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CompUSA Mac discounts
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 Moshi Codex MacBook case.. Aevoe, creators of the Moshi line of products, have created an elegant product for any of the MacBook series. The rules of good notebook case design dictate that it should not be too tight and there should be a certain amount of glide when you put your equipment away. When you're in a hurry, you shouldn't have to fumble about or struggle with the covering. Another rule is that it should project the right image, i.e. look good without much flash, unless that is your preference. A stylish design should be discreet or tastefully bold and the Moshi Codex holds your laptop with just that right amount of style.
Radiohead comes to iTunes
Alternative rock band Radiohead has added its latest album, 'In Rainbows,' to Apple's iTunes Store. The musical group's recording contract with major label EMI ended in 2004, and the band recorded as well as produced 'In Rainbows' without the help of a major label. The band sold copies of its album digitally online in October, allowing customers to choose their own price for the work. Radiohead was silent on official sales figures, but one report placed 1.2 million copies of the album on the hard drives of consumers on the first day of its release.
ImageBuddy 3.5.5 ($20) photo printing program. The release includes Auto Image Orientation Detection and improved Cropping and Scaling controls for Page Layouts as well as a number of bug fixes. Imagebuddy is a digital image layout program designed especially for the Macintosh that is quick and easy to use. ImageBuddy offers Drag and Drop support from iPhoto allowing you to greatly expand on iPhoto's limited printing options. [Download - 10.9MB]
Comic Life 1.4 ($20) lets you create comics, picture albums, how-tos. The new release features oft-requested brightness and other image fine tuning, iPhoto '08 'Events' and 1:1 display of images. This free update for all users also includes custom page sizes, jagged balloon tails, and neater caption positioning. [Download - 3.3MB]
BurnAgain DVD 1.2.2 ($24) multisession burning application. Simply adds files to a disk several times without creating an individual volume for each session. If items are burned again BurnAgain DVD automatically only adds new or changed files. BurnAgain DVD allows to change the title of the disk at each burn, hiding of previously burned sessions and preserves all HFS specific attributes (resource forks). Version 1.2.2 fixes DVD-RW and CD burning issues with certain drives and includes interface tweaks for Leopard. [Download - 10.9MB]
MBS REALbasic plug-ins 7.8 ($270) a collection of several plug-in parts which extend the REALbasic development environment with over 900 classes and 2 controls featuring over 17000 documented functions. This release adds: addsDesktopFolderMBS now works for Windows, NSScrollViewMBS, NSTextMBS and NSTextViewMBS, updated to Mac KRM 1.0.7; SControlMBS and NSButtonMBS classes. You can add a checkbox to a NSSavePanelMBS using this class.[Download - 84MB]
DockStar 2.1 ($10) way for Mail to users keep track of email with 5 colorful badges on the Mail dock icon. The update brings new clickable indicators on the menu bar, support for monitoring RSS feeds and To Do items, and improved Smart Mailbox support for Leopard users. DockStar helps you keep track of email in various accounts and folders, RSS feeds, Notes, and To Do items with customizable badges in the Mail icon, menu bar, Dashboard, and even in a Screen Saver. [Download - 5MB]
D-Link Xtreme N Duo
D-Link began establishing its presence at the upcoming CES expo with news of the Xtreme N Duo, its first mainstream wireless router to provide dual network bands. The device can operate on the 2.4GHz frequency used by most forms of Wi-Fi while simultaneously running a 5GHz network for 802.11a and 802.11n networks. Setting up the router this way allows a relatively interference- and lag-free connection for games, video streaming, and other features that demand 802.11n's higher speed while still providing a separate network for less speed-dependent hardware.
SpamSweep 1.6 released
Bains Software today released SpamSweep 1.6, an application that utilizes an advanced Bayesian spam filter with a simple user interface. The update improves Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility, adds support for IMAP accounts as well as custom rule filters, and includes various bug fixes. SpamSweep 1.6 is priced at $25, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Alpine preps PND-K3 GPS
In addition to its iPod- and iTunes-enabled stereos, Alpine has laid bare its new PND-K3 GPS units, which will be shown off at CES 2008. Each has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and comes pre-loaded with maps of Canada and the US including Alaska, Hawaii, and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Over six million points of interest are featured, and music can be played back through the navigators' SD slots. Menus are animated and can be given custom colors.
Bookdog 5 released
Sheep Systems today released Bookdog 5, an update to the bookmark management utility that adds integration with del.icio.us bookmarks alongside a new user interface and support for the new release of Netscape Navigator. Bookdog allows users to sort, import/export, migrate, and verify bookmark collections in Safari, Firefox 1-2.x, Camino, Google Bookmarks, del.icio.us, OmniWeb, Opera, Shiira 2.x, and Netscape Navigator. Bookdog 5 is priced at $20 for a 2-Mac license with one year of upgrades, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later for basic functionality. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required for some features, such as del.icio.us support.
IDC on Notebooks in 2008
This year should represent the first where notebooks overtake desktops in units sold for the US, says new data from research firm IDC. The company notes that sales of portables in in the US climbed by 21 percent last year to 31.6 million systems while desktops dropped by roughly 4 percent, to 35 million. This rate should continue long enough to place notebooks on top sometime this year, IDC notes. The momentum should also lead to a similar change worldwide by 2009 and may lead to notebooks representing more than two thirds of all business (66 percent) and home (71 percent) computer sales just two years later, in 2011.
QuickCRC dev app ships
Excel Software has begun shipping QuickCRC, a Universal Binary application designed for responsibility-driven design of object-oriented software using CRC cards. The new application runs three times faster on new Intel-based Macs, according to Excel, handling up to 10,000 CRC cards with all design information in memory. Editing changes are instantly reflected throughout the model, ensuring every name and relationship reference is always accurate. QuickCRC is priced at $300 for a single-user license, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later.
LG to show off MPH TV
LG will use this month's CES expo, being held in Las Vegas, to demonstrate its new mobile TV technology, according a report out of South Korea. CES will mark the unveiling of MPH, the Mobile Pedestrian Handheld standard. It is intended for broadcasting digital, over-the-air TV to portable devices, regardless of where they are being used; LG claims that signals can reach MPH devices going as fast as 55mph. Perhaps most crucially for broadcasters supporting the technology, it will be able to operate over the same frequencies as the existing VSB standard.
Avery at Macworld SF
Avery Dennison will unveil Avery DesignPro at the Macworld Expo this month, a new standalone application that allows users to print on any Avery label or card product. DesignPro includes over 1300 preset layouts and over 2000 clip art and photo images to embellish users' projects. Avery designed the software to have easy access to iPhoto libraries, enabling users to quickly access their personal photos to use with DesignPro. Avery DesignPro will be shown publicly at Avery's Macworld booth, where users can sign up to participate in the beta test. Avery expects to sell the application in the second quarter of 2008.
Vuzix AV920-C Glasses
Vuzix this afternoon preempted CES by releasing a new set of its iWear video glasses tailored just to frequent console gamers. The AV920-C switches out the basic video inputs of most such glasses for inputs usable with modern consoles such as Sony's PS3 or the Nintendo Wii; beyond standard RCA, the new eyewear also packs component video for higher-quality analog sources and HDMI for purely digital signals from the PS3 or newer Xbox 360 systems. Although capped at a 640x480 resolution, the placement of the LCDs in the screen creates the equivalent of a 62-inch TV. This should let users play multiplayer games with friends in the same room without losing a competitive edge, Vuzix boasts.
Redfly salvages Foleo idea
The concept of Palm's now-defunct Foleo companion is still alive, reports say. Celio Technology has announced the Redfly Smartphone Interface System, a device which allows Windows Mobile phones to take advantage of keyboards, trackpads and larger displays on Bluetooth 2.0-connected "Mobile Companions." The initial Companion weighs just under two pounds, has an eight-inch screen, and has an estimated battery life of eight hours.
Nokia 5610 at FCC
Nokia's 5610 XpressMusic slider could soon be available in the US with a full feature set, according to a new FCC approval. The filing confirms an Americanized version of the phone and that the shipping device is ready for full 3G Internet access through AT&T: it should support fast HSDPA Internet access on the 850MHz band as well as the 2.1GHz service it already uses in Europe, according to the report. Legacy access to EDGE and GPRS data are also likely.
Crucial today became the latest storage producer to explore solid-state hard drives with a new take on the formula. Simply titled the Crucial SSD, the 2.5-inch disk holds either 32GB or 64GB of memory and is meant as a faster, more durable drop-in replacement for conventional rotating hard drives. Like most of its kind, the SSD has no moving parts and is almost completely skip proof; without the need to spin, it also has an access time of under 1 ms and often performs faster than the old technology, Crucial says. Unlike most such drives, however, the new disk is not limited to the inside of a computer. A new external kit converts the device into a USB drive for easily removable storage.
Hydra to ship at Macworld
Creaceed today unveiled Hydra, a new application that aims to ease the process of creating HDR photographs on Mac systems. Hydra is designed to give human eye perception to photography by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of regular photographs, either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras. Hydra is priced at $60, but will be available for an introductory price of $40 until the end of January after the application begins shipping during Macworld on January 14th. Hydra requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to run.
Sprint Pulls LG Rumor
Sprint has pulled its LG Rumor messaging phone from shelves due to sheer demand and not technical flaws, the company announced on Wednesday. The carrier has acknowledged a problem with the slider phone which allowed users to accidentally wipe the phone's firmware clear through a debugging code but says it is an isolated incident; most models have not been affected and have already received a fix, Sprint says.
FutureBASIC now free
Staz Software has announced that its FutureBASIC integrated development environment (IDE) is available as freeware, but reassured users that work on the product will continue. "Does this mean that work on the product will come to a halt? Absolutely not," the company wrote in response to potential user questioning. "For starters, you will be able to download a revised editor that addresses problems with OS X, System 10.5." Staz says users will also be able to download a new translator under construction by the FBtoC team that will make FB code compilable with the gcc compiler. FutureBASIC requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later on newer Macs, or Mac OS X 9.2 or later on older systems.
PSP Skype Leak
Sony's PlayStation Portable should receive the ability to make voice over IP calls through Skype in the near future, the company itself has inadvertently leaked through its own CES 2008 site. The page for the PSP suggests that the handheld's owners can soon place calls to friends and fellow gamers using the device's Wi-Fi access and a special version of Skype's Internet calling software. No feature of the kind has been announced for the PSP in North America and would require additional hardware to supply a microphone, which is likely to stem from Sony's Go!Cam voice and webcam hybrid.
Titanium Plus USB drive
Joining a host of early CES announcements, SanDisk has uncovered the Cruzer Titanium Plus, an upcoming USB flash drive. The stick holds up to 4GB, but its key selling point is intended to be simultaneous online backup; when users connect the drive, it can be set to automatically upload all material to a service run by BelnSync. Users must, of course, first enter a password, and it will not attempt an upload until a working Internet connection is detected.
Mac OS share hits 7.3%
Strong holiday sales of both MacBook and iPhones resulted in significant market share gains for Apple during the month of December, according to a Net Applications survey. Mac OS X rose to a record 7.3 percent share from 6.8 percent in November, while the company's iPhone garnered .12 percent share over the previous month's .09 percent. The survey suggests that more than one in 1,000 people on the internet are browsing the Web with an iPhone, according to Fortune.
Hand-sized Show projector
Display maker Microvision has announced the Show, a new portable projector based on the company's recent PicoP technology, and intended to be tinier than current rivals as well as better-performing. The device is is small enough to fit in a person's hand, and is also less than a third of an inch thick, making it thinner than some modern media players. The latter are one of the intended pairings of the Show, along with cameras, cellphones and notebooks.
Axiotron ships Modbook
Axiotron has begun shipping its Modbook tablet Mac, a modified MacBook with a built-in Wacom digitized pen-sensitive liquid crystal display. The only Mac-based tablet on the market won the Best of Show award at Macworld Expo 2007 after debuting at the event. The Modbook features a 2.0GHz or 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Inkwell handwriting recognition software, a 24x DVD combo or 8x DVD SuperDrive, GPS support, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Modbooks start at $2,300 and include a 1-year warranty.
Qualcomm 3G Workaround
Qualcomm will avoid a potentially damaging Broadcom-related ban through its own inventions and a special exemption-, both a federal judge and Qualcomm itself have revealed. After failing to dismiss claims by Broadcom of patent infringement for video compression and network technologies, Qualcomm is required to stop selling some chips in the US which use the WCDMA technology at the heart of AT&T's 3G network. However, the federal court has now granted a stay that will let Qualcomm sell some of these chipsets through January 2009 as long as it pays royalties for the technology.
Missing Sync for iPhone
Somewhat overshooting its original schedule, Mark/Space has at last released the first version of The Missing Sync for iPhone. While the program cannot copy data directly to an iPhone, it can extract photos, contacts and calendars stored on earlier devices, namely those running Palm, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile operating systems. The data is then converted to an iPhone-compatible format, which syncs as usual.
Alpine iTunes Tag Stereo
Alpine will soon release a trio of new head-end units for vehicles geared primarily around the iPod, the company has unintentionally revealed through a brochure (PDF) posted online. The iDA-X100, based on the earlier X001, will be one of the first car stereos to support iTunes Tagging. When listening to specific HD Radio stations through the X100, listeners will be able to flag songs and use an attached iPod to sync this information with a computer, creating a playlist of songs to be bought through the iTunes Store. It can also play audio directly from newer iPods through a USB connection, including the iPod touch.
Flash market and Macworld
The health of the NAND flash market is now heavily dependent on this month's Macworld Expo, anonymous industry sources say. Demand for flash in North America and Europe is said to be very weak at the moment, foremost because the lucrative Christmas season is over, but also because Apple in particular -- one of the largest memory consumers in the world -- is simply requesting less than it has in recent times. NAND manufacturers are thus hoping that Apple will announce new products at Macworld, restoring demand to the market.
Apple ads top 2007 list
Apple's iPhone and 'Get a Mac' TV ads are among the most admirable of 2007, according to a list of the most memorable ad moments in 10 major categories published by USA TODAY. The Cupertino-based company's iPhone topped the publication's 'Made me want to buy it now' category by showcasing the device's functions in a close-up shot of the screen. Apple also earned the 'Best characters/mascots/spokespeople' title for Actor Justin Long and comedian John Hodgman in their roles of Mac and PC.
Marvell 450Mbps Wi-Fi
Marvell today unveiled a new version of its TopDog wireless chipsets that could dramatically improve the speed of already fast 802.11n Wi-Fi connections. The 11n-450 will use three transmitters and three receivers to achieve a maximum speed of 450 megabits per second. The connection is 50 percent faster than the 300Mbps peak for today's draft spec 802.11n chipsets and results in even more range: the new chip increases range by 160 percent over 300Mbps models and sports about five times more range than the earlier 802.11g standard, Marvell claims. The advancement should allow multiple streaming videos at once over longer ranges.
iPhone 1.1.3 breaks hacks?
The widely-rumored v1.1.3 update for the iPhone will once again break hacks that work with earlier firmware, according to a source that claims to have tried the leaked software. "Natetrue," the creator of iBrickr, says that v1.1.3 disables both unlocks and third-party applications that functioned under v1.1.2, most notably the common AnySIM unlocking utility. Even trying to install v1.1.3 on top of AnySIM 1.2u fails, says Natetrue.
HTC Sales Growth Low
Cellphone maker HTC's growth was well below analyst expectations, says a new report from Reuters. Though the company's year-over-year sales expanded by 20 percent in December, the increase was well below a predicted 33 percent -- indicating a cooling effect for the Taiwan firm's rapidly expanding business. The figure represents a steep drop from past months; phone sales climbed 22.3 percent in October but shot upwards to 32.7 percent year-over-year in November, according to official results.
HP Penryn Notebooks Soon
Hewlett-Packard will unveil a sweeping update to Intel's mobile Penryn architecture for its notebooks as well as new special edition model, according to leaks from Notebook Italia and other sources. After quietly updating its Pavilion line to the x700 series in December, the system builder is now poised to issue a second update that will take advantage of the faster 45-nanometer processors; every Intel-based model from the 14-inch dv2700 to the 20-inch HDX9200 will have the option of at least a new 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo and will scale up to a 2.5GHz version in most cases; the HDX model will swap out this chip in favor of an updated version of the 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme with a larger 6MB Level 2 cache as well as all the improvements that come from Penryn, the leak reveals.
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