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NBC Universal Profit 4Q07
Media giant NBC Universal has had "record performance" in 2007, according to statements by its chief executive Jeff Zucker. Profit for the past year amounted to $923 million on revenue of $2.1 billion and represented a 10 percent jump over the year before. Most of this increase is attributed to success from its cable and film businesses, which include networks such as CNBC and Sci-Fi as well as major movie releases such as The Bourne Ultimatum. This was despite the firm enjoying already increased successes from broadcasts such as the 2006 Olympics, Zucker noted to employees in an e-mail sent to the company.
MacJournal 5 ships
Mariner Software has released the fifth edition of MacJournal, its diary application. The program has be redesigned for Mac OS X Leopard, a change which lets it exploit QuickLook to preview files. The most important change however is considered to be document support, as users can now insert images, PDF files and QuickTime movies into their journals. For convenience, video entries can be recorded through an iSight camera, and (like text) uploaded to blogging sites such as Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal, as well as .Mac accounts.
Time Warner Cap Limits
Time Warner Cable's metered Internet experiment will have caps that may significantly curb increasingly common usage habits, a company spokesman has confirmed. The Beaumont, Texas trial will have 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, and 40GB limits depending on the service level; there will be no unlimited access option when it launches in the spring, Time Warner says. Subscribers who cross the limit for their plan will still have service but will be charged an unspecified amount for each gigabyte of data consumed past the cap. Only new customers in the area will use tiers, while legacy customers will still have unlimited access.
Flix iPod/iPhone encoding
On2 Technologies has announced that its Flix Engine, a server-side video encoding platform, now has support for Apple's portable formats. Where previously the Flix SDK could only be used to create output in Flash 8/9, 3GPP and general H.264, it can now be used to generate QuickTime files specifically sized and encoded for iPods, as well as the iPhone. Flix is purportedly used by "the majority" of web video sites, and supports scripting languages such as ASP, PHP, Python and Perl; it is however only available for Windows and Linux. Buyers must contact On2 regarding licensing.
Dell XPS Notebook Shocks
Dell is not publicly acknowledging a series of complaints that some of its aluminum-clad notebooks are sending minor electric shocks to users, according to numerous complaints from the company's support forums. Systems with the metal trim, which primarily include the XPS M1330 and M1530 as well as the Inspiron 9400, are said to deliver jolts when users touch the aluminum while grabbing the side or using the trackpad. As some systems have shipped with two-prong power plugs, the affected notebooks lack a proper ground and promptly send some electricity to the user instead of through the outlet.
Kill Monty 1.1 on Friday
Freeverse has announced that an update for its top-down action game, Kill Monty, will be made available later this Friday. Based loosely on the movie Kill Bill and more directly on games such as Robotron and Smash TV, Kill Monty throws players into the middle of an arena, where they are attacked from all sides by enemies ranging from sinister agents to zombie monkeys and playing cards. To fight back, users are given weapons such as machineguns, lasers and grenades.
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620
Fujitsu on Friday rounded out its week with a new American version of its LifeBook P1620 convertible tablet PC. Smaller than most other tablets, the new system uses a small, 8.9-inch, stylus-sensitive LCD but still makes room for the components from larger, viewing-only ultraportables, including a 1.2GHz ultra low-voltage Core 2 Duo, at least 60GB of storage in a 1.8-inch drive, and up to 2GB of memory courtesy of small RAM slots. Wireless over 802.11a/b/g as well as PC Card and SD card slots also fit into the case. Despite these, the computer weighs just 2.2 pounds, Fujitsu says.
HTC Taking Palm Production
Increasingly larger cellphone producer HTC is taking control of making smartphones for a few of its larger challengers, a report in Taiwan's Commercial Times says. Without naming specific models, the trade paper says that Palm, MWG, and Dubai-based i-mate are all pushing their assembly orders back to HTC after previously turning to other contractors or their own factories. The reversal is not explained but should help HTC's manufacturing for others account for over 10 percent of the firm's bottom line, representing a significant boost for a company increasingly known for its own devices.
IBM's IDS on Leopard
IBM has announced plans to deliver Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) support for Mac OS X Leopard. IDS 11 provides online transaction processing data serving capabilities, adding to existing support of Linux and UNIX as well as Microsoft Windows installations. The software boasts high performance, low operating cost, scalability, and data availability, according to IBM. The planned IDS 11 "Cheetah 2" release is already available in its first beta version for download.
DeskUNPDF Pro for Mac
Docudesk has launched deskUNPDF Professional for Mac, an application for converting as well as transforming and automating PDF workflow. The application utilizes industry-leading technology for converting PDF's to multiple output formats for editing, business-grade table-detection that enables extracting table information into Microsoft Excel (.xls), and batch conversion, according to Docudesk. The software is available for $70 (system requirements were unavailable).
Windows 7 set for 2H09
Microsoft may be set to release the next version of Windows sooner than expected, an allegedly leaked roadmap reveals to TGDaily. The operating system, internally referred to as Windows 7, is said to be in an accelerated development process which will see the software released to manufacturing in the second half of 2009. While flexible, the plan may see the Vista successor released as early as fall 2009, months ahead of a projected 2010 launch for the OS.
FCC 'white space' test #2
The FCC is attempting a second round of testing for so-called "white space" Internet devices, writes the Associated Press. The evaluation is set to begin on on January 24th, and will last three months, involving tests in both lab conditions and the real world. Results may be available by the end of June. The new technologies were developed by Adaptrum, Microsoft, Motorola and Philips; by contrast, the first round of testing examined the work of a coalition including Microsoft, Philips, Dell, HP, Google, Intel and EarthLink.
E-Ten V900 Leak
E-Ten plans to make its first aggressive step into media-friendly phones by tapping digital broadcasts, according to samples obtained by the forums of Russian fan site EtenClub. The V900 will reportedly be one of the few devices to support multiple digital over-the-air formats at once with Europe's DVB-H (handheld) and DVB-T (terrestrial) supported alongside Korea's T-DMB standard; DAB audio broadcast support for the UK will also be standard. A small front camera points to the device supporting 3G Internet access. US support is unknown, though historical evidence would suggest full support for both calling and AT&T's 3G (HSDPA) network.
AMD fixes quad-core issues
AMD has finally solved the outstanding issues with some of its quad-core Phenom and Opteron processors, according to the company's CEO. Hector Ruiz tells analysts that although the fixed B3 stepping CPU is still "running through the paces," the first engineering samples should ship to system builders within two to three weeks. Production in bulk will begin sometime this quarter, with finished computers going on sale by the end of the period.
Product gallery highlights
Macworld Expo San Francisco 2008 saw over 400 vendors showcasing thousands of different products, from iPod cases and accessories, to many different hardware and software solutions for the Mac. Belkin's home-styled booth showcased many different iPod cases, as well as a revised KVM switch and the Podcast Studio device. Belkin employed musical entertainment that played on a faux-lawn area. Canon had its entire range of DSLR cameras, with a wide gamut of lenses available for testing. A wide range of colorful bags were available at Crumpler's booth, and iSkin's black and white booth scheme presented a striking display for its products.
Toshiba Portege G Update
Toshiba has released three new phones in its Portégé G series that include one of its first non-smartphone devices outside of Japan, PocketPCItalia says following an announcement. The G450 (pictured) is capable of 3G Internet over HSDPA and UMTS in Europe but is chiefly limited to calling in normal use; the unusual double-circular dial pad is intended to keep the phone small enough that it can plug into a computer directly through USB for use as a 3G cellular modem, Toshiba notes. It ships with a small OLED screen, 160MB of memory, and will sell for the equivalent of $290 in mainland Europe.
New MacBook Air cases
Two new cases have already been announced for Apple's yet-to-be-released MacBook Air. The first of these is the AirMail, which takes a cue from Apple's marketing and is designed to resemble a manila envelope, complete with brown-hued "paper" and a red seal. The case is actually handmade out of vinyl, with a thick fleece liner. It is said to protect against smudges, scratches and light bumps, but not any harsh impacts. It should ship for $30 within two weeks, the same timeframe as the Air itself.
Belkin MacBook Air sleeves
Belkin has debuted new Sleeve cases for Apple's MacBook Air to protect the thin notebooks from harm. The company's Slim-Fit Sleeve ($40) is a neoprene cover with no zippers or magnets that cushions the notebook, allowing users to simply slip a MacBook Air into the case and flip the top over to secure it in place. Belkin's Neoprene Sleeves are slated for shipment in March, while all other sleeves are due to ship in May of this year.
Apple to discuss FY08
Apple today announced that it will discuss its fiscal year 2008 first quarter results via conference call on January 22nd at 2:00 p.m. PST. Apple is expected to post better-than-expected earnings based on strong Mac sales, newly-introduced iPods, and favorable commodity pricing during the quarter. What's more, the forthcoming quarterly results will reveal Apple's performance during the busy holiday shopping season. The company will provide live audio streaming of the conference call using its own QuickTime multimedia software, and is offering a live audio webcast accessible via its website.
ASUS Touchscreen Eee PC
ASUS is developing a touchscreen version of its successful Eee PC micro notebook, according to alleged tips from part suppliers in its home region of Taiwan. The companies reportedly say that the first major update to the Eee will not only bring larger screens but will include a resistive touchscreen in a 9-inch model that offers basic pressure-based input to the small computer; the feature will only add about $15 to the manufacturing costs, says one of the claimed sources.
iSking at Macworld
iSkin's presence at Macworld is being used to demonstrate four new pieces of protective gear. The first of these is the ProTouch, a skin for Apple's thin aluminum keyboard. The ProTouch is primarily made out of silicone, but uses Microban antimicrobial material to prevent the spread of disease. When the skin does need to be cleaned, it can be quickly removed and manually washed and dried. The skin is already available for $25, in blue, black, pink and frosted colors.
Mackie's SRMv2 speakers
Mackie has unveiled its new SRMv2 portable active loudspeakers that boast new Class-D Fast Recovery amplifiers. The SRM350v2 and SRM450v2 speakers both feature a switching power supply as well as new transducers, while the SRM450v2 includes a neodymium woofer with a 3-inch voice coil and titanium compression driver. Lighter than the original SRM speakers, the SRMv2 speakers are housed in durable midnight blue polypropylene cabinets. The company is offering two models which include the SRM350v2 and SRM450v2 (pricing was unavailable).
Sprint Slashes 4000 Jobs
Sprint will cut about 4,000 jobs from its workforce and close 125 of its dedicated retail stores, the cellular carrier announced today. The move is expected to save the company between $700 million and $800 million a year and reflects a continued shrinking of the company's subscriber base, which gained about 500,000 subscribers in the most recent quarter but promptly lost 885,000 at the same time.
KORE Player, Soundpacks
Native Instruments has given word of two new pieces of software in its KORE line. The first of these is the KORE Player, a greatly simplified version of its KORE 2 suite. Player is based on the ABSYNTH, FM8, GUITAR RIG, KONTAKT, MASSIVE and REAKTOR sound engines, but is designed solely to play material from KORE Soundpacks in a host sequencer, or as a separate instrument. It retains features such as preset browsing, but sound alteration is generally limited to paramater knobs, which tweak factors such as cutoff and morphing. These can be linked to a MIDI controller for easier use.
Petition to Save Win XP
An online petition conducted by InfoWorld has managed to collect over 30,000 signatures asking Microsoft to keep Windows XP available, the magazine has revealed today. Called just Save XP, the petition argues that Microsoft's already extended June 30th cutoff point for sales of the 2001 operating system is still too short and that it should continue to sell "indefinitely," according to the organizers. The publication points to a lack of clear benefits to upgrading to its Windows Vista successor as well as problems with the new OS, such as slower performance in Microsoft Office tests as well as the expense of upgrading established business networks to the updated software. Regardless of where the computers are used, the limitation to Vista-only sales by July will be arbitrary, the petition maker says.
Nokia N95 8GB Gains DLNA
Nokia today said that the N95 8GB has been greenlit for the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) specification, making it the first cellphone to ever receive the status and the first to become a handheld media server. The approval allows the deluxe N95 to both share and receive media over a local Wi-Fi network between other DLNA devices; users can share music on the N95's 8GB of storage to a nearby notebook or browse the photos from a PlayStation 3. The feature lets phone owners be selective and share only some of their media with other devices in the area.
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