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ReelBean 2.93 ($15) is a video playback and conversion program that formats files for the iPod and Apple TV. The software also converts files to AVI, MPEG-4 and other formats while supporting more than 50 kinds of audio and video files. ReelBean 2.93 adds bass and treble sliders to the AUdio Controls panel in both the free and Pro version; ReelBean Pro also plays and converts FLV as well as DivX files (with Perian components installed).
[Download - 4.6MB]
SoundStudio 3.5.1 ($80) records and edits audio on a Mac, allowing users to import tapes as well as vinyl records or record live performances. The software supports applying a variety of effects as well as edits in post-production, and the update is purely devoted to fixes. The update fixes an issue where bad M4A files were written by Split By Markers, and repairs the "Podcast" flag that was accidentally set when saving. The latest release also addresses a crash bug that affected EQ filters. [Download - 14.4MB]
Star Wars: Empire at War 1.05 Rev A ($50) puts players in charge of the Empire or the Rebel Alliance within a Star Wars storyline. Players face real-time battles while managing a turn-based galactic campaign. The latest revision adds Pixel Shader 3.0 support, and as a result enables new heat distortion alongside soft-shadowing effects. The latest revision also offers a discernable difference between the Low and Medium water quality settings. [Download - 5.6MB]
NoteList 2.2 ($20) compiles miscellaneous notes and merges images with searchable, RTF-formatted text. Users can file notes under keywords and categories for easier retrieval, and the update dynamically synchronizes notes with their categories while also improving the category dialog as a whole. Preferences are usable to set new note characteristics, and NoteList 2.2 eliminates miscellaneous bugs. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required. [Download - 309KB]
TextSoap 5.6 ($30) "cleans up" text on Macs by fixing extra spaces, odd characters, and other stylistic elements that don't belong. Users optionally generate custom cleaning filters or choose one of over 100 pre-made options for a faster remedy. The update allows users to sort the number of custom cleaners by name, and supports sorting plug-ins by whether they are app-specific or based on CMM or AppleScript. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 7.3MB]
iSale 4.1 ($50) starts, tracks, and manages auctions on eBay. The latest release introduces support for Picasa Web Albums, easing the process and reducing the cost of posting pictures. More buyer details are recorded in Address Book, and the iSale 4.1 makes it easier to group, print, export, or delete multiple auctions. The application also boasts improved stability, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or higher. [Download - Size Unknown]
New Iconfactory icons
Iconfactory has published a new royalty-free icon collection titled Renaissance Multimedia that is primarily intended for software developers working on user interfaces. The set includes more than 50 icons, most of which involve media editing functions like as mixing, encoding, cropping, and burning to disc. Other icons address more general controls, such as playing, looping, and adjusting volume. Two versions of the collection are available: the standard edition is priced at $180, while the EPS version is available for $130 with its namesake files for scaling to Web and print sizes.
Refurb Nanos $109
In brief: Apple is offering refurbished iPod nanos for as little as $129, WiebeTech is set to offer 1TB hard drives in many of its storage products, and ALT Software is demonstrating new technology that supports Flash and SVG to create dynamic user interfaces for automotive navigation as well as other systems. O'Reilly Press has unveiled Flash CS3: The Missing Manual, a blogger has a suggestion on how to be more productive in Apple Mail, and MacPlus has released a new free international service to evaluate the price of used Macs. Apple's online store is selling refurbished previous- and current-generation iPod nanos at discounted prices. Reconditioned previous-generation Nanos with 4GB of storage in white or black are priced at $129. Refurbished current-generation iPod nanos are available in 2GB ($109), 4GB ($149), and 8GB ($199) capacities.
RapidWeaver 3.6 released
Realmac Software today released RapidWeaver 3.6, an update to the website creation application for Mac OS X with a snippet manager to help handle frequently-used code via drag-and-drop. The latest release includes a richer blogging engine, and simplifies the process of customizing themes with a new 'Themes Styles' feature -- allowing users to selectively choose which colors to use alongside a preferred layout for any given website. RapidWeaver 3.6 is priced at $50, with upgrades for all existing users available for $25. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.
MS Car Dock Patent
Microsoft is clearing the way for a unique two-way docking stereo for cars, according to a US patent granted to the company earlier this week. Simply referring to a "portable computing device-integrated appliance," the patent allows for a handheld device to dock directly with a car stereo or similar head-end unit to share its media. More important, Microsoft notes, is the ability for the device itself to send information to the stereo: docking the device could change its display to serve as a replacement for the stereo's native interface, controlling both its own local files as well as those on the stereo. Using the handheld this way would take away the clutter of an external docking cradle, Microsoft says; though unstated, it would also let owners guard against thieves by removing the main screen and even storage for the stereo.
Apple ramps OS X security
Apple today issued a security update for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther Client and Server as well as Mac OS X 10.4.9 Tiger Client and Server, fixing numerous security holes in both systems. The update includes fixes related to Alias Manager, BIND, CoreGraphics, crontabs, fetchmail, file, iChat, mDNSResponder, PPP, ruby, screen, texinfo, and VPN. Specific vulnerabilities include the potential for attackers to mislead users into opening a substituted file, multiple holes in BIND, arbitrary code execution from opening a maliciously crafted PDF document, and more. Mac owners running these systems are encouraged to either update automatically via the "Software Update" menu item under the Apple Menu or by heading to Apple's website to download the security fix manually.
Garmin eTrex 2007 Leak
Garmin will make sweeping changes to its eTrex line of mapping handhelds, a Canadian brochure (PDF) reveals. All four of the systems will have GPS positioning support, including the option of an installable chip that can relay data through Europe's Galileo satellites. Waterproofing and a ruggedized shell will also help them withstand the punishment of a trail hike while power through a pair of AA batteries should keep them running without the need for an PC or wall outlet.
Sony Bendable OLED
Sony today used the SID (Society for Information Display) Symposium to unveil what it says is the world's first OLED display to combine both full color and a flexible screen. The 2.5-inch sample takes advantage of the organic technology to display 16.7 million colors -- more than most small LCDs -- but puts it on a plastic layer rather than glass, allowing the display to bend and twist without breaking the image. OLED also delivers a bright 1,000:! contrast ratio for the small screen area and provides near-instant response times for video. This all is achieved with a panel only 0.3mm (0.01 inches) thick at its bulkiest point, Sony boasts.
QMW Square One Upgrade
Quad Micro Works on Thursday introduced a major overhaul to its Square One home server. Alongside increases in storage to 320GB and 500GB for its larger models, the compact network device also gains 802.11g Wi-Fi and can serve as a wireless router of its own. Software has also been upgraded, says the company. A BitTorrent client is now in place that can download and store the peer-based files on its own, even when other PCs are turned off. Owners will also have free access to an Internet TV service from Casgle that can automatically queue and download TV shows offered by CNN and other networks. More serious owners can also host extra servers for e-mail, FTP, and a handful of new services.
Microsoft iPod amnesty bin
Microsoft is receving some unusual attention for a decoration in its corporate offices. A user of Flickr recently uploaded a photo of the company's "iPod Amnesty Bin," found in the Zune headquarters, apparently encouraging employees to abandon Apple's media player in favor of Microsoft's competitor. The bin has drawn the ire of voices such as Macworld UK, which suggests that it is emblematic of "child-like and unrealistic behavior," a view aided by the lack of iPods in the Flickr image. The Zune has not sold as well as expected; it has in fact sapped the profits of Microsoft's entertainment division, which is in otherwise healthy shape thanks to the Xbox 360 console.
Stealth LPC-450 Core 2 Duo
Stealth has just updated the LPC-450, one of its smallest PCs as well as one of its fastest. The new model remains roughly as tall as but deeper than a Mac mini while upgrading performance. A base system starts with a Merom-era 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo but can be configured with up to a 2.33GHz chip for especially hard work; the new system is also built to run in harsh conditions and can be custom-ordered with a solid-state hard drive to guard against shocks or bumps. Using mobile parts also makes it easy to ruggedize the aluminum shell and to run the PC solely off of a 12-volt outlet in a car, Stealth adds. Expansion is slightly broader than Apple's system with parallel and serial ports providing connections to servers and other legacy hardware.
TransDock Deluxe ships
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today unveiled the TransDock Deluxe, its latest addition to the TransDock family of in-car iPod entertainment systems. The TransDock Deluxe broadcasts iPod music through any vehicle's FM stereo, and shows videos on in-car video systems. DLO's newest dock also adds a steering-wheel remote for safe as well as convenient control, enabling users to manipulate the iPod on-the-go without ever taking their hands away from the wheel. The device offers AV output as well as built-in USB connectivity, and features interchangeable face plates to coordinate colors with the interior of the vehicle. Additionally, DLO's latest iPod dock offers a choice of three LCD display colors and ships with a 6-foot AV cable for connecting to in-car entertainment systems. The TransDock Deluxe is priced at $130.
ConceptDraw 7 Universal
CS Odessa today has released ConceptDraw 7, the latest revision of its vector drawing and diagramming software package. ConceptDraw 7 runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and boasts an enhanced user interface with increased performance. The update adds to its shape libraries and objects found in the "Floor plan" and "Business diagrams" categories, while print mode and document printing setup are completely redesigned to ease document printing. Furt6her improvements include a selection method for measuring units from the ruler, color manipulation using a drop tool, and a new extensive color palette. ConceptDraw 7 is priced at $300 for the professional edition, while upgrades are available for $100 until the end of May.
Little Vista Effect on PCs
The launch of Windows Vista hasn't created a significant increase in PC sales, according to a new report by In-Stat. The new Microsoft OS is said to have primarily shifted customers' purchases rather than accelerating them, as the reported sales spike was chiefly the result of a backlog of delayed purchases while experienced users waited to receive a preinstalled copy. Few customers actively sought out a Vista PC outside of their normal upgrade patterns. This was attributed in part to the lackluster appeal of the software itself, which hasn't been seen by many as a significant improvement over Windows XP.
ASUS G2S-A1 gaming laptop
A companion to ASUS' newly-released G1S has been put up for pre-order at EXcaliber PC. Despite the name change, the G2S has most of the same specifications as the G1, such as a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, and a GeForce 8600M GT card with 256MB of video RAM. The real difference is in the display, which has been expanded to 17 inches, and now supports resolutions up to 1920x1200, surpassing the 1080p threshold.
BB Curve Soon for ATT
RIM's BlackBerry Curve will land on AT&T's network soon, the carrier says through a notification page just posted to its website. Features of the smartphone remain unchanged from its hardware angle and retain the 2-megapixel camera, GPS support, as well as media playback from the reference design. Software will show far more obvious differences, AT&T says. Aside from a new visual theme, the Curve will be the first AT&T-shipped BlackBerry to include the company's Mobile Music Internet streaming service, Media Mall for buying custom ringtones and software, and an enhanced jukebox program that exposes the new features.
Palm to reveal 'Hawk'
Modern cellphones tend to fall into two categories: simple handhelds, which the majority of subscribers own, or smartphones, which verge on the functionality of laptops but are still prohibitively expensive for the average person. Palm co-founder Jeff Hawkins is now saying that its "third" product category, long in development, will have some initial details unveiled next week.
Speculation by the writers of Brighthand suggests that Palm may be venturing into UMPC territory, but with a special emphasis on connectivity, combining Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with cellular access. Other suggestions include a mini-tablet, a clamshell PDA, or possibly a direct competitor to the iPhone. The device could also be a candidate for Palm's new Linux-based OS, which is set to launch by the end of 2007.
Apple growth tops industry
Apple continues to dramatically outpace the industry in retail notebook sales, while iPod sales appear to be slowing, according to sales numbers from April. New research from NPD Group indicates that PC unit growth in April of 2007 rose 14 percent year-over-year, while notebook sales grew even faster -- rising 30 percent over the same period. Apple, however still managed to more than triple the industry growth by growing its retail Mac units 62 percent year-over-year this month and delivering a whopping 94 percent increase in retail notebook sales over the same period.
Wal-Mart on Dell PCs
Claims that Wal-Mart will start selling Dell PCs are partially true, the large retail chain has confirmed today. Although the actual release date of the new systems is set for June rather than late May, distribution of the E521 desktop will actually be larger than expected, reaching a total 3,500 shops across both the US and Canada. The systems on offer would also be faster than the $359 baseline system available today, Wal-Mart says. Two models should be available and will include at least one mid-range system priced below $700.
Google as phone carrier?
Although rumors of Google creating its own cellphone have largely been dismissed, the company could be making a move which may put it in an even larger role in the industry, writes IDG News. The Federal Communications Commission is holding an auction for the 700MHz wireless band next year, and Google is contemplating participating. "We have not ruled in or out participating in the auction as a licensee," comments Google counsel Richard Whitt.
Suit targets Apple, labels
A small record label has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and other digital music stores as well as the major record labels that carry its catalog of tracks. Dawg Music, which is run by bluegrass musician David Grisman and his partner Craig Miller, claims that entities carrying Grisman's musical tracks are knowingly selling his works with poor or nonexistent compensation without his consent. Represented by Strange and Carpenter from the Law Offices of Jeffry L. Graubart, the suit makes a two-part complaint implicating both labels and their online digital retail partners. The complaint states that Universal and Warner have neglected Daw Music's copyrights and royalties when signing deals with online stores -- including Apple's iTunes service.
Sony-Ericsson Backs WiMAX
Sony-Ericsson today announced that it had joined the WiMAX Forum, a group of companies committed to the still new wireless Internet standard. The move gives the cellphone maker inside access to the format and is likely to indicate the company's approval of the standard for its future devices. No hardware has been announced by but is likely to include notebook cards and smartphones that could take advantage of the extra speed. Today's entrance is primarily an attempt to "understand the technology and the opportunities" in the market before jumping in, Sony-Ericsson says.
Mac forensic training
Phoenix Data Group is offering training in the recovery of digital evidence from Mac computers which wil allow an examiner to walk away with the skills necessary to properly seize, acquire, analyze, and document an examination of an Intel-based Mac in a forensically sound manner. PDG instructors are IACIS Certified Forensic Computer Examiners and have real world experience in both law enforcement as well as corporate environments. Additional instruction is provided on the forensic seizure and examination of iPods, with classes scheduled in Fredericksburg, VA from August 13-17th and Santa Ana, CA from September 24-28th. Classes for law enforcement or government is $1,600, while corporate classes are available for $1,900.
Blu-Ray and HD DVD Copying
Owners of newer HD-capable movie discs may soon have the right to make copies of their discs, according to a spokesman from the licensing agency handling the copy protection scheme. Michael Ayers of the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) group notes that a new change in the encryption method, dubbed "managed copy," should let buyers burn or rip Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs in a controlled method. Similar to iTunes and other online stores, the files would require a device with Internet access to authorize copies before they can be played. This would allow backups and transfers to other devices while still giving the content creator control over how many copies could be produced.
Pink KRZR makes its debut
While originally pegged to be released in advance of Mother's Day, the pink KRZR is now set to make an appearance at Carphone Warehouse in June. A temporary exclusive to the British retailer, the phone should otherwise be unchanged, centering on Bluetooth, MP3 playback and a two-megapixel camera. It will be available in limited quantities, and cost £100 ($199) as a pre-paid phone, or free on a contract. [via Shiny Shiny]
Intellihance Pro 4.2
OnOne Software has released Intellihance Pro 4.2, an update to the intelligent image enhancement software that adds native support for Adobe Photoshop CS3 as well as Intel-based Macs. The latest release improves the Intelligent Adjustment engine and built-in presets to work better with modern digital camera images, and to provide more flexibility with better results. Intellihance Pro 4.2 also includes new "Show Me HOw" video tutorials to help users make full use of the software, and incorporates automatic update checks to ensure the application is always up to date. Intellihance Pro 4.2 is priced at $160, with upgrades available for $70. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
Samsung W2700 and W2900
Samsung's Anycall label today launched a pair of phones tailored for faster wireless without driving prices up through extra features. The company is first confirming the W2700 (pictured at middle), also known as the W270; the device includes an HSDPA modem for connecting at broadband-level speeds and includes a front camera for video calls, but uses a relatively modest 1.3-megapixel camera and a small external OLED display for checking caller ID. Software is nonetheless strong, according to Samsung, with the industry-standard backed up by support for Microsoft Office files and a dictionary. It should be available now in Korea for $430 as a stand-alone device in black or white, but may appear in a US equivalent in coming months.
Dell PCs Reach Wal-Mart
Dell will start selling its PCs in retail stores very soon, says Current Analysis head researcher Samir Bhavnani. The expert notes that the system builder should start offering a single model, the AMD-based Dimension E521, in over 3,000 Wal-Mart stores in the US. The offering should represent the first-ever instance that visitors to retail stores will not only be able to try the systems but buy them directly. This is a long overdue change, according to Bhavnani.
ToughTech XE mini w/eSATA
WiebeTech has added a new pocket drive to its lineup of portable enclosures. The ToughTech XE mini is a portable quad-interface enclosure that features both eSATA and USB2 connections within a single port. Like the ToughTech min, the ToughTech XE mini (TTXEM) accepts any 2.5-inch SATA drive and has the fast Oxford 924 chipset for dual FireWire 800, FireWire 400 (using the included converter cable) and USB2 connection. However, the ToughTech XE mini also features a combo eSATA/USB2 port capable of transfer speeds up to 150MB/s. WiebeTech also includes all cables necessary to plug and play with any of the four connection types as well as an AC adapter. The bare ToughTech XE mini drive case is available for $120 or can be configured with up to 160GB in storage using a 2.5-inch SATA drive. It will be available to ship on June 1 for $120 (drive-only), $222 (80GB), $302 (100GB), $260 (120GB), $274 (160GB).
iPhone Drives Touchscreens
The as yet unreleased iPhone will be instrumental to the touchscreen market in 2007, according to the Taiwan-based Topology Research Institute. The study claims that Apple's device will help make the touch-sensitive panels an increasingly popular choice with other cellphone makers, many of whom still rely on physically driven controls. The California company's influence should help boost the total business to as much as $2.7 billion, TRI says, though the institution didn't indicate what percentage of the business would be controlled by the 3.5-inch widescreen central to the iPhone.
Dell Linux PCs Official
Fulfilling a promise made in March, Dell today at last took the wraps off of its first three systems built for everyday users with preinstalled Ubuntu Linux. The Texas PC maker has expanded on earlier details and confirms that the two deskops and one notebook seeing the new option will be less expensive overall than their Windows counterparts thanks to the lack of Windows licensing; the company also promises full hardware support from any service outlet alongside software help from Ubuntu's developer Canonical.
Sony micro home theater
Sony today introduced the DAV-IS10 micro home theater system, a 5.1 channel home-theater-in-a-box system that features five tiny speakers -- each about the size of a golf ball. The system, matched with a compact, single disc DVD/CD player/receiver, includes a unique subwoofer that helps the tiny speakers create sounds typically reserved for full size speakers, the company said. It features 450 watts of total system power, including five 50-watt satellite speakers and a two 2-way subwoofer (100W each channel). The system is specially tuned to deliver a natural sound field that takes the focus off the subwoofer while supplementing mid range and lower frequencies, Sony claims. The DAV-IS10 system will be available in July for about $800.
Apple to surpass IBM?
Apple will surpass IBM in terms of market capitalization in the next two years, according to one analyst. Calling IBM and Apple two of America's best run companies, a BloggingStocks.com report says that both companies have achieved high levels of success--rewaring shareholders have along the way, but that both are in different parts of their growth cycle. Apple, in a growth phase, will surpass the industry giant, emerging as the winner going forward: "In fact, I'm sure Apple will overtake IBM in value over the next two years. Bottom line: Apple will be bigger than IBM.... Apple will be a bigger company than IBM in terms of market capitalization. As of this writing Apple is just about to hit $100 billion in market cap while IBM is at $158 billion. The direction of both companies are at a variance to each other and Apple is certainly enjoying the strength of a major product cycle."
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