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Canon EOS Rebel XSi
Canon helped inaugurate next week's PMA show tonight by upgrading its entry digital SLR. Now dropping "Digital" from the camera name, the EOS Rebel XSi jumps from 10.1 to 12.2 megapixels while also using the same DIGIC III image processor as higher-end cameras such as the 1D Mark III. The switch provides a 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion process, better autofocusing, highlight tone priority, and noise reduction at high ISO levels up to the camera's ISO 1600 peak; these features are the first for a camera in the class and are joined by auto lighting correction that adjusts brightness and contrast on the fly.
Apple execs salary in 2007
Apple's executive officers have taken home a considerable sum during 2007, with salaries ranging from $500,000 to $700,000, and stock option grants equaling that of the individual's base salary. Despite his infamous $1 yearly salary, CEO Steve Jobs still holds the majority of company stock with 5.5 million shares, 5 million of which was a gift from the company in March 2003. Jobs also received a $43.5 million Gulfstream V jet as a bonus for outstanding performance from 1997 to 1999.
Apple shareholders meeting
Apple has officially announced its annual meeting of shareholders, where stockowners will elect the company's Board of Directors and ratify the appointment of KPMG LLP as Apple's independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2008. Also on the agenda are considerations for two shareholder proposals, which are listed below. The meeting is scheduled to take place on March 4th at 10:00 a.m. local time in Building 4 on the company's Cupertino campus.
DAZ Studio 3D
DAZ Productions has the beta version of its DAZ Studio 3D Bridge for Photoshop plug-in. Compatible with Photoshop 7, CS, CS2 and CS3, this new plug-in allows DAZ Studio users to automatically apply 3D imagery and artwork to any Photoshop project. The DAZ Studio 3D Bridge for Photoshop allow users to view 3D scenes as Photoshop layers, change objects and figures simultaneously, render directly into Photoshop, import, export and modify image maps and textures onto 3D models in Photoshop, composite 2D and 3D content seamlessly and access DAZ's full library of quality 3D content
iPhone patent lawsuit
Apple has been slapped with yet another patent infringement lawsuit regarding the iPhone. This time the plaintiff is Minerva m owner by assignment of United States Patent No. 7,321,783 (the "783 Patent") entitled "Mobile Entertainment and Communication Device," which was issued on January 22, 2008. In other words, as soon as the patent was issued, the suit was filed. The suit alleges that defendants Apple and component supplier AtlanticRT have been and now are directly infringing, and indirectly infringing by making, using, offering to sell, or selling the iPhone which is covered by one or more claims
Apple's Web traffic up 18%
Traffic to Apple's website grew 18 percent over the same period last year, according to Nielsen Online. The Cupertino-based company's traffic jumped from a three-month average monthly unique audience of just under 40 million to 46.8 million. Statistics reveal a 14 percent growth in total minutes spent at Apple's website this year over last year, from 8.8 billion minutes in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 10 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.
HP Energy Star 4.0 PCs
HP today announced two new energy-efficient desktop computers, both of which use a solid-state drive to store data, and are compliant with the Energy Star 4.0 standard. The solid-state drives provide a number of benefits, such as faster system startup times, better reliability and durability, while maintaining a smaller footprint than a traditional hard drive. The ultra-slim HP Compaq dc7800 uses Intel Core 2 Duo processors with optional vPro technology, and Verdiem Surveyor network power management software, which can lower the energy cost for the computer to $10 per year, when combined. HP is selling the dc7800 for $1300.
EasyWMV 1.3 ($15) converts or resizes WMV, ASF, AVI, MPEG, MOV, FLV, NSV, SWF and VOB files. Resulting videos are saved in the MPG or MP4 formats, and can be specifically tailored for iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone using H.264 encoding where possible. EasyWMV creates video compatibles with QuickTime, iPods, iPhone and Apple TV. Other features include iTunes integration, drag-and-drop, batch processing, and independent adjustment of audio and video quality. Version 1.3 adds support for iPod Touch and iPhone. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 4.3MB]
Curio 4.2 ($100) note taking, mind mapping, brainstorming, and project management application for Mac OS X 10.4 and above. Curio 4.2 now includes an integrated audio/video recorder for easy meeting and class lecture recording, and for making quick annotations. Curio 4.2 also features manual mind map placement of branches, smarter resource inheritance, and integrated Leopard QuickLook thumbnails for assets. [Download - 63.3MB]
SVDesignMiner v2.0 ($15) Sandvox design editing assistant. It enables you to edit or replace any element in any Sandvox design. It provides a user-friendly interface between the contents of your Sandvox designs and your image and text editing applications. With SVDesignMiner making design modification is easy and intuitive. Version 2.0 (a free upgrade to registered users) features a new Leopard style interface and several performance enhancements. [Download - 3.4MB]
RWThemeMiner 2.0 ($30) theme editing assistant. It enables you to edit or replace any element in any RapidWeaver theme. It provides a user-friendly interface between the contents of your RW themes and your image and text editing applications. Version 2.0 (a free upgrade to registered users) features a new Leopard style interface and several performance enhancements. [Download - 3.4MB]
Fracture 1.4 ($10) generates an infinite variety of beautiful fractal images based upon mathematical formulas such as the Mandelbrot Set. If you have multiple processors, it will use all of them to calculate its images as quickly as possible, making it a great way to show off that new eight-core Mac Pro. And if you have multiple monitors, it will display fractals on all of them, in any of several different multimonitor modes. It is even user-controllable as it runs, allowing you to generate and save fractal images that suit your individual taste. With version 1.4, Fracture is Mac OS X 10.5 compatible. [Download - 408KB]
1.1.3 prepares for SDK
The recently-unveiled 1.1.3 update for the iPhone and iPod touch potentially lays the groundwork for officially installable third-party applications. According to Creations.net, SpringBoard no longer needs to be modified to show other applications in the unit's /Applications folder, and they no longer run under the root user, instead identifying themselves under the user "mobile". Preferences have also changed locations, now occupying the /var/mobile directory in place of /var/root.
GE second-gen cameras
General Electric has announced what will only be its second generation of digital cameras, due in the spring. All of them will feature blink and smile detection, delaying shots for the best expressions. At the top of the compacts will be the E series, led by the E1050 ($249), a 10-megapixel camera able to record 720p video at 30fps. Shooters can output the video to an HD display, and control various functions though a three-inch touchscreen. Its lens is capable of 5x optical zoom, and its light sensitivity extends to ISO 3200. An optional GPS receiver can geotag images.
Samsung BlackJack WM6
Samsung today gave owners of the original AT&T-branded BlackJack smartphone a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade. The patch brings the phone up to the same Windows Mobile 6 Standard base OS as the more recent BlackJack II, supplying it with an improved web browser, "push" Exchange e-mail with HTML support, and Office Mobile for basic editing on the road. The update also provides AT&T-specific features previously locked out of the device; one-way Video Share calls on the carrier's 3G cell network are now possible.
Pentax K20D and K200D
Pentax joined in the slew of updates for the PMA photo expo this afternoon with updates to its K-series digital SLRs. Looking to earn the same reputation as its larger rivals, the company's flagship K20D jumps from 10.1 to 14.6 megapixels compared to the older K10D but also switches to a new CMOS sensor; this eliminates much of the noise that appears with conventional CCD sensors at mid-to-high ISO sensitivity levels used for shooting in low light, the camera maker explains. It also extends that ISO range to 6400 and supplies hardware image stabilization through the body rather than the lens.
DoCoMo and .Mac, 10.5.2
In brief: Japan's NTT DoCoMo telecommunications company is reportedly adding .Mac mail access, while Apple let slip a potential feature in a future revision of Time Machine. When DoCoMo launches its ConnectMail service next month, it will be adding .Mac email compatibility as well. According to Akihabara News, the service will allegedly act as an IMAP mail account, leaving the copy on the .Mac server proper. DoCoMo's ConnectMail service carries a yearly cost of ¥4800.
Samsung UP5000 to die
Only months after its introduction, Samsung has already decided to discontinue the BD-UP5000, its hybrid Blu-Ray/HD DVD movie player. The unit was to have been one of the most powerful players Samsung had produced, with 1080p24, HDMI 1.3, and an Ethernet port for Internet content; users have reported substantial problems with it however, such the inability to run HD audio codecs, or properly view discs such as Sunshine or 3:10 to Yuma. Other problems have included troubles with with standard DVDs or the 4:3 aspect ratio.
Dell PRODUCT Red Official
Quickly responding to advance details, Dell this afternoon has already launched Dell (PRODUCT) Red (link active soon), its campaign to contribute to the Red charity's fight against AIDS in Africa. Every device in the campaign provides a percentage of its sale to the charity without affecting the price but also comes in a special red hue; in software, each comes with a special version of Windows Vista Ultimate with six desktops, a Vista Ultimate DreamScene video desktop, a screen saver, and two Sidebar gadgets.
Logica family of icons
In brief: Parallels partners with Equinix for virtualization VPN, a new Logica family of icons has been released, Ken Scott grooves have debuted, the ToneCore DSP Developer Kit ships, and new Webinars describe how to build a FileMaker Website for the iPhone and a shopping cart ... equinux and Parallels have partnered to allow business professionals with Parallels Desktop for Mac to securely connect to their remote networks using VPN Tracker 5, equinux's market-leading IPsec based VPN client for Mac OS X. Users can now take full advantages of using their Parallels Desktop virtual machine and the high security standards that come with using VPN Tracker 5. "It's no longer an issue for business users to go from Windows to Mac OS X," says equinux CEO, Till Schadde. "Basically, every Windows application that can be used with Parallels Desktop for Mac can access a highly encrypted VPN Tunnel under Mac OS X provided by VPN Tracker 5."
Jolt delays Mac dimming
Independent coder Bryan Hansen has released Jolt, a system utility for Mac OS X. The tool defeats a common problem for Mac owners, in which a user wants to keep the default timing for the energy saver, but is continually interrupted by it when watching videos or reading long documents. By clicking on the Jolt icon located in the Menu bar, users can temporarily delay screen dimming by several minutes. A timer within Jolt's own menu shows how long it will be before a system returns to normal.
Sony W and T Cams for 2008
Continuing its Cyber-shot updates, Sony on Wednesday rolled out upgrades to its more mainstream W- and S-series cameras. The W-series receives the largest upgrade with changes both to optics and to their intelligence. The 7.2-megapixel W120 and 8.1-megapixel W130 now provide 4X zoom lenses, allowing them to shoot further than their 3X predecessors; the 8.1-megapixel W150 and 10.1-megapixel W170 shoot further still with a 5X wide-angle lens.
Sony Cyber-shot PMA 2008
Sony preceded the start of the PMA photography show with a major update to its Cyber-shot cameras, beginning with its highest-end home models. The H10 (shown) replaces the H3 and adds a larger, wider 3-inch preview LCD without sacrificing the camera body's size. It shares the same 10X lens, ISO 3200 sensitivity, and optics-based image stabilization as the earlier camera; a sports shooting mode forces high shutter speeds and nonstop autofocus to capture subjects blur-free in bright areas. It supports uploading music to the camera for slideshows and ships in May at the same $300 price as the earlier model.
Nanochip 100GB Chips
A new form of nanotechnology could result in ultra-high density flash memory in less than two years, its inventor Nanochip has revealed. Instead of a traditional technique used in the NAND memory found in many portable devices, the new process would write and help read data using microscopic cantilevers with raised tips that are less than 10 nanometers across; by pressing a grid of these tips against the actual storage, each bit of data can be held in a space just 15 square nanometers versus the 65 nanometers of most current flash memory. A typical chip die would have many such tips and could write data far faster than current technology, the company says.
Ad-driven music on Last.fm
One of the most popular social networking sites for music, Last.fm, says it is now letting users stream any music listed on the site free and legally. This is as a result of deals signed with EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG, as well as "thousands" of independent labels, all of whom will receive a portion of the website's advertising revenue for each time a track plays. Artists, meanwhile, will receive a unique share of the ad revenue, paid directly. Acts can thus earn some money and exposure without being signed to a label.
Dell XPS M1330 with Linux
Dell today continued its releases with word of its first notebook outside of the Inspiron 1420 to carry Linux. The XPS M1330n is the first high-performance system from the PC maker to come with Ubuntu instead of Windows and adds features that have previously been off-limits to earlier systems running the OS, including the option of a 64GB solid-state drive, a 320GB rotating disk, as well as a display with a webcam and an LED-backlit display. DVD playback support is already installed rather than requiring an add-on software pack, Dell adds.
MPAA: We were wrong
A 2005 study grossly distorted the role of colleges in movie piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America now admits. Commissioned by the trade group, the study blamed a massive 44 percent of all domestic piracy on college students, who frequently have access not only to broadband Internet connections but high-speed local networks. The MPAA is currently telling educational groups that the figure was a result of "human error," and is in fact closer to just 15 percent, the Associated Press writes.
Three new games released
Pokie Magic has released three new games for Mac: Tuts Treasure, Dragon Dollars, and Totem Treasure 1. Tuts Treasure features an ancient Egyptian theme with pharaohs, jewels, pyramids, the Eye of Ra, and many more mystical relics. Queen Cleopatra and King Tut make appearances as they beckon even more treasure for players. All three games, which are designed for Mac users, were developed with the PTK game engine. Each game is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Dell PRODUCT Red PCs Soon
Dell plans to take contributions to the PRODUCT (Red) charity to a handful of its computers, the company confirmed today. Without expanding on full details, the Texas PC builder says it will release special editions of its XPS M1330 and M1530 notebooks as well as its XPS One all-in-one desktop that are given a special red color scheme. U2 lead musician and (Red) co-founder Bono has contributed to a custom design for the systems, Dell says. Each will also have a special (Red)-themed desktop and Windows Vista gadget sidebar.
Apple executive bonuses
Several of Apple's senior executives took in considerable pay for 2007, SEC filings show. Reuters reports that for example, while Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer took in a $600,000 salary, and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook received $700,000, both received bonuses equal to their regular pay, making for "true" salaries of $1.2 and $1.4 million, respectively. Apple's Compensation Committee is meanwhile considering paying some sort of bonus to CEO Steve Jobs, who has only taken a $1 salary each year since returning to the company in 1997. Most of his income is derived from an approximate 5.5 million shares of stock.
SMART Utility 1.1 released
Volitans Software today released SMART Utility 1.1, a major update to the hard drive diagnostic and scanning software for Mac OS X. The latest release offers software update functionality, highlights failing drives in the list, and automatically expands drive listings. SMART Utility 1.1 also includes various minor features and bug fixes, according to the company. The software is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
MacBook Air USB Details
The MacBook Air's special processor is not the only example of the ultraportable veering away from Intel's reference designs, Electronista has discovered. People familiar with the internal design of the system have explained that the external Superdrive DVD burner available for the notebook should only be recognized by the Air rather than any computer due to custom requirements from both the subnotebook and its peripheral.
AmTech: Upgrade iPods
Apple must substantially upgrade its iPods in order to rescue sales, says Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. While revenue growth from iPods was 17 percent in the last quarter, the fastest of the past four, the company only sold approximately 22 million iPods, when consensus views were predicting 24 to 25 million. This likewise represents a mere 5 percent growth year-over-year, in spite of the fact that Apple recently made major changes by introducing the Touch and adding video to the Nano.
Adobe InDesign, AE updated
Adobe today released several updates to its software applications for professionals, including After Effects, InDesign, and InCopy. The Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional software 8.0.2 update provides Panasonic P2 format support, Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard compatibility fixes, Mac OpenGL support for supported video cards under Mac OS X v10.4.10 and v10.5, and other important fixes. The update for its professional video editing solution is 106.3MB and is available online. Adobe also noted that the Adobe InCopy CS3 5.02 update, for its provides key fixes in the areas of character alignment, undo and redo, text and fonts, dictionaries, import/export graphics, and others; the installer includes fixes from all previously released InCopy CS3 5.0.x updates (and previous InCopy CS3 5.0.x updates are no longer available separately.
Piper: Apple still a 'buy'
Apple stock should still be rated a "buy," despite its recent stock slide, say Gene Munster and Michael Olson from the research firm Piper Jaffray. The analysts first deconstruct the reasons for the drop: foremost may be Apple's guidance for the March quarter, which has an EPS 15 percent below expectations from The Street, at $0.94, but with revenue only 2 percent lower, at $6.8 billion. Year-over-year iPod growth was also only 5 percent in the December quarter, versus 50 percent in the same period of 2006. Finally, the state of the economy may be deterring even wealthier people from buying expensive electronics.
Nokia 7900 Crystal Prism
In its second phone announcement in as many days, Nokia on Wednesday has revealed the 7900 Crystal Prism, a deluxe version of the original 7900 Prism released in the middle of last year. The new version emphasizes the already high-fashion design of the original with laser-engraved patterns from designer Frédérique Daubal on the sides and back; the artist also contributes several wallpapers for the cellphone's OLED display that reinforce the geometric artwork of the phone's namesake.
AMD Radeon HD 3400 3600
AMD this morning released what it says are some of the first entry-level desktop video cards to provide video features previously reserved for high-end models. Both the starter Radeon HD 3400 under the company's ATI label and more mid-range Radeon HD 3600 series share the same basic architecture as the high-end Radeon HD 3800 but reduce the clock speed and number of stream (graphics shader) processors to bring the price to a reasonable level; where the 3800 goes with a full 320 stream units, the 3400 series goes with 40 and the 3600 uses 120, AMD says. In spite of this, all the new cards support enhanced lighting and other visual effects in DirectX 10.1 and newer versions of OpenGL 2; they are also some of the first to support as many as two DisplayPort connectors for newer, advanced displays such as the Dell 3008WFP.
Moto Q4 Results
Motorola's mobile device business took one of its most serious drops in recent memory, the company announced today as part of its quarterly results. The group, which primarily covers cellphones, saw its sales drop in the fiscal fourth quarter by 38 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The shortfall resulted in a $388 million loss versus a $341 million profit at the same point in 2006 and saw shipments of 40.9 million cellphones over the three-month span. Although additional segments such as set-top boxes and business devices fared well, the impact of the cellular business contributed to reduced earnings of 5 cents per share, or $100 million.
Summary of Q1 financials
Apple recently made available its first quarter financial data for 2008, which displayed record earnings for the company. Senior VP and CFO Peter Oppenheimer guided analysts and industry insiders through the quarterly figures, citing record Mac sales, with strong software and iPod sales backing the numbers. A strong install-base of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has also helped the company's quarter, with estimates being placed at a 19-percent install base on Macs. Apple's cash generation has doubled that of its net income, and has over $18 billion of financial reserves.
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