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Fusion 2 Beta
Since switching over to Intel processors, the Mac is now capable of running practically any operating system. The simplest option is to use Boot Camp to create a dual-boot system that can run Mac OS X or Windows XP/Vista. A more flexible solution is to run Mac OS X and one or more additional operating systems at the same time. To run another operating system within Mac OS X, you'll need a special virtualization program like Fusion. Although the program has been available for over a year, the company has recently released a version 2 beta to give you a glimpse of its upcoming features.
Verizon buys SureWest
on Friday announced the purchase of SureWest Communications, which includes the latter's wireless spectrum licenses, network, and operational assets in the greater Sacramento area. The licenses cover a population of 3.8 million people, and currently overlap Verizon's existing network coverage. Verizon will transfer approximately 50,000 SureWest Wireless customers, after the former finishes converting the latter's accounting system into its own.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta
The OpenOffice.org Community this week released a public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0, the open-source productivity suite for Mac OS X as well as Windows and Linux. The beta release will be the first to run on Mac OS X without X11, but is primarily designed to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of OpenOffice.org: it is not recommended for production use, according to notes on the project. Version 3.0b brings a new "Start Centre", fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar. Updated spreadsheet features include improved calculations with a new solver component; support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing; and an increase to 1024 columns per sheet.
Facebook is preparing to launch Facebook Connect within the next few weeks, a service designed to compete with MySpace Data Availability. According to TechCrunch, this is Facebook's first attempt at creating a new version of its API for third party websites, allowing users to link to their Facebook profile, friends, and privacy to a website. The website can also use features from the Facebook Platform to enhance functionality and personalization.
Viveza plugin for Aperture
Nik Software this week released the Viveza plug-in for Aperture 2.1, Apple's photo editing and management software. The Viveza plug-in allows Aperture users to selectively control light and color in photographic images from within Aperture. Integrated seamlessly within Aperture's organizing and editing environment, users can simply place "U Point"-powered control points directly on colors or objects such as sky, skin or grass to make targeted adjustments to an image within Aperture. Software-based sliders enable users to easily adjust brightness, contrast or color with just a few mouse clicks. The Viveza plugin automatically selects objects and seamlessly creates masks based on where the photographer places a control point.
TapeDeck 1.0 for Leopard
TapeDeck is an new audio recording application written exclusively for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard that is designed with a quick-capture workflow. New recordings called "tapes" can be started with a single mouse click (or keystroke); the software records directly to compressed MP4-AAC audio, making it useful for a variety of applications including simple high-fidelity recordings of a band, practicing speeches, and capturing hours of lecture. The application was designed to emulate a real cassette tape recorder with a few key differences, the company explained.
1TB HDD for 17" MBP
MCE Technologies on Friday said it will begin shipping a 1TB internal hard drive solution for the Apple's MacBook Pro 17-inch. The solution, which installs two half-terabyte drives and affects battery performance a bit, consists of the new MCE OptiBay SATA 500GB Optical Bay Hard Drive and an MCE MobileStor 500GB Internal SATA Hard Drive. The new MCE OptiBay SATA 500GB Optical Bay Hard Drive replaces the internal SuperDrive of the MacBook Pro 17-inch with a 500GB internal hard drive; however, the company provides a slim, portable enclosure for the internal SuperDrive, effectively converting it into a portable, bus-powered, bootable, external USB 2.0 SuperDrive able to load software, play DVDs, and burn media.
E Ink Next-Gen E-Paper
E Ink finished the week with news that it has launched a new generation of e-paper cells. Normally used for devices such as the Amazon Kindle or basic displays on flash drives, the new cells are as much as 40 percent thinner and can be cut into either unusual 2D shapes or bent into regular forms, such as curves. They also survive harsher temperatures, the designer says, allowing the extremely power-efficient designs to stand more exposure outside.
MWg Roadmap Leak
Although it has just launched new Atom and Zinc phones today, MWg plans multiple devices in the next several months that include major changes both to the hardware and Windows Mobile underneath, according to a roadmap leak at MoDaCo. The Asian smartphone maker claims it will have a Windows Mobile 7 device as early as the end of the year in the form of the Flame II, a heavily touch-driven device with a 3.5-inch screen and extra media playback features. A 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS mapping will also reportedly be standard.
Oxygen XML 9.2 ships
Syncro Soft has released the v9.2 update to Oxygen XML Editor, a cross-platform, WYSIWYG XML toolset, which provides a variety of services including XQuery debugging. It is available solo, or as an Eclipse IDE plug-in. The new version of the software improves DITA support, with a new DITA maps manager, and a toolchain for generating DITA output in formats including HTML, XHTML and PDF. The newest DITA Open Toolkit is integrated through normal transformation scenarios support.
Maximo and MacDayLA
In Brief: MacNN has posted reviews for the Maximo IP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset, and several Artwizz iPod accessories, Flashforward2008 Film Festival nominations have opened, and author Deborah Shadovitz will host MacDayLA at the CBS Studio Center. Mobile music listeners often assume that decent sound quality can only be achieved through high priced audiophile level headphones. In reality, there are affordable options that still offer excellent sound quality. The iPhone compatible Maximo iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset falls into this category. These earbuds may not be the best on the market, but they certainly sound better than anything you'll find for under $70.
AppMenuBoy 1.0 released
Google is hosting a new extension for Mac OS X Leopard, called AppMenuBoy. Like Quay, the program addresses an interface change to Leopard, in which Apple removed hierarchical menus in the Dock. This has been partially restored in Mac OS X 10.5.2, which lets users set the Applications menu to list mode when dragged into the Dock, but this is not the same as in Tiger, which presents submenus for anything under Applications.
Dell XPS 420 Quad Penryn
Rounding out its week, Dell today has slipped in additional processor picks for its mid-sized XPS 420 tower. The system for the first time has Intel's recent 45 nanometer, Penryn-based Core 2 Quad chips and use either a 2.5GHz or 2.66GHz model as an upgrade to the 2.4GHz, 65 nanometer chip that starts out the line. The choices are the first four-core chips based on the cooler, faster architecture since the 3GHz Core 2 Extreme was introduced to the desktop.
Apple pays for replacement
Apple on Friday announced it would refund between $25 and $80 to as many as 2.3 million iBook and PowerBook owners, after a significant number of adapters went defective, fraying and sparking. The Los Angeles Times reports that US District Court Judge James Ware granted preliminary approval on March 24th on the 2006 class action filing. The agreement makes Apple responsible for paying for a portion of replacement power adapters for the portables.
FoxTrot Pro Search
CTM has released FoxTrot Professional Search, a tool for running deeper searches into Mac file systems. The app extends past filenames to search for content within metadata, as well as the text inside of PDF, HTML, e-mail and word processing files. Search results are categorized and ranked on relevance, and users can maintain multiple indexed collections and timed updates, without having to launch the program.
MSI Wind Pre-Order
Online store eXpansys today put up pre-orders for the Wind, MSI's rival to the ASUS Eee PC. Elaborating on early specs published last month for the system, the store confirms that the launch edition of the 10-inch notebook will run on a comparatively quick 1.6GHz Atom and features that aren't often present in smaller notebooks, such as a physically larger 80GB hard drive, a 1.3-megapixel webcam built into the lid, and Bluetooth.
SketchBook Pro 2009
Autodesk has released the 2009 edition of SketchBook Pro, its painting and illustration program, designed for users of tablets and tablet PCs. The new application is compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, and boasts new support for Adobe Photoshop, allowing users to import PSD files for detailed drawing. Appropriately, SketchBook layers now support general locking and transparency locking, and the active layer is highlighted with an orange outline, which also sports interface controls such as a thumbnail view.
Nokia 5310 at Rogers
Rogers Wireless has quietly launched the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic on its network, becoming the first North American carrier to pick up the device. The bar phone sits in the mid range of Nokia's media phones and includes a column of dedicated music controls as well as a media player that supports AAC, MP3, and WMA; an FM radio tuner is also onboard, as is a microSD slot that holds up to 4GB of storage.
MS to Appeal European Fine
Microsoft today said it would appeal the nearly $1.4 billion fine levied against it by the European Commission earlier this year. The company has not explained its specific motivations behind the objection, but says the move is an effort to "seek clarity" from the Commission's court and that Microsoft's opposition with the appeal is to the fine itself rather than the ultimate verdict.
Jobs' travels less
In the past, Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty asserted that Steve Jobs' plane travel filings with the SEC are indicative of Apple product releases, since Jobs tends to travel more when signing deals with new companies. Silicon Alley Insider notes that while this is usually the case, March quarter filings show that Jobs' travel reimbursement is only $30,000 - contrasted against $550,000 in the December quarter - despite Apple sealing major international deals with cell carriers Vodafone, America Movil, and Telecom Italia.
Google pursuing Yahoo ties
Google is interested in pursuing closer ties with Yahoo, according to the former company's founders. Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt made the observation before Google's annual general meeting on Thursday, in response to questions on whether they would move beyond a two-week trial of Google advertising on Yahoo's network. "We have been talking to Yahoo and we are very excited to be working with them," says Brin. He calls the trial program "successful," and suggests that it is a "good basis to talk to Yahoo some more."
xVM VirtualBox 1.6 update
Sun Microsystems on Friday introduced a new update for xVM VirtualBox, adding support for Mac OS X and Solaris, making it the first open sourcevirtual machine to support both operating systems. According to The Inquirer, Sun is offering both a free open source version which has no usage restrictions, as well as a free licensed version with more features for individual home users. Business customers are required to pay for licenses, should they want the full version.
Toshiba Cell TV, notebook
Toshiba has announced plans to launch two new commercial products based on Sony's PlayStation 3 technology, according to a Japanese news site. Tech-On! writes that a forthcoming TV will use the PS3's core Cell processor, in order to enable some high-end features; among these are real-time upscaling of SD signals into HD resolution, and the ability to play and record multiple TV shows at the same time. Unusual is the description of another option, "displaying video as if it is being viewed through opera glasses." This may simply refer to a zoom function.
HTC Touch Diamond at FCC
HTC's Touch Diamond smartphone has already appeared at the FCC through a filing published today. Though the phone was only announced as shipping for the second half of 2008 in North America, the device has already been passed through the US agency for approval in the US, including its operating frequencies and placement of an FCC label.
Mailplane 2.0 Beta
uncomplex has released a public beta of Mailplane 2.0, an upcoming revision of its Gmail client. The app is effectively a site-specfic web browser, and is intended to make Gmail more seamlessly integrated with Mac OS X. Users can for instance quickly browse and attach files from iPhoto and iTunes libraries, and convert or resize images as necessary. Multiple Gmail/Google Apps accounts can be switched to without signing in and out, and the app can bet set to launch directly from Address Book, Safari, or anything else with a "mailto:" URL.
Courts reinstate lawsuit
A federal judge has reinstated one of two dismissed patent disputes against Microsoft and Dell from French-American telecommunications partnership Alcatel-Lucent. CNN Money writes that the San Diego district court made an error when deciding the definition of a "terminal device", so the case is being presented again to the federal court system. The dispute is situated over a communication protocol that allows a computer and a device to exchange information.
MS Sells 2m Zunes
As part of its recent Zune update, Microsoft has revealed that it has sold two million of the music players since their launch in November 2006, revealing relatively flat growth for the device lineup. Although the company originally promised and slightly exceeded a target for its first million sales between the original launch date and June 2007, the company has largely remained silent on its data for its players in nearly a year.
Quay 1.1 update
Coder Rainer Brockerhoff has released a fresh update to Quay, a Dock extender for Mac OS X Leopard. The app restores hierarchical menus to the OS -- last found in Tiger -- and also lets users sort Stacks in a variety of ways. Quay can be set to work only with specific Stacks, and can be toggled off completely by holding down the Option key.
Freeway 5.1 adds RSS
Softpress has released the first major update to Freeway 5, its WYSIWYG web design tool. The base application distinguishes itself with features such as CSS menus, and Google and script.aculo.us Actions; new in v5.1 is the ability to publish a feed from a page, using the RSS Feed Action. Designers can now also import SVG vector graphics, whether for conversion to JPEG, GIF or PNG, or simply as a pass-through to a finished page.
CCity Evading BBuster
Circuit City today sent mixed responses to Blockbuster's proposed takeover of the company. The suffering electronics retailer now says it will let both Blockbuster and its backing investor Carl Icahn conduct due diligence, effectively letting the movie rental house explore Circuit City's finances to judge whether the buyout would be practical. Circuit City warns, however, that the agreement isn't a sign that it has finished investigating Blockbuster's bid and that the company believes it can succeed without help from an outside buyer.
Pro-IP passed by House
The House of Representatives on Friday approved the controversial Pro-IP Act, a bill which is designed to protect intellectual property by imposing more rigid punishment in the case of copyright infringement. Ars Technica writes that the bill passed with a vote of 410 to 10, but has yet to be voted on by the Senate. Among the details of the bill, one segment states that law enforcement agents would be able to seize property from those charched with copyright infringement.
Parallels Desktop update
Parallels has released a new update to Desktop, its side-by-side OS virtualization app. The software is now at build 5600, and adds "full support" for the latest editions of Microsoft Windows; Vista is now handled up to Service Pack 1, while XP compatibility extends to Service Pack 3. Parallels has also improved compatibility with the MacBook Air.
BBerry Curve Sprint Ships
Sprint today lived up to a late leak and began offering the BlackBerry Curve 8330 online. The carrier's version of the smartphone is unique to the US in its titanium gray color and also includes relatively unique software support, including access to the Sprint Music Store for downloads and Sprint's streaming Internet TV. Pitched as a media phone, the device also includes a 1GB microSD card for handling music and videos.
$45 Canadian iPod credit
A select number of Canadian iPod owners may soon be eligible for a $45 credit from Apple, says a major regional newspaper. The Montreal Gazette writes that the credit would be applicable only to owners of first-, second- or third-generation iPods, and only those who purchased theirs prior to June 24th, 2004. It is part of Apple's proposed settlement for a pair of lawsuits filed in Montreal and Toronto, under which Apple stood accused of false advertising.
MWg Atom V and Zinc II
Relative newcomer MWg on Friday officially launched two new high-end Windows Mobile smartphones as part of its first releases outside of Asia. The Atom V (shown) is one of MWg's first truly self-created designs and incorporates both an unusual directional pad as well as an interface known as Quick Menu; similar to HTC's TouchFLO, the design encourages finger input on the 2.8-inch touchscreen rather than using just the stylus. Also new is faster, 7.2Mbps HSDPA that doubles the download speed of the phone's 3G access in peak conditions when on supporting networks, such as parts of Vodafone in Europe.
BlackBerry 9000 Next Week
RIM will finally unveil the BlackBerry 9000 next week, BGR claims. The Canadian phone maker is reportedly "confirmed" to be launching its first GSM-based 3G BlackBerry at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium and may do so at a press gathering on May 12th, a day ahead of the full event. Company co-founder Mike Lazaridis will personally introduce the device, while demo units will be available, according to the report.
Apple last in industry
Apple has been ranked the worst among all major PC vendors and other large electronic firms in the fight against climate change. Climate Counts this week released its second annual Company Scorecard hoping to create a "simple, easy-to-understand ranking of companies would motivate both companies and consumers to step-up their efforts on climate change." Apple was ranked in last place among the list of 12 electronics companies, while companies such as IBM, Canon, Toshiba, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard were near the top of the electronics industry. Top honor went to Nike, which passed last year's high scorer, Canon, to become the top scored company among the 56 companies evaluated. Apple was the only electronic company to receive a "Stuck" designation, with a recommendation as a choice to "avoid for the climate-conscious consumer," because the company has taken "meaningful action against climate change."
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