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Puretracks, with labels Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI, and various independents under its belt, is offering a new DRM-free mobile music store and service for BlackBerry smartphones from Research In Motion (RIM). As the latest company to take a stab at Apple's music download dominance, the new music service competes directly with Apple's WiFi iTunes store for the iPhone and iPod Touch and will work with the BlackBerry Pearl, BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry 8800 series smartphones. Using compressed DRM-free AAC/AAC+ file formats, Puretracks Mobile Edition will be unveiled March 12 at the South By Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas. A full version of the mobile music service is expected to launch at CTIA Wireless April 1.
Apple BaseStation software
Apple on Tuesday issued an update to its BaseStation software for its wireless devices, including the AirPort Express Base Station, AirPort Extreme Base Station, and its recently introduced Time Capsule backup device (see our First Look). The update, which first appeared as "AirPort Base Station Update 2008-001" via the Software Update, includes general fixes and compatibility updates for AirPort Utility, AirPort Disk Utility, and AirPort Base Station Agent; however, it is now available as AirPort Utility v5.3.1 and is described by Apple as "the setup and management utility" offering a variety of options for each device. The 8.8MB update is available for both Tiger and Leopard (and Windows).
Office 2008 12.0.1
Microsoft has released Office 2008 12.0.1 for Mac OS X, a new update to the productivity suite that fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2008 that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. The new release also fixes an issue that could give a local user who does not have administrator permissions access Office 2008 program files. This issue occurs when the non-administrative user account was assigned User ID (uid) 502. This issue affects only computers that have more than one local user account, and primarily affects environments, such as public computer labs and workplace networks, where access to program files is restricted.
Optimus mini three touch
A version of the Optimius mini three input pad with touch input and a wireless link is in development, Art Lebedev says in an update for his self-titled studio. While still in the early planning stages, the new device would move from use of three, isolated OLED keys to just a single touchscreen. The advancement would not only make the devices simpler but potentially allow for more than three input zones or screens depending on the design, the Moscow designer adds.
France funds Google foe
The European Commission has approved the contribution of €99 million in French funding to a potential Google competitor, writes Agence France-Presse. The Quaero search engine project represents a collaboration between 23 different companies, including France's Thomson; it has not, however, so far found enough funding to get started, as its costs in the next five years are projected to be €199 million. The Commission itself has expressed doubts about Quaero, saying it "is not spontaneously underpinned by the market owing to divergent interests within the consortium and to uncertainties regarding the project's chances of success."
Gogo in-air Internet Soon
The first full in-flight Internet access since the end of Boeing's Connexion service is coming in the spring, according to a GigaOM report. Now titled gogo, the service developed by AirCell will allow browsing and other common Internet tasks over a modified version of a EVDO Revision A cellular connection (used by Sprint and Verizon) to supply a 3Mbps Internet link shared by the whole cabin through Wi-Fi. By compressing the data sent across the network, each user gets a connection closer to 2Mbps, gogo claims.
As a result of having received approval from the European Commission, Google is now formally announcing the completion of its acquisition of DoubleClick. The deal, worth $3.1 billion, will make the combined company the largest web advertiser in the world, beating even the combination of Microsoft and aQuantive. Google says it is now beginning to establish practical plans for the absorption of DoubleClick, which should be fully executed "by early April."
WiebeTech has announced the RTX200H-QR, a new RAID hard drive solution featuring RAID 0/1 for two drives in TrayFree bays. The TrayFree technology doesn't force the user to install hard drives into trays -- you can imply slide in a SATA drive and shut the door. The RTX200H-QR is compatible with four different interfaces: eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 (via included converter cable) and USB2. The new new metal bays also have two LEDs for power and access. Bays are lockable for added security. Hardware RAID 1 offers best possible protection of data by mirroring the drives in real time. Hot-swappable bays allow the user to remove and replace failed drives without shutting down the system. The new unit is priced at $500.
Nortel 4x bandwidth tech
Canada's Nortel is deploying a new network technology, one which it claims will at least quadruple the current bandwidth of most telecom companies. Reuters notes that while most companies are able to handle 10Gbps on their networks -- enough for 1,000 HDTV channels -- Nortel's new optical scheme supports as much as 40Gbps, without dramatic upgrades to a network. With enough investment, Nortel suggests, companies may be able to boost throughput to 100Gbps.
InFocus unveiled its flagship home cinema projector Tuesday, the IN83, capable of reproducing full HD sources on screens or wall up to nearly 17 feet high. The new product also sports HDMI 1.3 inputs for Deep Color support, in addition to the 5,000:1 native contrast ratio, which can be boosted to 15,000:1 via an integrated iris.
Acer New Notebook March
Acer will reveal a new concept design for a notebook PC tomorrow, the company has announced today. The computer builder is short on details but says the debut will represent a "worldwide launch" for the new style, suggesting a major update rather than a minor change to an existing design. The introduction is likely to involve the company's new 16- and 18.5-inch media notebooks, both of which will include extra-wide 1080p displays as well as a Blu-ray drive.
Intel Centrino 2 June Line
Despite Intel's aggressive plans to roll out its Centrino 2 mobile platform in June, the company is now set to push back processors suitable for the MacBook Air and for gaming notebooks by as much as three months, a leaked roadmap shows. Contrary to some early expectations, the June release will only focus on processors for the most common notebooks. Two high-performance Core 2 Duo chips at 2.53GHz and 2.8GHz will consume the same 35 watts of power as most current processors; three power-optimized processors at 2.26GHz, 2.4GHz, and 2.53Ghz will be more efficient at 25 watts but share most of the same features as their more demanding siblings, with only a reduction from 6MB to 3MB of Level 2 cache affecting the bottom two models.
iPod nano overheats
The Japanese industry ministry is reportedly investigating an incident in which an iPod Nano "overheated and discharged sparks." Reuters quotes the ministry "The battery part of the product overheated while being charged and sparked," Apple's iPod safety manual states "When you're using iPod or charging the battery, it is normal for iPod to get warm. The exterior of iPod functions a a cooling surface that transfers heat from inside the unit to the cooler air outside." As such, iPods have been known to overheat when placed in cases that do no allow adequate ventilation.
Sanyo XW60 projector
Sanyo has debuted a new business projector, the LP-XW60. The system is described as one of the "smallest and lightest" of its type, having such little weight that it can easily be carried with one hand. It is also designed to be easy to set up, with an automatic keystone feature that adjusts the projector's alignment on uneven surfaces. Images can be anywhere from 40 to 300 inches in size, requiring distances from a screen between 3.6 and 32.9 feet.
Walmart drops Everev
Wal-Mart will not restock its shelves with the Everex Green gPC or any of its successors, most of which run the Linux-based gOS operating system, the mega chain announced Monday. Citing lack of interest from customers, the store will continue offering the Linux-based gPC, its successor the gPC2, and the Everex CloudBook laptop on its website but will phase out the product from its retail locations. Buyers in this area are simply not asking for this kind of computer, the company says.
Motorola YouTube preview?
Several Motorola phone updates may have been revealed prematurely through a YouTube video, according to reports. The clip appears to be an official promotional video, which while focusing heavily on "lifestyle" images and marketing buzzwords, also depicts several phones not already on sale. Among these is a phone making a reference to the company's collaboration with Kodak, which first bore fruit with the camera on the ROKR E8. The new device may be an anticipated five-megapixel cameraphone.
GGT Enterprises has announced the release of ReceiptWallet 2.0, an upgrade to the company's receipt and document management application for Mac OS X. This release adds new features for cataloging non-receipt documents, an updated interface, support for on-the-road document scanning via Apple's iSight camera and the ability to organize documents into multiple libraries that can be tracked separately. With ReceiptWallet, paper receipts and documents can be scanned from any TWAIN-compatible scanner. Web or email-based receipts can be saved as PDF files from any Mac application and automatically sent to ReceiptWallet using the Print command. In addition, ReceiptWallet has support for the popular Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner.
Apple has filed for a new trademark with the European Trademark Office, simply entitled Thinnovation. Apple has been using the term in slogans ever since it revealed the MacBook Air on January 15th, inserting it primarily into web and print advertising. These uses are the focus of the International Classifications in the trademark filing; the trademark would also apply to installation and maintenance, as well as educational and training purposes.
LG Glimmer Official
Unusually announcing a phone for a carrier ahead of the carrier itself, LG has stepped forward with the unveiling of the Glimmer, leaked flyer and reveals a design which is positioned as the best of both worlds. While a 2.8-inch, finger-driven touchscreen is normally the only interface for the phone, a slider reveals a full number pad underneath. The Glimmer is now known to have a microSD card slot that holds up to 4GB of AAC, MP3, and WMA music as well as related video formats. LG's familiar Flash-based software from the Viewty remains on top of the device.
EU Yes to DoubleClick Deal
The European Commission today fully approved Google's proposed buyout of DoubleClick, all but ensuring the completion of the unprecedented move. The acquisition has been previously approved by the US Federal Trade Commission and received its blessing from the European agency in the belief that a combined Google/DoubleClick entity would not block out competing ad networks. As neither company has directly fought for similar business, the union of the two companies also won't create a monopoly, the Commission argues.
GoBetween for Entourage
PocketMac has launched two new versions of its GoBetween sync software, for Microsoft's Entourage 2004 and 2008. GoBetween is used to improve on the support of Apple's iSync software, which does not always properly support all software and devices. The newest versions of GoBetween ensure that contact, calendar and task information is properly transferred from Entourage to iCal and Address Book, and from there to iSync and whatever devices may be connected.
MS Aero Keyboard Combos
Microsoft today hoped to translate the visuals of Windows Vista into a new pair of keyboard and mouse sets. Though they work with most any USB-equipped computer, the Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 (shown) and wired Digital Media Keyboard 3000 are styled after the Aero Glass interface found in Microsoft's own operating system and incorporate shortcuts designed for the platform. The 7000 includes shortcut keys for Favorites in Vista on the ergonomic keyboard itself along with a Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 that has a button usable for task switching through Flip 3D (also reusable in other operating systems).
Hulu Public Tomorrow
The Fox and NBC-Universal joint project Hulu will leave its private beta stage tomorrow, the companies revealed on Tuesday. The web-based service will soon allow all US residents with high-speed Internet access to stream TV shows and movies over Flash for free through dynamic ads that appear at key segments; in a new version, users can even pick which ads they see, Hulu's operators note. On its official debut, the service will also add TV shows produced by Warner Bros. and will have both NBA and NHL highlight reels as well as full-length historical NCAA basketball games.
Shuffle, MB Air updates
Apple has released software updates for two of its most recent products. MacBook Air owners now have access to the SMC Update 1.0 package, which according to Apple "fine tunes the speed and operation of the internal fan." The software installs to the "Applications/Utilities" folder, and is a 551KB download that requires Mac OS X 10.5.1 or later. iPod shuffle owners can meanwhile download the v1.0.4 firmware patch, which delivers "enhanced support" for the new 2GB Shuffle, as well as unspecified bug fixes.
AntiVirus Dual Protection
Symantec has released a new anti-virus suite, AntiVirus Dual Protection. The package actually contains two pieces of software -- AntiVirus 11 for Mac and AntiVirus 2008 for Windows -- and is intended for owners of Intel Macs, who may use the Boot Camp feature of Mac OS X Leopard to run Windows XP or Vista on a separate partition. Each application is tailored to the specifics of its platform, requiring the two versions.
AUO 16-9 24in LCD
Taiwan display maker AU Optronics today revealed what it says is the world's first truly wide-aspect, full HD 24-inch flat-panel display. The LCD adopts the same 16:9 ratio of many HDTVs and is capable of a native 1080p resolution. While shorter than the 1920x1200 resolution of existing 24-inch computer screens, the wider display makes it better-suited to widescreen movies with the image filling more of the available space. The new design is also half as thick as the taller displays: where a conventional display would measure 1.38 inches deep, the new implementation is just 0.55 inches. Combined with a narrow bezel, this allows a same-size display in a much smaller space.
SanDisk Sansa Fuze
SanDisk this morning quickly ended leaks by releasing the Sansa Fuze, the company's particular take on the same small, widescreen player formula as the third-generation iPod nano. Much shorter than the Sansa View, the Fuze has a small 1.9-inch screen but still includes a full jog wheel and the newer music and video playback features, effectively replacing the outgoing E200 series. In contrast to most devices in the category, however, it also sports a microSDHC slot: users can add as much as 8GB or more to the storage of their existing player if they run out of space or want a permanently rotating collection of music.
Apple Yet to Order Flash
Apple is sending worrying signs that it hasn't ordered any significant amounts of the NAND flash memory it needs, say some of its Asian manufacturers. Although the company bought as much as $1.3 billion in memory over 2007, it hasn't started large orders since 2008 began and is effectively forcing its suppliers to sell flash below cost due to oversupply. Even the MacBook Air, which needs a large 64GB of memory for its solid-state drive, isn't enough to help clear stock due to its high price and low volume, according to the reports.
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.
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