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DiskLibrary 1.5 ($30) enhances the media cataloging application with support for exporting catalogs as XML. Users can include locations in smart catalogs as well as advanced searches -- both of which offer a "does not contain" criteria, and the update fixes problems with ejecting disks as well as other minor issues. [Download - 2.2MB] QuickSnap 1.1 ($15) is the first update to the screenshot utility released in April. The update enables users to automatically send screenshots to the clipboard, and supports saving as well as printing screenshots directly from the clipboard. The application captures screenshots via specific selections, entire windows, and entire screens. [Download - 4.9MB] Charmas 2.0 ($45) is a $15 update to the practical tool for finding fonts and creating font catalogs. The latest release supports external font sources for printing font catalogs, offers an enhanced user interface, and includes enhanced search functionality alongside improved text presentation. The update also offers better Font Book layouts. [Download - 4.1MB] LCedit 1.4 for PDAs (free) is a simple LanBox lighting editor for PalmOS devices that adds StyleTap compatibility. The update supports TCP auto-reconnection, and offers new Macro screens with up to 150 buttons. Macros are freely programmable with a memo pad file to execute nearly any LanBox lighting command via the simple press of a button. [Download - 210KB] Merlin 2.0.4 ($200) update the project management software by integrating with Marketcircle's Billings 2.5 time tracking and invoicing application. Merlin 2 users can track activity time, manage expenses, and send out invoices via Billings 2.5, and Merlin 2 offers optimized inspector features. [Download - 27MB] OnMyCommand 1.8 (free) is a UNIX shells cript and AppleScript execution utility that allows users to build custom contextual menu items or graphical applications. The update features asynchronous command execution, a progress dialog, a DataBrowser control with support for nib dialogs, and dynamic contextual menu items. [Download - 8.2MB]
Peripheral maker 3Dconnexion has announced that its SpaceNavigator controller is now supported in the Mac version of Google Earth. The SpaceNavigator is essentially a more elaborate mouse, allowing users to zoom in and out and rotate, as well as pan via more conventional movements. Within Google Earth the controller allows users to quickly circle the planet, and change altitude through simple adjustments. To make use of the SpaceNavigator, owners must download the latest 3DxMacWare driver, and be running Mac OS X 10.4.6. A basic Personal Edition of the SpaceNavigator costs $60.
VVimaging has released Vvidget 10.4.41, the latest release of its flagship charting and graphing application. The software primarily revolves around a Builder that combines wizards with a point-and-click interface to simplify graph creation. Vvidget also offers built-in support for tracking CPU and website usage, as well as plotting quadratic equations. The new release introduces a volumetric graphing feature alongside the launch of a companion user forum. The update brings new tool icons, as well as various enhancements and bug fixes. Builder itself is free; automating graphs for widgets and desktop programs, however, requires Code ($80 for educational users, $190 for commercial licenses).
As expected, Intel on Wednesday rolled out faster Intel Core 2 Duo processors, better power management for longer battery life, faster boot times, and new computing chipsets as part of the introduction of its Santa Rosa mobile platform. The Santa Clara-based company said that more than 230 Intel Centrino Duo and Intel Centrino Pro processor technology-based designs from PC manufacturers, resellers and integrators are expected to take advantage of these and other features this year. The new San Rosa-based platform, officially dubbed Centrino Duo and Centrino Pro, will come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, with designs ranging from fully loaded 17-inch wide-screen models ideal for entertainment to ultramobile energy-saving notebook PCs that weigh less than three pounds, Intel said. The company's much anticipated mobile platform update comes ahead of the launch of its next-generation Penryn architecture and 45-nm dual, quad-core versions of its Core 2 Duo mobile chips -- which run faster and cooler.
Electronics manufacturer Genius has released a pair of new game peripherals, one relatively mundane, the other distinctly unusual. The latter is the ErgoMedia 500 (pictured), a keypad designed explicitly for gaming. A padded extension keeps the user's hand comfortable, and there are 11 programmable keys, as well as a four-way direction pad located by the thumb. To make things even easier, gamers can assign macros to the keys, and switch between three configurations to handle different gameplay situations. Speaker and microphone jacks eliminate the need to reach behind a computer.
Pantech's luxury division Sky today confirmed that it was at last shipping the IM-R200. Still claimed as one of the most original cellphone designs to date, the slider's keypad replaces physical buttons with an OLED touchpad that changes the interface depending on the use: a keypad is used for calling, but camera and music controls can also take their place as the situation demands.
System builder ASUS played its part in the Intel Santa Rosa release with a comprehensive update to its notebooks. Again revealed in advance, the update centers around gaming with the 15-inch G1S and 17-inch G2S both sporting 256MB GeForce 8600M GT graphics and Core 2 Duos between 1.8 and 2.4GHz. Either will have a 1.3-megapixel webcam, the choice of between 80GB to 200GB of storage, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Each keeps the signature side lighting and carbon fiber-like styling of the pioneering editions.
Microsoft has finally released an update for Windows Vista that fixes the lingering compatibility issues with Apple's iPod. Available first in late March, the final version of the free update is for users worldwide and works with the latest version of Apple iTunes to correct an issue that caused some iPods to become corrupted when ejecting them using Windows Explorer or the "Safely Remove Hardware" function in the System Tray, the company said. "The long and short of it is this: Apple and Windows have partnered together to ensure a great experience in using Windows Vista with iTunes and the iPod, and both companies recommend you download this update," Microsoft representatives said.
The Sims will appear as a game for iPods in the coming weeks, publisher Electronic Arts confirmed to Macworld UK. The gaming giant said it plans to release four new iPod games, along with a bevy of titles for mobile phones. "From EA studios, we plan to release roughly 35 titles and 120 SKUs. EA Mobile plans to release 30 to 35 games on mobile handsets and four games on the iPod," executives told the publication. The execs noted that one of the new iPod titles will feature the much-loved Sims, Sims Bowling, "The news emerges as the publisher of the hugely succesful Sims game franchise confirmed disappointing fourth-quarter financial results," Macworld UK wrote. "Losses widened 56 per cent as the videogames industry grapples with new gaming consoles from Sony, Nintendo and others. Losses reached $25 million on $613 million revenue."
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Proporta Gadget Bag as well as QuickSnap by Fastforward Software, and Apple has promised to offer a fully functional Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard beta at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The Campus MovieFest 2006-2007 has drawn with all the best shorts available for free, and digital media veteran Robert Sharp has acquired Digieffects -- a plug-in developer for Adobe After Effects and Apple's Final Cut Pro. Proporta's Gadget Bag ($45, shown at right) serves as four bags in one by offering four separate compartments for various devices. Fastforward's QuickSnap ($15) screen shot software captures picture from a full screen or just a section of the display.
Creative today revealed the X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook, its inaugural sound card for modern notebooks with an ExpressCard 54 slot. First suggested by its quiet CeBIT intro, the adapter not only offloads sound processing from the notebook's main CPU but also uses its Crystalizer technology to restore much of the detail lost in compressing sound to MP3 or other formats. It can also simulate 3D sound through a stereo speaker arrangement.
Validating earlier FCC leaks, Fujitsu put itself in the midst of the Santa Rosa launch today with four new LifeBook models using the enhanced processors. Commanding the announcement is the T4220 tablet. As confirmed, the system will be unusually quick among tablets with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo. 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and a DVD-RW drive are now part of the stock configuration along with the already-known 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth. It ships later in the spring starting at $1,750.
Work has already begun on Apple's future store in Los Gatos near San Jose, and a photo has surfaced of the company's third planned San Francisco retail store in the Marina District. City permit records show that Apple will spend more than $3.4 million to acquire the building at 2125 Chestnut Street, and will renovate the interior to install a distinctive Apple Store that could open before 2008. Construction began Monday on the future Apple Store at 23-25 N. Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos, California. The 5,300 square-foot store will feature a Genius Bar, and joins The Sharper Image as another primary technology retailer in town. The Apple Store will also neighbor a close-by shop that aims to sell electric vehicles, according to the Los Gatos Observer. Photos of the future San Francisco store in the Marina District as well as the Los Gatos location below depict the vacant spaces where Apple will take up residence. [updated]
Moving forward with the total dissolution of the Cingular name, the Cingular 8525 smartphone (pictured) has been simply renamed the AT&T 8525. Some upgrades have been included with the change though, most notably support for AT&T Mobile Music, which includes 25 XM Radio stations. The service further enables more conventional streams, plus the download of songs, ringtones, videos and track identification. The phone has also been updated to use AT&T's Push-to-Talk technology, but is otherwise unchanged. It still has WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 and a two-megapixel camera, as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, typical of the HTC phones the 8525 is based on. The new 8525 will go on sale May 14th starting at $400; the older verision can be upgraded through a download. Windows Mobile 6 will become available later in the year.
Gateway on Wednesday led its updates to the newest Core 2 Duos with a pair of E-series notebooks. Instead of choosing NVIDIA's new 8M graphics, however, the company is defining its new portables through an AMD-based video chip. Buyers of specific variants on the 15.4-inch E-475M or 14-inch E-265M can opt for a Mobility Radeon HD X2300 with 256MB or 512MB of video memory, giving a tangible boost to 3D, movies, and Windows Vista without eating significantly into the battery. Some models also come with 802.11n wireless and up to a 12-cell battery, which can extend battery life to over 10.5 hours by Gateway's estimation.
Walt Disney reported its quarterly earnings in a conference call yesterday, revealing sales of about 23.7 million TV shows and 2 million movies via Apple's iTunes Store. The entertainment company beat its second-quarter profit predictions and is banking on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as well as "Ratatouille" from Pixar Animation Studios. Disney expressed confidence about demand for advertising for its fall lineup at ABC, according to Forbes.com, and is pleased with revenue produced by the distribution of its shows on over the internet.
Acer today took the wraps off the first definite portable PC to use the Gemstone design. The Aspire 5920 serves as the PC creator's technology showcase with both Core 2 Duos from Intel's Santa Rosa generation as well as a 256MB GeForce 8600M GT, a gamer-friendly 15.4-inch LCD with an 8ms pixel response time, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Certain models also have an HD DVD drive with HDMI out, a DVB-T tuner for European TV, and hard drives with Intel's Turbo Memory for flash-boosted hard drive access.
Toshiba has begun selling two new laptops in its Tecra business series, now built on Intel's Santa Rosa platform. The foremost is the M9, which, though it only has a 14.1-inch screen, benefits from the option of dedicated graphics: a 128MB Quadro NVS 130 should boost performance considerably, the alternative being an integrated X3100 chipset. In either case the display has a native resolution of 1440x900. The X3100 is the lone video option on the A9, which is limited to 1280x800 resolution, despite an increase in screen size to 15.4 inches.
Parallels today announced that its exclusive U.S. distributor Tech Data has begun selling a complete line of Macs pre-loaded with Parallels Desktop. The Mac systems enable users to simultaneously utilize both Mac OS X as well as Windows XP Professional without rebooting. Tech Data is offering 13 pre-configured packages that include Mac mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro systems pre-loaded with Parallels Desktop for Mac as well as Windows XP Pro inside a Parallels virtual machine. Parallels Desktop allows users to run Windows applications inside Mac OS X through virtualization technology, and offers a new "Coherence" feature to make running Windows applications almost indiscernible from Mac OS X itself.
Marketcircle has released Billings 2.5, offering a retooled user interface alongside integration with the company's Daylite business productivity suite. The invoice creation software features a built-in setup assistant, an intuitive user interface, fully-customizable templates, and a menu bar timer to control the software without interrupting current tasks. Third party programs such as Merlin 2 can take advantage of the new Billings Exchange Format (BEX) to integrate with Billings 2.5, and the update features four new fully customizable estimate and invoice styles. The latest release of BIllings is priced at $60, and the upgrade is free for current Billings users. Billings 2.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4.
Other World Computing (OWC) today unveiled its new OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual 2TB RAID 2-drive array. The new storage device is A/V rated and is specifically designed to meet the demand of audio and video production with data transfer rates of over 80MB/sec. The OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual 2TB RAID solution features 7200rpm 64MB RAID 0 striped SATA drives with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 connectivity via OWC's custom Oxford 924-based bridge. Data accessibility is transparent via the different supported interfaces, even when moved between different systems, and the entire 2TB setup is priced at $1,100. 320GB-1.5TB OWC models are also available from $250.
In tandem with its new plasma sets, Pioneer has announced four AV receivers in its Elite line (not pictured): the VSX-90TXV, 91TXH, 92TXH and 94TXH. The latter three are the focus of the company's efforts, as they support HDMI 1.3a, which is said to have twice the bandwidth of earlier HDMI connectors. They are also equipped with better sound support, including DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Digital Plus. The 92 and 94 go a step further, supporting Neural-THX Surround -- this attempts to recreate original theatrical audio separation, but supports anything from two-channel stereo through to 7.1 surround.
Sony today used the occasion of Intel's Santa Rosa platform to unveil the VAIO FZ, a completely new entry into its PC line. The FZ is said to be the world's first truly thin and light notebook with a Blu-Ray drive: at 5.8 pounds, the 15.4-inch system is far smaller and more portable than the desktop replacement AR-series but loses little of the media-friendly touches. Dedicated media controls ahead of the keyboard, as well as HDMI output on the Blu-Ray model, should streamline playing movies directly from the notebook itself or through a TV. Unlike many PCs introduced today, 802.11n Wi-Fi is standard across every model. An ExpressCard 34 slot and readers for both Memory Stick and SD cards are part of the chassis.
Berkeley Varitronics Systems has unveiled a new Yellowjacket handheld 802.11 b/a/g Wi-Fi analyzer and spectrum analyzer. The new test receiver system demodulates, sweeps, and analyzes all popular 802.11 Wi-Fi network packets including 802.11b (2.4GHz), 802.11g (2.4GHz) and 802.11a (5GHz). Yellowjacket B/A/G is also a spectrum analyzer (accurate to within +1dB) that measures RF energy allowing detailed interference analysis as well as the ability to see the "whole picture" of a 2.4GHz and 5GHz network WISP or hotpsot. An optional Swarm software bundle creates overlays for mapping coverage analysis. The Yellowjacket B/A/G and Swarm Wi-Fi analysis tools are slated for shipment in the third quarter of 2007.
Although Pioneer's new Project Kuro plasmas were announced yesterday, the company did not have dates or prices for the United States; these are now public. The soonest to arrive will be the PDP-4280HD and the PDP-5080HD, coming in June. They are 42- and 50-inch models, limited to an XGA native resolution, and will sell for $2,700 and $3,500. July will see the arrival of Elite PRO sets with similar specifications, but priced at $3,200 and $4,500. The 1080p sets -- due in September -- will likewise have PDP and PRO versions, but will only be available in 50- and 60-inch sizes. The two PDPs will cost $5,000 and $6,500; the PROs will represent the top of the price scale, weighing in at $6,000 and $7,500.
Apple could have one of its MacBook lines revised as soon as next week, according to multiple claims. Speaking to retail stores, Gizmodo's Jason Chen and other sources allege that replacement systems in at least one line will arrive as soon as next week. In at least one case, quantities of Apple's normally healthy stock were running low at resellers, pointing to an update. "I was at a small box retailer with a good selection," says one backer of the claim. "They had not received any new MacBook Pros in over two weeks. [The store] hinted that this also meant something new was coming."
Dell today chose its Latitude notebooks as the first to receive an upgrade to Intel's faster Core 2 Duos based on the Santa Rosa platform. Confirmed in a late leak, the D630 and D830 will offer the extra speed as well as enhanced storage: custom orders can pick from Intel's Turbo Memory flash cache, a hybrid hard drive with its own flash buffer, or a completely flash-based solid state drive to cut down on loading times and battery consumption. The combination of CPU and storage upgrades adds as much as 15 percent more speed while also extending battery life to as much as 9.4 hours in the system builder's testing.
Palm has announced that later this month, Sprint will begin carrying the new Treo 755p (link down). While a relative of the GSM-based Treo 750, the 755p marks several firsts. It is for instance the first CDMA Treo to use a completely internalized antenna, making the phone easier to carry in a pocket; it is also the first Palm OS Treo to support Microsoft Direct Push, enabling automatic e-mail downloads from Exchange servers. Finally, the phone is the first Treo to be preloaded with Google Maps, eliminating the hassle of downloading content every time a user wants directions or traffic information.
VictorSystems has unveiled a hardened Mac mini computer designed to withstand hostile environments in the military and aerospace industries. The new mini features "ruggedized" peripherals that enable users to access Mac OS X applications in locations that were not previously possible. The Rugged Mini Computer System comes packaged for ground support application, but is reconfigurable for use in other hostile environments, according to VictorSystems owner Vic Cohen. "One cooling method or packaging method will not fit all." A demonstration mini is presented on the company's website, with peripherals constructed from aircraft grade aluminum alloys. The mini itself is supported by an aluminum space frame made form extruded rails and finned heat sinks, while covers are constructed from wrought plates fastened and bonded using electrically conductive epoxy.
Apple retail stores are revolutionizing the Manhattan shopping experience, according to one report. The Cupertino-based company's SoHo store was followed by the grand opening of its Fifth Avenue location marked by a great glass cube, and plans for a third store are already underway in the Meatpacking District. "Apple went to a billion faster than any other retailer in history, starting from a standing start," said retail consultant Howard Davidowitz. "Apple is the highest volume-per-square-foot retailer in the United States of America. It's like a homerun." Apple stores look and feel less like retail shops and more like lounges with plenty of activities to entertain guests, and most stores offer training sessions alongside other events to keep foot traffic high, according to Resident. Dell recently opened its own retail store in an attempt to echo Apple's success, achieving mixed results after opening the store last year.
After numerous leaks, NVIDIA today has rolled out its officially-titled GeForce 8M series of mobile graphics chips. The GPUs are the first to support unified shaders in portables, enabling full DirectX 10 support for Vista as well as improved OpenGL for faster 3D. The architecture can be twice as quick as the last generation, NVIDIA claims. Just as important is video decoding: like the desktop GeForce 8600, the 8M can accelerate the entire H.264 video process, making it easy to play Blu-Ray, HD DVD, and other 1080p-native movies on a notebook without siphoning away CPU and memory resources.
Lenovo this morning contributed its own share to the series of Santa Rosa-based notebooks unveiled today. Two 14-inch notebooks see the performance upgrade and also mark firsts for the company's ThinkPad line: the T61 is the first-ever widescreen T-series at the size, while the mid-range R61 is the first widescreen R-series of any kind. Either system also has a series of improvements to the battery and safety performance, Lenovo says. A new honeycombed shell, dubbed the Top Roll Cage, reduces impact stress by as much as 25 percent to prevent the LCD from shattering in a drop; owners can also count on a more efficient and quieter cooling system as well as Battery Stretch software that draws running time out by an extra 15 percent. Wireless reception has also seen a step upwards.
Toshiba on Wednesday launched a sweeping series of changes to its notebooks, topping them all with the introduction of a new Qosmio media center portable. As alluded to by a European leak, the G45 will represent a major shift in the style of the previously all-black system and should also be loaded with the company's best features. While the company will only confirm that it will use GeForce Go 8600-series graphics, European and Japanese news points to a 256MB GeForce Go 8600 GT. The hardware will let the PC run full DirectX 10 graphics effects and should also help with video.
Samsung today also joined in the suite of notebook releases matching Intel's Santa Rosa unveiling with full Korean details of the Aura notebooks first revealed at CeBIT. The 12-inch Q45 will make some tradeoffs versus the edition destined for Europe: while the 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB of memory remain intact, the ultraportable will step down its graphics to Intel's X3100 in exchange for a DMB tuner for over-the-air digital TV. It should also pack 120GB of hard drive storage.
Complementing its newly introduced flagship 20-inch 1080p notebook, HP today debuted more than a dozen new stylish consumer and business notebooks with more advanced features. The Pavillion notebooks offer consumers the option to add Verizon's high-speed wireless broadband network card: the EV-DO Rev and are expected to be available starting May 9, 2007. In addition, to simplify product selection, HP business notebook model numbers are now based around three product groupings – Ultra-Light (2000), Balanced Mobility (6000) and High Performance (8000). HP is also introducing four feature packages in its business notebooks -- standard (s), business (b), professional (p) and workstation (w) to allow customers to easily identify the different feature sets.
Market-leader Hewlett-Packard today debuted a range of mobile computing services and devices--including a 20-inch 1080p-capable notebook--at the third annual HP Mobility Summit in Shanghai. The company unveiled more than a dozen notebook PCs as well as mobile device management software, mobile messaging and collaboration services, and 3G mobile video solutions, including messaging and mobile blogging services. HP also announced "mscape," a prototype software suite and website that overlays digital sight, sounds and interactions on the physical world to create what the company calls "immersive and interactive experiences."
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k