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AirPort BS Software Update
Apple on Monday released updated software for managing its wireless routers. The AirPort Base Station Update 2007-002, it says, includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the AirPort Utility, AirPort Disk Utility, and AirPort Disk Agent applications. Version 5.2.1of the cross-platform software -- which manages both the 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme Base Station and the AirPort Express device -- is available via the Web and the Software Update as a 8.9MB download. An updated version for Windows is also available and includes the same fixes.
iPhone: mod, BattleFleet
In brief: One iPhone customer recently discovered that prepaid SIM cards are permanently bound to one particular phone, one user has modded an iPhone by replacing all of Apple's default icons with custom designs, a Web developer has released BattleFleet for iPhone, and the iPhoneWx weather application is updated with performance improvements as well as an interface style that matches the iPhone's native programs. Prepaid iPhone users are stuck with just one iPhone and cannot switch devices for any reason, according to one wary customer. "If you activated an iPhone with a new AT&T prepaid plan, you must keep using that iPhone. You cannot replace that iPhone with another iPhone." The decision was made by both Apple and AT&T, which both say that the restriction is a security precaution.
Intel's 3GHz quad-core
Intel has added two new quad-core Intel Xeon processors to its lineup for general availability. The Xeon X5365 is the industry's first 3.0GHz quad-core processor, and boasts a front-side bus (FSB) speed of 1333MHz, drawing 120 watts. This chip was first made available in Apple's Mac Pro four months ago, but is now available to other manufacturers. The Xeon L5335 is a power conservative sibling running at 2.0GHz and also sporting a 1333MHz FSB but drawing only 50 watts. Both processors are "drop-in" compatible with select existing Intel server platforms. Intel's initial benchmarks for the X5365 show it claiming the new speed throne relative to Xeon predecessors. Using the SPECint_rate_base2006 benchmark, which measures integer throughput, a Fujitsu-Siemens PRIMERGY RX300 S3 server based on the quad-core Intel Xeon Processor X5365 scored 98.9. Using the SPECjbb 2005 benchmark, a Dell PowerEdge 1950 server based on the also based on the X5365 posted a score of 238,472 business operations per second.
New Fibre Channel cards
Studio Network Solutions (SNS) today unveiled the Ellipse and Ellipse Enterprise Fibre Channel controller cards compatible Mac desktops. The new Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) are optimized for audio/video use, and are available in single, dual-, and quad-port PCIe configurations for Intel-based Macs. A PCI-X version is also available for older PowerPC-based systems, according to the company, and both cards designed to easily handle uncompressed HD up to 2K resolution. SNS is offering its Ellipse/SANmp bundle with SANmp software that enables computers to share data over Fibre Channel and iSCSI mediums for SAN sharing and connectivity. The Ellipse 4Gbps Fibre Channel HBA includes LC-type connectors with prices starting at $800 for the single-port adapter and $1,500 for the Ellipse/SANmp bundle. The controllers require Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
Earbud manager 2G Shuffle
Core Cases has debuted a new earbud manager for the second-generation iPod Shuffle that makes it easy to carry your earbuds. It includes custom-designed cutouts that allow access to the shuffle switch, battery indicator and headphone jack. The package includes an Onyx Black EarBud Manager, a Lava Red EarBud Manager and a Travel Bud USB Adapter. There is also a lanyard loop for easy attachment to backpack or laptop case. The earbud manager is priced at $17.
Atree on Monday upped the ante on electronic dictionaries with the UM10. Small enough to fit in a pocket courtesy of a 3-inch screen, the display still has a 480x272 screen large enough for the company's 100,000-word English/Korean dictionary as well as reading Office documents or displaying photos. But media playback is a specialty, Atree says; the fold-up device handles MPEG-4 and WMV video clips alongside MP3, WMA, and OGG audio. DMB tuning is also available in Korea for digital TV broadcasts while FM radio is accessible almost everywhere.
gBox, Universal and Google
An as-yet unlaunched music site is aligning itself in a partnership designed to undermine the likes of Apple's iTunes Store, reports say. Called gBox, the startup is partnering itself with Universal Music, which has omitted Apple from the group of companies in its trial of DRM-free music. gBox will likewise offer DRM-free tracks from Universal, priced at 99 cents, the same cost as DRM-encoded tracks at the iTunes Store. Apple sells its DRM-free songs at an average price of $1.29.
MySpace Mobile at Rogers
MySpace today announced a deal with Rogers Wireless to offer MySpace Mobile, making the GSM carrier the first to offer the service in Canada. The Rogers edition gives subscribers most of the same options as they would have on a desktop, allowing them to update their blog, comments, or profile; they can equally send or receive friend requests and check either public bulletins from friends or their own private e-mail.
Yamaha DSP Home Theaters
Yamaha this afternoon refreshed its Digital Sound Projector line for home theater enthusiasts without the space for hardware surround setups. Each new model refines the company's spatializing technique to widen the overall sound field and lets users personalize the surround effect beyond the default 5.1-channel Dolby Surround and DTS processing methods. Two new models also add two HDMI inputs and one output for routing audio to an HDTV, with the mid-range YSP-3000 relaying video unchanged and the top YSP-4000 upscaling analog video to either 720p or 1080i.
Google kills pay video
Sidestepping a public announcement, Google has informed customers individually of its decision to stop its paid video services later this week. In its mass e-mail, the company has explained that "to improve all Google services," download-to-own and download-to-rent videos purchased through Google Video will become unavailable as of August 15th. In addition to stopping new purchases, this will disable videos already bought in the past. To compensate Google is providing refunds, plus a $2 bonus to be spent at Google Checkout within the next 60 days.
Multisite for iWeb 2.0
Clarkwood Software has announced Multisite for iWeb 2.0, a $20 Mac OS X utility for users of iWeb that allows users to build several sites that go to more than a single web server. It also speeds up iWeb's publishing by putting sites into individual files behind the scenes so you do not have to publish every site each time. Other features include the ability create, duplicate, or delete entire sites, import and export entire sites easily move sites between people and computers, and references for additional control. The new release adds support for iWeb '08 (version 2.0) which is a part of iLife '08, but continues to support iWeb 1.1.2. The new release is a free update to all registered users. For new users, it is priced at $20.
DXG-572V Video Camera
Budget camera maker DXG today launched the DXG-572V for starter videographers. The camera records NTSC-resolution video in an MPEG-4 format easily used for uploading clips to YouTube or social networking sites; rather than rely on DV tapes or DVDs, the camera stores memory on either its built-in 32MB of flash or on removable SD cards up to 2GB in size. It also doubles as a basic still camera, DXG claims; though zoom is strictly digital, the sensor shoots true 5.13-megapixel images without the interpolation often used by entry cameras. The device further doubles as a voice recorder for short memos.
iPhone video conferencing
Mac programmers this weekend at the C-4 developer conference wrote an application for Apple's iPhone that enables two-way video conferencing as part of a the "Iron Coder Live" hack contest. Contestants are encouraged to develop creative hacks written with in a short period of time, and this year's theme was Apple's iPhone. "Our contest entry captures video from the iPhone's camera, compresses it, and sends it to a Web server, where it's relayed to another iPhone, and vice-versa, resulting in a nice two-way video conference," one participant wrote. "Need audio too? That's not our department but simply make a phone call to the other person's iPhone and put them on speaker phone. Then fire up our program and you're in business."
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Black
The Japanese division of AMD has made an unexpected processor announcement. While promoting an upcoming, 3GHz Phenom processor, the company also took the time to promote a new Athlon CPU, the Athlon 64 X2 Black Edition. Shipped in a box of its namesake color, the unit is essentially a 6400+ clocked at 3.2GHz, with the added benefit of supporting unbuffered, 800MHz DDR2 RAM. The chip should ship to Japan August 20th at a cost equivalent to $240; no mention has been made of a North American release, but it is uncharacteristic of AMD to limit processors to individual countries. [via Akihabara News]
HTC Iris at FCC
HTC is developing a new mid-range smartphone that should offer some advanced features despite a simple design, according to an FCC filing. The S640, nicknamed the Iris, will include a 2.4-inch LCD similar to the Dash or other fixed-keyboard smartphones and will go without a touchscreen. The US government documents also confirm earlier claims that the device will ship with both 802.11g Wi-Fi and a stand-alone GPS receiver for routefinding without requiring a subscription service. HTC will also reportedly include a 2-megapixel camera, a direct mini-USB connection for sideloading data, and mobile broadband over EVDO.
5TB 5-disk RAID unit ships
LaCie today unveiled its 5TB S2S 5-disk RAID storage system designed for digital content creation applications. The solution utilizes an eSata 3Gbps interface as well as direct eSATA-to-eSATA connectivity, and is capable of reaching burst transfer rates of more than 200MB/sec. Advanced users can connect up to four S2S units together on an included eSATA PCI-X/Express Card to achieve 20TB of RAID storage with burst speeds of more than 600MB/sec. Disks are hot-swappable for instant expandability, according to LaCie, and the solution is hot-pluggable to negate the need for powering down the computer. FUsers can customize email alerts in the event of a disk failure, and can create unique RAID sets to suit different applications. The storage system comes pre-configured in Fast mode (hardware RAID 0), striping disks together for maximum throughput. Other supported RAID modes include RAID 1, RAID 0+1, hardware concatenation, and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). The 5TB system ships with a 4-port PCI-Express ($4,800) or PCI-X ($3,700) card.
Maestro 1070 Speakers
Blue Raven on Monday introduced the Maestro 1070, a new premium speaker dock for iPods, iPhones, and other devices. The 70-watt system shares the same box-like shape as Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speakers but hopes to offer comparable quality at a lower price. A central 5-inch subwoofer and two three-inch satellites separate bass from high and mid-range sounds while still providing enough power to fill a room. The system charges and docks any iPod while it plays, but unlike the Apple device also includes a video-out jack for displaying photos or videos on a TV.
New Mac mini benchmarks
Though the introduction was largely lost in the shuffle of Apple's new iMac, iLife '08 and .Mac announcements, the Mac mini line received a significant revision during Apple's August 7th announcements. The tiny Mac now sports 1.83 or 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, updated from 1.66GHz or 1.83 GHz Core Duo processors in the older models, respectively. Apple claims the processor upgrades make the new minis run 39% faster than previously. Primate Labs has now put Apple's performance claims to the test with a series of benchmarks for the new revisions.
Skype comes to iPhone
Shape Services on Monday introduced Skype for iPhone. IM+ is the company's Web application designed for the Safari Web browser that accesses the Skype ecosystem from a mobile environment, allowing users to make phone calls using Skype. Designed specifically for the iPhone's touch-screen, IM+ for Skype iPhone is available for free to all iPhone users for a limited time. Users can talk to Skype contacts or call any landlines as well as mobiles. IM+ for Skype uses SkypeOut credits for voice communication to ensure cost-effective calling to any number around the world, and provides nearly free calling from an iPhone to any PC with Skype or any land-line/mobile number for SKype Unlimited and Skype Pro plan users.
Windows XP Low on Keys
Windows XP Professional will have been on sale for so long that the software will run out of product activation keys without an update, Microsoft's official system builder blog has revealed. As the Professional edition has had its lifecycle extended to the end of January 2009 -- over seven years after its initial October 2001 release -- the software developers have found that the existing keys would not cover sales until the end of the period, requiring a fix for new customers to use the software. Known as Service Pack 2c, the update will be mandatory for computer makers by September as future PCs might not be able to install XP as soon as this fall, Microsoft says.
Apple, Nintendo conflict?
Apple and console maker Nintendo may be on an unintentional collision course, according to a new media report. The latter is attempting to patent a tilt sensitivity sensor for its DS handheld, which would give the device control similar to the stationary Wii; this technology is said to be similar, however, to the accelerometer in the iPhone, which is used to sense when the view should be rotated between portrait and widescreen ratios. Apple has yet to make any comments regarding Nintendo's initiatives.
MagSafe auto charger
Mikegyver Computer and Tech (MCT) has developed a Magsafe vehicle charging adapter for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro that allows owners to charge their laptops on-the-go. The accessory supports charging Apple's Intel-based notebooks in cars, boats, on airplanes, and around the house without the need to waste energy or money on an inverter -- a device that turns DC (direct current) into AC (alternating current) to offer a standard 110-volt wall plug that can charge laptops using their own bundled AC adapters. MCT's cord features a MagSafe connector on one end and a DC connector that works with the "N2" tip accessory which ships with the Kensington 120-watt Notebook AC/DC Power Adapter. The cord also works with iGo's Juice70, allowing MacBook owners to use a single power adapter for numerous devices. Kensington's 120-watt adapter is priced at $140, while iGo's Juice70 is available for $120. MCT also offers a package bundling the Kensington adapter with its modified MagSafe adapter for $210, according to one ZDNet blogger.
iWork beats MS Office
Apple last week released the latest version of its iWork business software suite with support for Microsoft's own Open XML format. Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) has yet to offer support for the company's own format, leading one industry analyst to describe the situation as "embarrassing" for the Redmond-based company. "This was the ultimate insult to injury," said Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research. "Not only has Microsoft not delivered the ability to read and write Open XML in its Mac Office, but at the end of the day, Apple was the one who delivered." Microsoft's planned Mac Office launch was recently delayed until mid-January of 2008 due to the shift to Open XML as Office 2008's native file format, as well as a slow shift in releasing conversion tools for support of older Office installations, according to Macworld UK.
iSlimCharger iPod shuffle
Monster Cable has grown its iSlimCharger series with the iSlimCharger for the iPod shuffle. The device is only three quarters the size of the already small Apple player but adapts the jukebox to any USB port, allowing it to charge and sync without the relative bulk of the proprietary dock. Unique to Monster's charger is a brace that uses the gap created by the built-in clip to prevent the adapter from coming loose. Availability of the miniaturized iSlimCharger is unknown but is expected to arrive soon. Monster has priced the connector at $15.
Appeal to open Apple TV
A new open letter has been directed at Steve Jobs, calling on the Apple CEO to "open up" development for the Apple TV. The operators of Apple TV Hacks complain that while they enjoy the device's official uses, mainly watching movies and TV shows purchased through the iTunes Store, it cannot be given new software features -- such as increased file support -- without "a hack that probably makes casual users cringe at the thought of trying it out." The situation is said to be particularly frustrating in light of colossal support for the iPhone, which has its own development kits, including one which should push the number of widgets over 3,100.
Philips GoGear SA3385
Without any formal introduction, Philips has slipped out its new GoGear SA3385 jukebox. Expanding the amount of flash storage from 4GB to 8GB, the player appears to share the same features as the reference SA3300 and gives more space for MPEG-4, SMV, and WMV videos on the 2.4-inch LCD as well as up to 2,000 MP3 or WMA songs. FM radio tuning and photo viewing are also onboard. Battery life is similar at 20 hours of pure audio and 4 hours of 320x240 video.
Novell owns UNIX
In brief: Apple will likely benefit from a ruling passed down by a federal regarding UNIX, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia's hit single "Glorious" is scheduled to launch August 19th on Apple's iTunes Store but is already available via Italy's own store, Nova Media has improved SMS as well as the Phonebook wizard in its Message2Net software, and three weeks remain for IK Multimedia's 2x1 FX Madness promotion. A federal judge has ruled that UNIX belongs to Novell, not SCO. The decision could help Apple as well as other companies that own UNIX copyrights while paving the way for broader UNIX and Linux usage.
SlingPlayer Symbian Beta
Sling Media has quietly announced a private beta of SlingPlayer for Symbian, a new version of the mobile TV streaming app. The new version lets any Series 60 phone with either 3G (HSDPA/UMTS) or Wi-Fi watch and control the feed sourced from a Slingbox at home, allowing phones primarily from Nokia to catch video that might otherwise have been missed. The Symbian version should be feature-equivalent with previous versions for Palm and Windows Mobile devices.
European iPhone trademarks
One of the reasons no European plans have been announced for the iPhone is because of trademark issues, say anonymous sources. While Cisco settled its worldwide dispute with Apple in February, there are two Spanish companies which have may cause for dispute: AudioDescripciones has registered the name "IPH IPhone," while Catalan De Telecomunicacions Societat Operadora De Xarxes has "Al-Pi Iphone." In the United Kingdom, the VoIP company ICX Europe has applied for the name as well.
XM XpressRC Tuner
XM Satellite Radio today stepped up its Xpress receivers with the XpressRC. Improving on the formula of the earlier XpressR, the RC shares the same split screen that allows browsing channels without losing track of what's currently playing. A new color screen, however, both offers much sharper output as well as richer visuals for station IDs and backgrounds. The color version also adds a full, one-hour memory buffer to catch shows missed during work or to replay a segment on the road.
IOGEAR MiniView Micro PS2
IOGEAR on Monday introduced the MiniView Micro PS/2, the latest of its KVM switches for two-PC setups. The switch allows either computer to share a DVI-equipped LCD up to 1600x1200 resolution as well as PS/2 keyboards and mice. Audio is also sent through the switch independently from other inputs; this lets users host and play music on one computer while they work another, IOGEAR says. Regardless of the setup, the footprint is minimal thanks to an in-line design and a breakout controller that prevents the KVM from consuming too much space on a desk. The use of PS/2 ports lets the MiniView support both most Windows systems as well as Sun's Solaris-based workstations. It should be available today for $160.
Doom, NES on iPhone
Two new game applications have been released for the iPhone, both unofficial. The first is a port of id Software's Doom, the classic first-person shooter originally released for the PC in 1993. The game is currently in an unplayable state, and lacking audio, but it does however run demo sequences, and is likely a teaser for a future, functional port. id co-founder John Carmack has not revealed any plans for development of an official product. A Doom WAD file is required for the iPhone application to work.
iRiver this morning took the wraps off the NV, an all-in-one device meant equally for in-car use and on foot. Mounted on a dash, the NV provides GPS navigation with 3D views and picture-in-picture for using media functions without disrupting navigation. The GPS receiver is also used in tandem with a 1.3-megapixel camera for geotagging images. Music, video, and photos are playable from SD cards, including DVD-quality clips in MPEG-4 or XviD formats; the NV includes dual SD slots so these clips won't interrupt map functions. When this isn't available, DMB mobile TV tuning lets users watch digital broadcasts in iRiver's native Korea on a large 7-inch screen.
LG Trax Live at ATT
AT&T today announced the launch of the LG Trax. In addition to the touch-sensitive external music controls and support for up to 4GB of AAC, MP3, or WMA tracks that give the phone its name, the shipping version of the handset takes advantage of its 3G-level HSDPA Internet access to hook into multiple online AT&T media services. The Trax is the latest phone to support MP3 downloads from eMusic Mobile or live Internet streaming of XM radio; the handset can also handle video streaming through AT&T's Cellular Video service or one-way video calls through Video Share.
Video blogging app
vlogsnapz.com has announced vmovie, a new video blogging application that allows users to record video live with effects. Recorded movies can be post-processed to add titles, then uploaded to almost a dozen services from within the application. Automated tasks can be used to streamline the process for less savvy users. Supported services include YouTube, vimeo, blip.tv, and dailymotion. Users can also upload to .Mac as well as via FTP, and there are export options for the iPod, iPhone, and AppleTV. The tool requires Mac OS X Tiger and QuickTime 7, and will be available in beta form shortly. Pricing had not yet been announced.
TuneRanger beta released
Acertant has released a new beta of TuneRanger network sync for iTunes and iPod. The tool connects all of a user's iTunes-running computers together over any network. Music, video, and playlists can then be synchronized and merged. Buy a song on any computer, add an album cover or lyrics, and all changes are updated everywhere. The new release includes general reliability, network discovery, and speed improvements. It also adopts Apple's Bonjour network discovery on both Mac and Windows. Using Bonjour, TuneRanger will now auto-discover other TuneRanger-running computers on larger more complex networks. "Track #" has also been added as a top level comparison key. This was added to resolve false duplicate issues with some classical music collections that use the same song name within an album and differentiate songs only by track number. The software is priced at $30.
eBook reader for iPhone
Books.app is a new, basic eBook reader binary for the iPhone that requires books to be transferred to the device via the iPHUC tool. The application reads HTML and text files stored in a media/eBooks folder, and is smart enough to enter subdirectories, if, for instance, you've broken a book down by chapters. The author states "Eventually, this project will include a simple method of syncing eBooks to your iPhone. [...] I have [...] included a copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which you can download here and expand into your Media/EBooks directory on your iPhone, so you can easily judge the reading experience."
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