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Apple faces iTunes lawsuit
ZapMedia Services is suing Apple over its iPod-iTunes concept, claiming it had invented the process two years before the first iPod was sold. According to AppleInsider, the original ZapMedia has since closed its doors. ZapMedia Services is enacting the lawsuit on behalf of the former company, which comes 18 months after it began to shop for investors. Until recently, ZapMedia Services held on to but a single patent, and now carries two.
Microsoft Cover Flow
In response to Apple's chiding remarks regarding the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard launch – urging Microsoft to "start their photocopiers" – the Redmond-based software and electronics giant has applied for a patent to Cover Flow-style OS interface. The patent states that the idea revolves around "stacking data wheels" and is primarily designed for mobile environments, potentially the Xbox 360, according to an analysis of the patent by MacNN
iTunes revenue for Disney
Disney, as the launch partner for the iTunes video store, has seen approximately $123 million from the venture since its inception, which is a drop in the bucket when compared to the company's $35 billion in revenue last year, but is not without its upsides. Money made from the iTunes video store requires very little maintenance and planning, since companies don't have to market the product, while extraneous costs such as boxing, shipping, and other elements in distribution are not present.
M-Audio offers new product
M-Audio today unveiled two new portable digital pianos, as well as a rack-mountable 8 x 8 audio MIDI interface. The Fast Track Ultra 8R features an MX Core DSP mixer and eight Octane-enabled preamps, and delivers connectivity through a single USB 2.0 connector. M-Audio advertises that the Ultra 8R low-noise, high-gain preamplification, and near-zero latency. M-Audio is selling the Fast Track Ultra 8R for $650, and will be available during the second quarter.
Gibson vs. Guitar Hero
Activision's popular Guitar Hero rhythm games are breaking the law, charges legendary guitar maker Gibson. The company has publicly accused Activision of infringing on a patent from 1999, which involves technology simulating a musical performance; in Guitar Hero, one or two players strum along on a simplified guitar, in time to on-screen notes. Reuters notes that Activision denies any wrongdoing, and is in fact asking the US District Court for Central California to render Gibson's patent invalid.
Puzzle Quest for Mac
Transgaming today announced the release of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords for Mac, a puzzle-based open-ended RPG. In Puzzle Quest, players can either do puzzles directly, or play an RPG-themed version, where they must collect items and experience to progress farther in the game. In the puzzles, players match three of a kind of different objects which either gives them money, experience, mana, or the ability to attack the opposing creature. Puzzle Quest is available for $20.
Acer Gemstone Blue
As promised, Acer on Wednesday launched a radical overhaul of its Aspire notebook line targeted at the high-end notebook market normally occupied by companies such as Apple and Sony. Nicknamed the Gemstone Blue, the new design centers around a deluxe media console known as the CineDash: the touch-sensitive control lets users navigate music, videos, and menus without having to resort to the trackpad. Each system also sports a unique "weave" finish and an advanced speaker system that generates virtual Dolby 5.1-channel surround, including a 10-watt subwoofer.
Intel exposes NetTop PCs
Through a presentation to a group of business clients, Intel has revealed a new computer design, called the NetTop. The system is designed to minimize the cost of a desktop as much as possible, jettisoning all unnecessary expenses; this carries down to normally standard hardware aspects, such as the inclusion of system fans, or even a CPU socket. Linux may be an option on some NetTops, instead of the more conventional choice of Windows; similarly, costs are cut by switching from hard drives to SSD storage.
EOS-5D Mk. II specs leaked
Specifications for the successor to Canon's pro-level EOS-5D camera have been leaked, an undisclosed source claims. The Mk. II allegedly features a new, 15.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, one that may in fact be superior to those used in Canon's top-level 1D Mk. III series; this is due to an improved sensitivity, which may capture as much as two stops' worth of extra detail while simultaneously producing less noise. The 1D cameras may, in fact, only be superior in terms of buffer, autofocusing and framerate, though these are important to professionals. The 5D Mk. II is expected to shoot in a 6fps burst slowing to 3fps.
Archos 606 Leak
One of Archos' higher-end sixth-generation players is being restyled to compete against the iPod touch and provide some features not present on the current iPhone, according to a leak from sites in Archos' home country of France. The media player will most likely be called the 606 but should be more than just a minor generational increase: instead of devoting some space to navigation buttons on the side, all but the most basic controls will be pushed to the side in favor of a larger touchscreen, the sources say. A significant amount of the interface will change to match.
Domainer 1.6 ($40) an application for web site owners, marketers and investors track and manage their domain names. RAGE Domainer allows web site owners to centralize domain details, as well as those of their competitors, with one easy tuse application. Domainer also provides an overview of a domain's value through various popularity measures including Google PageRank, AlexaRank, incoming back links, and social tags.This free update allows exporting and printing of Domain details to provide a quick overview of domain information and popularity for clients or personal use. [Download - 10.8MB]
Vvidget 10.5.2 ($190) used to automate graphs for desktop applications, dashboard widgets and web sites. The new release includes support for Quick Look: All data visualization documents made with Vvidget Builder are now browsable through the Mac OS X Finder, including Cover Flow, List and Icon views. This gives immediate access using familiar Finder controls and enables a powerful instant-on data browsing tool. [Download - form]
Code Collector Pro 1.0 ($30) application for storing code snippets. Key features include Smart Groups: Helps users keep their snippets organized; Snippet Sharing: Snippets can be exported to single files to be shared with other Code Collector users; Customizable Syntax Coloring: Snippets are colored depending on their language; TextMate Bundle Support: Expand the syntax coloring and language support by adding TextMate Bundles. New in version 1.2 is integration with CodeCollector.net for sharing snippets online, an improved source list, snippet locking and enhanced drag and drop support. [Download - 2.5MB]
Art Files 1.3 ($50) a stand-alone application that takes the tedious task of collecting Illustrator documents, linked images and fonts for graphics files and turns it into a simple point and click operation. Art Files focuses on gathering just the information you need to get your files packaged up for your service provider. This update improves the speed and stability of packaging all Illustrator CS3 files. The result is a massive speed benefit, repeatedly saving time whenever you collect or archive a file. In addition, Art Files now allows you to "re-link" multiple files in the same directory, handles auto-naming of single-file collections, supports custom naming of folders and more. [Download - 1MB]
EvoCam 3.6.2 ($30) webcam software for Mac OS X. Use EvoCam to publish a webcam with streaming video, view and record video from network cameras and video servers, create timelapse movies, or use it as part of your home security system with its configurable motion sensors. EvoCam 3.6.2 adds support for more network cameras, and fixes several bugs affecting application stability. [Download - 1MB]
Nokia N78 at FCC
Nokia is already planning an American version of its just-introduced N78 smartphone, a new FCC filing shows. Initially announced with Europe in mind, the phone has gone through testing at the US government agency that should clear it for launch in the US. The inclusion of 3G Internet access for AT&T is uncertain; the stock N78 already supports calling on the needed 850MHz band, but none of the tests immediately point to the necessary HSDPA.
Digital Heaven has announced the release of DH_Subtitle 2.0, an upgrade to the popular subtitle generator plug-in for Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro. The tool allows users to create professional style subtitles with boxes behind the text. The new version adds text tracking and leading controls plus a new outline style option. It automatically creates the box according to the text entered and also ensures the last line of text is always in the same vertical position, no matter how many lines of text a subtitle may contain. With version 2.0 there is a new outline style which puts a line around the text to increase legibility. Also new in this version are controls for text tracking and leading.
iPhone moving to x86 chips
The Apple iPhone will be migrating from its current processor to something based on Intel's x86 architecture, information suggests. Multiple unnamed sources, including some who were correct about the switch of Macs to Intel technology, say that the iPhone will join Apple's computers within a year or two. More substantial evidence is said to have come out of last week's CeBIT expo in Hannover, Germany, in which an Intel slide presentation depicted the iPhone as a next-generation mobile Internet device (MID).
Cheetah3D 4.5, a new version of the 3D modelling, rendering and animation solution for Apple Mac OS X, was released today. It improves the MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard) compatibility and should solve the last minor problems. The new release also mproves the memory efficiency of the render manager. Now only active render jobs are kept in RAM and finished render jobs are swapped to the hard disk. This also allows the render manager to recover the results of finished rendering jobs if Cheetah3D should crash. In addition, the PDF import has been improved to allow an even better workflow between Illustrator and other applications.
No BlackBerry in India?
Use of Research in Motion's popular BlackBerry phones could effectively be barred in India by the end of the month, warns a local publication. The Business Standard cites anonymous sources, who say that government security agencies want RIM to share algorithms used to decrypt messages, under threat of the termination of BlackBerry services for non-compliance. Unlike most cellphones, BlackBerries operate on a proprietary e-mail network.
T-Mobile Canada Follow-up
T-Mobile's tentative steps to enter the Canadian market for cellphones may have been confirmed, according to a detailed tip sent to BGR. The carrier has reportedly received government approval to start its service in 2009 and would run at least a trial service until 2010 that would offer all the normal calling, data, and roaming services expected of most providers. It would also bring many of the phones used by its American cousin, including HTC-made devices such as the Shadow as well as the SideKick line.
GE printed OLEDs
GE Global Research on Wednesday displayed the first ever Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) manufactured via a process similar to newspaper printing. Dubbed roll-to-roll in the manufacturing industry, the concept is not new, but with its demonstration, GE and its partners are the first to put it into practice. The new manufacturing process would allow dramatically reduced costs of high-volume organic electronics devices, which can expand to include solar cells, sensors, display banners and other light sources for the home or office.
ArKaos debuts GrandVJ
ArKaos has announced that its self-titled video-jockey software is being replaced with a new program, GrandVJ. Like its predecessor, GrandVJ is used to mix, trigger and manipulate video sources during live music performances, or at other events when live video sequences are needed. The program is based on its predecessor's piano keyboard layout, but implements a new Mixer mode, patterned after an eight-layer video mixer. This is said to improve sequential mixing and allow for more performance styles.
Apple has added a third store to its opening roster for Australia for this year. The company now plans to debut two stores in Sydney in the CBD and in Chatswood and another in Chadstone, Victoria. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Apple is now putting the finishing touches on its three-level flagship store in the Sydney CBD, located on the corner of George Street and King Street. That store will reportedly sport the transparent glass edifice made famous at other flagship stores, along with a large, white suspended Apple logo. Sydney's store will also feature a glass staircase, which will connect the three levels. The store is expected to be open by June.
Ericsson 700MHz Gear
Swedish electronics giant Ericsson today revealed that it will already be set with technology that will support new 700MHz Internet access when it becomes an option in the US and elsewhere by 2009. The company says it is already developing chipsets that will natively use the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for extremely quick 4G Internet access; the new technology should allow download speeds up to 326Mbps on the carrier's end (20Mbps for each user) while still providing the advantages that come with the 700MHz airwaves, such as longer range and better signals when indoors.
Back to My Mac, no .Mac
The Back to My Mac remote networking option, normally only available with a paid subscription to Apple's .Mac service, can in fact be imitated for free, writes one columnist. Users begin by enabling File and Screen Sharing under System Preferences, and then clicking the Options button to expand file sharing to FTP. After some router configuration, users must run the distant computer's Screen Sharing app, located under "System/Library/CoreServices" in Leopard, and enter the external Internet address of the home/work computer.
TiVo YouTube Access
TiVo on Wednesday leapt into territory previously held only by the Apple TV by announcing YouTube access for its digital video recorders. The feature will let any user with a TiVo Series 3 or TiVo HD box, as well as a sufficiently fast Internet connecton, watch and search for YouTube videos directly from the hub itself. The approach will be controlled solely through the existing TiVo remote but will still allow most of the personalized features that come with a YouTube account, such as viewing preset YouTube channels or accessing playlists.
iPhone 2.0 jailbroken
The firmware intended for running native third-party software on the iPhone has already been jailbroken, a well-known hacking group claims. The iPhone Dev Team says that after less than a day with the SDK's bundled v1.2 firmware, to eventually be renamed v2.0 for June launch, it was able to decrypt the disk image and run applications without a developer's certificate. Downloaders of the SDK must technically be a part of iPhone Developer Program, which costs $99 for most parties.
Alltel LG Glimmer Launch
Having been preempted by the phone manufacturer itself, Alltel today quickly followed up by announcing official launch details for the LG Glimmer, its first media-focused touchscreen phone. The cell provider confirms the media-focused design, which is controlled primarily by its 2.8-inch display but slides out a keypad for dialing by hand. In addition to its media player and microSD slot, the Glimmer is also fast enough to drive 3D games and supports video capture as well as still photos from its 2-megapixel camera. Assisted GPS mapping is supported through a custom Alltel app.
100,000+ SDK downloads
Apple has announced that in the first four days following the release of the beta iPhone SDK, over 100,000 downloads have been processed through the Apple Developer Connection, to which people must officially belong before they can use the software. "Developer reaction to the iPhone SDK has been incredible with more than 100,000 downloads in the first four days," reads a statement by Apple's senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller. "Also, over one million people have watched the launch video on Apple.com, further demonstrating the incredible interest developers have in creating applications for the iPhone.”
Samsung 53 Series LCDs
Samsung today is launching a sweeping set of changes to its computer LCD lineup with the introduction of its 53-series LCDs for the desktop. The new range is said to bring the kind of color quality and design normally reserved for the company's HDTVs: every screen generates a high 8,000:1 contrast ratio thanks to dynamic lighting and color adjustment, and ships with a glossy black finish. The line starts at the 19-inch, 1440x900 953BW and expands to include the 20-inch, 1680x1050 2053BW and 253BW as well as the 22-inch 2253LW.
YouTube today announced that it has published the YouTube APIs, giving developers an opportunity to access parts of the application programming interface for the web video site that were previously available only to the company. The new flexibility allows programmers the opportunity to change the interface and not only allows different web front-ends (similar to Overlay.TV) but also entirely separate interfaces. Programmers can write dedicated applications for outside of the web or even special clients for other video-capable devices, YouTube suggests.
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