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Macworld Special Features
Macworld Expo 2008 in San Francisco is going to have many events for users to participate in this year, with three Feature Presentations, 150 training conferences, and several other notable events. Macworld VP Paul Kent told MacNN that The Feature Presentations consist of the Macworld Magazine "Best of Show" awards on Wednesday afternoon, while Thursday morning holds David Pogue's "Macworld Live", and Thursday afternoon will see Andy Ihnatko's "The Process of Elimination" game show. All Feature Presentations will be accessible to registered Macworld Expo attendees.
BlackBerry subs surge
Research in Motion reported third quarter results for the three months ended December 1, 2007. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was $1.67 billion, up 22% from $1.37 billion in the previous quarter and up 100% from $835.1 million in the same quarter of last year. Approximately 1.65 million BlackBerry subscriber accounts were added in the quarter and over 3.9 million devices were shipped. The total BlackBerry subscriber account base at the end of the third quarter was approximately 12 million. The company expects to add 1.82 million accounts in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the iPhone has managed to outperform long-term competitors in the smartphone market, says a new study in the January 2008 issue of Consumer Reports.
How to make OS X icons
In brief: We've published a review of the Wacom Bamboo series, there are 10 new ways to trick out your MacBook, a new tutorial explains how to make icons for Mac OS X, the Firefox 3 beta has debuted, and Apple ranks 11th in Web traffic for November ... We've posted a review of the the new Wacom Bamboo Series, which promises tablets for the masses, employing a textured surface to mimic the pen-and-paper feel for your stylus and to replace the mouse in everyday tasks such as handwriting text, drawing, and even general desktop navigation. The Bamboo branding challenged my initial skepticism, turning out to be somewhat apropos; the instrument's origins reach back to the first bamboo and fur pens in China. Although its sleek look is less than organic, the Bamboo packs the same surprising functionality in a small footprint as it grass namesake.
Super Get Info
FinanceToGo 1.6 ($45) personal and small business finance manager application for Mac OS X. The update features: better recognition of different dates, small buttons added to the transactions dialog to indicate you can create accounts or categories from there, fast transaction entry pane added, pie charts now default to the first sub-level that actually shows more than one sub-item (no more 100% pies with only one piece). [Download - 4.7MB]
Power Manager 3.7.1 ($30) helps schools, businesses, and homes save energy by automating their Macs. The new release includes improved support for logging the scheduler's activity and interaction with client applications. Syslog support is important for administrators wanting a more detailed understanding of Power Manager's activities. [Download - 3.3MB]
Super Get Info 1.3.1 ($20) file and folder info utility. Super Get Info 1.3.1 is now compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and also includes changes to address reported issues. An alternative to the "Get Info" command provided by the Mac OS X Finder. Using an easily navigated tabbed interface, or the 'sgi' command-line tool, Super Get Info allows the user to view and edit the Mac OS type and creator codes for a given file. Super Get Info 1.3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. The Super Get Info 1.3.1 update is available free of charge to all registered customers. [Download - 800KB]
BBEdit 8.7.2 ($125) professional-strength HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers. The BBEdit 8.7.2 update is a regular maintenance release to this award-winning HTML and text editor. The BBEdit 8.7.2 update is available free of charge to all registered BBEdit 8.5 (and higher) customers [Download - 15.4MB]
CheckUp Preview 0.9.5 Preview 2 ($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]
PocketMac games lineup
Information Appliance Associates recently unveiled four new games for Mac users, designed to give adults a "recess" to look forward to in their work day. IAA says that these four games are the beginning of a new product line that allows adults to take a stress relieving break in their work day. The first four games are as follows: PocketMac LunarMines, PocketMac Tic-Tac-Toe, PocketMac Hangman, and PocketMac TaiwanTiles. IAA is currently selling the games through its website, and each title ranges from $10 to $20.
Radiohead on EMI iTunes
One of the key reasons Radiohead has refrained from signing on to digital music is licensing rights, the band's lead singer Thom Yorke says in an interview with Wired. The musician observes that the group's previous, multi-album contract with music label EMI contained virtually no clauses for digital music rights as it was struck years before digital music stores were available. Radiohead's release of In Rainbows in October with flexible pricing was the first real opportunity the group had to earn money on a digital offering.
'Nanopets' 3G Nano cases
Boomwave has launched Nanopets for Apple's current-generation iPod nano. The portable player cases feature rounded corners with dog eared designs, and come in four different colors which include 'Doggstarr' black, 'Spitzer' white, 'Bichpoo' pink, and 'Bludhound' red. Each Boomwave character includes a screen protector and a neck strap. The cases are made from high grade silicone, and are priced at $16.
Mac security vs. Windows
Sharp criticism is being directed at ZDNet's George Ou for a piece suggesting that Macs are more vulnerable than Windows PCs. Ou compiled a list of Secunia notices from 2007, and noted that while Windows XP and Vista had a total of 44 security warnings issued, Mac OS X had 243, all but two of which were deemed "highly critical." One problem with this, say observers, is that Secunia itself includes a warning on its website, advising people not to use its statistics to compare products against each other.
Logo Design Studio Pro
Macware today released Logo Design Studio Pro (site down at time of writing), a new vector-based logo design application build from the ground up with two years of Macware customer feedback. "When developing our new vector based logo design application, we discussed the core design features with our Logo Design Studio users so we could truly take the Pro version to a new level," says Bruce Lowry, Macware's President and CEO. "In fact, we quickly realized we needed development to start from scratch in order to deliver an experience that any novice or professional would appreciate." Logo Design Studio Pro is priced at $60 (system requirements were unavailable).
LTI-1 to showcase at NAMM
The RapcoHorizon Company is planning to unveil its new LTI-1 stereo interface at Winter NAMM 2008. The device, which is designed to connect laptops to audio equipment via a 3.5mm plug and a 3-foot attached cable, features bult-in ground lift switches as well as a -20db pad with left and right LXR outputs. The RapcoHorizon Company will showcase the new device -- which is already available for $135 -- at Winter NAMM in Booth no. 4558, Hall C. [corrected]
Touch BlackBerry 2.5G
RIM's upcoming touchscreen BlackBerry may disappoint users expecting a perfect device, according to updated information provided by BGR. Although earlier claims have alluded to a 3G Internet linkup, the initial version of the device known as the BlackBerry 9100 will be limited to slower 2.5G EDGE for wide-area data. In return, the handset will support 802.11a WiFi networks popular with some workplaces as an alternative to 802.11g, according to the tip.
DragThing 5.9.2 update
TLA Systems today announced the 50th release of DragThing 5.9.2, its alternative Dock software for the Mac. The newest version represents its 50th incarnation since DragThing first debuted in 1995 at version 1.0. The release is primarily aimed at solving a few bugs from the company's first Leopard aware version, v5.9, but also has some new features. TLA added the ability to sort hierarchical folder menus by date or by kind, and have implemented a new theme called "Panthera Lite". Existing registered users of DragThing 5 can upgrade for free, while new users are looking at $30 for a license.
iPhone buy patent
Apple has filed a new patent for a wireless transaction system that looks like it will be used in the iPhone and allow users to order products and pay for them instantly. Apple's patent details their merchant-client wireless system which will work with cellular, WiFi, WiMAX or Bluetooth networks. Among the areas covered by the patent are the ability to access restaurant menus on the go. The system would allow merchants to be able to push their new ads to devices that are tuned into this new web service, and hence would require local merchants to be on board with the initiative.
Widow Sting 517D2 Notebook
Claiming to beat the Alienware m15x and other upcoming systems in the video performance race, Widow PC today rolled out its Sting 517D2. The gaming PC house says it is the first to install NVIDIA's new GeForce 8800M GTX mobile graphics chipset in a shipping notebook and uses it to provide desktop-class 3D games in a 17-inch portable. The extra performance and 512MB of video memory are also useful for driving full-resolution Blu-ray or HD DVD movies without taxing the main processor, Widow explains.
Air France tests cellular
Air France has become the world's first airline to equip an international flight with a form of regular cellular technology, says the Associated Press. One of the company's Airbus A318s now lets users send e-mail and text messages through an onboard GSM antenna, which connects to a satellite that in turn transmits to the ground. The main obstacle for the service, at the moment, is infrequency; aside from only being a part of a six-month test, not all flights on the A318 will have access. To this end a "No Mobile" light has been installed in the plane.
Samsung Aura R700
Samsung significantly expanded its Aura line of notebooks today with the advent of the R700. An international version of the Sens Q70, the 17-inch is aimed at desktop replacement users who still want a thin, stylized system. It measures just 1.17 inches thick but includes a baseline GeForce 8400M GS graphics chipset to drive HD playback; an HDMI output is standard for relaying video to a TV. A 1.3-megapixel webcam and a full-size keypad also separate the glossy black system from some other large notebooks.
Sony Optical Multi-Touch
Sony Japan on Thursday unveiled what it says is a solution to the current problems of multi-touch displays. By using a low-temperature polysilicon LCD, the company has successfully interwoven optical sensors into the display surface, creating an exceptionally thin surface that can still respond to visual cues for control, including inorganic devices such as a stylus. This represents a major improvement over current hardware, Sony says. Other multi-touch screens currently require a multi-layer technique that increases the thickness of the display and leaves the input open to quality deterioration if the layers become loose.
Dragon Web Surveys 8.0
FM::Nexus has released Dragon Web Surveys 8.0, signaling a complete redesign of the survey software for the FileMaker database platform. Dragon Web Surveys 8.0 is entirely rebuilt with the fully integrated PHP functionality in FileMaker Server 9 for increased reliability, allowing respondents to attach files as well as images with responses while connecting responses directly to any existing FileMaker databases. Dragon Web Surveys 8.0 is priced at $1,900, and requires Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows.
Analyst on BlackBerry 9000
New information has surfaced about Research in Motion's first touchscreen phone as well as a major upgrade to the BlackBerry Pearl, claims a new research note from the financial group GMP Securities. Referred to as "Touchscreen 1.0" in the note but known in online circles as the BlackBerry 9100, the device is shown in a patent schematic that appears to confirm a slide-out QWERTY keyboard underneath a large touchscreen display, letting the phone live up to the company's reputation for messaging while offering a more intuitive interface than the trackball found on 2007 phones.
New AMD Radeon specs
A Spanish-language website claims to acquired photos and specifications on three new, unannounced AMD video cards. Of these the most notable may actually be the slowest of the group, the Radeon HD 3450; while it only has a 525MHz core and 256MB of 800MHz memory, it is the only one of the three known to have a DisplayPort connection, the second from the company after the previously-revealed RV635 XT. DisplayPort is intended to eventually replace DVI and VGA ports, and it may subsume HDMI as well, since companies do not have to pay for its use.
The US government's Federal Trade Commission has approved Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, the Associated Press reports. The two signed a deal in April worth $3.1 billion, but the purchase has since undergone much scrutiny, primarily due to worries that Google might develop a monopoly in online advertising. This opinion was voiced especially strongly by Microsoft and AT&T, despite the former of the two having bought the ad firm aQuantive. Microsoft is pushing heavily into areas currently ruled by Google, such as web search and mapping.
Avaya one-X Mobile in '08
Avaya has announced plans to ship its Avaya one-X Mobile software for iPhone in the first quarter of next year. Avaya one-X Mobile builds on the functionality of Extension to Cellular by providing a family of mobile clients designed to further enhance the productivity of enterprise mobile workers, according to the company. The family of Avaya one-X Mobile clients provides quick access to office phone functionality via an intuitive graphical user interface, and supports a broad array of devices ranging from high-end smart phones to less expensive consumer-oriented phones.
Nokia N96 Leak
Nokia's long-awaited sequel to the N95 smartphone may have been spotted, according to a leak posted in Mobile-Review's forums. Named simply the N96, the slider includes the extra gaming and media controls of the N81 but also the large LCD and two-way slider of the N95 8GB; it will also have the higher-resolution, 5-megapixel camera of the N95 series complete with Carl Zeiss optics. Unlike the recent N82, however, flash lighting will come from two LEDs rather than a single Xenon bulb.
soundBlade 1.2.1 released
Sonic Studio has released the v1.2.1 update to soundBlade, its high-end audio production software. The software handles a variety of daily tasks, such as recording, editing, and running AU and VST plug-ins; it also handles gain adjustment and external processors however, and has its own set of premastering tools. If desired, soundBlade's audio engine can be be toggled to use Mac OS X's Core Audio system, instead of an external DSP card such as Sonic Studio's own.
Apple's new iPod Boombox
A new patent filed by Apple describes a next generation digital device called the iPod Boombox, or simply the Boombox. Proof of the Cupertino-based company's plans surfaced today in a patent published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, wherein Apple describes the device as having a display or user interface in the center of the face panel. An Apple Remote associated with the Boombox will allow users to interact with the device via an application like Front Row, while volume control buttons on the chassis itself provide physical control. [updated with photo]
Hidden Relics for Mac
Macgamestore.com and Toybox Games have released Hidden Relics for Mac, a puzzle-based game challenging players to retrieve stolen antiques that are hidden throughout Europe. Hidden Relics for Mac features nine unique mini games, 40 secret hidden items, and high-resolution graphics. The title is priced at $20, requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and runs natively as a Univesal Binary on Intel-based Macs.
iPod touch vs. iPhone
A new teardown of the iPod touch shows that it is not as similar to the iPhone as one might think, according to the research firm iSuppli. While cosmetically and functionally identical to the iPhone in many regards, such as in its "springboard" touchscreen interface, the iPod touch shows internal evidence of using a different design with some advancements. The player has a single printed circuit board (PCB) instead of two, for instance, onto which the touchscreen circuitry has been moved as well. Similarly, new components have been put in the Touch in service of its Wi-Fi functions.
Samsung G808E at FCC
Samsung's high-end G800 slider phone should be available in the US, according to a newly posted set of FCC filings discovered by Electronista. The company will bring over a variant known as the G808E that should retain the 5-megapixel camera, 3X optical zoom, and face recognition found in the original but will be tailored to the American market; while the current model is limited to only European and southeast Asian radio bands, the new document reveals support for the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands needed to work in the US.
JVC Everio GR-D850 Vidcam
Offering a preview of its first camera for 2008, JVC today unveiled the Everio GR-D850. The widescreen DV camera is designed primarily for those with small hands or newcomers turned away by the large grips of other camcorders; compared to the outgoing D750, the new model is more compact overall and 0.8 inches shorter, JVC says. Pressing an Auto button also hands over nearly all control over shooting to the camera, adjusting the picture quality and other picture settings on the fly. Its 2.7-inch wide LCD also auto-dims in low light.
BenQ Joybook Q41
BenQ today provided the surprise of a completely new entry in its Joybook portable line. The Q41 is the first notebook from the company to offer an external display for Windows Vista's SideShow feature: a 2.5-inch LCD on the outer lid lets users access e-mail, media, and simple games from the system even while turned off. Completely unique to BenQ, however, is the SideShow display's VoIP feature: owners can place Internet phone calls without having to boot up the main system and start conventional software, the company boasts.
Death of Think Secret
An Apple lawsuit has resulted in the shutdown of one of the Mac community's most popular websites. Think Secret, originally started in 1998, was at one point one of the most popular sources for Apple news and rumors, particularly because its author, Nicholas Ciarelli (also known as "Nick dePlume"), was able to uncover otherwise confidential information. It is this that resulted in Apple legal action however, after a 2004 Think Secret report in which Ciarelli revealed iWork and the Mac mini before the company could announce it a month later at Macworld 2005.
ASUS Eee PC 2G Surf Ships
Computer maker ASUS on Thursday began quietly seeding online retailers with the Eee PC 2G Surf, the current lowest-cost version of its 7-inch ultraportable notebook. Both J&R and online-only reseller NewEgg are carrying the new version, which significantly reduces the price of the system by halving the onboard flash storage to 2GB and stripping out the webcam. In exchange, the system gains several pastel color choices for its outer shell, including Lush Green and Sky Blue.
Sony Exits Rear Projection
Sony is bowing out of the rear-projection TV business, the company has confirmed. The Japanese electronics firm has effectively halted production and will allow stock of both its 3LCD and SXRD sets to run dry over the course of the next few months. The decision is the result of several months of research which showed a clearly waning interest in such units, which are typically less expensive than direct-view LCD or plasma TVs at the same size but are often bulkier and have narrower viewable angles. LCDs are considerably more popular and better justify the company's focus, a Sony spokesman observes.
DAVE, ADmitMac for Leopard
Thursby Software Systems recently announced upgrades to its Mac networking products, DAVE 7.0 and ADmitMac 4.0, bringing compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The Arlington, Texas-based company says that the products offer significant networking stability over and above what Apple's operating system provides. Both updates are freely available from Thursby's website for users who purchased prior versions after July 31st, 2007, while new users can purchase DAVE for $120, and ADmitMac for $150, both of which have several licensing options.
Tekkeon iPhone case lineup
Tekkeon recently revealed its lineup of cases for the iPhone, including a hard case with soft tactile properties, and several soft leather units. The Hard Case with Soft Touch is made from firm, genuine leather, and uses a hard plastic face plate to provide protection for the screen. Tekkeon says that the leather wrapping provides similar protection to rubber or silicone, but does not add as much bulk to the iPhone. The Hard Case with Soft Touch for iPhone is available in five colors - mint, pink, blue, black, and brown - through Tekkeon's web site for $30.
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