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VONaLink update for VoIP
Arcosoft recently announced an update for VONaLink ScreenPop, its VoIP service enhancement software, adding outbound dialing restrictions. VONaLink ScreenPop works with any SIP compatible VoIP phone system, including Vonage and Asterisk. By hooking a computer that hosts the software to a hub, users can monitor and manage outgoing calls, preventing undesired charges and fees from unauthorized phone calls. Arcosoft is selling VONaLink ScreenPop on its website for $30, with a free demo version also available.
Nisus Writer Pro, Express
Nisus Software has released Nisus Writer Pro 1.0.3 and Nisus Writer Express 3.0.2. These new releases, which are free to existing users of Pro and Express 3, fix some image display and footnote issues. Writer Express is a scaled-back version of Writer Pro, missing features such as indexing and tables of contents; it nevertheless shares common elements, such as the ability to open Word, WordPerfect and AbiWord documents, as well as view text in scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew. One of the major upgrades from earlier versions of Express is "floating" graphics, enabling text wrap around them.
Gefen TV, Switcher
Gefen today announced a new line of electronics products geared towards home theatre enthusiasts, which it is dubbing Gefen TV, leading off the line with the Gefen TV Switcher. The Switcher is capable of sharing one HDMI v1.3 port to four separate devices. In addition to being able to manually switch between devices, the Gefen TV Switcher can automatically detect recently powered devices and switch the signal accordingly. Gefen is selling the switch through its website for $200.
Tunewear PRIE iPhone cases
Tunewear has announced the availability of its new PRIE Ambassador genuine leather cases for iPhone. The case is now available in five different looks. Traditionalists can choose versions in black nappa leather with either white or red stitching to complement any style. Other models include gold, gold with white, and silver colored leather. The PRIE Ambassador is an open-face carrying case. All ports, sensors and the camera remain open and accessible. The iPhone is held secure using a magnetic side latch and can be quickly removed when needed.
Tiger, Leopard flaw
Similar to the Office 2008-related permissions problem reported earlier today, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard users may be susceptible to additional vulnerabilities. MacNN reader Robert Myers reports that when using a standard user account to copy software in to the Applications folder, the authentication that takes place not only allows the software to be inserted in to the folder (as it should) but also changes the owner of the application to the current user.
LTE vs WiMAX Report
The Intel-backed Xohm WiMAX service from Sprint is unlikely to survive as a fourth-generation (4G) cellular Internet standard in the face of its main challenger Long Term Evolution, according to a new analyst report from Maravedis. Although Intel has generally backed the service and expects to make WiMAX a staple of its Montevina notebook platform in mid-year, both troubles inside Sprint and opposition from other cell carriers backing LTE are believed in the report to be sinking Xohm's hopes for future success.
Apple extends rental limit
Although Apple has said it is confident that users are enjoying iTunes rentals, widespread critique began to form regarding the 24-hour rental period. Users insisted that it was simply not enough time to finish a movie due to a busy lifestyle, while others were exploring methods that would circumvent the time limit. Macworld.com notes that Apple has quietly extended the duration of movie rentals to allow users the opportunity to finish watching a film
XM Sirius Merger Done Soon
The highly-anticipated Sirius and XM merger may be approved as early as the end of the month, according to an analyst from research group Briefing. The professional quotes an unspecified source who expects government approval of a merger between the two satellite radio providers by the end of January, leaving just six days for the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to authorize the deal. While unverified, the claim echoes statements by FCC head Kevin Martin, who expects a decision before spring.
Akzend for Mac
Macgamestore.com recently announced the release of Akzend, a Far East-themed puzzle game for the Mac. Players are tasked with matching tiles so that they can make their way to the Temple of Time in order to lift a curse from an ancient artifact. Eight magic talismans must be unlocked to unleash powers that allow the player to further their journey. Akzend features a full screen view mode that shows off vibrant scenery artwork, and two game modes which span many levels. Akzend is available from Macgamestore.com for $20, with a free demo for download.
Moto Nokia Verizon Leaks
Verizon plans to carry at least three new unannounced phones which both have designer looks but a budget focus, says a leak from an "agent" in contact with Phone Arena. A Motorola phone, the W755 (pictured) will aim to bring some of Motorola's higher-end music phone features to a budget device, with touch-sensitive external music controls like the KRZR; it will also have a chrome trim like that of the RAZR2 and a notebook-like hinge similar to the flip version of the LG Shine. It should also bring a 1.3-megapixel camera, 80MB of memory, Bluetooth, and EVDO Internet access.
Analyst on iPhone sales
Apple reported 3.7 million iPhone sales in 2007 when the company disclosed its December quarter financial results last week, but AT&T this week announced 2 million iPhone activations in the same time period. Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster believes that the remaining 1.7 million iPhones were divided up between U.S./European channel inventory (512,000 iPhones), 350,000 sales overseas, and about 838,000 handsets sold to 'unlockers,' or customers who bought the iPhone with the intention of using a cellular carrier other than Apple's exclusive partner.
Adobe recoils from QT 7.4
Adobe is recommending that users refrain from downloading and installing the latest QuickTime 7.4, which was released last week following the Macworld Expo keynote. According to the company, QuickTime 7.4 introduces serious incompatibility problems with both After Effects and Premiere Pro, which can prevent both programs from working properly. After Effects and Premiere Pro users can reportedly resolve this issue by utilizing Leopard's Time Machine and reverting their systems to a previous state.
Warner Sues SeeqPod
Warner Music Group has revealed that it is suing search engine firm SeeqPod for copyright infringement. The music label accuses SeeqPod of illegally offering music from Warner through its unique search method, which looks for MP3s and other music files and placing them into a Flash interface that allows users to stream (but not download) the songs. By allowing users to access tracks without blocking copyrighted material, SeeqPod is guilty of both immediate infringement by playing the content and secondary infringement by guiding users to where they can obtain bootlegs, Warner claims. The lawsuit would collect as much as $150,000 in damages per song.
Mobile growth slowing
Growth in the mobile phone industry is expected to slow to the single digits going forward from this year, according to market research firm IDC. Last quarter saw a rise in unit sales of 11.6-percent, with the previous holiday quarter fluctuating between 18- and 30-percent. Despite the slowing growth, more than 300 million mobile units were sold during the quarter, which is a record for any quarter, historically. Overall, 1.14 billion phones were sold worldwide, which is 12.4-percent more than the year prior.
Blu-ray Extending Lead
The Blu-ray disc format is continuing to show clear gains over HD DVD in the second week after the potentially decisive Warner conversion to Blu-ray, according to the latest issue of Home Media Magazine. The industry publication notes that Blu-ray represented about 83 percent of movie sales were for Blu-ray versions of movies, leaving the remaining 17 percent to HD DVD. All of Nielsen VideoScan's top ten sellers for the week of the 13th were Blu-ray editions while all of the top all-time sellers are either exclusive to the format or available both in Blu-ray and HD DVD, the publication adds.
Office 2008 security hole
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac allegedly ships with improper permissions handling, installing files under user 502, which is a common user ID, rather than the 501 administrator account. According to blogger Brunerd, this issue makes it easier for large-scale deployments to occur, but can be a huge hassle for IT specialists, and a security risk for users. In large office environment, an IT team usually handles software installs and modifications of software, so by placing control over file integrity in the hands of a standard user account, the software could easily be removed or broken by an ignorant user.
Motorola Rollable Phone
Motorola is developing a cellphone technology that could allow the display or even the entire control mechanism to fold or roll away, according to a recently published patent filing. The application for a User Interface System claims to have solved the problem of such ultra-thin interfaces usable by backing the surface with an electrorheological fluid; when the display or keypad needs to be used, sending electricity through the fluid immediately stiffens to generate a flat surface for viewing or typing. Removing the current would revert the display or controls to their original state to be tucked away.
MindManager 7 Mac, Leopard
Mindjet has released MindManager 7 Mac with Leopard support, adding compatibility for Quick Look to provide previews of maps without the need to open a file. The application is designed to optimize both individual and team productivity with Microsoft Office integration, easier browsing in a redesigned Microsoft fluent UI with logically grouped tabs, and saved queries as well as views. MindManager 7 Mac is available for $130, with upgrades priced at $70. MindManager 7 Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Treo 800w CDMA Spec Leak
Specifications for a version of the Treo 800w running on CDMA phone networks have slipped out with new details about the device as a whole, according to a leak. While a version for GSM networks such as AT&T and Vodafone has already been spotted, the new device would support service for carriers such as Sprint and Verizon and would also bring faster EVDO Revision A mobile Internet access that provides as much as 1.4 megabits per second in real download speeds. Rather than true GPS, however, the tip hints at assisted GPS using either EVDO or the phone's 802.11g Wi-Fi connection to help fix a location.
HDTV sales for Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is expected to spur sales of approximately 2.4 million HDTVs, according to the third annual Sports and Technology survey performed by the Consumer Electronics Association and the Sports Video Group. The finale for seasonal NFL activity has so far been the cause of $2.2 billion in HDTV sales this year, making it the largest driving factor in the industry for three years running. The Super Bowl is followed by college bowl games, the World Series, NBA Finals, and NCAA March Madness, in terms of events that notably spike sales of HDTVs.
Apple circumvents DTrace
Some open source developers are upset with Apple for "undermining" a key piece of open source software called DTrace in Mac OS X. Apple's introduction of a feature that allows programs like iTunes to disable tracing as well as other debugging tools is causing serious problems for open source developers, effectively rendering useless other parts of DTrace in unanticipated ways -- such as causing unrelated probes to fail while anti-tracing flags are running.
Aluminate, DuraSport Nano
GizMac today announced that it is expanding its Aluminate and DuraSport lineup of cases to include the 3G iPod nano. The Aluminate case is constructed from aluminum on the front and polycarbonate plastics on the back, while the screen and click-wheel are visible, but protected. Users can secure their Aluminate with the included lanyard and carabiner clips, which the company claims will not clash with a user's fashion motif. GizMac will ship the Aluminate case for the 3G iPod nano in February for $30.
Samsung FlipShot Ships
Verizon today began shipping its promised Samsung FlipShot cameraphone to stores. Originally introduced in November, the device focuses more on photography than most phones in the class with its namesake swiveling, 2.2-inch LCD that can twist into a comfortable position for photos or video capture from the onboard 3-megapixel camera. It can also print directly to printers that support either PictBridge or Bluetooth printing.
First Look at Storymill
Word processors give users the illusion of an endless scroll of paper; this simplifies the writing process by letting you type as much as you want, but can also make organization difficult, much like trying to find a favorite scene in a movie by continually fast forwarding or rewinding a videotape. Just as DVDs break movies into skippable, on-demand chapters, so does Mariner Software's StoryMill 3.0 make writing easier by dividing text into parts within a single file. StoryMill combines an outliner with a word processor to keep track of characters, locations, and ideas for writing stories.
Toshiba Long-Life OLED TV
Technology partnership Toshiba Matsushita Display on Friday unveiled a new spin on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs that should ensure they last as least as long as LCD or plasma with the color accuracy and thinness of the newer technology. Using a new metal membrane, a 20.8-inch OLED set can output light more efficiently than earlier OLEDs. This allows the screen to run at half brightness without sacrificing the already bright picture of an OLED screen. Resulting screens can last twice as long as recent OLEDs, which themselves last for 10 years of constant use -- enough to more than match the typical lifetime of an LCD, the company says.
Best Buy Dropping 80GB PS3
Best Buy may be scrapping the 80GB PlayStation 3 entirely from its lineup, according to a memo leaked online. The retailer describes the top-end PS3 as "going closeout," indicating that the system will be sold only until it runs out of stock; only the 40GB model will be sold at the moment, Best Buy says. The move would mark the last appearance of a PS3 with support for PS2 games at the store, as the 80GB model is the only system since the disappearance of the 60GB version to include backwards compatibility.
Sony 3mm Blu-ray Laser
Sony today revealed a new Blu-ray laser technology that it says should lead to thinner, smaller notebook drives. Through a new, extremely accurate and more reliable laser system, Sony and its development partner Nichia have produced a laser reader whose packaging is just 3mm (0.11in) thick without sacrificing features. A Blu-ray drive using the laser technology can both read and record as with earlier, thicker drives. It can also recognize discs printed using a newer organic dye that makes them cheaper to produce than most current discs, Sony notes.
Microsoft Q407 Results
Microsoft enjoyed its best-ever holiday quarter last year, the company reports. The software developer says it earned $16.4 billion in revenue, or about $2 billion more than any other such quarter in the past; earnings of 50 cents per share also represented almost double what the company has achieved in the past, according to the results. The growth is credited primarily to Microsoft's core Client and Business divisions, which are responsible for Windows and Office respectively. Although sales of 100 million copies of Vista are considered disappointing in relation to XP, the new software helped the division grow by an average 20 percent. The company has 'hit its stride' with Windows customers in this period, says Microsoft Platforms and Services head Kevin Johnson.
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