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Apple today re-elected all of its board members at its annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino and also voted down a proposal to change Apple's policy on pricing option grants for senior executives. Apple CEO Jobs also defended his company, his knowlegde, and other execs in Apple's options scandal as well as his compensation. "I get 50 cents just for showing up. The other 50 cents in for my performance," Jobs said. Apple's chief also call the upcoming iPhone "a remarkable device," confirming it will be released in June and also confirming that the company would show its new operating system, Leopard, to developers at Apple's annual developers conference next month.
Apple has released a security update to its Darwin Streaming Server, its open source project. DSS 5.5.5 fixes two security flaws, including one where a remote attacker may be able to cause an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. The company said a stack buffer overflow exists in the Darwin Streaming Proxy and that by sending maliciously-crafted RTSP requests, a remote attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
In brief: bid Nerd Ranch Europe today announced its intensive five-day Python Bootcamp, REALbasic Developer Magazine is offering all customers who mention "REAL World" in the Comments section of their subscription to the publication one extra issue, Winter Wolves Games has released a new expansion for Magic Stones titled "The Lands of Fire," and MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Marketcircle's Daylite Productivity Suite. Big Nerd Ranch Europe is bringing its intensive five-day Python Bootcamp to Europe. The course, taught by Python Essential Reference author David Beazley, will take place July 16-20th. Python Bootcamp is designed for system administrators and developers who need a powerful scripting language to automate complex tasks, develop systems using Python, and extend existing systems.
Sennheiser's new PXC 450 headphones use an over-the-ear design and the company's NoiseGard 2.0 technology (powered by two AAA batteries) to effectively eliminate outside sound. The headphones can operate for up to 16 hours with or without noise cancelling, as the speakers are driven by a separate battery, and wearers can hit the "TalkThrough" button to allow external audio via microphones. All controls are located in a cluster on a single earpiece, and using the power switch will fade audio in and out. The headphones will ship to the UK latest this month for £300 ($595), and come with a travel case, as well as adapters for airplanes and 6.3mm jacks. [via Tech Digest]
Virtual Programming today released Armageddon, the update to Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday. The new release picks up where Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday left off, and includes two entirely new alternative history scenarios presenting fresh challenges to veteran players. The scenarios have variable end dates alongside a variety of new game options, and the update includes numerous new units. New attachments for naval units enable players to scrape or upgrade old ships, and players can build land units with brigades already attached. An air naval combat system radically alters the combat balance, and new damage algorithms for that system make organizing more important while allowing air units to fight longer. Armageddon is priced at $10, and requires Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday running on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to play.
Even clearer photos and technical details of the VAIO TZ ultraportable have leaked courtesy of French retailer GrosBill (PDF). Confirming the pick of a 1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, a DVD rewriter, and an integrated VGA camera, the new info also points to an exceptionally thin, MacBook-inspired design. LED backlighting slims down the shell to under 0.9 inches at its thinnest point, and the hinted-at radical keyboard change borrows Apple's trayless design to guard against spills.
After considerable delay, Zenum has confirmed that its first smartphone, the Opus, will at last be released later this spring. Once known as the Opus Operis, it appears to have undergone considerable changes, mainly an aesthetic overhaul that includes switching from white to black and enlarging the QWERTY keys for easier typing. Despite indications on the website, it should also ship with Windows Mobile 6 instead of 5. A version with HSDPA broadband is due by the end of 2008.
iRiver today hoped to spin conventional ideas of the player dock through its Clix Cradle. Built as an accessory just for the second-generation Clix media player, the dock's unique shape lets it flip depending on the role: owners can stand it upright on a USB mount for charging and synchronizing with a computer, but also rest the unit on a flat side for pumping audio through a one-watt speaker system. The Cradle is also unique among docks with a lithium-ion battery that can play about 7 hours of music on a single charge before returning to a PC for its own charge.
The flood of Santa Rosa announcements continues, with Two Top joining NEC in pushing the platform for Japan. The premiere laptop is the ViP Note-ZS (pictured), which has a 15.4-inch WXGA (1280x800) display, a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, and Nvidia's newly-announced GeForce 8600M for video. The system comes stock with 2GB of RAM and 120GB of hard drive space, plus a Super Multi DVD drive. It should be available by the end of the month for 159,800 yen ($1,333).
Samsung is nearing the release of what could be its lowest-cost 3G phone ever for AT&T, an FCC filing shows. The A617 will be a simple clamshell design but will have the extra advantage of a dual-band HSDPA radio, tapping it into AT&T's faster 3G Internet access in the US as well as UMTS in Europe. More mainstream Internet access is available through EDGE and calling is worldwide with a quad-band GSM radio. A mention of 2.4GHz in the filing also points to Bluetooth for headsets and PC sync.
Acer on Thursday followed up its Gemstone notebook announcement with news of a pair of fresh desktop PCs. Updated versions of the home-oriented Aspire SA90 and work-minded AcerPower S290 are each designed to be as fast or frugal as needed with the option of CPUs as low as a Celeron D and as quick as the Core 2 Duo. The two are also exceptions to most PCs with integrated Mirage 3 graphics from SiS rather than Intel. 3D-focused buyers can plug a full-speed PCI Express card into the SA90.
Apple today revealed at its annual shareholder meeting that its iPhone is on track to ship in June as planned, and hinted at iTunes video rentals at an unknown future date, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "There have been some rumors suggesting that the iPhone could be delayed," Munster wrote in a research note. "CEO Steve Jobs confirmed iPhone will be in the market next month (June)."
Adium 1.0.3 (free) updates the instant messaging application for Mac OS X that connects to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more. The latest release fixes a major memory leak after closing chats present since Adium 1.0, and updates to libpurple 2.0.0 from libpurple 2.0.0 beta. Adium 1.0.3 also improves retrieval of MSN buddy icons, and adds NAT-PMP support. [Download - 13.2MB] AudioLobe 1.4 ($20) provides audio speed and pitch processing for Mac OS X 10.4 and later. The software enables users to alter the speed of audio playback without changing the pitch rate, slowing down complex sequences of audio without the vocal or instruments sounding unintelligible. The update automatically includes the album name of new items added to the playlist when available, generating the name from iTunes data. [Download - 1.5MB] MacJournal 4.1.2 ($35) enhances the journaling and blogging software with MacJournal Palm Conduit for the Missing Sync application, as well as iWeb support and the ability to import a Stickies database. The latest release also adds support for NetNewsWire, and includes numerous localizations as well as bug fixes. [Download - [form]] e2Sync ($30 throughout May) brings iPod and cellular phone sync capability to Microsoft Entourage 11.3.5. e2Sync uses Apple's iSync software to bring Entourage Contacts, Tasks, and Calendar items to more than 60 cellular phone models as well as iPods and PDA devices. The software is designed to work out of the box. Interarchy 8.5.2 ($30) updates the file transfer application for Mac OS X. Interarchy 8.5.2 is primarily a maintenance release that fixes reported issues and adds several refinements. The FTP client adds the Net Disks collection as well as the Bonjour collection to the DOck Menu, and fixes a bug that could prevent users from closing the Connect to Server window. [Download - 7.8MB] theWord beta (free) is a closed beta test of the new audio Bible software. TheWord features an iTunes-style interface and allows users to bookmark audio sections or export audio to iTUnes for burning to CDs or syncing to iPods. [Download - [form]]
Hisense has just fused a handful of newer technology into its new D907 phone. The candybar-shaped device is one of the still rare phones to run on both CDMA and GSM phone networks; while either radio is only dual-band, the hybrid design lets it roam on CDMA networks worldwide as well as GSM in most areas outside of North America. Other components cater equally to world travelers, such as a 2.2-inch touchscreen that can be used for handwriting recognition for Mandarin and other languages as well as a GPS receiver for a position fix in unfamiliar territory.
Not satisfied with traditional flash memory, Xmultiple today revealed the SQ card, a new format that aims to fix the flaws of earlier formats. Speed is the greatest improvement, the company boats. Every SQ model eliminates the typically slow transfer rates of flash. A mid-range 1GB card can read data at 24MB/sec and write at 12MB/sec, several times faster than SD or similiar formats; top cards can peak at 60MB. The design is also innovative, te company adds. Since each card is perfectly square and has a connector on each side, owners never have to worry about which end to use.
The company behind Sony's Reader e-book, E Ink, has announced the production of a new form of e-paper that should dramatically improve appearance and performance. E-paper is often criticized for being dim and slow to refresh; the new technology, called Vizplex, increases brightness by up eight percent over previous E Ink offerings, and has had its average switch speed cut from 1.2 seconds down to 740ms. The top speed may be as fast as 260ms. There should also be more tonal range in images, since greyscale levels have been doubled from four to eight. The first Vizplex displays will begin production this summer, and will come in five different sizes, ranging from 1.9 to 9.7 inches. Even this is an improvement, since E Ink had previously been limited to six-inch screens. [via MobileRead]
Gogii Games has released Nanny Mania for Mac OS X, a game that challenges players to take care of a traditional household. "Think you can manage a household? Think being a stay at home mom is easy? Try cleaning, cooking, laundry, and taking care of the parents, four kids and a whole heap of trouble." The game features 150 levels, as well as three different main characters. Players begin with just one child in a small home, but gradually grow into a full-blown family in a larger house for increased difficulty. Nanny Mania is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, requiring Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Virtual Programming today released Strategy 6, a box compilation of six Mac strategy games from Paradox. The package includes Europa Universalis II, Crusader Kings, Victoria, Victoria Revolutions, Hearts of Iron 2, and Doomsday. "Turn the tide of World War II. Discover the New World. Industrialize your country and colonize continents. Engage in the power struggles of medieval Europe or assume the leadership role of one of the great Asian dynasties." The compilation is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later running on a 500MHz G3 or faster system with at least 256MB of memory.
Nokia today announced that it has begun including a new, eco-friendly alert system into all of its newer phones. Starting with the 1200 series as well as the 1650, the company's handsets will now warn owners to unplug their cellphone charger when the battery is full, preventing the charger from consuming power that will simply go wasted. The savings from this act alone could supply power to 85,000 homes a year, Nokia says.
Technology being developed in the United Kingdom could soon allow GPS navigation without expensive software and displays, according to BBC News. University researchers in Swansea and Glasgow are instead collaborating on an audible guidance system, which could be used in MP3 players and allow music to continue at the same time. After a fixed destination was set, the new system would adjust volume in each ear as direction changes come up. Players could be further programmed to "nudge" a listener towards points of interest, by either adjusting stereo balance, or vibrating the player itself. At the moment, however, this is purely hypothetical -- there is no estimated timeframe for when development will be finished.
Panasonic on Thursday launched the Y7A as its own contribution to the second wave of Santa Rosa notebooks. The Japanese developer's first take on the architecture focuses on longevity over performance with a 1.4GHz low-voltage Core 2 Duo that nets up to 7.5 hours of battery life. Intel's new X3100 video and 802.11n chipset also make their way into the transition. The 14-inch system sees upgrades of Panasonic's own, the company says: base memory sees a boost to 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard disk, with PC Card and SDHC card readers providing hooks for outside storage.
Apple is looking to hire individuals to join its iPhone support team in the Sacramento area, according to one report from the Sacramento Bee. Apple is advertising in newspapers as well as on its website for iPhone personal trainers who are to be based in Elk Grove. "We are hiring qualified people to join the iPhone team in Elk Grove," says Apple's ad. "If you are looking to inspire customers with technology that empowers their lives and get your foot in the door at Apple, this is one opportunity you don't want to miss." The company will hold an invite-only hiring open house in Elk Grove on Wednesday, according to the report, and is asking potential employees to phone (866) 238-6785 to receive an invitation.
Two of the United States' most prominent Internet providers are in a race to dramtically improve broadband speeds, writes Broadband Reports. The opening stride was made earlier this week by Comcast, who demonstrated speeds of up to 150Mbps using DOCSIS 3.0 technology -- available in rare instances abroad, but essentially unseen in North America. Comcast's service will only be available in one to two years however, and initial packages will be capped substantially below their potential.
In brief: Sling Media has posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how its Slingbox complements the Apple TV, Beyza Cases has unveiled a new line of protective cases for Apple's forthcoming iPhone, AssistiveWare in conjunction with Acapela Group has announced a number of new educational offers for its Mac OS X speech solutions, and ThinkFree has announced its latest online community. Sling Media has produced an instructional video on how the company's Slingbox complements the Apple TV. The demonstration details using a Motorola wireless device to control the Apple TV, and shows a Windows-based laptop displaying content while users control the Apple TV via the Apple Remote.
Mitsubishi is readying a fairly remarkable LCD set called the Viseo MDT241WG. Immediately noticeable is the bezel of the screen, which apart from speakers at the bottom, is trimmed as close as that of many computer monitors. But the similarities do not stop there, as despite measuring only 24.1 inches, the set has native support of resolutions up to 1920x1200. Buyers are often limited to sets that are 40 inches or larger before 1080p becomes an option. The 241 also sports a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and Mitsubishi's MV engine, which should reduce the impact of blur, although response time is rated at a slow 16ms. The set will arrive first in Japan on June 1st, for the equivalent of $1,146. Akihabara News hints at a possible American release.
Microsoft is devising both a more video-friendly Zune as well as major updates to the original's software, according to sources within the company. While the company has reportedly demonstrated a flash-based Zune to developers with little impact, the main hard drive based jukebox will also receive a significant makeover. It should have a larger display better suited to watching movies and should see the first capacity upgrade since the 30GB version introduced in November.
NEC will be among the first Japanese vendors to sell laptops based on the Intel Santa Rosa platform. Its offering is the 15.4-inch VersaPro VD, which has the choice of 1.8 or 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processors, and up to 2GB of RAM, and 120GB of hard drive space. Buyers can select a DVD combo drive or upgrade to a full burner. Unlike some Santa Rosa laptops, there appears to be no option for 802.11n wireless, and in fact, just 802.11a/b/g is extra. As befits a Japanese laptop though, users can restrict access to their system through either a fingerprint scan or a FeliCa card. Windows Vista Business or XP Professional can be installed; VD laptops will begin shipping later this month starting at 180,500 yen ($1,505). [via Akihabara News]
Smart Loops has released its SL Hit Tracks Hard Rock and SL Hit Tracks Complete download bundles in Apple Loops format, which were previously only available in ACID WAV format. SL Hit Tracks are live 24-bit audio recordings of actual drum performances that are usable with GarageBand, Final Cut, Logic Express, Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Digital Performer, and other Apple Loops compatible Mac and PC audio software. Each SL Hit Track is split into separate chorus, verse, fill, solo and other song sections. Additional short 1 and 2 bar fills and grooves based on the recordings are also included. SL Hit Tracks Hard Rock is priced at $50, while SL Hit Tracks Complete is available for $100.
Microsoft today adopted a similar exclusivity approach to the Xbox 360 that it has taken with its Zune player. The Xbox 360 Simpsons edition is a special version of the company's standard $399 console meant only to commemorate the upcoming animated movie. In contrast to previous promos with the console, the limited run will color the entire system: the whole shell, as well as the wireless gamepad, will ship in the cartoon's characteristic yellow; the main unit will also have strategically placed art to recall the movie, Microsoft says.
Apple's Insomnia Photo competition is drawing to a close, which challenged students across the U.S. to submit original photographs representing the word "growth." The top 25 photos which receive the most ratings from visitors with Apple ID's will be judged by a panel of photographers. From those finalists, one will receive a new MacBook Pro while several others will receive an iPod as well as a copy of Apple's Aperture post production photography software. Several more contestants will receive a copy of Aperture, and Apple is encouraging users to rate their favorite photographs before the contest concludes.
Hitachi today announced that it has started shipping the TravelStar 7K200. The notebook drive is the industry's first to store 200GB while maintaining a desktop-class 7200 RPM speed, and improves even on earlier performance drives: the 7K200 is roughly 18 to 33 percent faster than previous drives operating at the same speed, the company's storage division claims. The updated TravelStar also consumes roughly the same power as 5400 RPM drives and is designed to be quiet enough for watching movies and other clips directly from the hard disk.
Apple has developed a patent that may point the way towards smaller iPhones and touch-sensitive iPods, according to a filing published today. Titled "Back-Side Interface for Hand-Held Devices," the patent hopes to resolve the problem of including touch-sensitive input on smaller screens where the user's hand would obscure the content. The solution described would include a touch-sensitive surface on the opposite side of the screen: users would direct a cursor on the main screen by gliding a finger along the back surface corresponding to the control, triggering actions by applying extra pressure.
Oxeye Game Studio has released The Strategist, a turn-based strategy shareware game with single-player campaigns and online multi-player support. Based on its highly optimized "daisy" engine for Mac OS X market, players take on the role as the Union's youngest and most promising new Strategist, who is just about to complete his training when the camp is struck by poisonous gas missiles. The player's friend, 'Strategist Ricks', is kidnapped and the whole base is shattered by the unexpected attack. To fight back the player has to build new command centers, harbours and industries, and gather information about who the enemies are and where they can be found. The task is not easy and filled with both treachery and deceit."
Motorola is preparing itself for the iPhone through new hardware, company CEO Ed Zander said at a conference yesterday. The executive claimed that much of Motorola's cellphone strategy is shifting towards Internet access and media playback, and that the company would announce a high-end phone at a European event next week that would reinforce the firm's position against Apple. "This [phone] has unbelievable video capability. It's a media monster," Zander said.
Apple on Wednesday released Pro Application Support 4.0, an update to its Pro applications suite. The company says the update improves general user interface reliability for Apple's professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express. The 7.6MB update is available from the company's servers as well as the Software Update. The update is recommended for all users and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
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Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Herm√©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir