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Dell Inspiron Studio
Dell on Thursday officially took the wraps from the Studio. The line borrows design cues from the XPS but is priced and styled more closely to the budget Inspiron line and is pursuing the same mid-range, design-conscious audience as Apple and Sony. It comes in a relatively wide array of designer colors: users can pick a gray model with one of four colors for the trim or else have the entire lid given colors as bright as orange or purple. The portables also have more upscale features out of the box, such as HDMI video out, external SATA on some models, and faster overall processors and video chipsets.
Altomac releases Speedy Ma
Altomac has announced its new Speedy Mac utility speeds up the process of opening documents, folders, applications and even websites. The company says Speedy Mac uses a "totally new approach," creating lists of recently visited webpages and documents. Favorites are grouped by site, and documents according to the applications used to create them. The utility also includes a "task" menu providing quick access to common workflows such as quitting all applications, creating new folders, and ejecting all removable and external disks. With support for Automator, users can create their own tasks and share them with other Speedy Mac Users.
MacTheme for BlackBerry
Information Appliance Associates has come up with a solution for those torn between a BlackBerry and their Mac. PocketMac MacThemes for BlackBerry gives the handheld device the "look and feel" of the Mac. Traditional BlackBerry icons are replaced with Mac-like versions, complete with familiar colors and OS X style backgrounds. The PocketMac MacTheme is available for the BlackBerry 7100, 7200, 8100 Pearl, 8300, 8700, 8703e and 8800. The company says support for BlackBerry Bold is coming soon. MacTheme for BlackBerry requires OS X 10.4 or higher and sells for $10.
No-trip laptop strap
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Solo is hoping to do just that with a new strap for laptop cases promising a "no-trip" experience. The company says its Smart Strap bags come with a patented retractable shoulder strap designed to stay out of the way when not in use. Anyone who regularly carries a laptop knows how much of nuisance case straps can be.
KeyStrokes 4.1 released
Assistware says its KeyStrokes 4.1 on-screen keyboard for Mac users with physical impairments is now available as a Universal Binary. The company calls KeyStrokes 4.1 an "important" update with improved support for Mac OS X Leopard Spaces, automatic keyboard layout switching for Leopard and other improvements. Assistware has also included its new LayoutKitchen 2.1 layout editor, which allows users to design their own on-screen keyboards.
MacGourmet Deluxe 1.0
Mariner Software has released MacGourmet Deluxe 1.0 bringing "recipe collection and organization into the digital age." The software allows cooks to create and edit recipes, make wine and cooking notes and post them on the web. Users can import recipes from websites and create shopping lists. The software also includes what Mariner calls an industry-first "Cookbook Builder" with support for images, chapters and text pages. Cookbooks can be printed or saved to PDF format.
A MacNN forum poster reports on a serious flaw in Mac OS X's implementation of AppleScript. Essentially, applications that are running as root can accept AppleScript commands from applications that are not running as root -- and since every Cocoa application automatically gets some basic AppleScript support, this means that any time a Cocoa application runs as root, anyone else can send it a "do shell script" command and run other commands or applications as root. This is compounded by the fact that Apple ships an AppleScript application with its setuid bit set out of the box.
O2 Pay and Go 3G iPhone
O2 will offer the 3G iPhone as a Pay & Go option - the 8GB device available for £300, the 16GB for £400 - and will include six months of unlimited on-device browsing. Unlimited browsing after the initial six months costs an additional £10 per month, while using the O2's standard Pay & Go plans. Users will be able to "top up" their account with rates varying from £10 to £30, with each tier offering anywhere between 500 to unlimited minutes, and 300 to unlimited in-country text messages.
InDesign Image Catalog 3.3
AppleScript developer Chris Paveglio has released InDesign Image Catalog 3.30, including OS X Leopard compatability, on-the-fly scanning of document presets, bug fixes and other enhancements. ID Image Catalog creates contact sheets and visual catalogs of most major image formats for Adobe InDesign CS3. The update is free to current users.
RIM Spring 2008 Sales Soar
Research in Motion on Wednesday afternoon reported what it says are record results for its spring quarter. The company's revenue spiked 107 percent year-over-year to just over $2.2 billion based largely on shipments of BlackBerry devices themselves, which made up 82 percent of the revenue between March and May. The company delivered about 5.4 million BlackBerry smartphones and notes that almost 43 percent of these were new customers. About 2.3 million new BlackBerry push e-mail accounts went live in the same period, RIM says.
Dell intros 8800M upgrade
Dell recently began offering the GeForce Dual 8800M GTX upgrade kit to users who purchased the company's XPS M1730 notebooks before the end of January. The chip can now be purchased separately and turns the portable PC into a more viable gaming and entertainment platform, with features such as smooth HD video playback, dual DVI ports, and a maximum 2560x1600 external resolution support. Before now, and since January, the only way to get the XPS M1730 with the 8800M GTX was to order it as an option in a new notebook.
iPhone 3G retail policies
Following an early AT&T memo leak that revealed many details, a new memo is coaching Apple retail employees on how to deal with common questions relating to the iPhone 3G, a leak indicates. The three-page document addresses 17 potential situations, for instance telling managers that they cannot allow holds on 3Gs, or create waiting lists. Until further notice, Apple workers also cannot schedule an iPhone Personal Shopping session, although corporate buyers can arrange to buy several 3Gs at a time through AT&T, so long as they have a CRU/IRU plan.
Telefonica iPhone 3G
Dow Jones reports that Telefonica SA has received 300,000 pre- registrations in the United Kingdom and Spain to buy the iPhone 3G. A company spokesperson said that individuals have been reserving units of the device on the Telefonica Web site. Telefonica will begin selling the 3G iPhone July 11 in Spain, the Czech Republic and twelve Latin American countries. Apple's own retail stores in the UK may not be able to sell the iPhone 3G on July 11th, an industry publication reports. The issue stems from Apple's new activation policy, which forces customers to subscribe to a given carrier in-store, rather than at home through iTunes.
Sony PlayStation Phone
Sony is reviving talk of a PlayStation-branded gaming phone that may also mark a split between itself and Ericsson for at least one model, according to multiple sources speaking to Marketing Week. Separate contacts in Sony's native Japan as well as Korea tell the magazine that the phone would include elements of the PSP gaming handheld and that the process would be relatively simple, as components such as Wi-Fi are already well-suited to the device.
iPhone 2.0 data wipes
Wiping data off an iPhone should become more secure with the v2.0 firmware than in the current release, say sources using the most recent beta. Although both the v1.x and 2.0 releases present users with an "Erase All Contents and Settings" option, v1.x only performs a regular deletion; v2.0 should mimic the "Secure Empty Trash" option of Mac OS X, and delete files, unlink them, and overwrite the affected memory sectors several times. This comes with a time penalty however, as the whole process is said to last an hour.
Mercedes iPhone services
As iPod integration becomes a standard option, the iPhone is next in line for car-audio upgrades. Mercedes is preparing to offer a $400 iPhone integration as an option on 2009 model-year cars, according to Leftlane News. First announced last week, the device is an iPhone cradle integrated into the console between the driver and passenger seats, and can be operated from the car's steering wheel-mounted controls. The cradle should offer full connectivity to all the iPhone's audio options. A retrofit for older Mercedes models will also be available. It is expected in August for about $400.
Matrox M Series
Matrox this afternoon began offering the M-series, a set of video cards it says includes the first to output to four separate displays by itself. The M9140 uses the Canadian company's own connectors as well as a set of adapters to output video to four displays at once without sacrificing resolution. Every display, whhether DVI or VGA, can reach a greater-than-HD 1920x1200 resolution, the company says. The achievement also comes while fitting the card into the space of a single slot and while still using passive cooling that renders the card perfectly quiet.
Silverfast supports Nikon
SilverFast software has been upgraded to add Mac OS X Leopard compatibility for numerous Nikon film scanners. Version 6.6, first released May 25, bails out Mac owners who were told by Nikon that the company will not provide Nikon software support for Mac OX X 10.5. The updated scanner software will support owners of older Nikon film scanners (Coolscan IV and V ED, Super Coolscan 2000, 4000 ED and 5000 ED) and the most recent revision (6.6.0r1a) adds medium-format capable LS-8000 and LS-9000, on both PPC- and Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.5 and above. The software is available for a range of prices (between $400 and $512 for the Super Coolscan 5000 for example) and requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.3.
iPhone 2.0 on Friday?
The final iPhone 2.0 firmware could be complete as soon as Friday, rumors say. A report cites a source within Apple's iPhone software team, who claims it is "highly probable" that the firmware's gold master -- official production version -- will be finished by the end of the work week. This version would be following build 345, which enables new code-signing and encryption options.
Bang Olufsen Renwick TVs
Bang & Olufsen today said it had struck a unique deal that would see a luxury condominum include the Danish electronics firm's technology. The upcoming Renwick building in Manhattan's SoHo area will see a BeoVision 8 32-inch LCD TV installed by default into every suite along with audio systems to match; the company's BeoSound 4 is also put into each condominium for listening to music through SD cards or CD, while a BeoLab 4000 one-piece speaker provides sound without taking up extra space.
Bell Canada congestion
Bell Canada has been made to disclose figures for the actual congestion of its Internet connections, according to Broadband Reports. The information was demanded by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is responding to complaints that Bell has been throttling peer-to-peer traffic -- such as BitTorrent transfers -- as delivered to its ring of wholesale ISPs. By doing so, it is alleged, Bell made it impossible for third parties to compete with Bell's own Sympatico Internet service. The throttling was necessary to cope with network demands, Bell has responded.
Sony VAIO TP1 update
Sony has updated the VAIO TP1, a Media Center PC based on an unusual puck-shaped chassis. The VGX-TP1DQ/B and VGX-TP1D are both equipped with two land-based digital TV tuners, HDMI output, and new video recording software. The DQ/B however is considered the top model, and is equipped with a Blu-ray drive, along with a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of system RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a GeForce 8400M GT video card with 256MB of memory.
Apple falls in Greenpeace
Apple has slipped in terms of environmental friendliness, claims Greenpeace. The activist group has published a new edition of its Guide to Greener Electronics, and whereas in the last rankings Apple jumped from 2.7 to 6.7 -- due to the release of the less toxic MacBook Air -- the company has since slipped to just 4.1, marking it as an offending company.
Chrysler UConnect Web
The next model year of Chrysler vehicles will have mobile Internet access as a staple feature, the American car company has said before an official announcement of the vehicles themselves. All of its 2009 models will have the option of UConnect Web, a service that will give the vehicles a 3G cellular Internet connection shared throughout the car over Wi-Fi. The service is intended to let passengers use notebooks and smartphones whenever the car is inside the cellular network's coverage area.
T-Mobile Shadow II Leak 2
T-Mobile's Shadow II phone is real and will represent a first for Windows Mobile, claims an insider source. The device is now thought to be made by HTC and will be the first cellphone with the Microsoft to support cell-to-Wi-Fi call bridging when it sees use on T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service, letting subscribers make unlimited calls from Wi-Fi that carry over to the cell network without interruptions.
Starbucks dropping music
Starbucks Coffee will drop most of its music efforts by September, reports say. Indications are said to point to the company doing away with its full-sized CD racks, reducing selection to just four "slots" per store. Critically for Apple, it is believed the company will also drop all iTunes promotions, including gift cards and any special track offers. The one remaining Apple connection will be free Internet access for the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.
LaserVue HDTVs in Summer
Mitsubishi today committed to the final launch of its LaserVue sets. The world's first production laser-based HDTVs should be available in the summer and will be split into 65-inch and 73-inch screen sizes; by using laser light in place of normal lamps, either screen is much more accurate and can generate 200 percent of the normal NTSC color gamut while also consuming much less power. The 200 watts used by a LaserVue is said to be half that of a same-size LCD and a third that of an equivalent plasma set.
LG Dare Ships
Verizon today began shipping its LG Dare touchscreen phone and has provided the device with its final launch price. The handset should be available online by Thursday and will be available through retail on July 3rd; the previously withheld pricing is now known to reach $200 after a $50 rebate and signing a two-year plan, matching the same price as the 8GB iPhone 3G that will launch just two weeks later.
Acrobat 9, updated CS3
Adobe has released Acrobat 9, the latest version of its PDF document tool. Updates to the software primarily revolve around Flash support, as users can now insert videos and applications built with the technology directly into a document. Users can also however take advantage of a new PDF Portfolios option, which gathers multiple filetypes, including audio and 3D objects, into a compressed PDF file using custom or preset layouts.
D700 Live Shot
Nikon's increasingly rumored D700 mid-grade DSLR camera has purportedly been photographed and may provide clues as to more of the feature set, according to a post at Evolife. The camera now appears to have a pop-up flash that would confirm its unusual status as a very high-end amateur camera as well as a mid-range professional model; the image also points to new and unusual 24-120mm lens with vibration reduction built-in.
Imation Atom Flash
Imation is pushing the size of its flash drives downwards today with the Atom Flash, its smallest ever storage of the kind. The drive is only slightly longer than a paperclip and is small enough to be tied to another mobile device or a set of keys without being a burden. The Atom is also considered relatively advanced with an aluminum outer shell, a password protection feature, and recognition as a ReadyBoost memory cache for Windows Vista users who would rather use it as a supplement to a PC with little memory.
BBerry Bold August Delay
The BlackBerry Bold's launch with AT&T has been pushed back again until August, says a tip from "high-level" contacts at AT&T speaking to BGR. The 3G smartphone had once been penned in for July but is now reportedly delayed another month to sort out issues with short battery life and overheating, both issues that were identified in past leaks. An exact release date isn't available.
Vodafone iPhone pre-regs
Vodafone India has already begun taking pre-registrations on the iPhone 3G, according to an announcement. The move is unusual in that the company has yet to disclose a final release date for the device, although rival Bharti Airtel is expected to release it on July 11th along with the initial wave of iPhone 3G deployments. Bharti has not formally announced any iPhone plans, including any registration campaigns.
Sequence beta released
Independent software developer app4mac has announced its latest beta version of Sequence. Touted as 'a simple way to capture and save an image or movie of your screen', the desktop utillity allows users to capture images or movies directly from their Mac's display, and then save them as files, email them, or post them directly onto the web. Making full use of modern multi-threaded code and a 64-bit compression system, it can capture DVD, audio or multimedia material and enables the simultaneous capture of webcam images and screen data. Sequence also offers extensive audio recording options, such as integration with a Mac's built-in mic or external sound device or recording an audio 'voice over' for video clips. Supporting most common file types (including .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .tiff and .pdf), the Leopard-only software is expected to ship on July 4th and is offered until that time at a price of $9.
VIZIO XVT Televisions
VIZIO used an atypical Wednesday schedule to launch a major change in its HDTV lineup. The XVT series in 42-inch (SV420XVT) and 47-inch (SV470XVT) models is the budget TV maker's first line to use 120Hz LCD panels and gives even relatively cost-conscious users relatively artifact-free fast movement. Both are also comparatively sharp and vivid for economy HDTVs with a native 1080p resolution and a 6,500:1 contrast ratio.
4D Server v11 SQL unveiled
4D Inc on Tuesday debuted 4D Server v11 SQL, bringing native SQL support to its established server product line. Now a Universal Binary application, the latest version of 4D Server boasts increased processing speed, capacity and power as well as new features, functionality and improved administration tools."4D v11 SQL represents over three years of dedicated development, resulting in a complete transformation of the core of 4D...The release of v11 SQL marks the completion of our transition, bringing more power and speed to the creators and users of today's business applications," President and founder of 4D, Laurent Ribardière commented.
A-DATA CompactFlash card
A-DATA technologies has introduced the 'Turbo Series CF 350X', touted as the world's fastest CompactFlash card. Aimed at professional photographers and digital imaging professionals, the card offers peak 52MB/sec read and 47MB/sec write speeds, and comes in both 8GB and 16GB sizes. The card's speedy transfer rates are made possibly by utilizing the dual-channel UDMA 0-5 and MDMA 0-4 modes of high level digital cameras and only ussing original SLC (single level cell) flash memory. Priced at $80 for the 8GB card, and $210 for the 16GB version, both are shipping immediately.
Panasonic Toughbook CF U1
Panasonic on Wednesday made its promised Japanese and North American introductions of the Toughbook CF-U1. The handheld is the first-ever rugged ultra-mobile PC based on Intel's ultra-efficient Atom processor and uses a 1.33GHz version of the chip to both run Windows Vista Business at reasonable speeds as well as to extend the U1's battery life: a unique twin-battery system gives the Toughbook between six and eight hours of real-world use and lets users hot-swap batteries for even more use without turning off the system.
Keyboard Maestro 3.2
Stairways Software on Wednesday announced Keyboard Maestro 3.2, the latest evolution of its productivity enhancing 'keyboard macro' application for OS X. The software allows users to design a custom action sequence with their own shortcuts and use them at any time - all by pressing simple keystrokes; version 3.2 brings a host of bug fixes and code-level enhancements, as well as a range of new features, including the ability to records macros for replay at a later date, new options for pre-recorded 'triggering' of macros and an improved user interface.
Smilebox now supports Macs
Calling its photo-sharing service is a "natural extension of the Macintosh application experience," Smilebox on Tuesday announced support for the Mac platform by releasing a free application that allows Mac users to download photos, videos and music and offers "seamless" support for iPhoto, iTunes and Photo Booth. Smilebox says it has more than 700 designs and templates for scrapbooks, slideshows, greeting cards, photo-books and post cards. Launched in 2006, Smilebox says it has 2.6 million PC users each month. Users can create and share their own designs, or purchase "premium designs" from Hallmark, Making Memories, Madison Park Greetings, K & Company and Smilebox's in-house designers. Individual items can be bought for $2-$4 or through a $5 monthly subscription.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870
AMD this morning publicly rounded out its video card updates with the full launch of the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series. The launch supports earlier low-key announcements but marks the formal appearance of the higher-end Radeon HD 4870; the double-slot card is said to be twice as fast as an equivalent Radeon HD 3870 card and performs at about 1.2 teraflops per second, or enough floating-point math calculations to generate help generate AMD's purportedly near-realistic Cinema 2.0 experience with high detail, many objects, and camera-like focusing effects.
Adobe fixes Acrobat hole
MS Open XML converter
In addition to its latest Office 2004 XML update and Office 2008 stability update, Microsoft on Tuesday quietly (and finally) released its much-anticipated Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.0, which allows users to convert Open XML files that were created in Office 2008 for Mac or Office 2007 for Windows. The software allows them to open, edit, and save the files in earlier versions of Office for Mac. Open XML Converter can convert Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations that are in the Open XML Format and can convert and open a single file, or convert a large number of files. The download is 45MB; it is available free of charge.
Virgin Mobile wants Helios
Last reported in May, Virgin Mobile USA is set to absorb SK Telecom-owned Helio in a deal said to approach the former paying the Korean telecommunications firm almost $50 million, leaving SK holding 20-percent of company holdings. The Financial Times writes that the MVNO will dissolve its identity in favor of the more recognizable Virgin Mobile brand, and integrate its 200,000 users into Virgin's customer base of 5.1 million mobile users.
T-Mobile $10 phone service
T-Mobile is readying a VOIP phone service that will allow its customers to use standard landline phones over any broadband network for only $10 per month. Similar to offerings from Vonage and Packet8, T-Mobile's nationwide service has already been tested in the Seattle and Dallas markets since February and is expected to launch on July 2 as T-Mobile AtHome; it offers unlimited domestic calls as well as features such as call waiting, caller ID, three-way conferencing, voicemail, call forwarding and other features as well as optional features such as CallerTunes (ringback tones). Users will be able port their existing home phone numbers, but T-Mobile will require customers purchase a wireless plan that costs at least $40 per month as well as a compatible T-Mobile Internet router: the "HiPort" router costs $50 (with a two-year contract) and works with any standard corded or cordless phone and plugs into any broadband connection.
SoftRAID upgrades to 3.6.7
SoftRAID has upgraded its Mac RAID software to 3.6.7, in response to compatibility problems with Leopard. The main feature of the upgrade is a new driver mechanism that stores two copies of the RAID header information. Leopard users on Intel-based Macs were experiencing occasional RAID header corruption, which led to SoftRAID engineers having to recover the volumes. The new update stores a backup copy of the header as a fallback when the software recognizes the primary has become corrupted. The corruption was occurring at a ratio of 1 in 10 million header write cycles. The update is free to version 3 owners and costs $130 for a downloaded version ($150 retail).
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