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Apple CFO settles with SEC
Former Apple executive Fred Anderson has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission on his alleged participation in the backdating of stock options at the computer maker and the agency is expected to pursue a civil lawsuit against the company's ex-general counsel Nancy Heinen on similar charges, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Heinen, who left Apple last May and plans to contest the SEC charges, will be accused -- as early as this week -- of helping to manipulate one of her own option awards as well as a never-exercised options grant to Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs based in part on testimony from other former Apple employees.
Freeverse debuts Periscope
Freeverse today announced Periscope 1.0, a new low-cost webcam application for Mac OS X. Designed for simplicity, the new software allows users to easily configure the Mac's built-in iSight to document a day, protect a home, or keep an eye on the kids. It brings together Apple's hardware, software and services such as .Mac, AppleScript, the iSight, Mail, iPhoto, and even the Apple Remote, to create a new tool for security or just for fun. Users can configure Periscope to monitor a room and email a picture when it detects motion or sound. Or they can configure Periscope to take a photo every half-hour and upload it to a .Mac webpage, Flickr account or FTP site -- easily allowing users to create a time-lapse movie. Periscope is a Universal application and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. It is priced at $30.
Griffin's AirDock for iPod
Griffin today announced a charge/sync/play docking station for iPod. The new AirDock for iPod is designed "to position the iPod as the centerpiece of any home entertainment system," according to the company; it provides the output connectors for integrating an iPod with a television and home stereo as a well as a five-button remote. "Connect the included AV cable, and soon you are enjoying your music, audiobooks, TV shows, movies and music videos, and your own photo slideshows, direct from your iPod to your TV and sound system. Living up to its name, AirDock even includes a RF remote control, so you can control playback from your couch." The AirDock also lets users connect an iPod to a computer for data synchronization and charges its battery. The AirDock is available now for $70 and is compatible with fourth/fifth generation iPods as well as first/secnd generation iPod nanos and the iPod mini.
Sony Ericsson S500i?
Hungarian site Terminal.hu has once again claimed the first information on a new phone, this time said to be the "S500i" by Sony Ericsson. While little is known about the phone, it is clearly one of the company's high-end products, initially made obvious by its bezelled, high-gloss exterior and an equally stylized green keypad.
Also striking is the 2.4-inch LCD, which is capable of QVGA resolution and 262,000 colors. Bluetooth will be supported, and on the back is a two-megapixel camera. Broadband connections are said to include UMTS/HSDPA; no frequencies are mentioned however, nor are any basic network protocols (though it should be GSM-exclusive). More details will be presented as they become available -- click below for larger photos.
FileCatalyst 2.0 released
Unlimi-Tech Software today released FileCatalyst 2.0, an update to the utility designed to offer maximum throughput for large point-to-point or multi-cast file transfer applications. The latest release includes patent-pending technology with less than 1 percent overhead, according to the company, as well as on-the-fly compression and byte-level incremental transfers. FileCatalyst 2.0 for the Mac uses software automation to overcome the file transfer inefficiencies associated with packet loss and latency, boasting effective throughput that is 2-3 times greater than line speed. The software utilizes SSL for its control channel as well as AES for data encryption, and automatically detects line speed with adaptive rate control. User-based authentication with permissions control helps administrators keep data secure, and the software is cross-platform compatible with Mac OS X as well as Linux and Microsoft Windows (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Gamer makes plea to Apple
In an open letter to Apple, lifelong gamer and Fileplanet.com blogger 'Fargo' has made a public plea for vastly improved game support under Mac OS X. "There is only one reason I still have a Windows PC: games," Fargo wrote. "It's not that the Mac gaming shelf is devoid of life -- any system that plays Civ IV gets a thumbs-up in my book -- but for a serious gamer the PC continues to be where it's at." The blogger goes on to detail gaming history on the Mac platform, and offers some suggestions for the Cupertino-based company to attract hardcore gamers "in droves." "I know it's humiliating, but for once you've got to look at what Microsoft is doing and copy it. Those guys are scared of you -- and they know that games are the one and only thing that has prevented you from hitting the Tipping Point years ago."
Jobs, Ive up for TIME 100
Apple CEO Steve Jobs and senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive are both candidates for the in the next TIME 100, a poll designed to root out the publics pick of the most influential people of the year. Jobs, at age 52, enters the running as the CEO of Apple and the largest shareholder of Disney. The executive has already appeared in the TIME 100 on four previous occasions, and was featured on a total of five TIME covers to date. Ive, meanwhile, is listed as the principal designer of Apple's primary products -- such as the iMac, iPod, and the forthcoming iPhone. The publication is encouraging the public to cast their vote on a scale of 1-100 for preferred candidates.
Wacom PL-521 LCD Tablet
Wacom has just unveiled the PL-521, a smaller alternative to its artist-oriented Cintiq screens. The 15-inch LCD is large enough for adding writing and sketches to documents and is labeled as a great fit for businesses and schools; to help, the screen's stand can adjust to either 140 degrees horizontal or a more easel-like 130 degrees vertical. A VGA output relays the video signal to an exteral monitor or projector.
Panic releases Coda
Panic Software has released Coda, a one-window Web development application that supports editing text, transmitting files to servers, editing CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), working in a terminal, and more. The software aims to streamline the Web development process, handling 'sites' as individual entities. Each site maintains its own specific settings, and Coda restores user sessions from its last state exactly as it was the last time that site was edited. Upon opening a site Coda connects to servers, and restores splits as well as tabs to their previous state. The software also automatically tracks local changes to sites, uploading those changes with a push of the 'Publish All' button. Coda is currently available for $80, and is normally priced at $100. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Fission 1.5 released
Rogue Amoeba today released Fission 1.5, bringing full audio insertion support to the audio editor for Mac OS X. Fission enables lossless editing of MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, and AIFF audio files. The update enables users to merge files via drag-and-drop, and a new Gain Adjustment feature supports manually increasing or decreasing of the volume for any file. Fission 1.5 offers full support for cue sheet files, includes auto-complete functionality in inspector fields, and adds zoom to the selection command as well as the Album Artist tag to Inspector. Fission 1.5 is available for $32, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Tritton AXPC Headset
Tritton on Monday expanded its gamer headsets and launched the AXPC. It trades the universal support of the console-friendly AX360 for simplicity, the company says. Native 5.1 surround sound as well as voice chat are piped through a single USB cable, and a smart encoder can optionally turn stereo sound into as much as a 7.1-channel signal. Audio quality is said to be powerful with four drivers per ear cup and the ability to fine-tune the volume of each channel layer.
SOTEC WinBook WH 3x10
SOTEC today gave its entry-level notebooks a helping hand and introduced the WinBook WH 3x10 series. The most recent 15.4-inch system from the PC builder emphasizes price but with several useful features: every model packs a DVD burner as well as an ExpressCard 54 reader and a better-than-average 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi connection.
The top-end model is the 3513P, which is ready for Vista Home Premium with 1GB of RAM and a 1.73GHz Celeron M for $885. A simplified model, the 3313, comes with 512MB of memory and Vista Home Basic for $758. Launches outside of Japan are still unknown.
Yamaha RX-V861 Receiver
Yamaha upgraded its receivers on Monday with the RX-V861. The firm's latest home theater receiver is geared towards more complex AV setups with a mix of standard and optional digital links. Support for XM satellite radio tuners is built-in, as is a connection for the separate YDS-10 iPod dock that plays music and video from any Universal Dock-compatible iPod. Complex HDTV arrangements are handled by dual HDMI outputs and a video engine that can deliver video up to 1080p in native resolution and scales analog sources up to 1080i.
BBEdit; CSSEdit; iUnit
BBEdit 8.6.2 ($125) is the latest version of Bare Bones' popular text editing program. The new version is entirely a maintenance release, addressing bugs such as Control-key combinations being inserted into text, and a regression of XML and HTML in which the language mappings were incomplete. Numerous crash, typo and syntax errors have been fixed as well. The update is free to owners of BBEdit 8.5 and 8.6. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4.
[Download - 14.3MB]
CSSEdit 2.5 ($30) -- unrelated to BBEdit -- is a style-sheet editor capable of designing everything from blogs to web applications, with features such as real-time preview, and falling back to Milestones if code proves unsuitable. Version 2.5 now offers context-sensitive code suggestions, and has an improved interface, with better tab control and the ability to describe a style in plain language. X-Ray Inspector is now used to integrate CSS with webpages. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required. [Download - 2MB]
iUnit 3.5 ($20) is a shareware measurement unit conversion program. The latest version adds units of measurement for computer storage units, mole flow rate, sound, molar concentration, and liquid concentration. iUnit converts between 1684 different units of measurements in 51 categories, including distance, mass, volume, velocity, density, currency, and other types of measurements. It is available for both Mac OS X as well as Mac OS 8/9. [Download - 1.3MB]
Smart Scroll X 2.2 ($20) enhances scrolling in Mac OS X by making scrollwheel action smoother and faster, and adding the "Grab Scroll" tool, which allows users to quickly move through a window's contents. The v2.2 release supports several new applications, including Camino, NetNewsWire and Safari's RSS display. Also added is the long-requested option to scroll without moving the mouse cursor. The program requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher. [Download - 1.5MB]
TimeFlyer 1.4 ($25) simplifies creating visual timelines, for purposes such as depicting historical events or projecting expected business outcomes. Users can use backwards-counting dates, pair different timelines together, and choose from a variety of text and graphical styles, including movies. The v1.4 update supports vertical orientation, and should be easier to use for first-time dabblers. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 931KB]
FlightCheck 6 released
Markzware today released FlightCheck 6 for Mac with support for QuarkXPress 7 and Adobe InDesign CS3 support. FlightCheck is a quality control program for print and publishing that features a refined user interface for PDF preflighting, as well as support for third-party font applications. The software also offers a pre-configured collection of folders, and boasts enhanced font as well as image search capability. Both FlightCheck Designer 6 and FlightCheck Professional 6 are available as free upgrades for registered FlightCheck 5.8 users who purchased the product on February 1st, 2007 or later, with new licenses priced at $200 and $500, respectively. [upgrade pricing corrected]
Amazon DRM-Free Coming
Amazon is preparing to open its own online music service without copy protection, according to the Times. The British paper claims that Amazon has been speaking to all four major labels about offering songs in the unguarded MP3 format for release in May, placing the online retailer in direct competition with EMI music that will be available through Apple's iTunes at the same time.
iRiver B20 Ships
iRiver on Monday officially launched the B20, one of its most full-featured media players yet. The close cousin to the already available Clix 2 expands the LCD to 2.4 inches and adds the critical new component of a digital receiver. Owners can tune into any digital TV station broadcasting over the air through DMB, and also have the choice of catching DAB digital radio broadcasts in areas where the service is available.
Acqualia today released Picturesque, a new drag-and-drop enabled application designed to improve the look of images for the Web. The software offers special effects such as reflections, glows, shadows, curves, soft fades, and strokes. Picturesque works with images in batches, resizing and applying effects on entire folders of images. Users can save images with transparency for working with various background colors, and a set of Automator actions eases the workflow when applying special effects to images. The application is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Microsoft vs. the EU
Although already sanctioned with multi-million-dollar fines by the European Union, Microsoft could soon start bleeding that amount daily, warns EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Microsoft is accused of artificially inflating the price of its Workgroup Server Protocol Program; this, says the EU, is discouraging competitors from producing their own server software. Reuters reports that Microsoft has so far refused to lower prices, citing a need for "greater clarity" on what a reasonable price would be. If the two sides are unable to come to an agreement, Microsoft could fined as much as €3 million ($4 million) daily, laying waste to the company's profits.
Alky Project DirectX 10
Young developer Cody Brocious intends to bring DirectX 10 to "platforms other than Microsoft Vista," according to his company's latest update. Called the Alky Project, Falling Leaf Systems' programming effort transforms the unified shader code at the heart of DirectX 10 into raw machine language, allowing any system to run games written for the advanced graphics standard without requiring either Windows Vista or video cards such as the GeForce 8-series. The ultimate goal is to bring games made for DirectX 10 and earlier to Mac and Linux systems, the company says.
Analyst on March quarter
Apple is due to report its March quarter results after the market closes on Wednesday, and research firm Piper Jaffray expects a slight upside to Wall Street's consensus revenue of $5.2 billion for the Cupertino-based company. The firm also believes favorable component pricing will provide upside to Street expectations of $0.63 earnings-per-share, and that Apple sold around 1 million iPods during the March quarter over Wall Street's predicted 10.7 million. Based on checks with Apple resellers, research analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray expects a slight quarter-over-quarter decline of between 5-10 percent vs. Wall Street's expectation that Mac units will fall 10 percent. Piper Jaffray maintains its 'Outperform' rating on Apple shares with a $123 price target.
Kohjinsha SA1F00V Notebook
Kohjinsha today broke the mold of ultra-mobile PC designs today with the release of its newly upgraded SA1F00V. The new model has a 7-inch touchscreen that accepts either finger or stylus input like most UMPCs, but holds on to the more traditional notebook shape with an accompanying keyboard and trackpad. Storage has also increased; while the base model still carries a 40GB hard disk, the handheld can sport up to 100GB.
Samsung F500 at the FCC
An unexpected approval at the FCC is the Ultra Video F500 by Samsung. A more powerful relative of the UpStage, the phone benefits from UMTS broadband, but is currently crippled by its frequency range: 850MHz in missing in GSM, and both 850 and 1,900MHz are missing in UMTS. If the phone is to leave Asia for North America, it will need modifications to remain compatible with local networks. The F500's main highlight is its video support, since it can play both the DivX and H.264 formats. [via Engadget Mobile]
A Samsung phone making an appearance at the Korea IT Show is the SPH-W2700, an extremely thin clamshell device that measures less than half an inch closed. Perhaps even more important, however, is that it is a quad-band phone with HSDPA, which suggests that it could be imported to North America with little to no modification. Other highlights of the 2700 include a 2.3-inch main display, a 0.9-inch OLED on the outside, and abilities such as video calls, video-on-demand and MP3 playback. At this stage no prices or release dates have been mentioned. [via Mobile Mentalism]
Zepto GeForce 8600 Laptop
Notebook designer Zepto has just let slip multiple trade secrets by announcing its Znote 6625WD notebook for multimedia addicts. The system is the first known to ship with a 512MB version of the unannounced GeForce Go 8600, which (like the desktop GeForce 8600) fully supports the Vista-only DirectX 10 as well as next-generation OpenGL for better 3D performance and visual effects; it also promises the faster CPU and system bus speeds of Intel's future Santa Rosa architecture. Intel's Robson technology with built-in flash for faster load times is also standard.
Jobs to avoid charges
Apple boss Steve Jobs -- who is considered the company's backbone and driving force -- is likely to avoid criminal charges in the federal investigation of illegal stock options backdating, according to one report. A Mercury News examination of the backdated 2001 stock-options grant to Jobs, which was achieved via falsified documentation, is the focus of the federal investigation but reveals little evidence that points to criminal charges against the executive. The investigation has so far revealed no evidence that Jobs directed the illegal backdating of his own grant or worked to cover it up, according to lawyers familiar with the grant who asked to remain anonymous. As a result, federal prosecutors lack the type of egregious misconduct necessary to incriminate Jobs in the ongoing investigation, according to the report.
Motion controls at DoCoMo
Among other, previously-known products, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has announced a new phone with the unusual feature of motion control. Essentially unseen elsewhere in the industry, the sensor in the D904i allows users to play games much as they would on the Nintendo Wii, making simple gestures equivalent to real-world actions, like swinging a tennis racket. No mention has been made of a strap to prevent accidents.
Like other phones in the 904i series, the D also has the ability to be used with two different accounts. For an extra monthly fee of 945 yen ($8), a switch can select a second number and e-mail address, which might be used for purposes such as business, or preventing anyone but friends and family calling. The phone should arrive by June at an unspecified price. [via Reuters]
Samsung R55 Hybrid Drive
Samsung this morning lived up to promises by launching the R55, its first notebook to use a hybrid hard drive. The 15.4-inch widescreen PC uses the recently introduced SpinPoint MH80 80GB drive with 256MB of flash to cut boot times and improve disk access: reading and writing are much faster in general, but Vista Home Premium takes 30 percent less time (down to 40 seconds) and power consumption for the drive also drops 32 percent. Even the hard drive's lifetime expands by ten percent, Samsung says.
Jahplayer 3 released
The Jahshaka Project today released Jahplayer 3 build 0.2.0, adding critical updates for improved stability while bringing the software closer to the final release stage. Jahplayer is designed as a professional media player with support for uncompressed video and image sequences at resolutions as high as 2KB and 4KB in real time. The software aims to provide a robust set of image analysis and asset management tools while allowing users to maintain or change the aspect ratio of source media on the fly. Jahplayer supports disk- or memory-based playback, and features variable frame rate control alongside RGBA color channel views. Jahplayer is available for download from the Jahshaka project website, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Moto KRZR K1 Product RED
Motorola today posted a teaser page for a special version of its latest clamshell. Titled the MOTOKRZR K1 Product (RED), the phone will add yet another color option to the pink and quartz models with a practical benefit. While standing out from every other model with a glossy black shell and red keypad, the (RED) version also donates a portion of its sales to the Global Fund that helps fight AIDS and other diseases in Africa.
Smultron 3.0 released
An open source developer has released Smultron 3.0, a free text editor for Mac OS X Tiger designed for simple usage with advanced functionality. The tabbed text editor features line numbers, support for syntax coloring for numerous languages, a functions list, and support for text encodings as well as snippets. The latest release improves the handling of projects as well as commands, offers an updated appearance, includes new icons, and reduces memory usage. The offers also includes faster syntax coloring, quicker printing speed, and includes a vertical split option as well as FreeFem++ syntax definition. Smultron 3.0 includes numerous bug fixes, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
Blu-Ray Million Sales Mark
Blu-Ray today became the first next-generation movie format to sell over a million copies, a study published by Home Media Research says. Although the 50GB format has been selling slowly compared to regular DVDs, the research claims that 70 percent of all movies sold in the first three months of the year were Blu-Ray versions -- eclpsing HD DVD by more than two to one, the Blu-Ray Disc Association bragged.
HoudahGeo 1.0 released
Houdah Software has released HoudahGeo 1.0, bringing the geocoding application for Mac out of the beta stage. HoudahGeo enables users to link photos to the location where they were taken, and supports writing that information to EXIF tags or publishing it to Google Earth. Users simply "pin" photos to their respective locations, and doesn't require a digital camera with built-in GPS capability or even a GPS device. The software runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later alongside a digital camera. Houdah Software is offering HoudahGeo 1.0 is available for $25 for a limited time, with the price rising to $35 when HoudahGeo 1.1 is released.
iStat pro 4 widget release
iSlayer has released iStat pro 4, a rebuilt version of the company's system monitoring widget for Mac OS X. The software offers nine sections -- which can be shown or hidden -- and features highly detailed information on CPUs (up to 8 cores), memory, hard drives, IP and external IP, bandwidth, battery, wireless keyboard and mouse battery, uptime, temperatures, and fans. Version 4 adds support for eight-core Mac Pros, live updates (network changes, disk mounts/unmounts, Bluetooth connections/disconnections, Intel module installer completion), better support for local iDisks, process sorting, improved Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 support, and more. The widget is "donationware". It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
BlackBerry on Win Mobile
Research in Motion on Monday announced the creation of a virtual BlackBerry suite, marking one of the first instances that owners beyond the company's own smartphones can use more than just basic elements of the service. Owners of certain (as yet unnamed) Windows Mobile 6 smartphones will have full access to BlackBerry software features as though they were using a RIM device: "push" e-mail, calling, messaging, and other programs will be accessible.
ExpressCard Modem for MBP
nova media today announced GlobeTrotter Express 7.2 Ready, an ExpressCard Modem for MacBook Pros to establish fast mobile Internet connections worldwide. GlobeTrotter Express 7.2 Ready features support for high speed HSDPA and 3GUMTS data connections with up to 7.2 Mbit/second in appropriate mobile networks as well as EDGE and GRPS connections in all other cases. "This nifty modem includes launch2net, a wizard to set up and establish mobile Internet connections." states jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media. "launch2net already includes connection settings for most mobile network operators from Alaska to New Zealand and in between. In most cases it only takes seconds for the customer to be online." GlobeTrotter Express 7.2 Ready will be available beginning of May for €300 plus VAT and shipping costs and is now available for preorder.
Time Warner and FON
Time Warner and Spain's FON today announced one of the first ever deals in the US to officially sanction sharing home Internet access. Subscribers to the Internet services on Time Warner's cable network, including Road Runner and similar services, now have explicit permission to use FON's La Fonera Wi-Fi router with their home connections -- letting anyone resell their own Internet access to neighbors while keeping their private network safe.
As with other FON routers, the service lets any owner of the $5 La Fonera device connect to other hotspots for free, including the 60,000 present within the US; non-members can connect to a hotspot for $3 per day.
Samsung Stacked RAM
Samsung this morning revealed that it had established a new, breakthrough method of creating RAM that should revolutionize the amount of storage and performance of virtually all computer memory. A new technique, dubbed a wafer-level-processed stacked package (WSP), allows the company to place memory chips on top of each other with virtually no space in between: rather than use wires that add bulk, the chips themselves contain laser-cut holes that are filled by copper links, joining each memory chip simply by placing one on top of another.
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