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Postal now $10
The controversial game Postal from Running with Scissors is now available as a Universal Binary, download priced at $10. The game storyline: After coming home from work to find his house repossessed, the player-character, known as Postal Dude, decides that everyone is out to get him and goes... well... postal. He figures that everyone in town has been infected with something that makes them all psychopathic killers. The goal in each of the 16 levels is to off a given percentage of the "hostiles" (that is, cops, soldiers with missile launchers, rednecks with hunting rifles, etc.) without getting killed yourself. The developer sats "Pretty simple, really. There are no magic power-ups, no special abilities - just you, your arsenal, and the occasional Kevlar vest or first-aid kit." Postal requires Mac OS X 10.2.8.
iPhone camera removal
A number of institutions -- particularly government organizations, the military, and companies that do business with the government, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics -- are disallowing iPhones on their corporate campuses because of the built-in camera. We've now received reports that iResQ, which offers hardware modification for Macs, iPods and now the iPhone, will remove the iPhone's camera for $100, which includes the service fee and overnight both directions). The company is also offering same-day battery replacement, repair, and LCD replacement service for the iPhone.
Update fixes audio pops
Apple today released an update to its previous security patch which the company issued last week, fixing an issue that surfaced as a result of the prior fix. Following Apple's last update, numerous owners of Intel-based Macs reported a strange popping sound alongside any audio content when piping sound through external speakers. Apple notes that Version 1.1 of the Mac OS X 10.4.10 update is not affected by the audio issue and does not require the Audio Update 2007-001 update. A separate software update to address the audio issue is available for Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.10, and PowerPC-based systems are not affected.
RapidWeaver iPhone theme
In brief: 37Signals delivers its TaDa to-do list app in an iPhone-designed interface, a medical data Web app is now iPhone compatible, PC Magazine offers an extensive review of the device, there are some launch pics from Charlottesville, NC, RapidWeaver has a new iPhone theme, there were nearly 300,000 searches for "iPhone" since the beginning of the year, and some of MoboVivo's TV shows are now in iPhone-format .... Venerable Web app provider 37Signals has announced iPhone compatibility for its to-do list program, TaDa. Visiting tadalist.com with an iPhone will show an iPhone specific UI and experience. Visiting it with a desktop browser will show the usual Ta-da List UI and experience. The data is the same so you can create on the web or on your iPhone.
Fabrik 250GB Pininfarina
Fabrik today added to its drive options today with a 250GB version of its SimpleDrive mobile drive. Sharing the same Pininfarina-designed shell as the original, the USB 2.0 external disk is useful for carrying as much as 19 hours of HD video or 63,000 songs, by the company's estimates. It ships with StorageSync for quicker incremental backups and access to a 2GB MyFabrik online account for extra backups and sharing files with others.
iPhone: iZoho; monitoring
In brief: Zoho documents come to the iPhone, a widget opens up network monitoring, and two more companies introduce cases. Zoho, the maker of its self-named online office suite, has introduced a new version better suited to the iPhone. iZoho allows full access to Writer, Sheet and Show documents (all free), but greatly changes the appearance, making it more consistent with other iPhone applications as well as more practical in terms of the touchscreen. Programs so far missing from iZoho include Meeting, Planner and Wiki. No mention has been made of future conversions.
Moto RAZR2 V9 at FCC
Motorola's RAZR2 V9 will be available soon through AT&T, a newly public FCC filing shows. The publication includes a copy of the phone's manual and explicitly reveals that the American carrier will both include the new RAZR in its lineup and market it as an entertainment device, packaging the phone with support for downloading streaming Internet music and video over the provider's HSDPA-based 3G wireless network. Owners will also have access to buying content through AT&T's store.
Fujitsu External Drive
Normally a producer of internal disks, Fujitsu today rolled out its External Hard Drive for home or business users alike who want absolute certainty about their files. Bundled with Cryptainer, the 300GB mobile-sized drive can guard volumes with up to 448-bit Blowfish encryption, making it one of the most secure external disks yet. It also includes a still significant 256-bit AES algorithm for circumstances when encryption speed is at least as important. The USB 2.0-based storage also has 16-point shock resistance and an EZ Gig II suite that can make both straight clones of drives as well as compressed images.
AOL enhances Mac services
America Online has recently launched a variety of updates specifically Mac users. As previously reported, AOL Radio for Mac, which includes over 200 free radio stations, including XM channels, now includes an Apple iChat song title indicator and an integrated screensaver generated from album art. AOL Pictures for Mac now allows unlimited photo sharing and has added an Apple iPhoto plug-in for posting photos to AOL Pictures. Finally, the AOL Service Assistant now offers auto-set-up of Apple's Safari, iChat, and Mail for use with AOL screen names, favorites, address book and mail.
A teardown of Apple's iPhone by Austin-based Portelligent reveals a likely manufacturing cost of $200 for the 4GB model and $220 for the more expensive 8GB version, signaling extremely high margins for the Cupertino-based company which has already sold more than half a million units, according to one analyst. The iPhone includes a main microprocessor with an ARM core design and NAND flash storage from Samsung, NXP with another chip sporting an ARM core design, and power management chips from Philips, Texas Instruments, and Linear Technology, according to BusinessWeek.
GPS For Dummies Handheld
Taking the approach of its help guides to actual hardware, Wiley has just unveiled its GPS Navigation for Dummies mapping unit. Technically built by the US branch of Maylong, the device (also known as the FD-35) has an interface custom-designed by the central For Dummies team to be as simple as possible, including its own help guide. The 3.5-inch touchscreen is similar to many GPS units but avoids frustration again by including a 2GB SD card loaded with both complete maps of Canada and the US as well as 2 million points of interest.
Fujitsu laptop preview
At a press event in Singapore, Fujitsu has previewed two upcoming laptops, both in its eponymous LifeBook series. The T2010 (pictured) measures in at 12.1 inches, and is said to have one of the brightest displays of any convertible tablet. It is based on Intel's new Santa Rosa platform, and should have features like Bluetooth and a fingerprint sensor, but no webcam. Shipment is expected in August.
Neonode N2 Ships
Neonode on Monday began delivering the N2, its long-awaited touchscreen phone. The device controversially positioned as an iPhone rival by the company is now set to be distributed throughout the southeastern portion of Europe by MyPhone and will be usable with carriers such as Vodafone and Wind. Though pushed back from the initial spring release, the device should feature the same, customized Neno touchscreen interface on a 2-inch display as well as a 2-megapixel camera, MP3/WAV/WMA playback, and a program that can record Internet radio on a PC for sideloading to the N2's miniSD storage.
Monsoon HAVA Ships
Monsoon today revealed that its HAVA Gold and Platinum HD media hubs are now reaching retail shops. Serving as direct rivals to the Slingbox, the devices stream video from connected TVs to computers and Windows Mobile handhelds; a unique multicast system can stream DVD-level video in MPEG-2 form to multiple PCs at once on a local network without degrading image quality. Video online is streamed through MPEG-4 to provide the best quality possible on limited speed, Monsoon says. They both accept multiple inputs and include a pass-through cable to free the often limited ports on current TVs.
iPhone battery replacement
Apple has posted details on its iPhone Battery Replacement Program, enabling iPhone owners with dead batteries to exchange the dead cells for a $79 service fee plus $6.95 shipping & handling. The service is designed for iPhone owners who only require service because the battery's ability to hold an electrical charge has diminished, according to Apple. The Cupertino-based company will replace the battery if the iPhone shows no sign of damage due to accident or abuse, but battery replacement clears all data from the cellular handset. Apple does not offer data transfer services, instead warning customers to sync their iPhone with iTunes just prior to sending the device to the company for a new battery. The repair process normally takes three business days, and Apple asks users not to send any accessories with the iPhone.
Toshiba HD-A2 Lower Price
Toshiba today officially lowered the price of its HD-A2 entry level HD DVD player. The drop comes after the success of the company's recent price promo and makes permanent a price of $300, establishing the player as the least expensive that can play a native HD format. The Toshiba device reaches the cost by offering playback at 1080i and using regular HDMI rather than the deep-color HDMI 1.3 of the premium HD-XA2.
Palm Linux Treos in 2008
Palm won't offer an updated version of the PalmOS for its phones until 2008, the company's chief Ed Colligan said in the company's latest financial conference call. Though declining to provide details, the executive notes that the switch from the company's self-developed mobile OS to a version based on Linux won't occur until 2008. The move will mean that Treos will ship with either the in-house software or Windows Mobile for the "foreseeable future," Colligan says. The delay is not characterized as an immediate setback as roughly half of Palm's phones ship with Windows Mobile while the PalmOS versions are typically bought by less demanding mainstream users.
Universal: no new contract
Universal Music has declined to ink a 2-year contract with Apple to keep its vast catalog of tracks on the Cupertino-based company's iTunes Music Store, but has agreed instead to offer its tracks on a month-to-month basis. The music company is now free to offer its music -- which includes artists such as 50 Cent and Mariah Carey -- exclusively to other vendors, which could weaken Apple's dominant position in the digital music industry. Universal's 12-month agreement with Apple expired last month, according to Reuters, and some music execs have expressed discontent with Apple's market leading stranglehold that they say may have stunted growth of the digital music market by locking users into its own iPod+iTunes ecosystem.
Sharp AQUOS DVRs
To go along with its new LCD TV sets, Sharp has also announced five new AQUOS DVR units. At the head of the pack are the ACW72, ACW75 and ACW80 (pictured), which are distinguished mainly by having two digital tuners for HD, as well as an analog tuner for SD. Media can also be recorded off of DVD discs, and even Blu-Ray, though this may require an i.LINK connection to Sharp's BD-HP1 drive.
Chocolate Castle released
Lexaloffle Games has released Chocolate Castle, an original puzzle game that challenges players to arrange pieces of chocolate into large connected blocks. The game offers a collection of 120 hand-designed puzzles made out of Turkish delight, snakes, ice cubes, magic walls, sliding blocks, and several types of chocolate. The object is to clear each room of chocolate pieces by arranging them into large connected blocks and devouring them. The game includes an editor that supports creating custom puzzles, and a 12 puzzle demo is available for free. The full version is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
CatDV reaches v6.0
Square Box Systems has released the next major version of CatDV, now at v6.0. The program is used to catalog and manage media files, particularly video formats, since it is integrated with the likes of Avid and Final Cut Pro. As video is imported, scenes are detected automatically, and tagged with their appropriate metadata and timecodes. Users can also perform functions such as webpage generation, batch movie conversion, and diagnosis of files that won't play properly. Version 6.0 adds a filmstrip view, as well as a tree navigator, which groups segments according to assigned fields.
Verizon Premium Plans
Verizon on Monday morning acted on its claims of better service by offering America's Choice Premium plans. Noticeably similar to the AT&T iPhone plans, the new options also bring 'unlimited' data, including e-mail, and vary by minutes rather than features. Unique, however, is unlimited text and picture messaging as well as VZ Navigator for assisted GPS and basic downloadable video clips from V CAST.
PowerJolt for iPhone
Griffin Technology today unveiled its PowerJolt Car Charger for Apple's iPhone, marking the accessory maker's first device for Apple's first cellular phone. Recently updated specifically for iPhone, the PowerJolt plugs into a vehicle's cigarette lighter or accessory power socket and connects to the iPhone to charge the device even while in use. The charge indicator glows green when it's powered up and ready for use, alternatively glowing amber while its charging. Griffin's PowerJolt also features built-in power management with an in-line 2 Amp automotive fuse to guard against power surges. The device works with iPod models that feature a full-size dock connector as well as first-generation iPod shuffles. PowerJolt is available for $20 from Apple and AT&T stores.
Sharp AQUOS G Sets
Sharp today readied its TVs for the fall with a full 16 models in its new AQUOS G-series line. Every set 37 inches or larger now makes a 120Hz LCD panel standard, guaranteeing fast performance in games and movies even at the maximum 1080p resolutions. Cabinet designs have also been reworked, Sharp says, and the thinnest models are only 3.3 inches deep while even the largest, 52-inch model is no thicker than 4.3 inches. Static contrast ratios are also better at 2,000:1. Three HDMI inputs are present on the sets and are backed up by an Ethernet connection for Internet data and a DVI input for home theater PCs.
iPhone auction vs. hunger
An iPhone is now on auction to alleviate hunger in Louisiana. The website Hungrr.com, which specializes in awareness of hunger issues, is selling an unopened, 8GB phone at the starting bid of $1,000, with all proceeds going to the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana. Many of those serviced by the Bank were impoverished by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. While the auction may ultimately go the highest bid by July 11th, particularly generous bidders can pay $100,000 to have their iPhone as soon as possible.
Analyst ups AAPL estimates
Apple will become a top selling smart phone vendor over the next 2-3 years if American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu is correct in his predictions about the Cupertino-based company. After initial testing Wu describes the iPhone as a "landscape changing device" that is the "first true convergence device." The analyst says the iPhone's user interface, Safari Web browser, and widescreen video iPod capabilities make it the best internet experience on a smart phone "by far." Wu also expects less cannibalization of iPod sales due to the iPhone's limited storage capacities and shorter mixed usage battery life. Wu raised his price target to $165 from $145, but believes Apple shares could pull back on high expectations and near-term concerns.
iPhone fastest selling?
Apple's iPhone will likely become the company's fastest selling product in history, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu, and could rank among the fastest among consumer electronics altogether. "Our sources indicate that iPhone will likely become the fastest selling product in Apple's history and not to mention likely among the fastest (if not the fastest) in consumer electronics," Wu said. "We estimate sales of about 250,000 units in two days (up from our previous view of 50,000)." Apple's iPod nano currently holds the fastest selling product in the company's history, selling about one million units in about 17 days for an average of about 59,000 units per day.
Belkin iPhone Accessories
Belkin today used the wake of the iPhone's launch to fully introduce the accessories that should soon be available for Apple's communicator. The Sport Armband (pictured) expands on the concept of a music-only armband with a pocket for storing keys or earbuds; it includes full screen protection while still giving access to controls, including the side volume buttons. The breathable fabric can be machine-washed and ships for $30; a more conventional case, the Slim-Fit, is made of leather and includes a mesh base that unpacks the iPhone easily and also clears room for the microphone and speaker.
Adobe CS3 Premium/Master
Adobe has begun shipping two new versions of Creative Suite 3, its collection of artistic and publishing tools. Production Premium is designed for video post-production, an incorporates software such as After Effects, Encore, Premiere Pro and Soundbooth, as well as more tangential software including Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop Extended. Together these programs handle virtually every aspect of post-production, and can transform film and SD/HD input to output for DVD, the web and portable devices. Production Premium is $1,700 new or a minimum of $800 as an upgrade.
Canon Photo Printers June
Canon on Monday released three new photo printers that it hopes will suit summer vacationers and the back-to-school audience. The PIXMA MP470 and MP210 all-in-ones are the first printers from the company to offer AutoImage Fix, a new feature that can determine the nature of a shot and perform basic corrections; both also offer a near-instantaneous start time that both relieves the stress of waiting and encourages users to power down to save energy. Either prints at 17 pages per minute in color at 4800x1200 and PictBridge support; the MP210 at $80 includes just basic features while the MP470 ($100) adds a card reader with preview LCD, better 4800x2400 scanning, and the option of a $50 Bluetooth adapter.
iPhone contacts app
Mobile open-source software firm Funambol today will begin inviting consumers to join the new myFUNAMBOL portal to access free mobile email, contacts, and calendars on cellular phones -- including Apple's new iPhone. MyFUNAMBOL is available by invitation only, allowing users to get free mobile email on cellular phones from services such as Yahoo!, Gmail, and AOL as well as most standard email services that utilize POP or IMAP protocols. MyFUNAMBOL is available for free on an invitation basis (system requirements were unavailable).
Toshiba Santa Rosa Ships
Toshiba today announced final details and new models for its Santa Rosa-based notebooks as they began shipping devices to stores. Headlining the system builder's updates are three new versions of the Qosmio F45 that cater to budget users. The AV410, AV411, and AV413 all opt for a regular DVD rewriter instead of an HD DVD drive and rely on less costly X3100 integrated video; they still keep the 802.11n wireless and Intel Turbo Memory flash cache as well as the Dolby surround sound. All use a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB of memory; the AV410 ($1,299) uses Vista Home Premium and a 200GB, 5400RPM hard drive, while the AV411 ($1,350) upgrades to Vista Ultimate; a mid-price AV413 ($1,310) uses two 120GB drives to offer RAID-class performance at the expense of weight. The three Qosmio updates should be available online today and will show up in retail outlets soon with slight changes.
MarkzTools goes Universal
Markzware has released an updated version of MarkzTools, its XTension for QuarkXPress 7.x. The software is now a Universal Binary which should improve performance on Intel Macs. MarkzTools is used to prevent the corruption of Quark documents, first by checking integrity after saving, and then by recovering files if errors are detected. Even if the corruption is too severe for a complete recovery, the program will attempt to "scavenge" for legible text. MarkzTools is also able to preview images in a smaller-size gray mode, or force backwards compatibility in documents from later versions of QuarkXPress. The software costs $200 to download or buy on CD-ROM.
Half Million iPhones Sold
Apple's sales of the iPhone have more than exceeded estimates, according to senior analyst Gene Munster of PiperJaffray. The research group's rough sales figure of about 500,000 units is more than double the 200,000 predicted for June and reflects the company meeting a "strong demand" with enough supply. Apple's efficiency in moving units was particularly impressive on the iPhone's opening night, the report notes: at higher-profile stores in New York and elsewhere, about 50 cashiers could process as many as 1,000 iPhones per hour. That there was still some stock left over at some Apple stores by the end of the week was more a reflection of the California electronics firm preparing itself well for a spike in sales, Munster says.
Charger, sync for iPod
USB Fever has announced two new iPod accessories. The first is a USB car power adapter with 2 USB outlets, suitable for charging iPod, PDA, and various phones, as long as the devices use a USB Power cable. The power source is the car lighter. This adapter is priced at $14. The second is a sync and charging adapter for the iPod Shuffle that has no cord -- only a small USB connecter and the standard iPod Shuffle headphone jack connector. The adapter is available in five colors to match the five iPod Shuffle colors. The adapter is priced at $7.
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