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Forums March 13
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the latest update to Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4.9, which is potentially the last release of Tiger.... Other users are discussing the recent leak by the online Apple Store UK that listed 8-core Mac Pros, but quickly removed references to the expected update.... One user is wondering whether or not a flip or slide iPhone is coming following the launch of the line this June.... Other members are offering solutions to a left-handed Mac user looking to flip the cursor to make it more suited to their needs.... Meanwhile, other members are discussing the lack of SLI support in Mac OS X, as well as the potential to boot a Mac Pro into Windows for SLI.
Compact iPod shuffle dock
A UK-based iPod accessory maker today announced it is shipping "the world's smallest iPod shuffle dock." The iUSB allows users to easily connect an iPod shuffle to any USB port without having to use the relatively large Shuffle 2G-dock (included with the iPod shuffle). Supporting full speed USB transfer rates, the company says it supports music transfer with iTunes as well as charging. "The iUSB is the perfect travel companion, taking up virtually no space in a bag or pocket," the company wrote. "No need to haul around the Dock and cables that came with your iPod Shuffle, just pack the iUSB and a user all set." The iUSB also comes with a convenient lanyard loop on the side so users can attach it to backpack or laptop case. The tiny adapter weighs 5.6 grams and measures 47mm X 16mm!. It is available for £6.
SendStation PocketDock AV
SendStation today announced a new product in its PocketDock line of iPod adaptors: the PocketDock AV is an ultra-compact, thumb-sized iPod adapter that provides connections for USB, line out audio, as well a both composite and S-Video, allowing users to sync and charge, attach the iPod to a home stereo and output iPod videos in supreme quality on TVs or projectors. “The PocketDock AV is the most affordable, yet most versatile all-in-one connectivity solution for your iPod,” says André Klein, SendStation Systems’s founder. “No other option delivers the iPod’s promise on mobility as well as the PocketDocks do. The new PocketDock AV is another great example for this.” The package includes a 4-in-1 cable for USB and AV connections for reducing cable clutter. The PocketDock AV comes in black and is designed to work with most iPod cases and carries Apple’s official “Made for iPod” badge. SendStation’s PocketDock AV is scheduled for release in early April 2007 for $37.
QuickerTek Quicky Jr.
QuickerTek this week introduced Quicky Jr., a new device that extends the wireless connectivity of Macs with built in wireless. The company says that Quicky Jr solves the two eternal problems of wireless - range and speed, without disassembling the computer for installation. Quicky Jr, like the original Quicky, uses the USB port for wireless amplification and as a power source and requires no drivers or other extra steps to "get in the way of enjoying wireless at speeds normally only available to 802.11a network connections -- 54Mbps. Quicktek also includes two different antennas for specific types of wireless environments: A 2dBi antenna offer the wide wireless dispersal area coverage while the 5dBi antenna extends out vertically "to beat the multi-floor wireless blues." The antennas screw onto the Quicky Jr. Quicky Jr. works with all 802.11/b/g/n WiFi equipment including Apple AirPort, AirPort Extreme and the latest 802.11n version of AirPort Extreme introduced at Macworld Expo. It is available for $100.
Quad-source TV tuner
British and other European computer owners may be interested in the HVR-4000, Hauppauge's upcoming TV tuner. The 4000 is unique in that it supports four different broadcast formats, including analog, Freeview, satellite, and HD satellite. The card fits into a PCI slot, and in turn accepts inputs from aerial and satellite receivers. Programs on DVB-S2 can be recorded in the original H.264 codec, and DiSEqC 1.0 can be used to switch between four separate satellite sources. The HVR-4000 is due in the United Kingdom in mid-March, and should sell for an average of £179 ($345).
Tiger security bolstered
Apple's latest update to Mac OS X 10.4.9 (PPC, Intel) contains 30 security fixes to repair vulnerabilities related to numerous portions of the operating system. Security Update 2007-003 includes fixes for ColorSync, CoreGraphics, Crash Reporter, CUPS, disk images, DS plug-ins, flash player, GNU Tar, HFS, HID family, ImageIO, the kernel, MySQL Server, general networking, OpenSSH, printing, QuickDraw Manager, servermgrd, SMB file server, Software Update, sudo, and WebLog. The security update installs on systems running Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later or Mac OS X Server 10.4.9 or later.
Post-recall battery fire
Despite Apple's recall last year of over 1.8 million batteries, Apple notebooks are still catching fire, writes Computerworld. The latest report comes from an Australian MacBook owner, who says he was fortunate to have a roommate spot his computer hissing and smoking. After extinguishing the fire, the battery proved to be swollen and charred, suggesting an obvious cause. Surrounding magazines and furniture were damaged.
MWSF attendance increases
IDG World Expo today announced that attendance to last January's Macworld Expo conference in San Francisco was up by nearly 20 percent. The show management company, which does not disclose numbers at the actual event, said that the attendance certification audit was performed by BPA World Wide, showing a 19 percent increase in overall visitors from the 2006 event. The audit revealed that the San Francisco-based Expo had 45,572 attendees in 2007, compared with 38,441 in 2006. IDG said that the show featured hundreds of product announcements, dynamic attendee attractions, more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, and almost 400 companies serving the Mac community.
Samsung Q1 Ultra for CeBIT
Samsung today all but confirmed the launch of the Q1 Ultra. Posting just a preview image of the device (formerly known as the Q2 on its Taiwanese front page, the company validated early claims about the UMPC that have many anticipating the new handheld. A built-in QWERTY keyboard split between either side of the sharper 1024x600 display will finally provide Q1 owners the ability to type without using the on-screen keyboard. Other specifications are likely to be true as well given the update, including the addition of mobile broadband through HSDPA (3G wireless) and WiBro.
An official announcement is expected on Thursday early into the CeBIT show, though a US launch remains unknown and may require stripping some of the wireless technology. [via UMPC News]
HP rules Apple in sales
HP was by far the leading seller of computers at retail shops in the US, says Electronista, easily dominating companies such as Apple. Triggered in part by the launch of Windows Vista, HP took over 43 percent of all desktop sales in stores during the month, and also claimed the top spot for notebooks at over 23 percent. The company further managed to claim second place in the desktop arena, taking over 12 percent through sales of Compaq desktops. Emachines and Toshiba were the company's chief rivals in the desktop and portable spaces at almost 11 percent and 19 percent, respectively. As the only non-Windows competitor, Apple just edged its way into the top list with over 10 percent of all notebooks.
Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.9
[digg this] Apple today posted Mac OS X 10.4.9, a massive update to its current-generation operating system that fixes more than 20 security bugs and offers other enhancements, including RAW camera support, handling of large or malformed images that could cause crashes, improved image capture performance, mouse scrolling and keyboard shortcuts, font handling, playback quality, and bookmarks in DVD Player, USB video conferencing cameras for use with iChat, Bluetooth devices, browsing AFP servers, Apple USB Modem, Windows-created digital certificates, Open and Print dialogs in applications that use Rosetta on Intel-based Macs, Time zone and daylight saving for 2006 and 2007, and other security updates. Apple has a full list of details here. In addition, the company has posted a Security Update 2007-003 for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (Server version) users. The update is available for PowerPC- and Intel-based Clients and both PowerPC- and Intel-based Servers or as a Combo update (PowerPC or Intel). Apple's iPhoto 6.06 also addresses issues associated with EXIF data compatibility and Photocasting.
Soundwalk MP3 Player Vest
Soundwalk has recently tailored a unique portable audio system in the form of its MP3 Player Sports Vest. Pockets on the vest cradle both an MP3 player and a cellphone at the same time and will output their sound through stereo speakers built into the shoulder straps, ensuring not just that there are no loose cables from the player but that the owner doesn't require a set of potentially isolating headphones. A toggle on the vest switches quickly between either the player or the cellphone to quickly handle calls.
Shipping now, the vest comes with reflective strips for safety and either a black or a red color scheme. Either color sells for $70. [via Chip Chick]
Meizu iPod nano clone
The full details of Meizu's M3 Music Card player have been revealed, according to a post by the company on its official forum. Consciously designed with the influence of Apple's first-generation iPod nano in mind, the device uses a vertical touchstrip to navigate content instead of a scroll wheel. A 1.5-inch LCD is also close to the Apple design. Launch details confirm that a single, 2GB version of the player will go on sale in China as of the 20th, for the equivalent of $65. A release in other areas is likely, though is doubtful for the United States given copyright issues. Visit Electronista for more images and performance specifications.
ALAP XTensions for QXP 7
Quark today announced it would offer free tools for QuarkXpress 7 users next month. The company said that Quark XPert Tools Pro will be posted on the company's website during the week of April 2 as a free download for all QuarkXPress 7 users. The XTensions modules were acquired from A Lowly Apprentice Production in December 2005 and were formerly known as Quark ALAP XPert Tools Pro; the new versions will be compatible with QuarkXPress 7, offering Quark users better scaling, improved guides, and powerful text-linking. Quark XPert Tools Pro also includes XPert FindChange, which transforms not just text but entire documents in seconds and XPert ItemStyles, which can create attractive pages while keeping design consistent. In addition, XPert Pilot enables visualization of large, graphically rich overviews.
e-on extends Vue 6 3D line
e-on software today launched its complete line of products for 3D artists: from the entry-level Vue 6 Easel and Esprit to Vue 6 Pro Studio, the complete solution for advanced artists--complementing e-on software's professional solutions, Vue 6 Infinite and Vue 6 xStream, which were released last month. Shipping as Universal Binaries for native support both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, Vue 6 Easel, Esprit and Pro Studio are the newest versions of the company's solutions for creating natural 3D environments and provide tools for the creation, animation and rendering of rich natural 3D environments. The new updates offer improved rendering speeds of up to 130 percent, improved Poser integration, new glaciation, alluvium and dissolve erosion effects, and other enhancements.
Clevo D900C Notebook
Leaked details surfaced today about Clevo's latest desktop replacement notebook, the D900C. The notebook should be the world's fastest notebook upon its release, early specs say: the 2-inch thick body provides room for desktop Core 2 Duo chips, letting the system run even the 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme processor. Dual 512MB GeForce Go 7950 GTX graphics chips in SLI will also offer desktop-class graphics.
Luxology modo 203
Luxology today released modo 203, bringing enhancements to UV editing tools, faster rendering speed and a new DXF translator plug-in as well as significant performance and workflow improvements. modo is a 3D modeling, painting and rendering application for creating high-quality 3D content for game development, design visualization, film visual effects, video production and graphic arts. modo 203 includes technology and user interface additions to accelerate the development of high-quality UVs. The UV unwrap tool has been improved so that UVs are laid out by the software with less angular and proportional distortion as compared to the geometric polygon volume and to help modo users interactively relax the UV data, the UV pinning function has been improved.
In an unusual move, Panasonic on Tuesday decided to shake up the normally dull world of photocopiers with the C3. Rather than use safer beige or gray, the multifunction device comes in black, blue, red, and yellow -- a choice that can improve not only their appeal but also the moods of the workers who have to use the machines daily, the company claims.
Two versions of the copier are available: the basic C264S2 line prints at 26 pages per minute in color or monochrome with the ability to copy, fax, print, and scan from its 40GB hard drive, a 10Mbps Ethernet connection, and PC Card or SD card slots; the higher-end C354S2 prints black-and-white faster at 35 pages per minute and adds 100Mbps Ethernet to the device for larger documents. Every C3 model should be available today, though pricing is only to be found through dealers.
ColorBurst RIP 5.0
ColorBurst Systems today released ColorBurst RIP 5.0, the latest version of its application that prints files on Epson medium and large format printers. The update adds SWOP Certified support for the Epson SP3800, ensures that users can add job titles as well as color bars to every job, and features custom spot color controls. The latest revision also offers improved linearization, ink limiting technologies, and the latest PostScript engine that handles all transparent elements. A fully functional demo is available that runs for 15 days. XProof for the SP3800 is priced at $500.
HP Leads in January
HP was by far the leading seller of PCs at retail shops in the US, according to newly published info from NPD. Triggered in part by the launch of Windows Vista, the company took over 43 percent of all desktop sales in stores during the month, and also claimed the top spot for notebook at over 23 percent. The company also managed to claim second place in the desktop arena, according to the study, taking over 12 percent through sales of Compaq desktops. Emachines and Toshiba were the company's chief rivals in the desktop and portable spaces at almost 11 percent and 19 percent respectively.
EasyWMV; Nifty Box
EasyWMV 1.0 ($15) converts or resizes WMV, ASF, AVI, MPEG, MOV and VOB files. Resulting videos are saved in the MPG or MP4 formats, and can be specifically tailored for iPods, using H.264 encryption where possible. Other features include iTunes integration, drag-and-drop batch processing, and independent adjustment of audio and video quality. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
[Download - 3.9MB]
Nifty Box 1.1 ($33) is a personal library that stores miscellaneous pictures, bookmarks and other files, which users can add notes to and classify with tags. The latter are appended to a file's Spotlight comments, which will bring up the file even if it's otherwise missing the right metadata. Version 1.1 introduces Web 2.0-like tag clouds, and can sort tags into hierarchical folders. Nifty Box is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 1.2MB]
ChatterBlocker 1.1.0 ($20) attempts to mask the audible distractions of an office without noise cancellation. Instead it uses a blend of music, nature sounds and background chatter, reducing the impact of distractions by making them unintelligible. Users can also turn to meditation tracks intended to increase concentration and reduce stress. The v1.1.0 update makes the software a Universal Binary; Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher is required. [Download - 15.5MB]
UI Actions 1.2 ($35) introduces "universal attachability" to AppleScript, allowing code to be executed every time a specific task is performed. Unlike Apple's Folder or Digital Hub Actions, every task can trigger a script, whether it be opening a window or editing a text field. Version 1.2 makes the program a Universal Binary, and also incorporates new fixes and features, such as updated Automator actions incorporated into the UI Actions helper. [Download - 2MB]
SecuritySpy 1.4.1 ($50) is a multi-camera surveillance package that supports options such as motion detection, network video devices and the ability to broadcast remotely through QuickTime Streaming Server. Captured footage can be sent automatically to an offsite FTP server for backup. The v1.4.1 update adds MPEG-4 compression for viewing through a web browser, and supports several new cameras by Sony and Panasonic. [Download - 2.2MB]
Sony Ericsson iSync Phone Plugins 1.5.3 ($3) enable certain Sony Ericsson phones to synchronize with iCal and Address Book, despite not having official support in iSync 2.3. Phones can only sync through Bluetooth, not USB. The latest plug-ins (sold separately) support the K810i and the W610i. At March 15th's CeBIT show, plug-ins for the K550 and W880 will also be demonstrated. [Download - Size Unknown]
Meizu nano Clone Finalized
The full details of Meizu's M3 Music Card player have been revealed, according to a post by the company on its official forum. Consciously designed with the influence of Apple's first-generation iPod nano in mind, the device uses a vertical touchstrip to navigate content instead of a scroll wheel. A 1.5-inch LCD is also close to the Apple design.
Feature support, the company says, is much broader: besides adding support for rarer formats such as FLAC and OGG to the more commonplace MP3/WAV/WMA standards, the M3 can play XviD-encoded AVI videos at 25 frames per second. An FM tuner and MP3-based voice recording are also features absent from its iPod rival. Playback time is rated at 23 hours for music and five hours for video.
ModBook on display
In brief: Axiotron today announced that it will showcase its ModBook Mac OS X tablet computer on the Axiotron Booth (no. 310) at the Wizard World Convention & Expo in Los Angeles, Apple has placed a large advertisement for its forthcoming iPhone on the side of its flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York, and Viacom has filed a lawsuit against YouTube for $1 billion in financial damages. A Russian newspaper recently interviewed Apple Russia IMC president Evgeniy Bootman about several topics including the iPhone, and Seagate began shipping its 7200RPM 160GB hard drive with free-fall protection. Axiotron will display its award winning ModBook Mac OS X tablet computer at the Wizard World Convention & Expo, and has promised to let attendees try out the ModBook. The high-end slate-style notebook computer is based on Apple's MacBook portable, and features true pen input with an optional Global Positioning System (GPS) in a tough, satin chrome plated magnesium top shell.
Trekstor maxi t uch
Trekstor has revealed that it will launch the DataStation maxi t.uch at the CeBIT expo beginning tomorrow in Germany. It replaces three devices at once, the firm says. As a USB 2.0 external hard drive, it stores as much as 400GB of data and has an automated backup function; relatively rare is the 9-in-1 card reader, which can transfer photos directly to the backup drive as well as to the main computer. Two front-mounted USB 2.0 ports also let the device serve as a hub for other peripherals without adding to a desk's clutter.
Although seeing its first public appearance at CeBIT, the maxi t.uch is available in Europe today for prices ranging between €120 ($158) for the 250GB model and €175 ($231) for the 400GB model. It comes pre-formatted and works with all modern Linux, Mac, and Windows PCs. [via Gizmag]
Slim PSP coming?
Sony is planning a more pocketable version of the PSP, according to the company's UK director Ray Maguire. The executive told a press gathering for the company's PSP in Education Initiative that a "smaller, lighter" version of the gaming system was in the works, and would thin out the system without shrinking its centerpiece 4-inch LCD. That's "fixed," Maguire said.
Although no specifications or timetables were given out for the updated PSP, the improved shape is likely to stem from improved hardware inside, which has remained unchanged since the PSP was introduced worldwide in 2005. The $250 price may also drop with more easily-made parts. [via GamesIndustry]
Sanyo Xacti 2.0 camera
Sanyo's newest camera is the DMX-CG65, also known as the Xacti 2.0. Based on the design of the C6, the principal upgrade is the expanded storage capacity, since it can now handle SDHC cards as well, granting capacities of 4GB or higher. An 8GB SDHC card can hold up to 10 hours of VGA video at 30fps. Helping is the addition of the H.264 codec, which may be particularly useful for its support on iPods. In still mode, meanwhile, the camera takes advantage of its full six megapixels, interpolating if necessary to 10 megapixels. Light sensitivity ranges from ISO 50 to 1600. The camera will first go on sale in Japan in late April.
Amp'd Mobile Canada
Telus today helped introduce Amp'd Mobile Canada. One of the first virtual networks to operate in the country, Amp'd is like its American counterpart in emphasizing Internet access and media over typical calling. In Canadian form, the service will depend on Telus' phone network and will have streaming TV clips from both familiar American networks such as The Comedy Network and Canada-specific stations, including MuchMusic.
Set to launch today, Amp'd Mobile's pricing has not yet been updated but is expected to be competitive, with the emphasis on relatively affordable Internet plans. However, the company is now officially selling the Amp'd RAZR V3M, a customized version of Motorola's music-oriented clamshell. The Amp'd version adds a 256MB microSD card as well as a custom black-and-red color scheme. It sells for $300 Canadian ($257 US) without a contract.
HD/SD PCI-E TV tuner
AVerMedia has released the Combo PCIe, notable for being one of the few internal TV tuner cards to use PCIe, and support both HD and standard-definition signals. The Combo is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Media Center computers, and can handle ATSC and QAM broadcasts, whether they're sent over-the-air or through coaxial cable. Users can also rely on the card to connect AV equipment, such as camcorders and DVD players, or operate as a PVR unit, recording on schedule (or timeshift) in MPEG-2 format. A special 3D comb filter is said to lower the CPU demands of the Combo versus other cards. The product is out now for $120.
Vinyl record iPod cases
Contexture Design today began offering consumers the ability to order custom iPod cases using a vinyl record of choice. The company unveiled vinyl iPod cases in January but restricted its available models to several specific records. Now customers can simply mail a seven-inch record to the company and specify the model of iPod to be covered; only full-sized clickwheel iPods are currently supported, but the company said it expects to build cases for Apple's iPod nano players in the future. Finished cases feature felt padding, a cork lining, and a clear plexiglass window to view the portable media player's LCD. The axle hole is positioned over the clickwheel, so the record must have a large enough gap to make the wheel accessible. Custom 45 cases are priced at $45, plus the cost of shipping vinyl to Contexture.
Miglia on Elgato
Following yesterday's announcement by Elgato Systems that it would no longer provide its EyeTV software to Miglia Technology, the company has responded with a brief statement: "The licence agreement between Miglia and the software supplier for EyeTV has not been renewed, Miglia will no longer ship products that contain this application in its TV solutions," said Miglia CEO Simon Ellson. "Customers that use this application with their Miglia TV product should have no concerns about ongoing support or upgrades, for updated information, please check the support section of our site." Regarding the future of Miglia products, Ellson suggests that development on its own products is continuing, and that a replacement for EyeTV will be discovered. "From time to time we have chosen to bundle other manufacturers software with our own hardware where it has been appropriate, this policy will continue."
Viacom Sues YouTube
Viacom today sued YouTube for $1 billion, marking the largest-ever suit of its kind for Internet videos. The media outlet openly accused YouTube and its parent company Google of deliberately allowing illegal material to be hosted through the site, asking for both financial damages and an injunction against any other Viacom-related clips from reaching the site.
"YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps," read an official Viacom statement. "Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal."
Spanning Sync 1.0 released
Spanning Sync today officially released Spanning Sync, its two-way synchronization software between Google Calendar and Apple's iCal, signaling the end of the application's beta stage. Users can sync all calendars on multiple systems to one Google Calendar account, ensuring that planning data on any given system is transferred to other chosen systems. Spanning Sync enables users to share calendars between multiple Macs and Google accounts, as well as sync between Google Calendar and Apple Sync Services-compatible devices such as cellular phones, iPods, and the forthcoming iPhone. The move from a beta release brings pricing of $25 per year or a one-time $65 payment to register. Spanning Sync requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
Sony-Ericsson K850 Leak
Sony-Ericsson is readying a phone to challenge the best Nokia has to offer, according to leaked details. The K850i will represent the phone designer's signature camera phone and will snap photos at 5 megapixels with a bright Xenon flash, eclipsing the 3.2-megapixel K810 announced just last month. The bar-shaped device should also be a true 3G phone with a front VGA camera and mobile broadband through UMTS.
The features won't, however, cut into size and should allow for both a large 2.2-inch LCD and an 0.51-inch thick body. Battery life should be equally surprising at 9 hours of active talk time and 350 hours of standby. Full details of the phone may be revealed at tomorrow's CeBIT show, where the phone is likely to see an initially Europe-only launch. Click through for full images. [via Terminal]
Open-ended Apple growth?
Apple's future is about more than just Macs, iPods, and iPhone, according to one analyst. Benjamin A. Reitzes of UBS said Apple is poised to become an "open-ended" growth story once again with a logical chronology of new products and advances, such as the multi-touch technology shown at Jobs' iPhone keynote in San Francisco. Reiterating a 'buy' on the stock but calling the estimates "conservative," the research firm held its $124 12-month price target and said that the "mega-platform" could add $1.00 to Apple's bottom-line in future years. "We believe the multi-touch platform initially shown in the upcoming iPhone can be integrated into several products including Macs & iPods, facilitated by Apple's software & retail ecosystem," Reitzes wrote in his research note to clients.
Casio Exilim EX-Z65
Following in the wake of last week's PMA photography expo, Casio today introduced the EX-Z65. As a new entry-level model for the company's characteristically thin Exilim range, the Z65 steps down from January's Z75 and Z1050 only by dropping its resolution to 6 megapixels. The camera still manages 3X optical zoom and a software-based anti-shake mode that doubles ISO to 800 for stable shots. Previews take place on a 2.6-inch widescreen LCD.
The camera is expected to ship later month in Europe for €199 ($262). An announcement for North America hasn't been made but is likely to come at a lower price should Casio decide to bring the camera across the Atlantic. [via Let's Go Digital]
iBank 2.2 released
IGG Software has released iBank 2.2, an update to its personal and small business financial application. The latest release features smart import rules, balance forecasting, and smart accounts. iBank 2.2 adds new budgeting features, faster startup speed, improved reporting, enhanced AppleScript support, and numerous other improvements alongside several bug fixes. Color codes show whether users are over or under budget based on the last month, quarter, or year. iBank is priced at $40, with upgrades from iBank 1.x available for $20. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, and offers localizations in English as well as French, German, and Italian.
Panasonic GLOBARANGE Phone
Panasonic and joip together announced on Monday the GLOBARANGE, a combination of a dual-mode phone and a special VoIP service. The phone itself is a 5.8GHz cordless model with DECT support that can handle both landline calls as well as Internet voice without the need for a host PC. Instead of Skype, however, Panasonic has opted to use joip, a newer VoIP service which both companies claim has an edge over other services. Callers can set up forwarding to multiple phone numbers, custom ringtones, and e-mail notices for incoming voice mail.
The phone should be available this summer for an unspecified price. Its accompanying joip service is currently in a joinable beta test on PCs and should be free for calls between fellow GLOBARANGE and joip users when completed later this year. Outbound calls to real-world numbers are expected to have a low fee.
SNS offers iSCSI SAN
Studio Network Solutions (SNS) today announced that it is offering a free download of its iSCSI initiator software for Mac OS X. The software allows Macs to utilize iSCSI storage, a new generation of networked-attached storage that offers high performance access for multiple computers. When deployed over a Gigabit or 10-Gigabit Ethernet network, an iSCSI-based storage area network (SAN) can offer similar performance to that of a Fibre Channel SAN, while costing much less to implement, according to the company. iSCSI SAN require an initiator for each computer that requires access to the networked storage. Although an initiator is freely available for most major operating systems, an iSCSI initiator is not shipped with Apple's Mac OS X; however, with its announcement today Studio Network Solutions has released 3.0 of its globalSAN iSCSI initiator for Mac OS X.
GPS device maker ViaMichelin announced today that it will grow its X-series by two at CeBIT. The X-960 (pictured) is a basic mapping system with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a 300MHz Samsung processor, and 64MB of RAM as well as 128MB of ROM. Battery life is rated at two hours when not plugged into a car's 12-volt socket. At the mid-range is the similar X-970T: although the same size, it gains Bluetooth for hands-free calls, a faster 400MHz chip, and support for RDS as well as optional live traffic updates. Both X-series refreshes will use version 7 of ViaMichelin's Navigation System software.
JVC Multi-Colored HDTVs
JVC on Tuesday ventured into unfamiliar territory with its new LC8 line of LCD TVs. Although all models are capable of 720p with a single HDMI input and combination analog and digital TV tuners, the 20-inch LT-20LC8 breaks from normally conservative colors by shipping in brown, gold, and pink to match the decor in a given room. Silver is also available for more cautious viewers.
The 20-inch LCD ships in April alongside the largest model, the 37-inch LT-37LC8, which will be available only in black or silver. Two mid-range models, the 32-inch LT-32LC8 and 26-inch LT-26LC8, will ship later this month. Pricing is unknown, though these sets are likely to be converted for sale in the US at a later date.
SanDisk SSD for SATA
SanDisk this morning unveiled the SSD SATA 5000, its first solid-state drive for notebooks to use the faster Serial ATA standard. The 32GB drive uses its flash memory to transfer data far more quickly than a hard disk can in practice. Reading data can be sustained at 67MB per second; seek times are even quicker, taking only 0.11 milliseconds to reach data that would take 17 milliseconds to find on a hard disk. The performance means that even Windows Vista Enterprise will boot in 30 seconds, according to the company's tests.
Conceived as a drop-in replacement for other notebook drives, the SATA 5000 fits into a standard 2.5-inch space without any changes but consumes less than half the power. Pricing is set comparatively low for flash drives: the current 32GB version is available to system builders now for $350.
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