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Blast Miner for Mac
Cryptic Sea has released Blast Miner for Mac, making good on its promise to bring the physics-based action strategy game to the Mac community. Blast Miner is actually two games in one, offering a puzzle mode alongside a fast-paced Tetris-like environment. Both game modes challenge players to extract chunks of gold from mine shafts using TNT, gasoline, acid, and other means. The puzzle mode requires deep strategy to extract gold from difficult underground situations, while the Tetris-like mode continuously queues up various means of tunneling through an ever-deepening mineshaft as players attempt to process gold chunks. The game is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable).
Beatles, iTunes in '08
The Beatles music catalog may be coming to iTunes and other online music services in early 2008 according to Olivia Harrison, the widow of late guitarist/singer/songwriter George Harrison. Despite the landmark settlement of a trademark dispute that dates back to Apple Inc. (then Apple Computer Inc.'s) inception, Harrison told Reuters "We just have a few things to work out elsewhere" before the music will be available for digital download and purchase.
Binarynights has released ForkLift, a speedy file manager for Mac OS X that connects to FTP or SFTP servers and manages Amazon S3 accounts or mobile devices over Bluetooth. The application offers a Cocoa-based interface with a dual-pane view to increase productivity, and features live preview as well as spring loaded folders. ForkLift also incorporates tabs to keep the workspace tidy, allowing users to copy between local hardrives, iPods, FTP servers, archives, and mobile devices. ForkLift is priced at $30 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
XLR8 XtraView USB updated
Daystar Technology today released an update to its XLR8 XtraView USB video-in device that expands features while reducing the price. The XLR8 XtraView USB is designed to provide easy-to-use plug-and-play video on Mac systems, and supports more than 30 third-party add-ons. The device can also act as a security system, TV viewer/recorder, video digitizer, or game console monitor. Daystar's XLR8 XtraView USB ($90) works with PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs, and supports synced recording to QuickTime.
Reviews, laptop sleeves
In brief: MacNN has reviewed fotoMagico 2 from Boinx Software as well as the tokidoki iSKin Vibes iPod case, and CS Odessa has announced a special program for all kinds of educational institutions and charity funds dealing with disabled childrento support International Children's Day. Wrappers has announced embroidered laptop sleeves for Father's Day, and Other World Computing (OWC) is offering double the Mac Pro memory available from Apple. MacNN has reviewed FotoMagico 2 ($50-$130), a slideshow creation application boasting numerous useful features. MacNN also reviewed the tokidoki iSkin Vibes from iSkin, a two-layer iPod case featuring designs from Italian artist Simone Legno with a thin silicone wrap.
Grundig has just taken its first steps into smaller media players through the MPixx 2000 series. The jukebox is small but includes the features often left to larger devices, including video support through SMV with conversion of other formats (such as QuickTime's MOV) in software. It also includes FM radio, a BMP/JPEG photo viewer, and voice recording to bolster the industry-standard support of MP3, WAV, and WMA tracks.
Mamiya 645AFD II Combo
High-end camera producer Mamiya today launched what it says is the least expensive complete medium format system to date. Consisting of the company's new 645AFD II main body as well as the ZD Back digital back-end and an 80mm f/2.8 lens, the camera takes 22-megapixel shots that capture far more of the immediate scene than standard SLR cameras while also providing a high level of control over aperture, bracketing, flash sync and the level of autofocus.
Google Picks Up Feedburner
Google has bought out FeedBurner, an announcement from the smaller company read today. The Chicago-based firm said that Google was interested in the acquisition to expand its ads into RSS feeds, which are becoming increasingly popular for checking news as well as for audio and video podcasts. The exact financial terms of the deal were being kept private at the time and weren't up for discussion, FeedBurner said, though it acknowledged that the deal had already been finalized and would take effect immediately.
More refurb MacBook Pros
Numerous reconditioned MacBook Pro models have returned to Apple's online store, expanding the choices of price-conscious shoppers looking to purchase a professional and portable notebook. Refurbished MacBook Pro laptops available currently include the 15-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card (256MB) with a glossy or standard display for $1,999; 17-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo with 1GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 grpahics card (256MB) with a glossy or standard finish for $1,999; and the 17-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo model with 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and an ATI MObility Radeon X1600 graphics card (256MB) for $2,299. All refurbished Apple equipment comes with free shipping and a standard 1-year warranty.
Garmin Nuvi 200W Preview
Garmin will soon have widescreen versions of its entry-level Nuvi 200 GPS units, the company has reportedly announced at a German trade show. The receivers will keep the same thin profile and basic feature set of the standard 4:3 ratio models but add a 4-inch widescreen display with a higher 480x272 resolution. The display resolution should display more of the road ahead at once and provide more room for on-screen detail.
AACS Cracked Again
The copy protection behind next-generation movies has already been defeated after a new update, according to hackers' claims. Although the body handling the AACS system that guards the discs had changed the encryption keys to thwart earlier attempts -- prompted in part by the Digg revolt that published one key -- the hacker posted the new key just a day after it had been updated, rendering the new security measure useless. Developers at SlySoft are said to have already implemented the new key in their controversial AnyDVD software, which allows viewers to copy and strip down AACS-protected movies.
Sony PSP Phone Patent
Sony-Ericsson believes it can negotiate the balance between serious gaming and phones, according to a patent just granted to the company. Although titled a "Mobile Information Terminal Apparatus" in the description, the patent describes a device similar in shape to the Sony PSP game system but with a unique swiveling screen similar to that of the Samsung i7. The LCD could rotate either 90 or 180 degrees to move the attached directional pad to a more comfortable position for gaming or (at the mid-point) a widescreen display for movies. A second directional pad would sit among the buttons with a layout that prevents accidental number presses during game sessions.
Sims 2: Glamour Life Stuff
Aspyr Media today announced The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff for the Macintosh has arrived in retail stores throughout North America. Licensed from Electronic Arts, The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios, Aspyr¹s internal development team. "Your Sims can now indulge in a glamorous life with this collection of luxurious furniture, fashionable clothing, and extravagant décor items. Create lavish homes furnished with the finest modern bedroom, living room, and dining room sets. Turn heads in the neighborhood as your Sims show off elegant gowns, red carpet formalwear, and cool casual styles at their next big soirée. Your Sims will live the high life with 60 new items including pop-art paintings, sectional sofas, a high-end stereo, fur coats, and more." The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff is now available through Aspyr's website for only $25 and requires full The Sims 2 for Mac OS X ($50) to play. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and a 1.2GHz CPU or faster .
EU and Apple clash
Apple has yet to respond to antitrust allegations that are the result of an inquiry launched April 3rd, according to European Commission officials. Central to the issue is a concern over restrictions that disallow customers of the iTunes Music Store to purchase tracks meant for a country other than the one from which they are connecting to the Internet, causing price differentials between intra-eurozone and extra-eurozone. The European Commission's deadline for a response from Apple is midnight on Monday, June 4th -- two months after the start of the investigation.
Pixelmator to ship in July
The Pixelmator Team today debuted Pixelmator, which it claims is the world's first GPU-powered image editing tool that enables users to create, edit, and enhance still images. Built from the ground up on a combination of open source and Mac OS X technologies, Pixelmator features selection, painting, retouching, navigation, and color correction tools alongside layers-based image editing, GPU-powered image processing, color management, automation, and transparent HUD user interface for work with images. Pixelmator 1.0 is scheduled to ship in late July for $60, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Games for iPhone debut
iGiki.com has announced that it will release several games designed for Apple's iPhone around the same time that the highly anticipated device launches in later this month. The games are developed in Adobe Flash CS3 and are modified for use without a mouse. iGiki.com's games are separated into GikiSingles, GikiPacks, and GikiMinis. iGiki.com has priced the Arcade GikiPack and Brain KikiPack at $2 for three months, which includes GikiPods with the subscription. GikiMinis are free, and the GikiSingles are available for $1 each for three month periods.
MBP Santa Rosa Tuesday
The MacBook Pro may be updated a week in advance of the World Wide Developers Conference, according to multiple sources. An industry contact points to Apple having discontinued production of the current systems weeks ago, allowing its stores and its secondary retail channels to drain excess stock before new models are released. Regions that require custom keyboards and other language-specific changes have already been running low on systems, the claims said, and would only get replacements sometime in early June.
Raon Digital Everun
Raon Digital today aggressively chased the ultra-mobile PC market with the Everun. Instead of forcing a particular aspect ratio, the UMPC includes a special QWERTY keyboard that can be used either in the traditional landscape mode or vertically, as with some PDAs. The Korean designer also wants to avoid the excess bulk and poor battery life that often plague original UMPCs. The screen has the same 800x480 resolution as most alternatives but shrinks physically to 4.8 inches in size; the choice of an AMD Geode LX800 (500MHz) or LX900 (600MHz) processor draws battery life to seven hours using the stock battery. An extended battery gives an even longer runtime of between 11 and 12 hours, Raon claims.
Pentax this morning kicked off the 50th anniversary of its camera brand with a special digital SLR camera. The AP50 is a tribute to the original film camera released in 1957 by the company (then known as Asahi Optical) with digital hardware inside to showcase the advancements made in the half-cenutry life of the firm. The modern components are built on the readily available K10D but includes much of the vintage design, including the pyramid housing for the pentaprism viewfinder that delivered some of the first truly accurate preview in a camera and eventually inspired the change to the Pentax name.
Cumulus 7.5 released
Canto Software today released Cumulus 7.5 with enhanced support for Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Adobe InDesign CS3 in addition to numerous new features. Cumulus is designed as digital asset management software that enables work groups to easily find, share, and publish needed files regardless of where those files are stored. Cumulus 7.5 is available for free to Cumulus Workgroup and Cumulus Enterprise customers on UAP or Software Maintenance subscriptions. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later (pricing available upon request).
Analyst WWDC preview
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is scheduled to deliver his WWDC 2007 keynote speech in San Francisco on Monday, June 11th and will likely focus on Mac OS X Leopard's secret features alongside new Macs, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. "We anticipate focus on Mac OS X Leopard, its next-generation operating system, and introduction of new Macs," Wu wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "We also believe the most anticipated announcement will revolve around its undocumented secret features in Mac OS X Leopard." American Technology Research maintains its "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a $145 price target.
Smartparts 15 inch Frame
Smartparts today introduced one of the largest digital picture holders to date. Its 15-inch SP15MW eclipses the typically 7- or 8-inch LCDs of most frames and makes a better fit for family portraits and other central images; the panel also claims a full 24-bit color display and a sharper 1024x768 resolution. Birch framing helps the display blend into homes more easily than the plastic of some frames. But like those devices, the 15-inch model can handle more than just images, Smartparts says. Hidden speakers can play MP3 songs or the audio from AVI, MPEG, and MPEG-4 videos loaded on to either the 256MB of built-in flash or any one of multiple card formats, including larger CompactFlash and SDHC cards.
4M iPhones in 2007
Apple is preparing to sell far more iPhones than it originally anticipated, according to a new report by Merrill Lynch. The financial group estimates that while production will start modestly at between 200,000 and 300,000 phones per month, Apple will gradually step up its production to reach 1 million per month by the end of 2007, resulting in 4 million units just for the remaining portion of the year. If nothing changes, production should level off and result in 12 million iPhones shipped during 2008, the researchers say.
Tables 1.3 released
A Mac developer has released Tables 1.3, an update to the spreadsheet software for Mac OS X that offers pie, line, area, and column charts. Users can choose a different language for spell checking any cell, and an autofilter helps to sort as well as filter lists. Tables 1.3 also supports copying the current selection as a simple LaTeX table, HTML, PDF, PostScript, or TIFF image to the clipboard. The software offers improved CSV handling, including a preview when opening CSV files. Tables 1.3 is available as a free update to all registered users, with new licenses priced at $55. The application requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Adobe Bridge CS3 update
Adobe this week released an update to Adobe Bridge CS3 2.1, its file manager for its Creative Suite bundle of applications as well as posted its Camera Raw 4.1 and DNG Converter updates, which were announced earlier this week. The Bridge update includes new multilevel keywords support, the ability to import tab-delimited keyword format, better control over video and audio file previews, and new cache management functionality. In addition, the company said it offers improved scrolling and renaming performance and also brings other usability improvements to custom workspaces. Adobe said that all components of Bridge must be updated to provide stable and robust performance and that Adobe Version Cue Client 3.1.0 update and Adobe Asset Services 3.1.0 update (as well as Adobe Version Cue Server 3.1.0 update) are also available, offering fixes and enhancements that improve backup, searching, and overall stability.
Samsung A717 and A727
AT&T today launched two phones from Samsung that take full advantage of the carrier's faster 3G network. The A727 (pictured) is AT&T's slimmest-ever 3G phone at 0.35 inches thick but still achieves the real-world 400 to 700Kbps download speeds possible through HSDPA service. The extra speed also lets it tap into AT&T's more advanced services, such as Mobile Music for streaming online radio and Video Share for streaming one-way video to or from other equipped phones using its 1.3-megapixel camera. Stereo Bluetooth audio and a microSD slot also find room within the handset.
Cowon finished its week by launching the L2, its latest entry into the field of extra-large media players. Intended as much for the car as for home viewing, the L2 revolves around a large 7-inch widescreen and includes its own GPS receiver for route finding on the road but also includes heavy media playback components. Owners can watch AVI or MPEG-4 video clips, and (in Korean form) tune into over-the-air digital TV broadcasts through a DMB tuner; Cowon includes a more advanced picture-in-picture option that can display both maps and the media window at the same time, reducing the map view to as little as a quarter-size for when the map is only a secondary concern.
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