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MacSoft today unveiled a retail boxed version of Tradewinds Legends for the Mac, a game that revolves around a fantasy far-eastern ship-faring theme. Previously only available as a download, over seven million people have downloaded the game. Tradewinds Legends puts players in the role of an enterprising captain, choosing from one of five pre-made characters, or designing their own. Players then travel the 10 kingdoms, solving over 100 tasks, and trading and fighting legendary heroes like Sinbad. MacSoft is selling Tradewinds Legends for $20, and is available in retail stores nationwide.
Apple today announced a promotion for Japanese iTunes customers, saying that 10 winners will be chosen from entrants from now until January 8th that will win 100 free iTunes songs – a value of approximately 19,000¥. SetteB.IT reports that Japanese users interested in the promotion can apply using the online registration form, located on Apple's Japanese iTunes website. The promotion doesn't appear to be offered in any other country, and while the prize is a generous one, only 10 winners will be chosen from a country with over 127 million residents.
NewTek today released LiveSet Generator for LightWave, a free plug-in for LightWave 9 that facilitates the authoring of computer generated virtual sets. LiveSet Generator for LightWave provides a simple solution for the creation of custom, photo-realistic virtual sets. The software is designed for use with LiveSet, the proprietary virtual set technology found in NewTek's TriCaster STUDIO, Portable Live Production System, and VT Integrated Production Suite.The LiveSet Generator for LightWave is available for free, and requires LightWave 9.
St. Clair Software today released Default Folder X 4.0, a major upgrade to the utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs under Mac OS X. The latest release brings a new modern interface to complement Apple's recent changes to Mac OS X, and leverages Leopard's QuickLook technology to provide previews that users can zoom in Open dialogs alongside the ability to add Spotlight comments in Save dialogs. Default Folder X 4.0 is priced at $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
SpectorSoft today began shipping Spector 3.1, a new version to its internet monitoring and surveillance software. The company says that Spector is the only such software available for Macs, and that it now supports Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Spector is designed to take periodic screenshots – from seconds to minutes apart – and store them on the hard drive for later viewing. In addition to screen monitoring, Spector can also log keystrokes, allowing parents to view all chats, emails, and websites that were visited. Spector for Mac is available from several retailers, including the Apple store, for $100, with an upgrade for users of previous versions for $50.
Buffalo on Wednesday became one of the first companies to offer a 32GB flash storage stick that should be both portable and quick. The SHD-U32GS fits 32GB of data into the same space as the company's existing 16GB version while maintaining the same speed. In-house technology known as TurboUSB boosts transfer speeds 20 percent past other external flash drives, Buffalo claims. The U32GS is also ruggedized and includes both a clip and a switch to prevent an accidental data wipe.
Two major parties are criticizing Rogers over its experimental messaging system, a Canadian newspaper reports. The company acknowledged this week that it has been inserting its own messages into third-party websites, in a bid to warn customers nearing their maximum download limits; this has generated criticism from a number of sources, among them being Google, which is now expressing disappointment with Rogers' practices. "We are concerned about these reports," a company representative says. "As a general principle, we believe that maintaining the Internet as a neutral platform means that carriers shouldn't be able to interfere with Web content without users' permission."
Two new software-as-a-service media-sharing products are currently in development for iPhone and iPod touch users, MoboVivo and Orb. MoboVivo is a commercial service that has recently finalized iPhone and iPod touch support, allowing users to "Buy and Sync" television shows directly to their device. The service offers multiple channels, such as MoboDiva, MoboDocs, UrbanVivo, and various lifestyle and entertainment channels. The service is also available to a number of different players and gaming consoles from companies like Archos, Microsoft, and Sony. Episodes are available from the service for $2, and the company says that it is the first to make paid TV downloads available to Canadians.
Social network site Facebook today announced the early stages of open access to Facebook Platform, the underpinning for the company's web application service. The company will let its existing platform serve as a reference for other sites and will allow competitors to license the company's proprietary tags and similar code, though the cost if any of a license has yet to be revealed. Expanding the code will let developers writing for Facebook export their web applications to other sites without having to significantly rewrite the code for another platform, the company says.
Some HP notebooks may be exposed to potentially serious code vulnerabilities, according to a SecurityFocus newsgroup discussion. A researcher working under alias says he has found flaws in an ActiveX control for HP's Info Center, software used to access system information and configuration. The difficulty is that if an HP owner visits a malicious website, a knowing hacker may then be able lay bare the software and the rest of a notebook, leaving it exposed to malware, registry changes, and other critical threats.
Google today continued its Web service optimizations for Apple's iPhone with the release of a new iPhone interface for Picasa, the company's photo-sharing site. According to the company's blog, one Google developed decided to revamp the site for the popular device when found that it had "some very cool AJAXy features," which unfortunately were designed with a "desktop web-browsing experience in mind." On the heels of its homepage revamp for the iPhone, the new Picasa interface offers easy access to albums, displays pictures with comments, and includes an easy search feature. The iPhone-friendly interface offers slideshow options as well as both landscape and portrait support (like all webpages).
Microsoft's next version of Windows will support complex multi-touch features, according to a claim by company test engineer Hilton Locke. So far referred to only as Windows 7, the operating system will receive a Windows Technology update that should allow multiple points of contact and significantly more complex input options than the iPhone. Users of the Apple handset will be "blown away" by the additions to Windows, Locke hints without providing specific details.
Goldman Sachs published a new note for its clients indicating that, based on its checks with industry contacts, Apple will be delivering a second-generation iPhone and a second-generation Apple TV in 2008. Saying that the second-generation iPhone is in the "final design phase," analyst David Bailey claims that the new device will have a similar form-factor to the current model, but may sport different aesthetics and might include 3G capabilities. In addition to the significant new iteration, Bailey thinks that Apple might release a minor revision earlier in 2008 with expanded memory.
Microsoft today said it was rebranding its well-known PlaysForSure copy protection scheme to Certified for Windows Vista, driving users to make a connection between the media digital rights management (DRM) scheme and the company's newest operating system. The decision will see media players, music phones, and similar devices use the new logo and places these in the same category as unrelated products such as digital cameras and printers. Microsoft has not explained the reasons for the decision but is believed to have made the choice as a marketing move.
HighPoint Technologies has updated the RocketRAID 3520 based on the IntelR IOP341 I/O Processor to support Power Mac G5 and Mac Pro systems with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard). The RocketRAID 3520 is an x8 PCI-Express 8 port RAID controller. The IntelR IOP341 I/O processor incorporates an Intel XScaleR processor, which provides open, full-function IOP based RAID, including enhanced hardware acceleration for the RAID 5 and RAID 6 feature sets to deliver maximum throughput speeds of over 600MB/s for Read/Write operation. The RocketRAID 3520 connects up to 8 internal SATA hard drives and supports RAID levels (0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and JBOD).
GameTap today announced a new game player that expands the GameTap experience for broadband-enabled Macs and PCs, launching games more quickly while making it easier to search for as well as discover games. The faster GameTap player includes updated community features like the Buddy Hub, which makes it easier to find as well as talk to and play games with friends online. Gold level subscription plans are available from $5/month, with new subscribers receiving the first month for $0.99. The player requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Cubic Telecom today promised a minor shakeup of cellular calling with its new MAXroam SIM, a prepaid SIM card designed for frequent travelers. The card fits into any unlocked GSM phone and establishes a local number both in the user's home country and in at least one extra territory: owners can both place and take calls as though they were local in either area by pointing callers to the right number. The service is independent of any particular provider and will support as many as 50 numbers and 40 different countries. With rates that are virtually local, users no longer have to pay the frequently high price of roaming with their usual carrier, Cubic claims.
Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Multimap, a UK-based mapping company. Similar in concept to sites like Mapquest, the Multimap website lets users find places and driving directions, with additional options such as locating hotels or looking up subway routes. Microsoft says that the purchase is intended to complement its growing search services, including Virtual Earth and Live Search; the move may be more strategic still however, since it is competing not only with Mapquest but Google Maps, which has become increasingly integrated with other platforms.
Freeverse today released Hordes of Orcs, a new 3D 'tower defense' strategy game featuring wave after wave of successively stronger orcs. Players strive to defend a human village from hungry orcs using walls and lethal towers as they emanate from what the elders call "The Glowing Portal of Really Bad Things That We Should Have Bricked-Up a Long Time Ago." The game is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Samsung today rolled out the SPF-83V, its first photo frame to offer a wireless sync feature. The 8-inch LCD incorporates an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection that will pull photos across the Internet from any site or service with an RSS image feed, such as Flickr; Windows Live members with a photo gallery also have access, Samsung notes. The feature keeps the frame stocked with images regardless of where and when the photos have been uploaded.
Several activist groups have submitted a petition to the FCC regarding SMS blocking, filings indicate. The problem, says a coalition include Public Knowledge, Educause and six other groups, is that cellular networks are sometimes blocking bulk text messages without legitimate pretext, hurting operations. One recent example comes from September, when Verizon refused to provide short codes to NARAL Pro-Choice America; although the group only wanted to send out opt-in alerts, Verizon said it would not allow "highly controversial" texts on its network.
T-Mobile will have a third choice for its upcoming 3G Internet service beyond the Nokia 6263 and Samsung t639 shortly after it launches in the near future, the FCC has unintentionally revealed through a newly public filing. The Samsung t819 should be a slider alternative to the t639 and bring support for 1,700MHz UMTS access that makes video streaming and faster web browsing possible with the carrier. Legacy support for T-Mobile's EDGE network is also known to be included with the device.
In brief: The Nielsen Company has ranked Apple as the no. 10 top website in the U.S., major record label EMI is promoting a music-based movie on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, FileMaker says users downloaded more than 100,000 copies of its Bento personal database in less than 30 days, and TotalView Technologies' MemoryScape has received Supercomputing Online's 2007 Product of the Year Award. Nielsen's year-end look at the most popular trends among Americans during 2007 found that Apple ranked no. 10 in the top 10 websites, garnering nearly 44 million average unique visits monthly.
Samsung will soon be displaying the world's largest OLED TV to the public, the company has announced. At next month's Consumer Electronics Show, scheduled from January 7th to the 10th, Samsung will be displaying a 40-inch OLED set (not pictured), several times larger than Sony's flagship XEL-1, which is due to ship to the US within the next few months. OLEDs appear likely to replace LCD and plasma screens in the 2010s, due to several factors: they are first of all able to operate without a backlight, not only allowing true blacks, but also consuming less electricity.
Freeverse has begun selling Commander: Europe at War, a new grand strategy game developed by Firepower Entertainment and Slitherine Software. Players take charge of the European Theater during World War II, controlling Allied or Axis armies in regions as far away as the Urals, North Africa and even the United States. Gameplay is hex- and turn-based, and models factors such as morale, terrain, logistics and strategic weapons; units can also be improved through the recruitment of the Commanders of title, who provide special bonuses.
The LG phone likely to become the AT&T Vu2 may have appeared at the FCC, according to a new filing. The LG MS25 appears to be very similar to the KS20 touchscreen phone already on sale in Europe but with changes both to accommodate the phone in the US and to upgrade features beyond the original version: the MS25 will add support for the 850 and 1,900MHz radio bands needed to offer full support for calls and EDGE data access in the US. 3G is mentioned in the listing but is not accompanied by a mention of HSDPA, which will be necessary for video calls or Internet streaming. The handset should come with Windows Mobile 6.1 to bring threaded text messaging, copying and pasting text, and other software upgrades.
NewerTech today announced new lower pricing on its Guardian MAXimus FireWire and USB2 external RAID 1 storage device. The Guardian MAXimus received a Five Star Rating in the December 2007 issue of Photoshop User magazine, according to the company, and serves as a plug-and-play "live activity" backup solution. Writing the same information in real-time to two separate drives produces a mirrored copy of all data, protecting up to 1TB of data on dual SATA drives with transfer rates of up to 100MB/sec. The Guardian MAXimus comes in seven different configurations ranging in price from $320 to $900.
The iPhone has been chosen as TIME Magazine's number one gadget of 2007. According to the prominent American publication, the iPhone has "changed the way we think about how mobile media devices should look, feel and perform." It has an attractive body made out of glass and steel, the magazine says, and the touchscreen interface is "loaded with eye candy." TIME is especially appreciative of how it combines features like a two-megapixel camera with iPod functionality, and how it lets users quickly tap into local Wi-Fi networks.
Helio this morning announced it would add a dedicated YouTube program for the Ocean, becoming one of the few outside of Apple to receive a customized YouTube client. The Pantech-made, dual slider phone receives the ability to not just browse videos either in landscape or portrait view but also to contribute; users can rate videos and add comments but also upload contributions taken using the Ocean's built-in camera. Uploaders can customize the title and tags for a video but also take advantage of the Ocean's GPS unit to geotag videos, pinpointing the location for later use at a site such as Google Maps.
MacPractice today released MacPractice EMR for chiropractors (site not updated), an application designed to provide more efficient electronic versions of the forms chiropractors use. MacPractice EMR eases the process for chiropractors who use MacPractice DC with MacPractice EMR to customize the forms provided by MacPractice, and aids users in creating new forms. The software is available for an introductory price of $1,500 plus $500 annually for support and updates through December 31st (system requirements were unavailable).
The PlayStation Portable will soon get a firmware update that adds some heavily requested features for its built-in Wi-Fi connection, according to an update from Sony. Version 3.80 will be the first to allow tuning Internet radio and should support live streams in the same formats as the player can handle offline, including MP3-based Shoutcast streams. The PSP will now also pick up photocasts through RSS feeds and supports OPML, allowing users to import lists with multiple feeds, such as from a dedicated RSS reader on a PC.
As rumored would happen, the Canadian iTunes Store has today added TV shows (iTunes link), marking the first paid video content on the site beyond music clips or Pixar's short films. Content remains fairly limited, concentrated around four shows each from CBC and CTV: CBC videos include episodes of programs like Little Mosque on the Prairie and the Rick Mercer Report, while CTV is carrying programs such as Corner Gas and Degrassi: The Next Generation. Shoppers can also choose from a handful of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon shows, as well as select Stanley Cup finals games provided by the NHL.
Toshiba on Wednesday revealed that it has developed a new design process which should greatly increase the capacity of flash memory for future storage. Known as double tunnel layer technology, it brackets a layer of silicon nanocrystals that help store memory between a pair of tunnel oxide layers that help control the flow of electricity in and out of the silicon; as the tunnels are only 1 nanometer thick, this helps move to smaller manufacturing processes -- as small as 10 nanometers -- that can pack more data in the same space, according to Toshiba. It also improves the overall speed of writing or erasing data.
Apple's second hottest seller this year has been little more than an empty box, since the company's retail stores are selling large amounts of the .Mac packages – largely due to the integration of the service with Mac OS X and iLife. Computerworld reports that the .Mac retail box, which contains a serial number on a slip of paper and empty space for the most part, has been leaping off shelves at the Apple stores. According to NPD research analyst Chris Swenson, this could indicate a growing trend with software developers, offering a boxed idea or service, rather than distributing software for users to install on their machine.
SwitchEasy has introduced a bevy of cases for Apple's various devices during the holiday season, while USBfever unveiled a few different accessories geared towards iPod and iPhone users. The Capsule case for the iPhone heads off SwitchEasy's offerings, featuring a hard, duo-tone polycarbonate plastic frame with a built-in lock, with a hard coated protective membrane for the screen. The separately-available VisionClip for the case allows users to holster the iPhone, face-in, while still providing a small cutout allowing users to see who is calling them. The Capsule for iPhone and VisionClip sell for $30 and $15, respectively.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
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