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Firefox extensions hole
In brief: An Indiana University doctoral candidate has discovered a vulnerability in many popular Firefox extensions, MyPublisher has released Bookmaker 2.1 for Mac while offering removable jackets for photo books, Take Control Books has released two new eBooks to help users solve TV problems, and LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling today launched its LightScribe Photography Kit. A new vulnerability has surfaced in many popular Firefox extensions which requires that other significant security holes exist on the network, but that under such circumstances could allow an attacker to run malicious code as the logged-in user.
5TB esATA RAID
MicroNet has begun shipping an eSATA RAID array system with Mac OS X compatibility that is capable of handling up to 5TB in attached drive storage. The new Platinum RAID Pro is powered by a 64-bit Intel XScale processor to accelerate I/O throughput, is system independent and requires no drivers to be installed. By default, the unit ships with RAID 5 -- distributed parity -- enabled, meaning that a single drive failure will not result in data loss.
Refurb MacBooks for $849
Reconditioned MacBooks have returned to Apple's online store for as little as $849, and refurbished MacBook Pros are also available from $1,999. The company's discounted MacBooks currently include the White 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) for $849; and the White 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) for $999. Apple's refurbished MacBook Pros consist of the standard or glossy 15-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,999; as well as the standard or glossy 17-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $2,299.
Virtuoso Universal Server
OpenLink Software today released Virtuoso Universal Server 5.0.1, the latest release of its Universal Server Platform. The update features high-performance SPARQL-compliant RDF quad store, full text indexing extension to SPARQL, SPARQL update language (SPARUL) support, and aggregate function extensions to SPARQL. Virtuoso Universal Server 5.0.1 also offers integration of SPARQL and SQL, as well as built-in middleware for dynamically producing RDF data from non-RDF data sources (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Data Robotics today announced that it has started shipping the Drobo, its unique intelligent data robot. In line with the company's original announcement, the device is the first to automatically create multi-drive backups without user intervention: sliding in a standard desktop hard drive automatically formats it and merges it into a single large partition; data can be shuffled just as automatically from one drive to another if a disk fails. Color-coded warnings near each drive bay will also warn when a drive runs low to give time for clearing files or upgrading one of the existing disks.
Alpine iPod-ready stereo
Alpine Electronics today began shipping its iDA-X001 digital media head unit with built-in iPod connectivity. The head unit features a USB connection, allows users to navigate through all of the digital content on an iPod, and is designed with the same screen ratio as the iPod itself with a 320x240 color TFT screen. The screen displays artist, album, and track information as well as album art from the iPod while offering three screen-view options. Users can choose to view album art as well as the song name and track information; larger album art and the song name only; or clock and calendar information. Apple's fifth-generation iPods with the latest firmware can link directly to the iDA-X001 via USB, while its Ai-NET BUS platform allows the head unit to connect to a variety of digital media sources and formats such as XM, SIRIUS, and more. Alpine's iDA-X001 digital media head is priced at $450.
BIAS has released SoundSoap Pro, a new Universal Binary edition of the the noise reduction and restoration plug-in aimed at professional audio producers, engineers, musicians, sound designers, videographers, and forensic scientists, SoundSoap Pro uses an integrated interface with single plug-in window to present a series of audio clean-up tools including "Hum & Rumble," "Click & Crackle," "Broadband," and "Noise Gate". Each plug-in tab provides parameter feedback, allowing the user to monitor the primary tool settings globally, regardless of which tool is currently selected.
AMD Home Cinema
Although chiefly interested in backing Alienware's new Hangar18 PC, AMD today also showcased a new reference PC as part of its AMD LIVE! media center PC strategy. The Home Cinema reference design is built as a platform for third-party designers to customize for their own needs and highlights the media-savvy aspects of the AMD's hardware and software efforts. The receiver-sized box relies as little as possible on traditional controls and includes both its own LCD as well as front-face menu and track navigation controls; it also hides a slot-load optical drive for playing movies.
Amtek U560 UMPC
Ultramobile PC creator Amtek is developing its first full-keyboard UMPC, according to an announcement at this week's Computex show. The U560 will use a sliding-screen design similar to the VAIO UX that exposes a full keyboard underneath its 4.8-inch, 1024x600 screen. The handheld is also based on Intel's newer A100 platform and ekes out longer battery life than earlier UMPCs regardless of whether it uses the 600MHz or 800MHz processor; an extended battery pack will roughly double battery life for those less concerned about bulk or cost.
Hummer HT1 Details
GM's offroading brand Hummer is on the verge of releasing a cellphone to complement its trucks, new photos and technical details show. The HT1 was designed by French firm ModeLabs to reflect Hummer's military-like style and comes in colors matching the company's most famous vehicles, including a camouflaged khaki green, sable (dark silver), and bright yellow. Despite its utilitarian looks, however, the slider handset also sports media-friendly luxuries, including a 2-megapixel camera, an FM radio, and a microSD slot for media storage. A 256MB card provides room for a handful of media without needing a replacement.
The Sims 2 Seasons ships
Aspyr Media today announced that the Mac version of The Sims 2 Seasons has begun shipping to retail outlets nationwide. Licensed from Electronic Arts, The Sims 2 Seasons was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios, the company's internal development team. The Sims 2 Seasons builds on the celebrated The Sims 2 experience that allows players to create and control virtual characters throughout their lives while determining the outcome of their relationships and choosing their destiny. Seasons features a full calendar year and dramatic and detailed weather effects: "because each season unfolds differently, players are guaranteed a fresh experience year after year," the company says. The title requires the full version of The Sims 2 ($50) for Mac OS X to play (and a 1.4GHz Mac) and is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
ASUS Xonar D2
In addition to its Eee PC ultraportable, ASUS today has introduced its first dedicated sound card. The Xonar D2 is based on the newer AV200 processor and focuses quality across all channels: while its 118 decibel signal-to-noise ratio has been achievable on other sound cards in stereo, the optimum quality is possible for a full 7.1-channel surround sound and even during audio recording, ASUS claims.
FontCard 1.5 released
Unsanity today released FontCard 1.5, adding support for FontExplorer and Suitcase Fusion sets to the "haxie" software. FontCard modifies the Font menu as well as the font panel in Carbon and Cocoa applications, adding an icon that displays the format of a font next to the fone menu item or font panel list while displaying the font name in the actual font face. The latest revision fixes a problem with choosing fonts from the font menu not working in QuarkXPress 7.x on Intel-based Macs, and adds better logging for the daemon when something goes wrong when retrieving the preview of an inactive font. FontCard 1.5 is available for $17, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Hitachi Easy Hard Drive
Typically the source of hard disks for other companies, Hitachi today revealed that it has begun shipping the easy hard drive range, a series of external hard drives designed to be simple extensions of people's desktops; both the desktop and pictured notebook models come in a stylized black and red with preloaded backup software to streamline backups through a single button press. Reflecting its background, Hitachi stresses capacity: the desktop-class drive uses a single 1TB disk to store as many as 300,000 photos, while the notebook version offers the latest 250GB mobile drive without the need for an external power source.
Tiger or Vista for laptops
Latptop Magazine is the latest to publish a shootout between Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and Windows Vista, this time as it relates to use on portable computers. Using a black MacBook and an HP Pavillion laptop, the article compares the operating systems on Interface, Search, Media, Peripherals, Performance, Security, Networking and more. In its "overall verdict" conclusion, the magazine declares Mac OS X 10.4 the winner, stating "although Vista is pushing the envelope with some of its features, it's still unproven in several key areas and could use snappier performance. Until that happens, we'll stick with OS X Tiger."
NetNewsWire 3.0 released
NewsGator has released NetNewsWire 3.0 for Mac, an update to the RSS and Atom reader that features a three-paned interface with the ability to fetch and display news from thousands of different websites and weblogs. The latest release offers desktop integration of Spotlight, Address Book, iCal, iPhoto, Growl, Twitterific, and more. The improved user-interface combines view, feed "cover art," full-screen mode, and tabs with thumbnails as well as animations. Performance enhancements include an entirely new article storage system alongside memory optomization, and synchronized clippings allow users to read saved articles from the Web or another NewsGator reader. NetNewsWire 3.0 is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Via's efforts at the Computex computer expo today have been headlined by the NanoBook ultra mobile device. While similar in spirit to the ASUS Eee PC in creating a full-fledged notebook with a 7-inch screen, the Via model includes a USB-based slot next to the display that can hold a companion device without creating extra bulk; Via suggests anything as basic as a world clock but as advanced as GPS units or 3G wireless adapters. The company also takes advantage of its expertise with mobile processors to optimize its 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage C7-M chip for as much as five hours of battery life versus the three of ASUS' rival.
LogMeIn for Macs
LogMeIn has brought its services to Mac OS X, allowing platform-agnostic remote login to Macs -- with full controls --from any Internet-connected computer and some handheld devices. The connection scheme use SSL-secured links that go through the company's own datacenters, obviating the need for port forwarding and other configuration. After connnections are established, they are switched to a secure peer-to-peer link for better performance. A free preview of the service is currently available. [corrected]
AAPL target set at $140
Credit Suisse analyst Robert Semple on Tuesday raised his target price on Apple Inc from $120 to $140 a share, according to MarketWatch. In a his research note to clients, Semple said he believes that "the iPhone 'will elicit a superior perceived value' compared to other mobile phones due to factors such as its technical superiority and the idea of consumers to own a 'hot product'. Semple estimates that Apple will sell 5 million iPhones in 2007 and 15 million of the devices in 2008. Apple plans to release the iPhone on June 29.
GD GoBook VR-2
General Dynamics on Tuesday became one of the first rugged PC makers to offer Intel Santa Rosa in a notebook by releasing the GoBook VR-2. The notebook packs a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with the faster system bus, improved graphics, and 802.11n, but also features a uniquely survivable design meant as much for use in the field as in an office. Key to this is a new display technique called DynaVue, the company says: instead of simply increasing the brightness of the 13.3-inch touchscreen, the process cuts out reflections within the LCD itself and boosts contrast ratio to render the image visible even in bright daylight. The VR-2 also meets military-spec resistance to dust, shock, and humidity, and has a spill-proof keyboard.
iPhone touch screen trend?
Apple's forthcoming iPhone will likely result in the significant adoption of capacitive touch screen technology in future cellular phones, according to component manufacturer Synaptics. Apple's handset uses capacitive touch screen technology to help achieve the "revolutionary" user interface touted by company CEO Steve Jobs, which Synaptics believes will provide a big market boost to such technology moving forward. The manufacturer predicts that almost 25 percent of handsets will offer built-in capacitive touch screens by 2009, and points to forthcoming notebooks from Dell, HP, and Toshiba that will make use of capacitive touch screen technology in the second half of this year, according to DigiTimes.
EU extends Apple deadline
The European Commission has extended its deadline for Apple to respond to antitrust concerns over the iTunes Store, which center around restrictions that bar iTunes customers from purchasing tracks offered to countries other than the one they are connecting from. Thosee restrictions result in price differentials between intra-eurozone and extra-eurozone, which equate to more costly tracks for some European iTunes customers compared to other nearby countries. The original deadline -- with which Apple failed to comply -- set by the EU was midnight on June 4th, but today that deadline was pushed back to June 20th, according to Thomson Financial. Apple in early April denied that it violated European Union laws regarding the pricing of songs on its iTunes Store, saying that the company would continue to work with the EU to resolve the matter.
ASUS Eee PC 701
ASUS at Computex on Tuesday launched a fresh take on ultramobile PCs with the Eee PC. Although sharing the 7-inch screen of many handhelds, the Eee adopts the familiar notebook shape and includes a keyboard and trackpad. The emphasis is on ease of use -- not just portability, ASUS says. To that end, the portable splits its interface into simple and complex modes: the easy mode includes a basic interface for browsing, chat, and photos, while more comfortable users can switch to a familiar operating system such as Linux or Windows XP. Load times are kept quick through the use of a flash drive with as little as 4GB or as much as 16GB of storage; the choice has the side benefit of reducing weight to just under two pounds.
ATT Ramps EDGE for iPhone
AT&T is launching an intense campaign to improve the quality of its cellular Internet speeds for the iPhone, claims an AT&T operations worker with access to internal documents. Nicknamed "Operation Fine Edge," a plan has reportedly been in progress for several weeks which is optimizing the company's EDGE mobile Internet access specifically to help Apple's upcoming device. The effort will retune many of the carrier's cell towers to place a greater priority on Internet access. In some cases, poorer towers are also receiving extra T1 network lines to prevent network congestion and ensure better minimum quality for the network. Customers should expect minimum speeds to double from 40Kbps to 80Kbps, the documents say.
Typinator 2.0 released
Ergonis Software today released Typinator 2.0, the latest revision of the company's tool for automatically correcting typos and automatically typing text as well as inserting graphics across all Mac OS X applications. The software offers thousands of predefined corrections for common typos and misspelled words for English, German, and French. The update enables users to organize snippets in a structured way and use shortcuts in multiple ways, effectively tailoring typing shortcuts to each individual application. Users can, for example, configure Typinator to expand the abbreviation "UL" with the HTML code to produce a list in an HTML editor, but expand the same abbreviation to "University Library" in all other applications. Typinator is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The update is free to customers who purchased Typinator within the past two years.
TomTom GO 720
TomTom began Tuesday by launching a new model in its GO line. The 4.3-inch GO 720 is the first GPS mapping unit from the company to focus on collaboration and customization through a new feature dubbed TomTom Map Share. Unlike most receivers, whose maps depend on updates solely from one company, the 720's map information can be altered by the drivers themselves: similar to Wikipedia, owners can note when a street name changes or construction blocks a route; the changes can either be limited to just individual units but can also be shared with other drivers, providing advance warnings for those who aren't already familiar with a given area. Owners can even personalize their voice navigation by having friends or family record audio for individual routes.
LCD mount for Mac mini
Sonnet on Tuesday launched its new MacCuff mini, a "back-of-monitor mounting system" for Mac mini computers. MacCuff mini provides users with a practical way to mount their computer to the back of an LCD display (or under a desk or table) while retaining full access to all of its ports and the disc slot. "Most LCD monitors have open VESA mounting holes on the back that provide an ideal spot to attach a MacCuff mini. Mounted securely on the back of a display, a Mac mini disappears. Sonnet helps cut the clutter by providing a 12-inch DVI-to-VGA monitor cable that connects the Mac mini to the monitor, without ever touching the desk. An included cable tie secures the power cable to the bracket to prevent accidental disconnects." The company says that MacCuff mini can just as easily be installed under a desk or shelf and that the open-frame design allows normal Wi-Fi and Bluetooth operation. It is constructed of rugged steel and features a refined platinum finish with a durable plastic coating. It is available now for $50.
Two new California stores
Along with its new MacBook Pros, Apple today announced it would open two new stores in California. The company will open a retail store in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. The Apple Store Baybrook will be located at 899 Higuera St. The company also announced a retail store opening in Fresno, California. The Apple Store Fashion Fair, located on 645 East Shaw Ave, will also open The to the public on Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. As part of its usual grand opening, the company will offer a variety of unique and educational presentations, demonstrations and workshops -- all free of charge -- as well as a T-shirt giveaway to the first 1000 people to visit the Apple Store and a chance to enter to the Grand Opening Sweepstakes to win a Digital Lifestyle Collection valued at $2224.95.
Toshiba Tecra M8
Toshiba today launched its second notebook, the Tecra M8. Officially the first 13.3-inch widescreen notebook from the company, the system is meant to bridge the difference between ultraportables and mid-range notebooks with a 4.5-pound weight. It also serves as one of the company's earliest examples of Santa Rosa-class performance, using Intel's technology to offer a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo on an 800MHz bus, better X3100 integrated video, and 802.11n. Still rare among most other Santa Rosa notebooks is the use of a flash-based Turbo Memory cache to speed load times.
Free iPod promo for edu
Apple today launched its Back-to-School promotion, offering a $199 rebate on any iPod nano or iPod video with the purchase of any qualified Mac (iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro). Called "Major in Mac," the program runs through September 16 and offers education customers a free iPod with virtually every Mac purchase. The mail-in rebate is also available online for faster processing. As required by Connecticut and Rhode Island laws, Apple will provide an instant rebate of $199 (at time of purchase) to residents of Connecticut and Rhode Island who are Apple Education Individuals making qualified purchases under the terms of Apple's Major in Mac Promotion.
Alienware this morning launched the Hangar18, the company's first self-proclaimed HD Entertainment Center. The system is based on AMD's LIVE! media center platform and uses Athlon 64 X2 processors to provide an immediate responsiveness for Vista Home Premium's interface and better synchronization with peripherals; it also helps guarantee 720p HD video with basic integrated graphics and as much as 1080p when using NVIDIA dedicated graphics and the PC's built-in HDMI output. Unique to the Hangar18 is a built-in, high power amplifier: each channel can receive as much as 200W of power, bypassing the need for a separate device to help power a larger sound system.
HTC today unveiled the Touch, a new smartphone directly aimed at the iPhone's audience. Previously known as the Elf, the Touch earns its name through its natural input: owners control calls, media playback, and programs solely through the 2.8-inch touchscreen. Also similar to the Apple device is an intuitive navigation method that lets users swipe through media libraries and provides scrolling for web pages or documents. HTC's phone, however, relies on Windows Mobile 6 Professional and includes Office Mobile for bulit-in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word editing.
New LED MacBook Pros
Apple today updated its MacBook Pro line of notebooks with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, memory up to 4GB, and high-speed graphics in a lightweight, aluminum enclosure that is just one-inch thin. The new MacBook Pro is available in 15-inch models with a new mercury-free, power-efficient LED-backlit display and a 17-inch model with an optional high-resolution display. Every MacBook Pro model includes an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB of shared L2 cache, an 800 MHz frontside bus and 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory as well as the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT, which Apple claims is more than 50 percent faster than the original MacBook Pro with Core Duo. It is available in three models: 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro models, and a 2.4 GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro model.
Toshiba Portege R500
Toshiba used Taiwan's Computex expo today to unveil the Portégé R500, calling it one of the most portable complete notebooks ever. The system is one of the slimmest ever to include an optical drive, measuring 0.77 inches at its thinnest due to an ultra-thin DVD rewriter and improvements in trimming down the internal components; this comes without compromising strength, Toshiba says. The company also notes that the use of a 64GB solid-state hard drive option -- also a first for notebooks -- brings the weight down to as little as 1.86 pounds with every feature intact. The 12-inch widescreen further represents a breakthrough by using a transreflective LCD whose backlight can be switched off outdoors to use natural light and extend battery life to as long as 12.5 hours.
OpenOffice.org Aqua alpha
Following Sun's commitment to develop a native version of OpenOffice for the Mac, the project has released an early development version of OpenOffice.org Aqua project for Mac OS X. Billed as an alternative to commercial productivity suites such as Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org is an open-source, multiplatform and multilingual office suite. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. While previous versions required the installation of the X11 windowing system, the new version works natively within Mac OS X. Though planned for many years, the new native software is still in early development stages and the developers warn about using it in a production environment. The project says it will continue with releases of the X11 version, while it finishes the Aqua OpenOffice port: "Once OpenOffice Aqua is released, the team will focus on making OpenOffice adhere to the Apple HCI guidelines."
Apple preps laptop update
Apple is preparing to update its MacBook Pro lineup as well as launch its annual Back to School Promo, according to various online reports (although not yet reflected by the traditional "We'll be back soon" at the Apple online store). The announcements, which could come as early as Tuesday morning, include new MacBook Pro models featuring Intel's new Santa Rosa mobile architecture, which brings faster chip speeds and better energy management features as well as feature new LED screen technology that will bring improved notebook battery life and displays that will maintain their initial levels of brightness longer. Many reports indicate that the new laptop models will feature more memory (2GB of RAM), slightly faster chips (2.2GHz and 2.4GHz), and faster graphics cards (NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with either 128MB or 256MB of RAM), but however, will maintain the same drive configurations (120GB and 160GB), according to AppleInsider.
Pangea debuts TabMeister
Pangea Software today announced its latest Mac-only utility: "TabMeister 1.0" is a desktop utility that allows the user to organize applications, files, and folders into "Tabs" which act like pop-up windows sitting on the edge of the screen. Rather than cramming dozens of files into the Dock, these Tabs now allow for better organization of all of the files that users commonly need. TabMeister offers immediate access to hundreds of files without cluttering the Dock or desktop. The $15 application will run in a limited demo mode until a serial number is purchased to unlock the full version. It is a Universal Binary that will run natively on either PowerPC- or Intel-based Mac's running Mac OS 10.4 or later.
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