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Forums March 6
Forums roundup: Members are discussing what they hope will be included in the next MacMini.... Other users are discussing what the best way to remove scratches on a MacBook is as well as how to protect from further damage.... One user is looking answers as to whether or not Macs get spyware, after receiving and opening several spam emails.... Other members are discussing what computer is faster in real work performance today, a PowerBook G4 or a MacBook.... Meanwhile, other members are discussing the question posed by one user asking, why are Macs so expensive?
TechFest 2007 opens doors
Microsoft today opened the doors to the TechFest 2007, an annual showcase of research projects held at the company corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The company claims that this year's event, hosted by Microsoft Research, showcases more than 100 computing innovations, including telescope technology for the desktop PC, integrating content from several sources into a single, shareable document, and using the Xbox as a teaching tool. The company's annual showcase of research projects, where "researchers and product teams form close and lasting ties to jointly advance the frontiers of computing for the industry and customers," included an audience of customers, industry and government leaders and independent software vendors.
BBC to take on iTunes
As Apple's iTunes faces growing pressures from Europe, the BBC this week began planning its own alternative to the iPod-maker's dominance in the music and media industries. According to The Financial Times the BBC's commercial arm yesterday invited other UK broadcasters to put their programming on its new online media player in an effort to create an alternative to Apple's iTunes jukebox and media player software that could available this year. Hoping that the new service will provide "free" alternative the closed iPod/iTunes ecosystem, the BBC hopes to build a suitable alternative to customers. Called iPlayer, BBC Worldwide's chief executive likened the software to Freeview, a free digital terrestrial television service.
eMedia guitar tutorials
eMedia Music today added two new multi-volume CD sets to its series of guitar tutorial CDs. eMedia Guitar Method Deluxe features eMedia Guitar Method and Intermediate Guitar Method in a 2 volume CD-ROM set, teaching users to play with 340 audio- and video-enhanced lessons as well as more than 150 songs. The tutorial set includes an automatic tuner, metronome, recorder, 250-chord dictionary, and a scale-directory. "eMedia Guitar Collection is a complete course for the aspiring guitar player and includes eMedia Guitar Method and Intermediate Guitar Method to get you playing quickly with the addition of eMedia Blues Guitar Legends and eMedia Guitar Songs to master over 30 additional songs." eMedia Blues Guitar Legends includes 10 popular blues songs and recordings by artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters; eMedia Guitar Songs includes 21 classic guitar songs from Eric Clapton, The Who, Santana and more. Both eMedia Guitar Method Deluxe ($100) and the eMedia Guitar Collection ($150) are due to ship this month.
SeeFile update released
SeeFile Software today introduced the third-generation of SeeFile, its Web-based creative collaboration tool that allows instant Web sharing, annotation, and online sales. SeeFile runs locally allowing users to save large JPEG, RAW, and other media files to the local hard drive. The software automatically creates and displays thumbnails as well as watermarked previews in a simple HTTP Web interface. Users can remotely access files from anywhere on the internet via a standard Web browser, and the update introduces a range of advanced functions such as side-by-side image comparisons and onscreen annotations. The latest release is a free upgrade for owners of earlier versions with an annual upgrade contract, with new SeeFile Entry contracts priced at $500 with support for $100 per year.
TiVo and EarthLink have announced that later this year, they will begin bundling some of their products in a complementary discount package. TiVo will of course include its Series2 DVR box, while EarthLink will offer a choice of services, including DSL, dial-up and/or VoIP telephony. The news takes on particular significance because of the recent TiVo deal for Amazon Unbox videos, which requires an Internet-connected computer to transfer videos from. The companies suggest that as a result of the bundle, many more broadband features may be introduced in the future through TiVoCast. Exact package options and release dates have yet to be disclosed to the public.
Canvastic publisher tool
K-8 has released Canvastic 3, adding various features such as an eyedropper, smart spell check, and four different brush shapes. Unlike other K-8 publishing programs such as Kid Pix, Canvastic eliminates frivolous options such as clever erasers, aiming to gradually bring children into the world of professional publishing programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop. As students advance in Canvastic, teachers can gradually increase options, tailoring tool windows to particular users or grade levels. The program requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is available for $60 per license; group packages start at $230 for five computers.
New iStyles artistic skins
iStyles has released its spring collection of skins, fitting the iPod video and the second-generation iPod nano. Each one is created with custom artwork, such as an argyll pattern, a Cuban collage, or stylized cats. The iPod skins are made of adhesive-backed vinyl, and use UV-resistant inks and a clear protective layer to prevent damage. Application and removal is promised to be mess-free. The collection is on sale now, with Nano skins priced at $7 apiece, while iPod video skins are $8. Zune versions are also available.
iCoustic is offering its iCoustic guitar line designed to work as both a replacement for more than one instrument and as part of a larger digital collection. The guitars each feature a built-in amplifier and speaker placed in the soundhole to avoid distortion, and play the sound of any device connected via a standard minijack input. The company recommends iPods and includes a side holster to grip the Apple-branded music player while strumming. Users can also share the music with any pro audio recording equipment through a quarter-inch jack, and can use the audio between two iCoustic models to play sound from one through the other. Pricing varies with each model, but nearly any existing design can be converted upon request.
Following its recent cameras, Olympus has also revealed the WS-331M. A voice recorder by nature, the handheld includes three grades of mono or stereo WM recording that lets it capture as much as 555 hours of dialog on its built-in 2GB of flash storage. MP3 and WMA playback, however, turn the device into an impromptu music player with up to 500 songs.
The device is also one of the few to escape the need for a cable or a dock -- as with other recent Olympus models, the 331M opens to connect directly to a computer's USB port for quicker transfers. One AAA battery is enough to power the device for 21 hours. Models should arrive in US stores by April at a price of $200.
Fujitsu 160GB 7200RPM disk
Fujitsu today introduced what it claims is the highest capacity, full speed notebook drive ever released, Reports electronista. The MHW2160BJ spins its twin 80GB platters at 7200RPM, surpassing the capacity of previous 7200 RPM notebook drives by 60 percent, and the spindle speed of previous 160GB notebook drives by 33 percent. The drive and its smaller 80GB and 120GB variants are also some of the first to ship with Serial ATA II support for burst transfers of up to 300MB per second, while power consumption is low, peaking at 2.3 watts under high demand, the company claims. All three capacities should be available worldwide by May; pricing is not yet available.
Commodore Gaming PC
The recently revived Commodore brand today announced that it would at last return to the computer market at CeBIT next week. While keeping silent on most details, the company says it will launch a high-end gaming PC at the Hannover expo, marking a "new chapter in its history" with the design. There will be some 'very exciting' features revealed at the March 15th launch, Commodore says.
The introduction marks thirteen years since the company last produced computers, with the original Commodore computer company shutting its doors in 1994 and remaining largely dormant until the Dutch firm Tulip bought it in 2003. The resurrected Commodore has focused primarily on media jukeboxes such as the Gravel in Pocket until today. [via Pro-G]
ATT Homezone Phone PVR
AT&T today introduced phone control for its Homezone service, giving owners a relatively unique option for controlling their TV shows. The new feature takes advantage of the network connection in the Homezone set-top box to let any phone with a WAP 2.0 browser view listings through a special Yahoo portal, and then add or remove shows to the recording schedule. This lets avid TV viewers queue up shows even while commuting home from work. Options will exist in the future for SlingPlayer-like options for viewing content through the cellphone itself.
Using the new technology requires a combination of services, according to AT&T: subscribers must have satellite TV either through AT&T or Dish, as well as the former's DSL and Homezone services. The latter costs $10 per month and includes the new feature as of today. [via News.com]
TrueDisc archival burning
TrueDisc today introduced its self-titled software, which promises to burn discs which are far easier to recover than standard media. According to the company, as much as 90 percent of a disc can be damaged before the program is unable to read it. The key is the creation of "master copy" files on each disc -- if the data cannot be read through normal means, TrueDisc can be used to reconstruct the information using proprietary algorithms. Notably, the program does not support rewritable discs, only CD-R, DVD-R, or DVD+R/DVD+R DL. The software is on sale now for $52 and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.
iPhone draws Intel praise
Apple's much anticipated iPhone consumer device is not only the darling of the media industry, but continues to spur discussion by industry executives. At the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, the iPhone drew praise from Intel execs as a Windows alternative, while Motorola execs said it was no more than a niche device because of its high price. Intel's CEO Paul Otellini said that the iPhone is forcing a new wave of mobile device innovation, while validating the superiority of Unix-like systems on mobile devices over Windows. "Virtually every computer and handset manufacturer on the planet is struggling to figure out how to compete with Apple," Otellini said.
Alcatel Hits US in Force
Continuing its phone announcements, Alcatel revealed today that it will finally make a permanent North American presence for its phone line through Cellatel. Although the firm has already garnered some early attention on the continent with its Elle GlamPhone, it now plans to use this month's CTIA phone expo to announce that some of its E- and C-series phones will be available beyon limited trials that were run with Cingular last year.
Specific carriers have yet to be mentioned, but should focus primarily around virtual mobile networks in the vein of Helio -- albeit those that use GSM, Cellatel says. CTIA begins March 27th and should provide more information. [via Phone Scoop]
Alcatel C635 Fashion Phone
Alcatel today expanded its fashion phone line with the C635. Purple tint with swirls is in keeping with the latest fashion trends, the French cellphone maker claims; at the same time, the phone is geared to essentialist phone users who don't need more than a few key extras, making it accessible to more users. A VGA-resolution camera and Java support for games are its key features, but are bolstered by an exceptional 6.5 hours of active talk time and 320 hours of standby.
The C635 will be available shortly through Virgin Mobile in Britain for $77. Alcatel hasn't indicated whether or not the phone has the necessary GSM band needed to reach the US. [via Tech Digest]
iTunes 7.1 runs on Vista
Apple has posted an update on the compatibility of its iTunes software with Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, noting that a new version of iTunes addresses numerous compatibility issues with Vista but that the Cupertino-based company is actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues. Apple recommends using iTunes 7.1 with most editions of Windows Vista, and suggests that users who are upgrading from Windows XP or Windows 2000 to Windows Vista prior to the next release of iTunes take several steps to improve the experience when syncing an iPod or playing iTunes Store purchases. Apple encourages upgrading users to deauthorize all iTunes Store accounts, perform a clean install of Windows Vista, upgrade to iTunes 7.1 or repair iTunes 7.1 if version 7.1 is already installed, open iTunes, and choose "Authorize Computer" from the "Store" menu. [updated]
Adobe confirms CS3 debut
Adobe today confirmed that it will officially announce its Creative Suite 3 on March 27th, but said the product will not ship until some time "later this spring." The development company is celebrating the launch at an event in New York City that will be webcast live at 3:30 p.m. ET, and said it will reveal the features as well as suite configurations that make the latest version the largest software release in Adobe's 25-year history. The company was careful to note, however, that while it will announce Creative Suite 3 on March 27th, the product will not actually ship until later in the spring of 2007. Apple advocates are eagerly awaiting the new software suite from Adobe, which runs natively on Intel-based Macs and is credited for much of the pent up demand behind Apple's Pro workstations and notebooks.
Gigabyte CeBIT Notebooks
Gigabyte Technology revealed on Tuesday that it would announce several new notebooks in its W line for Germany's CeBIT expo based on Intel's upcoming Santa Rosa platform, which should speed up mobile Core 2 Duo systems with a faster 800MHz data path and other enhancements. Chief among the introductions will be a 17-inch desktop replacement. Though details will remain hidden until next week's event, the large notebook will represent the first "dual graphics card" system, according to Gigabyte; it's unclear, however, as to whether or not the claim actually refers to existing SLI-equipped dual chipset notebooks or hybrid Intel/NVIDIA graphics systems such as Sony's Vaio SZ.
Other additions will include 14- and 15.4-inch notebooks, a 6.5-inch UMPC handheld, and a Power Express battery pack that the Taiwanese firm promises will deliver eight hours of battery life to "any" notebook. Full details should be available when CeBIT begins on March 15th. [via Laptoping]
DST fix for Panther
In brief: Developers at the University of New Hampshire have released a software fix for older Macs running Mac OS X 10.3.9 and earlier that fixes the Daylight Savings Time issue on those systems, an Obama fan has created a mashup of Apple's 1984 ad against U.S. senator Hilary Clinton, and Apple revealed a series of new banners in its latest newsletter to Apple Store Affiliates that encourage consumers to "go beyond Vista". Pictopia today announced the launch of the National Geographic Photo Store at the official website of National Geographic magazine, Linotype announced its upcoming TypoTechnica conference, and MacsDesign Studio released an update to its technical support software. The University of New Hampshire's support for older Macs reveals three options for users of the aging hardware to properly handle DST.
Xupport 3.3.1 ($20) is multipurpose utility that configures Mac OS X and Unix options, increasing security and performance, or allowing the maintenance and backup of the OS. Users can also clean up temporary files and access hidden server settings. Version 3.3.1 improves compatibility with current web browsers, and allows saving Unix manual pages as HTML documents. Some security enhancements have been implemented as well.
[Download - 2.7MB]
SQLiteManager 2.6 ($50) is a GUI manager for SQLite databases, with support for SQLite 2.x, 3.x, REALSQL and in-memory databases. The v2.6 update fixes a number of bugs, but also updates DoD ListBox and the SQLiteProfessional plug-ins, and puts the very latest databases at the top of the recent database pop-up. SQLiteManager is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 8.4MB]
Syncro SVN Client 2.2 ($60) facilitates using Subversion to collaborate on development projects, sharing the latest notes and file versions. Version 2.2 adds the Annotations view, which lets users quickly find the author and revision number for a particular piece of changed code. Groups running bug-tracking systems can now link changes to a specific ID, which is added to every commit message. SVN Client requires Mac OS X 10.3 and Java 1.4.2. [Download - 11.3MB]
File Synchronization 1.4.1 ($15) can synchronize multiple pairs of files and folders automatically, copying only when a newer modification date is detected. The new release fixes a problem with the open dialog in list mode, and enables toggling of the background loading of remote volumes. Users must have Mac OS X 10.2 or later, though v10.4 is recommended. [Download - 2.8MB]
GrassPro 6.2.1 ($50) collects OpenOSX's Grass, MapServer, GMT and GIS Utilities packages, which allow owners to create and publish professional 3D maps, using sources such as aerial and satellite imagery. Changes to v6.2.1 include fixes to the user interface, such as zooming, and a new r.to.rast3elev module, which creates a 3D volume map based on 2D elevation and value raster maps. Grass requires Mac OS 10.4, and for some features, Apple X11. [Download - Size Unknown]
Armado 1.2.8 ($20) sends gamers on a 3D action-adventure, where the goal is to rescue the Queen, the last of the Great Eagles, from an army of giant ants. The latest patch fixes collision bugs, as well as a scoreboard synching crash. The game is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.2 and demands a PowerMac G4 or better. [Download - 110.8MB]
Blurring the lines between acoustic and digital instruments, the iCoustic guitar line is meant to work both as a replacement for more than one instrument as well as part of a larger digital collection. A built-in amplifier and speaker (placed carefully in the soundhole to avoid distortion) will play the sound of any device connected through a standard minijack input; the company recommends iPods and even includes a side holster to grip the Apple music player while playing. The music can also be shared with any pro audio recording equipment through a quarter-inch audio jack and can even be used between two iCoustic models to play sound from one through the other.
Prices change based on the reference guitar, the company says. A Baby Taylor or Little Martin is available now for $499; the Alvarez Travel Bass Guitar sells for $749, and most any existing design can also be converted on request. [via Red Ferret]
NTT Raku-Raku Phone
NTT DoCoMo bucked trends in cellphone design today by announcing the Raku-Raku PHONE Basic. Rather than dwell on media playback, the Basic uses its intelligence to automatically adjust settings for the hard of hearing, seniors, or first-time cellphone owners. A Slow Voice function automatically slows down incoming conversations to help follow fast callers; Clear Voice, in turn, auto-senses the ambient noise level and raises the volume of calls and ringtones to match. The clamshell will also voice the names of callers or e-mail senders, enlarge fonts, and send pre-made replies to messages.
Even with this emphasis, NTT says, the phone is still advanced enough to receive "push" news and alerts to its secondary display and doubles as a pedometer to track distance and exercise. Prices are unlisted, but the phone should be ready for an April release with the Japanese carrier in black, gold, pink, or white. [via SlashPhone]
Outer Level has released LicenseKeeper, a new software license manager for Mac OS X that stores both serial numbers and license files along with receipts and other related files. The application enables users to auto-scan email to capture serial numbers, and organizes important software licensing information into one library. LicenseKeeper supports drag-and-drop archiving of emails that contain licensing information, automatically detecting serial numbers within those email messages. The software also stores documents, zip files, and disk images with software records with the ability to export to XML for backup purposes. LicenseKeeper is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210
Whereas ABS' Mayhem Blackhawk is a lightweight gaming machine, Fujitsu's LifeBook S2210 is aimed at business travellers. Each model uses a 1.6GHz Turion 64 X2 processor, and supplies graphics through a 256MB Radeon X1150. Though the hard drive is restricted to a maximum of 100GB, the 2210 does support an unusually high 4GB of RAM, where most laptops are limited to two. Connection options are also plentiful, since it features Ethernet, a 56K modem, 802.11a/b/g, and an optional Bluetooth receiver. A PC Card slot can be used for cellular broadband, among other tasks. All 2210s ship with Windows Vista Business and Microsoft Works 8.5. The computer costs between $1,299 and $1,979 depending on the configuration.
TuneView firmware update
Keyspan has released a firmware update for its TuneView for iPod remote control. The remote features a color LCD screen and two-way RF connectivity that enables users to browse and manage an iPod throughout a home or office. The update increases scrolling speed, adds the ability to jump to a specified first letter within a large list, and improves overall wake-from-sleep performance. The TuneView for iPod includes a dock that connects to a stereo or TV, and an RF remote to browse as well as manage iPod music and videos. Users can sync an iPod with iTunes running on a Mac or Windows system, and the device supports German as well as French and Spanish languages. Keyspan's TuneView for iPod is priced at $180, and the firmware update is available as a free download.
More HD in hotel rooms
Hotel rooms can be notoriously backwards in terms of media technology, but the introduction of NxTV's HD set-top may signal a seachange, at least for wealthier travellers. Initially deploying to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, the box connects a hotel room to a central media server, which streams content such as HDTV and locally-hosted movies over an Ethernet connection. Users can further browse the web with a pre-loaded version of Firefox; options which may later become available include VoIP calls, guest messaging, and portal services tailored to the specific hotel. Some of the first movies appearing at the Century Plaza will include Apocalypto and Dreamgirls.
Alienware kicked off its presence at this week's Game Developers Conference by shipping two new versions of its MJ-12 pro workstation. The AMD Opteron-based 8550a and Intel Xeon-based 8550i each support multi-core chips in dual socks, with each sporting two CPU sockets for as many as eight cores in the case of the Intel system. Other elements are characteristically high-end, Alienware notes: the workstations can be ordered with up to 16GB of memory or as many as four 15,000 RPM hard drives. Dual gigabit Ethernet ports are standard across every model.
The custom PC builder ships its most affordable quad-core Intel system with a 1.6GHz Xeon 5310, 1GB of RAM, 250GB of storage, and a Quadro FX 350 for $2949; its AMD equivalent ships with two 2GHz Opteron 2210 processors for $2749.
Mad Catz PS3 gamepads
Mad Catz has begun shipping some of its first third-party controllers for Sony's Playstation 3 console. Sold in wired and wireless varieties, the pads replicate some of the most important features of Sony's Sixaxis controller -- such as motion-sensing and a home button -- while remaining at least $10 cheaper. The pads are even improved in some regards, having quick-fire triggers, and the option of four different colors (red, blue, black and silver). The shape may also be more comfortable for some users. The wired pad is on sale for $30, while the wireless version is $40 and requires two AA batteries.
Jobs set "canary trap?"
An Apple programmer who asked to remain anonymous has speculated that company CEO Steve Jobs set up a classic "canary trap" when he issued information about the product codenamed "Asteroid." That product, which has yet to surface from the Cupertino-based company, fueled a lawsuit against two websites which reported on leaked information. Apple sought the source of the information leak in the suit, and claimed that bloggers do not hold the same rights as the press with regard to maintaining the confidentiality of news sources. That argument didn't sit well with the judge presiding over the suit, who ordered Apple to pay the legal fees of both sites totaling $700,000. The programmer suspects Jobs fed each person at Apple a slightly different piece of information, and waited to see which canary sang, according to Wired.
iSpin DVDs and CDs
Stelix today introduced a new software concept called iSpin. Although pitched at businesses, the technology promises to streamline digital copies for portable media players: putting the CD or DVD in a PC's drive automatically pops up a program which can automatically transfer portable versions of audiobooks, music, or video to whichever music software and portable player a user owns -- including the iPod, PSP, Sansa, and Zune, the company says. The process both saves the trouble of ripping content for less experienced users and also ensures that every buyer has a legitimate copy on their PC and player without running into legal roadblocks.
iSpin should be available now to content creators, and should make its way to albums, games, and movies over the next few months. It currently runs on Windows PCs; the company hasn't confirmed the development of a Mac version.
Trabbit GPS/media player
Korea's Trabbit has launched the TM-7000, a media player that may be ideal for going on the road. Not only does it support general MP3, AVI and WMV files, it also supports the DivX, XviD and MPEG-4 SP codecs, and can tune in DMB TV where broadcasting. Critically, it has a built-in GPS receiver as well, which can be used while video continues playing in a picture-in-picture window. Users can even watch one video while another is in the corner of the seven-inch screen. Trabbit is selling the TM-7000 for 449,000 won ($472), or 519,000 won ($545) with TPEG services. [via Akihabara News]
Pinnacle unveils TV tuners
Avid Technology today announced that its consumer division, Pinnacle Systems, is entering the market for Mac peripherals with three new USB TV tuner devices: two for the European market and one for the US market. The new portable Pinnacle TV for Mac Sticks are designed to turn any Mac into a full-featured TV receiver/recorder with a remote control. The Pinnacle TV for Mac DVB-T Stick enables European users to watch, "TimeShift," and record digital TV and radio (DVB-T) programs, while the Pinnacle TV for Mac Hybrid Stick delivers the same functionality along with analog TV reception and the ability to act as a video capture device. The Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Stick offers U.S. users access to ATSC HDTV directly on Mac systems while also supporting standard analog TV. The Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Stick is due to ship in March in the U.S. for $130 (pricing and availability of the European models was unavailable).
Zune Tempt One Edition
Microsoft has just revealed the Tempt One Zune. Custom-printed with graffiti markings on a black shell, the special edition will be sold as part of an art benefit on March 10th to help Los Angeles native graffiti artist Tempt One live at home while receiving treatment for a rare form of sclerosis. Only 35 of the limited-run models will be made, Microsoft says, with all of them to be sold at the show.
Microsoft has released multiple special Zunes since the original launch in November, including orange and pink for the developers and a Jeremy Fish version for student promoters. [via Zune Insider]
MacDrive 7 released
Mediafour today launched MacDrive 7, an update to its Windows cross-platform file-sharing software that brings Windows Vista compatibility alongside the ability to analyze and repair Mac disks. The application enables Windows users to access all types of Mac disks as if they were windows drives, including external USB and FireWire drives. Apple disks are displayed with a small Apple logo to keep things clear, but are usable just as any Windows disk. MacDrive also supports partitioning and formatting Mac disks, burning Mac CDs and DVDs, and works with Boot Camp to provide access to Mac OS X system drives. MacDrive 7 requires Windows XP, Server 2003, or Vista. The software is priced at $50 for a new license, with upgrades available for $20.
Pinnacle TV for Mac HD
Avid's home division Pinnacle today launched three new portable tuners with Mac users in mind. The TV for Mac line plugs directly into the USB 2.0 port of any supporting Mac and lets the computer either watch live TV or schedule recording through a bundled copy of Elgato's EyeTV Lite. A mini-antenna is also packed with every model to help ensure reception indoors or in heavy interference, as is an AV cable to record video from other sources, such as camcorders.
Editions vary by TV format support, Pinnacle says. The TV for Mac HD Stick is the lone US model, which tunes both ATSC for over-the-air HD broadcasts and NTSC for analog TV; the Hybrid Stick caters to European audiences with both DVB-T and analog PAL video, while the similar DVB-T Stick drops analog support for those who only need digital viewing. The TV for Mac HD Stick ships in March for $129. Availability for the European models hasn't been announced.
(Product) RED disappoints
A new report is challenging the effectiveness and return on Bono's PRODUCT RED campaign, although spokespersons for the charity deny some of those reports. It has been one year since the beginning of the Red campaign, which has recruited high profile U.S. companies such as Apple, GAP, and Motorola. In addition to the hype and buzz, a slew of publicity and marketing has included celebrity endorsements on billboards, magazine advertisements, and television -- with estimates of total marketing dollars projected as high as $100 million. That has resulted in only $18 million in donations to the charity, leaving many to question the effectiveness of the campaign and fundraising project. The results threaten to spur a backlash not just against the Red campaign -- which ambitiously set out to change the cause-marketing model by allowing partners to profit from charity -- but also for the brands involved.
Digital Foci Photo Safe
Digital Foci today announced that it will introduce Photo Safe, a low cost portable digital photo storage device with 40GB, 80GB or 120GB of storage and a built-in memory card reader. Photo Safe features one-touch copying from a memory card to the device, a user-replaceable Li-Ion battery that is rechargeable via USB or an external power adaptor and a backlit LED screen displaying battery status, free space remaining and transfer progress. Photo Safe also functions as a USB harddisk and has the fastest copy speed from flash media in its class, the company claims. Photo Safe supports CF, MD, MMC, SD/HC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD-picture card formats. Photo Safe will be available in April priced at $140 for the 40GB model; pricing for the 80GB and 120GB models has not yet been announced.
Labels & Envelopes 2
Chronos has revealed SOHO Labels & Envelopes 2, an update to its popular software for creating labels and envelopes on the Mac. New features in this version include a completely redesigned interface, a project wizard, object grouping (to move them as one), locking of objects (to prevent users from accidentally moving them), layers, an alignment grid, photo cropping and numerous special effects. Additionally, Chronos has added "bins" to store commonly used text and favorites, including titles, headings and design elements. SOHO Labels & Envelopes 2 is available now for $40; upgrades from SOHO Labels & Envelopes 1.x are priced at $20.
Apple ranks No. 11
Apple for the month of January was No. 11 on the list of most popular global Web properties, mimicking its No. 11 ranking among US properties during the same month according to the latest data from comScore. The research company noted that internet traffic in January 2007 increased 10 percent from the same period in 2006 with internet audiences in India, the Russian Federation and China increasing the most in 2006--growing 33, 21 and 20 percent, respectively.
Fujitsu 160GB 7200RPM HD
Fujitsu on Tuesday rolled out what it says is the highest-capacity, full speed notebook hard drive ever released. The MHW2160BJ spins at 7200 RPM despite holding 160GB of storage, eclipsing the 100GB limit on fast portable disks. The drive and its smaller 80GB and 120GB variants are also some of the first to ship with Serial ATA II support for burst transfers of up to 300MB per second. Power consumption is still low, however, with the drive peaking at 2.3 watts no matter how much demand is placed on the disk, according to the company.
All three capacities should be ready worldwide for notebooks and as stand-alone OEM drives by May; prices are unknown, but should vary by the individual system builder or dealer.
Nikon D40x SLR upgrade
Nikon today introduced the D40x, a surprise upgrade to the D40 beginner SLR introduced late last year that increases the resolution sharply from 6 to 10.2 megapixels along with improved processing for better image quality and speed. Electronista reports that light sensitivity now reaches as low as ISO 100 for cleaner images in bright areas and that capture speed is improves to 3fps, which will last the entire capacity of an SD card when shooting in JPEG mode, according to the report. The complete D40x kit ships with a newer version of the 18-55mm, 3X zoom lens that improves sharpness and contrast; as an option for any of Nikon's DSLRs, a new 55-200mm VVR lens adds image stabilization for sharper images without the use of a tripod. The D40x will be available in body-only form in April for $730, or as a full kit with the 18-55mm lens for $800. The VR lens will also be available at the same time for $250.
Apple in Naples, Austin
Apple today announced that it will open two new retail stores in the US this weekend. Following news of new international flagship stores in Munich (Germany) and Sydney (Australia), the Cupertino-based company will open its 11th store, Apple Store The Domain, in the state of Texas. Austin's second store, which will be lcoated at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace (Suite 120), will open to the public on Friday, March 9, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. CST. Apple also announced that its 12th store in the state of Florida will open this weekend in Naples: the Apple Store Waterside Shops will be located at 5555 Tamiami Trail North (Suite 6) and will open to the public on Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. EST.
Archos 704 Wi-Fi
Jukebox designer Archos this morning put speculation to rest and announced the 704 Wi-Fi, its new flagship player. Labeled as a mobile PVR, the finished 704 differs from what an FCC leak suggested by using a 7-inch, 800x480 screen sharp enough to view DVD-quality AVI, MPEG-4, or WMV clips for up to five hours. As suggested by the name, 802.11g wireless is built-in and gives access to both web browsing through Opera and media from nearby PCs. An optional PVR dock ($100) lets the Archos system record video directly to the 80GB hard drive, and music in MP3 or WMA is also supported.
The player should ship in mid-March for $550; optional packs that add H.264 and MPEG-2 video formats as well as AAC audio will also be available, though Archos hasn't mentioned their pricing. Click through for a full image.
Nikon D40x Announced
Nikon turned its attention to its digital SLRs today by introducing the D40x. The surprise upgrade to the D40 beginner SLR introduced late last year increases the resolution sharply from 6 to 10.2 megapixels -- matching the image size of the D80 and D200. The improved processing that follows also helps improve image quality and speed, according to the camera maker. Light sensitivity now reaches as low as ISO 100 for cleaner images in bright areas; capture speed is now as quick as three frames per second and will last the entire capacity of an SD card when shooting in JPEG.
Read through for lens and launch information as well as a gallery.
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