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Roxio today updated its digital movie optimization and video DVD copying software, Popcorn 3.0.2, adding in Leopard compatibility, as well as a few bug fixes. The update resolves an issue where DVD chapters were not correctly preserved as bookmarks, and DTS audio now has the correct label. PAL and NTSC video settings can now be adjusted for output to DVD, and users should no longer receive error #1634955892 when trying to use a DVD as the physical source, nor should exporting from a DVD cause the erros -43 or -206. There are some miscellaneous fixes as well, pertaining to Fit-to-DVD compression, TiVo, and 3G formatting, and can be seen on the Popcorn update page. Popcorn requires a G4, G5 or Intel processor, and Mac OS 10.4.10 or higher, and is available for $50.
iP2F 1.0 ($15) is a plug-in that eases the process of uploading pictures from iPhoto to Flickr. The software enables users to resize, rename, describe, and tag images with smart Mail-style tokenized fields directly from iPhoto. iP2F also supports creating photo sets and adding images to existing sets or pools. [Download - 5.72MB] PhoneValet 5.3.1 ($170 per line), PhoneHerald 1.1.7 ($500 for first line, $400 for additional lines) are a pair of business-oriented applications that handle various phone communication tasks and notify or survey groups of people by phone, respectively. The updates are available for free to existing PhoneValet 5 and PhoneHerald customers, respectively, and are certified to work with Apple's new Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system. DMG Master 1.2 ($15) updates the application designed to create standard Disk Image Archives recognized by any Mac with one click. The latest release includes a new icon designed for Mac OS X Leopard, adds a Uses Destination folder for temporary files, includes a new "Image" menu, and offers an improved user interface with better a indication when using an encryption password as well as enhanced drag-and-drop support. [Download - 256KB] Atomic Mac 6.8.0 ($25) adds the ability to copy selected data from the periodic table of the elements and nuclear database software to other applications. The Atomic Mac also contains a wealth of nuclear information on each isotope, including half life, decay mode, and daughter products. X-ray data (fluorescence and binding energies) is also available, and a molecular weight calculator makes it easy to find the molecular weight of compounds. [Download - 3MB] Differencia 1.0 ($30) is a new reconciliation tool that makes it easy to compare data from different file formats. The software includes templates to quickly compare various formats, and users can help improve the application by creating custom templates. [Download - 2.2MB] PasswordWallet 4.3 for iPhone ($10) gives users access to passwords on Apple's iPhone with no internet connection or hacks required. The software secures all password transfers with 448-bit BlowFish encryption, and enables users to open URLs in new windows to switch between making references to usernames and passwords. The update also includes font size preferences, as well as larger targets for clicking on rows. [Download - 2.6MB]
The Omni Group today announced a public beta of its new task management tool, OmniFocus. The software is designed to quickly capture thoughts and ideas, allowing users to store, manage, and process them into active to-do items. Tasks can be assigned to projects with built-in visual cues that accentuate the next required action. OmniFocus also features a number of efficient tools, such as a quick entry panel, import options for kGTD documents, iCal syncing, project and task filtering, file attachments, saved viewing perspective, and much more. The Omni Group is offering a special pricing strata for pre-orders at $40, with the OmniFocus' final pricing at $80 when it ships on January 8th.
Spiderweb Software today released the next chapter in its rolep-laying series, Avernum 5. Set in the world of Avernum, a massive series of caves under the surface of the world, you play a solider for the above-ground Empire. After an attempted assassination of the Empress, the adventure leads down into the Avernum, where you must find the would-be assassin and expose the plot. Featuring a large game world with hundreds of quests, over 50 spells, and countless magical items, weapons and armour, Avernum 5 is available from Spiderweb's product page for $30, with a demo version also for download.
The new aluminum iMacs solidify Apple's status as the best multimedia computer, with its large screen, efficient software, and plenty of I/O connections, according to a review by BusinessWeek columnist Cliff Edwards. Though Apple's all-in-one computer lacks some conventional features found in other mid-range PCs – such as a media card reader, or HD DVD drive – its simple setup and overall quality wins out in the end. Edwards lauds the iMac's Intel processors, citing that they are a fantastic switch for Apple, opening up a number of markets that were previously inaccessible to the Cupertino-based company.
Apple has published a report on its 2007 fiscal year, revealing a number of critical facts about the company. The company accumulated approximately $24 billion in revenue for the year, creating $3.5 billion in net profit; this marks an improvement over 2006's figures of $19.3 in revenue and $2 billion in profit, although it implies that growth was not proportional. The company is now also controlled by 30,336 shareholders, of whom CEO Steve Jobs is only second with over 5.5 million shares; the biggest investor is Fidelity Investments, which owns nearly 56.6 million shares.
The 700MHz spectrum that will soon be opened up in the US will be made available across much of the rest of the world, governments participating in the World Radiocommunications Conference have mentioned today. Agreements struck during the weeks-long event will have the frequency range used for international calls and high-speed data across most of the Americas and prosperous Asian nations such as China and India, allowing any future cellphones or handhelds to roam between networks without incorporating a second receiver. Europeans are also slated to gain access to a part of the spectrum but will need to wait until 2015 due to licensing issues, the Conference reports.
Google and Sun Microsystems may be headed towards conflict over the former's Android operating system, industry observers suggest. Android is able to make use of Sun's Java programming language, but instead of relying on the official Java Micro Edition engine, Google has developed a virtual machine of its own, called Dalvik; when Android encounters Java, it is converted into a Dalvik format. This may have been done, says developer Stefano Mazzocchi of Apache Labs, only to prevent phone makers from having to pay licensing fees to Sun each time they want to customize Android, or share their code publicly to skip the fee.
GEAR4 has unveiled its LeatherJacket Flip case (site not updated) for Apple's latest generation iPod nano, and simultaneously announced that its BlueEye Bluetooth phone accessory is compatible with the latest iPod models. The LeatherJacket Flip is a premium leather case for Apple's new iPod nano featuring a brushed suede interior with "debossed" patterning. A 'Flip-Clip' closure covers the click-wheel when not in use, and provides full easy access when playing tracks. The case is available in black and pink for $32, and is due to ship at November's end.
Microsoft's Zune division chief J Allard has a mixture of praise and criticism for the iPhone as his company prepares to compete more effectively with its own software, an interview reveals. He argues that it is Apple's attention to the design of the cellphone as a whole rather than its connection to the iPod that is pushing sales, and that it represents a step back for the company in terms of ergonomics for music playback.
Nintendo has an enhanced version of its DS Lite handheld virtually complete and waiting for the right moment to ship, according to a Pacific Crest Securities analyst speaking with GameSpot. Researcher Evan Wilson refers to contacts who say the company has a design that abandons the legacy Gameboy Advance cartridge slot in exchange for built-in flash memory, larger dual screens, and a thinner profile. The delay is only because Nintendo has no reason to discontinue sales of the existing model when it sells as strongly as it does, Wilson says. Pacific Crest so far believes the revamped DS will be used to shore up sales only when they drop significantly across Europe, Japan, and North America at the same time.
Samsung may be looking to mimic LG in building smaller-sized plasma TVs, say anonymous industry sources. While plasma is almost universally reserved for sets 37 inches or larger, Samsung may be aiming to replicate LG's 32-inch 32PC5RV, simply due to a shortage of LCD panels available from suppliers. The shortage has been persistent, accounts say, and may have been the main influence behind the LG set. If Samsung does produce a 32-inch plasma, it will not be in the immediate future however; plasma-building capacity is said to be limited in its own right, as a result of existing demand from Samsung, Philips, and various Chinese companies. [via DigiTimes]
Seiko Epson today introduced a new electronic paper display that may significantly improve the quality of eBook readers. A new 6.7-inch screen is capable of producing the same 1600x1200 resolution as a 20-inch desktop LCD, providing a far sharper picture than current readers and greatly improving the clarity of photos and other images in richer documents. This new development is also thinner and more power-efficient than today's readers, the company says: at 3mm thick, it can still last for as many as 1,400 page turns on a standard watch battery.
Official confirmation has been made of two upcoming Area-51 notebooks by Alienware, the m15x and m17x. A formal announcement is expected to be made on Monday in New York City, but in the meantime participants in Alienware's mailing list are being directed to a contest website, requiring visitors to decode a secret message. The company has revealed that the notebooks will come in two case designs, called Skullcap and Ripley; no other details are being made official however, with the exception of some teaser photos, seen below.
Despite the lack of a formal announcement, Dell today has released the XPS ONE, its first all-in-one desktop and one widely understood to be influenced by the iMac. Similar to the Gateway One, the Dell system earns its name by reducing the number of cables needed: when using Wi-Fi and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo set, the XPS requires only the power cord. Unlike the Gateway system, however, Dell's adds media keys to the keyboard with haptic (vibration) feedback, an integrated touchpad for pointing without using the mouse, and media controls embedded into the 20-inch display's bezel.
Sony's controversial PlayStation 3 console has reached its one-year anniversary, bringing with it a collection of milestones. Sony says that there are now over 200 titles for the system, and that over 60 million downloads have been made through the supporting PlayStation Network service. While sales of the PS3 have generally paled next to those for Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, and Sony itself admits that it has only 19 exclusive games, the recent release of cheaper 40GB and 80GB PS3s is claimed to have boosted sales by over 192 percent at the top 10 North American retailers.
Nexicon has released NexiONE, a new application that allows users to access their remote computer networks securely from any internet-capable system via a USB thumb drive. NexiONE mitigates the risk of malicious attacks on a computer through security holes in its operating system by connecting to the remote network from its own, proprietary UNIX-based operating system, according to the company. Users insert the NexiONE USB thumb drive in to a computer with internet access, after which NexiONE's operating system automatically connects to the internet and opens a secure connection back to the destination network. NexiONE 1.4 is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2008, with units priced from $300-$500 each.
Motorola's rumored ROKR E8 is now known to be real, courtesy of a new report by BGR. Once only suspected, the device is now known to drop the conventional keypad in favor of a flat, touch-sensitive surface that illuminates different controls depending on whether the the user is placing a call, playing music, or capturing photos. An equally touch-sensitive scroll wheel flips through music and menus quickly. New in the discovery is word that the keypad provides an advanced form of haptic (vibration) feedback, the leak notes: when turned on, the phone pad effectively turns the flat surface into a set of physical buttons through advanced feedback.
Maintain has released the fourth edition of Cocktail, its general maintenance utility for Mac OS X. The program focuses on simplifying tasks that might otherwise require Unix, such as running maintenance scripts, repairing permissions, clearing all caches, or optimizing network hardware. The new version is intended for Leopard only, and likewise updates the utility's Automator actions and introduces a Leopard-style Help system. Also new is a better software updater, a scheduler log, and a host of fixes and performance improvements. The software has already been tested with the recently-deployed 10.5.1 update, and costs anywhere from $15 for a single license to $700 for a worldwide package.
Red Giant Software has released Trapcode Form, an organic 3D shape generator enabling users to create a wide variety of animations ranging from text logos to billowing smoke. Users can drive all of the 3D designs by audio to create visualizations that move with the beat of whatever music is playing. Trapcode Form comes with 61 customizable presets, and offers full integration with After Effects’ 3D environment which allows users to fly cameras through as well as around the animated forms. Trapcode Form is priced at $200 and works with Adobe After Effects 7.0/CS3, while the entire Trapcode Suite 2007 collection is available for $950.
GPS device maker Garmin today withdrew its bid to buy map supplier Tele Atlas for $3.3 billion, opening the door for its primary rival TomTom to make its own deal. The latter firm made its own bid first in July but has since been outbid by Garmin, which claims it has been determined to prevent its competitors from acquiring all the map suppliers themselves and leaving Garmin with no choice but to license GPS maps from a rival. Finland's cellphone manufacturer Nokia recently bought out another major map provider, Navteq, to supply navigation for its smartphones.
Native Instruments' second announcement for Friday is the release of KORE 2, what the company describes as a comprehensive instrument that melds the engines of ABSYNTH, FM8, Guitar Rig, KONTAKT, MASSIVE and REAKTOR. It additionally comes with a library of 500 new sounds, and a touch-sensitive hardware controller that allows more intuitive interaction. To expand the program users can combine it with KOMPLETE 5, or any Audio Unit or VST plug-in. KORE 2 costs $560, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and a 1.8GHz G5 processor or better.
Google is virtually committed to bidding in the upcoming 700MHz FCC auction and may well launch its own national wireless network if it lands the winning bid, the Wall Street Journal claims today. The Californian search engine firm is said to feel compelled to bid after successfully negotiating open access rules for the auction. It is also testing an "advanced" mobile broadband network at its Mountain View headquarters that lets prototype phones equipped with the company's own Android operating system use the 700MHz frequency, say the paper's claimed sources. The FCC has reportedly approved the tests to help Google get an early start on the technology.
Ecamm Network has released a new Mac conferencing application, PowerBoost. The program is an add-on for iChat, and allows older Macs to use features more commonly reserved for the most recent systems. G4 Macs such as iBooks and eMacs can finally participate in multi-user conferences, which support up to 10 participants via audio, or as many as four via video. The program now also enables owners of PowerPC or Core Solo Macs to use the Photo Booth effects in Leopard's iChat 4, though backdrop effects are still off-limits.
Adobe on Friday released an update to its industry-standard graphics applications. The Adobe Photoshop 10.0.1 update, weighing in at more more 170MB, addresses a number of issues discovered after Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended (10.0) software were released, the company said. The most significant fixes in the Photoshop 10.0.1 update include: improving the speed of moving objects contained within multiple layer sets; fixing an issue when converting images to CMYK using certain profiles (no longer results in black files); and adding an XMP metadata option to the Save for Web feature (now located in the settings menu for easier access)
Rivals to Canadian provider Rogers Wireless are dramatically lowering the prices for data access as a defensive measure against the iPhone even before the device is announced for the country, according to a new report by the analyst firm Seaboard Group. A comparison of the access rates required needed to download 1GB of data per month shows the prices dropping dramatically since June: where customers could expect to pay more than $2,250 for the Internet bandwidth at the time, a price drop by Telus in mid-summer dropped the price to $375. By November, both Telus and its fellow CDMA carrier Bell were charging about $100.
Native Instruments and Beatport have released a new, free music player, Beatport SYNC. The software is based on NI's TRAKTOR DJ program, but is in fact meant for more casual playback; the difference is that unlike iTunes, users have two playback decks and a simplified mixing board, which lets users crossfade or beatmatch tracks to create a smooth flow. More complex tasks such as beat detection, tempo sync and loudness control are handled automatically. The program is integrated with iTunes and iPod support, and can play or import music from virtually any connected device including flash sticks and cellphones.
Amazon's much-delayed Kindle eBook reader and matching service are due to launch on Monday, CNET claims late yesterday. Citing an unnamed industry source, the firm alleges that Amazon's device will be introduced at a New York City event and should rely more on an Internet connection than any previous eBook reader. The handheld will include Wi-Fi to let its users buy eBooks from a new Amazon store section devoted to the format. The online retailer is also likely to have signed a deal with Sprint that will give EVDO cellular Internet access for travelers and is even providing each system with an e-mail address, the source says.
In the wake of glowing fourth quarter financial results, Apple's California stores are revealed to be bringing in the largest chunk of the company's retail revenue. California revenue came in at ~$180-million, with New York and Florida stores following at ~$110- and ~$60-million, respectively. In terms of average-per-store, California drops to 12th in the list, with New York (~$9 million), Illinois (~$7 million), and New Hampshire (~$6.5 million) filling in the top three spots. Per Capita earnings shift the table again, with an average customer sale netting ~$7.50 in Delaware, while Hawaii and New York see an average of ~$6.50 and ~$5.50 per customer sale.
Synectics Business Solutions today announced its public beta of BackJack Continuum, its offsite backup companion for Time Machine. Continuum requires Leopard, and a computer capable of running it. When Time Machine completes its various hourly, daily, and weekly backups, Continuum then synchronizes the backup with SBS' secure servers. Should a problem occur, all that is required is for Continuum to be installed on the system, and the software automatically recovers user data from the secured server. BackJack Continuum is expected to be available in mid-December, and while pricing has not been finalized, the company expects it to be around 25¢ per gigabyte.
Edirol today released an update to its M-16DX 2.0 software, enabling DAW controller capabilities. M-16DX is a digital production console that includes a total of 18 inputes, mixing, 24/96 processing, a 3-band sweepable EQ and three professional quality effects. The breakout box is designed to be placed away from the control surface for maximum ease of use. The free software includes Cakewalk SONAR and Apple Logic modes, enabling them to be controlled by the knobs on the M-16DX hardware. The updated software is available from the M-16DX site, and is available for no extra charge to current users.
One blogger recently installed Leopard on his Asus Eee PC, despite requiring a number of workarounds. Initially shipping the Xandros Linux, and later installing Windows XP, he found several tutorials for putting Mac OS X on a PC and decided to undertake the task. Leopard is designed for SSE3, and had to be modified to run on the Eee's SSE2, which he says is available through a page at Lifehacker. The next step involves creating an X86 compatible version of Leopard that is able to be installed on a beige box PC, using a hack from OSX86 Scene. Once a disk image for Leopard is obtained, the rest of the install is handled through a series of line commands and modifications. The blogger cautions that Leopard runs a bit slowly on his model, which has 512 MB of RAM.
Adobe on Friday released updates to Photoshop Lightroom and the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in. Available immediately as free upgrades for existing users, the Lightroom 1.3 update provides added support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and includes a technology preview of the Lightroom Export SDK -- which is available as a separate download on the Adobe Labs site. The Lightroom 1.3 and Camera Raw 4.3 updates also include raw file support for seven additional digital cameras including the Nikon D3, Nikon D300 and Canon 1Ds Mark III. The Lightroom Export SDK preview allows for the development of third-party plug-ins that will enable communication from the Lightroom 1.3 Export Dialog to third party tools, Web sites or devices.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k