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Creative Manager Pro
Übercaster v1.2 ($80) podcast production suite. The new release includes dramatic performance improvements as well as new features, including selectable launching actions: a new preference lets the user choose between several options (e.g. open template or open last project) and several interface refinements. [Download - 15.2MB]
Creative Manager Pro 8.4.4 ($380 for ten users) groupware for creative and design firms. The new release is optimized for Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and ready for Apple's upcoming Mac OS X Leopard. "By using the integrated Safari browser of the iPhone and iPod Touch, clients of Creative Manager Pro can easily review the status of projects and contact clients on the go. Designers and other staff can also enter timesheets anywhere they can get use the iPhone and iPod Touch."
Mojotones 1.2 ($20) utility for the creation of ringtones from the tracks in the iTunes library. Users may send the whole track - or their favorite part of it - to their phone. Mojotones can generate ringtones in MP3, AAC or WAV formats. MP3 support, new in version 1.2, is provided via a free, third-party open-source QuickTime component. The tool is a Universal Binary. [Download - 964KB]
Troi Encryptor Plug-in 2.5.2 ($80) FileMaker plug-in that offers encryption and decryption of data and images. The new release adds compatibility with FileMaker Pro 9 and fixes a bug in the Encr_DecodeBase64 function, where the last Base64 character would not always be decoded correctly. It also fixes a a small inconsistency with Encr_Version( "-GetVersionString" ). [Download - 1.4MB]
Core Duo Mac mini: $479
Apple's online store is listing its refurbished 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo Mac mini at $479 with a standard one-year warranty and free shipping. The small Apple computer includes 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW, and includes Gigabit Ethernet networking as well as built-in 54Mbps 802.11g wireless networking capability. Apple is also offering reconditioned 23-inch Cinema Displays for $749, a 17 percent reduction from the store's price on new models. Refurbished MacBooks are also available from $949, starting with the 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo white model with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive. Apple backs all of its refurbished items with the same warranty offered to customers making brand new purchases, and in many cases offers additional AppleCare Protection Plans to extend that warranty to three years.
4D v11 SQL Developer
4D SAS today released 4D v11 SQL Developer with a new database engine as well as support for SQL, SVG, and Unicode. The update also enhances support for ODBC (Open Database Connectivity), XML, and SOAP-based Web Services. 4D v11 adds more than 100 new productivity enhancements, including a new ergonomic design environment with integrated refactoring tools, a new structure design editor, and an integrated maintenance center. The latest release provides developers with a new component architecture that helps deliver secure high performance modular code, according to 4D SAS. The 4D v11 SQL product line is priced from $350, and upgrade as well as maintenance plans are available to existing users.
Mac News Junkie bundle
Command Software and Cynical Peak Software have announced the "Mac News Junkie Bundle," which combines Cynical Peak's RSS news reader Cyndicate and C-Command's EagleFiler information manager. Cyndicate retrieves all syndicated content while EagleFiler provides long term archiving and searching. The combination allows users to select interesting articles to read, save them for reference, and locate them again when needed. EagleFiler provides tools to search mail, Web pages, PDF files, word processing documents, images, and more. You can organize data into folders and annotate them with tags and notes, or use a live search function. It stores its library in Finder format. Cyndicate is an RSS/Atom syndication feed reader that uses Apple Mail's familiar interface. The bundle is priced at $55 and ends October 1, 2007. EagleFiler normally retails for $40 USD, Cyndicate normally retails for $30.
Microsoft today finally announced the availability of DreamScene, the long-delayed extra for Windows Vista Ultimate users. Originally intended to launch at or near Vista's January release, the feature gives any Ultimate owner the option of replacing a static desktop with a looping video scene such as a fire or fish swimming underwater. The feature requires a system capable of handling the extra demands of a large video texture along with the Aero Glass interface and should be a free download for any Vista Ultimate user.
Vonage to pay Sprint
Beleaguered VoIP carrier Vonage must pay Sprint Nextel at least $69.5 million, a federal court judge has ruled. The Associated Press writes that Vonage has been found guilty of infringing on six telecommunications patents, and must now pay Sprint damages as well as a five percent royalty on future revenues. Sprint first sued Vonage in 2005; at the time, the case involved a full seven patents, all relating to VoIP technlogy. Vonage denied any wrongdoing -- not for having broken the patents, however, but by saying that the patents were faulty and should not have been granted in the first place.
Italy picks up LG U960
The Italian phone carrier 3 Italia has adopted a new LG cellphone, the U960. The handset places heavy emphasis on TV viewing, not only through a digital DVB-H tuner, but also by snapping the sliding screen horizontally, enabling widescreen video while allowing access to the numberpad. The phone has other high-end features as well, among these 3.6Mbps HSDPA, which is accompanied by a VGA front-side camera for video calls. A two-megapixel rear camera records stills and regular video.
Users can link devices through Bluetooth or USB 2.0, and play numerous audio and video formats including AAC and H.264; the phone has just 45MB of internal storage though, requiring most media to be held on microSD cards. 3 Italia is selling the U960 for €102 ($144) as part of a plan. [via Unwired View]
Sony VAIO L Japan
Sony Japan followed up its notebook updates with an upgrade to its all-in-one VAIO L desktops. In addition to the computing-focused, 15.4-inch LJ, the 19-inch LM and 22-inch LT have now been redesigned to share the same backing parts as Sony's BRAVIA LCD sets and will wall-mount using an optional VESA kit, completely eliminating the horizontal footprint of the computer. A digital tuner for over-the-air TV broadcasts is now standard even with the slower 15-inch systems, Sony notes, fulfilling the role of the L as a hybrid media center without the extra cost.
GT Security has released SecuriKey 2.0, an integrated AES encryption and multi-factor authentication solution designed for the Mac. The tool combines USB token and password facilities with AES data encryption on the hard drive to provide access control and data protection. The net effect is something like an "ignition key" for Mac -- inserting the device in any available USB slot and entering the correct password results in access. As soon as the token is removed, the Mac is automatically locked again. Also included is the SecuriKey Encrypted Volume, which uses AES encryption to protect important information. It works like a second, encrypted hard drive and it can only be opened with both the correct SecuriKey USB Token and the correct password. The SecuriKey solution is priced at $120.
700MHz auction appeal
Phone carrier AT&T, and Frontline, a recent start-up, are the latest out of a batch of 10 companies to petition the FCC over its upcoming 700MHz wireless auction. InfoWorld reports that the companies are upset about several requirements; among these is the stipulation that prior to even bidding, companies must reach an agreement with US public safety departments, giving them access to frequencies needed for a nationwide broadband link. This is described as "an extreme penalty," according to AT&T's petition.
AT&T to upgrade 3G service
AT&T has promised to unveil an upgrade to its mobile network with a six-fold upload increase, but those improvements won't include Apple's iPhone until the Cupertino-based company unveils a newer model with support for the carrier's quicker service. AT&T wireless network services president Richard Burns told Reuters in an interview that the cellular carrier expects to perform most of its planned upgrades in October and November, ramping upload speeds to help meet higher bandwidth demand from customers. "The ability to upload is becoming more important," Burns said. "Everybody in the street is becoming a reporter so the desire to be able to upload is growing. That's become a much bigger part of consumer demand than it was just a few years ago." The network upgrades will increase speeds to 500-800Kbps from the current 120Kbps, but Burns points to AT&T surveys that suggest iPhone owners are happy with their slower EDGE service.
As one of its multiple announcements on Tuesday, Toshiba unveiled one of its most flexible projectors ever: the TDP-EW25U includes a unique DLP projection system that casts a usable 41-inch picture from as close as 1.6 feet, and scales up quickly to a 60-inch picture at 2.4 feet. When ceiling mounted, the unit actively eliminates visible glare and prevents shadows from the projector itself from falling on to the screen, Toshiba says. A 100 percent optical offset makes this possible and also makes it an ideal fit for unusual presentation angles at work or movie viewing at home. The EW25U's native 1280x800 resolution also helps in both situations, accommodating many widescreen notebooks as well as 720p HD video feeds.
Pinnacle Video Capture
Pinnacle Systems released Pinnacle Video Capture for Mac, a USB 2.0 device that eases the process of capturing video in an iPod-native format from any analog source. The system enables users to transfer home videos, record TV shows or movies, and record gameplay from a game console while automatically adding the content to iTunes. Pinnacle Video Capture for Mac plugs into a USB 2.0 or 1.1 port to enable high-quality video streaming directly to the system with support for multiple inputs -- including S-Video, Composite video, and stereo audio analog. The device features hardware video encoding and onboard compression as well as MPEG-3 compression support. Pinnacle Video Capture for Mac is slated for release in mid-October of this year, and is priced at $100 requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
FileGuard X4 released
Intego has released FileGuard X4, a data protection program that stores sensitive files in encrypted packets. The "safes" created by FileGuard X4 are portable, with the capability to be shared among users who only need a password, not the FileGuard software itself to decrypt them. The software can also protect e-mail and instant messaging transcripts. The safes act like folders: users can add files to them by dragging files to a safe's icon. The safes also have floating avatars, unique icons that display above other windows, so users can drag files to them regardless of which other windows are visible. They are also accessible from standard Mac OS X Open and Save dialogs, and increase in capacity as more files are added. FileGuard X4 is priced at $50.
Moto WiMAX Chipset
Motorola today backed its wi4 WiMAX efforts with the company's first truly mobile WiMAX chipset, allowing its devices and other companies to use the Intel wireless technology in a handheld. The unnamed processor is small enough to fit in tighter environments but also consumes less power at 4G (fourth-generation) speeds than the hardware for today's 3G connections, such as EVDO or HSDPA. It also supports MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) antenna setups to pick up signals at very long distances or at higher speeds when space allows. WiMAX in handhelds using the chip would offer multi-megabit, "DSL or cable-like" speeds, according to Motorola.
Toshiba A215 and P205D
Toshiba continued its successive launches today with the release of two notebook lines that expand the company's still-young AMD lineup. Topping the list is the P205D, the company's first 17-inch AMD notebook. While similar at its heart to the Intel-based systems, the new model keeps costs down by using lower-cost CPUs with near-identical 64-bit support and dual cores. The base S7438 version is set at a relatively low $850 with a 1.9GHz Athlon 64 X2, 1GB of memory, and Radeon X1200M integrated graphics that can drive Windows Vista Home Premium's more advanced Aero interface. Permanent storage is handled through a 160GB disk.
Sony VAIO UX, G2 systems
Sony Japan is nearing the release of two updated VAIO notebooks, both intended for high portability. The VAIO G2 is an extremely thin 12.1-inch system, and makes the switch to a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor equipped for ultra-low voltage; power consumption is efficent enough that the battery should be able to run up to 12.5 hours. RAM defaults to 1GB, with a maximum of 1.5; while the system is limited by integrated graphics, it sports a number of other highlights, such as the ability to swap out an 80 HDD for a 32, 48 or 64GB SSD flash drive. It also includes a DVD super multi drive, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and slots for SD and Memory Stick cards. The computer should ship October 6th starting at 154,800 yen ($1,339).
Texas Instruments today celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first handheld calculator by introducing the TI-Nspire, an advanced set of graphing calculators for both students and professionals. The series takes advantage of the advancement in technology by being one of the first calculators to show multiple versions of the same equation on screen at once: users can see the common numerical view as well as a representative graph, the algebraic formula, its geometric form, or even a written model. Values can be changed on the spot (including graph points) and updated across the entire set.
Apple Expo 2007 photos
The 2007 Apple Expo has opened in Paris, France, and a number of photos have been acquired of the event. Dominating is Apple's own booth, which features long rows of demonstration iMacs and MacBooks, as well as iPods. Hung over the area are several large banners, advertising the new iMacs and other Apple items, such as the Apple Store and the new video-enabled iPod nanos. Many third-party developers are present as well, including Quark, Logitech and Microsoft, the last of which is showing off its Xbox 360 console as well as its updated Office Mac suite. An adjunct to Apple's presence is Nike, which is promoting its Nike+iPod running gear. The Expo runs through September 29th.
WD intros My Book Studio
WD today introduced its My Book Studio Edition external hard drives designed for creative users. The drives come pre-formatted for Mac computers, and feature quadruple interfaces that include USB 2.0 as well as FireWire 400/800 and eSATA connectivity. WD's drives come in capacities from 320GB to 1TB with automatic continuous backup functionality, data synchronization and encryption, a capacity gauge to present available space, a drive activity light, and an environmentally friendly power saving design. WD's "SmartPower" feature accompanies a fan designed to run quietly, and the company is offering a new smaller My Book collectible design with a silver metallic finish. WD is demonstrating its My Book Studio edition drives at the Apple Expo in Paris, France (Stand E 014).
Amazon today launched its long-delayed digital music store, offering one of the first major, completely DRM-free music stores beyond eMusic. Now known as Amazon MP3, the service offers every one of its songs as 256Kbps MP3s, allowing both owners of iPods and Zunes alike to buy music from the store with knowledge that it will work on their players and with audio quality above many competing stores. In contrast to some DRM-free outlets, the store will also have a large catalog courtesy of EMI's new DRM-free policy as well as Universal's pilot project that trials DRM-free content. Over 20,000 independent labels are also onboard, while major labels include previous holdout artists such as Radiohead, Amazon says. To streamline the process, the company lets its 1-click buying process work with tracks and offers an MP3 Downloader program that automatically shuttles songs to either iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Analyst on iPhone hacking
Following Monday's Apple statements against hacking, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu argues that despite media headlines, the actual impact on the iPhone market will be minimal. Wu claims that the only group affected will be hackers, and that this group is fairly small. The majority of buyers, it is suggested, will leave their iPhones unmodified. Wu further argues that Apple's position is necessary, for multiple reasons: among these is the need to keep the iPhone a "secure and stable" platform, and meet contractual obligations with AT&T as well as Europe's O2, T-Mobile and Orange.
NVIDIA 7150 for Intel CPUs
NVIDIA today promised to cure the performance problems associated with integrated graphics on Intel systems. The GeForce 7000 for Intel is said to give Celeron, Pentium, and Core 2 Duo systems better performance than Intel's own offerings while providing virtually the same visual features as modern, dedicated video cards. Every chipset includes full DirectX 9 shader support and accelerates Vista Home Premium's Aero Glass interface. Mainboards can also fit an HDMI output with HDCP encryption to play some copy-protected Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies at high resolution.
Toshiba on Tuesday released some of its first-ever notebooks to run dual graphics processors. The X205-SLI series is based on two 512MB GeForce 8600M GT chips that should deliver strong gaming performance even for the most recent games, including DirectX 10 titles. Every system also ships with an HD DVD combo drive and uses its video decoding prowess to smoothly output 1080p video either on the native 17-inch screen or to an HDTV through HDMI. Each notebook has the room for games and video with dual hard drives as well as quicker 802.11n wireless and a webcam.
Iomega at Apple Expo
Making a presence at Paris' Apple Expo 2007, Iomega has revealed several new Mac-compatible external hard drives. The top of the line is the 1.5TB UltraMax Pro Desktop, which houses two SATA-II drives in a meshed enclosure resembling the Mac Pro. The drives can be set to RAID 0, 1 or JBOD configurations, and interfaces in the primary version include two FireWire 800 ports, one FireWire 400 port, and a USB 2.0 connector. Buyers can also pick an alternate version with eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces, the former allowing speeds up to 3Gbps. The drives are now available for $600 each, and require Mac OS X 10.3.
Sony VAIO NR
Sony today confirmed leaks by introducing the VAIO NR, the company's least expensive VAIO notebook since the line began but also one of its most stylized. The outer shell includes a unique, fabric-like textured surface that adds a sense of quality to entry notebooks, which are often dominated by hard plastic. Systems even ship in designer colors such as wenge brown, the company says. Similar to the MacBook, the edges are also rounded off to make it easy to hold without catching on a bag. With a 15.4-inch screen, each system is large enough to be truly functional and holds an ExpressCard/34 slot as well as Memory Stick and SD card readers.
Toshiba gigabeat T400
Toshiba this morning released a wave of new devices and began with the early import of one of its most advanced, flash-based music players. The gigabeat T400 closely follows the release of the Japanese version and promises the same use of H2C decoding to produce superior audio quality compared to most players: the new gigabeat's chipset can restore many of the details lost in the compression of MP3 and WMA tracks. A 1-bit digital amp and filter also help reduce background hiss and other noise that sometimes intrude into music. The T400 is also one of the few media players to support Windows Media Lossless, Toshiba adds.
EchoStar Acquires Sling
DISH Network operator EchoStar today announced that it had agreed to acquire Sling Media. The deal is estimated at $380 million in cash and stock options and will give EchoStar its first truly direct control over Sling since investing and collaborating with the smaller company shortly after its 2004 launch. The deal will let satellite TV subscribers more readily stream their shows over the Internet to a computer or a cellphone, EchoStar said. Sling itself responded that the deal would let the fledgling company expand the distribution of its Slingbox media hubs.
Filesystem fix for laptops
Apple on Monday evening released a filesystem for some owners of its newest laptops. The company said that that the 200K MacBook, MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0 update enables file system journaling on MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook computers, which was inadvertently turned off on some computers: "Some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems were shipped with file system journaling turned off," Apple said in its support pages. "Journaling is recommended on all Mac computers as a preventative measure against file corruption." The update requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 and supports MacBook (13-inch Mid 2007) and MacBook Pro 2.4/2.2GHz Mid 2007) and Apple notes the software will have journaling enabled after the update is installed, but outlines a procedure to startup from the Mac OS X Install or Restore disk to fully repair their startup volume.
Apple defends statement
Following its warning about warranty coverage for unlock-damaged iPhones, Apple execs defended their decision, but claimed that they were not intentionally disabling phones. The company on Monday warned that some users may end up with a phone that doesn't work after the company's next software update. Apple executives said they have discovered that many of those unauthorized unlocking programs cause some software damage to iPhones and cautioned users that the damaged iPhones would not be eligible for warranty repairs. While the forthcoming iPhone software update will add features such as accessibility to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, it may also render the device completely inoperable if it has been hacked into, the company cautioned.
Office 2008 for Mac SKUs
Microsoft on Tuesday announced its expanded product line-up for the Universal version of Office 2008 for Mac, which is expected to be available on retail shelves on January 15th, 2008. The delayed product launch will include three separate Office 2008 for Mac products, including a Special Media Edition and a Home & Student Edition. The Office 2008 for Mac core suite ($400) includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage along with Microsoft Exchange Server support and Automator tools, while the Office for Mac Special Media Edition ($500) combines Office 2008 applications with the Microsoft Expression Media digital asset management system. The special education and consumer version, Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition ($150), provides the basics of Office 2008 for Mac for home and school users: it includes three user licenses for use by consumers and students but does not include connectivity to Microsoft Exchange Server or support for automated workflows.
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