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Google Buddy 1.0 ($12) enables users to perform Advanced Google searches directly from the desktop. The software offers instant access from a menu bar or hotkey, and provides live search suggestions as users type. Google Buddy supports advanced searches for images, movies, and more. [Download - 1MB] Snak 5.3 ($30) is an internet relay chat (IRC) client for Mac OS X that features unique docking windows for efficient use of screen space. Multiple channels share one window, and an action list enables users to set up automatic responses to numerous events. The update offers a new room list panel that stores the list of rooms, negating the need to repeatedly fetch it from the server. The latest release can also play sounds in response to actions, and offers improved AppleScript erorr reporting. [Download - 4.1MB] Amadeus Pro 1.0.3 ($40) is a multitrack audio editor supporting a variety of formats including MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAVE, and more. The application can convert vinyls or tapes to CD, offers batch processing functions, includes numerous sound effects with full support for both Audio Unit and VST audio plug-ins, and enables users to create high quality sonograms or spectrum analyses for professional or amateur use. [Download - 8.6MB] iCalamus 1.08 ($175) enhances the publishing software for Mac OS X with text styles that support the 'expanded' and 'oblique' attributes, as well as support for using the text ruler attribute 'writing direction right-to-left.' Double clicks on text fields or embedded images in text frames open the relevant editor in iCalamus 1.08, and the text editor supports the Services menu from Mac OS X. [Download - 23.4MB] Barcodet ($260) enables users to create bar codes from data stored in a FileMaker Pro database (versions 5 through 8.5 only). Bar code fonts are used for display and printing while FileMaker Pro files handle calculations, and fonts are available in multiple sizes with the ability to scale. Typefaces as small as a millimeter in height support using bar codes wherever verticle space is limited, and there are no plug-ins or scripts to cause compatibility issues. pro Fit 6.1.0 ($100) is designed for data and function analysis, plotting, and curve fitting. The update runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and includes a new tool for multidimensional curve fitting as well as a revamped rendering engine for plots with native Core Graphics, PDF, and postscript support. The upgrade is available for free to everyone who purchased pro Fit since January 1st of 2006, with upgrades for other users are priced at $55. [Download - 17MB]
The Taiwan-based maker Mustek is preparing a new, low-cost GPS unit, simply called the GPS 200. It has a 4.2-inch VGA screen, and the processor is a mere 200MHz chip, where others are often 400MHz or faster. It does however have a SiRFstar III receiver, as well as the ability to play MP3 audio and MPEG-4 video. The navigation software is Destinator 6, which provides 2D map views and voice guidance for each turn; a bundled 512MB SD card contains maps for 30 European countries. Traffic information is optional. No release date is available, but the cost will be €249 ($337). [via GPSAndCo]
Skype today announced a new deal with Wal-Mart that would see the Internet phone service provider's goods in the large retailer's stores. Visitors to the shops will have the the option of buying VoIP-supporting handsets and earpieces in a readily identifiable section of the store, which Skype says will give a tremendous amount of added exposure. Completely new for any American store, however, is the option of pre-paid cards: those using any Skype software will have the option of making SkypeOut calls to real-world numbers without a subscription or a credit card.
The entire catalog of the Beatles' music came closer to appearing on Apple's iTunes Store today, with negotiations between Apple and the legendary rock band "virtually settled." Paul McCartney -- one of the founding members of the Beatles and the world record holder for the most successful musician and composer in popular music history -- has laid plans to make all of the Beatles' tracks available on iTunes following the settlement of a trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. iTunes won't likely see a significant boost to its bottom line as a result of adding the Beatles' music to its online shop, according to analysts cited by the Sacramento Business Journal, but Apple has historically profited from its market leading iPod music players while supporting sales of the portable devices with its integrated online store.
Though just announced last week, Sprint has already begun selling Palm's Treo 755p. As noted, it is the first CDMA Treo to use an internalized antenna, and it is also the first Palm OS-based Treo to support Microsoft's Direct Push e-mail technology. Sprint confirms that the phone supports MP3 playback, and talk time is being rated at a healthy 4.2 hours. The phone costs $580 unlocked; this can be brought down to $280, however, with a two-year contract and a mail-in rebate. Blue and burgundy colors are available.
Akvis has released Enhancer 6.0, an update to its image enhancement software designed to improve detail in underexposed, overexposed, and mid tone areas of photographs. Enhancer aims to bring out details by intensifying color transition, strengthening the difference between adjacent pixels having different color gradations to reveal details in the shadow and overexposed or mid tone areas. The software performs changes with one shot via a photo correction algorithm, negating the need to manipulate 2-4 shots of the same scene. Batch mode support allows users to automatically process a series of images, and the plug-in works with Adobe Photoshop as well as Photoshop Elements and COrel Photo-Paint. Enhancer 6.0 is priced at $70, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Microsoft would like to take royalties from Linux and other free, open-source software, according to the company. The Windows developer alleges that the operating system and related programs infringe on 235 design patents -- 107 of which are trampled on by Linux and its interface alone. Microsoft's licensing chief Horatio Gutierrez claims that the sheer volume isn't coincidental. "This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement," he says. "There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."
Although Sinar may not be a famous name to the public, it is fairly well-known in professional circles, as it specializes in medium- to large-format cameras used for fashion, advertising and architecture. The company has just announced that its newest medium-format camera, the Hy6, will finally be arriving in the United States in mid-July. Its most notable feature is the ability to handle both 6x4.5 (wide) and 6x6cm (square) images, a factor that often limits rivals from the likes of Hasselblad. The camera accepts lenses from Sinaron, Zeiss and Schneider, including autofocus variants, and has an impressive flash-sync speed of 1/1000, faster than virtually any other commercial camera. Two versions will be sold in the US: one with the eMotion 75LV back will cost $32,500, but buyers will be able to switch to the eMotion 54LV and drop the price to $30,500.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Art Text from Belight Software, Wrappers is offering a free reversible iPhone/iPod cover as part of a promotion, Advanced Computer Innovations has expanded its internet-based "Instant online conversion" service, and Spiderweb Software has released the source code for its Blades of Exile game. Belight's Art Text ($40) is a utility designed for use in conjunction with other software, enabling users to create artwork with text and place that is exportable. Art Text supports supports logo and banner creation, as well as decorative headlines for text.
RIM's BlackBerry Pearl should see a major revision by late summer, according to sources aware of long-term plans. Internally called the 8120, the upgraded phone would take high-end features from premium BlackBerries and those yet to be released. Native GPS would come over from the Curve for route-finding in a smaller form. So far unreleased in any of RIM's newer devices is Wi-Fi, which should provide an alternative to cell-based EDGE access. The camera will also be upgraded to a 2-megapixel sensor versus the 1.3-megapixel unit that shipped in 2006.
Although long absent from the US, the recently revitalized Packard Bell has just released a pair of EasyNote portables based on Intel's new Santa Rosa mobile architecture. The SB85 and SB86 are each quick mid-range notebooks with a 15.4-inch display and extensive connection options, including an HDMI output, eSATA for fast external hard drives, and 802.11n for Wi-Fi. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is tucked into the display lid. Each is also game- and HD-friendly with a GeForce 8600M GS for quick 3D.
Memorex today hopes to stand out in a crowded field by releasing the MMP8640, its own approach to pocket music and video players. Distinguishing the player is a unique LED-lit design: the keypad and the onscreen interface are switchable to any one of six colors depending on the user's tastes at a given moment. The device also delivers extra room for its MPEG-4 videos and MP3/WMA songs than most flash-based players by offering a miniSD card slot for growing storage beyond the 4GB built into the player from the outset.
The Chinese site Phone Daily carries word of the VIP 007, a product on sale in the country which appears to plagiarize the James Bond franchise, down to an "autograph" and wallpaper taken from recent movie posters. Click below for more images. While the keypad, metallic frame and large LCD support the "spy tech" illusion, the VIP is otherwise a strange tie-in -- rather than being compact, it is actually sized and shaped more like a 1980s' cellphone, complete with a large external antenna. The back is carved with stars and a goat, and one of the programs has the option of cute or horror-themed borders. Hardware specifications are generally unknown, except that the phone connects to GSM networks, plays music files, and has some form of camera. Cited prices are most likely inaccurate. [via Akihabara News]
Sprint on Monday began carrying the Samsung M510. The clamshell serves as a shrunken version of the M610 released late last year, trading a slight gain in thickness (from 0.47 to 0.64 inches) in exchange for smaller overall dimensions. The camera is the only other main sacrifice with a fixed 1.3-megapixel replacing the 2-megapixel swiveling sensor on the larger model. A microSD slot handles music and video clips while support exists for assistive GPS.
Online video vendors such as Apple's iTunes Store are likely to see sales peaks this year, according to one study, but that growth will taper off next year if consumers don't start paying for online videos in droves. Forrester Research expects sales of movies and TV shows to almost triple to almost $280 million this year from almost $100 million last year, according to Reuters. "In the video space, iTunes is just a temporary flash while consumers wait for better ways to get video. They're already coming," said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey who authored the study. McQuivey also called the paid download video market a "dead end," according to the report, and estimates that sales growth is not likely to triple or even double in 2008 and beyond. "Free is going to win," said McQuivey.
Joint venture LG.Philips LCD has laid claim to the world's first flexible, color e-paper in the A4 size (8x10), also known as the most common pulp paper format; this statement may be misleading however, as Fujitsu said the same in April. LG.Philips' technology is able to display 4,096 colors, and can be viewed from an impresssive 180 degrees, wider even than virtually any LCD. Its production involves a proprietary process than reduces panel deformation, and prevents change in circuit structures due to high temperatures. Unlike Fujitsu, no specfic products have as yet been announced. [via DigiTimes]
The iPhone could well push the cost of phones upwards in the US, Nokia CFO Rick Simonson said at a summit on Monday. The executive noted that the already high attention given to the Apple device could change attitudes towards smartphones and other media-savvy devices in the US, where cellphone owners are used to less expensive but also more limited handsets -- a feature that could play into the hands of Nokia, whose line is increasingly reliant on costly media and network connections.
There may be more to Apple's upcoming Mac OS X Leopard launch, which the company delayed until October to ensure its iPhone will ship on time in June, than meets the eye. SeekingAlpha reports that clues point to Leopard doing away with traditional overlapping windows altogether, and that Apple delayed the next generation of Mac OS X to give developers a head start on porting as well as developing new software for new user interface. Apple's own applications reflect such a trend, using paned interfaces rather than overlapping windows for almost every interface. "Such a radical new 'feature' in Leopard would more than justify Apple's efforts to rush developers into learning about the new APIs and preparing them to make some serious changes to their applications," the report states.
Complementing its LCD announcements, Mitsubishi has revealed a full nine new DLP sets (not pictured), each of which is 1080p-capable, and uses the company's 6-Color Light Engine to (in theory) produce richer colors. At the base is the 733 Series, which consists of 57- ($2,499), 65- ($2,999), and 73-inch ($4,699) models, all equipped with three HDMI 1.3 ports in the back, and a component port in the front. The same sizes are present in the 734 Series, but they add a front HDMI input, as well as image-enhancement technologies such as PerfecTint, Dark Detailer and DeepField, which produces dynamic contrast. SharpEdge is designed to produce more defined object edges. Prices begin at $2,799 for the 57-inch set.
Samsung today showed off a new technology that could greatly improve not just the cost but also the efficiency of flat-panel TVs. While Samsung itself has already unveiled LED-backlit screens that promise better color and lower power consumption compared to the cold-cathode screens usually seen today, the company's new White LED technology should improve this even further. The White LED reduces the number of elements in the backlight from red, green, and blue to a single blue unit. The shrink reduces the cost to produce LEDs and makes it more realistic option for larger sets; it also eliminates pollutants such as halogen and mercury.
Numerous PowerBook G4 owners are crying out to Apple for recognition of an apparently unfixed memory slot failure. Thousands of PowerBook owners have already signed an online petition requesting that Apple acknowledge the issue and repair it, and many users report that they previously had their PowerBooks repaired to fix the same problem but that their notebooks failed a second time after the alleged fix was administered. The problem seems to affect PowerBook G4 15-inch models with 1GHz, 1.25GHz, 1.33GHz, 1.5GHz, and 1.67GHz processor speeds.
Unconfirmed rumors suggest that Sanyo will be releasing an update to its PLV-Z5 projector (see right) in July, suitably named the Z6. As depicted, the new system would be a considerable upgrade, boosting contrast to 14,000:1 (from the current 10,000:1), and offering not one but two HDMI 1.3 ports. The brightness is expected to drop by 100 lumens to 1,000 however, and supported resolutions are unknown. I4U News speculates that while the Z5 already supports 720p, the Z6 is unlikely to make the leap to 1080p, as that might add considerably to the cost.
ComChart Medical Software and MacPractice have announced an interface between the multiplatform ComChart EMR and MacPractice MD medical practice management software for Mac OS X. "Physician offices now need only click the MacPractice 'EMR' icon and they will immediately be transported to the patient's chart in ComChart EMR. This feature will enable physician practices to have a 100 percent paperless, 100 percent efficient and 100 percent Mac office." The MacPractice-ComChart Interface requires ComChart EMR 9.2z7 (a free update for ComChart users) and the purchase of a the MacPractice EMR Interface Ability from MacPractice for $500 plus a $200 annual support and updates fee. The MacPractice EMR Interface Ability is free for new customers of MacPractice until June 15th of this year.
Motorola's "monster" phone may be its long-awaited direct sequel to the RAZR, based on new photos and their accompanying details. Known alternately as the LAZR or V9m, the new clamshell has received more info since its first leak and promises to be one of the company's more advanced devices to date. The extremely large external display will have a touchscreen interface that lets owners check e-mail, play music, or other features without having to flip open the shell. Its interface will also be vivid through the use of Adobe Flash.
ASUS has revealed an upgrade to its popular Lamborghini VX2 laptop, the VX2S. Like its predecessor, the VX2S will have signature Lamborghini stylings, such as the emblem and the use of carbon fiber and magnesium alloys; the primary change will be the switch to Intel's Santa Rosa platform, in this case a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, with 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11a/g/n will come standard. Reflecting its power-user audience, it will also be one of the first Santa Rosa laptops to have a Blu-Ray drive, and its video card will be the new GeForce 8600M GT. No price has been mentioned, but the system should ship by the end of June. [via notebook italia]
Project Calculator 2 ($15) improves the time tracking software with a refined user interface and search functionality. Project Calculator 2 offers more export options for reports, adds filters, and enables users to assign customers to projects or import customers from Apple's Mac OS X Address Book. The software runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 3.3MB] MacFamilyTree 4.4.5 ($50) introduces a new report listing all person or family events sorted by decades. The genealogy application is designed to offer a clean overview of all reations in a speedy manner, and the latest release offers users a chronological overview of events in a family tree. The update is free for all MacFamilyTree 4 users, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 12MB] Peek-a-Boo 2.6 ($20) is a utility to monitor and manipulate all running processes in Mac OS X. The latest revision shows whether a process is running under Rosetta emulation and includes cleaner documentation pages. The update also features an improved helper daemon that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, as well as greater optimization. [Download - 1.5MB] Bookdog 4.2 ($15) enables Mac users to manage all Google Bookmarks in one window and synchronize all or selected bookmarks with Safari, Firefox, Camino, OmniWeb, and Opera bookmarks. The software also sorts, manages duplicates, verifies, and imports as well as exports bookmark files. [Download - 4.1MB] RouteBuddy 1.2.1 ($100) is a GPS-enabled mapping application for Mac OS X enabling users to connect USB Garmin units to a Mac to synchronize waypoints, routes, and tracks. The maintenance update fixes several crash bugs, improves performance with large waypoint lists, and provides additional control over routing behavior. [Download - 19.6MB] MachineHead 0.6b ($price) enables musicians and casual audio listeners to manipulate and mash up media files to loop over sections of tracks, alter pitch, and slow down or speed up playback. The application includes a wide range of built-in effects, and works with iTunes to provide access to all media files. MachineHead also integrates a Quartz Composer Visualizer to produce reactive visual displays during playback. [Download - [unknown, not found]]
Lexar today revamped its JumpDrive Secure II with the new Plus model. The USB stick continues to rely on the 256-bit AES encryption that automatically locks files on the drive and can securely erase them through a FileShredder function; new, however, is an e-paper storage display borrowed from the Mercury that displays the filled space on the drive without requiring a battery.
Mitsubishi this morning released a complete overhaul of its LT-series LCD televisions with a full eight new models for North America. Each model boasts a native 1080p resolution regardless of size and HDMI 1.3 for deep color; unique to Mitsubishi is a "Thin Frame" bezel which is only an inch thick, which lets larger screens fit into tighter home theater cabinets. At the base are the 133 series 40-, 46-, and 52-inch ($2,699, $3,399, and $4,499) with three of the new HDMI inputs. A single 134-series model at $2,899 moves one of the HDMI ports to the side for cameras and consoles, and adds PerfecTint for finer-grained color control as well as the NetCommand feature for unified control of many HDMI-equipped devices beyond the TV.
Garmin has released new beta versions of its POI loader and Unit Software Updater, enabling Garmin GPS (Global Positioning System) users to download and install software updates using a Mac and a USB connection. The POI (Point Of Interest) Loader for Mac 22.214.171.124 Beta allows users to load custom points of interest into a GPS unit, accepting input files downloaded from the internet or created custom. Users can configure the unit to produce alerts when they are within a certain distance of a point or are driving over a certain speed near any given point to warn about upcoming school zones, red lights, and speed cameras. POI Loader for Mac 126.96.36.199 Beta is available as a free download, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
AMD today made public its Phenom processor technology. Dubbed a successor to the Athlon, the CPU will be one of the first true quad-core desktop processors, according to AMD; unlike Intel's Core 2 Quad or Xeon 5300, the Phenom in its X4 version will have four cores that can speak directly with each other at high speed rather than two dual-core halves that need to use the less efficient system bus. An even more advanced version, known as the Phenom FX, will also work with a special dual-socked mainboard platform known as the FASN8 ("fascinate") for eight-core gaming and workstation systems.
Apple is ranked No. 3 behind Google and Disney on the college graduates' list of most sought after jobs, following a similar survey of MBA candidates performed earlier this month. According to the Universum Communications' 2007 Most Desirable Undergraduate Employer ranking, the top five include two government agencies, the U.S. State Dept. (No. 4) and the Peace Corps (No. 5), while Google placed No. 1 and Walt Disney ranked No. 2. The data indicated that nearly 8.5 percent of respondents put Apple among the top 5 companies at which they want to work--ahead of its rivals Microsoft (No. 9) and Sony (no. 17).
AMD this morning introduced the ATI Radeon HD 2000 graphics line, its first video chipsets designed with a unified shader architecture that allows the more advanced high dynamic color range and other advanced geometry and pixel effects possible in newer OpenGL programs as well as Windows Vista's DirectX 10. Cards have as many as 320 individual stream (shader) processors for brute-force acceleration, AMD says; the new chips also have native Crossfire hardware onboard that lets them pair up in dual PCI Express slots without demanding a master card or a specialized Crossfire cable. Vendor-specific cards can include HDMI out with audio for turning a system into a media center PC.
MCE Technologies on Monday announced its MobileStor Performance line of hard drive upgrade solutions for the MacBook Pro and MacBook with capacities up to 250GB. Along with a high-performance, high-capacity 2.5-inch SATA hard drive, each MCE MobileStor Performance hard drive upgrade solution includes an external, portable 2.5-inch SATA enclosure with both eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces facilitating easy data transfer from the original drive; the upgrades also include SuperDuper! cloning/backup software, all tools required for installation, and an illustrated installation manual. Pricing starts at $130 for the 100GB/7200RPM model to $280 for the 250GB/5400RPM model. All capacities of the MobileStor Performance mobile drive upgrade line are shipping now except the 250GB model which is scheduled to ship June 1. The company also offers a value-oriented line of 5400-rpm based MobileStore mobile drive upgrades.
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