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iPhone 1.1.3 jailbreak
Hackers on Thursday released a simple "jailbreak" solution for iPhone 1.1.3, allowing users with already jailbroken iPhones running v1.1.1 and v1.1.2 to upgrade to the latest software/firmware update. Delivered about 9 days after the v1.1.3 update was first released to the public, the iPhone Dev Team and Iphone Elite Team have released a working "jailbreak" for iPhone 1.1.3, allowing users to install third-party applications and obtain access to the filesystem. Ironically, version 1.1.3 of the software includes the groundwork for Apple's forthcoming SDK (due by end of February), which will allow third-parties to deliver native applications for the iPhone without the "jailbreak." Update: some reports indicate that unlocked phones appear work properly after the update and true AT&T users can correct the issues with the map locator functions.
MacBook Air internals
Alongside Apple's developer note on the MacBook Air, more details of Apple's unreleased MacBook Air continue to be revealed as the first units of the new notebook begin making their way into the hands of group of select reviewers. Following notes on issues with using 3G mobile broadband devices with the single available USB port, a new report indicates that the inside of the MacBook Air may be every bit as "sexy" as the outside and that the battery may be easily replaced by some users (however, it is unclear whether this will void the warranty). Gizmodo also confirms an earlier Electronista report: Apple's external SuperDrive is not compatible with other Macs or computers (only with the higher-power USB port found the MacBook Air) and that the Remote Disc does not work for remote DVD or music playback.
A series of new RAID and related storage solutions debuted at last week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. First up, the CalDigit card is 100% hardware RAID that frees up your computer's processor. The card has a dedicated Intel processor, and 256MB of built-in cache memory. Utilizing the PCI-e expansion slots in the latest MacPro or PC machines has level 5 speeds of 330MB/s externally (with the New HDElement - 4 bay external drive enclosure, with RAID 0.1.5,6 and JBOD connected through external mini-sas) and internally 4 drive speeds of 247MB/S, internal and external drives scale up to 16TB capacity. The CalDigit RAID card is priced at $550.
MBS plug-in 8.0
Monkeybread Software has released version 8.0 of the MBS plug-in for REALbasic. The MBS plug-in comprises a collection of several plug-in parts which extend the REALbasic development environment with over 900 classes featuring over 18000 documented functions. A few of the new items in version 8.0: Updated to dynapdf 22.214.171.1240; Added OptionTTLMBS, OptionTOSMBS and OptionMulticastTTLMBS properties to SocketCore class. Also added ClearOptionsMBS method; Added BarcodeScannerMBS.mode property.
Electric Butterfly has announced the release of HelpLogic 1.5 for Mac OS X, a help authoring solution for cross-platform developers. The tool includes an integrated Workshop, Visual TOC Builder, HTML Editor, and Link Manager to quickly generate Web-based Help, Apple Help, Microsoft HTML Help, UniHelp, and PDF. Version 1.5 includes more than 40 new features, enhancements, and bug fixes including Universal Binary status, and improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
PacketStream 2.3 ($25) point-and-click activation of the Mac's built-in network monitoring program, which is usually available only from the command line. By clicking a few buttons, you can monitor data as it streams over your network--especially useful for checking web traffic, network bottlenecks, or even suspicious network activity. All network data is displayed in the application itself, and you can save the data to a file for further analysis later. Version 2.3 of PacketStream has the following features numerous improvements and bug fixes for compatability with Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5). [Download - 5.1MB]
pearPortVPN (donationware) allows you to automatically establish a specific VPN connection whenever a wireless network of choice becomes available. Furthermore, it can also automatically disconnect open connections before your Mac falls asleep and thus safe you from annoying error messages about timed out connections when your Mac wakes up again. [Download - 72KB]
Lightsoft Weather Center Preview 2 ($35) weather station software for Mac OS X 10.4 and later and currently works with Davis and La Crosse WS2300 series weather station hardware. The application displays real-time weather data, maintains a weather database for data analysis and can create and upload web pages to the user's web server and other internet based weather services. A client is also supplied that can display weather data in real-time on any computer on the user's local network. [Download - 7.6MB]
ToDo X 2.2 ($15) dedicated to-do list application for Mac OS X. This release improves Leopard compatibility and adds several minor user-interface refinements. Each item can have unlimited attached notes with clickable URLs, and items can be copied, linked or moved among lists via drag-and-drop. ToDo X can import to-do items from ordinary text files, as well as from iCal and other Mac or Windows applications that generate industry-standard ".ics" data files. [Download - 578KB]
Syncro SVN Client version 3.0 ($60) Subversion (SVN) client. Version 3.0 of Syncro SVN Client introduces visual editing of SVN conflicts, a view with all the changes between two revisions of a SVN folder, setting a reference revision number to the SVN repository browser. A revision number can be set to the SVN repository browser as the reference revision for all operations like browsing, checkout, compare, etc. [Download - 12.6MB]
iRite for Dreamweaver
WebAssist today announced the release of iRite, a cross-browser text editing plugin for DreamWeaver. Normally, DreamWeaver users are required to make manual adjustments for rich text formatting; iRite allows users to focus on written content by providing a number of word processor-like functions to DreamWeaver's interface. WebAssist is currently selling iRite for $50, a $25 discount from its usual price, while users of WebAssist Super Suite, Developer Suite or Admin Suite can upgrade for $30.
DiskWarrior 4.1, Leopard
Alsoft today unveiled DiskWarrior 4.1, an update to its disk and file repair utility, bringing Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility and support for the new operating system's features. The new version is able to scan and repair damaged directory hard links, which are used by Time Machine backups; Alsoft claims DiskWarrior 4.1 is the only utility on the market that can repair these issues. DiskWarrior 4.1 is available from Alsoft's website for $100.
FolioLink for iPhone
In brief: SecureMac offers the MacScan Family Pack, FolioLink gets iPhone compatibility, Total Training for Adobe CS3 has been released, and it's the last day for MacHeist ... SecureMac has announced the MacScan Family Pack, a $50 suite that can be used to upgrade a single user license of MacScan to a three seat license for the difference between the original price and the Family Pack. You can download free definition updates for MacScan either from within the program, or by downloading a software upgrade. MacScan quickly detects, isolates and removes spyware from Macintosh computers using both real-time spyware definition updating and unique detection methods. The software also manages internet-related clutter on your computer.
MacBook Air notes
Two new facts have surfaced regarding Apple's newly released MacBook Air and its optional SuperDrive that could influence the purchasing decisions of some consumers. The new notebook, which Apple touts as the "thinnest" notebook ever made, is incompatible with USB-based 3G modems, according to Engadget. The small high-speed wireless devices are too large to plug into the MacBook Air's collapsible USB port, preventing their usage without a USB extension cable or a powered USB hub.
Canon's new printers
Canon has introduced a new all-in-one printer and a low-cost straight inkjet printer. The new PIXMA MX850 Office All-In-One features printing, copying, scanning and faxing capabilities along with an Ethernet port for networking. The device features an automatic document feeder (ADF) which can copy or scan both sides of a document automatically. The Auto Duplexing feature permits two-sided copying/scanning of letter-sized documents, without the need to manually turn over pages and re-feed the document. Consumers are able to print two-sided documents automatically as well. This unit even has the ability to scan and print at the same time. When scanning a multi-page document to print, the PIXMA MX850 Office AIO printer will scan the first page and start printing it while the scanner is scanning the second page and so on. The printer also features a large 2.5-inch TFT display for easy viewing of images or printer menus.
First Look, Block Breaker
Apple's venture into gaming with the iPod has seen a number of titles from industry giants, such as Namco and Electronic Arts. Recently, however, the iPod has attracted mobile game developers like PopCap and Gameloft, the latter of which has just released Block Breaker Deluxe. The game revolves around the popular brick-breaking formula made famous by BrickOut and Arkanoid in years past, where players bounce a ball off of a movable paddle to destroy bricks on the play field.
Ohm hardware instrument
Livid Instruments today introduced Ohm, its latest hardware instrument that serves as a real-time MIDI control surface designed to give digital audio and video performers an interface for performance and presentation. Ohm is a custom-built instrument for digital artists provides hands-on control, and is designed for performance with a bank of 36 buttons centrally located over a DJ style cross fader. The device includes eight faders with button triggers, 10 rotary knobs, 12 function buttons, and a BPM tap button. Ohm is priced at an introductory price of $800, and comes with a free fully functional copy of the new Livid Union 2.5 VJ software.
Samsung i8 camera
Following its announcement of the GX-20 DSLR, Samsung has also revealed the i8, a new compact. The camera features an 8.2-megapixel sensor, with light sensitivity up to ISO 1600, and a lens capable of 3x optical zoom. Where it distinguishes itself however is in its ability to act as an MP3/MPEG-4 media player, and in its movie recording mode, which captures SVGA (800x600) video with the option of pausing midway through.
More touch screen patents
Apple has filed two more patents related to its touch screen technology, which follow a patent filing discovered earlier today. The new patents, titled 'Touch pad for handheld device' and 'Techniques for interactive input to portable electronic devices' cover scrolling features found in a touch pad as well as techniques for providing user input to interactive multitasking environments.
Sony on 299 PS3 Rumor
Sony has denied claims that the company is about to drop the price of the PlayStation 3 to $299, according to a statement provided by the company. Referring to a post on SlickDeals which claims a price cut for the console "on or around" January 28th, the Sony official claims that there are no plans underway. Talk of such a change is "purely rumor and speculation," a Sony spokesman says. The cut has been indirectly linked to the appearance of the previously Japan-only white PS3 at the FCC, suggesting that the price cut would come along with the new color option.
Eee without Linux in Japan
ASUS' high-selling Eee PC has launched with some differences in Japan. Instead of the current 2G, 4G and 8G versions found elsewhere, Japan is getting the 4G-X, which by default comes loaded with Windows XP Home, instead of ASUS' modified Linux interface. The system is also said to have a 900MHz Celeron M processor, where Western Eees typically show a 630MHz clock speed. Finally, Japanese buyers get a 4GB SDHC card, effectively doubling the total storage capacity.
Yahoo DRM-Free Leak
Yahoo is in talks to revamp its music store to remove copy protection, says a report from the Chinese news agency SINA. Two record label executives have allegedly confirmed that Yahoo is in preliminary negotiations to change its service from its current, Windows Media protected format to an unspecified, unguarded format that would be interchangeable between devices and players. Yahoo spokeswoman Carrie Davis has confirmed that the company has discussed shedding digital rights management (DRM) on its music with labels but has also denied any new escalation in talks.
700MHz Auction Begins
The Federal Communications Commission today began the highly anticipated auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum. Divided into several blocks of airspace, the contest is widely believed to be responsible for future wide-area Internet airspace both across the US as a whole as well as for regional carriers. The rules of the auction prevent the FCC from detailing most of the process, though the regulatory body currently notes that bids so far have totaled $2.4 billion. This reveals that many of the larger players in the auction have yet to bid as the most coveted blocks of wireless space require a minimum $4.6 billion bid.
Sharp AQUOS X LCDs
Having announced its E94U and D74U sets at this year's CES expo, Sharp today revealed yet more AQUOS LCDs at a press conference in Japan. The new X series will be comprised of 37-, 42- and 46-inch sets, each just under 1.4 inches thick. The sets will all be 1080p-capable moreover, and use 12-bit BDE color-rendering. A 120Hz refresh rate should permit fast response to motion, and their contrast ratio is said to be 15,000:1 -- making the sets mid-range within the AQUOS line, but still above-average for LCDs in general.
Apple engineer speaks
Former Apple software engineer Jens Alfke has posted a blog entry about his departure from the company, why he did it, and Apple's perceived cultural/operation faults. Alfke initially worked on the now-defunct OpenDoc project, and later moved into social software, which he found Apple to be less-than-enthusiastic about: "I'm fascinated with social software. Apple isn't. Despite some promising starts, the most I've been able to get accomplished in that vein at Apple was iChat [the IM part; I'm really not interested in videoconferencing], Safari RSS, and the "PubSub" [which turned out to be "RSS and Atom"] framework. There were some very promising prototypes of sexier things, but I really can't talk about those, other than to say that they were canceled."
Alltel Muse Scoop Pearl
Alltel today unveiled a tangible update to its phones with three new models. Headlining the introductions is the Scoop; the LG handset builds off of the Rumor flip phone available at Sprint and provides both a conventional outer keypad for dialing as well as a QWERTY keyboard inside for messaging purposes. The 1.3-megapixel camera, microSD slot, and EVDO Internet access carry over intact, though the device includes support for Alltel's Voice2TXT service for converting voicemail. The Scoop ships in light blue, gray, and orange color schemes but has not received an official price or launch date.
AT&T: 2m iPhone customers
AT&T today said it ended 2007 with "just at or slightly under two million iPhone customers," according to a report from Reuters. The wireless carrier, which has an exclusive agreement with Apple to distribute as well as provide service for the iPhone in the U.S., reported "strong" fourth quarter results and reaffirmed its 2008 and multi-year outlook. AT&T saw 2.7 million new wireless subscribers, marking the best-ever quarterly increase by any U.S. wireless company to end the year with a total of 70.1 million wireless subscribers.
IFPI Music Sales in 2007
Direct-download music sales saw one of its most significant increases yet in 2007 but is being "choked" by piracy, says a new report from the IFPI. The international music association notes that sales of music online grew by 40 percent last year to produce about $2.9 billion in sales and was large enough to account for a significant portion of some countries' entire music sales. Internet sales now represent about 15 percent of all music sold in the world and account for 15 percent in the US specifically, according to the IFPI. Single-track downloads comprised a large part of the success and grew by 53 percent to 1.7 billion individual songs.
Google, DoCoMo link
Leading Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has confirmed a deal with Google, as initially rumored late last month. The primary purpose of the deal is to improve DoCoMo's i-mode Internet service, which is said to have some 48 million subscribers. Google will make it easier for i-mode users to reach its various websites, in particular Google Maps, which will be preloaded on various handsets as on Apple's iPhone. A Google search bar will be added to the i-mode portal this spring; eventually it will be easier to load other material as well, such as Gmail, YouTube and Picasa.
MS security report, Tiger
Microsoft employee Jeff Jones has published a Windows Vista one-year vulnerability report in his Security Blog that includes analysis of the Redmond-based company's newest operating system alongside its predecessor -- Windows XP -- and several competitors which include Apple's Mac OS X 10.4. A side-by-side patch event histogram comparison of Windows Vista vs. Mac OS X 10.4 shows that Windows Vista had fewer vulnerabilities and fewer times of concern for security teams.
Vudu cuts set-top to $295
Vudu, the creator of its namesake set-top box, has announced that its basic version is dropping in price by over $100, to reach $295. The cut takes effect today, and anyone who bought the device at its regular price within the last 30 days is entitled to a $100 movie credit. Vudus allow users to rent or buy standard- and high-definition videos from their TV, downloaded via the Internet; purchases cost between $2 and $20, while rentals are $1 to $4.
Samsung Cams at PMA 2008
Samsung today became the latest in a series of camera makers to update their lines for the PMA photography show next week. At the top of the line, the GX-20 digital SLR is a close cousin to the similarly new Pentax K20D but with key differences; while it shares the same 14.6-megapixel, low-noise CMOS camera sensor as the K20D, the GX-20 includes a different on-camera interface and generates JPEG images differently than its Pentax sibling. The Samsung unit's physical design is also different and sports a dedicated RAW shooting button that produces an uncompressed shot even when the camera is normally set to JPEG mode.
Illuminating iPod touchpad
An application submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office suggests that future clickwheel iPods, i.e. the Classic and the Nano, may use illuminated touchpads. The technology involves lights placed beneath the surface of a pad, which illuminate in different ways as users pass fingers (or possibly styluses) over top. In the most basic incarnation, one or more sections of the pad light up as users touch it; this may indicate the possibility of multi-touch control, but the patent also suggests illuminating only a single segment in some cases.
New Mac Pro benchmarks
Benchmarks of Apple's new Mac Pro systems -- which began shipping earlier this year -- show how the latest systems stack up against each other as well as the company's older workstations. Overall performance ratings placed the Mac Pro 3.2GHz at the top of the charts in both 64-bit and 32-bit tests. Tests show that the performance difference between Apple's 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz Mac Pros is not as great as the difference between running 32-bit code and 64-bit code, according to the Primate Labs Blog.
Netflix Mac Streaming Hope
Netflix hopes that changes in two formats will prove to be catalysts for its business in 2008, the company said late yesterday in its quarterly results call. Following a year in which the company profited by 97 cents per share and added 1.2 million subscribers, the rental firm says it intends to offer a Mac version of its web-based Watch Instantly feature sometime this year. Though it did not say how it would reach this goal, the company explained that the move would reflect a larger trend towards web video in general by expanding the available audience.
iPhone 'speed-dial' hack
Some iPhone owners have discovered a means of installing "speed-dial" icons on the the device's Home page, without first having to jailbreak it. The hack relies on the WebClip feature of the v1.1.3 firmware, and involves going to a URL listed as "http://x.tel.qlnk.net", with the X replaced by a particular person's phone number. People must then cancel the "Call" window that pops up, and add the URL to the Home screen as they would any other webpage.
Digital Performer 6
Audio and video specialist MOTU has debuted Digital Performer 6, the next version of its audio sequencing software. The interface of the program has been completely redesigned, and includes a variety of other enhancements as well, such as XML exchange with Final Cut Pro, and generally improved support for film scoring. Users can now work with interleaved broadcast WAVE files, pre-render virtual instruments, and "bounce and burn" to audio CDs. Finally, there is better support for AU plug-ins, and operating as a front end for Pro Tools HD systems. DP6 should ship later this quarter for $795.
Verizon Gleam Purple
Verizon today made one of its first phone releases of the new year with an update to the Samsung Gleam. The new version of the clamshell phone switches from the relatively safe black and bronze color scheme of the original to a new version with bright purple edges and a gray main body. Fitting in with the theme of the phone, it also has new "living wallpaper" that matches the time of the day with either a rural or urban backdrop.
Nokia Q407 Marketshare
Nokia on Thursday reported one of the best fiscal quarters in its history, earning about 47 Euro cents (69 US cents) per share in the October to December period, or just short of 2.5 billion Euros ($3.6 billion US) in profit. The achievement was the result of selling 133.5 million phones in the three-month span and was enough to grow the Finnish company's marketshare even further, pushing the firm's control from 37 percent to an even 40 percent, eclipsing Samsung, Motorola, and Sony-Ericsson in terms of overall influence.
USA Today reviews Air
The MacBook Air is an impressive piece of engineering, but suffers from some serious flaws that may reduce its appeal to some, writes USA Today. The newspaper firstly applauds its signature design features, namely its incredibly thin design, which is just over three-quarters of an inch thick at its largest point. Also praised is the backlighting for the keyboard and monitor, as well as the multitouch trackpad, which permits iPhone-like gestures such as pinching and swiping.
YouTube Mobile Video
YouTube's mobile video service will soon work with far more device s than currently available, the Google-owned company said today. A code change for the website should allow some phones from LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Sony-Ericsson to have largely the same playback features as the desktop page: this includes the ability to rate and search for videos as well as visit particular users' channels, YouTube says.
S-E T280 and R300
Sony-Ericsson this morning launched four phones, all targeted at essentialist owners. Both the 1.3-megapixel T280 cameraphone and the cameraless T270 each adopt a thin (0.5in) metal candybar shape and are focused chiefly on calling and basic web use; both have Bluetooth for hands-free calling, while the T280 adds an FM radio with RDS station data support. Either will be available before the end of March; versions are available both for international audiences (T270i and T280i) as well as for Americans (T270a and T280a) in a pair of two-tone color models.
iPhone projections lowered
Apple has reportedly lowered its projected shipments of iPhones for the March quarter. According to a new report, the company has lowered its orders from two million units to around 1-1.2 million units for the second fiscal quarter, which ends in March. Despite announcing that it has sold over four million iPhones to date, Apple may be suffering from decreased demand in some parts of world, according to new report by the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN). Quoting sources at Apple's handset component suppliers in Taiwan, the Digitimes indicates that Apple has reduced orders for its popular mobile device due to decreased demand in Europe. The company launched the mobile device in UK, Germany, and France last Fall, but one report this week indicated that the company's sales in the UK have been below the company's expectations.
Fuji debuts new cameras
Fujifilm on Friday unveiled several new digital cameras, including its SLR-styled 18x ultra-zoom S81000fd, the new 10MP FinePix Z20fd with new colors and video technology, the 12MP FinePix F100fd with ISO equivalency speeds up to 12800, and its most advanced consumer model: the FinePix S100FS with advanced dSLR control and functionality. In addition, the company claims to have introduced the world's smallest digital camera with a 12x optical zoom, the FinePix S1000fd. The advanced FinePix S100FS (Film Simulation) digital camera provides an all-in-one solution with manual controls and functionality of a Digital-SLR, including both digital and manual stabilization through a mechanically stabilized "floating" lens element to reduce blur from the photographer's hand-shake, with Fujifilm's Picture Stabilization Technology, to reduce blur caused by subject movement.
Mossberg reviews MB Air
Apple's new MacBook Air has received plenty of critique, both positive and negative, since its unveiling at the keynote during Macworld Expo. The Wallstreet Journal's own Walt Mossberg had a chance recently to review the new ultraportable, and while he agrees the laptop definitely has a place in the bags of road warriors, some users may not care for some of the features that Mossberg finds lacking.
Pentax PMA 2008
Alongside its K-series updates, Pentax tonight revealed a trio of point-and-shoot models as its entries in the PMA photography show. The Optio S12 is one of the smallest 12-megapixel cameras yet, the company claims, and produces features expected of some larger models such as ISO 3200 sensitivity in its anti-blur model. It will also be one of the least-expensive cameras in the category when it ships in April for $280.
Canon SD1100 IS and A
Canon's mainstream PowerShot camera line is being upgraded tonight ahead of PMA through both a new designer model and three budget cameras. The flagship SD1100 IS (pictured) is now considered a designer camera and includes several designer colors such as Bohemian Brown or Pink Melody; regardless, it still represents a technical upgrade with a sharper 8-megapixel sensor than the 7.1-megapixel SD1000 and adds true image stabilization to provide stable shots in less than ideal conditions. The SD1100 IS further borrows the DIGIC III from the EOS Rebel XSi and higher-end cameras to improve its nine-point autofocus, shutter response, and overall image quality, Canon says.
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