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Amazing Tech Products on Wednesday unveiled Purebuds, a set of earbud-style headphones that are designed to reduce damage done to the internal workings of the ear through "Reverse Sound Technology". Rather than driving sound directly into the ear, Purebuds fire towards the back of the earbud, reflecting the sound back to the eardrum. Amazing Tech Products is offering the digital Purebuds for $50, and are currently available from the company's website with free shipping.
Apple clarifies MobileMe
Apple's retail employees are already being retrained regarding sales of MobileMe - Apple's Web 2.0-based service suite - with the company urging staff to rephrase how they mention or describe the service. A notice to the retail sales team indicates that they should refer to MobileMe as an "automatic sync" service, rather than Push, to clear up any misconceptions the customer may have. Apple also clarified that MobileMe should not be billed as "Exchange for the rest of us."
Speakapedia for Mac
Shiny Development has released Speakapedia 1.0, a Mac utility that converts WIkipedia articles into spoken words, and "seamlessly manages them as tracks" in iTunes. The application uses an article's main photo for iTunes album art. The utility allows knowledge-hungry users to "listen" to articles on their Macs and iPods, and has obvious benefits for those who are sight-impiared.
EzGear iPhone 3G case
ezGear has begun shipping its newest ezSkin, developed for the iPhone 3G. The skin is produced from smooth textured silicon. ezGear says the ezSkin will not interfere with the use of the phone's controls and ports. In addition to the phone case protection, there is also a thin static screen protector that will not inhibit the use of the touchscreen. Other than the screen, silicon protects every other part of the phone. Additional silicon is added to the case above the buttons to preserve the button's feel.
MacDrive 7 supports Vista
The filesharing tool MacDrive 7 for Windows now supports the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, according to developer MediaFour. The application allows users to access Mac-formatted disks from their Windows desktops. Mac files are automatically assigned the proper icons and file name extension whether used on a Windows or a Mac, the company said.
HighPoint eSATA RAID
HighPoint Technologies on Wednesday unveiled the RocketRAID 3122 PCI-Express controller card, offering users a low-cost, performance solution for connecting eSATA hard drives to a Mac Pro. The RocketRAID 3122 requires a 1x PCI-express slot, and can use up to 10 daisy-chained drives on two external 3Gb/s eSATA ports. Users can choose between RAID levels 0 and 1. HighPoint is selling the RocketRAID 3122 for $170, available from the company or its various certified resellers.
Gold-plated 8GB USB drive
Super Talent Technology says its PICO-C Gold 8GB USB flash drive is the "world's smallest," comes in a 24-carat gold shell and is water resistant to boot. The tiny drive is smaller than a standard SD card and weighs less than a nickel. The device ships with a gold chain, and "looks more like a fashion accessory than a high performance flash drive," the company said.
TeamViewer now free
German Developer TeamViewer GmbH is making the full version its flagship desktop sharing software free to non-commercial users. TeamViewer is a cross-platform appication that allows 'information sharing between two computers located anywhere in the world." The company says TeamViewer is easy to use, and supports screen and file sharing between firewalls without compromising security.
Worldwide Q2 PC sales
Worldwide computer sales grew 16 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, despite serious economic crises in the US and elsewhere, says Gartner. The research group comments that while the ASP (average selling price) of computers has been going down, which may eventually result in more corporate takeovers, people are nevertheless fueling market growth through increased notebook purchases. HP is presently dominating overall sales with an 18.1 percent marketshare, but is being hounded by Dell's 15.6 percent, driven by its second quarter in a row of 40+ percent year-over-year notebook growth.
In brief: We've posted a review of The Contour Balance Roller, MacForensicsLab certification training, Jumsoft offers iWeb templates, "Simple" Photoshop tutorial debuts, and FMCode Shares FileMaker Code ... We have posted a review of The Contour Balance Roller, which uses a nylon-like microfiber material that seems durable and water-resistant, yet soft. The lining lends itself to doubling as a diaper bag, although I wouldn't recommend storing your computer with dirty diapers. The lighter weight (5.3 lbs) makes wrangling your 15" laptop easier, especially if it isn't your only piece of luggage. Plenty of pockets for spare batteries, mice, or other peripherals grace the inside larger pockets. I've used the bag for weekend getaways and it fits spare clothing, equipment, and a laptop well.
Venture Arctic for Mac
Macgamestore and Pocketwatch games have released Venture Arctic, a sim-style game allowing users to manage their own Arctic ecosystem. Players try to protect Arctic animals, including Polar Bears and Orcas. But unlike similar "Tycoon" games, Venture Arctic has no people -- users manage only an ecosystem using natural events such as climate. The game comes with 12 "Forces of Nature" and four difficulty modes, including "Climate Change," "Deforestation" and "Extinction." Users basically get to "play God," by controlling Nature. The game features 20 unique animal species, cheat codes, a "sandbox-style kids mode," and it keeps track of high scores.
BrowseBack 1.5 ($30) visual web history tool that allows you to search the content of your web history by keyword. BrowseBack stores a PDF of every web page visited and makes the pages accessible through a unique interface that allows the user to browse thumbnails of those pages. The new release adds support for support for Firefox 3 and has minor fixes and improvements. [Download - 4.7MB]
Typinator 3.1 ($30) expands text snippets and auto-corrects typos now also on Leopard. The new version is ready for Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") and improves compatibility with Flash, Numbers, MS Office, Terminal, You-Control, and others. Furthermore, the built-in auto-correction dictionaries have been refined to enhance smooth multi-lingual auto-correction in all applications on Leopard. The new version integrates the recently released HTML snippets set providing over 100 abbreviations for elements of the HTML 4.01 standard. Typinator 3.1 also improves compatibility with many popular applications like Coda, VMWare Fusion, Butler, Zend Studio, and others. [Download - 1.6MB]
Speed Download 5.0.5 ($25) download manager designed to be a unified hub for almost all downloading and file transfer activities. This release is optimized for Mac OS X 10.5.4. It also adds RSS newsreader integration (tested with NetNewsWire), Russian localization and now installs properly in accounts using FileVault. [Download - 7.7MB]
Project X 1.5 ($200) project management utility. Includes story-boarding capabilities on the Network view, the iChat awareness, and robust scheduling and costing features of the application. Lets users create and edit projects graphically, allows one-click project updates via its unique Web App, and has the ability to embed media files such as video, MP3, still images and more directly into tasks. This release has a new flexible licensing system, a 60% speed improvement throughout the application and a duplicate command has been implemented. [Download - 166MB]
iToner 1.0.8 ($15) iToner lets you easily transfer your own MP3 or AAC audio files to your iPhone, and enjoy them as custom ringtones. This release has fixes for iTunes 7.7 and iPhone OS 2.0 compatibility and includes Japanese localization. [Download - 7.2MB]
Apple edges Acer for No. 3
Research firm IDC reports that worldwide PC shipments grew at 15 percent in the second quarter of 2008. The quarter also saw Apple roughly tie Acer in the US market, assuming fourth place and missing third place by only a few thousand units. Demand in the United States suffered from the ongoing economic pressure, with rowth in the low single-digits. Dell continued its recovery with another quarter of double-digit growth, while HP saw year on year growth rise from the first quarter. Portable adoption continues to be a key driver, even though consumer share is generally at its lowest during the second quarter.
iPhone supply weak
Despite the iPhone 3G launching Friday, potential owners are still lining up to purchase one, but even Apple's flagship Manhattan stores are starting to run dry, and are placing limits on the constant long lineups. In calls to the Fifth Avenue, SoHo and West 14th retail locations, representatives tell MacNN that they each expect lineups to last four to five hours, and are informing others that join the line that the stores can not accommodate them, since the store will be closed by the time staff could service those customers.
Apple slow on iPhone patch
Apple left the iPhone exposed to a serious vulnerability for months despite knowing how to fix it, a security analyst alleges. Charlie Miller of Independent Security Evaluators notes that while the iPhone 2.0 firmware has since fixed the problem, for over three months, the v1.x firmware was vulnerable to the same WebKit exploit used to hack a MacBook Air within two minutes. The feat earned him $10,000 from TippingPoint Technologies.
Aircell Wi-Fi going LTE 4G
Aircell, which will offer Wi-Fi access on airplanes while in flight via its Gogo service, today announced it would base its second generation of the service on the 4G Long Term Evolution data network. When the service goes live later on this year, it will use CDMA EVDO Rev A for data transfer during flights, topping out at more than 12 Mbps. By the end of 2009, Aircell plans to up that number to 22.7 Mbps with advances in its current technology. When the company incorporates the 4G LTE network in 2011, throughput speeds will jump to 300 Mbps, Aircell promises.
Long-life Flash memory
A new type of flash memory is being developed, according to today's reports, which not only takes up less space and uses less electricity than the current flash memory technology, but also lasts much longer as well. The ferroelectric chips under development by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as well as the University of Tokyo will outlive current flash memory by a factor of about 10,000. Today's flash memory chips have a life of about 10 years, and can be re-written only an average of 10,000 times.
OpenOffice 3 beta 2
Sun Microsystems recently unveiled OpenOffice 3.0b2, a new beta preview release of the next major version of its business productivity suite, adding a number of optimizations, features, and fixes. The new version introduces new regional grammar and numeric standards for Indian customers, as well as refined behaviour of editing filtered rows. Sun also introduced 'y axis' error bars, allowing users to define a range of error for estimated figures.
eMusic Adds Web Social
eMusic will try to improve its standing against iTunes and fellow web-based store Amazon MP3 soon by adding a social component to the music, the music service's chief David Pakman tells Fortune. Taking advantage of the need to buy music through the web portal, eMusic hopes to draw in buyers by providing deeper and constantly changing artist info through Web 2.0 sites. Musicians will frequently have Wikipedia pages for their biographies as well as relevant Flickr photo albums and YouTube videos.
French iPhone 3G prices
Orange France, the only carrier in the initial iPhone 3G launch to miss July 11th, has officially unveiled its prices for the local release at 8AM on the 17th. In general, an 8GB phone with Origami costs €149, while a 16GB one is €199. These prices escalate to €199 and €249, though, when people pick the Zen/Star 1h & 2h package, and €399 and €499 with a block package.
Apple is now offering limited compensation in the wake of the difficult MobileMe launch, according to announcement. The company admits that the transition from .Mac was "a lot rockier than we [Apple] had hoped," and notes that "within the next few weeks," it will extend select MobileMe subscriptions by 30 days. At present several important MobileMe functions are non-functional, including groups, webmail, and the HomePage website creation utility.
Force Unleashed for iPhone
An iPhone port of LucasArts' Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is in development, news from E3 reveals. To be published by THQ Wireless, the game is a scaled-down version of its counterparts on other consoles such as the Wii and Xbox 360. Instead of roaming about in a free-scrolling, fully 3D universe, players travel through a series of static environments similar to earlier Resident Evil games. The game uses the phone's accelerometer only to change aspect ratio; the touchscreen is used for all player actions, including gesture-driven Force throws and lightsaber swings.
Meizu's long-delayed M8 (MiniOne) touchscreen phone may be ready next month, according to posts by company chief J. Wong. The Chinese firm plans to release more images and details of the phone in August and hints that it may launch a basic version with 128MB of memory and an unspecified amount of permanent memory the same month. A second version, with 256MB of memory and 8GB of flash storage, would ship in October for a price equal to $320.
Pana Toughbook Centrino 2
Panasonic on Tuesday became the next notebook maker to update its line for Intel's Centrino 2 platform with two new Toughbook models. The semi-rugged, 15.4-inch Toughbook 52 and its matching 13.3-inch Toughbook 74 both get the faster processors, 1,066MHz bus speeds, and faster Intel graphics of Centrino 2 as well as a boost to 802.11n Wi-Fi and 160GB of storage.
Iomega drives get backup
Iomega has added a new downloadable software bundle to their external hard drive offerings, that combines EMC's Retrospect Express backup and recovery software with Mozy's online backup service. Iomega is calling the new package a 'total storage solution' in one box. New purchasers of Iomega hard drives will be able to download a free license of Retrospect Express for Macintosh 6.1, and gain access to a free MozyHome 2GB account. An offer of unlimited MozyHome online storage for $5 per month is also available. The new bundle will ship with Iomega external hard drives later this month in the US, with international availability later in the Summer.
AOL Talks to MS and Yahoo
AOL's parent company Time Warner is more aggressively shopping the firm around to both Microsoft and Yahoo, says a source for Reuters. The negotiations appear to play Microsoft against its buyout target Yahoo and would vary the deal significantly depending on the company, either of which would potentially tip the balance in its favor with an agreement.
iPhone 3G launch: $330m
Apple's launch of the iPhone 3G generated a estimated $330 million profit in its first weekend. The estimate comes from Fortune, based on reported sales from Apple and estimated iPhone production costs/carrier subsidies. A tear-down of the iPhone 3G allowed estimates of its costs and royalties paid, versus the retail price and subsidies paid by AT&T (and other carriers). Add to that a Piper Jaffray survey that suggests purchasers bought 16GB models at a two-to-one ratio over 8GB models. Using Apple's own number of 1 million iPhones sold and a cost per phone of about $175 along with $50 in royalties for the iPhone 3G 8GB and $66 for the 16GB model, Apple's cost per phone was about $224 (8GB) and $240 (16GB).
Pan-European music OK'd
The European Commission has ordered music copyright organizations to allow pan-European licensing schemes, says the Associated Press. At present, companies looking to sell music throughout Europe must negotiate agreements with 24 separate collecting societies, scattered throughout the European Union. While this may protect national industries and culture, the Commission has ruled that it also breaks antitrust regulations, giving the societies monopolies in their respective homelands.
Ericsson 5Mbps HSPA Evo
Ericsson and the Italian division of cell carrier 3 today said they have successfully tested the world's first 3G network based on enhanced High Speed Packet Access (HSPA). The trial of the new service gives uploads to the network at up to 5.8 megabits per second in peak conditions and is faster even than downloads on most existing services, which in ideal conditions would offer 3.6 megabits. The new technology also cuts back dramatically on the lag that hurts video calls, multiplayer games, and other time-sensitive features.
Sharp iPod touch discounts
Apple has dramatically lowered the prices of refurbished iPod touches, listings reveal. Two models -- the 16GB edition and the defunct 8GB one -- have been assigned "special pricing" at Apple's online store, dropping their costs by $100 each over retail. An 8GB Touch therefore costs $199, while the 16GB model is selling for $299. A refurbished 32GB player still costs $430, only $70 less than the retail price.
iRiver Lplayer in US
iRiver this morning made official its US release of the Lplayer. The portable media device is one of the company's smallest and manages to fit a two-inch LCD by using the same D-click control system as the Clix, which uses taps on the edges to navigate menus. It also promises broader format support than most players with FLAC and OGG audio as well as XviD video joining more typical MP3, WAV, WMA, MPG, and WMV support.
Edit for Aperture 1.3
HumanSoftware has updated HSC Edit to version 1.3, adding a new AutoCorrect Image Enhancer module to the Edit for Aperture plug-in suite. The new module promises to reclaim lost colors and details with one click. The tool re-balances colors, pulling up detail from shadows and recovering visual information from highlights. The suite of thirteen modules is available for $300, with individual modules selling for $70 per module. The new AutoCorrect Image Enhancer is now available as a stand-alone module for $50. The software requires Aperture 2.1.
Apple Fortune 500 ranking
For the third year in a row, Apple has continued a slow escalation up the ranks of Fortune's Global 500. The list ranks the world's biggest 500 corporations in terms of revenues and profits; in the 2008 list Apple now sits at 337th, with revenues of over $24 billion, and profits nearing $3.5 billion. It is flanked by Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia, and France's Alstom. In the 2007 list Apple took 367th place, while in 2006 it barely managed to break in at 492nd.
NVIDIA Denies GPU Rumor
NVIDIA on Wednesday denied rumors that the majority of its GeForce 8M mobile graphics chips are flawed. The video hardware maker contradicts the earlier reports that all G84 and G86 video chipsets are more likely to fail and tells Ars Technica that only a subset of its graphics processing units (GPUs) are at increased risk, with just a "very small percentage" of that group likely to die early. When that happens depends entirely on the specific notebook and is more likely to happen with systems running intensive tasks or in warm climates, the company says.
Keyboard Maestro updated
Stairways Software has announced Keyboard Maestro 3.3, an update to its productivity-enhancement software. Keyboard Maestro's macros allow users to control and enhance applications. Users can control windows or menus; insert text; open documents and more, with just a keystroke or mouse-click. The 3.3 release adds a status menu and status menu-triggered macros. Actions within complex macros can now be enabled/disabled individually as well. Version 3.3 also adds a Fast User Switch action and can preserve users clipboard history across user-logins. Cut, copy, paste and duplicate are now available for macros, triggers and actions; in addition, the software has a number of other enhancements and bug-fixes. Keyboard Maestro 3.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and costs $36. There are volume discounts offered at five units (50% off) and twenty units (65% off).
Amazon Kindle 2 October
Amazon's next edition of the Kindle could arrive as early as this fall, says a purported insider. Speaking to CrunchGear, the tipster contradicts Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' claims that there would be no update soon and instead says Amazon will take an approach like that taken by Apple with the iPod mini: the new core model will be smaller but with the same functionality as the earlier version and will ship in multiple colors, with goals being equally to reduce the price as well as to appeal to a younger audience.
$250,000 for iPhone devs
An Italian venture capital firm is offering $250,000 in US funds to potential iPhone developers, according to reports. The company, H-FARM, says the deal is a part of its new Seed Program, meant to regularly boost a technology company every three months. This quarter's competition revolves around iPhone applications, and is asking companies to submit three-page proposals in PDF form, via e-mail.
Aspire one launches in US
Acer today announced its Aspire one ultraportable notebook has shipped to the US market. Meant to compete with ASUS' Eee PC, the Aspire one uses Intel's 1.6GHz Atom CPU in all of its variations, along with an 8.9-inch, 1024x600 (WSVGA) display with integrated webcam and Intel's Media Accelerator 950 graphics. While information and specs on the basic system were already known, Acer has revealed two other variations of its first mini laptop.
EU Plans New Intel Charges
The European Commission is planning to file yet more antitrust charges against Intel for its alleged monopolistic behavior, the Wall Street Journal now says (registration required). The extra accusations would specifically focus on claims that Intel provided financial incentives to larger European resellers if they would drop any sales of AMD-based systems, all but pushing the smaller chipmaker out of the markets for most home computers and low-cost servers.
iPhone 3G threat to RIM
The iPhone 3G stands to deeply undermine leading smartphone maker Research in Motion, argue analysts with Needham & Co.. The firm contends that while RIM is firmly established in the enterprise world, and it has made dramatic gains in the consumer world with phones like the BlackBerry Pearl, this success has not been due to impressive new offerings so much as a lack of any substantial competition, including even the original iPhone. All this has changed with the 3G, says Needham.
BBerry Thunder for October
The BlackBerry Thunder is now considered Research in Motion's top priority, if a claim sent to BGR proves true. The Canadian company is said to be putting even the imminent BlackBerry Bold lower on its priority list to ensure that the touchscreen Thunder is ready for a "huge" US marketing effort starting in September, with a release for the exclusive carrier Verizon in mid-October.
Samsung TL34HD and More
Samsung this morning formalized the launch of its new camera series with several US announcements. Following some earlier world introductions, the company now says the NV100HD will be released stateside as the TL34HD. The camera (pictured) is one of the sharpest point-and-shoots ever with a 14.7-megapixel sensor; it also shoots at up to an unusually high ISO 3,200 light sensitivity with the option of boosting to ISO 4,800 by dropping resolution to three megapixels.
iPod touch printer updates
Apple on Tuesday quietly unveiled the iPod touch 1.1.5 update, as well as an updated set of HP printer drivers for Mac OS X. Macworld reveals that the iPod touch update comes free for users, unlike the 2.0 update which costs $20, but doesn't appear to actually change anything on the device. Writer Christopher Breen notes that some users have found slight performance boosts, but suggests the effect could be largely placebo, since he compared side-by-side against a 1.1.4-enabled Touch, with no perceivable difference in performance.
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