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Apricorn Aegis Vault
Apricorn recently unveiled the Aegis Vault - a 2.5-inch drive protected with 128-bit AES hardware encryption - adding to its large lineup of Aegis portable media drives. The USB-powered drive features an encrypted partition that can be accessed through a password, and can be configured with public partitions for use in a shared environment. The Aegis Vault does not require the host computer to have special software installed to authenticate the drive, allowing any Windows-based computer to access the content in the encrypted partition when the correct password is entered. Pricing for the Aegis Vault starts at $170 for the 80GB version, with drive sizes available up to 250GB.
PUB2ID 1.5, Suitcase 12.17
Preflight and conversion mogul Markzware recently unveiled the final release of Microsoft Publisher to Adobe InDesign 1.5, or PUB2ID, while Extensis has announced Mac OS 10.5 Leopard support in Suitcase Fusion 12.1.7. PUB2ID is designed to convert Microsoft Publisher files, from versions 2002 through 2007, to Adobe InDesign CS2 and CS3, with the exception of Publisher 2007 documents that are converted to XPS format. The plugin supports a number of Publisher formatting options, including: page size, positioning, color models, fonts and styles, text attributes and labels, layers, word wrap, linked text boxes, and automatic extraction of embedded images. Markzware says that PUB2ID works with both Mac and Windows versions of InDesign, and that it is currently available for $200, with 5- and 10-seat licenses as optional purchases.
Matias iRizer, MiniRizer
Premium accessory manufacturer Matias recently unveiled the iRizer, a flat-folding, adjustable laptop stand. The iRizer is constructed from acrylic plastic, and can hold a laptop at angles between 20- and 50-degrees. Matias advertises that the stand can be used without an external keyboard - usually the height and orientation of the laptop on a stand can prevent comfortable typing - as the iRizer puts the built-in keyboard at a more acceptable angle, allowing users to sit back in their chair, as recommended by most ergonomists. Matias is currently shipping the iRizer for $40.
Iona College Mac switch
Iona College in New Rochelle, New York has long used Windows-based solutions for its various computer labs, and in March 2007, Chief Information Officer Joanne Steele filled an entire lab with 52 Intel-based iMacs in an effort to streamline maintenance and support issues. After 20 years of a PC-only environment, the decision was made to explore whether Apple's Mac OS and Boot Camp would be a valid option to provide the most cohesive multi-platform environment. In addition, the iMacs provided the peripheral benefit of having a small footprint and integrated security options such as a Kensington lock slot.
Quay 1.0 released
Independent coder Rainer Brockerhoff has released v1.0 of Quay, an add-on for Mac OS X Leopard. While Apple developed the Stacks feature of the Leopard Dock to be more convenient, Quay returns the hierarchical menus of Tiger, while introducing new differences. Clicking on a folder, for instance, can show files organized by user-specified criteria, such as name, date or file type. Accompanying icons can be displayed in different sizes, and options are present for showing invisible or packaged content.
Cell use at 50 percent
The number of global cellular subscriptions is now equivalent to half the planet's total population, says the research company Informa. A new analysis claims that subcriptions have surpassed the 3.3 billion mark, a staggering achievement for any electronics product. Growth is so fast, cellphones are already ingrained with otherwise impoverished countries such as China and India, with some tentative steps being made into Africa. National economies have in some cases benefitted greatly: much of Finland's financial health is dependent on Nokia, and among South Korea's corporate giants are Samsung and LG.
Dell Marketshare Tumbles
The once-dominant PC maker Dell is growing far more slowly than many rival PC makers and is taking a dive in marketshare as a result, according to a new study from iSuppli. The research group found that the company's shipping numbers grew just 1.5 percent year over year; this resulted in a drop of its command of PCs from 16.3 to 14.6 percent of the world's share. HP in turn jumped by almost 16 percent to take the lead with 19.1 percent of all PCs sold. Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba rounded out top five, though Acer is expected to push its share upwards after it finishes its takeover of Gateway.
SonicWALL Quicktime issue
Networking security hardware manufacturer SonicWALL recently announced that it has distributed defensive measures to users of it's Unified Threat Management technology, against zero-day vulnerability exploits found in QuickTime. Malicious websites are able to create a stack-based buffer overflow in Apple's media player, by providing a phony movie file that, when activated, executes a series of code that allows a users machine to be taken over. SonicWALL says that the problem lies within the "Content-Type" header field that is sent from the server, which is not properly verified by the client's QuickTime. Once the "Content-Type" field reaches a certain length, a Buffer Overflow condition occurs, and through this, malevolent users can rewrite a user's privileges so that they have read-write access to the machine.
NVous Britto notebooks
Notebook builder NVousPC is publicizing a new custom-painted system, the Britto PC. A collaboration with pop painter Romero Britto, the only model currently produced is sitting at the artist's gallery, and is illustrated on all available surfaces with a version of a work called "Mia's Jungle." Other Britto notebooks should eventually reach the public however, and internal specifications have been revealed to include a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo chipset, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard disk. The system will also come preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate, but the optical drive will merely be a DVD combo model. No prices have been mentioned.
Win Mobile 6 Update Soon
Microsoft has provided companies a preview of a significant update to Windows Mobile at the cellphone-oriented Mobius conference, say reports from the event. Though guests have been asked not to leak specific information about the software, it should be an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 rather than a completely new version but will still have tangible new features and other upgrades compared to the original version, which launched early this year and has remained largely unchanged since.
Zune 80 in Originals
Microsoft has announced that the Zune 80, the company's latest full-size media player, is finally eligible for the Zune Originals program. Buyers of a Zune 80 can now have their player emblazoned for free with one of 27 different pieces of art, created by 18 different artists; alternately, up to five lines of text can be laser-engraved. Microsoft will later let shoppers choose from an additional 20 tattoo-style graphics, which can be combined with up to three lines of text.
Warner Music Profit Drop
Warner Music Group on Thursday reported a major drop in profits for its last financial quarter that it largely attributes to online music. Although the company noted that its purely download-based music income increased by 25 percent to $130 million, the company's overall profit dropped about 58 percent and resulted in just $5 million versus $12 million the year before. This income would have been worse still had the company not taken advantage of a settlement with Bertelsmann over a Napster legal dispute.
Adobe plug-ins updated
Two plug-in updates have surfaced for Adobe software to help users update prices in InDesign documents and 'spray' pictures on top of any RGB photos or layers in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements. Meadows Publishing Solutions has released AutoPrice for Adobe InDesign CS3, an easy-to-use plug-in module designed to streamline the updating of prices and similar information in InDesign documents. Meanwhile Human Software has released PhotoSpray 1.8 as a Universal Binary that works with Mac OS X Leopard (pricing for both AutoPrice and PhotoSpray was unavailable).
S. Korean death challenged
The death of a Korean man may not be attributable to his cellphone, as once thought, the Associated Press writes. The man was found dead Wednesday with a melted cellphone battery near his chest, but the country's National Institute of Scientific Investigation now says that fatal damage to the heart and lungs could not have been caused by the pressure of a cellphone explosion. The man had also been found with burn-like chest injuries, as well as a broken spine and ribs.
ASUS Nova P22
ASUS today introduced one of its rare desktop systems. Called the Nova P22, the PC is aimed squarely at the micro-PC field of the Mac mini and effectively hides virtually all of the front desktops while sitting roughly two inches tall; it includes a slot-load optical drive and places virtually all input at the back. Unlike the mobile CPU of its Apple counterpart, the system is driven by a desktop 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo with a far faster 1.06GHz front side bus.
Moto ZINE Leak
Motorola is planning a whole new line of phones in 2008 and will center this around one of the most advanced media phones to date, claim bloggers tapping sources at a Motorola Spain event. Called the ZINE line, the series will reportedly include at least two models next year and will include at least one phone based on the kick-slider design of the RIZR Z8. The handset would be based on the rumored Z10 (which is now pushed back to early 2008) but would have a slightly larger housing to accommodate a touchscreen along with the usual sliding keypad. It would also draw on new technology developed in tandem with Kodak to include an 8-megapixel camera and boast an extremely rare optical zoom lens.
Microsoft vs Z4 Suit
Microsoft will have to pay $140 million in damages after being found culpable of patent infringement for a password system, a judge in a Marshall, Texas court has ruled this week. The software firm's Windows XP operating system and Office 2003 have both allegedly abused patents held by licensing firm Z4 Technologies that address a system which asks the user for two password-like security codes that can be used to both access and deactivate software. Requiring CD keys and activation codes for these programs is a blatant violation, Z4 claims. AutoCAD and Maya creator Autodesk is also liable and will pay $18 million to the court.
Blu-Ray takes Black Friday
Blu-Ray remains the format of choice in the HD world, results from the week of Black Friday show. Data from Nielsen VideoScan reveals that of the HD discs bought during last week, 72.6 percent of them were Blu-Ray titles, leaving HD DVD at 27.4 percent. This is despite a massive influx of HD DVD players from Wal-Mart's $99 sale, and the success of particular titles such as Transformers. Simply by itself, the Blu-Ray version of Live Free or Die Hard sold nearly 100,000 copies, according to one Fox Home Entertainment executive.
Data Rescue II for Leopard
Prosoft Engineering today announced that the latest version of its Data Rescue II software offers full support for Mac OS X Leopard. The previous revision was only compatible with a Leopard-based Mac when booted from the optical drive, according to the company, and the update achieves Leopard compatibility without the need to boot from a CD or DVD disk. Data Rescue II helps users recover files from problematic hard drives or files that were previously deleted. The software is priced at $100 and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Venturer SHD7000 HD DVD
Venturer today vowed to up-end the typically expensive HD video player market and launched the SHD7000, one of the lowest-cost HD DVD players yet and one of the few inexpensive models beyond Toshiba. The slim device is the first to sell at the $199 mark without a closeout sale or a promo campaign and matches many of the features as Toshiba's HD-A2 and HD-A3: it outputs at a maximum 1080i but supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD in 5.1-channel surround, outputs through HDMI, and accepts Ethernet connections for updates or Internet-based special movie features.
Wine Collector 250 ships
IntelliScanner has unveiled its Wine Collector 250, a portable barcode scanner and companion software package for managing wine collections. The scanner and software provide instant wine bottle details using an internet-enabled database and AUtoFill technology, helping users to determine the best drinking time and build custom reports to facilitate collection sharing with integrated iPhone sharing as well as Web 2.0 publishing. Wine Collector 250 is already shipping for $300, with a special edition model that includes a corded non-portable scanner also available for $200.
CLC Bio datbase released
CLC bio today released CLC Bioinformatics Database, a new data storage application designed to increase the productivity of large and small reserach organizations. For organizations already having an existing relational database in use for sharing DNA, RNA, and protein sequence data, the CLC Bioinformatics Database interface is customizable to store and retrieve data directly from that database. CLC Bioinformatics is made up of a relational database -- one of Oracle, PostgreSQL, or MySQL -- as well as Commercial workbench client for interacting with the database and a Web-based administrative interface (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Cowon Q5W coming in Dec.
Cowon has revealed that its Q5W media player, announced for the US earlier this month, will at last ship in early December. The player is unique in several respects; it supports 802.11b Wi-Fi for instance, but unlike Apple's iPod touch, can browse websites with and without Flash. The player also has a five-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, which can be optimized for either fingers or a stylus.
Xserve "Lights-Out" v1.1
Alongside its iPod software updates, Apple has released Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware Update 1.1 for its high-density, 1U rackmount server. The Xserve The update includes changes to the Lights-Out Management environment for the Intel-based Xserve. Apple said it addresses the intermittent issue that causes the LOM port to be unresponsive. This update is strongly recommended for all Intel-based Xserve systems. The Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware Update 1.1 application will be installed into the "/Applications/Server" folder of the selected volume, according the documentation. Users must then run the firmware update application -- either through the Finder or via the command line-- to perform the update. The 780K download is available via the Web.
Ableton Suite, Live 7
Ableton today released Ableton Live 7, several new add-on instruments, and Ableton Suite. Ableton Live 7 enhances the audio engine to improve fidelity with 64-bit mix summing, POW-r dithering, optimized sample-rate conversion, and more. A new compressor device integrates three compression models, one of which is based on a feedback design commonly found in the most most praised vintage compressors, according to Ableton. Ableton 7 is priced at $500, and new add-on instruments are available for $160 each. The Ableton Suite is priced at $800.
EMI Scaling Back RIAA
Music label EMI could weaken the anti-piracy campaigns of both the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the near future by reducing its financial help with both organizations, claims an anonymous insider speaking to Reuters. A recent acquisition of EMI by the private equity firm Terra Firma is known to have triggered a financial review that would reduce the millions of dollars that the label supplies to both groups.
Dutch royalty buys iPhone
Members of the Dutch royal family are among the latest to own iPhones, German and Dutch sites are reporting. Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange and heir to the Dutch throne, was yesterday spotted buying two iPhones with his wife, the Argentinian-born Máxima. The purchase was unusual in that it was not made at a European store, but rather at Apple's Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City, where the iPhones are by default locked to AT&T; to use an iPhone in the Netherlands, owners must either buy an unlocked device from France or Germany, or else install hacks.
Verizon Chooses LTE for 4G
Verizon on Thursday confirmed a choice of its fourth-generation cellular Internet access that will dictate both its phone offerings and its compatibility with other networks. The company says it will use the new standard known as Long-Term Evolution, or LTE; the technology promises as much as 100 megabits per second in downloads and 50 megabits in the reverse direction while also cutting down latency to 20 milliseconds, making particularly intensive online games, high-quality two-way video, and other time-sensitive features more practical.
Security specialist McAfee has released a new update for VirusScan for Mac, v8.6. Crucial to the latest edition is official support for Mac OS X Leopard, guaranteeing maximum compatibility; also included, however, is improved performance in file caching, using on-access and on-demand techniques. This will cache previously scanned files, sometimes reducing total scanning time from minutes to seconds. ePolicy Orchestrator 4.0 allows VirusScan management via the web, and signature file updates can now be incremental, so that downloads are often in kilobytes rather than megabytes. The program costs a minimum of $37 for a single license.
AT&T: 3G iPhone in 2008
A long-anticipated 3G version of the iPhone is guaranteed for 2008, AT&T's head has told a meeting of the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, California. "You'll have it next year," said CEO Randall Stephenson. The executive would not elaborate on how fast the new phone would be, but AT&T currently operates 3G through an HSPA network, theoretically capable of speeds up to 3.6Mbps. Stephenson is also refusing to comment on whether or not it will cost the same as the current $399 iPhone, except to say that Apple CEO Steve Jobs "will dictate what the price of the phone is."
TiVo Series 4 Hint
TiVo may have tipped its hand and revealed the next generation of its digital video recorder, according to the company's third-quarter results briefing. The device maker says that it has made a deal with the cable TV industry that will let TiVo's hardware tune any signal that supports the OpenCable standard in both directions. This will allow an upcoming DVR to access video-on-demand services and other features that have previously been impossible to implement in the past, the company says. Today, TiVo's Series 2, Series 3, and TiVo HD models all support only one-way analog or digital tuning, forcing users to visit non-interactive channels.
Canada Wireless Auction
An upcoming wireless frequency auction in Canada will mirror the 700MHz auction in the US in its attempt to foster genuine competition, says the country's Industry Minister, Jim Prentice. Under a new set of rules, the government will deliberately set aside 40 percent of the available spectrum for companies new to the field in an attempt to prevent incumbents such as Bell or Rogers from shutting out competitors. The amount of airwave space up for grabs will be enough to start a national wireless carrier and offer a fourth alternative that could drive down the high cellular calling and Internet access prices that are hurting customers, Prentice says.
Xsilva Systems recently unveiled LightSpeed 2.5, an update to its Mac OS-based point of sale system, introducing features such as Leopard compatibility, iPhone integration, and CoverFlow. Retailers are able to track sales, payments, returns, and invoice counts over various periods of time using the iPhone App, LightSpeed Stats. Stats can also show information regarding which employees are currently clocked in for work and how much time they've spent on Jobs and Tasks, and the app links employee contact information to the iPhone so that emails and phone calls to staff require only one tap. LightSpeed 2.5 is available from select retailers, as well as the Xsilva online store, starting from $750.
Mac GPS Pro, MacTopos CAN
James Associates has released MacTopos Canada 1.0, a collection of topographical maps for Canadian provinces, and has updated its GPS Software, MacGPS Pro 7.4. MacTopos Canada uses auto-georeferenced, compressed maps to use in conjunction with MacGPS Pro. The maps, which come on several DVDs, are from the National Resources Canada digital topography maps, allowing users to view them in 1:50K and 1:250K scale ratios, and include georeferenced index maps as well. Pricing for the maps vary between $20 and $50, depending on which province is purchased, and James Associates is currently offering them at an introductory discount.
DVB-H Becomes Standard
The DVB-H (digital video broadcasting, handheld) format championed by Nokia is now ratified as Europe's standard for portable digital TV, the European Commission says today. Although the continent-wide organization had chosen the format in the summer, a vote by European Union members voted in favor of choosing the standard. This will demand that any cellphone, computer, or other device made for mobile TV in these countries must use the format for their networks. Such a decision will avoid fragmenting the market and encourage companies to develop hardware knowing they can ship a large amount and reduce the overall price, the EC says.
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