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AirPort Base Station Upd
Apple today released AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 (for Windows), a software update for its new AirPort Extreme Base Station and other older networking hardware that includes general fixes and compatibility updates for AirPort Utility, AirPort Admin Utility for Graphite and Snow Base Stations, AirPort Disk Utility, AirPort Disk Agent. Apple notes that "only previously installed software from the list above will be updated. AirPort Utility v5.1 for Mac OS X 10.4.x or later software supports the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, AirPort Extreme Base Station and AirPort Express Base Station." It is a 12.7MB download via Apple's website and the Software Update.
Edifier E3300 speakers
Chinese multinational Edifier used the recent CeBIT expo in Hannover, Germany to preview its e3300 speakers, a radical redesign of earlier products like the e3100s. Unlike its rectagular predecessors, all components of the e3300s are pyramidal -- including the 32W, down-firing subwoofer, which nevertheless positions the power button at the top for easier access. Since each satellite only possesses 9W of power, the purpose of the speakers appears to be computers and light stereo use, such as iPod playback. No release information has been mentioned, but Edifier's global reach will likely bring the e3300s to North America. [via AVING]
No ifo for Italy store
In brief: The first Italian Apple Store will not cater to fans waiting in front of the store for the grand opening, Red Giant Software today announced that the creator of Magic Bullet and Sin City Visual Effects Supervisor will unveil a new Magic Bullet product at NAB in Las Vegas, Total Training is helping Adobe Creative Suite 3 users up to speed with new video tutorials, and M-Audio has released a new firmware update for its MicroTrack 24/26. Apple's usual 'ifo' or "in front of" Apple Store line prior to grand openings will not likely occur for Italy's first retail outlet, according to Setteb.it. The store, which is due to open on March 31st at 9:00 a.m. local time, will not be accessible to the public because the ROMAEST mall will be closed until 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Apple fans can still wait outside the external gates beside the roads, however.
WeatherPop Advance 2.6.1 ($8) is an alternative to the Tiger weather widget, displaying information such as temperature and general conditions in the menu bar. More advanced data such as wind, humidity and forecasts can be seen by using the drop-down window. New to v2.6.1 is a real-time Doppler radar view, available for any city in the United States. A trial version of the app can be used for 14 days.
[Download - 3.5MB]
PresentYourApps 2.0 (donation) will automatically hide or remove the Dock and menu bar when using certain programs. Version 2.0 can switch into presentation mode from launch, and allows every program to have its own settings. Eternal Storms cautions that while users no longer need to be in an administrative account, Dock options do not work in Mac OS X 10.4.9. The app otherwise runs on 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 515KB]
viAllOver 0.1b (free) is a subclass for NSTextView that makes all textiviews in Cocoa apps behave more similarly to vi. The update adds a number of new and improved commands, as well as options such as hotkeys, and customizable colors. It has also been made into a Universal Binary. Compatibility may vary, but the software should run on Mac OS X 10.3.9 and 10.4. [Download - 98KB]
EasyEnvelopes 1.0.3 (free) is a Dashboard widget that lets users quickly print out a pre-labelled envelope, using customized fonts and languages. To simplify the process, the widget can grab contacts from Address Book with a pull-down menu. The v1.0.3 update introduces support for Mac OS X 10.5, and fixes several minor issues, such as a problem in which editing an Address Book entry would not affect a live widget. [Download - 792KB]
Citrin 1.1 ($120) produces scientific graphs and curves in a variety of 2D and 3D formats, ranging from pies and histograms to probability charts. Images can be exported to types such as JPEG, TIFF and TGA. Version 1.1 adds 3D pies and other features, and also remedies a series of bugs, including a scaling bug that affected OpenGL on Intel systems. Problems with resizing worksheet columns have likewise been addressed. [Download - 10.8MB]
ChatterBlocker 1.1.2 ($20) attempts to mask workplace noise rather than cancel it, using a combination of music, nature sounds and unintelligible conversation. Owners can further run meditation tracks designed to reduce stress and increase concentration. The v1.1.2 upgrade supports aliases for sound files, and corrects a bug found in v1.1.1's installer. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 18.5MB]
iRiver S10 on Sale in US
iRiver's S10 music player is finally on sale in the US, a search of the company's online store has revealed. The 2GB flash player had previously been available only in Asia but has already garnered attention for its small dimensions, which are only slightly larger than its 1.15-inch screen thanks to screen borders that double as direction buttons. Not all of the features have been publicized for its American release but should still include MP3, OGG, and WMA playback as well as an FM tuner/recorder combination and a microphone for voice recording.
A limited batch of S10 units is available at the time of this writing and sells for $170, reflecting the cost of importing the small music jukebox from its Korean home. [via Crave]
Sequel audio app released
Steinberg has released Sequel, a new one-window music studio for users who want to create their own music. The software includes everything needed to create music on a Mac or Windows system. Users with no musical knowledge can create and perform music live via included loops, sounds, effects, instruments, and more. "Inspiration for new songs comes in the form of a staggering 3.5GB of built-in loops and sounds covering a huge range of today's music as well as over 600 instantly playable instruments. Produced by top pros from the US, UK, and Germany, Sequel's sound library provides inspiration for Dance projects, Urban beats, Rock and Pop songs and much more." Sequel is priced at $100 and requires a 1GHz processor and Mac OS X 10.4.
Panasonic SD1 Cam for US
Following the announcement of its 2007 plasma line, Panasonic on Thursday also prepped for the final release of two new HD camcorders. The HDC-SD1 (pictured) and HDC-DX1 together record at widescreen 1080i and can opt for 5.1-channel surround sound thanks in part to the use of AVCHD recording, which saves space on the SDHC cards (for the SD1) or mini DVDs (DX1) used for storage. A 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilization is common across either camera.
Prices have dropped since the initial announcement, according to the company: the DX1 and SD1 alike will retail for $1,300 when they reach stores by the end of the month.
Extensis CS3 plug-ins
Extensis has announced new plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS3, set to be released over the next several months. They will function with Suitcase Fusion, Suitcase Server and Font Reserve Server, and ensure that whenever an InDesign or Illustrator project is opened, it will properly activate and deactivate fonts as needed. Suitcase is a font management program that allows the same fonts to be used throughout multiple applications, guaranteeing a consistent appearance. The plug-ins will be compatible only with CS3 and will be a free download from the Extensis website.
Panasonic 2007 Plasmas
Panasonic this afternoon filled in the final release information for its plasma TV line for 2007, providing the first real upgrade to the displays since the PX60 series last year. In addition to seven previously announced models between, two new sets in the new PZ750U line are being released, Panasonic says.
Both the 50-inch TH-50PZ750U and 58-inch TH-58PZ750U will both match the 1080p native resolution of newer plasmas while catering to truly dedicated viewers: a Studio Reference Mode matches the same color palettes seen by professional film monitors, and a pro calibration mode will let hobbyists fine-tune settings usually hidden in technician-only controls. Either set will also sport three HDMI connectors when they go on sale in June for $4,000 (50-inch) and $5,500 (58-inch). A list of the remaining sets follows after the jump.
OWC drive enclosure kits
Other World Computing (OWC) today unveiled two new Mercury On-The-Go Hard Drive Enclosure Kits for 2.5-inch SATA hard drives. The kits enable users to build portable hard drives that connect to any computer with USB 2.0 capability, and feature a see-through design with shock protection for safe portability. The enclosure kits are fully bootable, and include all of the necessary cables to work with any USB-enabled computer. OWC says its enclosures run quietly, and keep the drive cool with a built-in aluminum heat sink under the hard drive, passing heat through cooling vents in the top. The OWC Mercury On-the-Go Hard Drive Enclosure Kits for 2.5-inch SATA notebook hard drives are priced at $40 with USB 2.0 and $55 with USB 2.0+eSATA Interfaces and include cables as well as accessories required for supported interfaces.
JVC Floating MP3 Player
JVC has released the distinctive AW33 portable music player. The white, cone-shaped gadget is designed specifically for the bathtub and the pool, floating at the surface to play music; it avoids the size and weight that would drag it underwater by using an NXT flat-panel speaker. The shell is nevertheless waterproof up to one meter (39 inches) and has an LED ring that both helps find the player and also pulses in time with the music for entertainment's sake.
Features are modest, with 256MB of flash memory holding MP3 or WMA (including protected WMA) songs for up to 15 hours of continuous playback. JVC ships the AW33 in Japan for $170 including a translucent stand that holds the player outside of the water. [via New Launches]
Sidekick ID Accident
The Sidekick ID has been unintentionally revealed at the CTIA phone expo, an observant photographer has revealed. Cellphone producer UTStarcom, which produces the Sidekick line on behalf of Danger and T-Mobile, had all but confirmed the device by posting full-size advertising at its show booth, only realizing its error a day later when it spray-painted the ID-specific parts of the unannounced handheld.
The leak validates earlier claims about the device, which is said to strip some secondary features from the current high-end Sidekick 3 to roughly halve the price. Neither Danger, T-Mobile, nor UTStarcom has commented on the leak. Click through for a larger image. [via Gizmodo]
iMac G4 upgrade ships
Daystar Technology today began shipping the XLR8 400 MAChSpeed G4 IMTL Kit, a G4 CPU upgrade kit for older iMac G3 systems that allows "do it yourself" users to transorm their older 233-333MHz G3 iMac into a 400MHz G4-based system. The upgrade allows the iMac to perform on par with early Power Mac G4 systems, according to Daystar, and operates up to eight times faster than a G3 CPU running the same functions. The XLR8 400 MAChSpeed G4 IMTL Kit supports all versions of Mac OS X, but due to the lack of Firewire on the iMac Tray Load systems some users will need to download and use the third party enabler, "XPOSTFACTO" to install Tiger as well as the upcoming Leopard operating systems. The upgrade kit is priced at $100.
DosPara PCs w/Quadro
Japanese assembler DosPara is selling three new PCs in its Prime Create line. The preeminent model is the HDV, which takes the unusual approach of using an Nvidia Quadro FX 1500, normally intended purely for workstation purposes. The 2D replaces this with an ATI Radeon X1650, and all three systems have 80 and 320GB hard drives. More than one machine supports up to 8GB of RAM. Prices were unavailable at press time. [via Akihabara News]
X-Lite 3.0 for Macs
CounterPath on Thursday announced that the latest version of its free SIP softphone, X-Lite 3.0, is now available as a free download for the Mac operating system. X-Lite 3.0 is based on eyeBeam 1.5, CounterPath's carrier grade commercial SIP softphone client, and provides high quality audio/video capabilities, instant messaging and presence management in combination with "zero-touch configuration," a comprehensive address book and more. X-Lite 3.0 supports audio, detailed call history, up to 2 lines, speaker phone functionality, and voice and video call recording, while the commercial eyeBeam (starting at $60) adds support for more lines, multiple SIP accounts, call transfers, H.264 and other advanced codecs, encrypted chats, etc. In addition, both the free and commercial versions support multi-party and ad hoc audio/video conferencing along with enhanced quality of service (QoS) for both video and voice calls. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
TransDock with Video ships
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today began shipping its newest TransDock car system, a device that broadcasts iPod music through a vehicle's existing FM stereo while adding mobile video capabilities. The new device features a distinctive new design with interchangeable faceplates, offering integration both visually as well as technically with a vehicle's interior. TransDock securely cradles and charges the iPod while offering full control of bass, treble, and volume settings directly from the vehicle's console. The accessory holds up to four programmable presets to help users jump to commonly used frequencies, and includes an integrated antenna with a built-in USB power charger for use with cellular phones or other devices. TransDock is priced at $100.
Sony plans 80GB PS3
Sony is planning to upgrade the Playstation 3 to include an 80GB hard drive, says IDG News. The change was actually discovered as a result of an FCC filing, in which Sony applied for a change to the PS3's Bluetooth transmitter; the cover letter states that the change was necessary for "the difference of the capacity of hard disk," later identified as 80GB. Sony currently sells 20 and 60GB PS3s, the latter of which also has WiFi and slots for CF, SD and Memory Stick cards.
The news comes not long after the revelation of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite, which also raises the hard drive space, moving from 20 to 120GB. The console represents a serious threat to Sony, which has not sold nearly as many PS3s as it expected.
Apple TV in the spotlight
Apple TV continues to draw much focus from both hackers and bloggers who are trying to add new functionality to the Mac OS X-powered set-top box as well as debunk circulating reports about its audio capabilities: Tutorial Ninjas has reported success in running Joost on the Apple TV, Apple may have a means of reversing such hacks made to its own devices, one user has posted 10 myths of the Apple TV, and a $500 bounty has been won for installing Asterisk, a telephone exchange.
Second-place iTunes rival EMusic this morning unveiled its Connoisseur plans on its unprotected MP3 music store. The tiers are developed for the most dedicated music listeners who were previously limited by the service's 99-song monthly cap and who wanted a larger number of guaranteed song downloads than the 75 provided by the main $20 per month subscription, the company says.
Three levels are available beginning today: the $25 per month Basic Connoisseur edges out earlier deals with 100 songs, while the Plus Connoisseur ($50) and Premium Connoisseur ($75) plans offer 200 and an unheralded 300 songs per month respectively. As always, the songs are compatible with iPods and any other device that supports the MP3 standard. [via LAPTOP]
Samsung 64GB flash drive
In brief: Samsung develops a 64GB, 1.8-inch flash drive, 4th Dimension 2004.6 is released, Timeless Time & Expense supports Safari, and Iconkits produces two stock icon packs. Aside from phones, Samsung used this week's CTIA expo to promote several new technologies, most notably a 64GB flash drive. While intended for notebooks, camcorders and GPS receivers, the drive's 1.8-inch size may lend it to other uses, such as media players. Samsung is one of the primary memory suppliers for the Apple iPod, and the video currently uses 1.8-inch hard disks.
Sirius Backseat TV
Sirius on Thursday unveiled full details of Sirius Backseat TV, the company's new satellite TV service for cars. The technology will let subscribers watch TV from three child-oriented channels -- Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network, and The Disney Channel -- either on the rear TV screens of equipped vehicles as well as on a MyGig-compatible front TV while the vehicle is stopped. Customers will have the choice of listening to satellite radio at the front when TV plays in the back, Sirius says.
PSP Gets T-Mobile Wi-Fi
Sony and T-Mobile today announced full details of the 3.30 update for the PlayStation Portable, revealing in particular that the gaming handheld can now easily connect to T-Mobile's Wi-Fi HotSpot networks. The update makes it possible to visit any of the secure wireless connections using only the gamepad to sign in. The service isn't restricted, T-Mobile says: PSP owners can browse and stream media from websites as well as play games either on the Internet or against others at the hotspot itself.
Spiderweb today announced Nethergate: Resurrection, a fantasy role-playing game for Windows and Macintosh. Resurrection sends the player on an epic adventure in the lands of ancient Britain, according to the developer. It is a complete, ground-up rewrite of the fantasy role-playing classic, Nethergate, offering the ability to explore unique settings, assault a multitude of cities and dungeons, attempt dozens of quests, and experience a fascinating story line. Users can learn over forty spells and seek out hundreds of different magical items as well as play as either the disciplined, battle-hardened Romans or the savage Celts, trained in the secrets of the druids. Each side offers a completely different storyline, skills, and adventures. It is expected to ship this summer.
Microsoft Deepfish Browser
Microsoft today issued a response to the iPhone's mobile version of Safari with Deepfish, the codename for a new technology designed for Windows Mobile 5 or 6 smartphones to provide a more desktop-like web browser experience. The software automatically creates a complete image of a website, preserving the formatting intended by its creator; instead of using a touchscreen, however, the Microsoft-developed component uses the joystick or keypad to guide a selection box over an area to zoom in for a closer view of an image or text. Pressing the select button on the phone again lets the user switch between dynamic elements such as hyperlinks and text forms.
iPod display patent
Apple has filed for a new patent titled "cosmetically uniform reflective border area in a transflective display," relating to liquid crystal displays with a reflective border area when the display is turned off. "One embodiment of the present invention provides a transflective display in which a border area adjacent to an active area has a reflectivity that is substantially the same as the active area when the display is turned off. This display includes a polarizer layer, a color filter glass (CFG) layer, a liquid crystal layer, and a reflector layer. The CFG layer contains color filters in the active area, while the border area of the CFG layer is designed to have a reflectivity that is substantially the same as the active area when the display is turned off."
Mac thermal printer driver
Peninsula Group this week shipped a major update to its thermal printer drivers for Mac OS X, which allow Mac users to print directly to Thermal and Thermal Transfer printers. The drivers enable thermal transfer labeling printers from SATO, Citizen, Datamax, Eltron, TEC, UPS, Tharo, Brady, Peninsula, Intermec and Zebra to be used as standard printers on Mac OSX. Peninsula Thermal Printer Driver for OSX is a special set of printer drivers that enable use of standard print dialogs to various thermal transfer printers. The software adds controls for speed, temperature, print resolution, and other printer options and supports printer settings for all major printers as well as cutters and peelers inside the printers. The company also added a configuration utility to easily add printers to the Printer Setup Utility. The drivers support both over 400 printers from various manufacturers, including LPR printer servers and Bluetooth printers. Peninsula Thermal Printer Drivers are $250 and $84 for additional licenses.
Iomega 2TB RAID drive
The newest storage product from Iomega is the Power Pro Desktop Hard Drive (not pictured), with the considerable capacity of 2TB. The Pro is actually four 500GB SATA drives linked in a RAID configuration, with each drive being removable for future upgrades, but lockable in separate bays. RAID 0, 0+1, 5 and 5+ levels can be chosen, and port options include FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0. An LCD panel displays the RAID level as well as fan, temperature and capacity status. The Pro is both Mac and Windows compatible, including Windows Vista, and comes with EMC Retrospect Express, which can backup a system even when the computer is not logged in. The drive will go on sale April 10th for $1,700.
New text effects for Flash
Patrick Jansen Design has released ELITE Components, new text effect plugins for use directly in .fla flash files. As the successor to ASTRO, PJ and Supreme4 Components, the ELITE Components are available as a Adobe Flash extension for use directly in the Flash authoring environment. It includes 75 predefined text effect variations with common features such as different effect start-directions, basic text alignment, automatic positioning on stage and dynamic input, and a list of predefined behaviors as well as quick preview functionality. ELITE Component also offers multi character customization, allowing single text effects to be customized by overriding font color/type for specific letters: users can mix any font and color for any range of characters in a single text effect. The developer says the ELITE Components ($50) requires no previous knowledge, shows immediate results, does not require importing or loading external files, and offers a wide range of custom modifications for advanced users.
Dvorak: abandon the iPhone
Technology columnist John C. Dvorak believes Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone before it's too late. "What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong," Dvorak writes. "If it's smart it will call the iPhone a 'reference design' and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else's marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures," he suggests. "It should do that immediately before it's too late. Samsung Electronics might be a candidate. Otherwise I'd advise you to cover your eyes. You're not going to like what you'll see." The columnist compares the mature cellular handset market to the segmented and unfocused MP3 player business prior to Apple's entry in 2001, noting that Apple played a very different game back then with a fresh new playing field.
Gateway today unveiled the E-2610, a new small form factor PC tailored to schools and others where space can be as important as performance. The PC is based on a BTX design that cools the insides more efficiently than the more common ATX does, Gateway claims, and ships in shapes ranging from a mini-tower with six expansion bays to a three-bay SFF case for small desks. Size doesn't affect performance options, as the new models can choose from Core 2 Duo processors. There are also concessions made for the systems' pro audience: the gigabit Ethernet port can remotely warn a console of problems with the system without depending on Windows.
Stock models are shipping today from Gateway at a $599 price; the company hasn't mentioned minimum specifications but adds that every new system ships with Windows Vista.
Star Wars: Empire at War
Aspyr Media today announced that Star Wars: Empire at War for Mac has begun shipping. Star Wars: Empire at War puts the power to command an entire war for the Star Wars galaxy in the hands of players, offering the freedom to determine play methods within the completely scalable and accessible gameplay. Memorable Star Wars hero characters can be brought into the action to help turn the tide of the battle as players build, manage and upgrade their space and ground-based units, vehicles, troops and base structures. Star Wars: Empire at War is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later running on an Intel-based Mac.
Apple magsafe patents
Apple has filed for two patents related to its Magsafe power connectors, a small mechanism that attaches a power supply to its laptop via magnetism, preventing potentially damaging accidents resulting from tripping over the power cord. The patents, titled 'Electromagnetic connector for electronic device' and 'Magnetic connector for electronic device,' describe two forms of the invention. Apple states: "The MacBook Pro power adapter with MagSafe connector is just that: a magnetic connection instead of a physical one. So, if you happen to trip over a power cord, you won't send MacBook Pro flying off a table or desk; the cord simply disconnects, without damage to either the cord or the system. As an added nicety, this means less wear on the connectors." The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office also published Apple's continuation patent titled Graphical User Interface & Methods of use thereof in a multimedia player and a new patent titled cosmetically uniform reflective border area in a transflective display.
iTunes Complete My Album
Apple on Thursday revealed Complete My Album, a new feature for the iTunes Storethat allows customers to turn their individual tracks into a complete album at a reduced price by giving them a full 99 cent credit for every track previously purchased from that album. Customers have up to 180 days after buying the individual songs from any qualifying album to purchase the rest of that album at a discount: someone who has bought three 99-cent songs from a $10 album, for example, can buy the rest of the album for $7.02 -- saving them both the need to re-purchase tracks they already own as well as the time needed to download them again, according to Apple.
Video of iPhone at CTIA
A video today surfaced of the iPhone's appearance on Tuesday at the CTIA phone expo in Orlando. The short clip provides additional details about its demonstration by AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson, showing that his example unit was functional and equal in features to the edition used by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at Macworld San Francisco in January. The executive also joked that teenagers who had seen the Apple device were pressuring him to get the device early.
(Video available in full article)
Nokia 5700 XpressMusic
Nokia on Thursday morning contributed a trio of later entries into the phone announcements at the CTIA phone expo. Leading the announcements is the 5700 XpressMusic (PDF). As hinted at through a promo image, the phone is a bar variant of the 5300 whose keypad rotates for different modes: twisting it halfway points a 2-megapixel camera outwards for photos or videos, while completely reversing the pad reveals dedicated controls for media playback. Nokia also stresses format support with unprotected AAC/MP3/WMA support for its microSD slot as well as protected WMA for music from online stores such as Napster.
The phone's Internet access is handled through UMTS, reflecting its targeted release in Europe this spring at a price of 350 Euros ($467), though a quad-band GSM radio in the phone should ensure a North American version later in the year. Click through for more phones and a gallery.
Apple TV Mods Overridden
Apple may have a means of reversing hacks made to its own devices, according to reports. Multiple owners who have successfully used a security bypass in the past to install their own software on the media hub have suddenly found that the access to their systems was closed overnight, preventing anything but the official Apple TV front end from running properly.
"My startup script to disable the firewall got its permissions stripped," wrote one user.
Intel Penryn chips coming
Ahead of new mobile Core 2 Duos expected in May, Intel on Wednesday announced that it will begin producing its next-generation Penryn family of processors in the second half of this year and outlined its new Nehalem chip architecture expected in 2008. The six new "Penryn" processors, including both dual- and quad-core variations, will benefit from enhancements to the Intel Core microarchitecture and also Intel's new 45nm Hi-k process technology, which the company claims results in higher performance and more energy-efficient processors.
Penryn's new microarchitecture enhancements will bring extended battery life for mobile devices, enhanced performance for single-threaded applications, new SIMD extensions for better performance, enhanced virtualization, more instruction executions per clock cycle, larger on-chip caches, and higher processor speeds of more than 3GHz, the Santa Clara-company claimed.
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