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First Look: Bling! It
To sell items on auction sites like eBay, you need to show others what you’re selling. Take a good picture of the most run-down item and it can still attract buyers. Take a lousy picture of the most valuable item and the picture alone can turn off potential buyers. To increase your chances of attracting buyers and making a sale, take the best pictures possible. If your pictures still look drab and dull, spice them up with Bling! It.
Apple and EMI Deny Beatles
The parties involved in the allegedly close Beatles deal for iTunes have all denied its taking place, according to news from Billboard. The music chart makers warn that Apple Inc. has flatly denied the rumors as "unsubstantiated speculation," while the Beatles' own label Apple Corps as well as its parent company EMI have both refused comment on the matter, seemingly putting an end to claims by British newspapers made over the weekend.
LaCie desktop drives
LaCie has introduced the Desktop hard disk available in 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and 1TB configurations. The 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB models are available in a stackable form-factor. All of the drives include a single USB 2.0 port and spin at 7200 RPM. The 1TB drive features 16MB (2 x 8MB) or greater or cache, while the smaller capacities feature 8MB of cache. The drives start at around $125 and should be available immediately.
Refuting allegations that it knowingly lowered the requirements for Windows Vista to help Intel sell more low-cost chipsets, Microsoft has appealed a decision by District Court Judge Marsha Pechman to allow procession of a class-action filed on those grounds. The Redmond company is simultaneously calling for a pause in the Judge's investigation and appealing her decision's merit in the US Court of Appeals. In its appeal, Microsoft questions how plaintiffs in the suit will be able to prove that the prices of systems in question were inflated as a result of increased demand due to the label "Windows Vista Compatible."
Traktor Scratch 1.2 update
Native Instruments today unveiled Traktor Scratch 1.2, a free software update to its professional digital DJ system, adding a number of features, as well as improved performance. Traktor Scratch uses digital turntables and CD-based DJ systems to alter digital music tracks. The new version also features tighter integration with iTunes, and enhanced time code tracking. New users can purchase Traktor Scratch for $700.
Radeon 2600 XT for Mac Pro
Apple today unveiled an update for the Mac Pro ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card, which was suspected of causing mass system instabilities in those machines. The 792KB update requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 with the latest Leopard graphics update, and is said to improve overall system stability. As with most recent updates, the specific problems and fixes are not listed. The issue was affecting all of the new model Mac Pros, regardless of how old the actual tower was.
ASUS bamboo computers
ASUS has debuted an unusual series of concept computers that rely on alternative case materials. Where most cases rely on materials like aluminum, titanium or plastic, the company's Bamboo computers are in fact made of the namesake natural wood, which has multiple advantages. Aside from being more aesthetically appealing, bamboo should be more environmentally friendly; it is readily renewable, unlike minerals or oils, and the material is biodegradable when it ultimately ends up in a garbage dump.
ASUS Eee PC 900 US Info
ASUS' just-announced Eee PC 900 has received its official release information for the US as well as a guide to its near future, an interview with company chief Jerry Shen. The system will cost less than its originally announced European price when it ships to the US and should be available for $499 in the US when available in the country, which is expected by April. Shen does not say which configuration will ship at that price, though the cost of a Windows XP license points to the starter version shipping with Linux.
Imation SSD drives
Imation has entered the burgeoning field of SSD storage with two sets of drives, designed in collaboration with Mtron. The first of these are the MOBI 3000s, SATA disks meant for the consumer market; these consist of 16 and 32GB 2.5-inch drives, as well as 16, 32 and 64GB 3.5-inch models. The drives are capable of reading at 100MBs, and writing at 80MBs; random access speed is just 0.1ms. Prices start at approximately $700.
Buffalo MiniStation 500GB
Buffalo on Monday slipped out a 500GB version of the MiniStation TurboUSB, its faster series of pocket USB drives. The 2.5-inch disk reaches the new capacity while still using an advanced disk controller that outputs data faster than other rivals. TurboUSB boosts transfers data at 35MB per second, or about 30 percent faster than other hard drives with the same 5,400RPM rotation speed, Buffalo estimates.
FCC: Comcast deceptive
Comcast may have already undermined its position in an ongoing government investigation, according to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Kevin Martin addressed the question in a recent speech at Stanford University Law School, where the subject of Comcast's peer-to-peer sabotage was raised. Martin said he was disturbed that Comcast initially denied throttling peer-to-peer content, only to later claim the practice was standard and necessary.
Intel Atom Roadmap Leaked
Details have surfaced about the near future of Intel's Atom processor for handhelds, courtesy of a new leaked roadmap for the chips. Though Intel has only publicly acknowledged a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor and alluded to others, the slip shows that Intel expects to spread the line to the high end in the near future. After the initial version, the semiconductor firm plans a 1.87GHz Atom 200-series chip; in standard form, it would be a direct upgrade with a faster speed but the same 533MHz bus and 512KB of Level 2 cache memory.
Intel SSD Plans for 2008
The very small Z-P140 solid-state drive is just a prelude to a series of much more significant announcements over the course of 2008, Intel's flash memory marketing head Troy Winslow says in a recent interview. The senior official explains that one of the chipmaker's introductions this year will be a series of 1.8- and 2.5-inch drives targeted at ultraportables that not only hold more but are also faster. While they will hold between 80GB and 160GB versus today's 64GB and just-shipping 128GB drives, they should also outperform the claimed 100 megabytes per second reading speed of the Samsung Flash SSD, which itself is already much faster than most rotating hard disks, the Intel executive boasts.
Webkit most compliant
The future of the Safari web browser has been a topic of great interest lately, and some MacNN forum members have discovered that Webkit – Safari's developmental alter ego – is so far the most compliant with next generation web standards. According to the forum members' findings, WebKit and Safari 3.1 receive the highest scores on the Acid3 compliancy tests at 90-percent and 74-percent respectively, while Camino 2.0a1, Firefox 3.0b5, and Seamonkey 2.0a1 come in third place at 69-percent.
Analyst on Chip Oversupply
An oversupply in the amount of electronics chips stemming from the holidays is the sign of a decline in demand for computers and handhelds, according to a new Gartner report sent out today. The research group warns that its index of surplus inventory around the world grew nearly 12 percent between the third and fourth quarters of 2007, largely due to poorer sales. As the downturn is likely to have carried over to this quarter and potentially the spring, many companies should deliberately scale back their extra stock to avoid being caught out by any further drops, the report notes.
Hitachi, IBM shrink chips
Hitachi and IBM are set to announce a partnership which will result in smaller, more efficient silicon chips, according to the New York Times. While many companies are only now making the switch to 45nm technology, as with Intel in the case of its Penryn processors, Hitachi and IBM say they are working on the next step, which involves research at the atomic level to produce 32 and even 22nm semiconductors. In some cases this may make components as little as a few atoms thick, approaching the physical limits of non-quantum computing.
First Look: Time Capsule
While all new Macintosh computers come with Time Machine, Apple’s unique backup program that allows you to go back and retrieve previously deleted files or older versions of recently modified files, you can’t use Time Machine unless you also have a second volume. To take the guesswork out of which type of external hard disk to buy, Apple offers Time Capsule, a simple, fool-proof external hard disk specifically designed to work with Time Machine. The simplicity of Time Capsule is apparent when you open the box and find just four items: the Time Capsule unit, a power cord, an installation CD, and a printed setup manual.
Ericsson on Wi-Fi hotspots
The end for Wi-Fi hotspots may already be in sight, claims the chief marketing officer of telecom multinational Ericsson. Speaking today at the European Computer Audit, Control and Security Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Johan Bergendahl commented that at least in Europe, cellular broadband is growing so rapidly that it is surpassing any rate ever achieved by either mobile or fixed voice networks. "In Austria," says Bergendahl, "they are saying that mobile broadband will pass fixed broadband this year."
MacBook Air confusing
The MacBook Air's thin design is causing some confusion for the technically ignorant, according to one blogger who says that the ultra-portable caused him to miss his flight. When going through the TSA airport security checkpoint, blogger Michael Nygard was held up as security staff gathered around his MacBook Air, trying to make sense of the slender laptop. One of the less technically knowledgeable staff points out the lack of standard features as cause for alarm.
PopChar X 3.4 update
Ergonis Software today unveiled PopChar X 3.4, an update to its special character finding and typing utility, offering several new features such as an enhanced search feature. The search function can now locate characters by name, Unicode number, or example. Users also have access to a new contextual menu which allows then to copy characters to the clipboard. Ergonis Software is currently selling PopChar X 3.4 for €30 (~$50)
MS Drops X360 Euro Price
Microsoft has quickly confirmed existing rumors and today officially dropped European prices for the Xbox 360. The base Xbox 360 Arcade system now costs £160 in the UK and €200 in Europe, making the system less expensive than the already low-cost Nintendo Wii that serves as its chief rival; the standard 20GB Xbox 360 in turn drops to £200 or €270. The black, 120GB Elite model now sells for £270 or €370 depending on the region.
Gameloft iPhone games
Gameloft, currently one of the major publishers of games for the iPod classic, nano and 5G, has announced its intentions to both develop and publish for the iPhone platform. The news follows Apple's preview of the App Store and SDK, and announcements from other game companies, including Sega and Electronic Arts as well as Freeverse. Development teams at Gameloft are already said to be at work on some 15 titles, taking advantage of features such as the touchscreen, accelerometer and 3D processor.
Samsung W100K 4G Player
Samsung this morning upped the stakes in portable media players and released the SWT-W100K. The 4.3-inch touchscreen device is built to replace not just most handhelds but also some PCs, courtesy of its fourth-generation Internet access. The W100K is one of the few devices to support WiBro (known as WiMAX in the West) on the go and pulls data more quickly than some landline connections: it can download up to 13Mbps and has enough upload speed for high-quality video calls with a built-in front camera. A back 2-megapixel camera with autofocus takes on video capture.
Apple, RIM positioned well
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu today released a note to investors regarding the renewed competition between the iPhone, with its new ActiveSync functionality, and the Blackberry. While users of the Blackberry claim the platform features better security through encryption, network management and efficiency, as well as push email, ActiveSync advocates highlight simplicity, less expense, and features its own security benefits.
Sprint Mogul EVDO Rev A
Sprint on Monday fulfilled a promise made in June and has released an update for the Mogul to add EVDO Revision A. The update boosts the speed of the HTC-made smartphone's Internet access, particularly for uploads: while downloads jump from a peak 700Kbps to as much as 1.4Mbps in better real-world conditions, uploads climb several times from 70Kbps to 500Kbps. Patching to the newer standard is said to make photo and video uploading more feasible than on the standard EVDO (Revision 0) network.
Beatles on iTunes in 2008?
The Beatles' back catalog should finally appear in digital form by the end of the year, claims a British tabloid. The deal will reportedly see the music come to the iTunes Store, with albums including the likes of Help!, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and possibly more. The deal is said to worth as much as £200 ($402.5) million, and has allegedly been sanctioned by lead Beatle Paul McCartney as means to help pay for his divorce from Heather Mills. Proceedings have already cost McCartney £5 million, and may jump by another £20 to £30 million after a settlement.
Sansa Fuze on Amazon
More details have surfaced about SanDisk's upcoming Sansa Fuze music player, according to an Amazon leak. The listing confirms the Fuze's role as a direct iPod nano rival with a 1.9-inch screen, music and video playback on 4GB of storage, and a jog wheel for navigation. Unlike the Apple player or rivals like the Zune 4, the Fuze would add a microSDHC slot for as much as 8GB or more of additional storage. It would also bring an FM radio and voice capture through a microphone.
Sony GIGA JUKE
Sony today expanded its still fledgling GIGA JUKE line of stereos outside of Japan with two models built to almost entirely replace a computer as well as traditional stereos for digital audio. The SC55PKE (shown) is the first small audio system from Sony to promise a full multi-room setup while also storing a large range of music: its main unit holds up to 80GB of ATRAC, MP3, WMA music ripped from CDs (up to 16X) or other sources but supplies both a wireless adapter and dedicated control unit to listen to the system with separate speakers in another room. As many as five areas can be served from one hub, Sony says.
Lionsgate BR/DVD & iTunes
Lionsgate, the independent studio most recently responsible for movies such as Rambo and The Bank Job, has announced that it will be the next company to support Apple's iTunes Digital Copy program. The program puts iTunes-formatted versions of movies on retail discs, as an accompaniment to the standard version; while these videos are restricted by Apple's DRM protection, it provides a quick and legal method of synching movies with computers, iPods, iPhones and Apple TVs. The first company to support Digital Copy was Fox, with the release of Family Guy: Blue Harvest on DVD.
MS on Yahoo Plans
Microsoft would not immediately begin merging technology if its proposed takeover of Yahoo goes through, the company's chief software architect Ray Ozzie has explained in an interview. Although the two companies often have competing technologies, Microsoft would move slowly to integrate either firm's technology with the other. The work climates and technical foundations are said to be too different to encourage an early start and could alienate users if forced together too quickly.
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