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MacBook Air: special CPU
Apple's not only pushed the envelope with the industrial design of the MacBook Air, but also pushed Intel to deliver some advanced CPU technology, according to a new report. Rather than use Intel's newly introduced 45-nm Penryn mobile chips, the company used a modified version of current 65nm mobile chips with smaller packaging. According to Anandtech, the new MacBook Air uses a specialized version of Intel's Merom-based Core 2 Duo chip, the same chip used in Apple's other laptops (and from other PC vendors); however, it appears that the chip is actually uses technology originally slated to ship with its next-generation Montevina platform later this year.
24hr film rental bug fixed
Apple has corrected an issue where users were able to circumvent iTunes' 24 hour time-limit on its new movie rentals service. Earlier today Gizmodo reported that changing the system time -- on either Windows-based PC or a Mac -- by moving it forward or rolling it back, effectively allowed users to continue to watch the movie past the designated 24-hour period. In a follow-up report, Gizmodo notes that Apple has now disabled the circumvention technique by adding an additional check in iTunes. Changing the date/time, now yields a 5103 error from iTunes, according to the report.
Greenpeace applauds Apple
Greenpeace today applauded Apple for the release of its new MacBook Air laptop, calling the device "a winner" and a strong entry in the race to build a green PC. The organization commends Apple's decision to ship a mercury and arsenic-free laptop, which Greenpeace says exceeds European Standards and raises the bar for the rest of the industry. Apple is on the right track, according to activists, and needs to make environmental leadership the theme of all of its products -- both old and new.
OLPC XO Notebook Review
The One Laptop Per Child project set out to create a system that could be used by children, even those who have never seen a computer before or may not even know how to read. With the system coming to North America through the recently-ended Give 1 Get 1 program, however, it also serves as a benchmark for low-cost computing and for the progress of Linux as a mainstream operating system. In our XO notebook review, we find out not just whether the $400 spent is worthwhile for the donation but also whether it can stand in as an ultra-budget alternative to a Mac or Windows portable.
ConceptDraw 7.5 ships
CS Odessa has released the v7.5 update to ConceptDraw, its vector-based drawing and diagramming software. The new Mac version primarily improves the interface, adding guide lines, a new Page Navigator at the bottom of the screen, and a new Libraries Window with multiple, previewed tabs. Objects can now be copied and pasted into apps such as Excel and Pages, and stock images have been included for various kinds of audio-visual gear.
XtremeMac InCharge FM
Accessory maker XtremeMac has announced its third FM transmitter, the InCharge FM. Designed for cars, the device (not pictured) plugs into standard 12V outlets, and can thus power both itself and any iPods that rely on Apple's standard dock connector. Transmission is said to be "near CD quality," but in case of interference, a toggle control lets users revert from stereo to mono. Users can also set multiple frequency presets, and check their dial position through a built-in display.
FlipStart PC drops to $699
FlipStart's self-titled UMPC system has just undergone a sharp price cut. Whereas the computer at one point cost as much as $1,499, it is now less than half that price at $699. No reason for the drop has been given, but the change makes the computer more closely competitive with rivals such as ASUS' cheaper Eee PC, or the more expensive Q1 Ultra by Samsung. The FlipStart is smaller than either system, narrowed to less than six inches at its longest point.
iPhone & business accounts
AT&T will soon announce the acceptance of iPhones under corporate and business accounts, an anonymous source claims. The announcement is expected to happen on January 21st, and already has some rumored details: among these is the continuity of corporate discounts, which may serve to lure in a number of customers. There may however be some restrictions, such as having a data plan at or above $25 a month. It is also said that there will be no equipment discounts, and buyers will have to run through a pre-activation process before the normal one in iTunes.
Equinux announces iSale 5
Equinux has announced the forthcoming release of iSale 5, the fifth generation of its online auction management software for Mac OS X. iSale 5 boasts an intuitive research assistant for text descriptions as well as picture themes, a template editor for all auction templates, and the ability to manage multiple libraries for archiving auctions. iSale 5 comes with a new interface designed for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, easing the process of managing and creating online auctions. The software is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
Everex 9in CloudBook Soon
Everex is already gearing up for a larger, enhanced version of its yet-to-ship CloudBook micro-notebook, the company's marketing head has confirmed in a CW interview. Much as with future updates to the ASUS Eee PC that serves as the CloudBook's rival, a future version of the Everex system will jump from a 7-inch to a 9-inch screen. Whether the resolution will climb up from the 800x480 of today is unknown, though the computer will have a larger keyboard. It may also have a faster CPU and more memory as well as new colors, though the company warns that the price may climb upwards from the $399 asking price of the 7-inch system.
MS Eases Office Format
Microsoft will directly publish specs for its core Office suite's older formats as well as help developers map them to the Open XML formats used in Office 2007, the company said on Thursday. Addressing complaints that the formats for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word were not accessible, the Windows developer says it will switch from a system that only supplied the information through e-mail to posting the information directly on the web, allowing anyone to access the information needed to implement Office formats. Microsoft also plans to make the file types fit the company's Open Specification Promise that protects users from all but patent infringement claims.
Elements SBM unveiled
Ntractive has unveiled Elements SBM at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The business management software uses a unique 'hybrid application' approach that aims to bridge the gap between ease-of-use and a hosted Web application. Elements SBM is designed to automate, organize, and improve business processes in small to mid-sized companies, focusing on Mac OS X as its primary platform. Users can automate common business practices like sales, contact management, and accounting while making use of automated backups and offsite data warehousing.
HTC Pharos smartphone
Information is said to have leaked on a new HTC device, identified as a low-budget smartphone. The P3470, also dubbed the Pharos, is claimed to rely on a 200MHz CPU, when some of its rivals are approaching the 400MHz mark or surpassing it. Combined with the lack of a front-facing camera, this may mean it is unlikely to have any 3G broadband, as features such as streaming video can be extremely processor-intensive.
The phone may compensate to a degree with the presence of Windows Mobile 6, Bluetooth 2.0 and a built-in GPS receiver, as well as 128MB of RAM and 256MB of ROM. Wi-Fi is omitted however, and it is unknown what if any TouchFLO controls will be used, given that the Pharos has extra hardware and software controls not found on normal Touches. [via the::unwired]
Stanton SC DJ Deck
Stanton is getting a start to this year's NAMM musicians' expo through today's release of the SC series, a new set of decks made just for scratching and mixing digital music from an attached computer. At the core of the system, the SCS.1d turntable deck is designed to wean traditional DJs on to digital; it comes with a vinyl-surfaced platter along with familiar transport and pitch controls but adds digital-only features such as MIDI trigger pads that cue loops or samples on demand from a live DJ music suite.
'Turbosim' unlocks iPhone
Taiwan Star Telecom has launched its new turbosim unlock for Apple's iPhone, a tiny thin film circuit that rests between the real SIM card and an iPhone SIM socket to unlock the iPhone for use with any compatible SIM card. The unlock works on iPhones that ship with firmware version 1.1.2, fooling the iPhone into thinking it is using an actual AT&T SIM card (shipment and pricing information was unavailable).
Time Warner bandwidth cap
Time Warner Cable has confirmed a leaked memo concerning bandwidth caps, the Associated Press writes. The memo indicates that in Beaumont, Texas, new customers will soon become part of a trial in which tiers are offered with maximum download limits, instead of the normally uncapped service common to American Internet providers. Alex Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner, says that the measure is an experiment in improving network performance.
Live Freeverse MWSF feed
Freeverse has set up a live camera-feed from the Macworld Expo show floor that displays constantly updated images of its booth for the remainder of the show. The feed is powered by Freeverse's Periscope webcam software, which lets users capture activity in front of a Mac's iSight camera and save or share that image simply and automatically. The software supports sending real-time images to an email address, a .Mac Web page, or an FTP site.
Warner Kills HDDVD Sales
Warner's decision to produce exclusively in Blu-ray may have already dealt a fatal blow to HD DVD movie sales, according to the latest charts from Home Media Magazine. The industry-oriented weekly reports that all but one of the top ten HD movie discs sold in the same week as the Warner announcement were Blu-ray exclusives. Aggregate results are the same with only the tenth-place Bourne Ultimatum shipping solely as an HD DVD version, the magazine adds.
EyeTV 3 advanced features
El Gato's EyeTV 3 software vastly improves the company's hardware analogue video converters, adding remote programmability, as well as many other advanced features. The software can be configured through a local or wide area network connection, allowing users to record television content without requiring direct access. The upgrade to EyeTV 3 costs $40, and is included with all new products. New licenses are priced at $80. [corrected]
LightWorks 7.8 released
LightWork Design has released v7.8 of LightWorks, its 3D rendering engine for Macs. The technology is not a separate piece of software, but rather code meant to be integrated into other applications. The update makes several improvements, most notably in the realm of lighting, which has been given a simplified interface for Global Illumination, and should be easier to integrate into software. Final Gather now has a better balance between speed and quality, and incorporates diffuse and specular shaders, as well as more options for dome lights. Shadow mapping, meanwhile, has been tweaked for increased speed and lower resource use.
Gmail and iPhone 1.1.3
Google is warning iPhone users about the effects of Apple's v1.1.3 firmware update on Gmail. The company says that if users setup mail on their iPhones simply by tapping the "Gmail" icon, the v1.1.3 upgrade will convert access from POP to IMAP. The result is that messages read on an iPhone will also appear as read in the Gmail web interface, and any deletions will move messages to the web Trash bin, where they will be permanently deleted after 30 days.
BBC iPlayer for Apple TV
The BBC is strongly considering offering its iPlayer web video service through the revamped Apple TV, says the company's technology director Ashley Highfield in his Internet blog. Apple's shift from purchase-only videos to a rental model would allow the British network to mimic the functions of the website while providing a more comfortable TV environment, he says. While the shows could still be free to watch, the Apple TV's system would avoid copyright issues by automatically clearing episodes after their viewing period is up, a feature that show producers currently "insist" upon for the website.
Gigabyte Eee PC Rival
Gigabyte will be the latest to introduce a micro-notebook in the vein of ASUS' Eee PC, company VP Richard Ma has said. Without providing full details, the executive notes that the new mini PC will use Intel's Shelton platform with a 1.6GHz, single-core CPU whose entire platform draws just eight watts. Screen size will range anywhere from 7 to 9 inches depending on the final design. As with ASUS, the unnamed system will be made in-house rather than contracted to someone else, Gigabyte says.
iPhone EDGE, SMS errors
A number of iPhone owners are reporting an inability to use EDGE broadband or SMS messaging, effectively cutting them off from mobile data use. Accounts at both AT&T and Apple's discussion forums tell of customers receiving messages saying they are no longer subscribed to EDGE, forcing a call to AT&T for resolution. The temporary fix, however, involves switching to a pay-per-kilobyte data service, with the promise of a refund later. AT&T is said to be working on a permanent solution.
ASUS R700 Official
ASUS has just spun out a new flagship GPS with the R700. While following the trend of 4.3-inch widescreen navigators, the addition to the line brings a live, more realistic 3D mode. In addition to pivoting the view along with the heading of the car, it also displays textured models of landmark buildings in major cities to help drivers recognize locations just by their appearance on the map. It also uses microSD rather than full SD cards to keep size down: the R700 is just over half an inch thick despite holding 1GB of built-in memory and room for 4GB more through the card slot.
Pioneer at NAMM 2008
Pioneer this morning opened up the NAMM music expo with two digital offerings in its Pro DJ lineup. The MEP-7000 (shown) is aimed at a modern DJ who may never bring stacks of vinyl or regular CDs to a set. Dual DVD drives allow it to play and mix both traditional music CDs as well as AAC and MP3 tracks, while USB connections allow flash drives, external hard disks, and other removable storage loaded with AAC/MP3 as well as raw AIFF or WAV cuts -- including from Mac-formatted drives, according to Pioneer. Connecting to a Windows PC also provides direct control over Pioneer's own DJ software as well as other live DJ or music editing tools.
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