Previous reports that Toshiba will end its efforts in HD DVD are accurate, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster NHK as well as additional sources. The electronics maker is poised to both stop future development as well as ramp down manufacturing of HD DVD players, recorders, and PC drives. The move will be one of Toshiba's costliest to date and should cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Japan press outlet. Toshiba has not responded to the claims, though sources have suggested an official announcement will be made soon.
RE:Vision Effects recently unveiled SmoothKit 2, a set of plug-ins designed to smooth images with user-directed controls, and feature-sensitive methods. The kit consists of nine filters which allow the user to blur images without blurring edges, sharpen with less ringing, reduce image defects, reduce jaggies, and more. A newly added Z-Blur filter provides depth of field effects using depth maps from 3D system. SmoothKit 2 sells for $120, and is available through RE:Vision Effect's website.
Open Reel Software recently unveiled Aether, a new application designed to log ham radio sessions. Aether provides tools to quickly and easily log contacts while on the air, as well as organize, search and track contacts after the fact. Features include instant search, automatic callbook lookup, serial rig control, cocoaModem integration and more. Aether is available for $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
Nothing is more frustrating than finding a file on the Internet and then having trouble downloading it to your computer. Sometimes downloading slows to a crawl and other times a web server may be down, forcing you to return repeatedly to a web site to download a file again. Fortunately, Speed Download 5 overcomes these problems by offering multiple file transferring features in an easy to use interface.
In brief: MacNN has posted reviews of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 and several iPod accessories from Grandmax, while Paradigma Software and Mirye Software Publishing are giving away licenses of Valentina 2.5.8 ADK Standard Edition to software developers. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 has finally come to the Mac, with the help of Transgaming's Cider software, but the game feels unpolished.
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Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu