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Forums April 19
Forums roundup: Members are discussing whether or not the current Mac Pro line is going to be updated soon, in light of the lack of updates to the line since last year -- besides the newly added eight-core option.... Other users are discussing their experiences with Apple Store Genius Bars, with responses ranging from extreme satisfaction to rage... One user is asking if they can buy a U.S. MacBook Pro to use in the U.K., with desire to save some money.... Other members are offering help to a user who is considering buying a 24-inch iMac, who wants to use the 'prosumer' desktop for video editing with Final Cut Studio.... Meanwhile, other members are offering their best ideas to help a would-be switcher convince his family that Macs are worth the price.
DEFCON for Mac released
Ambrosia Software along with Introversion Software today launched the Mac version of DEFCON, an online multiplayer strategy game based on the theme of thermonuclear armageddon. The game was inspired by the 1983 cult-classic film WarGames, and is designed to evoke the tension as well as the paranoia surrounding the Cold War era. "Global thermonuclear war has never been this much fun," said Andrew Welch, president of Ambrosia Software. "It's macabre, but plotting for your friend's total annihilation is perfectly satisfying." DEFCON is available online via Ambrosia's website for $25, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
LG LX570 approved by FCC
A new LG phone has been approved by the FCC, called the LX570. It is expected to replace the Fusic carried by Sprint, and is indeed clearly related, having a similar music control pad on the outside of the clamshell. Specifications provided by Phone Arena suggest it will only be a dual-band CDMA model (with EVDO broadband), but other features may compensate -- such as an FM radio, a microSD slot, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. GPS functions are said to be present as well. Click below for more images courtesy of MobileBurn. [via Unwired View]
Apple security update
Apple today released Security Update 2007-004 for Mac OS X 10.4.9 Tiger as well as Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther Server and Client. The new set of patches fixes a wide range of security risks discovered throughout numerous parts of the system. Fixes are applied to AFP Client; AirPort; CarbonCore; diskdev_cmds; fetchmail; ftpd; GNU Tar; Help Viewer; HID Family; Installer; Kerberos; Libinfo; Login Window; network_cmds; SMB; System Configuration; URLMount; VideoConference; WebDAV; and WebFoundation. Mac owners can update the system by choosing the 'Software Update' item from the Apple menu, or can download the updates manually from Apple's website.
Aperture 1.5.3 released
Apple today released Aperture 1.5.3, an update to its post production photography software that addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance. Aperture 1.5.3 addresses issues related to generation of thumbnails for adjusted images, entering as well as exiting full screen mode, working with large sets of keywords in the Keywords HUD, and restoring from a vault. The latest release also ensures that previews update properly when images are sent to an external editor, and imports Aptus 22 as well as Aptus 75 images with the correct orientation. Aperture 1.5.3 is available as a digital download via Apple's website, and is available for free to registered Aperture users. [Download - 129.5MB]
Dell Linux PCs by May?
While it was recently announced that Dell would be pre-installing Linux on certain computers, no timeline was set, nor did the company say which version of the OS would be installed; sources tell DesktopLinux, however, that the first computers may arrive by the end of the month, and that specific versions of Linux are under consideration. These include Fedora, Red Hat, Novell/SUSE, openSUSE and Ubuntu. Ubuntu is considered the strongest contender, for the simple reason that Michael Dell himself uses the OS, and it is one of the most user-friendly iterations.
HTC Windows Mobile 6
HTC today announced that it will offer an upgrade path (PDF) for owners of its recent phones looking to update to Windows Mobile 6. Owners of unlocked versions of the Advantage, Dash (S620), and AT&T/Cingular 8525 (TyTN) among other phones will be able to download the upgrade directly from HTC's website, saving users from replacing phones or waiting for carriers to take action.
Sub-$300 Blu-Ray drive
Reflecting the slowly-growing prevalence of Blu-Ray, Pioneer is rolling out its first computer drive to crack the $300 barrier, the BDC-S02. It is actually priced at $299, and is initially shipping to China and Taiwan, with worldwide sales beginning later this year. Few specifications have been released outside of east Asia, but it is known that it will be able to play BD-ROM, BD-R/DL (double-layer) and BD-RE/DL discs, as well as a standard assortment of CD and DVD formats. The initial audience for the S02 is expected to be IT professionals; with such a price however, it may create an in-road to the difficult home market.
Microsoft Low-Cost Windows
Microsoft today announced that it will launch $3 copies of its most popular software to greatly expand its user base. A special suite containing basic and student versions of Office and Windows will ship at that price to governments who offer PCs to students for free for personal use. The official goal is to double the existing number of Windows users in the world to a full two billion by 2015, Microsoft says.
More Zune Phone evidence
The long-rumored Zune Phone has received a bit more supporting evidence in the form of another Microsoft filing, this time at the US Patent Office. While originally submitted June 16th of last year, it has only just resurfaced, and comes under the title of "Tile Space User Interface for Mobile Devices." The concept involves making frequently accessed options more easily reached, and receiving updates on information simply by glancing at the appropriate icon. Users would also able to customize the layout of the tiles, creating a unique "home" screen.
Dell Casts Doubts on Vista
Dell today revealed that it will restore the option to use Windows XP on some of its home systems, marking a potentially damaging blow to Microsoft's hopes for the newer Windows Vista. The Dimension E520 and E521 as well as virtually all of the company's Inspiron notebooks can immediately be custom-ordered with XP in Home or Professional editions, giving cautious buyers the opportunity to use the earlier OS. The change in policy was the result of user feedback, Dell claims.
iGetter 2.6 ($25) is a download manager and accelerator that operates by segmenting downloads. The software features auto-resume, a queue filter, and schedules. Version 2.6 introduces download rules that automatically sort files into particular folders based on criteria, as well as improvements to multiprocessor performance. The update also repairs an issue that prevented Site Explorer from viewing files with names containing spaces.
[Download - 2.6MB]
EazyDraw 2.3.1 ($100) is a vector illustration program based on MacDraw that can import files from ClarisDraw, MacDraw II, and MacDraw Pro. The latest revision adds user libraries, as well as the ability to convert a library into an EazyDraw tool palette. The update also allows users to Arrange the tool palette, and adds a Graphic Details drawer that adjusts the display format. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, and should support Leopard, according to the developer. [Download - 14MB]
Multisite for iWeb 1.5 ($20) remedies a potential problem with iWeb by no longer assuming that a site will point to a single server. Multisite for iWeb 1.5 also improves publishing speed by moving individual sites into individual files without the need for user-exercised control, and supports importing or exporting websites to different users as well as different computers. The update fixes some user interface bugs, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later as well as iWeb 1.1.2. [Download - 740KB]
Creative TextFX ($50) creates special text effects for Flash animations, including some of which are new to the format, according to the developer. The software includes more than 70 effects which include: Animate In/Out, Passing By, Loop, Trails, Blur, and 3D. Users can edit default effects or create custom effects, and Creative TextFX supports embedding fonts to guarantee proper display. The software requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later alongside a copy of Adobe Flash 8. [Download - Size Unknown]
ClipSaver 2.1 ($15) prevents copied text from loss by scanning the Clipboard and pasting the text to either one or multiple files. The application inserts single dividers to maintain clarity, and the update addresses some immediate problems by checking for updates upon launch, rather than once per day. The software also no longer clears the Clipboard once the contents are saved. [Download - 3.9MB]
Sharity 3.3 ($30) is an SMB file system for machines running Unix that can mount shares exported by Samba, Windows, and other SMB/CIFS servers. The new release offers better support for user home directories, as well as auto-mounting resources and handling Distributed File System redirects. Sharity 3.3 also fixes a variety of bugs, such as one that caused incomplete directory listings. The application requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 3.3MB]
Live Search widget
In brief: A new dashboard widget has surfaced allowing users quick access to the Live Search engine, Adobe has released its Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in that adds support for raw files in Photoshop CS3, LightWork Design has released a new version of LightWorks, and Artlandia is offering updated pattern design plug-ins that are compatible with Adobe's CS3 software. Entourage Arts announced that Google SketchUp has authorized the company to conduct training classes of its Essentials courses across Canada, and Mariner Software has teamed up with Return Self Software to bundle MacJournal with Avenir. A new widget for Apple's Dashboard technology, the company embedded into Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, allows users to easily access Live Search. The widget displays results directly within its own interface without the need to open a Web browser, and enables users to customize the number of results as well a the language and display.
Microsoft and Samsung
Microsoft and Samsung have arranged a patent deal that could greatly influence the designs of each other's hardware and software, the two companies announced today. In the exchange, Samsung would gain the right to use Microsoft patents for many of its electronics, including computers, media players, and TVs. Microsoft in turn would receive similar access to computer and digital media technology, the announcement said.
Harris iPhone Survey
A surprisingly large percentage of the American public wants the iPhone, Harris Interactive found in a survey published today. Of a sample the polling agency said represented a proportionate slice of all online users, nearly half (47 percent) of respondents said they were already aware of the iPhone while an additional 17 percent were already interested in buying it -- both figures Harris said were very unusual for a handset that would only be launched in June.
New BitTorrent clients
Two new BitTorrent clients have surfaced that work on Apple's Mac OS X operating system, enabling users to partake in large file downloads while providing key pieces of those files to other users simultaneously. Xtorrent 1.0 (build 40) is a client based around searches. Users type keywords to produce results directly in the software, and downloads require just one more click to begin. Xtorrent also supports subscriptions to torrentcasts, with the latest release adding azureus/utorrent compatible peer exchange as well as pre-torrent bandwidth controls. The update also produces a warning dialog when removing a torrentcast, and fixes the autodownload feature. Xtorrent is available for free, and a Pro edition eliminates nags as well as feature limits and bandwidth caps for $20. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
LG LB2700 Widescreen Phone
LG's Cyon brand today revealed the LB2700, its second phone this week to sport mobile TV after the updated Prada phone. Rather than choose the conventional tall LCD from most cellphones that forces viewers to either pivot the display or the phone itself to watch shows, the LB2700 has a wide-aspect display that fits DMB broadcasts without letterboxing or other tweaks.
EVDO broadband is built-in; other details are unavailable but should include a camera and a dedicated media player for music and videos. The phone goes on sale soon in its Korean home through the provider KTF but would need a change to MediaFLO TV to see a US launch. [via AVING]
Haier previews X6 UMPC
While not as powerful perhaps as Samsung's Q1 Ultra, Chinese company Haier is nonetheless preparing a fairly impressive UMPC, the X6. Driving the computer is a Core 2 Duo processor, and it not only sports Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g wireless, but built-in GPS abilities. Also notable is the keyboard, which slides out from under the screen and has a micro-touchpad as well as dedicated mouse-button keys. The screen itself measures 6.5 inches, and is capable of resolutions up to 800x480. Rounding out features are 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 0.3-megapixel webcam, and a preloaded copy of Windows Vista. It should be priced at 8,998 yuan ($1,163). [via The Register]
Dell M2010 Blu-Ray
Dell has just given its XPS M2010 a useful upgrade by adding a Blu-Ray drive, letting the 20-inch foldable desktop play movies at its native 1680x1050 resolution. The slot-load drive also lets the PC write discs in its native format as well as legacy discs for less expensive media burning.
The Blu-Ray version of the M2010 is available now from Dell for $4,388 and joins last week's addition of dual 250GB drives as an option for extra media storage. [via NotebookReview]
RadTech offers Seagate HDs
RadTech today began offering Seagate's highest performance 2.5- and 3.5-inch hard drives in both ATA and SATA configurations. Storage capacities for the 2.5-inch Momentus series range from 100-160GB, with spindle speeds of 5400-7200rpm. The 3.5-inch Barracuda series are available in 250GB, 500GB, and 750GB capacities with spindle speeds of 7200rpm. Both drive models utilize modern data caching technology as well as on-the-fly error-correction algorithms, and employ full-track multi-sector data transfer capability without local processor intervention. The drives also come standard with full support for S.M.A.R.T drive monitoring and reporting, alongside shock tolerance as high as 350 G's during operation for the 2.5-inch models. RadTech's pricing on Seagate drives starts at $80.
AT&T int'l. data plans
Continuing its PR assault, AT&T has made a second announcement to describe changes to its international data plans. Costing between $45 and $70 a month, the plans now provide for 20MB of included transfer in close to 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, India and Mexico. Per-kilobyte rates still apply to other countries, or when the 20MB cap is exceeded; service in the United States is unlimited. Supported networks (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS) are only available depending on the region however, and AT&T has a specific list of compatible phones, including the likes of the Samsung BlackJack, the Cingular 3125 and 8525, and Palm's Treo 680 and 750.
Thunderbird 2 released
Mozilla today released Thunderbird 2, the latest iteration of its free and open source email client. Thunderbird 2 allows users to easily manage and organize email with tags, advanced folder views, and speedy inbox or message searches. The software also supports customization via add-ons that match individual preferences, according to Mozilla. "Thunderbird 2 has powerful new features and proven security, delivering an improved email experience to users worldwide," said Scott MacGregor of Mozilla. "In Thunderbird 2, we incorporated the proven benefits of tagging to email. Tagging initially gained popularity on blogs, photo and link-sharing sites as an intuitive way to organize online information so users could easily find desired content." Thunderbird 2 is available as a free download for Mac, Linux, and Windows systems in more than 30 languages. The software requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
GizMac ships 6U XRackPro2
GizMac Accessories today began shipping its new 6U XRackPro2 server rack enclosure cabinets designed for noice reduction. The 6U XRackPro2 server rack joins the company's current 25U, 12U, and 4U XRackPro2 server racks which the company says can reduce noise by up to 80 percent. Noise reduction engineering in the XRackPro2 server rack allows users to place systems in environments that require low noise levels, and accommodates Apple Xserve server as well as Xserve RAID systems. Fully adjustable mounting rails enable users to configure the unit to individual needs, and each 1U rackmount space is clearly marked for simple cable arrangement. The new 6U XRackPro2 server rack is priced at $750.
Mobile U-verse control
AT&T has once again expanded its U-verse IPTV service with a new feature, remote recording control. Subscribers can now use cellphones to manage DVR functions, by browsing listings, programming episode or series recordings, and shuffling or deleting pre-existing videos. There are two provisos to this option, however; a phone must be attached to AT&T's cellular service, and only certain phones are compatible with the U-verse front-end.
U-verse is one of the few major IPTV services in operation, and is notable for focusing on HD content and including its DVR unit for free in many packages. Web DVR control is free to AT&T Yahoo subscribers, and late last month the company introduced its OnTheGo service, which lets users watch a combination of live and pre-recorded video on their computer.
Microsoft on iPhone
The underlying philosophy for the iPhone will make it all but superfluous in the working world, a Microsoft executive told journalists during a press event in Australia. Although initially welcoming the Apple handset as a media device, Asia-Pacific smartphone strategy head Chris Sorenson was quick to rule out the device almost entirely for business, noting that Apple's walled-off approach to software was virtually bound to lock out iPhones from corporate offices and users who want to view files from work while on the go.
OmniPlan 1.1 released
The Omni Group has released OmniPlan 1.1, an update to its project management application that brings several stability, import/export, printing, and AppleScript support improvements. OmniPlan is designed to offer a streamlined and intuitive interface for basic planning options while also providing Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical path highlighting. The software features customizable views to fast data entry, helping users manage complex projects without the need to learn a complex software program. OmniPlan 1.1 is a free update for all current license holders, and new licenses are priced at $150. OmniPlan 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
BBEdit 8.6.2 released
Bare Bones Software today released BBEdit 8.6.2, an update to its advanced text editor that fixes reported issues and adds several minor enhancements. The latest release adds border-top-style, border-right-style, border-bottom-style, and border-left-style to the list of property names for which CSS Edit Tag can bring up an appropriate editor. The update also adds support for the TeX "sectioning" commands 'paragraph' and 'subparagraph' alongside additional PHP predefined symbols. Java language support includes generics as well as anonymous classes, and BBEdit 8.6.2 includes keywords 'bit' and 'view' to SQL (MySQL) for compatibility with 5.0x. The update is available for free to all registered BBEdit 8.5 and 8.6 customers, with licenses priced at $125 for new users. BBEdit 8.6.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Greenpeace on Apple board
Apple on Monday expressed its public opposition to two environmental proposals on which shareholders will vote at the May 10th annual shareholders meeting. The proposals call on the Cupertino-based company to strengthen its policies on toxic chemicals and the recycling of electronic waste, as well as prohibiting the export of electronic waste to developing countries. Greenpeace today responded to Apple's opposition, noting that Al Gore -- a member of Apple's board of directors -- was part of the unanimous vote to oppose both resolutions. "It is disappointing to see Vice President Gore oppose proposals that would strengthen Apple's lagging environmental policies," said Rick Hind of Greenpeace. "However, it will be far more important if Gore can convince Steve Jobs to make Apple an industry leader in green policies and deeds."
Xbox 360 Elite early?
The forthcoming Elite, a deluxe version of Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, may already be arriving at some stores, reports suggest. At the center of the news is an eBay listing, auctioning an Elite purchased at a Target for $480. The remarkable point is that the Elite is not scheduled to ship until April 29th, over a week and a half from today -- a considerable rules breach in the retail market. This suggests that prospective buyers may want to contact their own local retail stores, as the consoles may otherwise be in short supply by their official launch. [via Joystiq]
W999 Walkman Leak
Sony-Ericsson may be planning a definitive Walkman phone that would pack as many features as possible, according to a purported leak on a Swedish blog. So far known as the W999i, the phone would merge some of the best features of the Japanese/Swedish partnership's earlier Walkman models into a single design: while short thanks to a slider design, it would measure only 0.49 inches thick and speed typing with wide keypad buttons that split each key into two different letters or symbols depending on how they're pressed.
Apple patent: live desktop
A new patent application filed by Apple suggests that the Cupertino-based company will introduce live desktop graphics in its forthcoming Mac OS X Leopard operating system. The filing, titled "System and method for computing a desktop picture," appears to use the company's Core Image technology to offer choice to users for customizing the desktop, which can change when launching different applications such as iTunes or QuickTime. The patent also describes animations and transitions, allowing users to choose or create a scene that can change colors over time to reflect the current season. Apple offers one example of seamless transition between multiple desktop pictures as changing the color gradation based on the time of day to mimic the changes in the colors of the sky. Apple is expected to unveil new features not yet disclosed at its upcoming World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
Vodafone Denies iPhone
Vodafone today denied assertions that it would be the official iPhone carrier, according to the company. The European provider's Irish division dismissed the idea put forth by American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu, telling the Irish Examiner that the report was "pure speculation" that had yet to be confirmed.
The word appears to contradict the worldwide CEO's open praise for the device, which suggested that the iPhone would be a major benefit to the company's 200 million international customers. Apple hasn't committed to any particular carrier in the region, saying only that it will release the iPhone in Europe late this year.
iPhone sensor patent
Apple's latest patent has surfaced relating directly to its forthcoming iPhone cellular handset, describing the device's methods for sensing or determining user activities and responding to those activities. The patent discusses iPhone's uses of artificial intelligence, accelerometer, and specialized sensors to lock the user-interface when certain actions are taken, likely when users hold the phone aloft beside the head to speak. Interestingly, the patent presents alternative embodiments to the original iPhone design, such as a flip top design.
PS3 1.70 Update
Sony on Thursday continued its upgrades to the PlayStation 3 with the 1.70 update. Key to the patch is the return of explicit rumble support for legacy games; courtesy of the recent settlement with force-feedback developer Immersion, owners with some legacy controllers can get vibration back in PS1 and PS2 games that supported the feature. The PS3 can now also play those PS1 games when downloaded directly from the online PlayStation Store rather than saving them for a PSP, Sony says, and can transfer save games from the portable to the larger system.
Gateway E-155C Tablet
Gateway this morning made an aggressive push back into tablet PCs and launched the E-155C. This is one of the thinnest and lightest complete tablets ever, the company says: despite a dual-action, 12-inch display and a built-in DVD/CD-RW or DVD-RW drive, the PC measures just under 1.2 inches thick and weighs a manageable 4.5 pounds. The E-155C is also a harbinger of faster ultraportables with a 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo ULV and headroom for up to 4GB of RAM. A Wacom-made stylus and a fingerprint reader help with the drawing and security sought after by Gateway's initial audience of schools and office workers.
Samsung K3 Speaker Case
Samsung today hoped to solve multiple accessory riddles for its K3 music player with its unique DS200. The case both keeps the thin device safe while also adding an external 800mW speaker, bringing the K3 closer in spirit to the earlier K5. Samsung offsets the added power draw by including an extra battery.
The three-in-one case should be available shortly in Korea for an unknown price. A release for other areas is anticipated and should include the US, where the K3 went on sale last month.
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