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Eminem lawsuit might flop
Recording artist Eminem would be unwise to pursue his lawsuit against Apple, according a several prominent copyright lawyers. Attorneys say Eminem's lawsuit, among other similar suits, is unlikely to proceed very far, but the real goal of the litigation is to challenge the claim by record labels that they have the right to negotiate Internet sales on their behalf. "This particular issue is a real sore spot in the industry," Jay Rosenthal, legal counsel for the Recording Artists' Coalition told ZDNet. "It's the gorilla in the room, and you're going to start seeing more of these suits as you start to see layoffs and cutbacks."
Qwest adopts HTC S720
Qwest has become the first American carrier to adopt the HTC S720, a QWERTY slider phone which originally came to North America via Canada's Telus. Qwest's version has been renamed the Fusion 5800, and like its cousin has Windows Mobile 6, a microSD slot, and a two megapixel camera. The Fusion is specifically identified as having WM6 Standard, and stereo Bluetooth, allowing wireless music uses. The phone is now available for $200, with data plans running from $20 a month for 35MB to $40 for 100MB. [via Phone Scoop]
New Internet in 2020
The Japanese government is beginning research that could usher in a dramatically improved Internet structure in less than 15 years, the country's Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga has told reporters while on a visit to Brazil. The official revealed that Japan hopes to create a world network architecture that overcomes many of the fundamental problems that affect the current Internet by introducing faster overall connections, data packets that are more likely to reach their destinations, and security measures that could fight data hijacking or fast-spreading worms. Such a fix is ultimately needed as the Internet will ultimately strain to handle the speed needed by users, Suga argued.
Skype outage via Windows
A recent, two-day outage of the Skype VoIP service -- coming shortly after the launches of new Mac and PC versions -- has been blamed on a coincidental timing with Microsoft's Windows Update, writes the Associated Press. The problem reportedly stemmed from a Microsoft security update, which prompted many users to restart their computers simultaneously. This in turn led to an abundance of login requests, which flooded Skype and peer-to-peer services, ultimately leading to a total network overload.
Nintendo DS Brain Age
Nintendo today officially unveiled the DS Lite Brain Age Edition, offering one of the first game-specific versions of the handheld available in North America. The new model comes in a unique, two-tone crimson/onyx color and also ships with a copy of Brain Age 2 to get users started on the intellectual training game, as well as a matching black travel case with red trim. The system is otherwise unchanged from the DS Lite released last year. Both the stand-alone game and the Brain Age Edition console should be available in shops this week, with the latter selling for $149.
Amadeus Pro 1.1 ($40) is a powerful multitrack audio editor supporting a variety of formats including MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, AIFF, Wave and many others. Includes denoising and repairing functions that make it easy to remove the annoying hiss on tape recordings or the scratch on old vinyl recordings. Unfortunately, Amadeus Pro does not run on MacOS 10.3.9 or earlier. [Download - 7.6MB]
Disc Cover 1.5 ($35) software for designing CD/DVD labels, covers, inserts, jewel cases and more. The update brings Leopard beta compatibility, improves support for Primera printers, and adds new paper formats. Also, importing pictures from iPhoto 6.0.6 and higher is fixed, the bleed and cut marks export is corrected and a problem with changing shape of Smart Shapes with an inserted image is solved. The update is free for all Disc Cover users [Download - 34MB]
xBack 3.7.5 ($10) a utility that allows you replace your desktop with a screen saver. Allows you to configure screen saver preferences without having to open System Preferences, and preview screen savers immediately. It supports iPhoto Albums and Slideshows, as well as Quartz Composer files ( Mac OS X v10.4+ only). The new release has improved memory usage. [Download - 1.2MB]
EUCLIB C++ 2D geometry ($300) contains highly optimized computational 2D geometry classes and algorithms for a total of more than 500 functions. The entities supported are Points, Vectors, Lines, Segments, Circles, Arcs, Bounds, Quadratic and Cubic Bezier curves. Each entity can do operations such as distance, barycenter, intersection, projection, length, polygonisation, simplification, parametric point, parametric evaluation reversing and more.
Cyndicate 1.0.2 ($30) RSS/Atom aggregator and content management application for Mac OS X. In the new release, persistence allows the user to decide the lifetime of the article. There are also Smart Folders: Create lists of articles automatically based on criteria you set. You can now label and flag articles for additional organization, and automatic ratings, whereby each article can be rated based on history. [Download - 3.1MB]
Glasgow grand opening
In brief: Apple's Buchanan Street store in Glasgow, Scotland is scheduled to open this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. local time, the developers of the Cinematte Photoshop plug-in are putting the software as well as the source code up for sale, Bombia Design has released two new office add-ons, and Soft Solutions has released its FaxPack 7 for REALbasic. Apple's first Scotland-based retail store in Glasgow is scheduled to hold its grand opening on Saturday, August 25th beginning at 9:00 a.m. local time. Attendees can expect all of the traditional Apple Store opening events, including a free Apple T-shirt for the first 1,500 people through the doors. The company is also giving away a Digital Lifestyle Collection with a black MacBook and a silver iPod nano to one lucky winner.
Sony T70 and T200 Leak
Sony Canada today inadvertently released information about two of the company's upcoming Cyber-shot cameras, either of which includes previously unseen features in its mainstream point-and-shoot models. The T70 and T200 will each feature large, wide touchscreens of 3 and 3.5 inches respectively that completely replace buttons and dials for adjusting modes; like the G1, users either tap the display with their fingers or use a stylus for hand-drawing messages and other images on top of photos. Owners will have similar access to live HDTV-resolution viewing through either a component AV cable or a dedicated Cyber-shot Station dock.
Samsung UFO phone
One of Samsung's Korean brands, Anycall, is on the verge of launching the UFO, a new slider phone. The phone is also known as the SCH-W300, W3000 or U700, the last name being particularly relevant, since it has been mentioned in a leaked Verizon roadmap. As suggested, the phone does have a two-megapixel camera; its main feature turns out to be HSDPA broadband however, in this case as fast as 7.2Mbps. Such speeds are rare enough in Korea, and essentially non-existent in North America. Other features should include Bluetooth, a microSD slot and TV output. No exact prices or release dates have been mentioned. [via Akihabara News]
Gross margins to grow 5%
Amid rumblings that increasing component costs may eat into Apple's profit in the near-term, some analysts are predicting that the company will be able to maintain gross-margin growth despite the higher goods prices. MarketWatch quotes Pacfic Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, who thinks Apple still should be able to grow its gross margins by almost 5% for its 2007 fiscal year. "In a research note, Hargreaves said that the expected increases in the costs of items such as flash memory and LCD panels will likely affect the gross margins of Apple's iPods, Macintosh computers and iPhones in its current fiscal fourth quarter. However, Hargreaves said that gains Apple has made due to lower component prices earlier this year, as well as being at the early stage of a new product cycle, should help the company's margins improve from a year ago."
Nokia N95 8GB at FCC
Two of Nokia's most anticipated North American phones have been proven real today, courtesy of new FCC filings. The N95 8GB is now known to come in black instead of the characteristic silver color and now has raised media controls that should be easier to strike. No mention has been made of the microSD slot of the original model, however, suggesting that the 8GB of flash memory will be the only storage option. This version will also omit the HSDPA broadband of the intended North American version in favor of Europe-only 2,100MHz UMTS despite supporting North American GSM calling and EDGE Internet access.
PCWorld defense iMovie '08
Loyal iMovie fans cried out for change after Apple released iMovie '08 at its special event in Cupertino earlier this month, leaving many like New York Times columnist David Pogue to criticize the company's latest iMovie offering. PCWorld blogger Phil Shapiro however suggests that people don't see beauty unless they go looking for it, implying that iMovie '08 is perhaps "a small jewel after all." Many users were dissatisfied with the new feature set of the iMovie revision, but soon learned that Apple had released iMovie HD as a digital download to support those more experienced users who demand a wider spread of tools when editing movies. "Is there a lesson to be learned here? Yes. It's important to reserve judgment and not be too quick out of the gate with your reactions. Apple sometimes makes big mistakes, but they seldom make colossal mistakes," Shapiro wrote. "As software users, it's our duty to look for the intentions of the software designer."
New MacBook cases
AMVi Tech has introduced its new 10Turio series of laptop sleeves designed for MacBooks, MacBook Pros and other Apple portables. The sleeves fit laptops from 11" to 15.4" and sport easy to fold sleeves with integrated foam padding ensure all-round protection. They fit, with the notebook, into briefcases, shoulder bags, schoolbags etc. In addition to surrounding protection, the opened sleeve can be used as a large-sized underlying mat to protect against knocks, dampness or other disturbing factors on tables and workplaces. The 10Turio protective sleeves are available in the colors olive, green, orange and red, at a recommended retail price of 19 euros or about $26.
Samsung SpinPoint N2 160GB
Samsung today upgraded its SpinPoint N2 drives to include a 160GB model, representing the largest capacity yet for a 1.8-inch hard drive. The two-platter drive has enough space for as many as 40,000 songs or 100 HD-quality videos but is small enough to fit in a portable media player, an HD video camera, or an ultraportable PC where a 2.5-inch drive would be too cumbersome. No sacrifice has been made in speed as the drive still spins at the same 4200RPM as the 120GB model made available in June, Samsung says.
Paramount Chooses HD DVD
Movie studio Paramount today increased the stakes in the next-generation video format wars and announced that it will release physical copies of most of its HD movies exclusively on HD DVD. The decision was made as the movies are typically authored in higher quality video at a lower cost than Blu-Ray and are playable on less expensive HD players, the company said. Internal studios such as DreamWorks Pictures and Nickelodeon are included, but Steven Spielberg's movies for DreamWorks SKG will be exempt and should appear in either Blu-Ray or HD DVD, Paramount added.
Wireless iPod control
EasyiShop.co.uk today unveiled the Monster iEZClick remote control for iPod, a wireless iPod control device that allows owners to keep the iPod tucked safely out of harms way while listening to music. The device allows users to control an iPod wirelessly and is weather resistant for use outdoors. The Monster iEZClick can be worn on a belt or bag with an included clip, or wrapped around the wrist or handlebars using an included elastic Velcro strap. Oversized buttons offer easy control, even when wearing gloves. The device comse with an RF receiver that plugs into the iPod dock connector, and is available for $100 via EasyiShop.co.uk.
IOGEAR Digital Scribe pen
The latest device from IOGEAR is the Digital Scribe, a pen which can draw in ink and on-screen at the same time. Words written in print or cursive can be converted to digital text in 10 different languages, and should a user start sketching shapes or more elaborate art, the data can be converted automatically into JPEG images.
The Scribe is loaded with standard ink refills, but can also be used solely as a two-button mouse, and is bundled with software that creates "sticky" notes that can be time-delayed. The pen is further touted as compatible with Windows Vista and OneNote 2003 SP1, allowing desktop systems to function like tablets. The Digital Scribe requires Windows 2000/XP or later and is now selling for $100.
Augmentix today revealed the XTG630 in a bid to offer one of the fastest toughened notebooks available to date. While the 14-inch widescreen PC can use the latest Santa Rosa-era Core 2 Duo processors (up to 2.4GHz) and supports both X3100 video and 802.11n Wi-Fi, the system is designed to survive the roughest use possible in the field; the XTG's magnesium shell meets military-grade levels of dust- and waterproofing as well as shock tolerance and temperature. Its 14-inch screen is also specifically coated to improve viewability in direct sunlight.
Tilera 64-core processor
Attempting to challenge Intel, a new company by the name of Tilera has introduced the Tile64, an embedded processor with the unusual feature of having 64 cores, well in excess of most competitors. Moreover, instead of relying on a centralized bus, each core has its own switch and memory, and can thus share data with four neighboring cores. The memory is divided into two 8KB L1 caches and one 64KB L2, with L3 being simulated as necessary up to 5MB.
The Tile64's RISC based architecture is clocked between 600MHz and 1GHz, and is claimed to be 10 times faster than Intel's embedded dual-core Xeon processor; performance-per-watt, meanwhile, is rated at as much as 30 times better. Tilera is now selling its CPU to businesses, pricing a 10K tray at $435 per chip. Indication of a consumer-level chip has yet to be put forward.
Virtual Villagers arrives
Aspyr Media today announced that Virtual Villagers for Mac has hit store shelves throughout North America. The new title, licensed by Big Fish Games, portrays a setting where poor villagers wash up on shore after surviving a horrific volcanic eruption. Players must guide the villagers in learning how to survive as they become farmers, builders, scientists, parents, and more to thrive on their new island. The real-time simulation game features hundreds of unique villagers, challenging players to uncover mysteries while playing. Virtual Villagers is available through Aspyr's website for $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to play.
Nikon D3 Teaser
Nikon is about to launch the first full update to its top-end SLR camera in years, according to a teaser image for an announcement that has been circulating through the Japanese press. Likely to be called the Nikon D3, the mystery camera is the same size as the D2Xs but would use much more recent technology, which would include a 51-point autofocus system (higher than the 45 of Canon's EOS-1Ds Mark III) as well as 9 frames per second of continuous shooting and a 3-inch LCD. Most details were absent, though the camera is likely to improve on the 12.4 megapixels of the D2 and may include a live LCD preview of the viewfinder.
HandBrake 0.9.0 released
Now ready for download is v0.9.0 of HandBrake, an open-source utility that converts DVDs into the MPEG-4 format. Included in the update are nearly 300 changes, most notably new import and export options: it has limited VOB and TS compatibility, and presets have been implemented for iPhones and PSPs. Likewise, users can at last export videos to MKV files. The program's interface has been overhauled, and it should be faster due to new versions of x264 and ffmpeg. Glitches have been remedied relating to MP2 files and audio drops.
Puzzle game beta released
Fastforward Software has released the public beta of Galder, a new puzzle board game for Mac OS X where players must remove gemstones as quickly as possible from an interactive circular game board by matching identical stones. Fastfoward's first-ever gaming title, Galder is available as a free public beta that expires after 30 days. The company expects to ship the initial version of Galder as a digital download later this quarter for $20. The game requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Canon 8800F and LiDE 90
Rounding out Canon's releases on Monday are two CanoScan units. The 8800F (pictured) is geared towards preserving photos and slides at up to 4800x9600 DPI with a new white LED which is ready to scan instantly and completes image recording three times faster than could be possible with a traditional fluorescent lamp. When processing photos, the 8800F can also automatically compensate for fading, scratches, and other artifacts in older photos. The new photo scanner is 17 percent smaller than its predecessors and should be available soon for $200.
QuickerTek Wi-Fi upgrade
QuickerTek today rolled out an upgrade for Apple's AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station, improving wireless performance by moving the Wi-Fi antenna outside of the Base Station case for better signal gathering. QuickerTek's N Antenna Upgrade is a set of matched antennas to extend the 802.11n specification requiring multi-input, multi-output. Users can position the AirPort Extreme N Base Station using an included 4-foot coaxial cable up and away from household clutter to improve wireless performance, and the device maintains backward compatibility with previous wireless standards. The QuickerTek N Antenna Upgrade is available as a user-installed upgrade for $130, or QuickerTek can install the array on a Base Station for $180. The company also sells pre-upgraded Base Stations for $350.
Apple EPEAT ranking
Apple's laptops perform well by US environmental standards, but are not perfect, according to recent information. Apple is one of a number of companies evaluated by EPEAT, a government body tasked with approving computers before they can be purchased by other federal institutions. The group assigns gold, silver and bronze medals to products based on a variety of criteria; to reach gold, a computer must not only pass 23 mandatory standards, but 21 of 28 optional ones.
Toshiba REGZA Z3500
Toshiba today used Japan as the venue for a new class of REGZA LCD sets. The Z3500 series includes a dedicated Linux PC inside that serves up and shares content; viewers can either stream media from any Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) devices or Toshiba's in-house VARDIA recorders thanks to three Ethernet jacks. Two USB ports support external hard drives for impromptu DVR recording, Toshiba says. Regardless of size, each set boasts native 1080p at 24 or 60 frames per second, a 120Hz LCD panel that eliminates motion artifacts, and three HDMI inputs with deep color support.
Refurbished iPhones $399
Apple has begun selling refubished iPhones from its online storefront, pricing the guaranteed good-as-new cellular handsets at $100 lower than the list price. The company's iPhone features a multi-touch display with a full QWERTY virtual keyboard, the Safari Web browser, email access, and built-in Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth connectivity. iPhones -- which serve as a video-enabled iPod, cellular phone, and internet communications device -- come in 4GB and 8GB models that store up to 1,000 and 2,000 songs, respectively. Both iPhone models provide up to eight hours of talk time with 250 hours of standby time on each battery charge, and both handsets incorporate a 2.0 megapixel camera. The iPhone weighs in at 4.8-ounces, and ships with Apple earphones alongside a USB 2.0 cable.
Epson photo printer trio
Epson has announced details of three new photo printers, set to ship in September. All three are said to produce a dozen 4x6-inch prints in a little over two minutes, but can further print images as large as 8.5"x11", with or without borders. The printers can also "correct" a photo automatically, compensating for underexposure or washed-out highlights. The basic model of the three is the R280, whose main advantage is a $100 pricetag.
Nine Canon PIXMA Printers
In addition to its pro and consumer camera updates, Canon today updated nearly all of its PIXMA printer series. Beginning the upgrades is the company's office all-in-one lineup, headlined by the MX700; the 4800x1200 DPI printer and scanner includes an Ethernet jack for a home or office network and a quick-start feature that has the printer completely ready in a matter of seconds; when copying, the built-in LCD lets users crop the image or selectively white out sections before committing the copy to paper. The MX700 includes a 30-page document feeder and will sell for $200; two lower-cost models, the MX300 and MX310, which each drop the Ethernet and on-screen editing to reach prices of $100 and $130 respectively. The MX310 includes the 30-page document feeder.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
Canon on Monday hoped to blur the lines between DSLRs and medium format digital cameras with its final camera announcement, the EOS-1Ds Mark III. The new full-frame camera is Canon's sharpest ever and more than doubles the resolution of the previous Mark III at 21.1 megapixels, rivaling Hasselblads and other digital backs in sheer resolution while still being portable enough to use in handheld form. Even at the full image quality, the camera can still be used for high-speed photography at five frames per second for up to 12 shots in uncompressed RAW or 56 for JPEG; offloading photos to and from the CompactFlash card is just as quick as the lower-resolution 1D Mark III thanks to support for new UDMA cards that write twice as quickly as the best conventional cards.
Canon PowerShots, ELPHs
In addition to the prosumer EOS 40D, Canon today expanded its popular PowerShot digital camera line with a new top-of-the line G-series G9 digital camera with a 6x zoom, 12.1 megapixel sensor and new face detection technology; a new line of ultra-zoom SX series of digital cameras featuring optical zooms of up to 10x; and two new PowerShot A-Series digital cameras, including the 12.1-megapixel PowerShot A650 IS and a 8.0-megapixel PowerShot A720 IS digital camera. In addition, the company debuted two new compact PowerShot Digital ELPH cameras: a flagship 12.1-megapixel PowerShot SD950 IS Digital ELPH and the 8.0-megapixel resolution PowerShot SD870 IS Digital ELPH.
Canon's new EOS 40D dSLR
Following the leak earlier this month, Canon on Monday officially took the wraps of the much-anticipated EOS 40D Digital SLR Camera with many of the features from its higher-end EOS-1D Mark III dSLR as well as a unique Wi-Fi transmitter/remote. Canon also announced a new entry-level, image-stabilized EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. Due in stores in early September, the "prosumer" EOS 40D offers a 10.1-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor and the DIGIC III image processor as well as a "completely redesigned" autofocus sensor, a larger 3-inch LCD screen, support for sRAW, a redesigned AF sensor, and fast, 6.5 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting capability (for bursts of up to 75 Large/Fine JPEGs or 17 RAW images).
iPhone texting 2X slower
In brief: OWC is offering the first 3GB RAM kit for the Mac mini, a Glasgow, Scotland Apple Store is set to to open August 25th, a study shows that texting takes twice as long on the iPhone relative to other QWERTY mobile phones, Apple has fallen two spots in comScore's Web ranking, and new life is breathed into the HTML standard ... Other World Computing has announced that it is the first major supplier to offer up to 3GB of expansion memory for Apple's latest Mac mini Core 2 Duo models -- 50% more memory than the 2GB maximum factory-installed option. The memory is priced at $135 for a 2GB Module and $180 for a 3GB Kit (1GB+2GB Set)
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