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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Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ