Sony Computer Entertainment America today unveiled the North American Playstation store for PCs today, allowing users to access Playstation network games, video content, and services through a computer. The service allows PSP owners to create a Playstation Network account, so they can download and purchase content without requiring a Playstation 3. Users can download exclusive games and demos from the online store without requiring a UMD, and a number of different original Playstation titles, as well as add-on content, videos, and themes to re-skin their PSP's operating system. Playstation 3 owners can also log into the PC service with their Playstation Network ID.
While one shareholder lawsuit was already dropped, a California judge gave leave to attorneys to refile some of the claims, while dismissing others because of timeliness. In June 2006, Apple shareholders filed a lawsuit claiming that company directors and officers, including Chief Executive Steve Jobs, committed fraud when they backdated some awards made between 1997 and 2001 in order to maximize compensation payouts. According to the report, shareholders were seeking return of all proceeds from the backdated options. Following the ruling, lead plaintiffs' attorney Mark Molumphy said Tuesday he intends to refile the case focusing on issues the judge identified.
Griffin Technology recently updated its TuneBuds in-ear headphones to color coordinate with the new line of iPods. The headphones come in six different metallic colors Ė red, light blue, light green, blue, silver and pink. The TuneBuds feature a neodymium driver, and three sets of interchangeable silicone ear cushions that allow for a wider comfort level for the user. The in-ear design cuts out external noise, allowing users to enjoy their music at much quieter levels, while still being able to hear all the detail. The headphone jack is very slim, which lets the TuneBuds work with a wide variety of iPod cases, or any recessed mini-jack. Griffin is currently shipping the TuneBuds in color for $20.
REAL Software, creators of the cross-platform software development tool REALbasic, have announced that they will be hosting REAL World 2008 in Austin, Texas. The conference is intended for REALbasic developers and experts, with the intent of providing the exchange of information between basic and advanced users, and will feature in excess of 40 breakout sessions for users of different skill levels, with presentations from numerous speakers, both from inside the company and from experts in the software development field. REALworld 2008 will be active from Tuesday, March 18th 2008, until Friday, March 21st, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin. Attendees will have a special rate at the hotel, for $170, while rates for the conference are $600 for early registration until December 12th. From then until February 12th, the event will cost $700, and $750 thereafter.
Apple today won three patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, one of which relates to the user interface of its Shake pro application for advanced digital compositing. The Shake-related patent, titled "Depth ordering of planes and displaying interconnects having an appearance indicating data characteristics," details displaying interconnects with a visual indication of the data characteristics. Determining a depth ordering between two planes in a 3D workspace is achieved by projecting vectors from a reference position through points of interest on the planes, according to Apple's invention.
British radio maker Revo has released a new device, the Blik. Though able to function as a normal FM radio or alarm clock, the Blik's key advantage is its Wi-Fi, which has listings for over 6,000 continually-updated Internet stations, as well as various "listen again" services such as those operated by the BBC. Should Internet options not be appealing, users can stream MP3 and WMA audio from their Mac or PC, or plug in an iPod for more direct playback. The Blik is selling in the UK for £100 ($205).
Aluratek recently unveiled a new lineup of digital picture frames, and announced that they are fully compatible with Mac OS 10.4. Included in this release are the 10.5-inch ADMPF110 and 210 ($180), the 11-inch ADMPF311F($200), the 12-inch ADMPF312F($230), and the 15-inch ADMPF315F($300). The picture frames feature a high resolution TFT true color LCD screen, a wooden frame, and built in speakers, which allow users to listen to MP3 or WMA music files, view videos, or set up presentations with background music. The frames accept connections from digital cameras, USB flash drives, memory cards or a direct computer connection, and support drag-and-drop functionality. Aluratek's frames can be mounted on a wall or displayed on a surface using the included stand, and they come with a kit containing a remote, USB 2.0 cable, power adapter, and instructions.
Verizon Wireless will soon carry the KPC680, an ExpressCard 34 modem built by phone maker Kyocera. The card is notable mainly for supporting EVDO Revision A, a format which here peaks at 1.4Mbps down, although Verizon claims 600kbps is more likely. Upload speeds, meanwhile, are said to vary between 500 and 800kbps. Distinguishing features of the card include a corkscrew flip-up antenna, and twin ports for improving reception with external antennas. Computers using the card require Windows 2000, XP or Vista, or else Mac OS X 10.4.8 and higher. The 680 normally costs $100 with a two-year contract, but is $50 cheaper online; in either case, users must subscribe to Verizon's BroadbandAccess service.
Outside of those most eager to sign on to Microsoft's 1.0 vision of its own digital music player, most agree that the original Zune -- still on sale as the Zune 30 after a firmware update -- is something of a flop. The hard disk drive-based player is bulky, quick to run out of battery power, and its much-ballyhooed Wi-Fi sharing turned out to be largely useless. This adds an extra burden to the first flash-based Zunes: they not only have to compete against the iPod nano and other fierce competitors but also represent a genuine improvement to the Zune line as a whole. As it turns out, both the Zune 4 and Zune 8 come close enough to the iPod's design that Apple may feel pressure for the first time -- though not quite enough to cause sleepless nights in Cupertino. Click ahead for the full Zune 4/8 review.
A second version of Canon's EOS-5D may be in production, a listing error suggests. Amongst the possible cameras a photographer might have, the bug submission form for Capture One beta 4 (by Phase One) lists a "Canon 5D Mark II;" selections are otherwise fairly conventional, limited to a host of known cameras and digital backs. The mistake is given weight both by Phase One's leading-edge reputation and by the EOS-40D, which was similarly exposed, and then officially confirmed on August 20th.
Various sources online are reporting that Saturday, November 24th, starting at 8AM, Wal-Mart stores across the United States will be offering a unique bundle to promote Sony's PlayStation 3 console. Shoppers who buy the $499, 80GB PS3 will be able to pick up 10 free Blu-Ray movies at the same time, in a deal that may be worth as much as $300. This is claimed to be on top of any existing bundles a system might ship with, such as a mail-in for five more movies. The worth of the bundle comes from its price restriction, which limits each title to a cost of $30 or less. This eliminates any TV boxsets from the equation, but should it should be enough to cover older movies such as Rocky, Reservoir Dogs and Unforgiven. [via G4TV]
OnScreen Science today announced that OnScreen DNA Lite, the entry-level edition of its software for learning the structure and function of DNA, is available for free via download. OnScreen DNA Lite uses a 3D virtual model in a tutorial framework to teach the structural details of DNA, including its double helix geometry and chemical components and bonds. The software also includes animated simulations of biotech lab phenomena in which the two strands of DNA are seen to separate and then reattach. OnScreen DNA Lite requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
An unidentified cracker known as malcor has defaced MacApper.com, marking the second compromised Apple-related website in what has become a series of attacks. Citing Mac user "smugness," malcor claims to be "amputating" the "rot" for the good of the Mac user community. Each attack includes an image of one or more rotting apples, usually in a late stage of decay or teaming with insects devouring the aging fruit, as well as a specific message to the Mac community.
The Japanese division of JVC, JVC Victor, says it is producing a new D-ILA projector capable of extremely high resolutions. The maximum image size of the DLA-SH4K extends to 4096x2400 -- a level simply dubbed "4K," and currently used by a select few professional movie cameras. Years from now, the standard may also be the next likely successor to the 1080p plateau on HDTVs. The SH4K is also capable of a powerful 3,500 lumens of brightness using a xenon lamp, and a contrast ratio rated at 10,000:1.
The contemporary comedy-drama "Purple Violets" this morning became the first feature film to premiere exclusively on iTunes. Purple Violets tells the romantic tale of two successful college friends who, now professionals in their 30s, meet up with the women they loved and lost in school. The film is available via the iTunes Store for $12.99 as a 1.15GB download in widescreen format. The movie is available only from Apple's iTunes Store this month.
Apple has announced a special sales event planned for this Friday, November 23rd. Marketed under the slogan "Ready. Set. Shop," the event's splash page at the online Apple Store encourages visitors to return the day after Thanksgiving, when they may find a number of products discounted, such as Macs and iPods. The site will also be offering free shipping, though shoppers will be able to skip that step by visiting a retail store, where similar sales will be in effect. Extended hours will be in place as well, though these will vary from location to location.
Verizon on Tuesday escalated its fight against cable by introducing a major increase to upload speeds for regular users of its FIOS fiber optic Internet access. While the provider has already offered special symmetric access plans since late October, 16 of the US states that carry FIOS will now see much improved asymmetric speeds. States which currently offer 30Mbps download speeds will see their uploads increase from 5Mbps to 15Mbps; Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island all see their 50Mbps connection plans gain an increase in upstream bandwidth from the original 5Mbps to an even higher 20Mbps. The major increase can provide a tremendous improvement to multiplayer gaming, video chats, and other software which depends heavily on uploads to reduce lag, Verizon says.
Microspot today released Interiors Professional, an application that provides interior space and modeling space with a shared library. Interiors Pro includes a raytrace renderer as well as built-in modeling tools to create realistic designs and animations. Microspot's Interiors Professional is priced at $250, while upgrades for registered users of Interiors and Interiors/Modeler are priced at $115 and $55, respectively. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Measures have at last been implemented to solve problems with the European .Mac service, Apple has announced. Users have complained for months of abnormally slow image uploads, frequently limited to between 78-80kbps. Posting a notice on its Support forums, Apple now says that it has made changes to the backend of the .Mac Web Gallery, affecting home pages and photo albums. Pages should now load "noticeably faster," although users are cautioned that performance may vary based on connections and configurations.
Best Buy today revealed some of its 'doorcrasher' deals for Black Friday, including an unprecedented $229 promotion for the bundle of a notebook and a printer. The deal will see a Toshiba Satellite A135 with a 1.73GHz Celeron M, 512MB of memory, and an 80GB hard disk paired with a Canon PIXMA MP210 hybrid printer and scanner; the combination is nearly a $651 drop from the normal price for the two, the retailer says. No mention is made of how widespread the deal will be or how many of the bundles will be available, though the company is handing out tickets on the store's opening and is believed to be clearing out existing stock while also driving customers to the store.
Nintendo today jumpstarted the sales of its DS Lite handheld system with a pair of models with unique colors and game bundles. The Gold model comes with the Zelda game Phantom Hourglass and reflects this with a special Triforce logo from the game on the outer lid. A counterpart Metallic Rose model substitutes Nintendogs and adds a paw print in place of the earlier logo. Both systems are otherwise the same as their original dual-screened counterparts
Despite concerns, the iPhone is not sending gratuitous identifiers to Apple, a German publication reports. Warnings had been raised about binaries for the iPhone's Stocks and Weather applications, which appeared to be sending IMEI numbers to Apple URLs; these could in theory be used to pair a user with his web activity. It is now claimed through testing, though, that the iPhone does not send out its real IMEI, but rather codes unique to each application. The codes are also uniform across iPhones, meaning that they cannot be traced to a particular device.
QuickerTek on Tuesday introduced the Dualy, a new USB device that brings hi-speed networking -- including 802.11b/n/g -- to any Mac. The Dualy seeks out more distant wireless signals using two transceivers coursing wireless across two antennas for maximum signal strength and speed. The company says that the two 500 milliwatt transceivers inside each Dualy offering more than 15 times the standard 25 - 30 milliwatts of RF power in standard Mac laptops. In addition, the dual-3dBi antennas (one for each transceiver) provide the speed necessary for 802.11n wireless that runs in the 2.4GHz range. Users can also choose to upgrade the antennas for even greater distance and wireless speeds. Quikertek's Dualy easily clips to the Mac laptop case and is powered from the USB port. It is also fully compatible with all Apple AirPort Base Stations and runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, including Leopard (10.5x). It is available for $326.
Apple has issued a letter to members of its Apple Authorized Business Agent (AABA) program announcing that the service will be discontinued on December 31st, 2007. Apple touted the sales program as enabling professionals trained and experienced in helping customers make informed purchasing decisions. AABA Agents offer personalized assistance, expert technical advice, knowledge of industry trends, and customized service. Agents were told to expect supplemental revenue, Apple training as well as support, professional backing from the Cupertino-based company itself, and new opportunities with minimal overhead.
Normally known for its home appliances in the US, Haier today entered the American market with the ibiza Rhapsody, its first portable media player in the country and one of the few to take direct advantage of built-in Wi-Fi. Partnering with RealNetworks, Haier provides access to the former's Rhapsody unlimited subscription service to provide downloads of new tracks anywhere the ibiza can connect to the Internet; an existing subscriber can fill the player with music without touching a computer, Haier says. The device can also browse AOL Video clips for free and even subscribe to podcasts directly from the device.
Germany's legal system has granted a preliminary injunction against T-Mobile sales of the iPhone, filings reveal. Reuters reports that the measure was instigated by rival carrier Vodafone, which argued that the iPhone should not be sold under its current terms, requiring buyers to agree to a two-year T-Mobile contract; moreover, the phone is engineered to be difficult if not impossible to unlock. A number of European countries explicitly allow unlocking, and in some cases forbid carriers from selling exclusive contracts.
Nokia late yesterday began shipping the N810 tablet to the US, hoping to replace both notebooks and portable media players at once. True to the version originally announced last month, the device adds a slide-out keyboard and a more compact overall shape to the formula of the N800, and carries a front VGA camera for calls and photos; the shipping version also carries 2GB of built-in storage and a card slot for up to 8GB more for users relying on the N810 as their chief media player or even a work system.
Nikon on Tuesday devoted attention to beginners graduating to digital SLRs with a new entry-level Nikkor lens. The AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is specifically aimed at amateur photographers who need their first removable lens but also want a step up in image quality: though roughly equivalent to the 3X zoom factor of point-and-shoot cameras, the lens adds vibration reduction that steadies the image for minor shaking both in close-up shots as well as reasonably distant telephoto shots of landscapes and similar subjects. Photographers can drop their shutter speeds three stops lower to take photos in darker scenes without blurring, the camera maker says.
Algoriddim today released an update to its disk-jockeying software, Djay 2.0, introducing a new interface, enhanced performance, and a redesigned audio engine, as well as some new features. Djay now includes an automix mode that allows for automatic visual mixing, with a built-in sampler. A Live Microphone features real time echoes and voice pitch changing that allow for many different mixing possibilities. Algoriddim is currently selling the updated application for $50, requiring a 1GHz G4 or faster with 512MB of memory, and runs under Mac OS 10.4 or higher.
Veteran Mac developers The Omni Group have been producing OS X software since its inception, initially creating OmniWeb and porting Bungie's Oni to the platform. Having since blossomed from its humble beginnings by introducing many different applications for home and business, The Omni Group has unveiled its latest product, OmniFocus Ė an application designed to help personal and small business users stay on top of their tasks and duties. By using a trim application window and Apple app integration, OmniFocus hopes to offer an easy-to-use, albeit powerful, experience.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX