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Firefox 188.8.131.52 update
Mozilla today released Firefox 2.0.04, an update to the popular open-source browser. The free browser brings several security updates, improved Vista support, and new language localizations. The update addresses critical memory corruption issues that the developers believe could be exploited to run arbitrary code as well as a "high" impact security flaw that could allow a malicious user to inject a script into another site in violation of the browser's same-origin policy. The script, Mozilla said, could be used to access or modify private or valuable information from that other site. Other flaws addressed in the update include XUL Popup Spoofin, XSS using addEventListener, Path Abuse in Cookies, and Persistent Autocomplete Denial of Service. New versions are also available for Afrikaans (af) and Belarusian (be). The browser is a free download for all users.
7,000 Dell employees cut
Dell is planning to lay off 10 percent of its workforce -- approximately 7,000 people -- despite having just stated Q1 2007 profits of $947 million, earning stockholders $0.34 per share. The employees will be cut over the course of the next year, and in numerous regions and roles, though there is no indication of whether any managers will lose jobs or pay. The primary reason cited for the layoffs is "competitiveness," which the BBC News reports is related to the increasing sales of Hewlett-Packard. Dell recently signed a pact with Wal-Mart, but it has had numerous other troubles in the past year, most recently a fraud lawsuit filed by New York's Attorney General.
Apple ignoring enterprise?
Although Apple is famous for its media players and desktop systems, it has still largely ignored the enterprise realm according to some involved with the industry. "I definitely say Apple's enterprise support is lacking compared to someone like Sun, which is very good," says LiveWorld's operations director, Andrew Oliver. The company uses 120 Xserve systems, but Oliver notes that Apple's support is "too weak and is frustrating. Once we upgraded to their enterprise support program, that improved, but anytime you want to step out of the box, they almost want to wash their hands of you."
Xserve firmware update
Apple today issued an update to its Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware that offers functionality improvements alongside a security fix. Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware 1.0 remedies a security issue affecting Intel-based Xserve systems that could enable a remote user to gain admin privileges on the Xserve with IPMI configured in a particular manner. The fix addresses the issue by requiring a password for remote usage of IPMI.
Nokia N75, N76 unlocked
Two of Nokia's premier phones, the N75 and N76, are now being sold throughout the US in unlocked form, free of carrier obligations. An important fact is that while the N75 was already on offer from AT&T, the N76 is only just arriving in North America, having previously launched in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has a 2.4-inch screen and a two-megapixel camera; its most interesting feature however is its exterior music controls, which function similarly to those on the N75. The phone appears to have had its 3G capabilities stripped, though this is not confirmed. The N75 costs $430 while the N76 is $500.
Parallels: OpenGL, DirectX
Parallels today announced that it is entering the final stages of testing for the next major release of Parallels Desktop for Mac by launching release candidate 3.0 to the private beta community. The new test version contains more than 50 new features, including a cross-platform file and application integration feature called SmartSelect. The latest beta release also offers support for DirectX and OpenGL 3D graphics alongside easy backup and restore via Snapshots. Parallels Desktop for Mac allows users to run Microsoft Windows, Linux, and any other operating system right alongside Mac OS X without rebooting. The company said it expects the final release of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 within the next few weeks. Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 will be priced at $80 for new users. [updated]
Motorola Q9h details
The highly-anticipated Motorola Q9h is making its way into the hands of news sites, illustrating its features. Perhaps most notable is the keyboard, which has been improved from the original Q with larger, rectangular buttons. Boy Genius claims that speaker volume is equal to or better than other Windows Mobile 6 phones, and that call quality through AT&T (a likely carrier) is clear. A minor but important change is the camera software, which is now full-screen for easier viewing. A larger phone image can be viewed below. [via Boy Genius Report]
GZone Type S at Verizon
Verizon today announced that it would pick up the G'zOne Type-S, a new version of the rugged clamshell from Casio. Like the Type-V, the new phone is designed to survive especially harsh, military-grade conditions. The new model can withstand a near 5-foot drop from any angle; it can also survive heavy rainfall and splashing and is sealed against desert dust. The Type-S differentiates itself from the Type-V through its choice of hardware, Verizon says. Its camera is scaled back to a VGA-resolution 0.3 megapixels versus the 2-megapixel sensor of the V, but is exchanged in favor of Bluetooth and a more pocketable, streamlined shape.
RealPlayer 11 Preview
Real Networks today revealed RealPlayer 11, the next major version of its media player software. The jukebox is the first to focus attention on capturing web-based video instead of simply offering tools to play it back. A unique extension to the player's web plugin can automatically detect videos that are recordable from the web and saves multiple clips at one time; this works for both live video events as well as prerecorded shows, Real says. The software is intelligent enough to also recognize copy protection on certain streams and will refuse downloads when DRM appears. Any video can be linked to a friend through a sharing feature to save the trouble of recreating the link.
Zune 1.4 Update
Microsoft today launched the Zune 1.4 update, a new fix for the Washington-based company's first media player. The firmware patch is said to bring more random music lists when the shuffle option is chosen more than once, fixing a problem where the list became increasingly predictable the more often it was used. The host software remains the same, Microsoft says.
Although considered an important upgrade, the isolation of the change has already triggered a string of complaints from existing owners, many of whom are increasingly seeing the lack of feature upgrades or more widespread fixes as a sign that the current Zune will be abandoned when its sequels arrive this fall.
VivoMetrics this afternoon unveiled its new VivoChampionTrainer, a new system designed for both individual and team athletes who need to keep track of their health during a run. The new version draws on the company's original technology but converts it from a full and potentially bulky shirt into a lightweight chest strap that lets runners and other high-impact competitors relay their condition without generating extra heat or slowing them down, even while they compete in real-world events. The system is also unique for its inclusion of "consequential" breathing, the company says; while other systems can track the breathing rate when it goes up, the VCT's system can tell when breaths are the result of other factors at work. This can help paint a better overall picture of how well an athlete is faring when combined with heart rate and other information, according to VivoMetrics.
YouTube and EMI Deal
YouTube and EMI on Thursday announced a deal that will see the music label's content legally available on the web video site. Visitors to the page would have the option of watching officially-sanctioned music videos, but would also have permission to clip segments of videos to blend them as part of their own unofficial projects. The agreement includes higher-profile artists such as Coldplay and represents the first time that all four major music labels have explitictly given approval to using their material online, according to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley.
iTunes Plus growing pains
A review of Apple's newly unveiled iTunes Plus service, which offers higher quality DRM-free audio tracks for an additional $0.30 cents above the company's $0.99 cent protected songs, reveals several "growing pains" with the service. PC World details notes that Apple requires iTunes 7.2 or later to use the new service, but presents some mixed up categories under the software's Genre pop-up menu. iTunes Plus users who choose to view unprotected tracks cannot see the less expensive DRM-wrapped version of the song, and the reverse is true when viewing protected tracks -- unprotected songs are hidden while browsing the cheaper $0.99 cent songs.
LaCie 2TB Big Disk
LaCie has announced an upgrade to its Ethernet Big Disk, doubling capacity from the present 1TB to a substantial 2TB. The drive is intended for homes and small businesses; aside from functioning as a standard network server, it can be expanded through two USB ports, one of which can be connected to a computer directly. Music, movies and photos can be shared with anyone linked to a router, and the Disk specifically supports UPnP-compatible AV adapters attached to TVs and stereos. The 1TB drive is currently on sale for $320, while the 2TB model should ship in mid-June for $1,100.
PandoraJam 1.0 released
Bitcartel Software today released PandoraJam 1.0, an application that enables listeners of the Pandora.com internet radio service stream music wirelessly to a home stereo or record audio for playback on iPods. The software also supports submitting tracks to Last.fm, a free 'personalized' radio service that tailors each station to users' preferences based on a named favorite band or artist. PandoraJam 1.0 features desktop integration via Growl notifications, instant messenger updates, and keyboard shortcuts. The application runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and is priced at $15 requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
TiVo Budget Series 3
TiVo is working on a lightweight version of the Series 3 recorder, the company revealed in its most recent earnings report. Company CEO Tom Rogers noted that TiVo has been suffering from the lack of a more affordable alternative to the $800 premium device, which has led many with HDTV service to the pre-supplied boxes rented or sold by cable and satellite providers. A new device was already in development to solve this problem, Rogers said.
Fabrix Delux laptop cases
Fabrix today added two new designs to its Delux Laptop Case collection, providing decorative protection for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. The new designs, titled Floral Explosion and Black Beauty, are available in sizes that fit both of Apple's current-generation notebooks as well as custom sizing for owners of non-Mac laptops. The cases are made from brown floral polyester with an interior of quilted nylon padding to cushion the notebook. Fabrix Delux Laptop cases are priced from $45.
Google tries offline apps
Google has used its 2007 Developer Day event to provide developers with Gears, an open-source means of bringing web applications offline. Programs created with it operate as a browser extension, but store resources locally, enabling weblike functions such as e-mail and photo editing. Applications also treat their content as a relational database, meaning that users can search for material much as they would at Google.com. The company's first example of the technology is Reader, which now allows users to read as many as 2,000 news items away from the website.
Acrobat 3D 8 PRC specs
Adobe has unveiled the specifications for the PRC file format supported by Acrobat 8. PRC is used to create 3D models that users can import into PDF documents using custom tools; it is also said to retain accuracy while producing dramtically smaller file sizes, by a factor of 100 to 300. The release of PRC's internal workings means that Mac developers can integrate the technology into upcoming CAD/AEC software. Adobe's own Acrobat 3D application is currently Windows-only, however.
Fortune: Apple TV 'a dud'
The editor-at-large of Fortune magazine, Brent Schlender, has tested the Apple TV for several weeks and declared that it's "as uninspired as another prominent dud," the Microsoft Zune. Schlender extends this simile to four points: like the Zune's Wi-Fi, the Apple TV also has a crippled central feature, in that while intended for HDTVs, its videos may often be as fuzzy as broadcast TV. Schlender also complains that just as the Zune's best feature is actually cosmetic (a third color, brown), the Apple TV benefits most from its "ethereal" photo screensaver and that even those photos are handled awkwardly.
Nokia 6500 and 8600
Nokia today made a surprising mid-day announcement of three new phones bolstered by 3G Internet access. The 6500 series is completely new and offers a choice of styles while providing the extra speed of an HSDPA modem: the 6500 classic (pictured) is a traditional bar phone and one of the company's thinnest to date at 9.5mm (0.37 inches). It also holds some of the most storage of any phone in its range with 1GB of built-in flash to store AAC/MP3 songs as well as photos and videos captured with a 2-megapixel camera. The classic further marks the use of a relatively new micro-USB format, Nokia says: a single cable can now deliver audio, data, and power, allowing the phone to charge while it syncs with a PC or stream audio in a dock.
iPod USB FM Transmitter
USBFever.com has begun shipping its iPod USB FM Transmitter, enabling users to transmit iPod music over radio waves to a vehicle stereo system. Users simply plug the transmitter into the headphone jack of any MP3 player or PDA and turn on the car stereo to the clearest FM frequency. The device features a built-in USB interface for charging any USB-based device -- such as PDAs or GPS systems -- and offers a dock connector for Apple's iPod to charge the portable player while playing tunes over the stereo. The iPod USB FM Transmitter is priced at $30, and works with most portable media players.
Samsung continued its drive towards slimmer phones on Thursday morning with the C220. Nicknamed the "miniskirt" in part for the hint of the sliding keypad underneath, the handset is one of the Korean designer's slimmer fashion phones at 10.9mm (0.43 inches) thick in an iPod-like white color. Form is also backed up by function, Samsung claims. Incorporating a 2-megapixel camera and MP3 playback, the C220 also shares features often left out of its class, such as GPS navigation and a dictionary. Bluetooth with A2DP audio and mobile broadband access are also part of the package.
harman kardon GPS-300
Only having entered the market late last year, harman/kardon today released its second Guide+Play GPS device. The GPS-300 is a streamlined edition of the earlier GPS-500 that brings the core features to a lower price. Like its ancestor, the 300 is consciously designed for both mapping and music playback with a 4-inch wide touchscreen and 2GB of built-in flash for storing maps as well as MP3 and WMA tracks. A miniSD slot similarly provides room for up to 4GB of total maps and music. Battery life is also the same at five hours, as is support for loading information from Macs and Windows PCs.
AMD Sempron 2100
Following its preview of the performance-minded Phenom earlier in the month, AMD today revealed new chip technology that could bring 64-bit code to the very smallest computers, including those built for the developing world. The Sempron 2100+ (PDF) includes the same architecture as the Athlon 64, including an integrated memory controller and HyperTransport for shuttling data quickly to other parts of the system; a 1GHz clock speed and optimizations, however, drop the peak power of the chip down to 9W. The drop is drastic enough that the CPU can run completely fanless while saving battery life for those handhelds and other portables. It also sits in a shockproof socket to prevent damage from bumps.
Swift Share 1.0 released
Koingo Software has released Swift Share 1.0, its share point and file server management utility for Mac OS X. Swift Share enables users to choose only specific folders to share with others, and offers control over who has access to those shares. The software also supports managing users and groups on Mac systems, and allows customization of almost 100 aspects of Apple and Windows file servers from workgroups to authorization modes. Swift Share is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Netsys sues Avanquest
Netsys has filed a lawsuit against Parallels Desktop German distributor Avanquest for copyright infringement, claiming that Parallels' software offerings are directly descended from its own line of products which Parallels was commissioned to help develop. Netsays claims that Parallels took the product it had developed on paid commission, enhanced it, and began distributing it separately, according to Virtual Strategy Magazine. Netsys previously filed a lawsuit in an "urgency proceeding" -- a court case with no way to hear arbitrary witnesses or experts. Netsys lost the case, which requested a temporary injunction from the Landgericht district court of Berlin. Netsys has filed a new suit, and this time the firm has requested afull trial to consult arbitrary witnesses and experts.
iPhone Interference Patent
Apple has developed a way to keep the iPhone and any other future wireless handhelds free of interference, according to a newly granted US patent. The filing, originally made just weeks before the iPhone's announcement at Macworld San Francisco, is meant to address the potentially dangerous problem of interference from peripherals brought near or attached to the device. A detector chip placed inside the hardware could be trained to recognize certain classes of add-ons or individual models and warn the user if a device (familiar or otherwise) could disrupt the main signal; this could occur through either an audio or a visual cue, Apple writes. Synchronizing the main device could provide an updated list of accessories to prevent false alarms.
YummySoup! 1.3 released
HungrySeacow Software today released YummySoup! 1.3, an update to the recipe management application that focuses on organizing, sharing, cooking, and shopping. The latest release adds a Wine & Spirits manager, as well as a new theme for displaying recipes. YummySoup! also includes an online library of recipes submitted by users, a full screen view for cooking, shopping lists, and more. YummySoup! 1.3 is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later. [Download - 2.8MB]
Wizpy Coming to US
Turbolinux on Thursday announced the upcoming international launch of the Wizpy, its unique approach to digital media players. The device will bring an English version of the previously Japan-only Linux-driven player and will keep all the device's inherent features. AAC/MP3/OGG audio playback is standard alongside DivX video, JPEG photos, and an FM radio; the device also serves as a personalized home folder that can store portable software as well as e-mail, passwords, and preferences. The Wizpy's open-ended software also lets skilled programmers extend the features themselves, Turbolinux says.
Police auction iPods
In brief: A police auction site offers cheap iPods, M-Audio teaches Torq, WWDC comes in handheld form, and Sonnet takes home an NAB award. The site PropertyRoom.com, which specializes in goods from police auctions, has just begun carrying more inexpensive iPods. It has signed an agreement with NextWorth, a company which handles customer trade-ins from retailers; the result is that numerous used and "like new" iPods will go on auction at PropertyRoom, with bids starting at just $1. Current auctions include a 4GB iPod nano and a 30GB iPod video.
Garmin eTrex Update
Garmin this morning revamped its eTrex line of mapping handhelds with five new models. Elaborating on details from an online flyer, the company has given each unit a new, higher-sensitivity GPS receiver to better fix the user's actual position. Also new to the field is an improved geocaching technique, Garmin says. Rather than add coordinates manually for past caches, owners can download the information directly to an eTrex handheld (as well as some other units) to track others' travels.
Adobe and Google have announced Photoshop CS3 Extended plug-in for the Google 3D Warehouse, which offers allows PS3E users to download free 3D content from Google's free online repository for 3D models and content from within the application. After downloading the plug-in and 3D models, users can access the textures applied to model surfaces, enhance them with Photoshop CS3 Extended and save them back in the standard COLLADA. The Google 3D Warehouse plug-in for Photoshop CS3 Extended for Mac OS X free download from the Adobe Labs Web site.
DivX 6.7 released
DivX for Mac 6.7 has been released. With this release, Mac users can playback protected, DivX-formatted, VOD content for the first time. The full version of DivX for Mac 6.7 is available for download on DivX.com for $20. There is also a free version available that includes a 15-day trial of the DivX Converter and a 6-month trial of DivX Codec for Mac with Pro features. The new player features free, full-screen playback of DivX Video, is a Universal Binary and has support for playback of DivX VOD movies. The included DivX Codec 6.6 offers 12% faster decoding, resulting in smoother playback and better HD compression when encoding. There is also a new "Desktop Dimmer" feature that dims the desktop for Web playback. Finally, a few bug fixes are included.
X61 tablets and notebooks
Lenovo has introduced three new models based around the Intel Santa Rosa X61 platform: the ThinkPad X61, ThinkPad X61s and X61 tablet PC. The Tablet PC will feature Core 2 Duo processors ranging from 1.4GHz L7300 and a 12.1-inch display available in either XGA or SXGA+ display. It's also configurable with up to 160GB of hard drive space and can handle 4GB of RAM. Other features include gigabit ethernet, cellular WWAN access, a 34 mm ExpressCard slot, and SD reader, three USB 2.0 and a purported 8-hour battery life. The laptops (ThinkPad X61 and ThinkPad X61s) sport generally the same specs, though the X61 will offer a 2GHz T7300 Core 2 Duo. All the systems are powered by the Intel X3100. Base configuration prices will be $1,484, $1,474, and $1,779 for the ThinkPad X61, X61s, and X61 tablet PC respectively. The units are expeected to ship in June.
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