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Apple, Viacom, BET charged
Apple, Viacom and its Black Entertainment Television subsidiary network on Wednesday were named as defendants in a civil lawsuit over defamatory statements made during the promotion and sale of American Gangster, a BET television series currently available for sale via iTunes. The 13-page lawsuit, originally filed on October 10th in Texas, claims that the advertising and promotion of the show incorrectly labeled the plaintiffs James Prince and Thomas Randle as killers, harming both their reputations and their businesses. Prince and Randle seek both preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the defendants from publishing, broadcasting or selling the offending American Gangster episode as well as punitive damages for airing the program.
Texas Hold 'Em
Candywriter has announced the release of Imagine Poker 3.0, an offline Texas Hold 'Em Poker game for the Mac. Imagine Poker allows Mac users to play against 20 infamous characters from history, mythology, and legend, including Cleopatra, Robin Hood, Abraham Lincoln, Dracula, Marie Antoinette, the Grim Reaper, and many more. The game features fully animated opponents and an adaptive artificial intelligence engine. Version 3 features a revamped 3D interface, four new characters, two dealers, six new rooms to play in, and optimization for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard.
MacSoft has debuted Drop Point: Alaska for Mac OS X, an immersive snowboarding game claiming the largest virtual mountain in the genre. "Every chute, bowl, and tree run of the expansive terrain is open for you to explore! Drop Point: Alaska also features varying time of day and weather conditions providing unique riding scenarios," said company officials. Features include: "Master the Mountain:" 10 unique drop points filled with natural trick features -- from your own pilotable helicopter. "Own a Trick" Beat one of the over 100 challenges on the mountain to become its Owner. Video of your winning run is displayed for all other challengers to see.
PC users, Apple gadgets
Thousands of consumers hoping to enjoy music, photos, and movies with Apple gadgets they receive this holiday season may need to learn some basic skills before diving right into the devices. Dave Taylor, a SupportSpace Committee member specializing in Mac as well as handheld technologies says the jump is even more difficult for most PC users. "Apple's iPhone and the latest generation of iPods have delivered enormous power and simplicity to the average consumer, but the technology is still complicated and usability is not 100% intuitive, especially for Windows users," he said.
Web-based iPhone player
Avot Media today unveiled Avot mV, a new Web-based application that allows iPhone users to quickly locate and view any Web-based video on the cellular handset. Avot mV maintains no limits on video selection, and utilizes no transcoding process to achieve almost no latency, according to Avot. iPhone users can watch TV-quality video in near real-time, and the softwrae works across mobile carriers with high-speed data networks as well as Wi-Fi. The iPhone-specific application is available for free.
DAB-enabled iPod dock
A new iPod docking station and speaker system from InTempo features built-in dual band DAB digital and FM radio. DAB is a digital broadcasting spectrum used primarily in Europe that purportedly offers better audio fidelity and other enhanced features relative to FM. The new system is available in glossy "piano" black and has a 30 watt output, including a 15 watt subwoofer. The RDI is compatible with the iPod family and MP3 players and will play, sync and charge. The "DAB-dock" also has an alarm with sleep and snooze. All functionality, including the bass and treble, can be controlled either manually or with the 23-key remote control. The RDI retails at £129.99 (about $265) from Amazon, Comet and John Lewis. The RDI will not charge the iPod Shuffle.
QT, GarageBand updated
Apple today issued security updates to its QuickTime 7.3.1 software (Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Windows) for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther, 10.4.9 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, and Windows Vista/XP SP2 that bolsters security. The Cupertino-based company also enhanced its GarageBand audio software. GarageBand 4.1.1 features better overall stability and fixes to issues with file export to iPhone. [updated]
Holiday Get a Mac ad
Apple today posted a new 'Get a Mac' TV spot on its website depicting animated characters singing 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town.' Animated versions of 'Mac' Justing Long and 'PC' John Hodgman accompany Santa Claus as they proceed to sing the classic Christmas tune. Partway through the song, however, 'PC' decides to interject his own lyrics about purchasing a PC rather than a Mac this holiday season. 'Mac' and Santa both express dissatisfaction with the lyrical changes, and Apple finishes the spot with a few snowflakes falling in front of an iMac.
Tunewear iPod touch case
Tunewear today unveiled the PRIE Ambassador for iPod touch, a new case made from genuine nappa leather with a black and white stitching design made for casual or business use. The case includes Tunewear's identifiable hook for attaching the iPod to most apparel. The case hook is removable, allowing users to slide the case and iPod in and out of pockets. Tunewear's PRIE Ambassador for iPod touch is priced at $50.
No Canadian DMCA in 2007
The Canadian government will not debate the creation of DMCA-like legislation until at least 2008, writes legal expert Michael Geist. Amendments to the country's Copyright Act were expected for discussion in the House of Commons this month, but this can no longer happen, according to the press secretary for Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The bill will not be introduced tomorrow, and as parliament is breaking for the Christmas holidays after Friday, the soonest the legislation can be reintroduced is late January.
Cocktail 4.0 (Tiger Edition) ($15) general purpose utility for Mac OS X. This release adds adds multi-user cache clearing, updated Automator actions as well as many various fixes, optimizations and improvements. Cocktail 4.0 (Tiger Edition) is distributed as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. Cocktail 4.0 (Tiger Edition) requires Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server 10.4 - 10.4.11 and is tested for compatibility with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server 10.4.11.[Download - 2MB]
Xspinner 1.0 (donationware) utility for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, that allows users to access hidden features and preferences in the system and applications, and provides easy launch of system maintenance scripts. With Xspinner it is possible to change appearance and behavior of the Dock, modify the display of the menu bar, tweak the appearance of Finder, enable access to hidden features in Dashboard and Safari, customize the default Save and Print dialogs in all applications, and more. [Download - 390KB]
Combine PDFs 3.0 ($15) utility that allows you to merge PDF and image (jpg,tiff,etc.) into one PDF file. This release adds a menu option to add an empty page. Empty pages can only be added if a page is already there as the size of the selected or the first page is takes for new empty page. It also adds a "Sort pages better" menu entry which will handle the file numbers better. e.g. "test 303" will be sorted after "test 4".[Download - 3.1MB]
Typinator 2.1 ($30) expands text snippets and auto-corrects typos now also on Leopard. The new version is ready for Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") and improves compatibility with Flash, Numbers, MS Office, Terminal, You-Control, and others. Furthermore, the built-in auto-correction dictionaries have been refined to enhance smooth multi-lingual auto-correction in all applications on Leopard. Works across all applications to detect specific sequences of typed characters and automatically replace them with text snippets, graphics, URLs, dates and special characters. [Download - 1.6MB]
Peek-a-Boo 2.7 ($20) a Mac OS X utility to monitor and manipulate all running processes. You can watch how much CPU time each process uses, adjust processes' priorities, and monitor process information; the innovative process throb window shows at a glance the activity of all the processes on your system. Peek-a-Boo's windows have been overhauled for consistency. There are also several refinements have been made so Peek-a-Boo works more smoothly with OS X 10.5 ("Leopard"). [Download - 1MB]
ZVUE ZP3 Player 2007
ZVUE today offered a new edition of its ZP3 flash player designed to get listeners started with a strong collection of music. The new edition comes preloaded with 30 well-known songs from the past year: nine of the tracks have made at least one of Billboard's top spots in their respective categories, the company boasts. The device itself is also designed to be easy to load up with a direct USB plug-in feature and sync using Windows Media Player instead of a proprietary jukebox.
Rubenstein at Palm
A key former executive from Apple is already instituting major changes at Palm that may revitalize the Centro maker's fortunes in the long run, the Wall Street Journal. Executive chairman Jon Rubenstein, who was responsible for much early iPod design as well as the iBook, is said to have completely overhauled Palm's development groups to focus on individual devices and has reshuffled the talent pool at the company. Engineers he believes are important to the company have been promoted while executives have been forced out -- including at least one senior VP of engineering, according to the paper. Hirings are also believed to be faster, in part to increase the incentives for potential recruits.
Moto MING 2 in February
Motorola is reportedly preparing a sequel to the MING, a smartphone popular in China partly due to its handwriting recognition. The MING 2 -- also known as the A1600 -- is said to be a quad-band GSM phone with a faster CPU, running a Linux-based operating system. No cellular broadband is present, but the phone does have Wi-Fi, and it supports assistive GPS navigation. It is a slender 0.7 inches thick, and continues to depend on its touchscreen for all but the most basic functions.
Woz to host Segway polo
In brief: 10,000 iPod Shuffles to be frozen in popsicles, Steve Wozniak will host a Segway polo tournament to be broadcast over the Web, REAL Software is expanding its Web presence, SWSoft is changing its name to Parallels, and a Leopard Bootcamp/Apple Certification Training session is being offered .... Kibon, a Brazilian ice-cream, is giving away iPod Shuffles embedded in 10,000 popsicles. The Fruttare popsicle comes in 10 different fruit flavors, and some of them will have a ready-to-use iPod Shuffle inside. Apparently, the popsicles were designed with help from Apple to ensure that the iPod Shuffles were not damaged by the extreme temperatures required by such an enclosure.
Pop. Mech. slams Apple TV
Popular Mechanics Magazine has ranked the Apple TV as the second-worst gadget of 2007. Apple introduced the set top box on September 12th of 2006 at a special event in San Francisco, and began shipping the device on March 21st of this year. The Top 10 Worst Gadgets of 2007 states: "There is nothing wrong with Apple TV. Unfortunately, there's nothing overwhelmingly right about it, either. This is the rare black mark in an otherwise spotless multi-year streak from Cupertino--a product that was not only completely overshadowed by the company's own iPhone, but by the larger industry of video-download devices and services."
Zune Social Update
Microsoft today updated its Zune Social service to include new features and fixes for those using the company's new media players. A new feature, called Gadgets, lets users share the information from their Zune profiles on other websites such as forums; like the profile pages themselves, it includes a glance at recently played songs, including album art and a link to the Zune Marketplace. Songs tagged as favorites either on a Zune device or the software will also show up in a profile as well as a user's top-ranked artists across their whole play history.
Pushing for a harder DMCA
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the chair of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, today argued that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not go far enough, despite common complaints about its severity. Berman is overseeing a hearing on the PRO-IP Act, a bill which could increase statutory damages for copyright violation, and even establish an intellectual property enforcement office in the Department of Justice. Before today's witness testimonies began, Berman admitted that there were things he would like to change in copyright law to make the DMCA more strict.
85K Canada Cell Data Bill
Bell Canada has charged one of its subscribers with a near-unprecedented $85,000 phone bill that underscores the high price of data in the country, according to a new report. Oil field worker Piotr Staniaszek of Calgary received the bill after tethering his Motorola KRZR cellphone to his computer, allowing him to use it as a modem for Internet access while away at his remote workplace. Although he understood the phone to include a $10 monthly unlimited data plan and used the service to download large content, Staniaszek was informed after receiving the bill that the contract included a clause exempting the unlimited plan from applying to modem use, leading to the bandwidth charges.
Land Rover turns to iPhone
Photos of the new Land Rover LRX concept car suggest extensive integration with Apple's iPhone and iPod. The vehicle offers a space in the center console where drivers can insert an iPhone to essentially make the cellular handset a part of the car's electronics. The slot is angled to allow both the driver and passenger operate the touch-screen interface while on the road, providing hands-free phone calls along with access to the music library and Google Maps, among other features specific to iPhone.
Sony Odo Digital Camera
Sony today took its time at the Eco Products expo in Japan to reveal a digital camera concept that it hopes will spur environmentally-friendly electronics in the near future. The Odo camera would switch from the batteries of most cameras to a unique design that relies solely on human power" spinning a wheel on top of the main body for about 15 seconds charges the device until it can take a photo. The device includes LED indicators to indicate when it can take its shot but has no display of its own to save power. Photos are instead seen by docking the Odo into a flowerpot-like USB cradle.
Tube 2.0 TV software
Equinux today released The Tube 2.0, marking the second generation of its TV software for Mac with support for TubeTalk and BuddySurfing community-oriented features. TubeTalk enables TV viewers to chat with one another about the current program, while BuddySurfing enables users to follow others as they channel surf. The Tube 2.0 also simplifies the overall recording process, and provides a visible chatroom where all viewers can discuss programming while keeping tabs on how many viewers are currently watching the running program for each channel. The software is priced at $30, and is obtainable with a DVB-T (DTT) USB receiver TubeStick for $60.
Samsung U940 passes FCC
Through its approval, the FCC has confirmed the existence of the SCH-U940 by Samsung. The phone is expected to be an American version of the F700, converted for use on Verizon's CDMA and EVDO networks. The phone may also be downgraded to a two-megapixel camera instead of three, but this should not detract from its main features, which include a slide-out QWERTY keyboard combined with a 3.2-inch touchscreen.
New Apple Cinema Displays?
Apple may be on the verge of updating its Cinema Displays, speculation suggests. The company pulled the stand-alone LCD monitors from prominent mention on its online store Wednesday night, relegating them to the Displays section under Mac Accessories. While Apple may be putting the monitors aside simply to market bigger products during the holidays, the company has also traditionally taken such steps before the release of a product update.
Sprint and MySpace Deal
Sprint and MySpace today announced a partnership that will see Sprint's phones get quick access to MySpace Mobile, a streamlined version of the well-known social networking site. Instead of relying on a custom program or manually entering a web address, the main Sprint portal will have a direct shortcut: this will become even more important once a more visually rich and e-mail-capable version of the site is available in the near future, according to the two companies.
Forbes on Macworld keynote
A fair number of new devices and other offerings may be announced at next month's Macworld Expo, says Forbes. The magazine notes that while Apple followers can sometimes have fantastic expectations for the keynotes delivered by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, some of the products they previously speculated about may finally materialize. Among these is a sub-notebook, which is rumored to have a 12- to 13-inch screen with LED backlighting, optional flash memory, and no optical drive.
NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Graphics
Attempting to gain an edge over its close rival AMD, NVIDIA today introduced three-way SLI for particularly high-end gaming systems. Using the company's nForce 680i SLI mainboard for Intel systems as well as video cards using either a GeForce 8800 GTX or an 8800 Ultra chipset, the technology allows three video cards to team up for 3D acceleration on a single display where only two were possible in the past. The extra performance translates almost literally to a 2.8X jump in speed over a single card and means that even very demanding games such as Crysis can run both at full detail and at the highest resolutions without waiting for newer hardware, NVIDIA says.
MySpace iPhone Client Work
Social networking site MySpace is developing its own optimized web client for the iPhone and iPod touch, Electronista has confirmed through authoritative sources. The News Corp-owned company hopes to create a reworked version of the site tailored just to Apple's multi-touch devices. Like the Facebook mobile site already in service, the site will significantly re-optimize profile pages, notifications, and other information from the site in a format suitable both to the screen size and to the need for large, touch-friendly buttons and links. The company has taken steps in recent months to rework the traditional desktop page into a more conventional and also flexible layout.
Miglia ships TVMini+
Miglia has released the TVMini+, a device that aims to offer complete digital entertainment with Miglia TV software in an ultra-portable format. The device plugs into a USB 2.0 port, thus enabling users to watch and record analog as well as digital terrestrial television. Supported by the DVB-T standard, the TVMini+ combines a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter and a video decoder for improved reception, according to Miglia. TVMini+ is available for $175, and comes with a 2-year warranty. [updated with proper images]
Swatches for iPhone/iPod
TableStar has released a new beta version of Swatches, a game specifically designed for the interfaces of the iPhone and iPod touch, although it can also be played through desktop browsers such as Safari or Internet Explorer. Gamers attempt to control a gameboard by creating the largest block of color; this is done by dropping tiles, which must be arranged to close off a "swatch" of a uniform color. Unlike most iPhone games however, it can be played against both AI and human opponents, up to a maximum of six. It also supports real-time chat, in-game and through the match lobby.
Toshiba 120GB Subnote HDD
Toshiba this morning upped its ante for notebook storage with a slew of 1.8-inch hard drives. The MK1214GAH represents the largest storage ever available from the company designed specifically for very small PCs and measures just 8mm (0.3 inches) tall despite two platters, allowing it to fit within subnotebooks, ultra-mobile PCs, and other handhelds while holding more than previous models. A single-platter version, the 60GB MK6028GAL, is even thinner at 5mm (0.2 inches), Toshiba says. Both hold 2MB of cache and spin at 4,200RPM.
BBC releases Mac iPlayer
The BBC today began official Mac support for iPlayer, the network's video distribution technology. The service allows residents of the UK to watch the last seven days of BBC TV programming for free; until today however, it was only available to Windows users, a situation which earlier triggered a petition claiming it was a violation of BBC policy. The ability to download shows remains restricted to Windows users, but Mac users can now stream video on their computers, as a result of a recent deal with Adobe for use of Flash.
Opera Complaint vs MS
Browser developer Opera today announced that it has filed a formal complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission. Along with unnamed industry supporters, Opera has alleged that the Windows developer continues to abuse its monopoly in operating systems by tying Internet Explorer to Windows as well as consciously ignoring calls for the browser to use certain widespread web standards. The complaint would have Microsoft unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and force the Redmond, Washington-based firm to render sites according to common web practices, ensuring that pages have a consistent look regardless of the browser.
USBfever iPhone headset
USBfever recently announced an inexpensive replacement stereo headset for the iPhone for users that have lost or broken their originals. The headset features a 4 foot long cord, an "answer/end call" button, and a built-in microphone. While the accessory can be used to listen to music on the iPod classic, Touch, Video and Nano - both second and third generation - the button and microphone will not function on those models. USBfever is selling the stereo headset for $20, and is available through its website.
Data Backup for Leopard
Prosoft Engineering recently announced Leopard support in Data Backup 3.0.4, a simple, full-featured backup utility. Originally released on March 27th, Data Backup 3.0 brought a number of improvements and changes over v2.0, taking advantage of services that are resident in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard, allowing for quicker backups. CD and DVD backups were also improved, allowing large sessions or large singular files to be burned across multiple disks. Users can also make multiple copies of a backup, and leave the process unattended in a multi-disc situation if they have a sufficient number of burners. Data Backup 3 is available directly from Prosoft, and through retail stores nationwide, for $60
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