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Panda Systems today unveiled PandoCalendar 7.0.6, an update to its desktop calendar application, adding several new features and bug fixes. In addition to increased Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility, users can also browse through all recurring events by group in a dedicated window. Two new File menu options allow users to create new notes and appointments, while a popup menu with preset snooze times has been added to the reminder window. PandoCalendar is available for free from Panda Systems' web site.
Web Help Desk 9 preview
Web Help Desk is offering a sneak peek of version 9.0 of its self-titled software, which offers users a feature complete, cross-platform virtual help desk for their websites. The software features an entirely web-driven interface, and offers one-step connectivity with most database systems. Web Help Desk 9.0 can automatically assign tickets, and allows for two-way correspondence, LDAP synchronization, customized reporting, automated SLA email reminders and ticket updates. A free demo is available from the Web Help Desk website, while pricing is circumstantial.
UPEK, Viewsonic, Dell
In brief: MacNN has posted reviews of the UPEK Eikon Digital Privacy Manager and Viewsonic VX2245wm LCD display, while our sister site, Electronista, has reviewed the Dell XPS M1530. The Eikon Digital Privacy Manager by UPEK features 128-bit encryption for fingerprint processing, making it an ideal secure option for home and small business users, as well as users who insist on using File Vault to protect their data.
Free calls on iPhones
Software has surfaced for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch (with an accessory microphone) that allows users to make free phone calls to other users. The application, titled 'Siphon,' requires an unlocked iPhone and connects users to the freephonie network. iPhone owners or iPod touch owners with microphones must activate SIP functionality and enter a username/password combination to authenticate with the network.
MacBook Air screen guards
ShaggyMac today began offering its new screen protectors for Apple's MacBook Air. The covers are specifically designed for what Apple claims is the world's thinnest notebook, cushioning the display when the lid is closed and preventing common marks as well as scuffs. The screen protector is made from a slim version of ShaggyMac's T-Micro material, and is specifically designed for MacBook Air. Screen protectors are priced at $13.
Gefen HDMI 1.3 splitters
Gefen today unveiled its new 1-to-5 HDMI 1.3 Splitter and 1-to-10 HDMI 1.3 Distribution Amplifier. The Gefen 1-to-5 Splitter for HDMI 1.3 accepts one audio/video input, such as a DVD player or set top box, and transmits the same signal to five displays. The 1-to-10 HDMI 1.3 Distribution Amplifier transmits one HDMI source to 10 displays, and both units accommodate larger distributions when 'daisy chained' with another splitter. Gefen's 1-to-5 splitter and 1-to-10 Distribution Amplifier are both rack mountable, and both are available for pre-order at $500 and $750, respectively.
Waikato University iMac
Security tracking software designed at Waikato University aided in the recovery of a stolen iMac, which was taken from the home of a computer support group worker. Stuff.co.nz reports that the software took pictures of the thief when the iMac was set up again, using the built-in iSight, and was able to pinpoint the machine's location to within 100 metres. The Police were able to arrest the man who stole the computer, and he is now facing a court hearing.
CrushFTP 4.6 released
CrushFTP.com has released the latest version of its file transfer utility, CrushFTP 4.6. The update adds automated server alerts for messages like low disk space, user bans, and exceeding a threshhold. The latest release also adds support for maximum upload file sizes, maximum download amounts per session/day/month, MagicDirectory plug-in enhancements, and better support for foreign characters from Windows XP. CrushFTP 4.6 is priced from $30 for new customers, with updates available for free to existing 4.x users.
Dell XPS M1530 Review
With the exception of very expensive workstations, few of Dell's 15-inch notebooks have really been desirable. The XPS M1530 may change this with a genuinely attractive design and performance normally passed over by most Windows PC manufacturers. However, does the new design match up with the the performance of what lies inside? Click ahead for the full XPS M1530 review, which finds that Dell has come a long way since the days of its more generic notebooks -- albeit with a few clear flaws that some users may want to avoid.
Bracketeer Enfuses images
Pangea Software today unveiled Bracketeer, a utility designed for photographers to combine bracketed exposures into one image for a broad representation of shading in an image. Rather than traditional HDR imaging, which is tone mapped down to a standard image, Bracketeer uses an alternate method called "Enfusing". Enfused images are created directly from the bracketed source images, rather than an HDR image, which eliminates halos, random pixel garbage, and washed out contrast. Bracketeer is available from Pangea for $20, and includes a license to PanoPreviewer.
EarthLink sells muni Wi-Fi
Marking a low point for efforts at public Internet, EarthLink has announced the closure of all its operations related to municipal Wi-Fi access, which are now on sale. The Internet service provider's venture effectively stalled in the summer, and will cost its budget $20.7 million. CEO Rolla Huff blames the stoppage on expenses; analysts note that EarthLink asked cities such as San Francisco to help pay for some upfront costs, but they were unwilling, leaving the burden solely on the corporation.
DLO Speakers for iPhone
DLO has begun shipping its latest audio system, the Portable Speakers for iPhone. Although they can be used with any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack, the system has a stand specially built for the iPhone, in part because listeners can tilt their iPhone vertically or horizontally to suit their tastes. The speakers are additionally powered by an amplifier that omits TDMA interference, a problem unique to cellphone audio.
Comcast changes terms
Comcast has changed the wording of its terms of service to allow controversial behavior on its part, reports say. The company was accused late last year of sabotaging BitTorrent traffic, in some cases making it unusable regardless of the intended purpose. In keeping with some of the company's excuses for traffic shaping, Section III of Comcast's new terms of service now explains that it "uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards."
Archos 405 updates to 30GB
Archos has dramatically increased the capacity of its 405 media player, an announcement reveals. Although last year's model had just 2GB of hard drive space, the player now holds 15 times that capacity at 30GB. This should theoretically be enough to hold 40 movies, 300,000 photos, or 15,000 songs.
The player is equipped with a 3.5-inch screen, and is able not only to output to TV, but act as a miniature DVR unit through a DVR Station Gen 5. The new 405 should be on sale in the UK by the end of February, for £200 ($388); no North American plans have been mentioned, but the majority of Archos' products are sold on the continent. [via Pocket-lint]
Analog Cell Service Ending
After decades in service, analog cellular networks in the US will ramp down later this month but may cause problems in the process, says a new report. FCC officials have granted both AT&T and Verizon permission to shut down their last AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) networks on February 18th, leaving strictly digital calls through either CDMA or GSM networks. AT&T will also shut down its very early TDMA (Time Division Multiplex Access) digital network at the same time. For phone use, the impact is predicted to be minimal as less than one percent of either AT&T or Verizon's customers rely on the older standards.
Multisite for iWeb
iSync phone plugins 5.2 ($15) allows the synchronization of contact and calendar data with Mac OS X and more than 153 mobile phones. The latest release adds support for: Nokia-2630, Nokia-2660, Nokia-3120 classic, Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, Sony-Ericsson-K660i, Sony-Ericsson-K770i and Sony-Ericsson-T250i. System requirements are Mac OS X 10.4.9 or higher with support of 10.5.x. [Download - form]
pearPortVPN 0.2.1 (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. This update fixes an issue where pearPortVPN could not establish a VPN connection immediately after a restart. [Download - 72KB]
Multisite for iWeb 2.2 ($20) Mac OS X utility for users of iWeb that allows users to build several sites that consist of more than a single web server. It also speeds up iWeb's publishing by putting sites into individual files behind the scenes so you don't have publish every site each time. Other features include the ability create, duplicate, or delete entire sites, import and export entire sites easily move sites between people and computers, and references for additional control. [Download - 633KB]
Diet Sleuth 5.1.2 ($35) a nutritional database and personal health logbook. For each day, you select the foods you have eaten, and the number of servings of each. Diet Sleuth will automatically calculate your caloric intake, fat grams, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, cholesterol, along with sodium, potassium, and calcium. This version includes enhancements and bug fixes to the graphing window, bug fixes with copying/pasting foods, as well as some other general user interface enhancements. [Download - 3MB]
GeForce 9300M 9500M Slip
NVIDIA today has prematurely posted details of two of its next-generation mobile graphics chipsets. The GeForce 9300M G and 9500M GS are expected to ramp up performance for both low- and mid-range notebooks without significantly adding to power use. As with the existing 8M series, the two chipsets will fit into notebooks by reducing the clock speed and number of shader (pixel and vertex) processors versus larger, hotter chips: the 9300M model offers 16 shaders at a 400MHz core speed, while the 9500M offers 32 shaders at 475MHz.
TRENDnet Easy-N Upgrader
TRENDnet on Friday took the unusual route to adding 802.11n wireless by shipping the Easy-N Upgrader to its device roster. The router plugs into one of the LAN Ethernet jacks on most wired or wireless routers and automatically configures itself to share access to its draft-spec 802.11n Wi-Fi, climbing up to 90Mbps in real-world conditions. With this in place, TRENDnet says, users can either supplement an 802.11a/g network with the added range and speed or else add wireless capabilities to a network, all without tossing aside any existing equipment.
Marantz Blu-Ray by April?
An extremely high-end Blu-Ray player from Marantz may ship by April, a new announcement suggests. Marantz's parent company, D&M Holdings, has revealed that "additional [Blu-Ray] models" should ship in the fourth quarter of FY07, which for D&M ends on March 31st of this year. While this likely includes at least one Blu-Ray player from the Denon brand, Marantz is known to be working on the the BD8002, a machine originally announced for the second calendar quarter of this year at CES.
Analysts: Keep XP 'til '09
Microsoft should keep Windows XP on the market until at least 2009, two major research firms are suggesting. Sales of the operating system, which was launched in 2001, are currently set to end on June 30th of this year, according to InfoWorld; this in turn is actually an extension, as Microsoft originally set a deadline for December 31st, 2007. Neither date would have been enough, says Richard Jones, a VP with the Burton Group. "A good rule of thumb in any OS transition is that you have to have the original and new products available for at least two years to handle customer needs," he comments.
New iPhone 1.1.2 unlock
An iPhone hacker has discovered a new way to unlock Apple's iPhone firmware version 1.1.2 without the need to downgrade to a prior firmware revision and then re-upgrade after unlocking the device. The unlock technique relies on a bug that allows hackers to erase the contents of memory within a range of specific addresses, coupled with a second bug that allows users to copy data before validation occurs.
Dell AMD in Doubt
Dell has caused a stir in recent hours by pulling some of its AMD-based systems from its online store, creating a concern that the PC builder would switch to Intel-only systems. With the exception of three systems -- the Inspiron 531 desktop as well as the Vostro 1000 and Latitude D531 notebooks -- all non-business AMD systems have been removed from the company's store. The company has since been directing customers to offline stores to buy the systems.
BlackBerry touch patent
Although long rumored by analysts, a newly-published filing at the US Patent and Trademark Office confirms that Research in Motion is indeed working on touchscreen technology for its phones. The filing, entitled System and method of integrating a touchscreen within an LCD, depicts an array of parallel electrodes which register input as changes in voltage are detected, triggered by pressure from either fingers or a stylus.
MS Yahoo May Settle Today
Yahoo will make its ultimate decision as to whether or not it will accept a takeover by Microsoft today, sources have reportedly told TechCrunch. With potential suitors including Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank having so far declined to offer a deal of their own, Yahoo is now believed to be on the verge of a board meeting which will either accept the Microsoft deal with little negotiating room or else turn to Google for a deal that might bring the latter's advertising and even search functions to Yahoo's pages.
GizMac Titan iPhone cases
Two more Titan Clear iPhone cases are shipping, creator GizMac has announced. The cases use a translucent polycarbonate shell, with openings for the screen, camera and headphones, though not the dock connector. Each case also includes a screen protector, as a well as a detachable, frosted holster with a rotating belt clip. When on a flat surface, retractable kickstands hold a phone in upright vertical or horizontal positions. Now available are "smoke" and hot pink colors, selling for $35 apiece.
ThinkPad X300 Preorders
Lenovo's heavily rumored ThinkPad X300 is now both confirmed and tentatively available for order, a number of sites have revealed. Though not yet acknowledged by Lenovo itself, pre-order pages from Best Buy and other retailers largely validate leaks. The 13.3-inch system will be one of Lenovo's thinnest and lightest complete units with an LED-backlit display and a 64GB solid-state drive; initial hints pointed to a system weighing just 2.5 pounds. The postings contradict some rumors, however, and suggest Lenovo won't use the MacBook Air CPU, instead opting for a similar but slower 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo using the new small chip package.
Accountants and Touch fee
The $20 fee charged for the complete iPod touch upgrade is a necessary evil of accounting, claims financial analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Company. The upgrade brought with it applications already on the iPhone, such as Mail, Maps and Weather, prompting many to wonder why Apple would charge for something that would be so easy to put on the Touch, particularly given Apple's history of releasing free updates.
Yahoo Y Live
Yahoo this morning took steps to up-end Google with Y! Live. The first service of its kind from a major web company, the feature aims to bring the same live recording seen from more focused sites such as Justin.tv or Ustream. Users can link a webcam or any other connected camera to the site and host live performances viewable from any Mac or PC with Adobe's Flash installed; show hosts can also interact with as many as four other primary guests as well as a much larger number of live chatters.
'Great Thing' iPhone ad
Just two days after having published its Facebook and KBB spots, Apple has added a third new TV commercial for the iPhone, entitled "The Great Thing." The ad promotes the value of having a mobile web browser, and suggests things like checking ski trails while still on the hill, browsing for restaurants when hunger strikes, or changing an airline schedule on a whim. All of the webpages viewed are set in the context of a vacation to Aspen, Colorado.
Preempting the Mobile World Congress show, Samsung on Friday revealed the Soul, its new flagship slider phone. Serving as the final bow for the Ultra Edition, it blends in a split-screen, context-sensitive touch control system similar to that of the LG Venus: rather than rely on fixed buttons or an entire front touch surface, the Soul includes a small touchscreen area whose buttons change depending on the immediate context for the screen above. When playing music, track controls replace normal commands, Samsung says in an example. The Soul is also the first Samsung handset to sport a themed UI where the entire look and sound can be replaced at once.
Nokia N96 Slip
Nokia's upcoming N96 has been confirmed and promises a dramatic improvement over the N95 that may pressure the recently launched 16GB iPhone, thanks to a slip from the Nokia Germany website [now pulled]. The slider, which resembles a cross between the N95 and the N81 gaming phone, should pack not just 16GB of internal memory but also a microSDHC slot that allows 8GB or more of extra storage. It should also support dual-band 3G Internet access over HSDPA, including US data frequencies with the initial device rather than requiring a separate North American Model as with the N95. In Europe, the N96 will have DVB-H support for over-the-air digital TV.
US DoJ inquiry, Universal
Universal's Total Music service is the subject of Federal inquiry after the US Justice Department sent a letter to the Universal Music Group requesting information about the planned service. Yahoo News reports that this follows a similar letter obtained by Sony BMG - neither label would comment, and letters sent to the Justice Department went unanswered.
Mustek today unveiled the PF-E700 digital photo frame, a seven-inch TFT LCD that features a built-in alarm clock, indoor temperature gauge, and snooze functions. The display is measured at 480 by 234 pixels, and accepts a wide range of multimedia cards, such as SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, and Compact Flash. In addition to photos, the PF-E700 can also play MP3 files, and movies that are saved in AVI and MPEG formats. Mustek will ship the frame in April at a price of $150.
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