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Free music for iPods
Challenging iTunes' pay-per-song model, Lala.com is looking to revolutionize the digital music business by offering unlimited songs for free. The company is looking to transform its CD-swapping site into a music portal where members can download songs directly to their iPods, bypassing the computer hard drives where most music is stored, according to the AP. The company says it has an agreement with Warner Music Group to sell its catalog of nearly 200,000 songs for $0.99 cents, but that it also allow members to play the songs for free. Lala.com, however, will pay Warner a penny each time someone listens to a song. While most other streaming music sites charge a monthly subscription fee (e.g., Napster) or offer advertising, the Palo Alto-based company will do neither; instead it will rely on revenue from members who buy new CDs or swap used CDs with each other for a fee of $1 per disc. The company also said it would use DRM-free music, much like Apple's recent launch of higher quality, DRM-free music.
PDFClerk 2.7 ($45) is designed as a personal assistant for PDF documents, enabling users to join multiple documents together and rearrange page order as well as add blank pages or impose multiple pages onto a sheet of paper. The latest release adds a freehand drawing tool, arrows on line ends, a polygon tool, and enables users to change the source name of selected pages in bulk.
[Download - 1.9MB]
Advanced Web Ranking 5.2 (Standard $60, Pro $200) is the latest revision of the tool designed to help check a website's position on all major search engines. Advanced Web Ranking 5.2 features a new Keyword Analysis report, an improved chart legend, and the ability to import projects from CSV files. The update also adds the ability to restore multiple or all projects from backups. [Download - 16.2MB]
GimmeSomeTune 3.7 (donationware) extends the functionality of Apple's iTunes software, downloading lyrics and album covers without requiring users to perform any action. The application also displays the currently playing song in iTunes within a floating window. GimmeSomeTune 3.7 improves stability, enhances the user interface, and supports "re-fetching" lyrics from inside the lyrics window. [Download - 896KB]
RAGE MapDesign 1.0 ($20) is a new tool for Web developers that easily adds interactivity to websites without relying on slow-loading multimedia plug-ins. The software allows developers to visually add hot spots to a single image file that link to multiple Web pages, and uses standards-based CSS to define mouse over and mouse down events with slick visual effects. [Download - 9.7MB]
MailTags 2.0 ($30) aims to transform Apple's Mail software into a powerful email organization tool that can tag messages for organization workflows as well as sophisticated searches. The update adds IMAP support, improves the user interface for viewing as well as editing tags, enables users to view tags in Mail's List view, and features dynamic coloring of messages based on various criteria. [Download - 3.2MB]
Tangerine! 1.2 ($25) lets users create playlists of upbeat songs, or playlists for relaxing by analyzing the tempo and beat intensity of music. The latest revision enables users to analyze DRM-protected songs purchased from the iTunes Store, and comes with five playlist generation patterns that resemble treadmill routines. [Download - 1.8MB]
HTC TyTN at Rogers
Rogers Wireless has revealed that it will become the second carrier in North America to carry the HTC TyTN. Also known as a variant on the AT&T/Cingular 8525, the TyTN is only the second known phone from the Canadian provider with HSDPA for 3G wireless speeds and includes EDGE as a fallback. It also brings improved media capture and playback to the carrier with a 2-megapixel camera, a 2.8-inch touchscreen, and a microSD card slot for storing music, photos, and videos.
Red Zune Announced
Microsoft today announced what may be the final special edition of the Zune. Joining the Halo 3 and pink models, the watermelon-tinted version of the player is intended to kick off the official start of summer and comes with a black trim. Similar to other models, however, features are identical to the pioneering model from November with Wi-Fi for player-to-player sharing and 30GB of hard drive storage.
SanDisk SSD 64GB
SanDisk launched its efforts at Taiwan's Computex expo by revealing a 64GB version of its SanDisk SSD flash drive. Already doubling the 32GB capacity shown early this year, the new version is built in a separate 1.8-inch, parallel ATA version for ultraportables and a 2.5-inch, serial ATA version for larger notebooks and drops in as a replacement for traditional magnetic storage. As with the earlier capacity, the solid-state nature shockproofs the drive and cuts down practical response times: a large OS such as Windows Vista cuts its boot from 48 to 30 seconds, SanDisk claims. Overall responsiveness is even shorter, dropping from 11 milliseconds for average file access to 0.11 milliseconds. Power use also drops to as little as half a watt compared to multiple watts for typical storage.
Sony VAIO CR Leak
Sony is readying a new notebook for the mainstream that might replace its current C series, according to a leak from a Dutch online store. The 14-inch VAIO CR will be more subdued than today's models but is still clearly aimed at everyday users with black, blue, pink, and white shades. The casing will also carry over the trayless keyboard first seen in the VAIO TZ that reduces the likelihood of spills and should be thinner than today's model, though dimensions haven't yet surfaced beyond those visible in product pages.
FMPro Script Diff 1.0
Dot Com Solutions has released FMPro Script Diff 1.0, a new utility that compares, edits, searches, and stores FileMaker ScriptMaker scripts. Changed scripts are compared on a line-by-line basis and displayed with color coded tags to the left of each modified script step, while search-and-replace functionality operates on variable names, table field names, and more. Users can paste updated scripts directly into the ScriptMaker window within FileMaker Advanced. Single-user licenses ($100) include a copy of FmPro Script Diff for both Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows. The software requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Steganos VPN for Mac
Steganos today launched Steganos Internet Anonym VPN for Mac OS X, providing Mac users with a secure and anonymous internet ocnnection whether at home or on-the-go through Wi-Fi hot spots. The new service is designed to work discreetly in the background without requiring any change to browsing software and without causing delay, encrypting various means of communication which include: surfing, blogging, instant messaging, e-commers, and filesharing networks. Steganos Internet Anonym VPN works by creating an encrypted tunnel between the user's computer and one of the Staganos VPN servers using SSL encryption. Internet-based requests are then relayed to the Web and return responses, making only the Steganos server visible to the outside world. Staganos Internet Anonym VPN 25 covers 25GB of traffic per month at $15, while yearly subscriptions offering 25GB per month are priced at $100. The service requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Penumbra: Overture -- a first person adventure game which focuses on story, immersion and puzzles -- has made its way to Mac OS X and will be released shortly. Price at $20, the game tells the story of a young man whose mother dies, after which he finds himself in "an inexplicable metal hatch, in the middle of a frozen wasteland."
Xfile file management util
Rixstep today released update to its 'Xfile package' trial download for Mac OS X. Xfile is a completely Cocoa- and Unix- based file manager for Mac OS -- designed for professional developers and system/network administrators. The package now includes fourteen closely integrated file management utilities. Xfile, the company claims, is the only file manager for Mac OS X capable of seamlessly handling all file systems - fdesc, HFS+, HFS+ case- sensitive, UFS, volfs, ZFSa and is "the only file manager capable of detailing all file information available on Mac OS X - and offering full editing capabilities for all these system features." The software ($80) runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 as a Universal application. The trial runs runs only on the 'odd days' of June, July, and August and fully expires September 1, 2007.
Normally known for its trackpads and jukebox controls, Synaptics today unveiled SmartTouch, a new concept for the dedicated media keys normally found ahead of the keyboard on most notebooks. Rather than fix the controls in hardware, SmartTouch relies on buttons with an on-screen display to indicate their role. The flexibility means that the buttons can change with each program that launches: controls may change from navigating a DVD in a media player to skipping through a browser or the operating system itself.
Dell XPS m1330 Leak
Dell is planning a major reworking of its smallest XPS gaming notebook, according to freshly leaked press material. The 13.3-inch M1330 will phase out the smaller but thicker M1210 while also bringing several of the latest notebook technologies that have been absent even in the company's flagship M1710 and M1210 systems. The design represents a major change towards minimalist style: the M1330 should be less than one inch thick and will turn to a slot-loading DVD-RW drive instead of Dell's historical tray drive while still cutting weight to 4 pounds.
Suitcase Fusion plugin
Extensis today released a free plug-in for Suitcase Fusion 12.1.3 to provide the advanced font activation and deactivation for Adobe InDesign CS3 documents. The plug-in ensures that any time users open an InDesign project, the exact fonts are automatically and accurately activated or deactivated. Currently, the plug-in is available English language only; however, Extensis will release French, German and Japanese downloads soon after Adobe Creative Suite 3 is available in these languages. Extensis released plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator CS3 for Suitcase Fusion and an update for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS3 for Suitcase for Windows last month and it will be releasing Adobe CS3 plug-ins for its font management Server products in the near future.
Mystery 12th iPhone App
A 12th iPhone program appears to have reached the iPhone, according to a frame-by-frame study of the newly released ads. While distance footage of the iPhone shows the by now familiar 11-icon layout of the Apple device's front menu, one of the close-up shots in the "How-To" ad shows four icons at the bottom -- indicating that an extra icon has appeared higher up in the layout, pushing the remaining icons towards the bottom. The discrepancy is unusual as the ads all appear to demonstrate the actual screen rather than artificial shot overlays. Other ads appear to remain consistent.
SanDisk has taken the wraps off two new USB flash drives, the Cruzer Professional and Cruzer Enterprise. Primary features for the new drives include 256-bit, hardware-based AES encryption (optional and modifiable on the Professional, mandatory on the Enterprise) as well as read and write speeds of 24 MB per second and 20 MB per second respectively.
WiebeTech ramps forensics
WiebeTech has completely revamped its forensic line with lower prices on most items, and has added several new products to help investigators recover and preserve important data. The company is offering a new Forensic DriveDock v4 versatile bundle that features both write-blocked and read/write access to the four most common types of hard drives ($150), and has reduced prices on its entire Forensic DriveDock family of devices. Several new Forensic Field Kit models are available alongside a new Forensic Small Media Reader that is usable as a v4 Combo Adapter or a write-blocked small media reader. WiebeTech's Forensic DriveDock pricing has sunk to $190 for its Forensic ComboDock v4 as well as its Forensic SATADock v4, $250 for its Forensic Notebook DriveDock v4, and $400 for its Forensic Office Dock.
iPod nano USB adapter
Incipio has released its IncipioHitch USB iPod adapter for Apple's current-generation iPod nano. The device is designed to easily connect an iPod nano to any USB port without the need for a large dock or messy cables. Incipio's adapter supports USB 2.0 transfer rates, comes with a repositioning USB arm to accommodate most computer or USB port locations, and works with both Mac and Windows systems. The IncipioHitch is priced at $13 and comes in black or white.
Sony BDP-S300 Ships
Sony today began shipping its least expensive Blu-Ray player, the BDP-S300. The new reader is not only the company's most affordable but has also seen a price drop from $599 to $499 for its official launch, making it the first complete Blu-Ray player to ship for less than the $599, 60GB PlayStation 3. Few sacrifices have been made to reach the price, Sony adds. The S300 can display full 1080p signals when using HDMI, and includes HDMI 1.3 for support of x.v.Color for deeper color depths on supporting movies and TVs. Audio support includes Dolby Digital Plus as well as earlier 5.1 surround formats.
Sharp on Monday backed up its XR series projectors with three new models with enhanced definition but real awareness of HD. The XR-30S, XR-30X, and XR-40X all have DVI inputs with native HDCP support that lets them display encrypted video from certain Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs as well as from some content stored on Windows Vista PCs; component input is also present for more conventional HD video while RCA and S-video handle analog sources. Each of the front projectors also has a newer image processing chip for better overall quality and a 3X color wheel for generating the DLP-based image.
PDF Bee goes Universal
A Mac developer has released PDF Bee 3.0, an application designed to automate the creation of single page PDF files from multi-page InDesign documents. The software monitors a hot folder for InDesign files, and can export from InDesign directly. PDF Bee 3.0 optionally creates a Postscript file, and can Distill a PDF document. The software works over the network as well, allowing users to run multiple copies of PDF Bee to monitor a single folder for faster parallel processing. The latest release runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and is updated for InDesign CS3 as well as Distiller CS3. PDF Bee 3.0 is priced at $90 or $30 for previous users, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Samsung started its week with the introduction of a new camera-focused phone. The E590 boasts a 3.2-megapixel back camera with auto focusing as well as a half shutter and a panorama mode for stitching together landscape shots; the bar phone also includes a rare attachment for a bean bag mount to stabilize the body during formal portraits and similar shots. The phone itself also takes advantage of expert designer Jasper Morrison, according to the company. The creator lends his hand both to the phone's clean design as well as to a dual-sided set of side controls: one focuses exclusively on the phone, while the opposite end focuses on camera navigation.
QuickBase update coming
Intuit is planning to release an update to QuickBase -- the company's online workgroup applications -- on the evening of June 8th. The latest revision of the software suite adds two new applications titled Training Management -- a template fo rmanaging everything involved in organizing and automating corporate training, including hosting a course catalog and scheduling classes -- and Contracts Management, designed to help users manage contracts. The update also promises to bring improved reliability and communication, alongside a new reliability website that continuously displays current system status as well as any information on upcoming maintenance. QuickBase is available for $250 per month accommodating 10 users, with additional users adding $3 per month.
In advance of the Computex trade expo, Toshiba on Monday unveiled the SD-L912A, the company's first notebook drive fully capable of burning rewritable HD DVDs. The advancement currently lets the drive write many times to the new discs at a 1X speed, equating roughly to two hours of recording for a dual-layer 30GB disc or half as long for standard 15GB versions. Universal support also exists for write-once HD DVDs as well as most CD and DVD writable and rewritable formats. A 12.7mm-high body lets the tray-loading drive fit in most slimmer notebooks and should help bring the new standard to smaller PCs than the 17-inch Qosmio portable.
HP rp5700 Green PC
HP this morning tackled the problem of environmentally friendly PCs with the rp5700, its latest slim desktop. The computer is the first to achieve a gold rating for the US government's Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool through both its choice of components and even the materials themselves: 95 percent of the entire PC is recyclable, HP says. The system also relies on less power-hungry processors, and uses a special 80 percent efficient power supply that wastes far less energy than most desktops. In tandem with an LCD, a complete system consumes about 80 percent less power than a standard desktop with a CRT, according to the company's estimates.
Apple to open up iPhone?
The iPhone fever built by Apple and its much adored chief exec has caused some anxiety in Apple execs ahead of the much-anticipated launch on June 29th. The massive interest and the immense attention may lead some to be disappointed with the first generation of Apple's iPhone, according to the The New York Times. "The anticipation, which is intense even by Jobsian standards, has led to some quiet, behind-the-scenes anxiety at Apple. Some Apple executives worry privately that expectations for the one-button phones may be too high and that first-generation buyers will end up disappointed." The report, however, indicates that Apple's planned in-the-field software upgrades for the iPhone may give it an edge in a rapidly changing mobile technology environment and that the company will announce a program at its annual developer conference next week to open the iPhone platform to third-party applications.
Panasonic Toughbook 52
Panasonic on Monday morning rolled out the Toughbook 52, the company's first semi-rugged notebooks in the range to include 15-inch widescreen displays and the first North American Toughbook to use Intel's new Santa Rosa platform. Every configuration uses the newer Core 2 Duo processor with an 800MHz bus, and also brings the option of 3G Internet access: internal adapters connect the PC either to EVDO networks from Sprint and Verizon or HSDPA and UMTS access provided by AT&T and European carriers respectively. The casing till achieves the same military-grade durability for drops (up to 2.5 feet from any angle), Panasonic says, and has a liquid-proof keyboard that prevents accidents.
Quad-core mobile chips
On the heels of its recent Santa Rosa mobile architecture launch, Intel this weekend touted its next-generation quad-core mobile chips, which is expected to be available next year. At the company's Intel's Developer Forum conference in Beijing, the world's largest chipmaker said that the new technology will be used in high-level gaming and high-end, performance-oriented. The extra processing power, however, will come at the expense of battery life and likely won't find its way into mainstream business notebooks for sometime, the company said. "You'll see it at the high end, but I don't see it running so fast into the mainstream because I don't believe there will be enough threaded applications that will justify the trade-offs," says Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile platform group.
Apple: No. 10 in servers
Apple was among the top 10 PC vendors in server sales in the first quarter of 2007, according to the latest market research numbers. Market research firm released server sales numbers showing that both Hitachi and Apple displaced Lenovo and Langchao which were among the top-10 worldwide server brands in the fourth quarter of 2006. Hitachi was ranked as the No. 9 in first quarter of 2007, while Apple was No. 10, according to IDC numbers cited by Digitimes. Apple reportedly shipped 8,700 Xserve units in the quarter, growing 73 percent from the previous quarter, the report said. "With Apple launching the fifth generation Xserve server adopting Intel Dual Core Xeon processors (Woodcrest) several enterprises started to adopt the Apple servers, which boosted the company's growth in first quarter 2007."
Palm Recruits iPod Head
Palm today announced that it had hired Jon Rubinstein, the former head of Apple's iPod division, to take a place on the company's board as an executive chairman. The former senior VP of hardware engineering was recruited as part of a new $325 million investment in the company by Elevation Partners -- which itself is managed by previous Apple CFO Fred Anderson -- and will see Rubinstein lead the company's product development efforts, which should include the company's Treo line of smartphones as well as future products springing from the Foleo phone companion. The former Apple VP cited the possibilities behind cellphones as a key motivator for his new role at Palm.
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