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Griffin Technology has released iKaraoke TunePrompter, a tool for creating karaoke videos from your existing music library. The product enhances the full karaoke experience of Griffin's iKaraoke, a $50 iPod attachment. It's a freeware application for Mac and PC that lets iKaraoke users make their own free karaoke videos using any song they own. Griffin says "The iKaraoke supplies the music, you supply the words and you can enjoy karaoke with any song, anytime and anywhere. [...] Connect the iKaraoke microphone to your iPod and you're on. iKaraoke removes the vocals from your video, allowing you to karaoke anytime, and anywhere."
QXpress 7 in CS3
Markzware has released the QuarkXPress To InDesign (Q2ID), a tool to import QuarkXPress Documents into Adobe InDesign v5 (CS3). The tool converts and transforms files created with QuarkXPress on both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh systems, into new Adobe InDesign files. QuarkXPress v3.3 through 7.x files are supported. Q2ID v3 is available for immediate download or on CD-ROM, starting at $200 for new users. Registered users of previous versions of Q2ID v1.x and above can upgrade for $100.
WiFi mystery resolved
In brief: Apple has begun shipping a new MagSafe power adapter for the MacBook Pro with the model number MA938LL/A. The new 85W adapter is significantly smaller than the old iteration, appearing physically similar to the 65W adapter included with 13" MacBooks. In early June, Apple debuted a new line of MacBook Pros, some of which include LED-based screens and offer significantly better battery life. The new adapter appears to be compatible with both newer and previously released MacBook Pro models ... Meanwhile, Apple is stating that the Duke University's wireless problem reportedly involving a few Apple iPhones has been resolved. However, according to a NetworkWorld report, neither Apple nor Duke have released any details about the cause of, or solution to the problem. A Duke spokesperson said "We are still trying to get details about this ourselves." Duke IT officials originally claimed that 18,000 requests per second from the built-in 802.11b/g iPhone wireless adapters periodically flood sections of the university's wireless network with MAC address requests, taking down numerous access points simultaneously.
DS Lite Brain Age Edition
Canadian big-box retailer Future Shop today inadvertently revealed that a special version of its DS Lite will accompany the release of its upcoming game Brain Age 2. The Crimson/Black model will be one of the first DS models to ship in a two-tone pattern and will come with a red lid but a black body and stylus. It will also come with an identically-themed black and red traveling case and a copy of the game to get the user started, according to the listing.
Toshiba MET401 at FCC
Toshiba is testing the first Gigabeat player with Wi-Fi, a new FCC filing shows. Although no direct photos or formats were revealed, the MET401 will include its own wireless transmitter for at least local networking features. The Japanese company will also replace the now obsolete Personal Media Center OS used on its own device with a modern version of Windows Embedded, according to the label info on the back of the device. The large format of the player implies but does not confirm video capability.
BB 8820 for ATT Next Week
RIM's new BlackBerry 8820 may arrive sooner than the end of summer timeframe the company announced, say insiders within AT&T. Although an August release is possible, the smartphone may be ready as early as "next week" and would immediately replace the 8800 as the top-end BlackBerry in the provider's lineup due to its addition of Wi-Fi. Sales staff would be discouraged from mentioning Wi-Fi, however, in order to encourage buyers to sign up for a more lucrative data plan.
3G Chip Ban Held in Appeal
An International Trade Commission ban against many of Qualcomm's 3G wireless chips reaching the US will stay on track, the US federal Court of Appeals ruled today. Citing a lack of authority to consider the decision, the court said it Qualcomm would have to hold for a possible reversal of the ban by President Bush by August 6th before any form of appeal could last in court. A second appeal is certain if the ITC's ban holds after the presidential review, Qualcomm said. The ban follows a patent dispute between Qualcomm and rival Broadcom which accused the former of treading on patents relating to power-saving measures in cellphones and other hardware with EVDO Internet access.
Casio Z75 Breast Cancer
Casio today introduced a special run of its Exilim Z75 to raise awareness of and help fight breast cancer. The unnamed model is intended to show support for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and will ship a pink version of the camera with a special case featuring the well-known pink ribbon logo and a lanyard with a ribbon of its own. Casio's camera itself is fundamentally the same as the 7.2-megapixel original and includes a 3X optical zoom lens, a 2.8-inch preview LCD, processor-based anti-blur correction, and the company's special features such as an eBay mode for optimized auction images.
Kanguru Eco Drive
Riding the wave of environmentally-friendly technology, Kanguru has started shipping the Eco Drive external hard disk. Configurable from 80 to 750GB, its main feature is its three power-saving modes: after three seconds of inactivity, the drive steps down to 80 percent power; after three minutes it drops to 10 to 20 percent power, and finally, five minutes cuts levels to 5 to 10 percent. The drive is also compatible with the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) standard, meaning that it has a minimal amount of chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.
HTC 6800 at Bell
Bell Canada has begun carrying the HTC 6800, its custom variant on the original PPC6800 also used as the backbone for the Sprint Mogul. Bell's edition features a radically different front layout with larger front buttons and an easier to hit square directional pad; the carrier's characteristic blue also outlines the phone. Technical features are unchanged but make it one of the most advanced smartphones in Canada, Bell says. The horizontal slider is the first to come equipped with Windows Mobile 6 Professional in the country and preloads Office Mobile and support for the latest features on its 2.8-inch touchscreen.
Personalized iPhone skins
In brief: iSkin laptop sleeves reviewed, a nearly 6-foot tall neon Apple logo is for sale on eBay, UK Wrappers introduces a new line of customizable iPhone skins, new smart loops tracks are available and GelaSkins is giving away a MacBook in a photo contest.... We've posted a review of iSkin's new line of laptop sleeves. Available in two sizes, the iSkin SOHO fits the 13" MacBooks or 15" MacBook Pro, and of course, all similarly sized machines. They available in black synthetic leather, with trimmings in a choice of five colors. The red, orange, pink, gray, and blue trim is used for the zipper and decorative stitching. As for the design, the SOHO was met with mixed reactions from my coworkers, not everybody liked it.
Shuttle SG33G5M PC
Shuttle is about to launch another one of its new G5 PCs, the SG33G5M. A small form factor system, its primary focus is on the living room: it supports HDMI, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, and is visually reminiscent of many audiophile components, complete with translucent faceplates and a LED track display. Internally, it can be equipped with up to 4GB of RAM, and anything from a Celeron through to a Core 2 Quad processor; unlike the G5 3300m however, there is no mention of an HD optical drive.
Nokia Leads Cellphone Biz
Nokia has only managed to extend its dominance of the world cellphone industry in recent months based on a keenly sharpened business model, according to BusinessWeek. The Finnish handset maker's latest statistics have international marketshare growing to 37 percent, or more than a third of all handsets sold worldwide -- a figure that could grow as high as 40 percent before 2008, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi adds. Nokia's success now has it overtaking Samsung while Motorola slips to third place amid continuing financial losses and the wait for improved devices such as the RAZR2.
ATT and Google back 700MHz
Google is prepared to spend at least $4.6 billion on rights to use the soon to open 700MHz wireless frequency if it means keeping the bandwidth universal, company co-founder Eric Schmidt said in a letter to the FCC today. The search giant's executive said he would be willing to buy at least one part of the spectrum if the FCC's rules for 700MHz service guaranteed that any cellphone, computer, or other device could use the frequency for services such as mobile Internet access without being locked to a particular provider -- a common problem for cellphone frequencies, where carriers are often allowed to limit only their hardware and approved software to work properly. Anyone licensing the 700MHz band would also have to allow sub-licenses and tapping into the service whenever reasonable, Schmidt said.
Zune Exceeds Sales Target
Sales of the Zune have more than surpassed the one million target the company set for the end of June, according to Microsoft's latest quarterly financial results. Over 1.2 million units of the jukebox have sold between the device's November 14th, 2006 launch and the end of the recent quarter on June 30th. The result represents over 170,000 units per month and should see the Zune reach the 2 million mark by the device's one-year anniversary if the sales rate remains unchanged.
Hitachi Blu-Ray camcorder
The Japanese division of Hitachi is preparing what should be the world's first camcorder to record directly to Blu-Ray. Currently without a codename, it will record to three-inch BD-R/RE discs, each capable of storing 7GB -- substantially less than the 25 to 50GB of full-size Blu-Ray, but still more than comparably-sized DVD media. DVD discs inserted into the camera will only allow playback.
Critically, the device should actually be able to take advantage of Blu-Ray, due to a 5.3-megapixel CMOS sensor that captures images in 1080p. The camera is further equipped with AVC/H.264 MPEG-4 encoding for better HD compression, and MPEG-2 serves as an SD fallback. Hitachi is unsure of the exact release date for the camcorder, but it should be out in Japan between fall and the end of the year. [via Impress Watch]
Canadian iPod, memory tax
The Copyright Board of Canada has decided to allow a levy on iPods and removable memory that will tax Canadian citizens for their assumed transfer of copyrighted content. The Canadian Storage Media Alliance (CSMA) and Retail Council of Canada (RCC) challenged the levy, arguing that the Federal Court had already put to rest a previously proposed tax on digital audio recorders because the levy did not fall within the cited Copyright Act, according to one blogger. The CSMA and RCC contest that the board has no jurisdiction to approve the levy, but the board rejected pleas from the CSMA and RCC to do away with the new tax. The new tax is worded such that it may even include cellular phones and computers, which could extend to cover peer-to-peer downloading.
TuneRanger iTunes sync
Acertant has launched TuneRanger, a program that syncs iTunes collections across multiple computers. Systems with TuneRanger installed will automatically see each other, allowing users to ensure that all files are available at all times on up to five computers at once. Users can further apply this consistency between Macs and PCs, and with associated iPods, copying from as well as to them. To ensure that disk space is not wasted, users can choose to filter particular songs, file types, licenses and any duplicates. The current Mac and PC betas are on discount for $30; trial software is also available.
IMSL Fortran Library
Absoft has released an Intel implementation of the IMSL Fortran Numerical Library, a compilation of mathematical and statistical algorithms from the IMSL F90, Math ans Stat and Fortran 77 collections. Using the Numerical Library is said to save time in program development by reducing original code needed, in some cases by as much as 95 percent. There are over 1,000 algorithms total, addressing areas such as regression, numerical optimization and differential equations. The library is meant to operate with Pro Fortran v10, available in 32- or 64-bit versions; only Mac OS X Tiger is required for the former, but going 64-bit requires Leopard. Pricing for the Intel library starts at $400, but discounts are on offer for those with the PowerPC version.
LG LN790 GPS Unit
Rounding out its series of announcements, LG has expanded its LN700 GPS units with a new top model. The LN790 is both the largest of the series with a 4.3-inch widescreen and also the most advanced, bringing in support for Traffic Message Channel data for live route congestion info in 50 major North American urban areas and Bluetooth for hands-free speakerphone use. Passengers can also play music or watch videos when the map function isn't immediately needed. Map information is also comprehensive and includes maps for all US states, its Puerto Rican territory, and Canada.
Sharp AQUOS T Series
Sharp on Friday distinguished its TVs from the rest by releasing the AQUOS T, a new extra-large series of direct-view LCDs that become the first to receive the THX blessing for theater-like image quality under certain conditions. Setting a THX Movie Mode optimizes the brightness and gamma levels for a darkened room; contrast ratios are lower at 2,500:1 for the 52-inch and 65-inch models than for their equivalents in the AQUOS R series (which reach 3,000:1) as the settings are better-suited to low light, Sharp claims.
Apple's iChat patent
A new patent application filed by Apple surfaced today that separates the audio data of each participant in an iChat conference into its own track, allowing other software to handle iChat conference data in the same fashion as other audio applications that play multiple tracks. The invention specifically describes linking photos of audio conference participants to their corresponding voices, ensuring that iChat users on Macs, iPhones, and other devices would see a photo of the person speaking at any given time. The patent broadly covers both audio and video aspects of conferences, and is worded to include all manner of conferencing equipment -- including PDA devices and cellular phones. Other Apple patents that surfaced today include a Graphical user interface with improved media presentation, Computer Component Protection, Remote content updates for portable media devices, and a Deferred Shading Graphics Pipeline Processor with "Advanced Features."
Tenon iTools 8.2.4
Tenon has released iTools 8.2.4, an upgrade to its web-based graphical interface for configuring Apache, DNS and FTP connections. The key change is support for the Apache 2.2.4 web server, bringing iTools into line with the latest standard. Some improvements to Apache include improved memory and disk use, file limits beyond 2GB, and enhanced database architecture. The iTools update also carries with it proFTP 1.3, MySQL support extended to DBI and DBD modules, and better support for DNS and Mac OS X Server. Two editions of the program are on sale, one for PowerPC systems and another for Intel machines. Each costs $350.
iPhoneDrive 1.1 update
Ecamm Network has released an update to iPhoneDrive, which opens up the iPhone's functionality. Whereas Apple has locked disk access by default, iPhoneDrive lets users copy files to and from the device, by dragging items in and out of the program's window. Version 1.1 adds substantial interface improvements, such as the ability to reorganize an iPhone's contents, and copy from them by dragging multiple files. The names associated with iPhones are now displayed in the window title, and a bug has been eliminated in which iPhoneDrive wouldn't work if iTunes had yet to sync. The software costs $10 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.10.
LG Blu-Ray/HD DVD Drives
LG today launched the second generation of its Super Multi Blue computer drives, boosting their performance and also making next-generation formats more readily affordable. The GGW-H20LI (pictured) is claimed to be one of the fastest Blu-Ray devices yet, burning both single- and dual-layer discs at a 6X rate that will complete a two-hour movie in 20 minutes. LG further adds HP's LightScribe technology for writing labels directly to the discs themselves. As with the earlier H10NI, the drive is read-only for HD DVD but writes dual-layer DVDs and CDs. It should be available soon for $500.
Piper boosts stock goals
Having released some initial predictions on Thursday, analysts with Piper Jaffray have increased their expectations for Apple stock performance and price target of $205, based on both revenue sharing with AT&T and now booked iPhone revenue. The group is predicting additional earnings per share (EPS) of $1.91 in 2009, and potentially as much as $2.49, which would bring the total growth for that year to $7.31. The determining factor will be how many iPhones Apple will be able to sell -- numbers could fall anywhere between 25 and 45 million, but will need to come closer to the latter to meet Piper's estimates.
LG Opus LCD and 50PY3D
Following a special event, LG has launched a series of new flat-panel TVs for the US, beginning with its Opus LCDs. Competing directly with Sony's Bravia and other premium sets, the 42-, 47-, and 57-inch LBX screens all deliver not just native 1080p but also the better features of modern screens. Each uses a 120Hz panel that eliminates motion artifacts even from 60 frames per second images; improved backlighting also reproduces 92% of the NTSC color gamut and is helped by the company's XD Engine processing to generate a more accurate image. All sets arrive in September with prices of $2,499 (42LBX), $3,299 (47LBX), and $4,499 (57LBX).
T-Mobile iPhone Images
T-Mobile has all but confirmed that it will carry the iPhone in Germany, according to a leaked text banner and product shot hosted on its own website. Calling it "the new cult mobile phone" and including an image of the iPhone with the AT&T logo edited out, the carrier's two images reinforce earlier claims of a temporary store listing for the device as well as a direct assertion by the regional newspaper Rheinische Post that T-Mobile had already won a contract to sell the device in the country. The paper had suggested that the iPhone would sell for 450 Euros beginning in November.
DataWind on Friday took the wraps off its anticipated PocketSurfer2 handheld. The flip-top device breaks the traditional models of cellular Internet devices by relying on a new, extremely efficient download method. Although the portable is only equipped with early GPRS access rather than EDGE or HSDPA, a custom data accelerator produces usable websites far faster than most devices. Where some sites would take two minutes to load a single page, the PocketSurfer can often manage the same in just seven seconds, according to DataWind's estimates. A 640x240 widescreen also promises a far more accurate page layout than the often cramped visuals of other mobile browsers.
Free email for iPhone
Cortado has announced that is bringing its free mobile email service to the iPhone. The package includes a personal Cortado e-mail address with professional spam filter, virus protection, and 20 MB of storage space. There is also a specialized Mac OS X application for use in conjunction with the service that allows synchronization with iCal and the address book. The service uses Microsoft Outlook Web Access, and Cortado has published detailed instructions for synchronizing various data pieces with the iPhone, including iCal, mail accounts and more.
New Parallels 3.0 build
Parallels has released Desktop 3.0 build 4560 for Mac OS X, a free minor update to build 4128 (ithe first release of Desktop 3.0). The new release includes better customizability of SmartSelect for easier app/file integration, faster and smoother Boot Camp partition use, smoother fullscreen transitions (no more flickering or lagging redraws), the return of the Parallels Image Tool,a beefed up Parallels Explorer that makes sharing files and working with non NTFS drives easier and more powerful Snapshot manager that gives you greater control over how snapshots are created and deleted. For users without this build of Parallels, an upgrade is $50 and the full version is priced at $80.
Sony CEO calls Jobs greedy
Sony Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer has described Apple chairman and CEO Steve Jobs as "greedy" according to a New York Post report. Stringer was part of a panel at the Allen & Co. media executive gathering, along with Barry Diller of IAC, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sergey Brin of Google. Stringer reportedly quipped: "It's funny that Jobs accuses record companies of greed because they want to get paid for music downloads," adding that Job is the "greedy" one because he wants a world where "only he makes money." The Post reports that Moderator Anderson Cooper suddenly changed the subject, but Barry Diller of IAC pointed out the comment, at which point the Sony CEO backed off with a political response.
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