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Another iPhone lawsuit?
Apple's much anticipated all-in-one cell phone may be facing more than just an iPhone-brand lawsuit by Cisco. The Cupertino-based iPod-maker may face a patent lawsuit over its forthcoming iPhone from a UK-based company that develops and markets capacitive sensor chips for touch screen applications based on its patented charge-transfer (QT) capacitive sensing technology. Southampton-based touch sensor specialist Quantum Research said that based on current public demonstrations and descriptions, the consumer device appears to use patented Quantum technology in its consumer-oriented iPhone device. Some of that touch technology for human interfaces has already been licensed to other cell phone manufacturers.
Interarchy 8.5.1 ($60) is an internet file transfer client used to maintain websites, supporting protocols such as HTTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, FTP/SSH and FTP/SSL-TLS. Version 8.5.1 stops the occasional transfer of files which haven't changed, and fixes a bug that caused files to disappear if moved or renamed. The Open In Terminal command now works with SSH servers running custom ports.
[Download - 7.9MB]
Runtime Revolution 2.8 ($400) is an update to two products, Revolution Studio and Revolution Enterprise, which aid in the development of programs such as games, kiosks, and enterprise-level applications. The v2.8 update enhances the speed and options in image resizing, and also improves the interaction between the taskbar and application backdrops. Minor upgrades have been done to window layering, keyboard shortcuts, and the general menu interface. [Download - Size Unknown]
Simon 2.2.1 ($30) is a site-monitoring tool that checks items like pages, ports, and FTP and DNS servers. Version 2.2.1 remedies several issues, such as erroneous messages and icon displays, and a bug which caused the Script plug-in to terminate before all output had been received. Exception logging has been improved to identify any future glitches. [Download - 7.3MB]
Private Contact 1.1 ($25) keeps contacts in a secure and encrypted format, with each document having its own particular password. New to v1.1 is the addition of customizable fields, which lets users add a personal label to a form, encrypted along with the rest of the file. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 476KB]
DashRender 1.1 ($15) is a Dashboard widget that renders Maya scene files in the background with a simple drag-and-drop process. The key feature of v1.1 is an e-mail alert, which tells a distant user when rendering has been completed. The core functions have also been rewritten in Cocoa, dramtically improving performance. The widget is a Universal Binary that works with Maya 6.0 or later. [Download - Size Unknown]
Norrkross Movie 0.92 (free) is a video editing tool which handles compositing, sequencing and effects, and applying the latter in real-time. Completed clips can be exported to QuickTime or MPEG-4. Version 0.92 is free, since the program as a whole is still in development. Bug fixes and other minor changes have been implemented. [Download - 2.1MB]
WWAN Support Update v1.0
Apple today released WWAN Support Update v1.0, which provides software support for the following WWAN products: Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard (HSDPA) on the Cingular network; Novatel Wireless Merlin EX720 Express Card (EVDO Rev. A) and Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 USB Modem (USB Adapter, EVDO Rev. A) on the Sprint Networks; and Novatel XV620 ExpressCard (EVDO Rev. 0), Novatel V740 ExpressCard (EVDO Rev. A), and Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 (USB Adapter, EVDO Rev. A) on the Verizon network. The software is a 710KB (350KB via the Web) update available via the Mac OS X Software update. The update appears to be only available to owners of Intel-based Mac laptops.
SanDisk layoffs; PDF flaws
SlingLink Turbo in Works
Sling Media is developing its own line of networking gear to complement its media hubs, according to a forum discovery. The SlingLink Turbo will be a simple powerline adapter meant to attach the company's own Slingbox tuners, video game consoles, or almost any living room device to an existing network without requiring either a lengthy cable or a Wi-Fi bridge. Plugging the base unit into a router and a smaller bridge into each device is the only requirement, Sling says. The unannounced device is capable of up to an 85Mbps connection and will further work with rival companies' hardware.
A release of the adapter is imminent, with an official unveiling anticipated for February 27th, when a complete bridge and switch combination will sell for $150 through Amazon and other stores. The price of an individual bridge is still unknown. [via Sling Community]
Royaltek GPS Media Player
GPS designer Royaltek today reiterated its plan to launch the staR, a hybrid GPS device geared for entertainment as much as navigation. Besides the typical duties of route-finding and tracking, the staR will integrate the GPS position into its leisure: stargazing, games, and other software set to ship with the device will use the technology, the creator says. The handheld will also keep track of jogging and other exercise, using the distance and speed to calculate the body mass index and calorie burn for a given trip.
Complete information on Royaltek's new device is unavailable, but is known to include a 2.2-inch color LCD and a waterproof shell. The device should be fully revealed at next month's CeBIT expo. [via GPS Gazette]
Sirius XM Merger Official
Confirming earlier allegations, both Sirius and XM this afternoon announced a formal union. Dubbed a "merger of equals," according to both firms, the deal will see each company's investors own roughly 50 percent of the united company, preventing any one faction from gaining absolute control of the new venture, which is now said to be worth $13 billion. Mel Karmazin of Sirius (pictured) will assume the role of CEO while Gary Parsons of XM will be its chairman.
While the deal has yet to be approved and should only be finalized by the end of this year, the currently unnamed business intends to preserve as much of both halves as possible, expanding the channel lineup and using the combined strength of their hardware research. The move should also let satellite better compete against iPods and HD Radio, the companies claim. A webcast explaining more should be available online and on both radio networks tomorrow at 8:30 AM Eastern.
i-mate X-Stream HDTV
i-mate has just delved into both HDTVs and PCs at once with the X-Stream. An LCD set on the surface, the frame contains a full Windows Vista Ultimate PC that serves both as the home for typical digital files as well as a personal video recorder for capturing live TV on a 500GB hard drive. A built-in Wi-Fi connection also lets the X-Stream reach online program guides and the media libraries of other Media Center-equipped systems around the home. Both the screen and the attendant PC can drive video as sharp as 720p or 1080i, i-mate says.
Just as new is the optional X-Stream Dock. Though primarily an extender that brings the host set's content to other TVs, the dock can also act as an access point for the main PC: a user can remotely control the X-Stream while leaving all the CPU and graphics-intensive work on its side, i-mate says. No price or launch date has been given for the main TV, though the company hopes to sell the dock for $195 or less. A full image of the X-Stream follows after the break. [via Wired]
60W Bluetooth/USB stereo
Parrot's BOOMBOX is a stereo primarily designed for those who don't need a built-in disc drive. Though it has an RCA jack, the main input is intended to be Bluetooth, whether it comes from a computer, a cellphone or an adapter. Bluetooth 2.0 is supported, as is A2DP stereo, and AVRCP remote control. A built-in decoder translates MP3 or general SBC-type codecs. The most impressive aspect of the stereo may be its satellite power though, which at 60W is greater than many similar products. It is also equipped with a subwoofer and automatic input detection. The BOOMBOX should ship in the second quarter of 2007 for £150 ($294).
Virtual PC 2007 Free
Microsoft on Monday surprised many by shipping Virtual PC 2007 as a free download. Officially intended to help users test both new and old software in a sheltered space before using it on the main systems, the software runs a virtual copy of one or more operating systems in a safe environment -- including the ability to run Windows Vista on an XP system, Microsoft said. Its support also works retroactively, covering archaic shells such as MS-DOS or OS/2. The software requires a professionally-oriented version of Windows Vista or XP (including Vista Ultimate) for the host, in either 32-bit or 64-bit form.
The new edition of Virtual PC marks the first since the company officially killed the Mac version in mid-2006 and makes no specific mention of support for operating systems made without Microsoft's involvement.
3X DVD Tech
A new storage format could potentially eliminate the high price tag for some HD movies, according to DCA. Called 3X DVD-ROM, the technique fits all the content needed for a disc to play properly in an HD DVD movie player -- including audio, video, and copy protection -- on to a standard DVD, saving the trouble of pressing a much more expensive HD DVD for shorter videos or those without many extras. Better compression and lower HD resolutions could even fit full-length movies on a disc, developers have said. The technology should work with existing HD DVD players using little to no software changes.
Today marked the first successful production of a 3X DVD, the company said, and factories that already produce standard discs using devices from Eclipse Data Technologies can already receive an upgrade to start writing new discs. Large-scale production, as well as titles that would use the new format, haven't been announced.
Apple TV startup screen
In brief: One user has posted screenshots of the Apple TV's startup screen (shown at right), revealing a wall of videos suspended in space with a cinematic sequence that appears to depict the movies converging into the Apple TV. The Cupertino-based company has promised to ship the device some time this month.... Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Apple.com domain name registration, which was first acquired on February 19th of 1987. Apple.com is listed as one of the 100 oldest registered .com domains, followed by names such as Cisco.com and Lockheed.com.... Palm president and CEO Ed Colligan has again verbally slammed Apple's iPhone, saying the device looks like a "highly developed media player" that by "coincidence" includes a mobile phone. The executive goes on to say that the device could prove interesting for people that need to have both music and films on one iPod alongside the occasional phone call, but that the device will be challenging to use for businessmen and other types of users.... One avid Mac user and blogger has posted instructions on installing as well as booting Mac OS X on a flash drive, covering the various steps required to make the drive serve as a boot volume.
Credit Card Digital Camera
Sold by Crazy About Gadgets, the Credit Card Digital Camera strips out all but the essentials, creating an extremely compact device that is also extremely cheap. The sensor is rated at 0.3 megapixels, which can still produce up to 26 1280x960 photos, stored on 8MB of RAM; alternately, users can shoot as many as 209 images at 640x480, or record up to 40 seconds of video. When connected to a computer, the unit doubles as a USB webcam. It is missing electronic flash however, and to check framing, users must rely on a manual viewfinder rather than an LCD. CAG is selling the camera in silver or pink for £20 ($41).
Ballmer Blames Piracy
Illegal copying is a key reason for Vista's poorer sales, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told analysts. In addition to warning financial experts that sales of the new OS would fall short of some expectations, the company chief has openly attributed the underwhelming launch to wide-scale piracy in developing countries known to bootleg the majority of their software. Upgrade sales were known to have tumbled versus the five-years-old launch of Windows XP.
Controlling their access was described as a key to turning around Vista's fortunes. "Piracy reduction can be a source of Windows revenue growth," Ballmer said.
AirPort Extreme reception
Apple's AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless base station, which was unveiled during the company's keynote speech at Macworld in San Francisco, garnered a positive reception since its early January debut. The new wireless router supports the unfinished 802.11n wireless standard, offering longer range and faster wireless connections for vastly improved performance. Reviewers from Computerworld, The Seattle Times, and Gizmodo all seem to agree that the new access point performs as promised with regard to range, and that transfer speed even at long range is a formidable jump from the older wireless g standard. [extended]
XM, Sirius merger today?
Rumored for months, the New York Post is claiming that XM and Sirius may announce a merger later today, following a weekend of intense negotiations which could still collapse at any time. The primary issue is said to be anti-trust concerns, as a merger would create a monopoly over satellite radio in North America, possibly running afoul of US law despite weakened regulations. The financial incentives could be worth it for the companies, however; analysts predict savings of almost $7 billion per year, and the combined subscriber base would amount to over 12 million people. There would also be less hesistance with the public as a result of competing standards. If the deal is announced, it may takes as long as 15 months to be approved by the US government.
The Sims Life Stories
Aspyr Media today announced that it will publish The Sims Life Stories for Mac, the first title in the new Sims series. The Sims Life Stories, licensed by Electronic Arts and under development by Aspyr Studios, is expected to hit stores next month. The new series introduces an all-new Story Mode with two stories that follow the lives of Riley Harlow and Vincent Moore, two very different characters who have reached similar crossroads in their love lives. "A comic romantic plot centered around engaging characters guides players through twelve chapters of this one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. Players can take their Sims through unique and entertaining storylines filled with romance, intrigue and dramatic twists." The title is expected to be available in March for $40.
Desktop Digital Photo Cube
Though more of a novelty promotional item, the Desktop Digital Photo Cube by eNECESSITIES holds up to 30 photos and displays them on a one-inch screen, which may be small, but not much more than the cube, which is 2.6 inches in any direction. A "mood light" enhances the logo, and the bundled sync cable connects to a USB 2.0 port for transfer and battery charging. Windows 98 or later is required. Reflecting the intended audience of the product, a minimum of 25 cubes must be ordered, at a base price of approximately $51. [via Everything USB]
TOPO States, BRE updated
National Geo has released TOPO States and Back Roads Explorer (BRE) 4.2.8u, updating both applications enabling users to explore the outdoors from different map scales. TOPO States has 1-to-24,000-scale maps, and comes with 1-6 states depending on the size of the states. Back Roads Explorer includes all 50 states at a 1-to-100,000-scale with up-to-date street overlays. TOPO States includes an auto update feature and connects to most GPS equipment made for uploading and downloading waypoints as well as tracks and routes. TOPO States imports as well as exports GPX files, while a search feature allows users to locate streams, lakes, rivers, summits, and more. Both applications run natively on Intel-based Macs as Universal Binaries with TOPO States priced from $80-90 and Back Roads Explorer available for $50. Both applications work with Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Samsung U620 Launch Detail
Samsung's upcoming mobile TV phone for the American market appeared briefly on Verizon's test page, according to a leak discovered by My: Tech. The appearance essentially confirms an imminent launch of the phone and its accompanying mobile TV service, which should represent the first-ever digital broadcast TV service readily available in the US. The features should remain unchanged from the CES announcement with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and EVDO as standard.
Pricing for the U620 will be set at $150 when the phone is bought along with a two-year contract. An official launch is unknown but should take place within the next two weeks, as the test page is usually the final precursor to a public release.
USB hub/tape dispenser
Desk space comes at a premium in many offices; Earth Trek's answer is the 21-802, a stylish tape dispenser which doubles as a four-port USB hub. As with conventional USB 2.0 hubs, it supports transfer rates up to 480Mbps, and requires either Windows 98 or Mac OS 8.6. The three ports on the end can be rotated 180 degrees. It comes in blue, gray, white and "rainbow" colors, and is also sold in a smaller version for less sizable tape rolls. While the 802 should already be on the market, ordering one online may be difficult, as Earth Trek only directly sells to retailers.
ASUS CeBIT Launches
ASUS on Monday previewed its lineup for the CeBIT expo in March. Among the new announcements is the P2-M2A690G (pictured at left), the company's latest entry into barebones media PCs. The black, leather-effect case is said to fit into most home theaters and is the first to use Blu-Ray for high-definition video. Accordingly, an HDMI output ensures the next-generation disc format can play at its native 1080p. VGA for video and SPDIF optical audio output are also present in addition to a multi-format card reader.
Also new to the company's line for the German expo are the LS201 (right), a 20-inch widescreen LCD with an extremely high 2,000:1 contrast ratio and ambient lighting at the base; the Z801, a luxury flip-phone with a leather-bound shell and a scratch-resistant sapphire external LCD; and the P526, a variant of the earlier P525 with a smaller 2.6-inch LCD and Windows Mobile 6. More details should follow in the days leading to CeBIT's March 18th opening.
Quicky adds USB support
QuickerTek has expanded the compatibility of its Quicky USB Transceiver, enabling any USB-equipped Apple desktop system to utilize the device to double wireless range at full speed. The device clips to the top of Apple LCD screens, combining a networking transceiver with an external antenna. Setup requires no special computer skills, and no extra steps are required to utilize the Quicky transceiver. The network boosting device delivers up to 10 times more RF wireless power than a stock Power Mac desktop, according to QuickerTek, extending wireless operating distances to make more networks available to the desktop system. Quicky works with all 802.11 b, g, and n Wi-Fi euipment including Apple's new AirPort and AirPort Extreme wireless devices. The Quicky USB Transceiver is priced at $225, and works with Apple's latest Power Macs.
PreSonus unveils FaderPort
PreSonus Audio Electronics has unveiled the FaderPort Automation and Transport Controller, a device designed to deliver complete transport control for fast and efficient recording while serving as a touch-sensitive motorized fader for writing fades and automation. "The touch-sensitive, long throw motorizedfader on the FaderPort has the feel needed for recording perfect fades and writing volume, mute and pan automation in real-time," says PreSonus. Solo and record enable are also controlled with the FaderPort alongside window selection, play, stop, record, and managing markers (locate points) for fast and easy recording. A foot switch jack is also included on the FaderPort for hands free punch-in/out recording, and the device works with all Mac or Windows-based recording software including Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, Logic and more. The FaderPort is priced at $230.
MainNav GPS Watch
Taiwan's MainNav has just introduced its first GPS wristwatch. The MW-705 contains its own GPS receiver and serves as both its own tracker and as a complement to other devices. By itself, the watch provides basic coordinates as well as distance traveled and speed. An optional Bluetooth 2.0 transmitter, however, pairs the device with a cellphone or PDA to add live positioning in map software. Runners can also take advantage of a heart rate monitor and a thermometer to track their progress.
The ruggedized watch is waterproof and is powered by a lithium-ion battery, although battery life is unknown. The MW-705 should be available in its home country and has the possibility of reaching North America, although a release here hasn't been confirmed. [via GPS Gazette]
Scrivener 1.01 ($35) is writing software that enables users to edit multiple documents in the same project, includes a virtual corkboard for creating storyboards, and offers a complete outliner to help take control of the structure of projects. Scivener utilizes keywords to track help users track characters or themes, and features full-screen editing as well as export functionality.
[Download - 8.7MB]
Kids GoGoGo 11.8 ($30) updates the Web filtration software for Mac OS X, bringing a new user interface and simplifying multi-user settings. Kids GoGoGo 11.8 allows parents to block social networks such as MySpace as well as video and photo sharing sites like YouTube, and includes a favorites window for quick internet access alongside a live monitor to view users' actions in real-time. [Download - 8.3MB]
Finale 2007c (free) is downloadable update for registered Finale 2007 users that corrects lyric hyphens that were improperly placed too far to the left or right of the Maestro font's unmeasured tremolo character. Finale enables users to compose, edit, arrange, listen to, and print music. The update enhances Intel-based Mac scanning support, and offers a simple entry shortcut table optimized for laptop users. [Download - [form]]
A Better Finder Attributes 4.4 ($20) allows users to change file or photo dates and times alongside other file attributes that the Finder does not allow. The update supports batch adjustments of the Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) time and date that JPEG pictures were shot to compensate for timezones or incorrectly set camera clocks. [Download - 2.2MB]
Desktopple Pro 1.1 ($17) is a free upgrade for all current license owners of the Desktop hiding and productivity application. Version 1.1 brings numerous productivity enhancements such as Window Cleaning and Menu Dimming, automatically hiding applications after a period of inactivity and dimming the menu bar, respectively. [Download - 1.9MB]
Century OS Emergency Box
Japanese outfit Century is selling the OS Emergency Box, an unusual approach to USB backup. It's actually an enclosure, which supports any 2.5-inch EIDE hard drive as long as it's also less than 0.4 inches thick. Once the Box is configured, users can simply push the "Data Backup" button to copy documents, or they can push "OS Backup," which copies over a bootable version of Windows in case the local copy becomes corrupt. The Restore button returns whatever data was last chosen to be copied. The Emergency Box requires Windows 2000 or XP, and is available online for 3,980 yen ($33).
Gresso this morning ventured beyond its mainstay of luxury cellphones by previewing the Symphonia. Intended as much as jewelry as a functional music player, each version of the device has an 18-carat gold control pad as well as either African blackwood or white gold for the main body. Its frame is only 1.5 inches square and 0.4 inches thick. The lack of a screen doesn't preclude features, Gresso claims: the 1GB of flash stores MP3, OGG, and WMA songs, as well as an FM radio for live shows.
The Russian firm intends to ship four versions of the Symphonia across the globe, with prices ranging from $4,000 for a version with blackwood and white gold to $6,500 for a model made entirely of pink gold. Every version should be available during Spring. [via Gizmag]
Sony Cyber-shot W80
Sony may have inadvertently previewed two of the Cyber-shot cameras it will introduce at next month's PMA expo, according to leaked information posted at online stores. Both the W80 and W90 should top the W70 in the point-and-shoot camera line, with the W90 boosting the sensor depth of the W70 and W80 from 7.2 to 8.1 megapixels. Both of the newer cameras have 3X optical zoom lenses, 2.5-inch LCDs, and extreme ISO modes as high as 3200 for reducing blur at night or in fast-motion shots.
The key differences between models will be sensors and memory, according to the leaks: beyond sharper imagery, the W90 will also sport 56MB of internal memory instead of the W80's 31MB. The higher-end model is expected to ship in black or silver for €349 ($458) in Europe by March, and should be available in North America as well. The simpler W80 will follow in late April for €280 ($368).
B/W Styler PS plugin ships
The Plugin Site has released a Mac OS X version of B/W Styler, a Photoshop plugin for B&W conversion. The software, which offers three different working modes depending on experience, is designed to create traditional B&W effects and styling B&W photos and works in dozens of graphics applications including Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, Photo-Paint, Photo Plus, IrfanView and PhotoImpact. B/W Styler runs natively in Photoshop CS3 on Intel-Macs and also supports 8-bit and 16-bit RGB images. The company said the software simulates the whole work flow of B&W photography from shooting a photo to processing it in the lab and framing the end result, recreating the look of films, lens filters, lab effects and photo papers--many of which are popular in traditional B&W photography. It also offers advanced colorization and masking features. B/W Styler is available for $50 (standard license) or $30 (education license).
BenQ Joybook A52
BenQ has just grown its notebook range by launching the Joybook A52. The notebook is consciously designed for style and takes its cue from the black finish of a piano. The keyboard itself is designed to recall the instrument and has its key springs tuned for an exacting feel, BenQ adds. The improved aesthetics don't come burdened with premium components, according to the company. The 15.4-inch portable is equipped with a base 1.73GHz Core Duo, 512MB of RAM, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, and 60GB of storage; higher-end versions ship with faster CPUs, a DVD-RW drive, and up to a 120GB hard disk. All versions come with Windows Vista Home Basic and should be available soon throughout Asia and Europe, though pricing remains unknown. [via MobileWhack]
Travelogue 360 Paris ships
Macgamestore.com today announced the release of Big Fish Games' Travelogue 360 Paris: "Among its renowned landmarks and hidden gems waiting to be discovered, Paris holds something new for each of its visitors. Scour some of the worldís most famous locations for souvenirs as you prepare to be interviewed for an upcoming article in Travelogue 360 magazine. Locate items hidden in 3-Dimensional views of the Eiffel Tower, down the Champs Elysees, under the Arc d'Triomphe, and others of Paris' most beloved landmarks. Find your own Paris in this incredible voyage." The game features two different "eye-catching" locations, two different gaming modes (Explorer and Tourist) and the ability to find thousands of souvenirs as well as learn "Fun Facts" along the way. Travelogue 360 Paris is available for $20 as a digital download. A free Universal Binary demo of the game is available on the website.
EMobile today jumpstarted its young cell service by introducing the Sharp S01SH, nicknamed the EM ONE. Although driven by Windows Mobile 5, the small UMPC shifts its attention to data over calls. Built-in HSDPA connects the handheld at up to 3.6Mbps anywhere the provider can offer 3G wireless access; internal 802.11g gives potentially faster Internet access when close to a Wi-Fi hotspot. The S01SH is also one of the few mobile devices to use NVIDIA's GoForce 5500 chipset for better 3D and movie playback on the system's sharp 800x480, 4.1-inch widescreen. Equally rare is the presence of a 1.3-megapixel camera at the back for capturing photos and video.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Adobe today announced it is now shipping Photoshop Lightroom 1.0, its professional level digital photography application and also that it has released updated Camera Raw 3.7 software with additional support for digital cameras. Available for both Windows and Mac platforms, Photoshop Lightroom allows photographers to import, manage and present large volumes of digital photographs. Photoshop Lightroom includes several new innovative features that streamline digital photography workflows. Adobe is offering Photoshop Lightroom to all new customers at a special introductory price of $200 through April 30, 2007; it will later sell for $300: users of Photoshop Lightroom beta will have access to the program until its expiration on February 28, 2007. The application ships as a Universal Binary for native operation on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs; Adobe recommends at least a 1GHz G4 Mac running Mac OS X 10.4.3.
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