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Back On My Mac, no .Mac
One Mac user has cleverly figured out a way to deliver Leopard's "Back on my Mac" feature without using Apple's subscription-based .Mac service. Apple's new Leopard operating system introduced a new feature called "Back on My Mac" that allows .Mac subscribers to retrieve files from from their Mac from any remote remote location; however, the feature requires a subscription to Apple's .Mac web service, which provides email, internet disk storeage and other integrated functions to the Mac desktop; it costs $100 per year. All Forces has outlined an alternate method of accessing a remote Mac using Leopard's advanced iChat, thereby circumventing Apple's .Mac requirement.
Mac Messenger v7.0 coming
Despite a report yesterday from an employee, Microsoft today confirmed that Messenger for the Mac is not being discontinued, and that a new version is on the way. Microsoft said that Office 2008 for Mac will include the current v6.x in the box and that the v7.0 update is expected time after the release of Office 2008 in January. The Mac Business Unit – Microsoft's team of Mac developers – said that the new version is currently undergoing private beta testing in a number of corporate environments that use Office Communication Server 2007.
Naked Light Beta Friday
Naked Light, a unique new image editor, offers a simplistic interface as well as advanced features; Naked Light will allow users to take advantage of non-destructive image editing. The application is advertised as re-inventing how image editing works, featuring node-based compositing and live filters, as well as a concept called "Infinite Resolution" – very similar, in essence, to Final Cut Pro's open format timeline. The author of Naked Light is offering a public beta, which starts November 9th. Pricing is not available as of this writing, and the only requirement is Leopard, with ATI and Nvidia chipsets being highly recommended.
5,000 MacBooks for Kansas
The Kansas City School District has launched the largest distribution of laptops in the metro area, according to the Kansas City Star, with 5,000 MacBooks being handed out to high school students for use at school as well as at home. Apple struck a deal with the District earlier this year, leasing all 5,000 devices to help students prepare for college. "It's actually here -- the day we have been waiting for," said Mary Stewart, an instructional coach at Wyandotte High School. "Classrooms in Kansas City, Kansas, high schools will never be the same after today."
EVE Online for Intel Macs
CCP Games and TransGaming Technologies today announced that they have completed work on the Mac OS and Linux versions of CCP's popular massively multiplayer online game, EVE Online. As the MMOG has been ported through the use of TransGaming's Cider, the game will only function on Intel-based Macs. EVE Online requires a subscription, with monthly plans starting at $15 per month, and is currently available for download from the game's website.
Sub-$500 Optimus Maximus
Cheaper versions of the Optimus Maximus LED keyboard will be available, says the Russian design firm Art Lebedev. Starting next week, customers will be able to place pre-orders on models below the $1,000 and $500 price marks, a dramatic improvement on the standard keyboard's cost of $1,564. Some 200 units of the latter went up for pre-order in May; following delays, these should finally ship in December and January, but in white instead of black, and with limited functionality that will expand through firmware updates.
AppSnapp, an iPhone jailbreaking app, has been updated to add some new features and bug fixes. The jailbreak utility will no longer run unless the iPhone's firmware is version 1.1.1, and the developer has improved the reliability by using HTTP instead of raw sockets to deliver the payload files, which the developer says will increase the probability that the jailbreak will only need to be run once. A progress indicator has been added, and the process is now a push-button concept. The developer has added log files so users can see exactly what happened during the update through the use of SSH or IPHUC – the latter of which now has AFC2 service. AppSnapp is a free download through the iPhone, although the developer is taking donations.
Buffalo LinkStation server
Japanese accessory maker Buffalo is launching a new series of network area storage (NAS) drives in its LinkStation series, the LS-WTGL/R1s. While in many respects normal NAS drives, allowing multiple users to access files in a local network, users can also register them through Buffalo's website, which grants users with proper IDs and passwords access to download files via the Internet, though uploading is blocked. Users must otherwise connect to the LinkStations via gigabit Ethernet.
Yugma screen sharing
Yugma recently announced that its web-based screen sharing service is certified to work with all desktop platforms, including Mac OS X and Linux. The software is designed to allow off-site team members to collaborate on a group project, or to provide users with the capability to display desktop contents to many users at once – for a meeting or web-based seminar, for instance – across the internet. Yugma also allows for attendees to contribute to the session using a mouse and keyboard, and it provides whiteboard-type functionality for these users. The basic account is free, but advanced functions and support options are reserved for premium account holders, pricing for which starts at $10 per month. For a complete feature list and video demo of the service, visit Yugma.com.
Google Maps at gas pumps
Drivers will soon be able to access online directions directly from gas pumps, according to the Associated Press. Google has announced that beginning next month, special pumps built by Gilbarco Veeder-Root will include an Internet connection and a small color screen, through which users will be able to locate hotels, hospitals, restaurants and other landmarks via Google Maps. A printer will then allow drivers to receive paper directions. Initially, destinations will be limited to those selected by gas station owners; Veeder-Root says, however, that it hopes to later provide ways of typing in unique addresses.
Disney says: blame Apple
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner this morning said digital media distribution is currently at best a break-even business, and that Apple gobbles up most of what little money is made, according to a report from News.com. "[The studios] make deals with Steve Jobs, who takes them to the cleaners," Disney's chief explained. "They make all these kinds of things, and who's making money? Apple! They should get a piece of Apple. If I was a union, I'd be striking up wherever he is," Eisner remarked, presumably referring to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
PS3 Version 2 Update
Sony today provided details for the upcoming 2.0 upgrade to the PlayStation 3, which the company says should provide some important new features to the game system. The free upgrade will extend the console's Remote Play feature to allow remote activation through the Internet; users no longer have to leave their PS3s switched on to access music and videos from a PSP in another location. The patch is also the first to allow distinct themes for the main interface. In addition to changing the backdrop, users can alter the color or brightness of the menu items and drop in completely different icon sets. Some themes will be available initially with others to go live in the future, Sony notes.
Hitachi CinemaStar 500GB
Hitachi today slipped out a pair of hard drives destined to ship for DVRs and other media-centric devices. The 3.5-inch wide CinemaStar P7500K is one of the most capacious at 500GB and has enough room for as many as 178 full-length movies but runs safely in the tight space of a media hub: the disk consumes about a third less power than earlier models which themselves are better than typical desktop drives, Hitachi claims
OLPC XO Starts Production
The One Laptop Per Child project has announced that its XO notebook is now in volume production, ending years of development and testing. The small, developing-world system is being assembled by Quanta in a plant near Shanghai and will see its first production runs heading to students in Mongolia, Uruguay, and other early bidders; individual North Americans participating in the Give 1 Get 1 program will also get their notebooks when they ship in December, the company says. US residents recently received a bonus in the form of free T-Mobile Wi-Fi access.
More Nokia N82 details
Although an official announcement has missed a predicted November 2nd date, one website appears to have confirmed the existence of the Nokia N82 through a brief hands-on experience. The phone is indeed a candybar phone, unlike its N81 sibling, and is centered around a five-megapixel camera with autofocus, xenon flash and a Carl Zeiss lens, complete with a cover. Connection options should also be plentiful, including Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and an unspecified form of 3G broadband.
Sidekick Slide Ships
T-Mobile today rolled out its promised Sidekick Slide messaging phone. True to the original announcement, the Danger/Motorola collaboration is the smallest Sidekick to date and is the only model to slide open rather than swivel. It still maintains the features of the Sidekick 3 and larger models with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and music playback from microSD cards using AAC, MP3, or WMA formats.
Qwest on "obsolete" Macs
One Mac owner who recently signed up for Qwest wireless experienced various technical difficulties getting online, and after numerous technical support phone calls was told by a Qwest employee that "Qwest should not have to train its employees in a practically obsolete system," according to The Consumerist. More than nine phone calls to Qwest resulted in several instances of blaming the customer's MacBook, not Qwest, for the troubles she experienced receiving internet service.
Iconfactory has released Twitterrific 3.0, an update to its software front-end for Obvious' Twitter.com. The update adds a number of different features, as well as improving upon older ones. The application no longer suffers from rendering issues in Leopard, but the company has stated that there is a potential hanging issue when a user changed which account they are logged in with. The application is available for $15 from Twitterrific's product page, and requires a Twitter account to function.
PreMaster CD 2.02 update
Sonic Studio has released a new version to its low-cost audio premastering application, PreMaster CD 2.0.2, which advertises increased performance and stability. While the company says that PreMaster is not yet Universal, this update will be providing the framework for the upcoming v3.0 release, which will be a Universal Binary. The update is free for all existing Premaster CD v2.x customers, and the cost for a new license is $500, available as a direct download from Sonic Studio's online store.
Apple's legal woes are being compounded by a newly-launched class-action lawsuit, court documents reveal. A 19-page filing was originally submitted to a Florida court in August, but the case is just now seeing the light of day after having been moved to the US District Court for the Southern District of California. The venue change was requested by Apple, which argued that similar cases have been pending in the California court for more than two years. The latest incarnation was brought about by Floridian Frederick Black, who alleges that he and other state residents have been made victims of Apple's music DRM protections, according to AppleInsider.
Sharp Internet AQUOS 120V
Sharp this morning upgraded its Internet AQUOS line of media center desktops with a trio of new models designed to match the company's HDTVs. The AX120V tops the range and is meant to capture digital video as well as relay it at full quality, Sharp notes. It includes a digital TV tuner and a 500GB disk dedicated to video recording in addition to a separate 250GB disk for normal computer use. HDMI output guarantees video will display at maximum resolution on a companion TV. Performance is enough to both decode and encode video with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB of memory in this fastest model.
Sandvox works with Leopard
Karelia Software has released Sandvox 1.2.4, the latest revision of its website creation software for Mac OS X that offers Leopard compatibility. Released on the heels of Leopard, the latest release of Sandvox improves site design elements and includes bug fixes as well as other optimizations. The update improves compatibility with iPhoto as well as other iLife applications, and offers up-to-date documentation via the Help feature. Sandvox 1.2.4 is priced at $50 for the regular edition and $80 for the pro version, both of which require Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
Intel Entry Storage System
Marking one of the few instances where the company has released its own fully packaged system, Intel today introduced the Entry Storage System SS4200. The miniature computer is built to offer network-attached storage in homes or small businesses where having a common pool of data is increasingly important; the typical home may have as much as 1TB of information by 2009, Intel claims. To that end, the ESS is breadbox-sized but includes four Serial ATA drive bays that can each hold as much as 1TB, which is shared across a building through gigabit Ethernet; a Celeron M 420 processor and 512MB of RAM are onboard to manage data and optionally turn the system into a Windows Home Server, though both Macs and Windows PCs can use the device without the specialized Microsoft OS.
Jobs: 2nd in IT influence
Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs is the second-most influential IT personality of the past quarter-century, a new poll suggests. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) says it has conducted a survey on the question using 473 professionals from the IT industry, and among that group, 73 percent incorporated Jobs into their lists. He was surpassed only by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who was picked by 84 percent of respondents. Coming in third was Dell CEO Michael Dell, with 53 percent, while Linux originator Linus Torvalds shared the 47 percent mark with Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Cowon today launched the A3, a long-awaited premium version of the A2 designed with videos as its chief focus. The handheld is based around a 4-inch, 800x480 screen capable of playing DVD-level video at full quality. It can play back common video formats such as H.264, MPEG-4, and Windows Media, while also supporting enthusiast favorites like DivX and XviD. In supporting countries, it also adds a digital TV tuner that picks up over-the-air broadcasts in 1Seg (Japan), DMB (Korea), or DVB-T (Europe). An HD output connects the A3 to an HDTV for viewing at home, complete with Dolby AC3 surround sound.
Google no threat to iPhone
Google's move into the world of cellphone operating systems is unlikely to dislodge the likes of Apple and the iPhone, says Warren East, CEO of mobile processor maker ARM. The executive is generally positive about Google's efforts, and comments that they should "stimulate further growth" in the smartphone world, in no small part because Google is backing its OS with both its reputation and research money. But, he cautions, solidifying a mobile platform can take years, especially when companies such as Symbian have been active for much longer.
Samsung 245T LCD in US
Samsung today announced the US launch of the SyncMaster 245T, the company's latest and most advanced 24-inch computer LCD. The screen is designed equally for average users and professionals who might be sensitive to color accuracy. An enhanced color spectrum gives the panel as much as 97 percent of the NTSC color gamut at one time, improving media for home viewers and media editors alike. Blacks are also reproduced more faithfully with a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,500:1 versus the 1,000:1 of a static-contrast LCD, Samsung says. Average pixel response times of 6ms and active motion compensation help eliminate ghosting artifacts.
4G Internet Testing
The first tests for fourth-generation cellular Internet accesss are proving successful, Nokia and several other cellular electronics firms announced today. Known as Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the service has been demonstrated as meeting its peak speeds both for connections fixed in place and mobile users, such as those traveling by car. An ideal linkup will provide as much as 100 megabits in downloads and 50 megabits in uploads; this would outperform even WiMAX by a factor of ten or more in real-world conditions, according to the claim, and offers speed closer to a high-end cable or fiber optic connection.
iPhone supplier under fire
The primary supplier of touchscreens for the iPhone is being chastized for its poor financial affairs, according to a new report. Balda -- a German company, which builds the screens in China through a joint venture -- sold $50 million in "convertible profit participation rights" to institutional investors on October 31st. These rights came with 8 percent interest, which is being called too expensive for what was received. Moreover, Balda's management has explained very little about why it made its decision. The executives show a "needless lack of transparency," says analyst Tobias Loskamp of BHF-Bank.
Monsoon Hava Titanium HD
Monsoon today updated its growing media hub line with the HAVA Titanium HD. Unlike most such hubs, the network device is consciously designed to be future-proof: two USB ports allow users to upgrade to future networking standards or add a hybrid analog/digital TV tuner without replacing the whole box. An 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter is included with the Titanium but can be replaced in the near future by an 802.11n link for the added range and speed, Monsoon says. The new HAVA also includes an Ethernet jack and uses the series' trademark vBooster to bypass normal router traffic and allow playback of raw MPEG-2 video at 480p widescreen resolution on a local network. Video is pushed using MPEG-4 on the Internet for both PCs and many handhelds.
HP Penryn Xeon Desktops
HP on Wednesday upgraded its xw -series workstations with the company's first machines based on Intel's Penryn architecture. The xw6600 and xw8600 will use the upcoming Xeon 5200 (dual-core) and Xeon 5400 (quad-core) in twin sockets to include as many as eight cores in a single system; the smaller 45-nanometer manufacturing process for the chips improves their performance while also reducing heat and power draw. Professionals can juggle intensive modeling and image editing programs without a significant speed drop, HP says. Both systems also boast dual full-speed PCI Express slots for users who need dual high-end video cards, and room for up to 5TB of hard drive storage. The xw8600 can load as much as 128GB of memory with a 64-bit operating system.
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