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2.5Gbps card reader
Synchrotech has launched the CFExpressPro+, a new ExpressCard CompactFlash adapter that uses the uses the 2.5Gbps PCIe portion of the ExpressCard standard and works with either ExpressCard 34 or 54 slots. The new cards provides access to CompactFlash in both PIO and UDMA modes, taking full advantage of the new Lexar UDMA 300X and SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition cards. It can be used with MacBook Pros, and specially equipped desktop computers and supports Mac OS X 10.4 or later. It accepts CompactFlash Type I, II and CompactFlash II+ Hard Drives, including Microdrives but does not work with CF+ I/O Devices. The accessory measures 34 x 75 x 5mm (not including extended portion of card). Pricing was unavailable. [corrected]
iPod Action Jacket cases
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has announced new Action Jacket sport-ready neoprene cases for the iPod nano 3G, iPod Classic and iPod touch. Available in black, white and select accent colors, each DLO Action Jacket protects the offering easy access to all controls. The case functions as an armband as well as including a rotating belt clip You can clip it to your clothing or backpack for daily use, or add the armband when you're working out. The armband is machine washable and fits any size bicep. The case provides protection from sweat and the elements and is priced at $30 for each model.
Refurb 2GB Nanos for $99
Apple is still offering its 2GB silver iPod nano for $99, and is selling 4GB models in a variety of colors for $129 each. The larger 8GB iPod nano is still available in black for $169, according to the company's online store, but reconditioned iPhones have disappeared from Apple's online listings. White MacBooks (2.16GHz, 1GB) are also available as refurbished items for $1,099 each, and 17-inch iMacs (2.0GHz, 1GB) are priced from $849 alongside a single Mac mini system (1.66GHz, 512MB) for $649. Apple's Wireless Keyboard ($49), Mighty Mouse ($59), AirPort Express Base Station with AirTunes Connect ($79), and AirPort Extreme Base Station ($99) are also available as reconditioned items with Apple's standard one-year warranty.
DVR iPhone/iPod sync
A new version of the Beyond TV software (4.7) adds the ability to automatically sync recordings to the iPod and iPhone via an optional plug-in using H.264 compression. It can also make use of an iTunes podcast RSS feed to push television recordings to your iPod or iPhone. Another new feature is drive pooling, which lets you treat a group of hard drives as one recording folder and automatically manage and distribute the content you have recorded. There's also built-in support for Firefly Mobile allowing the use of iPhones, other smartphones and mobile devices as remote controls for the device. Community Recordings is a feature that will automatically record the top shows each day as reported by Beyond TV Buzz.
LaCie ships RAID NAS
LaCie today began shipping the 2big Network, a RAID device storage system offers boasts up to 2TB of space that users can place on the network. A Gigabit Ethernet connection interfaces with two disks that can mirror to ensure data integrity or merge to provide maximum capacity, providing remote access locally as well as over the local area network and the internet. A switch initializes the 2Big Network to SAFE 100 (RAID 1) mode to automatically mirror data across the two hot-swappable hard drives, while the alternate switch position selects "BIG" mode to combine the two drives to provide maximum storage. LaCie's latest network attached storage (NAS) includes two USB ports and a thermo-regulated progressive smart fan for quiet operation. The system ships in 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB versions and includes a natural cooling heat sink from $400.
Preview 4.0: Hands-on
Preview 4.0, the new version of Apple's application for viewing various image formats, PDF, RTF files and more that will be included with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has received an interface makeover that makes it look more like Mail.app, a new sidebar that displays thumbnails of each page in a PDF, new search functionality and more according to a hands-on report from AppleInsider. The new sidebar can be set to any width, and will show multiple rows of thumbnails. There is also a zoom slider, similar to zoom function in iPhoto, that allows the items to grow and shrink instantly. Thumbnails in the sidebar can also be dragged and dropped to be reordered, as well as to add or remove pages from the document. You can also perform search queries from a field in the sidebar, which can then be grouped by relevancy.
The US Air Force Research Laboratory has revealed a new battery technology that could effectively end the need to constantly recharge notebooks, handhelds, and other portable devices in the near future. Called a betavoltaic battery, the advancement would be based on silicon chips but take advantage of the decay from radioisotopes to catch beta electron emissions, using their electricity to power the chips and generate a steady, powered current. Though it would use a decaying substance, the battery would not be radioactive and would be extremely efficient; the energy released is so strong that a notebook could run for 30 years before requiring a new charge, says one estimate.
Samsung cancels BDP-2400
In an unusual move for the electronics industry, Samsung has cancelled its BDP-2400 Blu-Ray player, which was to have shipped in the near future. No official reason for the cancellation has been given, but it does coincide with an impending October 31st deadline, which is the latest a manufacturer can release a player that only meets the Blu-Ray 1.0 profile. Everything following must meet Profile 1.1, which includes secondary audio and video decoders, and at least 256MB of persistent memory. No specifications for the BDP-2400 were known except that it was intended to be a high-end model.
Leaper v. Nike+iPod
A Highland, Utah-based shoemaking company, Leaper Footwear, has filed suit against Apple and Nike over the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, documents from Utah's District Court indicate. Leaper's founders, Greg and Kenny Anderson, say that the Sport Kit violates a 1998 patent, which involves the use of custom footwear to track performance, such as running/walking speed and distances traveled. Lawyers for Leaper are said to have approached Nike in 2000, suggesting to the company that it could license Leaper's concept. Though the offer was rejected, the Andersons charge that Apple and Nike exploited their idea anyway, announcing Nike+iPod in May of 2006.
Flash Zune in FCC Leak
The flash-based Zune has had some of its last details confirmed, thanks to a newly published FCC filing. New diagrams reveal that display mockups sent to a retailer yesterday are legitimate and also confirm that the flash player will only be available in 4GB and 8GB variants, matching Apple's iPod nano but falling short of the 16GB of storage available with Creative's most recent ZEN players. Frequency tests make no mention of the 2.4GHz band needed for Wi-Fi but do make reference to an antenna, suggesting either Wi-Fi or at least a basic form of wireless connection. "Premium" earbuds would be included with the player, Microsoft says.
PS3 40GB Spiderman Leaked
Sony's 40GB PlayStation 3 is real, the electronics maker has inadvertently revealed through a UPC barcode. While a public listing for the device confirms its existence only through the manufacturer, a Best buy employee's search for the same barcode turns up a 40GB PS3 at the previously rumored $400 price point, according to Engadget. Despite the price drop, the new system would also come bundled with a Blu-Ray copy of Spiderman 3 to help showcase the console's HD features and drive sales during the holidays.
Slife 1.3 ($34) time and activity tracking tool. The new release has an improved mechanism for application tracking, which includes auto-discovery of previously unsupported programs and enhanced performance. New applications are now fully supported as well, most notably Adobe CS3's suite of creative tools comprising Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Illustrator CS3, Adobe InDesign CS3, Adobe Fireworks CS3 and several others. [Download - 1.6MB]
Sapiens 1.0 ($20) an application launcher that helps you access all the applications in your Mac. Activated by moving the mouse in a circle. Predicts the applications you will want to launch and lays out the applications' icons. [Download - 931KB]
QuickLicense 2.1 ($800) manage secure, flexible licensing of Windows and Macintosh software. The new release adds Vista support for Windows, Universal Binary support for PPC and Intel Mac OS X computers, a software subscription capability and a batch email command for delivering subscription codes, product updates and other customized messages to selected customers.
Biferno 1.4.0 ($15) object-oriented, HTML embedded, scripting language for web development. The new release is a universal binary, has an improved installer, text/xml HTTP content type, minor fixes in Walk folder, bug fix on redirect with Apache, and a coda/subethaedit plugin [Download - 2.3MB]
Xupport 3.3.3 ($20) multipurpose system utility for Mac OS X. It provides many features to configure hidden Mac OS X and Unix options, to increase system security and performance, to maintain and backup Mac OS X, and to dig deeper into the world of Unix. In this release you can access hidden Dashboard features, hidden Screen Capture (screenshot) features, and activate advanced disk image options in Disk Utility. [Download - 2.8MB]
iSync phone plugins 4.4 ($15) allows the synchronization of contact and calendar data with Mac OS X and more than 75 mobile phones. The latest release adds Nokia 3109 Classic, 6125, 6136 and the Sony Ericsson K530i models. Address Book phone plugins in Version 1.2 allows to send SMS messages and to dial a telephone number right from the Address Book of Mac OS X. In addition, incoming calls are displayed right on the screen and can be answered or transferred to the mailbox immediately. [Download - form]
Toshiba Gigabeat OLED
Both Microsoft's Zune and Toshiba's Gigabeat Gigabeat player could have a much better display than most players on the market, the company revealed with a new prototype. Rather than use an LCD, Toshiba's unnamed example Gigabeat would use a wide OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display. The technology would provide much higher contrast ratios than with today's screens and would eliminate the ghosting and color shifting effects that often occurs in fast-moving scenes on LCDs. At 3.2 inches, the screen would also display a relatively sharp 427x240 without consuming much of the extra space demanded by larger displays.
Office '08 sneak peak
Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (Mac BU) today unveiled its second sneak peek of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, which showcases the revamped Toolbox with true one-stop destination for some of the most useful tools in Office for Mac. The new feature combines the original Office for Mac Toolbox and Formatting Palettes into a single user interface, providing Mac users with an Object Palette as well as Animation Settings, Citations, and a Formula Builder. The sneak peak includes plenty of screenshots covering the Toolbox, Elements Gallery, Document Elements, Publishing Layout View, OfficeArt, SmartArt Graphics, Building Charts, and "My Day." Details on the Toolbox are highlighted with tips on finding what you need and customization options. [updated]
HTC sells 800,000 Touches
Taiwanese phone maker HTC claims it has sold approximately 800,000 units of its Touch smartphone, Reuters reports. While not yet available in North America, the Touch has only been on sale in Europe and Asia since June, making for one of the most impressive phone launches in industry history. The record is eclipsed mainly by the sales of the iPhone, which broke the 1 million barrier in early September. "This is better than I expected...We feel very good about our success," comments HTC CEO Peter Chou.
Bell DRM-Free Music Store
Bell Canada today announced that its Sympatico/MSN Music Store was the latest to begin offering digital music without copy protection. The communications firm said that it would now begin offering tracks from EMI as well as several independent labels in MP3 format, allowing much of its previously Windows Media-only catalog to work with nearly any computer or portable device -- including the iPod and virtually all music phones, Bell noted. Unlike stores from Wal-Mart and some other websites, the service does not require a Windows-based computer and will let Mac users download songs through a web portal.
Viacom pushes strong DRM
To fight piracy, companies should be installing more DRM safeguards, says Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. Speaking at a summit of the US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby group, Dauman has complained that it is now far too easy to copy media illegally, and that companies should be be spreading the use of both watermarking and DRM restrictions. Additionally, he would like content aggregators, ISPs, hosting companies and site operators to further collaborate with corporations, something which is already said to be happening in Viacom's case. Regarding Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube, Dauman says the company hopes to "clarify the rights and responsibilities of all media and content owners in the digital age."
More Macs in colleges?
A new report suggests that Mac-using college students are becoming more prominent at a rapid pace, and that most switchers aren't considering moving back to Windows-based computers at all. The number of Minnesota university students who use Macs is rising quickly, according to Pioneer Press, with roughly a quarter of St. Olaf students owning a Mac as of last year with an expected rise of 5-10 percent this year. Buying a Mac is described as a "no-brainer" by one St. Olaf sophomore, while student Mac ownership at Gustavus Adolphus has rocketed up to 22 percent with one in four freshmen owning Macs. "Much of this can be tied to the success of the iPod," technology-services director Bruce Aarsvold said. "[...] Many students also recognize that viruses and infected spam pose almost no risk to the Macintosh platform."
Zune 2 Photo Leak
New photos have all but confirmed the imminent arrival of new Zune models within the month, says an unnamed employee from a major American retailer. The worker notes that his store has received "cardboard cutouts" that are exact matches for the photos leaked last month and already reveal key features. A smaller, flash-based model is now certain and will have video playback as a cornerstone. The circular directional pad has also been replaced with a less misleading beveled, square pad, the photos show. Microsoft is now known to be producing pink and red colors on launch rather than withholding them for special editions, as with the original version.
Blemish removal patent
Among more mundane patents for a power fixture and an iPod dock adapter, Apple has been granted a new image-editing patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Connected to iPhoto, the technology is intended to "better realize the great potential of amateur digital photography" through a new blemish removal technique. Users select the tool, place their cursor over the blemish, and click; the program then removes the blemish using a Dirichlet theorem. The particular set of equations creates a smooth surface within a circle, relying on the values of points on the outside. To prevent smoothed-out blemishes from looking unnatural, some pixelization is deliberately introduced. A diagram below shows a simplified version of the graphical interface used; the patent is credited solely to Russell Reid of Palo Alto.
HD, rentals on Apple TV?
One market research magazine is predicting that the Apple TV will ultimately be a long-term success, despite expected sales of just over 100,000 in 2007. A writer for Seeking Alpha notes that unlike most of Apple's products, except the iPhone, revenue for the Apple TV is being deferred over two years to accomodate software upgrades. What these upgrades might be is uncertain, but three major categories are suggested: rentals, HD media and peer-to-peer distribution.
Broadcom Mobile HD Chip
Semiconductor firm Broadcom today introduced the BCM2727, a new multimedia processor it says will unlock features that were previously impossible on portable devices. Based on the company's new VideoCore III architecture, the chip is the first to have the processing power to both decode and encode HD video in real-time without consuming excessive power. The new hardware can play 720p video in the demanding H.264 format for up to five hours using just a cellphone-sized battery and can record at the same resolution for up to three hours, according to Broadcom's estimates.
"It's all about the iPod"
Marketing brands to teenagers in the UK is becoming increasingly difficult, according to a new report, but Apple's iPods, MacBooks, and iPhones are currently top picks amongst selective teens overseas. A report from Telegraph.co.uk reveals that teenagers who were asked what brand they most wanted chose Apple. Specifically UK teens cited the iPod, MacBook, and iPhone as the most desired items. "It's all about the iPod right now," said one teen interviewed at the Piper Jaffray consumer conference in London. Interestingly, even those teens with broken iPods said they refused to purchase items from Apple rival Sony, suggesting that Apple has successfully maintained customer loyalty amongst teenagers in the UK. What's more, young UK shoppers are increasing in numbers and are spending more than ever before, according to the report.
Toshiba today rolled out the TLP-X3000AU, a new projector designed for presenters and home theaters with less than ideal viewing environments. Though relatively affordable at $1,199, the DLP system achieves 3,000 lumens of brightness; this makes it 50 percent brighter than the average projector, helping its image quality in daylight and similarly bright conditions. In spite of the brighness, Toshiba's most recent color enhancer hardware reportedly keeps up a 400:1 contrast ratio.
Panasonic DIGA Blu-Ray
Panasonic this morning launched the CEATEC expo in Japan with some of its first TV recorders with built-in Blu-Ray burners. The DIGA BW700, BW800, and BW900 all have 4X BD-R drives that can record programming from either their single analog or dual digital TV tuners to the recent disc format. By using AVC (H.264) rather than MPEG-2, this lets users store an exceptionally large amount of video on a single disc: up to 18 hours of digital video can be stored on a 50GB dual-layer disc by using a more heavily compressed high efficiency mode, Panasonic says. Hard drives also keep a more permanent collection, with up to 1TB of content (381 hours) available to watch or burn later.
VIBE Duo iPhone earbuds
Audio specialist V-MODA has released an updated version of its VIBE Duo earbuds, now tailored more closely for the iPhone. The major addition is a control button, which like the iPhone's stock earbuds, lets users answer a call or return back to their music library with a quick press. To go with this, similarly, is a minimalist microphone. The Duos attempt to improve on Apple's earbuds however by using an all-metal, in-ear design, helping to isolate listeners from ambient noise; accurate fitting is accomplished with three sizes of silicone tips.
Sony PRS-505 eBook Reader
Sony today launched its first major update to its Reader eBook handheld. The new device is the first to reflect Sony's newer, more open approach to media playback and now works as a simple USB mass storage device: users can copy books and create folders on the device by using their operating system rather than a custom software program. The Reader can optionally be set up to automatically sync with specified folders. Controls have also been improved for a more natural feel, Sony says; page turn buttons and other parts of the interface more closely resemble what users would expect.
Bevy of new iPod cases
A number of manufacturers have unveiled several cases for the most recent generation of iPods. New cases from iFrogz, dubbed 3G Wrapz, are treated with a proprietary anti-dust technology to repel dust and lint, and made of 100% polished silicone. They come in 5 colors: pink, clear, black, green and red. They're priced at £15. The SwitchEasy Biscuits use GE Lexan polycarbonate plastics and contain a lanyard, a universal dock adapter, static wheel guard and back guard, a 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, and a microfiber cloth to clean your nano. The case has a unique two piece non hinge chassis which gives your new nano a safe place to stay while you are on the road. The Biscuts are priced at £18.
Synium Software has announced a public beta of MacFamilyTree 5, the latest release of the popular genealogy software for the Mac. The company previously announced that with this release, it will complete the acquisition of all rights to the software and be responsible for development, distribution and support. Version 5 has been completely redesigned and rewritten application, and Synium claims it will provide biggest leap in performance and product design so far. The entire GUI as well as the underlying database have been dramatically changed while maintaining true backwards compatibility.
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