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John Carmack interview
Gaming guru John Carmack today criticized Steve Jobs' mobile gaming strategy, saying that Apple's business-related decisions may affect the iPod and iPhone's future in gaming negatively. Fountainhead Entertainment and id Software recently formed id Mobile, a company dedicated to providing superior quality games in the cell phone market, after Carmack had experienced some less-than-stellar games on his own mobile device. In an interview with GameDaily BIZ, Carmack says that this is an important area to improve on, as there are approximately 10 to 20 times the number of mobile phones as there are computers in the world today, and about 100 times as many as there are gaming consoles.
Apple TV in the theater
An independent film maker last weekend successfully used an Apple TV to show his film on the big screen in a neighborhood theater in Brooklyn. Writer-director Scott Dacko of the new political film The Insurgents is using an Apple TV to replace expensive digital tape decks and circumvent many of the problems and expenses that plague digital film makers with limited budgets. "As far as I know, we're the first people to have ever done this," Dacko told The Register. "And it looked great."
New Insider plug-ins ship
Insider Software today released several new font auto-activation plug-ins for Adobe CS3, as well as updated XTensions for QuarkXPress 7 and Adobe CS2. The latest plug-ins aim to provide fast and accurate auto-activation for Adobe and Quark creative applications. The new software includes auto-activation plug-ins for Adobe Creative Suite 3 -- including InDesign, Illustrator, and the only auto-activation solutions available for Photoshop. The release also brings updated XTensions for QuarkXPress 6, 6.5 and 7. FontAgent Pro auto-activation plug-ins support Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger), and 10.5 (Leopard).
NTFS for Mac OS X released
Paragon Software Group today released NTFS for Mac OS X, enabling Mac users to take advantage of Microsoft's NTFS filesystem. NTFS for Mac OS X allows Mac owners to rapidly read and write to NTFS volumes under Mac OS, providing access to the contents therein and ultimately opening the door to cross-filesystem communication. The software is available in one single edition that includes a standard DMG disk image containing the installation package, which is priced at $40 but is available for $30 as an introductory offer. NTFS for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, 128MB of memory, and at least a PowerPC G4 or faster processor.
Data and HTC Touch at Bell
Bell today upended the Canadian cellular business today by launching both the HTC Touch and a special service plan to match. While the touchscreen, Windows Mobile 6 phone is similar to the Telus version with a 2-megapixel camera and EVDO with the option of a faster Revision A upgrade in the future, the new version is available with an unlimited monthly Internet access plan for $7 per month. The plan is one of the first truly unlimited plans for phones in Canada and is the least expensive available anywhere, according to Bell.
Sharp TC930 e-dictionary
Targeting Japan and Korea, Sharp has announced a new e-dictionary, the Papyrus PW-TC930. E-dictionaries are popular in Asia as they allow users to get around occasional language barriers; the 930 however may be more comprehensive than most, as it not only helps translate English (complete with spoken words), it offers a pre-loaded guide to birds, insects and other animals, with sounds for approximately 270 species. Should that not be enough, users are granted access to a version of the Encyclopedia Britannica for further reference.
Sprint Pearl and Q9c Soon
Sprint will contribute its own share to Black Friday (the 23rd) by releasing two crucial smartphones as well as a third device for its iDEN network, says a new tip from Crave. The carrier intends to release its already hinted-at Moto Q2 (also known as the Q9c) the day after Thanksgiving and will include both Documents to Go for more advanced Office file editing than Windows Mobile offers and Good Mobile Messaging for push-style e-mail from Exchange servers. It will be priced at $150 with a two-year plan, according to Sprint.
iMac Graphics Firmware 1.0
In an attempt to fix on-going system freezes, Apple on Thursday released its iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 for 20-inch and 24-inch aluminum iMac computers with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics. The company said the update -- which updates the graphics firmware on the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro to improve system stability -- is designed for systems running Mac OS X 10.4.10 with iMac Software Update 1.2.1 or Leopard with iMac Software Update 1.3. Specifically, it updates the graphics firmware on the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO card to address issues that may have caused the computer to freeze, Apple said. However, the company noted that not every 20-inch and 24-inch aluminum iMac computer requires this update, saying that the update will automatically present itself if required (after applying the previous Tiger and Leopard updates).
Dirt-resistant LCD screen
Joint company LG.Philips says it has developed a new kind of LCD panel, one which is resistant to virtually any kind of dirtying. The problem with standard panels, the company says, is that the coating on most screens' anti-glare layers tends to hold onto oil and other substances. It is possible to add a second layer on top to eliminate the problem, but this naturally requires extra time and money on the part of screen builders. LG.Philips now claims that it has a simpler and cheaper solution, which the company's head of advanced technology development says is based on a principle "similar to that used on non-stick frying pans."
Beatles Digital in 2008
The Beatles' album catalog is close to a deal and should be available in 2008, band member Paul McCartney has revealed to Billboard. The musician notes that there is only "one little sticking point" to be cleared up before a release sometime next year and that it has only been a question of contractual obligations and the setup process itself. Neither the surviving Beatles nor Apple Corps want to rush the release and risk tarnishing the effect, McCartney says.
CBS Free Manhattan Wi-Fi
CBS today said it has switched on the CBS Mobile Zone, a free Wi-Fi area in mid-town Manhattan that will be accessible by anyone. The large hotspot is intended to CBS' main building in the borough and will ultimately range vertically from the south end of Central Park to west 42nd Street; some of Times Square as well as a significant area between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue are also covered. This access will be subsidized by a unique approach to ads, CBS says. An initial connection to the network will open a page with ads as well as news and downloads. Many of the ads and content will be specifically targeted at the neighborhood rather than New York City and includes reviews of local restaurants and other shops.
17" widescreen frame ships
PhotoVu today unveiled its latest wireless digital picture frame, the PV1765w. The frame contains a 17-inch widescreen LCD panel display in a 16:10 wide format, which is capable of displaying photos taken from high resolution digital cameras. Digital picture frames simulate standard picture frames to display photographs or to act as an advertising medium, but are able to cycle through thousands of photos which show up on the liquid crystal display within the frame. PhotoVu's 17-inch widescreen digital picture frames are priced from $700.
AAPL shareholder suit axed
A shareholder lawsuit against Apple seeking damages as a result of the Cupertino-based company's recent stock options scandal was dismissed in a San Jose District court yesterday. The suit, which charged that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs and other executives were overpaid via illegally backdated stock option grants, was thrown out because Apple's stock price did not drop after the backdating was revealed, according to Bloomberg.
Eee PC On Sale in Black
ASUS today quietly released the Galaxy Black Eee PC, the first model of the ultraportable to be available outside of its signature white color. The matte-finish system receives the color change through its entire body, including a switch to a black keyboard. The 900MHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash-based storage remain unchanged from the original, as are its Wi-Fi access and multi-format card reader.
Mac OS X 10.5.1 Update
Following a slew of updates yesterday, Apple today released the Mac OS X 10.5.1 Update for its recently released Leopard operating system. The update brings more than a dozen fixes for AirPort, Back to My Mac, Disk Utilities, iCal, Mail, Networking, Printing, Security/Firewall, System and Finder, and Time Machine. The update is available via the Web (110MB) and the Software Update (40MB). In addition to the bug fixes, Apple also said that the update fixes three security flaws in the firewall.
Garmin, TomTom settle
GPS makers Garmin and TomTom have at last settled their major legal conflicts, the companies have announced. The terms of the deal have not been made public, but it is known that Garmin initiated two US suits through courts in Wisconsin and Texas, charging that TomTom was violating intellectual property laws; it also called on Dutch and UK courts to invalidate some of TomTom's designs and patents. TomTom in turn countersued in Wisconsin, accusing Garmin of breaking three patents. Garmin scored an early victory in its war during 2006, when a Dutch court refused an injunction against one of its designs, which TomTom claimed was a copy of one it registered in Europe.
Alien Skin Exposure 2
Alien Skin recently updated Exposure 2 - its set of Photoshop plugins designed to emulate a number of different film effects such as grain and infrared. Exposure can simulate the looks of several popular types of film, such as Portra, Velvia, Kodachrome, Polaroid, and TRI-X, while also having presets of discontinued film stocks such as Agfa Scala, GGAR 500, and Kodak EES. Grain can be customized by controlling sharpness, color variation and intensity value throughout the entire tonal range, with the grain automatically adjusting to the image size so that consistent results are obtained across any camera model. Alien Skin is selling Exposure 2 through its website, available as a Universal Binary for $250.
Samsung 8MP cell camera
Korean giant Samsung claims it has developed the world's first eight-megapixel CMOS camera meant for cellphones. While cameras on cellphones have previously surpassed the eight-megapixel detail level, such as the one in Samsung's own B600, they have typically done so by expanding the dimensions of their hosts, making them unusually bulky. The new camera measures less than half an inch in its longest direction, and is just over a third of an inch thick, meaning that it should fit into the same spaces that current three-megapixel phones allow.
Zune 4GB First Impressions
Electronista is preparing to compare the new Zune against the iPod and has just received a new 4GB model for testing. While a full review is stil some time away, we already have initial impressions of the device and its accompanying software, as well as how they compare to their most obvious rivals from Apple. Read ahead for this first take as well as an image gallery.
HTC Touch cracks 1 million
The HTC Touch, much touted as a Windows Mobile rival to Apple's iPhone, has at last broken the one-million sales barrier, the company says. The figure was reached at the end of October, and includes sales going back five months to the beginning of June, the phone's launch date in the United Kingdom. Availability has since broadened to include Asia, North America and the rest of Europe; HTC CEO Peter Chou says he expects to hit sales of 1.5 to 1.8 million by the end of the year.
Swift 3D 5.0 coming to Mac
Electric Rain today announced a forthcoming update to its Swift 3D software that enables Adobe Flash designers to export to the Papervision3D format. Papervision3D is an open source 3D engine for Flash that leverages ActionScript 3.0 and the Flash 9 player to draw true 3D and allow for real-time user interaction. Swift 3D 5.0 is slated for release on the Mac platform in early December for $250, while upgrades from previous versions start at $80. Mac users who purchase Swift 3D 4.5 before the update are eligible for a free upgrade when the next release ships (system requirements were unavailable).
Widget, media patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published five patent applications submitted by Apple, split between two main concepts. The first concept is dominated by a patent entitled Workflow widgets, which is connected to an existing application for Dashboard and widgets in general, called Unified Interest Layer for User Interface. The new patent describes the general usefulness of widgets in clustered desktop situations, but suggests that they could be applied to more than just an operating system, extending to the likes of e-mail, applications, handhelds and even TV environments. A diagram below depicts a means of managing workflow widgets.
Maya puzzler for iPhone
Ojom today released its first game specifically designed for the iPhone, titled Maya. The mobile puzzler is adapted to drag, drop, and twist like the device itself as players access the game via Apple's Safari Web browser. Much like the iPhone, Maya twists and flips as players make their way through the jungle via a series of mind challenging logic games. Players must solve a series of puzzles in a quest to find the Maya Temple hidden deep in the jungle. A deluxe version was released in conjunction with the iPhone's Euro launch via Jamster and Jamba, while the standard edition is available for free.
PS3 Price Doubles Sales
The introduction of the 40GB PlayStation 3 has dramatically boosted the sales of the console since even its announcement, Sony chief Sir Howard Stringer observed late yesterday. Although the Blu-ray based system had only been selling between 30,000 and 40,000 consoles before the news, sales jumped to about 75,000 within two weeks after the announcement and an included price drop for the 80GB model to $499. The availability of the $399 40GB model increased sales once again to over 100,000. This indicates that a "turning point has been passed" in terms of acceptance of the console after taking criticism for the high price ever since the launch last year, Stringer says.
Booq Mamba notebook bags
Accessory maker Booq has begun selling the first of its 2008 Mamba bags, designed to carry notebooks by various different means. Currently available in the series is the Sling, which fits 13-inch MacBooks and 15-inch MacBook Pros, while also sporting six mesh accessory pockets, two open internal pockets for items such as books and folders, and three exterior zippered pockets for carrying tall or otherwise encumbering objects. The front and rear of the Sling also have pockets meant for items such as newspapers. The exterior fabric is water-repellant and comes in red, black, brown or blue colors; the bag retails for $125.
Seiko SLP webcam software
Seiko Instruments today introduced an update to its Smart Label Printer software, adding new webcam support. Compatible with several Logitech Quick Cam models - the Chat, Ultra Vision, and Pro 900 - and the Ecamm iMage, it is designed to allow users to directly place images on labels, to create personalized address labels and temporary security cards, among other things. Seiko claims that they are the first to introduce webcam compatibility directly with a label printer. Update: The company today told MacNN that the software is compatible with Apple's iSight cameras.
Apple legal gains, losses
Apple is one among many companies named in a new lawsuit filed by Autotext Technologies, accusing businesses of violating a key patent, while a second New York lawsuit stemming from the stock options scandal was dimissed. Autotext in 1994 patented a technology called "computer-based transcription," which attempts to predict entries during word processing, offering suggestions as users type; because this concept is now almost ubiquitous, Autotext is suing 23 companies, among them Apple, AT&T, IBM, LG, Microsoft, Nuance, Nintendo, Sony, T-Mobile and Verizon. Cellphone makers are a particular target due to Nuance's T9 format, while Apple is subject as a result of Mac OS X 10.4 and Safari.
Hi-res video in 3 months
YouTube has announced it would begin testing a new hiqh-quality format for its videos with a new player and that it would deliver higher-quality videos to all users within three months. Following the delivery of a new multi-file uploader last week, The company's co-founder Steve Chen said that the company was exploring a new player that would detect the speed of the viewer's internet connection and deliver higher-quality video at the user's request, according to a CNET report. Speaking at the NewTeeVee Live conference this week, Chen did, however, note that YouTube's goal "is to make the site's vast library of content available to everyone and that requires a fairly low-bitrate stream."
Slacker Portable Player
Slacker today announced the ship date for its long delayed Portable Radio Player, the first digital media player designed primarily around the concept of radio stations rather than just a library. The device uses its flash memory to cache user-made radio stations; like Pandora, Slacker's system can automatically queue music based on a user's tastes but saves protected copies of songs to the player on the fly. It will dynamically update through built-in Wi-Fi or when attached through USB but stores enough for most stations to work completely offline. Users can also bring in their unprotected AAC, MP3, or WMA tracks if they prefer at least some of their own music.
Final Cut Express 4 ships
Apple has released Final Cut Express 4, the latest version of its video editing package. The software is based on the more elaborate Final Cut Pro 6, and features several upgrades such as support for new AVCHD cameras. The centerpiece of the software though is the Open Format Timeline, which allows users to place DV, HDV and AVCHD videos on the same continuum, rearranging in real-time. Clips are then automatically scaled, cropped and adjusted for framerate, with the initial clip serving as a template. Resolution is limited to 720p or 1080i.
RealNetworks today ended its primary beta testing and released RealPlayer 11, the latest version of its audio and video playback software. The new version is designed to make web video usable elsewhere and lets users click a button to transfer many embedded videos on websites to an iPod; all fifth- and sixth-generation iPods as well as the latest iPod nano can immediately get unprotected videos in a compatible format. iPhone and iPod touch users will gain support early next year due to their software, RealNetworks says. Initially, Windows users can queue these downloads regardless of a video's progress, how many are already being downloaded, and share a direct link to the video through e-mail. Every version has an improved interface with a quicker install and optimized video playback.
ATI Radeon HD 3800
AMD's graphics card label ATI today unveiled its anticipated Radeon HD 3800 series, a new chipset that promises better performance for the mid-range as well as new graphics features. The line bucks the trend of reserving new visuals for high-end cards by introducing support for Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 10.1 (and according OpenGL 2.0 features) and its enhanced features, such as high dynamic color range for lighting and improved anti-aliasing effects. For Windows, the 3800 series also introduces CrossFire X, a new technology that allows users with supporting AMD mainboards to use as many as four graphics cards in tandem to improve 3D performance beyond even what may be possible with higher-end graphics cards.
802.11n for older Macs
Sonnet Technologies on Thursday introduced the new Aria Extreme-n 802.11n wireless mini-PCIe card. The small form-factor card, measuring only 2-inches x 1-1/8-inches, delivers draft 802.11n wireless network connectivity to Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Intel-based iMacs or Mac minis (as well as Windows notebooks with an available mini-PCIe slot). Sonnet says the upgrades include specialized tools and detailed information for "do-it-yourself" installations on Apple's Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Pro.
Sony's Pro HDV camcorders
Sony Electronics on Wednesday introduced its latest HDV products, including two new camcorders -- the handheld, HDMI-enabled HVR-Z7U and the shoulder-mount HVR-S270U. Due in February of next year, both models feature interchangeable lens systems, 1080/24p/30p native progressive recording, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions, hybrid solid-state recording and a 12x high-quality, multi-purpose Carl Zeiss lens for HD video, with a Vario-Sonnar T coating to reduce reflections. In addition, the company also introduced the HVR-M35U playback and recording deck, expanding Sony's line-up of HD production technologies, which includes the recently introduced PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX solid-state memory camera and the soon-to-be-available HVR-HD1000U shoulder-mount HDV camcorder.
RealPlayer v11 Mac beta
RealNetworks today announced the consumer availability of its new RealPlayer v11 for Windows after a five-month public beta period and announced a beta of its Mac version; in addition, the company said the newest version finally bring support for transferring downloaded video content to Apple's iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod video. iPod owners who previously only had access to video content available through Apple's iTunes now have access to non-DRM protected videos from thousands of sites on the Web after upgrading to the paid version of its product. The new Mac beta allows the downloading of non-DRM protected Web videos from thousands of sites for playback online or offline and is available for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," offering support for both Firefox for the Mac and Safari.
Duracell personal power
Duracell today announced 11 new consumer products, designed for those with mobile lifestyles. The company has discovered from recent statistics that there is an average of one power outage every 13 days in the US, with one in three adults saying that a lengthly power outage would present a small impact on their personal financial stability. Because of this, Duracell is designing these products for businesses, but says that home users will also find them useful. Among the offerings are three power packs, five inverters, and three automotive battery chargers and jump-starters. Pricing for the units start at $30.
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