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Microsoft Zune ad service
Microsoft on Thursday revealed its plans for an advertising network built into its Zune media players, offering advertisers a direct line to consumers through the device. Yahoo writes that the company demonstrated the concept using a phony Doritos mockup. In the example, a user could befriend a musician through the Zune social page on a Doritos' sponsored concert to view news and updates on the artist's profile.
Logic Pro 8.02 update
Apple on Tuesday released Logic Pro 8.0.2, an update to its professional audio production software released last September as part of Logic Studio. The comprehensive suite of professional tools provides tools for studio and stage production. Apple says the update addresses specific customer and compatibility issues of Logic Pro 8.0 and includes Wavebuner 1.5.2 and Impulse Response Utility 1.0.2 and recommends it for all Logic Pro 8.0 users. Apple's tech note describe dozens of fixes and updates, including addressing startup issues under Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. Apple also said that users will have to update the Logic Node application on connected computers as well (the updated Logic Node installer called Logic Node 8.0.2.dmg will be in the Utilities folder). The 135MB update is available on the Web (requires AppleID) or via the Software Update.
Comixware SE v3.0 ships
Yi.magination Studios this week released Comixware SE v3.0, its interactive storytelling software. The company says the application marries multimedia presentation/editing and an interactive player/editor into a single system designed for both content creators and views. In addition, both viewers and authors can modify and remake other user's multimedia presentation in Comixware's object-oriented authoring environment. Version 3, codenamed SE, is a major revision that includes a new file system with a new modular architecture that allows users to integrate movie-making tools along with other modules such as a Movie Exporter or vendor assets.
Apple iTunes targetted
Apple's widely recognized iTunes is being used to lure users to a phishing scam that could allow hackers to obtain private credit card and personal information. The world's most popular music store is being used as part of a series of sophisticated identity theft attacks for the first time, a security company noted on Tuesday. The Computerworld report says that users began receiving spam email messages on Monday telling them that they must correct a problem with their iTunes account; however, the link leads to a third-party site masquerading as an iTunes billing update page: "that phony page asks for information including credit card number and security code, Social Security number and mother's maiden name," the report noted.
Apple 11th in Web traffic
In brief: We have posted a review of DeskUNPDF, Lingoport is offering classes on writing globalized Mac apps, Apple came in 11th in Web traffic in April, and the Lasso Wiki source code has been released ... We have posted a review of DeskUNPDF for Mac from Docudesk is a very easy to use utility that converts Adobe PDF files into a modifiable form. You can edit, rearrange, add, or delete text, plus place tabular data into Excel spread sheets. You can also export the imbedded graphics. You can also take PDFs that contain spreadsheet and database data and extract that data as Coma Separated Values (CSV) and import it into an Excel spreadsheet. You can also import the information into a database.
Safari carpet bomb attack
A large security hole in the Windows version of Safari has security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani believing that malicious users could exploit the browser with what he calls a "Safari Carpet Bomb". Stop Badware reports that the exploit works through Safari's inability to obtain a user's permission before downloading resources, related to how it handles content-type rendering. Dhanjani filed a security report with Apple, and was met with a rather neutral response.
TinyBooks v5.0.4 ($50) single-entry bookkeeping and accounting system designed for Sole Proprietors, home and other small businesses, and family finances. It includes a fully non-modal Reports Window offers easy standard and custom reporting and searching. All transactions are easily exportable tother programs as standard tab-delimited text files. With the right (but luckily rarely used sequence of steps) it was possible to put TinyBooks into a mode where mouse clicks would be ignored in the main window. That is now fixed. [Download - 260KB]
MacFamilyTree 5.2 ($50) genealogy application. This release significantly enhances GUI and workflow for editing families. Additionally, GEDCOM import is now even faster than before, and HTML export has been improved to better handle Media contents. This most recent update to version 5 is currently available as Public Beta and fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and its predecessor. [Download - 12MB]
KeyCue 4.2 ($30) keyboard shortcut cheat sheet. This release adds support for Keyboard Maestro. Starting with version 4.2 of KeyCue and version 3.0 of Keyboard Maestro, the two applications work together allowing KeyCue to show all currently active Keyboard Maestro hot keys. Now Keyboard Maestro macros speed up your daily work, and KeyCue speeds up executing your macros - what a great combination! [Download - 907KB]
TextExpander 2.2 ($30) customizable typing shortcut tool for Mac OS X. With TextExpander, users can define abbreviations for frequently-used text strings and images, also known as snippets. When an abbreviation is typed, it expands automatically to the full snippet. This update adds a predefined snippet group with common CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code. It limits "Adapt to Case" to lowercase snippets and to abbreviations with two or more characters. A conflict with MacSpeech Dictate has also been resolved. [Download - 3.9MB]
Advanced Web Ranking 6.2 ($100) tool that helps check your web site position on all major search engines. Advanced Web Ranking runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This version features new charts for the Visibility report, the ability to associate projects with a user account and the ability to define external browsers for opening reports. It also adds the ability to associate projects with a user account. [Download - 16.2MB]
iPhone restore leaves data
When performing a full restore on Apple's iPhone, some data is allegedly intact enough that it can be restored with data recovery tools, even ones that have come refurbished directly from Apple. Enthusiast Jonathan Zdziarski was notified by a reader - who happens to be a detective for the Oregon State Police - was able to restore data from a former user, with the tool revealing their name and several emails to Bank of America, among others.
Psystar Leopard updates
Mac clone manufacturer Psystar recently unveiled that it would offer Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard updates to users who have the operating system installed on their Open Computer. The firmware spoofing method which Psystar uses to install Leopard breaks the OS' automatic updates, so the manual updates are currently the only way for those users to stay up-to-date. Psystar currently features 13 updates for software ranging from iLife, iTunes Front Row, and various functionality fixes.
Nokia N95 8GB Hands-On
Although available for awhile in Europe and for a short span of time as an unlocked phone in North America, the Nokia N95 8GB is finally available officially from a carrier on the latter continent, courtesy of Rogers Wireless in Canada. Electronista has just received its review unit and is putting the smartphone through its first paces, but already has early opinions for those looking to buy the premium smartphone, whether on Rogers or not.
1/4 holding for new iPhone
Almost a quarter of Americans currently interested in buying an iPhone are waiting on an announcement from Apple, according to a research director from ChangeWave. Paul Carton notes that judging by a March survey of almost 3,600 people, 14 percent are waiting for Apple to release a new version of the device, while another 11 percent want some form of 3G compatibility. "That's really the same thing," Carton observes. Apple has promised for months that a 3G iPhone would ship sometime before the end of 2008.
iRiver D5 e-dictionary
iRiver is now selling its D5 pocket electronic dictionary in the US. The D5 Dicple will translate back and forth between Korean and English, as well as Korean to Japanese and Chinese. It also features a 3-inch, 480x272 resolution screen. Typing in text is accomplished via a 52-key QWERTY keyboard.
UK looks to Comm Data Bill
A controversial bill may be passed in front of the UK legislature later on this year that would keep all text, e-mail, VoIP and phone messages as well as Internet history from cellular networks on file with the government for one year, alleges a report published on Tuesday. Unlike the current requirement outlined by the European Union, the bill would have cellular network providers surrender all information to the government, instead of keeping just phone and text logs themselves.
Optimus Popularis Keyboard
Art Lebedev Studio's namesake founder today provided first details of Optimus Popularis, a new model in the company's lineup of display keyboards. Presented only as a mockup so far, the Popularis is billed as a smaller alternative to the Maximus that will shrink the design by moving the programmable keys to the top and shrinking the overall size of the keys themselves.
Kensington supports Mac
Kensington on Tuesday unveiled an update to its sd200v Notebook Docking Station with Video, announcing a new beta software which supports the various MacBook computers. The sd200v allows users to extend the machine's capabilities by offering an external VGA display connection, keyboard, mouse, or up to five USB device connections through a single USB port. The sd200v is available from Kensington for $140, while the updated beta driver is located on the company's website.
Brandon, FL Apple Store
Apple has announced that its newest retail store will open in Brandon, Florida, on Saturday, May 24th. The location is within the Westfield Brandon Mall at 459 Brandon Town Center, and situated next to Black and White, across from Dick's Sporting Goods. Monday to Saturday hours are 10AM to 9PM, while Sunday hours are curtailed from 11AM to 6PM.
LG, Universal's new AMOLED
LG Display and Universal Display on Tuesday unveiled an updated prototype of a flexible AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display at the 2008 SID Conference. The companies' jointly developed prototypes feature brighter colors with better saturation and gamut, as well as a one-sided electrical connection that allows for more flexibility in the four-inch display.
Rural Cellular Grills FCC
(Updated with official word) A coalition of extra-urban cellular service providers is today taking the Federal Communications Commission to task as early as today in an attempt to break incumbents' dominance of the cellphone industry, according to reports. The Rural Cellular Association is expected to petition the FCC to investigate the legality of carriers striking exclusive deals for the iPhone and other handsets that prevent any other carrier from offering a given phone over a certain period.
Piper on 3G iPhone changes
People should not expect the first 3G iPhone to be radically different from the current 2.5G model, write analysts from Piper Jaffray. The firm says it believes that 3G will be the only major difference between the two editions, despite suggestions elsewhere of components such as GPS. This is not ruled out, but it is believed that differences beyond 3G will mostly be cosmetic, such as a new faceplate and increased thickness, the latter attributable to a bigger chipset needed for 3G.
ESPN Ultimate Remote
Sports channel ESPN today hoped to capitalize on Father's Day with the launch of The Ultimate Remote. The controller is designed to keep up to date on sports without interrupting a show and builds in 802.11g Wi-Fi that lets it access ESPN's scores, fantasy leagues, and other components of the website directly from a 2.2-inch LCD and controls built into the controller itself. It also doubles as a programmable universal remote that both receives pre-made codes over Wi-Fi and can learn macros by hand.
SanDisk Mobile Ultra Cards
Normally reserving the Ultra name for its larger camera-focused cards, SanDisk today launched its Mobile Ultra lines of memory cards. The microSDHC and Memory Stick Micro cards are built for high-speed transfers and are intended for media phones, SanDisk's own Sansa players, and nearly any handheld that depends on fast transfers to load up on music, GPS map data, and other large files. SanDisk doesn't list transfer speeds but claims that the maximum 8GB of storage is enough to hold 1,000 songs, 1,200 images, and 21 hours of cellphone-quality video at the same time.
OLPC 2 Early Details
The One Laptop Per Child project plans a radical revision of its notebook that will make it at least as advanced as other PCs, organization head Nicholas Negroponte has revealed today at the OLPC Global Country Workshop. Superficially resembling Nintendo's DS Lite, version 2.0 of the XO will use two touchscreens that adapt to a given context; the design will change keyboard sizes to accommodated older children and adults, and both screens can combine to form a single display used for games and other activities that involve two users at the same time.
NBC on Vista TV recording
Recent interference with Vista Media Center recording was accidental, NBC says. TV viewers last week reported being unable to record episodes of American Gladiators and Medium, and instead receiving messages saying that DRM restrictions had been enabled. This triggered a number of of online complaints, including concerns that NBC was attempting to deter the use of DVRs, which allow people to skip unwanted advertising and other distractions.
Panasonic PZ850 plasmas
First announced in January, Panasonic's PZ850-series Viera plasmas have at last been given final details, prices and release dates. The sets are luxury models sized in 46, 50, 58 and 65-inch formats, and feature built-in Internet access, allowing users to view YouTube clips or Picasa photos without a separate player or interface. Support for more websites should be added automatically as Panasonic announces them.
iPod nano 1.1.2 update
Apple has released a new firmware update for third-generation (video) iPod nanos, bringing the software up to v1.1.2, as on the iPod classic. The update is available only through iTunes, and is not described on Apple's support pages; accompanying release information, however, indicates that it is a minor update, addressing miscellaneous "bug fixes." Installing the update simply requires synching a Nano with an Internet-connected computer.
Apple user account patent
Apple has been working towards increasing the portability of user data, a newly-published application at the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals. While Mac OS X already supports multiple user accounts, guests on a machine must either create their own account, or rely on someone else's. The proposed Apple scheme would let users carry their user settings from one computer to another on a portable device, much as some USB flash drives attempt to do on Windows PCs. In the same manner, portable accounts could be password-protected.
Notebook HDD Shortage Soon
Computer makers could soon find themselves without enough supply of notebook hard drives to meet demand, according to reports from those inside the storage business in the Taiwan area. The spiking popularity of micro notebooks with 1.8-inch drives, such as the Eee PC 900, is said to be having a ripple effect on stocks larger 2.5-inch disks. As these major producers haven't increased their production to match, they may be unable to supply system builders with enough drives to meet typically high demand during the summer quarter, the reputed sources say.
3G iPhone at WWDC
Apple will not only introduce a 3G-capable iPhone at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 9th but will make it available almost immediately, according to a rumor circulating from Gizmodo. If accurate, the report confirms that phones may be available well ahead of anticipated schedules and launch in at least some countries right away. Some launches may be staggered; one report has Telefonica launching the phone in Spain through a flagship Madrid store on June 18th with wider availability on or near the same day. Other European launches may follow suit, says the new claim.
Acrobat Connect Pro debut
Adobe has launched a new online service, Acrobat Connect Pro. The platform is intended as a tool for professional web conferencing and teaching, and is primarily Flash-based, requiring no extra software and making it platform-independent. Hosts can delegate roles such as presenters, and the service supports not just slides and text chat but streaming audio and video, as well as software simulations.
ATT PC Cards Free Wi-Fi
AT&T on Tuesday announced that it would provide free Wi-Fi to all users of its LaptopConnect service. The plan lets owners go online at any of 17,000 hotspots, including almost 7,000 Starbucks locations. Those who install AT&T's connection software for compatible cellular data cards also get an intelligent hotspot finder, the carrier says: the manager will automatically recognize any AT&T-backed Wi-Fi points and give users the option of switching to cut down on their cell network transfers.
Sony Rolly in US stores
Sony's dancing portable MP3 player, the Rolly, is now available in Sony Style retail stores across the US, the company announced on Tuesday. As its name suggests, the portable MP3 player "dances" to music by spinning, rolling and flashing its lights. Music can be uploaded to the Rolly via a USB 2.0 connection or streamed through Bluetooth.
iRiver P.ple P10
iRiver today expanded its media player lineup and launched the P.ple P10. The device is one of iRiver's rare touchscreen devices and uses its 4.3-inch, 800x480 display as both a home for photo and video playback as well as for editing. For entertainment, owners can watch Flash, MPEG 1/2/4, WMV, and XviD videos stored on the 33GB of free hard drive space as well as watch live digital TV broadcasts in Korea through an optional version with a DMB tuner. Workers can use a stylus to edit and navigate both Excel and Word files as well as PDFs and common e-books.
T-Mobile & iPhone control
The iPhone will likely remain a T-Mobile exclusive in Germany, says the company's CEO. "We have a very good relationship with Apple...at least in Germany it is exclusive, and we expect it to remain as such," Hamid Akhavan is quoted as saying by Reuters. The comment comes in response to a string of non-exclusive deals in countries such as Italy and Austria, reversing a trend in which Apple insisted that any country with the iPhone have only one official carrier. Other regions currently operating on exclusive contracts include the US, the UK, Ireland and France.
MS Yahoo May See Breakup
Microsoft's proposed new transaction with Yahoo is likely to involve a breakup of the latter company, say sources allegedly close to the Wall Street Journal. The claim would have Microsoft buy Yahoo's search ad business and also divest itself of its Asian interests; in return, Microsoft would make a minority investment in the smaller Yahoo that results from the deal. A reason isn't given for selling off the Eastern assets, represented by AliBaba, though the China-based company voiced opposition to Microsoft in part due to fears of a management takeover following the abortive attempt to buy Yahoo as a whole.
Logitech Pure-Fi Mobile
Logitech today quietly rounded out its Pure-Fi speaker line with the Pure-Fi Mobile. The system is targeted chiefly at cellphone users and relies on its Bluetooth 2.0 to provide stereo audio pulled from any device that supports A2DP, including recent Macs and Windows PCs as well as most music-capable cellphones. Any cellphone with basic Bluetooth audio, including the iPhone, can also use the Pure-Fi as an ad hoc speakerphone thanks to a built-in microphone that cancels out unwanted noise.
Roku Netflix Player
Roku on Tuesday is seeking to up-end the traditional approach to media hubs with the Netflix Player. The small, five-inch-square hub sheds the local storage common to many media hubs and is designed solely to hook into Netflix' Watch Instantly feature: customers of nearly all of the video rental company's subscription plans can stream an unlimited number of movies from the Internet while still receiving DVD movie rentals in the mail, including for movies that aren't yet available in streaming form. The company's existing business gives it more than 10,000 movies online, or roughly ten times the size of Apple's iTunes rental catalog.
Napster MP3 Store
Napster today launched what it says is the world's largest MP3-based music store. Effectively turning away from its reliance on protected Windows Media files, the company is offering about 6 million unguarded MP3 songs through a web-based store accessible from any computer and playable through virtually any device -- including the iPhone and iPod, Napster is keen to note. Users with iTunes can auto-sync their Napster downloads to the jukebox software. Prices for tracks remain unchanged at 99 cents each, with most full albums selling for $10.
Sprint 5GB data limit
A Sprint employee has allegedly posted an internal memo on SprintUsers citing that the telecommunications giant is imposing a 5GB bandwidth limit on transfer, or 300MB per month in off-network roaming. According to the employee, the limits would see service on July 13th, and would apply to both PAM and data card plans. The note seems to indicate that Vision and PowerVision packages would still retain their respective limits, unsusceptible to the 5GB limit.
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