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OnDeckTech of Chicago
OnDeckTech, a help desk and server installer team that works to integrate Mac solutions and resolve Mac-related troubleshooting issues, has chosen NTRglobal's remote support solution, NTRsupport, to solve IT issues and train its customers. OnDeckTech said compatibility with Macs is one of the main factors that persuaded it to use NTRsupport. The 10-member IT support team uses the Software as a Service (SaaS) version of NTRsupport to assist customers in the U.S., Japan, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates. Other companies also hire the team to support and train their help desks. Officials said "On an average day, the IT support team receives more than 100 tickets or requests for IT help from a wide range of customers -- Fortune 500 companies to high-tech specialists to governmental agencies and school districts. Typical tickets an IT support team member receives include requests to configure an e-mail client to access calendars, contact sharing, and training on Apple Keynote, Excel formulas and Word document formatting."
Bus-powered WiFi device
hField Technologies has begun shipping the Wi-Fire, a USB WiFi adapter for the Mac that purportedly allows users to to connect to a wireless networks from up to 1,000 feet, more than three times the range of Airport cards and other 802.11 adapters, at "significantly higher speeds, and even in locations where no wireless signal could be detected previously." The Wi-Fire is 3" by 4" with a 3/8" thickness, and folds up with its mounting device and USB cable for portability. It's also USB bus-powered. hField officials stated "The Wi-Fire draws very little power from your laptop battery. It comes complete with everything you need to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Just install the driver software, plug in the Wi-Fire to a USB port and you're ready to start. It can rest flat on any surface or clip securely to a laptop display or flat screen monitor." Retail price for Wi-Fire is $80 and it is available immediately.
Apple retail burglary
Many of Apple's retail stores are undergoing major renovations, construction on the new Boston store is progressing nicely, the company has promised to bring a new store to San Antonio, and burglars managed to make off with a load of stolen loot from a store in Missouri. The Country Club Plaza Apple Store in Kansas City, Missouri, was burglarized at around 3:38 a.m. Monday morning. Suspects reportedly broke the store's front window and made off with $17,000 worth of products which included eight notebooks, three iPods, and two iPhones. Local police are examining surveillance footage collected from the store, according to ifoAppleStore.com.
New iPhone commercial
A new iPhone television commercial has hit the airwaves. Dubbed "Like This/All These Years," the spot shows off Mail, Safari, the Stocks application stating "All these years, you've gone through the day without email like this in your pocket, or stocks like this in your pocket, or Internet like this in your pocket; and you survived. The question is: How?" The new ad joins "Surprised, Calamari, Watered Down, Never been an iPod, How To, Instead and Amazing," in Apple's iPhone television arsenal, though it hasn't yet been posted to the corporate site. Instead, it's available via YouTube (embedded below)
Liz Claiborne gadgets
In an abnormal strategy, fashion producer Liz Claiborne has announced plans to make electronics gear targeted at women. Reuters writes that the Accessories line should launch in Best Buy stores in October, and consist of holders for virtually every purpose, from bags and sleeves for laptops to cases for cameras, phones and media players. Prices for some of the products may be as low as $25, but reflecting Claiborne's status as a "premier" fashion house, the upper limit of the line should reach $200. Only 250 Best Buy stores are currently set to carry Accessories items.
Verizon Fall 2007 Leak
Nearly all the devices Verizon plans to introduce by the end of the year have been revealed through a leak of the company's roadmap. The new update elaborates on a previous claim and reveals new details about previously hinted-at devices; the SMT5800 is now known to be a CDMA version of the HTC Vox (pictured) which adds faster EVDO Revision A with an upgrade and includes a 2-megapixel camera. It will ship in October preloaded with Windows Mobile 6, according to the report.
Firefly Mobile flyPhone
Firefly Mobile, the carrier responsible for its namesake kids' phone, has submitted a new design for approval by the FCC. Whereas its predecessor limited kids to calling parents or for help, the W100 has a proper keypad, in the form of a touch-sensitive area that changes based on the task: numbers appear for dialing, while selecting a game will bring up directional arrows. The W100 also adds music and video playback, along with a camera, bringing it closer to par with its adult counterparts. No more details have been formally announced. [via Engadget]
iLive "Studio Series"
iLive, the manufacturer of a number of iPod accessories including several boombox and portable radio sets, will soon unveil additions to its "Studio Series" line of high-end iPod add-ons that are purportedly a step up in terms of industrial design and sound quality relative to current offerings from the company. Members of the new line include the iHT8817DT DVD Home Theater System with 5.1 surround sound, an on-board, slot-loading HDMI DVD player and a motorized iPod docking drawer. This fully self-contained home theater system will be available in October and features SRS HD4 for home theater and plays audio with True 3D sound enhancement and SRS TruBass. It also includes AM/FM radio, powered iPod dock and audio/video inputs. Prices will range from $100 to $500 for the Studio Series line, though specific pricing for the iHT8817DT has not yet been announced.
HybridShell for iPod nano
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has taken the wraps off its newest case for the iPod nano: the HybridShell. The case sports a crystal clear, polycarbonate front with a textured rubber back. Its silicone backing provides a no-slip finish and the clear plastic front allows viewing of the nano's screen. DLO officials said "Featuring the same snap-on backing as previous DLO nano shells, the HybridShell is simple to put on, protective, and leaves the bottom of the case open for easy docking access. It also features a beveled opening for easy access to the click wheel, as well as hold switch access at the top. With the DLO HybridShell, you always have access and control, all without taking your nano out of its protective case." The case is available immediately for $15.
Texas Instruments TI-84
Texas Instruments hopes to leap on the back-to-school audience with the announcement of several new calculators useful up to college level. Topping the releases is the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition; the updated version avoids the typically safe looks of most calculators with the online option of 14 different colors for the front or back, from silver to purple. The hardware itself stores 94 apps (with more transferred via USB) that handle math from pre-algebra to biology and calculus and includes 1,000 SAT/ACT test questions for students exiting high school. TI sells it online today for $135.
LimeWire goes legal
LimeWire, more famous for its peer-to-peer sharing software, has declared its intentions to go into legitimate music sales. In keeping with a growing trend, files from the company will be DRM-free; it will also be encoded at 256Kbps, a quality higher than the vast majority of stores. Backing the launch will be tracks from two different sources: indie label distrubtor IRIS, and Nettwerk, a label home to artists such as the Avril Lavigne, Delerium and Sarah McLachlan.
XtremeNotebooks on Wednesday touted itself as the first system builder in the States to ship a four-core notebook: the Xtreme 917V is based on the Taiwan-born Clevo D900C and scales up to a 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad reportedly fast enough for gamers and professional workstations. In contrast to a few versions of the 17-inch design, however, the company also offers a 512MB GeForce 8700M GT chipset as an option for DirectX 10-class 3D as well as up to dual 512MB GeForce Go 7950 GTX chipsets for raw speed.
LightScribe travel kit
LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling today rolled out its LightScribe Travel Kit, allowing users to add a personal touch to vacation or trip-oriented DVD and CD label designs. Owners of LightScribe-enabled drives can download travel DVD and CD label designs, mailers, and disc sleeve designs that reflect favorite trip memories to share with family and friends. The kit allows travelers to create personalized custom designs that integrate travel photos with text, and can label photo as well as video CDs/DVDs with a photo from the vacation to quickly identify a favorite visual memory. The LightScribe Travel Kit's DVD/CD label tips, templates, and resources are available for free via lightscribe.com.
QuartzCube 1.0 released
JS8 Media today released QuartzCube 1.0, a configurable rotating wide-angle video cube. The free software displays up to six videos or photos, one on each face of the cube, and allows users to adjust the tension of the roll axis to manipulate the cube's rotation. Designed as a "lava lamp for the modern day," QuartzCube 1.0 supports various video formats -- including QuickTime, MPEG4, AVI, and others. Users can save as well as reload cube configurations, and the application supports all of the popular image formats, according to JS8 Media. QuartzCube 1.0 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Choloe Dao for iPods
Fashion designer Chloe Dao has teamed up with Pacific Design to announce the launch of a new collection of cases for mobile devices, including the iPhone. Chloe Dao is the winner of "Project Runway" Season 2. The collection includes Apple iPhone cases, Apple iPod cases for nano and Video, as well as Motorola RAZR cases, universal cell phone cases, laptop portfolios, DVD cases and a mobile technology handbag. There are three Chloe Dao fashion prints to choose from: Retro, a bright psychedelic floral; Small heels, a houndstooth pattern made up of white stiletto heels; and Pinstripe, a unisex print.
Polk Audio miDock Stiletto
Polk Audio helped kick off the launch of the Stiletto 2 by releasing a special version of the miDock Portfolio. Capitalizing the portability of Sirius' new player, the speaker dock flattens for travel but unpacks to put out more powerful sound at the office or a camping trip. Like the Stiletto itself, the miDock runs without needing an AC adapter but uses AA batteries for its charge. Plugging the dock into a wall outlet also charges the Sirius radio.
HTC Iris Coming to Telus
Canadian cell provider Telus may be the first home in North America for the HTC Iris, claims a network insider. The 2-megapixel, GPS- and Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone will reportedly sell under its alternate S640 name and will be released alongside or close to a localized version of Palm's Treo 755p. Both are most likely due in early September, according to the company source, though their pricing and the incorporation of any custom Telus features were not mentioned in the alleged leak.
Widgetbox for iTunes
Widgetbox has added Widgetbox Showcase for iTunes to its online widget marketplace. Widgetbox Showcase for iTunes allows users to network with one another using iTunes-related Web widgets for sharing music and movie tastes via the internet. My iTunes widgets serve to share top reviews, favorite artists, new music, movies, and TV shows from the iTunes Store. The widgets reflect the way iTunes is used, so each one is unique like the user's taste in music and movies. My iTunes feeds are also usable with any standard feed reader, keeping Web pages up to date with music and TV shows from the iTunes Store.
AllofMP3 case thrown out
Denis Kvasov, former head of the Russian download site AllofMP3.com (now MP3Sparks), has escaped damages sought against him by the international music industry. The Associated Press writes that a Moscow judge threw the case out on Wednesday, observing that while the Russian government passed laws aimed at the site last September, Kvasov ended his association with the company in December of 2005.
The case was filed by EMI, the Warner Music Group and the Universal Music Group, who together asked for $587,000 from Kvasov. The labels accused the executive of selling their artists' music without permission, as well as reproducing it, the latter act indeed being illegal while Kvasov was in charge. Both arguments were rejected.
Dolet 4 adds MusicXML 2.0
Recordare has released the fourth version of Dolet, a plug-in for the company's Finale music notation software. Dolet translates files for other music notation programs; version 4 now reads and creates MusicXML 2.0 files, in theory providing the best translation possible through improved formatting, media support and file compression. To speed up the process of converting sheet music files, the plug-in now allows batch processing. Dolet 4 requires Finale 2000 or later and is a Universal Binary; to run on an Intel Mac, users must have Finale 2007 or higher. The app is $150 new or $100 as an upgrade from Dolet 3.
Blu-Ray Outselling HD DVD
Traffic in Blu-Ray movies has outperformed its rival HD DVD by more than twice as much this year, according to a new study by Home Media Research. The organization's report estimates about 1.6 million copies of Blu-Ray movies sold between the start of the year and July 1st, with HD DVD only reaching 795,000. Reasons were not provided for the jump but may include the release of Casino Royale earlier in the year, which set sales records for HD movies, as well as wider sales of Blu-Ray players thanks in part to Sony's PlayStation 3. Sales are also likely to tip in Blu-Ray's favor for the second half of the year thanks to the movie 300, which is also selling in record numbers and favors Blu-Ray over HD DVD, according to the research group.
Skype 2.7 beta released
A new beta version of the Skype VoIP application has been released for Mac OS X. New to v2.7 is the ability to sort contacts into an unlimited number of groups, including both user-defined ones and pre-made categories such as Online and Waiting Authorization. Users can now also create public chats, auto-redial busy or unconnected numbers, and transfer multiple files with fewer performance problems. A specific Mac OS X addition is the ability to view Address Book contacts within Skype, to whom users can make calls or send text messages. Skype itself is free, but calling landline phones requires a paid subscription. The beta can be downloaded here. On Monday, Shape Services debuted Skype for iPhone, finally bringing the software to Apple's latest platform.
Stealth LPC-350 PCI
Stealth Computer today took the wraps off the LittlePC 350 PCI, one of its smallest-yet systems to feature expansion. The system is 2.75 inches tall but finds room for an average-sized PCI slot, allowing for options that would be impractical in typical very small systems, such as a dedicated video card or sound hardware. Though modest in speed with either a Celeron M or a Pentium M, the low power demand lets the PC attach to a car's 12-volt port or other mobile power hookups. A rugged, aluminum shell is said to toughen the Little PC against shocks while also preventing overheating in some tighter spots.
Share 1.0 web server
Concentrate Software has released v1.0 of Share, a basic web server that allows users to to access files from their home computers while on a remote system. Users can for instance view their iTunes libraries, and play songs, videos and playlists. The program also gives access to images from iPhoto, as well as contact data from Address Book, complete with groups. One of the most important abilities is file sharing, which goes beyond the single-folder scheme of Mac OS X to open up any folder viewable by Finder, including those on external media. A wiki application allows the creation and viewing of notes. The full version of Share requires Mac OS X 10.4 and costs $20, but can be had as a free trial that operates for just three hours per launch.
Sirius Stiletto 2 and More
Following its Sonos deal this morning, Sirius has also released three new satellite receivers. The pictured Stiletto 2 is truer to its portable roots with a slimmer, lighter shell and a boosted Wi-Fi capability that connects to 802.11g access points, more secure connections, and paid hotspots. Users also have access to Sirius' premium stations and can flag either individual songs for permanent copies through a "Love" button or schedule recording in advance for up to 100 hours of shows. A microSD slot adds to the storage space with up to 2GB of extra music.
Facebook on iPhone
Two major companies have launched new Web areas designed specifically for Apple's iPhone. Facebook, the ubiquitous social networking site, now now has an iPhone-specific version with a suitably-designed interface. Buttons are larger, and the interface "slides" in keeping with the style of other iPhone apps. In some regards the new version may be easier to use than the standard site, as essential functions like Profile and the Inbox are located on quick-access tabs. A counter shows the number of new messages received.
Helio on Wednesday morning claimed the record for the thinnest flip phone in the US with the release of the Fin, also known as Samsung's A513. The blue-tinted handset is just 0.45 inches thick but packs features absent from most thicker phones and its close cousin, AT&T's A717. A 3-megapixel camera improves over the 2 megapixels of the AT&T model. The Fin is similarly stronger in music with a dedicated play/pause button, 100MB of internal storage, and an enhanced microSD slot with up to 4GB of AAC/MP3 songs or H.264/MPEG-4 videos. GPS navigation has also been given a boost, says Helio: beyond the carrier's trademark Buddy Beacon and Google Maps, a deal with Garmin provides voice-based driving directions. Subscribers additionally have access to RSS news feeds from their phone.
Without grand publicity, Apple has decided to stop all development on AppleWorks, its formerly iconic productivity suite. The information was quietly passed on to resellers last week, who were told that the software had reached an "End of Life" stage. Sales have been officially stopped, and trying to visit the AppleWorks website redirects visitors to the page for the recently-launched iWork '08. iWork handles many of the same tasks as AppleWorks (spreadsheets, presentations et al.), while the latter has not been updated for some time.
Sharp AQUOS D64U Series
Sharp today prepped for the holiday season with the launch of its AQUOS D64U sets. The new design tackles the problem of expanding LCD sizes by cutting back on the effective footprint: each set is about 25 percent thinner on average than the D62U models, roughly 20 percent lighter, and sports a thinner display frame. A new 42-inch set is same size as the old 40-inch model, Sharp boasts. All sets are 1080p-native and have had their dynamic contrast ratios stepped up to 10,000:1 while improving black and red levels. Every set also claims a 4ms pixel response time and a 176-degree viewing angle range.
Sonos and Sirius Deal
Sonos today unveiled a deal with Sirius that would bring the satellite radio provider's content to the Digital Music System media hub (pictured), allowing owners to stream stations wirelessly throughouta house. The agreement brings most of Sirius' channels and includes higher-profile content such as Howard Stern's show, Martha Stewart Living, the NFL, and most music networks. A software update from Sonos allows the main controller to pull the stations from the Internet and delivers them over a local network to each Sonos receiver in the home. This cuts past the signal strength problems inherent to using satellite radio indoors and also gives it multi-room access, Sirius says.
Jotter 1.3 ($13) simple and to the point note taking. No overcomplicated interfaces. No unnecessary features. Just jot down what you want to remember. The new release adds a hot key preference for creating new notes - default is F1 and a preference to hide toolbar. [Download - 925KB]
ProjectForum 5.5 ($80) professional wiki software solution for workgroup collaboration. Version 5.5 includes a number of new features, enhancements and bug fixes. The new "web views" feature provides a new option for workgroups to publish external web sites that mirror the contents of an internal wiki. Other enhancements were made to search, HTML export, and various user interfaces. [Download - 2MB]
JigSaw 3.0. ($25) for joining multipart files, and accessing the power of RAR and PAR. This new version offers an improved interface including Join/Split and PAR verify queues. JigSaw 3.0 is easier to use the previous versions but remains feature rich. [Download - 4.3MB]
PDFpen 3.3 ($50) PDF editing and form-filling tool for Mac OS X. The update adds greater compatibility with Adobe Acrobat mark-up by displaying additional drawn annotations, including stamps. It also features a new preference to lock large images automatically, simplifying the task of editing scanned document pages, which are images. [Download - 7.9MB]
MMQuery 1.0 ($35) a Plug-in for FileMaker Pro that lets you work with your data through the calculation engine. MMQuery allows you to perform SQL queries on your own database or use the many helper functions in the plug-in to do the same types of queries without actually having to know SQL. There is also a function for direct SQL access if you are fluent in SQL.[Download - form]
Waterproof Shuffle case
H2O Audio has announced the iS2, the first waterproof case designed exclusively for the latest iPod Shuffle. The case is rated for unlimited submersion at 10ft and provides impact protection for rugged conditions. A patented control pad is built in to the iS2's waterproof case and provides full access to the Shuffle's controls, even while submerged underwater. There is also a sport armband that is designed to fit most arm sizes, and it is fully compatible with the patented H2O Audio Underwater headphones (sold separately) and also works with any standard headphones. The case is priced at $40.
Synium Software has announced the upcoming release of MacFamilyTree 5, the latest release of the popular genealogy software for the Mac. The company also announced that with this release, it will complete the acquisition of all rights to the software and be responsible for development, distribution and support. Version 5 will be completely redesigned and rewritten application, and Synium claims it will provide biggest leap in performance and product design so far. The entire GUI as well as the underlying database have been dramatically changed while maintaining true backwards compatibility and adding a vast number of new features. Pricing has not yet been announced, but if you purchase MacFamilyTree 4 on or after August 14th, 2007, you will receive a free update to MacFamilyTree 5.
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