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Forum roundup: Recently MacNN forum goers began to discuss what upgrades they could possibly expect to see in the new MacBook lineup. Bugs in the new 2.1 software upgrade are the topic of conversation in this thread. After zealously downloading too many apps, one forum member started a thread looking for thoughts on cleaning up non-essential apps without permanently deleting them. Outrage over Microsoft not allowing Safari users to have access to certain content on MSNBC.com is the center of debate in this thread. One member is having permission issues with the new 10.5.5 software update and looks for advice from other forum goers.
Apple has taken some important steps in helping with disabilities, says the American Foundation for the Blind. The non-profit aid and activism organization is mainly praising of the fourth-generation iPod nano, to which Apple has added software options for talking menus, as well as larger fonts. Previously, claims AFB president Carl Augusto, it was enormously difficult to find a particular track or artist on an iPod without skipping songs repeatedly.
Previous generation refurbished iPods are now available at Apple's online store for reduced prices. The 1GB iPod shuffle ($39) comes in silver, blue, green and purple. Previous generation 8GB iPod nanos ($99) are also available in silver, blue, green, black or pink. The iPod classic is available in two configurations 80GB ($169) or 160GB ($249) with two colors to chose from, black or silver. Three iPod touch configurations complete the collection: 8GB (179), 16GB ($239), and 32GB ($319).
Analysts predict the soon-to-be-released Google Android will sell about 400,000 examples in the fourth quarter of 2008, garnering 4 percent of the entire smartphone market in the process, Strategy Analytics predicts in a study published on Friday. The group's representatives said Google is a well-recognized brand that will make for a successful launch, which is slated for an event on September 23. The same executives suggest the handset will need to be subsidized and sold for about $200 by T-Mobile USA in order to remain competitive with devices such as Apple’s iPhone, Palm’s Treo and RIM’s Blackberry, among others.
Apple today admitted that an ultra-compact USB power adapter, shipping with the iPhone 3G, poses a safety threat. The company says that under certain circumstances the metal prongs can break off in the power outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. Although Apple claims that only a small number of adapters are affected, the company is nevertheless allowing customers to exchange them for a new, redesigned version.
XtremeMac has introduced various new products, compatible with the iPhone 3G and the newest iPod models. These include the Micropack, Travel Dock and FireWire-to-USB adapter, as well as five InCharge models: the Duo, Auto, FM, Travel and Home. The Micropack is an iPhone 3G case that provides additional power, equivalent to an full charge. It costs $80, and includes a USB charging cable.
Art Lebedev, of Art Lebedev Studio fame, has updated his blog on Friday, announcing the previously reported Optimus Pultius customizable keypad will be called the Optimus Aux when it is released. The device is still under development, though it is a working prototype.
Shuttle Japan launched its D10 mini PC on Friday, which is claimed as one of the few small form factor PCs to include a built-in 7-inch, 800x480 LCD touchscreen. The D10 can be optioned up with a choice of Intel’s dual-core chips, ranging from E2000-series chips to the E4000 range, as well as the Celeron 400 series. Standard issue virtual memory is fixed at 2GB, but can be expanded up to 4GB.
NVIDIA on Thursday announced that it would cut 360 jobs across its worldwide operations, which accounts for nearly 6.5 percent of its entire workforce. The company officially announced the cuts are being made to let it invest in key areas of growth, though they are likely related to the company’s recent financial trouble stemming from faulty graphics chips, the resulting lawsuit, and increased competition from the Radeon HD 4000-series graphics card. The job cuts are expected to take effect by October 26, with employees receiving severance packages, counseling and job placement services.
Developer Samuel De Backer has released the first version of Another Discogs Widget, an add-on for Mac OS X. The widget provides quick access to data from the Discogs website, which collects information on artists, albums, labels and track listings. Before searching, users can specify a category to search through, and multiple results are delivered in case of confusion. The widget requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, and is technically free; donations are encouraged, however.
Acer President and CEO Gianfranco Lanci indicated at the company’s global conference held in Budapest, Hungary that Acer will launch more netbooks to join its Aspire one range, as per a Friday report. The company, which bought PC maker Gateway last year, will also launch a Gateway-branded netbook, Lanci indicated. While details on either are not known, it is possible the new Aspire ones will have a screen larger than the current offering’s 8.9-inch screen.
BenQ on Friday unveiled the thinnest digital camera, at less than 0.7 inches (16.8mm) thick at its slimmest point, to have a 3-inch LCD screen, the 10-megapixel E1050. The E1050 has 32 distinct still image or video shooting modes as well as a red eye remover feature. The 3x optical zoom lens and the E1050’s software allows 16:9 aspect ratio, 848x480 videos to be captured for a proper fit on today’s HDTVs. Another setting sizes videos for direct YouTube uploads.
T-Mobile today unintentionally showed its hand by posting an image referencing its G1 Android phone on the My T-Mobile website. The link accessible to subcribers confirms the design and name of the phone and is also redirecting customers to the currently empty T-MobileG1.com website. It likewise validates the existence of a black model rumored alongside brown and white versions. The news compounds a string of leaks that have revealed nearly all details of the 3G-equipped, touchscreen G1, which should be announced next week and released in mid-October for $200 on contract. [via CrunchGear]
A Cell Tax Fairness Act proposed in April by California congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has resulted in a Thursday debate at the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on commercial and administrative law between supporters and opponents of the bill, as per a Friday report. The bill, which would impose a five-year long suspension on new, discriminatory taxes on wireless services and providers, has many local governments concerned, as they consider taxing telecommunications providers in order to balance their budgets.
Macgamestore and WildTangent have released Fate for the Mac. The new game is a 3D fantasy role-playing game, taking the player through multiple settings as they increase their attributes over time. Gamers play as a boy or girl, accompanied by a dog or cat, and journey through caverns, tunnels, mines and dungeons seeking adventure. The game features over 100 monsters, 400 items to discover and randomly-generated levels.
Nokia‘s recently introduced bundled Comes with Music service and phone for the UK market will become reality on October 17 when the first handset with the service will become available for purchase on retailer site Carphone Warehouse, says a Thursday report. The retailer will be the exclusive seller of the first Nokia handset, the 5310, pictured. The one-year subscription to the music service will add a one-time fee of about $120 to the price of the handset.
iCloseBy has released iDialUDrive, an iPhone app for hands-free autodialing. Geared toward drivers, especially those with numerous calls to make, the app works with the iPhone's contact manager and allows a user to create custom contact lists, in which each phone number is dialed sequentially following the first tap. As each conversation is ended, dialing for the next number begins.
Teacup Software has released TypeFitter Pro, an advanced version of its TypeFitter plug-in for Adobe's InDesign CS3. The plug-in allows automated typefitting with attention to typography quality. It can create custom typefit rules to work with windows, oversets and off-balance columns, and it includes the manual typefit tools found in the original TypeFitter.
Macally has launched multiple new iPod cases, amounting to 12 in total: six for the fourth-generation Nano, and six for the second-generation Touch. Each of the 12 cases is retailing for $20. Nano cases include the IceSuit, a protective case with white accents on clear silicone, plus a cable management system. The Divo is a brown leather case with orange stitching highlights, while the Bella is a leather/micro-suede combination with a neck lanyard and a brushed metal carabiner. Another silicon-based case is the mSuit, arriving in black, white and clear shades.
Details have emerged today from Trapeze Networks of a proposed Wi-Fi standard that should reduce the high power use of wireless networks. Known as 802.11v, the tentative format would more intelligently check for a connection and shut off the radio on either the router or devices themselves earlier when they idle, reducing the wasted energy and drawing out battery life. It would further send traffic maps to prevent end devices from having to send as much information on the network.
Newly released is the first beta of XBMC Atlantis, an open-source media center application. XBMC Atlantis can run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and the original Xbox, and now also features a version that is bootable from a USB drive or CD. The interface has been updated with a new version of the included Project Mayhem skin, presented in full HD, and on the Mac, the release brings iTunes and iPhoto library streaming.
Lenovo has formally announced two new devices, the ThinkPad X200s notebook and X200t tablet, according to Notebooks. The X200s is designed for business travelers, offering a 12 inch screen and claimed to be as thin as the X300 with a battery life of over 13 hours with an optional high capacity battery. The x200t, set to replace the x61t, features a dual swivel hinged 12 inch tablet screen, with battery options allegedly offering up to 15 hours with the lowest voltage processor.
T-Mobile's upcoming Android phone has been spotted today courtesy of a blog entry from someone with access to the phone ahead of the carrier's official debut on the 23rd. Previously only shown in a handful of indoor shots, the G1 is again an exact match for prototypes Google has used to demonstrate the phone and is described by the Google worker using the phone as the production version of the HTC Dream. The phone revolves around its touchscreen but opens as with a Sidekick to expose a full keyboard.
Sony lived up to promises and today launched four separate iPhone- and iPod-supporting speaker docks. The S10HDiP is Sony's first iPhone-capable audio system to support HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, which flags tracks on supporting radio stations so that they can be purchased the next time an iPod docks with its host computer. It also claims an AM/FM radio with 20 presets for each band and an aux-in jack for outside sources. Sony ships the S10iP this month for $180.
Camera builder Pentax has accidentally leaked information on a new camera, according to reports. Thought to be called the K-m (not pictured), the camera would allegedly be an entry-level DSLR, similar to Nikon's D60 or Canon's Rebel XS. Specifications pulled from Amazon UK point to a 10-megapixel CCD sensor with sensor-shift stabilization, and ISO sensitivity up to 3200. It is expected to shoot in PEF or DNG RAW formats at up to 3.5fps, and come equipped with a 2.7-inch LCD. Unlike most DSLRs, it is also believed to be powered by four AA batteries, not a proprietary lithium-ion design.
Gateway on Friday became the latest PC maker to join the increasing ranks of those with 16:9-ratio notebooks and launched the MC series. The 16-inch display at the root of the system comes in resolutions up to and including 1080p (1920x1080) and uses an edge-to-edge glass surface; the rest of the notebook also takes Gateway relatively upscale with a backlit keyboard, chromed edges, and a leather strip along the glossy outer shell. A touch-sensitive media pad to the right of the keyboard controls music and videos.
Over 1 million downloads of NBC programming have been made at the iTunes Store since September 9th, according to Apple. The return of the TV network to the US iTunes storefront was announced during Steve Jobs' keynote address that day, and followed months of absence due to a dispute over variable pricing. Apple relented for the sake of the UK iTunes Store, however, and a limited form of variable pricing is now in effect in the US, with HD shows costing a dollar extra and back-catalog episodes costing a dollar less. The scheme is not exclusive to NBC.
iRex's hinted-at Monday launch of a next-generation reader will primarily compete in terms of sheer size and connection choices, Forbes says in a pre-release leak. Potentially scrapping the iLiad name, the new e-book device would just be called the Reader 1000 and would outsize nearly any existing viewer of the type with a 10.2-inch e-ink display. The screen would be large enough to comfortably view Word files and other documents in business, which is reportedly one of the new focuses of the 1000.
Stanton for the first time released a touch-sensitive device through DaScratch, a new advanced MIDI control pad. The device centers around a large, central touchpad that replicates the functions of analog DJ controllers and lets DJs scratch or scrub as well as use the device as though it were a multi-touch notebook trackpad. All the buttons and faders to adjust the final output have similarly been replaced with touch-sensitive controls and will recognize multi-tap commands to quickly bring down a sound level or apply an effect.
net4mac, the creator of its self-named social networking service for Mac owners, says it has ported a version of its Mac OS X client to the iPhone. The iPhone version is scaled back, removing functions such as forum access. Users can however send and receive messages, browse member profiles, and search for other people according to their preferences.
The long-rumored Helio Ocean 2 has finally shown in concrete form courtesy of an FCC filing made public today. Appearing under the codename OZII, the Pantech-made dual slider matches earlier leaks and appears to primarily change the looks of the original Ocean as well as improve the software; aside from chromed trim, the device would chiefly improve by adding a full HTML web browser.
Marware has announced a new case for the iPod nano 4G, the Sport Grip Extreme. The Extreme is a silicone cover that protects the new Nano, while allowing full access to all of the iPod's controls. The case features a two-tone color design, which is available in three different patterns: red/black, pink/white and white/grey. Each case also comes with a clear film protector and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
Microsoft's major hardware redesign for the Xbox 360 could also be followed by a new name, a purported leak at CAG says. Coming from a source that also leaked definitive evidence of the Xbox 360 Elite in advance, an apparent memo suggests that Microsoft has settled on calling a revised Xbox 360 the Pure. The name would have been decided after using the codenames "Lean" and "Granite," alluding to the system having a smaller case design and potentially a new color as well.
RCA has finished the week with three new devices all meant to modernize the company's line. The Lyra name is being revived with the Lyra Slider, a basic portable media player that uses the same concept as behind slider phones to shrink the size of the device without sacrificing controls. The black and chrome look improves on earlier designs and is matched by a handful of extras that include FM radio and voice recording. RCA is counting on pricing as it ships 4GB and 8GB versions later in the fall for $80 and $100 respectively.
Boomwave has announced that it will be releasing a new line of silicone cases for the iPhone 3G. The new FUNK line features two different products, the Muthabord and the Worldtribe. The cases come in a solid color and each features a different pattern etched into the back. The Muthaboard case is available in black, white or army green and has a design that resembles a series of circuits emerging out of the Apple logo on the back of the phone. The Worldtribe case is available in black, turquoise or midnite blue and features a tribal pattern on the back.
Averatec today realized its goal of launching its own netbook and announced the Buddy for US shores. The 10-inch system adopts the basic philosophy of other same-size systems and opts for a 1.6GHz Atom at its heart and 1GB of memory. The Korean firm puts the system at the higher end of the range with a 160GB hard drive and Windows XP Home as its only standard spec.
Samsung on Friday confirmed its netbook plans with the formal launch of the NC10. The 10-inch system has the same 1024x600 LED-lit display and 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor of many rivals but includes a pair of features specific to the electronics giant's in-house development. A silver ion powder coat on the keys allegedly keeps them free of bacteria that could make the user sick; the outer shell is also said to be toughened against mild damage, including those from temperature changes.
Nokia may already have sequels planned for its E71 smartphone, according to a demo found by Symbian Freak. The E72 would be a relative first for Nokia and would move the QWERTY keyboard to a lateral slider, similar to devices like the HTC S740; the device would have the relative size and dedicated number pad of the E66 but all the control of the normally wider model.
Equinux has releases the latest version of its e-mail design software, Stationery Pack 2 for Leopard Mail. Users can choose from over 660 different designs from 122 templates, now with interactive options. Various themes are included, from invitations to holiday cards. Design elements can be changed just clicking on the feature, such as the background that will change color.
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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko