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4 stolen MacBooks back
Orbicule has announced that Undercover, their theft recovery software for Macs, recently succeeded in recovering four MacBooks at once. This past April a K-9 school in Sweden fell a victim to a thief's visit. The school was broken into and 4 brand new Macs were stolen despite all entrances securely locked. The Undercover software installed on the Macs was able to take pictures of the thief using the built-in iSights, and take screenshots of the activity taking place, eventually pegging down the thief's home address.
Tokyo RPG '08 Themes
KeynotePro is has announced the release of Tokyo RPG '08 themes for Keynote '08. The themes are described as having a "bold modular design with classic structured type in a trio of eye-catching colors that are well suited for a wide variety of high-tech, corporate + finance or general-purpose presentations or topics." The new set has "EP Theme" variations optimized for use on the iPod and iPhone. The themes are now built entirely with native shape objects and placeholders, and users can change the soft electric background to a tinted variation, gradient or another photo altogether. There are up to 36 Master Slides (Pro/HD version) in a wide range of text and photo-oriented layout options, including both stand-alone and multi-image slides. Tokyo RPG '08 is available for immediate download for $20.
iPhone price cut/investors
At least one pundit investor thinks that the company's decision to drop the iPhone's price $200 was a slap across the face of not only purchasers of the device, but also shareholders. Writing for Seeking Alpha, Prashanth Cherukuri notes that while price cuts on consumer gadgets are not unusual, such a dramatic drop so soon is. "I think this negative publicity for iPhone is definitely a dampener for Apple. I, for sure will be doubly wary of buying an Apple product from now on, because they just do not seem to have any regard for their most fanatic customers, who swear by every product of Apple. [...] After all the murkiness is cleared, we'll know more about this price cut and the factors that influenced it, but for now, I am off to the Apple store to get my refund."
VMWorld kicks off
VMWare Inc, the creator of the virtualization software Fusion, has kicked off this year's VMWorld, which runs from September 11-13th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The conference focuses on virtualization technologies at both a consumer and enterprise level, and boasts more than 10,000 attendees, 252 unique breakout sessions, 108 hands-on labs and 147 sponsors and exhibitors. 40 hands-on labs took place on Monday, and there are more than 100 exhibitors at the show. Speakers include Diane Greene, President and Chief Executive Officer, VMware, Inc., Patrick Gelsinger, Senior VP and General Manager, Digital Enterprise Group, Intel Corporation, and Hector de J. Ruiz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AMD.
Refurb Mac mini $649
Apple's online store is once again selling the popular Mac mini desktop system at a discounted rate for price-conscious shoppers. Apple is currently offering just one version of its smallest non-mobile computer: the Mac mini 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo system with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive for burning both DVDs and CDs. The reconditioned Mac mini features an Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 video memory soldiered on-board, while the included SuperDrive both reads and burns DVD+R DL (Double Layer), DVD±, and CD discs. Apple is asking $649 for the tiny desktop computer, which ships for free in 3-5 business days and comes with a standard one-year warranty.
Physics 101, POP3IT
Tidy Up! ($30) search for duplicate files and packages; by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, date modified, date created, name, label, visibility and more. You can also search by the tag, duration and bit rate of MP3s and AACs audio files, search the content of the iTunes, iPod and iPhoto databases, search the messages of Mail and synchronize deletions with iTunes, iPhoto and Mail. The new release adds compatibility with iPhoto 7 (iLife 08). [Download - 8.4MB]
Jotter 1.4 ($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 from clipboard - default is F2. [Download - 925KB]
iToner 1.0.1 ($15) This update of the iPhone custom ringtone transfer tool adds support for iTunes 7.4, along with other bug fixes and improvements. Exempt from per-ringtone fees, iToner lets you easily transfer your own MP3 or AAC audio files to your iPhone, and enjoy them as custom ringtones. [Download - 5.4MB]
Physics 101 SE v7.0 ($10) academic tool for physics. The new release includes Thermodynamics - simulates the heat exchange between two object, environment; Orbital Motion - simulates up to a three stage rocket obtaining orbit; Enhanced circuits - now work with inductors, capacitors and phased voltage sources; Spectrum - interactively work with the electromagnetic spectrum. [Download - 17.1MB]
POP3IT 4.0.1 ($28) allows you to connect to a POP3 Email Server and download email directly into your FileMaker Pro database. The plug-in also allows you to import email directly from the mailbox storage files of popular email clients like Thunderbird, Eudora, and Apple Mail. The new release fixes a bug that was causing the plug-in's functions to disappear after viewing the Configuration Dialog. [Download - form]
Apple issues two updates
Apple today released two software updates affecting its QuickTime multimedia software and special features tied to the company's new aluminum keyboards. The compatibility update for QuickTime 7.2 "delivers increased compatibility with iLife," while the keyboard update enables special features available to owners of the company's new aluminum keyboard that began shipping with the latest iMac models. Apple released iLife '08 on August 7th during its special event in San Francisco alongside the revised iMacs with black glass and aluminum housings.
National carriers sued
The three largest phone carriers in the US, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, are together facing a lawsuit over their e-mail services. A licensing company by the name of NTP is accusing the trio of violating eight different patents; in return, NTP is asking for royalties based on device sales. Certain phones by Nokia and Good Technology (acquired by Motorola) are exempt under earlier agreements.
The suit echoes an earlier one against Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, who also have a self-run mail service. That case was settled for $612.5 million, one of largest patent resolutions in history.
Uberclok Ion and Reaktor
Offering a new alternative for pre-built gaming PCs, Uberclok today began selling its first desktops for mid-range gamers looking for overclocked performance without performing the speed boost themselves. The Ion and the Reaktor are both based on Antec's high-flow Nine Hundred case that allows the system maker to ramp up clock speeds without overheating the system. The Ion's budget-oriented 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo is boosted to 3.4GHz in stock trim, outperforming many more expensive stock models; the Reaktor's already fast 3GHz Core 2 Duo is pushed even further to 3.7GHz with a faster 1,333MHz bus.
Nokia N81 US-bound
Nokia's N81 gaming phone, already released in Europe, appears to be bound for the United States. The company has already received approval for the phone from the FCC, which notes that its American version operates on quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900), with single-band WCDMA providing broadband.
Little else has been revealed; the application omits even common details, such as pictures and manuals. It is known however that the European phone is sold in two versions, with or without 8GB of internal memory, and that both versions should have standard 3.5mm headphone jacks. Americans will also likely have access to the N-Gage gaming store, which launches in November. [via Unwired View]
New VR video eyewear ships
Major video eyewear manufacturer Vuzix today began shipping its iWear VR920 fully immersive virtual reality video eyewear. Designed for PC gaming and simulation, the glasses use the same technology that the U.S. Military employs, according to Vuzix. The VR920 features VGA progressive scan LCDs with support for up to 1024x768 resolution and a 32-degree field of view for a virtual screen measuring 64-inches from 9-feet. A built-in microphone and adjustable headphones support VoIP (Voice over IP) communications, while a 6-foot slim cable is included with a mini USB and VGA connector. The glasses allow users to switch between 2D and 3D viewing, and weigh 3.2-ounces. The glasses are priced at $400.
LaCie 2big Drives
LaCie today kicked off the launch of a new line of hard drives intended for artists, video editors, and others who need both high speed and ample storage. The desktop 2big Dual and 2big Triple, as well as the group-oriented 2big Network, include two Serial ATA hard drives that can be hot-swapped for a capacity upgrade or in the event of a failure. They can also be set to either a RAID stripe or a mirror to emphasize absolute speed (up to 90MB per second) or safety; with a mirror, a replacement drive can be automatically filled up to reestablish the backup, LaCie says. Two USB ports on any of the three drives will add even more storage for especially demanding users.
States: Keep watching MS
Several US states have petitioned a federal judge to expand oversight of Microsoft for another five years, according to the Associated Press. Oversight of the company originally began in 2002, as part of an antitrust settlement; Microsoft was accused of hampering its competitors' ability to develop for the Windows operating system. This oversight is still set to expire federally and in 17 states as of November 12th, but attorneys for California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia have all joined to ask for the extension.
LaCie 500GB "Golden Disk"
LaCie on Wednesday announced the Golden Disk, a newly designed device created by industrial designer Ora-Ďto. Offering up to 500GB of storage, the "liquid-inspired device will become the focal point for any design conscience customer looking to add glitz to their work environment," according to the company. "The Golden disk offers a unique jewel style while the outside finish actually contains a small percentage of real gold." Delivering fanless operation, the Golden Disk can connect to via a single high-speed USB 2.0 interface and offers cross-platform compatibility (with support for Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS X. The disk features a 7,200 rpm drive with 8MB of cache and an average seek time of 11ms. The LaCie Golden Disk, which bundles SilverKeeper Backup Utilities, will be available late October from LaCie direct and widely available via LaCie's specialized dealer network for $190 with a one-year warranty.
iPhone: One to One offer
In brief: Apple has begun offering iPhone buyers a free 30-day trial of its One to One service, Six Apart has released a mobile version of its TypePad blogging software customized for Apple's iPhone, and Peachpit has unveiled The iPhone Book: How to do things you want to do with your iPhone. USBFever.com has released its new iPhone Deluxe leather case, Freeverse has released Big Bang Sudoku for iPhone as well as iPod touch, and a new comic has surfaced poking fun at the recent iPhone price cut. Apple is offering new iPhone customers 30 days of free access to the company's One to One personal training service. The trial version offers identical service to the full $100 subscription except for a limit of five 50-minute training sessions. iPhone purchasers now receive a folder card that includes the phrase "The Apple Store, Included with every iPhone."
Guitar Hero III this fall
Aspyr Media today announced that Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (site not updated) is slated for shipment on Mac and PC platforms this fall. The sequel to the wildly popular Guitar Hero II includes vast new content, and features a multiplayer action-inspired battle mode as well as tough boss battles. The game offers a host of exclusive unlockable content that includes more than 70 songs and more original master tracks. Expanded online multiplayer game modes allow PC and Mac users to play head-to-head against players around the world across either platform. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock's battle mode will feature broken guitar strings, increased difficulty for opposing players for short periods, amp overload that makes notes difficult to read, and more (pricing was unavailable).
Korean Intel Sanctions
South Korea may consider applying trade sanctions against Intel for anti-competitive behavior in the country, according to statements from the country's Fair Trade Commission. The regulatory body said today that it had completed its probe of Intel's practices in the region and was considering action to prevent the company from unfairly excluding its rivals from the local market. No mention was made of which actions might be taken, though many would likely be targeted at the exact accusations leveled against the semiconductor firm when the FTC began its work in June 2005. An official announcement regarding the penalty would be due by October at the latest, said one source.
Users can now purchase iPhone ringtones based on already purchased tracks from the iTunes store for $.99 each. The functionality was announced during Apple's September 5th media event, where new iPods were introduced and the iPhone's price was cut $200. The process is relatively straightforward. Users select a ringtone-eligible song from their iTunes Music library, click the bell icon next to the song name, or choose Store > Create Ringtone, then use the ringtone editor (which appears at the bottom of the screen) to adjust the highlighted area to choose the preferred segment of the song (up to 30 seconds). The next time the iPhone is synced, the ringtone will appear in the Settings section.
Free Parallels update
Parallels today released a free feature update for its Parallels Desktop 3.0 software, which allows Mac OS X users to install Microsoft Windows XP or Vista and run Windows-based software right alongside Mac applications on the Mac OS X desktop. The update makes Coherence windows -- Mac OS X windows that contain running Microsoft Windows software -- work exactly like Mac windows, and includes full support for Apple's Expose technology. A new "Mirrored Desktops, Documents and Media" feature makes Windows "My Documents," "My Pictures," and "My Music" folders point to the same location as Apple's "Documents," "Pictures," "Movies," and "Music" folders so that changes in one folder automatically affect the other. The latest release of Parallels Desktop boasts improved performance under heavy workloads, as well as more efficient resource management -- especially related to CPU-intensive tasks. Parallels Desktop is priced at $80 for new users, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Blue Zune Spotted
Microsoft could be preparing one last special color for the Zune before it's replaced with a new model, an image in Target's weekly flyer suggests. The September 9-15 issue of the ad shows a cobalt-like blue version of the 30GB player in the same design as previous models, complete with a lighter blue double-shot trim similar to the black model. Features also appear identical with an FM radio and the same sharing-only Wi-Fi access.
3G iPhone imminent?
An analyst from a research group called Forward Concepts argues that a 3G broadband version of the iPhone is not only in development, but may be announced in the very near future. Wireless and DSP specialist Will Strauss claims that some form of announcement could happen as soon as this week, and that the possibility exists that a 3G WCDMA iPhone may be revealed at the same time as Apple reveals European carriers for the product. It is unknown whether Apple will opt for the high-speed HSDPA protocol or a more generic UMTS interface, but a separate leak suggests the former.
Samsung A737 Leak
AT&T is preparing a third Samsung phone to accompany the A717 and A727 flip and candybar phones already in service on the network, according to a new leak with a photo and early details. The A737 would share the same basic concept as either device but in a slider shape for those who prefer the form. The device is also influenced by Europe and includes at least UMTS Internet access and likely HSDPA that would provide 3G speed on AT&T's network. In a break from the previous two phones, however, the new model would have bright red accents and would be explicitly music-oriented, complete with a dedicated media player button on the front face and a control pad that may double as a scroll wheel.
Centro in Sprint Promos
Virtually all of Sprint's upcoming smartphones for the fall have been shown in formal photography today, including the anticipated Palm Centro. A new leak confirms that the Centro will be available within the last three months of the year and should include a 1.3-megapixel camera and touchscreen. It should also bring along the majority of Sprint's streaming and downloadable video services plus instant messaging and mail. An exact price is still absent from the product sheet but is still rumored to reach $99 with a two-year contract.
Apple: iPhone apps alright
Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod marketing, is assuring independent coders that the company does not oppose the development of native applications for the iPhone. Instead, says Joswiak, Apple has adopted a neutral position. It will not attempt to deter development, or halt it with new firmware updates, but neither will the company provide any assistance, or take any action to fix updates that accidentally break third-party native apps. This position could change, but Joswiak notes that it would require a re-evaluation by Apple.
EVE Online coming to Mac
The massively multiplayer game EVE Online, currently only available to Windows gamers, should soon be available in Mac and Linux versions. Game developer CCP Games has made a deal with TransGaming, who will incorporate its Cider and Cedega portability engines into EVE Online's code. No prices or specific release dates have been set for the new game versions, but they are expected to ship before the end of the year. Players of EVE take a starship and explore the galaxy, earning money for upgrades while fighting off raiders and major player factions.
Tannoy i30 iPod speakers
Tannoy has unveiled the i30, a portable iPod speaker system built on the company's numerous decades of speaker manufacturing experience. The i30 features two 100mm iCT drive units, and includes a Digital Sound Processor optimized for sound quality. The portable system's drive units boast frequency response of 60Hz to 22kHz with sensitivity of 88dB/1W at 1m. The device has no crossover, has point source for accurate imaging, and features an internal power supply for a built-in amplifier. BASH amplifier technology offers class D efficiency, according to Tannoy, with sound quality of analog Class AB despite low power consumption with universal 100-230V operation. Each i30 ships with five common dock adapters to support most iPod models, and includes an auxiliary 3.5mm input alongside video output and a USB port. An infrared remote matches the glossy black system, which is expected to ship for approximately $500.
Fujitsu PalmSecure Mouse
Fujitsu today broke with conventional notions of security by unveiling its new PalmSecure mouse. Where most computers or mice rely on a fingerprint reader for biometric security, the new design picks up on the vein patterns in a user's palm. The scanner requires no special guides or fixed distance limits for the scan; a user can sit down at a computer and casually place their hand right over the mouse before grabbing it to use the computer in question. The mouse otherwise works as a conventional USB mouse and comes with software to use the palm reader in place of passwords or other security measures.
Sony NAS Stereos
Sony updated its NETJUKE stereos today with three models that serve as a digital music hub without the need for a PC. The D55HD, M75HD, and M95HD (pictured) each bring hard drives for ripping and storing music CDs to either MP3s or Sony's older ATRAC format; the M75HD and M95HD models add MiniDisc decks that can also add media from Sony's proprietary storage format to a larger digital library. Owners of newer Walkman players like the A800 and S610 can use the stereos as their digital home: a Walkman Port syncs music from the NETJUKE's hard drive and will transfer over full album art and track information pulled across a built-in Ethernet connection. A 4.3-inch LCD displays the full track detail when playing music from the system itself.
Print Collection support
Quark has announced that its Print Collection suite has now gained extra file support, in the form of Adobe Acrobat 8. Print Collection is a series of tools for the prepress and imposition processes, mainly used in tandem with QuarkXPress 7; the only program with support for Acrobat is Quark Imposer, which allows customization of sheet, imposition and binding types, along with aids such as imposing PDFs from multiple sources into a single printer's spread. A copy of Print Collection is $300, but can be installed on several workstations without penalty.
News Corp. backs iTunes
In the wake of the mutual fallout between Apple and NBC Universal over pricing, News Corporation -- owner of the Fox movie and TV studios -- says it will continue to sell shows through the iTunes Store. President Peter Chernin notes that contrary to speculation from industry observers, News Corp. has no intention of following NBC, despite wanting more control over video sales. "Right now we have a perfectly good relationship with Apple," says Chernin, "But let me say this, we're the ones who should determine what the fair price for our product is, not Apple."
NEC AccuSync GX and CX
NEC on Tuesday released a trio of new AccuSync LCDs for gamers and other video-conscious users. The 19-inch LCD19WMGX, 22-inch LCD22WMGX, and 24-inch LCD24WMCX all support HDCP encryption to display video from Blu-Ray, HD DVD, and other protected sources at the full resolution of the display, up to a full 1080p on the 24-inch model. Both it and the 22-inch display also sport a native HDMI connection that feeds audio and video, allowing users to hook up a PlayStation 3 or a dedicated movie player to the LCD without an adapter or occupying the DVI port. These larger screens also have a special DV mode with six presets optimized for different game and movie settings.
CamCamX video mixer
B-l-a-c-k-o-p Design is now shipping CamCamX, a broadcast quality video mixer for Macs that uses 8-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 component video as its native video format. "CamCamX takes a fresh approach to live video mixing on the desktop; just as with traditional video mixers any two camera sources, QuickTime movies, and still images can be used as inputs and mixed in real time. What sets CamCamX apart from other existing video mixers is that the video mix is re-routed back into the Mac as an emulated iSight (Web cam) camera." The CamCamX emulated camera is simultaneously available to all traditional Webcam and video recording applications as a live camera input. The software is priced at $30, though a lifetime subscription is also available for $100. The company also offers an AppleCare-like 3-year warranty (system requirements were unavailable).
Toshiba this morning unveiled the TDP-EX20U, a DLP front projector targeted equally at home theaters and PCs. Unlike most in its class, the EX20U compensates for screen glare and shadows to cast images at very short distances while maintaining a usable image. A 60-inch image can be projected from as little as three feet away; a smaller picture is visible from as close as 1.9 feet, Toshiba says. The EX20U is also comparatively bright at 2,300 lumens with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, helping it operate in less than perfect light conditions.
Logitech this morning took the wraps from the AudioHub, a new stand for those who treat their notebooks as full desktop replacements. Its namesake speaker system includes both two 3-watt satellites as well as a 9-watt subwoofer, providing balanced sound without the bulk or clutter of a stand-alone system. The speakers accordingly slide outwards to accommodate larger notebooks and are low-profile enough to fit underneath a larger second display. A single USB connection allows the sound and a three-port USB hub to work through a single USB cable, Logitech adds.
Cyberduck 2.8, a significant update to the free FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac, has been released. This new version features much improved support for SSH connections and performance improvements. Also included are support for SCP transfers, queuing of file transfers, and automatic retry of failed network operations. The tool includes support for external editors and system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, the Keychain and AppleScript. It is an open source product licensed under the GPL and free to use. Cyberduck is available in English, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Slovak, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Russian, Swedish, Danish, Polish, Indonesian, Catalan, Welsh, Thai, Turkish and Hebrew. The new release is a 9.2MB download.
JVC projectors, HDTVs
JVC launched three new HDTV sets at the CEDIA Expo -- the 37-inch LT-37X898, the 42-inch LT-42X898 and the 47-inch LT-47X898. The sets include Clear Motion Drive II, designed specifically for full HD (1920 x 1080) displays, purportedly improving motion detection fivefold compared to the original high speed driver. CMD II uses a frame doubling driver (120Hz) and motion interpolation. It also uses a 10 bit IPS LCD panel, which renders more than one billion colors. Other specifications include a contrast ratio of 2000:1, 4.5msec response rate, 500cd/m2 brightness, and a 178-degree viewing angle. The 37-inch LT-37X898, the 42-inch LT-42X898 and the 47-inch LT-47X898 will sell for about $2,100, $2,600 and $3,300, respectively. The company also dropped two new 1080p home theater projectors that deliver a native contrast ratio of 30,000:1 without inflationary tactics like a dynamic iris.
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