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Ubermind Inc. has released a plug-in that allows photographs in Aperture be uploaded directly to Google's Picasa Web Albums. The tool offers a graphical album selector, new album creation and secure storage of Google account information. Image metadata and keywords are also sent along with each upload. It also includes an album selector with cover images and Keychain support. A free beta version of this plug-in is available for download [1.3MB]. System requirements include Aperture 1.5 and Mac OS 10.4 or later.
The new Inspirons and XPS M1330 notebooks are real, Dell's Digital Media Manager Lionel Menchaca has confirmed in the official company blog. The executive broke with the company's typical policy of secrecy for unannounced hardware by validating the existence of the systems. No exact specifications were mentioned in the brief statement, but Menchaca acknowledged that an official announcement would occur in late June, coinciding with rumors of a June 26th launch.
Blockbuster today tipped the next-generation movie format battle in favor of Blu-Ray today by announcing that the format would be the only choice beyond regular DVD in its retail shops, dropping rival HD DVD from all but its online rental service. Choosing the format will also see the inclusion of the discs expand from a 250-store trial to as many as 1700 US-based shops. The move is said to be a direct response to rental figures: Blu-Ray is said to be "significantly outpacing" HD DVD in rentals and makes considerably more financial sense, Blockbuster says.
Novint today at last began shipping the Falcon, its anticipated 3D controller for PC gamers. Allowing for full 3D movement, the desktop device adds a unique tactile element that often has to go overlooked in gamepads, the company claims: textures, weight, and even the individual shapes of objects can be felt in a game to provide immediate feedback. The shipping version will also for some time include several games including sport titles such as basketball and table tennis that include code specially designed to take advantage of the Falcon's touch response.
Palm's hotly rumored "Gandolf" will be a larger release than expected, a new leak reveals through updated specs. The metal-accented smartphone should officially take its place in the Palm lineup as the Treo 500 series and will come in more than just the white, Windows Mobile 6 version shown in the past: a modified version of the Palm-created Garnet OS stripped of touchscreen support will provide an alternative for those who want different software. The budget emphasis also won't stop the handset from featuring the same 64MB of RAM as the more expensive Treo 700wx or 3G wireless Internet through HSDPA for those on GSM providers.
To support its new suite of mid-range phones, Nokia today also released three Bluetooth earpieces, including its first full-size stereo set for music fans. The BH-604 (shown) is said to give extended listening time thanks to large, padded ear cups and includes a set of stealth media keys for pausing and skipping through music as well as picking up calls for phones paired to the headset. Finland's handset producer expects to ship the headphones internationally during the summer in a rough price range of 120-140 Euros ($161-188).
FMWebschool has announced two new add-ons for FileMaker Pro: the IWP Export plug-in that enables you to export data from your Instant Web Publishing site and save it as a CSV file; and the USB Sentry plug-in, which enables you to use a USB stick as a key to unlock your FileMaker solution. The IWP Export plug-in allows allows the export of a found set from within FileMaker or FileMaker Server running IWP. As such, a user can search for an entry using your online FileMaker database, then click a Save button and download the document to their computer. It is priced at $160 for a developer license. The USB Sentry allows developers to restrict who can run FileMaker program by requiring the presence of a physical USB device. Once the stick is removed, the user is be prompted to either replace the USB stick or exit the FileMaker program. It is priced at $200. Both of these add-ons are compatible with FIleMaker Pro 7 and 8.
Cellphone maker i-mate has veered away from its traditionally large smartphones with the introduction of the new JAMA, its most compact handset to date. The bar phone design is relatively thin at 0.6 inches and avoids a more unwieldy keypad by using a 2.4-inch touchscreen that handles both dialing as well as basic editing and messaging in the included Office Mobile suite. i-mate also takes care to support media capture and playback through a 2-megapixel camera and microSD storage for MP3/WAV/WMA songs as well as 3GPP, MPEG-4, and Windows Media videos.
LeftLane News reports that Apple is developing an in-car navigation system for Mercedes-Benz that will debut in 2009 car models. The interface will likely bear strong resemblance to the iPhone, offering a touchscreen interface and borrowing the device's slick Google Maps integration. The move is speculatively an attempt to best BMW's widely criticized iDrive computerized vehicle control and navigation system. According to reports, the first 2009 models sporting the new navigation technology are likely to show up in mid to late 2008 — roughly 12 to 16 months from now.
Hitachi on Monday released a duo of LCD TVs for the sometimes overlooked small-screen crowd. The 20- and 23-inch H5 series include Hitachi's more recent display technology and are meant to serve HDTV at a native 720p resolution in nooks where larger sets are impractical. Each packs an HD tuner with a built-in program guide for previewing schedules on upcoming over-the-air broadcasts. Viewers can also plug in terrestrial cable HD and receive similarly sharp content from HDMI or (in Japanese form) D4 inputs. Analog video is provided through co-ax, RCA, and S-video jacks. A total of five watts of speaker power supplies sound.
Apple plans to refresh its venerable iMac line in mid-to-late summer according to a report from AppleInsider, just in time for the back-to-school shopping season. The new iMacs will be "radically redesigned," sporting the same 20 and 24 inch screens in a slimmer form. The 17-inch iMac will likely be discontinued when the new models are rolled out, as it does not appear to be part of the refresh plans. The last update to the iMac came in September 2006, when the company introduced Core 2 Duo processors to the line and added a 24-inch model. The current iMac line-up remains widely available through retailers, though supply checks show that shipments to dealers are slowing in terms of volume.
Research in Motion's upcoming BlackBerry Pearl overhaul will be even more remarkable than expected, according to an insider with access to the design. Internally nicknamed the "Komet," the new Pearl 2 will remain slim but will back its Wi-Fi include a 3.2-megapixel camera with an improved flash; like the larger Curve, it should also include a full-sized 3.5mm headphone jack. RIM further intends major, music-oriented software changes with support for protected Windows Media music stores and a much enhanced voice recorder.
Micro Heaven has launched a new line of Speck SeeThru Hard cases for MacBook and MacBook Pro. Available in seven different colors, the new cases are made of translucent hard plastic and allow access to all buttons, ports, drives, and plug sockets. They are composed of a two piece snap-on design lets you open and close your MacBook without removing the shell. The bottom half of the shell must be removed to access the battery door, however. The cases also include ventilation slots, and Micro Heaven says the design allows for "thermal exchange out of the heat sinks and fans of the computer." Available in Black, Clear, Red, Pink, Orange, Green, Blue for the 13-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro 15/17-inch, the new cases are priced at £30 (about $60).
Dell this morning surprised the industry by launching one of its most advanced displays first in Japan. The 24-inch 2407WFP-HC uses the combination of an improved cold-cathode fluorescent backlight and an S-PVA panel to deliver 92 percent of the NTSC color gamut, creating a far better fit for artists and video editors who need color accuracy in a smaller size than the 3007WFP-HC released late last year, according to Dell. The Texas-based PC maker also claims a 1,000:1 static contrast ratio and 400cd/m2 brightness for the screen.
Canadians hoping to get the iPhone are likely to see a significant wait, according to cellular provider Rogers. Company CFO Bill Linton has recently confirmed at a conference that his employer was in talks with Apple to bring the device to Canada but that the iPhone creator wanted to focus first on establishing American success before shifting elsewhere, reserving its full contract negotiations for the aftermath of the June 29th release.
Apple has only until Wednesday of this week to respond to anti-trust charges alleging that the company restricted online sales of music in Europe. The European Commission originally set a deadline of early June for the response, but granted a two-week extension at the request of Apple and three of the four record companies also implicated; the fourth record company has already submitted a written response to the charges. The allegations revolve around the fact that downloads from Apple's iTunes Store vary in different countries in the European Union, yet consumers are prevented from purchasing tracks from countries other than their own. InfoWorld reports "The Commission said that in the single European market the distribution agreements between the record companies and Apple could amount to restrictive practices."
The Wall Street Journal has published excerpts from Walt Mossberg's discussion with Steve Jobs at the D5 "All Things Digital" conference late last month. In the interview, Jobs says that Apple is in two businesses (the Mac and the iPod, with the iPhone emerging as a business) and a hobby (the Apple TV). He also says that the iPhone's software is so advanced it will be virtually inimitable for 5 years, and talks about the ubiquity of iTunes on Windows systems.
Epson this morning introduced the PowerLite S5, a new entry-level projector that the company says makes front-projection a real option for gamers and movie viewers as well as less exciting business meetings. A special game mode automatically ramps up brightness and contrast to keep the game world visible in less than ideal conditions: any user can manually tune the S5 up to a 2,000-lumen brightness and 400:1 contrast, according to Epson. Though using an 800x600 resolution to trim the price, the projector includes component and VGA inputs and will scale both 720p and 1080i HD video to its native format.
Silicon Valley's Wingspan today announced that users can now directly copy a DVD to an iPhone or iPod -- without using a computer. The company's iLoad device can transfer either an entire DVD or CD or the tracks of the user's choice as well as the album and track information directly to the iPod without using a computer, iTunes or Internet connection. Users simply plug the iPod into iLoad, insert a DVD or CD, and press the GO button. The company claims that copy speeds for CDs are typically eight minutes per CD--about five times faster than the actual CD playing time (and roughly the same as the average PC transfer). DVD transfers, Wingspan claims, are actually faster than using a computer or about 2.5 times the actual playing time. iLoad can delete music or video from an iPod as well back it up to an external USB or Flash drive and even copy content form iPod to iPod. The iLoad device is compatible with all USB iPods made since 2002, including the Shuffle, Nano, Video iPod and forthcoming iPhone. The DVD-to-iPod feature is a free upgrade to registered iLoad customers. iLoad is available for $300.
Volitans has released SMART Utility, an application to scan the internal hardware diagnostics system of hard drives. SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a system built into hard drives by manufacturers to report on various attributes of a hard drive's operation. SMART Utility is different from other drive utilities, such as Disk Utility, which only read the overall SMART Status. SMART Utility not only displays the individual attributes to see their status and information, but it also uses an internal algorithm based on those attributes to detect drives failing before SMART indicates it has failed. This allows time to backup, and then replace the drive. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4 or later, with a Intel- or PPC-processor. It is available for $20.
Samsung today revamped its MP3 player line with the U3, a sequel to its well-known U2 flash music player. The U3 is one of the largest-capacity players that can still plug directly into a USB port, synchronizing up to 4GB of MP3, OGG, or WMA tracks just by dragging and dropping files through the OS rather than custom software. Its diminutive size still manages 15 hours of battery life in part through a four-line OLED screen. FM radio tuning with RDS support for channel ID is supported as well as the by now obligatory voice recording for classes and meetings.
Microsoft this morning reincarnated its Internet TV efforts with Mediaroom, a new platform that hopes to involve users more in controlling the experience. The software now adds media sharing abilities that turn any supporting set-top box into an extender: nearby PCs can offer music and photos to the hub when live content isn't enough, Microsoft says. It also brings better web-based services for games and video, and takes advantage of its extra headroom to bring multiple videos onscreen; subscribers to a Mediaroom-based service can either preview other stations in a smaller window or watch different camera angles for the same sports event.
The FusionCharts team has released FusionCharts Free for FileMaker. FusionCharts is a cross-platform Flash charting component that can now be integrated with FileMaker. This product enables FileMaker users develop data-driven and animated flash charts for their FileMaker solutions. The company says users can create various types of charts like Line chart, Column chart, Pie charts and more advanced charts using this free product. The product is based on FusionCharts Free platform and does not require any external plug-ins to be installed. Flash Player 6 required to view the charts. The FusionCharts team has published detailed documentation and has also released an open-source blueprint application (FusionAuto) to showcase the product. FusionCharts Free for FileMaker is free and can be freely distributed.
Bringing its satellite radio technology to new territory, XM on Monday launched a pair of receivers for cars and homes with their own distinctive features. The Audiovox-produced XpressR is the first satellite radio from any provider to bring split-screen controls: listeners can keep track of the current station while also viewing the listings for other stations in the menu, letting them either choose the station they really want or else backtrack to their current station if a favorite song begins to play. A half-hour memory buffer also helps replay missed segments, while 30 presets keep favorite channels ready for future occasions.
The PandaWare Company has released TimeCache 7.0, an update to its time and expense billing application. Version 7.0 is a Universal Binary application for native execution on Intel-based Macs (as well as legacy PowerPC Macs). It also now leverages a faster database engine for overall speed improvement on both platforms. Version 7 also brings more report types, a streamlined interface, more options for posting daily entries, strong file encryption, better handling of payments/invoices, export to iCal functionality, improved archiving, and more. TimeCache 7 is priced at $50 and is available as a free upgrade for current customers.
Web Crossing has announced WebCrossing Neighbors 2.0, an update to its private-label social network system. Version 2.0 adds video support, allowing administrators to create a video repository for their members on site, or to integrate with an external video repository service. In addition, a new, comprehensive feature set for Neighbors Networks allows members to quickly discover and network with others with shared interests and a new business card member option allows visiting members to participate in online conversations with an abbreviated profile instead of a personal space with content. WebCrossing Neighbors 2.0 also introduces a new subscriptions manager feature that allows members to change their own subscriptions. WebCrossing Neighbors is scalable, extensible and completely customizable ;it is available immediately as a server-hosted package with pricing based on traffic and member storage capacity (starting at $200/month).
GoGoalSoft on Monday released goSecure 1.0, an easy-to-use file encryption and decryption application for Mac OS X that helps keep sensitive information and files secured. goSecure uses secure 128-bit AES encryption to secure files and easily keep files safe from prying eyes. The software offers a simple drag and drop workflow, the ability to create archives, easy backups, automatic updates, and native execution on PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. goSecure 1.0 is available immediately for a special introductory price of $20 until the end of July. Beginning in August, goSecure will cost $25 for a single license. A 30-day fully functional trial is available for download.
Ahead of the much publicized launch, Apple today revealed a surprise upgrade to the performance of the iPhone reaching stores. The device now claims a practical talk time of a full eight hours -- a major increase from the five-hour figure claimed for the device in January. Music playback has also been increased to an all-day 24 hours while Internet browsing and video playback have been extended to six and seven hours respectively. Standby time has been lengthened to 250 hours (over ten days), the company says. The firm points out that the final specifications make it one of the most capable devices in its field.
Sprint this morning marked the launch of the Mogul, its custom-labeled version of HTC's PPC6800. The new design improves dramatically on the already-offered PPC6700 and its slide-out QWERTY formula in hardware and software. The Mogul is Sprint's first device to support its faster EVDO Revision A network for real-world speeds up to 800Kbps downstream, but is also performs better by itself: built-in memory has been doubled to 256MB while battery life has been extended by 20 percent, Sprint says. The camera has been sharpened to 2-megapixels while the slider's top-mounted control pad now includes a thumbwheel for faster scrolling. As with the earlier model, Wi-Fi covers local Internet hotspots while Bluetooth addresses wireless peripherals.
California's Sling Media today took the wraps off the SlingLink TURBO, a solution for the company's own Slingboxes and other living room network devices. The adapter set can bring the Slingbox, consoles, and PVRs on to a powerline network when Ethernet cables are impractical or Wi-Fi is too complex; plugging the pair of included devices at each end puts any Ethernet-based device on an 85Mbps connection to a normal wired modem or router. The SlingLink also fits the HomePlug standard and can mix and match with other powerline network gear, the company adds.
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Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF