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Lexia Learning has released a new version of its learn-to-read program, Lexia Reading v5 for students in grades Pre-K to 12. The developer claims that struggling readers who used Lexia Reading v5 during a summer program made between nine and 12 months of grade-level equivalent progress, determined by independent pre and post tests using AGS' "G.R.A.D.E" assessment. The new release includes an option for delivery over the Web, and includes new and expanded management tools, reporting, and district reporting features. The suite consists of Lexia Early Reading, designed to increase phonological awareness among 4 to 6 year olds; Lexia Primary Reading, which helps all children ages 5 to 8 master basic reading skills; and Lexia Strategies for Older Students, for students ages 9 to adult helps older students learn to read through intensive skill practice.
MyTube: YouTube widget
Interdimension Media has released MyTube, a Dashboard widget for Mac OS X that provides browsing, searching, viewing, and iPod exporting of YouTube videos. Features include full browsing/searching of YouTube content, fullscreen playback mode with 4 sizes, video scrubbing and keyboard controls, direct export to iTunes/iPod, and the ability to prevent screen dimming/screensaver during playback. MyTube is freeware, but the iTunes/iPod export feature is unlocked by donating $2 or more -- three free trial exports are included.
OWC lowers RAM prices
In brief: We have reviewed the iPod Classic, the BizCard reader, and the Bum Back Pack, OWC has lowered pricing on various RAM modules, a new tool for managing iTunes duplicates has debuted, and there's a new black backpack case for MacBook Pros ... We have posted a review of the iPod Classic, Apple's update to the veteran player that now sports massive storage capacities of 80GB and 160GB. We tested the 80GB model. Two changes are immediately noticeable when you handle the iPod classic. First, the front surface is no longer made of plastic or Lucite, but is anodized aluminum. It has an extremely durable feel, and may be more aesthetically appealing, plus seems like it is impossible to smudge the surface.
iPhone: no 90-day unlock
The iPhone is apparently exempt from AT&T's standard policy that allows customers to have their mobile devices unlocked after 90 days of service. Generally, the company allows subscribers in good standing to unlock their phones for use on other providers -- especially for reasons concerning overseas travel. However, due to an "exclusive agreement between Apple and AT&T," per TUAW, there are no unlock codes currently available for the iPhone. A call to AT&T's customer care department eventually confirmed this state of affairs; we were first shunted off to Apple technical support, who referred us back to AT&T technical support. The representative said that unlocking the iPhone was "impossible," and reiterated that attempts to unlock the device would void its warranty.
Sony Drive Teaser
Sony is using a secretive website to once again tease users with an upcoming device, according to a new discovery. So far known only as the Drive, the device does not have any clear purpose and has a metal neck as well as a solid base. Early speculation suggests that the device is either an all-in-one computer with an iMac-like neck (obscured by the green bow) or a device with a mounting bracket, such as a GPS unit. No release dates or special events have been found on the public page or hidden inside the website's code.
FileMaker BPK Services Ed.
FileMaker has posted a new version of its Business Productivity Kit, the Services Edition. Unlike the standard edition updated earlier this month, which focuses on businesses that sell products and materials, the new one is oriented towards companies that provide ongoing interactions, such as lawfirms and doctor's offices. Included in the Services kit are several pre-made databases, covering client management, order processing, project tracking and other routine procedures. A how-to guide teaches users ways of customizing data. Services Edition is a free download, but requires FileMaker Pro 9; it can however be used with the latter's 30-day trial.
Mouse designer Gyration used its time at the DigitalLife show in New York to preview the M2000 Travel Air-Mouse, a controller for notebook users who expect to host presentations as often as they work at a desk. On a flat surface, the controller operates as a capable desktop mouse with a more precise laser sensor, multiple programmable buttons, and an ambidextrous shape. But lifting the mouse up turns it into a presentation device, the company says: aside from steering the cursor, the M2000 recognizes hand gestures and will perform certain common functions to match. They can either control strictly practical commands such as advancing slides in a presentation or handle entertainment-related chores, like skipping tracks or changing volume.
IPSF says no-brick
iPhoneSIMFree is claiming that because its unlock procedure from the iPhone is different from the free solutions available, it does not cause iPhones that were unlocked to go into a state where they cannot be activated with any carrier after the 1.1.1 firmware update. A post on the company's Web site reads "We have successfully completed a test of the 1.1.1 firmware update on IPSF unlocked phones. We are very pleased to report that the phones are still fully unlocked, and if you are using an original activated AT&T sim, you can activate and use the phone with no issues at all."
New Zealand DST problems
Apple has yet to issue a patch adjusting to a change in New Zealand's seasonal times, Mac users from the country complain. New Zealand's government has decided to shift its daylight savings switch ahead a week, moving from the previous date of October 1st; but without some sort of fix for Mac OS X, this will result in many computers displaying an inaccurate hour in the week between the old switchover and the new one. This in turn may throw off time-sensitive programs, such as iCal, producing inaccurate schedules and badly-timed application launches.
Mind Medley game released
Macgamestore.com has announced the release Mind Medley for the Mac, a game published by Real Arcade. This collection of mini-games includes Memory Match, Shadow Shapes, Perfect Pairs and more. The publisher says "Easy to learn and play, Mind Medley tracks your progress and grows with you as you improve. Test your brainpower to earn 'Lumens' and unlock even more fun games! Featuring two game modes, colorful graphics, and endless replay value, Mind Medley is brain-building fun for everyone." Mind Medley is available for $20 through Macgamestore.com. A free Universal Binary demo version of the game is available for download on the web page.
Intel Penryn Nov. 11
Intel has narrowed down the clock speed for the first Core 2 processor based on its 45-nanometer Penryn architecture, claim Taiwan-area mainboard manufacturers. The semiconductor firm would reportedly launch a lone 3GHz quad-core processor, the QX9650, on November 11th and ship the following day. The design would run on the same 1,333MHz bus as today's desktop processors but carry 12MB of shared L3 cache. As a Core 2 Extreme model, the chip would likely be multiplier-unlocked and allow enthusiasts with the right cooling equipment and experience to overclock the design past its rated speed. Like most top-end Extreme CPUs, it would be priced at $999 in batches of 1,000 for system vendors but would cost more for the end user.
iPod nano 3G cases
USB Fever has released three new iPod nano third-generation accessories: an armband, a leather case and a crystal case. The armband features a sleek surface, built-in screen protection, is machine washable, and has a soft inner lining. It's priced at $13. The leather case features high-grade textured leather, offers access to all controls, and is available in black, blue, pink and white. It's priced at $14. The crystal case is anti-dust and offers access to all ports, buttons and sockets. It is available in pink, red, smoky black and transparent. This case is priced at $12.
HTC Touch Slide on Mon.?
With an impending host of HTC announcements due October 1st, one of the phones planned is rumored to be the Touch Slide, a successor to the iPhone-like Touch, which has yet to see a North American release. Possibly the true identity of the HTC Nike or Juno, the Slide is said to run Windows Mobile 6, using HTC's flagship TouchFLO interface paired with a 2.6-inch touchscreen. The name is of course a reference to the design, which goes beyond the Touch to add a slide-out keypad. Like the Juno, the Slide appears to have BlackBerry-style typing.
Apple, AT&T sued
A new lawsuit filed by Dongmei Li of New York alleges that Apple and AT&T have engaged in price discrimination, underselling, discrimination in rebates, deceptive actions, and other wrongful actions as part of the massive (33 to 40 percent) iPhone price cut and the follow-up $100 Apple store credit, according to AppleInsider. The price discrimination claim stems from the fact that Li claims she cannot resell her iPhone for the same profit as customers who purchased the device after price drop. A periphery complaint is that users who bought their iPhones early were discriminated against because they only received a $100 credit, whereas those who purchased the device within a 14-day window of the price cut received a full $200 refund.
PS3 80GB Price Drop Leak
Sony may be ready to bring down the price of the 80GB PlayStation 3 to replace the outgoing 60GB model, according to the latest weekly flyer for Wal-Mart Canada. A special promotion for the console would drop the price of the 80GB system by $110 Canadian to $550 as well as bundle the normally optional Blu-Ray remote. While higher than the $499 US price of the 60GB edition, the near-equality of Canadian and US dollars places it about $50 below the $599 US price for today's 80GB model while still offering extra hardware.
Slingbox Cable Modem Leak
Sling Media may be prepping a Slingbox media hub with its own built-in cable modem, according to a new FCC filing. Most likely to be known as the SlingModem, the device includes a cable modem with support for the DOCSIS 2.0 standard, as well as the necessary co-axial jack and an Ethernet connection. The device is not single-purpose, according to the report: the V-Modem007 would include component, RCA, and S-video inputs, pointing back to the original Slingbox role as a hub for streaming TV-related sources to the Internet.
iPhone causing switch
A new study from Consumer Insights reveals that a growing number of Americans are choosing to ditch their landline telephone service in favor of mobile devices, with a primary driver being the iPhone. "Flashy, do-it-all handsets like Apple's iPhone have increased awareness and demand for extra features. †In fact, since its release, Wireless Toyz' (who funded the study) sales of smart phones (for example: BlackBerry, Treo, Upstage, Q and Chocolate) have increased," said officials from Consumer Insights. The study broke down mobile phone functionality feature-by-feature, exploring which were most important to those who have severed their landline ties: Caller ID - 78 percent; Camera - 58 percent; Ring tones - 56 percent; Text messaging - 55 percent.
Juno is T-Mobile Shadow?
An anonymous source suggests that the HTC Juno, a phone already said to be headed to T-Mobile, will in fact come to the carrier under the moniker of the Shadow. Also mentioned is that while the phone will only have a 201MHz processor, it should compensate with 128MB of RAM and 256MB of ROM, as well as a host of abilities. Among these are Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi, along with the signature keypad that is said to mimic the SureType concept used in Research in Motion's BlackBerry phones. The Shadow is expected to be announced in mid-October, and released later that month in brown and "sage green" colors.
W490 for T-Mobile in Oct.
Motorola's W490, a lower-end phone that nevertheless resembles the design of the KRZR, should now be launching with T-Mobile on October 1st, as opposed to the September date hinted at earlier. The phone now also has more solid specifications attached, and it should indeed have Bluetooth and a camera, the latter being video-capable and rated at 1.3 megapixels for stills. Removable memory is confirmed, though it is still not known whether this means miniSD or the more common microSD format.
The Cloud for iPod touch
The Cloud, a UK network of Wi-Fi access points, has announced that it is giving Wi-Fi access to users of the iPod touch beginning on Monday with a new service dubbed "Cloud Unlimited Music," which will be priced at £3.99 per month and is not subject to any minimum term contract. iPod Touch users sign-up for the service at a designated site, where they can register their individual device for use on the network. Once registered, they can connect to over 7,500 hotspots and don't need to use a username or password. It was previously revealed that the bundled WiFi service for UK/O2 iPhone customers will be powered by Cloud when the device debuts there in November.
POSDATA late Thursday unveiled the G100, a slider handheld it says is the world's first game console to support WiMAX. While the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP must reach a local Wi-Fi network to connect to the Internet, the G100 supports both this and Intel's soon-to-appear 4G wireless standard. This gives it Internet access on a citywide scale rather than just local hotspots, effectively providing an always-on connection and potentially remaking the industry, according to the company. Users could assume they always had the ability to start a multiplayer game or download new games online without waiting to get home.
Iris 1.0.1 tool for iSight
MildMannered Industries has premiered the first version of Iris, a program that expands the abilities of iSights and other webcams. Aside from permitting snapshots, it can also be used to record movies, including timelapse movies stretched over extended periods of time. Video can be broadcast online, and files can be quickly uploaded to Flickr or exported to iPods, the Apple TV or the iPhone. Users concerned with security can configure a camera to detect motion, sending e-mail alerts as necessary. Iris is a Universal Binary that requires Mac OS 10.4; its $30 price covers unlimited personal use or a single business computer.
Wii Transfer 2.5 released
Riverfold Software has launched the latest version of Wii Transfer, a program that enables files to be shared between Macs and Nintendo's Wii console. Users can copy over saved games, browse iPhoto albums, or stream music from iTunes in MP3 or unprotected AAC formats. Version 2.5 adds the critical movie streaming component, allowing users to drag-and-drop videos for conversion, and then watch the results through the Wii's Internet Channel. The update can now also view Safari and Firefox bookmarks, and set background music for slideshows. Navigation with the Wii Remote is said to be improved as well. Wii Transfer is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $20; a free demo is also available, but movies streamed in the trial do not have any sound.
Moto RIZR Z6tv Official
Verizon today unveiled the Motorola RIZR Z6tv, its adaptation of the ROKR Z6 that adds support for the carrier's MediaFLO-based V CAST TV live digital broadcast TV service. The new slider picks up the full range of stations from CBS, NBC, and others and also taps some of Verizon's other specialized Internet features, such as VZ Navigator for assisted GPS routing and the V CAST Music direct-download music store. Because its digital TV operates on a different frequency, these Internet services can run in the background without affecting show reception, according to the provider.
iPhone root exploit
A recent weblog post, made by one of the participants of the Metasploit hacking project, details how an iPhone might be turned into a mobile hacking tool complete with root access. The post author notes that every process on an iPhone is run as root, including Mail and Safari, and that even a single flaw in one of them can lead to an iPhone being completely exploitable. This bears resemblance to the webpage exploit fixed by Apple in the v1.0.1 firmware, but notably, a general vulnerability appears to remain with the v1.0.2 firmware. There is no word yet on whether this has been solved in the new v1.1.1 release.
Samsung MagicStation Fall
Samsung on Friday launched a major update to its ultra-compact MagicStation desktops. Both small form factor models like the MX15, MZ68, MZ70, NZ65, and NZ67 as well as the MV70 mini-tower now switch from Samsung's signature blue to a primarily red scheme but also gain genuine practical improvements. Now all systems, not just the high-end models, gain the company's unique EZ BLU feature: tapping a blue button on the system automatically scans the system for slowdowns and system errors and will contact a remote server to help find a fix, potentially solving problems before they become fatal to the system.
MS Sells XP Until June 08
Microsoft will continue to sell both retail and OEM (pre-installed) copies of Windows XP for five months more than originally planned, the company announced today. Although plans would originally have dropped both versions from stores by January 2008, the new extension will remove the OS only by June 30th of that year -- nearly a year and a half after Windows Vista's January 2007 debut. The company officially justified the move by pointing out that many past versions of Windows were on sale for roughly two years after their replacements were available and that it was "a little ambitious" to drop XP in half the time, according to corporate VP for Windows product management Mike Nash. However, the executive also admitted that at least some customers were not ready to jump to Vista and that XP would be necessary for awhile longer.
Oracle exec joins Apple
Apple has announced the addition of Daniel Cooperman, formerly of Oracle, as the company's new senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Cooperman will begin his new role on November 1st, reprising the same essential tasks he had at his former employer. The announcement coincides with the departure of predecessor Donald Rosenberg, who was only hired by Apple in late 2006, and was reportedly lured with the equivalent of $18 million in stock. No reason has been given for Rosenberg's leaving the position of general counsel, but it has been indicated that he is departing the company entirely rather than assuming another job title.
Kenwood GD50 and GD55
Kenwood this morning wrapped up its week with the launch of two basic Media Keg players that offer the same features with a different style depending on tastes. The GD55 (left) is designed for a subtle, professional look with a mirror finish that subtly hides the four-line OLED display; in exchange, the GD50 is based on a more youthful and also more scratch-resistant solid color. Either player reflects Kenwood's emphasis on absolute audio quality and ships bundled with in-canal earbuds rather than the over-the-ear models that often come with players in the class.
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