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Charles Miller, who first discovered an iPhone vulnerability that was patched by Apple in the iPhone 1.0.1 update, slammed the iPhone's general platform security during a presentation at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas this week. Saying that his hack was not an isolated incident, Miller labeled Apple's security practices as poor, claiming that they have left the entire OS X platform (both the Mac and the iPhone) vulnerable.
In brief: Radtech BT600 and BT100 Blueooth mice review, iPhones to be on sale for $.99, Yet another IM client for the iPhone, Summer pricing on Rex Paks announced, and MacSpeech has certified a new wireless mic for use with iListen ... We have posted a review of the Radtech BT600 and BT100 wireless mice. The BT600 is a full-size 5-button wireless mouse with scroll wheel, priced at $60 USD. The mouse is comparable to some of the other wireless mice available. We also tested the BT100, which is a much smaller mouse that fits better in small hands but does not look as elegant as the BT600. The BT100 is also $10 cheaper and is made to carry around. For another $10, you can purchase a rigid clamshell zippered case for the BT100. Both mice have 800 dpi optical tracking, which makes them very precise for most daily work.
Apple's online store is once again offering reconditioned black and white MacBooks as well as various iPod models at discounted rates with free shipping. The company promises customers that the items are as good as brand new purchases, and includes a standard one-year Apple warranty with every refurbished item sold. Apple's reconditioned consumer notebooks currently include its white 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $949; as well as its black 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $1,299. The Cupertino-based company is also selling refurbished iPod nanos in 2GB (silver only), 4GB (silver, green, blue, and pink models available), and 8GB capacities (black only) for $99, $149, and $199 respectively. Apple's second-generation iPod shuffle is also available in 1GB capacities (silver or pink) for $49.
Several days after Apple's first iPhone firmware update, owners of the cellular handset continue to report changes in their usage experiences for the better. Despite the company's claim that the update only plugged security holes and included minor fixes, iPhone owners insist that the device is much more pleasant to use after installing the new firmware. According to users posting to Apple's Discussion boards, the update has fixed some calculator bugs and ensured that VPN (Virtual Private Network) security and password settings are remembered between sessions.
Integrated Color Corporation has announced that its ColorEyes Display Pro monitor profiling software now supports the full range of Apple monitors, including the Apple Cinema Display as well as the MacBook, MacBook Pro and tje iMac. The color profiling tool works with most colorimeters and spectrophotometers on the market today and features two unique interfaces - one for the amateur and one for the more advanced user - giving those advanced users the tools and features they want while also providing a wizard-based interface to assist novice users. It also includes iterative gray balance measurements as well as L* gamma support for visually linear profiles. In addition, ColorEyes Display Pro sports profile verification to test monitors, profiles and instrument accuracy. It's priced at $175.
Independent software developers have successfully created the very first full-fledged native iPhone application, complete with its own icon on the iPhone menu and a user-interface that is not powered by Web 2.0 technology. The application, called MobileTerminal, is terminal emulation software developed without an official Software Development Kit (SDK) from Apple. Google Code is hosting the application and so far Apple hasn't moved to take down the rogue software as it has with previous hacks involving its closely-guarded Mac OS X operating system. The lack of movement on Apple's part could signal a certain tolerance for true third-party application development, or may only prove to be an incubation period for forthcoming actions on the part of the Cupertino-based company.
Google's reported self-branded phone may be only part of what the company has planned for phone service in the US, says a report from the Wall Street Journal. The company is now purportedly not just designing a phone in a Boston studio to be made by HTC but also has long-term plans for a service of its own; the service would be funded by targeted ads and could offer subscriptions for free, the tip claims.
TiVo's just launched TiVo HD DVR may have shipped with a chronic defect, according to various reports from TiVo users. The CableCARD slots in particular are said to be generating pixelization with digital broadcasts; slot 2 produces enough visual artifacts as to be virtually unusable, one user said. In some cases, many of the subscribed digital channels also fail to register on the second slot. The cards are known to work with previous DVR units and on strong TV signals.
The research group Media Create is reporting that sales of the Sony PlayStation 3 more than doubled in Japan last week, while Nintendo's own hardware sales fell slightly. Whereas the PS3 sold just 12,000 units in the week ending July 22nd, that number shot up to 28,829 by July 29th, a badly-needed morale boost for a company which recently declared losses of $245 million in large part due to poor sales of the console. Some 710,000 PS3s were sold worldwide in the last quarter, a number dwarfed by units from rivals Nintendo and Microsoft.
Pioneer today revealed details of the BDR-202, the new leader in the company's Blu-Ray PC drives. The full-height burner creates write-once Blu-Ray discs at 4X and supports 2X burning for rewritable discs. It also packs extra measures for stable reads and writes for the new format, Pioneer says. Ultra DRA cancels out drive shaking during the recording process and is equaled by corrections to the laser beam itself and a liquid equalizer during playback. Legacy support writes DVDs up to 12X and CDs at 24X.
The BlackBerry Pearl 2 (nicknamed the Comet) will represent one of AT&T's most aggressive product launches ever, claims an insider close to RIM's products. In addition to being the primary carrier of the 3.2-megapixel, Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone for the US and potentially North America, the company will offer offer eight different colors upon launch, including blue and gold. This would create one of the widest-ever selections available for an. T-Mobile will also pick up the phone but will have to wait until after AT&T's launch and may only see some of the color options. The initial release is reportedly penned in for early September.
Deliver2Mac has begun selling downloads of Chicago 1930, the RuneSoft real-time strategy game. Players join a campaign as either the Chicago police or the Mafia, who in the former case have to protect the public and interrogate witnesses, while the latter get to fight both police and rivals, as well as hush up any bystanders. Combat requires smart tactical thinking, and can involve weapons ranging from baseball bats to through to Tommy guns. The game runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and costs $30.
Miglia has announced the VideoExpress, a device about the size of a standard Apple remote that can convert video for the iPod, Apple TV and other Sony PSP using hardware-based encoding. Miglia claims that the VideoExpress will encode into h.264 video up to 5x faster than real time export, and it also does not require any processor time from your Mac, allowing other operations to proceed normally. It's accompanied by a drag-and-drop application that requires you to pick the destination and the quality, for example 'iPod High Quality.' In addition there is a separate QuickTime plugin that allows you to export from any supported application.
Virtual Programming today released Reel Deal Card Games, its new gambling game that offers a variety of sub-games. The title brings Hearts, Spades, Canasta, Bridge, dozens of Solitaire games, and over 70 other mini-games to Mac card game enthusiasts. "The smart, vivacious opponents will help you learn how to play, or test your various skills with multiple levels of intelligence. You can progress through the secret areas of the Prize Vault and Mall to unlock hundreds of items and surprises. You can even play this game on-line with other players from around the world Jump on board the PhantomVP epidemic sweeping the country!" Reel Deal Card Games is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Dell's first move into tablet PCs will be aggressive, according to freshly leaked information. The convertible system will depend on a 12-inch touchscreen similar to Lenovo's ThinkPad X61 and other ultraportables but will have two distinct display options: an LED-backlit display should be thinner and provide more even, color-rich output, while an outdoor option will cut much of the glare that impacts visibility on brighter days. Dell also promises support for both finger input and a stylus, features not always seen with rival machines.
A company called Mercury Computer Systems has released the MultiCore Plus SDK for PS3, remarkable for being one of the few third-party development kits available for game consoles. Mercury is not interested in games though, but rather commercial and military interests, since the PlayStation's Cell processor is extremely powerful while remaining a relatively cheap and open platform. It can for instance load Linux, which Mercury is pairing with its SDK to allow tasks such as running a node in a computing cluster. The SDK is not being priced for amateurs: a single-seat license is now available for $399.
Online music store Puretracks today announced a major expansion of its MP3 store, taking advantage of EMI's recent decision to offer protection-free music to Canadians. As with options available from Amazon and Apple, the new store allows buyers to optionally download DRM-free versions of any song available from the label, allowing them to be loaded on to the iPod and any device that supports MP3s. The universal format also allows Mac users to buy any content from the web-based store.
Apple and Best Buy are planning to bring iPhones to some of Best Buy's nationwide outlets in the next 4-6 weeks, according to sources. Meanwhile, the retail chain plans to expand the number of its stores that sell Macs to 300 by the end of 2007. When the expansion is complete, Best Buy will be selling nearly 80 percent of Apple's entire product offerings in about 40 percent of its own outlets across the U.S. AppleInsider reports that the two companies, which launched a pilot program to test the prospect of selling Apple goods in just seven Best Buy stores last year, will start by expanding Mac distribution to 200 locations by the end of September.
Systemax finished its week with the release of the Venture VE55. The PC house joins the increasing shift towards eco-friendly PCs and markets the mini tower as one of the most power-efficient desktops yet. A new Via mainboard and 1.5GHz C7-D desktop processor let the computer stay under 20W of consumption even at peak load, the company says. Choosing the Via hardware also results in an almost completely carbon-free with only a small, quiet fan setup to keep the system cool.
e-on software will be debuting releases 6.5 of Vue Infinite and Vue xStream for 3DS Max, Cinema4D, LightWave, Maya and XSI at next week's SIGGRAPH conference in San Diego. Vue Infinite and Vue xStream are the company's flagship solutions for the creation of natural 3D environments. The new releases will be free for all Vue 6 Infinite and Vue 6 xStream owners. Vue 6 xStream starts at $900, and Vue 6 Infinite starts at $700 (Nodelocked Licenses, Download Versions).
Apple's iPhone is about to disrupt the cellular phone industry, according to one report, with data from one survey suggesting that up to 16 percent of those planning to purchase a mobile handset in the next six months will acquire an iPhone. The news comes after the iPhone launch on June 29th, which shattered AT&T's sales record and swamped stores across the U.S. with eager customers. A survey from ChangeWave conducted among 3,003 members of the ChangeWave Alliance last month suggests that Apple's entry into the mobile market is causing a virtual upheaval in the industry, according to a report from Macworld UK.
Adobe has announced the winners of its 2007 Design Achievement Awards. The accolade honors the most talented and promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, and computer artists from the world's top educational institutions. More than 2,500 students from 30 countries competed in the annual program. In the Animation category the winner was Axel Broetje of Braunschweig University of Art in Germany for "Fische und Schiffe," an animated silhouette film for children. Broetje writes: "I created all characters, objects and backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator working from basic black geometric elements. After that I imported paths from the characters and objects into Adobe After Effects and Maya. Everything was animated scene after scene in After Effects and Maya."
iSkin today officially launched its Cerulean X1 earbuds geared towards audiophiles. Their in-canal design offers passive noise cancellation with three sizes of silicone ear tips to ensure a solid fit. Inside, the earphones are built with an emphasis on balanced audio rather than bass; the 9mm neodymium drivers are each housed in a bass-enhancing chamber to amplify the power of portable media players but are otherwise neutral enough to deliver clear high frequencies and a detailed mid-range, iSkin claims.
Details and photos have leaked today regarding the EOS-40D, the widely expected sequel to Canon's 30D entry pro DSLR camera. In spite of likely costing much less than the $3,999 flagship EOS-1D Mark III, the 40D will include a full three auto-exposure priority modes (aperture, depth-of-field, and shutter) as well as the 1D's quarter-resolution sRAW mode which captures uncompressed photos at a faster rate and without the larger file size. Earlier reports also claim the camera will have a similar 10-megapixel sensor with a dust removal system, a three-inch LCD with live previews, and a sustained shooting speed of at least five and potentially over six frames per second.
The Germany company Navilock has released the BT-451, a Bluetooth 2.0 mouse with the unusual element of a GPS receiver. The mouse pairs with phones and computers, and once connected, supplies location data to devices that are otherwise merely GPS-ready. To ensure that both the mouse and the device retain power, however, the 451 will only retrieve GPS data when it is immediately necessary. Navilock claims that the receiver used is strong enough to provide accurate tracking indoors as well as outdoors. The 451 should currently be on sale throughout Europe for €79 ($108).
Lenovo, the current maker of the popular ThinkPad laptop, has announced its intentions to market a new computer towards China's rural poor. The system will just bundle a keyboard and use an owner's television as the monitor, with costs ranging between 1,499 and 2,999 yuan ($199-$399). The Associated Press observes that this pricepoint is critical for pushing sales onto China, as while the cities are increasingly rich, the average income in rural areas is just 4,200 yuan ($560) annually.
Speaking during an earnings call, Jim Meyer, Sirius' president of operations and sales, has revealed the development of the Stiletto 2, a successor to the company's current Stiletto 100 portable radio (right). The 100 has 2GB of flash memory, and can record approximately six hours of programming or 10 hours of individual tracks; songs flagged during a show can later be bought through Yahoo! Music and kept as permanent copies.
Aspyr Media today released an update to its Game Agent application, a free utility that allows Mac gamers to easily match their computer hardware with the system requirements of Aspyr's game titles. Game Agent automatically identifies which games run on the current system and determine necessary upgrades for any other Aspyr games if needed. The software also lets users see which games will run on current Mac models Apple sells for those users looking to purchase new hardware. New features in the latest release include an updated game directory, identification for games with Universal Binary support, recognition of the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor as well as Mac OS X 10.4.10, and the addition of "Runs on My Mac" as well as "Universal Games" sections to the sidebar. Current Game Agent application users will receive the update automatically the next time the software runs, according to Aspyr.
Samsung may face a major supply issue with flash memory in the wake of an accidental power cut, the company told the press on Friday. An interruption in power near one of the company's Seoul, Korea plants has forced the company to halt production at six of the factories that produce the NAND flash used by cellphones, portable media players, and other devices. The company estimates that its losses could tally over $54 million, while the immediate (non-contract) price of a standard chip has already climbed 9 percent as a result of the event.
Quark has released the QuarkXPress 7.3 updater, a maintenance release to its professional design software that provides new localized user interfaces in European Portuguese, Finnish, Croation, Hungarian, and Russian languages. The latest release increases the number of languages supported by QuarkXPress to 18, and addresses the most frequently reported issues identified by QuarkXPress users. The updater is available as a free download, offering hyphenation and spelling support for Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Latvian, Estonian, Icelandic, and Slovak.
Sound Guy has released the first version of ReSpatializer, a VST/Audio Unit plug-in that lets users test and alter panning, surround-sound and general spatialization. These elements are displayed in a simple graphical interface, where users can also tweak spreading, channel gain, and mute or solo selection. Processing options include low-frequency effect tools, synching to the host tempo, and output to as many as eight channels in formats such as Dolby, DTS and ITU. Simulated surround is created by converting full-scale spatializations into stereo or binaural mixes. ReSpatializer is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4 and costs $100.
Toshiba is readying a pair of notebook designs for both frequent travelers and professionals, the system builder has revealed at a press gathering. The Portégé M600 (pictured) should bridge the differences between the company's larger home systems and its ultraportables, bringing the familiar white and black shape of the Satellite series to a 13.3-inch compact system. The PC also promises distinctly home-friendly features such as a 1.3-megapixel webcam and Vista Home Premium
The controversial MacBook Wi-Fi vulnerabilities demonstrated at last year's Black Hat conference have won an award for the most overhyped bug. Security researcher David Maynor claimed to have discovered vulnerabilities that could compromise MacBooks via wireless networking, but the acclaimed security flaws affected only older versions of Mac OS X as well as third-party wireless driver software that never shipped with a MacBook from Apple. "In the end, the only public information about Maynor's Wi-Fi vulnerabilities are hype, denial, a media frenzy, and a patch that may or may not have been based on Maynor's findings," said judges of the first ever "Pwnie" awards. Maynor and Jon "Johnny Cache" held the demonstration one year ago yesterday in response to a "Mac user base aura of smugness on security."
The release of the iPhone is already beginning to skew the demographics of the cellphone industry, just a little over a month after its release, according to a ChangeWave survey. The group found that of those surveyed, the iPhone by itself had taken a one percent market share, and it was the cellphone of choice for 16 percent of those planning to buy within the next six months. This figure is said to be higher than for any other manufacturer; the same can be said for customer satisfaction, with 77 percent of iPhone owners saying they were "Very Satisfied" with their purchase. By comparison, only 50 percent of RIM Blackberry owners had the same answer.
Microsoft will officially cut the price of Windows Vista in China to combat piracy in the area, the company announced on Friday. The developer says it will cut the prices of the full Home Basic edition from the equivalent of $201 to about $66 -- a third of the original price, the company notes. Home Premium will drop by about half from $238 to $119 while OEM and upgrade editions should also see price cuts. The move is said to be an essential one for Microsoft, which has struggled with sales in China as its prices are virtually the same as for the US despite far lower average incomes.
Nokia could be planning a major music-themed phone launch on August 29th, according to a mysterious teaser site. The site is deliberately vague on details but makes a clear reference to an August 29th date and forms the silhouette of what appears to be the N81 smartphone (pictured at left), a reportedly music-oriented phone with 8GB of built-in flash and a full size headphone jack. The 29th may also mark the launch of Nokia's long in development online music store and is supported by fast-forward icons and other music imagery floating in the teaser page.
PDO, formerly known as PodsPlus, has released its first screen protectors for the iPhone. As with others, they are foremost made to protect against scratching; PDO's are also, however, promoted as being anti-glare. The protectors further cover the entire front of the iPhone, with the exception of the speaker and the Home button. The package includes an extra microfiber cloth, which should be used on the screen before applying of one the two supplied protectors. Cost is set at $9.
Manufacturing problems with flash memory for iPods and iPhones may have triggered an emergency switch in suppliers from Hynix to Samsung to help cover supplies for the holiday season, say sources from memory producers in southeast Asia. Hynix is said to have encountered problems producing its latest multi-level cell (MLC) flash storage due to the combination of the denser, more complex memory format and a very small 60 nanometer process, forcing Apple to consider Samsung as an alternative. The problems began in June and could persist until September, the sources claimed.
In brief: An iPhone parts store launches, Micronet debuts a 48-Port Gigabit Web Smart Switch, a game development contest is underway, and a parody demonstrating the "iPhone Shuffle" has been posted ... iFixit has launched an iPhone Parts Store that sells every part needed to repair your iPhone including batteries, displays, case components, logic boards, and more. There is also a free guide that features clear pictures and detailed instructions for replacing any part in the iPhone. Installation instructions are tailored to allow the removal and replacement of any component, including the rear panel, headphone jack, battery, logic board, and display assembly. The guide also shows you how to secure your iPhone by removing the internal camera, important because many secure facilities do not allow cameraphones.
Diet Sleuth 5.0.0 ($35) a nutritional database and personal health logbook. For each day, you select the foods you have eaten, and the number of servings of each. Diet Sleuth will automatically calculate your caloric intake, fat grams, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, cholesterol, along with sodium, potassium, and calcium. This version adds graphs of your daily intake of calories, fat, carbs, and 33 other nutrients, as well as your weight. [Download - 3MB] Cyndicate 1.0 ($30) provides full access to RSS and Atom syndication feeds in a familiar Mail-like interface. Users are able to manually sort and automatically filter articles into folders and with smart folders. It also features custom article display through an advanced template system using HTML and CSS and easy posting to social networking sites like Digg, del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon with ShareThis. [Download - 3.1MB] PhotoFixLens 2.1 ($70) works as a plug-in to correct zoom and wide-angle distortion such as barreling and pin-cushioning imperfections in an image due to lens optics inside Photoshop / Elements / PaintShop / PhotoPaint and more. Version 2.1 includes several important improvements such as the ability to correct perspective distortion. Additional tools eliminates lens vignetting and fringing effects. [Download - 8.6MB] Aabel 2.3 ($345) statistical and exploratory data analysis, scientific graphing, and thematic mapping. The new release has a choice of user-defined multipliers for scientific notation to allow varying formats accepted by different scientific journals and major enhancements to existing features with emphasize on improving worksheet operations and fixing glitches in window-related operations. [Download - 17MB] LicenseKeeper 1.2 ($20) organizes all of your important software license information, helping to prevent the loss of valuable investments in software. The 1.2 release introduces a new interface and several new features intended to make tracking your software licenses easier. For instance, you can now update an application's information with a click of a button. It is a free upgrade to all registered LicenseKeeper users. [Download - 1.9MB]
Now AAPL Stock: 94.76 ( -0.25 )
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X