DLO has debuted OpenFM, an iPhone Web application that actively polls radio station locations to determine the clearest FM frequencies available for FM transmitters. Searchable by zipcode or city/state, OpenFM pulls its results in real-time from an active database, not a flat file, which the company says ensures the most accurate and up-to-date information available. The tool can work with the various FM transmitter offerings from FLO, including the TransDock and others. The OpenFM application actively searches an FCC-provided database of licensed FM broadcasters and, using algorithms, matches that information against known locations of radio towers to determine the highest quality FM frequencies to use.††Results are returned ranked in three categories, from "Best Bet" to "Good" to "OK" quality. The company says it will be rolling out an OpenFM widget for both Mac and Windows platforms in the coming weeks.
Elgebar Studios has released version 4.0 of its educational test-creation software Pencils Down. The new release includes customization through the use of themes and offers a service where teachers can post their test to the Elgebar Studios quiz server with no configuration. Students can then take the test online using any modern Web browser on any platform, including Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. The new release also adds the ability to insert images (even PDFs created using LaTeX or MathType) and matching questions, where students match one object in a list to a matching object in another list. Pencils Down 4.0 can be downloaded and can be purchased for $32 until September 18th, when it will begin selling at the regular price of $40.
Koingo Software has announced Librarian Pro, a tool that allows users to inventory their home media collection. The tool helps users keep track of books, music, movies, hardware, software, and video Games. It can also interface directly with Amazon to retrieve item pictures, details, reviews and more. You can organize items into smart collections by content criteria, create multiple databases for different locations, and even export to HTML or an iPod. You can also import data into Librarian Pro from any other major industry programs like Delicious Library, DVDpedia, Bookpedia, CDpedia, Gamepedia, iTunes, and even Microsoft Excel (CSV Format). it also includes a "Gallery" mode to view an entire collection by cover art, which is adjustable by size. The software will be available September 1st for $30.
Systemax Manufacturing today unveiled its 14.1-inch Assault Ruggedized notebook. The portable computer comes equipped with a magnesium alloy case that features an anti-shock design, as well as a spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad. The exterior is designed to protect an Intel Core Duo processor (up to 2.33GHz) driven by the Intel 945GM chipset, up to 4GB of memory, an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator with DirectX 9 graphics, and up to 160GB of 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive storage. Two built-in stereo speakers accompany three USB ports and either Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista. Systemax claims the notebook can handle a fall from 29-inches away from an impact surface, and demonstrations show testers pouring water over the keyboard with no effect on the running device. The 14.1-inch Assault Ruggedized notebook is priced from $999 for the base model, and the company allows customers to custom configure each notebook to taste.
A Better Finder Rename 7.9.2 ($20) comprehensive file renaming solution. The new release makes further improvements to the multi-step rename feature introduced in version 7. This feature allows users to combine several separate renaming steps (e.g. "convert to lower case", "add sequence number to the end", etc.) and apply them simultaneously. It also features extensive internal changes to this mechanism, an improved user interface and new "clear all" button. [Download - 5.5MB] Bookdog 4.2 ($20) bookmarks utility capable of managing Safari, Camino, Firefox, OmniWeb, Opera and Google Bookmarks. In this release, users can import/export their Shiira bookmarks, either in whole or in part. Bookdog's other features, including Verify, Fix Broken Bookmarks, Fix Duplicates, Sort (alphabetize), automated migrations using Apple's Automator, and background automatic sorting using Bookwatchdog, also work with Shiira 2.x. [Download - 4.7MB] PacketStream 2.2 ($20) point-and-click activation of the Mac's built-in network monitoring program. You can monitor data as it streams over your network, which is especially useful for checking web traffic, network bottlenecks, or even suspicious network activity. All network data is displayed in the application itself, and you can save the data to a file for further analysis later. The new release has a standard Mac toolbar, standard Mac search field, and two-pane layout. [Download - 4.4MB] Cameleon 1.2 ($15) a theme (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Xoops, etc.) and template modification assistant. It enables users to edit or replace any text (html, css, php, xml, etc.) or graphic (jpg, gif, png, tiff, etc.) element of a theme or template. It provides a unified, user- friendly interface between the contents of theme and template folders and image and text editing applications. The new release has performance enhancements and minor interface enhancements. [Download - 4.8MB] Barcode Producer 4.5 ($150) barcode creation software suite for Mac OS X. The new release offers new features and enhancements for designing vector barcode graphics in EPS, PDF, and TIFF formats. Also features one-click export for Adobe Creative Suite products, including Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat Distiller. Also included is Pages '08 integration, CMYK color picker. [Download - 10.8MB] Kenbushi Pro v7.1 ($25) media entertainment center with built-in file sharing and data backup. New features in this version include an enhanced full-screen media control system (like Apple TV), vidcast support, automatic hourly addition of new media files to the media library, improved automatic categorization of media, automatic daily news updates, and various bug fixes. [Download - 11.8MB]
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Jax from JoeSoft, FMWebschool along with Wordware Publishing have released a new book on FileMaker, and Belkin is presenting its latest iPod cases for the Nano as well as the Shuffle to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. O'Reilly Media has published a new book on Flash CS3 Professional, PhotoshopCafe.com is offering two training titles on Adobe's Flash CS3, and the Photographer's User Group in Oregon is meeting on September 4th. MacNN has reviewed JoeSoft's Jax ($50), an iTunes plug-in that adds new features to Apple's multimedia software. Jax installs an icon on the iTunes toolbar that enables one-click launch of the software, allowing users to add lyrics as well as album art and YouTube/Google video content to offer a more complete playlist experience.
Apple on Wednesday released an update to its advanced wireless router to bring it up the latest 802.11n wireless specification and to fix design issues with older versions of the router. AirPort Extreme Base Station Firmware version 7.2.1 is now Wi-Fi certified for 802.11n draft 2.0. The free update, the company said, also includes bug fixes and security updates. It is available via the AirPort Admin utility as a 4.6MB download. Apple also said that the update fixes a "design" issue in older versions of the 802.11n wireless router that would allowremote attackers to adversely affect network performance. Earlier this month, the company quietly updated the 802.11n router with Gigabit Ethernet. [updated]
In advance of the IFA 2007 expo in Berlin, LG has exposed the KS20, a product which follows the increasing trend of phones with an all-touchscreen interface, such as the Apple iPhone. The KS20 more closely resembles the design of LG's KU990 and Prada phones, but has a smaller, 2.8-inch screen, filling less of the phone's frame. Preserving its place in the high end though are features like 3.6Mbps HSDPA, video calling and Bluetooth 2.0, as well as Windows Mobile 6, push e-mail and a two-megapixel camera. The phone should launch in Europe during the fourth quarter. [via AVING]
AT&T may have backtracked on an apparent decision to cripple GPS in the BlackBerry 8820 under online pressure, according to a new report. Previous sources had accused the American carrier of insisting that Research in Motion deliberately restrict software GPS support in the BlackBerry to favor the iPhone, boosting the Apple phone's marketability but forcing users to pay for monthly TeleNav service to use mapping on the 8820. The discovery of the arbitrary restriction and the subsequent negative press are said to have made AT&T reconsider the decision, however, and the BlackBerry 8820 is now set to allow any compatible software use its GPS service, the report claims.
Imation has released new Odyssey removable hard disk cartridges in an expanded 160GB capacity. The Odyssey solution includes an external docking station with a USB 2.0 interface and a hard disk cartridge, containing a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive. The docking station is compatible with all Odyssey cartridges -- including the current 40, 80, 120 and 160GB capacity cartridges and all future, higher-capacity cartridges. Shipping with the Odyssey is EMC's Retrospect software for backup and recovery as well as 256-bit AES encryption. Imation-branded Odyssey systems range in price from $190 to $300, based on capacity.
Sierra Wireless has announced two new USB cellular modems, the AirCard 880U and 881U. Unlike most of their HSPA brethren, the pair is based on HSUPA technology, which in this case allows improved speeds of 7.2Mbps down and 2Mbps up. By contrast, most HSDPA connections are limited to 3.6Mbps down and 384Kbps up. The cards remain compatible with HSDPA, as well as general UMTS, EDGE, and GPRS data services. Also notable is the inclusion of internal batteries, which keep power levels where needed if a USB supply is not enough. The 881U is designed for North America, while the 880U is meant for Asia and Europe; the cards should ship to all regions in September.
The W580i is the latest Walkman phone to arrive in North America, and we at Electronista managed to get our hands on a final unit with the Canadian cell provider Rogers to put it through its paces. While we're still too far away from a final verdict, our initial impressions suggest that it's a decidedly better choice than the Samsung m620 and could be a realistic proposition for those who want a music phone without the investment required from the iPhone. Read ahead for more first impressions and a gallery.
Several images have leaked of an upcoming HP computer, simply known as the Virtus. The price, release plans and even specifications for the system are entirely unknown, but the elaborate blue dragon art on the front suggests that it may be connected to VoodooPC, which HP acquired last year. This is bolstered by April statements from Rahul Sood, one of VoodooPC's founders and the current CTO of HP's gaming division. Sood indicated that HP wanted to pursue gamers more aggressively, and was thus planning more high-end desktops and laptops by the end of 2007.
LassoSoft has announced the release of Lasso Professional 8.5.4 and Lasso Developer 8.5.4, as well as the more significant release of Lasso Studio 8.5. Lasso 8.5.3 Pro and Developer editions 8.5.3 are maintenance updates, primarily intended to fix a performance problem which affected Lasso 8.5.3 on Mac OS X and Red Hat Linux. The new releases also include a new Lasso Connector for FileMaker Server which improves compatibility with FileMaker Server 9, SOAP enhancements, and other minor fixes and documentation updates. Lasso Studio 8.5, also a free update, offers several new features, support for the new tags and features in Lasso 8.5, and support for the recently released Adobe Dreamweaver CS3.
Mindwrap today released its ScanTango software designed to convert scanned images into PDF documents. The application supports all Fujitsu Workgroup document scanners from the specialty fi-60F to the 18 page/36 image-per-minute S510. ScanTango also works with USB-powered sheetfed scanners from Sysview Technology to accommodate users on-the-go, and features one-button scanning to multipage PDF or TIFF files. ScanTango is priced at $100 for Tier 0 scanners and $150 for Tier 1 and Tier 0 scanners. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Flash memory producers could actually suffer from oversupply this fall without Apple's help, say new estimates from southeast Asian researchers. Although initial reckoning suggested that Samsung's unprecedented factory power cut and the subsequent loss of millions of chips could have reduced world supply of NAND flash by as much as 20 percent, the industry as a whole is said to have quickly recovered from the blow and may only see a shortfall of three to four percent in September. Prices for the chips, which are used in many handheld devices, could quickly settle down after the surge triggered by panic after Samsung's mishap.
In brief: The Filter improves its music management interface, O'Reilly publishes a new guide to security, Graphisoft hands out free ArchiCAD licenses, and Navicast announces H.264 compatibility. The makers of The Filter have upgraded their software to v2.4.3, bringing with it two important enhancements. Filter is used to generate playlists of mutually compatible songs, sourced from Macs, PCs, iPods and Nokia phones. The latest version has a streamlined interface, which is said to simplify the process of filling iPods, iPhones and Apple TVs. There is also a companion Facebook application, which shares music profiles and recommendations with other users.
Apple's iTunes Store is offering a free song and video by Beatle member Paul McCartney for one week only. The track "Nod Your Head" is from McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" album and comes with a promotional video, according to Macworld UK. Apple is also offering songs from McCartney's performance at the iTunes Festival which include "Coming Up," "House of Wax," "Jet," and more. Word of McCartney's free track arrives just as rumors are becoming even more abundant about the possibility of the Beatles music catalog arriving on the iTunes Store. Apple yesterday confirmed a special event where it is expected to unveil new iPods, and used an invite with the tagline "The beat goes on" which coincides with a press release issued just after the Beatles broke up in 1970.
Pioneer today rolled out its AVIC-N4 full-size nav system for cars. Although it opts for storing map data on DVD instead of hard drives, the N4 frees the slot for audio and movies through a rare memory system that caches information for just the trip ahead; it also allows for over 12 million points of interest, far more than traditional SD cards. Owners can also do more than just play traditional CDs and DVDs, Pioneer says. Built-in decoders handle DivX video as well as audio in AAC, MP3, or WMA form. The new AVIC will intelligently control attached iPods and Sirius or XM satellite radio tuners, but gives XM subscribers live traffic updates with a supporting XM NavTraffic tuner.
It has an accelerometer that detects physical orientation, a full-face, stylus-free touchscreen and can scroll through photos with the flick of a finger; but it isn't an iPhone. During today's "Go:Play" event, where the company made several sweeping announcements, Nokia showed a brief demonstration video depicting a concept phone (due to ship sometime next year) that bears striking resemblance in form and functionality to the iPhone. The video was demoed alongside the introduction of a new device-specific music store, and Nokia's immediate threat to the iPhone, an updated version of the N95 handset with 8GB of flash storage.
Panasonic's Japanese flagship has released the SV-SD950N, the newest audio player in its D-snap series. It can play AAC, MP3 and WMA files, but its key feature is Bluetooth, something normally reserved for third-party add-ons. This allows it to accomplish things like transfer files to cellphones, or listen to music on a car stereo with a Bluetooth receiver. The player is further notable for its 60-hour battery life, and bundled noise-cancelling headphones, said to eliminate 83 percent of ambient sound. Files are loaded on the player through an SD slot, to which end Panasonic has included a 1GB card. The 950N is selling for approximately 25,000 yen ($218).
The Belfast, Northern Ireland-based UniquePhones, which specializes in unlocking cellphones for customers, is demonstrating a rough version of its iPhone unlocking software in a new YouTube video. Company founder John McLaughlin is seen taking a new iPhone and synching it with custom software on a PC, and then replacing the original SIM card with one from a Vodafone BlackBerry. This allows him to dial two phonecalls, one to the United States and another to the UK's atomic clock service. Poor focus in the video is attributed to low light and the use of a Nokia N95.
Verizon today began selling the RAZR2 V9m, becoming the first American carrier to actually sell Motorola's premium flip phone following earlier announcements. The shipping version ships in black with a copper-effect metal shell and supports Verizon's V CAST music and video download services as well as assisted GPS routing through VZ Navigator. As promised, the 2-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, and EVDO broadband are untouched in the selling version.
Apple share prices rocketed upward when the company began shipping its iPhone in late June, but a study suggesting that the computer maker now sells more than one in six laptops in the U.S. may serve to remind industry watchers that iPhones are only part of the bigger picture. Apple reported record breaking Mac sales in late July when disclosing the financial results of its third quarter. The company's primary source of revenue remains its Macintosh computers -- of which Apple shipped a whopping 1.76 million in a three-month period for an all-time quarterly record and a 33 percent jump over the same time a year prior. Apple grew at four times the rate of the estimated industry standard, selling more than 1.1 million portables for almost $1.6 billion in revenue. The survey from NPD Group says MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks accounted for 17.6 percent of June's unit sales, representing a jump of more than 3 percent over Apple's May figures when the company sold 14.3 percent of all U.S. portables, according to PCWorld.
Following months of availability in Canada and Europe, Sony today quietly released its first video-capable Walkman player in the US. The A810 series is a near-direct translation of the original with a 2-inch LCD large enough to play video in either H.264 or MPEG-4. Sony also provides JPEG photo viewing and music in AAC, MP3, or WMA formats; battery life runs up to 33 hours for audio and a record 8 hours for video, the company estimates.
Apple's iTunes Store has begun offering customers in the UK access to hit TV programming from ABC Studios, the Disney Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Comedy for £1.89 per episode. The programming includes shows like "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Ugly Betty." The UK iTunes Store is also offering locally produced TV series like MTV's "Barrio 19," Nickelodeon's "Genie in the House," and Paramount Comedy's "Comedy Blue." Yesterday Apple confirmed that a special event will take place on September 5th by issuing an invite with the tagline "The beat goes on" set atop the company's familiar silhouetted iTunes dancer.
WebEx has launched an iPhone-compatible version of its PCNow remote access service, which lets users access files from their desktop PC, as well as Outlook e-mail, contacts and schedules. Users can also forward, delete or reply to messages, and these changes will be reflected on the desktop. The iPhone version of the service re-arranges content for easier viewing on the device, and is designed to mimic the desktop experience. PCNow costs $12 a month for use with two PCs, but users can also sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Nokia today provided full details of its new Nokia Music Store, one of the first device-specific music stores available. Similar to more computer-focused stores, the service provides a wider catalog of "millions" of songs and includes systems for recommending music based on past purchases. Users can also tag songs rather than buy them to create a wish list for a later purchase, Nokia says. And in contrast to most mobile stores, all songs are encoded in 192Kbps Windows Media format rather than a heavily compressed format that translates poorly to listening on quality headphones or a computer.
Roxio has released Popcorn 3, the latest version of its Mac video conversion software. In particular the program converts files for devices such as iPhones, iPods and Xbox 360s, but it also specializes in creating viewable DVDs. The third edition can burn DVDs up to four hours in length, and implements Batch DVD-Video Conversion, a tool which allows the queing of multiple DVDs for Fit-to-DVD. A pause command allows users to halt burning or conversion, and resume at leisure.
Continuing its announcements, Nokia today has also launched two versions of its popular N95 smartphone. The expected N95 8GB coats the previously silver phone in black and adds its namesake 8GB of flash storage to turn the device into a full-time portable media player replacement. Nokia estimates about 20 hours of video or 6,000 songs in a highly compressed eAAC format (2,000 at normal quality). Its screen has also been expanded to 2.8 inches -- one of the largest for an N-series, the company says. The 8GB model is due to ship in the fall for 560 Euros ($763) and is likely to show in North America as an unlocked device, similar to the original.
Garmin on Wednesday doubled the size of its Edge line of cycling devices with the 605 and 705. Each adds a 2.2-inch color LCD with support for true navigation over GPS rather than just coordinates; but unlike automotive units, riders can set the unit to adapt to previous routes or record shortcuts that might not register on traditional maps. The 605 also uses GPS to track altitude, Garmin says. Either system also stores information on speed, inclines, and any connected fitness trackers for heart rates as well as pedal power and rhythm. Cyclists can use most of these to set targets for an upcoming ride and upload the data through Garmin Connect, a web-based utility that stores and compares exercise information over time.
Confirming early reports, Nokia today launched several phones and began with a new entry into its N-series lineup. The N81 is one of Nokia's first devices to explicitly support the N-Gage gaming platform outside of the original N-Gage phone. The new entry includes dedicated keys for gaming as well as for music and is meant to be used on its side like a traditional gaming handheld. Outside of games, the interface also replaces the familiar tabs of many Symbian phones with a pane-based system that Nokia claims will help navigate media more quickly.
dbEntrance Software has released the gamma version of Entrance, the MySQL browser with charts. The tool combines MySQL browser functionality with charting and data analysis capabilities. The result is a tool for exploring complicated datasets. Entrance charts are interactive: it is possible to pan through them, select data from them and "paint" their data points. The Mac version of the product has a few features not found on other platforms: Charts can be sent to iPhoto, for example, and folders can be opened inthe Finder. Users can send a SQL script to a colleague by dragging it from the Entrance explorer tree to iChat or Mail Data can be exchanged with Apple's new Numbers application and other spreadsheets. The tool will ship September 15th, and carries introductory pricing of $40.
From SoundTech comes a new MIDI-to-PC cable dubbed the LightSnake USB MIDI, which features a function that causes the cord to glow when properly connected. The cable connects with any standard MIDI instrument or controller and plugs directly into a system's USB port. It delivers MIDI In and MIDI Out for communication with a vast array of musical devices including keyboards, samplers and more, and works in conjunction with software like Sony Acid Music Studio and Apple's GarageBand. SoundTech says the LightSnake USB MIDI is fully plug and play compatible with Windows XP and Vista as well as Mac OSX, with no drivers necessary. The cable is 10 feet in length, and priced at $80.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.64 ( -0.1 )
Maps adds transit for Rio Olympics
On Monday, Apple added public transit directions for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to its Apple Maps program in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which begin on August 5. The addition marks the first time a Brazilian city has gotten the upgraded public transit maps, which include station maps as well as transit schedules and tracking. The transit directions cover ferries as well as bus, subway, and light rail lines. The company has recently expanded transit directions to Montreal in Canada, and Seattle, Portand (Oregon), and other US cities.
Ive opens Met Gala fundraiser in NYC
On Monday, Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive opened the press preview of the annual Met Gala fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. Ive is serving as co-chair with Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and Apple is helping sponsor the event, which is themed "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology." He said the company is "thrilled" to participate in the Gala, and tied the company to the theme by saying that Apple's goal "has always been to try to create objects as beautiful as they are functional," adding that the company is "only starting" on its path of making products "more personal." http://bit.ly/1Y3EHKg
Tim Cook on CNBC Mad Money tonight
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be making an hour-long appearance on CNBC's investment show Mad Money this evening at 6PM ET. Slated for discussion, according to CNBC, are "Apple's future in China, Cook's outlook on innovation, what's next for iPhone, the Apple Watch, growth of Apple services and whether there are any potential acquisitions coming, among others."
Dev hacks Windows 95 onto Apple Watch
A developer has created a YouTube video that shows off a working version of Windows 95 running (very slowly) on an Apple Watch. Creator Nick Lee says that the OS takes about an hour to boot on the Watch because it is running in emulation rather than natively. While the project has no practical value, it does demonstrate how powerful mobile devices are in comparison to computers from the beginning of this century, as well as illustrating how far computing has come in the last 15 years -- long before smartphones, tablets, the cloud, and many more innovations that have come about since. http://bit.ly/1Y3AS85
WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e