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Varasoft updates apps
Vara Software today announced updates for two of its applications, Videocue 2.7, software that acts as a teleprompter for individuals doing a video podcast, and webcast manager Wirecast 3.0.4. The updates ensure Leopard compatibility, and have resolved some outstanding bugs, as well as some new feature introductions. Both applications are available from Varasoft's webstore, with Videocue selling for $40, and Wirecast at $450.
LaCie and PVConnect
LaCie has announced that it is including PVConnect Media Server with its Ethernet Disk mini lineup of hard drives, enabling users to stream multimedia content from the drives to a DLNA-certified device, and ensuring compatibility with the new 1.5 DLNA standard. PVConnect is developed by Packet Video, and has just recently met the requirements set out by the Digital Living Network Alliance. The software allows users to just simply connect the drive to a network, and the drive will share content with certified devices, as well as select non-certified devices, such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. The drives start at $180.
Possible new MSN client
A Microsoft employee yesterday unveiled plans for a messenger client for Mac OS X during a presentation at the Georgia Institute of Technology's IEEE Student Branch, according to one blogger. Microsoft will reportedly be killing off MSN Messenger for the Mac, and will replace it with a new as-of-yet unnamed client. This may not come as much of a surprise, since the Mac version of the instant message client has not seen any significant updates in recent months, and is missing many features from the Windows-based client - such as webcam functionality. [updated]
iSCSI NAS Mac storage
DNF Storage today joined Bell Microproducts to launch StorMacX iSCSI and NAS storage systems for Apple enterprise customers. The new storage systems are expected to sell through more than 1,300 independent Apple-authorized resellers across the U.S. in two forms: the StorMacXXi100 unified network attached storage (NAS) and StorMacX i4000S/i4000D. The StorMacXXi100 iSCSI system supports up to 30TB of storage as well as three Xserve RAID devices, while the StorMacX i4000S/i4000D supports up to 100TB of storage and 10 Xserve RAID devices. DNF's StorMacX systems are available from $22,000 for a 10TB configuration.
SF Animation Festival
Briefly: San Francisco International Animation Festival hosts event at an Apple store, FileMaker Masters Colliquium to run seminar in Newport Beach, Freeverse updates Sound Studio to v3.5.5; bringing Leopard compatability to the app, Motorola updates Timbuktu Pro to v8.7 ... The San Francisco International Animation Festival will be hosting a free event for animators at the Apple store at 1 Stockton Street in San Francisco, outlining various new animation techniques, the state of animation in the online environment, and new methods of production, distribution, and exhibition. Panelists include Phil Robinson (animator, W!LDBRAIN), Tiffany Shlain (founder, Webby Awards), Tom Sicurella (digital content lab mentor, American Film Institute) and Mark Sikes and Spencer Riviera (art director and writer, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners). The event begins at 2 PM PST.
Peachpit Leopard books Peachpit has launched a number of new book titles concerning Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Among them: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide, reference to the essentials of Mac OS X Leopard, including new and revamped applications; Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Peachpit Learning Series, training book for getting started with Leopard and capitalizing on all the new features; The Little Mac Book, Leopard Edition, adopts a back-to-basics approach to introduce users to Leopard.
Penguins Arena extension
Frogames has released the first extension for Penguins Arena - Sedna's World, a shooter game challenging players to drive other Penguin tribes into the sea. The extension brings two new features which include penguin customization and a new "Duels" game mode. Penguin customization allows players to add two graphical elements to a penguin, while the new Duels game mode removes all teammates and leaves one player on each team with three lives. The update is free for registered users, and new licenses of Penguins Arena - Sedna's World are priced at $20. The game requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Pirate Bay download format
Swedish website The Pirate Bay, which plays host to BitTorrent trackers offering thousands of illegal programs and media files, says that it has started developing a new download format which could keep the flow of pirated material going. Co-founder Peter Sunde tells Reuters that his concern is that as BitTorrent continues to accrue "legitimate" uses, such as video streaming and sales services, the format's creators may be tempted to enable DRM measures that slow piracy. "If they go and do something stupid, it will affect a lot of people," says Sunde.
Toon Boom on Leopard
Toon Boom Animation today announced that its Storyboard Pro, Digital Pro, and consumer version of Storyboard software all work with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The Toon Boom team says it is also currently working on making the Harmony network solution as well the consumer software Studio compatible with Leopard in the near future. Toon Boom Storyboard Pro is priced at $900, while the company's Toon Boom Digital Pro and Storyboard applications are available for $3,000 and $400, respectively. Toon Boom Studio requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later, while both Toon Boom Storyboard and Toon Boom Digital Pro require Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Sony Ericsson EDGE/HSDPA
Cellphone maker Sony Ericsson has announced a new USB notebook modem, the MD300 (not pictured). The highlight its its tri-band UMTS/HSDPA support, which supports download speeds up to 3.6Mbps. As a fallback, the modem can also operate on quad-band EDGE or GPRS networks. Both Macs and PCs are supported, but the latter can take advantage of the 300's 128MB of memory, which includes software and drivers that automatically configure themselves when the modem is connected; Windows 2000, XP or Vista is required. The 300 should be available in black and metallic silver come Q1 2008.
S-E K660 W380 and W890
Sony-Ericsson today confirmed speculation by releasing three media-heavy new phones. The releases are headlined by the W890i, the company's successor to the popular W880; the extra-thin (0.39-inch) bar phone upgrades the camera to 3.2 megapixels and is the first W800 model to natively support HSPA access for 3G-grade downloads on European networks. It also comes with a 2GB Memory Stick Micro card out of the box -- the most external storage included for a Sony-Ericsson phone, the company says -- and an improved keypad layout. It should be available in early 2008 and should include a North American release given the addition of quad-band GSM for calling and EDGE data in the region.
Pearl 8130 at Verizon
Arriving somewhat later than expected, the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 will finally come to Verizon on November 8th, the carrier says. The phone primarily features RIM's standard e-mail service and SureType keypad, but also includes a two-megapixel camera with flash, as well as built-in GPS navigation (here tied to Verizon's VZ Navigator service). Operating on 1x EVDO, owners can turn a Pearl into a modem via BroadbandAccess Connect.
Despite their modest numerical gains in clock speed, new MacBooks based on the Santa Rosa chipset are significantly faster than their predecessors according to tests conducted by Primate Labs. Memory performance is up almost 15 percent and stream performance -- heavily memory reliant -- is up nearly 25 percent. Overall performance is up about 10 percent. The 13-inch systems are now based on the Intel Santa Rosa platform used by the recent MacBook Pro and run on a faster 800MHz system bus in addition to using faster GMA X3100 integrated graphics, which add improved hardware 3D acceleration compared to the GMA 950 used in previous models. The improved bus speed has led to a slight increase in processor speed from 2.16GHz to 2.2GHz for the mid-range $1,299 and high-end $1,499 models.
HTC Touch at Rogers
Canadian cell provider Rogers today became the first provider in North America to carry the GSM version of the HTC Touch, bringing the frequent iPhone rival in a version that can also roam on European networks. The handset is almost entirely driven by its 2.8-inch touchscreen and still includes HTC's custom TouchFLO interface to use some of the phone's more advanced media and Internet features with fingers rather than the supplied stylus. Unlike the CDMA version, Rogers' Touch model opts for EDGE instead of 3G but includes Wi-Fi for far quicker access at hotspots.
Sony-Ericsson P5i Leak
Sony-Ericsson is readying a high-end successor to its high-end P1i and P990 smartphones that will be announced within days, say insiders at Esato who claim to have seen the device. The P5i slider should be considerably more portable than the P990 but maintain a 2.8-inch touchscreen and a much wider range of connections. HSUPA Internet access would provide it with fast uploads as well as downloads; Wi-Fi would also be part of the package and provide an even faster link on local networks. The rear camera will be one of Sony-Ericsson's most powerful with a 5-megapixel sensor, autofocus, and flash, the sources claim.
Xda Orbit 2 at O2
O2 Germany today released the Xda Orbit 2, one of its most advanced smartphones yet. Better known as the HTC Polaris, the device boasts the same finger-oriented TouchFLO interface as the HTC Touch but includes both built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, allowing it to plot directions and connect to the Internet without using cellular service; it also brings tri-band HSDPA that connects to 3G networks both in O2's European home and North America. Users on these high-speed networks can either upload photos taken from the 3-megapixel rear camera or participate in video calls with a front camera, O2 says.
Nokia touchscreen feedback
After 10 years in development, Nokia has at last developed a true feedback technology for touchscreens, a senior program manager at the company has revealed. Dubbed "Haptikos," it currently replicates the feeling of typing on a real keyboard through a combination through sound effects, an extra sensor layer, and a slight give in the touchscreen itself. A demonstration N770 for instance uses two piezoelectric sensor pads found underneath the screen, which has a 0.004-inch give to allow users to press down. As users type, speakers emit both the "in" and "out" sounds of keys in motion.
Quake Wars for Mac alpha
ID Software's Enemy Territory: Quake Wars for Mac has entered the alpha stage, according to one report. The 3D first-person shooter features multiple player classes similar to Valve's recently released Team Fortress title, as players battle with a game style similar to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and use vehicles as well as aircraft to dispatch enemies. Players will also experience indoor encounters alongside strategic squad-based operations, according to AppleInsider. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars for Mac is slated for shipment in early December, and Amazon.com is already offering pre-orders for $50 (system requirements were unavailable).
Motorola H12 headset
Motorola today announced a new Bluetooth 2.0 headset, the H12. The headset is the first from Motorola to use CrystalTalk technology, previously limited to the company's cellphones; in its headset incarnation, the technology relies on twin microphones to separate voice from wind and other background noise. To improve comfort, the H12 comes with an ear hook and three different cushion sizes.
Talk-time is rated at 5.5 hours, with a battery standby capacity of just over eight days. Accessories include a shirt clip, desktop charger and charger case. While Motorola has not cited any specific sales plans, AT&T has stated that it should already have the H12 available, at a cost of $100 after a mail-in rebate.
Lenovo ThinkStation x10
Lenovo today broke two previous barriers by introducing both its first genuinely new Think-branded systems since taking over IBM's name in 2005 and launching the first computers ever to use Intel's Penryn processor technology. The ThinkStation D10 and S10 both use the 45-nanometer architecture to pack quad-core CPUs without the typical energy draw and heat associated with the extra performance. Both also share a uniquely quiet design that relies on passive venting to help cool the system without high fan speeds.
H20 ships H3 earbuds
Sports specialist H20 Audio has begun shipping its latest product, the H3 waterproof earbuds. Though the company has not said to what depths the H3s can be taken, they come bundled with "aquatic silencer" earplugs, which form a watertight seal while aiding comfort and reducing outside noise. Also included is a detachable sport band, and a "reactive" coiled cable that should not tangle or pull while in motion. Compared to previous H20 headphones, the H3s are said to produce 10dB more output, with better bass response, and clearer sound when used outside of water. The earbuds are available now for $50 from shops including Apple Stores.
LifeAgent Leopard update
Memeo has released an update for LifeAgent, its Mac backup software. The program promises to detect and mark various important documents for protection, without having to first connect any destination drives. Once a drive is connected, LifeAgent can then copy over any updates, with the option of preserving multiple versions of the same file. The software is now compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, and claimed to be a superior alternative to Time Machine, with more options and a simpler interface.
Genius G-Pen 560 and 350
Genius today shipped out a pair of computer tablets it says are inexpensive enough to be truly accessible but share many of the features of higher-end tablets. The G-Pen 560 includes a 4.5 by 6-inch surface that offers breathing room for sketches as well as writing and presentations; it also boasts a pair of programmable hotkeys to assign to specific drawing styles, operating system commands, and other shortcuts. The device includes presentation and notetaking software as well as a pen that recognizes 1,024 sensitivity levels. It should support any Mac or Windows PC with a USB port and ships from several Mac- and Windows-oriented online retailers today for $69.
iPhone email, lookup app
Visto today released Visto Mobile for iPhone, a mobile application that enables iPhone users to securely access corporate email from Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes directly on the handset without downloading additional software or changing security policies. Visto today also unveiled new functionality for directory lookup using the iPhone's Safari Web browser, enabling users to search for any contact to take any number of actions -- like placing a call, sending an email or retrieving driving directions -- by selecting the contact's phone information. Visto Mobile for iPhone is priced from $10 per device per month.
Symbian Summer 2007 Sales
Over 20.4 million phones running one form or another of Symbian's self-titled mobile OS were sold during the past quarter, the company said today as part of its latest financial report. The number represents a jump of 56 percent more phones compared to a year ago and is joined by an increase in revenue of 30 percent to $52.4 million, suggesting a decrease in the overall price of phones. The statistic includes phones from Nokia, who owns a 47.9 percent stake in Symbian, as well as the Symbian variant UIQ found primarily on Sony-Ericsson devices but also increasingly used by Motorola for some of its devices. This proves that Symbian is the "preferred" OS for smartphones and similar handsets, according to company head Nigel Clifford.
Avenir becomes StoryMill
Writing software specialist Mariner has announced that its defunct novel creation program, Avenir, will return to the company's product lineup under a new name and version, as StoryMill 3.0. The program combines a word processor, a database and a timeline feature, allowing authors to keep track of all the information needed to properly structure and write a novel. It will for instance tag, track and filter a variety of characters, scenes and locations, ensuring that details are consistent and non-contradictory. For novice writers, the program helps steer through multi-level writing techniques.
Apple video, cable patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published two patents granted to Apple, Using order value for processing a video picture and Connector interface system facilitating communication between a media player and accessories. The former relates to video compression, and specifically describes an encoder with variable-accuracy inter-picture timing. An encoder would normally determine the time difference between two different video images and record this, but under a preferred scheme, only a "nearby" image would be captured, possibly using arithmetic or variable-length coding. Alternately, the time difference could be encoded with a power of two to reduce bitrate.
SMC WBR14S Wi-Fi Router
Aiming to drive down the prices of typically pricey draft 802.11n wireless hardware, SMC on Tuesday released both a router and an adapter that bring access to a more reasonable level. The Barricade WBR14S provides the same 300Mbps peak speed as other new Wi-Fi routers without the features that drive up the cost: the device uses just the 2.4GHz band for its wireless connections and includes four 100Mbps Ethernet connections instead of the gigabit ports found on some premium routers. The device nonetheless includes a hardware firewall as well as WPA2 wireless protection and a one-button simplified security setup process. The WBR14S should be available today for $60.
Sony PS2 SCPH-90000
Sony today revealed its promised new, slimmer PlayStation 2 that will help phase out the older console and appeal to budget gamers. Known internally as the SCPH-90000, the game system is closer in design to the slim PS2 but uses smaller components to dramatically reduce the weight and the space inside; the whole system weighs less than 1.6 pounds but can fit the AC adapter into the main case rather than use an external brick. This simplifies bringing the new PlayStation to a friend's house and encourages using a vertical stand, Sony says.
Phase for iPod
New to the iTunes Store is Phase (iTunes link), an iPod rhythm game developed under MTV Networks. Closing mimicking the popular "Guitar Hero" console series, Phase lets users pick tracks from their music library, which are then converted into game sequences where players must match button presses and clickwheel motions to on-screen notes. Scrolling backgrounds include alien, urban and underwater settings. Two play modes are available: Quick Spin takes users through a single song, while Marathon strings together multiple songs, with increasingly hard notation.
iMac fix for Tiger users
Apple on Monday released iMac Software Update 1.2.1 (Tiger), which is for 20-inch and 24-inch aluminum iMac computers with 2.0GHz, 2.4GHz, or 2.8GHz processors running Mac OS X Tiger. The update, the company says, improves the performance and reliability of graphics-intensive games and applications and fixes an issue that some customers encountered when installing Mac OS X Leopard after applying iMac Software Update 1.2, which was designed to fix sporadic freezing issues experienced by users first reported by users -- including MacNN's staff -- a few months ago and then acknowledged by Apple last month. The update is 13MB in size and available via the Web or Software Update; it requires Mac OS X 10.4.10.
ASUS on Apple Tablet
Apple is in the middle of developing a tablet computer, according to contacts within ASUS speaking to CNET. The Taiwan firm is reportedly contracted to build the device, which would be a completely new design rather than share roots with any existing ASUS model. No details have been provided as to the nature of the tablet, though all of Apple's touchscreen devices to date have included a mobile-optimized version of Mac OS X as well as a multi-touch display. A release date for the system is also unspecified, though the timing of the news points to a release next year.
Seagate data loss
Seagate SATA hard drives used in the MacBook, MacBook Pro and Mac mini may be subject to a flaw that can result in massive data loss. TechWorld reports that Retrodata has come across a number of failures involving Seagate Technology's LLC 2.5-in. drives. "The read/write heads are detaching from the arm and plowing deep gouges into the magnetic platter," said Retrodata Managing Director Duncan Clarke. "The damage is mostly on the inner tracks, but some scratches are on the outer track -- Track 0 -- and once that happens, the drive is normally beyond repair."
Greenpeace crashes iPhone
Greenpeace is planning a rally during Apple's launch of the iPhone in Europe to protest the use of alleged toxic chemicals in the device, including brominated flame retardants. The environmental group claims that tests conducted by its UK labs reveal the presence of PVCs and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), both potentially dangerous compounds. Of 18 internal and external parts, half of them are said to contain brominated material, including the antenna. The PVC in the headphone cables, meanwhile, contains toxic forms of phthalates, chemicals used to increase the flexibility of plastic.
Darwin v9.0 code released
Continuing a long-standing tradition, Apple has released the newest incarnation of the Darwin source code, version 9 - the backbone to Mac OS X Leopard. Since Apple introduced Mac OS X, the Darwin source code has always followed just a step behind, starting with Darwin 1.0. By offering the source code to developers and the general public, Apple is widely encouraging the growth and increased support of its operating system, by allowing interested parties a look under the hood of Leopard.
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