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Streamline for iPod
Griffin Technology today announced yet another iPod in its Case Collection: Streamline for iPod is described as "the ultimate sport armband for iPod and earns its name from its low profile and clean lines that "look great wherever and however you wear it. Elegantly minimal design keeps your iPod handy and protected, without adding bulk. Streamline manages its sleek look without sacrificing functionality." It includes a clear, full-face screen protector that safeguards the face of the iPod from scratches and smudges without restricting visual access and includes a reflective trim that makes the armband more visible to traffic while out in low-lighting environments. The washable, two-way adjustable band fits any arm with a "breathable, comfortable" fit for both the iPod or iPod nano. Streamline for full-size iPod and iPod nano joins the previously-announced Streamline for iPhone. The company said a choice of colors is planned for a follow-up release, while it is immediately available basic black for $30.
Horizon 1.2 ($30) personal finance organizer that shows due dates for bills and other monetary events. Click on a date, and enter an amount for a clear simple view of where your money comes from and where it is going. Change any value and all related values update automatically. You can hide and show different categories to focus on different aspects of your finances. The new release has a pop-out summary view that automatically totals each category as you go. [Download - 9.4MB]
Project X 1.1.2 ($200) project management utility. Includes story-boarding capabilities on the Network view, the iChat awareness, and robust scheduling and costing features of the application. Lets users create and edit projects graphically, allows one-click project updates via its unique Web App, and has the ability to embed media files such as video, MP3, still images and more directly into tasks. In the new release an Import button has been implemented in the Specs section of the Inspector. You can now import TXT, RTF and DOC files. Also the Export menu now specifies CSV for New and Existing Reports. [Download - 166MB]
Osk 4.7 ($30) person oriented family research software. Allows you to keep track on family, friends, celebrities or any people you want to, fact or fiction. Allows you to track things like multiple marriages, adoptions, all kinds of relationships. Used to find common ancestors, print and save family trees and import Gedcom data. You can also create a family web site and print reports, store multimedia information, sounds, pictures and movies. [Download (demo) - 6MB]
Cursorcerer 1.0 (free) allows you to hide the cursor at any time by use of a global hotkey. It can also autohide an idle cursor and bring it back as soon as you move the mouse. It was designed specifically for banishing the cursor when using the OS X control-scrollwheel zoom trick, but works well in any full screen situation where the cursor becomes an eyesore. [Download - 270KB]
Floola (free) freeware application to manage your iPod or your Motorola mobile phone (any model supporting iTunes). It's a standalone application that can be run directly from your iPod and needs no installation on a Desktop. Supports all the most common used iPod features including podcasts, smart playlists artwork and lyrics. The new release fixes several bugs. [Download - 10.7MB]
FunBooth tracks faces
Sourcebits today released FunBooth, a new Mac application designed to create unusual digital photos using real-time face detection in live video. FunBooth uses advanced face-tracking algorithms to perform real-time tracking of a human face using a Web cam or Apple iSight camera, providing humorous as well as realistic props that users can add to the faces of people as they are recorded. Users can export photos in several ways, including directly to the Flickr online photo storage site. FunBooth is priced at $10 for a limited time, according to Sourcebits, and built-in controls allow users to modify camera output in real-time with support for adjusting props to more accurately track one's face (system requirements were unavailable).
iWork, iLife Apple patents
A series of Apple patent applications surfaced today relating to its iLife and iWork suite of applications. Patent applications include "Movie Authoring," "Text flow in and around irregular containers," "Predictive styling," "Automatic sub-template selection based on content," "User interface for Web page creation/editing," and "Publishing and subscribing to digital image feeds." Apple's Movie Authoring patent details the movie authoring process as including selecting a theme, determining theme elements based on the theme selection, and adding the theme elements to a movie. Text flow in and Around Irregular Containers describes the process of placing text within oddly-shaped locations, while Predictive Styling tells of templates that include predefined layout and/or styling used in content authoring.
Tiki Magic Mini: 3D golf
Freeverse and Mondo Robot have released Tiki Magic Mini Golf for the Mac; a fully 3D, Tiki Golfing game. You can play by yourself, or against up to five friends. The game features "Sweet Shot" replays, a custom soundtrack, emotive totem masks, and a several powerups. The developer says "Sink putts and collect special gem bonuses on three challenging courses; the tropical paradise of Lono's Lagoon, the mysterious Lost Temple, and the volcano heart of Fire Mountain!" Tiki Magic Mini Golf is priced at $30. System requirements include OS X 10.3.9 or later and a 32MB graphics card, (Intel GMA 950 chipsets in MacBooks are also supported). A fully playable demo is available.
Moto ROKR U9 Leak
Motorola should have an equivalent to its PEBL clamshell that shares many of the elemental features of the RAZR2, according to a single leaked product shot. Dubbed the ROKR U9, it would adopt the same rounded shape as the PEBL but feature the same extra-large external LCD and haptic music controls on the outside; a rear camera would reach the final model and will probably be rated at 2 megapixels. At least one element of the recent ROKR Z6 would translate to the phone in the form of a mini-USB headphone set rather than a 2.5mm or standard 3.5mm jack. Motorola's Linux-based JUIX interface is also probable for at least one version of the device.
Radio fee stay denied
The District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Reuters writes, has ruled against a stay on royalty increases for Internet radio stations. Under a March order by the Copyright Royalty Board, stations are expected to pay $0.0008 per each listener of a song in 2006 and onwards; by 2010, this rate should reach $0.0019.
Royalties dating back to January 1st 2006 are due starting July 15th, but smaller stations such as SomaFM have said that they may effectively be driven out of business. According to the organization SaveNetRadio, even the six biggest networks (Pandora, Live365, etc.) will lose 47 percent of their revenue from last year.
Canada iPhone Still Costly
The problem of Rogers' excessive data prices in Canada still creates dire prospects for the iPhone even when a more practical plan is chosen, says the country's National Post newspaper. While the journalist claims to have received "howls of protest" from wireless industry backers who claim that a $295 plan would feature more than any one cellphone user would need, with most use topping out at 25MB in a given month, he notes that many of Rogers' plans are still prohibitively expensive to be useful.
Office 2004 11.3.6
Microsoft has released Office 2004 11.3.6, an update to the popular productivity suite. This release fixes a vulnerability through which an attacker can overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. It also addresses an issue with using public folders in Entourage, and it contains the latest postal code information for Japanese addresses. Specifically, a Microsoft Exchange public folder data loss issue is fixed. The problem causes data loss when public folder users who have a permission level of "Editor" or greater use Entourage to empty the cache for all public folders on the server running Exchange Server.The new release requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 (Jaguar) or later. Office 2004 11.3.6 is available as a 15.2MB download.
Fujitsu LifeBook A3130
Fujitsu took a step back today from its Intel-dominated LifeBooks with the launch of the 15.4-inch A3130, the second notebook in its current American line to use an AMD processor. Features strike a balance between performance and price meant to appeal to students: the 2GHz Turion 64 X2 is supported by 2GB of memory in smoothing out the Vista Home Premium experience without a high price. College goers can also use Fujitsu's characteristic handwriting touchpad, which recognizes drawing motions for those courses where diagrams and sketches are essential.
Blended iPhone "Smoothie"
In brief: The manufacturer of a particular blender who has gained significant recognition online for blending various products such as light bulbs and marbles on WillItBlend.com has successfully blended an iPhone into dust, Apple lawyers are cracking down on one publication for publishing an article about Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard prior to the operating system's actual release, and Apple is planning to open a new office in Moscow. A software developer has released an application for Apple's iPhone titled "MuniTime" that offers up to the minute public transit arrival times for two cities so far, Font Bros have released two new foundries, and Yellow Camp Software has released iCal Actions for Automator 2.1. "Will It Blend" has placed an iPhone into a Blendtec blender on the "Smoothie" setting, turning the cellular handset into little more than a pile of dust. Interestingly, the iPhone remains on and lit for a significant amount of time while battling the blades of the blender before eventually flashing off. The blended iPhone is also available for bidding on eBay, which as of this posting has risen to no less than $570.
Samsung MM-X5 dock
The American division of Samsung has thrown open the curtains on the MM-X5 Player Docking Station, which despite its generic name, is a stereo targeted directly at owners of the Apple iPod. All generations of iPod are said to be supported, including the likes of the nano and shuffle. Unlike some other iPod stereos however, the X5 is meant to blend in with other audiophile equipment, and so is clad entirely in black. It also serves other purposes; in addition to having an FM tuner, a USB port allows non-Apple media players to connect, and a CD drive supports both standard and MP3 discs. The stereo's two satellites produce 10W of sound each. Samsung expects the X5 to ship for $200 in October of this year. [Image via Gizmodo]
Cowon D2 16GB in Works
Cowon could be one of the first media player makers to jump to 16GB, say French sources. Both the company's D2 touchscreen player and the more conventional iAudio 7 may both see the upgrade before the end of the year, giving the Korean firm the most flash storage ever in a media player should Apple, SanDisk, and others not update their own devices. The existence of an SDHC card slot on the D2 could also expand capacity even further to at least 24GB using today's cards and further still with later improvements.
New iMacs, MacBooks
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is reporting that there is an 80% likelihood of redesigned iMacs this Summer, an ultra-portable MacBook Pro model will soon debut, and iPods with OS X are on tap. Munster also commented on iPhone availability. The analyst's report says that by the 5th of July, only 1% of Apple's 165 US retail stores had iPhones available. Stores have been receiving regular shipments of iPhones, and as of July 10 availability levels have stabilized around 50%. Munster also notes that based on Apple's product roadmap and the fact that the iMac has not been updated in 309 days (vs. a product average of 168 days), redesigned iMacs will likely debut this summer. Meanwhile, Munster sees the possible debut of an ultra-portable MacBook Pro as a means for making inroads in Asia, where its Mac sales have lagged global averages. Finally, Munster is the latest analyst to state that Apple will put OS X on iPods at some point this year or early next year. The analyst maintains an outperform rating on shares of AAPL. Munster predicted new iMacs and MacBooks before, saying they would debut at this year's WWWDC, where no new Mac models were introduced.
Belkin Wireless USB Hub
In addition to its N1 Vision router, Belkin has also restyled its upcoming Wireless USB Hub in advance of its release. The change makes the device sleeker and more compact than before but will still provide its characteristic high speed, the peripheral designer says. Ultra-wideband wireless gives the hub the ability to wirelessly connect as many as four traditional USB devices to a PC while maintaining the same 480Mbps peak throughput of the wired format, even with a 30-foot gap.
Warner licenses to imeem
Warner Music has signed a deal to allow imeem access all of its music and video content, free of charge to the user. In return for this privilege, imeem will be expected to share a portion of its advertising revenue. The deal is notable for two main reasons; foremost is that it is the first time a major label has offered ad-driven access to an entire catalog, instead of seeking standard royalties or per-song compensation (as in the case of Lala).
Nyko Wii Party Station
Nyko used the E3 gaming summit in LA to provide an early look at its first truly social accessory, the Party Station for the Wii. Based on the assumption that the Nintendo console is an ideal hub for social events, the station combines both holders for four Wiimotes as well as several useful features and spaces for everything associated with its namesake parties: four LEDs help keep manual scoreboards for players over the course of several games, while a fan helps keep hands dry over longer sessions. A drawer at the bottom holds Wiimote accessories; a bowl at the top of the station and separate cupholders will even preserve the food and drinks for a social event, Nyko says.
Moto vs Sony-Ericsson
Motorola's cellphone business is struggling, the company has revealed in its latest financial report. The company's spring quarter saw the firm sell no more than $8.7 million in cellphones and other handhelds -- significantly less than the $9.4 billion expected. The shortfall will leave the company facing a loss even if the rest of the year is successful and is said to primarily be the result of poor Asian and European sales, where Motorola's name and influence are historically weaker than in the US. In reacting to the results, the company has shifted its supply chain executive Stu Reed to the head of its Mobile Devices group in the hope of saving the company's efforts.
Net radio petition denied
Internet radio stations and Webcasters yesterday were declined a petition grant by a federal appeals court to delay the imposition of new royalties that are scheduled to take effect this Sunday. The fees, which will increase payment rates to the music industry by $0.08 cents per song per listener with retroactive payment required through 2006, will force Webcasters to "make very difficult decisions about what music, if any, they are able to offer," according to Digital Media Association (DiMA) executive director Jonathan Potter. "The result will certainly be fewer outlets for independent music, less diversity on the Internet airwaves, and far fewer listening choices for consumers," said Potter, who speaks for DiMA members like Yahoo!, Live365, and RealNetworks. Each internet radio station will also be ordered to pay a minimum $500 royalty payment per "channel" offered, according to News.com, which could cost the three largest internet radio operators more than $1 billion during the first year after the ruling takes effect.
HD DVD in Europe
HD DVD is outpacing its Blu-Ray rival in Europe in hardware sales by a factor of three to one, according to a study published by the disc format's promo group in the region. The agency drew on sales figures which suggest that the format has nearly three quarters of the market in some of the most influential countries in the area, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Spokesman Olivier Van Wynendaele for the group alleged that the success had been achieved fairly and that profit on HD DVD players in Europe was the same as for its regular DVD players, dismissing US worries that Toshiba was winning by slashing prices to where it makes little to no profit.
Mad Catz AirDrives
Aiming for the best of two worlds, Mad Catz today launched the AirDrives, its new spin on earbuds. Instead of turning to in-canal earbuds or cupped headphones, the company said it had researched a new design that has the best qualities of both camps: the small speakers with an over-the-ear clip take up little space and make them easy to carry, but a new technique -- titled InAir by the accessory maker -- lets the buds sit over the ear canal rather than inside. This produces a more natural sound but also prevents the buds from blocking out too much ambient noise. The latter is especially critical for joggers who might ignore an oncoming car, according to designer Ken Wright.
New JVC audio players
The Japanese division of JVC has announced the release of two new small-size digital audio players. While compact and available in colors including blue, black, pink, red and white, the main attractions of the XA-S108 and XA-S206 are changes to their ports and interface. Whereas many such players are limited to recording voice and FM radio, the new JVC models have the addition of a line-in jack -- giving the option of recording from TVs, CD players and many other electronics.
The interface has now been simplified to use a menu with three categories, and its file browser is said to be similar to that used in iRiver's popular players. The S108 holds 1GB and costs $124; the S206 has 2GB and costs $155. [via Akihabara News]
Magnet 1.5 goes beta
eX-cinder today released Magnet 1.5 Beta for a one-month test program. The new release includes numerous effects such as Beating Heart, Stylize, and Color Effects alongside tighter integration with Apple's Quartz Composer technology. Magnet works by allowing users to place "probes" on moving objects in a QuickTime movie that the software tracks over time. Users can then hook numerous special effects known as compositions to probes to create visual effects. Magnet uses advanced motion tracking technology as well as the latest Core Image and Quartz Composer advances to render effects in real-time, and resulting movies are exportable as QuickTime movies that are usable on devices such as the Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone. Magnet 1.5b is available for free as part of a one-month beta evaluation program, after which licenses will cost $30. Magnet 1.5 is a free upgrade for existing 1.x owners, and the software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Apple acquires CUPS
Apple has officially purchased CUPS, a modularized computer printing system for Unix-like operating systems that allows computers to act as print servers. Apple has acquired ownership of the C Unix Printing System open-source project source code, and has hired project creator Michael R Sweet. "In February of 2007, Apple Inc. acquired ownership the CUPS source code and hired me (Michael R Sweet), the creator of CUPS," Sweet wrote on the CUPS project site. "CUPS will still be released under the existing GPL2/LGPL2 licensing terms, and I will continue to develop and support CUPS at Apple." Apple has gained all rights to the CUPS trademarks including Common UNIX Printing System, CUPS, and the CUPS logo.
13.5m iPhone sales by '09?
RBC Capital is raising its estimates to reflect a predicted 13.5 million iPhone sales by the end of 2008. Checks suggest Apple may be planning to produce 8 million iPhones by the end of this year alone, which would put the company well ahead of its own announced hopes of selling 10 million phones within an 18-month period. Apple's plans for 2007 may include higher memory (16GB) iPhones, as well as refreshes to existing models at lower prices to stimulate demand, according to SeekingAlpha. Plans also could include inventory for iPhone launches in Canada, Europe, and Asia with a 3G/HSDPA-capable handset shipping by the spring of 2008 alongside a higher resolution display. Checks also point to a potential refresh in Apple's iPod line in the fourth quarter of this year which may well include an updated iPod nano, a new iPod model altogether, and a new video iPod. Some or all of the updated iPods could include iPhone-like features as well, according to the firm, with new devices adding more memory as well as integrated Wi-Fi capability moving forward.
LG Shines in Black
LG has announced the production of a new phone in its Shine series, the Titanium Black. While the product is based on the original Shine, first revealed in October of last year, the new one is an aesthetic revision distinguished by its gunmetal tint, which does in fact use real metal unlike many of its rivals.
Internal features are tapped to include Bluetooth and a two-megapixel camera, as well as music playback that includes MP3, WAV, and AAC++ files. The phone is comparatively limited in terms of data however, since broadband Internet is restricted to EDGE. The Black should ship to Austria, France, the UK and the Netherlands at the end of July.
iPhone vs. Windows Mobile
The popularity of the Apple iPhone may force Microsoft to abandon its emphasis on proprietary formats and systems in the mobile world, says an analyst with Blackfriars Marketing. Aric Winton observes that because of its control of desktops through Windows, Microsoft has been able to keep mobile users "locked in" to its technology, examples of which include Exchange e-mail servers and the Windows Media format. Some mobile devices will only play Windows Media files. By contrast, while developers cannot make local iPhone software, the product's music and e-mail standards are more universal.
Verizon Music Manager
Promising to streamline the often cumbersome effort of loading music on to most cellphones, Verizon today rolled out its Music Manager tool. Similar to its Apple counterpart, the software turns any of Verizon's music-capable V CAST phones into a loadable music device with support for both an online music shop and a home collection. Songs can either be bought directly from the V CAST store at 99 cents per track and copied to the phone, or imported from CDs. Verizon also intends to convert iTunes users by importing unprotected AAC songs and intelligently converting them to WMA when a phone's music support requires the change.
PasswordVault 6.0 released
Lava Software has begun shipping PasswordVault 6.0, a simple and practical enterprise-level password manager for Mac OS X as well as Windows and Linux. The latest release includes online password synchronization, global floating window transparency, Windows Vista compatibility, reduced CPU utilization, and various other optimizations. Online synchronization is designed to ease the process of keeping passwords on multiple computers up-to-date while providing effective password data backup in the event of a hard drive failure. Online synchronization is performed manually or via an automatic daily schedule, and utilizes two layers of 448-bit Blowfish encryption and one layer of 128-bit AES encryption to keep password transfers private. The upgrade is available for free to all users, while a free Lite edition includes a 30 day trial of auto-distribution with support for up to 15 services. New standard edition licenses are priced at $15.
SuitePhone for iPhone
NetSuite today unveiled SuitePhone, a service that allows NetSuite customers to run business operations using Apple's iPhone. The new SuitePhone capability provides native support for Apple's Safari Web browser which brings NetSuite's AJAX-based user interface technologies such as drop-down menus, drag-and-drop portlets, and in-line editing to the iPhone. The ERP, CRM, and e-commerce functionality of NetSuite is also available to Apple users, according to NetSuite, offering an on-demand integrated business management application designed for the Apple platform. The new SuitePhone capability and native Safari browser support are available at no additional charge in NetSuite's new NetSuite 2007.0 release, which is currently shipping to existing customers. The service will be available to new customers in August this year.
Critics: Virus threat low
A number of commentators are suggesting that the overall threat of viruses and other malware to the Mac remains low. Business IT site Silicon.com notes that while roughly 100 vulnerabilities have been revealed in Mac OS X this year, this is still dwarfed by those in Windows, mainly because of Apple's automatic updating software and the general lack of attention paid by malware coders. Says Patrik Runald, senior security specialist at F-Secure, "There are no viruses really for OS X - there have been a few - but, from that point of view, the likelihood of you getting hit on an Apple is insignificant compared to PCs."
Samsung S85 Camera
Following its additions of new L-series cameras to its line, Samsung has also added a single camera to its S-series for those who favor image quality. The S85 uses the same 8.2-megapixel sensor of the L830 but includes an SHD lens with 5X optical zoom for closer shots without sacrificing detail. Like the higher-end cameras of this week's launches, the camera will include Samsung's unique software shake correction and face detection.
Apple Zune-Like Patent
Apple may be ready to not only bring wireless file sharing to the iPhone and iPod but could affect Microsoft's Zune as well, according to the details of a newly publicized patent. The filing would allow fully mobile devices such as cellphones and MP3 players to automatically discover each other on a local network, similar to the way the Zune can recognize nearby devices on its Wi-Fi connection; also as with the Microsoft jukebox, owners would be able to "push" media and other files to other devices. But the patent's implementation would also let a device make such requests, Apple says, allowing one handheld to pick files for download in a way the Zune currently forbids. A wireless sync method could automate these requests simply by coming near the right device.
WebGhost surfing utility
Macware today released its WebGhost anonymous Web surfing utility for Mac, designed to protect users by redirecting every Web connection through a secure proxy server that masks online identities while securing transmitted information and cleaning internet tracks stored on a Mac system. WebGhost integrates key security components to keep online activity private, including using core Safari security tools to erase online activity and block advertisements. The software also updates public proxy settings daily to strengthen protection against prying eyes. WebGhost is available for $30 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
VP games go Universal
Virtual Programming (VP) today released Universal Binary updates for Europa Universalis 2, Hearts of Iron 2, Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday, and Hearts of Iron 2 Doomsday Armageddon. The new patches ensures all titles run natively on Intel-based Macs with stability fixes, a fix for the effect of development of technologies on the overall summary of armies effectiveness, and third party mod fixes as well as auto detection of future updates. The company also released updates for Reel Deal Casino High Roller, Reel Deal Slots Mystic Forest, and the online application Online Casino with bug fixes as well as preparation for the forthcoming release of Reel Deal Card Games.
Adobe has posted updates for two of its most used applications, addressing recently revealed security vulnerabilities. The most significant may be in Adobe's ubiquitous Flash Player, which could allow a remote user to hijack a computer by exploiting an input validation error. To expose themselves to this risk, users must run a malicious SWF file, which can be delivered via e-mail, the Web, and other means, according to the company's security bulletin. Mac OS vulnerabilities should be fixed in the 188.8.131.52 patch, which can downloaded manually or through the auto-updater.
Navigon 5100 and 7100
Navigon today brought two of its higher-end GPS units to North America with features and sizes not often seen in the country. The 3.5-inch 5100 and 4.3-inch widescreen 7100 are reportedly the only mapping devices in their class to include a textured 3D mode, dubbed Reality View, that presents the road ahead in a form closer to real life. Exits, lane markers, and intersections are all portrayed realistically, complete with overhead signs point out which lanes will take the driver on a given course. An assistant will even recommend a particular lane well in advance.
Gateway M and T Series
Breaking out from the company's conservative gray notebooks, Gateway on Thursday launched a major redesign of its portables. The 14-inch T-series and 15.4-inch M-series all feature colored top and bottom shells as well as a sleeker design; owners can pick from a safe slate color as well as blue and red. More important is HD video support, Gateway says. Every notebook comes with HDMI output to pipe video to modern flat-panels at up to 1080p; options also exist to equip either notebook line with a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive. The larger M-series also gets the option of a Mobility Radeon HD 2400 XT for faster HD video decoding, and a 1920x1200 display that can play 1080p video at full detail.
Pentax Optio E40 and M40
Pentax today upgraded two of its most mainstream cameras to bring them up to par with the latest, 8-megapixel camera sensors. The Optio E40 brings this resolution to even the most inexperienced photographers and is targeted at the entry level: the proprietary Green Mode takes over all control of image quality for those who simply want to press the shutter. Face detection and an ISO-boosted blur reduction mode also take the guesswork out of producing portrait and nighttime shots for newcomers. This 3X zoom camera also runs on AA batteries to save cost and ships in September for $150.
Samsung Product Slew
Samsung has just released a slew of entertainment products yesterday, launching third-generation Blu-ray disc players, 22/24 inch widescreen monitors, 50-58 inch 1080p Plasma HDTVs, and 3D-ready DLP sets. New monitors include the 24-inch 245BW, with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, 5-millisecond response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio (3000:1 dynamic contrast), and 400 cd/m² of brightness, and the 22-inch 226CW with a 1680 x 1050 resolution, 300 cd/m² brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 2 ms response time. The 24-inch model retails for $550 and the 22-inch model is priced at $380. The new Blu-Ray sets include the BD-P1400 and higher-end BD-P2400. The former includes Samsung's proprietary de-interlacing technology, powered by the company's HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) image processor. They both feature native 1080p playback. Also included is upscaling for standard DVDs to 1080p when using HDMI. The units both sport component, S-Video, and composite outputs. The BD-P1400 will be available in September for $550; the BD-P2400 will follow one month later at $650.
Logitech MX Air
Logitech has introduced a new rechargeable cordless mouse that operates on a flat surface or the air, working similarly to a television remote control when not desk-bound. The new device, dubbed MX Air, is meant to capitalize on the increased use of PCs as digital media hubs, offering the ability to navigate music, videos and photos without the user physically sitting in front of the system. It uses a technology called "Freespace" for motion-control and gesture command functionality, allowing wrist flicks and subtle hand movements to produce action on-screen. Freespace allows the user to hold the mouse in any orientation and point in any direction to control the cursor. The mouse also has built-in algorithms that distinguish between intentional and unintentional hand movements.
House debates cell laws
On Wednesday, key members of the US House of Representatives publicly lamented high cancellation fees for cellphone service, and the inability to use mobiles on different networks than the one with which they were originally paired. Central to the discussion was the iPhone, though its termination fee ($175) is not unusual for cellphone contracts. MarketWatch reports that Rep. Edward Markey, chairman of a key House committee on telecommunications, noted that customers who don't like AT&T's network can't move to another provider. "You're stuck with your iPhone and you can't take it anywhere," the Massachusetts Democrat said. At issue is whether or not the wireless industry can be more tightly regulated at state level -- a structure carriers say is unreasonably costly. Currently, states can oversee the terms and conditions of wireless plans but are blocked from regulating prices.
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