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iPhone utility roundup
With hundreds of iPhone apps to choose from the competition is fierce. But developers have managed to come up with some clever utilities that may be hard for some users to pass up. Among them: a simple audio recorder for note-taking, a database of cocktail recipes, a "social mapping" app, GPS software for runners, and a utility for doctors to view patients' medical charts.
Ripple's newest Mini clone
Korean OEM manufacturer Ripple has introduced an updated version of its Mac Mini clone using a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor in the Mini-ITX form factor. The Ripple Mini Chocolate uses the 45nm i945GC-Northbridge and ICH7Ssouthbridge chipsets, and supports up to 2GB of RAM. Intel specs show the low-cost motherboard with 2 USB ports, a pair of 3.0GBs SATA conntectors and single IDE socket.
HP absorbs Voodoo PCs
HP's Voodoo PC business has been merged into its main business division and may discontinue the use of the Voodoo brand name as the company tries push the products through its mainstream and worldwide channels. HP said it would likely retain Voodoo as a brand name, but had not reached a final decision yet. Until now, HP had operated the Voodoo PC division as a standalone business unit and sold its PCs independently. Following the announcement, the Voodoo-branded products will be sold alongside HP's consumer Compaq Presario and Pavilion PC lines, HP told PC World.
iPhone accessories roundup
Three companies have released accessories for the iPhone and iPod, and one is also out with a fix for broken 3G headphone jacks. Grantwood Technology has unveiled its Tuneband armband for the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch, EzGear is out with an iPod video extension cable, and USB Fever has released several new iPhone accessories and a replacement headphone jack assembly.
HoudahSpot 2.2 update
Houdah Software has updated its popular search utility, HoudahSpot to version 2.2. The new version builds upon features offered in previous versions such as BlitzSearch, which combines the simplicity of Spotlight with the power of HoudahSpot. The update also improves AppleScript support as well as integration with third party tools PathFinder, LaunchBar and QuickSilver. HoudahSpot 2.2 introduces a completely rewritten BlitzSearch feature, which when called upon slides out of the top of the screen, and then allows a user to perform a customized search. HoudahSpot's enhanced AppleScript support, allows scripts to call upon BlitzSearch as well as allowing them to receive access to search results. By using HoudahSpot 2.2 users are able to create detailed queries to pinpoint the exact location of the file that they are looking for. Users may then set up templates for frequently performed searches and save queries for direct access to favorite files.
Griffin Vegas games
Griffin Technology has recently released two new apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. Lucky 7 Slots and 5 Card Touch. Both of these apps are meant to bring a little bit of Vegas to your pocket. Lucky 7 Slots is a Vegas-style slot machine game, while 5 Card Touch simulates video poker. To play Lucky 7 Slots, one must simply place a bet and then start up the virtual slot machine. The machine begins the game with 1000 credits and allows play for one to three credits per spin. When finished playing, Lucky 7 Slots keeps track of the new credit value allowing the user to always keep track of their winnings, or losings. The game features very smooth, and fast moving graphics and audio giving Lucky 7 Slots a real-life vegas look and feel. In 5 Card Touch the user is started out with $1000 and can instantly begin betting in games of video poker.
Workaround lets iPhone use
Developer Melvin Rivera has posted a workaround for sharing iPhone apps on his All Forces blog. The simple workaround takes advantage of Apple's Fairplay, which allows users to sync up to five computers with each iTunes account, along with unlimited iPhones and iPods. Although the process is initially time consuming -- and maybe a bit confusing -- it's simply a matter of syncing an iPhone with a computer that is registered to use both iTunes accounts.
iPhone open to Phishing?
Security researcher Aviv Raff says the iPhone versions of Mail and Safari are vulnerable to URL spoofing, an exploit that could open the door to phishing attacks. Raff says hackers can e-mail specially-designed URL that links to a site that appears to be legitimate. A user might think it is a trusted site like Pay Pal -- but instead the bogus site steals passwords and other information when the user tries to log on. The maliciously crafted URL is (erroneously) recognized by Safari as a "trusted site."
Mac accounting coming
QuickBooks Online will soon be available for the Mac community and both Safari and Firefox support is expected, according to its development leader. In QuickBooks's community forum, Thai Bui, QuickBooks Online Product Development Leader, explains that development is progressing, as they work to port the small business online accounting service from Internet Explorer. "We are actively working on making our product compatible with other browsers (including Safari)." Internet Explorer's underpinnings differ from Safari and Firefox, Bui explained.
What is 3G TV spot
Apple has begun airing new iPhone ads around the world: the new iPhone 3G commercials feature similar aspects, but are stylized differently depending on the country in which they are aired. They feature a hand operating an iPhone 3G while a voice explains the possibilities of using newer 3G networks. The emphasis is on the speed of data transfer that the 3G networks allow, accelerating tasks such as surfing the web, finding directions and downloading -- all of which can be done "really fast". All of the ads feature the same background music and show of the same features but each show the features with country relevant information, such as using a map of Toronto for showing directions in the Canadian version or a Surf School PDF for showing downloading speeds in the Australian version.
MXL Studio USB microphone
MXL has introduced the new MXL Studio 1 portable USB condenser microphone for the home recording market. According to the company, the new USB microphone has been designed to use the best of both analog and digital technology to deliver low-noise, studio-quality audio in a portable package, enabling it be to used for music training, field recording and professional spoken word recordings. Unlike similar products that requite mixers, preamps or other expensive studio gear, the MXL Studio 1 has been designed to be completely "Plug & Play" for both PC or Mac users. The microphone can simply be plugged into a laptop or desktop computer through a standard USB port, then have its preferences adjusted and the microphone will then be ready to begin recoding studio-quality audio.
Barcode scanner announced
IntelliScanner has announced its IntelliScanner Pro, an inventory-management barcode scanner geared toward small-business customers. The USB-based scanner tracks inventory barcodes and utilizes included software to build a database for asset stocks, location and costs. The IntelliScanner Pro ships with asset-management software and pre-printed barcode tags for assets without barcodes, for $200. It works on Mac OS X 10.4 and higher, requiring a USB port.
NI updates TRAKTOR/SCRATCH
Native Instruments has released TRAKTOR 3.4 and TRAKTOR SCRATCH 1.3, free updates that refine the functionality of the music software applications. TRAKTOR 3 is a complete DJing solution for Mac users, offering the ability to mix digital music files, while TRAKTOR SCRATCH also adds the ability to use a vinyl or CD turntable to control all of the mixing. Both TRAKTOR 3 and TRAKTOR SCRATCH have been updated with crucial architectural improvements as well as enhanced time-code and MIDI control functionality. The new versions offer full Unicode support, allowing file names and tags to be in nearly any international script of language; both are also based on a revised high-performance audio engine that offers many functional advantages including hot-plugging and WASAPI support for Windows Vista.
Kingston ups USB capacity
Kingston Technologies on Wednesday announced its release of 16GB versions of two of its DataTraveler USB drives, the DT400 and DT100. At the same time, the company released a new drive, the DT101, available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities. The new flagship of the range, the 16GB DT400 with MigoSync, lets users recreate the email and Internet browser settings on computers other than their own while doubling its storage capacity.
Vizio intros sound bar
Low-cost flat panel HDTV maker VIZIO recently said it will enter the home audio market with its simulated surround sound system comprised of a slim speaker and a wireless subwoofer. Earlier this year, the company's only other attempt to make a sound system came in the form of the wireless speaker Jive SV5.1 upgrade kit for its Black Tie- and XVT-series of HDTVs.
E Ink displays in phones
E Ink Corporation announced on Wednesday that both Casio and Hitachi will use its E Ink Vixplex Imaging Film for the outside displays of their upcoming clamshell cellular phones. The company specializes in electronic paper display technologies, and promises its technology will decrease the energy used by the devices. While the Hitachi W61 was previewed back in January, the Casio Model G'zOne is all new.
iPhone rivals vs. Apple
The various iPhone rivals on sale or in development may in fact prove serious competition for Apple, writes analyst Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer. In commenting on the performance of Synaptics, a key maker of touchscreens, Reiner previously suggested that the relatively low cost of the iPhone 3G ($199) would harm Apple's competitors, and thus Synaptics' potential market. That view was "wrong," says Reiner, who has once again given the company an "outperform" rating.
BBerry Kickstart Early Rev
Research in Motion's BlackBerry Kickstart flip phone today received a pre-announcement review today courtesy of CrackBerry that also reveals new information. The device will be split into several models as with the Pearl candybar depending on features: while the 8220 in the review is a Wi-Fi version destined for T-Mobile and its HotSpot@Home Internet calling service, an 8210 version (nicknamed the Seawolf) swaps the wireless for GPS navigation and will likely appear with AT&T.
Apple MobileMe rebates
Rebates are being offered to new MobileMe subscribers in select regions, Apple has announced. In the United States, between July 22nd and October 20th, people who have bought any type of Mac -- including MacBooks and Mac Pros -- will be eligible for a $30 discount on a standard one-year subscription, bringing the price down to $69. People wanting a Family Pack, which provides four sub-accounts, will also pay $30 less at $119.
Zune Tattoo Fan Gives Up
Microsoft's most ardent supporter of the Zune is giving up on the player despite having gone to the extent of receiving three Zune-themed tattoos, according to a statement by the fan himself. Having earned a reputation as one of the most avid early adopters, Steven Smith now says he will hide the tattoos and largely exit the community after disappointment at the lack of changes both to the Zune itself as well as to integration between the Microsoft-designed player and to integration with the Xbox 360, which shares the same points system but doesn't let users share videos between formats.
Red iPhone under works?
Apple may be planning to add red to the stable of iPhone 3G colors by the end of the year, rumors suggest. An article cites an "unconfirmed source" as saying that the color should arrive in time for the Christmas season, as a means of generating a spike in sales. The color would also fall under the aegis of the Product (RED) campaign, which donates a small portion of every sale towards HIV and AIDS victims in Africa.
Verizon FIOS Router Boost
Verizon today said it has upgraded the custom-modified routers for its FIOS fiber-optic Internet service to prep them for the future as well as to give users more control over their home networks. The new versions of the firm's Actiontec and Westell routers support local connection speeds of as much as 175Mbps (up from 75Mbps) that makes sure devices inside the house can make the most of the connection. Each device also supports as many as four Wi-Fi access points at the same time that can be used for public or private networks.
Hybrid Case for iPhone 3G
SwitchEasy has launched its CapsuleRebel, a new iPhone 3G hybrid case. The case combines a Lexan polycarbonate case with a new, UV-resistant soft polymer in a mixed media design for enhanced grip-response. The outer polycarbonate case protects shock- and impact-points with an easy-slide surface for placing the phone in a pocket, while the inner polymer case wraps the phone with a soft surface, protecting the phone from scratches and enhancing the grip when held. The case is $25 and is available in both black and white, with arctic available soon.
FontXChange updated to 1.5
Morrison SoftDesign has released FontXChange 1.5 for Mac OS X. The font-format converter has updated its Unicode support to 5.1 and improved its parsing and rendering tools. The 1.5 update can generate .AFM files, can rebuild a damaged font and has new naming options available. FontXChange converts between OpenType, PostScript Type 1, TrueType for Mac and Windows and many other font-types and it supports font encoding for Adobe Standard, Unicode, Mac Roman and others. It offers a batch processor and a preview window for inspecting fonts.
FCC Tate Edges to Merger
The lone Federal Communications Commissioner that has yet to publicly decide on the merger between Sirius and XM is likely to vote in favor of the deal, claims a source of Reuters. The news agency says that Republican Deborah Tate is allegedly close to an agreement which would have her approve the union of the two satellite radio providers and give the supporting camp the necessary three of five Commissioner votes it needs to greenlight the merger.
FarFinder adds Spotlight
Flying Mac has updated FarFinder 1.1, with remote Spotlight and iSight support. FarFinder offers an interface similar to the Mac's Finder across multiple operating systems and web browsers. Users can search a Mac from a remote location, running both Finder, and now Spotlight, searches -- all over a secure connection. Version 1.1 adds the Spotlight support and allows users to remotely capture iSight camera images. The new update is available now, free to registered users. It costs $35, and is available for a 15-day trial period.
UniKey for Mac, Linux
SecuTec has added enhanced Mac OS X and Linux support to its line of UniKey USB dongle-based software protection products. The company says the UniKey line now offers support for "all major operating systems." Using "driverless techology" UniKey HID USB security dongles now work with Power PC and Intel Macs running OS X, as well as most versions of Linux and Windows.
Apple deals: MacBook
Currently Apple's online store is offering refurbished MacBooks for as low as $949 for the white 2.1GHz model with 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive, next in line is the 2.2GHz model with the same color, memory, and storage specifications and a slightly higher price tag of $999. Two models are available with 2.4GHz processors and 2GB of memory, one in white with a 160GB hard drive for $1,099 and one in black with a 250GB hard drive for $1,299. All MacBooks have 13.3-inch glossy widescreen displays, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, wireless, Bluetooth and iSight webcam.
Beta program coming soon
Apple is preparing to offer a beta-testing program for iPhone applications in its App Store, according to an app developer. The beta program will allow developers to distribute beta versions of their iPhone Apps to registered iPhones for testing, according to TechCrunch. Currently, there is no easy way to put apps on an iPhone other than distribution on Apple's iPhone App Store. Developers have to put any fixes out for all to use. "The big problem here is that the only way to install software on an iPhone or iPod touch is with the App Store. There are also no provisions for beta testing," one developer on the Twitterific team said. "The only way to test a fix is to release the changes to tens of thousands of users. It's the developer equivalent of playing Russian roulette."
Forums iPhone e-tickets
Forum roundup: MacNN forum goers discuss the possibility of using an iPhone to show e-tickets at the airport instead of a print out of one, some users claim that they have used their iPhones for similar purposes at movies and sporting events, other users claim to have used e-tickets on a Blackberry with no issues at all. Slow speeds, bugs and crashing with the iPhone firmware upgrade version 2.0 are discussed in this thread where users feel that the new upgrade was not ready for the launch.
Dow Jones OKs iPhone
Dow Jones -- owned by News Corp., and responsible for financial publications like the Wall Street Journal -- has given its seal of approval to the iPhone, according to another one of its publications, Barron's. The company's Global Technology Services division is now supporting the phone through use of Microsoft ActiveSync technology, which enables the iPhone to access corporate e-mail via Exchange. Like most such services, users require a password and will have data locked or deleted in case a phone goes missing.
LG X110 netbook revealed?
Korean giant LG is also planning to join the netbook field, currently occupied by computers such as ASUS' Eee PC and Acer's Aspire one, according to reports. The debut system is expected to be called the X110, and manufactured by Taiwan's Micro-Star International, though it should ship beyond Asia to regions including Europe and North America. Rather than aiming for a low cost, LG is said to be interested in high-end design and materials.
Ubuntu Head Asks Mac Rival
Canonical head and chief architect of Ubuntu Linux Mark Shuttleworth late Tuesday told developers at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention that Linux should go "beyond the Mac" in terms of its software experience. While not specific, he notes that the open source operating system should be at least as "crisp and clean" as Mac OS X while still offering the community benefits that come with fully opened code.
kannuu SDK for iPhone
Developer kannuu has released an early version of a new SDK, intended for iPhone developers. Rather than assisting in general programming, the SDK aids in implementing kannuu's indexing and search technology. Also available for inserting is kannuu's user interface, which centers around an on-screen, four-way direction pad, pointing to the most likely characters in a search query. This is said to dodge the problems of A-Z searches and normal auto-complete forms.
Samsung today followed up its HDTV announcements with word of its MediaLive add-on. The attachment requires one of Samsung's sets made in 2008 with CEC automation support but mostly eliminates the need for a media hub such as the Apple TV or the Roku Netflix Player; a compatible TV has direct access to movies from MovieLink and Vongo as well as shorter-form content from Fox Sports and Showtime TV. Streaming Internet radio stations from XM are also available.
DuoBand for third-gen Nano
iSkin says it has begun shipping a new version of its DuoBand case, now built for third-generation iPod nano. The band straps around the arm for carrying a Nano during jogging or other exercise; making it different is the protection for the Nano, which lets users slide the player on and off of the band for use outside of workouts.
Samsung 9 series HDTV
Samsung today prepped its HDTV line for the second half of 2008 by introducing a new series of displays, including the company's first-ever LCD TV with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The 950 display line is the first update to the 81 series from a year ago and combines the LED backlighting of the earlier set with improvements to the panel and image processing to hit the new record. LED allows the TV to shut off lighting entirely in truly dark parts of the image and creates true blacks. The set is also the first LED-lit model from Samsung to have a 120Hz panel, which frees buyers from having to choose either between the better contrast or reducing artifacts in fast movement.
Hydra 1.6 for Aperture
Creaceed says it has released the final version of Hydra, its plug-in for Aperture. The software lets users produce high dynamic range (HDR) images through Aperture, creating detail in scenes that would otherwise be over- or underexposed. The v1.6 update makes a variety of changes, such as the ability to save and load HDR presets, and process DNG files as well as those from Canon's EOS-1D camera. Pixel depth can be set to 8- or 32-bit per component, and output format can be configured for JPEG, TIFF or OpenEXR.
DirectX 11 with GPGPU Tech
Microsoft's next version of DirectX will have its own alternative to the OpenCL standard proposed by Apple, the company revealed yesterday at its GamesFest conference. DirectX 11 will have support for "compute shader technology" that allows modern, more generalized video cards' effects processors to perform tasks other than rendering video, including physics calculations and other chores that would normally be handled by the main system processor.
Health of Steve Jobs
Anonymous sources have come forward to talk about the health of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, writes the New York Times. In a recent conference call Apple's CFO refused to discuss the state of Jobs, except to call the issue a "a private matter" and say Jobs would stay on as CEO. This has done little to assuage cancer fears however, triggered by an unusually thin physique at the 2008 WWDC keynote. Jobs was treated for pancreatic cancer four years ago, and some have worried that the illness has returned.
ATT Q208 and iPhone 3G
AT&T has sold almost twice as many iPhone 3G units on launch as it did a year ago, the company has revealed today along with its results for the past quarter. The wireless carrier claims that the new handset produced "nearly double" the same amount of sales in 12 days of sales as its predecessor did for its own launch. The company also notes that the number of smartphone owners on its network has more than doubled year-over-year, with the number of customers jumping from eight percent at the end of June 2007 to 18 percent by June 2008.
Cowon on Wednesday added a new entry to its touchscreen players with the P5. Targeted more at video users, the device has a 5-inch, 800x480 touchscreen with a new customizable "shelf" interface with widgets; haptic feedback that simulates physical button presses through vibrations. A new, faster 700MHz processor gives the device both a quick interface as well as the power to decode full DVD-resolution video that includes both offline formats (AVI, DivX, MPEG-1/4, WMV, XviD) as well as digital over-the-air TV through a built-in DMB tuner.
Google wants Digg
Google is allegedly interested in Digg again, this time to the tune of $200 million, despite numerous denials from executives at either company. TechCrunch writes that while neither Google or Digg would comment on the matter, but inside sources say that the deal, which is in its final negotiations, would see the latter company absorbed into Google's News properties. Interest in Digg has run hot and cold with Google over the past six months.
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