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Small Tree Communications recently unveiled the EasyAoE, a new software product that allows users to efficiently use a Serial ATA drive over an Ethernet network for backup and storage purposes. The application reportedly simplifies the backup process, allowing less experienced to effectively ensure their data is safe. Small Tree Communications is selling EasyAoE for $150, with a five user license available for $500.
Xnet Communications today unveiled iSoftPhone 2.2 for Mac, a free update to its telephony application that allows users to place phone calls over the internet, introducing a few new features and bug fixes. The new version uses a new Dock icon that indicates when a call was missed, and also prompts users before quitting. A major crash was resolved for Mac OS X 10.4 users, which occurred when calling from the iSP address book. iSoftPhone 2.2 sells for $35 for new users.
In brief: We have a review of Piano Wizard, a game that teaches piano, Apple is 11th in Web traffic, a new MacHeist bundle has debuted, and a promotion offers Sonicfire Pro 4.5 for free ... We've postd a review of Piano Wizard, a game that approaches learning to tickle the ivory in an innovative way. Piano Wizard makes whiling away the hours feels less like torture and more like gaming fun. Although the software is aimed at children, adults can certainly learn to play the piano with it too. The first screen includes buttons to set up your keyboard, watch demos, enter Easy Mode or Premiere, if you bought that version, and to check for updates.
Speed Download 5.0.2 ($25) download manager designed to be a unified hub for almost all downloading and file transfer activities. This release fixes the following issues: Transparency in the floater retained after SD restarts; SD no longer prompts about a component update after each restart; SD remembers changes to the toolbar visibility after each restart; a bug that could potentially cause SD to crash after completing a download. The new release has also updated SD Enhancer for better performance and compatibility. [Download - 7.7MB] Interarchy 9.0.1 ($60) Download/upload tool for FTP, FTP/SSH, FTP/SSL-TLS, HTTP, HTTPs, WebDAV, WebDAVs, iDisk and Amazon S3. Includes Growl Support and transparent File Encoding with File Converters. This release adds a brand new protocol built upon SSH, numerous enhancements to the product's interface and more. [Download - 6.6MB] MMRegEx 0.5.0 Beta 2 ($35) a FileMaker Pro 7+ plug-in that brings the power of Regular Expressions to your calculations. With this plug-in, you can perform searches and replacements on text using "patterns" instead of "literal" text. For example, you could use the search pattern "gr[ae]y to search for any instance of "gray" or "grey" in a text field. This is the first official release of this plug-in to the public. [Download - 3MB] FmPro Script Diff 1.15 ($100) stand-alone utility which compares, edits, searches and stores FileMaker ScriptMaker scripts - external to the FileMaker database. FmPro Script Diff 1.15 is an updated version fixing a screen redraw issue on MacOS X Leopard (10.5). This maintenance release also fixes an issue with the display of sorted Diff Results. [Download - 4.1MB] FTPit Pro 2.0.0 Beta 2 ($65) a FileMaker Pro 7+ plug-in that uses FTP to transfer files to and from your computer. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.9+ and any version of Windows that FileMaker Pro 7+ runs on. Use it to upload static web pages to a website, upload database backups to a offsite server, download database upgrades from a centralized server, or write a complete FTP client within FileMaker Pro itself. [Download - 3.9MB]
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published five Apple patents that have been granted: one for the Mighty Mouse, an iPod lanyard, a Digital-to-Analogue Converter, an Exceptional Situation Manager, as well as one for a device which has yet to be seen in an Apple product. According to the report, the device could be a media player, storage device, or other mobile device. Other theories could indicate the device to be a "smart" media remote, an updated design of the iPod nano or Shuffle, among others.
Alienware recently updated its Aurora gaming desktop to include an upgrade option for the AMD Phenom 9850 Black Edition processors, which feature the latter company's HyperTransport technology. The Phenom 9850 is a quad-core processor that provides users increased system bandwidth and true multitasking, while also supporting up to four ATI CrossFireX video cards. In addition, users can run either 32-bit or 64-bit applications without additional hardware, and the processor's Cool'n'Quiet technology reduces power consumption, heat output and noise.
Case-Mate today unveiled the Naked Case for the iPhone and iPod touch, giving users a hard transparent case that covers the entire iPhone, but still allows for interaction with the screen. Case-Mate says the case uses an electrostatic membrane on the screen portion to pass electrical pulses through to the touch screen, protecting the screen, while not inhibiting its usefulness. The Naked Case is available for $35.
Cizmo today upped its ante among gaming notebooks with the release of the CX15. Slipping ahead of Intel's official June announcement, the European PC builder claims to equip the system with processors built for the Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform. The CX15 will unusually run on Intel's low-power, full-performance P series Core 2 Duos ranging in speed from 2.26GHz (P8400) to 2.6GHz (P9400) while also using NVIDIA's high-end GeForce 8800M GTX for video. The combination both reduces the cost of the system while also reducing its heat output and increasing its usefulness as a gaming desktop's substitute.
Google deliberately manipulated the outcome of the FCC's recent 700MHz auction, three US Representatives have alleged. Republicans Cliff Stearns and John Shimkus, along with Democrat Eliot Engel, said at a hearing today that Google unfairly managed to obtain an open wireless network without having to win it, by promising to bid at least $4.6 billion on the 22MHz block if the winner was forced to allow open (third-party) access. Evidence of this is claimed to be bolstered by a recent Google blog post, in which officials admit that open access was a key priority during bidding.
DLO today unveiled the VentMount case in two versions, one for the iPod touch, and the other for the iPhone, allowing users to secure either device to their car air vents. The case can rotate so that users can switch between Cover Flow and such. VentMount also includes a belt clip, so the device can be removed and quickly attached to a belt for transportation. DLO is currently shipping the VentMount for $25, and is available from the company's website.
T-Mobile is finally poised to release its second Shadow smartphone, says a scoop from newcomer TmoNews. Referred to just as the Shadow II in the slip, the device would represent a major redesign with a glossy black shell and a flatter, potentially touch-sensitive thumbwheel. It will also reportedly be the first Shadow to support HotSpot@Home, using Wi-Fi to bridge calls between VoIP and the cellular network.
Sanyo on Tuesday announced the addition of two new portable multimedia projectors to its T-series line-up, the PLC-ET30L and PLC-XT21/L. With 1400x1050-pixel (SXGA+) resolution and 4200 lumens brightness, the ET30L offers consumers a less costly alternative to pricey 1080p projectors. The XT32/L, meantime, is a value-priced 1024x768 (XGA), 4,000 lumens unit that replaces the company's volume XT20. Both are meant for use in classroom, boardroom or other areas where significant ambient light might be necessary.
Cable and Internet provider Comcast, in tandem with peer-to-peer tech company Pando Networks, says it is launching a new industry initiative in order to address conflicts relating to P2P file sharing. Dubbed the "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities," it would see the creation of a document addressing "best practices" for both ISPs and filesharers themselves. The companies hope to gradually involve other parties, such as experts, media producers and other ISP or P2P companies; controversially, they have no present intentions of involving public interest groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Hidden among the features of the upcoming BlackBerry 9000 may be video calling, according to a Spanish news blogger with access to the device. Although not visible in at least some prototype shots, the report claims that a front video camera is present on the smartphone. The feature would make it the first BlackBerry to support two-way video calls and is believed to be included as a complement to the new blackBerry's already-verified 3G Internet access, which makes video chats possible.
The long-awaited NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT upgrade for Mac Pros has been released. The graphics card features 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory, uses the PCI Express interface, and includes two dual-link DVI ports, and is capable of driving up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. It requires a Mac Pro (bus speed 1.33GHz) with PCI-Express. The card is priced at $280 and can be purchased as a standalone, user-installable item or as a build-to-order option for Early 2008 Mac Pros through the online Apple Store. Controversy ensued when Apple introduced this upgrade card as an option available exclusively to newly purchased Mac Pros in January. At the time, users presented research that shows the cards should be backwards compatible. Apple is now making the kit available, in supported fashion, to all Mac Pros with a bus speed for at least 1.33GHz.
The Wii Fit is scheduled to arrive on North American shores in just over a month's time, and Nintendo today released pricing for the Balance Board accessory and interactive fitness game combo. Nintendo's much-anticipated release, which includes a balance board and game disc that includes over 40 specific games and activities, will retail for nearly $90 when it hits store shelves on May 19.
HCL on Tuesday promised to make PCs more affordable for India with a special run of its MiLeap notebooks. Much in the vein of ASUS' Eee PC and other micro notebooks, the H series keeps costs low by using both a small 7-inch LCD and by using a low-power unnamed (but likely Celeron-based) Intel processor. Unlike some of its budget equivalents, the system serves as a convertible tablet with a directional pad for navigation and a touchscreen for handwriting that sometimes becomes necessary in HCL's home country.
British grocer and retailer Tesco today said it would launch Tesco Downloads, its own attempt at a digital music and video store. The service will follow the cue of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other similar stores with a web-based interface and initially plans to offer about 3.3 million songs; about 1.6 million of those will be available in unprotected MP3 versions that should work with iPods and other devices that don't support the protected Windows Media Audio format of other songs on the store.
Nisus Software has announced the upcoming release of Nisus Writer Pro 1.1 Preview, the latest version of the company's alternative word processor. This release adds several new features including Comments, Mail Merge, Go to Page, and more. Also added is a Large Caret option, as well as several additions and enhancements to the Nisus Macro Language. Nisus Writer Pro 1.1 will be available later this Spring for only $80. A CD version is available for an additional $10. A three license Family Pack is available for $100. Nisus Writer Pro uses the same core as Nisus Writer Express, but sports several additional or expanded features including a Table of Contents generator, indexing, bookmarks. There's also attribute sensitive search, that allows you to locate items in documents based on their formatting.
The U110, a 11.1-inch ultraportable notebook by China's Lenovo, has finally had more information disclosed on its specifications. The computer has appeared at the American online retailer J&R, in black and red versions; each edition is equipped with a low-voltage 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor and no optical drive, but does come with 3GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive. Additionally, users have access to Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi.
fring on Tuesday today became the latest VoIP application to be made publicly available for Apple's iPhone. The fring beta software, which requires a "jailbroken" iPhone (the company uses "opened" as its euphemism), enables users to talk, chat and interact with other fring users and all of their online communities, using their iPhone’s WiFi connection. A light, sneak preview R&D version of the popular mobile VoIP application, developed in conjunction with the Holon Institute of Technology academic research labs in Israel, is now available for use on the iPhone. According to the company, the pre-release version is designed to gather feedback from users; the final version is due for launch later this year.
Seagate has begun the first of what may be several lawsuits against makers of flash memory, show filings from the US District Court in San Francisco. It has accused STEC, formerly known as Simple Technology, of violating four patents it owns, connected to the creation of flash memory -- should it win, Seagate could be granted an injunction against STEC products as well as unspecified damages. Seagate CEO Bill Watkins argues that compensation would be well-due, as it has invested heavily in developing technology for SSD drives, and it has tried to persuade other companies to license its patents.
NEC this morning prepped the final launch of its Lui media streaming devices. Essentially more advanced versions of today's media extender devices, all four models provide a network connection to the music and video of a DLNA- or Windows Media Center-capable PC in a reportedly more elegant way than with traditional extender hubs. The Lui RP (pictured) is considered the standout with a UMPC-like handheld design; users are given enough control with a directional pad and QWERTY keyboard to find and play media from its four-inch LCD. The Lui RN offers the same formula in a 10.6-inch notebook that reaches a very thin size by depending on its media source for storage.
iRiver has lived up to its word today by launching the US edition of the E100, its new mid-range player that sits between the basic T60 and the more video-focused Clix Gen 2. The device ships with a relatively large 2.4-inch screen but moves the company's D-Click controls from the edges of the LCD to a pad at the bottom; the effect suits the E100 more to the vertical hold preferred for music but still presents a similar near-seamless look. This newest model adds a microSD slot to expand free space by as much as another 2GB, and boasts its own stereo speakers for listening without headphones.
Amazon's highly-touted MP3 store has had little to no effect on the success of iTunes, according to a new analysis by The NPD Group. A study conducted by the group reveals that just 10 percent of all purchasers at Amazon MP3 are converts from Apple's service, with the rest either switching from other stores or else are new to direct-download music. This comparatively new audience is a "healthy indication" that other stores don't necessarily have to draw customers away from iTunes to grow, says NPD entertainment analyst Russ Crupnick.
The iPhone Dev Team has released a new update for its PwnageTool, bringing the software up to v1.1. The program is used to hack into iPhones and iPod touches, opening access to third-party native applications; in the case of the iPhone, users can also gain access to unofficial cellular carriers. The update has several new features, among these support for custom packages, as well as custom logos. The BootNeuter.app file is automatically deleted now, eliminating some unnecessary manual maintenance.
Apple and Starbucks on Tuesday announced a new collaboration, dubbed Pick of the Week. The program offers Starbucks customers free music and music videos, downloadable from the iTunes Store. According to the companies, the content will be available through Pick of the Week download cards, provided at more than 7,000 Starbucks locations in the United States. The cards will be good for 60 days from the date a song is named "Pick of the Week," and allow customers to get a complimentary (though pre-selected) song or music video.
Retailer Brookstone on Tuesday announced it started taking orders for the iHome iP99, a docking radio designed to work specifically with Apple's iPhone. The company claims the iP99 is the first product that will allow the iPhone to play music through its speakers but still retain phone functionality. iHome says it achieved this thanks to shielding that eliminates interference. The iP99 is also compatible with all docking iPod models.
Sony today marked the official launch of version 2.3 (link to update soon) of the PlayStation 3's firmware, which adds key new features to the console. The cornerstone of the update is a complete redesign of the PlayStation Store built to help users more quickly find content: add-ons, games, videos, and other content are now easier to find from the top level. Gamers can also get a taste of content before the download with either screenshots of games or streaming clips for video content. A shopping bag lets users track their purchase history.
Following its brief removal from index pages, PopCap's famous Bejeweled game has officially returned to the iTunes Store (link). The new version is fully compatible with modern iPod nanos and classics, as well as the fifth-generation iPods that the title initially supported. Players are faced with a field of gemstones, and must rearrange them to make matches of three or more in the time provided while new stones are continually added.
The price of the 8GB iPhone is set to fall dramatically in the UK beginning Wednesday, according to reports. Starting on that date, the cost of the phone will drop a considerable £100, to sit at £169 ($335). The deal lasts until June 1st, and is applicable under any O2 tariff. The 16GB iPhone should remain unaffected, priced at £329 ($652).
Microsoft today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Danger, bringing the Sidekick maker entirely into the larger company. Danger will now become a core component of the new Premium Mobile Experiences group at Microsoft and will be part of the Mobile Communications group inside of the Entertainment and Devices division. The freshly acquired company's founders now report directly to Roz Ho, corporate VP for the Premium Mobile Experiences group and former head of the Macintosh Business Unit.
Nokia this morning revealed one of its first dedicated phones with near field communication (NFC) as a staple feature. The 6212 classic uses the new wireless technology to hold a virtual wallet used to make wireless payments and take info without a setup process; users can simply bring the phone close to a toll booth to buy tickets or exchange calendars by tapping another NFC-equipped phone. A special version of the BH-210 Bluetooth headset can pair up with the 6212 in much the same way, Nokia says. The Finnish company also packs in a set of three NFC tags that can be changed to trigger certain events when the phone comes in proximity to any one tag.
Dell on Tuesday gave its small business line a turn with a new Vostro line. Every model is thinner and lighter than existing models while also adding security features that are often limited to Dell's pricier Latitude series: while a fingerprint reader is more common, all have the newest Trusted Platform Module to let administrators lock their systems down. The Vostro 1310 (shown) is also Dell's first 13.3-inch Vostro and provides the same 1280x800 screen resolution of the 14-inch Vostro 1400 in a smaller, lighter (4.6-pound) frame.
Blackmagic yesterday unveiled a new DeckLink HD Extreme at NAB 2008, an update to its PCI-based video capture card, adding support for HDMI and 3Gb per second SDI. The card allows users to switch between SD, HD, and 2K formatted video for capture and editing purposes. Users can also connect S-Video, PAL, NTSC, and analogue component video sources to the card. DeckLink HD Extreme is selling for $1000 from Blackmagic.
No matter how careful or experienced you may be, you will lose files eventually, either by accident or through a hard disk failure. When you lose files through an accident, such as deleting a file by mistake, you can often retrieve that file by dragging it out of the Trash. However, if you lose a file through a hard disk failure, your files are usually gone for good unless you have a special data recovery program like Data Rescue II from Prosoft Engineering.
Blackmagic Design recently unveiled several new video interfaces at the NAB 2008 conference, the USB-based Video Recorder – available in consumer and professional versions – and a large scale 8U rack-mount SDI router. The Blackmagic Video Recorder offers consumers the ability to capture video directly to H.264 through component or S-Video onto their computer. The consumer USB Video Recorder sells for $120.
The Miami-based Mac clone vendor Psystar says that Apple's restrictive licensing terms violate US antitrust laws and wants to fight the Cupertino-based company in xourt. Psystar's cheap Mac alternative, which hit the Web on Monday and brought down the company's Website, costs about $399, but when run with Mac OS X Leopard represents a direct violation of Apple's end-user license agreement, which forbids third-party installations of Leopard, according to InformationWeek. A Psystar employee told the publication that they believe Apple's terms violate U.S. monopoly laws. "What if Microsoft said you could only install Windows on Dell computers?" the employee said. He also claimed that the company would continue sell the OpenMac system, despite the apparent violation of Apple's EULA.
Apple on Monday released Apple TV Software 2.0.2, an update to its set-top box software that brings (undocumented) bug fixes along with a single discoverable feature: it adds a viewable gallery of your contact's favorites photos within Flickr -- in addition to the previously available ability to view a contact's publicly available photo-streams. Some users also report faster menu and/or networking performance: one user on Apple's discussion boards reports getting better network connectivity with some 802.11n networks.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.99 ( -0.02 )
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL