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Io HD, KONA OK for Mac Pro
AJA recently announced that its Io HD and KONA lines of video capture equipment fully support the new eight-core Mac Pro, which is based on Intel's new Xeon 5400 processors. Despite undergoing a complete overhaul, the upgraded components do not pose a problem for AJA; normally, major changes to internal hardware can pose problems for sensitive high-end equipment, usually prompting a patch or complete replacement of equipment if users wish to upgrade.
Paramount and Universal
Both Paramount and Universal are biding their time and follow Warner's switch to Blu-ray within a matter of weeks, according to established movie writer Bill Hunt of Digital Bits. Sources "second to none" allege that these two remaining major supports of HD DVD are ready to switch to releasing Blu-ray movies but are waiting on the right conditions to announce the move, regardless of obligations. While Universal is waiting on its current contract to expire by February, Paramount is simply waiting to have one or more titles ready before it exercises its now corroborated opt-out clause from its HD DVD exclusivity deal, the insiders say.
IK offers free plugins
IK Multimedia recently announced that users of its Pro Tools plugin AmpliTube LE are now eligible to receive a free upgrade to AmpliTube 2 Duo, as well as a copy of Ampeg SVX Uno. The company says these offerings are part of a customer appreciation promotion due to the plugin's worldwide popularity, and is even available to customers who bought the combined Digibundle package. AmpliTube emulates four components in a typical electric guitarist's setup: a tuner, stomp, amp, and cabinet plus microphone. AmpliTube also comes with several different models of each module, with 30 preset sounds and 16 amp combinations. New users can purchase AmpliTube 2 Duo for $400, and is available through its website and major authorized retailers.
iPhone flips cell industry
The iPhone is one of the most widely craved devices to grace the consumer market; after millions of dollars invested in its development, and secrecy so intricate that even Apple's own engineers were kept in the dark about the complete product. In 2002, shortly after releasing the iPod, Wired writes that CEO Steve Jobs began to notice the variety of devices that people would carry with them in day-to-day activities - such as a cell phone, BlackBerry, and MP3 player. Jobs realized that the products would inevitably come together and could potentially dethrone the iPod, so he decided that Apple would have to out-innovate the competition with its own device.
Briefly: FCPUG; shareware
In brief: A Final Cut group organizes a Macworld "SuperMeet," a shareware bundle splits proceeds with charity, a free book teaches game programming, and a software package teaches Quark Job Jackets. The Final Cut Pro Users Group has finalized the agenda for its seventh-annual Macworld SuperMeet. The event is scheduled from 7 to 10PM on January 16th, and will be held in the Robertson Auditorium of the Mission Bay Conference Center, UCSF, in San Francisco. Richard Townhill of Apple will discuss Final Cut Pro and the new Mac Pros, while colleague Steve Bayes will talk about evaluating codecs. Other guests will include representatives from Adobe, Sony and Blackmagic. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
NetXposure 5, a new enterprise digital asset management (DAM) system, has been released. Th new version has been re-architected as a rich Internet application utilizing Adobe AIR and Adobe Flex technologies. It provides interactivity with digital assets from virtually any application, including built-in integration with Adobe Creative Suite 3. Available now, NetXposure will demonstrate the new DAM solution at the 2008 Macworld Conference and Expo, January 15-18, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, booth S-432.
Nexsan SATABeast Xi
Nexsan today unveiled the SATABeast Xi, an energy-efficient, high-density storage solution optimized for use with Xserve and Mac Pro computers. The 4U rackmount offers up to 42TB of storage, which take advantage of AutoMAID technology - MAID stands for Massive Array of Idle Disks. This allows the SATABeast to conserve energy and prolong disk life, while still maintaining almost instantaneous access to user data. SATABeast Xi includes fibre channel and iSCSI connectors, making it platform independent, and uses a Mac OS X-like interface for customization. Nexsan will ship the drive array in March, with prices starting at $1200 per Terabyte.
VectorDesigner 1.0.0 ships
TweakerSoft has released the first version of VectorDesigner, its vector illustration program. The software is used for drawings, diagrams and other applications, and handles filtering, raster images and color correction. Features include a smart shape tool and numerous different default shapes, such as ovals, rounded rectangles and polygons. Also present is a bezier creation and editing tool, with raster-to-bezier conversion as an option.
MacFUSE 1.3 released
Google has released v1.3 of MacFUSE, its FUSE file system implementation tool for Mac OS X. The most critical addition is the new MacFUSE.framework, which is said to greatly simplify building user-space file systems with Objective-C. To help speed developers along, one of the engineers behind the framework will be lecturing at Thursday's Silicon Valley Cocoaheads meeting, where he will not only teach the framework but offer some file system demos.
NewsGator simultaneously announced general availability of NetNewsWire 3.1, FeedDemon 2.6 and that all of its client RSS reader products are now available free of charge and include free synchronization along with other services. NewsGator also announced that users can synchronize to provide the same view of their RSS content no matter when or where they read it. J.B. Holston, NewsGator CEO and president, said, "We are uniquely positioned to drastically expand the community of people working with RSS content. The larger that community is, the more valuable the experience for every user and for all of our services customers. That insight has led us to undertake the significant investment to make all of our client products free."
Nova GlobeSurfer Icon2
Nova Media today unveiled a new USB modem for use on EDGE, GPRS, HSUPA and 3G UMTS compatible networks, allowing for up to 7.2Mbit per second. The GlobeSurfer ICON HSUPA functions on 850/1900/2100MHz HSUPA and UMTS networks, with 850/900/1800/1900Mhz functionality for EDGE and GPRS. Over 300 preset connections are included with Nova's Launch2net software, and features instant connectivity on a Mac. Nova Media's GlobeSurfer Icon HSUPA is currently shipping, and is available from the company's website for approximately $450.
HungrySeacow offers sale
HungrySeacow Software is holding a 25 percent-off sale to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its recipe management application, YummySoup! The software offers an intuitive new way to import recipes from any website with support for automatic Web imports for AllRecipes.com; Deliaonline.com; Epicurious.com; FoodAndWine.com; FoodNetwork.com; LightAndTasty.com; MarthaStewart.com; RachaelRayMag.com; VegetarianTimes.com; and Yum-O.org. YummySoup! 1.6.1 is priced at $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Studios keen on iTunes
Major Hollywood content providers gave Apple and its iTunes Store a thumbs up during a panel discussion and Q&A session on Monday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. The Cupertino-based company began offering hit TV shows and more than 2,000 music videos in October of 2005 after experiencing enormous success in the digital music industry. Deals with four Disney-owned studios -- Disney, Pixar, Miramax, and Touchstone Pictures -- were followed by a deal with Paramount Pictures and later Lionsgate films.
Nokia Push in 2008
Nokia will conduct one of its most aggressive phone launch campaigns ever in the US this year, North American division chief Mark Louison said today in an interview at CES. Considered the largest cellphone manufacturer in the world, the Finnish company only released three handsets in the US last year but now intends to launch "between 6 and 12" phones in the country over the course of 2008 in a bid to gain marketshare. Nokia currently claims 11 percent of the overall US cellphone business.
Panasonic SD camcorders
In order to complement its HD camcorders, Panasonic has announced two standard-definition cameras, the SDR-SW20 and SDR-S7. The SW20 is dustproof, waterproof to a depth of five feet, and also shock-proof, albeit only to a height of four feet. It records to SD and SDHC cards up to 16GB in size, which at peak capacity allows for 13 hours and 20 minutes of video. The lens features 10x optical zoom, and the LCD display measures 2.7 inches.
Frontline Exits 700MHz Bid
One of Google's major competitors in the upcoming 700MHz FCC auction has closed its doors just weeks ahead of the bidding itself, says RCR. Startup Frontline Wireless has issued a brief statement that indicated it was "closed for business" but has not explained its reason for the shutdown; the closure is believed to stem from an inability to land the $4.6 billion minimum for a bid in the auction, which is making available wireless space from analog TV that is likely to be used for long-range cellphone and Internet access.
BlueAnt voice headset
Bluetooth purveyors BlueAnt have announced two new devices through the CES expo in Las Vegas. The first of these is the V1 Voice Controlled Headset, which as its name implies, allows users to control "most" functions through audio commands rather than pushing buttons. Pressing a single button activates the voice system, which will list available commands if the user asks for help. The headset uses Bluetooth 2.1, and actually supports connections with two phones simultaneously, by switching to the ringing phone when necessary. The V1 comes with car/desk and USB chargers, and can handle up to six hours of talk time, or 200 hours (over eight days) of standby. It should be available soon for $119.
Parallels Server beta
SWsoft today released the beta version of Parallels Server, the company's hypervisor-powered server virtualization software. Parallels Server is the first virtualization solution designed to run on Apple hardware -- including Mac Pros and Xserves -- and is the first to run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server 10.5 Leopard on a single Apple computer, according to the company. Parallels Server is available in private beta testing, and the company is accepting registrations for new beta testers.
iRiver iPhone Clone
iRiver will enter the cellphone market with a device that bears an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone, say reports from the Consumer Electronics Show floor by PCMag. The Korean company, which normally makes portable media players, is exhibiting a prototype at the Las Vegas event known only as the "iRiver GSM phone" but which clearly takes cues from the Apple device. Its interface is almost entirely driven by an icon-based touchscreen layout with direct resemblances to the iPhone's front menu. Unlocking the device requires a near-identical sliding motion while other swiping motions help control scrolling and other navigation. Linux will underpin the OS.
Best Buy expands Mac sales
Best Buy is planning to almost double the number of stores that sell Apple-branded goods, according to conversations held with company executives at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. UBS analysts say the brick-and-mortar retailer aims to expand its Mac sales to 500 stores in 2008, up from the current 270 outlets, according to AppleInsider.
iTunes pricing praised
Following Apple's announcement that within the next six months, music prices on the UK iTunes Store will drop to fall in line with other European countries, the European Commission has publicly lauded the decision equalize prices. Officials from the commission said "This puts an end to the different treatment of UK consumers who currently have to pay higher prices for downloads." Prices for iTunes downloads in the UK are currently nearly 10% more expensive than downloads in the euro-zone. Pricing is already standardized between countries such as Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden. Based on current European iTunes prices, tracks on the UK iTunes Store should be cut from 79p to 66p, or $1.30 US.
LG Notebook Batt Explodes
LG is investigating the causes of an incident in which the lithium-ion battery pack in a Korean reporter's notebook caught fire, the company says. Following the accident, which largely destroyed the notebook, LG has noted that the battery was made by its own LG Chem sister label but also claims that this sort of fire simply "should not occur" in normal conditions. A third-party group is being brought in to independently judge whether or not the fire is evidence of a systematic flaw or an isolated problem.
The One Laptop Per Child project is developing an update to its XO notebook that will let users run two operating systems on one of the computers, group chair Nicholas Negroponte says in an interview. Though multi-boot setups are not unique to the Mac, the OLPC head says the portable for developing-world schools will soon have a multi-OS system "like on an Apple" that lets users quickly flip between the OLPC's custom Sugar Linux-based interface and Windows XP. Although concerns have been raised about the Microsoft software's performance on the $200 system, the OLPC group notes that the XO's version is not the same as on most computers.
Alltel adopts HTC Touch
The latest American carrier to adopt HTC's Touch smartphone is Alltel Wireless. There the phone can download games and other applications through Axcess, download themes and ringtones from Magmic, and sync photos with a PC via Sharpcast. Additionally, Handmark Pocket Express provides news and weather updates, while Digby can be used to buy items from the likes of FTD and Barnes & Noble. Voicemails can be converted to text through Voice2TXT.
Panasonic HD camcorders
Moving beyond the home theater sphere at CES, Panasonic has announced two new camcorders, the HDC-HS9 and SD9. Both are capable of recording AVCHD video at 1080p and 24fps, and are also equipped with 3CCD sensors and optical image stabilization. Onboard software detects faces automatically, and also analyzes situations for shooting problems; should it find any, it suggests corrections like better lighting or slower panning. Sound is recorded in 5.1 channels using five separate microphones, and output can be displayed on HDTVs using an HDMI cable.
Pioneer GPS at CES
Pioneer at CES has unveiled a slew of in-car devices for both navigation and music, including a unique hybrid device that can work outside of the car. The AVIC-F500BT (pictured) is tailored for drivers who want the features of an in-dash GPS and stereo unit but also the ability to take it on the road; although the 5.8-inch touchscreen device can connect to an existing head-end unit through an auxiliary input jack or a mounting kit, it can also detach and run independently on a battery.
Motorola W230, W270 phones
Targeting more rational cellphone budgets, Motorola has announced two new W-series phones, the W230 and W270. Interrelated, the phones both feature music playback, with a special music button enabling owners to jump straight to the audio player. People can listen to MP3s stored on microSD cards, or else they can tune into FM radio, which supports RDS track information and can be recorded for the sake of the phones' alarm sounds.
Melbourne Apple Store
The first of Apple's planned retail stores in Melbourne, Australia has been confirmed. Although talk had originally pointed to a streetfront store, the beginning of Apple's presence in the city can be found inside the Chadstone Shopping Center, where a construction barrier marked "Apple opening soon" has been erected in front of an outlet next to Nike Women. The location is said to be two to two-and-a-half times wider than most normal ones in the mall.
Sprint Xohm in April
The upcoming Xohm WiMAX Internet service from Sprint now has a more firm release window and a uniquely flexible rate structure, the carrier has said at the Consumer Electronics Show. Sprint's fourth-generation (4G) wide-area broadband has been in soft-launch mode for Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, DC since December but will be ready for a formal release by late April; whether or not the service will also be available in other areas is unclear, though the company is already expanding into the outer reaches of these areas, according to officials.
iTools 9 update released
Tenon has released a new edition of iTools, bringing the program up to version 9. The software is a web-based graphical interface for administering web servers, and specifically handles Apache, DNS and FTP management. The greatest change to v9 is the inclusion of Apache 2.2.6, which is said to have better memory and disk use, support for file sizes above 2GB, and a new database interface architecture. The FTP component of the program now has a new File Manager, which lets admins assign clients to specific groups, which are then given permissions for uploading, renaming and deleting files.
New Eee PC Leak
ASUS' expected larger-screened Eee PCs have been spotted for the first time, says one anonymous leak. Occupying only slightly more physical space than the current 7-inch model, a new 8-inch design would expand the screen to to fill the blank space left by the early design with a thinner display bezel. The screen would keep the same 800x480 resolution; the system itself may change little but may double its internal storage to 8GB while keeping the SDHC card reader, USB ports, and VGA video output, according to the source.
Rondo 2.7 adds MIDI export
Fractured Software has released the v2.7 update to Rondo, its MIDI playback software. The program specializes in displaying how a track is played, by overlaying a keyboard on top of a vertical piano roll that lights up keys as notes pass by. Elements of a piece can then be filtered out visually, so that only the portions a person is interested in playing themselves will be shown. People can play along using external sound modules or MIDI keyboards.
Comcast FCC Investigation
Comcast is under investigation and could be subject to fines over its tactics of throttling BitTorrent traffic on its cable Internet service, the Federal Communications Commission has revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show. FCC chair Kevin Martin acknowledged that it was looking into complaints from advocacy groups and lawyers, both of which accuse Comcast of violating basic principles of network neutrality by preferring certain data types over others. If found to be violating FCC rules, the cable provider could face fines as high as $195,000 for every affected subscriber, Martin claims.
UK iTunes price drop
Within the next six months, music prices on the UK iTunes Store will drop to fall in line with other European countries, Apple has announced. The company notes that while iTunes pricing is already standardized between countries such as Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, the UK has for some time paid greater song prices; Apple blames this on unnamed record labels, who it accuses of charging more for distribution in the UK than they do elsewhere. The company says it may "reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK" with labels that do not drop their own fees to the European standard.
MS Says no iPhone Rival
Microsoft will not be producing an in-house attempt at replicating the iPhone, soon to be retired company CEO Bill Gates has told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (registration required for full article). The executive explained that it was more important for his firm to stress its partnerships with companies such as Motorola and Samsung than to try and replicate Apple's efforts, which depend on both the phone and software being made by the same company.
Everex this morning helped draw CES to a close by introducing the CloudBook, its first ultra-small notebook. The unveiling confirms an early leak and reveals that the system is a direct challenger to ASUS' Eee PC. It shares a similar 7-inch, 800x480 screen that defines its small size and reduces its weight: the entire system with battery weighs just two pounds, the company says. It also uses Linux rather than Windows; like Everex's desktop gPC, the CloudBook uses the company's custom gOS that provides quick access to tools such as OpenOffice or RhythmBox for work and music but also websites like Facebook and YouTube.
Smart Notebook 10
Calgary-based Smart Technologies today unveiled Notebook 10, an update to its collaborative learning software. Version 10 provides users with over 30 new features, 100,000 pieces of educational content, and an updated teachers' resource hub. The new Table Tool allows users to create symmetrical or asymmetrical rows and columns, and customize table properties. Users can draw freehand circles and other geometric shapes with the Shape Pen, which are then recognized and perfected. The company did not release pricing, but it was made aware that users of existing Smart products will receive the update free in the spring.
New Smart whiteboards
Smart Technologies today unveiled the Smart Board 685 interactive whiteboard, and also re-issued its Smart Board 600i, featuring improved performance over its earlier incarnation. The 685 provides a large 87-inch surface area when measured diagonally, and uses a 16:10 aspect ratio. Smart says this offers 20-percent more working space than its 680 model, catering to a growing number of 16:10 laptops and projectors in schools. The pen try has an expansion slot that allows teachers to upgrade their hardware with other Smart products. Although pricing has not been announced, Smart said the Smart Board 685 will see distribution in April, with costs available at that time.
First iPhone Trojan attack
The iPhone recently fell victim to its first Trojan attack, which came in the form of a malicious file named "113 prep". While installation of the phony application is relatively benign - the app merely says "shoes" when activated - uninstalling the file causes damage to or deletes system-critical files in the /bin directory on the iPhone. In addition to harming the devices own software, third party utilities are also being rendered useless through the same means. This attack was orchestrated by an 11-year-old, and has some modmyifone.com forum members laughing to ease the pressure using references to the 1995 film Hackers, due to the similarity of circumstances.
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