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In brief: A guide for developing iPhone-optimized sites has been created, an iPhone-optimized games site has debuted, GLX2 a script editor for Revolution has been released, Firefox 18.104.22.168 fixes a security flaw, and the Font Brothers have debuted some new typefaces... VirtualHosting has put together a guide for developing Web sites that are designed for the iPhone. The author of the guide says "When developing an app for the iPhone, there are a number of things you should keep in mind. Apple has put together an extensive guide for iPhone developers." There is also a list of useful tools, and sites to which developers can submit their optimized Web apps.
Cocktail 3.8.2 ($15) general purpose utility for Mac OS X. This release adds twelve new Automator actions, the Safe (Safe Boot*) option to the Startup Mode setting and possibility to show or hide Quit Finder menu item. The update also addresses an issue in which improper permissions were applied to the Firewall and Secure logs during the rotation of these logs, as well as an issue in which Cocktail may report problems with diskutil and mdutil. [Download - 2MB] Overflow 2.5 ($15) launcher utility for OS X. In this release, dragging a file over Overflow's dock icon now instantly opens the Overflow window to allow the file to be dropped on an application or folder contained in Overflow, making it an even more natural extension to the dock. Also, the Overflow dock icon can now be hidden and replaced by a status menu item. [Download - 893KB] QuartzCube 1.1 (free) configurable, rotating, wide-angle video cube. The interface allows you to immediately apply different videos or still images to the faces of the cube. You can also alter the tension of the roll axis to adjust the rotation of the video cube. [Download - 2MB] Jisho 2.1 ($15) Japanese-English dictionary. The new release adds OS X integration, zooming, better romanization, several performance enhancements and a refined user interface and experience. Users can search in Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, or Katakana), English, German, Russian, or French with variable strength settings. [Download - 25.6MB] MBS REALbasic plug-ins 7.6 ($270) a collection of several plug-in parts which extend the REALbasic development environment with over 900 classes and 2 controls featuring over 17000 documented functions. This release adds a DynaPDF plugin. This is a†library to write PDF files. An extra license per developer is needed. It also adds a PHP plugin to execute php scripts in RealBASIC. [Download - 79.6MB]
Independent game development firm Cryptic Sea has posted concept art hinting at the gameplay or storyline of the company's forthcoming title, Gish 2. Cryptic Sea in March promised Mac users a native version of Blast Miner -- a separate game that inspired one player to launch his own fan site dedicated to the title -- and delivered the Mac version shortly afterward. Gish 2 will succeed the original game that won the grand prize at IGF, challenging players to control a small blob of tar that can change its physical properties to navigate its environment. Players combine their knowledge of physics with the ability to make Gish "sticky" or "heavy," thus enabling the blob to climb walls and throw objects. Gish 2 will incorporate a new lighting system, smoother graphics, realistic shadows, and more. Cryptic Sea has once again promised to accommodate the Mac gaming community, this time by releasing Gish 2 for both Mac and Windows systems simultaneously.
Channel D has released AudioLeak 2.0, an update to the long-term equivalent level analyzer for audio files and sound input streams. The latest release measures peak, unweighted RMS, and A-weighted RMS while automatically normalizing files based on analysis results. The update accurately conforms to the A-weighting standard with supported sample rates of 33.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, and 384kHz. Users can process audio files of any length via simultaneous multi-threaded file processing and input audio measurement, and the application supports 200x real-time or faster processing allowing users to process one hour of audio in seconds, according to Channel D. The software is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 or later, runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and offers batch file processing via a separate professional version with variable RMS response as well as logging and the ability to automatically save analysis.
Disney-owned ABC TV is planning to expand the reach of its free Internet TV services, says Reuters. Its highest-rated shows should soon be viewable through Time Warner's AOL service, an unusual step in that it is clearly a third-party website, rather than its own first-party site or an application-based service such as iTunes or Joost. The network is joining the spiritual ranks of NBC, which already hosts episodes and is planning a collaboration with News Corp. (owners of Fox) to start a service called Hulu. On Wednesday NBC further revealed NBC Direct, a download service which will allow PC and Mac users to download and keep TV episodes for up to a week past airdate.
Apple has filed a patent application titled "System and Methods for Organizing Data Items," which discusses the use of new methods for organizing information within Safari and file system managers, audio or video players, photo editors/managers, or any other system in which multiple data items are accessed. The patent largely seeks to address several issues Apple sees with the typical way that browsers provide history functionality: namely that users can visit a large number of web pages, which are confusing to view in a chronological order, and the forward and back buttons are an inefficient and cumbersome way to navigate through multiple web pages. Hence the patent calls for a self-organizing list of previously accessed data items based on criteria such as information about what content was viewed, information about where the content was viewed, information about when the content was viewed, information about why the content was viewed, and information about who the content was viewed by or owned by.
Digitial rights management, or DRM, may in many cases be breaking Canadian law, IDG News reports. A study published by the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) suggests that DRM is being used to gather personal information for purposes never consented to, whether expressly or through clauses. The ability to discover how information is used and refuse consent is required as part of Canada's PIPEDA legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Iomega today unveiled new rackmount and desktop network attached storage devices designed for small and medium-sized businesses. The company's new four-drive rackmount models include the Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 200r 1TB Server with and without print serving capability, as well as the new Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 150d 3TB server. The StorCenter Pro NAS 150d offers SMB administrators add-on network storage with Active Directory support, and all of the new NAS servers use Gigabit Ethernet for fast connectivity to support up to four SATA-II hard drives that are configurable to RAID 0 (striping), RAID 1 (mirroring), or RAID 5 (striping plus parity) operation. Iomega's StorCenter Pro NAS 150d 3GB ($1,700) and 200r 1TB ($1,900) both work with Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later. The company's StorCenter Pro NAS 200r 1TB server with print will ship later this month for $2,500.
In May, the Denmark Consumer Complaints Board said that it found evidence of a hidden original design defect in Apple's iBook G4 systems, which the Cupertino-based company repeatedly denied. The board has now ruled against Apple for the second time, finding that the company will have to refund money to customers for faulty computers. Affected iBooks lose power and the screen goes blank after just over one year's use, but notebook owners were told their warranty had expired and that they would have to pay for repairs performed. Thousands of users all over the world have tried to get Apple to acknowledge the fault and agree to take back the computers, according to the board, but all have failed. The Consumer Complaints Board now claims to have documentation proving the existence of a design fault, and decided in April that Danish consumers must be able to return computers with this fault to Apple.
All 277 stations of the New York City subway system are to be wired for cellphone access, New York state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced. A private group called Transit Wireless will actually pay the New York City Transit Authority $46.8 mllion to do this, over the course of 10 years, spending another $150-200 million for the actual building of infrastructure. TW's compensation should come in the form of revenue from cellular companies, who will have to pay to have their phones function. The first six stations should be outfitted within two years, the rest being finished within another four.
Other World Computing (OWC) today began offering 802.11n WiFi adapters that allow any Mac to upgrade to the new 802.11n wireless standard via USB connectivity or through a PCMCIA or PCI card. The new adapters provide backward compatibility for use with 802.11b and 802.11g networks as well, but boast indoor ranges of up to 220 feet with outdoor WiFi distances of up to 500 feet possible with performance of up to 300Mbps. OWC's newest adapters work with any G3, G4, G5, or Intel-based Mac or PC with an available PCI or PCMCIA slot, or with USB 2.0 connectivity. Mac owners looking to install the WiFi adapter must be running Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while PC owners need Windows 2000/XP or later.
Audio equipment maker M-Audio today took the wraps from the Session Music Producer, a microphone combo built for amateur artists and podcasters. The design is based around the Producer USB microphone that builds its own audio encoding hardware into the base, allowing any user to hook it up to a USB port without requiring a separate card or other clutter. The 16mm cardioid microphone itself is also much clearer than basic models. Recorders or studio helpers can also listen to the raw recording with a headphone output jack, receiving the raw audio without the potential delay inserted by software on a computer.
ezGear today rolled out its new ezWake WK7 alarm clock for Apple's iPod. The revision of the company's older model improves various features and includes an enhanced full-function remote control. The ezWake's iPod dock allows users to play as well as control an iPod while simultaneously charging the device. Multiple adapters accommodate all iPod models past and present, while ports on the rear provide connectivity to TVs as well as stereos and computers. A 24-function remote control allows users to control every aspect of the alarm clock dock, which uses the same audio electronics as the original ezWake to maintain high quality audio. The device runs on AC power or via batteries on-the-go, and features two alarms alongside an LED display with dimming functionality and backlit buttons for operation in the dark. The ezWake WK7 is priced at $100 and is scheduled to ship some time this month.
Slacker today revealed that it had struck deals with all four major music labels. The service now gives the company's web radio and upcoming Portable Player access to a much larger catalog of music from EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal, and Warner; smaller independents such as Beggar's Group and Matador Records are also part of the deal, Slacker says. The agreement lets users either stream music directly from the Internet or store it locally on the device's internal hard drive to create personalized radio stations without the need for an active connection.
Headplay has released its namesake Personal Cinema System, a video output visor notable mainly for the range of inputs its base station supports. Aside from composite, S-Video and VGA inputs, it also accepts 802.11g Wi-Fi, allowing connections to Macs and PCs; users can further expand through stereo, Mini USB and two USB 2.0 ports, giving access to media players such as iPods. Should direct connections not be an option, users can insert Compact Flash cards. File formats directly supported include AVI, MP3, QuickTime, MPEG-2/4 and JPEG/JPEG2000.
Linksys, soon to be absorbed completely by Cisco, has nevertheless launched a new line of budget-level products called RangePlus. The core component is the WRT100 Wireless Router (not pictured), a stripped-down device whose primary features are MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) support and a computer-based guide that takes people step-by-step through setting up a network. It also benefits from Wi-Fi Protected Setup, a feature on some certified products that allows two to be linked by pressing a button on each.
Alienware today claimed to set records by shipping the first portable systems with 320GB notebook drives. The 15.4-inch Area-51 m1550 as well as the 17-inch Aurora m9700 and Area-51 m9750 now all have the option of using Samsung's latest 320GB, 5400RPM mobile disk to pack desktop-like storage. The 17-inch systems also have dual bays and can store up to 640GB. If completely full, this would allow for as many as 107 average games or 163,000 songs, according to Alienware's estimates.
MSI this morning released its PR210 YA Edition notebook as a new option for those who want an ultraportable without the associated costs and a drop in features. The 12-inch, 4-pound notebook now gets the choice of blue, green, and pink outer shells to customize their looks while also providing improved components beyond the surface. A stock system includes a 1.7GHZ Athlon 64 X2 Mobile with AMD's most recent ATI Radeon X1270 integrated graphics, adding both hardware acceleration for Vista Home Premium's graphics and HDMI output for HD video output. A 1.3-megapixel webcam and a fingerprint reader also separate MSI's system from its immediate rivals.
Some iPod touch players are in fact displaying overly dark video, Apple has confirmed in response to inquiries. Widespread reports, including complaints on Apple forums, have noted that blacks on photos and videos can appear to have a "negative" effect, resembling LCDs viewed at off angles, even though they are actually being viewed directly. Tech columnist Walter Mossberg, speaking with Apple, has learned that this is a known defect, but is only affecting a small cluster of players. Apple says it is attempting to solve the problem, though no timeframes for a resolution have been offered.
CBS and Fox are both planning to offer season premiers of select hit TV shows for free on iTunes, despite NBC's decision to pull its own content from Apple's digital storefront. Fox's K-Ville and Prison Break hit drama series premieres will accompany CBS's The Big Bang Theory as free offerings from Apple's iTunes Store this fall. K-Ville is a police drama series set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, while Prison Break details the dramatic efforts of prisoners in a U.S. detention center as they plan their elaborate escape in a third season. NBC recently announced that it would make many of its hit TV shows available for free via its own site without the help of the iTunes Store in October, but admitted that a Mac version of its viewing software will not be available until an unspecified later date. Meanwhile CBS expressed happiness with its current iTunes arrangement after News Corp. affirmed its loyalty to the iTunes Store earlier this month.
In tandem with its new Diamani DUO screens, ViewSonic today also unveiled some of its most advanced computer-centric displays. The VX series now has full dynamic contrast and produces ratios as high as 4,000:1; these are often as much as four times better than traditional desktop LCDs and make them useful for both pro image editors and movie viewers, ViewSonic says. One of the new models, the VX1940w, is also the first 19-inch desktop display with a 1680x1050 resolution and matches the near-1080p resolution of 20- and 22-inch screens without their accompanying size. The company also offers a 22-inch VX2240w for a more comfortable viewing angle and a lower-resolution, 1440x900 19-inch display in the VX1932wm. All have DVI and VGA inputs and will begin to ship in October with the $249 VX1932wm; the two premium models follow in November at an identical $249 for the VX1940w and $349 for the VX2240w.
France Telecom today announced that it holds exclusive rights to distribute Apple's iPhone in France. The company's CEO Didier Lombard refused to offer details on pricing, but said that the iPhone will not be subsidized by the operator and that French consumers will see iPhones before Christmas and as early as November, according to Thomson Financial. Apple announced that mobile carrier O2 would begin selling iPhones in the UK starting November 9th, confirming rumors that the Cupertino-based company had already signed a deal to distribute its cellular handset in Europe. Apple also revealed yesterday that the iPhone is coming to Germany via T-Mobile, making good on its promise to offer the iPhone in select European countries as a first step in distributing the device overseas.
Famed columnist Walt Mossberg has put the iPod touch through its paces, delivering a mixed review. He praises some aspects of the new device, mainly its attractive namesake interface, which replicates that of the iPhone while offering some unique additions. These include double-tapping the Home button to bring up music controls at any time, or double-tapping the keyboard's Space button to insert a period, a common feature of BlackBerries but not the iPhone. Mossberg also favors the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, which lets users buy tracks anywhere with Wi-Fi access, and have them synched with iTunes after returning to a computer.
ViewSonic on Thursday launched a major overhaul of its LCDs, beginning with the introduction of a new line of personal HDTVs that also serve as computer displays. The Diamani DUO's 19-inch NX1932w and 22-inch NX2232w are full-fledged HDTVs with HDMI input for pure digital signals as well as an integrated ATSC HD tuner and a built-in, 10W speaker system. VGA input and the option of a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, however, turn the displays into full computer monitors. This gives students and apartment dwellers an opportunity to connect their game consoles or TV service without investing in a second display, ViewSonic says.
Quark is preparing to announce the latest revision of its Quark Publishing System (QPS 7) at IfraExpo and Conference in Vienna. The event, which is scheduled to run from October 8-11, will set the stage for Quark to demonstrate its collaborative workflow system designed for newspapers as well as major corporate publishers, according to Macworld UK. The forthcoming QPS revision enables users to simplify the editorial and creative processes by connecting people as well as tasks in a virtual workplace, and includes a slew of new features. QPS 7 adds support for QuarkXPress 7 as well as QuarkCopyDesk 7, and is reworked to utilize open standard technologies like Java and Service Oriented Architecture. The Quark Booth (hall A, no. 620) will include live demonstrations and numerous Quark partners showcasing their own complimentary software.
Bell Canada today revealed its unlimited data service, allowing notebook owners with a free ExpressCard or PC Card slot to connect to the Internet without worrying about the bandwidth limits that often hurt cellular access in Canada or having to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The plan is not specific to any one connection type and includes the company's faster EVDO Revision A network, providing 3.5G transfer speeds closer to a home broadband connection. At its theoretical peak, the connection can download as quickly as 3.1Mbps and upload at 1.8Mbps, Bell says. The service is available now for $75 Canadian ($74 US) per month plus a $9 access fee and the price of an adapter card; no mention has been made of extending the feature to cellphones.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has received a subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, according to two anonymous sources. This is not a part of an investigation, say reports, but rather for deposition in a lawsuit against Apple's former general counsel, Nancy Heinen. The SEC targeted Heinen in late April, accusing her of backdating stock options for Jobs and other Apple executives. Jobs in particular is said to have been given 7.5 million backdated shares, and Apple itself admits that Jobs suggested profitable dates for options other than his own. Heinen's attorneys have requested the presence of 45 people for deposition, with an emphasis on granters and grant recipients.
Western Digital on Thursday reworked its MyBook external hard disks with a new design that also adds a dose of new features. Replacing the previous ring of light with a strip, more advanced models now have a single strip that doubles as a capacity gauge. Each new version also provides new features for its class, the hard drive maker says. The Home Edition is the first mainstream drive from the company to include three interfaces. In addition to FireWire 400 and USB 2.0, the Home builds in external SATA for performance matching an internal disk with supporting computers and adapters. The Office Edition also breaks ground as the first MyBook to share its files online without an Ethernet connection; on Windows PCs, special MioNet software makes files and folders available online through USB whenever the PC is online.
Nokia today sought to bring Wi-Fi to a wider audience with the 6301. The bar-shaped phone incorporates the wireless standard both to provide a fast alternative for Internet access and to offer calls over Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA); as with earlier phones of its kind, the 6301 can automatically hand over calls from the cellular network to VoIP and back. This not only saves cellular minutes when calls begin on Wi-Fi but also improves reception indoors; many users could scrap a landline entirely with a supporting cell carrier, Nokia says. To reflect this, the 6301 comes bundled with a desk stand to let the phone charge without losing its connection to a home wireless network.
Vers Audio has begun shipping its Vers sound system in an iPod and iPhone-compatible edition. The Vers line offers hand crafted, real wood sound systems with a furniture grade finish. The heart of iPod/iPhone Vers is a class D amplifier, coupled with 2-3" custom designed speakers that deliver 30 watts peak of full range sound. The sound system stands 5.5" tall by 11" wide and 5.5" deep. There is also a 14 function IR remote that has an extended range of controls for menu and play-list navigation. Vers retails for $180. Company officials said "Vers is the first in a line of iPod and iPhone sound systems that are hand crafted from real wood; they look as beautiful as they sound. The Vers line was developed by Sprout Creation LLC, a product creation company based in Wayland Massachusetts. Partners Dave Laituri and Tim Trzepacz are former Brookstone Company executives who launched Sprout Creation and its Vers line in 2007."
SoundTech Professional Audio has announced the the LightSnake USB stereo cable, which allows users to plug keyboards, drum machines, turntables or any audio source into a Mac or PC. It features built-in stereo output to allow for real-time monitoring using the included stereo ear buds or any headset or for hooking up to mixers and powered speakers. The device also features an embedded USB-powered analog to digital converter and signal booster, eliminating the need for additional signal conversion devices. It can be used in conjunction with programs like Sony Acid Music Studio and Apple's GarageBand. The cable also features a "Live when Lit" feature that lights up the cable when sound is being transmitted. It includes a stereo RCA to 1/8" adaptor cable, female to female RCA adaptor and stereo ear buds, as well as a stereo 1/8" output jack compatible with powered monitors. The cable is priced at $50.
Sony Computer Entertainment on Thursday formally announced its rumble-enabled Dual Shock 3 controller for the PlayStation 3 game console and said that the controller would begin shipping in Japan this November and is expected to be available in the US and Europe next Spring (2008). According to the report, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai confirmed the existence of the rumored rumble-enabled Dual Shock 3 controller and noted several games that were compatible with the rumble feature, including Devil May Cry 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, Metal Gear Solid Online, and Ratchet and Clank Future as well as long list of already-released titles -- such as Warhawk -- which were expected to be updated with support for the controller, ShackNews reports. (Older Sixaxis game controller shown at right.)
Details regarding Meizu's iPod touch look-a-like have materialized. The device will feature a 2.81" TFT screen with a 15:9 aspect ratio, and a native resolution of 480X288 pixels with 16-bit color. Like the iPod touch, Meizu's unit will respond to tactile feedback, and has the ability to playback H.264-formatted video at resolutions up to 720x480 at 30 frames per second, and M6 at up to 20 frames per second. It will also sport video out capabilities. 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities will be available. We previously reported that the device has been been tentatively named the M7 -- suggesting that it will be a bridge between the media-only M6 and the iPhone-influenced miniOne, also known as the M8. The latter is expected to launch in China before the end of the year with a slightly larger screen than the M7 at 3.3 inches and with full phone support, including 3G Internet access. Meizu's president declined to provide a release date for the M7, though the device is unlikely to be available before late 2008. [Images via Meizu Blog France]
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Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X