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leopard review part two
Time Machine is arguably the most promoted feature of Leopard, designed to make backup functional and accessible to the average user, as most users are put off by the setup and maintenance required of professional backup solutions. For the basic user, Time Machine is approachable and doesn't require much advanced comprehension to set up, so it succeeds in this regard. The real question is whether it will stand up to a conventional backup solution, and if it will suffice for the needs of more experienced users who have more exacting needs. Read on for the second segment of our multi-part Leopard review.
Adium video chat
The team behind Adium, the multi-protocol instant messaging client, has been working hard on enabling compatibility with AIM video chat, and is currently testing branches of an upcoming release, version 2.0, that will support video conferencing via subversion. Other work in this update includes things such as the user interface, local video preview, and bridge code between Adium and Libpurple. The developers said in a blog posting "You'll notice, of course, that we've denoted this as Adium 2.0 - and for good reason. These changes will anchor a large amount of new technology being implemented. The entire team is looking forward to this monumental push forward for Adium, Pidgin, and all projects that use Libpurple. Of course, we always welcome help, and encourage everyone that can lend a hand to do so. You can find all the information you'll need on our wiki, and you can contact either of us directly to get a better idea of where we're at as well as where your help is needed most."
$199 gPC at Wal-Mart
The $200 PC keeps coming back, this time on the shelves of a retail giant. About 600 Wal-Mart locations will soon begin selling a $199 Linux-powered "Green gPC" made by Everex of Taiwan. Bundling Windows Vista Home Basic and more memory with the machine bumps its price up to $300. The system includes a keyboard, mouse, and speakers, but no monitor. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien told The Associated Press that the company is stocking gPC in about one in eight stores to test the demand for an open-source product. The gPC has a low-end processor from VIA Technologies, 512 megabytes of RAM, an 80-gigabyte hard drive and a combination DVD drive and CD burner. It uses gOS, which is derived from the popular Ubuntu Linux variant. Wal-Mart has sold $200 Linux PCs before, but only online, never on its physical store shelves.
Refurb iPod nanos $79
Apple's online store is offering a variety of iPod nanos in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities at discounted rates. The company's 2GB iPod nanos are available in silver for $79, storing up to 500 songs and offering up to 24 hours of music playback on one battery charge. Reconditioned 4GB iPod nanos are priced at $99, hold up to 1,000 songs, and are available in silver as well as blue and pink. Apple's 8GB iPod nanos, avialable in black for $149, holds up to 2,000 songs while offering the same battery life ad the company's 2GB and 4GB models. Apple's latest iPod shuffles are also available with 1GB of storage capacity in silver, pink, blue, green, and orange for $49 each.
new marware sportsuits
Computing accessory manufacturer Marware today announced two new additions to its Sportsuit Convertible line, offering cases for the iPhone and iPod touch. Priced at $35, the Sportsuit features soft foam padding as a base material, with clear vinyl covering the screen, and a removable neoprene armband. The cases use Marware's patented Multidapt clip system, so it can be used with any of the company's accessories that use the Multidapt connector, such as adaptors for semi-permenant installation on a car or bike.
iStopMotion 2.1 ($50-$500) Stop motion animation tool. Features in Leopard will enable users to capture frames from multiple video sources simultaneously, connect HD cameras using Firewire, manipulate frames as they are captured, for example to adjust the color and create more interesting movies with Quartz Compositions as background and foreground for the animation. [Download - 17.6MB]
iSale 4.3.1 ($290) eBay auctioning solution for the Mac. Includes tools for creating, tracking and managing your auctions. The new release includes Leopard compatibility enhancements. It also provides better process handling for greater stability, display fixes and better interface consistency. [Download - form]
BBEdit 8.7.1 ($125) professional strength text editor. This update is a maintenance release that fixes reported issues and adds several minor features and other refinements to this award-winning HTML and text editor. The BBEdit 8.7.1 update is available free of charge to all registered BBEdit 8.5 (and higher) customers from the Bare Bones Software web site. [Download - 15.2MB]
LiveQuartz 1.7 (donationware) aimed at all people that need a powerful basic image editor to easy manipulate layers, transparency and non destructive filters. This update adds a new tool for MacOS 10.5 (Leopard) named "Background Eraser" that works by just clicking and dragging to remove backgrounds. [Download - 3.1MB]
Events 4.5v1 ($130) script-triggering plug-in for FileMaker Pro. Schedule any script to be triggered or any email to be sent at any time, on record view, on record creation, on record deletion, on field entry, on field exit and anywhere FileMaker's calculation engine is at play. Back by popular demand is a new-and-improved Events Manager. The new Events Manager makes it even easier to add, delete and view events. Plus, this Events 4.5v1 tool is completely unlocked, so you can customize it and integrate it into your own solutions. [Download - form]
Apple exec nets $113m
The senior vice president of retail operations at Apple exercised 700,000 options at $23.72 each on Friday, October 26th -- the same day the Cupertino-based company shipped Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard -- and sold those shares on the same day for between $185-$185.21 each. Apple's retail chief Ron Johnson earned roughly $113 million before taxes on the stock sales, of which more than 606,000 shares were sold at $185 each with the remaining shares selling for between $185.01 and $185.21. Johnson acquired the shares under Apple's 1997 Employee Stock Option Plan, according to AppleInsider.
XtremeMac SportWrap Pink
XtremeMac today introduced SportWrap Pink to support the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation alongside new versions of its SportWrap armband for Apple's iPod touch, iPod classic, third-generation iPod nano, and iPhone. The SportWrap's new design features a neoprene body and an adjustable strap trimmed with a soft elastic material that allows the armband to mold to the shape of most arm sizes. The face of the iPod or iPhone is covered by a clear flexible plastic that provides full access to all controls, while the back is guarded from moisture via neoprene. The new SportWrap designs are available for pre-order at $30 each.
Google phone details
Yet more details are emerging on Google's still-rumored phone project, a new report claims. Anonymous sources appear to confirm concepts such as the creation of a Google-developed operating system based on Linux, and talks with companies such LG and HTC for producing Google-based handsets. Also suggested though is that Samsung and Motorola are interested in the project, and that an announcement is coming as soon as November 13th or 18th, to be made by T-Mobile USA and Bharti Airtel. The latter is one of the biggest cellular companies in India.
Low-cost V7 GPS units
Ingram Micro's V7 branch has released two new GPS units, the NAV740 and NAV730. The units are hand-portable, and feature SiRFstar III receivers coupled with 400MHz processors. SD cards bundled with the units feature maps of all 50 US states, and can also be used to play a wide variety of audio and video formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG, AVI and MPEG-4 files. The primary differences between the 740 and 730 are 4.3- and 3.5-inch touchscreens, and the presence of 11 million points of interest on the 740. The units also come with 2GB and 1GB SD cards, respectively. The 730 costs $199, while the 740 is selling for $299.
Apricorn DVR Xpander 1TB
Apricorn today brought out a one-terabyte version of the DVR Xpander, providing an option for users frustrated by limited space on their carrier-supplied DVRs. The device provides any Scientific Atlanta 8300 recorder, such as those used by Comcast and Rogers, with as much as 125 hours of extra recording time for HD video on supporting devices or 562 hours of standard-definition video. The use of an external SATA connector streamlines the setup and requires only that users attach the drive and let the DVR format space, Apricorn says. The connection format also ensures transfer speeds as quick as for the DVR's internal drive, and allows simultaneous recording and playback.
ASUS Eee on sale in US
ASUS' highly-anticipated Eee PC is already on sale in the US, it has been confirmed. Online vendor Newegg has posted a single model for sale, a day before the anticipated release date of November 1st. The machine is a standard 4G model, and features 4GB of flash memory, 512MB of RAM, a 900MHz Celeron processor and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Three USB 2.0 ports are present, and the seven-inch screen supports a native 800x480 resolution. Price is set at $400.
OS X Server on VM
Apple has apparently changed its tune on the ability to run Mac OS X Server inside a Virtual Machine (such as VMWare's Fusion or Parallels Desktop). Though the company's license wording previously disallowed running multiple copies of Mac OS X Server on a single Mac, the new software license agreement included with Leopard reads "This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Mac OS X Server software (the "Mac OS X Server Software") on a single Apple-labeled computer. You may also install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer, provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software." According to TidBits, the license change could herald new offerings from Parallels and VMWare that allow Mac OS X to run inside a virtual environment on top of itself.
Verizon Talks to Google
Sprint and Verizon are also in talks with Google to use the latter's upcoming mobile platform, according to purported sources speaking to Reuters. The discussions are said to include bringing Google's mobile apps to Sprint phones as well as incorporating Google technology and ad-sponsored services into Verizon's cellphones. Verizon chief operating officer Denny Strigl declined comment other than to say that his company routinely discussed deals with other companies, which included Google.
New trojan targets Macs
A new trojan horse designed specifically for Mac OS X systems has been discovered on several pornography websites that can hijack Web traffic, according to security firm Intego. Affected systems are used to hijack some Web requests that lead users to other phishing sites, or simply display ads for other pornographic websites to generate ad revenue. Phishing attacks may lead users to believe they are surfing to eBay, Paypal, or various banks when in fact they are accessing specially-crafted mockups designed to retrieve usernames and passwords for those sites. The trojan, titled OSX.RSPlug.A, is rated as a critical risk by Intego, and is known to affect Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger as well as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Intego is testing prior versions of Mac OS X, but believes them to be vulnerable as well.
LG UP3 Shining Stone
LG grew its Shining jukebox lineup slightly today with the UP3, nicknamed the Shining Stone for its bright color. The player bucks the trend of larger flash players by including a USB connector in the device itself rather than requiring a proprietary cable; the device also uses an OLED screen rather than an LCD to save battery life, though the company has yet to rate battery life. LG makes it a point to support a wider range of audio formats including FM radio and OGG.
Dell Energy Star 4.0 PC
Dell says that it has begun selling its first Energy Star 4.0-compliant consumer computer, a new version of the Inspiron 531. The desktop is said to have an "80 percent efficient" power supply, and will by default switch to a sleep state after 15 minutes of inactivity, though this can be changed as necessary. There is also a "paperless" manual, though Dell has not confirmed what format it does come in. The company further claims that by using PCs like the 531 for four years, in tandem with a flat-panel monitor, owners can cut down on carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving a car for eight weeks.
FCC opens cable exclusives
Following through on earlier indications, the FCC has voted to approve a ban on exclusive cable company deals with apartment buildings. While possibly forcing prices lower in initial bidding, such contracts can bar tenants from choosing cheaper or superior services later on, and have been present during the rise of cable fees at three times the rate of inflation. The Associated Press reports that some 25 million Americans may be affected by the ban. Cable companies have previously protested anti-exclusivity measures, arguing that they are illegal and tend to provide a better deal for subscribers.
Toshiba Vardia HD DVD
Toshiba this morning stepped up the video format wars by releasing the Vardia RD-A301, the company's first digital video recorder which can record to HD DVD discs. The device includes dual digital tuners that will capture live, unprotected HDTV in its native MPEG-2 format and convert it to H.264 for use on HD DVD-R discs that can be played in most HD DVD players. The use of the format also lets Toshiba enable burning HD movies to regular DVDs for the first time: a new HD Rec feature fits two hours of video on to a single-layer DVD with a full 1080 resolution and 5.1-channel surround sound, the company boasts. A 300GB hard drive fits up to 159 hours of video where only 39 hours would have been possible on earlier hardware.
ConceptDraw Mindmap 5.2
CS Odessa today released ConceptDraw Mindmap 5.2, a revision of its mind mapping business productivity software that is compatible with Apple's new Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system. ConceptDraw Mindmap 5.2 also adds Quick Look support, integration with iCal, and a renewed user interface that supports Leopard's rich visual appearance. The application is designed as a simple tool that supports mind mapping and brainstorming techniques, as well as numerous other personal productivity methodologies. Support for Quick Look -- Apple's new technology in Leopard that offers advanced previewing capabilities -- enables users to preview maps in the Finder without opening them in the actual application. ConceptDraw Mindmap 5.2 is priced at $200 for the pro edition or $120 for the personal version, with free upgrades available to all registered users of ConceptDraw Mindmap 5.x.
Missing Sync & Leopard
Mark/Space has announced information on a pair of updates for its Missing Sync programs, which allow Mac users to synchronize data such as contacts and calendar information with phones not normally supported by iSync. Currently available is the minor v1.0.2 update to The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, which adds support for unspecified new phones, while also alleviating connection problems reported by some users. Some preliminary fixes for Mac OS X Leopard have been implemented as well, namely the prevention of accidental Time Machine backup of Missing Sync's internal files.
Nokia Music Store Open
Nokia today announced the imminent launch of its first Nokia Music Store, which is now set to launch on November 1st in the UK. First revealed in August, the service will let users download from a catalog of "millions" of songs, either directly to phones such as the N81 or N95 8GB or else to a PC, which can sideload the tracks to a larger number of supporting handsets. Prices will match stores like iTunes in the country with songs costing 80p each and albums from £8, Nokia claims. Whether on a phone or a PC, users will be able to earmark songs to buy later or get personal recommendations.
WeBot Mac, Linux support
WeBot today announced that its recently-launched service for bringing multimedia content to any computer or compatible device -- like Apple's iPhone -- is now compatible with Mac and Linux systems. WeBot enables users to play music located on a home computer at work using a Web browser, and provides instant access to media across all machines and servers as soon as it's downloaded. Users can share pictures stored on several computers regardless of their locations, and WeBot negates the need to manually upload or synchronize files. The service is currently available as for testing purposes, requiring users to create an account and sign in prior to usage.
Saitek Cyborg Mouse Leak
Saitek is readying its own reply to the latest gaming mice from Logitech and Microsoft, according to a quiet release on the company's own website. The Cyborg Mouse would earn its name through an exceptionally sharp, 3,200DPI laser sensor and an adjustable shell. Gamers will be able to slide the front section forwards and backwards to improve the fit, or remove weights from the base for quicker movement. The four-way scroll wheel will also have an adjustable speed setting where other gaming mice only adjust the main tracking speed, Saitek notes.
Akvis Sketch 6.0
Akvis has released Akvis Sketch 6.0, an update to its application for converting photos into pencil sketches or watercolor drawings. The latest revision of the software enables users to add a canvas or any other textured surface to a picture, and works as a standalone application or a plug-in for various photo editing applications. The canvas feature adds a textured surface to a picture to imitate a drawing on a canvas, corrugated paper, brick wall, or other surfaces. Akvis Sketch 6.0 also brings compatibility with Photoshop Elements 6.0 as well as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Akvis Sketch is priced at $75 for home users, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Upgrades are available for free to existing users.
Wozniak on Mac OS, iPhone
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak differs in several respects with the company's current direction, according to a new interview. He notes that while he is still getting Mac OS X Leopard, despite knowing little about it, he does not like the direction the Mac OS has taken. "Early on with the first Apples," says Wozniak, "we had these dreams that the computer would let you know what you wanted to do. The idea was that little icons or words would suggest what you wanted to do, but now I have to find my way around to odd little icons that aren't positioned in the prominent places. When conducting a common task, I have to go searching around in folders or the bottom of the screen.
Samsung 2220WM and More
Samsung today unveiled three SyncMaster computer displays designed for home users and workers alike who want built-in sound to save space. The 22-inch 2220WM, 19-inch 920WM, and the standard-ratio 920BM all include chin-mounted stereo speakers that can substitute for a basic desktop speaker set. All three also bring into play Samsung's more recent MagicBright2 dynamic image quality adjustment and a typical 5ms pixel response time that curbs ghosting artifacts during video playback.
Leopard security analysis
In spite of Apple's efforts, Mac OS X Leopard is not fundamentally better for security than Tiger, several security experts suggest. Thomas Ptacek of Matasano Security writes that Leopard's new security features, though an improvement, still leave unnecessary gaps open. Library Randomization is meant to solve problems such as buffer overflow attacks, by preventing hackers from knowing where to place a code in memory; the equivalent of this in Windows Vista is Address Space Load Randomization. Ptacek complains, however, that Apple has not randomized as many OS components as it should have, and specifically the Dynamic Link Library.
WD Scorpio 320GB Drive
Western Digital on Wednesday began selling the Scorpio 320GB, the company's largest-ever portable hard drive. At 9.5mm (0.37 inches) tall, the drive is slim enough to fit into thinner notebooks but spins at 5,400RPM, outperforming previous drives that had to throttle back to 4,200RPM to reach their storage levels. The disk also includes shock protection to guard storage in the event of a drop and is purportedly one of the quietest drives at its size and speed levels thanks to intelligent data seeking patterns.
Panasonic late yesterday uncovered the DMP-BD30, a Blu-Ray movie player that adds what the company claims are several world firsts to HD video playback. The device is the first to ship with support for Blu-Ray's Final Standard Profile and will support enhanced features on upcoming discs, including picture-in-picture commentary and blending audio between the two sources. The BD30 is equally unique in carrying an SD card slot that will display AVCHD video and JPEG photos, allowing viewers to sample their shots at up to 1080p without first uploading them to a computer.
Google late yesterday introduced OpenSocial (link to be active soon), a new platform for social networking sites. Instead of creating its own site or revamping its existing Orkut friends service, the company has established a common foundation for developing web applications for social sites. Programmers will write once and generate a program that works on multiple pages; each will have access to a user's profile information as well as friends and news feeds or other actions, Google said.
Leopard review part one
(Updated link) We start our full review of Mac OS X Leopard by examining the first aspects that any new user will see on first boot: the controversial, new-look desktop and the revamped Finder. Whether Apple's first major change to the front-end of the OS in six years will appeal may depend on your own personal tastes; the Finder, however, is a strong improvement and may be enough for some users to make the upgrade all by itself. Click ahead for the first part of our review.
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