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PowerBook owners unite
A new wiki site has launched with the hope that Apple will both acknowledge an alleged batch shipment of defective 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4s and that the Cupertino-based company -- which prides itself on customer service -- will initiate a display repair extension program to fix the problematic notebooks. The wiki claims that hundreds, possibly thousands of Apple customers who purchased 17-inch G4 1.67GHz PowerBooks manufactured at a factory in Shanghai (W8) around March and April of 2005 are experiencing the "Bridget Riley" vertical lines display defect. The problem manifests with one or more one-pixel wide vertical lines spanning the full depth of the display from top to bottom in a variety of colors which include magenta, cyan, yellow, and blue.
Intel debuts new compilers
Intel has released two new Mac OS X-compatible compilers -- one for creating C++ software and the other for producing Fortran programs -- designed to create more reliable, high-performance applications that speed up a computer's responsiveness. The Intel C++ Compiler and Fortran Professional Editions are highly optimized with performance libraries and the Intel Threading Building Blocks. Both compilers are already available from $600 to $1600, with upgrades to the professional editions from the prior versions or libraries available through resellers.
Monitor Magic released
Big Mug Software has released Monitor Magic, a multiple camera monitoring system with support for standard definition DV, DVCProHD, and HDV technologies. The software features a preview monitor with helpful guides, includes a weighted waveform monitor as well as a colored waveform monitor, and supports RGB parade. Further features include a weighted vectorscope, a colored vectorscope, a luminance histogram, and an RGB histogram. Monitor Magic is priced at $140, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. DVCProHD also requires Apple DVCProHD codecs, which are only available by installing Final Cut Pro HD.
Apple TV has thing margins
The profit margins on the Apple TV hover around 20 percent, in contrast to margins of 40 to 50 percent for most iPod models according to the latest report from analysis firm iSuppli. The report does not account for other costs, including cables, packaging, marketing (nor research and development) expenses, so the report claims that Apple's margin may be even lower. Speculating on the reason for Apple's pricing on the unit, iSuppli says that the company is eschewing profit in exchange for the potential ability inject the iPod model permanently into the home living room. Recognizing the unit as a media hub, the analysts note the lack of DVD playback, DVR capability, etc., echoing Steve Jobs' comments at the Dow Jones D5 conference that the Apple TV is "the DVD player for the Internet age."
Review, Google Objective-C
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Titan Clear Case for Apple's second-generation iPod Nano, Google has updated its Objective-C Client Library which enables Mac developers to easily upload photos to Picasa Web Albums, MacTech Magazine has released its list of the top 25 most influential people on the Mac technical community, and Smart Loops has released three new SL MultiTracks Drum Loop Libraries for Bossa Nova, Country, and Rock. MacNN has reviewed the Titan Clear Case for Apple's second-generation iPod Nano ($25, shown at right), GizMac's transparent polycarbonate case that features an armband with elastic Velcro as well as a carabineer clip and a double weave lanyard.
ZFS in Leopard
At a Sun Microsystems media event today, company CEO Jonathan Schwartz publicly stated that the default filesystem for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) will be ZFS, replacing the current HFS+ Extended filesystem. ZFS is a filesystem developed by Sun that is 128-bit, meaning it offers 16 billion billion times the capacity of 32- or 64-bit systems -- virtually unlimited by today's standards. ZFS also offers increased performance because it is transactional object model rather than more traditional I/O mechanisms.
Mio during the Computex expo in Taiwan has unveiled the A702, the new leader of its GPS smartphone range. The A702 breaks with all other phones from the company's lineup by including a dedicated number pad for calls rather than a strict direction pad. A button quickly switches the phone to GPS mode and back. Navigation has also been upgraded through the use of a new feature in the GPS chipset known as SiRFDiRect. Rebranded as "NavSteadi" by Mio, the technique uses heading and movement tracking to calculate the phone's rough position when the GPS signal is blocked by buildings or weather.
Fourth iPhone TV Ad
Apple and AT&T on Thursday began airing a fourth, currently unnamed TV ad. Similar in most respects to the first ads that began airing this Sunday, the new ad that surfaced on CNBC revolves around an anonymous user showing the device's features on-screen. The new spot emphasizes the full web browsing support offered by the mobile version of Safari and reiterates the claim that the iPhone features the "real" Internet, rather than a "watered-down" version with reduced graphics and formats for cellphones. The June 29th release date and requirement for a 2-year AT&T contract also conclude the ad.
Dell Vostro Leak
Dell plans one of the greatest changes to its notebooks to date when it completes the switchover to Intel's Santa Rosa platform, the company has inadvertently revealed today through a series of official documents. While details remain elusive, the company will introduce a third notebook range. The 15-inch Vostro 1500 and 17-inch Vostro 1700 (PDF) will each be far sleeker than current Inspiron designs, with a subtler row of media keys for playing DVDs and music without starting Windows. Both will ship with 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processors and either 80GB (for the 1500) or 120GB (1700) of hard disk space.
ATT iPhone Retail Ads
AT&T today began its in-store ad campaign for the iPhone, following the Sunday introduction of Apple's TV campaign. The poster-based graphics reiterate the now official June 29th launch date and show the AT&T-branded main menu, though the icons remain the same as before and make no reference to the reported mystery software. AT&T contacts have also been asked to remain silent on full details of the launch until allowed to speak, an investigation adds.
Warner Japan iTunes
Apple has announced that the Warner Music Japan catalog is now available to users of the iTunes Store in Japan. Among the artists ushered in by the deal are Ayaka, Bonnie Pink, Green Day, Kobukuro, Linkin Park, Madonna, Mariya Takeuchi, My Chemical Romance, Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M. and Rip Slyme. Also, the exclusive world premiere of Ayaka's new video for the hit track "Jewelry Day" is debuting on the iTunes Store.
OS X an exploit target
Analysts and security firms are increasingly recognizing Mac OS X as a potential target for exploits, though the actualized threat thus far has been virtually non-existent. A security research company released a piece of exploit code targeting a port mapping vulnerability in Mac OS X less than 24 hours after Apple had released a patch for it -- a potential sign that interest in such vulnerabilities is higher than previously accounted.
Samsung T729 and T419
Samsung will soon ship a pair of phones to T-Mobile's US branch, according to a new leak. The T729 (pictured, left) previously referenced in an FCC filing is now confirmed as a replacement for the T719 already in service and will share the same level of BlackBerry support: as with Research in Motion's slimmer devices, the T729 should tap into the BlackBerry "push" mail network and include a SureType keyboard that allows quicker typing than the usual T9 method. AIM messaging is also known to be available.
Extensis has announced Portfolio Server 8.5, a new release of the digital asset management tool that adds integration with Adobe Creative Suite 3. In addition, the new release includes new features to automate metadata-driven organization, tracking, and distribution of digital assets. Another new feature is "Portfolio Project Sync."
PDFpen 3.2 ($50 for 1-4 copies) enhances the PDF editing and form-filling tool with the ability to mark up PDF menuscripts with symbols from a library of standard proofreading marks. The update also improves handling of scanned PDF documents, and features other minor improvements.
[Download - 7.6MB]
MediaCentral 2.6 ($30) brings digital TV to any compatible Mac with TubeStick. MediaCentral 2.6 enhances the integration of its TV software titled The Tube, features timeshifted TV, and simplifies the organization of TV channels in both applications. The application displays all available information for the current program with one click of the mouse. [Download - form]
DB Solo 2.2 ($80) is the latest upgrade to the cross-platform SQL query tool that provides usrs with various advanced features, including a visual explain plan and a database comparison tool. The latest release offers a table data compare tool enabling users to compare data between tables in two databases, and can produce DML synchronization scripts that reconcile the discovered differences. [Download - 16.5MB]
Sticky Windows 2.2.1 ($16) shrinks windows into tabs when dragged toward the edge of the screen, providing users with a clutt-erfree workspace. The update offers better support for Office documents, ensures tabbed windows automatically close after a drag-and-drop operation, and includes minor user interface fixes. [Download - 995KB]
RapidoStart 1.5 (free) aims to help users quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders. The software produces a discreet icon that sits in the corner of the screen which, when clicked, slides a palette onto the screen with favorite applications. The update supports adding eight, 16, or 32 icons per page and enables users to add a keyboard shortcut. [Download - 698KB]
Tidy Up! 1.2.7 ($30) is the latest iteration of the duplicate finder and disk tidiness utility. Tidy Up! 1.2.7 displays the label color like Apple's Finder, fixes a bug that could cause a crash at start up, and repairs an issue that caused a crash when searching in iPods. The update also ensures that iPhoto images are located when the size criteria is used, and includes several minor improvements. [Download - 8.1MB]
CA Internet Security Drive
Computer Associates today contributed a rare approach to security with its Internet Security Flash Drive. Conceived as a way of easily receiving a copy of the developer's software without waiting for a download or a CD, the drive embeds a USB key with 2GB of flash storage into its back that comes preloaded with CA's latest anti-malware utility and an optional Desktop DNA Migrator tool for backing up or transferring a user's most important info. Its credit card-sized profile, however, also makes it useful as a general data drive: owners can slip the Internet Security Drive into a wallet without fear of losing it, as often happens with many traditional jump drives.
Titan case review
In brief: We've posted a review of the Titan clear case for the 2G iPod Nano, REAL World 2008 conference dates have been announced, the new MacBook Pros are cheaper than the previous models in some European countries, and Smart Loops has released 3 new SL MultiTracks drum loop libraries.
Dell Abandoning TV
Dell may discontinue its self-branded TVs, sources near to the company have reportedly told Bloomberg. The financial publication cites four individual contacts who assert that Dell will shut down its LCD TV range sometime later this month in favor of selling other brands and refocusing on its core PC business. This decision stems directly from the company's poor showing in the US market, say the sources. Independent reports have Texas-based firm falling outside of even the top 30 TV producers selling in North America, making it difficult for the company to gain recognition in the face of both foreign companies such as Samsung and domestics such as Vizio.
iPhone Hands-on Surfaces
The iPhone should deliver on what enthusiasts respect, according to a first-hand account of the device in real-world conditions. A server at the upscale Balthazar restaurant in New York City was given a rare opportunity to test the phone by a guest, who has claimed to be only one of twenty people so far allowed to own a fully-functional version of the device outside of Apple. The employee claims to have had a brief but substantial test of the phone's media playback and web browsing features that reinforced the server's already positive expectations for the device.
Creative3D 1.5 released
HumanEyes Technologies has released Creative3D 1.5, incorporating a proof preview for Creative3D that lets users display proofs of lenticular and 3D designs as flash files. The software enables users to produce enhanced 3D creations via independent control of the entire creative process of 3D and lenticular designs. The application is available as a stand-alone product ($300) or as an upgrade package for users who already purchased Creative3D 1.0. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later and QuickTime 7.1 or later.
Intel has taken the wraps off the '3-Series' chipsets (codenamed 'Bearlake'), built to house Core 2 Duo and Quad processors. The new chipsets are also designed to accomodate that 45 nanometer (nm) "Penryn family" processors expected later this year. The company claims that more than 100 motherboard designs based around the chipsets are currently in development. Alongside the 3-Series announcement, Intel announced plans to ship a Core 2 Extreme mobile processor by the third quarter of this year.
Aquamacs 1.0 released
One Mac developer has released Aquamacs 1.0, a Mac-friendly varient of the time-tested Emacs text editor. The software aims to simplify the complex user interface commonly associated with Emacs, behaving the way Mac users expect while integrating well with other applications. Aquamacs offers standard Mac OS X keyboard commands alongside extended Emacs capability, and includes specialized support for most programming languages -- including C, C++, Python, Ruby, Perl, Java, AppleScript, Lisp, and more -- as well as text and markup formats like HTML or XML. Aquamacs 1.0 is based on GNU Emacs 22, is available for free as a Universal Binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
iPhone to test retail
Apple's planned launch of the highly-anticipated iPhone on June 29th will likely test the limits of the company's retail capability as the move places strain on the marketing, organization, sales, support, and training. ifoAppleStore cites sources who claim Apple is equipping its retail stores with cellular repeaters to ensure pristine reception for demonstrations, and that sales transactions may include customer interaction with the internet to help speed the long purchase and registration process expected by cellular shoppers. Apple itself expects potential iPhone buyers swarming to Apple stores in droves, but AT&T contacts say their stores may receive a limited number of iPhones -- some say as few as 40 units -- at launch.
Olympus Top DSLR Teaser
Olympus is about to release a new high-end DSLR, the company has revealed today through a teaser page. The mystery camera is clearly targeted as an updated for the now well-established E-1 by its placement in the teaser as higher-end than the E-410 and E-510 mid-range cameras. Reports indicate that the camera is likely to be known as the P-1 and has been demonstrated in mockup form at recent photography expos without any mention of its technical features.
I-O Data MF241X
I-O Data on Wednesday previewed a designer LCD it says is ready for HD video from computers as well as TVs. The 24-inch MF241X is capable of greater than 1080p resolution and includes all the inputs necessary for this regardless of source. Dual HDMI inputs allow more than one Blu-Ray player, console, or other device to display certain encrypted video at full HD quality; for more commonplace PC use, a DVI input with HDCP encryption provides the same guarantee for the computer itself. Unguarded HD is also viewable through VGA and (in Japanese form) a D5 connector. Three USB ports are onboard
Adobe Acrobat, Reader v8.1
Adobe today released an update to its professional PDF solution: Acrobat Pro 8.1 brings Flash MPP support on Mac OS X for improved support for Adobe Flash files with multimedia. In addition, the company said that the InDesign Plug-In update now supports communication with Adobe InDesign for Creative Suite 3 and that the update brings other stability improvements. Adobe said that multilingual update can be applied to English, French, German, and Japanese versions of Acrobat 8 Professional. Adobe also released Acrobat Reader 8.1, which now includes a "Send to FedEx Kinko's" option within the File Menu as well as a button on the main toolbar (represented by the FedEx Kinko's beacon icon)--as part of its newly announced collaboration to extend the reach of FedEx Kinko's Print Online application. In addition, the update to the free PDF Reader 8.1 software brings added support for Acrobat 8 3D, security improvements, and other bug fixes.
WD Passport 250GB
Western Digital this morning boosted the capacity of its external notebook-oriented hard drives. The Passport 250GB drive sees a sharp climb in storage that the storage firm says is an ideal fit for storing photos from 10-megapixel cameras and other increasingly large digital media. The expansion comes at no cost in size or power, as the drive weighs less than five ounces and is completely powered by the USB port on a Mac OS X or Windows PC.
BitFonter 3 font editor
Fontlab has released BitFonter 3, a major new version of the company's professional bitmap font editor. BitFonter is a tool designed to create and customize bitmap fonts or to turn artwork into full-fledged fonts. Seamlessly integrating with Fontlab's outline font editors (FontLab Studio 5 and TypeTool 3), BitFonter can be used to convert bitmaps into outline fonts or vice versa. BitFonter supports Fontlab's XML-based Photofont technology, which brings full-color bitmap fonts to both print and Web pages. Version 3 boasts a completely redesigned user interface -- with an all-new brushes panel, new tools options panel and new selection modes. It also now offers improved support for glyph outlines and faster and more precise image manipulation filters for blurring, softening, sharpening, embossing, adding noise etc. Bitfonter 3 retails for $500; upgrades for existing users are $100.
Smart Duck Storybooks
Smart Duck Publishing today announced the opening of its Smart Duck Storybooks website and the release of the free Smart Duck Reader software for Mac OS X along with a trio of quality narrated storybooks. The Smart Duck Reader allows young children to easily explore the world of reading on their own: Any child who can point and click will build reading comprehension with the synchronized narration and clickable words accompanied by images. A kid-friendly book index allows children to gain confidence by navigating through their library of storybooks without assistance. Storybooks purchased on the Smart Duck website are instantly available to the Smart Duck Reader application with a single click. Titles available on launch include "Spots and Dots" by Gregory Berger. "Tiger at the Table" by Scott Parish and "Patches the Cow~Cat" by Joan Roven. The Smart Duck Reader for Mac OS X with free mini-book is available for download now, while other Smart Duck Storybooks sell for $12 each.
Apple TV Thin Margins
The Apple TV may be selling near break even or potentially at a loss, according to a new study by iSuppli. A breakdown of the stanard 40GB media hub's component costs suggests that a finished device costs $237 to produce; this leaves just $62, or less than 21 percent, of the selling price to be recouped by Apple. However, the figure is said to omit the necessary marketing costs for the device, suggesting that the actual revenue per device is either slim or may actually incur a slight loss.
NetXposure v5 debuts
NetXposure today announced NetXposure v5, a new digital asset management (DAM) solution built using Adobe's "Apollo" application engine that allows developers to extend rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop. The solution also uses Adobe Flex software, a developer framework for building cross-operating system RIAs for the Web. NetXposure 5, the company said, delivers an enterprise-class solution with features and functionality of traditional desktop applications: it links the desktop with digital media content that resides in NetXposure's Web-based repository. NetXposure also announced a free Adobe Creative Suite 3 Connector plug-in that delivers full integration with Adobe Creative Suite 3, enabling users to access the NetXposure DAM repository from within CS3 point applications via Adobe Bridge and Version Cue. The plugin allows users to browse, search, open files, import, check in / check out, delete, create / save versions and view metadata from within Adobe CS3 applications.
Cumulus to work with CS3
Canto on Tuesday announced plans integrate Cumulus with Adobe's Creative Suite 3 product line using the Adobe Version Cue CS3 software developer kit (SDK). The company said that Adobe Creative Suite 3 users will benefit from direct access to their Cumulus catalogs and asset collections directly from within Adobe CS3 applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver (without launching any additional software). The Cumulus software would continue to administer asset permissions--even for those connecting via Adobe Bridge CS3. Cumlus allows administrators to offer user- or group-based permission or on a per-catalog or per-asset basis, depending on the Cumulus edition used. The first complete version of the integration is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, the company said and is expected for Cumulus 7.5, which was released this week with enhanced support for Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Adobe InDesign CS3.
iTunes playlists go mobile
Melodeo this week promised to take iTunes playlists mobile, by allowing users to listen to their iTunes music on their cell phones. The company already enables users to listen to Web-based audio clips while on-the-go and expects to launch its new service, which is currently in testing, within the next 2-3 months. Reuters reports that the service would allow users to listen to streamed music in their personal iTunes collections on desktops and via their mobile phone: since users already own the music and it is only streaming music, the company would only need to recoup minimal royalties--the same fees paid by Web-based radio services, or a tenth of a cent per song play. Melodeo hasn't decided on a revenue model, but may charge a monthly fee to subscribers, charge software download fees, or run audio advertisements.
AUO 65 Inch 120Hz Panel
AU Optronics this morning revealed at Computex that it has developed one of the world's largest and highest-quality LCD screens. Measuring 65 inches across, the unnamed display is only the second anywhere to be production-worthy while also boasting image quality well above standard sets. The full 1080p-capable screen is also capable of a 120Hz refresh rate that makes it ideal for fast-moving scenes. Response times are also exceptionally quick at 4ms between gray pixels and a maximum 8ms for extreme cases, such as motion during particularly dark scenes.
Samsung this morning released one of its more advanced feature phones to date. The W2400 exploits its unique middle slider design to offer maximum control over the phone while allowing for just as much control over the display. The directional pad sits below the number pad and remains accessible while the phone is completely closed, as with most sliders; its fixed position, however, lets the main display extend and swivel 90 degrees without forcing the user to adjust to a new layout. Watching digital TV through built-in DMB broadcast support is easier than with many phones, Samsung says.
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