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Vudu gets Bourne Ultimatum
Hollywood studios are taking a chance on the Vudu set-top box by granting the service the right to distribute the first of many major movies simultaneously with the official DVD release. The Bourne Ultimatum will be available Tuesday for rent or purchase, in standard and high definition. Universal Pictures is one of a few studios that have agreed to sell high definition content through the Vudu box, though there are not many titles currently available, in contrast to the 5000 standard definition titles that Vudu offers. Vudu sells the set-top box for $400, with rentals ranging from $1 to $5.
Brain Challenge for iPods
Gameloft on Monday announced that Brain Challenge, a game designed to stimulate and enhance brain activity, is now available on the iTunes Store. The company says the games serves as an easy solution for keeping the brain alert, offering different levels to choose from based on a player's abilities and needs along with a simple scoring system to evaluate the level of brain activity. The title features 20 different games designed to train certain areas of brain activity based on five categories of exercises: Memory, Visual, Logic, Math and Focus. At the end of each test, players receive marks based on accuracy and speed and a diagram summarizes their performance in each category so that players can monitor the progress of their brain training daily.
Tune Boom Leopard update
Toon Boom Animation Inc. recently updated Toon Boom Studio 4 to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The update is available for free for registered users of the latest incarnation of the animation software. Originally released in September, Toon Boom 4 brought with it a brand new user interface and photo animation, as well as some new styles and web publishing options. Now Leopard users can use the 30+ new features of Tune Boom 4 without complications. Toon Boom Studio 4 is available for $400 as a direct download from the company's website.
VoIP for iPod touch
By using the SvSIP software for the Nintendo DS provided by Samuel Vinson, a developer identified as "Eok" has created a semi-working VoIP client for the iPod touch. Although the Touch does not have a built in microphone, a small dock connector mic was developed by Touchmods' Marian and has been successfully tested with the SvSIP software. Information on the project is sparse so far, with only a casual mention, and a few lines from the log files.
Pleasant Software today promised to unveil new versions of both Ubercaster and ShowMacster at Macworld Expo 2008 in San Francisco early next year. The first in a series of planned Ubercaster 1.5 sneak peeks is already available via the company's blog, and Pleasant Software is already scheduled to attend Macworld Expo 2008 from January 15-18 with shows and software products at booth no. S-1338.
In brief: Mac OS X Leopard has been certified for the UNIX 03 standard, E-mu sounds are now available for Dimension, Intego has begun offering VMWare Fusion bundles, Linotype Platinum Value Packs have debuted, QuickerTek has updated its Mac OSX 10.5.1 wireless product drivers ... The Open Group, a vendor and technology-neutral consortium focused on open standards and global interoperability within and between enterprises, today announced that both Mac OS X Leopard and Mac OS X Server Leopard from Apple Inc. have been awarded a certificate of conformance tthe UNIX 03 standard. UNIX 03 is the certification mark for systems conforming tthe latest UNIX product standard developed by The Open Group Platform Forum for the Single UNIX Specification version 3.
Security flaws in Leopard
A new denial of service (DoS) vulnerability has surfaced in Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system that can result in crashes, according to Heise Security. The flaw, which is an integer overflow in the load_threadstack function in mach_loader.c, occurs when processing Mach-O binaries and can lead to a kernel panic. Single user systems should not be at risk, according to the company, but multi-user setups are vulnerable because attackers do not require any special privileges to provoke the error.
QuickUML 3.0 adds PHP
Excel Software recently unveiled QuickUML 3.0, an update to its Unified Modeling Language programming software, adding new features and functionality. Users can now generate PHP code in addition to C++, Java, Delphi, and Objective-C. New presentation features allow for class-definitions of operations, properties, and events, with customized color, access, data type, and visibility options. Users can view an entire project in a multi-pane window, where work is saved as a platform-independant XML formatted text file. New users can purchase QuickUML 3.0 for $300 directly from Excel Software.
Canadian DMCA Stalled
Canada's equivalent to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been suddenly shelved, according to a claim by fair rights advocate and legal expert Michael Geist. The unnamed revision to Canada's Copyright Act is said to have been at least temporarily postponed from a planned Tuesday presentation due to the "thousands" of messages and phone calls made to the office of the country's Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The planned law is regarded as more restrictive than the American law by restricting copying even for fair use or many educational purposes, which are typically seen as exempt from the DMCA. Staple features of US technology such as time-shifting for digital video recorders would be illegal, according to Geist's analysis.
Linux LiPS phone standard
A competing mobile Linux standard is moving ahead despite the threat posed by Google, InfoWorld reports. The Linux Phone Standards Forum, or LiPS, has released the first specification of a new cellular software platform. Like Google's Android, the LiPS software contains APIs for dialing, messaging, and various other user interfaces; it is not however a complete OS, instead being a means of ensuring that programs made for one phone will also work on another, even if certain key components are changed.
Everek Cloudbook Leak
Budget PC maker Everex hopes to do with ultra-mobile PCs what it did with the gPC desktop, says a leak from the company. To be called the Cloudbook, it will target the recently launched ASUS Eee PC with a similar 7-inch screen and the use of its in-house gOS Linux software in place of a costlier and more demanding copy of Windows; a 1.3-megapixel webcam is also expected to be part of the design.
ASUS U6 laptops US-bound
ASUS has revealed that its U6 luxury notebooks are at last coming to the US. The U6E (white) and U6S (brown) are distinguished at first by glossy exteriors, but inside are palmrests covered entirely in leather, and status-light bars designed in decorative metal. In practical terms the machines measure only 12.1 inches, but they do have a number of key accessories: these include HDMI ports, LED backlights, Super Multi DVD drives, and 8-in-1 card readers.
RokAir for Macs
Rokland recently unveiled the RokAir WiFi USB adaptor for Macs using OS 10.3 or higher. The RokAir is billed as an Airport alternative, and uses 802.11b and g to communicate with routers. Rokland says that users can expect to see a 100- to 200-foot area of reception from the device, which is flash drive-shaped and simply plugs in to a vacant USB port. The Rokair comes with a built-in heatsink, so that it can be used for long periods of time without overheating. Rokland is selling the adaptor for $30, plus shipping, and is available now.
Mobility Radeon HD 2700
AMD's graphics brand ATI has quietly posted details of the Mobility Radeon HD 2700, a new upgrade to the mid-range HD 2600 graphics chip for notebooks. ATI's update is built around the smaller 65-nanometer manufacturing process as the desktop Radeon HD 3800 and runs both cooler and more efficiently than the 2600 it replaces. To run safely in thin-and-light notebooks, it will carry 120 shader processors versus the 320 of the desktop parts and a smaller 128-bit (versus 256-bit) bus. Clock speeds for the core and memory are likely to increase.
Apple free shipping
The online Apple Store is pushing a special holiday promotion for today (December 10th) only where users can receive free shipping on any item purchased. The offer is available December 10th, 2007 from 3:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. PST. Excepted from the promtion are APC racks and uninterruptible power supply products, but apparently all other third-party products fall under the offer.
Captain FTP 5.2 ($25) FTP and SFTP client for Mac OS X. A new feature, File compare, shows the differences line by line and even character by character. This is quite important to maintain version control with frequently updated files and ensure that the correct version of files are transferred or 'sync'd' to external sites. For examples users may use File Compare to ensure that the correct text file is used to update a website with new information. [Download - form]
iList Data 3.6 ($70) low cost database software for the Macintosh. Includes integrated graphing, ten find modes, a new speed browse feature, and batch editing. Also included is extensive support for cataloging images and other files. This release has a new speed browse feature that dramatically speeds up searches when browsing thousands of records at a time and updated support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). [Download - 13MB]
SecuritySpy 1.5.3 ($58) Multi-camera video surveillance software for the Macintosh. Features include motion detection, real-time compression and network video streaming. The new release is fully compatible with Mac OS X 1.5 "Leopard"; standard system sounds are now available as audio alarms, and it fixes problem viewing MPEG-4 encoded video streams in web browsers using the Java applet [Download - 2.4MB]
Galder 1.1 ($20) puzzle board game for Mac OS X. In Galder, the player must remove gem stones from an interactive circular game board by matching identical stones to get the highest score. Version 1.1 increases performance, improves the graphics with a new graphics filter and resolves several bugs. A demo of Galder is available from the Fastforward website. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, 256MB RAM required and at least 32MB VRAM recommended. [Download - 16.1MB]
CheckUp Preview 1 ($30) tools to monitor the behavior and health of a Mac computer. It's a powerful and intelligent monitoring application for any Mac with PowerPC or Intel Processors. CheckUp is designed to monitor the usage of CPU, Memory, Disk Drives and Network Adapters and alert you when a certain resource exceeds a certain value. You can create usage reports and displays detailed information about all running processes. You can delete or terminate these. [Download - form]
Garmin Colorado 400 Leak
Garmin is about to release a new GPS line that will completely revamp the company's design for handheld marine mapping units, according to an online store's leak. The Colorado 400 BlueChart will be meant for fishing and other small boats but will include a relatively large, 240x400 color LCD that provides a clearer view of both the sea conditions and of the nearby shoreline. An iPod-like control nicknamed "Rock n Roller" will quickly scroll through some items while still offering fine-tuned control by tilting the wheel in one direction. The device will back up its efforts with a short-range ANT wireless link for sharing maps and geocache points.
Denver Airport Wi-Fi N
Denver International Airport could be one of the first airports in the US to offer a public hotspot based on the 802.11n standard, the travel hub's telecoms chief Jim Winston has revealed today. Although the service quietly went live in November, the airport is now using a mixed-mode network that supports the extra speed and range of the draft 802.11n spec while still supporting legacy 11b and 11g users. The new standard also produces the side benefit of helping to spot unwanted networks that could be created by users hoping to compromise the security of nearby passengers.
Playstation on iPhone
One independent software developer is hard at work on a Sony Playstation emulator for iPhone, which will allow iPhone owners to play original Sony Playstation games on Apple's cellular handset. The author says the software will support both the iPhone and iPod touch, and that a beta testing stage is due to arrive in the near future that will allow users who donated money to receive a pre-release test version.
Envision 22" LCD w/webcam
Envision has launched a new widescreen monitor in its Professional Series, the E218c1. The 22-inch LCD is unique in that it not only incorporates embedded speakers, but also a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an internal microphone with echo cancellation. These features are intended for businesses looking low-cost conferencing options; performance of the screen itself remains fairly high however, with a 5ms response time, and an above-average contrast ratio of 700:1.
Sony resurrecting Aibo?
Sony may be reawakening its long-dormant Aibo product, rumors from Stuff Magazine suggest. While the dog gained media attention as one of the first advanced robots on sale to the public, it was generally sold in low quantities, and went off the market for several years. In 2008 however the Aibo may be back as the "Aibo PS," taking advantage of modern consoles and wireless technology. It is primarily said to be controllable via Wi-Fi, using the Internet, a PSP or a PS3 controller.
Norton Antivirus 11 ships
Symantec today released a new version of Norton Antivirus (site not updated) that is compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software features new vulnerability protection technology designed to prevent attacks occurring through applications connected to the internet. Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac also includes a sleeker redesigned user interface alongside enhanced performance. The software is priced at $50 (system requirements were unavailable).
LG BH200 Player Ships
Launching its device after a two-month delay, LG today shipped out its BH200 HD movie player. The new take on the Super Multi Blu reader is the first device capable of reading the full specs of both Blu-Ray and HD DVD titles; unlike the BH100 from last year, the new model can support picture-in-picture special features from Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile only just reaching the market. It also includes an Ethernet jack to support Internet features on HD DVD discs today and future Blu-Ray movies. It also adds HDMI 1.3 with deep color support for newer HDTVs and more advanced 7.1-channel surround systems.
Nokia on Apple, Google
Nokia describes Apple as the first credible newcomer to the cellular market in years, a new interview reveals. "It's very clear that Apple, Google and other players are bringing in a lot of new directions," says company CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Among these is an increasing union of device functions; while Nokia has long made smartphones that perform most of the tasks of the iPhone, such as the N95, Apple's product is a unique combination of this with the easy media playback of an iPod.
Toshiba Portege M700
Toshiba on Monday has capitalized on last-minute holiday sales by announcing the Portégé M700. While a tablet like some earlier models, the new 12.1-inch system is built for a level of speed not often found in the class: a base system starts with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with an 800MHz bus and optionally scales up to the latest 2.6GHz model. The M700 also distinguishes itself by including both active and passive input, allowing users to press both with their fingers or with a stylus on an anti-glare LED screen the PC builder says is much more useful in outdoor light.
Dell XPS 420 CableCard
Dell has quietly slipped in the option for a CableCard tuner into its XPS 420 desktop. The addition gives the option of single or dual ATI TV Wonder adapters that will tune HD cable broadcasts without requiring a provider's set-top box for its copy protection features. Either option can record shows, with the premium dual option allowing users to watch one program while recording another at the same time, Dell notes.
Popular EU gadgets: iPod
Apple's iPod and iPhone rank among the top gadgets so far this holiday season in Europe, according to a comScore study designed to track the frequency of online searches. The firm studied 20 different models of gadgets from the game console, mobile phone, and portable music player markets across the UK, France, and Germany during the first three weeks of November. The study found that Apple's iPod is the second most popular item with 3.5 million searches, while the company's iPhone is the fifth most searched device.
IBM 32nm Processor Tech
IBM began its week with news that it has developed a new 32-nanometer processor manufacturing technology that it says will not just improve performance but also make it more accessible. The process uses a variant on the same high-k/metal gate technique that replaces some of the silicon in transistors with more efficient, cooler materials to pack more components into a single chip and increase performance. An enhancement, known as "high-k/gate-first," not only includes a further shrink from the 45 nanometers of technology about to reach the market to 32 nanometers but is also easier to produce. By focusing on the most advanced components first, it lets partner companies design smaller, faster processors without having to increase the chip complexity from the outset.
Long lines at 14th Street
The opening of the Apple's new 14th Street store on Friday was marked by long lines and some disappointments, accounts suggest. The lineup began at 2 AM, and by 4 PM had grown to an estimated 750 people, fueled at first by radio DJ suggestions of free giveaways, and then by official word that shoppers would get a t-shirt and poster with the chance to win iTunes cards, iPods (Shuffles or Touches), or a MacBook. At least one customer who thought an iPod was guaranteed left the line early.
Swift3D 5.0 released
Electric Rain today released Swift 3D 5.0 for Mac and Windows systems, enabling users to export to the Papervision3D file 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 priced at $250, with upgrades from previous users available from $80. The application requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Samsung P1400 at 300
Samsung today scored a minor coup by allowing sales of the BD-P1400 to drop below the $300 price level, achieving a low cost previously reserved only for some more inexpensive HD DVD players. Major deals at Amazon's store as well as similar offerings from Best Buy and Circuit City all place the Blu-ray reader at $299, at least $100 below its average selling price and $200 below its original mark. This makes it both one of the least expensive 1080p-capable HD movie players and also the first to support DTS-HD Master Audio to produce the same quality as raw audio in 7.1-channel surround while consuming only a fraction of the space available on the disc.
imeem Universal Deal
Social network imeem on Monday revealed that it has struck a deal with Universal Music Group that will see the music label's catalog reach the site. The agreement will let users stream both songs and music videos from imeem's pages for free by running ads alongside the content while also permitting users to upload tracks of their own. This marks the availability of all four major labels on the site and promises that users can join a social network based around music while knowing that the majority of content is legal. The solution ensures that artists are "fairly compensated" by tracking the number of plays, according to Universal chief Doug Morris.
40 new retail stores in 08
Some 40 new Apple retail stores will open in 2008, a company executive says. Speaking at a press event for the 14th Street store in New York City, senior retail VP Ron Johnson has said that Apple will expand with an international focus in the new year. The first Brazilian store is in fact opening this month in the Shopping Iguatemi mall in Sao Paulo, and the city will get a second store within 2008, located inside Shopping Marketplace. Apple is meanwhile rumored to be negotiating for space in the Torre Mayor office complex in Mexico City, a structure that includes 33,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
Samsung Katalyst at T-Mo
T-Mobile today expanded the audience for its HotSpot@Home Wi-Fi calling service through the release of Samsung's Katalyst. Also called the t739, the Korean slider builds in Wi-Fi to make calls on an owner's home connection or some public access points (including T-Mobile's) without consuming valuable calling plan minutes. With Unlicensed Mobile Access, the Katalyst can bridge a call between the cell network and Wi-Fi if the user wanders out of the range of either connection. The phone's browsing and instant messaging are also helped by the transition, says T-Mobile.
Toshiba Solid-State Drives
Toshiba started its week with the introduction of its first solid-state disks in its 1.8-inch HDD range. Designed to replace conventional rotating storage, the drives are said to offer the storage of a multi-level cell flash device with the speed of simpler single-level cell technology: an advanced controller lets it read at 100MB per second, write at 40MB per second, and yet hold 128GB of storage in such a small size, the company says. In combination with a 56-nanometer manufacturing process, this helps the drive speed up response times and extend battery life while still providing the storage of a conventional disk.
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