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VMware Fusion 1.1 RC
Ahead of Leopard's release, VMware announced a new release candidate of its software for running Windows and other operating systems on an Intel-based Mac. Fusion 1.1 Release Candidate, the company said, has been working well on pre-release version of Leopard, but has yet to be tested on the release version of Mac OS X 10.5 (expected to be available late Friday). VMware Fusion is available through the manufacturer's website, and in stores, for $80 and is a free upgrade for all users.
TestTrack 2008 updated
Seapine Software on Thursday released a major update to its workflow coordination software, TestTrack 2008. Designed specifically for larger software development teams, TestTrack allows developers and project managers to collaborate and increase workflow efficiency by providing a central message and project information center. Seapine offers three versions of the software -- TestTrack Pro, TCM, and Studio -- tailored for different requirements in the product development process. Seapine is shipping TestTrack 2008; however, pricing was not listed by the developer.
MacLive Expo Day 1
Day one of MacLive Expo 2007 has come to a close, and Italian Mac news website setteB.IT was there with camera in-hand. Some of the highlights from the show include new offerings from premium bag manufacturers Crumpler and TSM, aesthetically-conscious accessory manufacturer Contour Design, New York-based designer Built, and Apple-centric peripheral company Macally (although not at the conference in an official capacity).
New USB fever accessories
USBfever today released a number of different products, targeted mainly at iPhone and iPod touch users. Protective cases made up five of the seven new accessoriesm, including three leather cases for the iPod touch -- ranging from a straight vertical-entry model, a book style case, and a flip top case. The iPhone cases are geared more towards fun than business, USBfever chose a floral pattern and canine-friendly design, rather than the serious tone of the company's leather Touch offerings. The cases are available for around $20 through the manufacturer's website.
PGI compilers for Mac
The Portland Group today delivered Release 7.1 to its suite of Fortran, C, and C++ compilers, and introduced a new Mac OS version for Intel-based Macs. Widely used in the high-performance computing sector, the latest update solidifies performance on multiprocessor computers and introduces 64-bit optimizations. Version 7.1 also offers several "under-the-hood" optimizations, which delivers a 10 percent improved performance from previous versions, according to the company. Pricing is available from The Portland Group's website, depending on license and platform requirements.
In brief: Leopard is now shipping in the UK; Synk Backup, MacPractice products, TextExpander, BrowseBack, PhotoPrinto and the RocketRAID controllers are all now compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 ... We've received reports that Leopard is now shipping in the UK. Phil Angell wrote "I got a mail from Apple here in UK to notify me that Leopard has shipped!" VARs are reporting that pre-orders for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard -- available from the Apple Store, Amazon (with Parallels Bundle), and MacMall (for delivery on Oct 26th) -- are double what they were for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
Verizon Communications has settled a patent spat with Vonage based on the companies' respective voice-over-IP technologies. Accused by Verizon of violating "at least" seven patents, Vonage was facing a possible interruption of service if Verizon was declared the victor. In March, a jury found that Vonage is infringing on three valid, and awarded $58 million in damages. The trial judge subsequently issued an injunction which was stayed pending an appeal. In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the earlier court decision. Vonage again staved off an injunction by filing a petition for rehearing. The legal to-and-fro has been marginalized, however, by the settlement.
ezSkin MAX Classic ships
ezGear today unveiled the ezSkin MAX Classic, a new case that adds protection to Apple's iPod classic portable media player. The ezSkin MAX Classic features silicon rubber to provide extra shock and drop protection, reinforcing each corner with extra padding without adding excess bulk. A screen protector made from hard clear plastic guards the delicate liquid crystal display, and the case comes with an ezSkin belt clip and neck strap. A click-wheel cover also protects the iPod from dirt and dust without hindering sensitivity, according to ezGear. The ezSkin MAX Classic is available for both 80GB and 160GB iPod Classic in Onyx and "frost white" for $35.
$600 MP3 player
Looking to establish its own class of portable music players with a device priced far above competing products, Bang & Olufsen has debuted a $600 MP3 player that the company claims has a "very clear and pure CD sound quality, due to its high performance on signal to noise playback," when compared to competing products. The new player, dubbed BeoSound 6, claims 40 hours of playback, includes a a stainless steel frame and features a black soft-touch lacquered surface and a black scratch-resistant glass display (with a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels). Included is a slim fit leather case.
Apple posts updates
Apple today posted updates for its iLife and iDVD software, as well as certain iMac models. Apple's iLife Support 8.1.1 update supports system software components shared by all iLife '08 applications, and improves overall stability. The download also addresses numerous other minor issues, and supports general compatibility issues. The company's iDVD 6.0.4 update improves overall stability as well as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility, while the iMac MXM Update 1.0 improves video compatibility with Boot Camp on certain 24-inch iMac models. All three updates are available via Apple's website for free, but hold different system requirements: iLife Support 8.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later, iDVD 6.0.4 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and iMac MXM Update 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later.
KingMania game released
Macgamestore.com today announced its addition of KingMania for Mac, a new quick action strategy game published by Rake in Grass. KingMania is designed as a fast and simple challenge to test each player's ability to make quick tactical decisions. Players control different buildings, using their power as well as the power of hordes of lieges to defeat opponents. The game features a multiplayer mode, is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Traktor 3.3 released
Native Instruments today released Traktor 3.3, a free update to its DJ software that adds Traktor Scratch integration. The latest release of Traktor enables users to combine combine features of both applications with precise turntable and CD control. Traktor 3.3 is available as a free upgrade to all registered Traktor 3 users, and is available as a discounted upgrade ($100) for Traktor Scratch owners. New licenses of Traktor 3.3 are priced at $230, and the software requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
NVIDIA 8800M GTX Leak
NVIDIA is planning a new top-end graphics processor for notebooks that will outperform the GeForce 8700M GT just a few months after its release, claim visitors to the recent Computex expo in Taiwan. The upgrade would be known as the 8800M GTX and would effectively be a mobile-optimized version of the imminent GeForce 8800 GT for desktops. The architecture would be virtually the same save for a lower clock speed and switching on power saving measures that are unnecessary for the desktop card, according to the report.
Three European LG phones
Three new LG phones have been announced for European markets. The top end is represented by the KE590, a slider with a two-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, and MP3 playback. 56MB of user memory is onboard, which can be expanded with microSD cards. The phone's main limitation is video playback, which is limited to 15fps 3GP. The KG291 is similar in many respects to the 590, but lacks its metallic design cues. The camera has also been scaled back to 1.3 megapixels, and user memory is just 7MB. Both the 291 and 590 are tri-band GSM phones that will be carried on networks such as Italy's Wind.
Tuneshell for video Nano
On the heels of last Friday's announcement, Tunewear today announced a new case for the iPod nano with video, which it is calling the TUNESHELL. Made from polycarbonate plastics -- the same material Apple used in the first generation G3 iMacs -- it offers complete body and screen protection, while still allowing access to the click wheel, dock connector, and headphone jack. The case features a removable neck lanyard that has a quick-release clasp, allowing for easier manipulation of the Nano's controls when worn around your neck. Tunewear is selling the case for $20 through its website, and will be available at retailers worldwide.
Stephenson Forbes Comments
The iPhone is making AT&T reconsider its approach to data and video, company chief Randall Stephenson said today at the Forbes MEET II forum. While most users have typically been sparing with Internet use on their phones, the frequency of access "jumps by multiples" when existing subscribers switch to an iPhone, the carrier head noted. The executive also observed that the Apple handset's ability to play video had changed his and the company's approach to video playback, as he and many at the company had never thought it likely that customers would watch video on a cellphone until the iPhone became public.
Safari dusts IE
Safari is the king of speed according to a study performed by Michael Czeiszperger, general manager of Web Performance. Czeiszperger tested the Windows versions of Apple's Safari, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Mozilla's Firefox 2, concluding "In all cases, the Safari 3 Windows beta was the fastest browser in terms of page load time," according to a Macworld UK report. The tests were performed by browsing the 16 most-trafficked sites as listed by Alexa. Interestingly, the performance differences between Safari and IE, and Safari and Firefox, were minimal when the site was pulled from the local cache, not the actual server. " When pulling a page from a remote server, however, Safari was on average 1.1 seconds faster than IE 7, and 1.4 seconds faster than Firefox.
Record Sony sales
Global electronics company Sony is reporting record second-quarter profits, in spite of serious business setbacks, says Agence France-Presse. Net profits for the period rose to $646.5 million, a drastic improvement on the $15 million earned the year prior. The company is now working with a Q2 operating profit of $938 million, whereas a year ago the posted figure was just $70.2 million. Sales are expected to continue rolling in as new 1080p TV sets debut in the second half of the financial year.
LG Vu Gets Digital TV
AT&T's upcoming LG Vu (CU920) touchscreen phone will be AT&T's first phone to support digital broadcast TV, according to a tip provided to Engadget. While subscribers to the carrier's service have had access to live video across the Internet with 3G-capable phones, the upcoming device should include a MediaFLO tuner that will provide direct digital broadcast TV. Whether the device would be compatible with Verizon's V CAST TV is unknown; both providers will use the same over-the-air format but are likely to block access through software.
VPN Tracker 5
equinux has announced the next generation of VPN Tracker, its VPN client for Mac OS X. Prior to the official release, equinux is inviting experienced VPN users to test VPN Tracker 5 Beta. All applicants will need to provide equinux with the technical specifications for their VPN setup as part of the application process. VPN Tracker 5 provides compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 and offers new user interface. It is also able to automatically process standard tasks like checking for mails, mounting servers and opening databases with configurable actions. For network administrators, VPN Tracker 5 offers an automatic roll-out tool for large-scale deployment.
LG E300 Notebook Hybrid
LG today added a new model to its XNOTE line in the form of the E300-AP75K, a new version of the company's 13.3-inch portable. The system becomes one of the smallest and lightest (at 2.9 pounds) to include a hybrid hard drive and includes a 160GB disk with 256MB of flash memory to speed boot times and responsiveness without requiring either a space-consuming separate cache or an external USB stick. This speed emphasis is also reflected in the unusually fast specifications: the stock model is based on a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo and comes with 2GB of memory, according to LG.
MarketBuddy 1.0 released
Excel Software today began shipping MarketBuddy 1.0 for Mac OS X and Windows systems. The software is designed to reduce human effort required to market any product or service using the internet, both by storing as well as organizing marketing contact information and automating common marketing activities. MarketBuddy 1.0 posts news to websites as well as press release distribution sites, lists items in product directories as well as white papers, and fills in Web forms or uploads trial/shareware to software sites automatically. The application also manages email lists, sends newsletters, and enables users to support customers while tracking sales leads. MarketBuddy 1.0 is priced at $200 and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
Apple's TV show rights
Apple may have a strong bargaining position in the music space, where it controls the lion's share of digital download purchases. Its negotiating power for television shows is, however, limited. The company is facing resistance from content owners that are refusing to go along with stipulated pricing regulations. The highest-profile falling out thus far has been a break-up with NBC, which claims that 40 percent of all the television programs purchased on iTunes belonged to it (Apple disputes that figure, saying it was closer to 30 percent).
Intel Opens 2nd 45nm Fab
Semiconductor firm Intel on Thursday opened up its second factory capable of manufacturing processors on a 45-nanometer process. The plant, known formally as Fab 32, is located in Chandler, Arizona and will be capable of manufacturing wafers as large as 300mm, allowing large batches of processors to be manufactured at a time and cutting the overall costs for both Intel and end users buying systems. Two more manufacturing facilities are also in construction in Israel and New Mexico and will increase capacity even further when they come online in 2008.
Congressman v. Comcast
A member of the US Congress is the latest to express criticism of national cable ISP Comcast. The company was recently caught in a scandal by the Associated Press, who revealed that the company was deliberately sabotaging peer-to-peer transfers, hampering or completely blocking transfers such as BitTorrent sharing. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) complains in an interview that Comcast is ultimately hurting one of the primary purposes of the Internet, which is sharing content between users. Moreover, despite its frequent association with piracy, Boucher notes that file sharing is also common in a "wide variety of perfectly lawful and appropriate applications."
Samsung SyncMaster 942BW
Samsung today quietly released a new display in its SyncMaster LCD series. The 942BW aims to bring 19-inch widescreen graphics to a relatively affordable level without sacrificing picture quality; though built on a panel with a static 500:1 contrast ratio, the display includes several presets that optimize the picture for specific viewing conditions. It also brings a quick 5ms pixel response time and DVI with HDCP encryption support for watching some protected HD movies at slightly higher than 720p resolutions.
AT&T share revenue
Wall Street investors are underestimating the impact of Apple's revenue share agreement with AT&T over its iPhone cellular handset, according to one industry analyst. Researcher Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has constructed a model of what he believes reflects the true impact of the iPhone and AT&T revenue share in the coming years. The model assumes iPhone average selling prices of $399 currently with $300 average selling prices in the future; those figures bring Apple $18 per subscription per month today and will fall to $9 per subscription per month by the end of calendar year 2009, according to Munster. Piper Jaffray raised its price target on Apple shares to $250 from $222, and maintained its 'Outperform' rating.
E-Ten M800 official
E-Ten's latest smartphone, also known has the Glofiish, has now been officially announced. Its codenumber is actually the M800, but a number of other specifications have been confirmed, such as the presence of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a SiRFstar III receiver and a two-megapixel autofocus camera. Connections include quad-band GSM, but more crucially the phone has EDGE and HSDPA, making it a prime candidate for networks such as AT&T. The processor has been bumped to 500MHz, although E-Ten is not sharing internal memory figures, only disclosing the option of microSD cards.
OurTreePro 0.2b released
The developer of PaperCutPro has released a new application for tracking genealogy, titled OurTreePro 0.2b. The software is built on FileMaker Pro 9, and is designed to meet the needs of serious genealogy researchers. OurTreePro does not require a copy of FileMaker Pro to run, and was designed for multiple users under FileMaker Pro sharing or FileMaker Server. Key features include integration of digital assets with genealogy data alongside database storage of pictures, document scans, and PDF files. OurTreePro 0.2b is available as a time-limited beta and will be available for $80 when the software ships.
Official iPhone Dev Center
NEC SX-9 Supercomputer
Japan's NEC today introduced the SX-9, a supercomputer it claims is the fastest computer at vector math and one of the world's fastest overall computers. The system includes a new, unnamed processor that emphasizes vectors over a more flexible but potentially slower general-purpose CPU. Just one core is capable of over 102 gigaflops (billion floating-point math operations per second); a single node of 16 CPUs generates up to 1.6 teraflops (trillion operations) while a full cluster of nodes produces 839 teraflops, NEC claims. The SZ-9 is also able to handle especially large data sets with a shared memory of 1TB as well as 128GB per second transfers all processors in the system.
Samsung Window Glass LCD
Samsung is showcasing a new panel technology at the FPD International display expo that should lower the price of LCDs even further, according to a report from the show floor. Called a Soda-Lime panel, the technique would allow the Korean company to make LCDs using glass similar to that used for windows, rather than the specialized glass for current LCDs. Manufacturers would not need to strip out the sodium that normally blocks light and prevents making extra-thin glass, Samsung says. The ability to use an almost ubiquitous glass format would reduce the basic cost of manufacturing an LCD and should pass the savings on to buyers.
Apple multitouch keyboard
Apple has developed a multitouch keyboard technology, an application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals. A completed keyboard would be an extension of concepts used in the iPhone and the iPod touch, melding typing, gesture and pointing (mouse) functions into a single computer accessory. Apple notes on its application that this should have numerous advantages, "such as eliminating need for mouse as a separate pointing device, eliminating wasteful reaches between keyboard and pointing device, and general workflow streamlining."
SanDisk Sues 25 Companies
SanDisk late Wednesday announced that it was suing 25 companies regarding seven patents relating to flash storage, accusing them of building portable media jukeboxes, memory cards, and other devices that use SanDisk's "system-level" technology without permission. The lawsuit did not name specific products but included the high-profile Korean electronics giant LG as well as well-known memory makers Corsair, Imation, Kingston, and Verbatim. Sunnyvale, California-based SanDisk said it was seeking both damages and a permanent injunction that would block any offending flash memory from entering the United States.
Early Leopard reviews up
Two major publications have already published reviews of Apple's Mac OS X Leopard, due for public sale on Friday. Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal describes the operating system as an evolutionary release, but says that it is still "better and faster" than Windows Vista, with useful new features. Among these are the Time Machine backup system, Quick Look file previews, and the ability to browse with Cover Flow in Finder. Mossberg further notes that upon upgrading his iMac to Leopard, all his programs continued to function properly, including VMWare's Fusion application, used to merge Windows and Mac OS.
Gateway FHD2400 and HD2200
(Updated with official shots) Gateway today rounded out its newly expanded HD-series displays with two new models designed for both computer use and movies alike. The 24-inch FHD2400 and 22-inch HD2200 back up their traditional DVI and VGA inputs with HDMI and component inputs that let them accept HD signals from Blu-Ray or HD DVD movie players, game consoles, and other set-top boxes; the FHD2400 also fits RCA and S-video connections for strictly analog sources. Either uses a Faroudja image processor to boost the visual quality of any source.
Motorla Cell Biz Tumble
Motorola today revealed that sales in its Mobile Devices group for the summer quarter had fallen by 36 percent year over year and contributed to a large drop in the company's overall earnings. Despite an "improvement" in the company's sales, according to company chief Ed Zander, the division fell from over $848 million in profit during summer 2006 to a $138 million loss for the company. No explanation was provided for the drop, though the period included the expense of multiple high-profile phone launches, including the first public availability of the RAZR2 as well as the U9 and multiple versions of the ROKR Z6.
Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 4.0.1 ($40) synchronize data with Windows Mobile devices. This update provides important bug fixes and enhancements, including: support for Windows Mobile 6 password protection, improved performance of file-based plugins (notes, music, photos and files), increased stability of notes synchronization, and more. [Download - 42.4MB]
Cyndicate 1.0.4 ($30) RSS/Atom aggregator and content management application for Mac OS X. The new release fixes all known Leopard issues, fixes a bug that could lead to incorrect parsing of Atom .3 feeds. Also, the update panel has been redesigned with new options.[Download - 3.1MB]
Synergy 3.2 ($15) puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause; as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune. In this release, an "Xidius' Transparent Bar" replaces "Safari" as the default button set; this button set is especially designed for Leopard but also looks great on Tiger. [Download - 1.6MB]
RapidWeaver 3.6.4 ($50) website creation application for Mac OS X. RapidWeaver 3.6.4, whilst primarily a maintenance release, ensures that RapidWeaver users can continue to develop RapidWeaver sites under the forthcoming release of Mac OS X, 10.5 'Leopard'. [Download - 15.6MB]
RbApp 2.1 ($300) a collection of reusable classes for developing Mac OS X and Windows software using the REALbasic programming language from REAL Software. Version 2.1 adds dozens of new properties and methods throughout the RbApp classes. For example, RbGrid can now manage external data stored in files, databases or program variables. External data can be linked to any cell within the rows and columns of a grid. Cell data can be colored, styled, sized or edited with standard controls like an edit field, popup menu, combobox, slider bar, checkbox or radio button list. [Download - 21.7MB]
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