its storage options: while the player ships with either 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of internal flash memory, a microSD card slot extends that space by as much as an extra 2GB.
More info and a full photo can be found after the jump.
Vidikron 65-inch Plasma
Home theater firm Runco this morning stepped up its efforts in the TV realm by releasing the Vidikron VP-6500VHD. One of the largest plasmas available, the 65-inch screen is the first to ever receive a THX certification for its quality, the company says. The panel is the American brand's first 1080p set but aims at image quality better than most of its rivals. A 16-bit video processor creates a subtler picture without any of the aliasing or banding artifacts seen on earlier displays; an equally special breakout box included with the system, known as the Imagix, provides its own video processing, dual HDMI ports, and RS-232 connections for linking the set with home automation equipment.
As the company's headlining model, the VP-6500VHD sells for $20,000 with the choice of either a black or silver brushed-metal frames. A specialty version known as the VP-6500VHDa is also available for those who live at higher elevations -- as high as 9,000 feet, Vidikron says. [via Engadget]
Apple is reportedly developing a miniature sub-notebook, and is expected to re-establish itself as a leader in the field of compact computing as it reminds the world of its renowned PowerBook 2400. AppleInsider reports that despite the 10 years since Apple offered up a sub-notebook to consumers, the company is planning to unveil a new mini MacBook that promises to be everything a modern day PowerBook 2400 should be and more. The new MacBook is expected to include several features not yet available in Apple's existing notebooks, such as onboard NAND flash memory to improve power efficiency and provide nearly instant boot times. Apple is hopeful that the new portable will help sales in the Japanese sector, which are on par with industry trends but continue to fall -- dropping 14 percent year-over-year for the first quarter of 2007.
Macrovision Jobs Response
Macrovision on Friday issued its own open letter on digital rights management. Responding to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' provocatory Thoughts on Music memo, Macrovision head Fred Amoroso unsurprisingly defended DRM, which forms the heart of the company's business in areas such as DVD copy protection. The company chief largely opposed all of Jobs' assertions, contending that DRM was an "enabler" that allowed content providers to offer rentals and other lower-priced deals. Removing DRM would "doom all consumers to a 'one size fits all' situation" and would ultimately delay the spread of digital media, Amoroso warned.
The leader also offered to help Apple with its DRM format, promising to "assume responsibility" for making FairPlay work with other devices and ensuring its security. Anti-copying measures work well for the end user if they're truly interoperable and have a reasonable level of restrictions, he said.
Universal Sheer codec
BitJazz has released new native Intel versions of SheerVideo, its cross-platform real-time lossless software video codec. Claiming to be "fastest video codec in the world," the company says that SheerVideo lets users work twice as fast at half the uncompressed file size--with what it says is "absolutely perfect fidelity to the original video and digitized film." The nondestructive codec leverages the new proprietary Synchromy color-conversion technology for accurate color-space conversion between RGB and Y'CbCr color spaces. The software offers direct lossless support for all professional pixel formats for video (Y'CbCr[A]) and digitized film & synthetic imagery (RGB[A])--both with and without alpha--in high (10-bit) and standard (8-bit) precision. In addition, it offers full-range and video-range, uniformly sampled (4:4:4[:4]) and 1:2 chroma-subsampled (4:2:2[:4]) at any resolution, including HD and SD.
Macrovision backs DRM
Macrovision has offered to help Apple implement its FairPlay DRM copy protection technology, saying that Apple CEO Steve Jobs' call to abandon music DRM is a bit short-sighted and misguided. In an open letter posted to its webiste, the DRM developer said it believes that the piracy is the result of poorly implemented and consumer-unfriendly DRM technologies. DRM, the company argues, is more than just a music technology, including movies, games, and software. The company has developed and implemented technologies for DRM for nearly 25 years.
Ballmer talks Vista, Apple
Briefly:: MacNN has reviewed FormZ, which is described as "a superb general-purpose 3D solid and surface-modeling tool with powerful features, and excellent rendering options for realizing almost any 3D vision." Version 6.1 enhances many existing tools and adds several new ones, including a revamped animation system as well as adds Universal Binary support; however, a few features do not yet work on Intel-based Macs... Microsoft late yesterday surprised analysts by trying to downplay Windows Vista's sales for the next year. While still positive about the ultimate future of Microsoft's next OS, company CEO Steve Ballmer told a meeting of financial experts that many of them hadn't drawn a realistic connection between Vista and PC sales, suggesting that Microsoft would thrive in spite of a sluggish PC business. "These [predictions] are out of whack," Ballmer complained. "If Vista is growing, there should be a lot of [PC makers] participating." Ballmer also back-pedaled on previous negative comments by company chairman Bill Gates who sharply criticized Apple's Get a Mac campaign:
New PC data card for Macs
Mobile communications specialist nova media today offered price reductions for its PC datacards and the USB-modem as well as introduced a new PC datacard for PowerBooks. GlobeTrotter MAX 7.2 Ready is a new PC datacard featuring a retractable antenna and support for high speed HSDPA and 3G UMTS data connections; it supports up to 7.2 Mbit/s in appropriate mobile networks as well as EDGE and GRPS connections in all other cases; however, the company noted that the GlobeTrotter MAX 7.2 Ready does not support HSDPA or 3G UMTS speeds in America and other countries using a 1900MHz network frequency for high speed data and will revert to the EDGE and GPRS connections available to those US customers. The new GlobeTrotter MAX 7.2 Ready can be used with any PowerBook featuring a PC Card slot and running 10.4.3 or higher. The PC Card includes the Mobile Connection Manager launch2net for Mac OS X and is available for €300 (plus VAT and shipping costs). ExpressCard Modems for use with MacBook Pro notebooks are expected to be available from nova media in April.
Microsoft Men Laptop Bags
Microsoft has just expanded its own self-branded line of notebook bags with a unisex series. The Samsill-made bags were initially launched earlier this month with female-oriented models but now includes a much larger variety to accommodate more travelers. Cases start with the basic Zipper Laptop Binder ($45), a sleeve with a paper binder and pockets for accessories, and culminate in the Diplomat ($130) rolling case for frequent visitors to the airport.
Every bag holds at least a 15.4-inch notebook, according to Microsoft. The backpack models, including the pictured Summit ($80), also include a special pocket for MP3 players with a headphone port. All models are shipping today through a customized section of Amazon's online store.
Apple execs face charges
Federal prosecutors are strongly considering criminal charges against former executives of Apple Inc as well as Broadcom and KLA-Tencor Corp. related to the backdating of stock options, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last year, Apple hired George Riley, a partner with O'Melveny & Myers, to represent the company in connection with the government investigation, which launched in mid-July and company's long-time general counsel Nancy Heinen, who left the company in May of 2006, hired East Bay defense lawyers Cristina Arguedas and Miles Ehrlich. Following Apple's disclosure its internal probe into backdated stock options, the spotlight fell on Apple execs: former CFO Fred Anderson and Heinen, while clearing current management, including CEO Steve Jobs.
Vista Out of Whack
Microsoft late yesterday surprised analysts by trying to downplay Windows Vista's sales for the next year, according to the New York Times. Although still positive about the ultimate future of his OS, company CEO Steve Ballmer told a meeting of financial experts that many of them hadn't drawn a realistic connection between Vista and PC sales, suggesting that Microsoft would thrive in spite of a sluggish PC business.
"These [predictions] are out of whack," Ballmer complained. "If Vista is growing, there should be a lot of [PC makers] participating."
TriCaster PRO goes Mac
NewTek has announced iVGA for Mac, a software client for the company's TriCaster PRO mobile video production system. By using iVGA, Mac users can send desktop images to a TriCaster, which is then used to produce the video and incorporate it into a multi-camera broadcast. While outputs include conventional component, S-Video and composite ports, the TriCaster is specially geared towards projectors and webcasts, with the ability to stream live to the Internet or archive up to 10 hours of footage in AVI format. iVGA for Mac is a free download; TriCaster PRO, however is priced for a professional audience, with a retail price nearing $7,000.
Refurb MacBook for $949
Apple has added new Intel-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros to its list of refurbished products--all of which carry the standard one-year warranty. The Apple Store online offers both standard and glossy display versions of the previous-generation Intel-based 17-inch, 2.16GHz MacBook Pro (1GB of RAM/120GB hard drive/SuperDrive) for $1,999. The company is also offering its latest Intel-based consumer laptop with a Core 2 Duo processor (and 802.11n networking) for less than $1000: the refurbished 1.83GHz white MacBook (512MB/60GB/Combo drive) is only $949, while the more powerful 2GHz white MacBook (1GB/80GB/SuperDrive) is priced at $1,099. The 2.0GHz black MacBook with a larger 120GB drive is $1,299--or $200 less than the standard retail price.
Cisco, Apple extend talks
Cisco has extended the time available to Apple in its iPhone lawsuit yet again in effort to reach an out-of-court settlement over the iPhone trademark. Last month, the company sued Apple after a breakdown in negotiations and Apple's (surprise) announcement of the revolutionary device at Macworld Expo. The company said late Thursday that it has given Apple nearly another week to respond to its trademark infringement lawsuit--which threatens to halt Apple from using the "iPhone" name on its much-hyped new music- and toucn-enabled cellular phone, according to The Associated Press. Apple originally had until early February to respond to the lawsuit, but the companies then agreed to extend the deadline until February 15. With the deadline imminent, the companies agreed to yet another extension. Cisco, the world's largest networking equipment maker, said Apple now has until next Wednesday to respond to the lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court.
Parallels Desktop RC3
Parallels today released a new update to its software for running alternate operating systems such as Windows along with Mac OS X (simultaneously). Unlike Bootcamp--which requires that you choose an OS--Parallels Desktop allows Mac users to run Windows from inside Mac OS X--either from within a Window or full-screen. Parallels Desktop for Mac Update RC3 offers the ability to seamlessly upgrade a Windows XP virtual machine to Windows Vista; it also adds new options to drag-and-drop to make it even more secure, enabling users to choose "local" or "global" file sharing on the first drag & drop operation. Global Sharing shares the your entire Mac file system (disabled by default), while 'Local Sharing' provides access to only the Home folder. The software also includes Transporter RC3, which allows users to migrate existing Windows PC to a Parallels Virtual Machine as well as easily convert VMware and Virtual PC virtual hard disks to Parallels virtual machines, although it provided a warning for early users of the software.
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