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Refurb MacBook Pros gone
Apple's previously available supply of reconditioned MacBook Pros has disappeared for the time being, leaving price-conscious pro consumers to shop instead for just one MacBook model or a slew of G4-based PowerBooks. The one remaining refurbished MacBook model is Apple's 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo white model with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive for $949. The company's 15-inch G4 PowerBooks currently include the 1.5GHz model with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a Combo drive for $1,249; the 1.67GHz model with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive for $1,299; and the 1.67GHz model with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, a SuperDrive, and a 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 video card for $1,349. Apple's 17-inch PowerBooks include the 1.67GHz model with 512MB of memory and a 100GB hard drive for $1,599; as well as another 1.67GHz model with 512MB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,699.
Airplane cellphone ban
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, is proposing that the organization continue its long-standing ban on in-flight cellphone calls, says USA Today. Most of the FCC's commissioners are said to support Martin's position. While a lifting of the ban was proposed back in 2004, support has since lost momentum, mainly due to a lack of interest from wireless companies and the public.
Technical problems have persisted as well: hardware developed by AirCell was to have prevented intereference with ground calls, but initial tests failed, and the company is now retooling its product. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration has only recently begun testing the effect of cellphones on navigation equipment, the most frequently cited reason for the ban's existence. Some are also supporting it not because of safety concerns, but because of the noise and distraction cellphones might cause. The ban is only likely to be overturned in the near future if this year's planned European deployment proves successful.
LiveDictionary 1.2.7 ($25) is an extension for Apple's Safari Web browser that provides instant information on a website's words. The software blends into the browser, popping up a window to show definitions whenever users mouse-over text. LiveDictionary can also translate foreign languages, and the latest release adds French as well as Japanese localizations. The update includes a minor improvement to Asian-language word search, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or higher.
[Download - 11.9MB]
Simon 2.2.2 ($30) is a site monitoring tool that tracks ports, Web pages, FTP/DNS servers, and more. When certain components change or fail, the software can send notifications via four various methods: speech, sounds, email, or HTML reports. The latest release updates the Specific DNS plug-in to work with newer hardware, and improves headless operation of the application. Simon is a Universal Binary requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 7.3MB]
Album Cover Finder 6.1 ($11) is primarily designed for its namesake, but can also be used to locate reviews, track listings, videos and other associated data. Once album art is found, it can be added automatically to artists, playlists, or the entire iTunes library. Version 6.1 improves the search engine, offers a quick link to Google Images, and can produce text reports when the Fill Entire Library command is used. [Download - 6MB]
SnapMeasure 1.7 ($24) is an Adobe Illustrator 10/CS/CS2 plug-in that enhances the measuring tool, causing it to "snap" to elements on the page for more accuracy. The plug-in also displays measurement information next to the cursor, and can use an alternate color for the line to improve visibility. Changes to version 1.7 include the "HoverMeasure" feature, as well as selectable snapping icons and data fields. [Download - 2.2MB]
SmartWrap 2.6 ($18) scans text within various programs, and automatically rewraps lists as well as paragraphs to fit "naturally" within a document or e-mail message. SmartWrap supports Eudora, BBEdit, TextMate, and the Mac OS X clipboard. Version 2.6 is entirely rewritten in Cocoa, and improves the detection of lists as well as graphics. Requirements of client programs may vary, though SmartWrap requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 1.2MB]
Random Wok 1.0 (free) is an Aperture 1.5 export plug-in designed to create random filenames for pictures either individually or in bulk. Owners can specify criteria such as casing, length and prefix/suffix amendments to exercise greater control. Users can also permanently set Wok to "freeze" the filenames it chooses to create Web images that are permanently linked. The plug-in only functions with Mac OS X 10.4.8. [Download - 228KB]
iTrip for 2G iPod nano
Griffin Technology today began shipping its newly updated iTrip for iPod nano, the latest addition to the company's iTrip product line that is redesigned to fit the sleek lines of the new second-generation iPod nano. iTrip for second-generation Nanos is designed as a grab-and-go solution for users who want to play an iPod on both auto and home stereo systems. The accessory works as a sled, broadcasting the iPod's music wirelessly to the car or home stereo FM radio. Griffin's SmartDisplay technology enables users to view iTrip's setup and control information on the iPod nano screen, and the iTrip automatically adjusts output volume for distortion-free play. The device features a mini-USB port to charge the iPod while in use, and is priced at $50.
Saitek Easter Mice
Saitek today hoped to inject color into the typically conservative world of notebook mice with its PM09 collection. The green, pink, orange, and yellow mice are a good fit for Easter baskets, Saitek claims. Each is ambidextrous, rounded, and rubberized for a steady grip no matter which hand is used. Tracking is handled by an 800 DPI optical sensor.
All four colors of the holiday-themed, three-button scroll mouse are available today for $20 and plugs into virtually any USB-equipped computer. [via CrunchGear]
Paradox PS2 Gamepad
Reflex has recently previewed the Paradox, a gamepad for those devoted to first-person games and other fast-action titles. Its signature change from Sony's reference Dual Shock controller is the replacement of the right analog stick with a trackball; Reflex claims the control scheme offers finer-grained and faster input for games where the stick would normally be used for aiming or viewing.
Pat Sajack's Trivia Gems
Uclick has released Pat Sajack's Trivia Gems for the Mac, the game show host's newest show challenging participants to climb the pyramid by answering trivia question triplets. Players must choose the steps carefully, however, as each colored pyramid step is a different trivia category. Participants wager on every question as they take into account their confidence in their own answers, enabling skilled players to place larger bets when they are certain that they're right. "Watch for Pat¹s Brain Busters and Gem of a Question, the surprise trivia challenges that give you a chance to multiply your winnings, as you make your way to Pat¹s Power Gem at the top of the pyramid for one last opportunity to double your money!" Pat Sajak's Trivia Gems is available from Macgamestore.com for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
iRiver T50 Announced
iRiver started its Friday by revealing the T50, its newest flash-based music player. The prism-like jukebox promises a unique look and a display rarely if ever seen at its size and price range: the 1-inch display is a full, 65,000-color LCD that allows a much more visual interface. The screen is vivid enough to display BMP photos, says iRiver.
Music playback is supported for MP3/OGG/WMA tracks and is backed up by an FM tuner as well as a voice recording tool that stores up to 72 hours of clips on the 1GB device. Battery life is rated at 18 hours on a solitary AAA battery. The T50 will be available in black or white on April 14th at a price of $85 in Japan, and should make its way to other areas soon. Click through for full shots. [via Impress]
Vestel Santa Rosa Notebook
Breaking the restrictions imposed by Intel, Vestel at CeBIT launched one of the first public demonstrations of a portable using Intel's new Santa Rosa platform for mobile PCs. The 15-inch system on show, codenamed the DJR154SG, was confirmed to be using the fastest known version of the new Core 2 Duo: the 2.4GHz T7700 not only eclipses the 2.33GHz of today's chips and relies on a faster 800MHz bus for a greater incrase in speed.
The system further uses Intel's unannounced GMA X3100 graphics chip for faster 3D speed without a costlier dedicated video chipset, and HDMI for outputting a full 1080p signal to a TV. Unique to Vestel is a circual navigation pad (bottom right) for navigating music and other files without resorting to the keyboard or mouse.
Creative X-Fi ExpressCard
Creative at CeBIT demonstrated its first-ever sound card designed for modern notebooks. So far titled only the X-Fi Notebook, the adapter will plug into the ExpressCard 54 slot of newer portables and uses the faster standard to provide sound closer to the kind found with internal sound cards on desktops. The base card includes its own analog/optical input and output connections for simpler speaker arrangements; an attachable breakout box provides more connections for more complex setups.
Despite the early showing, Creative has not officially announced the X-Fi Notebook nor given launch details, though it should be available within the next few months at a price comparable to its $100, PC Card-based Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. [via NotebookReview]
Star Trek on iTunes
Star Trek: The Original Series has returned to Apple's iTunes store after quietly disappearing in February of this year. The first season of the series is available alongside a remastered version of the classic Sci-Fi TV show, with both versions priced at $56.99 each. The remastered edition of Star Trek: The Original Series features "all-new digital effects that hold close to the spirit of the original," according to iTunes, available in their full-length original format without the cuts of syndicated television. "The vivid remastered versions make Star Trek new again, without compromising what made the show a pioneer of modern, continuing-character science fiction."
Vonage Blocked by Verizon
A US federal judge today issued an injunction against Vonage, asking the voice-over-IP provider to immediately stop infringing on patents held by the phone company Verizon. The ruling follows a $58 million award to Verizon earlier in the month granted after a jury found that Vonage had caused harm to the carrier's phone business in three separate instances.
An upheld decision could potentially prove crippling for the Internet-based phone service by blocking the company's V-Phones (pictured) and routers from working on Verizon's networks, which cover a large portion of the country. The judge rejected Vonage's claim that siding with Verizon would hurt the public interest.
CS3 bundles, Euro pricing
Adobe will announce on Tuesday that its Creative Suite 3.0 -- which is expected to boost Intel-based Mac sales due to pent-up demand for the professional software -- will be available in six individual bundles with European pricing from €999 to €2799, according to AppleInsider. A "Standard" bundle will include Acrobat 8 Professional, Illustrator CS3, and InDesign 3.0. A "Premium" version adds Dreamweaver CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, and replaces Photoshop CS3 for Photoshop CS3 Extended. Adobe is planning to offer a pair of bundles designed for Web developers as part of its "Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 Web" bundle, while the "Standard" package priced at €999 includes Contribute CS3, Dreamweaver CS3, Fireworks CS3, and Flash CS3 Professional. All of the new suites also include Adobe Bridge CS3, Acrobat Connect, Device Central CS3, Stock Photos, and Version Cue CS3.
Hanwang Tablet Mouse
Hoping to come to the rescue of Chinese and others whose languages often make typing difficult, Hanwang has unveiled its handwriting mouse. Its body is carved out to reveal a tablet specifically tailored for writing characters; in its current design, the mouse is set up to recognize and transmit Mandarin characters drawn on the mouse using a stylus that hides in a small compartment when not in use.
The mouse is otherwise completely functional as a three-button scroll mouse and ships in any one of five colors in its native China. Pricing and availability aren't readily available. [ PC Launches]
New pictures, specs
Taiwanese maker Giga-Byte has released new information regarding a pair of upcoming phones. Though previously announced, the G-Smart q60 now has a more detailed photo, and appears to have shifted somewhat in its specifications. It has migrated to the Vista-like Windows Mobile 6.0, and instead of EDGE and UMTS broadband, it appears to have switched to HSDPA and WCDMA.
The next phone is the previously-shrouded t600, which is said to be the first to combine DVB-H and DVB-T TV tuners. It will also tune in DAB/T-DMB radio, and be able to record MP4 video using its two-megapixel camera. AAC, MP3 and AAC+ files will be supported, and data connections will include GPRS, Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g. Both the q60 and t600 should ship to Asia in April, with European distribution likely within several months. Click through for the new images. [via Akihabara News]
New FastMac power adapter
FastMac has announced a new power adapter in its TruePower line specifically targeted at older laptops that Apple may no longer support. The 65W AC adapter plugs into both clamshell iBooks and G3 PowerBooks, serving as a dual-voltage (100/240V) power source with an extended 10-foot cable for reaching difficult power sockets. FastMac's latest power accessory recharges the lithium ion battery while the system is off, on, or in sleep mode, and can also power a computer without a battery. The adapter features a built-in LED light to indicate activity, and comes with a 30-day refund guarantee and a one-year warranty. FastMac is already selling the adapter for $36.
Vodafone Likely for iPhone
Vodafone is the prime candidate to carry the iPhone when it reaches Europe, according to The Guardian's Richard Wray. The editor points to anonymous industry experts who suggest that the provider is currently the leader in a bid for an exclusive deal with Apple. The California-based firm's main goal is universal distribution, the report notes. As one of the few cellular services to address most of Europe, Vodafone would give Apple a single company with which to negotiate its terms.
Apple traffic, WWDC
In brief: Apple is listed as one of the top U.K. internet properties as researched by comScore, Apple has announced a scientific development poster session at its forthcoming WWDC conference, Apoio today announced the Nordic Macintosh System Administrators Meeting 2007, and Linotype is preparing to hold the TypoTechnica 2007 conference at the Guttenberg Schule in Frankfurt, Germany. ComScore's report on traffic leading U.K. sites for the month of February marks Apple as receiving roughly the same number of unique visitors at least 15 years or older. The Cupertino-based company's website drew 9,450,000 unique visitors in February vs. 9,477,000 unique visitors in January of this year. The study excludes traffic from public computers such as internet cafes, as well as access from mobile phones or PDAs.
G-NET Car PC
G-NET on Friday reworked its CarPC for drivers who want quick access to a computer while on the road. The computer itself is housed in a toughened shell designed to run at temperatures as low as -40F or as high as 149F. Nevertheless, the system has received a performance upgrade: the 1.5GHz Via C7 processor that drives the system is 50 percent faster than its predecessor, the company says. Memory has also been stepped up to 1GB, with storage similarly expanding to 80GB.
The base PC is sold today for $995 as a stand-alone device bundled with a wireless mouse/keyboard hybrid, but can be accompanied by an in-dash LCD as well as GPS, Sirius satellite radio, or car diagnostics modules for an extra price. [via TG Daily]
AirPort router review
The new 802.11n AirPort Extreme base station stands to uphold Apple's promises as faster router with enhanced features, according to a new review of the device. "After four weeks with the stylish new base station, I can say that it delivers," wrote Ken Mingis of Computerworld. "The wireless storage feature, which I consider the best thing about the hardware, works flawlessly. Transfer speeds are indeed faster when moving files around." Simple setup and integrated security make the router an easy pick for non-technical users, according to the reviewer, and Apple will likely ensure that its Time Machine software -- which will ship with the company's forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system -- integrates with storage devices attached to the base station.
VX9400 TV phone at Verizon
Verizon today launched the second phone in its mobile TV lineup, the LG VX9400. In contrast with the Samsung U620 that originally launched the service at the start of this month, the VX9400 follows in the tradition of southeast Asian phones with a pivoting display that adjusts to fit the wider resolutions of digital TV. Other features common to many of LG's American phones are also present, such as a 1.3-megapixel camera and EVDO broadband.
Obtaining the phone requires both a regular subscription and Verizon's VCAST TV service available in specific areas of the US. Pricing is currently unavailable.
SoundGraph PC touchscreen
At its booth for this week's CeBIT expo in Hannover, Germany, Korean company SoundGraph took the time to demonstrate a new control screen for computers. Simply known as the Front View, it should allow owners of standard desktop PCs to convert them into "proper" Media Center systems -- that is, machines that can plug into a TV and don't require a keyboard to operate. The Front View is a 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen, which mounts into one of the panels of a computer and enables control of functions such as music selection, with active feedback such as track info and a visualizer. Owing to the early state of the product, no release date has been set, and it may even be strictly for OEMs. [via AVING]
Miroslav Philharmonik CE
IK Multimedia has released Miroslav Philharmonik Classik Edition, a new, less expensive version of its virtual orchestra software. Both versions use 1.5GB of samples recorded by Miroslav Vitous in the Dvorák Symphony Hall, which IK believes to give each instrument a more natural and complementary sound. The Classik Edition retains most of the full version's functionality, such as a 16-part multitimbral workstation and multiple synth engines, but has fewer articulations and performance patches. The Mac software requires a 1.5GHz Core Solo processor and Mac OS X 10.4.4, and is also available as an AU, VST or RTAS plug-in. Miroslav Philharmonik Classik Edition is priced at $250.
Hairline cracks on MacBook
With an earlier MacBook having caught on fire despite a battery recall, a new incident may be evidence of mounting hardware troubles for Apple. A reader of Jason O'Grady's blog at ZDNet has sent in photo evidence of cracks located around the hinges, vents and the entire back edge of his MacBook. Critically, the reader says he has never been rough with his computer, keeping it either on his desk or in a suede-lined messenger bag. Apple has offered to repair the casing for free since the laptop is still under warranty, but O'Grady asks if there may not be more unreported fractures.
Honeywell sues LCD Makers
Honeywell has filed a lawsuit in Texas against several LCD TV producers, according to the Taipei Times. The American company claims that key manufacturers -- including ASUS, BenQ, and assembly firms such as AU Optronics -- have violated a patent it holds in the US relating to anti-flicker compensation. The infringment has caused "irreparable harm" to Honeywell's business, the suit reads.
Sagem my215x Music Phone
Sagem has just released its keenly-focused my215x cellphone. The cellphone designer's new model is aimed squarely at first-time or budget users who still want a genuinely capable music player, and trims the features to match: while stripped of a camera or Bluetooth, the my215x packs an unusually large 256MB of built-in flash memory and has dedicated, easily identifiable music controls for navigating MP3 songs. Talk time is just short of four hours with 255 hours on standby mode, claims Sagem.
The handset is one of Sagem's least expensive and is available first in the UK through Vodafone, which retails the phone for £40 ($79). See a full image after the jump. [via Pocket-lint]
Keynote Objects FX 1.0
Jumsoft has released Keynote Objects FX 1.0, a package of photo objects for Apple's Keynote and Pages software that also works with Microsoft PowerPoint and Word applications. Keynote Objects FX is a new collection of images designed to make any presentation or document more informative and fun. The package includes over 50 new 3D rendered objects, with each object fully optimized for presentations that are 1024x768 pixels in size and Pages documents of any size. All images are rendered in 3D to provide a realistic look and feel, and the package includes a "Sparkle" QuickTime movie to produce a twinkle effect anywhere in a presentation. Keynote Objects FX 1.0 is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X with iWork '05 or later.
eShare Torrent Drive
Procare today unveiled the eShare 8068, a relatively rare take on network storage. Rather than insist on carrying its own drive, the device can automatically convert any hard disk into a privately-accessible network resource by using an enclosure to plug the drive in through a USB port. The eShare unit also contains its own BitTorrent client and will automatically download queued torrents regardless of the computers active on the local network. An owner can also open up remote access -- even with other eShare members, the company says -- and use the device as a one-button backup option for a given computer.
Availability for Procare's add-on outside of its Taiwan home is currently unknown, though the company does sell outside of the country.
Groups seek green Apple
Greenpeace and more than 70 other groups are urging Vice President Gore to use his influence on the Board of Apple to convince the Cupertino-based company to be a "green leader" in the electronics industry. Apple's Board of Directors, of which Gore is a member, is due to send out a statement recommending that stockholders vote against two proposals that would strengthen the iPod maker's environmental policies, according to Greenpeace. Draft board documents say that their board "unanimously" opposes both proposals, but Greenpeace and 73 other groups called on Gore to enlist his leadership in persuading Apple to instead support the proposals by making Apple an industry leader in making greener products.
Ubiquam GSM/CDMA phone
Many cellphones are said to be world-roaming, but the U520 by Korean maker Ubiquam, carried by Russia's Skylink, takes a somewhat different approach. The phone has receivers for both CDMA and GSM networks, and also supports their data services -- though only CDMA gets broadband, reaching speeds of up to 2.4Mbps through 1x EVDO. The phone is further limited by its bands, since it is only dual-band (900/1800) on GSM, and single-band (450) on CDMA. Features less dependent on networks include Bluetooth and a two-megapixel camera. The phone is selling for approximately 17,110-17,690 rubles ($590-610). [via Unwired View]
Casio Exilim EX-Z11
Casio on Friday released a single new camera targeted directly at camera users who want the advantages of some more expensive cameras without some of the added costs. The Exilim EX-Z11 has the 7.2-megapixel sensor and 3X optical zoom increasingly common with many compact cameras, but also incorporates an anti-shake processor for stabilizing the image. The camera also claims ISO 800 sensitivity and a full VGA-quality video mode; Casio's own BEST SHOT mode can force the max ISO setting in either movies or still photos.
The camera is currently only available in Germany as a special retail offering, where it sells for the equivalent of $589. No mention was made of an American model. Photos follow after the break. [via Let's Go Digital]
Leopard delay rumors
With the delayed launch of Apple TV finally here, Apple's rumor mill has turned to Mac OS X Leopard, iMacs, and possibly new server-oriented software from Parallels. A new rumor from Digitimes says the release of the Mac OS X Leopard operating system "will be postponed to October to allow Apple to make Leopard support Windows Vista through an integrated version of its Boot Camp software." According to that rumor, the company hopes that Macs with support for Vista can grab more market share, the report claims. SWsoft -- the makers of Parallels Desktop -- is reportedly working on a similar server-based virtualization application for Apple servers that "could provide customers with an innovative solution for running Windows, Mac OS and Linux side by side on a departmental or small business server."
Apple TV Already Hacked
The Apple TV has already been hacked to run non-supported video formats, according to a pair of forum users. Confirming Walt Mossberg's claim that the media hub runs a custom version of Mac OS X, the technique involves removing the hard drive and mounting it on a Mac, where it appears as a native HFS volume. Installing the SSH server Dropbear, the video container Perian, and a custom script lets the Apple TV play files outside of its normal MPEG-4 and H.264 standards.
Apple TV: the shortcomings
As Apple TVs begin to arrive in the US, some media outlets have had more than a few days to play with the new set-top device from Apple. While most reviews are calling the device a "simple and elegant," Apple TV--called a "big iPod"--has several significant shortcomings and may not be for all users given other options. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is said to offer better file format/service support, direct internet purchases (movie trailers and software updates are available through the internet), and more. Apple TV also only supports a limited number of file formats, according to PC Magazine's 4 out of 5 star review. Files that work in iTunes don't necessarily work on Apple TV, the publication says; they must be transcoded using Apple's QuickTime Pro (which recently obtained new Apple TV export options) or a third-party software application.
Eurocom D900 Phantom
Canadian notebook maker Eurocom has just updated its flagship notebook series with the D900C Phantom. Based closely on the Taiwan-only Clevo notebook with a similar name, the 17-inch system is designed almost exclusively for gamers and pro 3D users with desktop components. In Eurocom form, the system uses a desktop-class Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme as well as an MXM mobile graphics card slot that lets owners install any of multiple NVIDIA-made video chipsets -- including the gaming-friendly dual 512MB GeForce Go 7950 GTX or the upcoming GeForce Go 8000 series, the company is keen to point out.
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