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BusySync 2.0 released
BusySync on Friday released an update to its iCal sync utility. BusySync 2.0, a free upgrade for all existing customers, brings new Google Calendar syncing features and fixes many bugs. Users have the ability to sync iCal with Google Calendar, including the ability to map iCal Message alarms to Google pop-up, SMS or Email alarms as well as the option to filter out Alarms and To-Dos from subscribed calendars on your LAN. The developer says the update brings LAN/WAN synching improvements, VPN compatibility, IPv6 and Back to My Mac compatibility. In addition, version 2.0 features improved performance, fewer conflict resolver disputes, auto-repair of damaged iCal databases. Users can install the upgrade by opening the BusySync prefpane and clicking the Check Now button. For a limited time, BusySync 2.0 is available at an introductory price of $20 per computer (offer good until April 30, 2008 when the price will increase to $25).
Leopard support for 10Gb
Small Tree Communications recently unveiled software support for the Intel 10 Gigabit Ethernet CX4 Dual Port adaptor under Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, providing users with a sub-$1000 solution for the standard. The PCI solution allows users to enhance network connectivity on supported infrastructure, making it ideal to transfer video feeds, large network file transfers, or other areas where networking speed is essential. The software is available from Small Tree's website.
Deals on 2G Nano, MBP
Apple has second-generation iPod Nanos and several versions of the Santa Rosa-powered MacBook Pros on clearance in the online store. The silver 2GB iPod nano can store upwards of 500 songs, and is capable of displaying pictures, but not video content, as is the case with the third generation Nano. The iPod nanos come with Apple earphones and a USB dock cable, and are currently available from the online store for $100.
Mactracker 5.0.2 (donationware) database of Mac models. The latest Apple hardware has been added along with numerous improvements to the "My Models" category in the main window. New specification entries include "Brightness" and "DPI" information (where available) for the built-in display on MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models. The maximum supported resolution for an external display is now detailed for Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and PowerBook G3/G4 models. This release also fixes an issue with creating new Smart Categories. [Download - 20.8MB]
Graph Paper Maker 1.9 ($20) lets you create your own custom sheets of graph paper. It is ideal for students, teachers, engineers, scientists, researchers, businessmen, and others who need to create specialized sheets of graph paper. The latest release of Graph Paper Maker adds options to create custom sheets of engineering and lined paper. [Download - 1.4MB]
Bookmaker 2.2 book publishing system. The new release has 10 Upgraded Book Styles, with over 400 page layouts in total to choose from. Now available for ordering are: Professional Glossy Book Jackets; Deluxe Size PhotoBooks, 15" x 11.5" and imported Leather Covers (custom-made, stitched and padded covers for picture window PhotoBooks) [Download - 9.4MB]
Default Folder X 4.0.4 ($35) makes it easier for you to manage files by adding features and correcting flaws in the file dialogs of all Mac OS X applications. This release delivers compatibility fixes for Carbon applications, resolving issues that have been reported with FileBuddy, the Microsoft Office 2008 Suite, and Adobe CS3. It also corrects problems with accented characters in the Spotlight comment dialogs that it adds to Open and Save dialogs, and fixes several interface bugs and display problems. [Download - 8.4MB]
MacTuneUp ($30) discovers and fixes problems, restores hard disk space, creates bootable disk backups, and maximizes Internet and network connections to squeeze the best performance from your Mac. The new release includes greatly improved Leopard compatibility, the ability to redesign the dock, and the support of three languages: English, French and German. Current users can update MacTuneUp by selecting "Update..." in the MacTuneUp menu, or by visiting. [Download - purchase]
Sonoma rebuilt for Pages
KeynotePro today unveiled Sonoma for Pages '08, an update to its popular set of template sheets, providing users with a classic print styling and color neutral framework, while maintaining consistent, structured feel. The company says that Sonoma was rebuilt from the ground up to work with the new version of pages, and are easier to use, having listened to several user recommendations based on previous releases. Sonoma for Pages '08 is available for $25.
MSI reveals Wind UMPC spec
Taiwan-based MSI recently revealed more information on its low-cost, ultra-portable laptop, the Wind Notebook. The roughly 2.2lb notebook will run on Windows XP and feature an unusually large 2.5-inch HDD with an 80GB capacity. The Wind will be offered with either an 8.9- or 10-inch LCD display, the resolution of which is pegged at 1024x600 pixels. It is expected to compete with ASUS' Eee PC 900.
Vvidget 10.5.4 released
VVI has released a new version of Vvidget, its charting and graphing software. Features in the program include a quadratic lab for students, and considerable extensibility, including options for monitoring information such as CPU use, web data, or the voltage of lab equipment. More cosmetic features of Vvidget including rotating 3D charts, and the ability to truncate curves or have them extend beyond a graph's frame.
Wii Leads March NPD Sales
Nintendo's Wii console continues to be the strongest-selling of all systems a year and a half after its launch, according to March statistics from The NPD Group. The organization says that about 720,000 examples of the motion-driven Wii were sold last month, helped in part by both its lower $250 price and the launch of the first Super Smash Brothers game for the platform. The result is nearly three times the 262,000 Xbox 360s sold and a slightly larger increase again over the PlayStation 3, which was near-equal at 257,000 systems sold.
Oribno MacBook Air case
Orbino has released a new notebook case for the MacBook Air, the Arista. The case is said to be made of handcrafted Italian leather, and tailored specifically to the dimensions of the Air. Padding helps protect against shocks and impacts, and an accessories pocket can be used to hold various items, among them cellphones such as the iPhone. A shoulder harness lets users replace a standard satchel case.
Europe Low iPhone Sales
Europe's iPhone carriers may face a significant financial hit from sub-par iPhone sales in the region, says a report from UK's The Times. Speaking to Morgan Stanley analyst Katheryn Huberty, the paper hears that temporary price drops at T-Mobile in Germany and O2 UK are likely to incur "significant" financial losses as the phones sell below cost. Carriers are expected to recover much of this through monthly fees, with T-Mobile altering its discounts depending on subscription rates, but are still anticipated to suffer to some degree.
MacBook Air grows LED LCDs
The MacBook Air, with its use of an LED-lit display, is supposedly spurring adoption of the technology all throughout the industry, due to its energy conservation and even lighting. According to Macworld, Apple's slender ultraportable - due to its aesthetic appeal - is spurring an almost exponential rise in LED use in devices ranging from laptops and desktop LCD monitors, to LCD televisions.
The Electro-Mechanics division of Samsung says it has developed a hydrogen-powered prototype cellphone, one which could soon have a commercial equivalent. The new technology consists of a special hydrogen generator and a micro-fuel cell; when the phone is turned on, metal and water react to produce hydrogen gas, which is then transferred to a fuel cell where oxygenation releases energy. Most conventional versions of this technology are said to require methanol in place of water.
Apple shares up 4.5%
Shares of Apple Computer Inc. are up $6.51 to $161 near the end of trading on friday, representing a gain of 4.21 percent. The uptick could be due, at least in part, to strong market share gains posted by the company in recent surveys from various research firms. Apple saw the biggest gain among the top 5 vendors in the U.S. market according to Gartner, enjoying strong retail sales coupled with "decent growth" in the professional market. According to IDC, Apple is expected to come in at fourth place and ship 950,000 Macs to Americans during the first quarter of 2008, earning itself an increase from 5.7 percent in the prior quarter to 6 percent. The increase is a 25.1 percent jump over sales in early 2007 and also represents more than a full percentage point increase in marketshare from year to year.
Samsung files phone patent
It appears Samsung is trying to leapfrog the iPhone's touch display and go straight to a touch-free interface in its future mobile phones. The company has reportedly filed a patent for an interface based on hand signals. The phone's integrated camera will recognize users' hand gestures as commands and execute them.
NVIDIA 9600 GSO Leak
NVIDIA is developing a new speed grade of its GeForce 9-series to fight an upcoming challenger from AMD, video card designers said on Friday. The GeForce 9600 GSO would be a parallel to the still unreleased Radeon HD 3830 and will likely sit between the current 9600 GT and an unreleased but slower 9600 GS. It will share the same architecture but cost significantly less; the main processor will allegedly cost as little as $50 to $55 for companies making their own boards.
Europe's erasing DVD-Ds
Four European countries are offering DVD movies on a format called DVD-D that is unique in that the content is erased 8 hours after the disposable disc makes its first rotation in a player. The format is also applied to software, with a 48-hour life span, either of which can be kept indefinitely until its first use, at which point the timer starts. Such DVD-Ds are available in Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia at bookstores, gas stations and kiosks for about a third of the price of a traditional multi-play DVD.
ATT Cuts 4600 Jobs
Only a day after its landmark deployment of Surface computing, AT&T on Friday said in an SEC filing and public comments that it would cut 4,600 positions from its workforce. The cuts, which account for roughly 1.5 percent of the company's 309,000 employees, are characterized as necessary to "streamline" its business and that the effect should be minimal for end users. Most of the positions cut are managerial and in areas customers aren't likely to notice, the carrier says. Company spokesman Walt Sharp also says that it's continuing to hire in other areas.
MP3 player with projector
A Hong Kong company called Sunlink, using technology from iView, claims to have produced the first portable commercial product in the world with a built-in pico-projector. The Sunview PMPP is a portable media player that normally relies on a 3.5-inch touchscreen, but can also display images on a wall using the integrated pico technology. Companies such as MicroVision have been working to produce such projectors, but have not so far got them into any commercial devices.
Carrefour open VOD service
France-based Carrefour Group will launch a movie download service, the world's second biggest retailer announced at the PEVE Digital Entertainment conference in Paris on Friday. The service will allow customers to buy movies or rent movies and rent TV programs. The Group already operates supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores that carry DVDs in Europe, and wants to expand its focus on entertainment, bringing it closer to customers.
Alcatel phones in US
The French-based telecom Alcatel is releasing its first official phone for the US, the E206a. The phone is being carried by the GSM-based MVNO O2 Wireless -- not to be confused with Europe's O2 -- and uses an extremely basic candybar design, having only a dual-band receiver, and virtually no other features. Aside from foregoing technologies such as 3G, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi, the 206a lacks even EDGE or GPRS data support, and does not have a USB port.
WinPwn 0.99 beta released
Having finally overcome some unexpected obstacles, an early Windows version of the Mac's PwnageTool hacking software has been released. Dubbed WinPwn, the software is in a v0.99.1 beta version, and does not currently support the creation of IPSW files based on iPhone 2.0 firmware. Users can, however, flash their iPhones/iPod touches with v2.0 IPSWs created by PwnageTool. Other temporarily missing features include the ability to unlock a baseband receiver.
Moto 2008 Roadmap Leak
Much of Motorola's cellphone launch roadmap for 2008 has been revealed courtesy of a leak on the Chinese-language site it168 and picked up by JAMP. Seemingly confirmed by the existence of phones launched earlier in the year, such as the ROKR E8, the escaped details validate reports of unannounced devices. New in the slip are the A810 and L800T: both will serve as mid-range phones with 2-megapixel cameras in either slider (A810) or candybar (L800T) forms. The A810 will serve as a music phone with a native 3.5mm headphone jack and a navigation wheel, while the L800T will be the company's first phone to support China's developing TD-SCDMA 3G network and is meant primarily for that country.
Voluminous, e-book reader
There's no shortage of reading material on the Internet. While many organizations, such as Project Gutenberg, offer free books that are no longer copyrighted (such as the plays of William Shakespeare or religious works such as the Bible), most of these e-books consist of plain ASCII text files. Finding these free e-books can take time and reading them through a word processor can be clumsy since you can't always save bookmarks or change formatting easily. To solve these two problems of finding and reading free e-books, try Voluminous.
PayPal blocked in Safari?
Users of Apple's Safari web browser may be blocked from making PayPal transactions in the future, according to a white paper from the latter company. While the company has already taken Safari to task for lacking specific anti-phishing protection, or EV SSL (Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer) certificates, PayPal's CIS officer now argues that the threat of phishing may be too great to allow users to send money through "unsafe" web browsers. "In our view," writes Michael Barrett, "letting users view the PayPal site on one of these browsers is equal to a car manufacturer allowing drivers to buy one of their vehicles without seat belts."
LG extra-wide micro LCDs
LG Display promises to break open the micro notebook business with a series of new LCDs, according to observations by purported industry insiders. Seeking to up-end the market, the company hopes to develop a 10.1-inch LCD with a 16:9 ratio similar to many HDTVs. At 1024x576, the screen would have a lower vertical resolution than the 600 pixels of sharper ultra-small displays but would cut down on the vertical size of budget notebooks and more properly fit movie ratios. The screen is due in October.
Orange to cut iPhone price
Apple is in discussions with Orange about lowering the cost of the French iPhone, Les Echos reports. The newspaper cites an inside source, who claims that Apple is putting pressure on Orange to change to a subsidized pricing model, under which the public would have to pay less for the device. At present Orange is charging at least €399 ($635), making not only for an expensive product, but one of the most costly versions of the iPhone in Europe.
Hulu Mobile Talk
NBC's Hulu TV streaming service is likely to expand beyond its web-only presence of today, the service's CEO Jason Kilar said this week at the NAB video production expo. While not committing to any one format, the company head explains that cellphones and "anything connected to the Internet" would be an ideal platform for the feature, which allows users to stream (but not download) episodes of NBC and Fox shows.
Sanyo Xacti CA9 camera
Sanyo on Friday unveiled the newest addition to its Xacti underwater digital camera line with the CA8. The camera is rated for underwater use at a maximum depth of nearly five feet and one hour safely and will shoot 60fps MPEG-4 video at 640x480-pixel resolution or 3264x2448-pixel photos via its 8-megapixel CMOS sensor. Sanyo's pixel-interpolation technology allows bumping up the photos to an equivalent 12 megapixels. Two dedicated buttons -- one for video record, the other for still image capture -- make it easier for the CA8 to capture images, although at a reduced 2MP size, while filming.
Win Software Update fixed
Following considerable public criticism, Apple has release a new version of its Software Update utility for Windows, bringing it to v2.1. The patch is available through the current version of Software Update -- bundled with programs such as iTunes -- and addresses an earlier policy of Apple, under which Safari 3.1 would be pushed to Windows users whether they wanted it or not, as if they had already downloaded the application previously. Some have accused Apple of trying to artificially improve the distribution of the Safari web browser in the Windows sphere.
Moto Mobile Exec Add
Motorola has finished its week by revealing (reg. required) an overhaul of its Mobile Devices division ahead of its expected spin-off into a separate company. The move sees new executives take over roles focused on targeting Motorola's phones at the right audiences. Company senior VP Rob Shaddock will now take over management of the division's consumer products and will watch over new sub-sections that tackle different classes of devices: a group headed by corporate VP Steve Lalla will handle mainstream products, while John Cipolla will take care of higher-end, media capable devices.
Apple on-stage DAP box
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published an Apple application for a new digital audio processor, specifically geared towards live music events. As the patent defines it, several members of a band -- including guitarists, vocalists, drummers and keyboardists -- would be able to connect their inputs directly into an on-stage set-top box, which would also have various output jacks as well. Of these the most critical is a connection to some sort of remote control device, whether a notebook, a handheld computer, or a traditional mixer.
Reebok and J Division Zune
Microsoft has let slip details of some of the first special edition, second-generation Zune players. A team up with Reebok will see the electronics giant produce a custom Zune to match its partner's Allen Iverson Answer XI sneakers. The variant on the Zune 8 will include a large engraving of the Denver Nuggets basketball player and also pack related content on the jukebox itself, such as TV spots, interviews, and Iverson-chosen music. Teaser shots hide any custom coloring on the player, though Microsoft adds a special carrying bag. Like most limited Zune runs, the Reebok set will ship in small numbers (60 pairs) when it arrives in June for $300.
Google beats estimates
Google today posted its first quarter profits, thoroughly outpacing Wall Street analyst estimates, which were based on the effects a slowing economy would have on sales and earnings. According to CNN Money, the news follows a weak fourth quarter last year, with earnings coming in under analyst estimates. The report shows Google's income rising 30 percent to $1.31 billion - $4.12 a share - with $1.54 billion before one-time charges.
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