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EyeTV 250 Plus
Elgato has introduced the EyeTV 250 Plus, a new solution for the Mac that combines a hybrid television tuner and a video converter with hardware encoding allowing for digitization of video cassettes and other analog video material. The hardware encoder converts the analog tuner and video input signals to MPEG-2 format, which can then be stored on your Mac. The EyeTV 2 software features post-processing (editing) and export functionality into all major video formats for further use in professional video software applications as well as simple export presets for iPod, Apple TV, or the iPhone.
Fusion vs. Parallels
In a new set of benchmarks comparing SWsoft's Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac, Apple's Boot Camp 1.3 Beta, CrossOver Mac 6.0 from CodeWeavers and VMware's Fusion, Boot Camp (as a native Windows environment) unsurprisingly shows the best performance overall, but VMWare's Fusion shows a dramatic advantage over other virtualization solutions, including Parallels. The tests, performed on an eight-core, 2.66GHz Mac Pro running Mac OS X 10.4.10, show VMware completing a set of multimedia multitasking routines in about a quarter of the time of Parallels; 874 seconds vs. 3,260 seconds. Photoshop CS3 performance was almost twice as fast under Fusion relative to Parallels Desktop, completing a series of tasks in 271 seconds vs. 516 seconds.
TechExpo, DEFCON free
In brief: We review the Fujitsu ScanSnap s500m, fmDataguard is available to all at DevCon pricing, the TechExpo will be free for one day during Photoshop World, DEFCON will be free to play for a long weekend, and SmileOnMyMac is offering a back-to-school discount ... We've posted a review of the Fujitsu ScanSnap s500m, a compact and solid document scanner that makes it just as easy to scan and store documents as it is to store photos in iPhoto or songs in iTunes. The ScanSnap connects via a provided USB cable and uses Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Standard and the ScanSnap Manager software, which ship on separate CDs. ScanSnap Manager requires Mac OS X 10.2 and a PowerPC G4 800MHz or higher with a PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or higher recommended. The fact that this scanner comes with a full version of Acrobat 7.0 Standard makes it a great value.
Philips Aurea teaser
Philips has started a high-profile hype campaign for a new product set to be released later this year. Simply known as the Aurea, little is known except that it is a plasma or LCD set based on Philips' Ambilight technology, which surrounds a TV with colored lighting that matches the tone of supported movies. Philips would prefer people focus on its "Seduction by Light" advertising campaign, which is costing the company €50 million (over $67 million US), and features photography by Vincent Peters, a short film by Wong Kar Wai, and a tie-in with the Lanvin chain of fashion stores. Philips should start providing more concrete information about the Aurea on August 30th.
DICE vacuum-tube iPod dock
DICE Electronics has announced an upcoming iPod dock, the iTPA-220. DICE's entry however is aimed at the luxury audiophile market, and as a result, its pre-amplifier system relies on two 6N3 vacuum tubes, which are said to produce a "warmer" sound than is possible with transistors. The speakers meanwhile tap 20W of power each, and have a frequency range between 40Hz and 18KHz, fed through one-inch tweeters and four-inch bass drivers. Enhancing sound further is the use of wood in the acoustic structure.
Samsung S5 T10 P2 Players
Samsung today announced in advance the devices it will introduce at this month's IFA technology show in Berlin, including three new music players new to the world stage. Leading the introductions is the already-mentioned YP-P2: as confirmed before, the 3-inch touchscreen is the near-exclusive control mechanism and allows users to play MP3/WMA music as well as MPEG-4 videos in a native widescreen mode. Bluetooth and FM radio are also confirmed as built-in, as are native support for podcasts ("datacasts," according to Samsung) and manually browsing files stored on the player. Pricing is still unavailable, though the P2 will first ship to Europe in either black or white colors.
Quicken 2008 Mac, Leopard
Continuing to show commitment to the Mac OS X platform, Intuit says it is looking ahead to 2008 Quicken for Mac product introductions and anxious for Leopard's release. "Intuit is currently planning for 2008 Quicken offerings and is investigating the best possible ways to serve the entire Quicken community. With anticipation of the launch of the new Mac OS X (Leopard) and Intuit's ongoing focus on delivering customer driven innovation, more information around future Mac offerings will be shared at a later time," the company said in a statement to the press, adding "the Mac community is important to Intuit and our goal is to deliver the best solutions for new and existing customers to help them better manage their business and personal finances."
ATT Crippling BB 8820
AT&T's upcoming version of the BlackBerry 8820 smartphone will be deliberately stripped of its full GPS features for the sake of promoting the iPhone, according to a report from an insider within the cellphone carrier. Although Research in Motion's handset would technically be capable of supporting any compatible GPS software, AT&T has reportedly forced the cellphone maker to limit its mapping on AT&T to the subscription TeleNav service in an attempt to make the iPhone's Google Maps feature and the device as a whole more appealing to customers. The carrier allegedly threatened to drop BlackBerries entirely from its network when RIM protested the limitation, according to the source.
Sirius Data Services
In a lower-key announcement than for its Stiletto 2, Sirius today added three new data services to its existing traffic option. Compatible tuners can now check multi-day weather forecasts for either the immediate area or a specific city. Owners can also now search for recently updated gas prices at nearby stations and receive notices when those stations' prices drop below a certain threshhold, Sirius says. Searches for movie showtimes are equally new and let owners of GPS units automatically add a theater to their current route.
Compact disc hits 25
August 17th will mark the 25th anniversary of the compact disc, now one of the most ubquitous removable media formats in the world. The CD was originally conceived as a music standard, and was the product of a 1979 collaboration between Sony and Philips, who based the technology on the LaserDisc video format. The anniversary is connected to Philips' pressing of the first commercial CD release, the ABBA album "The Visitors" -- but discs did not actually go on sale until November of 1982, when 150 mostly classical releases appeared in Japan. American and European launches took place in March of the following year.
CEO now owns 5.5M shares
Apple's CEO Steve Jobs netted more than $13 million in potential profit this week after exercising 120,000 options, according to an SEC filing. The options, which are the his sole source of compensation from Apple, were priced at $5.75 each, representing a total purchase price of $690,000 for the shares, worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 million when the options were exercised. Jobs now owns 5.5 million shares of Apple, which are worth about $620 million at the current price. According to reports, he has no intention of selling the newly acquired stock. Unfortunately for Jobs, shares of Apple are down almost $8 (over 6 percent) in mid-day trading today, hovering around $112.
LG Aloha at Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile's US branch today experimented with LG handsets in the form of the Aloha. The simple clamshell keeps costs low but is advanced enough to offer a few extras absent from the least expensive phones, including MP3 ringtones rather than the MIDI tones of others. A speakerphone, voice dialing, and pre-installed games playable on the color LCD are also included with the white and silver phone, Virgin says.
Corsair Flash Padlock driv
Memory maker Corsair has begun selling the Flash Padlock, a USB 2.0 flash drive with an abnormal approach to security. Rather than rely on software encryption, the Padlock has a built-in, nine-digit PIN pad, which enforces hardware barriers to unauthorized access. When removed from a computer, the contents of the drive are locked again automatically. This scheme is said to make the Padlock impervious to keystroke loggers and brute-force hacks. PINs up to 10 digits long are supported, and the drive works on Mac, Linux and Windows systems. A 1GB drive costs $30 while a 2GB drive is an extra $10.
Front Row beyond Apple TV?
Apple may be planning to bring its Front Row multimedia software to devices beyond its Macs and Apple TV, according to a new patent filing. Apple's "Multimedia control center" patent calls for an improved cross platform interface, suggesting that Front Row could find its way onto other consumer devices in the home. Apple's use of "cross platform" is unusual for the company with regard to patent applications, but could only prove a precautionary measure to include its own Apple TV device. Two other patents also surfaced today describing a "Text-to-Speech Synthesis System" as well as a "Method and apparatus for measuring die-level integrated circuit power variations." Those patents join a continuation patent titled "Method and apparatus for managing internet transactions," and the company filed to update its Objective-C trademark. Visit our patent blog for more.
Macware ships FontLibrary
Software publisher Macware has released FontLibrary, a collection of over 600 TrueType and OpenType fonts, the latter being divided into 100 families with bold, italic, condensed, extended and wide variants, as well as combinations thereof. Some fonts found in the package include Annual, Chisel, NewBoston and Paris. The main advantage of OpenType is compatibility, allowing portability between Macs and PCs, embedding into PDF documents, and a larger set of international characters. FontLibrary is being sold online and at retail for $60.
AirCard 595U at Verizon
Verizon today rolled out Sierra's AirCard 595U adapter, providing computers without a free ExpressCard or PC Card slot the opportunity to use the carrier's faster EVDO Revision A network for Internet access. The external modem is said to take advantage of all the extra speed and averages between 600Kbps and 1.4Mbps in downloads -- enough to download a 1MB file in eight seconds, Verizon esimates. Upload speeds are also much closer in performance than fixed broadband and average between 500-800Kbps, which lets the 595U upload the same file in about 13 seconds.
Execs indicted over iPod
Nine executives from the Taiwanese company Inventec Appliances have been indicted over insider stock trading relating to iPod orders, according to reports. The Banciao District Prosecutors Office has accused the executives, along with a lower-level worker, of deliberately withholding information on Apple's decision to reduce orders to Inventec, giving them time to sell $740 million NT of stock, equivalent to $22.4 million US. The prosecutors say that as early as January 19th of last year, executives knew iPod output would have to be cut by 49 percent as Apple directed orders to China.
Sprint on Thursday officially rebadged its upcoming WiMAX-based network XOHM (pronounced "zome"), giving an identity to the 4G Internet services that customers will use beginning later this year with trials in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington D.C. as well as the final commercial service which will go live across a wider area by spring 2008. The cellular provider did not commit to service plans but reportedly intends to offer between 2Mbps and 4Mbps download speeds for approximately $50 per month and has already announced a deal with Clearwire to allow roaming between networks. Visitors can sign up for e-mail notices to learn when XOHM goes live, Sprint says.
Apple laptop I/O patent
Apple may be planning to offer a retractable set of USB, FireWire, Ethernet, and other connections on future notebooks to decrease the overall size of its portables, according a patent filed by the company which surfaced today. Apple's "Connection System" patent filing shows a series of I/O ports on the rear of a laptop that close to conserve space but flip down to provide access when needed. The patent also entertains the possibility of allowing each port to open and close individually, providing access to only those connections that are needed at any given time. Apple is aiming to conserve space by recessing the various connections into the body of the laptop, which would also allow the company to create a tapered edge around the entire system when all ports were in their dormant positions.
Japan Notebook Safety
Japan's government is developing a notebook battery safety standard that could create a ripple effect for computer designers worldwide, according to sources speaking with Kyodo News. The wire service claims that an upcoming law could require that all manufacturers of notebook batteries in the country prove their designs will not catch fire, even when subjected to accidental conditions such as a sudden drop or production defects that introduce potentially volatile metal flakes into the batteries. Such strict measures would be necessary as a single fire could result in a far more serious accident, the government has reportedly argued in drafting the law.
meebo IM adapts to iPhone
The web-based IM service meebo is now said to be available in a format better suited to the iPhone. The new client handles all IM accounts from a single login screen, and merges contacts into a single buddy list. Active conversations are placed towards the top of this list in a manner similar to an SMS interface, and because meebo is a web-based technology, messages delivered while on the iPhone can be accessed from any computer or handheld with a browser. Aside from unique meebo accounts, the client supports logins for AIM, MSN, Yahoo! and Google Talk.
iPhone on O2, Vodafone?
A British cellular retailer is hosting one of the first listings for the iPhone in Europe, despite the the lack of any formal announcements by Apple or local carriers. The site Mobiles.co.uk lists the phone for as little as £100 on the O2 network, a price which is unlikely to be accurate, since after conversion it would still be $300 to $400 less than the US cost. A similar listing exists on the site for Vodafone, but no prices have been attached. In either case Mobiles warns that its figures are "based on the best information available to us at this moment in time," and that it may change prices and specifications closer to release, informing customers as necessary.
FUZE Media System
FUZE today introduced its self-titled FUZE media system, its multi-room home theater hub. The system is neither a conventional home theater PC nor an older control-based system. While a primary computer dubbed the FuzeBox ultimately hosts content, the company includes its own interface and infrastructure to share content across a whole house. Because it avoids Windows Media Center or other conventional interfaces, it also avoids the unreliability or update interruptions that plague conventional designs, FUZE says. Small, thin client PCs named FuzeMinis serve as remote hosts for the content across a gigabit Ethernet network; users can also use a touchscreen remote named the FuzeTouch to both control the system and even watch video when a TV is occupied. Audio-only environments can instead opt for a FuzeTunes wall outlet that quickly navigates just music and sports an iPod jack.
Logitech Pure-Fi Speakers
Logitech on Thursday grew its fledgling iPod speaker range with the Pure-Fi series. Central in the launch, the pictured Pure-Fi Dream relies on a unique LCD at its base. The screen not only displays a clock and AM/FM tuning (including RDS text) but taps the iPod itself, providing a larger view of the track title and timeline without having to leave the bed. Control is also simpler than most iPod docks regardless of their size. The dual alarm function can be dismissed by a motion-senstive sensor; users can also immediately shuffle or repeat their music library with a shortcut button.
Mobile social networking
With Facebook recently debuting an iPhone-optimized version of its Web site, the interest in mobile-based social networking is reaching a fever pitch. Research firm M:Metrics revealed in a study that 12.3 million consumers in the United States and Western Europe reported accessing a social networking site with their mobile device in the month of June. The American audience for mobile social networking sites was the largest, with 7.5 million, or 3.5 percent, of mobile subscribers. Italy follows, with 1.3 million or 2.8 percent, then the UK with 1.1 million, or 2.5 percent, Spain with 751,000 (2.3 percent), Germany (1.9 percent) and France (1.7 percent).
iPhone: armband, skinner
In brief: A new Web-based iPhone skinner app has debuted. The site allows users to create and install iPhone skins by uploading a background image and pre-made icons, from which a script will spit out a single .ipb file which can then be installed to the iPhone with one command in the Terminal/cmd window -- assuming you have jailbroken your iPhone. The accompanying ReadMe file states "The skin you have just created is an .ipb file, which can be applied to your iPhone using Install .ipd by timblade. We will have a full guide up on how to use this (both a Windows and OS X version) soon, if you have downloaded this before we have it up (which if you're reading this you have) [...]"
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