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Erase any drive easily
WiebeTech on Monday unveiled a unique hardware solution to erase data from 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch IDE/PATA and SATA hard drives: Drive eRazer is the a stand-alone solution that does not require a computer and is much less expensive and easier to use than other software or hardware solutions, the company claims. Priced at $100 for the standard version, Drive eRazer is faster than software, writing data at a sustained rate of more than 35MB/s: a 250GB drive would be fully erased in under two hours, according to the company. Drive eRazer writes over every part of a drive and using a standard single-pass mode writes a single time across the entire disk, deleting blocks including partitions and Host Protected Areas. It also performs verification and is compliant with the Department of Defense requirements (updated June 28, 2007) for "clearing" a "Non-Removable Rigid Disk."
Adobe CEO steps down
Adobe on Monday said it will replace its long-time chief operating officer Bruce Chizen and said that it expects strong fourth quarter revenue results along with 13 percent growth in fiscal 2008. The company said that its Board of Directors has appointed current president and chief operating officer Shantanu Narayen as its president and chief executive officer, effective December 1, 2007 and that Narayen will also join Adobe's Board of Directors at that time. Narayen replaces Chizen (pictured at right), who will serve the remainder of his term on Adobe's Board of Directors through the Spring of 2008 and continue in a strategic advisory capacity through the end of fiscal year 2008, according to the company.
802.11n for older Macs
MacWireless has launched new faster networking peripherals for older Macs. The new wireless connectivity accessories offer accelerated networking and data transfers using the 802.11n WiFi standard, which Apple uses in its latest Macs and in its current AirPort Extreme basestation. The MacWireless 11n PC Card allows users take complete advantage of the latest wireless networking standards; it is fully compatible with all AirPort products and offers five internal antennas build into the card. It is built for PowerBook G3s and G4s.
iPhone, iPod touch v1.1.2
Apple today officially released the iPhone v1.1.2 and iPod touch v1.1.2 firmware and software updates via its iTunes software. The software, which was found on Apple's own servers last Thursday and shipped with iPhones in the UK and Germany this past weekend, will not appear in the computer's Software Update application, or in the Apple Downloads site, the Cupertino-based company noted. Apple officially acknowledged that the update closed a critical security flaw that affected previous versions and has been exploited to allow users to "jailbreak" the devices to gain access to the file system and install third-party applications. Over the weekend, however, hackers found yet another method to hack the OS software to install third-party applications, offering both a tutorial and software to help users "jailbreak" the devices.
Widemail for Leopard Mail
Advanced Mail.app users using Leopard waiting for the more efficient (and popular) custom-three pane look in Mail.app can now use WideMail 0.1.0. While many users have been waiting for Aaron Harly's Letterbox plugin that provided similar functionality under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, the new plugin provides similar functionality and allows users to more efficiently use the screen to display mail. The interface also allows an interesting dual-line view for each email that displays the subject along with the sender and date in a two-line column. The latest version has been ported to native objective-c, making it both smaller and faster. The plugin is free (donations accepted) and requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (Tiger users should download the original Letterbox, which the author told MacNN -- before this past weekend -- should be updated "real soon now" for Leopard, although the blog has no updated information on the status of the plugin since November 1st).
Migrating info to iPhone
Mobile device content management solution provider FutureDial on Monday announced that it has added the popular Apple iPhone to its portfolio of supported handsets for the company's software products used by carriers and wireless retailers worldwide. Stores, the company claims, can now transfer their customers' personal contacts, pictures, music, and video to the iPhone quickly and easily with a few clicks of the mouse. Supporting over 1,000 mobile phone models worldwide, FutureDial offers handset content transfer and management solutions that are centrally managed over a client-server architecture and operated from a PC interface.
Gluon's InDesign plugins
GLUON today delivered two new plugins for InDesign CS2/CS3 users. The company has released a version of ColorBreaker that works with InDesign, the company's automated color mark-up that was originally released for QuarkXPress nearly 10 years ago. ColorBreaker quickly analyzes a document and places easy-to-read tags on each item or arrows pointing from neatly arranged tags at the side. The "magic arrows" will automatically reconnect to the tag, easily customizing the look, as each tag is moved. The tags contain all the color and font usage information necessary, providing vital information to make sure that documents are set up consistently and correctly.
Disney cellular in Japan
Entertainment monolith Disney will soon launch new cellular products in Japan, the company has announced. Beginning in early 2008, the company will partner with local carrier Softbank, and begin producing unspecified content, as well as new Disney-branded cellphones. Softbank is currently the third-largest network operator in Japan; Reuters writes that it will most likely be the main beneficiary of the deal, since it is a new carrier and fighting giants NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.
Zune 80 Edging iPod
Early reviews of Microsoft's imminent Zune 80 are giving it an overall higher score than Apple's iPod classic, according to their respective sources. Reviews from mainstream sites such as CNET, PC Magazine, PCWorld, and YahooTech all note that the hard disk-based version of the player appears to have addressed most of the complaints about the device, which centered around its size and lack of podcasting support, while continuing to sport features Apple-made players lack. The 3.2-inch screen, FM radio, and access to an unlimited music subscription service all beat the iPod classic, according to the reviews; Wi-Fi sharing and sync are not even available on the iPhone or iPod touch, according to YahooTech.
LANrev 4.6 for Leopard
LANrev today announced a major update to its all-in-one lifecycle management software for heterogenous networks, LANrev 4.6. The update introduces Leopard support, and can now utilize Time Machine from across a network. LanREV is platform independent, able to be run on both Mac OS and Windows, and its only requirement is OS 10.4 or higher (10.3 or up for the client). The update will be available in late November, and pricing is done directly through a LANrev LP representative.
Jabra BT2020 headset
Headset specialist Jabra has launched another Bluetooth device, the BT2020. The set is Bluetooth 2.0-compatible, and consists of a single, monosound earpiece; notably, it wraps around the ear on both sides, and it is reputedly balanced such that its weight is distributed evenly. Owners can of course answer and end calls using the headset, but they can also conduct voice dialing, as well as pair with devices automatically (foregoing selection). Talk-time is rated at eight hours, while standby extends to 360 hours (15 days). The 2020 should be available now, but does not have any pricing published online.
ASUS F8p Christmas Edition
In an unusual move, ASUS today rolled out a special Christmas Edition of its F8 series 14-inch notebook. The unique version, known as the F8p, scraps ASUS' familiar black for an all-white design with silver keys; the palm rests are covered in white leather, the PC maker touts. A matching bag is also included. Inside, the portable is focused on speed with a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard disk with a 1GB Turbo Memory cache, and a 256MB Mobility Radeon HD 2400 capable of driving both HD video and Vista Home Premium's Aero Glass interface.
Moto Q2 Teaser at Sprint
Sprint will be the next to use Motorola's Q9 smartphone but should apply its own twist to the core design, says a new teaser that has appeared on the company's website without an announcement. To be called the Motorola Q2, the phone will be a close cousin of the Q9m at Verizon but should be more faithful to the original design with blue lighting. The rendering shows the Palm OS running on the device, though this is believed to be a mockup; Windows Mobile 6 is expected to come standard as with the Q9's launch on other carriers.
Ultra-portable at Macworld
Apple is preparing to unveil a new ultra-portable notebook at the forthcoming Macworld Expo in January, according to sources cited by AppleInsider. Rumors suggest that the Cupertino-based company is developing a secret new notebook that is exceptionally thin and lightweight, which was first said to contain an optical disk drive but now will forgo the ability to read disks in favor of even less thickness. The subnotebook reportedly utilizes NAND flash memory for storage, which uses less electricity and is lighter than traditional hard drives. Apple's new laptop will also include an LED backlit widescreen display, according to the report.
Gibson Robot Guitar
Famous instrument maker Gibson has announced the impending release of the Robot Guitar, claimed to be the world's first guitar with built-in robotics. Servos located on the headstock tune the strings as desired; while the guitar defaults to A440 tuning, six other presets are included based on hit songs; to switch to one, musicians simply hit a button. The servos handle the rest. The guitar can also be tuned manually through a knob on the body, which pushes in and out and can also twist to change volume.
TomTom HD Traffic
TomTom on Monday combined technologies with the advent of HD Traffic, an improved version of the traffic status service offered for many of its more advanced GPS units. The service borrows from the technology of assisted GPS from cellphones to provide a much more frequent and accurate position update than would be possible through GPS alone. TomTom units with a GSM modem can now track nearby cars and triangulate the position of the driver accordingly. In the right conditions, HD Traffic provides five times more updates than would be possible before, TomTom claims. The service launches first in the company's home country of the Netherlands in the next few days courtesy of Vodafone and will reach other parts of Europe by early 2008. A North American version is likely but unannounced.
Google Android SDK
Google today released its promised software development kit for Android, the company's new Linux-based operating system for cellphones and handheld devices. The utility allows developers to freely write programs that take advantage of all the hardware features of a given device or replace the most basic features; the dialing system and the front end can be replaced if a programmer likes, Google says. The search engine giant also stresses that all its most popular services are built-in and usable with third-party apps without requiring privileged access.
Envision G416 LCD monitor
Display maker Envision has released a new, relatively low-cost LCD monitor with high-end performance, the G416. The 24-inch monitor supports resolutions up to 1900x1200 (above 1080p), and boasts a 5ms response time with 400cd/m2 brightness and 3,000:1 dynamic contrast. It displays in a 16:10 widescreen ratio, and can be VESA mounted to a wall for maximum space. The monitor's main limitation is that it lacks an HDMI port, preventing it from accepting full HD from some AV equipment such as game consoles; users must instead connect through DVI-D, or settle for RGB analog. The G416 is available now through Envision's online store for $400. [pricing updated
iPhones fly off UK shelves
(Updated with O2 sales claims) iPhones flew of store shelves in the UK this past weekend, with one estimate placing as many as 70,000 Apple-branded cellphones in the hands of customers. Apple, its exclusive UK-based carrier O2, and Carphone Warehouse stores extended their hours to accommodate high demand for the touchscreen-driven handsets, according to SundayMirror.co.uk. Upwards of 400,000 iPhones are expected to sell in the UK during the busy holiday shopping season, and Apple expects sales of 10 million devices globally in 2008.
Google Android award, SDK
Google has announced the creation of the Android Developer Challenge, two contests meant to foster the growth of its Android mobile operating system. The company says that while it has already built some applications for Android, it wants more and better ones, for which it will issue prizes ranging between $25,000 and $275,000 out of a total pool of $10 million. Fifty $25,000 prizes will be awarded towards the end of March, with the goal of funding extra development; the winners will then be eligible for the May prizes, consisting of 10 $100,000 and 10 $275,000 payouts.
iLuv docks, headset
Accessory maker iLuv has released three new products for the iPod and iPhone. Leading these is the i166, a stereo dock with clock functions. Users can listen to their iPods or AM/FM radio, and set two separate alarms for different purposes. The dock has two 2.5W (RMS) speakers, but owners can output both video and sound to a TV, or connect a subwoofer for better bass. In either case separate cables are required. Officially supported iPods include all Video and Photo models, all Minis, plus first- and second-generation Nanos. The dock costs $70 and comes in white or black.
Helio All-In and Refurbs
Hoping to jumpstart its still young cell service, Helio today quietly lowered the price of its unlimited All-In cellular plan from $145 to $99. The discount effectively gives the provider one of the first truly unlimited subscriptions available for under $100; users can have unrestricted 3G Internet access, domestic calling, GPS mapping, and messaging with any handset. This plan requires a new two-year subscription and is only available for a limited time, Helio says, though the company does not say when the lowered rate expires.
Alienware Area-51 4GHz
Alienware today introduced what it says is one of the fastest factory-tuned home computers to date. A new version of the Area-51 ALX mid-tower PC uses the power efficiency of Intel's new 45-nanometer Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor combined with the case's more advanced cooling to offer one of the highest default clock speeds of any desktop PCs: the new system jumps from 3GHz to 4GHz without overheating or extreme power demands. t also becomes the first known system to use AMD's Radeon HD 3870 graphics and pairs two of the GPUs together for better 3D performance in CrossFire mode.
Adium adds video chat
The creators of Adium, the popular multi-network messaging app for Macs, say they have finally managed to implement video chat support through the integration of technology by MeBeam. The plug-in relies on Adobe Flash, and like the rest of Adium can communicate cross-platform and with users on any IM network; the receiving chatter must only have a web browser with its own Flash plug-in. The sender must of course have Adium and a webcam. The app's developers note that MeBeam should have fewer problems with firewalls than other video clients, and that up to 15 people can participate in a video exchange. The installer is less than 9kb, and can be launched from within Adium (see link above) or downloaded separately.
Microsoft Buys Musiwave
Microsoft today announced its intent to acquire Musiwave, a French firm primarily focused on mobile music services to cellular carriers and to labels. The deal will allow Microsoft to "explore new areas in the mobile space," according to the company, and to bring Musiwave's business connections and technology to Microsoft's more portable hardware and software services, including Windows Live, the Windows Mobile OS for smartphones, and the Zune media player. Neither company announced the proposed financial terms of the deal, which is still awaiting approval but will see Musiwave remain at its Paris headquarters.
Piper: SSD on Mac laptops
Technology announced by Samsung may herald flash drives arriving on Mac notebooks as soon as January, say analysts at the research firm Piper Jaffray. Flash offers not only the advantage of speed, but of smaller dimesnsions, and lower power consumption. Samsung's new 64GB, 1.8-inch SSD drive may finally represent a capacity large enough for Apple to consider installing in a new MacBook, which may well be announced at the next MacWorld event in January. It is also suggested, however, that Apple could be installing a flash drive into an original product, such as the subnotebook rumored by sources including TheStreet.
Office, GIS for Leopard
OpenOSX has released free updates that bring Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" compatibility to "OpenOSX Office 2.0" and "OpenOSX GrassPro 6.2.1." Addressing potential issues with Apple's "X11" software, the "Grass" update brings "Leopard" compatibility for both the versions of "Grass" included with OpenOSX's "GrassPro" product and OpenOSX's freely available standalone, "Grass" Geographic Information System (GIS) application. "OpenOSX Office 2.0", is a fully configured solution for utilizing the proven, open-source "GNOME Office" software suite, complete with drag and drop functionality for supported file formats with Mac OS X.
OLPC Give 1 Get 1 Live
The One Laptop Per Child project today began its promised Give 1 Get 1 program, offering the XO notebook to North American buyers for the first time. The limited-run sale is meant to help fund the production of the developing-world portable and asks customers to buy two units as part of a $400 pack: one of the systems goes to one of the countries using the XO for education while another becomes the users' own, the OLPC team says. Those simply interested in charity can pay $200 to fund the cost of a system.
iPhone features to expand
There are many more iPhone software upgrades yet to be implemented, Apple is telling the press. While the recent v1.1.2 firmware release implemented support for multiple keyboards and languages, including two with Asian characters, a company spokesman says this represents just a small portion of what is coming. "All the complaints and feature requests we've had can be fixed and added by software upgrades," the spokesman claims. The reason owners haven't seen more features, it is suggested, is quality. "We didn't want to include something for something's sake. For the average mobile phone most people only use around 10% [of features], Apple didn't want that to happen with the iPhone."
VMware Fusion 1.1 ships
VMware on Monday announced VMware Fusion 1.1, a new update to its desktop virtualization software for Intel-based Macs as a well as new utility to automatically convert virtual machines created by third-party applications such as Parallels Desktop. VMware Fusion allows Mac users to simultaneously and seamlessly run Mac OS X, Windows and other PC-based applications on the same Mac. The free update -- immediately available for all VMware Fusion 1.0 customers -- includes over 25 enhancements and improvements, including, support for Mac OS X Leopard, improved 3D graphics with experimental support for DirectX 9.0, improvements to VMware Fusion's Unity feature, and support for Microsoft Vista Boot Camp partitions as virtual machines.
Microsoft intends to improve on the basic formula of customization pioneered by the iPod for the release of the new Zunes, according to an interview with company global marketing chief Chris Stephenson. To be called Zune Originals, the service will offer not just four lines of engraved text (up from the iPod's two) on the aluminum backs of the new models but also any one of 27 different full-size drawings from internationally well-known artists.
HTC Touch Cruise
HTC on Monday took on the launch of the iPhone in Europe with the release of the Touch Cruise, the company's third touchscreen-focused smartphone following the original Touch and the first to offer a significant new design. The device originally known as the Polaris is based around the same combination of Windows Mobile 6, the HTC Home front-end, and the finger-oriented TouchFLO interface but adds a navigation wheel as well as extra shortcut buttons for its special features. One of these is for GPS, HTC says: the Cruise is the first Touch to include full navigation and uses maps supplied by TomTom.
More 'Get A Mac' TV ads
Apple has released three new "Get A Mac" commercials, which began airing around the US during Sunday's NFL football games and then later in Sunday night primetime. The new TV spots include "PR Lady" in which PC hires a PR representative to help spin Vista problems and issues as Mac's new Leopard operating system hits the streets. In "Boxer" PC tries to show the world that he's not going down without a fight as Mac sales are going through the roof and in 'Podium', PC campaigns for Vista behind a podium, as users battle problems and issues the new Vista operating system (and upgrading)--even admitting that he downgraded to XP a few weeks ago.
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