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Developer Pieter Omvlee on Wednesday unveiled DrawIt 3.5, a sizeable update to his simplified vector drawing and image editing application. The update adds several new features, including support for Boolean operators – such as union, subtraction, exclusive, and intersect – a new text-to-vector tool, and support for a vector ghost-mode for quick drawing. The ghost-mode allows users with a dedicated graphics card to speed up editing of vector images. Omvlee is selling DrawIt 3.5 from his website for $45.
Calgoo on Wednesday announced its cross-platform calendar sharing programs are now compatible with Apple's iCal application. The announcement affects Calgoo Hub, Calgoo Connect, and Calgoo Calendar, and will allow users to synchronize their iCal calendars with users of Google, Outlook, Sunbird, as well as a host of other cross-platform mail clients. Calgoo Connect and Calendar Pro annual subscriptions start at $30, with several licensing options available.
Peer-to-peer music service Qtrax may be more than three months late, but new reports have the company finally signing a deal with Universal Music Group. Back in January, the new company announced it would work with the four major labels to bring users free music, with ads as the sole source of revenue. The labels, comprised of EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner, promptly denied the claims.
Mophie on Wednesday announced it is shipping the Juice Pack – an iPhone battery extender – and that it is the first company to achieve certified "Works with iPhone" recognition for a battery extension product. The extender adds 250 hours of standby time, while also featuring eight hours talk time, 6 hours of internet usage, 7 hours of video playback, and 24 hours of iPod functionality. Mophie is currently shipping the Juice Pack for $100, and is available directly from Mophie, mStation, or select retailers.
AMD on Wednesday unveiled definitive plans for 6- and 12-core Opteron processors, made with a 45nm fabrication process, which will be available most likely during 2009. TG Daily writes that the company will continue to support the Socket F (1207) platform through to its 6-core, single-die Istanbul, but will make a departure from the standard in 2010, when AMD unveils its Maranello platform. Production samples of the 45nm chips have already been made available to vendors.
Tivoli on Wednesday announced that the NetWorks – the company's mono digital music player – will ship within a few weeks. The unit is capable of streaming internet radio over WiFi or Ethernet, and also includes a USB port and audio input port for connecting to a number of different portable music devices. The player is expandable, with options for stereo output, CDs, a subwoofer, or surround sound setup. The Tivoli NetWorks starts at $600 for the monaural unit.
Verizon Wireless on Wednesday announced its fourth and newest version of the VZ NavigatorSM navigation software for mobile phones is available in select phones. The new software promises to give users in 75 cities across the US information on traffic, movie times and events, weather forecasts and gasoline prices at close-by stations. In addition, the maps can now be viewed in a 3D perspective, as seen from behind the windshield of a car.
Microsoft is reportedly strengthening its relationship with Parallels, and will offer Parallels Desktop for Mac for users who purchase a Microsoft Expression Professional Subscription. According to InfoWorld, this allows customers to run the full studio suite, rather than just Expression Media 2, which ships mid-May, which is also bundled with future versions of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Editions. A Microsoft Expression Professional Subscription will be available in June for $1000.
(Updated with Microsoft comment) NBC Universal today revealed in a discussion with the New York Times that Microsoft is working to implement an anti-piracy filter into its Zune media players. While not outlining the amount of progress, the studio's digital chief J. B. Perrette says that Microsoft has agreed to work on a "cop" that would check the legitimacy of videos loaded on the device; those deemed illegal would refuse to play. The implementation would function similarly to automatic blocks being tried at YouTube and other sites, which are claimed to stop easy bootlegging by checking such data as the title or basic track information.
Adobe has updated the beta website for Photoshop Express, its online, lightweight version of its standard image editing software. New to Express is support for Flickr, the popular photo-sharing site; this complements earlier support for Facebook, Photobucket and Picasa, and lets users pull photos from Flickr accounts, edit them, and re-upload them. This can be done entirely without leaving the Express interface.
Sunburst has released Type to Learn 4, a collection of educational typing activities meant mainly for schools. It is claimed to be suitable for students in kindergarten through grade 12, and compliant with the standards of all 50 US states, as well as the International Society for Technology in Education's NETS-S. After a diagnostic test, students start working on a total of 36 lessons, highlighting both speed and accuracy; skill concentrations include aspects like shortcuts, the numeric keypad, and symbols.
On Tuesday, Clarion unveiled two new personal navigation units, the MAP680 and MAP780. The 4.3-inch touchscreen devices offer more than just 2D and 3D navigation, as a photo viewer, video and MP3 player and RDS-TMC traffic tuner are integrated. A 400MHz CPU is common to both units, as is Bluetooth capability that enables hands-free calling, sending SMS messages and A2DP audio streaming. The MAP680 has less built-in memory than its bigger brother, at 1GB versus 2, and can only be had in one of four versions with pre-loaded regional maps of Europe. The MAP780 includes mapping software for 43 European countries.
Complementing its TP HD home theater PC, Sony on Wednesday rolled out a new home server. The 1TB HS1 and its 1.5TB HS1S counterpart are some of the first VAIO extenders offered by Sony and are built expressly to share content automatically: PCs with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatible software, as well as devices such as the PlayStation 3, can automatically find content from the HS1 and stream it over a gigabit Ethernet link.
Accessory maker H20 has introduced a new product for iPods, the iSH2 headset. The unit is designed explicitly for second-generation Shuffles, and waterproofs them to a depth of 10 feet. The Shuffle is safeguarded in a case on the back of the head, which still has controls for playing, pausing and skipping tracks; the silicon earbuds are meanwhile designed to hold out water, when used in tandem with included earplugs, and can clip to swimming goggles.
Iomega on Wednesday announced a new addition to its eGo Portable Hard Drive line with the 250GB Camo eGo Hi-Speed USB 2.0 model. The camouflage-patterned drive contains a 250GB 2.5-inch HDD and is solely powered by the USB 2.0 connection. The notebook drive's tough looks are backed up by Iomega's DropGuard technology and Power Grip band that allows it to withstand drops from up to 60 inches.
iRex today sought to compete against some of its more frugal rivals and introduced the iLiad Book Edition. The updated version drops the Wi-Fi used for downloading content and fixes but as a result is less expensive; its €499 ($768) price is €150 below that of the original. The lack of native e-book content that sometimes plagues these readers is also purportedly solved with 50 vintage books already preloaded on the iLiad's built-in 256MB of memory, saving the user from having to buy more online.
Austria's Many Tricks has released the first version of Leech, a download manager for Macs. Like most such apps the program enables the queing, pausing and resuming downloads, and entering URLs; users of Leech can simply paste lists of URLs into the window however, or drag the same onto the app's Dock icon. Addresses can be marked for download without automatically beginning, and users can also restrict the number of simultaneously transfers.
Although it won't be available until Friday on Verizon and is still absent from Sprint's shipping roster, the BlackBerry Curve 8330 has landed at Electronista in a near-identical Telus form and is being put through its paces. Much of the design will seem familiar to those already aware of the Curve, but there are important additions to this first CDMA version of RIM's QWERTY smartphone that are likely to factor heavily into our full review.
Native Instruments on Wednesday introduced Guitar Rig Session, a new recording solution for guitarists, bass players and songwriters that provides studio-quality results at an entry-level price as well as announced Guitar Rig 3 XE, a new version of its entry-level software for computer-based guitar recording. Equipped with a specially designed audio interface and additional recording software, Guitar Rig Session is a versatile toolkit that can be used to create guitar-driven music of any style. The solution features the new Guitar Rig 3 XE software -- also available as a standalone solution -- which delivers a selection of five true-to-life tube amplifier models and 12 cabinet types, as well as 21 stomp boxes and effect units.
Microsoft has been exploring the possibility of buying out Facebook, journalist Kara Swisher claims. Her report cites sources who allege that Microsoft is delivering "subtle signals" to the social network via bankers to gauge if the company is interested in a takeover. No talks have been reported between the two, though some at the companies believe Facebook is likely to remain on its current track to becoming a publicly traded company rather than accepting a private deal.
Third Street Software has released Sente 5.5 with enhanced PDF management. Sente is an academic reference manager that helps users find, organize, review and cite the academic literature. Version 5.5 offers the ability to create references directly from the PDF files they already have, as well as new PDFs that they receive from colleagues. It also adds the ability to create complete references by entering only an ISBN, DOI or other common identifier using Google Scholar, the Library of Congress and PubMed to create complete references when importing a new PDF.
Nikon may be in the middle of developing a new camera series, rumors suggest. These are based on the release of the MB-D10 battery grip for the D300, an add-on that lets users both insert extra batteries and shoot with special portrait-ratio controls. Nikon grips have traditionally used a naming tied to a principal camera; the D200, for instance, must use the MB-D200. The MB-D10 may thus be foreshadowing a namesake camera, which would likely be announced ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August -- a critical event for both amateur photographers and photojournalists -- or at Photokina in September, one of the industry's largest tradeshows.
America Movil today said it would carry the iPhone in Mexico as well as other countries in the region, bringing the device to the western Latin-speaking areas for the first time. The carrier doesn't provide a specific release date for the phone but confirms that the device will be available sometime later in the year. The company is considered one of the largest providers south of the US and serves 16 countries in the Caribbean and South America.
Dutch electronics giant Philips is working on its own attempted competitor to the iPhone, leaked information suggests. A Chinese site, CCID, says it has obtained preliminary information on a new Xenium phone, called the X800. Like the iPhone the X800 is designed as a mostly touchscreen-controlled device, with any physical buttons relegated to essential commands; its physical differences consist mostly of a black backing and a more slender profile.
As part of its home theater product launch on Wednesday, Pioneer USA introduced four new A/V receivers to its Elite line. The SC-07, SC-05, VSX-03TXH and VSX-01TXH feature 7.1-channel surround sound connections and support DTS HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus lossless audio formats. The SC-07 and SC-05 benefit from the same Direct Energy HD amplifier with ICEpower analog class D technology Pioneer uses in its flagship SC-09TX receiver.
Perceptive Automation has released Indigo 3.0, the newest version of its Mac-based home automation server. Connected to proper accessories, the server can control appliances such as lights, thermostats, lawn sprinklers and hot tubs. The upgrade supports INSTEON technology, which for instance lets users wirelessly control Venstar thermostats. Users can define links and lighting schemes between most INSTEON modules, and upload information to a PowerLinc 2414U, which lets users shut their Mac off without losing automation.
Samsung on Wednesday announced the release of its newest bar-style smartphone, the i200. The tri-band GSM phone is aimed at business professionals with its use of the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS with Office Mobile. For wireless data transfer or Internet capability, the i200 supports HSDPA and EDGE data networks.
Pioneer USA on Wednesday announced the Elite BDP-05FD and Pioneer BDP-51FD BonusView Blu-ray Disc players have been added to its line-up. Both receivers are said to offer the next generation in Blu-ray playback quality, with HDMI 1.3 technology, four Wolfson Professional Audio 12-bit digital-to-analog converters, and 1080p / True 24fps output. The players are designed to complement Pioneer's other home theater products, including the KURO line of plasma HDTVs and Elite receivers, to bring users a movie-theater like entertainment experience.
BT on Wednesday formally rolled out Total Broadband Anywhere, its own approach to merging Internet and phone service. The plan gives users both an 8Mbps DSL connection from the British carrier but also two phone offerings that promise to avoid the need for traditional cellphone or landline service. A home router known as the BT Home Hub provides the basic connection and creates a Wi-Fi connection in addition to including a cordless voice-over-Internet phone for making calls when at home; the feature allows much less expensive calling, particularly over long distances.
Advenio has released two updates for MacGourmet, its wine and recipe organization tool. The app can be used to create, edit and sort various listings, and includes features such as nutritional analysis, imports and exports for the web, and the ability to generate shopping lists that can be synched with iPods and smartphones. The v2.3 upgrade makes unspecified improvements to the shopping list editor, and the ability to use and print themes; the most important addition is that of a plug-in framework, which will let Advenio release optional expansions.
Like Thought has released Opacity 1.1, which it calls a "major update" to its illustration application. The software is exclusively used to design images for websites and desktop software, such as launch icons. It relies on both Quartz and Core Animation technology, and has vector, layer, and filtering tools. New in v1.1 is support for SVG, which allows vector illustration for the web.
Matching internal leaks published in March, Fido today kicked off the launch of its UNO calling service. The feature closely mirrors T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home in the US and lets users save on cellular plan minutes and improve indoor reception by calling when within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Fido's implementation is likewise based on UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) and automatically bridges to or from the regular GSM phone network to keep calls active as the phone user roams into or out of coverage.
Pioneer this morning overhauled its KURO and Signature Series lines of plasma HDTVs as well as introducing a new 1080p projector. While not going into specifics, the Elite line now has better contrast ratios to produce deeper black levels as well as improved colors; the new models are also much more customizable and also pack an Optimum mode that automatically checks both the environment and the content itself to adjust both the image and audio quality on the fly, saving viewers from having to make manual adjustments at different times of the day or as they switch channels or movies.
Several more deals are in the works for expanding iPhone distribution, says Thomson Financial News. The group first writes that Orange, owned by France Telecom, is seeking to sell the iPhone outside of its home territory, where the device has been available since November. Orange CFO Gervais Pellissier says his company is currently in negotiations with Apple on the matter, and is looking to bring the iPhone to countries such as Spain and Poland, "among others." The carrier also has operations in regions such as Romania, Slovakia, Israel and the UK.
Comcast is evaluating a capping system that it hopes will pay for the cost of very heavy users without affecting most reasonable use, according to a tip sent to BBR. In the proposed plan, the provider would implement a clear 250GB monthly data transfer cap and charge users $15 extra per month for every 10GB increment past the limit. The effort would target the top 0.1 percent of users, or about 14,000 subscribers, who download well in excess of others but would still provide enough bandwidth for frequent use, such as video downloads.
Apple has released a new version of its iPhone SDK for developers, bringing the platform to beta 5, build 9M2173a. Little information has been disclosed on changes, except that the software contains bug fixes, and updates to the newest version of the iPhone OS. Other versions of the SDK, however, have gradually revealed unexpected features, such as possible GPS technology, or remote media streaming and control.
Hitachi this morning bolstered its drive lineup through the addition of the Travelstar 7K320. Launching shortly after a similar effort by Fujitsu, the hard disk purports to have both large storage and fast transfers with 320GB for holding data and a 7,200RPM disk speed. Despite the speed boost, the drive reportedly consumes no more power than a 5,400RPM equivalent. It also boasts one of the most resilient designs in the category, according to Hitachi: the 7K320 can absorb 400Gs of shock even while in full use.
If you’ve always wanted an iPhone but couldn’t afford the minimum $399 price, consider the LG Vu for AT&T for $299. This iPhone lookalike offers the same mix of a largely touchscreen-driven interface, media playback, and a camera along with the unique ability to watch TV shows thanks to a built-in MediaFLO TV tuner. Included with the phone is a recharging cable as well as earbuds for listening to music on your LG Vu in private.
Sprint and Clearwire today announced the unification of their two WiMAX Internet services into a single company that they hope will drive the 4G wireless standard. Simply titled Clearwire, the business will share the services of both the old Clearwire and Sprint's Xohm network in a single national WiMAX provider and is said to help promote the concept of an open wireless standard that allows any device and software to run; the combined build-out of the two should cover between 120 and 140 million Americans by the end of 2010, the involved companies say.
An inside source at Palm has revealed that the company is working on two as of yet unknown devices, codenamed Zeppelin and Skywriter. While little has been unveiled as to the devices' nature, Palm estimates the devices would launch in the third quarter of 2008, according to TamsPPC. Palm is also seeking developers for the platform, setting a deadline of May 30th, with the potential of having the applications comarketed by the PDA manufacturer.
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Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.