Developer Marc Moini today unveiled Smart Scroll 2.7.5, an update to his scrollbar customization utility, adding full support for Mac OS X 10.5.2 Leopard. The update also adds the Super Scroll setting, which makes scrolling faster, smoother, and features an iPhone-like reverse scroll method. A new Grab Scroll tool allows the user to grab a window and toss it in any direction. Smart Scroll 2.7.5 is available from Marc Moini's website, selling for $20.
Toshiba late Monday solved two of the frequent problems of notebooks at once with the release of its GSG series hard drives. Though measuring the same 1.8 inches across as many ultraportable disks, the GSG drives spin at 5,400RPM -- much faster than the 4,200RPM of most same-size drives and enough to provide the same speed expected of larger 2.5-inch notebook drives. It also connects through Serial ATA rather than the more common Parallel ATA for 1.8-inch drives, giving it more headroom for quick bursts of data.
Lenovo tonight preempted its own schedule and officially launched the ThinkPad X300, its own attempt at the new 13.3-inch ultraportable class effectively launched by the MacBook Air. The release system largely matches early details and exchanges speed for expandability while ranging between 0.9 and 0.7 inches thick and weighing as little as 2.9 pounds. Using the small CPU package as the Apple system, the X300 is clocked at a lower 1.2GHz but gains a drive bay that allows for an internal DVD burner or extended battery as well as three USB ports and gigabit Ethernet. It can also be upgraded to the same 4GB of memory as bulkier notebooks.
Gameloft today unveiled Bubble Bash, a Bust-A-Move-style game for the iPod. Players choose between Malia and Kale in a tropical treasure hunt, and use multicolored bubbles to pop their way through 100 colorful levels. By joining together three or more bubbles of a certain color, players will slowly dismantle large clusters of other bubbles. Gameloft is selling Bubble Bash for $5, and it is available through the iTunes store.
Many Mac owners are crying out to Apple for help with an issue that seems to have cropped up only recently, resulting in erratic and mysterious reboots when attempting to awaken a sleeping Mac. Users on Apple's own support forums are posting in droves about various Mac systems with the issue, though most affected systems appear to be Mac Pros and iMacs. One solution which has worked only for a portion of those affected is to reset the Mac's PRAM and SMC, while still others report no changes in their Mac's behavior.
Power Support today unveiled its White Silicone jacket for Apple's iPod touch, protecting the device from dust as well as scratches and impacts. The clip is designed for a jacket, purse, or shirt and secures headphones for easy storage. The case is made from high-grade silicone, contains no toxic polymers, and includes film covers for the front as well as the back of the iPod touch. The While Silicone jacket also ships with a dock connector cap alongside a dock connector cover, and is priced at $25.
Funky Cloud today released LifeShaker 1.1, a free update to the to-do list application for Mac OS X. The latest release enables printing of LifeShaker's lists and unique grid interface to a handy booklet, in addition to a number of bug fixes and performance improvements. The booklet format provides an ideal way to print from LifeShaker with the grid view shown on the front page, listing of goals and steps on following pages and space for notes at the end. When multiple page are required, LifeShaker prints in a format that allows the folded pages to nest together. The software is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Apple's Macintosh computers will play a bigger role in the company's growth than the iPhone and iPod, according to industry analysts. CNN Money reports that BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman today cut Apple's stock target from $160 to $140 per share. Bachman says that the iPhone's growth is slowing and he remains skeptical on Apple's target of 10 million units sold; his own forecast sees Apple moving around 8.5 million iPhones.
Analysis of the first month of March quarter iPod NPD data points to iPod sales of between 9.5-10.3 million, according to research firm Piper Jaffray, which would signal a 6 percent year-over-year decline. "While it is way too early to make a definitive call on March quarter iPod units, we have analyzed the first month of NPD data (Jan.) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 9.5m-10.3m," said Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. Wall Street consensus on iPod sales for Apple's March quarter currently stand at 10.8 million units, representing a 2 percent year-over-year increase.
Users in Apple's forums are expressing discontent with their Mac Pros, new and old, saying that the machines are suffering from graphics freezes that seem to revolve around ATI-based video cards. Reminiscent of freezes that happened on the aluminum iMacs, the freezes sometimes display graphical distortions, such as lines or swimming dots. Some users theorize that the Radeon X1900 and the 2600 XT tend to overheat easily, especially if the card is dusty.
Claiming to mimic the design of its Viera line of Plasma televisions on a handheld device, Panasonic has introduced the P905iTV, a new sliding handset featuring "one-segment" mobile TV on Japan's DoCoMo network. The device offers frame conversion technology from 15 frames to 30 frames per second on 3.5 inch full-wide VGA large screen. The new handheld's screen has a contrast ratio ratio of 4000:1 and uses "LCD Artificial Intelligence" which adjusts the brightness of a display automatically and LSI based on "UniPhier" for mobile phone for power saving. The phone also features 3G international roaming and HSDPA, autofocus 2.0 megapixels camera with six-axis image stabilizer and link functions to audio and visual equipment.
Enfocus today unveiled several updates to PitStop Server, Instant Barcode, and Instant PDF, bringing a number of new features and enhancements. PitStop Server 4.5 now features a completely reworked user interface, due to popular demand, giving users easy access to hot folder setups, files in process, and the comprehensive history log. Using powerful control methods, users can process entire folder in either a hierarchical or flattened fashion. New users can purchase PitStop Server 4.5 for 2500 Euros (~$3700 USD).
Coolgorilla.com today announced that it has released a series of free iPod Phrase Books that are available for download from the iTunes Store. Provided via a sponsorship agreement with lastminute.com, the Phrase Books are available in six different languages to translate English text into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Greek audio. A separate podcast for each language delivers the necessary sound files, while another download installs a familiar phrase book menu system on to an iPod for quick and easy access to hundreds of audio translations.
Following Adobe's announcement of the AIR application platform, AOL has unveiled Xdrive Desktop Lite, a backup application based on the AIR standard. Computerworld reports that AOL is offering users 5GB of backup for free, which is accessed using the downloadable Xdrive application Ė a first time offering for Mac users. Xdrive Desktop Lite gives users drag-and-drop functionality to backup any data. The service is also available in a 50GB flavor, which costs users a yearly fee of $100.
Microsoft has announced a dramatic price cut on its HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. The movie player, which once sold for as much as $180, is now being sold for just $50; it continues to be bundled with a Universal Media Remote and Peter Jackson's King Kong, effectively negating the cost of the player entirely. This may suggest that Microsoft is trying to clear as much inventory as possible while HD DVD discs continue to be available in stores.
Apple's planned release of the iPhone in Australia could turn out to be an illegal affair under current trade laws, according to one group of law researchers. iPhone launches are expected tot ake place in Asia as well as Australia some time during 2008, but an exclusive deal with one mobile carrier could restrict customer choice in technology markets, according to law researcher Dale Clapperton as cited by theage.com.au. Both France and Germany have both enacted measures to ensure iPhone customers in those countries can choose a carrier other than Apple's chosen partner, to protect consumer choice as well as competition.
Currently limited to offering only rebranded Sprint service, Qwest today said it was mulling the possibility of a new wireless deal that would increase the company's stake in the buusiness for cellphones and wireless data. While short on details, company chief Ed Mueller explained that there was a "hole" in the company's strategy that needed to be filled but also said that Internet and video services also needed a boost.
Cellular giants Nokia and Qualcomm have taken steps towards lessening the damage of their legal battle, reports say. The companies have announced that they will not start any new patent infringement cases, and will place some current ones on hold, consolidating the rest into a licensing case scheduled for July 21st in the US District Court for Delaware. The case could thus take on monumental importance.
Amazon.com is currently offering a free 1GB iPod shuffle with the purchase of a 32GB iPod touch. The online retailer lists blue, green, silver, and purple 1GB iPod shuffles as eligible models that customers can add to their shopping cart alongside the 32GB iPod touch. "Just add both items to your cart and you will not be charged for the Shuffle." Amazon.com lists the 32GB iPod touch at $494 and in stock.
VVI has updated its data acquisition and strip chart application, DAQ Plot to version 10.5.1. Te new release adds 64-bit capabilities, making it the first 64-bit capable app of its kind available for Mac OS X. The app is traditionally used in medical device, pharmaceutics and other important health and engineering projects. The new release also uses the latest hardware-accelerated graphics techniques to deliver data acquisition is real-time and up to 50,000 samples per second.
In an attempt to make money again in its flat TV venture, Pioneer is reportedly stopping production of 42-inch and smaller plasma displays and buying them instead from Hitachi or Matsushita, which supplies panels to Panasonic. The consumer and auto electronics maker will focus instead on manufacturing panels at least 50 inches in size, while ending production of its smaller panels as early as March 2009 in its native Japan.
Apple's iPhone took center stage at Oscar night when political comedian Jon Stewart, who served as this year's host, used the handset to watch 'Lawrence of Arabia' during the event. Stewart, who joked about how great technology is, watched the movie and even commented on how the flick was better in wide screen. Stewart's mention of the iPhone during the Oscars stands as testament to the device's popularity in the U.S., where the device flew off shelves to leave every Apple and AT&T store empty handed in all but two states during its launch weekend. [photos courtesy of ZDNet]
The leader of Sony's gaming software division is resigning, the company has announced. President Phil Harrison will officially end his term with Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide (SCEW) on February 29th, and will be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, the chief of Sony's overall gaming division, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). After 15 years Harrison is said to be pursuing new opportunities in the game industry, although no particular direction has been suggested, Reuters notes.
Intel is planning to ramp down production of its now-old Core 2 processors quickly to make room for Centrino 2, notebook manufacturers say. Rather than gradually shut down production of the old chips, the semiconductor firm intends to make the new, faster platform the dominant platform virtually on launch. While its current platform (nicknamed Santa Rosa) is expected to make up about 60 percent of all notebook platform sales for the first quarter of the year, that number will plunge to about 35 percent during the spring as Centrino 2 and its accompanying processors reach the market.
Glue Tools today announced that it will release Cineon/DPX Pro for Final Cut 3.0 at NAB 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latest release of Cineon/DPX for Final Cut Pro includes Cineon and DPX Sequence Presets along with a full Cineon or DPX Codec, completely eliminating the need to render sequences in Final Cut Pro's timeline. "No More Red Render Bar!" the company states. "Your imagery can be directly loaded into Final Cut Pro or Compressor, without needing to be compressed into an intermediate codec or movie format." The company is already accepting pre-orders for Cineon/DPX for Final Cut 3.0 at $400 per license. The update requires Final Cut Studio 2 and QuickTime 7.3.1. Upgrades for customers who purchasd Cineon/DPX Pro for Final Cut 2.5 after February 1st will receive a free upgraede to 3.0 when the software is made available at NAB.
Planning to disrupt what it believes is a static phone industry, startup carrier EMobile today announced its first service plans for its home country of Japan. Instead of requiring a monthly fee or having customers buy prepaid blocks of time, the new service will operate largely on a metered system. Customers pay roughly 17 cents for every 30 seconds of call time; they can also buy unlimited local calls for slightly more than $9 per month if they are regular users, EMobile adds. In exchange, the carrier asks customers to use 3G Internet access over HSPA up to 7.2Mbps for between $19 and $55 per month depending on the level of access.
iToppers.com has launched a redesigned website featuring new original graphic skins for iBooks, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros. The revised site also allows visitors to order a custom skin with personally-chosen graphics. "Now you can add even more style to the best looking portable computer out there with iToppers graphic skins for your Apple MacBook and iBook," the website reads. "Easy to install, [they] protect your MacBook or iBook from scratches." Customized iToppers are priced at $40 for the 17-inch MacBook Pro, $35 for the 12-inch iBook, and $37 for the 14-inch iBook. Premade iTopper skins are priced individually, with most ranging between $17-20.
PlayFirst has launched Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze, the second game in the Dream Chronicles series that incorporates components from hidden object, adventure, and mystery genres. Developed by KatGames, Dream Chronicles 2 continues the story of Faye's adventure between the mortal and fairy world in search of her husband and daughter. With help from Faye's mother-in-law Aeval, players must solve puzzles to unravel the mystery and restore Faye's family. Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
iPresentee has created a new pack of animations designed to expand Apple's Keynote features. The company's latest release includes 50 high quality animations for Keynote, allowing users to select the desired animation and drag it to the chosen slide. "Press play and enjoy the way your presentation comes to life," the company said. "Use iPresentee Keynote Animations and no one will forget your presentation. Creating an unforgettable presentation with iPresentee animations is a snap." iPresentee's 50 new animations are priced at $30, and are compatible with Pages as well as Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express.
The Eye-Fi crew today released Eye-Fi Manager 1.5, an update to the Eye-Fi Card firmware that adds a new feature -- 'Smart Boost' -- to make wireless photo uploads more efficient and determine the most efficient way to upload photos to a desired location. "In the past, the Eye-Fi Card would first upload your photos from the camera to the Web, where they would then be sent to your online photo-sharing site and to your computer via the Web-based Eye-Fi Service," the Eye-Fi crew said.
Information has purportedly leaked on two upcoming Intel technologies. Foremost is a new Xeon CPU codenamed "Dunnington," which is said to use three dual-core processors based on 45nm Penryn technology. The CPU should use a shared 16MB L3 cache, but each core pairing is described as having 3MB of L2 memory. The chip is further said to have a 1,066MTs interconnect, and thermal design power rated under 130W.
Verizon this afternoon said it would publish the first version of its Any Device, Any App specs on March 19th at the Open Device Development Conference. Simply titled Version 1.0, the spec will mark the earliest opportunity for companies and other device makers can produce or modify devices to have them work with the company's newly opened service. Future weeks will see Verizon help match software written for the Verizon network to the smartphones and other devices that will run them, the carrier says.
Apple may finally be preparing to update its MacBook Pro notebooks, leaked information suggests. While the regular MacBooks shipped late last year, and the Mac Pro desktops were updated in early January, some shoppers have been waiting impatiently for an upgrade to MacBook Pros before buying a new computer. Three upgraded systems are said to be listed in the inventory management systems of Apple and resellers such as Best Buy with new SKUs (i.e, Apple model tracking numbers): MB402LL/A, MB403LL/A, and MB404LL/A.
Two cellphone-optimized versions of LinkedIn's social networking website have launched, say members of the company. The site is geared towards exploiting connections for career purposes, by getting users in touch with past and present coworkers and classmates. The site also points out connections in job hunting, and links people to experts with job advice.
Acer plans to make a big push for HD-capable notebooks in the spring of this year, the company's Taiwan head explained on Monday. The executive clarified previous rumors and says that the computer firm will have two notebooks available in the spring with the world's first 16- and 18.4-inch widescreen notebook LCDs; unlike the slightly tall ratio of most displays, these will fit the wider aspect of most movies. Both should be sharper than hinted in the early leak and will be capable of a full HD (1920x1080) picture. Both will appropriately ship with a Blu-ray drive for playing HD movies.
AVerMedia has a new option for avid TV viewers looking to record iPod-ready video, the company said today. The AVerTV Bravo Hybrid plugs into a PCI Express slot and picks up HD signals through ATSC and ClearQAM tuning as well as NTSC for analog signals. Relatively unique to the expansion card, however, is native H.264 video encoding: TV up to and including 1080i and 720p HD can be captured in the format both to save disk space and for downscaling for use on some video-capable music players, such as iPods. A special gaming mode for Windows Vista systems with Media Center can guarantee that both audio and video are in sync for time-sensitive titles.
The creators of the Hymn Project have once again been forced to shut down, a site moderator has announced. Apple has served the current website with a cease-and-desist order, insisting that all downloads of the associated software be removed. The moderators are further blocking anyone from linking the software on the site, or even pointing people to functionally similar applications.
Nokia on Monday veered from its tradition of unveiling shipping products by introducing the Morph, a long-term concept phone developed in tandem with the University of Cambridge. The handset is based on nanotechnology developments that may be realistic for future products and is split into two devices: a detachable speaker either clips to the ear as a headset or to the main phone as a speaker; the phone itself would use nanotechnology to provide a touch-sensitive display that is at once flexible and translucent. Future developments could even see a phone like the Morph clean itself and eliminate the fingerprints that plague most touchscreen devices, Nokia says.
Responding to criticism from groups such as Greenpeace, Apple has implemented a new recycling program designed to reduce the damage of mass consumption. In addition to products like iPods, people can now also recycle cellphones, produced by any manufacturer. There are two main options for sending devices to Apple: they can either be delivered in person at an Apple Store, or else mailed to a central location.
Hynix this morning took a step towards expanding the RAM limits for many computers by targeting an upgrade its DDR2 line at a niche audience. The company has successfully developed an 8GB memory stick that offers registered, double-rank memory for previous-generation AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon-based workstations. Though clocked lower than today's latest memory, the new capacity is reached through controllers that can handle twice as many chips as before: this permits using inexpensive one-gigabit chips stacked together in place of two-gigabit models, according to Hynix.
Fujitsu today said it would not be left out of the mobile storage race and updated its MH-series drives with the MHZ2 BT, its first 500GB notebook-class disk. The 2.5-inch drive is comparatively slow at 4,200RPM but draws just 1.8 watts of power in peak use, ensuring that it can run for long amounts of time in notebooks and other energy-sensitive devices. This performance is the best in class, Fujitsu claims. Idling and sleep power use are also said to be lower than any other disk in the category along with noise, which is an exceptionally low 2.1 decibels.
Adobe has released two new products intended for developing "rich" Internet applications. AIR allows programmers to create apps using web-based languages, including Ajax, HTML, Flash and Flex; the end result primarily runs in a web browser, but can also be geared to read and write local files, and work in tandem with locally-stored applications. AIR and its SDK are free downloads, and operate on Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
DivX on Monday said it would shut down Stage6, its web video hosting service. The decision was made to focus on the company's self-titled video format and encourage its use on other platforms, such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and alternative websites. The shutdown blocks new uploads as of today and will see a complete shutdown of the site by February 28. Companies hosting their videos on Stage6 are being helped to migrate their videos to other pages, DivX says.
Sony today broke from the normal cycle of camera updates by releasing two updates to its Cyber-shot lineup. The W300 is the first truly compact point-and-shoot to cross the 12-megapixel barrier and produces 13.6 megapixels without extra bulk. The extra depth also provides headroom for high-speed shooting: by dropping to three megapixels, the camera can shoot at five frames per second for an extended period. Hardware image stabilization is built-in but can also be backed by a special ISO 6400 sensitivity mode that eliminates blur at the expense of noise.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX