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Unity 2.0 released
Unity Technologies has announced Unity 2.0, a major update to the game creation tool that the developer says includes more than 50 new features. Among the new features is the ability to play video files as textures on any surface and a new way of developing content GUI systems. Also included are performance improvements based partly on core engine optimizations as well as new features like DirectX 9 rendering support on Windows. Also included are improvements and additions to the documentation, including new references guides for shaders, network enabled games and the terrain rendering engine.
USBFever.com today began shipping a new iPod/iPhone FM transmitter and charger, as well as an iPod nano 3G aluminum case and two other miscellaneous iPod-related items. The company's new transmitter/charger comes with a car adapter for charging both devices, can play as well as charge simultaneously, and comes in a variety of five different colors. The transmitter/charger -- which is priced at $25 -- supports a full frequency range from 87.9MHz to 107.9MHz, includes memory of the last frequency used, and produces blue backlighting for operation at night. The iPod nano 3G aluminum case ($17), which comes in four different colors, features a neoprene lining for shock protection as well as a removable 360-degree swiveling belt clip. USBFever today also launched a flexible plastic coaster ($6) with an iPod clickwheel printed on the surface alongside its "Smart Warp" cable organizer ($4).
SOHO Organizer, Notes 6.5
Chronos today released SOHO Organizer 6.5 and SOHO Notes 6.5, updating the productivity suite and note manager applications for Mac OS X. The latest release of SOHO Organizer adds numerous new features which include Skype support, live-resizing of All-Day events, a real-time current time indicator, and event as well as task popup previews. The update also brings created/modified dates, phone number extensions, form notes, individual view toolbar buttons, and the ability to drag contacts to the calendar. SOHO Organizer 6.5 is priced at $100, while SOHO Notes 6.5 is available for $40. Both upgrades are free for SOHO Organizer and SOHO Notes 6.x versions, respectively, and both applications require Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
Jason Cross hates Mac fans
An ExtremeTech editorial opines that the worst part of Apple Inc. is its loyal fan base. Responding to a reader email about his impression of a MacBook Pro one year into use, Jason Cross says that there are plenty of things OS X does very well, and better than any version of Windows, but the thing he hates most about using a Mac are the "Apple fans." He says that while the stereotype of rabid fan does not represent all Mac users, "there are enough bad apples (pardon the pun) to spoil the bunch." In the piece, Cross uses typical rhetoric, arguing that many Apple "fans" persistently claim that Microsoft and others steal ideas from Apple, attempting to point out instances where Apple has allegedly copied intellectual property: "Dashboard in OS X rips off Konfabulator and other widget engines predating it, Spaces knocks off many prior Virtual Desktop features, [...] that fancy CoverFlow stuff was purchased from third-party developer Steel Skies."
ASUS AMD notebooks
Computer maker ASUS is preparing three new AMD-based notebooks for release in October. Beginning the list is the 17.1-inch G2K, which features a 2GHz Turion 64 X2 processor, along with 2GB of RAM and a 200GB, 7,200rpm hard drive. The video card is a 256MB Radeon HD2600; importantly, video outputs include HDMI in addition to VGA, composite and S-Video. Miscellaneous features include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a Super Multi DVD drive and slots for memory cards and ExpressCards.
Apple, AT&T iPhone suit
Apple and AT&T are facing a class-action lawsuit seeking damages of no less than $600 million concerning the terms by which iPhone owners must abide after purchasing the handset, according to AppleInsider. Washington state resident Paul Holman and California resident Lucy Rivello claim that Apple and AT&T illegally agreed to prevent owners of the cellular device from using programs or services that do not generate revenues for the two firms. The Plaintiffs are seeking "no less than $200 million" in damages on some counts, and demand "no less than $600 million" in other requests. Apple and AT&T are charged either jointly or separately with six formal counts that include alleged violations of California Business and Profession's Code, The Cartwright Act, The Sherman Act, The Federal Trade Commission Act, The Communications Act of 1934, and The Telecommunications Act of 1996 alongside rules and policies set by the FCC.
New iPod cases from Incase
Incase has introduced a full line of custom cases for Apple's third-generation iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch. The Incase lineup includes a new Leather Sleeve, Neoprene Sleeve, Sports Armband, and Protective Cover. The Leather Sleeve features a genuine leather form-fitting construction and custom suede topo lining designed to provide easy access to all controls. The company's leather cases are available for Apple's iPod nano ($30), iPod classic ($30), and iPod touch ($35). The neoprene sleeve features a belt clip for easy bag or belt attachment, and is also designed to provide easy access to all controls and dock connector opening. [corrected pricing]
iPhone launch in France?
Apple on Wednesday said there was no confirmed launch date for the iPhone in France, adding fuel to the ongoing controversy about the popular device's launch date in that country. Earlier this week, French telecom Orange claimed that the steps to make the iPhone available in France would see completion by the end of the month, but an Apple Europe spokesperson told Thomson Financial News that while the device will be available in Germany and the UK starting November 9th, "we have not announced any other country launch dates in Europe." Following a partnership announcement by Orange, reports surfaced that Apple and Orange were at odds with one another over the proposed percentage of service revenues that Apple would earn as part of the exclusive deal carrier partnership in France. [corrected]
WinAmp 5.5 Launches
AOL's sub divsion Nullsoft today announced the official launch of WinAmp 5.5, the tenth anniversary edition of the company's pioneering music software. The new update is the first to chase iTunes users and includes a new skin, nicknamed "Bento," which gives users an Apple-like view with playback controls, a media browser view, and a source list all in a single pane. Nullsoft's player is further aware of iPods without requiring a plugin and will display album art in playback or when browsing. Tracks can be streamed over a network and an enhanced podcast directory helps find new listening material.
SATA RAID 6 controller
HighPoint has announced the release of the RocketRAID 3320 SATA RAID 6 Controller, which supports the Apple Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 systems. The RocketRAID 3320 is a double parity hardware RAID controller that performs two different parity computations (P+Q) rather than one. RAID 6 can tolerate two simultaneous drive failures or errors without downtime or data loss. Data protection is also achieved with the use of BBU (Battery Back Up Unit) in conjunction with the RocketRAID 3320 controller. Data is saved for up to 48 hours during a systems power failure. When power resumes the saved data is written to the hard disks. The HighPoint RocketRAID 3320 delivers RAID 6 throughput speeds over 600MB/s will include Mac OS X (Leopard 10.5) support. The car is priced at $485.
Virgin Cdn. unlimited data
The Canadian division of Virgin Mobile has made a trio of announcements, foremost being the availability of a new unlimited data plan. Unlimited data options are rare in Canada, and often extremely expensive compared to American counterparts; under the company's new "Tidal Wave" package, however, subscribers can pay $10 extra per month for unlimited web browsing, e-mail and other normal data services, as well as access to streaming radio and video subscriptions. Basic voice and data plans through Virgin can cost as little as $10 per month plus by-minute rates.
Shuttle XPC Prima SX38P2
Shuttle this afternoon added to its barebones systems with the Prima SX38P2. The new case design is based on Intel's X38 Express chipset and not only supports the latest CPUs with a 1,333MHz bus but also includes an Intel-made utility that eases overclocking for knowledgeable gamers. It also makes room for two newer-generation, PCI Express 2.0 slots with the full X16 bandwidth and support for pairing up two ATI Radeon video cards in CrossFire mode. Up to 8GB of memory can be loaded into the system despite its small size, Shuttle adds. Builders can fit as little as a Celeron 400-series CPU but scale up to Core 2 Extreme and Core 2 Quad processors.
Warner Portable Video DVD
Warner Home Video today used the DVD Forum conference in California to announce the the first DVD to explicitly provide multiple formatted versions of the same video on a single disc. The release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on December 11th will include both the full-size DVD video as well as separate copies for playback on computers and on portable media players. Doing so will let viewers officially transfer copies to their computers without having to discover and use a DVD ripper or else buy a separate copy at an online store. It should also future-proof the release for users who abandon dedicated DVD players, said Warner senior VP Jim Wuthrich.
Wireless USB Extender
Gefen on Wednesday announced the a device that allows users to wirelessly extend USB 2.0 signals. Without using any wires, the company's new Wireless USB Extender can transmit USB 2.0 signals up to 100 feet in distance. The sender/receiver system delivers cable-free USB connectivity and is designed to offer plug and play method of removing USB devices from the computer station. The company said the device can be used in extending typical computer peripherals such as keyboard/mouse and printer with full operational functionality; it uses radio transmission based on 802.11a, b, g, n and Extreme USB technologies. The product requires no drivers and supports up to four remote USB devices.
Cumulus integrates w/QPS 7
Canto and Quark on Wednesday announced an integration between the Canto Cumulus digital asset management system and the newly announced Quark Publishing System 7 (announced earlier this week). QPS 7 work groups can use XMP and IPTC legacy and core metadata searches to find any image, text element or other asset as well as search the full text contents of documents created in QuarkXPress, QuarkCopyDesk and Microsoft Word. Canto's Cumulus provides QPS 7 work groups a central repository from which to access and store assets using check-in/out, version control, and a web-based "portal" view.
Galder puzzle game
Fastforward Software has released Galder, a new puzzle board game for Mac OS X. In Galder, the player must remove gem stones from an interactive circular game board by matching identical stones to get the highest score. The game has unique network play, allowing players to compete head-to-head and to publish their scores on a global high score ladder. A demo of Galder is available from the Fastforward website. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, 256MB RAM required and at least 32MB VRAM recommended. A demo version of Galder is available free-of-charge, while the full versions costs $20.
Sony Marine Receivers
Sony on Wednesday released a series of audio receivers targeted at boaters looking for the same music experience at sea as in their cars. To that end, the H905IP (shown) is one of the first of its kind to include a native iPod dock connector with direct control: a user in the boat's cockpit can navigate menus and recharge most iPods directly from the head-end, letting them tuck the Apple player safely away from where it might be splashed by water. It also offers support for optional HD Radio and satellite radio tuners as well as a rear auxiliary input jack. Unlike most receivers, the top-end model is deliberately designed to resemble the equipment found in a typical boat and includes oversized buttons for shuffling tracks and other common music tasks. It should be available for $350 in February.
iPhone #15 on wish-list
A recent survey of 1,200 American consumers by Solutions Research Group found that the iPhone is ranked 15th on the list of most covered "digital lifestyle" products this Christmas season. The hottest Apple-branded product, however, was a laptop, ranked #11 overall and #9 among women. The iPod was nowhere to be found on the list. Writers of the study also point out that while no individual Apple product ranked higher than #11 on the wish lists, when combined, Apple-branded technology products make it to the átop 5 overall with one-in-six considering purchase, "suggesting strong potential holiday season for the company." It's also worth pointing out that most of the other items on the list -- including HDTVs, digital cameras, and GPS navigation units -- are product categories, not actual branded items. In fact, "cell phone" is ranked 6th.
Optiarc laptop Blu-Ray
A joint optical-drive collaboration between Sony and NEC, Optiarc, has released its first Blu-Ray drive targeted at notebooks. The BC-5500A can only read Blu-Ray media, but can burn dual-layer DVD▒R discs at 4x speed, dual-layer DVD-RAM at 5x, single-layer DVD▒R/RW at 8x, and lastly dual-layer CD-R/RW at rates of up to 16x. The drive should be available now in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, at a price of approximately ú165, or $335. Crucially for many, Optiarc claims this cost will allow builders to incorporate it into mid-range notebooks, instead of the high-end systems HD is usually reserved for. [via The Register]
Dell Precision T3400
Dell today upped the ante for its mainstream workstations with the Precision T3400. Abandoning the old naming scheme, the new model is also based on Intel's latest X38 chipset and pushes system bus speeds up to 1,333MHz for newer Core 2 Duo and Extreme chips while also speeding up access to other components and improving the memory ceiling. Users running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or XP can run as much as 8GB of memory, the Texas PC maker says. While low-cost enough to be used even at home, the Precision also has the option of quad-core CPUs and workstation graphics cards up to NVIDIA's GeForce 8-based Quadro FX 4600.
2008 Motorola phones
Using a public presentation in Amsterdam, Motorola has pulled the wraps on a host of phones it is developing for 2008. Of these the most notable may be the "Skarven," an extremely high-end cameraphone, featuring an eight-megapixel sensor and a 2.8-inch display capable of 16 million colors. It will also have a "banana slider" form-factor, similar to that found on the RIZR Z10. Rumors, though still unconfirmed, have suggested that the phone may also have GPS, Wi-Fi, and 640x480 resolution. The name meanwhile is likely a project code, as it does not fit into Motorola's current schemes.
Fourth Apple store in NY
Confirming earlier reports, Apple may be looking to build a fourth retail store in New York located at The Edge in Williamsburg. The location boasts 75,000 square feet of retail space, according to the New York Post, residing near 1,350 residential condo units under construction alongside as many as 2,500 condos slated for development within a two-block area. The Edge runs along Kent Avenue from North 5th Street to North 7th Street near the shopping district along North 6th Street.
Myvu Universal Edition
Myvu today broke with its tradition of focusing solely on iPods and released the myvu universal edition, a set of video glasses designed to work with almost any video device. Most devices with an RCA output or an RCA adapter cable can output to the myvu just by making a direct connection. This opens up the glasses to Archos players, Creative's ZEN series, and Microsoft's Zune 30 and 80 devices for the first time, the company says. Similar to the iPod-oriented version, the universal model has noise-canceling earbuds and runs for up to four hours on a rechargeable battery. Shipments begin later this fall for $200.
Official iPhone app list?
Apple is gathering an official listing of web applications for the iPhone, reports claim. An anonymous developer says that Apple representatives are contacting the authors of various apps, and prompting them to supply material such as icons, screenshots, URLs and descriptions. The procedure is said to be close to that for developers submitting to the official Dashboard widget directory, which makes it easier for users to find widgets that are safe to install. Participants in the iPhone program are purportedly being sworn to absolute secrecy, at least for the time being.
iPhone jailbreak confirmed
iPhone and iPod touch hackers have produced a new iPhone/iPod touch 1.1.1 file system hack that offers read and write access to the devices, as well as the ability to execute applications. Hackers jumped at the chance to try their hands at Apple's iPhone when the device shipped in late June, producing a series of 'jailbreaks' that allowed users to access the file systems of their cellular phones. After gaining read and write access to the smartphone, it wasn't long before hackers released utilities to 'unlock' the device, thus allowing users to sign up with other cellular carriers despite Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T as the sole provider of voice and data contracts for iPhone customers. Apple's latest software update disabled these hacks, and since then only one claim of a rogue 'jailbreak' -- which was announced yesterday -- capable of providing filesystem access to the tested iPhone has surfaced.
An avid software developer has released Phynchronicity 2.0, a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Fink Unix software management system. The application is designed to make Fink easy to use without overwhelming users with options, providing a simple three-pane interface for finding, installing, and removing software packages. The update allows users to configure settings without popping up a registration screen, enables correct scrolling in the Tree widget, and lists changes made from software updates. The latest release also adds a "Contact Code by Kevin" function to improve user support, and brings the latest versions of Tcl/Tk (8.4.16) with numerous updates and bug fixes. All tree and table items return data with a single click, searching as well as sorting information is much faster, and users stay in the same table view when installing a package. Phynchronicity 2.0 is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Hoping to cater to travelers who may need to learn a language as well as have a source of entertainment on the road, Sharp today unveiled its new SP700 media player. It serves as a full entertainment device with MP3 music as well as video in DivX, most MPEG formats, WMV, and XviD formats; users in Korea can also tune into digital wireless broadcasts through a DMB tuner and antenna. On a vacation or business trip, the device can instantly become a learning dictionary, according to Sharp: the 30GB hard disk inside stores multiple learning guides and reference dictionaries for Chinese, English, and Japanese as well as optional packs for other languages. Video capability and a stylus-driven touchscreen mean users can receive visual and hands-on instruction without needing a teacher close at hand, the company says.
Survey: Teens with iPhones
The iPhone has an unusually high adoption rate among teenagers, a new survey suggests. Having polled 980 teenage students, the research firm Piper Jaffray says that 3 percent of the group already had an iPhone, and that another 9 percent expected to buy an iPhone within six months. Adoption rates were higher in the more restricted parental survey, where 4.2 percent of 212 people had an iPhone. Fortune Magazine casts some doubt on a larger application of these figures, however: the publication notes that there approximately 28 million teens in the US, of which 3 percent would be 840,000, or the vast majority of the 1.1 million iPhones sold to date. Fortune argues that the Piper Jaffray sample is likely taken from a "tech-savvy, upper-middle-class" population.
BlackBerry 8130 at Sprint
Sprint today announced its anticipated launch of the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 in the US, becoming the second carrier in the country to offer the compact smartphone after Verizon. Like the reference version, Sprint's version offers true GPS and is tightly connected to the provider's Navigation service for automatic routing, voice directions, and location searches. The Pearl also takes advantage of its 3G access for music downloads and video streams from the Sprint Music Store and Sprint TV respectively, and provides on-demand news updates through customized feeds.
AKVIS Chameleon 5.0 ships
AKVIS has launched v5.0 of Chameleon, its plug-in for programs such as Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. The app makes it easier to create photo collages, and now has three different modes, the new one being Montage. This lets users transfer objects from one photo on top of the background of another, without having to rely on precise masking and selection tools. Users can instead select a rectangle from the source image, then use red and blue pencils to draw a rough indication of what should appear in the collage, and what should be blended away.
Samsung i450 F330 F210
Samsung Mobile today confirmed three phones for a primarily European audience that focus almost exclusively on media playback and are designed to work well for the role without having to use traditional phone controls. The i450 (pictured) is the most advanced and parallels Nokia's N95 in more ways than one with its media emphasis: a dual slider action leaves the Samsung device either in a traditional phone mode with a Symbian 60 interface or in a media playback mode, with Nokia's dedicated buttons replaced by a hidden speaker but with software a near match for the N95's media player. 3G Internet access is provided through HSDPA up to its peak 3.6Mbps for video calls or streaming, and the microSD card slot holds up to 4GB of movies or music. Samsung plans to release the i450 first in Italy by the end of the month for 360 Euros ($507) before discounts and will spread the phone to most of Europe soon afterwards.
StuffIt Deluxe 12 released
Smith Micro has released the latest version of StuffIt Deluxe, its file compression utility. Updates to Deluxe 12 are centered around the proprietary StuffIt X format, which has been given enhanced performance when compressing specific file types. MP3 files can be shrunk without a reduction in audio quality, while images such as TIFF and PNG files are compressed using a new 24-bit engine. The same engine is also targeted at Office 2007 and iWork documents, and can specifically compress files embedded within Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents.
Panasonic Toughbook 3G
Panasonic on Wednesday unveiled two Toughbook portables that now have high-speed Internet access through AT&T's cellular network. Both the Toughbook 19 convertible tablet (pictured) and the more conventional Toughbook 30 now have the option of a Novatel HSDPA modem that will let them connect at 3G speeds both in those AT&T areas with full access as well as when roaming in Europe through HSDPA or UMTS networks. In most other areas the Toughbooks can fall back to 2.5G-level EDGE or even the most basic GPRS if the area is on the very fringe of coverage, Panasonic says.
Wii Fit Japan Launch Soon
Nintendo this morning revealed that it would release the Wii Fit before the end of the year in Japan, boosting the company's already high console sales for the holidays. The peripheral and game combo is unchanged from its announcement at E3 this year and includes a balance board that reacts to pressure on each half; users can play dance and exercise games, including the Wii Fit game bundle that comes with the console or new games made to support the accessory. Mario and Sonic at the Beijing Olympics will sell ahead of the hardware on November 22 to help get users started.
Liquid Ledger 2
Modeless Software has introduced Liquid Ledger 2, the first major upgrade to its personal finance software for Mac OS X. The new version introduces investments and check printing and a redesigned user interface. The tool allows users to record bank account, credit card, and investment transactions; track income and expenses; design and print checks; manage a household budget; manage foreign currency accounts; generate reports and graphs; and much more. With the new investment tools, users can also record the purchase and sale of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, track resulting capital gains and losses, and estimate the market value of their portfolio.
Mac Pros in six colors
AlumaMax is now shipping the "Custom Color Mac" an Apple Mac Pro computer system anodized in black or a choice of six other colors. The company is also offering matching colored Apple Aluminum Keyboards and Cinema Displays are also available. AlumaMax uses an electric current to oxidize the surface of the aluminum, which produces a sleek metallic finish that they claim cannot be achieved with paint. The company offers a tinting service for owners with existing hardware or you can configure and purchase new systems directly from them. Prices begin at $50 for a keyboard tint, ranging to a made-to-order 8-core Mac Pro for at $4600.
AAPL target up by 30%
Following a slew of other upgrades, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, the top-ranked computer analyst according to Institutional Investor magazine, boosted his stock-price estimate from $135 to $175 and increased his forecast for 2008 cash earnings per share by 3.3 percent to $5; however, the firm kept the "market-perform" rating saying that Apple must decide between sacrifice its currently high profits to meet its iPhone sales goals for 2008. While some upgrades by other analysts focused on software such as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and iWork as well as recent new Macs, Sanford C. Bernstein said that Apple's on-going revenue from iPhone sales may provide even bigger upside for the skyrocketing stock.
Apple Q4 results on Oct 22
Apple is set to announced its fourth quarter results on October 22nd and will host an audio webcast discussing its fourth quarter financial results. The QuickTime webcast of the company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on September 30, 2007, will take place with analysts and press following the market close at 5 pm ET. For the quarter, analysts are expecting average earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.83 on revenues of $6.0 billion. In the year-ago quarter, the company beat analysts' EPS estimates by 22 percent with earnings of $0.62 on revenues of $4.84 billion.
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