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While companies such as Hammacher Schlemmer have sold gimmicky portable mixers meant solely for entertainment, the forthcoming Pacemaker by Tonicum may actually be useful for less intensive professional gigs. Small enough to fit in a pocket, it nevertheless holds 120GB of music, and has essential features such as a crossfader and a touch surface used for controlling elements such as bend and pitch. There are twin 3.5mm stereo jacks, and the mixer can record directly to a separate hard drive. A black-and-white screen displays necessary track information. No cost for the unit is available, but it should begin shipping in the fall. [via Engadget]
Apple's online store is once again offering $949 reconditioned MacBooks and $849 refurbished iMacs after a long dry spell when nearly no refurbished items were available. The Cupertino-based company is offering just one discounted White MacBook model with a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 512MB of memory, and a 60GB hard drive for $949. Apple is also taking orders for its 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a 24x Combo Drive for $849. Three additional available refurbished iMac models include the 17-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive for $1,049; the 20-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive for $1,299; and the 24-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive for $1,699.
Subscribers to the AT&T iPhone newsletter may be missing very subtle changes to the product in the latest mailing. An animated GIF in the message cycles through generally familiar images of the device, with the exception of the navigation screen -- in the lower-left is a double-arrow button, previously missing from Apple's official introduction at Macworld. Though its exact purpose is unclear, it may be a toggle for zoom functions.
Magma today began shipping ExpressBox, which it claims is the first external PCI Express expansion product for laptops. ExpressBox provides an easy means of attaching a PCI Express card to a laptop via the ExpressCard slot included in Apple's MacBook Pro. The device works with any "single-width" video card that requires 55 watts or less, and the company plans to support "double-wide" GPUs that require auxiliary power with the next generation of the Magma ExpressBox later this year. The accessory ships in two sizes to support half-length cards up to 6.6-inches long ($730) or full-length cards up to 12.283-inches ($750).
Microsoft and Yahoo's merger talks have already fallen apart, say sources in touch with the Wall Street Journal. Although the two companies share an equal worry about Google leading in web ads and searchs, neither has found the common footing needed for a union. The two software firms have instead decided to explore teamwork in the future, though the nature of those deals wasn't available Friday afternoon.
Tom Bihn today introduced a redesigned version of its Buzz one-shoulder sling bag with a built-in padded sleeve for laptops. The Buzz was originally designed for Apple's 12-inch PowerBook, but after numerous customer requests the bag was redesigned to fit the Cupertino-based company's newer 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro. New features include a removable waist strap for extra support or stability while cycling, a thicker built-in laptop compartment with padding on the bottom, a lighter interior lining fabric, a thicker shoulder strap designed to conform more naturally to the shoulder, and a revamped cell-phone pocket designed to fit Apple's forthcoming iPhone. The Buzz is available for $120 in 11 color combinations.
Not willing to wait until the official release, Ebcases today unveiled a pair of cases that it promises will fit the upcoming iPhone. The pictured eNOVO flip case uses a novel magnetic latch to keep the lid firmly in place and protect the screen. Owners can holster the phone through a belt clip and will also sync through the Dock Connector without removing the Apple handset from its protection. In turn, the eCopilot pouch is tested with the iPhone's dimensions and can also support other high-profile phones such as the Motorola Q or Samsung BlackJack. A multipurpose design, the case can either be worn through a belt clip or carried with a bundled handstrap.
As the cost of the OLPC laptop rises, the Indian government has expressed dissatisfaction with even the original $100 price point, writes the Times of India. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is aiming for a $10 computer, which would be far more practical in a country with millions in poverty. Two designs are currently under consideration: one from a final-year engineering student, and another from a researcher at the Indian Institute of Science. The public-sector company Semiconductor Complex has also shown some interest.
AMD's plans to leap back into the performance race later this year have been almost completely revealed, courtesy of a freshly leaked roadmap. The chipmaker's first four-core CPU, dubbed the Phenom X4, will ship at speeds between 2.2GHz and 2.6GHz depending on the particular model and what factories can achieve; while lower-clocked than the 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme, AMD says the design should be more efficient by offering a true quad-core with the company's signature HyperTransport clocked at between 3.2 and 3.6GHz depending on the model. Special high-end versions known as the Phenom FX will also fit two at a time for eight-core performance without requiring a workstation-class mainboard.
After a mysterious disappearance from AT&T's online store, the LG CU500v and Nokia N75 have both officially launched through the US carrier. Both are 3G-capable on AT&T's HSDPA network, but have their own special features. The CU500v is once again the carrier's first video calling phone with a swiveling camera that provides either 1.3-megapixel photos or one-way video chats; the Nokia model exchanges the video messaging for a sharper 2-megapixel camera and support for protected Windows Media files from online stores.
Nokia's luxury division Vertu today announced a limited run of its already rare Ascent luxury cellphone. The Special Edition Strawberry and Cream models add a unique perforated leather back in either a cream or strawberry color to match the preferred desert of the upcoming summer. Either shares the same luxuries as the pioneering Ascent, such as the custom, toughened Liquidmetal alloy, a high-powered 20mm Yamaha speaker, and a scratchproof sapphire-coated LCD. Pricing as always is unlisted for the phones, which should be available in Vertu's worldwide shops by June. [via Sybarites]
Joining the likes of T-Mobile, the Chinese division of Giga-Byte has announced that local owners of the Gsmart i300 can now download a new OS, in this case Windows Mobile 6 Professional. The main difference will again be the improvement of e-mail, with full graphics and HTML formatting. The OS also has Windows Live chat and search functions directly integrated. The phone itself has substantial specifications behind it; while notably lacking any cellular broadband, it does support 802.11b/g WiFi, as well as GPS tracking and Bluetooth 2.0. The processor is a 520MHz Intel chip, and memory totals to 64MB of RAM and 256MB of internal storage. Capacity is further expanded by miniSD cards. While Giga-Byte does have a US presence, given the company's Asian focus, it is unlikely that many local GSM carriers will pick up the device.
Fujitsu will have Santa Rosa notebooks on tap for North America when the technology is made official, an FCC filing reveals. The LifeBook A6030, E8410, and E8490 will all have Intel's 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo as their foundation, most likely setting them as the top performers in the LifeBook range versus the budget focus of the European Pi2515. Video performance and most other details aren't listed in the filing, but the trio of notebooks will be clearly separated by display options: the economic A6030 will use only a 1280x800 screen, while either of the E8400 systems will have the choice of 1440x900 or 1920x1200 panels.
Windows Vista is causing headaches for engineers trying to deliver reasonable battery life in notebooks, key computer makers have revealed today. The Microsoft operating system's Aero Glass interface, which is turned on by default for Vista's Home Premium edition and higher, pushes laptops to consume more power by drawing heavily on their 3D hardware. The power drain and poor default settings from Microsoft have forced many PC makers to write their own power management apps just to maintain reasonable power claims, according to HP's John Wozniak. "They've really made it complex from a power management standpoint," he says. "The potential is there to do some good things, the bad thing is that it comes with the canned settings... and we didn't like any of them."
Holy Mackerel Software has released DocHaven 2.0, the latest iteration of the company's "Finder-like" Document Management System that expands from one roaming MacBook or PC to hundreds of users. Changes in DocHaven 2.0 include smart projects with aliases, DocHaven Solo for laptops, automatic FTP Web coding, multiple versions of documents, and unattended offsite backups. The update also supports multiple authors, workgroup collaboration, and internet sharing. DocHaven 2.0 runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary and is available for Mac OS X as well as Linux and Windows. DocHaven MySQL is priced at $80 per user, while DocHaven Solo is available for $100. DocHaven "Ultimate Server" supports 1,000 users and is priced at $10,000.
Multinational giant LG is again planning to expand its line of plasma TV sets, but the most interesting news may be its decision to bring over the increasingly ubiquitous Chocolate design from its phones, characterized by a glossy black exterior and red, touch-sensitive buttons. This is being applied first to two TVs: the 50-inch PB65, and the 60-inch PF95. The latter is capable of full HD resolution, and 1x1 pixel-matching; the PB65 is merely described as "HD-Ready," but it still has a 15,000:1 contrast ratio, and a thin film filter that eliminates the glare and reflection of glass, boosting brightness by up to 30 percent.
Sierra Sound has just released the iN STUDIO 5.0, its new bookshelf audio system designed for higher-end listening with iPods. Patterned after discrete speakers, it includes a dock on one unit for charging and playing music from recent iPods, including the second-generation iPod nano. Power is one of its strong points, says the company. The system includes a dynamic amp that avoids the need for a separate component to drive sometimes weaker digital audio. The iN STUDIO also packs an S-video connection for linking the video signal of newer iPods to a TV. Dual aux-input jacks are also relatively unique; owners can hook up dedicated second sources such as CD players through RCA or minijacks while still freeing a second port for other MP3 players. The company says the iN STUDIO is shipping now for $399 in iPod-matching black or white, as well as a more conspicuous and stylized Ferrari red.
Fujitsu is promising at least one new portable to go with Intel's Santa Rosa launch, courtesy of a product page that briefly appeared on the company's German website. The 15.4-inch Amilio Pi2515 should strike a balance between portability and speed, weighing under 6.2 pounds but including at least a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo on an 800MHz bus, Intel X3100 video, and 120GB of hard drive storage. The system will also be available with as much as a 2GHz processor, 2GB of memory, and a 200GB drive, Fujitsu says.
The group behind the AACS copy-protection scheme is contemplating "legal and technical tools" for going after those exposing the key used on HD DVD discs, according to the BBC. The code made headlines on Wednesday, when after one Digg user submitted a Boing Boing story with the key, site staff complied with a removal request and began deleting posts and comments. The userbase fought back, flooding the site with the key through numerous new posts. Digg founder Kevin Rose has since agreed to allow the key, and accept any legal consequences.
Packard Bell has announced two new GPS car receivers, a part of its Compasseo 800 series. Both feature four-inch touchscreens, half an inch larger than the 500- and 600-series units, as well as integrated TMC traffic information; the 830 will have improved traffic detail, and built-in Bluetooth. Specifications are otherwise identical between the new products, with SiRFstar III receivers, 64MB of RAM, and SD/MMC slots for permanent storage. They are also capable of playing AVI, MP4 and WMV movies, in addition to MP3 music, but the screen is limited to 65,000 colors. The 810 will be available in Europe by the end of May, bundled with a 1GB SD card for €299 ($406); the 830 will ship in June with a 2GB card for €449 ($609). [via NaviGadget]
MacPractice today announced that its MacPractice 3.0 software is slated for release in the third quarter of 2007. The latest release is server-based software designed to establish the foundation for future releases of MacPractice EMR, MacPractice Digital Radiography, and MacPractice Tooth Chart. The software interfaces with many third-party clinical and accounting products, according to MacPractice, with the initial release of MacPractice 3.0 separating accounting data from patient attachments for automatic accounting data backups to a .Mac account. Accounting backups can occur separately from photos, x-rays, scanned documents, and files that may reside on another volume. MacPractice 3.0 expands the options available for doctors to create Web interfaces with the company's scheduling and accounting software while also providing a more user friendly experience for tablet owners.
Nova media today unveiled GlobeSurfer ICON 7.2 Ready, a USB modem for Mac notebooks and desktops designed to establish fast mobile internet connections around the globe. GlobeSurfer ICON 7.2 Ready features support for high speed HSDPA and 3GUMTS data connections with up to 7.2Mbps in appropriate mobile networks as well as EDGE and GRPS connections in all other cases. The modem includes launch2net as well as a wizard to set up and establish mobile internet connections. Launch2net includes connection settings for most mobile network operators from Alaska to New Zealand, according to the company, and takes only seconds in most cases for users to get online. The new modem will ship in late May for $410.
Original equipment maker Compal is joining in the fray of notebook makers readying for Intel's Santa Rosa platform, according to leaked specs and photos. The company, whose barebones systems are frequently resold in the US under different names, is planning equal pairs of 14-inch and 15.4-inch widescreen systems that use the faster 800MHz bus as well as updated CPUs and graphics. The 14-inch IFT01 serves as the baseline with up to 4GB of memory, Intel's updated X3100 graphics, a 3-in-1 card reader, a 2-megapixel webcam and 802.11n; its more advanced cousin, the IFT00, adds a 512MB GeForce Go 8600 for relatively fast graphics in a small system.
While USB drives are ubiquitous, the Korean company DigiWorks has devised a second use for theirs: anti-virus scanning. Its Virus Chaser USB sticks come in 2GB and 4GB capacities, and are preloaded with anti-virus software, saving the need of buying a separate package. It is even hinted that the software may be capable of launching automatically when a drive is connected, but this is unconfirmed. The Virus Chasers are expected to launch in Korea later this month. [via Akihabara News]
At this year's MusikMesse expo in Germany, PianoDisc made an unusual addition to its lineup with the introduction of its iQ add-on. The docking device works with most pianos and retrofits them to respond to the melody of almost any digital device, with special attention to Apple hardware. While it will cue the piano to play alongside CDs, DVDs, and generic digital players, the receiver includes a Universal Dock to play directly from any compatible iPod. The system is also smart enough to play music from a networked computer's iTunes library and will record the owner's own pieces through software. Pricing and release dates for PianoDisc's system are currently unavailable. [via AVING]
Synium Software today released NoteMind 1.5, an update to the application designed to help users collect and organize information centrally in one single location. NoteMind learns the way users organize documents and automatically attempts to find a matching folder for new information, displaying collected documents as a modifiable "mind map." The latest release enables users to set link to files in the NoteMind database, archives Web pages without requiring an internet connection to open the sites, supports rotating objects in mind maps, and fixes the indexing process. NoteMind 1.5 is priced at $20, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and includes numerous bug fixes.
Vonage late yesterday was denied its attempt at forcing a retrial in its Verizon patent case, according to the US Court of Appeals. The court said that an attempt by Vonage to force a retrial based on a separate Monday ruling, which prevented patents for "obvious" product evolution, wasn't necessary and that the new decision would be useful enough in the appeals process. Verizon had argued that a retrial was a waste of time.
MacTech has made its 150 page VBA/AppleScript transition guide available online for free to aid Mac Office scripters who recently discovered that Office 2008 for Mac no longer supports VBA. Subscribers received the triple-size issue as part of their normal subscription, according to the publication, which received an overwhelming response after initially publishing the guide. "For months, MacTech worked with a team of VBA, AppleScript and Office experts from around the industry to create the most comprehensive guide available to aid users in migrating from VBA to AppleScript. Chock full of step-by-step examples, it not only helps people migrating from VBA, but is useful for anyone who would like to AppleScript Microsoft Office." Bundled with the PDF download, Microsoft's Mac Business Unit is sponsoring a limited number of complimentary subscriptions by charging only shipping and handling fees ($10).
Microsoft is looking to buy Yahoo as a way of staving off Google, according to sources speaking with the New York Post. The newspaper claims that the Redmond software company is considering a deal that could be worth $50 billion to buy Yahoo to improve its distant third-place standing in search advertising, which is dominated by Google. The frustration is said to have reached a boil in recent months as Google has bought many of the companies Microsoft had been interested in, especially web advertiser DoubleClick. This in particular may have been the tipping point, as shown when Microsoft argued that Google was creating a monopoly.
Apple once again has claimed the title of "the world's most innovative company" in BusinessWeek's latest rankings. The Cupertino-based company tops the BusinessWeek-Boston Consulting Group’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for the third year in a row: "That sort of staying power speaks volumes about the sort of innovation that matters today. Unlike the Post-it Note, which proves the value of lone inventors, the iPod epitomizes today’s innovation sensibilities," the publication wrote. Apple has managed to dominate any would-be contenders by earning more than twice as many votes as two-time runner-up Google.
As promised, Acer today unveiled its Gemstone design for notebooks. The finished upgrade to the Aspire portable has the rounded, glossy outer shell that inspired its name and is meant to convey added luxury. But a few extra touches on the inside are equally important, according to Acer. A line of light, dubbed the neon media flow, leads out from the power input and circles around to the touchpad as a cosmetic touch; the early details have also confirmed the use of Dolby-certified speakers for some, if not all, of the company's PCs. Room is also given for seven media keys at opposite ends of the keyboard as well as a webcam at the top of the display lid.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ