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iMedia Browser released
Karelia has debuted a free media browser for Mac OS X called iMedia that acts like the repository that Apple includes in some of its applications, but is accessible from within any application. The tool can be used to access photos, music, videos, and bookmarks, including the iPhoto library, Aperture library, Pictures folder, and other predefined folders; the iTunes library, GarageBand songs, Music folder; bookmarks from Safari, Firefox, OmniWeb, and more. The tool allows you to drag and drop any folder into the source list to add to your library and download plugins such as iDelicious to extend capabilities of the browser. The browser is available from the Dock or the Menu Bar, via application preferences.
ATI Radeon X1900 XT update
Apple today released its ATI Radeon X1900 XT Firmware Update, but did not provide any insight into the fixes. The firmware updat is designed for the ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory, which is available on the Mac Pro. Apple says the card "provides an ideal solution for motion graphics, animation, digital photography, or 3D design and visualization. It offers two dual-link DVI ports that can simultaneously support two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays for an incredibly large widescreen workspace." The ATI Radeon X1900 GT Firmware Update will update the firmware on all of the ATI Radeon X1900 GT graphics cards in the Mac Pro and the updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder, according to the documentation.
Olympus E-3 debuts
Olympus has officially taken wraps off the E-3, its new flagship digital SLR, which replaces the E-1 DSLR. Image quality is rooted in a 10-megapixel Live MOS image sensor with "TruePic III" digital processing and in-body mechanical image stabilization, while Olympus claims 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed. Combined with the Zuiko Digital Specific SWD 12-60mm (24-120mm Equivalent) Lens (priced at $1000), Olympus claims the E-3 delivers the industry's fastest AutoFocus speeds. Image preview is accomplished via a dual-axis swivel 2.5-inch LCD with real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure. Olympus also claims that the E-3's sealed magnesium alloy chassis is completely splash-proof and dust-proof and that the shutter mechanism will last for 150,000 exposures. The camera accepts both CompactFlash Type I & II, UDMA, Microdrives and xD-Picture Cards.
Sept. quarter preview
Apple will likely reveal earnings slightly higher than Wall Street expectations when it discloses its financial results on October 22nd, according to research firm Piper Jaffray, and Apple's AT&T revenue share will probably take the spotlight. "Despite highly anticipated sales figures from Apple's September quarter, we believe investors may focus on the AT&T revenue sharing agreement," Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research report obtained by MacNN. "After the first full quarter of iPhone sales, Apple will announce the total AT&T revenue share from the June and September quarters." Munster believes those revenues could bring Apple as much as $10.6 million, excluding an estimated 10 percent of iPhones which were unlocked to operate on a non-AT&T carrier.
Simon 2.3.3 ($30-200) site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks web pages, FTP and DNS servers, local or remote ports or volumes, and other services for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, or HTML reports. This release includes improvements and fixes to the test scheduler, report feature, Edit Test window, and localization. See the release notes for more information. [Download - 9.5MB]
Merlin 2.5 ($205) project management software designed exclusively for the Mac. The biggest new feature of Merlin 2.5 is its multi-user capability. Also included are networking capabilities, dedicated user- or group-defined access rights, dynamic planning and bi-directional synchronization with iCal. [Download - 32MB]
Periscope 1.5 ($40) Web cam software for Mac OS X that lets you use your iSight or other webcam to capture activity in front of your Mac's camera, and then save or share that image easily and automatically. The new release is ready for OS X 10.5, Leopard. It has an improved interface, a resizable main window and more. [Download - 4.5MB]
ConceptDraw 7.4 ($300) vector drawing and diagramming software package. The new release is designed to work with Leopard and implements Quick Look allowing to preview ConceptDraw documents and find necessary charts and diagrams on a computer. A new feature called Drawing Navigator has also been added. [Download - form]
Smile 3.2 ($450) data visualization software. In this release, Smile's plot interface was completely revamped - you can now extract data from files, generate data, program computations, visualize your data and change display settings. Once saved on disk, you can reopen the plot and easily adapt it to some other set of data. [Download - 33MB]
Aqua Data Studio 6.5 ($400) multi-platform application that provides complete database administration and query tools for Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, Informix, and PostgreSQL on Linux, OSX and Windows. Version 6.5 includes new Source Control Support for Subversion and CVS. With Source Control, multiple users can store, check in and update scripts and other files from within Aqua Data Studio, eliminating the need for other versioning software. [Download - 30MB]
Apple wins iPhone patent
Apple has secured a patent for "remote client devices" (presumably including the iPhone, iPods and other unnamed mobile devices) that describes the ability to dynamically upload input sensors (aka buttons) from host computers to said devices. The patent says that in some cases, a combination of buttons can be used to perform a particular function whereas in other cases, a single button can be associated with a particular function. The patent also calls for a preference file that is passed to the remote client device which uses the preference file to automatically update any programmable buttons.
Five Sony PC Speaker Sets
Boosting its audio lineup in time for the holidays, Sony Europe today launched five speaker sets for computers aimed at mid-range and traveling listeners. The A212B and Z510 cater to users who expect solid audio at a desk and include their own respective tricks for boosting sound. The A212B includes a 1-bit digital amp, while the Z510 adds a switchable Mega Bass enhancer and a relatively large 55mm driver. Two basic models offer just essential sound, Sony says. The A201 takes nearly the same shape as the A212 but uses a simpler 57mm cone shape; in turn, the unique AX10 offers a lamp-like shape that floats the satellites above the surface.
US House extends tax ban
The US House of Representatives today voted to extend a measure against taxing Internet access, the Associated Press reports. The ban affects state and local taxes, and was first enacted in 1998; with the extension the next review would take place in 2011, while exempting states that imposed taxes before 1998. An overwhelming majority of representatives voted for the extension, at 405 to 2; 238 have signed a bill to make the ban permanent, but current discussion has been curtailed to extension.
iTunes Plus Price Drop
Apple is dropping the price of all its iTunes Plus tracks and expanding its catalog, company chief Steve Jobs confirmed in an interview. Although previously suspected, the new policy will reduce the cost of an individual DRM-free song from $1.29 to 99 cents, putting them at the same price as copy-protected tracks for the first time since iTunes Plus was introduced in May. The move is not expected to change the price of albums, but should take effect across all international iTunes stores no later than tomorrow. Both American and Canadian shoppers have already reported discovering the cut-price tracks in their respective online stores.
iTunes Plus now $0.99
Apple says it will reduce price of its DRM-free songs on its iTunes Store to 99 cents from $1.29, making it more competitive with Amazon.com, Wal-Mart Stores and other rivals in online music. In an interview, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said all iTunes Plus music, will feature the reduced price later today or tomorrow. iTunes Plus offers songs without digital rights management, or DRM, anti-copying software: so far, the only major label to cut a deal on DRM-free songs is EMI Group Plc, but Apple has also already begun adding new music to iTunes Plus from independent recording companies at 99 cents a song, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Olympus to announce E-3
Camera maker Olympus, generally more famous for its compacts, is expected to later today announce the E-3, a successor to its formerly flagship E-1 DSLR. The camera should be premiered at reception scheduled for approximately 6PM Eastern time, to be held inside a New York museum.
No specifications have so far leaked to the press; the E-3 is in any case likely to represent a dramatic departure from the E-1, which originally premiered in 2003, and was limited to 5.5 megapixels. By contrast, the comparable Canon EOS-5D now has 12.7 megapixels. Olympus is likely to infuse the E-3 with features from its recent E-Volt cameras, while pushing specifications to compete with other high-end DSLRs. [via PhotographyBLOG]
Office 2008 sneak peek
Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (Mac BU) has released its third sneak peek of Office 2008 for Mac, offering more details on the software suite's new Ledger Sheets feature. "The Mac BU is giving you a deeper look at [Ledger Sheets] that can make any Excel user look like a pro - even those with 'grid fear'!" Ledger Sheets are designed to harness the power of Excel by simplifying the process of handling common financial management tasks with the help of pre-formulated cells. Accessible from the Elements Gallery, Ledger Sheets streamline tasks for users who aren't experts at Excel while improving convenience for proficient users. "Home and small business users can easily balance checkbooks, track accounts or manage investment portfolios without having to fuss with formulas."
First Samsung GPS Phones
Bucking its past habits, Samsung Mobile today provided details about three new phones that are the first from the company to bring GPS navigation to Samsung's line. All three can use their receiver to provide directions for driving or on foot, and can use assisted GPS help fix a position using data. The i550 (shown) is the baseline for the series but includes features rarely seen together in a bar-shaped phone: in addition to its mapping, the phone connects to the Internet at 3G speeds with HSDPA and a 3-megapixel camera.
London MacLive Expo
Show organizers have announced that the MacLive Expo will take place at Olympia, Kensington, London from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th October 2007. New this year is a "Hands on Theatre," which will feature various presenters providing instructional material. The Seminar Theatre will be hosting a series of key debates. Notable exhibitors include Filemaker, HP, Dymo, Microsoft, Kensington, Nikon, Parallels, Quark, Wacom, Roxio and Iomega. Hours are Thursday 25th and Friday 26th 10.00am through 6.00pm, and Saturday 27th 10.00am through 5.00pm.
Popular Mechanics has named the iPhone one of its "10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007," saying that the he best way to understand why the device has "sent shockwaves" through the mobile phone industry is simply to "check your voice mail with it." The iPhone has already won a few other awards in the 3 1/2 months since its introduction. It landed the Most Anticipated Gadget for 2008, as voted for by Sky News online readers.
Moto H375 and H680
Motorola this afternoon began rolling out two new Bluetooth earpieces which both blend in with the most stylish cellphones and take little time to set up for a new connection. The glossy black H680 (pictured) shrinks the already small design of most wireless headsets by shifting the micro USB connection from the headset to the bundled carrying case; this both takes the weight off the ear and makes for easier charging, Motorola says. It also allows for a bigger battery that powers the H680 for as much as nine hours of uninterrupted talk time or 12 days when on standby.
ASUS announces Eee UMPC
Though long familiar in the media, ASUS has only now made a formal announcement of the Eee, an ultra-mobile PC meant to be owned by casual users including women and children. Each unit has a screen measuring just seven inches, and users navigate mainly through a graphical interface, whose speed is enhanced due to a reliance on flash storage instead of a conventional hard disk. An 802.11b/g connection links users to the Internet, while other basic accessories include a card reader, webcam and speakers.
AUO 5,000:1 HDTV
Display maker AU Optronics on Tuesday revealed what it believes is one of the best-looking LCD TV panels ever released. A new, 'bumpless' pixel design, an integrated backlight, and better color resistance have let the company produce a display whose natural contrast ratio is 5,000:1 -- double the 2,500:1 managed last year and more than four times the 1,200:1 achieved in 2005. The technology is the most vivid of any technology on shelves today that uses a mainstream cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlight and will be the best until LED-lit displays are in the mainstream, according to the company. Displays with dynamic contrast ratios should provide an even larger ratio by shutting off parts of the backlight during dark scenes.
iPhones in France Nov. 29
Apple today announced that Orange, the leading wireless carrier in France, will be the exclusive French carrier partner for its iPhone when the handset ships on Thursday, November 29th. "The iPhone is a marvelous product and will change how people think about mobile," said France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard. "I'm delighted that it is launching in France through Orange, and I'm sure that our customers share my excitement." Today's confirmation of a set date on iPhones destined for France comes after a disagreement between Apple and Orange surfaced in late September. Orange disputed Apple's proposed percentage of service revenues as part of the iPhone deal, which threatened to compromise the cellular carrier's promise made on September 20th that it would bring iPhones to French consumers before Christmas and as early as November.
Rogers expands HSDPA
Confirming rumors from earlier in the year, Rogers Wireless has now officially expanded its HSDPA services, broadening them to 22 new regions within Canada. Rogers is the only carrier in the country that supports HSDPA, and it had previously restricted it to the "Golden Horseshoe," encircling Toronto and some surrounding area. Rogers customers can now sign up for the high-speed Vision service in major cities such as Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as other important regions including Ottawa, Regina and Winnipeg.
iPlayer for Mac by 2008
The BBC has announced that its iPlayer software, which allows users to catch up on the last seven days of BBC television programs, will support Macs by end of 2007, according to MediaGuardian.co.uk. The UK-based television network in September of 2007 promised Mac users that it would bring the free service to Macs, but offered no estimation on when the service would debut. Yesterday's announcement confirms the BBC's progress and commitment to bringing Mac users up to speed with Microsoft Windows users. iPlayer is designed to make the BBC more relevant in the digital age by bringing network content directly to internet users, negating the need to turn on the tube. [update: timeframe changed to by end of 2007]
iPhone SDK in January?
Apple may release a native software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone as soon as January, despite its current insistence on a web-only strategy, a BusinessWeek report suggests. The publication claims to have spoken with sources familiar with Apple's plans, who say that the company will release an SDK in early 2008, and most likely around the same time as CEO Steve Jobs' January 15th keynote at Macworld San Francisco. Analysts contacted by BW suggest that the main reason for a delay since the iPhone's launch may actually be Mac OS X Leopard, which will only go on sale October 26th.
Intel Diamondville CPU
Hoping to produce an even more power-efficient technology than the best it offers today, Intel at its Developer Forum in Taiwan on Tuesday announced Diamondville, a new processor and platform architecture for extremely low-power PCs. The design is almost entirely original and is meant to fit into the ASUS Eee PC, the One Laptop Per Child XO, and other very small computers designed either for basic computing or developing world areas where regular or strong power supplies are hard to find. While exact figures were unavailable, Diamondville was expected to use significantly less power than even Intel's latest ultra low-voltage Core 2 Duo processors, which have a sustained power use of 10 watts.
TomTom ONE XL-S
GPS navigation unit maker TomTom hoped to freshen its line today with the ONE XL-S, a stepped up version of its 4.3-inch, widescreen mapping device. New in this version is a text-to-speech feature that automatically reads out directions, places, and road names, freeing drivers from having to read the display ahead of a crucial exit or destination. The refresh also brings features that have been added to other GPS units since the XL's original launch, TomTom says: the collaborative Map Share feature now lets the XL-S add map data and share it with fellow users online, as well as access the Help Me feature which more quickly brings up emergency location finders and position data in the event of a rescue.
Non-AT&T iPhone service
Apple is refusing to service non-AT&T iPhones even after an owner has legitimately cancelled the contract, an Oregon TV station reports. State resident Jake Durgard explains that after 30 days with his iPhone, he decided that he did not like AT&T's phone service, and had his contract terminated. Not long thereafter, the bottom tray of icons on the Home screen -- including icons for dialing, e-mail and web browsing -- ceased to work, prompting him to bring his iPhone into an Apple Store. Clerks said they would not help without a SIM card however, a requirement Durgard claims is not listed on the iPhone's box or in its warranty.
Online music store Napster on Tuesday took the wraps off of version 4.0 of its service, a major overhaul which the company says will remove some of the need for Windows as well as improve the actual service itself. The update makes the service one of the first to offer an almost completely web-driven version of its library. While users will still have the choice of downloading Napster songs and using them in Windows Media Player or a PlaysForSure-capable handheld, the web will let users with subscriptions play any song from a web jukebox application. Users will have the choice of listening to full albums or songs and will see their saved library transfered to the web portal, giving them access to their playlists and already selected music away from a home computer. The browser version also changes the playback format to a more universal Flash audio format; Mac and Linux users can listen to (but not download) tracks from Napster's store for the first time just by having the standard Flash plugin installed, the company touts.
Server Leopard on Oct. 26
Accompanying the launch of the desktop version of Mac OS X Leopard, set for October 26th, will be Mac OS X Server Leopard, an upgrade to Apple's Unix server operating system. Server 10.5 brings with it several important additions, such as the ability to manage users, groups and services more quickly through Server Preferences. There is now also a shared, server-based version of iCal, and an expansion of Spotlight to the network level to more quickly locate hosted documents.
AT&T Contract Changes
AT&T on Tuesday announced a pair of updates to its contract policies to bolster its reputation in the marketplace and match or exceed offerings from rival carriers, such as Verizon. For the first time, AT&T will allow subscribers to switch to a standard calling plan in mid term without being forced to prolong or restart their contract. This should let users adapt their cellular plans to their usage habits over time without an according penalty. The feature should take effect in November, though the company did not say that this would extend to data plans.
Leopard up for pre-order
After a brief downtime on Tuesday, the Apple Store has been put back online with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which is now available for pre-order. The latest version of the core Mac operating system costs $129 for a single user or $199 in a "family pack," and should ship October 26th; customers who pre-order now will receive free shipping. The software introduces a number of new features to the Mac OS, among them Time Machine file recovery, stacked Dock icons, and the integration of Cover Flow into the Finder system browser. Users can also divide their desktop into separate "Spaces," and run Boot Camp without a separate download. An Intel or PowerPC G4 Mac is required, with a minimum of a 867MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and a DVD drive.
Nokia Touch in Symbian OS
(Updated with demo video) Nokia today revealed that it was adding touchscreen features to the Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition, allowing Nokia's smartphones and those licensing the OS to compete with the iPhone by using touch displays as well as automatic sensors in their designs. A set of extensions will give phones support for touch interfaces driven either by finger control or by a stylus; the OS will also support a mixture of hardware keyboards with touch interfaces, the company says. Creators will also have the choice of introducing haptic feedback that vibrates when the user hits certain on-screen buttons to simulate the experience of physical controls.
Layer Comps 1.0
DTP Tools has released new Layer Comps plug-in for InDesign CS-CS3. Layer Comps provides a way to store a snapshot of certain key aspects of your documents layers. It allows you to store your current view of layer visibility and editing state as a Layer Comp. You can unlimited snapshots, without substantially expanding your file size. Comps can be exported into all formats supported by InDesign. You can export a single comp into .inx as a snapshot or multiple comps into .pdf. All documents created with the Layer Comps can still be opened and edited without this plug-in. The layer settings will remain the same. The tool is priced at $30.
Mathematica player debuts
Wolfram, the publishers of Mathematica have introduced a new web service that makes it possible to deploy dynamic Mathematica documents that run freely on any compatible computer. Prior to the new service, most interactive Mathematica notebook files (.nb/.nbp) would only run in a fully licensed copy of Mathematica 6. The free Mathematica Player runtime application now makes it possible to view the files without any commercial software. Playable projects include animated 3D models, real-time data from the web, and other features. The free Mathematica Player software is available immediately for download.
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