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802.11n wireless firmware
Apple on Monday released an update to its 802.11n wireless AirPort products, including its wireless Time Capsule backup solution: The Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express Base Station with 802.11n. The update says that Firmware 7.3.2 updates include bug fixes and that it requires AirPort Utility 5.3.2. AirPort Utility 5.3.2 -- both of which were released in early June and can be obtained via an automatic software update or as a manual download.
Warner on Comes With Music
Nokia tonight signed on Warner Music Group to its Comes With Music unlimited subscription service, joining founding partner Universal and recent entrant Sony BMG in offering its back catalog. The deal lets users buy phones with a Comes With Music premium attached and download an unlimited amount of Warner's music (or of any other label) for a year; all tracks downloaded during that time are the user's to keep, addressing a common complaint regarding most subscription plans.
Mobile me FAQ
As Mobile Me nears its unveiling, Apple has written an FAQ support document for current .Mac customers who are curious about the impending transition, while a user has informed MacNN some unofficial good news regarding "@me.com" email addresses. The FAQ addresses many questions from users regarding whether or not services will be available, or whether user input is required for the process, most of which is revealed to be automatic.
In response to exorbitant pricing for the iPhone 3G data and voice plans suggested by Canadian wireless provider Rogers Communications, RuinediPhone.com (site down as of 9PM EST) has commenced operations with changing the telco's less-than-ethical pricing practices. Since launching at the end of last week, RuinediPhone.com has so far obtained just over 22,000 commented signatures asking Rogers to impose fair plans and pricing in line with what is seen with the US and other international countries.
Autodesk acquires GBS
Autodesk has acquired the assets of Green Building Studio (GBS), further consolidating the market for Mac-based architecture software. GBS' web service will soon join the Autodesk product family, while the GBS team will continue selling, training, and supporting architects as they use the GBS web service to design carbon neutral buildings today and in the future. Autodesk also plans to continue support for the Green Building Studio web service and carbon neutral building design training. The gbXML schema will remain an open industry standard, and the GBS web service will continue to be available to any other BIM software.
Apple notebook sales
DisplaySearch has published its latest quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report, which shows that the notebook PC market grew 35% year over year in the first quarter of 2008 to 31 million units. Apple, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo all significantly outpaced the year over market growth, with Apple posting 61 percent unit growth from 891,000 units to 1.43 million units. That growth gave Apple a 4.6 percent share of the overall market, making it the seventh largest notebook vendor.
Ash-Vel CAD, 3D updates
Ashlar-Vellum is preparing updates to its line of CAD software tools and 3D-tool Grasshopper is progressing towards the Mac platform. Ashlar-Vellum has announced Graphite v8 SP1 Beta, which has new features, and it is about to release Cobalt, Xenon and Argon v8 for PowerPC-based Macs according to Architosh. Also, Grasshopper is coming to Mac OS X, although it may have problems with Microsoft .Net incompatibilities.
Safari 3.1.2 fixes flaws
Apple on Monday released Safari 3.1.2 for Mac OS X v10.4.11, which fixes an issue that could lead to arbitrary code execution and patched another flaw that was previously corrected in the Mac version The company also released a slew of security fixes in Security Update 2008-004 and Mac OS X 10.5.4. The critical Safari flaw for Tiger -- which also affects the Windows version -- could allow a maliciously crafted website to terminate Safari or run a malicious program--due to a memory corruption issue. The update addresses the issue through improved bounds checking. It affects Windows XP or Vista, and also in systems running Mac OS X v10.5.4.
Fitness Frenzy for Mac
Macgamestore has announced Fitness Frenzy, a Gogii Games release. The game places the player in the role of a fitness trainer named Vicki, who has to inspire all sorts of people to reach their personal goals. The game stresses time-management techniques with 50 different levels of play. It features characters ranging from novices to muscle-bound weightlifters who want to reach target body weights and shapes. A demo is available for download and play, prior to purchase. Fitness Frenzy costs $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher.
Mac OS X 10.5.4 update
Apple on Monday released Mac OS X 10.5.4, another update to its "Leopard" operating system. In addition to a number of security fixes, the company addressed issues with Adobe CS3, AirPort connectivity, iCal, SSL connections using Safari, and Spaces and ExposÚ. Specifically, the company said the 59MB update, available via the Software Update, resolves an issue with saving and reopening Adobe Creative Suite 3 ﬁles on a remote server; includes additional RAW image support for several cameras, addresses an issue that may result in a partially installed X11 application, and improves L2TP VPN client reliability. Apple also said the update brings better AirPort reliability issues with 5GHz networks and improves performance in Logic Studio or MainStage over AirPort networks.
Hutchinson iPhone 3G
Hutchison Telecom and T-Mobile on Monday announced pricing and plan information for the 3G iPhone for Hong Kong and The Netherlands, respectively, while Debitel unveiled plans for German distribution of the device. According to iLounge, Hutchison will offer the device at a price dependant on the plan chosen, of which there are four. The 8GB model will range from free to HK$2938 (~$380), while the 16GB will sell for HK$138 (~$20) to HK$3738 (~$480).
Skyhook XPS 2 Tracking
Skyhook Wireless on Monday launched a new map positioning system that will potentially solve many of the problems associated with GPS navigation today. While the company has already designed a system that can alternate between real GPS and rough triangulation using cellular towers and Wi-Fi, a new method nicknamed XPS 2.0 can combine multiple services at once to find a position even in poor conditions.
NYT on rebuilding Windows
Microsoft should raze the current foundations of Windows and begin again, argues a New York Times article. The editorial notes that while Windows Vista supports a variety of older hardware and software, greatly smoothing out the cost of upgrades, this also burdens it with decades' worth of old technology, making it difficult for Microsoft to achieve any fundamental advances in its operating systems as compared to similar efforts from Apple. It took six years to upgrade from XP to Vista, notes the Times, a period during which Apple released three new versions of Mac OS X.
Win XP Stops Shipping
Microsoft today is on schedule to formally drop Windows XP sales to PC makers, signaling the company's complete transition to Vista for its regular home users. The move effectively represents the end to the unusually long lifespan of nearly seven years for the operating system for most users, although Microsoft plans to continue offering XP to PC makers until 2010 for very low-cost nettops and netbooks such as the ASUS Eee PC, which often lack the performance necessary to run Vista well.
RBC: High iPhone demand
A great proportion of current smartphone shoppers have already set their minds on the iPhone 3G, says RBC Capital Markets. The investment bank says it ran a survey of some 3,600 members of its Technology Adoption Panel in the aftermath of June 9th's 3G announcement, and found that of those planning to get a smartphone in the next 90 says, 56 percent wanted the new iPhone. RBC notes that this contrasts with a study conducted in March, in which only 35 percent were expecting to buy a new iPhone.
MCE - 6X Blu-ray burner
MCE has announced its Blu-ray recordable drive, capable of 6X Blu-ray write-speeds and 16x DVD▒R speeds. The drive plays both Blu-ray and HD-DVD media and features LightScribe compatibility and it will allow professionals to author Blu-ray movies using Adobe Premier Pro CS3's Encore software. In addition, it supports the production of basic Blu-ray movies from Roxio's Toast 9 Titanium (with the Toast HD/BD plug-in). The player also can play Blu-ray and HD-DVD media using Windows XP/Vista on a Boot Camp partition. The bare drive, for a Mac Pro or Power Mac G4/G5 running Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, available now for $500; an external FireWire/USB 2.0 option for $750. (The site does not mention any compatibility--for the USB/FireWire external version--with other Macs; and MacNN has contacted MCE for more details.)
Sony Touch Feedback Patent
Sony is exploring the development of a likely game-oriented touchscreen device that may also be a communicator, according to a newly published US patent filing. A patent shows a handheld touch device that would allow both direct and gesture-based input and which would also provide force feedback across the entire display through a system known as "tactile pixels;" a grid of small bumps would lift to reach the screen and help simulate physical button presses or other effects based on touch input.
Apple iPhone 3G Green pack
Apple is pushing its green initiatives with the iPhone 3G's packaging, using potato-starch based products and avoiding plastics altogether. According to Italian webnews site setteB.IT, the Dutch blog Bright is reporting that PaperFoam, a paper-based packaging company that specializes in carbon friendly packaging, will supply packing materials for the iPhone 3G. PaperFoam emphasizes lower carbon dioxide emissions (compared to plastics), 100-percent recyclable materials and low product weight. PaperFoam uses an injection-moulding technology utilizing a mixture of starch and water inside a mould to custom fit the item.
High-priced upgrades have long been a collective burden of shopping at the online Apple Store. A new article from CNET UK has a run-down of pricing comparisons, noting that Apple's direct upgrade prices are, on average, about 200% that of Dell's. For instance: Going from a 120GB 5,400rpm drive to a 250GB 5,400rpm drive for a MacBook will set you back ú90.01 from the Apple configurator. Doing the same upgrade with a Dell XPS M1330 costs just ú30.01 on the Dell site. Likewise, buying a MacBook and switching from 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 to 4GB will cost an extra ú120 from Apple. Doing that same swap with the Dell XPS M1330 costs just ú40.01.
Olympus 360 Deg Camera
Olympus in Japan today unveiled a prototype of what's claimed as the world's first-ever true 360-degree camera and matching lens. The sensor can not only capture the entire horizontal view of a given scene but improves on early technology first outlined last year for taking vertical shots. Thanks in part to a uniquely curved lens with specially-made glass, the example can also capture at up to a 180 vertical angle versus an earlier 45 degrees, essentially allowing the camera to snap a complete dome-shaped picture of a scene.
Gateway Refresh June 2008
Gateway today revamped both its notebooks and its desktops with a technology upgrade to keep them current ahead of the back-to-school season. The 15.4-inch budget M series, retail-only 14-inch T series, and the 17-inch P series all get newer generation Core 2 Duo processors, more storage, and in some cases more memory. The example M-6848 and T-6836 updates (both $800) both have 2GHz Core 2 Duos as well as 250GB hard drives, 4GB of memory and a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista Home Premium to support the extra RAM.
Verizon 2008 phone list
Information has leaked on the remainder of Verizon's cellphone releases for 2008, a report claims. Preeminent in the list are some phones unexpected for Verizon's roster, such as CDMA versions of the Touch Diamond and the Touch Pro, which will likely rebranded under the carrier's own naming scheme. Also mentioned is a Samsung phone, the SCH-U310, which does not have any previously published information. The fact is unusual in that many of Samsung's phones are released in Asia and Europe months before they arrive in North America, and are publicized internationally. No dates have been mentioned for the U310 or the Touches.
Front Row meets Twitter
For the past six years, a group of developers scattered across the globe has been quietly working to reinvent the way we watch movies and listen to music. The result is Boxee -- a media player based on the XBMC Open Source platform -- released in alpha form this month initially on the Mac. The developers says Boxee was born of frustration over what they saw as the somewhat clunky way computers gather and display content. Separate applications are needed to display photos or play music and movies, and content is often delivered in formats requiring proprietary media players. The ambitious end game for Boxee is to become the "one-size-fits-all" media center that works with any kind of content on any platform.
MS Office, Exchange guides
Microsoft has laid bare the internal workings of several key formats, according to an announcement. As a part of its Interoperability Principles program, the company has released v1.0 technical documentation for the protocols in several of its programs, primarily the Office 2007 suite. Some 5,000 pages are said to be available on the binary file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, including DOC, XLS, XLSB and PPT files.
EDA helps Macs in IT
Integrating Macs into PC-based networks has always faced uphill battles from IT professionals who look at the Macs as a foreign system. A group of enterprise software companies have formed the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA), with the goal of making Mac integration easier for the IT professionals running enterprise networks. The five companies, Atempo, Centrify , Group Logic, LANrev and Parallels, are combining their specialties under one centralized point of reference, with the goal of providing IT managers easy integration of Macs with similar control, security, and service as their PC workstations.
Imation acquires XtremeMac
Imation has acquired "substantially all" of XtremeMac's assets, according to a company announcement. The deal is said to be worth at least $9 million, divided between $7 million in cash and a remaining amount in assumed liabilities; Imation may additionally pay as much as $10 million over the course of three years, depending on how profitable the acquisition becomes. In any case the company does not expect the deal to substantially affect its fiscal 2008 results.
Nikon D700 Magazine Leak
Nikon's often-leaked D700 digital SLR has been given further evidence through a leaked set of photos from German magagine Profifoto. The seemingly authentic page spread reaffirms the camera's position in between the D300 and D3 with a 12.1 megapixel sensor and a 95 percent viewfinder; it should shoot up to ISO 6,400 in normal operation (with no word of an expanded ISO 25,600 mode) and up to five frames per second in RAW (8 frames with a battery grip).
More AT&T iPhone details
Leaked memos are continuing to expand on AT&T's plans for the iPhone 3G, a new report indicates. Retail stores are, for instance, said to be having a new desktop shortcut pushed to their computers, "for the iTunes utility that will be used for unbricking iPhone 3G devices during the activation process." Workers are being told not to use the software until July 11th, as it is only a partial version of iTunes and intended solely for activations.
Lenovo IdeaCentre K210
After having left the market for several years, Lenovo today returned to home desktops and launched the IdeaCentre K210. The mini-tower is a parallel to the IdeaPad notebooks and borrows design elements from the portables, including face detection security when paired with a BrightEye add-on webcam that clips to most LCDs. The image recognition system also dynamically adjusts brightness based on proximity to the screen.
NETGEAR today jumped into the still relatively young market for aftermarket router hacking with the WGR614L. Rather than clamp down on firmware changes, the 802.11g Wi-Fi router is explicitly approved for use with Linux-based hobbyist firmware like DD-WRT and Tomato and should also support OpenWRT soon--all of which let users fine-tune settings such as signal strength and security without having to depend on NETGEAR to add the features itself.
App Store debut deadline
Monday may be the deadline for developers wanting software to debut with the launch of the iTunes App Store, writes Silicon Alley Insider. The publication cites an anonymous source, who says that Apple is asking developers to submit all apps sometime June 30th if they want them to go on sale as soon as possible, on July 11th. The intervening period is said to be necessary for testing and final approval.
F Telecom Backs Off Telia
TeliaSonera today confirmed late-breaking rumors on Monday with the announcement that France Telecom has withdrawn its takeover bid for the company, putting an end to the potentially significant merger of the two companies. Sweden-based TeliaSonera maintains that France Telecom has not "significantly" improved its bid that was hinted at on Sunday and insists that the French firm would have undervalued TeliaSonera, which claims that it's strong enough without other companies' help.
ASUS Eee PC 904 Rumor
ASUS is developing a new Eee PC that would offer the comfort of its larger 10-inch models at the cost of the 8.9-inch models, according to reports from supply channels. The Eee PC 904 and 905 would have the same 8.9-inch display as the 901 notebook but with the enclosure of the 1001, giving it a larger keyboard without necessarily changing the price. Battery life and storage may also go up with the larger case but are reportedly uncertain.
Telstra to carry iPhone 3G
Telstra has confirmed earlier reports and announced sales of the iPhone 3G, according to the Australian carrier's website. The phone will take advantage of Telstra's Next G broadband network, which has the broadest coverage in the country in part due to support for the 850MHz band; the company has otherwise announced very few details, with customers being expected to register interest in a particular iPhone, along with any accessories they might be curious as about such as a Bluetooth headset, a "dual dock," and a TTY adapter.
ViewSonic on Monday lifted up its VA Series value screens and released a new 26-inch desktop LCD that it hopes will drive down the sizes of very large screens. The VA2626WM generates the same 1920x1200 resolution and also promises similar visual quality to more expensive screens. The panel generates a 6,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and includes HDMI to give Blu-ray players and modern HD consoles native output for their 1080p signals.
Mitsubishi 149 HDTVs
Mitsubishi this morning took a different approach to its LCD line through the launch of its 149 series TVs. The 46-inch LT46149 and 52-inch LT-52149 both replace the simple stereo speakers of many other HDTVs with a 16-point audio system, much like speaker bars, that can generate a 5.1-channel surround effect without occupying the physical space. Called the integrated Sound Projector, the system lets users optimize the sound field for a certain room size and sweet spot to more convincingly generate audio.
Verizon VCast MP3
Following on the heels of Real's Rhapsody MP3 store, Verizon today expanded its VCast Music store to include both MP3s and the Rhapsody subscription service. The former lets users of Verizon's PC software as well as any MP3-supporting cellphone on the company's 3G network download unprotected songs that can be used as the customer likes; that includes loading content on to phones that wouldn't otherwise support VCast songs or to outside software and devices, including iPods.
The non-profit MIND Research Institute last week launched a new national intervention program, Algebra Readiness. The full year course is aimed at middle and high school students and endeavors to 'rebuild a solid maths foundation' and prepare students for success in 'Algebra 1'. Algebra Readiness offers a 'rigorous yet engaging curriculum', that encourages to 'look' and visualize mathematics problems from simple arithmetic to linear algebra concepts. "Algebra Readiness features MIND's patent-pending visual approach, which both engages students at any level, and explains math in a direct but powerful way they can understand and retain... MIND developed the program in response to the persistent low student success rate in Algebra I classes and the increasing use of Algebra I as a requirement for a high school diploma." said Dr. Matthew Peterson, a neurosurgeon who helped develop the software.
Real Rhapsody MP3 Store
Real this morning opened a test version of the Rhapsody MP3 Store, its first store to go without copy protected files. The MTV co-owned outlet is web-based and, unlike the company's subscription service, promises to work with any computer or device, including iPods; a Mac download manager is available to let users download all their songs as a complete package, Real says. The company has also successfully secured the catalogs of all four major music labels.
Graphic Inspector 1.5
Zevriz Solutions on Monday announced Graphic Inspector 1.5, the latest update to its graphics 'quality control' solution. Graphic Inspector is designed to check entire folders of graphic files for potential predefined user defined issues. With options for print, pre-press, web-design and photography, the software can examine file type, color mode, resolution, compression, fonts and even metadata. In addition, it offers 'Checkup Presets' that allow users to save settings for established workflows to easily indentify issues and potential problems (and eliminated them) before they become serious issues.
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