In brief: Stevenote Flash game, Downloadable 2008 Keynote bingo game, WebAssist Dreamweaver tools released, Apple Store adds Office 2008 to lineup ... Imagine being Steve Jobs. Imagine getting ready for this years MacWorld Expo keynote presentation. Imagine having to collect all the insanely great stuff you are going to present at Macworld Expo without revealing it to industrial spies and journalists. A new Flash game that lets you "experience what it feels like to be Steve Jobs just before your Keynote presentation."
VMware today unveiled VMware Importer Beta 2, its tool for converting virtual machine disk images to work with Fusion, which now supports Virtual PC disk images. Users with Virtual PC 7 on their PowerPC-based Macs can now transition to Fusion on a new Intel-based Mac; the importer supports installs of Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, XP Service Pack 2, and Server 2003 in VPC 7 disk images. VMware is offering the update on its website, available for users of its Fusion virtualization product.
DiscTop 2.6 (free) fter installing Disctop, your inserted CD or DVD slides in from the side and neatly fades back into your desktop picture. Now you always know if there's a disc inside, and what type it is. The new release is Leopard compatible, adds support for new Mac models, adds traditional Chinese language and features updated artwork. [Download - 4.2MB] GarageSale 4 ($30) lets Mac OS X users create eBay auctions using an intuitive and Mac-like interface. It features a WYSIWYG auction editor and imports photos from iPhoto, a digital camera, or iSight. Users are now able to edit their auctions completely within GarageSale's web preview. GarageSale now uploads multiple auctions and item images simultaneously, resulting in faster auction uploads. [Download - 19.7MB] Exces 1.5 ($30) lets the users create password-protected vaults. The ease of use and the attractive interface are Exces' key features. Each vault is protected using the same encryption algorithm Apple uses for FileVault - AES 128. Exces features a password assistant, to help choose strong passwords. Exces has several unique features over other tools such as a shrink vault feature, which lets you easily shrink a vault to the minimum possible disk space and the ability to automatically lock a vault after 10 minutes of inactivity. [Download - 3.1MB] Tidy Up! 1.3.2 ($30) search for duplicate files and packages; by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, date modified, date created, name, label, visibility and more. You can also search by the tag, duration and bit rate of MP3s and AACs audifiles, search the content of the iTunes, iPod and iPhotdatabases, search the messages of Mail and synchronize deletions with iTunes, iPhotand Mail. The new release adds a new filter in the Name criterion that allows you to exclude a part of the name of items before comparing them. It also fixes a bug that sometimes caused crashes during a search. [Download - 8.3MB] Imagine Poker 3.0 ($20) 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. [Download - 41MB]
In anticipation of Office 2008’s upcoming release at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Microsoft has given the Mactopia page a facelift, with a design reminiscent of the Office Mac site. The redesigned page is fairly lean, opting for an automated search of Microsoft’s main site for Mac software, rather than supplying a list of products on the left-hand side of the page. Promotions and Mac Mojo are still linked from the page, however; Microsoft’s current promotion entitles users to a free upgrade to Office 2008 when purchasing 2004 before January 14th.
FileWave today announced the release of FileWave 3.5, an update to its software distribution application, adding Leopard support and over 300 enhancements. FileWave allows users to configure and deploy bootable disk images over a network, complete with pre-loaded software, including heavy apps like Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office. While details on the update were scarce, FileWave said the application features a refined user interface, and drastic performance improvements. New users can purchase FileWave 3.5 from authorized retailers nationwide; pricing information as not available, but users that purchase FileWave 3.5 before March 31st are entitled to a promotional discount.
iGiki has released its Ultra Games Bundle II for Apple's iPod touch and iPhone. The compilation for Apple gadgets includes more than 40 games, software to create custom games, and widgets as well as various extras. Users can create custom iPod touch and iPhone games without writing a single line of code, according to iGiki, while widgets offer games like Block and FaceOff modified for use with multi-touch displays. iGiki Games Bundle II is priced at $35.
Tunewear today unveiled the Prie Ambassador SideHook, a new set of leather cases for the iPod touch. The case leaves access to ports and sensors open, and comes with the company’s Tunefilm – a clear slip of plastic that protects the screen from scratches. The most notable feature about the case is the hook, which is attached to the side, as per its namesake. The hook can be moved behind the case, allowing it to double as a stand so that users can watch video with the Touch in a sideways position. The Prie Ambassador SideHook is currently available on TuneWear’s website for $50.
AMD has officially confirmed the delay of its Phenom 9700 and 9900 processors, multiple outlets say. The quad-core chipsets were due to ship in the first quarter of 2008, but are now being pushed into the second quarter, as sources out of Taiwan hinted in December. AMD denies, however, the suggestion that the the problem is with the chipsets' translation lookaside buffers (TLBs), an issue which has also affected the company's Barcelona server technology.
Microsoft is not working with the One Laptop Per Child project to develop a dual-boot version of the XO notebook, the former company has said through a spokesperson. The software developer says it has "investigated the possibility" of taking the Linux and Windows hybrid approach but reiterated previous claims that it was conducting tests this month with a Windows-only version of the developing-world system. This contradicts claims by OLPC head Nicholas Negroponte that Windows would co-exist alongside the system, according to reports.
Cresyn's new Phiaton audio label has announced this week that it will begin its lineup with several audio devices, including its first docking audio systems. The MS600 (shown) is designed to cradle the iPod but will separate itself from most speaker docks through its style; the device will mimic the automotive theme of the company's existing headphones with a carbon-fiber look and tube-shaped satellites, the company says. It will also produce more power than most iPod docks with as much as 60 watts of power and a built-in amp. The MS600 releases in March and should receive pricing closer to its ship date.
Continuing a rapid expansion of the Glofiish line, E-Ten has published the very first news of the V900, which may be the most advanced Glofiish to date. The information comes from a flyer advertising E-Ten's presence at the 3GSM World Congress, which is scheduled for February 11th to the 14th in Barcelona, Spain. The V900 is pictured in the lower-right corner, and is sold as providing "live TV on the move" via DVB-H and T-DMB. It also supports terrestrial TV via DVB-T, and digital radio over DAB.
AT&T plans to conduct one of its most aggressive launches yet when it releases its first digital TV broadcast service this year, a leaked slide handed to Engadget reveals. In an expansion of earlier leaks, the carrier will launch a live digital TV service for phones known simply as AT&T Mobile TV. The service will share the same MediaFLO broadcast network as Verizon's V CAST TV as well as roughly eight of the channels but will add two of AT&T's own. The release will be broader than Verizon's and should cover 53 US cities on launch versus only a few cities for V CAST TV last year.
Major label EMI may be leaving the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), reports say. Its executives are further said to be engaged in talks with Warner, Universal and Sony BMG, in an attempt to alter the priorities and structure are several trade groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). EMI sent a letter to IFPI officials for that very reason, claiming that it would abandon its membership unless the organization conformed to EMI's interests. Funding to the IFPI could be cut off by March 31st.
We've gotten our first, tantalizing glimpse of what's to come at Macworld Expo 2008. A banner spotted by Ars Technica reveals the tagline "2008. There's something in the air." The banner users an atypical (for Apple), light font that seems to suggest thinness, or least an "airy" quality. The banner could be referring to a widely-anticipated subnotebook, which would mark Apple's first such computer since the PowerBook 2400 released in the late 1990s. It is predicted that a new subnotebook will make use of NAND flash storage, not only increasing access speed but improving weight, reliability and battery life.
Cowon is already in the midst of developing a sequel to its relatively well-received D2 touchscreen player, representatives from the company's CES booth have said. The D3 should mark a performance upgrade and may be the first to play video beyond 320x240 despite its small frame. This size is also expected to shrink and will see both the overall surface area shrink as the device gets thinner, Cowon says.
ASUS may be the first computer maker out of the gate with a compact notebook that uses both Intel's Penryn (45-nanometer) Core 2 Duo and a future budget NVIDIA graphics chip, Notebook Italia says. The U3Sg should have the option of any of the newer Intel mobile processors between 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz and will have NVIDIA's GeForce 9300M G to handle 3D work; the unannounced chipset should replace today's 8400M G and should provide newer DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL graphics features as well as a slight boost to performance. It may also take advantage of NVIDIA's just-introduced Hybrid SLI to throttle back the graphics and extend battery life in low-demand use.
SeaLife, normally a specialist in underwater photo gear, says it is now shipping the ECOshot, a camera meant for shooting in many diverse conditions. Whereas most of SeaLife's gear is meant solely for use underwater or in regular land shooting, the ECOshot is specially built to survive rough outdoor conditions as well. The ECOshot is said to be shock-proof in drops up to six feet; used underwater, it is depth-rated to 75 feet. Grip and protection are aided by rubber armor.
Educational institutions in the UK should avoid moving to Windows Vista in most cases, says a new report from the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, or BECTA. The advisory group says tha it has "not had sight of any evidence" that would suggest the new Microsoft OS should be used in anything but a completely new environment. Problems will appear if schools try to either upgrade systems directly or create patchwork situations where Vista has to interoperate with XP and earlier versions, the Agency says. The claim alludes to Vista's steep system requirements, which often exclude all but relatively recent systems from running the OS smoothly.
Through the now-ended CES expo, ASUS has leaked the existence of two more upcoming video cards. In the first quarter of the year, the company's M50Sa and F8Sp notebooks will carry AMD's Mobility Radeon 3650, a PCIe 2.0 card with support for Microsoft's DirectX 10.1 standard. While AMD has officially announced the companion 3600, the 3650 has only been mentioned in third-party accounts, making ASUS' news the first word from a proper vendor.
Leggett and Platt has unveiled an iPod-compatible bed at the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 'Starry Night Sleep Technology Bed' features a built-in iPod dock Wi-Fi connectivity, and a surround sound speaker system. An LCD projector, dual temperature controls, and DVR functionality also treat users looking to lounge around in bed. The high-tech furniture is priced between $20,000-$50,000, according to Macworld UK.
Chronos today released SOHO Labels 3.5, an update to its label printing software that features circular text boxes and zip code sorting. The latest release allows users to place circular text on designs, and dedicated inspector tools are available for customizing whether text is drawn inside or outside of the circle Contacts are sortable by zip code, and the zip code is shown in the contacts list when the option is chosen. SOHO Labels 3.5 is a free update for registered SOHO Labels 3.x users, and is priced at $40 for new users.
A thief operating in Oregon's capital city of Salem has stolen a considerable number of iPhones, local police report. According to an official bulletin, 40 iPhones were taken from the AT&T Wireless store on 200 Hawthorne Avenue SE, along with a number of other cellphones and miscellaneous accessories. The thief broke through a window in the store at approximately 4AM on January 9th, triggering an alarm that alerted police. It was not, however, in time to catch sight of a suspect.
AT&T may impose a data limit on its previously unlimited smartphone Internet plans, according to an apparent leak from Howard Forums' employee-only discussions. If true, the carrier's plans for PDAs and smartphones would receive a 5GB data limit similar to that at its rival Verizon; unlike the latter's services, however, the limit will be 'soft' and meant to discourage heavy use rather than a potential cut-off point or a trigger for overage fees. Users will reportedly be warned if they frequently cross the limit and may be asked to consider alternatives.
NewTech Infosystems today released NTI Dragon Suite, a collection of three Mac applications to handle disc burning as well as data compression and backup. NTI Dragon Burn features patented multi-burning technology that supports internal as well as external drives for simultaneously creating multiple copies of a CD or DVD. The software includes support for burning the leading video, audio, photo, and data formats onto the latest optical discs -- such as 16x DVD-R drives and 8.5GB DVD+R Double Layer (DL) media. NTI Dragon Suite is priced at $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
The official Apple website has been been given an award by British web culture magazine .net. The site took home the "Best Redesign of the Year" title, for the new look that premiered shortly before the release of the iPhone in June. Some changed elements included a new menu bar at top, and the use of segmented "windows" on product pages, such as that for the iPhone. Apple beat out challengers such as Manchester United, the New York Times and Guardian Unlimited.
Turning its attention from its CES releases, Panasonic on Friday released two entries in its DIGA high-defnition video recorder lines. The XP12 and XP22V are both capable of transcoding HDTV from their digital over-the-air tuners into the more efficient AVCHD (H.264) video format, allowing more video to fit on either DVR's 250GB hard drives without losing perceived quality. Each can also record this video at its full HD size to single- and dual-layer DVD-R discs to preserve them for later viewing on the recorder or any other device that can play AVCHD from normal discs. The XP22V adds VHS recording, Panasonic says, though whether these videos will remain at HD sizes is unknown.
A new version of the Apple TV will help spearhead an Apple video offensive, a new report claims. BusinessWeek writes that it has learned of the new set-top with certainty, although it cannot say what particular features it will bring. Other reports have indicated that users may be able to buy or rent videos directly from the device, which would address one of its long-standing complaints and put it into competition with the video-on-demand services provided by cable and satellite companies.
Onset has unveiled the HOBO Remote Monitoring System, its research-grade weather station that provides growers, researchers and others with instant access to measured data anywhere, anytime via the internet. According to the company, the new system is priced at a fraction of the cost of competitive solutions. The system combines research-grade weather station hardware with built-in GSM cellular communications and HOBOlink, its new Web-enabled software platform. HOBOlink allows users to access current and historical data on their Macs, set alarm notifications and relay activations, and manage and control HOBO Remote Monitoring systems without having to go into the field.
Cowon today added to its steadily growing portfolio of US players with the shipment of the iAudio U5. The Korean firm's exported player is designed to undercut the iPod nano, Zune, and other players in the class by offering a handful of features that are not found on the higher-profile players, such as a voice microphone and an FM radio tuner with scheduled recording for listening to shows after they air. Where other players' audio equalizers only offer presets, the U5's settings are fully customizable, Cowon says. A 1.8-inch screen keeps the device comparable to the Zune 4/8 in size.
In addition to its new iPhone accessory line, Newer Technology launched a new line of advanced wireless networking products, featuring support for the latest 802.11n protocols: the NewerTech MAXPower 802.11n/g/b Wireless Router and Adapter line includes a router, PC Card adapter for older laptops, PCI card for desktops, and USB 2.0 adapter. The MAXPower 802.11n/g/b Wireless Router and Adapters utilize MIMO, a signal processing and smart antenna technology, to transfer multiple data streams through multiple antennas for transfer rates of up to 300Mbps and up to four times greater reception range over 802.11g. The router supports instant setup of protected networks, WPA2 security, Web-based administration, simple firewall, MAC address filtering, and NAT filtering.
A new exploit has been discovered for the latest version of QuickTime, an Italian researcher claims. Luigi Auriemma says that in probing around QuickTime 7.3.1, he has discovered a buffer overflow that allows the return address to be overwritten, enabling the execution of malicious code. Specifically, the problem arises when QuickTime attempts to launch an RTSP link, and port 554 is closed. The software will then switch to port 80 in HTTP, triggering an error message that causes the buffer overflow.
Intel's launch of its Montevina platform update in mid-year should also bring a slew of new processor categories that will let it create processors for very specific notebook types, claim system builders. While its mobile lineup is already divided into high-performance (X), normal (T), low-voltage (L), and ultra-low voltage (U) classes, the new series will add a mainstream P segment. The category will be intended for notebook processors whose typical peak power is in between full-power T-series chips and the low-voltage equivalents; these chips will usually consume a lower 20 to 29 watts.
Alienware today quietly began shipping the m15x, its new-era gaming notebook. Besides a new minimalist look with a backlit keyboard, the portable is the first 15.4-inch system to include performance parts normally reserved for 17-inch desktop replacements; with custom orders, users can fit a 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme while the top-end system includes a 512MB GeForce 8800M GTX that matches the performance of better desktop cards. It also makes room for a second hard drive bay for those who want such options as a 64GB solid-state drive for performance without compromising on a larger hard drive.
Rogue Amoeba on Thursday released Airfoil 3, an update to its software utility for AirPort Express users. Airfoil allows users to send virtually audio to Apple's AirPort Express, from media players such as RealPlayer and QuickTime to audio websites (e.g., Pandora, Last.fm). Version 3 lets users transmit any audio to multiple AirPort Express units, providing "perfect" synchronization between units, the company claims. In addition, audio can now be played through local computer speakers -- in sync with remote playback. Version 3 also enables any Mac to be used as a "virtual AirPort Express" using the included (and free) Airfoil Speakers application. Airfoil Speakers allows any Mac to appear in Airfoil as a standard output, enabling audio to be synchronously transmitted to any Mac.
Nolobe this week unveiled Interarchy 9, a major update to it advanced file transfer application for Mac OS X. The update introduces over one hundred new and improved features, including a brand new protocol built upon SSH, numerous enhancements to the product's interface, plus much more. The new SSH protocol provides a number of advantages over incumbent protocols such as FTP and SFTP, including better performance and greater flexibility. "This means mirrors should take a lot less time to complete," the company said in its release notes. "Our internal testing has shown dramatic speed improvements for moderately sized websites; seconds versus minutes." Other changes in version 9 include re-ordering of tabs, a new sidebar listing for convenient access from any window, support for workspaces, support for copy/paste of files/folders, a redesigned 'transfers' window, and the ability to create new remote files from local templates.
Newer Technology has announced its new iPhone Accessory Line featuring six products that add iPhone functionality and user convenience. Expected to showcased next week, the line includes an iPhone Speaker Dock & Hands-Free, a Hands-Free Mic & Earbud, an iPhone Mic Extender Cable, Bass Response Earbuds (with noise reduction and sound quality enhancer), an iPhone Headphone Jack Adapter, and an iPhone and iPod Auto Charger. The NewerTech iPhone Speaker Dock & Hands-Free Mic features twin 2-watt speakers and a freestanding microphone, delivering extra speaker volume and a more powerful microphone for improved iPhone speakerphone voice quality and music playback. Additionally, while an iPhone is docked, the NewerTech iPhone Speaker Dock & Mic charges and controls it with built-in volume and call start/end touch buttons. It will retail for $35 and is expected to ship on January 28, 2008.
Owners of the previous revision Mac Pros may be out of luck if they wish to upgrade to the new Nvidia 8800 GT card that is available to the new towers. Several threads in Apple’s forums [1|2|3] indicate mixed impressions, even when users contacted Apple directly; the US representatives were adamant that the card would not function on an older Mac Pro, while Apple UK employees said the card would. Users have presented research that shows the cards should be backwards compatible, some are so confident in their beliefs that they ordered an upgrade kit without waiting for official confirmation.
Macgamestore.com has released Sudoku - Latin Squares for the Mac. The third Mac release from developer TikGames offers a new patent-pending algorithm for Sudoku called Latin Squares. The new twist that opens up "a whole new world of Sudoku with a best of class interface and feature set." Users can play either Soduku or Latin Squares puzzles from 3x3 up to 9x9, allowing users to start off with easy puzzles. It also offers the ability to mark cells to show key decision point and allows users to take any puzzle on-the-go with its advanced printing feature. The game offers hints as well as the ability to add notes, undo, and save features. Sudoku - Latin Sqaures for the Mac is available for $20. A free 60-minute trial of the Universal Binary is also available for download.
Now AAPL Stock: 97.9 ( + 1.47 )
Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ