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Apple's .Mac is a service based on a paid yearly subscription of $100. It offers users many different functions, such as calendar and mail syncing, backup, email, online storage, among others. Many users only require one portion of the service, however, and can not justify the yearly cost for things that they feel they have no use for. BusyMac looks to address one of those needs with BusySync, an application that is designed to synchronize iCal calendars across a local area network. This makes it an idea candidate for office situations, since the one-time cost of the application (minus any major version upgrades in the future) is more manageable than maintaining several yearly subscriptions.
Synium recently unveiled a beta test for Screenium, its new motion screen-capture application, and also issued a beta for iFinance 2, an update to its personal financial management software. Screenium allows users to record their activities with full internal application and external source audio, enabling them to create video-based tutorials and "screencasts". Screenium captures all mouse movements, clicks, and drags, while also recording all application and operating system sounds. Users can also simultaneously record verbal instructions, so that they don't have to assemble everything in post production. Screenium is currently being offered as a preview version, but will be available for $20 when the app is finalized.
Raytel has announced that at next month's CES expo, it will be demonstrating the EGO Drive, an unusual GPS navigator. While it includes a 4.3-inch touchscreen and 2D or 3D mapping, the distinguishing factor may be its wireless remote control knob, which lets users handle some basic functions without having to lean over to the dash or pull it out of a pocket. The unit further features advanced Bluetooth support, which not only enables hands-free calling but also stereo audio streaming. Users can play MP3, WAV and MPEG-4 files on the system, with data being copied either to internal memory via USB, or held on SD cards up to 2GB in size.
Skorpiostech has released a public beta of Changes, its new directory comparison and file differencing utility for Mac OS X. Changes is designed to make managing differences between files and folders fast and efficient by leveraging the power of Leopard's new Core Animation and Quick Look technologies, providing a smooth workflow that handles complicated synchronization and differencing needs. Changes beta is available for free during the testing period, and will sell for $30 upon shipping before migrating to its actual price of $40. The software requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Canada's Nortel is the latest to settle a patent dispute with VoIP carrier Vonage, Reuters reports. Unlike the company's recent legal problems, however, Vonage was in this case the originator, having inherited a 2004 lawsuit when it bought Digital Packet Licensing in 2006; in question were patents relating to 411 and 911 services, along with so-called "click-to-call" technology. Nortel filed a counterclaim earlier this month, which may have been the trigger for the settlement. Crucially for Vonage, which has been in serious financial jeopardy for several months, the agreement will require no cash damage payments. Instead, each side will let the other license three of its patents in a limited arrangement.
ASUS will give its Eee PC ultra-compact notebook wide-area 4G wireless when a new version is revealed next week, the company says on a special preview website. Though leaving few clues, the company makes clear that it will use Intel's WiMAX in the system to supply fast broadband Internet access at cellular-like distances. The system is certain to arrive in the US through Sprint's involvement with the project, which will make sure the new Eee can take advantage of the cellular provider's upcoming Xohm WiMAX service. The debut is expected on Monday, though an actual launch may hinge on Sprint's 4G network, which launches during the spring.
Nova media has released a new update for its iSync plug-ins, bringing their version to v5.1. The software adds support for approximately 130 phones to iSync, letting users copy over their iCal and Address Book information to a phone in advance of formal support from Apple. Brands covered by the plug-ins include Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. New to v5.1 is support for several more phones from Nokia, including the E51, 7900 and 3500 Classic, as well as the N82 and 8GB N95, neither of which are as yet formally available in the US.
Apple's Mac OS X operating system -- which the company advertises as more secure than Microsoft Windows -- is coming under increased scrutiny by security specialists and underground crackers as the platform increases in market share. After repeatedly posting record quarters and announcing a growth rate well ahead of the personal computer industry in general, Apple is fast appearing on the radar of more and more hackers across the globe. Infoworld reports that "The days when you can assume that Apple's products are exempt from harm are over."
Even more system builders are known to be gearing up for Penryn notebook launches that will launch early next year, according to further updates from Notebook Italia. Unlike its often conservative efforts in the past, Lenovo plans to update both its premium T61 (shown) and mainstream R61 ThinkPads with the new processor: each will get a baseline 2.1GHZ Core 2 Duo with the enhanced 3MB of cache and other benefits of the newer chip design; the thinner, titanium T61 will come with 1GB of memory, a 120GB disk, and integrated Intel video as standard while the bulkier R61 will use its cost savings to use doubled RAM, a 160GB drive, and offer NVIDIA's Quadro NVS 140M for faster 3D graphics.
Music sales during the holidays have dropped by a dramatic extent in 2007, Variety magazine writes. Although a handful of titles such as Josh Groban's Noel have fared well, the overall number of albums sold has dropped from 105.3 to 83.9 million between 2006 and 2007 for the peak holiday shopping period following US Thanksgiving -- a drop of about 21 percent, the publication says. Sales during the last week hit a predicted spike and jumped 42 percent but were still 18 percent down from the year before.
More details of the highly-anticipated iTunes rental service have been leaked, according to Variety. The movie trade magazine cites "studio sources" as saying that Fox and Disney are indeed confirmed as partners, and will make some sort of appearance during the January 14th Macworld keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The two may also be joined by other distributors, such as MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount, which like Fox and Disney already sell permanent downloads on the iTunes Store.
Atman Software today launched IO, a new side-scrolling game that challenges players to bring the Nautilus-114 spaceship back home. "the task isn't easy thanks to the many robotic minions that now inhabit the ship. In order to accomplish your mission, you have to play evasively (hide in the dark, walk don't run), avoid detection and carry out your objectives." Players are accompanied by a robotic friend, Ned, taking enemies down and gathering data pertaining to the destruction of the ship's human crew. The game is priced at $13 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
LG Phillips LCD has today revealed some of its first multi-touch displays and is targeting them at users who want to bring the technology to large rooms and public spaces. At 52 and 84 inches, the two new displays are the largest yet to allow more than one point of contact: the 52-inch is the largest contiguous LCD of its kind while the 84-inch model combines four 42-inch screens. An IR sensor registers two points of contact and can also recognize gestures, allowing users to zoom into a map or manipulate a photo with more natural input. Either set functions as a 1080p display that works with most computers and offer virtually the same light output as a view-only display despite the touch input.
One site claims to have acquired a pre-release version of Apple's v1.1.3 firmware for the iPhone, revealing several features. In contrast to reports from earlier this month, the new account does not make any mention of disk modes or voice recording, but rather concentrates on improvements to Google Maps and the home screen. In the latter case users can drag and drop icons by holding their finger on one for a few seconds, which "shakes free" all icons to be moved around as desired. Users can then shuffle around items in not just the primary screen, but also in the dock, or to and from the newly-accessible secondary pages. Tapping the Home button locks icons back in place.
Details of several notebooks running the mobile version of Intel's Penryn architecture have been leaked and point to the likely specifications for other systems as well, according to Notebook Italia. Sony is expected to have one of the most comprehensive updates with upgrades to its VAIO AR, CR, FZ (pictured), and SZ notebooks. As should be common to many systems based on the 45-nanometer Intel processor, clock speeds will be higher: the CR, SZ, and the base FZ will start with 2.1GHz Core 2 Duos, while the top FZ and the standard AR will reach 2.4GHz; fulfilling predictions of large memory, Sony will ship every system with at least 2GB of RAM and as much as 4GB on the 2.4GHz portables, which also sport Blu-ray drives.
Research in Motion's BlackBerry 9000-series has been spotted but may be an evolutionary design rather than the major shift expected by some, according to an update from the third-party BlackBerry Forums. A photo allegedly taken near the company's Waterloo, Canada campus reveals a device that offers a major redesign of the BlackBerry Curve but retains the chief formula equipped with a conventional screen, it also keeps the trackball of the earlier model but includes larger, easier to hit keys on its keypad and is thinner overall than its predecessors.
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Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Hermés face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL