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REALbasic 2007, SnapWeb
REALbasic 2007 Release 5 (subscription plan required) is a free update to the cross-platform development environment. The latest version includes over 100 improvements to the cross platform development environment that the company claims will increase developer productivity and assure a higher level of application reliability; in addition REAL says it has qualified this release to operate with Apple's latest OS X update called Leopard. REALbasic Standard Edition for Windows or Mac is priced at $200. REALbasic for Linux Standard Edition is offered for free. REALbasic Professional Edition, required for cross-platform deployment, is $500. [Download - 103MB]
SnapWeb 4.1 ($18) is a shareware snapshot, archiving and publishing utility for Web content; it creates complete screenshots of web pages even if the users screen isn't large enough to show the whole page at once. The resulting images can be saved in different file formats or copied to the system clipboard. In addition SnapWeb can save web pages as resolved HTML data or it can extract human readable text from web pages. The new version, available as a 30-day trial, is optimized for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger systems (users with Panther should use the earlier version). Updates are $10. [Download - 2.2MB]
iCal Events 2.3 (free) is the a new version of the popular iCal widget for Dashboard. The new version adds Leopard compatibility, a "beautiful" new user interface, and new tooltips that show calendar names and event start/end times. It also fixes numerous bugs, dramatically improves performance for Leopard users, and adds support for Esperanto, Indonesian, Turkish, and Vietnamese. iCal Events displays upcoming events from multiple iCal calendars in a resizable widget, allowing users to see up to two weeks of upcoming events in the same widget without needing to open iCal. [Download - 209KB]
iPod.iTunes 3.7 ($40) updates crispSofties' synchronization software for songs, videos, playlist and meta data -- in both directions between iPods and iTunes libraries. It brings compatibility for Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard". The software can be used to keep files and playlists on different Macs and iPods up to date; perform a full restore of songs, videos and playlists from iPod (e.g. after a hard disk failure or if you buy a new Mac); and revert accident deletion of songs, videos and/or playlists in iTunes as well as cloning and/or backing up an iPod. [Download - 678KB]
Calcline 1.3 ($20) evaluates mathematical expressions with parentheses, nested functions and variables. Designed as a substitute for the calculator, users can easily enter simple or complicated expression to quickly find the result. The software can solve expressions step-by-step to show all the mathematical passages and offers customizable constants or variables (as a result of complex expressions). Version 1.3 is optimized and tested for Leopard and Tiger, now offers calculation services for integration with other programs, and accepts letter π as constant in a calculation. [Download - 184KB]
SanDisk Vaulter Disk
SanDisk today introduced a new solid state storage solution - called the Vaulter Disk - that works in tandem with a computer's hard drive to store and launch the operating system and applications. The module is a PCI Express-based chip that comes in 8GB and 16GB sizes, and is designed to store frequently used applications and documents. While specifications haven't been announced, Sandisk says that the Vaulter increases performance in a PC quite significantly by working in parallel with the hard drive, providing faster access to both frequently used documents as well as unexpected user access. Pricing for the Vaulter Disk was not yet mentioned.
iPod video v1.2.2 update
Apple today released a minor update to its software for the iPod video. The company only said that the update brought "bug fixes" in its documentation, but some users report the ability to sync iPhoto Events (limited to recent events). Some users without latest iTunes 7.5 software on Windows 2000/XP/Vista machines may display no songs after the update, but updating to the latest iTunes -- not compatible with Windows 2000 -- resolves the problem for many; however, it appears that Windows 2000 must downgrade to version 1.2.1, according to a detailed posting on Apple's discussions forums that describes a method to "trick" iTunes into restoring with a previous version of the firmware (older versions are usually stored on startup drive).
Bento database for Leopard
As announced on Tuesday morning, FileMaker Pro is known for its versatile, multi-platform database creation capabilities, allowing users to design and put into practice custom front-ends for business and personal use alike. For most users that don't have experience with coding or scripting, however, FileMaker proves to be quite unapproachable, as a database without coding is little more than a set of static fields and text. Today, FileMaker has introduced Bento - a new addition to their product family that aims to change the perception of versatile database deployment.
iPhone input not perfect
While many believe that experience improves the iPhone typing accuracy, a new study found that more experience does not generally improve texting error rates for iPhone users and also indicates that iPhone owners generally perform worse than their numeric phone or QWERTY-device counterparts. The study did find that iPhone owners entered text as rapidly as those with QWERTY devices, but that error rates of iPhone users were significantly higher. After studying iPhones users who had their device more than 30 days, the Chicago-based usability consultancy User Centric found that texting errors on the iPhone were significantly more than both numeric- and QWERTY-based devices. The study concluded that "compared to hard-key QWERTY devices, the iPhone may fall short for consumers who use on their mobile device heavily for email and text messaging."
Office 2008 First Look 1
In the first part of our multi-part look at Microsoft's long-awaited release of Office 2008 for Mac, we touch on the components shared across every program, including the elements gallery and its related components, SmartArt, and themes. We also examine the two programs built to serve as the cornerstones of the new productivity suite: Entourage, the e-mail and project manager, and My Day, Microsoft's new scheduilng tool.
IPEVO Skype phones for Mac
IPEVO today announced that all of its Skype devices are compatbile with Mac OS X 10.4 and later, as is its software software. The company's Mac-compatible and Skype-certified phones include the Free.1 USB phone -- a plug-in handset designed exclusively for Skype with a slim and compact design -- as well as the Free2 USB phone and the TRIO three-in-one device. Additionally, IPEVO's newly launched SOLO device allows users to make as well as receive Skype calls without being tied to a computer.
Las Vegas Apple Store
In brief: A new Apple retail store is scheduled to open in Las Vegas tomorrow, Scotsys is offering a free seminar demonstrating Final Cut Studio 2 in Scotland, and REAL Software has shipped REALbasic 2007 Release 5. Mac GUI City has launched a virtual world for Mac users, mystery snippets of text discovered within iTunes 7.5 suggest Apple may be working toward new features for its Apple TV multimedia set top box. Apple is preparing to open a new retail store at 9:00 a.m. PST in the Town Square in Las Vegas. The new store, which resides at 6725 Via Austi Parkway in Suite 380, will host a press event to commemorate the occasion in Apple's traditional style.
Users miss info pane
A number of users are expressing their displeasure with the removal of the iCal drawer in Leopard, and that the substituted pop-up window is inadequate for their needs. Some users say their company depends on the sidebar to provide ready information to many users through their internal iCal server and that the new 'bubble' doesn't provide the same access to that data. Others state that the bubble positions itself in awkward positions when used on a dual monitor setup, making it inconvenient since they have to move the iCal window just to see the requested information.
Contactizer Pro 3.5
Miami-based developer Objective Decision introduced an update to its contact managing software Contactizer Pro 3.5, and unveiled a new product, Contactizer Express 3.5. Designed for casual users, Contactizer Express is built on a number of core technologies from Contactizer Pro. While the apps are universal, Objective Decision has not yet encorporated Leopard compatibility. Pro users will discover an augmented interface, and the addition of a Merge Key Panel which allows users to access tasks from within the calendar view. Contactizer Express and Pro are available from the developer's website, with Express at $60, and $120 for Pro; both have options for licensing.
Samsung WiMAX in Korea
Samsung today announced four new WiMAX devices, all intended for the company's home country of South Korea, which has one of the world's few operational WiMAX networks. Topping the list is the SPH-P9200, a UMPC with Windows XP, a 1GHz Via CPU, and 512MB of RAM. Particularly notable is its foldable, desktop-sized QWERTY keyboard, and the option of Wi-Fi and HSDPA as alternate connection methods. The SPH-M8200 meanwhile is a slider smartphone with both EVDO and WiMAX, further boasting Bluetooth, DMB TV and a large touchscreen.
Bluetooth iPhone adapter
NextGen Venturi today unveiled the Venturi Mini, a new music phone and MP3 adapter designed for in-car music as well as voice calls that works with Apple's iPhone (only via line-out and not via Bluetooth, as it requires A2DP support on the handset). The device introduces the first true convergence of Bluetooth music streaming, hands-free calling, and USB-style charging, according to the company. When plugged into a vehicle's 12-volt adapter, the Venturi Mini uses Bluetooth to stream stereo music from any A2DP phone and wirelessly route calls through the in-car sound system. The phone also features a built-in charger to power devices on-the-go and is designed to work with all vehicles. NextGen Venturi's Venturi Mini is priced at $130, and will hit store shelves across the U.S. in December.
EarthDesk, Fetch, Curio
EarthDesk 4.1 ($24) is a real-time dynamic desktop map; version 4.1 adds a new map option for a natural view of the Earth from space as well as Leopard support. EarthDesk replaces the static desktop with an image of the Earth showing current sun, moon and city illumination, as well as real-time global cloud coverage, allowing users to track hurricanes and other weather systems. It requires Mac OS X 10.4; upgrades are available for $12. [Download - 7MB]
Fetch 5.3 ($25) is a new version of the original Macintosh file transfer program tailored for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard; it brings an updated appearance, improved Leopard compatibility, and support for Leopard code signing, making the system keychain and the new Leopard application firewall more convenient to use. In addition, Fetch can now upload files to servers using the familiar Copy and Paste commands, and a new preference offers better control over Fetch's extensive file decoding support. [Download - 16MB]
Curio 4.1 (starting at $100) updates the brainstorming and project management application with a Leopard QuickLook plugin for immediate previewing of Curio projects within the Finder as well as one-click screen snapshots. Version 4.1 also integrates with the newly announced Curio Community Center for quick and easy sharing of mind map styles, list styles, notepaper styles, Dossier templates, and Sleuth search sites. It is available in Professional ($150), Standard ($100), and K-12 ($70) editions. [Download - Pro, Standard, Pro, K-12 ]
Fanurio 1.8 ($40) is a time-tracking and billing application designed for freelancers. Users can easily organize work, track time and create invoices. Fanurio can export its data to a CSV or Excel file, Version 1.8 offers discounts support, the ability to export invoices directly to PDF, a time report for projects, a reminder to start the timer, an improved idle time notifier, and drag and drop support for project items. The Universal Binary supports Mac OS X 10.3 Tiger and later and is available as a 30-day demo. [Download - 10MB]
launch2net 1.6.23 (75€) supports the Sony Ericsson K850i mobile phone as well and fixes some minor bugs. The applications allows to set-up and use mobile Internet connections worldwide and supports most mobile phones, USB-modems and datacards; it already includes drivers and network access information for a "hassle-free" online experience for high-speed HSDPA and 3G UMTS connections with up to 3.6 Mbit/s download speed (HSDPA) as well as standard EDGE and GPRS protocols. It requires Mac OS 10.4.3 and higher and is compatible with Leopard. Cha-Ching 1.2 ($40) is a money manager application with a slick interface that uses advanced functionality built into Mac OS X. Version 1.2 offers local backups, the ability to pay a bill from the Master Vault, Leopard graphical enhancements, sorting based on tags, rules for Smart Folder Creation, better filtering and more. The software can manage checking, savings and credit card accounts as well as offer integrated viewing of online banking account (or QIF import of files directly into Cha-Ching). Users can also create budgets, schedule transactions, and more. The Universal Binary requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later. [Download - 20MB]
Fifth Zune 4/8GB color?
Microsoft's newly-launched 4 and 8GB flash Zunes may already have another color in preparation. Red, black, green and pink models are shipping today, but probing into Microsoft's proprietary Zune software reveals references to a "citron" Zune, coated bright yellow on the face with a black touchpad. If and when a yellow Zune might be released is unknown, but 2007 saw several new versions of the original Zune released, including red and Halo 3 editions. Microsoft is placing heavy emphasis on customization with the new players, offering elaborate art and engraving options. [via istartedsomething]
ASUS Eee 8G with 10" LCD
ASUS' recently-launched Eee PC will soon have a larger sibling, according to reports from Austria. Currently available in the US is the 4G (4GB) model with a seven-inch screen; ASUS has announced though that Eee line will expand to include 8G machines, with at least one system having a 10-inch display. A lesser 8G may stay with the seven-inch format. Crucially, the 10-inch Eee is not expected to be any larger than its peers; the LCD will instead fill out previously unused space. No prices or timeframes have been announced. [via I4U News]
Office 2008 sneak peek
The Mac Business Unit at Microsoft has released a fifth sneak peek of Office 2008's development status, touting Entourage 2008 improvements alongside broader PowerPoint 2008 functionality. The latest update of Office 2008 includes an improved calendar user interface with color-coded categories, status indicators, and flexible To-Do list management to help manage schedules. The latest revision of Office 2008 also offers dynamic guides for PowerPoint 2008 to easily align text and graphics, improved presenter tools for Mac users only that enables greater control over timing as well as pacing, and a new condensed thumbnail view to ease design consistency while better coordinating the flow of PowerPoint 2008 slides.
Apple wins two patents
Apple today was awarded two patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office relating to advanced video and portable notebooks. One invention, titled "Determining the Number of Unidirectional and Bidirectional Motion Compensated Frames to be Encoded for a Video Sequence and Detecting Scene Cuts in the Video Sequence," details advanced video in television broadcasting as well as internet streaming and teleconferencing in real or post-time. The second patent, titled "Self aligning foot assembly," explains a foot assembly for Apple notebooks that includes a snap as well as a first alignment feature coupled to the base of the laptop.
EU Seeks Carrier Splits
The European Union today proposed new laws that will grant its member states the right to break up telecoms firms, potentially changing the landscape permanently for such services on the continent. Known collectively as "functional separation," the rules would give each country the discretion to break up large phone carriers, Internet providers, and related firms if it becomes evident a company is abusing its monopoly status and the breakup would not significantly damage the network infrastructure. Companies would not have the privilege of selling off the new company to try and regain their former status, the EU says.
Xbox 1 downloads for 360
(Updated with official confirmation)
Xbox 360 owners will soon be able to download entire Xbox 1 games, a news leak appears to confirm. The former console's "fall" Dashboard update is now reportedly scheduled for December 2nd, and is expected to bring with it six Xbox 1 titles: Burnout 3, Crimson Skies, Fable, Halo 1, Indigo Prophecy and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. Each will cost 1200 Marketplace points -- approximately $15 -- and will likely use some form of DRM protection to guard against redistribution. More releases are said to be in preparation, but resurrection of the whole back catalog is unlikely, as each download may occupy 4GB or more of Microsoft's 20 and 120GB hard drives.
Bluetooth Audio Transport
IOGEAR on Tuesday launched the Bluetooth Audio Transport, a Bluetooth headset accessory for the portable media market that uses SRS WOW HD to "dramatically" improve the audio performance of content played on any Bluetooth-enabled audio device. The IOGEAR Bluetooth Audio Transport allows users to listen to music and audio wirelessly from any Bluetooth-enabled product, such as an MP3 player, mobile phone, computer, home stereo system, TV and other audio devices. Following the simple pairing process, the Audio Transport processes the audio using SRS WOW HD for what the company calls "an optimal music listening experience with immersive audio realism and improved bass response."
Sirius Shareholders on XM
Sirius on Tuesday revealed that its shareholders voted in favor of the proposed merger with XM, bringing the two satellite radio providers closer to completing the deal. Nearly all of those invested in Sirius (96 percent) voted this way, Sirius says. Advisors have also backed the deal arguing that the shared costs would reduce overhead and save both Sirius and XM from having to market against each other or land exclusive deals with car and electronics makers to include satellite radios in their products.
New Panasonic Toughbooks
Panasonic today introduced a new line of Toughbook computers, the 7-series. These notebooks fall under the company's "business-rugged" category, which means that they lack the safeguards of the more serious Toughbooks, but still have a variety of protections; these include magnesium-alloy cases and chassis, shock-mounted screens and hard drives, and flexible internal connectors. Each notebook also comes with an 80GB hard drive, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0, and optional HSDPA or EVDO Rev. A cellular.
iPhone destined for China
Apple is currently in talks with China's largest cellular phone carrier about launching its iPhone there, according to BusinessWeek. The companies have yet to come to an agreement, however, as both firms are still hashing out revenue sharing details. China Mobile's CEO gave reporters at the GSMA (GSM Association) Mobile Asia Congress in Macau, China confirmation of the dealings, coinciding with Apple's promise to bring its iPhone to Asia in 2008. Apple is also reportedly in talks with various other cellular carriers in the region. [updated]
O2: 8K iPhone activations
Apple's exclusive wireless carrier in the UK, O2, received more than 8,000 iPhone activations during the first day after the cellular handset hit store shelves. An inside source cited by Ars Technica says the initial number of activations is several times higher than the company initially predicted for the iPhone's opening day, which coincides with reports that iPhones flew off shelves in the UK on launch day. What's more, the unnamed O2 source also says the carrier's exclusive contract with Apple spans five years, and that Apple sees 3G iPhones arriving "very late next year" as a result of power management issues as well as chipset size limitations.
Option iCON 225
Option today gave world travelers a new choice for cellular broadband through the iCON 225 (PDF) USB adapter. The device is Option's most compact external 3G modem to date and is just under 2.5 inches long, making it easier to carry on the road or even wear around the neck on a lanyard. In spite of the size, it also serves as a true world modem with quad-band EDGE (up to 247Kbps) and GPRS data for 2G and 1G networks virtually anywhere GSM phone service exists; Europe and parts of Asia also get 3G access on the 2,100MHz band using either HSDPA or UMTS up to a peak of 7.2Mbps. An average song download finishes in as little as five seconds, the company claims.
36 Speck iPod cases
Accessory maker Speck says it has debuted a full 36 new iPod cases, meant to fill out its holiday sales. These are split between seven different lines: the ToughSkin cases use "rubberized" bumpers and tear-resistant plastic, and come in clear or black colors. Versions are available for the Nano, Touch and Classic. The ArmorSkin cases use "chunkier" rubberized protection, but only on the sides and back; the front is guarded by a flexible, transparent cover. The same colors and iPod models are supported as with the ToughSkins.
Mac Up Win Down in Japan
Microsoft's has taken a bruising in the Japanese marketplace just as Apple's Mac OS X Leopard was released, according to a new report by the country's Business Computer News. The publication notes that while sales of Mac OS X increased dramatically between September and October, climbing from a rate of 15.5 percent year-over-year to 60.5 percent, Microsoft suffered from the reverse effect. Sales growth of Windows plummeted from 75.3 percent to 28.7 percent. The sudden switch provided Apple with about 53.9 of the total OS-only marketshare in Japan during October -- a breakthrough for the company, BCN says.
FileMaker Bento preview
FileMaker has just posted a new "public preview" download of Bento, its latest database application. Unlike software such as FileMaker Pro, Bento is intended to be a personal database, collecting information such as addresses and schedules alongside media like music, movies and photos. Users can also conduct some basic business-like functions, such as cataloging inventories, hours worked or payments due. Tasks created through a database can be prioritized, and Bento links with Address Book and iCal, ensuring up-to-date content as well as options like assigning photos to contacts.
New Zune Ships
Keeping to its schedule, Microsoft today released its new Zune player line to stores and updated its software for both players and PCs. The Zune 4GB and 8GB represent the company's first-ever flash players and maintain the same video playback, FM radio, and Wi-Fi support as hard disk models without dropping resolution or the feature set. They also introduce the concept of the Zune pad, a hybrid controller that lets users either click or swipe the surface to navigate menus, and the ability to sync content wirelessly when the device is charging in a dock away from its home PC. The Zune 80GB also takes on the new control method and expands the screen size of the original to 3.2 inches while shrinking its dimensions and adding the new Zune pad and Wi-Fi sync features.
Italy next iPhone market?
The iPhone's next European market may well be Italy, probing into the firmware has revealed. Code strings show that amongst the PLIST hooks in the software is an entry called "TIM_Italy.plist," accompanying references to the other official iPhone carriers: AT&T, O2 (UK), Orange (France) and T-Mobile (Germany). TIM is an abbreviation of Telecom Italia Mobile, a company partly owned by Telefonica, which also operates O2 in the UK. This suggests that Apple has already selected its Italian partner, and most likely as a result of exisitng connections with another carrier.
PS3 DivX Support
DivX and Sony today announced that the PlayStation 3 will receive support for the DivX video format, giving owners of the console the ability to play the much-requested format without having to transcode videos or use network streaming software. The companies have yet to detail whether the PS3 will play movies at 1080p or with surround sound in the format but say the game system has been certified for "excellent" playback quality, according to the claim. DivX is accessible to developers integrating video into games as of the version 2.0 developer kit and should be playable by users in the normal media browser with an unspecified future update.
Remote Mac access solution
Nakahara Informatics has released iGet Mobile, a new version of its remote access software that allows users to access their Mac via their iPhone, mobile device, or other browser. iGet Mobile is a Mac application that allows users to easily and securely -- using industry-standard SSL -- access the Mac's documents and files. The original iGet, Nakahara's Mac file transfer tool, provides a secure way to access and manage files remotely, but require a Mac on both ends of the connection. In contrast, iGet Mobile allows users to access their home or office Mac remotely by providing a lightweight Web interface as well as perform document conversions to easily view items on their mobile device. iGet Mobile requires Mac OS X 10.5 and costs $40 with a special $10 introductory discount offered for a limited time.
Nokia 8800 Arte
Nokia today upgraded its longstanding designer phones with the release of the 8800 Arte. The special edition of the slider handset increases the perceived quality with an actual sapphire in the directional pad and leather trim on the bottom shell; each also includes a BH-803 Bluetooth headset as well as a leather pouch and a color-coordinated charging stand. As with some Nokia special editions, the Arte models also come with custom audio and videos. Downtempo electronic artists Kruder & Dorfmeister provide music while visual artist Fritz Fitzke creates the visual element, the company says.
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