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Apple #1 UK Education
Second-quarter sales figures show Apple growing its lead in Western Europe's education market, with a 19.2 percent market share for CPUs and servers. Apple also continues to be the top education computer manufacturer in the UK, retaining its lead in notebook sales, and taking the lead from Dell in desktops. Gartner Research figures put Apple's education market share in the UK at 17.2 percent, according to MacWorld UK.
Apple nixes security talk
The organizers of next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas say Apple has decided to pull out of the event at the last minute. The move comes a day after Apple released a Mac OS X security patch amid criticism for its slow response to a documented DNS flaw. The move also also comes on the heels of a decision by researcher Charles Edge -- who had planned to speak about flaws in Apple's FileVault security -- to back out of the Black Hat hacker conference. A source told Networkworld Edge canceled because of confidentiality agreements with Apple.
Piranesi for Modo 302
Informatix Software says its Piranesi "3D Painting Technology" tool now works with Luxology's Modo 302. Piranesi gives a hand-rendered look to 3D sculptures, models and images created in Modo 302. Informatix has developed a free EPix plug-in using the Modo SDK, so files can be exported to Piranesi. Luxology says Piranesi is a "good match" with Modo, and welcomed the move. Both applications run on Macs or Windows PCs.
NetShare back on iTunes
After quickly grabbing the iPhone community spotlight, and consequently barred from the App Store, Nullriver's NetShare – an app designed to allow users to "tether" their iPhone to a computer – is again available for sale. While an explanation for the pull was not given, it most likely related to several wireless carriers' objections, since companies like AT&T offer a specific "tethering" data plan, providing users with on-computer data access through a wireless device.
Apple Lock to ATT in 2010
Apple is bound to its exclusivity deal with AT&T until at least 2010, sources have allegedly told USA Today. The newspaper asserts that AT&T agreed to the large-scale subsidies on the iPhone 3G's pricing in exchange for a one-year extension on the provider's sole rights for the device line in the US, pushing it back from its original 2009 date. The extension is crucial for AT&T, which is the leader in an increasingly saturated market and sees the iPhone as a tool to convert customers from other networks.
- Dragoman 1.3 ($30) is a universal batch file conversion utility for Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard. Dragoman is capable of batch converting various files such as images, photos, PDF's music and archive files with a simple drag and drop interface. Version 1.3 adds support for more music formats, such as MP3, MP4 and Ogg Vorbis. The new version also allows users to covert between text documents such as Word, RTF and HTML. [Download - 21.6MB]
Nisus Writer Express 3.1 ($45) is a word processor built for Mac OS X that was designed to be simple and affordable. This updated version adds new features such as Text Wrap around images, Glossaries, Small Caps support and an improved Find and Replace engine. [Download - 47MB]
Delicious Library 2.0.2 ($40) is a cataloging tool that allows users to easily create a database of all their belongings, and then view said database in a series of photorealistic shelves. Version 2.0.2 fixes various bugs and also introduces a richer search feature. Searches can now be broken into three main categories, title & people, descriptions and numbers. [Download - 13.6MB]
Dragster 1.0.6 ($19) makes file transfers easy for users by adding a simple drag and drop interface. To transfer a file, a user is only required to drag the file to the Dragster icon in the dock and then to the location the user wants the file to go to, with Dragster doing the rest. This updated version fixes various bugs as well as adds a few new features. Users can now select how long Dragster should leave a connection open after a transfer. Version 1.0.6 also has received improvements to the transfer display, including better reporting of transfer rates. [Download - 11.5MB]
Vvidget 10.5.6 (free) is powerful point and click graphing application . It offers wizards that serve the single purpose of converting data to charts. The updated version has been improved to run faster by using the latest toolsets, and also has received various bug fixes that make the parser editor, 3D graphs and table editor all more stable and reliable. [Download - 22MB]
Black Hat speech canned
A Georgia-born author, researcher and speaker who was due to deliver a speech about a new flaw in Apple's FileVault encryption system at the annual Black Hat hacker convention next week in Las Vegas will no longer be speaking at the event, according to a recent report. The encryption system is used in the Mac OS X v10.3 and newer operating systems. Charles Edge's scheduled presentation was pulled from the scheduled talks last week. Edge claims to have signed confidentiality agreements with Apple prevented him from delivering the address.
Security update incomplete
Last night Apple released security update 2008-005 although even after the update it would seem that one of the most voiced issues still has not been addressed. This update was supposed to bring port randomization to make it more difficult to spoof the DNS response. However, in nCircle's test it seems as though this is not the case. nCircle found that even after installing the patch the client libraries in an OS X 10.4.11 still do not randomize the source port. A comparison of a patched FreeBSD 6.3 system and OS X 10.4.11 was given and here are the results:
Hitachi Si Alloy Batteries
Hitachi is developing a new generation of lithium-ion battery packs that should significantly extend the running time of portable devices without requiring a radical breakthrough in technology, the company said when discussing its financial results. The Japanese electronics maker plans to swap the graphite used in the electrodes of today's batteries with a silicon alloy material that would increase the effective capacity of a battery by 20 percent without making additional changes.
BBerry Squeezed Out at ATT
Research in Motion and its BlackBerry smartphones on the verge of falling out of favor at AT&T in exchange for the iPhone, says an investment note from Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha. The analyst notes that RIM's share of smartphone sales at AT&T, which have crested at 70 percent in June, are unlikely to remain at such high levels and instead are more likely to drop as AT&T shifts the brunt of its promotion to the iPhone 3G. The touchscreen phone remains a strong seller three weeks after launch and has already seen AT&T agree to heavy subsidies to help push its sales where BlackBerry devices are strictly in line prices at other competitors.
Phone plugins updated
Nova Media has updated its Phone plugins software to version 2.2. Phone plugins allows users to quickly dial numbers and send text messages through a cell phone right from their Mac's desktop. The new version lets the application work in more than just the Address Book. Phone plugins can also be found in other applications under the "Services" menu meaning that it is always accessible and doesn't require any additional software to be opened. It supports most cell phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson and features its own bluetooth wizard for connecting a cellphone to a Mac in one simple step.
Yesterday evening Nullriver released NetShare in the iTunes App Store. The application allowed a user to connect a computer to an iPhones network connection by providing a SOCKS5 proxy. This essentially turned the iPhone into an on-the-go Wi-Fi hotspot. There is a similar solution available for hacked iPhones, but this is the first of its kind to be Apple approved for the App Store. The app was available for $10 from the App Store but was quickly pulled as news of it started to build.
DataCase beta begins
Veiosoft has announced a new app that allows an iPhone or iPod touch to be used as a wireless storage device. DataCase works with any computer that has wireless capabilities or is connected to a wireless network. It works with Finder on the Mac or any web browser can be used on a PC. This allows users to begin transferring files without having to install any additional software. DataCase allows users to simple drag and drop files, allowing users to quickly update the information stored on the iPhone. All uploaded files can then be viewed right on the iPhone, Powerpoint presentations, PDFs, Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets are all supported by DataCase. DataCase also allows users to create multiple volumes for separating data. Each volume is independent and can have different access rights assigned to them. Volumes can also be set up to alert the user before allowing a connection to be made, keeping a users information private.
Blu-ray to outsell DVDs
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment vice president for Asia-Pacific Tim Meade on Friday announced market reports that lead him to believe sales of Blu-ray movie discs will outnumber standard DVDs sometime in 2011. Meade went on to say global sales of movies on the two disc formats will be split around 60 percent in favor of the standard-definition DVD format by 2010, with the high-definition media eking out an advantage one year later.
LG LG90 and LGX HDTVs
LG today finished its week by formally unveiling details of sets it has previously only hinted at earlier in the year. The LG90 will be the electronics firm's first LED-backlit LCD TV and uses the lighting to produce much deeper blacks than on fluorescent-lit TVs; similar to sets from Samsung and others, the screen dims individual portions of the screen to cut out on unintentional grays. LG also matches up to its fellow Korean rival by using a 120Hz panel that reduces motion artifacts.
Forums: Apple upgrades
Forum roundup: With rumors of upgrades to Apple products such as iPods and MacBooks, MacNN forum goers discuss the timing of a new MacBook purchase, the number one question seems to be "when to buy?" A Fresh-Faced Recruit to our forums is trying to put together a home made gadget to connect a 5.1 surround sound system to their Mac and has started a thread in hopes of finding some advice. Problems with iTunes syncing properly are addressed in this thread. One user is looking to upgrade the hard drive in their MacBook Pro and finds some good tips from other forum members about what brands to consider as well as pricing and performance specs.
Apple deals iPods
Apple's online store is currently offering refurbished iPod touch models, with three storage capacities to choose from 8GB (up to 1,750 songs) for $199, 16GB (up to $3,500 songs) for $299, and 32GB (up to 7,000 songs) for $429. Also available are 8GB iPod nanos in silver, blue, green, black and pink for $149 that hold up to 2,000 songs for up to 24 hours of music playback, or up to 5 hours of video playback. Current generation 1GB iPod shuffles in silver, blue, green, or purple are only $39.
If you want to write a program for Mac OS X or the iPhone, you’ll have to use Apple’s Xcode tool. Since Xcode is designed for professional programmers to create complicated applications such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, it’s not easy for novice programmers to learn or master. If you just want the fun of learning to program without the steep learning curve, you may be interested in TileStack, which is currently in beta testing.
iTunes users locked out
A select handful of iTunes users have begun to experience issues logging into, and downloading items from the iTunes store. Error 5002, and error -4 have been associated with the issue, and may be a sign that users have been locked out of their iTunes accounts. Users on the Apple discussion boards seem to believe the problem may be related to changing the country of the iTunes store the user is browsing. However, it seems as though this is not the only way the error comes about. Some users have found that resetting their iTunes account password, and/or changing the settings of iTunes Shopping Cart and One-click shopping has solved the problem but this has not worked for all.
FCC Rules on Comcast
The Federal Communications Commission today formally ruled that Comcast's traffic throttling practices were illegal, setting a precedent for US Internet providers. The decision acts on a recent report of the FCC's plans and requires that the the cable company stop the filtering it has used so far, which uses a Sandvine program that automatically breaks the connection between Comcast users and others running BitTorrent clients and certain peer-to-peer software. The ruling also requires that Comcast disclose how it performs any future throttling, which the provider already plans to do but in a more general form.
NVIDIA May Exit Chipsets
(Updated with analyst commentary) NVIDIA may quit the mainboard chipset industry entirely just as it's rumored to be expanding into new areas, if a claim from companies producing the final mainboards themselves. The California-based creator of the nForce line has allegedly held a meeting this week to determine whether it should continue producing chipsets at all but has been met with "silence," hinting both that NVIDIA was already considering an exit but also that weak demand gives it little reason to continue.
House Decides In-Air Ban
The Congressional Transportation and Infrastructure committee voted yesterday to introduce a bill to the House of Representatives that will potentially outlaw nearly all use of active cellphones on any commercial aircraft. Nicknamed the Hang Up Act, the measure would ban placing or receiving voice calls for all but the crew as well as for any air marshals aboard a given flight. Democrat Peter DeFazio, who proposed the bill, describes the possibility of allowing voice calls an "annoyance" and that an attempt to profit from these calls to make up for a poor economy would be ill-advised.
Feds free to seize laptops
As of July 16, US federal agents have the power to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for however long they want, says a Friday report. The seizures do not require a suspicion of wrongdoing, and are aimed to counter terrorism, with the new policies passed by two Department of Homeland Security agencies. The contents of the confiscated laptops and electronics can then be shared with not only other agencies, but private entities in order to decrypt the data they contain.
Nokia Zune Phone Rumor
An alleged Microsoft source today claims that Nokia is developing phones that would be compatible with the Zune Marketplace. While the project isn't said to involve custom handset design, Nokia in the suggested plan would integrate its software with content from the Microsoft-run Zune store, which in protected format doesn't currently work outside of Zune portable media players. Whether this would involve direct access to the Zune Marketplace from the phones themselves or sync with PC-based Zune software is unknown.
Synium Software has announced the release of MobileFamilyTree, a brand new mobile companion application for MacFamilyTree. MacFamilyTree was designed to allow users to create a database of their family tree, that can keep track of all important details pertaining to different branches of the family. The information can then be viewed in various ways that allow users to quickly see an overview of their family history. MobileFamilyTree aims to take that data and make it more accessible. Users are now able to bring a copy of their family tree along with them meaning they are able to view, update, or add information whenever the need arises. A user no longer needs to wait until they return to one of their Mac computers to update the database but can do it on the fly so no details are forgotten.
iPhone at QuakeCon
Yesterday, Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, presented the annual keynote at QuakeCon 2008. QuakeCon is a free convention held every year in the Dallas, Texas area. It brings thousands of computer gamers from all over to world together to play with friends on a giant gaming network, see the latest technology and compete in a world-class tournament. This year id Software had a couple of new and exciting things to announce, one of them being id Software's plans for the iPhone. John Carmack, technical director and co-founder of id Software, and prodigy developer, spoke very highly of the iPhone and its capabilities and spoke of his disappointment to not having any products out for the iPhone yet. To this he announced that currently id Software is in development of two different games for the iPhone. One being a conventional RPG style game, the other working towards maxing out the iPhones graphics capabilities.
LG Voyager Visu Voicemail
Verizon today inadvertedly revealed that it will give owners of its LG Voyager touchscreen phone an option that brings their devices closer to iPhone functionality. The Visual Voice Mail app would let users see who has called and play messages in any order, much like Apple's implementation. The new software would nonetheless have slightly more features, with the option of not just calling back but also of replying directly to voice mail or of sending a text, picture, or video message.
Win Mobile Sales Miss Goal
Microsoft has missed its much-vaunted yearly goal of selling 20 million licenses for Windows Mobile by a wide margin, the company has revealed. Initially certain that any shortfall would amount to a "rounding error," the company now acknowledges that it has only sold 18 million licenses over the course of its last fiscal year, which ended in June. Microsoft hasn't provided reasoning for the gap, which was unexpected as recently as a month ago.
Fujifilm S2000HD Leak
Fujifilm today unofficially slipped out word of some of its camera upgrades ahead of next month's Photokina expo. The 10-megapixel FinePix S2000HD ultrazoom replaces the S1000fd and chiefly upgrades the lens, replacing the normal 12X lens with a 15X, hardware-stabilized unit. The HD in the camera's name also points to a new HD video recording feature that gives it a widescreen 720p capture mode. Amateur sports photographers can also drop the resolution in exchange for higher speed: a step down to five megapixels increases the continuous shooting rate to 6.8 frames per second, while a further step down to three megapixels shoots at a quicker-still 13.5 frames per second.
Apple solves DNS spoofs
Apple on Thursday unveiled Security Update 2008-005, offering users protection against several major vulnerabilities, some of which affect many different platforms. The most major problem solved relates to Domain Name spoofing wherein a maliciously crafted website, coming in the form of a trusted website, would be substituted, allowing it to collect a user's personal information, such as address, phone number, or credit card numbers.
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