GizMac's previously announced combination aluminum-polycarbonate case for the 3G iPod nano, the Aluminate, is now shipping. First unveiled in January, the Aluminate case protects the entire Nano, including the screen and click wheel. The case can be secured by using either the included lanyard or carabiner. The Aluminate for 3G Nanos comes in five different colors: black, silver, blue, pink and green. It is available for $30, and includes two colors in the same pack.
Aquafadas today unveiled PulpMotion 1.5, an update to its utility designed to make and share video montages, adding a few new features. PulpMotion 1.5 enhances the quality of exported video, and also includes anti-aliasing techniques to remedy the appearance of "jaggies" in video footage. Aquafadas also implemented a new Museum theme called RainbowMuseum, allowing users to change various colors and textures in the design. New users can purchase PulpMotion 1.5 for $45, with a free upgrade available for registered users.
In brief: We have a review of mStation's 2.1 Stereo Orb, a Toon Boom Harmony update has been released, Rush Limbaugh complains about Time Machine, Back to My Mac, and there's a new fix for AppleScript's interaction with Google Desktop in Leopard ... We have posted a review of mStation's 2.1 Stereo Orb, which provides deep, rich bass and upscale features at a lower price than most other systems with a sub-woofer. This charming, yet innocuous little ball packs quite a punch. The matching colored plastic covered dock attachment is interchangeable with any of the six included iPod adapters. These are held in place by rubber rings, which is another sign of attention to audio detail, especially in a device that is designed to put out a lot of bass.
Graph Paper Maker 1.8 ($20) lets you create your own custom sheets of graph paper. It is ideal for students, teachers, engineers, scientists, researchers, businessmen, and others who need to create specialized sheets of graph paper. The latest release of Graph Paper Maker adds an option for using the Hydraulic (1.85 power) scale, an option to directly set the maximum scale value for an axis, and several bug fixes. [Download - 1.4MB] MacTFTP Client 1.2 ($12) enables send and receive, provides for multiple, simultaneous transfers, and more. It also provides an optional password field required by some devices such as the Linksys series of routers. The new version is now a Universal Binary that will work natively on all Macs running MacOS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 2.8MB] CGIScripter 2.83 ($20) multi-platform development tool for generating Perl CGI scripts for 9 different database servers. The 2.83 update is a maintenance release including fixes for generating DB2 database scripts and a re-compile of the program as a MacOS X Universal Binary application, compatible with MacOS X Leopard. [Download - 2.6MB] iGet 2.7 ($200) file transfer tool designed specifically for the Mac. It allows users to log into their accounts on remote Macs and browse, search, and download the files they need. It can stop and resume file and folder transfers, displays the real Mac icons and Finder labels for remote files, understands Mac aliases and can perform Mac-specific tasks like putting files into the Trash remotely. [Download - 7.8MB]
Chromatic Bytes recently unveiled ZeusDraw 1.3, an update to its vector-based illustration and design software, adding a number of new or enhanced features. ZeusDraw can now use either the RGB or CMYK color model with new documents, as well as color profile for color management in the document space. Users can now perform bitmap exports in either CMYK or grayscale. New users can purchase ZeusDraw for $90, while a 30-day demonstration version is available for download as well.
Dutch car manufacturer Spyker is allegedly doing its own take on the iPhone, since the mystery device was recently spotted at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. CNET reports that a Spyker branded iPhone-lookalike was visible behind a glass case, but with a physical keypad, rather than relying on the on-screen keyboard of the iPhone. Spyker did not have any literature available for the device, and merely acknowledged that it is part of the company's product portfolio, saying little more.
Organizers of the Macworld Expo have posted numerous videos of special sessions held at the conference. Featured videos include Microsoft Office 2008, Digital Photography Safari, and iPhone Super-Session. Other videos are categorized under Mac OS X, Applications, Photography, Design, iPod, and Technology. Various videos include Best of Leopard OS X Hints, Mac OS X Features You Don't Use but Should, Real World Mac Troubleshooting, and Running Your Mac Clean and Mean.
Skype Technologies recently unveiled Skype for Mac 126.96.36.1997, bringing with it 38 bug fixes, and much tighter compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Among the Leopard-specific fixes, Skype would sometimes crash when ending video calls, or when moving the "Send Video" windows. In addition, chat window emoticons would sometimes be shown in the wrong "Space" in Leopard; this has been resolved. Skype 188.8.131.527 is available for download from Skype's website.
Sometimes backing up your crucial files is not enough. Ordinary backup programs may copy your files and Time Machine can retrieve files that you may have changed or deleted. Unfortunately, if your Macintosh hard disk completely fails, backups and Time Machine can only recover your data, but they wonít help get your Macintosh back up and running in a hurry. Thatís where SuperDuper! comes in to save the day. Instead of just copying individual files, SuperDuper! clones your entire hard disk, preserving your complete Macintosh program settings and files. SuperDuper! can even share an external hard disk with Time Machine. Now Time Machine can protect individual files while SuperDuper! protects your entire hard disk.
A Russian website claims to have leaked information on Olympus' next DSLR. The E-430 would follow in the wake of the E-410, and rely on a new, 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor, paired with a TruePic III processor. As described, it would also have a "real" (faster) USB 2.0 interface; the camera's most striking feature, however, may be its warped upper frame, which even distorts the shape of the pop-up flash housing.
Sony's PlayStation 3 console will outperform the Xbox 360 and roughly double its user base in 2008, says a new estimate by research firm iSuppli. The study predicts that Sony will sell approximately 10 million PS3s over the course of 2008, roughly doubling the game system's share to 20.3 million by the end of the year. The unusually high estimate would also have Sony near Nintendo's own sales figures with just 12.2 million total Wii sales in the same timeframe. By contrast, the Xbox 360 is estimated to move just 7.5 million systems this year.
Having almost disappeared completely late last year, SCO says it has been resuscitated by a new financing plan. Under the terms of the deal, Stephen Norris Capital Partners and "its partners from the Middle East" will supply up to $100 million, enabling SCO to reorganize and launch a new series of products. SNCP will gain a controlling interest in the company, and take it private, allowing it to slip out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Apple hopes to cement itself as the owner of a unique podcast concept that would serve as an alternative to GPS navigation, according to a just-published patent filing by the company. Describing the creation and management of map-based media, the invention would let users subscribe to map information in the same way they do with audio or video podcasts. The implementation would see an application or service turn map data into a series of audio and video elements based on location; driving directions and other maps could be spoken aloud with a view of the map at that location as a guide. Music, ads, and other content could play in between key points, with the amount of content in between calculated by the length of the expected trip.
Though generally unknown in North America, Sigmatek has announced its first-ever Blu-Ray player, the SBR-1000. It's primary feature is actually cost, as in its intended European market it will retail for under Ä250 ($364) -- more than Ä100 less than comparable players like Sony's BDP-300. This is mainly a result of a new laser invented by Sony and Nichia, making Blu-Ray players cheaper to produce. The player does sacrifice DTS-HD however, and use a coaxial audio output instead of optical. Regardless, it supports codecs such as standard DTS and Dolby TrueHD, and can play MP3s burned to disc. Video connections include an HDMI 1.3 output, and support native resolutions up to 1080p24/60. The 1000 should be available in April.
Softpress Systems today announced that both Freeway 5 Pro and Freeway 5 Express will ship on March 27th, 2008. Freeway is designed for developers who prefer to focus on design issues, rather than coding. The update brings the ability to create CSS menus, personalized blogger templates, and a range of dynamic effects from fade to pulsate. Freeway 4 Pro users can upgrade to the latest release for $70, while upgrades from Freeway 4 Express to Freeway 5 Express are available for $40. A public beta version of the software is available from the company's website.
Vara Software today began shipping its ScreenFlow screencasting software package for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software features screen, camera, and audio capture systems alongside advanced timeline-based editing features. Users can mix down a screencast with effects like 3D or 2D zoom and pan, mouse callouts, foreground window callouts, picture-in-picture, reflection, drop shadow, and more. ScreenFlow is priced at $100 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
The European Union should almost double the length of music copyrights and to reform media levies, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy argues. The official contends that many musicians, particularly older artists, are in danger of losing a reliable source of income and proposes the measures as a protective option. The current 50-year limit on copyright in particular needs to be extended to 95 years, McCreevy suggests. Without the safeguard in place, both regular band members and session performers could find themselves without guaranteed royalties, which often serve as retirement income.
Other World Computing (OWC) today unveiled new Superdrives and CD burners for all Mac computer models. The company's drive upgrade -- the 20X DL SuperDrive DVR-115D -- reads as well as writes DVDs, CDs, and dual-layer DVDs. Capacity for dual layer DVDs is 8.5GB at speeds of 10X; regular DVDs for 4.7GB capacity at 20X; and CDs for 700MB at 40X. "For most Macs, this is an incredibly easy upgrade and one of great return for anyone who's currently making or planning to make their own DVDs or CDs," OWC said. The new drives are priced from $30 and up.
Digital video recorders (DVRs) are increasing the amount of time people spend watching TV, says the Nielsen research group. While DVRs can theoretically make people extremely selective, it appears to simply be enabling people to watch more programming they would ordinarily miss, due to inconvenient timeframes. A study specifically contrasted viewing from November 2005 -- before much DVR penetration, Nielsen says, although it did not track DVRs at the time -- and November 2007.
The LG Rumor, previously available on Sprint, is now being carried by Alltel Wireless as the Scoop. Superficially a basic candybar phone, a QWERTY keyboard slides out from underneath, allowing easier e-mail and text messaging, as well as instant messaging through AIM or Yahoo Messenger. A specific Alltel feature is support for Axcess Voice2TXT, which can convert voicemail into text messages, saving them in the inbox.
LG is slated to provide updates to two of Verizon's more successful phones in the near future, according to a leak of photos and details. The pictured VX8610 is most likely to be a direct replacement for the current Chocolate (known as the VX8550) and will make the unusual move to a BlackBerry-like trackball in place of the jog wheel of the current phone or the directional pad of the original. LG's slider will also have the unusual addition of a detachable Bluetooth earpiece for hands-free calling without the need for a separate carrying case.
Agent 18 today debuted two new FlowerVest cases for Apple's iPod touch and iPod nano players. The cases come in two designs which include pink with pink flowers and brown with blue flowers, aiming to protect the iPod while adding style with a floral print featured on both front and back. Touch FlowerVest cases are made from soft silicon and easily slip onto the iPod touch, providing full access to ports as well as the touch screen interface. Touch FlowerVest cases are priced at $30, while Nano FlowerVest cases are available for $20.
Kollective.de today unveiled The Tinbot, a new generation of iPod cases featuring original designs from trendsetters in contemporary art. The cases aim to protect the iPod within, and feature art from vinyl toy designers Mad, Sket-one, and Christopher Lee. The company is offering a matte white Tinbot that users can customize on their own. Tinbot cases are priced at $30 and work with iPod video as well as iPod classic models.
Nova Media today highlighted launch2net -- an application that handles setup as well as connections to the internet for PC card and ExpressCard modems -- on the heels of AT&T's new LaptopConnect modems. "If you need a bit more than just a connect/disconnect button, launch2net is the right software for you." said Jan Fuellemann of nova media. "launch2net offers advanced statistics, auto-connect, disconnect after a certain time or traffic spend online, a menu icon so the software does not have to be running to establish a connection and more." Launch2net is priced at $110, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.
Microsoft is running low on units of its Xbox 360 games systems in the wake of the holidays, the company revealed late Wednesday. Although sales of game systems most often cool after gifts for Christmas and other events satisfy demand, Microsoft's global game marketing chief Jeff Bell explained that the company had "misjudged demand" and that it has been unable to supply enough systems through at least the whole month of January with February's final results likely to reflect the same pattern. The shortfall is the result of unusually high demand and has triggered frustration among retailers as well as warnings that sales numbers may not reach their potential as a result.
Artlantis has unveiled a preview of Artlantis 2, detailing the 3D rendering application for quick and easy creation of high-quality real-time still images and animations. The software is designed for ease of use with an intuitive interface, boasting full radiosity with global illumination and real sky simulation capability. Artlantis 2 features automatic light adjustment to dynamically balance lighting levels in scenes from dawn to sunset (pricing was unavailable, and a release date is pending).
Techspansion has released VisualHub 1.31, an update to its universal video conversion software for Mac OS X that works with Apple TV 'Take 2.' VisualHub eases the conversion process while offering pros an advanced panel for changing all pre-set aspects of encoding. "Converting a bunch of AVI files to a DVD shouldn't require a Computer Science degree," the company writes. "Getting movies from your digital camera to your iPod shouldn't take hours." The software is priced at $24, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
AT&T on Thursday expanded its data card options for its newborn HSPA 3G network with two adapters from Option. Both the ExpressCard/34-based GT Ultra Express and the standard GT Ultra (pictured) for older PC Card-equipped notebooks provide access to the HSUPA component of the carrier's network, permitting faster speeds in areas with the faster coverage: practical download speeds range between 600Kbps and 1.4Mbps while uploads run between 500Kbps and 800Kbps, AT&T estimates.
Google has announced that Apple's iPhone is dwarfing the competition in Internet searches, with Web surfers using the iPhone 50 times more than any other mobile handset. "We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again," Vic Gundotra, head of Google's mobile operations told the Financial Times at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The results are bolstering Google's confidence about generating revenues from the mobile Internet arena.
The iPhone may be a great success, but emulating it could prove a challenge, a panel at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has concluded. Addressing other technology and behavioral experts, technology marketer Anup Murarka of Adobe noted that 77 percent of iPhone buyers have labeled themselves as "very satisfied" with their experience -- something he and the other panelists agreed was not attributable to carrier AT&T, but almost entirely to Apple, the phone's designer. The panel could not agree, however, on the path to Apple's achievements.
Hoping to create a new way for even amateur video providers to make money, Overlay.TV says it has developed a new platform that can integrate ads into the content itself in an unintrusive way. The self-title service takes Flash-based videos from many common video sites (including MySpace and YouTube) and lets users create clickable areas in a video that tie into related ads; ads can be as subtle as links hovering over products that are already part of the video or as conspicuous as normal ads, Overlay.TV says. The resulting videos can then be embedded anywhere that accepts normal HTML code such as blogs or social networking sites.
Nokia today said it had developed a new game for its N-Gage game platform that will let users create their own titles. Yamake is a game of its own but centers around creating mini-games using the player's own content: audio, photos, and videos captured or stored on the phone can be used to build puzzles. The resulting creations can be shared through the N-Gage Arena and are linked to a comment system that lets fellow Yamake players review the games as well as offer suggestions to creators.
Sharp today said it had developed a new laser that could enable far faster Blu-ray burning in portables than possible today. Courtesy of a new crystal growth technology and a smaller processor, the Japanese firm says it has produced a laser which measures just 3.3mm (0.13in) in diameter but which can record a dual-layer, 50GB Blu-ray disc at speeds between 4X and 6X. The size allows for a slim notebook drive but writes between two and three times faster than current drives. A slightly larger 5.6mm (0.22in) laser for desktop-sized drives has also resulted from the process.
Infinis Design recently unveiled iChat Pro, a reskinning feature for Apple's iChat application that simplifies the user interface to be more compact. Designed for users that are comfortable with using right-click contextual menus to navigate the application's functions, iChat Pro removes the somewhat redundant communication buttons at the bottom of the buddy list, and trims extraneous features from the top. iChat Pro is free to install for all users of iChat.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl